"There Is No Substitute For Talent"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The conflict in Point Counter Point, principally experienced on the emotional and mental levels, is expressed through witty and philosophical conversation and through sophisticated social predicaments. Walter Bidlake, a sensitive writer working for a newspaper, represents the self-conscious, passive, stifled personality, selfishly, romantically, and obsessively intent upon finding something to fill his emptiness. We first meet him preparing to leave his possessive mistress, now pregnant, to attend a party for celebrities and dilettantes, given at the home of Lucy Tantamount, whom Walter, driven by his inconstant passions, finds irresistible. The weakness of his personality is further revealed in his submissive, impotent responses to Lucy's dominant spirit. However, the morning after the party, having been humiliated by Lucy's inconsiderate, almost cruel, disrespect, he goes to work resolved to control his own destiny henceforth. Although this resolution will come to nought, on paper Walter is the person he would like to be. Here he asserts himself. His book reviews are merciless and devastating. "Walter ferociously commented on lack of talent":

. . . A bad book is as much of a labour to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul. But the bad author's soul being, artistically at any rate, of inferior quality, its sincerities will be, if not always intrinsically uninteresting, at any rate uninterestingly expressed. . . . There is no substitute for talent.