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In short, for more than four years everything that was attempted with me went wrong; no school would keep me, in no course of instruction did I last for long. Every attempt to make a useful human being out of me ended in failure, several times in shame and scandal, in flight or expulsion, and yet everywhere they admitted that I had ability and even a reasonable amount of determination! Also I was nothing if not industrious - the high virtue of idleness I have always regarded with awe, but I have never mastered it. In my sixteenth year, after my school career had ended in failure, I consciously and energetically began my own education, and it was my good fortune and delight that in my father's house was my grandfather's huge library, a whole hall full of old books, which contained among other things all of eighteenth-century German literature and philosophy. Between my sixteenth and twentieth years I not only covered a quantity of paper with my first attempts at poetry but I also read half of the world's literature and applied myself to the history of art, languages, and philosophy with a persistence that would have abundantly sufficed for any normal college career.