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How it can be done

“A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or singleĀ effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidentsā€”he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design. And by such means, with such care and skill, a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art, a sense of the fullest satisfaction.” — Edgar Allan Poe (quoted in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book II, Ch. 14)

Published inLit & CritThe Cambridge History of English and American Literature

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