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m the ordinary. A man who cannot › caricatured is ready for the morgue. t is reverence for the laundry that should worry the gentlemen of La Salle. It might soon put them out of business.
AN has many regrets. One of the most poignant is that but one life is vouchsafed him. Nearly everyone believes that had he his life to live over, he could crowd into it more usefulness and happiness, to himself and others, than he has been able to put into the one he is living or has lived. There is no chance of it, so he devotes himself to prolonging life, to urging scientists to tell him how it can be done, and to living other lives vicariously. The last he accomplishes by reading biography. That is the reason why literature of this class makes such powerful appeal to us, especially in our mature and late life.
Biography in some form bulks large in all literature, and it appears to be getting more pervasive. A variety that seems now to be finding great favor is verbal portraiture, and the leading artist in this country is Gamaliel Bradford. Canada has an industrious and talented member of the guild who writes under the name of E. Barrington. France, likewise, has a gifted member who calls himself André Maurois. "The Divine Lady", E. Barrington's story of Lady Hamilton, and "Ariel: The Life of Shelley" by Maurois were among the great successes of the past year. Now an Englishman, Geoffrey Scott, has published under the title "The Portrait of Zélide" the story of an eighteenth century Dutch belle, Isabella Van Tuyll who became Madame de Charrière, which is as seduc
tive as romance and as absorbing as a psychological novel.
Her chief lien on fame now would seem to be that Boswell loved her and sought to thrust pedantry and Puritanism upon her; that she held Benjamin Constant enthralled for ten years, though she was twice his age and had a husband; and that she made way for Madame de Staël without display of spleen or jealousy.
Probably no autoportrait was ever painted, not excepting even Harriet Martineau's, that more accurately reflected the emotional and intellectual makeup of the possessor than "The Portrait of Mademoiselle de Z. under the name of Zélide".
Mr. Scott quotes
it in part in his fascinating book. No one can read it without thinking that feminism or other evolutionary machinery has eliminated a type of woman which reached its fullest flower about a century ago.
Madame de Charrière said of herself that with less sensibility she would have had the mind of a great man; with less intelligence, she would have been only a weak woman. Self estimation is one of the most difficult things in the world to do correctly. She was more successful at it than Saint Augustine or Marie Bashkirtseff.
loyal friend, and an honest and active force in the affairs of the country. With Miss Lowell's death, we lose one of the most vital personalities of current letters. She was strong in mind and purpose, brilliant in technique, with a delicate imagination and a virile power of analysis. Both her prose and her poetry command admiration and respect. Miss Lowell was friend and adviser to many. From one of America's oldest families, she was yet democratic in the best sense of the word. Her house, her library, her garden, she loved and shared freely with her friends. Those friends were loyal and often self sacrificing. Chief among them was Ada Dwyer Russell, Miss Lowell's companion and constant aid, who made possible those last months of hardship and labor when the Keats biography was being finished. We cannot phrase too strongly the affection, gratitude, admiration, and respect felt by the editors of this magazine for Miss Lowell as a friend who was constant and honest in her advice to us and to a host of others in the workshop of American letters.
HE story of "Grass" was there to be got, in that land situated vaguely to the western mind between "The Arabian Nights" and "The Rubaiyat"; it was as if someone had telephoned the city room of a newspaper and said: "There is a fire at the old docks; I thought you'd want to cover it." Then a reporter and a camera man would have set out as gleefully as their sophistication would permit, and an event would have become a story for all the world to read.
Curious events were stirring in that
vague territory off to the East of history. A group of tribes was known to migrate twice a year in search of pasture, across mountains less passable than some which have kept entire nations secret. The size and plan of the migration, the scale of the barrier, and the hardships accepted would have made them worth recording even without the knowledge that this was the story of half the world's beginnings.
So three journalists set out for Persia. One wrote a book, another made thousands of feet of film, and the curious events in the South Persian mountains became a remarkable story. Perhaps the book is not especially notable, for many travelers have written of stranger things they have seen; but the picture is brilliant work. Like much good journalism, it is practically anonymous; one regrets the necessity which leaves. out of the record the courage and labor and bold spirit of the people who made it. But when a reporter at a fire is struck by a falling timber, no mention of that appears in the printed story unless it be an item in the list of casualties.
Motion pictures originated as journalistic records. The picture drama followed some time afterward, when the medium had improved and curiosity had ceased to attract large audiences. But screen journalism has survived in news reels, educational pictures, and the like. Its potentialities are huge. Gradually in the libraries of the large producing companies are accumulating films of almost every event of spectacular quality which occurs today. No other period of the world's history has been so minutely recorded that a later generation will be able to detect the obsolescence over a period of a few years in manners, customs, and styles.
Nowadays the camera goes everywhere. But much of the world remains
to be explored by the photographer with an imagination, a bit of courage, and a strong back.
THE REVOLVING CIRCLE
HE attendant who guards the library portals and ushers you in with a click of his counting machine, can furnish an estimate of the reading public commendable for mathematical exactness. But who can, with any degree of accuracy, chart the reactions of that public? At the moment we appear to desire the sophisticated book; we wish to be a trifle highbrow. Yet there are vast quantities of people who read the Elsie books in their youth and have never grown up, who still like school girl sentiment. Their children, it is true, own Dickens, Thackeray, Stevenson; but how earnestly they peruse the classics is a matter for specu
"The Poor Nut", and "The Fall Guy". There must be a vanishing point of the blush; when it has vanished, then it will be the fashion to blush again. Even the radio as a fad will pall sooner or later and take its place as a household staple. Books will go on being read, and we cannot expect morons to be eliminated from the world. "A Book for Every Moron" may become a successful publishing slogan. Meanwhile, let the highbrows have their day and rejoice in it. Do not forget, however, that there were always highbrows of one sort or another. Though the Shakespeare and Browning Societies may have given way to psychoanalysis and D. H. Lawrence, who knows but that we may all be forming Chaucer Cosies before the decade passes?
BON VOYAGE, ARLEN!
lation. Recently in a midwest high MC period, left us just as his
school it was discovered that reading outside the classroom was confined practically to the true-story type magazine. Even Zane Grey was giving way in the young mind to stories of the regenerating souls of chorus ladies. In spite of this, the present day public is undoubtedly a growing one for the current novel of serious intent.
Yet the cynic may well say that there will be a reversal of form. That one fine morning a new novelist of sweetness and light will spring from a lily bud and that the world will follow blindly his or her dictates, forgetting that it ever dreamed of books "worthwhile" and "stimulating". No race can become perfectly sophisticated without disintegrating completely. The drama is already returning to niceness with the success in New York of such engaging pieces as "Is Zat So?",
ICHAEL ARLEN has left us for a brief
new book is published, left us with a successful play on the boards in Chicago, two more in prospect for the autumn, and the plan for two novels in his head, left us with a pink carnation in his button hole and an engaging smile beneath his mustaches. He was practically without enemies in America, which is a great deal to say for a young gentleman at once so clever and so successful. It argues well for his tact, his intelligence, and his charm. He is a hard worker, is Arlen. "May Fair" is a good book: it has more humor than "The Green Hat", and the stories are better told than the ones in "These Charming People". What he will do. in the future, after his sojourn in the motion pictures next year, is problematical; but those who know him feel sure that it will be well considered and the
THE PASSING OF AMY LOWELL
By Hervey Allen
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of eternity.
DOME of Many-Coloured Glass" was the name of Amy Lowell's first book, a title, indeed, which might well be given to her own elegy. Few American poets have stained the white radiance with more beautiful and brilliant colors than Amy Lowell, and fewer still have erected in so short a space of time so imposing and withal so fragile a dome. Whether any
of the colors there are indelible or not it is too soon to say, but that they will assume new tints, even if faded ones, in the light of the future, it does not take the spirit of prophecy to predict. Biographer, critic, lecturer, translator, and poet but transcending all of these a personality with the gift of enlightening discussion her claim to a niche in the hall of fame of American literature is a strong one. In this generation at least the memory of her learned and witty, her keen and often biting conversation, will linger as the talk of Dr. Johnson and Coleridge lingered in the fond remembrance of their contemporaries. For Amy Lowell had the greatest woman's tongue that has SO far disturbed the United States. Sometimes wisely cruel, often constructively devastating, she also had in her, to the full, the capacity for generous and warm affection which in an intellectual and retrospective way she lavished upon Keats.
It is this womanly and human trait which makes the sorrow of her passing so poignant to her more intimate
friends. She takes with her the electric atmosphere necessary to fill the static vacuum which her departure has made. There is no one like her to turn to in times of intellectual and æsthetic doubt, no one so convincing to advise with about a literary difficulty, no one who is such an accurate barometer of the literary weather. The personal help of a passionate and sympathetic soul cast in a tremendous mold has gone. The big house in Brookline must be lonely without her. It is now a source of vague longing and disquiet instead of comfort in the back of one's mind. One cannot help but wonder about the flowers and birds in the garden, the ashes on the hearth in the silent library, the unsmoked cigars, the incomplete manuscripts, the bright poems that have gone down to smolder like jewels in the dark.
For Amy Lowell was only fifty one when she died, leaving a great part of her lifework and her promise unfulfilled. There was to have been an "Emily Dickinson" to follow "John Keats", a number of poems, and who knows what other gleanings from a brain so fertile; certainly criticism, analysis, and comment without which we shall be the poorer. By the terms of her will Miss Lowell has provided for the publication of some of her manuscripts, and there will be a posthumous volume of poetry issued in Boston this coming fall, but no bequest to the future can be so generous and significant as a few more years of her life would have been. Her death, following immediately after the publica