He felt, at least this once in his life, the inner tempest of deep sensations, gigantic dreams and intense delights, the desire for which enabled him to live, the lack of which forced him to die. He was not a mere dilettante; he was not content to taste and enjoy; he stamped his mark upon human thought; he told the world what man is, and love and truth and happiness. He suffered, but he imagined; he fainted, but he created. He tore forth with despair from his entrails the idea which he had conceived, and he held it up before the eyes of all, bloody and alive. That is harder and finer than to go fondling and gazing upon the ideas of others. There is in the world only one achievement worthy of a man: the bringing forth of a truth to which we give ourselves up and in which we believe.

Hippolyte Taine, describing Alfred de Musset, as quoted in Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station