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her productions to the magazines. With the exception of one beautiful little poem, they were promptly returned. Mrs. Chopin contends that they were properly treated, having been, as she says, "crude and unformed." She did not, as an unappreciated genius, abuse the editors, but began to study to better her style. In order to aid her selfcriticism she sold and even gave away her productions to local periodicals, and holds that she learned much from seeing her work in "cold type." She wrote a long novel, "At Fault," which was printed in St. Louis in 1890. In this somewhat imperfect work may be seen the germs of all she has done since. The story has some faults of construction, but the character drawing is excellent, and in the case of the young creole, "Grégoire Santien," faultless. During the following year she wrote a great number of short stories and sketches, which she sent about to different magazines, and the most of them were not returned as before. The Youth's Companion, Harper's Young People, and Wide Awake took all her children's stories, and the Century Magazine accepted "A No Account Creole," the longest tale in "Bayou Folk." This story appeared last January, after having been kept for about three years, and was the means of making Mrs. Chopin's name better known to the general public. In the mean time, other periodicals had accepted and published her work, which now numbers some sixty stories, and Houghton & Mifflin accepted the collection of twentythree tales known as "Bayou Folk."
Mrs. Chopin has also written a second novel, which a few favored friends have been permitted to read, and which, in the estimation of some, is her very strongest work. It is to be hoped that it will soon see the light.
She is particularly favored in not being obliged to depend upon her writing for her livelihood. There is, consequently, no trace of hack writing in any of her work. When the theme of a story occurs to her she writes it out immediately, often at one sitting, then, after a little, copies it out carefully, seldom making corrections. She never retouches after that. Personally, Mrs. Chopin is a most interesting and attractive woman. She has a charming
face, with regular features and very expressive brown eyes, which show to great advantage beneath the beautiful hair, prematurely gray, which she arranges in a very becoming fashion. Her manner is exceedingly quiet, and one realizes only afterward how many good and witty things she has said in the course of the conversation.
While not pretending to be a student, she still keeps well informed of the leading movements of the age, and in literature she decidedly leans to the French school. She reads with pleasure Molière, Alphonse Daudet, and especially De Maupassant. Zola, in her opinion, while colossal in his bigness, takes life too clumsily and seriously, which is the fault she also finds with Ibsen. Americans, in their artistic insight and treatment, are, she thinks, well up with the French; and, with the advantage which they enjoy of a wider and more variegated field for observation, would, perhaps, surpass them, were it not that the limitations imposed upon their art by their environment hamper a full and spontaneous expression. Mrs. Chopin has little to say of the English workers. She treats rather condescendingly a certain class of contemporary English women writers, whose novels are now the vogue. She calls them a lot of clever
women gone wrong, and thinks that a welldirected course of scientific study might help to make clearer their vision; might, anyhow, bring them a little closer to Nature, with whom at present they seem to have not even a bowing acquaintance. She has great respect for Mrs. Humphry Ward's achievements; but Mrs. Ward is, au fond, a reformer, and such tendency in a novelist she considers a crime against good taste-only the genius of a Dickens or a Thackeray can excuse it.
From time to time Mrs. Chopin returns to Natchitoches to look after her business affairs, and also to refresh her recollections of that land of creoles and 'Cadians. The people of Natchitoches always receive her enthusiastically, since they thoroughly endorse her artistic presentation of their locality and its population; for Mrs. Chopin is not, like most prophets, without honor in her own country.
ST. LOUIS, Mo.
THE WRITER is published the first day of every month. It will be sent, post-paid, ONE YEAR for ONE Dollar.
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Short, practical articles on topics connected with literary work are always wanted for THE WRITER. Readers of the magazine are invited to join in making it a medium of mutual help, and to contribute to it any ideas that may occur to them. The pages of THE WRITER are always open for any one who has anything helpful and practical to say. Articles should be closely condensed; the ideal length is about 1,000 words.
Illustrations are undoubtedly an essential part of modern literature, as Mr. Dennison says in his article in the present number of THE WRITER, but "illustrations" that do not illustrate are a torment to discriminating readers of books and magazines. In days when picture-making in books cost more than it does
now, it used to be the habit of publishers to borrow, or hire, old woodcuts from each other, so that the same picture might possibly do service in several different books or periodicalsall of which, of course, it could not "illustrate " with equal happiness. In these modern times, when pictures cost not so very much more than typesetting, there is no need of such makeshifts. Every publisher who illustrates an article can afford to illustrate it well, and if he has hired an artist to do the work, he will certainly not have to pay a higher price on account of insisting that the artist shall read the manuscript he is to illustrate, before he begins to draw his pictures.
That artists do not always pay this slight tribute to the genius of authors whose writings. they have been hired to adorn-possibly because publishers do not always give them the opportunity is proven every month by pictures printed in leading magazines. The Hartford Courant noticed some time ago that in Charles Egbert Craddock's story in the December Harper's Mr. Frost made the face and figure of the heroine that of a middle-aged woman, while the text described her as a girl of sixteen. In illustrating Brander Matthews' Manhattan vignette, "A Midsummer Midnight," in Harper's for January Mr. Smedley had a picture of a flame-wreathed hotel façade, with the hero of the story in a properly-perilous position, but the street below in the picture was altogether bare of the thick-foliaged trees which Mr. Matthews described so vividly in his story. Sometimes illustrations do not illustrate because one manuscript is illustrated by two or more artists, who do not make the necessary consultations with each other. In a story published recently in one of the leading magazines the scene is played in one act and the characters do not leave the room. In the first picture the heroine has on a walking costume and a sailor hat; in the next-and remember she does not leave her seat or the society of her lover she has on a calling gown of silk and furbelows and a bonnet. Of course, the explanation is that the two pictures were drawn by different artists, who evidently thought that consistency in dressing their lay figures was a petty detail
that might be overlooked without fear of any evil consequences.
Sometimes, however, blunders of this kind are not due to collaboration. In Demorest's
Family Magazine for January the artist who illustrated Margaret Bisland's story shows us a girl entering a doorway dressed in a plain cloth costume, heavily trimmed with black velvet, with long points running up from the bottom of the skirt. According to the story, the girl comes in and immediately seats herself, Turk-wise, before the fire, and the same artist - Hooper - shows her there in a dotted India silk costume, with two little ruffles on the skirt and a little shoulder cape of velvet. Perhaps Mr. Hooper thought that as Demorest's is primarily a fashion magazine the more costumes he could show in a given space, the better, but his author does n't
to the artist to illustrate does not have any definite idea of what is desired, and it is little wonder that the illustrator does not get the same idea that the author afterward conceives.
The question is asked, "Cannot the author, then, in justice demand that his work be exempt from all attempts at illustrations?" Decidedly, no! Have not our great American publishers found that illustration pays? Take, for instance, the house of Harper & Bros., and watch the publications which it places on the market and you may count on your fingers the number of works issued without illustrations.
Again, take one example among the great writers. Did not Dickens believe in illustrations? His works would lead one to say, yes.
It is unjust to judge all illustrators by the failure of one. Illustrations are absolutely necessary to the success of many books, and their
allow time in the story even for a "lightning drawings are to the monotonous pages of plain type as a sunny day in the middle of a rainy week.
Most of us, no doubt, have felt a keen disappointment in taking up a handsome new illustrated edition of a favorite old book and finding that the artist's pictures of the familiar characters, who have lived in our memories so long that they are as definite personalities as those of any of our friends, are wholly at variance with the characters as we in our own minds have pictured them. That is inevitable, perhaps, since no two people are likely to get from the description of a character the same idea; but when story and pictures are published originally together, so that their impression on the reader's mind is to be simultaneous, it certainly is not asking too much that the author and the artist shall agree. “Illustrations" that do not illustrate are a vexation unto the spirit, and a sore weariness unto the flesh.
W. H. H.
IN DEFENCE OF THE ILLUSTRATOR.
Being interested in illustration, I read with interest the article on "Inconsistencies of Illustration "in the July number of THE WRITER. In defence of the illustrator, I want to say that in nine cases out of ten the person giving copy
Singular subject with contracted plural verb, e. g., "She don't skate well."
Plural pronoun with singular antecedent. Every "man or woman "should do "their" duty; or, if you look "any one" straight in the face, "they" will flinch.
"Expect" for "suspect."
"Had" rather for "would " rather.
"Post graduate" for " graduate."
Try "and" go for try "to
Does it look "good" enough for "well" enough.
The matter "of " for the matter "with."
Not "as good" for not "so good" as.
"Between seven for "among seven. Seldom "or ever for seldom "if" ever or "seldom or never."
Taste and smell "of " when used transitively. More than you think "for" for “more than you think."
"These "kind for "this" kind.
"Nicely" in response to an inquiry.
"Kind of," to indicate a moderate degree. The editor of THE WRITER has not Bryant's list at hand. Can any of the readers of the magazine supply it?— w. H. H.]
THE SCRAP BASKET.
In answer to the inquiry made by "N. H." on page 72 of the June WRITER: J. F. Waller is the author of the pleasing poem "Magdalena; or, The Spanish Duel." It is in "Cum
Barring an occasional tendency to fine writing and a little bad advice, Mr. Shuman's book deserves warm commendation as the best and most practical general work on newspapermaking that has yet been published. author has had a good deal of newspaper experience, and he has in the main right ideas about newspaper work. Any one who reads his book carefully will get a very fair idea of how newspapers of the present day are made, and a good many hints, too, about the methods of the workers in the different departments, which will be of value to those who have undertaken, or mean to undertake, journalistic work. The experience of the author has been mainly on Chicago papers, and, while the Chicago papers are enterprising and bright, their standard of journalistic ethics is not what it ought to be. For that reason, some of the advice given by Mr. Shuman is not the best which a beginner in newspaper work could receive. "Faking," he says, "is perhaps excusable as long as the imaginative writing is confined to non-essentials and is done by one who has in him at least the desire to represent the truth." Afterward he says: "This trick of drawing upon the imagination for the non-essential parts of an article is certainly one of the most valuable secrets of the profession at its present stage of development. Truth in essentials, imagination in non-essentials, is considered a legitimate rule of action in every office." It may be in Chicago, as Mr. Shuman says, but it is not so in the offices of the best newspapers throughout the country, and in writing as he does Mr.
Shuman gives beginners distinctly bad advice. There are plenty of reporters everywhere who think that it is smart to "fake," but they are frowned upon by the best workers in the profession. and sooner or later they are sure to come to grief. The "faking habit grows on one, and the reporter who begins by faking unessential details is sure to end by faking" important facts sooner or later to his own destruction. "Faking," anyway, is only a symptom of laziness on the part of the reporter. Truth really is stranger and more interesting than fiction, and actualities will do more to make an interesting story which Mr. Shuman rightly says is the paramount object of the modern newspaper writerthan the products of the average reporter's imagination. Nine times out of ten the reporter who "fakes" details does so only because he is too lazy, or has not enough ability, to gather up the facts.
In his indications of reporters' methods, too, Mr. Shuman's advice is based upon the supposed needs of Chicago journalism. There is absolutely no reason why a reporter anywhere or under any circumstances should do anything of which a cultivated gentleman has need to be ashamed, or do "impudent, prying work," which any man with any self-respect must heartily despise. For that reason, when Mr. Shuman speaks approvingly of the enterprise of a reporter who thrusts "his No. 8 inside the door and prevents it from closing " when a man whom he wants to interview is trying to slam it in his face, he commends an action of which a good reporter would never be guilty, and which he would never find to be necessary if he understood his business well.
These faults in Mr. Shuman's book, however, are insignificant when compared with its general excellence. As a means of information about the inside work of newspaper offices and of suggestions to young reporters it is generally trustworthy and helpful, and there is no active newspaper man who cannot get some benefit from reading it. With " Steps into Journalism and Luce's "Writing for the Press" as text-books, constantly at hand for study, the beginner in journalism will be very well equipped.
W. H. H.
FIVE HUNDRED PLACES TO SELL MANUSCRIPTS. A manual designed for the guidance of writers in disposing of their work. Compiled by James Knapp Reeve. 59 pp. Board covers. $1.00. Franklin, O.: The Chronicle Press. 1894. The difficulty with all printed lists of "periodicals that pay contributors "is that they are sure to get out of date within a month or two after they are published, and ever after that they become more and more misleading, as time goes on, to those who depend upon them for guidance in marketing their manuscripts. For instance, in this new book of Mr. Reeve's, the
publishers have already found it necessary to cross out with a pen references to Worthington's Magazine and Smith, Gray, & Co.'s Monthly, and a number of other publications are named which are either moribund or at least in such hard financial circumstances as to make it unprofitable for writers to try to deal with them. The information about the requirements and methods of periodicals given in such lists, too, is necessarily vague and unsatisfactory, in very many cases, and Mr. Reeve's list, like others of the kind, includes many periodicals that do not pay for manuscripts submitted by casual contributors. As a suggestion of possi ble markets which might not otherwise come to mind, however, such books as this have value, and Mr. Reeve's book, though it has many defects, is the best one of the kind in the market at the present time. It must be used, however, with caution, for the reasons that have been indicated.
W. H. H.
BON-MOTS OF SAMUEL FOOTE AND THEODORE HOOK. Edited by Walter Jerrold; with grotesques by Aubrey Beardsley. 192 pp. New York: Macmillan & Co. 1894.
The third in the dainty little "Bon-mots " series is quite as attractive as its predecessors, devoted to Sydney Smith and Sheridan, and Charles Lamb and Douglas Jerrold,respectively. It has good etched portraits of Foote and Hook, and an introduction giving the essential facts regarding the lives of the two wits whose sayings make up the body of the little volume. Aubrey Beardsley's drawings are ornamental and interesting, if not illustrative. One instructive feature of the book is that it shows how old many of the new jokes published nowadays in the papers really are. Perhaps they were as old, too, when Foote and Hook made people laugh with them.
W. H. H.
PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE. Part I., 116 pp.; Part II., (12
The series of books illustrating picturesque New England has been enriched by the publication of Picturesque Berkshire," a handsome volume crowded with the finest half-tone pictures of scenes in Berkshire county, in the western part of Massachusetts. The same exquisite taste shown in the other volumes of the series is shown also in this new book. The photographs from which the illustrations have been made are perfect pictures of New England country life, and they have been reproduced in the highest perfection of the half-tone art. There are 1,200 of these fine pictures in the book, and there is hardly one among them that is not a gem. Every town in the county is represented by a variety of characteristic and attractive views, every one of which has been made expressly for this work. To any who live, or ever have lived, in New England the