Public Favour
Note from Discovery of Genius part of The Political Economy Of Art by Ruskin (1857)

There is great difficulty in making any short or general statement of the difference between great and ignoble minds in their behaviour to the "public ". It is by no means universally the case that a mean mind, as stated in the text, will bend itself to what you ask of it: on the contrary, there is one kind of mind, the meanest of all, which perpetually complains of the public, contemplates and proclaims itself as a " genius ", refuses all wholesome discipline or humble office, and ends in miserable and revengeful ruin; also, the greatest minds are marked by nothing more distinctly than an inconceivable humility, and acceptance of work or instruction in any form, and from any quarter. They will learn from everybody, and do anything that anybody asks of them, so long as it involves only toil, or what other men would think degradation. But the point of quarrel, nevertheless, assuredly rises some day between the public and them, respecting some matter, not of humiliation, but of Fact. Your great man always at last comes to see something the public don't see. This something he will assuredly persist in asserting, whether with tongue or pencil, to he as he sees it, not as they see it; and all the world in a heap on the other side will not get him to say otherwise. Then, if the world objects to the saying, he may happen to get stoned or burnt for it, but that does not in the least matter to him; if the world has no particular objection to the saying, he may get leave to mutter it to himself till he dies, and be merely taken for an idiot; that also does not matter to him —mutter it he will, according to what he perceives to be fact, and not at all according to the roaring of the walls of Red sea on the right hand or left of him. Hence the quarrel, sure at some time or other to be started between the public and him; while your mean man, though he will spit and scratch spiritedly at the public, while it does not attend to him, will bow to it for its clap in any direction, and say anything when he has got its ear, which he thinks will bring him another clap; and thus, as stated in the text, he and it go on smoothly together.

There are, however, times when the obstinacy of the mean man looks very like the obstinacy of the great one; but if you look closely into the matter, you will always see that the obstinacy of the first is in the pronunciation of "I"; and of the second, in the pronunciation of "It".