“The novelist must begin by playing the sedulous ape, assimilating the craft of his predecessors; but he does not master his own form until he has somehow exposed and surpassed them.”Source

Does "expose" mean that the secrets of the predecessors are now revealed? Or does it have another meaning?

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    Yes, that is what I read too – mplungjan Dec 25 '13 at 18:33
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    @ipso Thank you for adding the source. What an illuminating and compelling article. Wow. – D. M. Davidson Dec 25 '13 at 19:49
  • This is not a question of the English language insofar as the word in question means no more than its dictionary meaning. Anything beyond that is litcrit. Voting to close as NARQ. – Kris Dec 26 '13 at 7:14
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about the English language. expose = 'expose'. – Kris Dec 26 '13 at 7:15

Melville remains one of the best American examples of how every important writer is foremost an indefatigable reader of golden books, someone who kneels at the altar of literature not only for wisdom, sustenance, and emotional enlargement, but with the crucial intent of filching fire from the gods.

It is clear from this passage that the fire filched from the gods of the best literature was form. To really find his own form, he need to analyze the form of others, exposing them so to speak, so that he could learn from them, and in so doing, improve upon his own, until it became a new, individual form - his own.

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