Henry Adams quote about writing from The Education of Henry Adams - The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand.
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The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand.
 Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1906). copy citation

Context

“The first of these "Sessions" appeared in April, but it could not be condensed into a single article, and had to be supplemented in October by another which bore the title of "Civil Service Reform," and was really a part of the same review. A good deal of authentic history slipped into these papers. Whether any one except his press associates ever read them, he never knew and never greatly cared. The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand. The fateful year 1870 was near at hand, which was to mark the close of the literary epoch, when quarterlies gave way to monthlies; letter-press to illustration; volumes to pages. The outburst was brilliant.” source

Meaning and analysis

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