Tuesday, September 16, 2008



His Work Produced With Astonishing Speed Regardless of His Surroundings.

I remember a characteristic discussion about their mode of writing between Trollope and George Eliot at a little dinner party at her house.

"Why," said Anthony, "I sit down every morning at 5:30, with my watch on my desk, and for three hours I regularly produce 250 words every quarter of an hour."

George Eliot positively quivered with horror at the thought — she who could write only when she felt in the vein, who wrote, rewrote and destroyed her manuscript two or three times, and as often as not sat at her table without writing at all.

"There are days and days together," she groaned out, "when I cannot write a line."

"Yes," said Trollope, "with imaginative work like yours that is quite natural, but with my mechanical stuff it's a sheer matter of industry. It's not the head that does it. It's the cobbler's wax on the seat and the sticking to my chair."

In his "Autobiography" he has elaborately explained this process — how he wrote day by day, including Sundays, whatever his duties, his amusements or the place, measuring out every page, counting the words and exacting the given quantity hour by hour. He wrote continuously 2,500 words in each day and at times more than 25,000 words in a week. He wrote while engaged in severe professional drudgery, while hunting thrice a week and in the whirl of London society. He wrote in railway trains, on a sea voyage and in a town clubroom. Whether he was on a journey, or pressed with office reports, or visiting friends, he wrote just the same. — Frederick Harrison in Forum.

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