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The London Sketch prints this notice in a recent issue: "To Authors and Others: It is particularly requested that no further poems or short stories be sent to the Sketch, as the editor has a supply sufficient to last him well into the twentieth century."
Norman Gale is preparing an anthology based on a very novel and remarkable principle. It is to be a selection from the works of living poets under forty years of age.
A writer in the Philadelphia Inquirer learns from an old account book belonging to Graham's Magazine that Edgar Allen Poe was paid $52 for his story, The Gold Bug."
Much has been printed lately of the remarkable collection of miniature books belonging to the French collector, Georges Salomon. has more than 700 such tiny volumes, the largest measuring two inches by one and one-eighth inches, and the smallest, a French edition of the "Chemin de la Croix," which has 119 pages, being half an inch long by three-eighths of an inch wide. All the books are exquisitely bound.
Lorimer Stoddard, the son of R. H. Stoddard, the poet, has had poems published in the Cosmopolitan, the Independent, and other periodicals. Young Mr. Stoddard has also written several plays.
The Philadelphia Record says that Miss Agnes Repplier, who is now visiting London, has become quite a literary lion in that city. Andrew Lang has given a dinner party in her honor, among the guests being Professor Max Müller. Mrs. Humphry Ward has also entertained her at an "at home," and has spent some time in her company.
It is interesting to hear what Miss Beatrice Harraden tells of the publishers. "I had piles of rejected manuscripts," she says. "I wrote story after story for Blackwood's, and all of them came back to me, though the editor always sent a note, begging me to try again. After a while I met Mrs. Lynn Linton and Mrs. William Blackwood. They gave me the benefit of intelligence and sympathetic criticism, and then my stories began to get into print." McClure's Magazine for August has a portrait of Dr. Washington Gladden.
A new biography of the Brontës is being prepared under the joint collaboration of Clement Shorter, of the Illustrated London News and the English Illustrated Magazine, and Dr. Robertson Nicoll, of the Bookman and the British Weekly.
"Several writers of repute," says the Athenæum, "are paid at the rate of $60 a thousand words for their short stories, but no novelist, we believe, has received so much for his serial rights as the editors of the Pall Mall Magazine have paid George Meredith for 'Lord Ormont and His Aminta.' The price, it is said on the best authority, was $50 a thousand words."
Janet Buchanan, of Le Mars, Iowa, won the prize for the best short story offered by the Midland Monthly of Des Moines. There were eighty-four contestants.
Edith M. Arnold, author of Platonics," published by Dodd, Mead, & Co., is a sister to Mrs. Humphry Ward.
Lloyd Osborne, the collaborator with Robert Louis Stevenson in "The Ebb-Tide," which has just come to a conclusion in McClure's Magazine, is the novelist's stepson. Mrs. Stevenson, who is also a writer of no little fame, was married first to Samuel Osborne, a Californian, from whom she obtained a divorce when her son Lloyd was a baby. Her second marriage is a very happy one, Stevenson being a devotedly kind husband and father.
The cost of each number of the Century before it goes to press is $10,000 for contributions and pictures alone. Frank H. Scott, president of the Century Company, made this statement in a public address at the dinner of the Quill Club May 8. In the same address he said that the Century published last year 396 articles by 324 different writers, a large part of whom had never before written for the magazine. He made this statement to show how unfounded is the belief that magazines are run by cliques.
Harlan Page Halsey, better known as "Old Sleuth," the writer of hair-raising detective stories, is an active member of the Brooklyn board of education. His income from his novels is about $20,000 a year.
The artist-author is becoming quite a common factor in the literature of to-day. The list now includes G. H. Boughton, George Du Maurier, Frederick Remington, F. Hopkinson Smith, F. S. Church, Hamilton Gibson, Mr. Zogbaum, and Alfred Parsons.
The publication of the July Cosmopolitan marks the close of the first year since the announcement was made that the price of that magazine had been cut to $1.50 a year. The magazine printed, for the six months embraced in Volume XVI., 1,419,000 copies, an entirely unapproached record, and has doubled its already large plant of presses and binding machinery. The walls of the Cosmopolitan's new home are rapidly rising at Irvington-on-the-Hudson, and the new building, with its eight great porticos, will be 279 feet long by seventy-six feet wide, and one of the most perfectly lighted buildings in the world, having 160 large windows. Arthur Sherburne Hardy will continue to conduct the editorial affairs of the magazine in New York city.
The real name of "G. Colmore," author of "A Daughter of Music," is Mrs. Georgia Dunn. She is the wife of a London barrister, Mr. Colmore Dunn, who lives near Hyde Park.
About fifty years ago the Scribners were paying $400 a year rent and had plenty of room. Now they occupy a building which cost them $500,000.
General Lew Wallace recently told a New York interviewer that he never had any idea of forming an American Academy of Immortals. The story, he says, all grew out of his giving to Congressman Black, of Illinois, a bill to germit fifteen men of letters of the United States to have the privilege of visiting the congressional library at Washington and taking whatever books they desired to their rooms to study or collect data from. His idea was that these fifteen men should enjoy the privilege for life. At present, only congressmen can take books from the library.
W. J. Linton, the English engraver, painter, poet, and philanthropist, who has lived in New Haven for a number of years, is now more than eighty years of age, yet is quite active in literary research.
"Anthony Hope's" real name is A. H. Hawkins. He was born in 1863, and is a barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple, having been called in 1887. His first book, "A Man of Mark," was published in 1890; "Father Stafford," in 1891; "Mr. Witts' Widow," in 1892; and "Sport Royal," a collection of short stories, in 1893. "A Change of Air" and "The Prisoner of Zenda" have appeared in close succession since the beginning of the present year. Mr. Hawkins was a liberal candidate for parliament at the last general election, but was defeated.
Readers of "The Hoosier Schoolmaster" will remember Phillips, the champion speller of the Indiana school described therein. Phillips still lives in Vevay, Ind., Dr. Eggleston's old home, and will soon be seventy-three years old.
Some confusion has been caused in the public mind by the fact that there are two Miss Kate Sanborns, whose names have appeared a good deal lately in the public prints. One of them is Miss Kate Sanborn, the author and lecturer, who has bought herself a new farm at Metcalf, Mass. The other is Miss Kate Sanborn, of St. Louis, daughter of Hon. E. B. S. Sanborn, of Franklin, N. H., who has been elected city librarian of Manchester, N. H.
At Tennyson's death, the late Robert Clark, the Edinburgh printer, had thirty-six printing presses engaged for three weeks in turning out the poet's works. At the same printery, for the last thirty years, at least thirty hands have been employed uninterruptedly in printing Scott's works. Of the first two of the sixpenny editions of Kingsley works, more than a million copies were sold.
Howard Seeley died in Brooklyn, N. Y., June 22.
William Davis Gallegher, journalist and poet, died at Louisville, Ky., June 28.
Sir Austen Henry Layard, G. C. B., died in London July 4, aged seventy-seven.
George R. Graham, once publisher of Graham's Magazine, died at Orange, N. J., July 13, aged eighty-one.
Walter Pater died suddenly at Oxford, England, July 30, aged fifty-five.
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE TO INTEREST AND HELP ALL LITERARY WORKERS.
BOSTON, SEPTEMBER, 1894.
That the short story as it exists to-day is the product of the last few years no one can deny. Whatever the cause of its great popularity, whether books are slowly but surely yielding to newspapers and magazines, whether each year less time is given to any kind of reading than formerly, it is not necessary to discuss here. The fact remains, the short story now enjoys the greatest favor of the reading public and is the one class of literature in which the largest number of writers are striving to win renown.
That the writing of short stories requires a special talent, a style and temperament different from that requisite for novel writing, is proven by the failure of many who are successes in other lines. The short story is now a distinct branch of literature, fulfilling quite another office from its older sister, the novel, and requiring different treatment.
The short story of to-day is something more than a shortened long story. Whatever the real or ostensible purpose of the novel may be, -amusing, philosophical, or aiming at reforms, -its reader opens it with the deliberate intention of devoting a certain amount of time to its perusal. He is willing to consider the author's opinions, expects digressions, analyzations, reflections. Not so with the short story. It is a thing of the moment, caught up between work hours, - a thing to be read hurriedly, but once, maybe, and never glanced at again. To be successful, to make a lasting impression, the author must strike while the iron is hot. He must not weaken his effect by descriptions, or waste his time in digressions. He must efface himself absolutely. He must present one or more strong characters, a striking incident, and he must do it quickly, that the story may be like a flash light and burn itself into the reader's memory.
A novel is a picture of life, a rounded, filledout sequence of cause and effect. The short story is the glimpse of a moment's action, the study of a characteristic, the outlining of a defect, a virtue, a hope, a fear, a mistake. It is like the sketch an artist makes of each of the figures in a painting. He takes them piecemeal,- tries his skill on the hang of a garment, the poise of a head, the turn of a hand. The short-story writer does the same thing, and leaves it to the reader to take the sketch and paint it into the great panorama of his own experiences.
The short story is the charcoal sketch of literature. There is no shading, apparently no patient, painstaking minuteness of detail, no elaborated background. It is simply a bold
Copyright, 1894, by WILLIAM H. HILLS. All rights reserved.
study in a few short, strong lines. It is to produce a single effect, convey one impression. For this reason the greatest charm, the greatest strength of a short story often lies in what it does not say. "The secret of wearying your reader," said Voltaire, "is to tell him all." Let it be the reader who fills in the background; let him make a picture of the study.
Consider the popular short story of the day. There is something almost brusque in its treatment. There is no introduction of its hero by a third person, but one comes upon him suddenly and laughs or cries with him, likes or dislikes him, and then he walks away and that is all. After he is gone one has time to decide what color his eyes were and to speculate upon his bringing up. One wonders what his fortunes were in the past, and where he went to, and how he fares. He sticks in the memory because he is so cleanly cut, so boldly sketched.
A successful short story of to-day means condensation, few characters, short descriptions, if
any, quick-time movement, and a total effacement of the writer. A story that covers several years loses crispness. Never mind what happened long ago to your character, or what will happen in the future; your office is with the present moment, the present action.
As for the incident, the motive, the short story offers wide scope for literary aspirants. In no other field is there so ample opportunity for individuality. It is a significant fact that the most successful short stories have not been love tales. The thousand and one incidents in every-day prosaic pleasure and pain, the petty troubles, the humble sacrifices, the modest aspirations, the quiet, humdrum side of life, all these are having their turn now, after the great and heroic has been worn threadbare. He who can create something out of the hitherto unconsidered trifles has done much, for he has exalted the mighty little things to their rightful place in the world. Mary E. Child.
Mr. Owen Wister, whose stories of Western life in Harper's Magazine have for the last three years attracted so much attention, was born in Philadelphia, July 14, 1860, of a family well known and prominent in that city ever since the revolution. He went to school in Switzerland and England from 1870 to 1873, thence to St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H., where he remained until 1878, in which year he went to Harvard. He was graduated from the college with the class of 1882. He attained the highest honors in music and honorable mention in philosophy and English composition.
After his graduation he was for a time with a banking house in Boston, and also spent some
time in Europe, where he studied music, to which at that time he was very much devoted. He was recommended by Liszt at Bayreuth and Guiraud in Paris to take up composition, and he studied for a time with the latter; but he was turned away from music by circumstances. He came home and entered the Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1888, receiving at the same time with his law degree the degree of A. M. of the university. He was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1889.
Besides his taste for music, Mr. Wister had always shown since his school days a decided ability for literary composition. He had been one of the editors of a little periodical when he
was at school, and at college he was constantly writing plays and producing compositions of various sorts of a light character, almost invariably in a humorous vein. These productions were very bright and were always admired by his friends, but never came to any serious importance. His story-writing, which has now roused the people to a new sense of his abilities, dates from a visit in the summer of 1885 to a cattle ranch in the West. He saw a great deal of Western life at that time, and it made a deep impression on him, as it has on many others. Accustomed to the civilization of eastern America and Europe, he had no idea that the West contained anything very interesting, and he would at that time have been the last person in the world to suppose that it contained the material for literature. On this first Western expedition he discovered also that he was a natural-born hunter. He was soon devoting himself to all the details of rifles and camp equipage, and has since then made several remarkable hunting trips, in one of which he penetrated the mountain fastnesses of Washington Territory and shot a number of those curious and rare animals, the Rocky mountain wild goat.
On this first Western trip he had seen a great deal of life among the cattle men, for the cattle era was at that time still brilliant and booming. On his next visit, in 1887, he went to Fort Washakie, a typical frontier post, I 50 miles from a railroad, where he first studied Western military life and Indian reservations, and again indulged in mountain hunting. He went West again the following year and has been going West ever since, sometimes twice a year, exploring the whole country from the Rio Grande to the British boundary, becoming familiar with military posts, Indians, ranches, hunting camps, together with the peculiar characters of the mining regions and the small towns. He had always kept a journal with detailed notes of what he saw and heard, but never thought of writing until late in the year 1891, after a prolonged journey through the cattle country of Wyoming and a trip through the Wind River mountains. He then wrote "Hank's Woman," a story that was rather crudely executed, but showed power, and soon afterward he wrote
"How Linn McClean Went East," which was so skilfully and artistically executed that it was hard to believe it had been written by the author of "Hank's Woman." It was not only full of incident and pathos, but contained some excellent character drawing, and has been pronounced by a competent critic to be as good as any short story can be.
"Balaam and Pedro," another story showing the same varied powers, was his next venture, and after that came "Emily," a tale in lighter vein. Since then several of his stories, "A Kinsman of Red Cloud," "Little Big Horn Medicine," and "The General's Bluff," have been historical, and deal with important events in the military and Indian life of the plains. He has also written "The Winning of the Biscuit Shooter," "The Promised Land,' Specimen Jones," and "The Serenade at Siskiyou." A striking characteristic of all these stories is their fidelity to the life of which they treat, and this fidelity has been testified to by many prominent people in all walks of life who have passed their lives in the West. A man of Mr. Wister's education and associations naturally takes this real and true view of his work, and it is a merit of no little importance.
Mr. Wister seldom invents the main incidents of any of his stories. He believes that if he knows of an actual fact suited to the development of the story, there is no use in inventing one, so that many of his events are often taken unmodified from the real life he has seen. In this respect he has had the same experience other writers have had and finds that the incidents he has altered the least from reality excite the most incredulity. His characters are, however, of course, all imaginary, except when he deals with some public character, like General Crook. He writes slowly, taking generally two weeks to a story, and usually writes in the morning. When embarked on a story he seldom works every day, but stops and thinks of other things. Too much thinking he finds turns the story stale. But his stories are always thought over for many weeks before he begins them, and then written and rewritten until they are as he wants them.
Sydney G. Fisher.