• Table of contents with working links to chapters is included • The book has been corrected for spelling and grammatical errors Which every reader of this book is requested to read before beginning the story.
This is a Hill-top Novel. I dedicate it to all who have heart enough, brain enough, and soul ...
• Table of contents with working links to chapters is included
• The book has been corrected for spelling and grammatical errors
Which every reader of this book is requested to read before beginning the story.
This is a Hill-top Novel. I dedicate it to all who have heart enough, brain enough, and soul enough to understand it.
What do I mean by a Hill-top Novel? Well, of late we have been flooded with stories of evil tendencies: a Hill-top Novel is one which raises a protest in favour of purity.
Why have not novelists raised the protest earlier? For this reason. Hitherto, owing to the stern necessity laid upon the modern seer for earning his bread, and, incidentally, for finding a publisher to assist him in promulgating his prophetic opinions, it has seldom happened that writers of exceptional aims have been able to proclaim to the world at large the things which they conceived to be best worth their telling it. Especially has this been the case in the province of fiction. Let me explain the situation. Most novels nowadays have to run as serials through magazines or newspapers; and the editors of these periodicals are timid to a degree which outsiders would hardly believe with regard to the fiction they admit into their pages. Endless spells surround them. This story or episode would annoy their Catholic readers; that one would repel their Wesleyan Methodist subscribers; such an incident is unfit for the perusal of the young person; such another would drive away the offended British matron. I do not myself believe there is any real ground for this excessive and, to be quite frank, somewhat ridiculous timidity. Incredible as it may seem to the ordinary editor, I am of opinion that it would be possible to tell the truth, and yet preserve the circulation. A first-class journal does not really suffer because two or three formalists or two or three bigots among its thousands of subscribers give it up for six weeks in a pet of ill-temper—and then take it on again. Still, the effect remains: it is almost impossible to get a novel printed in an English journal unless it is warranted to contain nothing at all to which anybody, however narrow, could possibly object, on any grounds whatever, religious, political, social, moral, or aesthetic. The romance that appeals to the average editor must say or hint at nothing at all that is not universally believed and received by everybody everywhere in this realm of Britain. But literature, as Thomas Hardy says with truth, is mainly the expression of souls in revolt. Hence the antagonism between literature and journalism.
Why, then, publish one's novels serially at all? Why not appeal at once to the outside public, which has few such prejudices? Why not deliver one's message direct to those who are ready to consider it or at least to hear it? Because, unfortunately, the serial rights of a novel at the present day are three times as valuable, in money worth, as the final book rights. A man who elects to publish direct, instead of running his story through the columns of a newspaper, is forfeiting, in other words, three-quarters of his income. This loss the prophet who cares for his mission could cheerfully endure, of course, if only the diminished income were enough for him to live upon. But in order to write, he must first eat. In my own case, for example, up till the time when I published The Woman who Did, I could never live on the proceeds of direct publication; nor could I even secure a publisher who would consent to aid me in introducing to the world what I thought most important for it. Having now found such a publisher—having secured my mountain—I am prepared to go on delivering my message from its top, as long as the world will consent to hear it. I will willingly forgo the serial value of my novels, and forfeit three-quarters of the amount I might otherwise earn, for the sake of uttering the truth that is in me, boldly and openly, to a perverse generation.