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upon its title page a Spanish motto, the wording of which I forget (having parted with my copy to a staunch admirer of the author), but the purport of which was that "as fast as one door closes, another opens". The words might apply to any roving journalist such as Crosland, but they were especially applicable to him. He was what would be described as "improvident", in that he took no heed for the morrow. He had always loyal friends, who helped him in time of need, and I have seen it stated that when he was thus supplied with ready money his first thought (and act) was always to hurry to Monte Carlo or some other gambling resort, armed with the money and an infallible system which infallibly lost him his money. I think of Crosland's life as a wasted one, but only because it seems to me that he never got the best out of his talent. He was a poet and journalist of quite exceptional power, whose command of language particularly the language of invective was out of the ordinary. Yet he wasted these gifts upon books which are of no value and of no serious interest. The one monument to his power is the volume of collected poems, and even here, amid much that is excellent, there is such a quantity of second and third rate stuff, and so much that is already out of date, that I do not feel confident of the lasting interest of the whole.
I spoke just now of "The World's Classics" as being under the editorship of Crosland. I am not sure that this was ever the case, and Mr. Richards may correct me. The editorship, after all, is a small matter to the book lover. What is much more to the point is that this series, which, in the hands of Humphrey Milford and the Oxford
University Press, is still very much. alive, contains a large number of books which are not otherwise obtainable in so handy and simple a form. To me, their plainness is an additional charm, for I must admit that I do not care for the fancifully dressed books which are now the vogue. I have recently acquired three volumes of "The World's Classics", and I already possess between thirty and forty others. While we all owe great debts to Bohn, to "The Temple Classics", "The King's Classics", and "Everyman's Library", I find in "The World's Classics" a practical and unpretentious collection of great value. The books range from Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" and Hume's 'Essays", through a larger selection of Hazlitt's works than any other series affords, to a six volume edition of Burke, a nine volume Shakespeare, delightful volumes of selections from the letters of Cowper and Southey, a new edition of Tolstoy, an apparently complete Mrs. Gaskell and Sisters Brontë, to exceptional pieces like Nekrassov's "Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia", the three remarkable autobiographical works of Aksakov, and so through ancient and modern classics to that venture which at this moment is the cause of my particular commendation. This is nothing less than the publication of several of the lesser known works of Anthony Trollope. The Barsetshire novels we can get in various editions, but the notion of reprinting Trollope's Autobiography, and such novels as "The Belton Estate" and "The Claverings", is distinctly good and original. I hope the support given to these books will encourage the publishers to go on with the excellent work. At present the only edition of Trollope which contains any books of less fame than the Barset
shire series is that which was so bravely begun some years ago by John Lane in his "New Pocket Library". In that edition were published eleven volumes, including, besides the obvious selection, "Castle Richmond" and "The MacDermotts of Ballycloran". (The latter is now unfortunately out of print.) What I want to get hold of is a readable edition of the political novels of Trollope-"Phineas Finn", "Can You Forgive Her?", "Phineas Redux", and "The Prime Minister".
The death recently of William Archer means a loss to the theatre. He was at all times a devoted servant of the theatre; and although he had been a dramatic critic for so many years he never lost interest in going to see plays. He went to see them when he had not to do so. I cannot imagine any greater sign of devotion to the stage than this. I was myself at one time a dramatic critic, and although the length of my service was not above two or three years at the utmost, it is now with the greatest difficulty that I drag myself to the theatre. Archer, on the other hand, was a devotee. When I saw him about ten days before his death, he was looking forward eagerly to a visit that same afternoon to "Fratricide Punished", the old German play upon the theme of Hamlet which has recently been given in London for a few matinée performances. He was full of interest in this play, and during a part of our lunch talked about it with a freshness and vigor which gave no hint of his illness. Any dramatic critic of Archer's keenness and integrity H. G. Wells at one time committed himself to the description of Archer's integrity as "unscrupulous", so terribly immanent was it in his every act and speech
would be a loss to the community, but Archer was much more than a dramatic critic. His activities were immense. He had translated and established Ibsen in this country; he had done as much as any man except Mr. Shaw
himself -to establish Shaw in the modern theatre. He had entered upon schemes for the practical improvement of the theatre, had done good work in connection with the determining of the nature of the Elizabethan stage, had been a prominent member of the Rationalist Press Association, and contributed to the number of its publications; and he had found time to write many plays, of which one only, "The Green Goddess", as far as I know, was ever produced. The surprising thing about "The Green Goddess" is that nobody expected such a play from Archer. Yet it appears that, like so many more of us, he had a passion for detective stories, and the wild play of sensation was as natural to him as the translation of Ibsen or the writing of replies to H. G. Wells upon the nature of God, or the composition of serious works upon the problems engaging the attention of the American people. It is a fact that when the notion of "The Green Goddess" occurred to Archer he applied to both Sir Arthur Pinero and Mr. Shaw with the suggestion that they should collaborate with him in writing the play. Both declined. He undertook the task himself, with the results that are well known. All his friends rejoiced at the comparative affluence which this play assured to Archer for the rest of his life. He immediately gave up writing dramatic criticism, stating that a dramatist should not express in print his views upon the works of other dramatists. The decision was characteristic. I believe he refused to accept any royalties upon
his translations of Ibsen when they were performed. Had he accepted such royalties he would have been a rich man; but he preferred to go his honorable way, doing for what he regarded as the truth's sake such work as appealed to him. In person very austere, unaffected, and reserved, Archer was never what would be called a lively companion; but he was always ready to talk and to listen with patience and gravity. He was also very sweet tempered. When I last saw him he was speaking about the experiments which only recently have been attracting so much attention in England, although they have long been known by those who were abreast of such matters, in the course of which Professor Gilbert Murray, from his place in another room, was able to repeat a large proportion of test speeches or allusions made by his friends in secret conclave. As is now known, Professor Murray disliked and dislikes giving these performances, but they have interest and importance for all who care for various aspects of psychology, telepathy, and other matters of which I have no understanding. Professor Murray attributes his gift to hyperæsthesia. Lord Balfour says this is absurd. A scientist who wrote to the "Times" alleged that an explanation was to be found in the transmission of sound waves; and was promptly contradicted by a fellow scientist. Whatever the explanation, it would seem that Professor Murray is a very dangerous fellow to have in the next room if one is discussing secrets.
Archer would not commit himself to any explanation. He was content, with his cautious mind, to await developments. Meanwhile, there is some reason to suppose that Archer himself had a gift — perhaps the most valuable gift a dramatic critic could
have. He is said to have possessed the power of going to sleep in any stall in any theatre, and of waking up infallibly whenever anything of moment was said upon the stage. In the intervals of the play, instead of leaving his stall and as so many dramatic critics do going to see what all the other dramatic critics think of the play (this is one explanation of the unanimity of the London press regarding all plays), Archer used to pull a book out of his pocket and read it until the curtain rose again. The book, it is alleged, was always a detective story. I do not believe this. But it serves to show that Archer was one of those who waste not a minute of the day.
Two months ago I spoke here of the discovery of a "lost" work by Charles Lamb. At that time I had not seen the book, and I was unaware that E. V. Lucas questioned its authenticity. I learn now that Mr. Lucas is still unconvinced that this book is by Lamb. From every other source, moreover, although I have had no opportunity of examining the book for myself, I hear that there is no trace whatever of Lamb's hand in the production. I think some reference to these facts is due, because, as far as I can tell, Mr. Shorter, the literary sponsor of the book, stands somewhat alone in attributing it to Lamb. It is still believed by several experts, including T. J. Wise, that Lamb wrote such a book, and it is to be hoped that if this is not the one the real Simon Pure will presently turn up. Meanwhile, the new book of "Ranks and Dignities" will not oust "The King and Queen of Hearts" as the prime authentic find among missing Lamb treasures. SIMON PURE
THE GOLDEN AGE
By Arthur Corning White
S the American undergraduate being who castigated him for the "Lyrical
English literature as taught by young instructors in our colleges? The President of Middlebury College seems to think so. As an instructor of English in an American college, I take this opportunity of disagreeing with him. In "The Age of Lawlessness" in the January BOOKMAN he says in effect: The teaching of the problems of contemporary life, as they are found in sociology or psychology or political economy, is dangerous; but the teaching of the thought, manners, and aspirations of the world we live in, as these are presented in literature, is more than dangerous. It is fatal. From his essay I gather he believes contemporary literature, especially English and American, could not have passed a censorship in Sodom.
It is my belief that there never has been, and is never likely to be, evidence for a belief in past golden age in any field of human activity. For example, consider a moment the comic rôle of this illusion of a past golden age in literary history. At the dawn of the Elizabethan period in English poetry Sir Philip Sidney complained that the country was given over to the vulgar interests of money making and political aggrandizement, that the Muses were neglected, that the halcyon days of art were done. And, earlier, the critics of the Age of Chaucer felt that the literature of real worth ended with Horace. Dr. Moody would include Wordsworth among the respectables, but the critics
issued in 1798, felt that Wordsworth was a menace to good taste. And in this year of his centenary shall we forget Byron? They ran him out of England. Yet today every hidebound denominational college in America includes Byron among the poets a moral maiden should know.
Now I think we should look with sympathy into the life and literature about us, not uncritically accepting things as desirable merely because they are here, nor rejecting them because they are modern, but sincerely trying as best we may to understand, and to discriminate, and to give encouragement to what in all this chaos of contemporary civilization seems to us to be genuinely good.
The great trouble with the academic cast of mind is that it insists on trying to pigeonhole culture. It divides and subdivides. It catalogues types of literature and differentiates periods. It isolates French drama, or German drama, or the drama of Spain. Such classifications, I admit, are convenient for the purposes of discussion, but they can be easily overdone. It is convenient to speak of the Queen Anne satire or the Victorian novel, but it is folly to assume that good satire ended with the accession of George I, or that the writing of commendable novels ceased at the coronation of Victoria's capable son.
Dr. Moody would eliminate contemporary literature from the curricu
lum because he feels much of it presents a point of view in conflict with ascetic Evangelical ethics. Voltaire had to leave Paris. Keats is a hedonist, and Shelley was kicked out of Oxford for atheism. All three of these gentlemen now wear with perfect sang-froid the halos of literary saints. And in the immaculate years of hideous haircloth furniture, vile wax flowers, and the ugliest fashions in dress that ever in the history of the world have distorted the divine lines of a female figure, we have Fitzgerald's "Omar" and Burton's "Arabian Nights". Surely these are rather spicy reading for guileless maidens and callow youths. Compared with the morals and manners of these books, even those of the novels of Carl Van Vechten and James Branch Cabell are innocent indeed.
The actual situation, of course, is this: As Dr. Henry Canby, editor of "The Saturday Review", remarked to me the other day, literature is one continuous stream; never ceasing, but always flowing on. To consider contemporary writing as an isolated phenomenon is silly. And I may add to this my own observation that the literature of all periods and of all languages is made up of the same ingredients. Kalidasa's "Sakuntala" in the groves of ancient India and Florenz Ziegfeld's new "Follies" in New York have many elements in common. In Restoration comedy we have one sort of manners; again in the sentimental comedy of Steele's day we have another sort. But Jeremy Collier was not alone in his dislike of the brutal lasciviousness of Dryden's worst products, nor were Goldsmith and Sheridan the first gentlemen who felt that sentimental comedy needed more spice. Dr. Moody, I judge, has forgotten that the egregious moralizing in Samuel Richardson's "Pamela" was immedi
ately burlesqued by the ribaldry in Henry Fielding's "Joseph Andrews". Anyone who knows anything about literary history, realizes that no one period or place has ever had a monopoly either on virtue or on vice. To sum up, then, contemporary literature is morally no better or worse than that of any other day; it has elements of both sublimity and filth, of folly and wisdom, of pettiness and breadth. Dr. Moody, with the aid of his English department, no doubt can name some contemporary poems, novels, and plays which are bad morals and bad art. But I myself, in case he has not heard of them, venture to call Dr. Moody's attention to the work of Joseph Conrad, John Galsworthy, May Sinclair, Willa Cather, Zona Gale, George Bernard Shaw, Laurence Stallings, Sara Teasdale, and Robert Frost. Though Conrad has recently died, his writing, I think, may fairly be called contemporary. About the others there is no question. I have mentioned only a few. Contemporary
literature, Continental and English, is not so trivial as Dr. Moody believes it is. Even so conservative a critic as Stuart P. Sherman, I think, will admit that "Buddenbrooks", "Jean-Christophe", and "The Forsyte Saga" are great books.
My purpose, however, in writing this essay is not to elicit appreciative notes from Herr Mann, or from Monsieur Rolland, or from Mr. Galsworthy. My purpose is not to whitewash contemporary literature but to demonstrate why it should be taught.
In the first place, it should be taught for social reasons. I blush for the platitude, but to elucidate my argument I am constrained to remark that literature frequently reflects the life, the thought, the manners, and the aspirations of the environment from which it comes. Dr. Moody himself,