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many subjects which had previously been false idealisms and finding in the nakedcaboo, the question of morality in art and ness of truth a terrible beauty that is etters flared up with much the same in- sometimes passionate, sometimes ensity that marked the more justifiable strained, but always fearless. This search controversy during the late Restoration for beauty wherever it may be found period. Nineteenth century Realists like raises the Realist from the rôle of psyBalzac and Zola (especially the latter), chologist to that of artist. When Lulu writing side by side with the Romanticists Bett, in Zona Gale's famous novel, disilWilkie Collins, Robert Louis Stevenson, lusioned by her first marriage, accepts and Mrs. Humphrey Ward, found such the love of Cornish, the uninspired disfeverish delight in depicting the ugliness penser of cheap music, it is not the conof man's baser nature that the smug re
ventional fulfillment of happiest hopes, as spectability of many eminent Victorians some would have us think, but the realizareceived a decided shock. The result is tion (to quote the Pfarrer in Suderthat the moralists still look askance at the mann's Heimat) that there comes to later phase of Realism, finding much of nearly all of us an hour when we must it if not pernicious at least lacking in in- gather the fragments of our shattered spiration and purpose.
ambitions and piece them together the What these modern Realists claim to best we may; and in that brave adjustbe doing is stripping the tinsel from our ment to reality lies a true beauty.
THE SHORT STORY
In England the novel attained a rank The short story as a literary form is a that challenged the best efforts of the comparatively recent development dating other nations. In Germany, the nov- back little earlier than the middle of elette, or Novelle, was brought to perfec- the nineteenth century. There were of tion by the Romanticists of the nineteenth course ancient fables and tales in which century. It remained for America to usually a single episode was given special win supremacy in the field of the short significance, or a string of episodes tied story. Mr. Edward J. O'Brien, institut- together with only the frailest of unifying in 1915 an annual volume of the best ing devices. American short stories, remarked, “The The Egyptian, Indian, and Persian American short story has been developed tales of the marvelous, the Hebrew lyrias an art form to a point where it may cal narratives, the Greek and Roman anifairly claim a sustained superiority, as dif- mal fables, and later the sagas of the ferent in kind as in quality from the tale Norsemen and the lays of the Normans, or conte of other literatures.”
to say nothing of the early narratives of If one inquires into the reason for many less vigorous races, show us at a this superiority, he will not discover it in glance the delight our ancient ancestors the great bulk of the material which took in the fiction then in vogue. floods our periodicals, for though quan- With this popularity as an urgent tity of production expresses a live in- force, it is strange that the form was so terest in the form it does not necessarily inert. The drama was brought to an spell quality. He will find it rather in early perfection among the Greeks and the adroit adaptation to material of a later under different skies burst forth flexible form which still cherishes the with renewed vigor during the Renaisfundamental principles of the genre; and sance; the essay rose to sudden favor, and in the recognition by our best writers declined; and the novel, which still holds that the surest means of creating a per- a noble place in prose literature, suddenly manent literature is to reflect in it the eclipsed all its rivals. The tale, however, various phases of our national life. was almost static, although the practice of grouping within a "frame" a number catch many reflections from the innumerof brief narratives often highly divergent able facets of human experience and time in tone and subject became more and more for that "leisurely analysis" which dispopular. The Decameron of Boccaccio tinguishes all great novels; but the short and (in poetry) the Canterbury Tales of story writer "seeks to interpret life, not Chaucer are medieval examples which il- fully, but keenly," and his entire perlustrate this tendency. Some of the spective must be changed to accommodate tales in these collections were original, the smaller canvas. It is a mistake to assome current of the time, and still others sume that a short story is a condensed culled from classical sources.
novelette or a developed sketch, even The origin of the Short Story proper though the types sometimes blend. The may be traced to a union of the episodic middle form entails a dramatic conflict tale and the eighteenth century essay. In which comes to a swift climax, a characthe Sir Roger De Coverley Papers, teristic which is peculiar to itself and to Steele and Addison employed the vivid- the one-act play. ness of narration to give added weight to This rising dramatic interest involved their satire. But it was a means to an in what textbook cant calls the opposition end, not the end itself. It remained for of forces is what chiefly differentiates the Washington Irving in those American Short Story from the tale or sketch. On classics "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" the other hand it is unity of action and and "Rip Van Winkle" so to emphasize singleness of impression that marks the the narrative element as to create a rec- distinction between the Short Story and ognizable link between the essay and the the longer forms. Edgar Allan Poe was Short Story. With this heritage the continually preaching the necessity for pioneers of the true genre-Prosper keeping the dénouement always in view Merimée, Alexander Pushkin, Edgar Al- and for pruning ruthlessly all excrescences lan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne-be- -which is another way of saying that gan their work.
the writer must not be seduced into blindIt is easy to see from the lack of con- alley incidents or be lured by the charms densation, the unnecessary violation of of quaint character or picturesque lothe unity of time, and the resulting blur cality to inscribe impressions which his of the intended impression in "The Shot" ultimate purpose does not demand. Con(1830) that Alexander Pushkin either scious art must rise above predilection. had not understood the precepts which If, then, the attempt is made to formuwere to govern the Short Story for the late a definition which will accord with next century or else had been unable to the philosophy of the critics and the pracapply them. It was Prosper Merimée tice of the writers, the result will approxiwho in “Mateo Falcone” (1829) had first mate the following dictum: A Short pointed the way to that nice proportion, Story is the adroit resolution of a drathat economy of detail and singleness of matic conflict in a prose narrative brief impression which Poe was to bring to enough to permit a single, definite impresperfection a decade later.
sion. Like all fiction except drama it is What are the characteristics of this told from the point of view of the chief new artistic form ? In some respects the character, a minor character, or the "ommaterials of the novel and the Short Story niscient author.” are similar. Both deal with imaginary When one begins to catalogue the incidents that happen to imaginary peo- various types of prose that fall within this ple in a place which may or may not ex
definition, he is staggered by the number ist. It is the great difference in length and variety of the possible classifications. which utterly separates the technique of There are stories of the highly romantic the two forms. The novelist in his hun- and the highly realistic, the allegorical dred thousand words or more has room to and the supernatural, the analytic (for
example, analysis of character in Steven- When an author subordinates the artistic son's "Markheim" and analysis of situa
purpose to the didactic, and arbitrarily tion in A. Conan Doyle's Sherlock arranges plot, characters, and setting in Holmes stories) and the purely adventur- the pattern best adapted to the presentaous, the horrible and the humorous. There
tion of an idea, he is dropping the rôle are stories that develop from an introduc- of artist for that of propagandist. And tory expository paragraph; those that pre- yet some writers possessing extraordinary sent the situation by means of dialogue; | imaginative and creative powers have and those that jump immediately in used this form effectively. Nathaniel medias res for the purpose of riveting the Hawthorne had so much of the moralist reader's attention by a bit of vivid action. in his nature that his characters often apThere are stories whose inevitable con- pear rather as symbols of vices or virtues clusion one anticipates, watching with a than as human beings, and even external sort of hypnotism the trend of Fate; and objects like the “minister's black veil” those in which he is purposely led astray bear an inner meaning. so that the surprise ending may furnish If one compares a number of recent the thrill of the unexpected, a literary de- short stories with an equal number of the vice which O. Henry delights in.
period before the 1890 mark, he will noThe list is almost endless. It will be tice several important changes. Of late advisable, however, to emphasize the there has been a tendency to allow the standard classification which is based on Short Story a greater length than either permanent elements of the Short Story. Poe or De Maupassant would accede to. Every story has action (or plot), charac- Stories by Irvin S. Cobb, Fannie Hurst, ters who participate in the action, and and others often reach ten thousand background for the action and the charac- words, approaching in length but not in ters (or setting). In the compound of composition the novelette. Then, too, these three factors, one usually predom- the dialogue approximates more closely inates. Either the author has an unusual the language of speech, avoiding the opsituation whose resolution he wishes to posite extremes of "fine writing” and of make the chief interest, manipulating peo- burlesque. The increase in amount of ple and setting best to achieve this, as does this dialogue as compared with the pracDe Maupassant in "The Necklace"; or a tice of the pioneers is also significant, for character, like "Will of the Mill" or it means that the modern short story Boaz Negro ("Footfalls") whom he writer is borrowing more and more the places in that environment and situation dramatic method, and instead of relating which will illuminate a particular trait; laboriously each incident, is laying on the or (more seldom) an atmosphere whose characters the burden of carrying much of influence on the characters and their ac- the action through their conversation. tion is intended to be the central point of But all this is incidental to the great the story. If this atmosphere depends changes that are due to the winning of purely on locality, the result is the local new fields for the Short Story-fields color" story, in which dialectic peculi- which modern science, psychology, and edarities, strange quirks of character, and ucation have opened, and for the exunusual ethical and moral codes play a pression of whose spirit and content old great part. Poe's “Fall of the House of forms must give place to new. Usher” is an almost incredible achieve- Definitions and classifications are usument in pure atmosphere, while Anzia ally inadequate. They represent what Yezierska's "Fat of the Land" gives an the critic has learned from the artist, not accurate picture of the New York what the critic, drawing from some fund ghetto.
of a priori knowledge, is going to teach There is sometimes a fourth type to add the artist. It is indeed fortunate that to this classification: the thesis story. often the writer, the painter, the musi
cian refuses to be confined within those forms. Else how shall we account for circles with which self-appointed arbiters and classify the work of Sherwood Anhave circumscribed his art. By his de- derson, Waldo Frank, Anzia Yezierska, fiant violation of principles founded on and Anton Chekhov? Either we must past performance he opens a door through allow a bulge in some of our critical defiwhich his art can advance from old vic- nitions, or invent other terms to denote tories to new defeats, gaining strength new genres. Whichever we do, the sinlike Antæus with each overthrow; for cere artist will continue in the path of his this is the eternal law of change.
natural genius, whether it be toward And so the Short Story rising above its Romanticism or Realism, conventional formula, like a genie from a bottle, ap- form or experimentation, and be not at pears momently in new and varied all abashed.
JONAH The story of Jonah, which for years was a bone of contention between the literalists and the mockers, is in all probability a national tradition written down not by Jonah himself, who lived in the ninth century, but by some scribe about the year 500 B. C. Although in incident it is typical of the tales of miraculous deliverance then in vogue, the spiritual significance with which it is imbued, the lyrical exaltation of Jonah's invocation, and the human elements in the character of Jonah—inconsistence, vanity, peevishness, united at times with a disarming ingenuousness and conviction of wrong-doing-set this story quite apart from the average legend. The two episodes of this narrative are unified by Jehovah's purpose to make a trial of his prophet.
Now the word of the Lord came unto know for whose cause this evil is upon Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, So they cast lots, and the lot fell go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, against it; for their wickedness is come "Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause up before me.” But Jonah rose up to this evil is upon us. What is thine ocflee unto Tarshish from the presence of cupation ? and whence comest thou? the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and What is thy country ? and of what people he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he art thou ?” paid the fare thereof and went down into And he said unto them, “I am an Heit, to go with them unto Tarshish from brew; and I fear the Lord, the God of the presence of the Lord.
heaven, which hath made the sea and the But the Lord sent out a great wind
dry land." into the sea, and there was a mighty tem- Then were the men exceedingly afraid, pest in the sea, so that the ship was like to and said unto him, "Why hast thou done be broken. Then the mariners were this?" For the men knew that he Aed afraid, and cried every man unto his god, from the presence of the Lord, because he and cast forth the wares that were in the had told them. Then said they unto him, ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. "What shall we do unto thee, that the But Jonah was gone down into the sides sea may be calm unto us?" for the sea of the ship; and he lay, and was fast wrought, and was temptestuous. asleep.
And he said unto them, “Take me up, So the shipmaster came to him, and and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the said unto him, "What meanest thou, O sea be calm unto you: for I know that for sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so my sake this great tempest is upon you." be that God will think upon us, that we Nevertheless the men rowed hard to perish not.”
bring it to the land ; but they could not: And they said every one to his fellow, for the sea wrought, and was tempestu“Come, and let us cast lots, that we may ous against them. Wherefore they cried
unto the Lord, and said, "We beseech Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach perish for this man's life, and lay not unto it the preaching that I bid thee." upon us innocent blood : for thou, O So Jonah arose, and went unto NineLord, hast done as it pleased thee." veh, according to the word of the Lord.
So they took up Jonah, and cast him Now Nineveh was an exceeding great forth into the sea : and the sea ceased from city of three days' journey. And Jonah her raging. Then the men feared the began to enter into the city a day's jourLord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice ney, and he cried, and said, “Yet forty unto the Lord, and made vows.
days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Now the Lord had prepared a great So the people of Nineveh believed God, fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackwas in the belly of the fish three days and cloth, from the greatest of them even to three nights.
the least of them. For word came unto Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his the king of Nineveh, and he arose from God out of the fish's belly, and said: his throne, and lay his robe from him, and
covered him with sackcloth, and sat in "I cried by reason of mine affliction unto ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed the Lord, and he heard me;
and published through Nineveh by the Out of the belly of hell cried I, and decree of the king and his nobles, saying, thou heardest my voice.
“Let neither man nor beast, herd nor For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in flock, taste any thing. Let them not the midst of the seas;
feed, nor drink water: but let man and And the floods compassed me about: all beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry
thy billows and thy waves passed over mightily unto God. Yea, let them turn me.
every one from his evil way, and from Then I said, 'I am cast out of thy sight; the violence that is in their hands. Who
yet I will look again toward thy holy can tell if God will turn and repent, and temple.'
turn away from his fierce anger, that we The waters compassed me about, even to perish not?" the soul :
And God saw their works that they The depth closed me round about, the turned from their evil way, and God reweeds were wrapped about my
head. pented of the evil that he had said that I went down to the bottoms of the moun- he would do unto them; and he did it not.
tains; the earth with her bars was about But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, me forever:
and he was very angry.
And he prayed Yet hast thou brought up my life from unto the Lord, and said, “I pray thee, O corruption, O Lord my God.
Lord, was not this my saying, when I When my soul fainted within me, I re- was yet in my country? Therefore I membered the Lord:
fed before unto Tarshish: for I knew And my prayer came in unto thee, into that thou art a gracious God, and merthine holy temple.
ciful, slow to anger, and of great kindThey that observe lying vanities forsake ness, and repentest thee of the evil. their own mercy.
Therefore, now, O Lord, take, I beseech But I will sacrifice unto thee with the thee, my life from me: for it is better for voice of thanksgiving;
me to die than to live." I will pay that that I have vowed.
Then said the Lord, “Doest thou well Salvation of the Lord !"
to be angry?”
So Jonah went out of the city, and sat And the Lord spake unto the fish, and on the east side of the city, and there it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. made him a booth, and sat under it in the
And the word of the Lord came unto shadow, till he might see what would