Stefan Zweig on artists

“No artist is an artist through the entire twenty-four hours of his normal day; he succeeds in producing all that is essential, all that will last, only in a few, rare moments of inspiration. History itself, which we may admire as the greatest writer and actor of all time, is by no means creative. Even in ‘God’s mysterious workshop’, as Goethe reverently calls historical knowledge, a great many indifferent and ordinary incidents happen. As everywhere in life and art, sublime moments that will never be forgotten are few and far between. As a chronicler, history generally does no more than arrange events link by link, indifferent and persistently, fact by fact in a gigantic chain reaching through the millennia, for all tension needs a time of preparation, every incident with any true significance has to develop. Million of people in a nation are necessary for genius to arise, millions of tedious hours must pass before a truly historic shooting star of humanity appears in the sky.”

— Stefan Zweig