Fielding's Advice to Bloggers #4
More excellent advice from Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, my favorite book.
An Essay To Prove That A Blogger Will Write The Better For Having Some Knowledge Of The Subject On Which He Writes
As several gentlemen in these times, by the wonderful force of genius only, without the least assistance of learning, perhaps without being well able to read, have made a considerable figure in the republic of letters; the modern critics, I am told, have lately begun to assert, that all kind of learning is entirely useless to a writer; and, indeed, no other than a kind of fetters on the natural sprightliness and activity of the imagination, which is thus weighed down, and prevented from soaring to those high flights which otherwise it would be able to reach.
This doctrine, I am afraid, is at present carried much too far: for why should writing differ so much from all other arts? The nimbleness of a dancing-master is not at all prejudiced by being taught to move; nor doth any mechanic, I believe, exercise his tools the worse by having learnt to use them. For my own part, I cannot conceive that Homer or Virgil would have writ with more fire, if, instead of being masters of all the learning of their times, they had been as ignorant as most of the authors of the present age.
... I require no more than that a man should have some little knowledge of the subject on which he treats...
Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred have come to the same conclusion.
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