"A good workman can't be a cheap workman; he can't be stingy about wasting material, and he cannot compromise. Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand--a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods--or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values."
Anyone up for a good discussion? Are Cather's words true in 2012, when market demand so heavily dictates what gets published? How does her distinction apply to a genre like historical fiction? Comment away! (Thanks to WritingSense for bringing this passage to my attention.)