The reason why a work of genius is not easily admired from the first is that the man who has created it is extraordinary, that few other men resemble him. It is his work itself that, by fertilising the rare minds capable of understanding it, will make them increase and multiply. It was Beethoven's quartets themselves (the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth) that devoted half a century to forming fashioning and enlarging the audience for Beethoven's quartets, thus marking, like every great work of art, an advance if not in the quality of artists at least in the community of minds, largely composed today of what was not to be found when the work first appeared, that is to say of persons capable of appreciating it.
Proust, Marcel. Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1. Translated by C.K. Mocrieff and Terence Kilmartin (New York: Vintage Books,1982), 572.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Proust on Richard Epstein
My friend and fellow Epstein enthusiast Brian Denton emailed this to me, and it's too good not to share. This is from Proust writing about Beethoven, but I think it applies just as well to Epstein: