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"The O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1924". Ernest Boyd declared that, although he was unacquainted with the work of O. Henry, he was charmed to help celebrate the memory of an author noted for his intelligibility. He commented on the fact that while our young intellectual expatriates believe themselves to be Continental when they issue unintelligible reading matter, the cultured European will have nothing to do with such products but harks back to the work representative of an an earlier, simpler America. Will Irwin also touched upon bygone days, when no writer respecting public morals would permit his hero to kiss the heroine before the engagement ring was safely upon her finger. Frances Newman, come from Atlanta to attend the festivities, disclosed the fact that "Rachel and Her Children" was not only her first story to be published, but the first story she ever wrote. Miss Newman lately engaged in the task of translating representative stories from Petronius to Paul Morand, for her volume on "The Short Story's Mutations". It was not until she reached de Maupassant that there arose within her the urge to write a tale herself. We commend this system of literary incubation to those fledglings whose stories, dashed off between meals (or perhaps drinks), make the editor's life a thing of weari
When Alfred Kreymborg started to write his autobiography, we thought immediately, "How exceedingly young he is to do such a thing." But he assured us yesterday that he was as old as the ages, forty one in fact. Kreymborg, of all the members of the modern group of writers, is probably the keenest and the gentlest. Wherever he goes over the country singing
his songs, reading his poems, giving his plays, he is liked, whether or not his work is completely understood. "Troubador", his book, not only gives a romantic and colorful account of his adventures, tramping and otherwise, but really presents a good picture of the rise and fall of various literary
currents in America over the period in which he has been writing. Kreymborg is ironic, really funny at times, always something of the elf, yet he never challenges with unpleasant sallies those whose opinions differ from his own. He has been very busy recently, getting his book ready for its appearance and working on the translation of a Florentine romance by Machiavelli. This, under the name of "Mandragola", has just been produced as the first offering of the Little Opera of America, an organization recently formed to foster an American "Opéra Comique". The music is by Ignatz Waghalter, settings by Herman Rosse. Mr. Waghalter lately came to this country to rehearse and conduct
the American presentation. All this sounds like great fun, and Mr. Kreymborg is enjoying himself immensely. If you have never seen or read one of his puppet plays you should do so as soon as you can, for they have a quality of absurdity combined with wisdom that is most pleasing.
May O'Connell of Minneapolis writes us that the ladies of her town, at least, are very proud of the work which Mrs. Thomas G. Winter, former president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, is doing this year. It seems that in addition to her work on "The Ladies' Home Journal", Mrs. Winter is writing for various magazines and newspaper syndicates. One of her pet ambitions, so says Miss O'Connell, is to advance the slogan "A Literate Nation by 1930". More power to Mrs. Winter, say we! A Minneapolis man, William J. McNally, author of "The Barb" and "When the Clouds Roll By", a play, is also creator of "Eileen", soon to be produced jointly by Woods and Brady in New York. Another St. Paul author springs up to take his place with Thomas Boyd and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is James Gray of the editorial staff of the "Pioneer Press-Dispatch". Scribner's have accepted his novel, "The Penciled Frown". Of this, the author says:
The hero is a young man who might perhaps be called a second cousin, by general temperament, of Merton Gill, in "Merton of the Movies". He is a newspaper man, a critic, and he passes through the various stages of serious groping and grappling, like one may expect in a serious, sensitive, often pathetic makeup like his.
There has been so much talk of Ford Madox Ford's "Joseph Conrad" which seems to us a good book in spite of its inaccuracies and imbecilities
that we think it wise to repub
lish here as a matter of record, although it has already appeared in several other places, Mrs. Conrad's letter of protest and denial, addressed to the editor of the London "Times Literary Supplement":
Will you please allow me to correct a few of the more fantastic statements regarding my husband, made in Ford Madox Hueffer's book which was reviewed in these columns a few weeks ago?
If Mr. Hueffer intends "A Personal Remembrance" as a tribute to the dead friend with whom he claims to have had such a close acquaintance, why does he endeavour on every page to show the vast difference between himself and his friend? His inferiority in intellect, character and ability! To those who knew Joseph Conrad personally these statements would assume their real value; and to those who had also the privilege of even slight acquaintance with Mr. Hueffer these few lines would be quite unnecessary. I deny most emphatically that Joseph Conrad ever poached on Mr. Hueffer's vast stock of plots and material in the fabrication of any of his stories. A concrete plot, or a detailed statement of fact, no matter how interesting, would never have been the least use to my husband. His books were, to my certain knowledge, based on a chance phrase discovered in some old book of memoirs, or a few sentences culled from a book of history or travel. These significant few words were then nursed in that master mind full of personal experiences and rich with imagination, to emerge, after a period of infinite care and real mental suffering, as a finished masterpiece. In the matter of "The Arrow of Gold" he often laughingly accused me of being the cause of the book. I came upon him one morning in despair, as he had nothing in his mind of which to write. I suggested that he should make use of an episode he had once related to me, referring to his life before we were married. My suggestion was adopted, and that book was the direct result.
During the years that Mr. Hueffer was most intimate with Joseph Conrad-between 1898-1909 Ford Madox Hueffer never spent more than three consecutive weeks under our roof, and when we returned the visit we always, with few ex ceptions, had rooms in a cottage close at hand. After 1909 the meetings between the two were very rare and not once of my husband's seeking. The author of "A Personal Remembrance" claims to have been Joseph Conrad's literary adviser, also his literary godfather! That claim, like
We quote also Ralph Barton, the artist, who has corresponded with Mrs. Conrad on the subject and who, in addition to being the jolly cartoonist and illustrator, is also an appreciator of all good things literary. Barton says:
I cannot imagine that anyone on this side of the Atlantic could have taken Ford's book seriously, and certainly it will not have the slightest effect on Conrad's place among the great artists of all times, but I believe that there are a good many people who have heard of Mrs. Conrad's letter but have not seen it and who would be glad of a copy to clip and paste in the end papers of Ford's book.
Her statement that "a concrete plot" would have been of no use whatever to her husband gives a far clearer clue to Conrad's method of work than all of Ford's 256 pages of nonsense. Certainly Conrad did not deal in plots; he was no mere yarn spinner. Plots counted for as little in his work as subjects did in the work of Michael Angelo or of Beethoven. This woman understood his work and Ford did not.
We saw Hendrik Van Loon recently, on one of the rare occasions on which he has emerged from his Connecticut stronghold. For the benefit of those who cherish glimpses of an author's private life, we append an impression of Mr. and Mrs. Van Loon returning to their igloo after the aforementioned sojourn in town. Since it was drawn by no less a person than H. V. L. himself, its authenticity cannot be questioned. The author of "The Story of Mankind" has been hibernating this winter, in an endeavor to complete his long promised book on "Tolerance". Tolerance, as he sees it, is synonymous with good breeding; bigotry is a mani
From Topeka, Kansas, W. S. Klugston sends us word of an educational experiment which is a variant of other book sermons being used with good effect throughout the country.
That the church can be a real aid to literature is being demonstrated by the Central Congregational church of Topeka, of which John Wells Rahill is pastor.
Under the direction of Miss Clara Johnston a Sunday evening reading club has been in operation for nearly two years, and it has become one of the literary centres of the Kansas capital, with some of the best known authors of the west appearing on the
programs and with a very high type of reviews interesting those who attend.
Sherwood Anderson, Carl Sandburg, E. Haldeman-Julius, Nelson Antrim Crawford, Professor Elrick B. Davis of Washburn College, and Marco Morrow, head of the Capper publications, are among the literary folks who have appeared before the club.
An indication of the type of entertainment this "church club" is offering is given by some of the items on the spring program for 1925. One evening is devoted to "A Story Teller's Story", another to "The Little French Girl", another to Grover Cleveland, The Man and the Statesman", etc.
A catholicity of taste here, certainly.
We have been getting around again a bit, after a winter of constant if amusing work. We went the other evening to the initial performance of Mary Hay and Clifton Webb at Ciro's. Here is good music from the baton of Ben Bernie. The literary were gathered in spots, entirely overshadowed by movies and the theatre. We were surprised to see Ralph Pulitzer dancing rather solemnly. Of the many stage beauties there gathered, one only seemed impressive: Rosamund Pinchot is graceful, dignified, serene. The first night of Mr. Brady's famous "A Good Bad Woman" was an occasion best forgotten. As Mr. Hammond of the New York "Herald-Tribune" so aptly remarked, there was only one man there wearing an opera hat. What a mistake he made! The new Town Hall Club is an excellent place for a meal, or to sit in comfort sipping coffee and chatting. This is to be a very large club in which both men and women may be members. The point of interest is going to be to find out just what percentage of men will attend a club where large numbers of both sexes belong. We hear rumors that A. Hamilton Gibbs has returned to this country. We are anxious to see him and to tell him what an excellent book
More California notes from Laura Bell Everett. We have given up our California trip; and so we suppose that for the time being we shall know of goings on in that sunny state only through our kind friends.
Bernard Marshall of Berkeley, California, recently published the fourth of his series dealing with historical backgrounds at times of national accretion in human rights. He began with the age of King John in "Cedric the Forester", followed by "Walter of Tiverton", and "The Torch Bearers". Of Massachusetts birth and training, Mr. Marshall is peculiarly fitted to make "Redcoat and Minuteman" live again.
Mary Mills West, who won second place in the "Forum" contest with the story "Payment", is University Extension lecturer in short story writing. A recent Berkeleyan, she went through the experience of being burned out in the fire of last year. After the death of her husband Max West, also a writer, she was for years in the Children's Bureau in Washington, where she used her experiences with her own children in writing for other mothers. She was added to the staff when some
mother wrote urgently for directions for feeding her baby with this stipulation: "And I don't want advice from no old maid."
Henry Meade Bland, whose "Stevenson's California" has been published by the Pacific Short Story Club of San José, is dean of the short story club movement in California. Mr. Bland's own writing has hitherto been more in the field of verse than of fiction. He is a personal friend of Edwin Markham's and knew Joaquin Miller well. He was one of the young writers to whom Miller gave a building site on "the Heights", Miller's home above Oakland, where the poet dreamed of having a literary colony.
Next to Mark Twain and Bret Harte, Stevenson has been the most obliging of our literary lights in localizing his fame in California, and Mr. Bland has collected much interesting material on Stevenson's life on the Pacific slope.
Tantalizing rumors drift to our ears of an afternoon of the Lively Arts of America to be held at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York City on April first. This entertainment, under the patronage of Mrs. John Kingsbury Burgess, is to be given in appreciation of Gilbert Seldes's book "The Seven Lively Arts", which you will remember contained chapters on Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, etc., etc. George Gershwin, whose music for "Lady, Be Good" is the best we have heard in any recent musical comedy, promises to perform, as do those dancing youngsters, Fred and Adele Astaire, who succeed in making Mr. Gershwin's music memorable. Vincent Lopez and his orchestra, Gilda Gray, Fanny Brice herself, and four cartoonists -sketching simultaneously will be there. Mr. Seldes will act as impresario, and the motion pictures will be represented by a BOOKMAN contributor, Ralph Block. This season's débutantes are going to usher, thereby doing their bit for American art.
Few American authors have the good fortune to be illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Mr. Morley is one of the