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By Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945

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Sample text

Not long before we had gone together to visit Alexandre Dumas Jils at Puy, and it was from talking of that thoughtfully, but entirely, Parisian writer, and his touching, in its unreal way so real, " Dame aux Camelias" (the novel, not the play), which Beardsley admired so much, that we passed into an unexpectedly intimate mood of speculation. Those stars up yonder, whether they were really the imprisoning worlds of other creatures like ourselves ; the strange ways by which the soul might have come and must certainly go; death, and the future: it was of such things that I found him speaking, for once without mockery.

All his art is in that phrase. And he attained, to the full, one certainly of his many desires, and that one, perhaps, of which he was most keenly or most continuously conscious: contemporary fame, the fame of a popular singer or a professional beauty, the fame of Yvette Guilbert or of C16o de M^rode. And there was logic in his insistence on this point, in his eagerness after immediate and clamorous success. Others might have waited; he knew that he had not the time to wait. After all, posthumous fame is not a very cheering prospect to look forward to, on the part of those who have worked without recompense, if the pleasure or the relief of work is not enough in itself.

And he attained, to the full, one certainly of his many desires, and that one, perhaps, of which he was most keenly or most continuously conscious: contemporary fame, the fame of a popular singer or a professional beauty, the fame of Yvette Guilbert or of C16o de M^rode. And there was logic in his insistence on this point, in his eagerness after immediate and clamorous success. Others might have waited; he knew that he had not the time to wait. After all, posthumous fame is not a very cheering prospect to look forward to, on the part of those who have worked without recompense, if the pleasure or the relief of work is not enough in itself.

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Aubrey Beardsley by Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945


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