“Identification such as this spells the death of accomplishment. ... Lenin did not willing endure the suffering of his proletariat, nor Washington of his troops, nor Dickens of his London poor. And when Tolstoy tried some such merging of himself with the objects of his attention, it was a fake and a failure. ... When Wordsworth decided that "there had passed away a glory from the earth," he felt no compulsion to pass away with it, and the Fiery Particle Keats never ceased his struggle against t.b., nor in his last moments relinquished his hope of being among the English poets.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, from “The Crack-Up,” discussing what is heroic—and what is cowardly—about writers’ complex and unsettling relationships with their subjects (human and otherwise).