Jules de Goncourt
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This is a literature book. The partnership of Edmond and Jules de Goncourt is probably the most curious and perfect example of collaboration recorded in literary history. The brothers worked together for twenty two years, and the amalgam of their diverse talents was so complete that, were it not for the information given by the survivor, it would be difficult to guess what each brought to the work which bears their names. Even in the light of these confidences, it is no easy matter to attempt to separate or disengage their literary personalities. The two are practically one. Jamais âme pareille n'a été mise en deux corps. This testimony is their own, and their testimony is true. The result is the more perplexing when we remember that these two brothers were, so to say, men of different races. The elder was a German from Lorraine, the younger was an inveterate Latin Parisian: 'the most absolute difference of temperaments, tastes, and characters and absolutely the same ideas, the same personal likes and dislikes, the same intellectual vision'. There may be, as there probably always will be, two opinions as to the value of their writings; there can be no difference of view concerning their intense devotion to literature, their unhesitating rejection of all that might distract them from their vocation. They spent a small fortune in collecting materials for works that were not to find two hundred readers; they passed months, and more months, in tedious researches the results of which were condensed into a single page; they resigned most of life's pleasures and all its joys to dedicate themselves totally to the office of their election. So they lived toiling, endeavouring, undismayed, confident in their integrity and genius, unrewarded by one accepted triumph, uncheered by a single frank success or even by any considerable recognition.