In This Age of Hard Trying, Nonchalance Is Good and

by Marianne Moore
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Really, it is not the business of the gods to bake clay pots.”

In This Age of Hard Trying, Nonchalance Is Good” Chimaera  I (July 1916), 52.

Moore wrote to her brother, Warner, on July 22, 1915, that she was reading “four or five” novels by Turgenev that she had borrowed from a friend, Mary Bosler. She thought they were excellently constructed and “hummers.”  Then, in the journal into which she entered quotations that appealed to her, she copied a line from Fathers and Sons: “Really, it is not the business of the gods to bake pots!”  This wording leads to the translation by Isabel F. Hapgood that appeared  on page 187 in several editions, 1903, 1911, 1915, all from Charles Scribner’s Sons.

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