Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Charm of Imperfection.

Here I see a poet, who, like so many men, exercises a higher charm by his imperfections than by all that is rounded off and takes perfect shape under his hands, indeed, he derives his advantage and reputation far more from his actual limitations than from his abundant powers.  His work never expresses altogether what he would really like to express, what he would like to have seen : he appears to have had the foretaste of a vision and never the vision itself : but an extraordinary longing for this vision has remained in his soul ; and from this he derives his equally extraordinary eloquence of longing and craving.  With this he raises those who listen to him above his work and above all "works" and gives them wings to rise higher than hearers have ever risen before, thus making them poets and seers themselves ; they then show an admiration for the originator of their happiness, as if he had led them immediately to the vision of his holiest and ultimate truths, as if he had reached his goal, and had actually seen and communicated his vision.  It is to the advantage of his reputation that he has not really arrived at his goal.  
 

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