"Vernon Lee writes well about poetry, better upon painting and sculpture, and best upon music. The essay on 'Cherubino' is the finest in the book, and is a perfect gem in its way."--St. James's Gazette
, long before one cares a jot for it. To me, art was neither a technical study, nor a philosophic puzzle, nor a rhetorical theme, nor a fashionable craze: it was something natural, familiar; indifferent at first, then enjoyed; only later read and thought about. It was only when I began to read what other people had thought and felt on the subject, that I began to discover (with surprise and awe) that there was something rare, wonderful, exotic, sublime, mysterious, ineffable about art. I read a great many books about all the arts, and about each art in particular, from Plato to Lessing, from Reynolds to Taine, from Hegel to Ruskin; I read, re-read, annotated, extracted, compared, refuted; I filled copy books with transcendental, romantic, and positivistic æsthetics; I began to feel, to understand art and all its wonderful mysteries; I began to be able to express in words all the vague sublimities which I felt. Any one reading my notes, hearing my conversation, would have sworn that I was destined to bec
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