Some famous quotes have become so firmly in use that they are pronounced without always thinking about where they came from and who their author is. One of these catchphrases is “Inspiration is not for sale, but a manuscript can be sold”.
This dictum is usually used when they want to emphasize the contrast between sublimely romantic poetry and the "harsh prose" of the real world. The work, from which the catch phrase is taken, is really dedicated to this topic.
The creator of the phraseological unit
The author of the catch phrase is A. S. Pushkin. These are lines from his poem "A Conversation of a Bookseller with a Poet". The theme of the poem was very well known to the great Russian poet.
A. S. Pushkin belonged to an untitled, but still noble family. He led a secular life typical of the nobility, and was not free from some of the prejudices of high society. “Pushkin realized his dealings not with a person’s personality, but with his position in the world … and that is why he recognized the most insignificant master as his brother and was offended when in society he was greeted as a writer, and not as an aristocrat,” writes a contemporary of the poet. literary critic K. A. Polevoy.
Sharing the norms and prejudices of the noble society, A. S. Pushkin in a certain sense rebelled against them. In those days, it was considered shameful for a nobleman to earn a living by any kind of work. No exception was made for such a noble work as the creation of literary works. Pushkin became the first Russian nobleman who did not just create literary works, but used them as a source of livelihood, so the topic of the poet's relationship with booksellers was close to him.
Conversation of a bookseller with a poet
A. S. Pushkin wrote this poem in 1824. That was a turning point in the poet's work. If before his work gravitated towards romanticism, then in subsequent years the features of realism are more and more clearly manifested in him. “The conversation of the poet with the bookseller” thus becomes also a farewell to the aspirations of youth: the poet enters a period of maturity, which tends to look at the world with a sober look, devoid of romantic illusions.
The poem is built in the form of a dialogue between two characters - the Knogo-seller and the Poet. The poet, whose speech is colored with numerous allegories and vivid images, yearns for the times when he wrote "from inspiration, not from payment." Then he felt a unity with nature and was free from both the "persecution of a base ignoramus" and from the "admiration of a fool." The poet wants to glorify freedom, but the Bookseller brings the romantic hero back to reality, recalling that "in this age there is no iron without money and freedom." At the end of the poem, the poet agrees with his opponent, which is emphasized by the transition from poetry to prose: “You are absolutely right. Here's my manuscript. Let's agree."
The quintessence of this worldly-sober position, which even the Poet is forced to accept, is the phrase put into the mouth of the Bookseller: "Inspiration is not for sale, but the manuscript can be sold."