Leacock 6

I really believe there are many excellent writers who have never written because they never could begin. This is especially the case of people of great sensitiveness, or of people of advanced education. Professors suffer most of all from this inhibition. Many of them carry their unwritten books to the grave. They overestimate the magnitude of the task, they overestimate the greatness of the final result. A child in a prep school will write the History of Greece and fetch it home finished after school. “He wrote a fine History of Greece the other day,” says his fond father. Thirty years later the child, grown to be a professor, dreams of writing the History of Greece — the whole of it from the first Ionic invasion of the Aegean to the downfall of Alexandria. But he dreams. He never starts. He can’t. It’s too big. Anybody who has lived around a college knows the pathos of those unwritten books.

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