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Title: The Little Review, July 1914 (Vol. 1, No. 5)

Author: Various

Editor: Margaret C. Anderson

Release date: December 20, 2020 [eBook #64083]

Language: English

Credits: Jens Sadowski and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at This book was produced from images made available by the Modernist Journal Project, Brown and Tulsa Universities.


The Little Review

Literature Drama Music Art


JULY, 1914

Poems Charles Ashleigh
The Renaissance of Parenthood The Editor
“Des Imagistes” Charles Ashleigh
Of Rupert Brooke and Other Matters Arthur Davison Ficke
The New Loyalty George Burman Foster
The Milliner (Poem) Sade Iverson
“Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt” Margaret C. Anderson
New York Letter George Soule
Dostoevsky’s Novels Maurice Lazar
Book Discussion:  
An Unreeling Realist De Witt C. Wing
The Revolt of the “Once Born” Eunice Tietjens
Verlaine and Tolstoy Alexander S. Kaun
Conrad’s Quote Henry B. Sell
“Clark’s Field” Marguerite Swawite
The “Savage” Painters A. S. K.
Sentence Reviews  

Published Monthly

The Little Review

Vol. I

JULY, 1914

No. 5




(A Mystery Rime for Little Children of All Ages)

The rain comes down and veils the hills.

Ah, tender rain for aching fields!

The hills are clothed in a mist of rain.

(My heart is clothed in a mist of pain.)

Ah, mother rain, that laves the field,

If I to you my poor soul yield,

Will you not cleanse it, soothe it, tend it,

Weep upon it ’til ’tis mended?

’Twas sweet to sow, ’tis hard to reap.

Come, mother rain, and lull me to sleep.

Lull me to sleep and wash me away,

Out of the realm of Night and Day,

Back to the bourne from whence I came,

Seeming alike yet not the same....

Rain, you are more than rain to me.

And Lash of Pain may be a Key.

Ope, then, the door and tread within.

The double Door of Good and Sin

Is vanquished. Lo, with bread and wine,

The table’s spread! The feast is Mine!


Amidst the buzz of bawdy tales

And the laughter of drinking men,

I sat and laughed and shouted also.

Yet was I not content.

My seared and restless eyes, turning here and there,—

Like my tired soul,—

Seeking new joys and finding them not,—

How oft swept you unseeing.

Until, suddenly,—

And now I know not how I could have missed it,—

My eyes saw into yours,

And plumbed the deep wells of newly born desire.

Ah, dear my heart, what things your eyes did speak!

Not God’s own music of creation’s dawn,

Revealed to mystic in a holy trance,

Could pleasure me more sweetly.

So dear were your lips—

Your lips so kind and regal red.

My memory of your lips I cherish

As a great possession ...

Ah, flying joy,

Caught on the wings of Time ...

Tender oasis,

Ingemmed in a wilderness of grey!

Kisses, kisses,—

Kisses upon your red lips in the black night ...

When, alone in the long, quiet street,

By the door of the tavern,

Shielded from sight of those within,

The soft rain falling on our heads like a mother’s blessing,—

We bartered the clinging kisses of new desire.

And, as I held you to me,

The whole universe

Became informed of God,

And lay within my arms.


You are possessed by another.

How I hate him!

Hear the rational people say: “Jealousy is a primitive thing. A thing of the emotions; not of reason.”

Fools! You do not know scarlet desire, full-flooded!

Ah, my dearest, Graal of my heart’s longing,

Your stolen kiss is fresh upon my neck.

My lips are full of my secret kiss upon your neck.

You are with another, whom I hate; whom I like well for himself, but hate because he possesses you ...

Your possessor is old and ugly;

He can not love you as I can.

I can pour out for you the scented treasures of my young love.

Dear night of hope, when you gave me the whispered promise to come to me ...

Stealthy was I and cunning.

Friendly and attentive was I to your old lover (if lover he may be called, who is almost incapable of love).

And, all the time, I was scheming for you.

When the old man was away for an instant—

Oh, golden moment,—

I poured my whispered passion into your ears.

When he looked away, or, for a moment, was distracted, with swift undertones I declared myself to you.

How dear was your welcoming glance and your quickly toned assent!

You had a face so proud.

So quiet and poised among the throng.

Yet, for once, you gave me your eyes and, in so doing, gave me your priceless body and warm, comradely soul.

Ah, flash of answering love that transformed your face!

As a jewel of my memory’s treasure-casket may it be preserved.

When the drinking-place was closed, we walked along the dark street.

Do you remember?

We were four, luckily, and the old man was kept busy in conversation, half drunken as he was.

And we, with our secret between us, walked behind.

Our hands were tight clasped in the folds of our dress.

Tight clasped with the clinging hand caress; you and I trying to put into our hands all the longing that was in us.

All the time we were apprehensive of a sudden turning of the old man or the other ...

Then, the whispered troth, and the meeting-place appointed.

And, then, later, boldly, so openly and audaciously it brought no suspicion,

Under seeming of wine-induced jollity, we kissed.

And they laughed; it seemed a trivial jest to them.

But to us it was a sacrament.

But, best of all, my beloved, was the hurried clasping and kissing when we were alone in the dark.

Promise of joy to come.

Foretaste of the coming ecstasy.

And then we had to part.

I and my unaware friend.

You and the old man.

As I walked home that night,

How I hated him!

How I looked up at the pale-golden moon high-hung in the purple sky, and sang in my heart your praise and cursed in my heart your possessor ...

But we will out-wit him.

Young I am and young are you and the Law of Life bids us mate.

And a whole world standing between us would be melted and destroyed by the fire of our youth’s desire.


I swim with the tide of life towards the new;

I reach out hungered arms to flowing change.—

I smash the awesome totems of my kind;

My smarting vision bursts its cramping range.

A thousand voices yell within my soul;

A thousand hymns are chanting in my heart.—

I blast the mist of worlds and years apart;

I sense the blending glory of the whole.

The sap of flowers and trees, it mounts in me.

I feel the child within me cry and turn;

The crimson thoughts within me writhe and burn.—

I stand, with craving arms high-flung, before the rimless sea.

And every whirling, passionate star sings melodies to Me;

And every bud and every leaf has sought my private ear;

And to the quickening soul of Me has told its mystery,

As I sit in state in the heart of the world,

As I proudly hug the core of the world,

As I make me a boat of the whole, wide world ...

And then for new worlds steer.



There seems to be a kind of renaissance of motherhood in the air. Ellen Key has just done a book with that title which has come to us too late to be reviewed adequately in this issue; Mrs. Gasquoine Hartley has written The Age of Mother Power which will be brought out in the fall; and in Shaw’s new volume of plays (Misalliance, Fanny’s First Play and The Dark Lady of the Sonnets) there is a preface of over a hundred pages devoted to a discussion of parents and children which says some of the most refreshing and important things about that relationship I have ever read.

The home, as such, is rapidly losing its old functions—perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is changing its standards of functioning, and that the present distress merely heralds in a wonderful new conception of family potentiality. But a generalization of this sort can be disputed by any family egotist, so let’s get down to particulars. It’s all right for the enlightened of the older generation to preach violently that the family is a humbug, as Shaw does; that the child should have all the rights of any other human being, and that there is nothing so futile or so stupid as to try to “control” your children. It’s not only all right; it’s glorious! But what I’m more interested in, still being of the age that must classify as “daughter,” is this:—what are “the children” themselves doing about it? Have their rebellions been anything more than complaints; have they made any real stand for liberty; have they proved themselves worthy of the Shavian championship?

Well—I got hold recently of a human document which answered these questions quite in the affirmative. It was a rather startling thing because, while it offered nothing new on the theory side of the matter, it showed the theory in thoughtful action—which, for all the talk on the subject, is still rare. It was a letter of some twenty pages written by a girl to her mother at the time of a domestic climax when all the bonds of family affection, family idealism and obligation were tending to smother the human truth of the situation, as the girl put it. She was in her early twenties; she had a sister two or three years younger, and both of them had reached at least a sort of economic independence. She had come to the conclusion, after a good many years of rebellion, that the whole fabric of their family life was wrong; and since it was impossible to talk the thing out sensibly—because, as in all families where the children grow up without being given the necessary revaluations, real talk is no more possible than it is between uncongenial strangers—she had decided to discuss it in a letter. That medium does away with the patronage of the parents’ refusal to listen seriously:—that “Oh, come now, what do you know about these things?” If the child has anything interesting to say, if he puts any of his rebellion into his writing, the chances are that the parent will read the letter through; and the result is that he’ll know more about his child than he has learned in all the years they’ve been trying to talk with each other and not succeeding. I’m enthusiastic about this kind of family correspondence; it’s good training in expression and it clears the air—jolts the “heads” of the family into realizing that the thinking and planning are not all on one side. I once did it myself to my father—put ten pages of closely-written argument on his office desk (so that he’d open it with the same impersonality given to a business communication), in which I explained why I wanted to go away from home and learn to work, and why I thought such a course was an intelligent one. The letter accomplished what no amount of talking would have done, because in our talk we rarely got beyond the “Oh, now, you’re just a little excited, it will look different in the morning” stage. Father said it was rather a shock to him because he didn’t know I had ever figured things out to that extent; but we always understood each other better after that.

However—not to get lost in personalities—this is the letter the girl showed me and which she allows me to quote from partially:

If we are to continue living together in any sort of happiness and growth the entire basis of our present life will have to be changed. We can do it if we’re brave enough to do what people usually do only in books:—face the fact squarely that our family life is and has been a failure, and set about to remedy it. It will mean an entire change of home conditions, and these are the terms of the new arrangement:

When I said to you the other day that things would have to go my way now, you were horrified at the conceit of it. To get to facts, there’s no conceit in it—because my way is simply the practise of not imposing one’s will upon other people. I made the remark merely as a common sense suggestion, and made it out of a seriousness that is desperate. I say “desperate” because I mean that literally: the situation isn’t a question of a mere temporary adjustment—just some sort of superficial arrangement so that we can get on pleasantly for a while before the next outbreak comes. The plans Betty and I have discussed have been made in the interest of our whole future lives:—whether we’re going to submit (either by surrender or compromise or by just drifting along and not doing anything) to an existence of bickering, nagging, hours spent in the discussion of non-essentials, hideous lack of harmony—the whole stupid programme we’ve watched working for years and achieving nothing but unhappiness, folly, and a terrible “human waste.” You ask us to continue in your way; but from at least three points of view that way has been a failure. I ask you to adopt my way—which has not yet failed. That’s why I say it’s not conceit, but common sense.

My way is simply this: that we three can live together and work in peace and harmony if this awful bugbear of Authority is dropped out of the scheme. Each of us must go her own way; we’re all different, and there’s no reason why one should impose her authority on the lives of the others. You say that you should because you’re our mother. But that’s the thing I want to discuss.

Motherhood isn’t infallibility. If a woman is a wise woman she’s a wise mother; if she’s a foolish woman she’s a foolish mother. Because you’re our mother doesn’t mean that you must always be right; before being a mother you’re a human being, and any human being is likely to be wrong. To get down to brutal facts, we think you are not right about the whole thing. We’ve thought so for years, but now it’s come to the time when our thinking must be put into action. We’re no longer children; but even as mere infants we thought these things—without having the right to express them. What I’m trying to do now is to express them not as a daughter, but quite impersonally as a human being, as a mere friend, a sister, or anyone who might come to you stating that she believed with all her soul that you were wrong, and also stating, just as impersonally, that she wouldn’t think of modeling her line of conduct after that pattern which appeared to her so wrong. We must face the facts; if you do that squarely it doesn’t seem so bad, and you stop flinching about it. You get to the point where you’re not afraid to face them boldly, and then you begin to construct. And this is the only way to clear up the kind of rottenness and decay that flourishes in our family life.

It’s in the interest of this achievement that I say the thing a girl isn’t supposed to say to her mother—namely, that Betty and I will not any longer subscribe to the things you expect us to. The fact to face just as quickly as possible is this: it’s the starting point. When you realize that we feel it’s a question of doing this or laying a foundation for lives that are just half lives—hideous perverted things which miss all the beauty that you can put into the short life given you—I think you’ll see how serious we are. We’re at least two intelligent human beings, if we’re nothing else. And why should you ask or expect that we’ll submit to a system which to us means stupidity, misery, pettiness—all those things which we’ve seen working out for years and which, being at least intelligent, we want to keep away from?

That much settled, we can continue to live together in just one way—as three sisters or friends; the motherhood, in so far as it means authority or an attempt to mould us to your way, must be eliminated. A complete new family idealism can be built on such a basis. You will say that it’s an abnormal basis for any mother to accept. Of course it is; but the situation is abnormal, and the orthodox remedies aren’t applicable.

The reason I say the situation is abnormal is this: usually when a mother objects to her daughters’ behavior it is on some definite basis of opposing the things they do—like going to too many parties or falling in love with the wrong man. You have very little fault to find with the things we do. Your objections are on a basis of what we are—or, rather, of what we are not: that we are not orthodox, that we are not hypocrites, that we are not the kind of daughters the Victorians approved of. “Hypocrites” will sound paradoxical; but you have confessed that you would rather have us lie to you than to disagree with you; that you would rather have us be sentimental about “the way a girl should treat her mother” than to learn how we ought to treat ourselves. You call that being “respectful” and think that harmony is possible only under such conditions. We call it being “insulting,” and think that it’s the one sure way of destroying any chance of harmony. If we respect you it must be because we think you worthy of the truth: anything else is degrading to both sides.

You’ll say you can’t be satisfied to live with us and not give advice and all the other things that are part of a mother’s duty. You may give all the advice you want to; the keynote of the new situation will be that we’ll take the advice if we believe it’s right; if not we’ll ignore it, just as a man ignores his friend’s advice when he feels it to be wrong. Of course the wise person doesn’t give much advice; he simply lives his life the best way he knows how. That’s the only bid he can make for emulation. If we tell you that we don’t approve of the creed you have made you mustn’t be surprised if we try to formulate one of our own. There’s no reason for us to ask you to change just because we’re your daughters. You must do as you believe. But you must grant us the same privilege.

We disagree about fundamentals. If our beliefs were merely the vague, unformed ideas of children you might try to change them. But it’s too late now. So we can live together harmoniously only if we give up the foolish attempts at “influencing.”

We’re not living three generations ago. We’ve had Shaw since then, and parents and children aren’t doing the insulting things to each other they used to do. Among intelligent people some of the old issues can never raise their heads again. And so, it’s for you to decide:—whether we shall build on the new foundation together or separately.

It might be a play; it’s certainly rather good for reality. And what happened? The mother refused to “accept the terms”—which is not surprising, perhaps; and the household broke up into two establishments with results that will disappoint the conservative who thinks those girls should have been soundly beaten. The first wrench of it, the girl said, reminded her of George’s parting with Marion in Tono-Bungay:—that sense of belonging to each other immensely, that “profound persuasion of irreparable error” in the midst of what seemed profoundly right. “Nothing is simple,” Wells wrote in that connection; “every wrong done has a certain justice in it, and every good deed has dregs of evil.” But the girl and her mother have learned to be friends as a result of that break, and the latter will tell you now that it was the right thing to have done.

The preface to Misalliance has such a wealth of quotable things in it that the only way to get them appreciated is to quote. Shaw has said much of this before, but it is all so valuable that it ought to be shouted from the housetops:

The people against whom children are wholly unprotected are those who devote themselves to the very mischievous and cruel sort of abortion which is called bringing up a child in the way it should go. Now nobody knows the way a child should go.

What is a child? An experiment. A fresh attempt to produce the just man made perfect: that is, to make humanity divine. And you will vitiate the experiment if you make the slightest attempt to abort it into some fancy figure of your own: for example, your notion of a good man or a womanly woman. If you treat it as a little wild beast to be tamed, or as a pet to be played with, or even as a means to save you trouble and to make money for you (and these are our commonest ways), it may fight its way through in spite of you and save its soul alive; for all its instincts will resist you, and possibly be strengthened in the resistance; but if you begin with its own holiest aspirations, and suborn them for your own purposes, then there is hardly any limit to the mischief you may do.

Francis Place tells us that his father always struck his children when he found one within his reach.... Francis records the habit with bitterness, having reason to thank his stars that his father respected the inside of his head whilst cuffing the outside of it; and this made it easy for Francis to do yeoman’s service to his country as that rare and admirable thing, a Free-thinker: the only sort of thinker, I may remark, whose thoughts, and consequently whose religious convictions, command any respect.

Now Mr. Place, senior, would be described by many as a bad father; and I do not contend that he was a conspicuously good one. But as compared with the conventionally good father who deliberately imposes himself on his son as god; who takes advantage of childish credulity and parent worship to persuade his son that what he approves of is right and what he disapproves of is wrong; who imposes a corresponding conduct on the child by a system of prohibitions and penalties, rewards and eulogies, for which he claims divine sanction; compared to this sort of abortionist and monster maker, I say, Place appears almost as a Providence.

A gentleman once wrote to me and said, with an obvious conviction that he was being most reasonable and high minded, that the only thing he beat his children for was failure in perfect obedience and perfect truthfulness. On these attributes, he said, he must insist. As one of them is not a virtue at all, and the other is the attribute of a god, one can imagine what the lives of this gentleman’s children would have been if it had been possible for him to live down to his monstrous and foolish pretensions.

The cruelty (of beating a child) must be whitewashed by a moral excuse, and a pretense of reluctance. It must be for the child’s good. The assailant must say “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” There must be hypocrisy as well as cruelty.

The most excusable parents are those who try to correct their own faults in their offspring. The parent who says to his child: “I am one of the successes of the Almighty: therefore imitate me in every particular or I will have the skin off your back” (a quite common attitude) is a much more absurd figure than the man who, with a pipe in his mouth, thrashes his boy for smoking.

If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson (which is not at all necessary), hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example. But you had much better let the child’s character alone. If you once allow yourself to regard a child as so much material for you to manufacture into any shape that happens to suit your fancy you are defeating the experiment of the Life Force. You are assuming that the child does not know its own business, and that you do. In this you are sure to be wrong. The child feels the drive of the Life Force (often called the Will of God); and you cannot feel it for him.

Most children can be, and many are, hopelessly warped and wasted by parents who are ignorant and silly enough to suppose that they know what a human being ought to be, and who stick at nothing in their determination to force their children into their moulds.

Experienced parents, when children’s rights are preached to them, very naturally ask whether children are to be allowed to do what they like. The best reply is to ask whether adults are to be allowed to do what they like. The two cases are the same. The adult who is nasty is not allowed to do what he likes: neither can the child who likes to be nasty. There is no difference in principle between the rights of a child and those of an adult: the difference in their cases is one of circumstance.

Most working folk today either send their children to day schools or turn them out of doors. This solves the problem for the parents. It does not solve it for the children, any more than the tethering of a goat in the field or the chasing of an unlicensed dog in the streets solves it for the goat or the dog; but it shows that in no class are people willing to endure the society of their children, and consequently it is an error to believe that the family provides children with edifying adult society, or that the family is a social unit.

The family is in that, as in so many other respects, a humbug. Old people and young people cannot walk at the same pace without distress and final loss of health to one of the parties.... And since our system is nevertheless to pack them all into the same house and pretend that they are happy, and that this particular sort of happiness is the foundation of virtue, it is found that in discussing family life we never speak of actual adults or actual children, or of realities of any sort, but always of ideals such as The Home, a Mother’s Influence, a Father’s Care, Filial Piety, Duty, Affection, Family Life, etc., etc., which are no doubt very comforting phrases, but which beg the question of what a home and a mother’s influence and a father’s care and so forth really come to.... Women who cannot bear to be separated from their pet dogs send their children to boarding school cheerfully. They may say and even believe that in allowing their children to leave home they are sacrificing themselves for their children’s good.... But to allege that children are better continually away from home is to give up the whole popular sentimental theory of the family....

If you compel an adult and a child to live in one another’s company either the adult or the child will be miserable. There is nothing whatever unnatural or wrong or shocking in this fact, and there is no harm in it if only it be sensibly faced and provided for. The mischief that it does at present is produced by our efforts to ignore it, or to smother it under a heap of sentimental and false pretenses.

The child’s rights, being clearly those of any other human being, are summed up in the right to live.... And the rights of society over it clearly extend to requiring it to qualify itself to live in society without wasting other people’s time....

We must reconcile education with liberty. We must find out some means of making men workers and, if need be, warriors, without making them slaves.

In dealing with children what is needed is not logic but sense.

A child should begin to assert itself early, and shift for itself more and more not only in washing and dressing itself, but in opinions and conduct.... And what is a tyrant? Quite simply a person who says to another person, young or old, “You shall do as I tell you.”

Children are extremely cruel without intending it; and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the reason is that they do not conceive their elders as having any human feeling. Serve the elders right, perhaps, for posing as superhuman! The penalty of the imposter is not that he is found out (he very seldom is) but that he is taken for what he pretends to be and treated as such.

The family ideal is a humbug and a nuisance: one might as reasonably talk of the barrack ideal, or the forecastle ideal, or any other substitution of the machinery of social for the end of it, which must always be the fullest and most capable life: in short, the most Godly life.

Even apart from its insufferable pretensions, the family needs hearty discrediting; for there is hardly any vulnerable part of it that could not be amputated with advantage.

Do not for a moment suppose that uncultivated people are merely indifferent to high and noble qualities. They hate them malignantly....

Whether the risks to which liberty exposes us are moral or physical our right to liberty involves the right to run them. A man who is not free to risk his neck as an aviator or his soul as a heretic is not free at all; and the right to liberty begins, not at the age of 21 years, but of 21 seconds.

You may have as much fun at Shaw’s expense as you want on the grounds that he has never had to train a child and therefore doesn’t know the difficulties. But if you want to laugh last don’t read this preface or the play that follows it, because he will make a laughing-stock or a convert of you as surely as he will prove that he is far cleverer than you can ever hope to be.

Shaw and Ellen Key preach practically the same doctrine about the home; both are temperamentally incapable of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s programme—education outside the home: Shaw because the school is as big a humbug as the family, and Miss Key because “even if institutions can thus rough-plane the material that is to become a member of society, nevertheless they cannot—if they take in the major part of the child’s education—accomplish that which is needed first of all if we are to lift ourselves to a higher spiritual plane in an economically just society: they cannot deepen the emotional life.” Her insistence is strongly upon the education of the feelings as the most important factor in the soul-life. In her vision of the renaissance of motherhood she begins with Nietzsche’s dictum that “a time will come when men will think of nothing except education.” Not that any one can be educated to motherliness; but that our sentimentalization of motherhood as the ever holy, ever infallible power, must be abandoned, and a quality of intelligent mother-power cultivated by definite courses of training which she lays out in detail.

In view of the number of homes I know of that come legitimately under the Shaw denunciation I feel sometimes that any socialization of home life is more hopeful than an attempt to remodel the hopeless conditions inside the home. Regard the parents you know—the great mass of them outside the exceptions that encourage you to believe spasmodically in the beauty and noble need of parenthood. If they are not cruel or stupid or ignorant or smug or righteous or tyrannical or dishonest or unimaginative or weak or quiet ineffectual, they are something else just as bad. It has come to the point where a good parent is as hard to find as an honest man.

Very seriously, however, there is hope in the situation—there is renaissance in the air. And it has its foundation in the sensible and healthy (though so far only tacit) admission that it doesn’t matter so much what your child becomes as that he shall become something! You can’t do much with him, anyhow, and you may as well face it. You can give him, during his first few years, the kind of foundation you think will help him; and for the rest of the time you can do only one thing that he will really need from you: you can develop your own personality as richly as you want him to develop his. You can refuse to worry about him—since that does neither of you any good—and thereby save stores of energy that he may draw upon for your mutual benefit. It becomes a sort of game for two, instead of the uninteresting kind in which one player is given all the advantages. Compared with it the old-fashioned game in which the mother sacrificed everything, suffered everything, wore herself out trying to help her child win, looks not only very unfair and very unnecessary, but very wasteful. And have you ever noticed how the man who sentimentalizes about the wonderful mothers we used to have—his own in particular—is the one whose life is lived at the opposite pole of the mother’s wise direction?

If you disagree with all this, there is still one other method by which you may produce a child who will be a credit to himself and to society. You may be so utterly stupid and wrong-headed that he will rebel to the point of becoming something different. If you prefer this course no one need worry much about your child, because he’ll probably found a system of child education that will cause him to be famous; and if you have a daughter, she’ll probably become a Montessori.

The new home is a recognition that the child is not the only factor in society that needs educating. It assumes that no one’s education is finished just because he’s been made a parent. It means that we can all go on being educated together. It means the elimination of all kinds of domestic follies—for one, the ghastly embarrassment of growing up to discover that you’re different from the rest of your family, and for that reason something of a criminal. It means the kind of understanding that develops a child’s feeling instead of suppressing it, so that he won’t be ashamed, for instance, of having such glorious things as dreams and visions. It means artistic education: and Shaw says that we all grow up stupid or mad to just the extent to which we have not been artistically educated.


Under the lily shadow

and the gold

and the blue and mauve

that the whin and the lilac

pour down on the water,

the fishes quiver.

Over the green cold leaves

and the rippled silver

and the tarnished copper

of its neck and beak,

toward the deep black water

beneath the arches,

the swan floats slowly.

Into the dark of the arch the swan floats

and into the black depth of my sorrow

it bears a white rose of flame.

F. S. Flint.



A new and well born recruit has been added to the ranks of the Insurgents. It is true he appeared before we did, but we welcome him before he welcomes us, and thus are things evened. The Little Review, The Masses, Poetry, The International—all bearers of the sacred fire,—and now cometh The Glebe, heralding his approach with the chanting of many-colored strains. And, among the good things which The Glebe has put forth, is a book of portent: Des Imagistes.

The Imagistes form one of the latest schools, and it is meet that, before we read their work, we get some idea of their doctrine. Therefore I transcribe here some statements of representative Imagiste poets, which I have culled from Poetry, The Egotist, and other sources. Richard Aldington gives the following rules:

I. Direct treatment of subject. We convey an emotion by presenting the object and circumstance of the emotion without comment. For example, we do not say, “O how I admire that exquisite, that beautiful, that—25 more adjectives—woman.” But we present that woman, we make an “Image” of her, we make the scene convey the emotion....

II. As few adjectives as possible.

III. A hardness as of cut stone. No slop, no sentimentality. When people say the Imagiste poems are “too hard” ... we know we have done something good.

IV. Individuality of rhythm. We make new fashions instead of cutting our clothes on the old models.

V. The exact word. We make quite a heavy stress on that. It is most important. All great poetry is exact. All the dreariness of nineteenth century poetry comes from their not quite knowing what they wanted to say and filling up the gaps with portentous adjectives and idiotic similes.

Here is a definition by Ezra Pound which helps us: “An Image is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.”

The book, Des Imagistes, is an anthology, presumably of Imagist (let us, once for all, Anglicize the French word and have done with it) poetry. Yet, one of the foremost imagists, Richard Aldington, in a critique of this book,—comparatively modest, owing to the fact that his own poems formed a sumptuous fraction of the volume,—says that five of those whose poems are there included are not true Imagists. These are Cournos, Hueffer, Upward, Joyce, and Cannell. Mr. Aldington says he doesn’t mean that these poems are not beautiful—on the contrary, he admires them immensely—but they are not, “strictly speaking,” Imagist poems.

I agree that the poems of these five men are beautiful, especially the I hear an army of James Joyce and the Nocturnes of Skipwith Cannell; and I also maintain that, all unconsciously, the publishers of The Glebe have dealt a deadly blow to sectarian Imagism by including these non-Imagist poems in their anthology. Because, unless a school can prove that it alone has that unnameable wonder which excites us to deepest emotional turmoil, and which we call poetry, it has but little right to isolate itself or to separate its adepts from the bulk of poets. This may sound sententious, but is, nevertheless, true. Speak you in whatever mode or meter you will, if you arouse me to exultation, or to horror, or to the high pitch of any feeling,—if in me there is that responsive vibration that only true art can produce—then are you a poet.

Whitman does it to me. Poe does it to me. Baudelaire and Henley do it. To all of these there is in me a response. I’m awfully sorry, but that’s how it is. I think them all poets.

The Imagists believe in the direct presentation of emotion, preferably in terms of objectivity. They abhor an excess of adjectives, and, after a satiety of the pompous Victorian stuff, I am much inclined to sympathize with that tenet of their faith.

I wish, however, to make clear my own position, which is the one that most counts when I am writing. I am an anarchist in poetry: I recognize no rules, no exclusions.

If the expression of a certain thought, vision, or what not, requires twenty adjectives, then let us have them. If it be better expressed without adjectives, then let us abjure them—temporarily.

I am myself a poet (whether performance equals desire is doubtful). My object as a poet is to express the things which are closest to me. This sounds banal, but is better than rhetoric; words exist not with which to define with superclarity the poet’s function, source, and performance.

In the true expression of myself I might write Images which would be worshipped for their perfection by the Imagists. A moment after, I might gloat and wallow in the joy of my cosmic oneness (anathema to Imagists!) and, perhaps recall Whitman. The next minute, chronicling some shadowy episode of my variegated past, I may out-decay the decadent Baudelaire. But, this is always poetry if, by the magic of its words and the music of its arrangement, it speaks directly and beautifully to you, giving you that indescribable but unmistakeable sense of liberation and soul-expansion which comes on the contemplation of true art.

I think I have made myself clear. There is no quarrel with the Imagists, who have done some beautiful work, as such. But, if they claim monopoly of inspiration or art, as some of them appear to do, then—! Therefore, as a restricted and doctrinaire school, “a bas les Imagistes!” But, as an envigored company of the grand army of poets, “Vivent les Imagistes!”



Since even to poets—and poets are erroneously supposed to sing their hearts out—there remains a certain right of privacy, I am not sure that we do well in writing so much of their personalities and their individual views of life. When we read a poem, we feel a temperament behind it; but the effort to catalogue and label that mind and its “message” is a little impertinent, and very futile. Mr. Rupert Brooke is an excellent illustration. His fondness for this or that—whether in landscape, food, ideas, or morals—is hardly our concern. He deserves to be treated not as a natural-history specimen,—a peculiar group of likes and dislikes and convictions,—but as an artist.

Mr. Brooke has the distinction, rare for a young poet, of not having written any bad verse, or of not having printed it. His sole volume, Poems (Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1913), manifests in even its least notable pieces a creative spirit not allowed to run riot, but chastened and restrained by a keen sense of the obscure laws whose workings turn passion into a decorative pattern, and the emotions of the blood into intelligible designs.

Unless one is deeply concerned with such things, one is not likely to recognize the fundamental difference between those poets whose work is merely a more or less interesting emotional cry, and those nobler and more mature poets in whose work the crude elements of emotion are subordinated to the exigencies of an artistic conception. Only the latter have written fine poetry. The former may move us, as a crying child may move us; but they cannot exalt us to a peak that rises above the region of mere sympathetic response. They can never bring us a wind of revelation, or a flame from beyond the world. They are never the poets to whom other poets—and these are the only final judges—turn for inspiration or for fellowship.

For after all, there is no magic in any theme or in the emotion behind it; what is magical lies wholly in the design, the mould, in which the poet embodies a feeling that is probably common to all. No thought is so profound, no intimation so subtle, that it alone suffices as the stuff of poetry. But any thought, any intimation, if it be justly correlated and moulded into an organic and expressive shape, will serve to awaken echoes of a forgotten or unknown loveliness, and pierce its way into the very soul of the listener.

This sense of design of which I speak is not a hard, formal, conscious thing in the mind of the poet; but rather a carefully trained instinct, like the instinct that guides the hand of a fine draughtsman in the drawing of a curve of unexpected beauty. There is a right place to begin the curve, and a right place to end it; and at every instant of its length it is swayed and governed by a sense of relation to preceding and succeeding moments,—a sense subject to laws that defy mathematical formulation, but are perilously definite nevertheless. This sense of control is a rare thing to find in the work of so young a man as Mr. Brooke. Most young writers seem to approach their work as an unrestrained expression of themselves,—which it should be: but they forget that, for real self-expression, the most scrupulous mastery of the medium of expression is necessary. They regard the writing of verse as something in the nature of a joy-ride with an open throttle,—instead of seeing in it a piece of difficult driving, to be achieved only by the use of every subtlety of modulated speed and controlled steering that the mind is capable of employing.

That Mr. Brooke needs no such warning, let the following fine sonnet bear witness:


I think if you had loved me when I wanted;

If I’d looked up one day, and seen your eyes,

And found my wild sick blasphemous prayer granted,

And your brown face, that’s full of pity and wise,

Flushed suddenly; the white godhead in new fear

Intollerably so struggling, and so shamed;

Most holy and far, if you’d come all too near,

If earth had seen Earth’s lordliest wild limbs tamed,

Shaken, and trapped, and shivering, for my touch—

Myself should I have slain? or that foul you?

But this the strange gods, who had given so much,

To have seen and known you, this they might not do.

One last shame’s spared me, one black word’s unspoken;

And I’m alone; and you have not awoken.

It is significant that for his sonnets Mr. Brooke frequently chooses the Shakesperian form,—a form which, strangely, English poets have generally for at least a century discarded in favor of the Petrarchan model. The common feeling appears to be that the Petrarchan (a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a, c-d-e-c-d-e or some variation on that scheme) is musical and emotional; and that the Shakesperian (a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g) is harsh, cold, mechanical, and incapable of subtle harmonies. The exact reverse of this is the case. It is perhaps too much to ask the reader to write a sequence of a hundred sonnets in each form, as a test; but I am confident that after such an experience, he would agree with me. The Petrarchan form is capable of only one successful effect; a rising on the crest of a wave, whose summit is the end of the eighth line; and a subsidence of the wave, in the course of the last six lines. The Shakesperian form, on the other hand, is capable of a literally infinite variety of effects: no pattern is set arbitrarily in advance, but, as in blank verse, any pattern may be created. The first twelve lines—which are nothing but three quatrains—can be moulded into a contour that fits any shape or size of thought whatsoever; and the couplet at the end—a device despised by the ignorant—may be used either to clinch the purport of the preceding twelve lines, or to blend with them, or startlingly to refute them, or to serve any other end that the genius of the writer is capable of imagining. The mere novice will like this form because of its simple rhyme-scheme and its superficial ease of working; the experienced amateur will prefer the Petrarchan form because, while the more complex rhyme-scheme presents for him no difficulties, the basic inadequacies of his thought-structure are fairly well concealed by the arbitrary sonnet-structure; but the master of imagination and expression is likely to follow Shakespeare and the novice in preferring the true English form, wherein he can with perfect freedom create a subtly modulated movement that will answer to every sway and leap of his thought. Mr. Brooke, whose sense of form is keen, is one of those who can safely and wisely try the more interesting and more dangerous medium.

I have thought it worth while to talk a good deal of the sonnet in connection with Mr. Brooke for the reason that several of his very finest pieces are in this form. The following is one that stands a good chance of being in the anthologies a hundred years from now:


Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,

Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.

You said, “Through glory and ecstasy we pass;

Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,

When we are old, are old ...” “And when we die

All’s over that is ours; and life burns on

Through other lovers, other lips,” said I,

“Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!”

“We are Earth’s best, that learnt her lesson here.

Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!” we said;

“We shall go down with unreluctant tread

Rose-crowned into the darkness!” ... Proud we were,

And laughed, that had such brave, true things to say.

—And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.

Perhaps as magical as any of Mr. Brooke’s work is a longer poem called The Fish,—a remarkable and original piece of fantasy that makes the sub-aqueous universe vivid and real to the senses of the reader, and opens to him a new world of imaginative experience. Even the opening lines will serve to indicate something of the curious trance-quality:

In a cool curving world he lies

And ripples with dark ecstasies.

The kind luxurious lapse and steal

Shapes all his universe to feel

And know and be; the clinging stream

Closes his memory, glooms his dream,

Who lips the roots o’ the shore, and glides

Superb on unreturning tides ...

In other of these poems, one is struck by Mr. Brooke’s passion for ugliness. He loves to take the most hideous and base facts of life and give them a place in his work alongside the things of beauty. It would be hard to find anything more humorous and at the same time more repulsive than this:


Creeps in half wanton, half asleep,

One with a fat wide hairless face.

He likes love music that is cheap;

Likes women in a crowded place;

And wants to hear the noise they’re making.

His heavy eyelids droop half-over,

Great pouches swing beneath his eyes.

He listens, thinks himself the lover,

Heaves from his stomach wheezy sighs;

He likes to feel his heart’s a-breaking.

The music swells. His gross legs quiver.

His little lips are bright with slime.

The music swells. The women shiver,

And all the while, in perfect time

His pendulous stomach hangs a-shaking.

Now, a passion for ugliness like this is really a revolt against ugliness,—not the tender-skinned æsthete’s revolt, which consists in denying ugliness and escaping into a remote dream, but the strong man’s, the poet’s,—the revolt that is in effect a seizing of ugliness in all its repulsiveness and giving it a reason for existence by embodying it in a chosen pattern that is beautiful. By this method the poet masters emotion, even unpleasant emotion, making it subservient to a decorative design dictated by his own sense of proportion. It is thus that he is able to endure the world of actualities, and to find it comparable in interest with the world of his own thoughts. And by this process he saves himself from the sharpest bite of evil. For there is a curious consolation in transforming a spontaneous cry into a calculated work of art. By such a process one can give, to elements that before seemed only parts of a torturing chaos, their ordered places in a known scheme. One can impose propitious form upon one’s recollections, and create a little world of design-relations where the poignancy of experience is lost in the discipline of beauty. It is for this reason that the poet must be considered, in spite of everything, the happiest of men.



Back to the Old Greek for a starting-point! Two seeds, of the same species, though distant in space and time, go through an identical development. Root corresponds with root, stem with stem, flower with flower, fruit with fruit. Something seems to control all this change. It is not mere change. It is change with a plan, a purpose, a pattern. Hence the Greek said that there must be an unchanging type, a fixed “idea,” a spiritual, invisible norm, the “first” and “final” cause of all this change, to which all concrete, particular plants of the species are true. Back of the visible tangible plant must be its Eidos, its eternal norm, form, idea, “species.” So with everything. An elaboration of this conclusion gives the real unchanging, fixed eternal world back of, underpinning, supporting this visible changing, temporal world.

Such a world-view as this was made more valuable and more imperative by the break-up of the traditional morals and religion of the Greek state. The search for the meaning of life was precipitated by the disintegration of social sanctions and of the guarantees of custom. This search was voiced in the questionings of Socrates. It was made serious by the menacing individualism of the sophists. The outcome was that stability, security, confidence were found in the Platonic doctrine. Back of this ephemeral world is the real world of “ideas,” the unchanging and eternal, upon which we may rest our minds and hearts amid all this disappointing and desperate flux.

Passing by the Middle Ages, which, mutatis mutandis, appropriated this scheme, we pause over the significance of the Renaissance period. Two things are uppermost in one’s mind and as one thinks of the tumultuous beginnings of modern life which characterized the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. For one thing, the Renaissance was the culmination of a long period of absorption in which men had been gradually working their way back, by intellectual assimilation, towards the beginnings of the rich tradition which Church and Empire had stored up. This period of absorption was that five hundred years during which pagan hordes that had conquered Rome were conquered by the knowledge, faith, custom, civilization of their victims. From the cultural standpoint the new nations were hungry, the larder of the old civilization was replete, and hence authority on one side and absorption on the other became natural and inevitable. Thus, the philosophical preconceptions, the cosmological ground-principles, the whole general attitude toward life’s problems of the whole old world were fastened upon the mind of the young European peoples. It must not be forgotten that all this was aat the hatural achievement of the new European life and genius, but as foreign to it, as inherited (and at first as cherished) as grandfatherly ideas are in the mind of a child. If some day the child must shake off the old conceptions because he hears the call of life to go forth and achieve his own inner world, it would be only natural to expect that this young European giant should some day struggle to cast aside his intellectual inheritance and go forth to conquer reality for himself, in his own way, with his own weapons.

Well—and this is the second matter—it was just that very thing that was happening in the early “teens” of our era. The young western world began to look at life for itself, and a curious, astonished, wild-eyed look it was. Europe had learned at its mother’s knee to say: “The true world is fixed and final. Reality is static.” But looking out now in wonderment, seeing farther than the ancient world had ever seen, the new world said: “Ah, no! The world is not static. The world moves. Things change.”

Two well-known anecdotes are told of Galileo, which, if not authentic, are well invented. The one tells how, in the dome at Pisa during worship, the litany or the sermon boring him, he observed the cathedral chandelier move by the wind and, studying its vibrations, discovered a basic law of mechanics. The profound meaning of this anecdote is, obviously, that God spoke to the man more effectively through the self-moving pendulum than in the rigid, immobile litany from a rigid, immobile, hieratic heart; and that, if we do not understand such litany, and it bores us, we may still devoutly worship by meditating upon what we can understand.

The other narrative tells how, imprisoned, tortured inwardly by a compulsory recantation, Galileo gathered himself together and declared: “E pu se muove” (“it moves though”). Galileo never uttered these words; but the history of the world has uttered them for him! Yes, it moves itself, this earth, and in its motion it knocks everything down that is in its way. Not the earth alone moves—all that is in the world is eternal motion!

Man moves—in space, and time, extensively and intensively. Truth moves, and, moving, demolishes thrones and altars. Morality moves, making ancient good uncouth. Faith moves, the human heart putting into it the pulse beat of its life, and there is no way to stop this self moving Faith.

Those old stories are not true to fact, but they are true to truth. Galileo did say: “It is my opinion that the earth is very noble and admirable by reason of so many and so different generations and alterations which are incessantly made therein.” And Descartes joined him: “The nature of things physical is much more easily conceived when they are beheld coming gradually into existence, than when they are only considered as produced at once in a finished and perfect state.” Thus these men—and many others—voiced the changed temper that was coming over the world,—the transfer of interest from the permanent to the changing.

Slowly the new attitude was adopted in many departments of knowledge, but the facts of biology were apparently all against its becoming a general philosophical movement. The species of plants and animals had every appearance of being fixed and final, unchangeably stamped once for all upon the sentient world by the Creator. Not only so, but the wonderful adaptation of organism to environment, of organ to organism, a marvelous and delicate complexity of teleological adjustment, seemed to testify unanswerably to the reality of fixed and final types, to a static underpinning for all this changing order.

Origin of Species! That was the bomb with which Charles Darwin destroyed the last stronghold of a static world-view. “Species” is the scholastics’ translation of the Greek Eidos, the fixed and final type or idea which is first and final cause of the changing life of each creature. Species is a synonym and epitome of fixity and finality; it is the key-word of a static other-world reality. When Darwin said, “Origin of Species,” he was cramming the conflict of the ancient wisdom and the modern knowledge into a bursting phrase. When he said of species what Galileo said of the earth, e pu se muove, he emancipated once for all genetic and experimental ideas as an organon of asking questions and looking for explanations. He lifted the biological gates which had kept back the flood of change from inundating the old fields of fixity.

In sum: The world of thought is slowly, painfully making a change in its fundamental attitude toward reality such as is not made oftener than once in several millennia: One general conception of reality was all-controlling for 2,000 years. Then from Copernicus to Darwin many factors in a world-subversive change were struggling for recognition. Conceptions that had reigned in the philosophy of nature and of knowledge for 2,000 years rested in the superiority of the fixed and final: they rested on treating change and origin as signs of defect and unreality. In laying hands upon the sacred ark of absolute permanency; in treating forms that had been regarded as types of fixity and perfection as originating and passing away, the “origin of species” introduced a mode of thinking that in the end was bound to transform the logic of knowledge, and hence the treatment of all our values and verities and virtues.

But heaven and earth and species are not all. Shall there be no Copernicus of the moral heavens, no Galileo of the moral earth, no Darwin of the moral life?

Hove now Friedrich Nietzsche into sight!

Loyalty has ever been the basic virtue, foundation of life and of law. Naturally, in the moral world, the objects to which loyalty shall be related will be objects that are real. But, as we have seen, in the old world, the real was the unchangeable, the immobile, the finished, the final, the absolute. To these, therefore, the old loyalty was directed and dedicated.

Comes now Friedrich Nietzsche, a man in whose name the entire moral revolution of our time has found its most pregnant expression, and declares war upon that old loyalty, and does so in the name of a new culture, a new humanity. To him this loyalty is not only an empty folly; it is more than that—a crime against life, a weakening of human power. To him, not stationariness, but self-changing, is the life task of man. He feels himself akin only to him who changes. Every moment of life has an existence, a right, a content of its own. No present point of time has a right to lay claim, on its own account, to the next point. From what we now will, think, feel, no man may presume to require us to will, think, feel the same way tomorrow. And this preaching of Nietzsche’s on the duty of change as against the old duty to change never has found more ears to listen and more hearts to believe than any other preaching of our time. This new preaching is at once most influential and most dangerous. But its very dangerousness is a most wholesome and necessary part of the modern moral view of life.

Is loyalty, then, something about which there is nothing to be learned? Is there no counterfeit and caricature of loyalty? No mask behind which men hide their indolence and complacency and thoughtlessness? You meet a man whom you have not seen in long years, and you say to him: “Why, you have not changed a bit, you are precisely the same as in the old days.” Have you praised him, necessarily? If he left you as a child, looking and speaking and thinking and acting like a child, ought he not to have changed? Does a fruit remain what it was as bud and blossom? Life is development—but development is a constant self-changing. Development is an incessant dis-loyalty to what is already there. And if man, just because he is man, and has a will of his own and can set himself against the law of development, should sell his life to the force of inertia—would not that be a crime against life? And yet, even such a deed men call loyalty! Men say that they want to be faithful to the heritage of the fathers. Which is often enough simply to say that they mean to store away their heritage where it will be kept from the world’s light and air that would destroy it—but where, also, it can enter into no human intercourse, serve no life, fulfil no end of life. This loyalty of unchangeableness to the heritage puts the talent in a napkin, and there can be no increase. Men say that they mean to abide faithful to their faith unto death. Often enough this is only stubbornness and narrowness. It requires no art and no merit to exercise such faithfulness. All one needs to do is to close one’s eyes and ears to what lies beyond the bounds of this faith, to forego the questionings and uncertainties that others must pass through,—and then to send in one’s claim to the reward and gratitude due such loyalty! Today it is quite the thing at college commencements to spy out the men who are models of such loyalty and to say: “Look how firm and steadfast and rock-like they are!” But it cannot be denied that much of this illustrious loyalty is nothing but natural or voluntary incapacity to think more widely than others have taught them to think, or, for the matter of that, permitted them to think. Back of this bragging about principles which are vainly declared to be unshakable, there is frequently nothing but an ill-natured obstinacy whose so-called principles have no other basis than the self-interest to which they are contributary. It was this loyalty to the finished,—finished cult, finished belief, finished customs and practices, finished religion and morality,—that stoned the prophets and crucified Jesus. It was this kind of loyalty that the mediaeval church imposed upon the “Faithful,” imprisoning the conscience therein for time and for eternity. Bound by an oath of loyalty, the priest renounced the world; the monk and nun under monastic vows dedicated their lives to the church, their services to “heaven.” And hence it marked an epoch when Luther called their loyalty a sin, and went forth into the world, the home, the vocation, the business, breaking the vows of priest and cloister. Was such disloyalty to a sacred obligation loyalty in the sixteenth century, and shall it be blasphemy in the twentieth? Is it not rather a blasphemy to preach to men a loyalty which obligates them to forego the use of their best and noblest powers, which condemns them to spiritual standstill in the eternal progressive movement of life?

Take some illustrations which will test insight and courage. There is the constitution of the United States. Shall we assume toward it the loyalty of fixedness and finality, or the loyalty of change? No man of veneration and equipoise would favor capricious or precipitate or superfluous change in so noble a document. But, for all that, the experience of life made the constitution for life’s sake, and the maker is more than the made. If our national life pass—as pass it has—into new seas and under new stars, where life needs a change of the constitution, then the principle which prompted the people to frame the constitution in the first place requires them to change it to meet the new needs of our growing and changing national life. The superficial loyalty to the changeless letter must yield to the profound loyalty to the ever-changing spirit. The constitution is for the sake of the people, not the people for the sake of the constitution. They, rather than it, are sacred.

Similarly, there is the modern problem of marriage, the family, and the home. Shall ours be the old loyalty that holds the customs of the past inviolable, marriage indissoluble, the inherited patterns of home and family unchangeable—the loyalty of fixedness and finishedness; or shall it be the loyalty of change in all these matters to meet the changing needs and situations of our burdened and bewildered modernity? Again, no man of sanctity and sanity and stability of soul can favor any arbitrary radicalism that is subversive of time-honored institutions for no better reason than a fleeting fancy, or the passing of the romance of the honeymoon, or raw self-will, or an unanticipated burden or hardship. But, for all that, the marriage institution, like all others, is for the sake of man and not man for the sake of the institution. It was life that originated our domestic ideas and customs and conventions and codes; and if ever life, in the interest of its well-being and progress, requires changes suited to new needs and new days, then the “new loyalty” to life that ever changes must replace the old loyalty to codes that never change. Codes, too, are for the sake of life, not life for the sake of codes. No loyalty to the letter that means disloyalty to the spirit.

And there is the everlasting problem of education. Education in the past had for its subject matter symbols—reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, rhetoric, logic, and the like. The new education has for its subject matter realities—nature and history. The old education taught topics or subjects; the new education teaches boys and girls. According to the old education, knowledge precedes action; according to the new education, action precedes knowledge. In the old education things were done to the pupils; in the new education the pupils do things.

The old school teacher was a “star and dwelt apart”—that is, his aloofness and superiority were indispensable. He taught from above. The new school teacher is down among the students, a democrat of democrats. The old school teacher communicated knowledge from without; the new school teacher develops interest from within. The old education was atomistic, the new organic. The old education was a donation to the pupils, the new is an achievement by them. The old education proceeded on the assumption that man is primarily intellect; the new that he is primarily will. The old education preceded life and fitted for it; the new education is a part of life itself.

It is a great change. According to the old theory, there was perfection to start with, perfection at the top. All that we needed was to pipe it down through aqueducts so well constructed that nothing that was in could get out, nothing that was without could get in; and thus—thus only—would the vain and empty world and life be filled with value and verity and virtue—donation on the one side, reception on the other.

But the time came when men asked: if there is perfection to start with, why start? Why paint the lily? And if there is perfection to start with, how does there come to be imperfection? How can imperfection come from perfection? Ugly questions, these! Soon the world was turned upside down.

The new theory holds that matters began very humbly and struggled and fought their way slowly upward. Ascent from below, not descent from above. No values or verities or virtues donated, all achieved. Education an evolution, not a communication.

Some business men favor the old education. Their world is one of mechanism and authority. They think that they do not need men with initiative, spontaneity, freedom. That is their prerogative, as it was of the king of old. They need the mechanical, the automatic, the impersonal in man. This fits into their world. This is what the old education stands for. The new education unfolds and matures personalities. Personalities make good masters but poor servants.

Business men as a class are perhaps our best men. But the very conditions of business economy and certainty are the impersonal, the unfree, the mechanical. So business has warped the judgment of some good men and led them astray on the most fundamental problem in the history of the race.

Were it not multiplying illustrations, the same point might be urged as to politics. Does not party loyalty often mean personal servility? As a matter of fact what is loyalty in one situation, or one age, may be simple cowardice or abjectness in another.

The upshot is that the modern man has to endure the reproach of not thinking and feeling and judging and acting as men formerly did—the reproach of perfidy toward the past, its solutions and its sanctities. In consequence, it would not be a bad idea for him to cultivate respect for the past, gratitude for its achievements, appreciation for its unfinished tasks. Still, he should learn to accept the reproach as praise,—recognition that, though problems remain the same, solutions change; though sanctity abide, the objects which are sacred change. Evolutionism no longer recognizes any fact as sacred. Man is inwardly working on ever farther, ever overcoming the old and conquering ever the new—this must also be recognized.

It is said that we ought to love the old, the finished. But is love blind? Does it consist in advocating the point of view of one’s friend, not because it seems true, but just because love requires it? Is loyalty of love the faculty of adaptation with which we remodel ourselves after the image of another? Is one disloyal in love if one affirm one’s self against another, or if another affirm himself against one? Surely fidelity of friendship, even of marriage, ought not to be the grave of one’s own being. Surely loyalty should be the life and not the death of one’s self! Surely we must all see with our own eyes, hear with our own ears, judge with our own judgments, love with our own hearts, for the quite plain reason that we have no others with which we can do these things.

And so, if we take up this great subject in a large way, as Nietzsche has done, we see that we have all broken with the old loyalty, and that the consummation of this breach has been life and blessing to us. We moderns all somehow live in a disloyalty which we have committed—imputed to us as transgression, viewed by us as our strength and pride. We have all become unfaithful,—as children to our parents, as pupils to our teachers, as disciples to our masters. We felt ourselves bound to them; we loosed ourselves from them. The paths they walked we have forsaken. In the strange untrodden land whither our vagrant feet have wandered, we “came to ourselves” in declaring disobedience to the laws of tradition, in breaking loyalty to the rules of the schools. It is precisely on this account that once again we have won spiritual life, a living art and science, a living religion and morality. We have snapped the fetters fastened upon us in the name of the old loyalty, and all that is great and fruitful and constructive in the life of the modern spirit is a monument of the disloyalty which its creators have built thereto. Nothing is gained any longer by our screening ourselves behind this word loyalty, and making believe that we shall not be found out! We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to the world to confess frankly that we have done with the old loyalty to the unchangeable and the finished, for that is to be loyal to an unreality, since there is no such thing. Even God, if he be the living God, cannot be the same yesterday, today, and forever. But we owe it even more to ourselves and to the world to strive for a clear position in reference to this question which is so profoundly agitating our entire moral world today. We may not abandon the field to those who would demolish the temple of the old goddess simply that they may celebrate upon its ruins the orgies of their caprice and inconstancy and characterlessness. If ever there was a doctrine whose right is easily turned into a wrong, whose truth into an error, whose blessing into a curse, it is this Nietzschean doctrine of the right and the duty of ceaseless change, of self-dependence, by which we are redeemed from slavery to the past. If the old loyalty—loyalty to the past—no longer holds men, wherewith shall they be held? Shall they be like the weathervane blown hither and thither by every wind of doctrine, or like the rudderless ship driven aimless and planless over the high seas by the midnight hurricane? Better a thousand times be tethered to the old loyalty than to be doomed to such a life of levity and poiselessness and flightiness.

But the new loyalty which we seek, without which we go forward into no future, should it not be more stable and enduring and loyal than the old? If a moment releases itself from what to it is past, and validates its right as a self-dependent life to its predecessor, a birth has transpired in man, and birth means pain. Without such pain, man has changed his situation, but not himself. A new color has come upon the motly manifoldness of his life—he has remained the same. Trees do not have their roots in the air. Weaklings cannot make the real change—it needs a strength that they do not have. The strength to change really—only he has this who bears the new loyalty in his own bosom; loyalty not to his opinion, not to his learning and heritage, but loyalty to his growth, to the great eternal goal of life, to the great sacred task which he has yet to fulfil in life.

Loyal to ourself? Would that it might be so! But the self that we would at first be loyal to is not our self at all. It is foreign wares, loaded upon us,—first even in the nursery, slyly slipped subsequently upon our shoulders,—foreign words, foreign worths! Loyalty to what satiates, not the better loyalty to our hunger! We begin to live only when we live in our hunger; our hunger is we ourselves. It is a good satiety only if a new hunger comes from it. Loyalty to our self—this is to keep our life alive in us—a young glad life, that never grows old, because the old is ever transmuted into a new. This loyalty to ourself,—it is to expel from every truth its error, from every boundary its limit which blocks the vision into the wide world, the blue sky, and the distant sea.

Loyalty to men? Would that it might be so! But such loyalty costs so much trouble and toil. For the faithfulness that is genuine and living, there is no law, no binding I must, only a glorious I will. One day we shall have done with the loyalty which means master and servant, leader and led—the loyalty of the dog that is loyalest to him who feeds him best or beats him hardest. One day we shall understand what the loyalty of man means—this new loyalty toward man, in which souls meet and chime and work together, and live in each other, yet each remains itself and true to itself.

So, then, the law of change and of growth is the law of the new loyalty, as the law of fixedness and finishedness and finality was of the old. It is the duty of such new loyalty to protect itself against the deadening force of habit and of petrifaction, to guard itself against any obedience by which it would become disloyal to itself. Such loyalty is too honorable to humor inertia and laziness under its banner, too courageous to conceal cowardice behind a slave’s patience.

But thought on our theme is usually lifted up to where the sky keeps company with the granite and the grass, to a religious elevation. Nor do we need stop short here. Ultimately the new loyalty is loyalty to God, the new God, of whom something must be said later. The God in whom all fulness dwells summons us to ever new truths, and reveals underground wells of living water throwing its spray aloft on life’s ferns and flowers. To be loyal to him is never to sunder ourselves from his fulness and freshness, but to co-work with him who is forever making all things new.

And now I think we are at the end. The result? It is needless to state it, but I would not shrink from the thankless task. In a word, then, the new loyalty—in harmony with the whole great changed view of the world and of life—is loyalty to change and becoming rather than to finishedness and finality; to the future rather than to the past; to ideals rather than to conventions; to freedom rather than to authority; to personality rather than to institution; to character rather than to respectability; to our hunger rather than to our satiety; to the God that is to be rather than to the God that is. Thus the loyalty abides, but the objects of loyalty change and pass.



All the day long I have been sitting in my shop

Sewing straw on hat-shapes according to the fashion,

Putting lace and ribbon on according to the fashion,

Setting out the faces of customers according to fashion.

Whatever they asked for I tried to give them;

Over their worldly faces I put mimic flowers

From out my silk and velvet garden; I bade Spring come

To those who had seen Autumn; I coaxed faded eyes

To look bright and hard brows to soften.

Not once, while they were looking in the glass,

Did I peep over their shoulders to see myself.

It would have been quite unavailing for me,

Who have grown grey in service of other women,

To have used myself as any sort of a model.

Had I looked in the mirror I should have seen

Only a bleached face, long housed from sunshine,

A mouth quick with forced smiles, eyes greyly stagnant,

And over all, like a night fog creeping,

Something chill and obscuring and dead—

The miasmatic mist of the soul of the lonely.

When night comes and the buyers are gone their ways,

I go into the little room behind my shop.

It is my home—my silent and lonely home;

But it has fire, it has food; there is a bed;

Pictures are on the walls, showing the faces

I kissed in girlhood. I am myself here;

All my forced smiles are laid away with the moline

And the ribbon and roses. I may do as I please.

If I beat with my fists on the table, no one hears;

If I lie in my bed, staring, staring,

No one can know; I shall not suffer the pity

Of those who, passing, see my light edge the grey curtain.

One night, long ago, merely for madness

I stripped myself like a dancing girl;

I draped myself with rose-hued silks

And set a crimson feather in my hair.

There were twists of gold lace about my arms

And a girdle of gold about my waist.

I danced before the mirror till I dropped!

(Outside I could hear the rain falling

And the wind crept in beneath my door

Along my worn carpet.)

I folded my finery

And prayed as if kneeling beside my mother.

Whether there was listening I cannot say.

There was praying! There was praying!

Never again shall I dance before the mirror

Bedizened like a dancing girl—never, my mother!

I have a low voice and quiet movements,

And early and late I study to please.

As long as I live I shall be adorning other women,

I shall be decking them for their lovers

And sending them upon women’s adventures.

But none of them shall see behind this curtain

Where I have my little home, where I weep

When I please, and beat upon the table with my fists.



In one of Chicago’s big department stores of the cheaper type you may—provided you’re something of a poet—walk straight into the heart of a musical adventure. It is that amazing, resentful, and very satisfying adventure of discovering genius at work, under the by no means unique condition of being unrecognized.

You go to one of the upper floors where the big lunch-room is. You find a table near a platform in the center, on which sit four musicians—a pianist, a ’cellist, a clarinetist (if there is such a thing), and a second violinist. You expect the usual clamor....

Suddenly you notice a fifth figure who has been sitting quietly in the background. She comes forward with a violin in her hand, and stands ready to play. There is something still about her—that quality of stillness which is invariably the first thing you notice in any dynamic. She seems not scornful of her surroundings, but quite indifferent to them; not arrogant, but sure of power; not timid, and yet incredibly soft and shy and serious. She is plainly foreign; she is German, looks French, and plays like a Viennese. Or, to be exact, she merges the German “heaviness” with the Viennese gay-sadness, and the result is a sensuousness that is both deep and clear, with the haunting wail that distinguishes all the music which comes from Vienna. She looks almost like a little girl; but you would notice her any place because of that stillness and the haunting appeal that always attaches to a certain type of eyes and mouth—the kind which seem to say: “I will make music for you; I will take you to a new world. I will do it because I can dream intensely.”

She begins to play, and you understand why you watched her. The depth of it startles you at first—it is so big, so moving, so almost uncanny coming from such a small person, whose hands seem scarcely large enough to hold a violin. It is playing of the Mischa Elman type, without his emotional extravagances and with something that is more soul-shaking. If I were an Imagist I could find the right word; but this music eludes me. It is sure and simple. It grips you till you don’t know whether you are listening to music or to the urge of some hidden inner self. It is a divine thing.

In the midst of it the waitresses rush back and forth, the patrons eat their food with interest, only pausing to applaud when some tawdry vaudevillian sings a particularly vulgar song. The dishes clang, some one upsets a tray with a great crash, and at intervals there is a tango outrage by a couple who know nothing about dancing. Underneath it all the violin throbs its deep accompaniment.

I wish I could make a poem of it. I have thought of taking my poet friends there and having the thing done. But almost without exception the poets I know don’t care for music essentially; though why a mind keyed to the tone qualities of words should be so tone-deaf in another medium has always been a mystery to me. And what a poet’s opportunity here: “the boom and squeal,” and out of it music that is as sacred as an organ meditation and as passionate as a Russian slave song!

However, generalizations will not serve to give any musician’s special quality, and this one is so emphatically individual as to make description easy. To begin with, she was concertising in Europe as a wonder-child at the age of six. For a number of years her playing brought forth a chorus of superlatives from the critics: “her full blooming tone, her great taste in phrasing, economic use of the bow, glowing passion of interpretation; her fiery temperament, remarkable earnestness and will power, the soul, life, and emotion in her presentations.” The verdict of a “a veritable artist soul” appeared to be unanimous; and one man summed up with admirable insight and simplicity: “Her chief excellence is in this: that she seeks her main task to be an artist in the real and earnest sense of the word, and whosoever comes to hear music does not go empty from her.”

Friedrich Spielhagen wrote a sonnet to her, of which I have a careful, but metrically inadequate, translation:

Thou standst before us, a picture of wondrous charm;

The little violin thou holdst, in tenderess,

Half maidenly, half like a child in dress

Hast soared away from Heaven’s angel-farm

Toward where thy large mild eye is dreaming.

And he ended it with these lines:

Thou movest thy bow;

No sounds are these of nicely movéd strings,

No, No! Thy own sweet soul rings out and sings

The melodies that have with you come

From yon high wide-sphered home,

To where thy longing soul swings upward now.

Our apologies to Mr. Spielhagen for that more than atrocious twelfth line and for the other deficiencies! But the last line is particularly keen in its photography. It has the spirit of her.

After much touring in Europe she came to this country and played under the same promising conditions. The critics predicted that if she should decide to stay here she would probably out-rival our own few noted women violinists. And then came a period of sorrow, bereavement, hardship, and illness—and in the meantime the problem of living. That problem becomes a real one when an artist loves life just a bit more than her art and refuses to make that spiritual compromise which life tries to wrest from one in the hard places. One must live, and it takes money to do it rather than art. The romantic notion that all genius has to do is to stand up and make itself heard is one of the silliest notions the great public suffers from. Only the hundredth person recognizes genius when it proclaims itself; the rest are as blind as this department-store audience until the sign-posts have been put up, with letters large enough to be easily read. Also, the amount of machinery and money involved in the arrangement of concert engagements would surprise the public as much as the true stories of what it costs the “wealthy patron” to get his artist started toward recognition.

And so this particular genius will continue for a while to cast her pearls in a lunch-room, and a few of the discerning will find her out and thank their stars that they may hear such beauty at the small cost of a bad club sandwich and a worse cup of coffee.

If you go there you will be haunted by music for days afterward. I say “haunted” because that is the only word to describe your feeling of pursuit by melody. And I think I have discovered the reason for it. A poet once said that the only permanent emotion we human beings are capable of is—not love, as we like to imagine—but longing. And that is what this music says to you. It is the very essence of longing—the eternal seeking, the rapturous satisfaction, the disappointment, and the renewed quest. I have never heard such a quality of sehnsucht in any music; it is almost more than you can bear. Of course, in these surroundings, you must listen to the complete gamut of new popular songs; but at intervals, when the managerial demand for “noise” can be ignored for a moment, you will be rewarded by the Thais Meditation or a Schutt waltz or that exquisite Saint-Saens poem called The Swan—or even a Tschaikowsky song. Where does the tone come from, you keep wondering? Not from a wooden instrument, not from small human fingers, surely. It is tone of such richness and depth that you sometimes have the illusion of each note being sung twice. “It transcends music to me entirely and becomes a matter of life—or of soul,” said a critic who listened with me the other day.

Through it all the artist’s earnest face is still and unchanging. That is part of the fascination—the contrast of that tumultuous singing and the thoughtful, dreaming face that seems to control it all. “My violin belongs to me—yes,” she says, “but that is such a cold word. It is part of my body. I feel it is growing on me just like my arms and hands. I could not live without it.” If you watch her closely you will decide that her playing is the result of an extraordinary sensitiveness to life. If you know her, as I do, you will expand that judgment to this one: an extraordinary strength about life; for she is both deep and strong—qualities that are supposed to be inseparable, but which are so rarely found together that their combination means—a great spirit.

I am afraid I am too much of a musician not to be a romanticist. With out music life to me would be a mistake.—Nietzsche to Brandes, 1888.


All restlessness, misery, all crime, is the result of the betrayal of one’s inner life.—Will Lexington Comfort in “Midstream.”


Our New Poet

Charles Ashleigh, who makes his appearance in this issue, was born in London twenty-five years ago. He was educated in England, Switzerland, and Germany, and speaks French, German, and Spanish, “as well as two or three varieties of English and American slang.” He has wandered in Europe, South America and this country, traveling on foot through Argentine, Chile, and Peru, and in the States as a hobo. He has been sailor, newspaper man, tramp, actor, farm hand, railroad clerk, interpreter, and a few other things. He has written verse, short stories, social studies, literary criticism, and lectured on his travels as well as on sociological, literary, and dramatic subjects. Quite unlike those poets who insist that they have no opinions on any subject—that they simply photograph life—Mr. Ashleigh states his creed in this way: “I am interested in Labor, literature, and many other aspects and angles of Life. Men and deeds are to me of primary importance and books secondary.” We look for big things from this young man.

Two Important Books

Mary Austin has written a study of marriage which she calls Love and the Soul Maker. It appears to be about as big a thing on the subject as any American woman has done. Will Lexington Comfort has written an autobiographical novel which he calls Midstream. It tells the truth about a man’s life, and is also a big thing. Both will be reviewed in the August issue.

The Congo

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay’s new poem, The Congo, is to appear in The Metropolitan for August. Mr. Lindsay’s opinion is that the best effect will be got by reading it aloud.

The Basis for a New Painting

Truly these Imagists are enchanting! The following examples are selected from the anthology published by The Glebe:

Fan-Piece for Her Imperial Lord

O fan of white silk,

clear as frost on the grass-blade,

You also are laid aside.

Ezra Pound.

In A Garden

Gushing from the mouths of stone men

To spread at ease under the sky

In granite-lipped basins,

Where iris dabble their feet

And rustle to a passing wind,

The water fills the garden with its rushing,

In the midst of the quiet of close-clipped lawns.

Damp smell the ferns in tunnels of stone,

Where trickle and splash the fountains,

Marble fountains, yellowed with much water.

Splashing down moss-tarnished steps

It falls, the water;

And the air is throbbing with it;

With its gurgling and running;

With its leaping, and deep, cool murmur.

And I wished for night and you.

I wanted to see you in the swimming-pool,

White and shining in the silver-flecked water.

While the moon rode over the garden

High in the arch of night,

And the scent of the lilacs was heavy with stillness.

Night and the water, and you in your whiteness, bathing!

Amy Lowell.

Au Vieux Jardin

I have sat here happy in the gardens,

Watching the still pool and the reeds

And the dark clouds

Which the wind of the upper air

Tore like the green leafy bough

Of the divers-hued trees of late summer;

But though I greatly delight

In these and the water lilies,

That which sets me nighest to weeping

Is the rose and white colour of the smooth flag-stones,

And the pale yellow grasses

Among them.

Richard Aldington.

Ts’ai Chi’h

The petals fall in the fountain,

the orange coloured rose-leaves,

Their ochre clings to the stone.

Ezra Pound.

Liu Ch’e

The rustling of the silk is discontinued,

Dust drifts over the courtyard,

There is no sound of footfall, and the leaves

Scurry into heaps and lie still,

And she the rejoicer of the heart is beneath them.

A wet leaf that clings to the threshold.

Ezra Pound.




The man who fought the big battle for Ibsen and Nietzsche should have filled Madison Square Garden; as it was, the little Comedy Theatre wasn’t large enough to hold the audience, although Scandinavian patriotism accounted for a good deal of it. He came on the stage with Brander Matthews, the apotheosis of the academic, and the contrast was striking. Matthews was tall, dull, professional. Brandes, with his keen face, alert eyes, and shock of grayish hair, was possibly the most fully alive person in the room. He radiated interest—human connection with anything vital.

We were all a little sorry his subject was Shakespeare; we wanted to hear of something modern. And when the first part of the lecture was read, couched in scholarly but terse English, we felt cheated. It was good criticism, and informing, but it wasn’t the sort of thing we had expected from Brandes. Suddenly a spark shot out. (The quotation is from memory):

We cannot emphasize too strongly the fact that all works of literature which have a real effect on mankind, all works which endure hundreds of years, find their inspiration not in books, but in life.

The words were pronounced with excited intensity. Soon came another:

We used to define the genius as the man who interprets his age; now we know that the genius is the man who, working against his age, creates new times.

Dr. Brandes broke into a lively sally at the Baconians. He spoke of Shakespeare’s errors in scholarship. These Bacon would surely have avoided, but of Shakespeare’s great lines Bacon could not possibly have written one. He ended that section with something like this:

The Baconian theory was founded by the uneducated, it was developed by the half-educated, and it is now held solely by idiots.

The audience was immensely pleased at his sharp fire.

Dr. Brandes’ epigrams sometimes sound as if he substituted wit for wisdom. But that is because the epigrams stick and are repeated. His method is to open with an epigram to catch the attention, to proceed with a line of sound argument, and at the end to finish superbly with a sentence that contains his conclusions and impales his opponent at the same time.

With Frank Harris, Dr. Brandes was no more gentle. By parallel quotation Harris was made to appear ridiculous. Brandes showed that whatever in his writings is sound has been said before. This was the end of the lecture:

Mr. Harris says that it is possible to admire Shakespeare, but that it is impossible to worship him. Ladies and gentlemen, I do the impossible.

Afterwards came a supper of the Scandinavian Society, at which the guest of honor made a speech that looked brilliant and was lively even as a piece of pantomime—but it was in Danish. Dr. Brandes was beaming and unaffectedly cordial with everybody. He smilingly interrupted one of the pompous addresses in his honor to correct a quotation from Goethe. He proposed a toast to the charming young lady who acted as his American manager, and said that the success of his tour was due entirely to her. Later a consul made a highly complimentary, but exceedingly tedious, speech. Dr. Brandes fidgeted until he could stand it no longer, then he quickly got up, took his champagne glass, ran over to the orator and slapped him on the shoulder, saying, “You are a very nice man.” The rest was drowned in the toast.


The other day an illustrator saw a hand-mirror in a publisher’s office. He put the mirror against a book cover and held it at arm’s length. “There,” he said, “is the ideal jacket for a novel. Every woman likes to imagine herself the heroine of the book she is reading.” But the publisher was wiser. “You are half right,” he answered. “But she wants to be a Gibson heroine. To see her own face, without flattery, would startle her into disapproval of the book.”

A recent symposium in The Sun bore the impressive title, The Sentimentalization of Woman in American Fiction. All the authors were agreed that realism doesn’t go because of the desire of the reader to be flattered. If she isn’t, the novel is “unpleasant,” “depressing.” You may paint your villainess black, but, as your reader will take her for an enemy, you must see that she is properly punished. But if your heroine does anything unconventional, it must be of the kind that your reader enjoys by imagination, though she wouldn’t have the courage to do it. Only you must not make the thrills so strong as to shock the reader into self-consciousness and self-disapproval. Georg Brandes said that our novels are written by old maids for old maids. If we would only put into our literature the same genius and daring that we put into our skyscrapers!

The thing none of the authors seemed to see is that it is futile to stop at blaming the readers. Of course the great public is comparatively stupid. It is everywhere, it always has been and always will be. What is a leader if he is not someone in advance of the others? And the essential act for a leader is to lead. He can’t get a following until he does that. Only a coward stays behind and flatters the crowd because he is afraid they will not come after him. Perhaps they won’t follow his particular route. But if he goes on fearlessly he has done the best that is in him, anyway. The chances are that if he has a sincere conviction and marches far enough in one direction they will at least struggle along after a while. They may even follow in hordes. What we need first is not a more intelligent public, but courageous writers.

Naturally the matter is not simple. Your artist has to be fed and clothed. If he is creating a new medium—as did Wagner—he even needs large resources to produce his art. The solution used to be the wealthy patron. The petty monarch maintained a musician or a painter to enhance the glory of his court. The noble supported a writer from personal pride. The monastery afforded a refuge for the unworldly creator. It would be difficult to find a great artist before the last century who did not have some such subsidy, unless he had means of his own.

Since then democracy has permeated the world. Fast presses, advertising, and royalties have been invented. Now the public is the writer’s patron. Music is often subsidized, to be sure, and painters can still sell their canvases to the wealthy. But the earnings of the writer are in strict proportion to the number of copies of his books that can be sold.

There is a distinct advantage in this situation. The virtue of democracy is not the government of the majority, but the opportunity of the minority. The minority becomes, not a defensive close corporation, but a body of fighting visionaries. The emphasis is placed on growth. The eternal impulse of the minority to turn itself into a majority prevents a static age. The strongest lead, instead of the highly born.

So it must be with our writers. Difficulty insures heroes. We can discount at once the truckling commercial writers. But the others must be deeply sincere and strong in order to exist at all. There is little room for the dilletante. Let our young people who have something to say recognize the situation. They must dedicate themselves to a probable poverty. They must gird their loins and sharpen their weapons. They must be prepared to wait years, if need be, even for recognition. Every energy must be devoted to saying as well as may be the thing that is in them. And so, hoping nothing, fearing nothing, living simply, supporting themselves as best they may, but always doing the thing that is worth while for its own sake, they may produce a literature that has not been equalled since the world began.

Others of us can share in this glorious undertaking. Discerning critics must sift the true from the false. They must lay aside the twin snobberies of praising or blaming a work because of its popularity. They must fight eternally for the sincere. They must point out directions, they must prize meanings above methods. They must give a nucleus to the intelligent reading public and constantly augment it. They must bear sturdy witness to the fact that art is not an amusement for idle moments, but the consciousness of the race. They must show its relation to life as well as to living. They must be predisposed in favor of no work on account of its nationality, school or tendency. Just as Brandes enlarged the conception of literature by showing it as a world phenomenon, they must rid it of petty divisions in the realm of thought. No more should such a statement as “Galsworthy is a poet rather than a novelist” be allowed to pass as criticism. A novelist may be a poet or a philosopher or a psychologist or a historian or a sociologist. Any of these may combine the intrinsic abilities of any or all of the others. He is greater for doing so. The only test of his work is its effectiveness. A work of art is an organism, the highest product of nature, infinitely more real, more beautiful, more potent, than any flower. Only when we see it as such, and not as a collection of petals and stamens, or as a member of a species, shall we know it.

The whole problem of creating a literature, as of doing anything else, is one of direction and power. If we blame someone else for our deficiencies, if we stand aloof, if we bow to circumstances and are afraid to pay for what we want, we shall of course do nothing. And we shall not enjoy ourselves or the world much either. But if we fix on a goal that is worth a life, and set out for it with the joyous spirit of adventurers, risking everything, enduring everything, sleeping under the stars, staying hard and keen, we shall command the fates. What more could we ask of the world?



The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, etc., translated by Constance Garnett. [The Macmillan Company, New York.]

It’s not a matter of intellect or logic, it’s loving (life) with one’s inside, with one’s stomach....

—Ivan Karamazov.

Chiefly concerned with the fester of civilization, literature, music, painting, all the modern forms of individual expression are elliptical in the sense that the old æsthetic values of emotional beauty seem to have become nullified, or else congealed, in the artist’s direct application of his instrument to the repudiation of fixed social values or moralities; to the expansion of life-interests. We today want more than beauty of external form; we want the beauty of depth!

The true artist is such primarily because of his engrossing appetite for life, because (as Flaubert said) of the chaos in his soul. And although Flaubert kept on chiseling words around the lives of men and women totally devoid of inspirating individuality, his dictum has been nobly exemplified in the life and writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky, that great-hearted epileptic Russian of whose psychological powers Nietzsche admittedly availed himself.

Tolstoy was reported to have said, in conversation with a writer for Le Temps, “A woman who has never suffered pain is a beast.” He could have stretched the allegation to include the other sex, if only by way of illusion to that intense spiritual quality in modern Russian literature—a literature that has never been (notably) an off-shoot of, as much as a protest against, the retrogressive structures of its respective periods.

This spiritual, or psychical, concern with the individual’s adjustment to the functioning of life has been revealed to highest degree in Dostoevsky’s novels. It is also manifest in the analytical mould assumed by the creative arts of our time.

While Dostoevsky’s personality is separably bound up with his work, profitable appreciation of the latter can be considerably amplified with knowledge of the important facts of his life and the conditions with which he struggled. I will record the more essential facts of his life as I have gathered them, and try to explain the causes that have made for the distinction in his work from that of all other writers.

He was born in a charity-hospital in Moscow, in 1821. His father was an army-surgeon, his mother a store-keeper’s daughter. I like to think that he derived his expressive powers, or rather the nebulæ out of which they subsequently developed, from his mother, perhaps partly because of my theory that men of acute genius ultimately do transcend the difference of sex in the quality of their personalities as well as in that of their work.

Like most imaginative youths who come into contact with fine art, Dostoevsky was stimulated to literary expression by his study of classical and contemporaneous European literature. He had lived twenty-three years when he graduated from a St. Petersburg school of military engineering. His first novel, Poor Folk, was published three years later, and served to focus upon him the attention of the critics.

In 1849 Dostoevsky was arrested, with members of a radical organization, on governmental charges of sedition. The terrible suffering he sustained while awaiting his execution (he was first confined in prison for eight months) have been set forth in striking passages of his novels, The Idiot and Letters from a Dead House. The sentence of death was finally, and very unexpectedly, commuted to one of imprisonment in Siberia for four years. At the expiration of this period he served perforce as a private soldier in the Russian army for three more years. When he was permitted to return to St. Petersburg he was accompanied by his first wife, whom he had loved and married while in exile.

Dostoevsky’s interminable suffering from epileptic seizures (it has been suggested that these fits originated in a beating administered to him by his father when Fyodor was a boy); his poverty, and the constant accumulation of debt; the terrific haste with which he found it necessary to write his most profound books—all have made it natural to him, in dwelling upon any physiological aspect of his characters, to be as unconvincing as the eremite attempting an analysis of conditions of sex life.

In short, Dostoevsky’s nervous disorders pervaded his “sensual sense” of beauty—of beauty in all its manifestations. At the same time it must be remarked that this negation of physical responsiveness surely intensified the acuteness of his mental vision, which was otherwise refined emotionally by the results of his imprisonment and life-long hardships. And this also explains why Dostoevsky’s novels are lacking so singularly in the tingle of the physical contact of his characters; why the suffering of his men and women move us so profoundly; why his writings are so uneven, his dialogues of such elemental power, and his purely descriptive passages so ordinary.

The elemental power in his dialogues is due chiefly to the vigor of action accredited his characters. In his work is not to be found the picturesque phrase, the adroitly-turned period, the illuminating metaphor, the sequence of construction, the tone or shading offered by the commingling of his objects. Dostoevsky has no style of form, his outlines are amorphous. It is in his power of transcribing the living voice, of recording in never-failing reflex emotionalism the lives and deeds of his startling figures that he is supreme.

If you have read one of his books you know much of what he has to say. His other works are repetitions, mainly. For Dostoevsky does not attempt to paint character, and rarely does he stop to show the subtly-reacting influence of environment upon his men and women. Always he is concerned with the idea of the individual’s personal adjustments to life. Each book of his throbs with the discordant elements that clash over the establishment of this idea; and always its conclusions are recognized. That is why I regard Dostoevsky as an optimist. And his emphasis on humanity’s spiritual conception of life, no matter what the cost, grew more and more pronounced in his later works.

His faith in human beings is expressed in one set theme, which can be conveniently resolved into terms of comparison: on one hand the individual’s evasion of life’s realities by the exercise of material (and therefore fictitious) values; and on the other hand, the frank acceptance of life’s realities for the attainment of a proportionate spiritual balance.

In Crime and Punishment, Dr. Raskolnikov is in doubt as to the ultimate worth of this attainment, until he expiates his crime in killing the old moneylender (I forget her name) not by confessing,—Dostoevsky is too fine a realist for that,—but by obtaining personal solace from the regenerating qualities of his resignation. And it is characteristic of our writer’s method that Raskolnikov is assisted toward this state of resignation by his love, Sonia, the prostitute, whose regard for the murderer is based upon the confirmation evidenced in him of the faith that has been stimulated in herself.

Similar in thesis, though expressed in terms of minor differences, is Dostoevsky’s last and unquestionably finest work, The Brothers Karamazov. It is incomplete, actually one-third as long as he had intended it to be. He died before he could finish the book. Nevertheless it is compactly-formed material as the work now stands, and superior to his other novels not because his outlines are more constrained, his movement more co-ordinate, and the actual writing of a more intensive quality, but because here he defines his own conception of spiritual beauty in a distinctive fashion not to be found in his other books.

He offers us the history of a family,—and what a family! Each figure in this domestic (?) group embodies conflicting phases of his great idea. Fyodor Karamazov, the father, is a sensualist of the lowest type imaginable. His three sons are Dmitri, Ivan, and Alyosha. There is also another (illegitimate) son, Smerdyakov, an epileptic.

Dmitri Karamazov inherits his father’s passion for wine, women, and song, but the son’s pursuit of this tame and conventional item is tempered by frequent lapses, by periods of misgiving. The second son is a materialist and a cynic. He changes his mind after a severe illness, and his materialistic beliefs are all but supplanted by intense spiritual curiosity. The third and youngest son is an idealist, lovable and loving. Here again we have Dostoevsky’s discordant elements conveyed in terms of human characterizations. The plot of the story is as formless as life itself, for it is with life, not with plots, that Dostoevsky deals.

Dmitri’s hatred of his father is intensified by the rivalry that exists between the two in their common pursuit of Grushenka’s affections. Grushenka is a woman of the demi-monde. The author, I think, tried to draw her in lines that would reveal a physical zest of life, as evidenced, for example, in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. His failure to make Grushenka a convincing individual, as an individual, is typical, for the reasons I have already advanced.

Development of the story shows how Dmitri’s repeatedly avowed determination to kill his father bears fruit. The elder Karamazov is found dead one night, with his skull crushed. Dmitri is imprisoned. And the rest of the book, which is devoted to Dmitri’s trial, the moral regeneration of Ivan, and the urge of life in Alyosha, approaches psychological heights (or depths) that have not been surpassed to this day. Small wonder that Nietzsche referred so affectionately to the “giant spirit.”

I have made reference to Dostoevsky’s “optimism.” A better word for it is faith—faith of a new high order. He is the most cheerful, sunlight-giving writer in Russian literature. “The essence of religious feeling,” says Prince Myshkin in The Idiot, “does not come under any sort of reasoning or atheism, and has nothing to do with any crimes or misdemeanors.”

Prince Myshkin is the central figure of the novel; he is the “idiot,” and everybody abuses him. He is insulted and beaten, and robbed and deceived and loved. He is the most singular figure in literature—he is Dostoevsky himself.

But he is not an idiot in any sense. He is so profoundly simple and wise, and has such great faith in human beings, that he is mistaken by the men and women of ordinary passions as a fool. While he can be readily toyed with by women—a significant phase of the writer’s own attitude toward the sex—Prince Myshkin is regarded by them from a common basis of understanding. For them he holds no quality of sex. “Perhaps you don’t know that, owing to my illness,” he says (he too is an epileptic), “I know nothing of women.”

It is in The Idiot that Dostoevsky’s women are at least life-like. The Epanchin sisters, especially the youngest, Aglaia, are not “types” in the usual sense, but preconceived studies. The pages devoted to Aglaia’s love affair with Prince Myshkin are of the happiest in the book.

Besides the books I have already mentioned, the more important works are The Possessed, in which national politics play a large part; Poor Folk, the story of a poor clerk’s love for a poor woman who eventually turns from him; and Letters from a Dead House. This last is a book of personal experiences, and reveals Dostoevsky’s relations with the criminals with whom he was imprisoned in Siberia. The mental temper of men who disregard and break the common and social laws, is set forth with the passionate curiosity that lies behind all his probings of the human soul. I am strongly tempted to offer quotations; to show, in this passage or that, how deeply Dostoevsky looked into the most extreme boundaries of human sensibilities; but on the whole extracts from his writings would do more harm than good. His work is so disconnected, though not in any sense detached, that extracts could not serve here to indicate the amazing clarity of his vision.

His books arouse a feeling of wonder that there can be so many things in our own individual emotions with which we never before came into contact. He moves us so profoundly because he tears his men and women out of their morally-bound lives and makes them confront stupendous questions—the questions of life. He plies detail upon detail of human misery until one feels that the whole world is reeling from him—then grows aware of the sweet white glow of Dostoevsky’s faith, and feels that life can hold no terrors—that he is above the petty miseries of human strife! That is why I say Dostoevsky’s optimism is of the new high order.

Dostoevsky purges one’s mind. He makes you conscious of the beauty of a soul.



The Titan, by Theodore Dreiser [John Lane Company, New York]

Theodore Dreiser possesses none of the standard qualifications for the art of fiction writing. He is not imaginative but inventive; he is not clever but clear; he is not excited but calm. Whatever the flaws in his considerable body of work no fair-minded reader may say that it is made to catch popular applause. Its tremendous distinction is sincerity. Another characteristic which his novels exhibit is resolute purpose. Dreiser is aiming at something, and in The Titan, the second book in an unfinished trilogy, he takes a long if wobbly step toward it. Previously to the publishing of this volume he had not even hinted at what he intended to work out. One thing was certain: he was not a trifler; he was not trying to write best sellers; literary success was not in his mind. He had set out seriously and indefatigably to write, not so much what he felt and thought, as what he saw. Some day he would try to get at the realities that lay back of their representations. He would probably undertake to reveal the soul of the American nation. He would pass through the growth stages of a nation, and achieve some kind of spiritual national life. In the last two pages of The Titan this guess at his purpose receives appreciable encouragement. Moreover, it is made evident for the first time, in these concluding paragraphs, that Dreiser’s prosaic realism springs not only from a vague, deep idealism but a large, hidden spirituality. For at the core of him Dreiser is a profoundly religious person.

Neither his style nor his stuff is far above the dead level of mediocrity; in fact, Dreiser’s rhetoric is often inexcusably atrocious—intentionally crude, one is tempted to assert. Obviously he is not interested in style; he is conscious of something bigger than that revealing itself in a huge, ugly, unfinished moving picture—a net result symbolical of a young, raw, riotous, unsynthesized national life. One is therefore tempted to say that Dreiser, more than any other author, is the personification of America. He represents the composite personality of Uncle Sam.

After reading The Financier and running far into the interminable pages of The Titan I felt that in the absence of cameras, kodaks, Baedekers, and historians Dreiser would be worth while. His endless reels of pictorial facts did not impress me as possessing sufficient animation successfully to compete with these odd rivals, but I admired his consistent sincerity and simplicity and felt that something important was promised by the mere unfinishedness of his pictures. I was sure that he did not write as one inspired, and certainly not as one fired. And after finishing The Titan I felt that here was a work having the aspects of a seriously performed duty, exacted by fidelity to some personal theory of industrial change. I could not imagine the author happy as an artist is happy in his creative work; he was too conscious of service to a cause. But in the last paragraph I discovered a big, personal note which introduced an attitude that extends beyond the borders of materialism. It presented another Dreiser—an author who was much more than a cinematograph, snapping superficial impressions of a vast panorama. Two years ago I should not have attributed the following words to Theodore Dreiser:

In a mulch of darkness is bedded the roots of endless sorrows—and of endless joys. Canst thou fix thine eye on the morning? Be glad. And if in the ultimate it blind thee, be glad also! Thou hast lived.

After laboring through arid deserts of description, this memorable passage, fraught with recognition, satisfaction, challenge, hope, and promise, stands out as an oasis.

The Titan, by virtue of its bold, graphic strokes, loses its identity as a tree, with sharply defined individual characters, and represents the forest. It is more like a jungle, and the jungle is our national life, into which the morning sun inevitably will shine.

—DeWitt C. Wing.


Challenge, by Louis Untermeyer. [The Century Company, New York]

There has recently appeared a volume of verse by Louis Untermeyer which is an excellent example of the determinedly young and eupeptic philosophy so prevalent today—the philosophy of revolt. The book is named Challenge and as challenge it must be considered. To be sure it is rhymed, but the fact seems quite incidental. To rhyme a polemic does not make it poetry, and one feels sure that Mr. Untermeyer is more proud of the spiritual attitude than of the artistry.

The book is a revolt, but a careful perusal of its pages fails to reveal against what it revolts. At first glance one might think it socialistic, but it is not clearly enough visualized for that. Socialism has at least found the enemy. Mr. Untermeyer manfully girds on his armor and sets forth to war, shouting his challenge lustily the while. And why, after all, be particular about having an actual enemy? Life, with a capital L, can do duty for that, or “the scornful and untroubled skies,” or the “cold complacency of earth.” The revolt is the point, and Mr. Untermeyer drives it home with all the phrases of frozen impetuosity to be discovered in a very useful vocabulary. “Athletic courage,” “eager night,” “Life’s lusty banner,” “impetuous winds,” “raging mirth,” etc., are scattered carefully through the pages. But unfortunately, virility—with all due respect to the reviewer who mentioned these poems in the June number of The Little Review—has a way of oozing out of such phrases, leaving them empty of everything save a painful determination to be manly at all costs.

But though Mr. Untermeyer is not quite clear on some subjects he is very clear on others. Several things seem to have struck him with peculiar force—that city streets are dirty, for instance; that strife is tonic for young blood; and that it is difficult for the human soul to conceive of complete annihilation. These things he proclaims passionately and challenges the world to disprove them. A little couplet from Kipling’s Jungle Book suggests itself rather maliciously as the probable attitude of the world towards this outbreak:

“There is none like to me!” says the Cub in the pride of his earliest kill;

But the Jungle is large and the Cub he is small. Let him think and be still.

Seriously, however, Mr. Untermeyer’s attitude is what William James calls the attitude of the “once born.” One feels that he thinks in one dimension, that he does not see around his subject, nor hear the overtones which surround every happening for a man of deep intellect. The revolt is Walt Whitman’s magnificent revolt, which is overpowering in a giant, cropping out in a man of very ordinary stature, where it sits a little ridiculously.

As philosophy much of this, printed on a neat little card, would do splendidly to hang in a business office for the encouragement of the employees. As poetry it is negligible. Mr. Untermeyer lacks entirely the one gift which could redeem it—the gift of poignancy. This lack is particularly striking in the middle section, called Interludes, in which he pauses for a little from revolt. These are love songs and lyrics, a field in which anything not perfect is no longer acceptable. And Mr. Untermeyer’s are not perfect. His sense of rhythm is extremely primitive and his lyrics are full of words. Only now and then, when he forgets for a moment how manly he is, does he say anything simply enough to strike home. These lines, for instance, from Irony stick:

There is no kind of death to kill

the sands that lie so meek and still ...

But man is great and strong and wise—

And so he dies.

But in the main it is unfortunate that Mr. Untermeyer, who writes so much and so readably on the subject of poetry, should put out so pretentious and undeveloped a volume as this is. It is inevitable that it should affect his standing as a critic, and there seems little doubt that his work in that field is really valuable to the cause of poetry in America today.

—Eunice Tietjens.


Paul Verlaine, by Wilfred Thorley; Tolstoy: His Life and Writings, by Edward Garnett. [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.]

When autumn is in your heart—not that of the golden delirium of exotic agony, but bleak weeping autumn of crucifixion and dead leaves—what dirge, what note haunts you in accompaniment to your grief? Maddening darts from Tchaikowsky’s Pathétique, or Weltschmerz-moans from Beethoven’s Marchia Funebre, or an unuttered accord known only to your soul? Or, if you are a brother of mine, do your lips soundlessly mutter this?

Les sanglots longs

Des violons

De l’automne

Blessent mon coeur

D’une langueur


Don’t you hear the resonance of the tolling bells in Chopin’s Funeral March? Your sorrow grows crescendo as you proceed, recalling Massenet’s Elégie:

Tout suffocant

Et blême, quand

Sonne l’heure,

Je me souviens

Des jours anciens

Et je pleure;

Et je m’en vais

Au vent mauvais

Qui m’emporte

Deçà, delà

Pareil à la

Feuille morte.

When I think of Paul Verlaine I invariably recall Oscar Wilde, despite or because of the abysmal dissimilarity of the two personalities. The sincere, ingenuous, all-loving child Paul, and the thoroughly artificial, paradoxical Oscar; the typical Bohemian with the criminal-face like that of Dostoevsky, and the salon-idol, the refined and gorgeous bearer of the sun-flower. Fate had somewhat reconciled the two contrasts. Both had been “sinners,” both were condemned by society and imprisoned, both had “repented”—one in De Profundis where the haughty humility of the self-enamored artist stirs us with its artificial beauty; the other in the primitive-Christian—nay, Catholic—Sagesse:

Mon Dieu m’a dit: Mon fils, il faut m’aimer ....

Some months ago in reviewing Edmond Lepelletier’s voluminous book, (Paul Verlaine: His Life and Work) I remarked that the Poet of Absinthe and Violets was still awaiting his Boswell. My view has not changed after reading Wilfrid Thorley’s monograph on Verlaine; but my wish for an adequate biography of the signer of Romances sans Paroles has now become counterbalanced by an earnest prayer that the memory of the poet may be saved from such indelicate manipulators as Mr. Thorley. Why this respectable Englishman should have attempted to treat the life of the most wayward French poet since Villon can be explained by no other reason than that it was a case of “made to order.” When a Velasquez is pierced by a fanatical suffragette the whole civilized world is roused to indignation; but when an honest philistine unceremoniously puffs his cheap smoke into the face of a dead poet there is not a single protest against that sort of vandalism. Fear of the editor’s blue pencil restrains me from putting my attitude more outspokenly.

A conscientious compilator would have found sufficient material for an unpretentious sketch of the life of Verlaine and for an appreciation of his works. Lepelletier gives an amazing mass of facts and personal reminiscences (you may ignore his naive interpretations); Arthur Symons in The Symbolist Movement in Literature has a masterpiece essay on Verlaine, not to mention a number of other French and English writers who have given us glimpses of the imperceptible image of the poet—writers who knew what they were taking about. Mr. Thorley has made use of various sources, but in a peculiar way. He fished out the anecdotal scraps, the piquant details, the filthy hints, and patched up a caricature-portrait of a lewd, perverse “undesirable,” whose poetry (I quote reluctantly) “was born solely of the genitals,” whose “life is but the trite old story of the emotions developed at the expense of domestic peace and civic order; of art for art’s sake made to condone the manner of its begetting, and the trend of its appeal; of the hushed acquiescence in emotion as a sacred thing, whatever the quality of the impulse from which it ripens or the level of ideas on which it feeds.” Out of the ninety-odd pages of stuff seventy-nine are devoted to “biography” sufficiently spicy to make any toothless old rake chuckle; the rest is given over to “criticism”—a mutilated melange of some of the views of Symons, George Moore, and others, flavored with the compilator’s own commonplaces. I quote from the closing lines:

A specious and high-sounding phrase has been invented to excuse the perversities of imaginative genius by speaking of its achievement as a “conquest of new realms for the spirit.” But the worth of such acquisitions depends on the nature of the territory, and if it be, morally, a malarial swamp conducive only to a human type found subversive in our normal world, it will always appear to the English mind that we shall do well to forego the new kingdom and to withhold our homage from its discoverer.... That “nice is nasty, nasty nice,” and the creative artist the sole arbiter, must be hotly opposed so long as a social conscience survives.

And this was written in Anno Domini 1914!

A sense of fairness urges me to rehabilitate the “English mind” by recalling a passage from Mr. Thorley’s compatriot, Arthur Symons:

The artist, it cannot be too clearly understood, has no more part in society than a monk in domestic life: he cannot be judged by its rules, he can be neither praised nor blamed for his acceptance or rejection of its conventions. Social rules are made by normal people for normal people, and the man of genius is fundamentally abnormal.

It is high time that this axiom became a truism and that we cease to measure the artist with the yard-stick of conventional morality. “L’art, mes enfants, c’est d’être absolument soi-même,” sang Verlaine, and somewhere else he reveals a bit of that self with his usual sincerity:

I believe, and I sin in thought as in action; I believe, and I repent in thought, if no more. Or again, I believe, and I am a good Christian at this moment; I believe, and I am a bad Christian the instant after. The remembrance, the hope, the invocation of a sin delights me, with or without remorse, sometimes under the very form of sin, and hedged with all its natural consequences.... This delight ... it pleases us to put to paper and publish more or less well expressed: we consign it, in short, into literary form, forgetting all religious ideas, or not letting one of them escape us. Can any one in good faith condemn us as poets? A hundred times no.

“And, indeed, I should echo, a hundred times no!” exclaims the Englishman, Arthur Symons.

I cannot resist the temptation of quoting the happiest definition of Verlaine’s personality written by Charles Morice back in 1888:

The soul of an immortal child, that is the soul of Verlaine, with all the privileges and all the perils of so being: with the sudden despair so easily distracted, the vivid gaieties without a cause, the excessive suspicions and the excessive confidences, the whims so easily outwearied, the deaf and blind infatuations, with, especially, the unceasing renewal of impressions in the incorruptible integrity of personal vision and sensation. Years, influences, teachings, may pass over a temperament such as this, may irritate it, may fatigue it; transform it, never—never so much as to alter that particular unity which consists in a dualism, in the division of forces between the longing after what is evil and the adoration of what is good; or rather, in the antagonism of spirit and flesh....

I have not mentioned the most striking “feature” of Mr. Thorley’s ... production—the appendix. Six of Verlaine’s poems are translated by him for the benefit of those who do not understand French “intimately.” “To offer them to other readers, would, of course, be an impertinence,” he modestly admits. Impertinence is not the word for that outrage. I have experienced physical pain at the sight of the Hunnish sacrilege committed by this well-wishing moralist. The poet, for whom “De la musique avant toute chose; De la musique encore et toujours!” who had pleaded, “Car nous voulons la nuance encore, Pas la couleur, rien que la nuance!” has been mercilessly crucified in the form of quasi-Tennysonian, taffy-like verses. One recalls with gratitude the careful albeit pale translations of Gertrude Hall, who at least had the sense of æsthetic propriety in endeavoring to remain true to the master’s meter and rhythm.


From Tolstoy’s diary in 1855:

... a great, a stupendous idea, to the realization of which I feel myself capable of devoting all my life. The idea is the foundation of a new religion corresponding to the development of mankind—the religion of Jesus, but purified from dogma and mysticism; a practical religion, not promising bliss in future, but giving happiness on earth.... To work consciously for the union on earth by religion....

From a letter to the poet Fet in 1898:

I am so different to things of this life that life becomes uninteresting.... I hope you will love me though I be black.

From the fragment There are no guilty people:

There was a time when I tried to change my position which was not in harmony with my conscience, but the conditions created by the past, by my family and its claims upon me, were so complicated that I did not know how to free myself. I had not the strength. Now that I am over eighty and have become feeble I have given up trying to free myself. Strange to say, as my feebleness increases I realize more and more strongly the wrongfulness of my position, and it grows more and more intolerable to me.

On his death-bed at the railroad station Astapovo, November, 1910:

I am tired of this world of men.

Tolstoy’s failure was inevitable, for he had approached life with the uncompromising logic of a child or a god. For fifty years he preached his religion, and during all that time he remained splendidly inconsistent. He opposed private property and proceeded to live on his estate; he had denounced marriage and was a father to thirteen children. Notwithstanding his deadly hatred for the Russian government, he bitterly denounced the liberals and the revolutionists for their “un-Christian” ways of fighting the enemy; but his greatest contradiction, to the joy of the intellectual world, consisted in the victory of the artist over the moralist as manifested in his numerous novels and plays.

The work of Edward Garnett is conscientious and is, to my knowledge, the best short biography of Tolstoy. It was a happy idea to discard the traditional portrait and use a reproduction of Kramskoy’s painting, which dates back to the sixties, if I am not mistaken. It is when looking at this portrait, a great piece of art in itself, that we envisage the author of War and Peace. A few words from the description of Tolstoy’s face by P. A. Terzeyeonvo:

His face was a true peasant’s face: simple, rustic, with a broad nose, a weather-beaten skin, and thick overhanging brows, from beneath which small, keen, grey eyes peered sharply forth.... One instantly divines in Tolstoy a man of the highest society—with polished, unconstrained manners.

... On the one hand an insatiable thirst for power over people, and on the other an unconquerable ardor for inward purity and the sweetness of meekness....

In this chain of seething, imperious instincts linked with delicate spiritual organization lies the profound tragicness of Tolstoy’s personality.

Mr. Garnett succeeds in giving the quintessence of Tolstoy’s works and teachings in less than a hundred pages. Like most of the Russian’s eulogistic biographers, Mr. Garnett has not escaped the fallacy of exaggerating the moral power that Tolstoy exercised over the government. To say that the Czar and his ministers “dared not touch” the outspoken anarchist and heretic “out of dread of Europe—nay, of Russia,” is to reveal one’s ignorance of the brazen defiance displayed by Muscovite autocrats in regard to public opinion. As the Germans put it: “Herr Kossack, schämen Sie sich!” Tolstoy, as a matter of fact, had helped to check the revolutionary spirit of his compatriots in a greater degree than the tyrannic persecutions of Von-Plehve. Had he not appealed time and again to embrace his doctrine of Non-Resistance? Had he not denounced the revolutionists as violent prototypes of their hangers? Could the government see any danger in a man who wrote in The Times during the revolution of 1905: “To free oneself from the government it is only necessary to abstain from participating in it and supporting it. Our consciousness of the law of God demands from us only one thing: moral self-perfection, i. e., the liberation of oneself from all those weaknesses and vices which make one the slave of governments and the participation in their crimes”? Another tragic contradiction of the restless soul of the anarchist who, despite himself, renders aid to the despots.

—Alexander S. Kaun.


Chance, by Joseph Conrad. [Doubleday, Page & Company, New York.]

Did you ever take supper in the apartments of a dear bachelor friend, on a night when the wind howled outside the window, and the rain beat against the pane? And after the satisfying meal, whose perfect appointment made you forget all save the luxury of living, did you retire to the spacious living room, and after accepting an aromatic Havana, stretch your feet out to the crackling log fire, and as the smoke from your cigar crawled upward listen to the philosophical analyses of your cultured host on that marvelously simple and profoundly complex servant and master of man, the human mind? Of such an evening is the atmosphere of Chance. Not academically deep, but deep from the standpoint of a full life and an active intelligence.

Everyone loves to analyze his fellow creatures. Some do it well, some do it badly, but we all do it. Conrad does it masterfully. There doesn’t seem to be a type which holds a mystery for him. The village pillar; the frail, ill-fated maid; the buxsom housewife; the silent captain ashore and afloat; the opinionated, retired old gentleman; the cynical, good-natured man of thirty-five; the flat, tintless fraud. Into the mental realm of all these he makes expeditions long and short. His characters live. They mingle good and bad, and, as strong characters should, weave for themselves a charming story of love, adventure, trial, and victory, never trite, and always surprising. It is a tale built of character studies and garnished with odd conjective philosophy.

Our new acquaintance paused, then added meditatively:

“Queer man. As if it made any difference. Queer man.”

“It’s certainly unwise to admit any sort of responsibility for our actions, whose consequences we are never able to foresee,” remarked Marlow by way of assent.

“The consequence of his action was that I got a ship,” said the other. “That could not do much harm,” he added with a laugh which argued a probably unconscious contempt of general ideas.

But Marlow was not put off. He was patient and reflective. He had been at sea many years and I verily believe he liked sea-life because upon the whole it is favourable to reflection. I am speaking of the now nearly vanished sea-life under sail. To those who may be surprised at the statement I will point out that this life secured for the mind of him who embraced it the inestimable advantages of solitude and silence. Marlow had the habit of pursuing general ideas in a peculiar manner, between jest and earnest.

“Oh, I wouldn’t suggest,” he said, “that your namesake, Mr. Powell, the Shipping Master, had done you much harm. Such was hardly his intention. And even if it had been he would not have had the power. He was but a man, and the incapacity to achieve anything distinctly good or evil is inherent in our earthly condition. Mediocrity is our mark. And perhaps it’s just as well, since, for the most part, we cannot be certain of the effect of our actions.”

“I don’t know about the effect,” the other stood up to Marlow manfully. “What effect did you expect anyhow? I tell you he did something uncommonly kind.”

“He did what he could,” Marlow retorted gently, “and on his own showing that was not a very great deal. I cannot help thinking that there was some malice in the way he seized the opportunity to serve you. He managed to make you uncomfortable. You wanted to go to sea, but he jumped on the chance of accommodating your desire with a vengeance. I am inclined to think your cheek alarmed him. And this was an excellent occasion to suppress you altogether. For if you accepted he was relieved of you with every appearance of humanity, and if you made objections (after requesting his assistance, mind you) it was open to him to drop you as a sort of impostor. You might have had to decline that berth for some very valid reason. From sheer necessity, perhaps. The notice was too uncommonly short. But under the circumstances you’d have covered yourself with ignominy.”

Our new friend knocked the ashes out of his pipe.

There is something about Conrad which gives a warm feeling about the heart. A certain fineness of humor, a certain fullness of sympathy. He never mixes his similes; they always take the same tone and the same color. For instance:

I took a piece of cake and went out to bribe the Fyne dog into some sort of self-control. His sharp, comical yapping was unbearable, like stabs through one’s brain, and Fyne’s deeply modulated remonstrances abashed the vivacious animal no more than the deep, patient murmur of the sea abashes a nigger minstrel on a popular beach. Fyne was beginning to swear at him in low, sepulchral tones when I appeared. The dog became at once wildly demonstrative, half-strangling himself in his collar, his eyes and tongue hanging out in the excess of his uncomprehensible affection for me. This was before he caught sight of the cake in my hand. A series of vertical springs high up in the air followed, and then, when he got the cake, he instantly lost his interest in everything else.

No, this illustration is not of Conrad’s finest, but in a homely way it illustrates a deep sympathy with life, which this strong worker and writer gives in such bountiful measure in all his literature; and, to quote an eminent writer, “Literature and Conrad are interchangeable terms.”

—Henry Blackman Sell.


Clark’s Field, by Robert Herrick. [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.]

It was but the other day that Mr. Herrick told us what he thought about the American novel. Those who read the trenchant article found not only a criticism of our machine-like fictionists and their half-baked methods, but also a sturdy conviction that the day was surely approaching when we should demand and receive a truer and more vital presentation of our national life in our literature. And if Mr. Herrick, long since tagged an apostate to our national creed of turgid optimism, believes this, we can safely trust to his cool vision and be glad that the tide has turned. The rich human material lies ready at hand, and the audience is fast growing intelligent and discriminating. As yet, however, “we await the writer or writers keen enough to perceive the opportunity, powerful enough to interest the public in what it has been unwilling to heed, and of course endowed with sufficient insight to comprehend our big new world.”

Whatever may be said for our other novelists, surely not one of them can exhibit a mingling of the powers of insight and artistry equal to that of Robert Herrick. His work from the beginning has been an honest and incisive attempt to interpret our life in its peculiar and universal aspects, in spite of the clamor of the public at his tearing away of the veils of sentimentality and prudery. The errors into which he fell were due to the ardor of his spiritual vision, which drove him into an impassioned taking of sides. He has emerged from that stage into what his critics call his “old manner,” a more objective treatment of his material. But in the process of change something was lost—the element of flaming intensity which gave the reader a similar capacity to feel. In this latest performance, as well as in One Woman’s Life, he is always cool, clear-sighted, and admirably efficient in the task he sets himself; but never passionate. On the contrary, despite the pervading atmosphere of earnestness, he often assumes a playful satiric tone, mordant but not bitter,—a method well suited to his matter and purpose.

Clark’s Field tells the story of the influence of property upon the human beings who own it and hope to reap gold from its increasing value. All that is left of the great Clark farm is a fifty-acre field in a growing New England town, bequeathed jointly to the two brothers, Edward and Samuel, the former of whom has emigrated to the West and wholly disappeared from the ken of his relatives. So at first the tale is of the baleful influence of expectation delayed again and again: in the case of Samuel who cannot sell the land because of his brother’s half-interest, and who in consequence sinks into a sodden inertia; in his son’s disintegration into a lazy and drunken “Vet”; in his sister Addie’s sordid and pathetic sally into life resulting in the birth of another human being destined to taste of the fruit of their tree and to find it, one day, very bitter.

The greater portion of the novel, then, deals with the influence of the realized wealth upon the unformed, colorless little girl, Adelle, the last of the Clarks. It is a masterly piece of work—the gradual development of the pale rooming-house drudge into the silly and insolent woman of fashion, and slowly but certainly into a human being with a soul. Less promising stuff for a heroine neither fate nor Mr. Herrick could have chosen; the latter delights in ample admissions throughout the book of Adelle’s lack of beauty, brains, and charm. Yet he is always sufficiently temperate to escape the danger of caricature. Adelle is a convincing figure. The slow dawning upon her consciousness of the power of money, her “magic lamp” which she need only rub to gratify any desire, is followed by swift and constant use of the new weapon. It brings her a fresh assurance, a few scatter-brained friends, some stylish clothes, and, at length, a callow youth for a husband. It never brings her contact with a real person or friendship with a stimulating individual; nor can it save her from the failure of her marriage, nor compensate her for the death of her little boy.

Adelle’s story, then, turns out to be what we least expected it,—a hopeful one. It leaves us with almost a sense of security, for is she not one of those who can “derive good from her mistakes,” and therefore “the safest sort of human being to raise in this garden plot of souls”? And although we are still saddled with “that absurd code of inheritance and property rights that the Anglo-Saxon peoples have preserved from their ancient tribal days in the gloomy forests of the lower Rhine,” the situation is not without hope, since it has yielded a man of the judge’s type, in whom the beauty of a past idealism is coupled with the freshness of a new vision of responsibility.

To hark back to the recent article in The Yale Review, we believe that Mr. Herrick himself has given us an American novel—thoroughly American in situation, character, treatment, and even in philosophy. We, as a people, are beginning to suspect our boastful optimism as we become aware of the sordidness beneath the fair exterior of our glorious civilization. And in accordance with the western temperament, the awareness of wrong leads not to bitter cynicism but to sturdy efforts toward amelioration. Such, then, is the spirit of Clark’s Field—a hopefulness in the power of courage, and labor, and a growing sense of social responsibility to move mounds that seem to have become immovable mountains through a tenacious fostering of tradition.

—Marguerite Swawite.


Cubists and Post Impressionism, by Arthur Jerome Eddy. [A. C. McClurg and Company, Chicago.]

An attempt to explain the new schools in art “in plain, every-day terms.” An earnest appeal for tolerance in regard to seemingly perversive forms. The book has a wealth of material and numerous quotations from Picasso, Picabia, Cézanne, Matisse, and others, considerably more interesting and instructive than Mr. Eddy’s own truisms. Although the author repeatedly resents any accusation in his adherence to Cubism, the reader gets the impression that the Cubistic movement has received a more thorough and fair treatment than the other new schools. Of the sixty-nine reproductions of Post-Impressionistic paintings and sculpture, only five represent the Futurists. Idillon Redon, who gave us the greater delight in last year’s International Exhibition, is totally ignored. Among the Self-Portraits that of Matisse is sorely missed—a work that helps greatly in understanding the quaint painter of the Woman in Red Madras. Whether Mr. Eddy will succeed in convincing the prejudiced conservatives is doubtful; but in those who have appreciated the daring attempts of the new schools his book will arouse a renewed longing for the foreign “savages” and an ardent hope for their further invasions in our “sane and healthful” galleries.


(With apologies to the author of Tender Buttons)

Oil and Water

Enough water is plenty and more, more is almost plenty enough. Enthusiastically hurting sad size, such size, same size slighter, same splendor simpler, same sore sounder. Glazed glitter, eddy eddies discover discovered discoveries, discover Mediterranean sea, large print large. Small print small, picked plumes painters and penmen, pretty pieces Picasso, Picabia plus Plato, Hegel, Cézanne, Kandinsky, more plenty more, small print single sign of oil supposing shattering scatter and scattering certainly splendidly. Suppose oil surrounded with watery sauce, suppose spare solely inside, suppose the rest.

—A. S. K.


(Inclusion in this category does not preclude a more extended notice.)

The Return of the Prodigal, by May Sinclair. [The Macmillan Company, New York.] Eight short stories, all subtly done. The Cosmopolitan proves beyond a doubt that women, or at least the thousandth woman, is capable of a disinterested love of life and of nature. It is a big story and a very finished one.

John Addington Symonds, by Van Wyck Brooks. [Mitchell Kennerley, New York.] A biography of rare charm and distinction in which Mr. Brooks builds a clear picture of Symonds’s life as it is related to our day.

The Sister of the Wind, and Other Poems, by Grace Fallow Norton. [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.] Some of this will disappoint lovers of Little Gray Songs From St. Joseph’s—in fact, none of the poems here has such extraordinary poignancy. But there are many that are worth knowing.

The Continental Drama of Today, by Barrett H. Clark. [Henry Holt and Company, New York.] Invaluable to the student of continental drama. A half dozen pages of critical analysis devoted to each of thirty modern playwrights.

Stories and Poems and Other Uncollected Writing, by Bret Harte, compiled by Charles Meeker Kozlay, with an introductory account of Harte’s early contributions to the California press. [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.] A very beautiful Riverside Press volume with photogravures.

I Should Say So, by James Montgomery Flagg. [George H. Doran Company, New York.] Yes, he is silly; but Mr. Flagg is so nicely naughty and so naughtily human that you simply must laugh.

Broken Music, by Phyllis Bottome. [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.] Charming and well done. The story of a young French boy’s struggle to create music, and his success after the tradition of a “broken heart” had been fulfilled.

The Old Game, by Samuel G. Blythe. [George H. Doran Company, New York.] A temperance tract by a man who knows; minus sanctimoniousness and plus a punch.

Dramatic Portaits, by P. P. Howe. [Mitchell Kennerley, New York.] One man’s opinion of the modern dramatists. A “shelf book” for occasional reference.

Billy and Hans, by W. J. Stillman. [Thomas B. Mosher, Portland, Maine.] A charming story of the most temperamental of pets, the squirrel. A Mosher book bound in a cover dark enough to stand wear. A distinct relief from the Alice blue and pale old rose of Mr. Mosher’s more delicate periods.

Billy, by Maud Thornhill Porter. [Thomas B. Mosher, Portland, Maine.] The true story of a canary bird. One of those little documents written for the enjoyment of a family circle and read on winter evenings. Bright, human, and personal.

The Social Significance of the Modern Drama, by Emma Goldman. [Richard G. Badger, Boston.] Miss Goldman discusses Ibsen, Strindberg, Sudermann, Hauptmann, Wedekind, Maeterlinck, Rostand, Brieux, Shaw, Galsworthy, Stanley Houghton, Githa Sowerby, Yeats, Lenox Robinson, T. G. Murray, Tolstoy, Tchekhof, Gorki, and Andreyev, outlining the plays of each and emphasizing their relation to the problem of modern society. She is the interpreter here rather than the propagandist, and her interpretations are not academic discourses. They give you the plays partly by quotation, partly in crisp narrative, and they are not the kind of interpretations that make the authors wish they had never written plays. Whether you like Emma Goldman or not, you will get a more compact and comprehensive working-knowledge of the modern drama from her book than from any other recent compilation we know of.



With the August issue, the sixth month of our very flourishing life, we have decided to make one important change in The Little Review. We are reducing the subscription price to $1.50 a year, and that of single copies to 15 cents. There will be no change in size or appearance. Those whose subscriptions have already been paid on the former basis will be continued for another half year.

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Nancy The Joyous By Edith Stow

Here, at the bend of the road I stop to wave, and to play you a gay little snatch of tune on my pipes, like any other true gypsy.”—Nancy.

Nancy the Joyous is a simple little story—simple and clean and true—like a ray of sunshine in a bleak corner; like a wind-and-rain-and-sun-bathed flower on a steep mountainside. It is a story of sentiment, but without weak sentimentality, without tears, a kind of “salt-of-the-earth” optimism.

¶ Brisk with the air of the Tennessee mountains, where Nancy finds the “true values of life,” and warm with the joy of living and loving and laughing, here is a “character” story—a “heart interest” story—a “local color” story of a picturesque locality—and yet a straightforward, unpretentious romance whose charm is based on more than mere uniqueness of characters or setting. Nancy is buoyant with life itself. Nancy is a real girl, a likable girl, and the love she inspires in her fellow creatures of the story is a real affection that shines outside the pages of the book and seizes hold of the heart of the reader.

A delightful book to read. An ideal book to give to a friend.

The make-up of the book is in keeping with the story. A frontispiece in cheerful colors of Nancy herself; each chapter has a specially drawn initial; each cheery letter has a full-width pictorial heading. Bound in extra cloth; decorated cover, with ornaments in gold. Pictorial jacket in full color and gold. 12mo. $1.00 net.

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The Mason & Hamlin is the highest priced piano in the world. But spread the cost over the long years of service which you may confidently expect of it and your investment is one of proved economy.

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Transcriber’s Notes

Advertisements were collected at the end of the text.

The table of contents on the title page was adjusted in order to reflect correctly the headings in this issue of The Little Review.

The article THE NEW LOYALTY—in the print interrupted on page 31—was continued on page 66. Page 66 was therefore moved directly after page 31.

The original spelling was mostly preserved. A few obvious typographical errors were silently corrected. All other changes are shown here (before/after):