Imágenes de páginas

Deplorable effects of our present laws that the time has come to take childbirth “Ye of little faith, less dignity and still are thus described:

out of the realm of chance, that the birth less patriotism, ye are filling human ears

of human beings is too important to be these days with hollow words that mock “They silence the scientist but do not left to irresponsible nature.

the dignity of man and make sport of shut the mouth of the ignorant midwife.

“The limitationists hold that this change God's law. Ye have joined hands with The reputable physician does not like will benefit the individual family and anarchists; ye have seduced two powerto risk imprisonment; the conscienceless

revolutionize industrial conditions. In ful journals to your wicked cause, and ye quack will take a chance. Safe, harmless

the family it will lower the rate of infant of little faith will now wage war in favor and rational contraceptives exist, and

mortality and increase the health of the of a horrid sin: 'The Control of Births."

mother. fraudulent devices are covertly advertized

A small family of children God's positive law will be violated, and and circulated by commercial concerns.

can have proper food and warm clothing God will not be mocked for ever, ye of The limitation of families is very com

where double the number would suffer little faith. The natural law will be monly practiced on a basis of old wives'

from malnutrition and go always ragged. broken, and the crime will carry with it misinformation."

They can have medical attention when its own punishment. For that law obsick if clinics and hospitals are notjectively viewed is part of your very

swamped as at present. With small self; it is interwoven with the very fiber The control of births is held by its

families children may not be forced so of your soul. A sin against it is a crime partisans to be the next step in civiliza

soon into the factories, but can remain against self, a degradation of self, a lowtion.

in school till they get their education. ering of self from manhood's plane to

In brief, small families among the very the animal's estate. Control births, ye of "Civilization advances just as fast as poor will raise the standard of living." little faith, and ye shall no longer walk mankind obtains the mastery over

upright with man; your spirit will grow vironment. . . . Every time we take a

coarse; your instincts brutal, your nature force out of the wild domain of nature

Roman Catholic protest against this

crass beyond telling. The sign of the and place it in the regulated domain of

kind of propaganda, we note, prompt- beast will be upon your brow; the stigma science we have made the world better

ly voiced by America, New York, which of infamy on your nation, ye of little to live in. It now seems to many people says:






RURAL GERMANY HE unification and commercial preacher B. Mahr have worked out ported by unconscious custom and the progress of the German Em

a comprehensive plan for reconstruct- Christian faith. It has struck a mortal pire within the last forty years ing the German rural church so as to blow at the old idea of the village's have been achieved, according harmonize it with what is called the common ownership of property and the

to some leaders of the Ger New Age. The spirit that inspires this use-right of the common land. It has man State Church, through the devasta movement is the spirit that animates destroyed village unity. It has caused tion and disintegration of many of the the German term “Kultur.” Interpreted the people to abandon their native most valuable moral and spiritual ele in England and America as represent- styles of building and costume. It has ments of the national life. Perhaps ing German stateism and militarism, for made them despise their age-honored nowhere on earth has such a radical the German mind, we are told, it con customs, so peculiarly the expression of transformation of morals and ideals tains a new spiritual conception of life their inner life and which have been taken place in the same length of time reinforced by modern culture.

the strongest support of their moral as in rural Germany. We are told that Herr Mahr sees in the industrializa- and religious energies. But above all in many villages the change is as sweep tion of Germany a great opportunity it has cruelly threatened the extinction ing and complete as if all the old in to intensify and revitalize Christianity; of the village church in the marked dehabitants had moved out, taking with but at times he stands aghast before cline of church attendance that has rethem every tradition and landmark the crumbling of all that was simple, sulted in so many communities.

to their dwelling houses and devout picturesque and innocent in The great spiritual danger in Gerchurches, to give place to an entirely peasant Germany. He observes that man life to-day, according to Herr new population with different modes among the many disastrous effects of Mahr, is intellectual homelessness. The of thought and manners of life. This modern culture on German life in gen- industrial restlessness of the people is transformation has come on at such a eral are the marked increase in sen fast dissolving their ancestral estates in pace that a comparatively small per suality and epicurism and the deplor- the country. The division and sale of cent. of the old peasantry, with its sim able servitude of humanity to intel- the land leave no security to those left ple devotion to the village church, re lectualism and criticism, for which in the country. Consequently millions mains.

moral and religious ideas and energies of persons have lost, with their homeBut for this transformation, it is de

mean scarcely more than is meant by life, their soul-home. They have been clared that Germany could never show objects of scientific observation. A11 severed by the economic demands of the solid front it does in the war, and ideal forces of humanity seem stifled the new life not only from the soil but tho the religious press lament many and oftentimes it appears as if noth- from their old moral and spiritual conof the present features of the nation, ing else has survived for a basis of ceptions of life, and in the midst of such as its utter materialism, sordid agreement between men than negation, their new material prosperity many of aess, cheapness, vulgarity, lack of seri- derogation and the breaking to pieces them remain spiritually bankrupt. This ousness, dishonesty, love of pleasure, of old tablets. The strongest contrasts intellectual homelessness, with all of its restlessness and the general disposition occur side by side—materialism and appalling results, is especially prevalent "to get something out of life," it also spirituality, realism and symbolism, in the newly citified villages and in the sees arising in the transition a “recon- sensuality and purity, emotionalism and suburbs of great cities, where the old structed church and a new spiritual life intellectualism.

peasantry have been converted into for Germany."

This new conception of life, we are small traders and day-laborers. Here Such well-known rural church-men told, has radiated from the city into socialism has laid a gripping hand upon as Von Lüpke, editor of Die Dorf- the country. It has attacked the home the imagination of the people and they kirche, Berlin, and

the Hessian life of the people so long securely sup- have passed from devotion to indiffer

We are learning to regard the taints the peasantry and robs it of its of things in the training. Men must

425 ence and even hostility to the church. favor. At the same time he is giving spiritual revolution and for that reason This homelessness of the soul is the up his quiet old pleasures. He neglects he warns the church not to oppose ithardest problem the church has to deal old folk songs to engage in evening en self to the march of the new age. The with. tertainments and the public dance. He

old, in its psychological and spiritual In the articles on the German vil- exchanges his humility and simplicity for lage church published in Die Dorf- pomp and style. He attempts the ele- crisis, is no match for the new with its gance of display and extravagance of the

intellectual pretensions and its mechankirche and about to be republished in city and he goes in debt without scruple. ical mastery of nature. Against a life Rural Nanhood, New York, the organ

“All these new lines of thought and essentially ingenuous and in accord with of the Y. M. C. A. county work, Herr new bents of purpose are beginning to custom and usage, there is pitted a life Mahr gives the following description of leave their marks on the village church of conscious and exact organization, the spiritual condition of the average and, as a general result, on the character exalting itself above nature as an indeGerman village as he sees it to-day:

of the nation. The custom of attachment pendent mind, which therefore seeks

to church is everywhere on the decline and finds its final goal in the personal "We are not even aware any longer and the Christian positiveness of life is

life. The civilization of the one, which that the country way of our earlier time retrograding. In many neighborhoods the

is country civilization, will have to has in it something durable. Youth does impression prevails that the culminating not go well with age. Piety is lacking to point in the crisis has been reached; but perish in so far as it denotes the youththe young world and to the young peashere it is uncertainty that prevails and

ful and immature stage of spiritual life. antry. To modern thought there belongs

one will hear the statement, 'we are wait The country church therefore seems as an essential constituent the commercial ing to see what will happen in the new to be doomed. But it only seems so, conception of life. The peasant becomes

time.' But even tho the old life of at for, in the breaking to pieces, enough merchant; he reckons, he calculates;

tachment to the church no longer satis- of rural matter and form remains, so everything expresses itself to him in fies the heart of the peasant, there is no

that it can and will maintain its right money value. His relation to home and new one, and he does not come to the

within the new culture. There will reyard and land and cattle is changing decision to withdraw from the church.

main the.sod and the soil as the fundaThe land no longer represents so much Baptism, church marriage, church holihis ancestral inheritance as it does a mardays and communion are still observed

mental condition of all work, and naketable commodity. The peasant is no even among the working classes."

ture in its tranquility and majesty, the longer so closely grown to his yard and

independence of the individual, the feelthe soil. He no longer sees the old home

ing of community, blood ties and the

But Herr Mahr admits that the reas a part of his very life and personality: sult of the strange tension between at- Against these forces, the devastating

value-creating capability of the farmer. He has lost his peasant's pride in his calling; he insists on calling himself now tachment to the ancient faith and the

The landlord and proprietor and dealer and life filled with the new thought remains power of the new must break.

dark sides of city life will fall back merchant, even tho he sells only fruit, concealed from the people, for the effect vegetables and milk. of their modern culture on the religious the wall of the sea.

against this wall as the surf against “With such a commercial conception life is first expressed in the deep places of life, the relations to servants, to neigh- of the unconscious being. There are

The decisive struggle between Chrisbors and to the community have under

tendom and the spirit of the new time undercurrents in the psychical life of gone a great change. We no longer eat the village which are as dangerous and and not in the country. What the coun

will be fought to a finish in the city at the same table with our servants. On

fateful as the hidden rocks in the track occasion of burials, not neighbors but

try must now do is to hold intact the hired helpers are bearers. Poor and of an ocean liner. The villager is as

virile forces of its individuality so as to rich, high and low, are more distinctly suming an altered value towards nature.

receive and mold whatever of good separated than formerly. He is becoming master, and whatever

comes to it from that struggle. In the “Under such spirit the old-time village falls to his lot seems to him more than unity is breaking up.

hour of victory for a higher spiritual The working man ever to be the fruit of his thought and life, we must not find that the greatness with his separate quarters is thrust like of his labor. That which was felt for- of rural Germany has perished. a wedge into the village life. The mer

merly to be a direct gift of God is taken cenary conception of the entire manage

To that end the first thing to be acment of business has swept everything God. He sees men controlling nature, nomically stable and secure. now to be indirectly a present from

complished is to make rural life ecobefore it, and that precious possession

But the which the German village had and which as he thinks, and manipulating the

central task of the rural pastor always made it so rich in individuality—its char world's markets upon which the results

remains this: to bring the gospel to the acteristic quietude of life deep and real, of his labor so much depend. He re

village in such a manner that it allies the forcefulness and genuineness of na lies more and more upon his own

itself with the heart of the village and ture—is now lacking. Existence is now becoming a labor chase; but our machines and upon the abilities of other people peasantry has long been guided by an strength, upon the skill of the doctor

becomes the own of the village. The do not secure us a release from labor.

to help him, and he trusts less in prayer They compel us only to use land and and in the justice and mercy of God in

unconscious Christianity fostered by property more intensely in the service of

habit and custom. Now that custom is his joys and sorrows.

being swept away by the levelling “It is true that after the pattern of

On the reverse side of prosperity process of the modern spirit, a conthe city our houses are made more com

and the material enrichment of the Gerfortable, better furnished. We are cleaner man people, Herr Mahr sees a picture This conscious religious life requires

scious Christianity must be cultivated. and more sanitary. We cook more ra of desolation and pauperism and social tionally and scientifically, tho our food depression which recruits the new so

a definite, exact religious training on is not of as good quality and as substan- cial ranks of discontent in the village,

the part of the peasantry. Adequate tial because everything is now turned into

reasons must be given for the nature money. style of living and behaving.

But in all inner hold and inspires the press with be taught to discover the real connecthis there is seen the alliance of practical distrust of pastor and church. With tion between the gross effects in the materialism with rustic realism.

this displacement of the church as a material world and their true causes in “To eat well and drink well has always leader, increasing numbers are demon- the invisible world. A living faith in been the fundamental desire of the peas- strating to their own satisfaction that the soul of the nation must be created. ant; but now he is deteriorating to the

That is the faith, we are told, that aniground principle, ‘something to be had they need no church. from life.' City sensuality and pleasure

The writer of the articles is con mates the Kaiser and the German seeking, luxury and superficiality all vinced that the great economic revolu- church and gives strength to German charm him. City club life is coming into tion of Germany clearly indicates a “Kultur.”



The Meleager of the




an intimate sympathy for the primitive

The Versatile Genius of

St. John Ervine. UR indifference to the literature folk, notes the reviewer of the Chicago

NOTHER new Irish novelist of imof Latin America is emphasized Evening Post. Guimó (pronounced

portance has appeared on the litagain by the recent death of Ghee-mo), the hero of the book, is the Léon Laviaux, who was drowned off the son of a Spanish friar and a native vine, first known in America through the

erary horizon. This is St. John Erisland of Martinique in April. Léon girl. At the beginning of the American Irish Players, who perfomed his comedy was the son of Paul Gauguin, the post- régime in the Islands, Guimó becomes “The Magnanimous Lover.” But as a impressionist painter, and of Laure the servant of a young. American civil writer of fiction Mr. Ervine is even Laviaux, a beautiful quadroon. The service resident in Manila. The Amer

more successful. The Macmillan Comexotism of his own blood—he was the ican falls into the evil ways of Ameri

pany has recently published three volson of a Breton father and a Peruvian can residents of the tropics and Guimó

umes from his pen—“Mrs. Martin's mother-aroused in Gauguin a desire attempts to straighten out his life. The Man,” “Eight O'Clock and Other to escape from the disease of civiliza- young Filipino looks toward the United Studies” and “Alice and a Family.” tion.” He visited Martinique in 1887. States as a land where he would find In “Mrs. Martin's Man,” Ervine proves Léon Laviaux was born the following the much-talked-of ideals of liberty, his worth as a serious novelist. This year. A correspondent to the Boston fraternity and equality. In the end, of book is a stern piece of realistic fiction. Transcript calls Laviaux "the Meleager

It is the story of an Irish family. Its of the Antilles.” There is a striking

subject is the fidelity of a hardworking similarity in the lives and genius of the

wife for a wastrel husband, a dissolute two men, he says. The sensuous fire

sailor, who deceives his wife and deof the Asiatic Greek was also to be

coys her sister, and who finally deserts found in Laviaux's poems. "He paints

both and goes to America. The book with words, as his father did with

would be depressing except for the brush, lavish of color, the green of

cleansing quality of humor St. John palm and wave, the gold of foam

Ervine has infused into it. "Alice and washed sands, the purple of isles afas.

a Family,” his latest novel, is practically ... Laviaux lacks something of the di

all humor and comedy. It is a story of vine pathos of the Gadarene, of the

South-East London. 'Erbie and Alice, elegiac poignance that trembles on the

according to T. P.'s IV cckly, are as verge of tears. And he carves his

memorable as the characters of Dickens. figurines of love with less delicate pre

Alice is of the ever popular type of cision. But he compensates for this

little mother, like the Marchioness. But, with a plenitude of exotic fervor.”

as the London Spectator assures us, St. John Myers O'Hara recently translated

John Ervine has given us a set of new “The Ebon Muse," a poem by Laviaux

and delightful variations on this old which strives to enrich the very soul

theme. The comedy of actuality is well of the tropics. Poèmes en noir” was

suited to the genius of this author. His published in 1914. The poet was buried

is a mirror that sparkles as well as on the island he loved—the Cos of the

reveals, in the words of T. P.'s IVeckly'. Antilles. The Transcript correspondent ing the comic as well as the griminest phases Typical is the conversation between the suggests as an inscription for him the He was one of the dramatists for the fourteen-year-old ’Erbie and Mr. Keatepitaph Meleager composed for his own Irish Players of the Abbey Theater in Dub.

ing, the van-man: tombi

a rich field for his peculiar talent in the life
and language of the lower classes.

“ 'I'm a Socialist,' he said. "That's wot "My nurse was Tyre; Syrian Gadara

I am. Brother'ood of man, my boy—that's my attic fatherland: I, Meleager, son of Eucrates, have lived with the Muses; and course, he is disappointed. Nr. Elwood my motter ! He took a deep drink of has struck a field which he has proved Brother ood of man! The 'ole world, see!

"That's a fine thing, you know ! my first song was made in company of the Menippean Graces. Tho I am Syrian, himself competent to explore still

Not a little bit like Engalan'! The 'ole what matters it? O stranger, we all in- further, the Chicago Erlening Post

world! All of us! See? No fightin' or habit one land, the earth! One single end points out, even tho "Guimó” bears nothink! Just peace an’’appiness!' He awaits us all!"

many unfortunate marks of being a first bit off a large portion of bread as he A New Novelist of the

spoke. “Takes your breath away when Philippines.

you think on it. It do straight!' EN years after the acquisition of the "Sad human fortunes in a land of rich “ 'Erbie, busy with his meal, nodded Philippine Islands by the United color, strange sights and sounds, native his head sapiently.

States, Walter Elwood went to fruitfulness; apathy and childishness on “ 'Ever 'eard o' the clawss waw?' Mr. them as a supervizor of education. His the one hand, ignorant brutality and Keating suddenly demanded. new novel “Guimó” (Reilly and Britton) then self-imputed superiority on the other " The wot?' replied 'Erbie.

“ 'Erbie shook his head. No,' he said. proves that he has become thoroly hand; such is this picture of Filipino life. familiar with the ideas of the natives.

Put the world thus opened up to us is ‘Wot is it?'

a most interesting one, and VIr. Elwood ""Oh, you ought to 'ear about that, you As one critic points out, the book pul

has shown that he has become a loving ought. Never 'eard of Kahl Mahx, I sates with a keen knowledge of the lit citizen of it. It is to be hoped that he suppose?' tle brown meni. No other novel of will tell us further tales of these sun-lit “ 'No. 'Oo's 'e?' Filipino life has been written with such islands."

"Nr. Keating leant across the table,



of life.


Then he went to London and found there




[blocks in formation]






[ocr errors]

and spoke almost with awe. ''E was a

story of Noah were to omit all mention of reconstructive imagination; but Socialist same's me,' he said. 'Clever of the Flood.”

Bierce brought to bear on his first-hand chap, 'e was, great 'ead on 'im, 'e 'ad !

knowledge an imagination even more Absolute genius! It was 'im wot discovered the clawss rming, you An English Tribute to the

horrifying than that of the younger

Genius of Ambrose Bierce. know !

writer.” Altho, as the reviewer points

HE mystery of the present where"Comprehension came to 'Erbie. “Oh!'

out, there is only one of Bierce's books

abouts of Ambrose Bierce does he exclaimed intelligently. 'I know! A not seem to have been cleared up. the American is one of the greatest

in the catalog of the London Library,
b.... y foreigner!'"
The statement was made and denied

masters in depicting the horrors of
War and the Literature
that the American author had been

He is the veritable Goya of liter-
of the Future.
discovered drilling recruits in England.

ature: HERE is no doubt in St. John Er- It has remained for a British periodical

vine's mind that the present war —the London Spectatorto point out
will produce an inevitable change that Bierce was a pioneer in present- tesque horrors of war more vividly than

“No one has ever reproduced the groin literature and art. He is not cer- ing the realities of war. “He did not, Ambrose Bierce. In this vein he reaches tain that this will be a change for fail to render justice to its heroic side, a climax in the story of the deaf-mute the better. Already the war has af- but he stripped it of its pageantry.” So child who wandered away from his home fected writers not only financially the English paper notes in a review of and, coming across a number of wounded but to an incalculable extent in the Bierce's book, "In the Midst of Life," soldiers crawling painfully from the batmatter of

material. “Practi a cheap edition of which was recently tlefield of Chickamauga, thought they cally the world in which we were published in England. “He made no

were playing a game, in which he tried born," Mr. Ervine writes in T. P.'s attempt to deal with it as a vast pan

to take part, finally returning to his home

to find it burned down and his mother Weekly, “came to an end at the begin- orama in the manner of Tolstoy, or

lying dead and shattered by a shell. But ning of last August, and a new world with the cumulative and circumstantial the kind of narrative peculiar to Bierce was created. ... We shall have to detail to be found in Zola's 'Débâcle' is the analysis of a man's thoughts durshed many beliefs and acquire many

ing the brief moments in which he is benew ones before we are able to move

ing sent from life to eternity. Thus, in about in the comfort we had before the

the description of the death of the Southwar began. That process of adjust

ern spy, we escape with him by the breakment will be difficult and tortuous for

ing of the rope, drop into the stream, all of us, but it will be a thousand times

reach the river bank, and are on the point

of reaching his home, when the narrative more tortuous and difficult for the

breaks off, and we realize that all these novelist and the imaginative writer,

incidents have taken place in the doomed who has not merely to fit himself into

man's imagination, and his death follows the new world, but has to discover the

instantly. Perhaps the best comment on readjustment made in the lives of other

Ambrose Bierce's somber genius and the people.' It is in respect to this future

best explanation of his limited appeal is work that the imaginative writer is

to be found in the remark made to the most likely to feel the effect of the war.

present writer by a friend. On being

asked whether he had ever read Bierce's He concludes:

war stories, he answered : 'O yes. I read

them years ago, and shall never forget “Men can go on producing machines

them. But I could never read them again. and buttons and clothes and knick-knacks

They are too terrible.' It may, however, after the war is over very much in the

be fairly urged that, while there is nothway in which men produced these things

ing in them to blunt the resolution of before the war began; but the novelists

those who are fighting for a righteous will not be able to write novels in the

cause, they form the most powerful indictold way. The man who produces patent

ment conceivable of war for war's sake. medicine will be able to continue pro

Sherman's often-quoted saying, 'War is ducing it as if there never had been a

hell!' never found more convincing literEuropean disaster, but the who

ary illustration than in the stories of writes novels dealing with his own times ENGLAND ACCLAIMED HIM FIRST

Ambrose Bierce." must take the war into account; and be Tho his wonderful poetry of New England

life is said to be even cause of this, the novelist of to-day is at

more American than

Walt Whitman, Robert Frost's a disadvantage compared with the novelgreat work "North of Bostonfirst received

Discovered in England-A ists of other times. Jane Austen was recognition in London, where it was published

Real American Poet.
able to write six novels without mention- by David Vutt. Altho Mr. Frost spent much MERICAN reviewers of "North
ing the Napoleonic wars, during which

of his life in New Ilampshire, he was born,
we are informed, in San Francisco, some forty

of Boston” and “A Boy's Will” she lived, altho they must have touched

(Henry Holt & Co.) by Robert her intimately, for two of her brothers

Frost, the New England poet, are not were in the Navy. A modern novelist,

or the ‘Désastre of the brothers Mar- willing to overemphasize the fact that dealing as realistically with our time as Jane Austen dealt with hers, simply must gueritte. He confined himself to epi- both these books were published in Lonlet the war into his story.

sodes—none of these stories run to don and acclaimed by the English "War did not affect men's lives in

than twenty pages—and their critics long before American publishother days to the extent to which it essential interest is psychological. In

aware of Mr. Frost's existaffects them to-day. It was possible for this regard he naturally suggests com

No less than a year ago the novelists to write about the England of parison with another and later Ameri- pugnacious Mr. Pound made the accuthe Boer war without referring to the writer of war stories, Stephen sation in Poetry that Robert Frost had war beyond, perhaps, a casual reference; Crane; but his style was simpler and been refused a hearing by American but it will not be possible for any novelist less spasmodic, and while Crane wrote publishers before his work was pubto write of these times without reference his best stories before he had seen any lished by David Nutt of London. If. to Armageddon, for the life of every man, woman and child in Europe to-day has fighting, Bierce had himself served in this is true, it is certainly one of literbeen profoundly affected by it, and it the fighting line throughout the cam ature's little ironies. For Robert Frost would be as senseless to ignore the in- paign of 1861-1865. Stephen Crane’s is of America American, as indigenous fluence of the war as it would be if a 'Red Badge of Courage' was a triumph and as American, so Louis Untermeyer



the work



years ago.


ers Were





points out in the Chicago Evening Post, democratic spirit, it pictures our Whitman gave the world.”

The irony as Whitman. “Outside of the fact that homely scenes and plain people, it speaks of the situation is intensified, for the he is much more local and much less our language. It is truly American, at

Boston Transcript, by the fact that rhapsodic than Whitman, there is, it is least truly New England, from blueberries Robert Frost was 'no better known to true, a decided bond between them.” and stonewall and pasture to the woodThe critic of the New York Globe also pile and the hired man. And yet England English publishers than to American.

seems to have recognized this American “It must be remembered that Mr. Frost insists on the essential Americanism of

poet first.

It is curious. It is as if had no influence to attract this critical this poet whose work was presented to Masefield should first have been read in attention except what the work itself the world by an Englishman. this country.”

commanded. He has accomplished what

no other American poet of this genera"Nothing more interesting has happened

All the authoritative English critics

tion has accomplished, and that is, unin American literature in a long time

heralded, unintroduced, untrumpeted, he than the poetry of Robert Frost. It is acclaimed the work of Mr. Frost as

has won the acceptance of an English pubmore

the ours and it is good. It is not 'after the “much finer, much

lisher on his own terms, and the unqualiFrench, nor imitative of the English. It ground, and much more national, in

fied approbation of a voluntary English is racy of our own soil, it breathes our the sense, than anything that criticism.”






[ocr errors]


OF OLD WOMEN? CCUSTOMED as we have be- craft. Are Americans quite as hypocrit- nant tone in American literature and life,

come to stringent criticism of ical, sentimental, greedy, and foolish as the answer would be youthfulness’; but American literature by British their writers proclaim? It is a subject this youth has attained to all the vices of critics and gentlemen of let

on which the American people themselves age, and has conserved few of the charms ters,

must pronounce judgment; but in the proper to its period. It is a very disin-

This insistence shocked and surprised by some such psychology which has been projected for genuous youth indeed.

foreign study these ugly vices overshadow on 'boyishness' is unhealthy; more, it is critic who seems a trifle more than

whatever of virtue is limned beside.” depraved. These boyish boys and girlish eager to point out our enormous defi

girls of the writer and the artist are the ciencies. One would suppose that Mr. He blames the American writers for indications of a real cancer in American James Stephens, for instance, might this. There is a strong idealism in public life. Perhaps in portraying them have a warm spot in his heart for us, America, Mr. Stephens admits, but this the writers and illustrators are describing for most of have admired Mr. idealism finds no place in our literature. their environment, and are exposing someStephens and his crocks of gold and Our writers have not learned how to thing which is as true as it is detestable. leprechauns and Mary Makebelieves, write, “their thoughts are superficial,

The cult of youthfulness in America is

a national calamity far graver than anyespecially Vary. But now we discover they have no critical intelligence, and thing for which Europe has to mourn. him saying in The Century all sorts of they have the sad courage of all these Youth has nothing to give life but its disagreeable things about us—about our disabilities.” The American novelist energy; it has even less to give literature, writers and our readers. He is almost seeks a short cut to art, as the Ameri- for literature is an expression of the angry with us.

One would not sup can capitalist seeks a short cut to spiritual truth which runs parallel with pose the whimsical Mr. Stephens had wealth. American writers follow every material experience. It is not the so much venom in him.

He recalls English mediocrity; they know the retailing of petty gossip about petty peo"the fine promise of Whitman, Lowell, mechanism of the novel fairly well, but ple; and when this youthful energy is Emerson and several others.” But he believe that is the whole secret of nobody can benefit from it excepting that

divorced from the control of maturity, confesses the disappointment the for- story-telling. But the worst vice of the middle-aged woman for whom American eign writer meets here:

American novelist, according to James literature is now being written.”

Stephens, is his unconscious appeal to “Other literatures may disgust him or the middle-aged woman.

Whose fault is it? Perhaps, says leave him cold, but the writings of Amer

James Stephens, not so much the fault ica will make him angry: he will get there “Its literature has become brutally femthe cinematograph without its comfortable inine. Instead of being sensuous it is

of the writers as of the general Amerisilence, and he will hear baby language sensual, and often indelicately so.

can public. “America, perhaps, is not

After shouted through a megaphone. He will hunger, there is no subject in which an

in a position to make or to receive discover that the fine promise has not artist or a philosopher might more fruit

literature.” It has not yet had the been performed, and he will wonder what fully interest himself than the sexual rela- leisure to evolve a social order, to conhorrid circumstances have conspired to tions of humanity; but the philosophers serve traditions. “Without a social change that of fifty years ago into this have avoided it as completely as they order there can be no literature; for of to-day. Perhaps, after revolving the could, and the writers, intent on construc that the house must be in order.". matter, he will counsel American writers tion, have expressed sex as a liaison, and to get rid of the old woman as speedily as compressed it to a formula which is very “Literature is something more than art; they can, and to put the boy back to dis easy to handle This formula is called it is the expression of philosophy in art, cipline for a few years more.

If his re

'the literary triangle,' and is composed of and it is at once the portrayal of an marks are harsh, it may be that he divines two women and one man or two men and individual and a racial psychology. A a proud future for America despite the one woman; but it does not say the last writer is not one who portrays life; he fact that the old woman and the boy have word on sex, it does not even say the first. is one who digests life, and every book allied themselves against the genius of The sex mystery, all the reactions of of his is a lecture on the state of his their country.

which are mental, is not to be settled by mental health; he should be careful, then, “The sole means by which a stranger this pill, nor is it to be arranged by treat

how he babbles. can satisfy his curiosity about foreign ing sex as sexuality. That grease is thick “American writers must discover or lands is through literature. Writers are on American literature, and it would not create a vocabulary which is not a jumble the unofficial historians of their own be so unpleasant if it were expressed of worn-out phrases; they must ruthlessly country, and from their pages a national less sentimentally; and sentimentality is a cut out the boyish boy and the girlish girl, psychology emerges, sharp and clear if weed growing only in the gardens of the and they must deport that middle-aged the writers are competent, obscure and ignorant or the hypocritical.

woman who seems to be their paymaster, blotchy if they have not learned their “If one were asked what is the domi or is it paymistress?"

« AnteriorContinuar »