“A creative artist is no more a mere musician than a great statesman
is a mere politician. We are not ingenius puppets who live in a box
and look out on the world only gaping for amusement. We help to rule
the nations and make the age as much as any other public men. We count
ourselves on level benches with legislators. And a man who speaks
effectively through music is compelled to something more difficult than
In the novel, these words are spoken by the musician Klesmer, whose character
was apparently modelled on Franz Liszt.