« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
The astonishing part of it all, however, is the gratitude the editors seem to feel for the "honor" of having been enabled to read the article! To take rejection slips at exactly what they say would be to believe that really your article is quite wonderful, and that the editor is honored and pleased at having been able to read it; furthermore, there is no doubt but that some other editor will find it exactly suited to his needs; for "rejection does not necessarily imply lack of merit."
Now, why can't editors use a simple business form that expresses what they mean, and yet which does not imply that the author is a softhearted creature who will be crushed by a refusal?
If the author is going into the fight, he must expect to be treated in a business-like way.
If the editor doesn't want his goods, that is enough, let him return them; but don't, I beg, enclose those wearisome slips.
How I blessed the editor who enclosed with my rejected story a bit of paper, on which was written, "Not available."
[The editor of the Journal of Commerce, who recently answered a similar question, took the ground that, according to the technical rules of grammar, the phrase "to-morrow is" is correct. That which is always true in given conditions, he said, should, when stated within those conditions, be put in the present tense. Moreover, he argued, "to-morrow is" is sanctioned by the best usage, which is the ultimate test of correctness in speech. He cited examples from the standard English version of the Bible, as follows: "To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath," Ex. xvi: 23; "To-morrow is the feast of the Lord," Ex. xxxvi: 5; Behold, to-morrow is the new moon," I. Samuel xx: 5. And so in
Shakespeare: "To-morrow is the joyful day," "As You Like It," Act iv., scene 3; "Know to-morrow is the wedding day," "Taming of the Shrew," Act iii., scene I; "And say, to-morrow is St. Crispin," "Henry V.," Act iv., scene 3; "For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day," ""Richard III.," Act v., scene 3.
It is hard, of course, to oppose such authorities as the Bible and Shakespeare, but as a matter of fact they are not infallible, so far as their use of English is concerned, and in the case of "to morrow is "it is doubtful if their usage in the passages quoted coincides with that of the language of the present day. It is the habit of English-speaking people to put future things into the future tense, and even though "to-morrow is " may seem technically correct, the futurity of the idea makes the use of the future tense not only allowable, but natural and desirable. The argument that "to-morrow" exists only with relation to "to-day" applies equally well to "yesterday," but no one would think of saying for that reason, Yesterday is Friday." Yesterday was Friday" and "To-morrow will be Sunday" are equally correct for common usage. The grammarian and the purist may stick to "To-morrow is Sunday," if they will. W. H. H. ]
Can THE WRITER, or any reader thereof, tell me the name of the author of a poem entitled "Magdalena"? It is a story of a lady of Seville, in Spain. I have asked for the author's name several times, and of as many publications, in vain; and now I come to THE WRITER for similar information. I shall be grateful to any one for the information desired. N. H.
The editor of THE WRITER has never seen the poem referred to. Can any reader give "N. H." the information desired? - w. H. H. ]
<case of conflict between the dictionary and the rhetorics, the rhetorics must be regarded as the higher authority.-W. H. H.]
THE SCRAP BASKET.
I am more amused than surprised at a suggestion of process offered by "B. D.," of South Kaukauna, Wis., in the April WRITER. He wants to save paper at the cost of ingenuity and time. The day has come when sulphite fibre is king of cotton and linen, both. American paper, whether for manuscript, pencil, or web-perfecting type impression, is cheaper than thought itself! At Kaukauna, every working day in the year, are produced many tons of scribblers' medium, at so low a price per ton that he would not care to weigh his original ideas in the balance. His thrift would have been commendable when paper was at a premium, but that is not the case now, nor will it ever be again, unless the supply of wood shall become exhausted.
JERSEY CITY HEIGHTS, N. J.
H. C. L.
THE EXPERIMENTAL NOVEL, AND OTHER ESSAYS. By Emile Zola. Translated by Belle M. Sherman. 413 pp. Cloth, $2.00. New York: Cassell Publishing Co. 1893.
"Whatever one may think of Zola's work or Zola's art, his ideas regarding literary principles are interesting-perhaps the more so because they are not always in accordance with the canons of established literature. This book of his is a collection of literary essays, of which "The Experimental Novel" is but one. Others are entitled: "Naturalism on the Stage," "The Influence of Money in Literature," and "The Novel," some of the chapter subdivisions of the lastnamed paper being: "The Reality," "Personal Expression," "The Critical Formula Applied to the Novel," "Description," and "Morality." Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the essay on "The Novel."
"The greatest praise that could be formerly given to a novelist," says Zola, "was to say that he had imagination.' To-day this phrase would be looked upon almost as a criticism. This only goes to show that all the conditions of the novel have changed. Imagination is no longer the predominating quality of the novelist.
"Balzac and Stendhal are the men who lead this evolution; it is dating from their works that imagination no longer counts in the novel. Look at our great contemporaneous writers, Gustave Flaubert, Edmond and Jules de Gon
court, Alphonse Daudet: their talent does not come from what they have imagined, but from the manner in which they show forth nature in its intensity.
"I insist upon this fall of the imagination, because in it I see the characteristic of the modern novel. While the novel was a recreation for the mind, an amusement, from which was asked only animation and vivacity, it is easily understood that the important thing was to show an abundance of invention before anything else. Even when the historical novel and the novel with a purpose appeared, even then it was still imagination which reigned omnipresent, either in calling up vanished times or in the form of arguments, which characters, formed according to the need of the author, expounded. With the naturalistic novel and the novel of observation and analysis, the conditions change at once. The novelist invents, indeed, still he invents a plan, a drama; only it is a scrap of a drama, the first story he comes across and which daily life furnishes him with always. Then in the arrangement of the work this invention is only of very slight importance. The facts are there only as the logical results of the characters. The great thing is to set up living creatures, playing before the readers the human comedy in the most natural manner possible. All the efforts of the writer tend to hide the imaginary under the real.
"One could write an interesting paper on the subject of how our great novelists of to-day work. They base nearly all their works on profuse notes. When they have studied with scrupulous care the ground over which they are to walk, when they have gotten information from all the possible sources, and when they hold in their hands the manifold data of which they have need, then only do they decide to sit down and write. The plan of the work is brought to them by the data themselves, because the facts always classify themselves logically, this one before that one. Inevitably the work takes shape; the story builds itself up from all the observations gathered together, from all the notes taken, one leading to the other, through the linking of the lives of the characters, and the climax is nothing more than a natural and inevitable consequence. You can easily see, in this work, how little part imagination has in it all. We are very far removed, for example, from George Sand, who, they say, put herself before a mass of white paper, and, starting out with the first idea, went on and on without stopping, composing in a steady stream, relying solely on her imagination, which brought her as many pages as she needed to complete a volume.
"Suppose that one of our naturalistic novelists wishes to write a novel on theatrical life. He sets out with this general idea, without having as yet a single fact or a single character.
His first care is to gather together in his notes all that he knows of this world which he wishes to depict. He has known such and such an actor, he has witnessed such and such a play. Here are data already, the best, for they have ripened within himself. Then he will set about the business, he will get the men who are best informed on the subject to talking, he will collect their expressions, their stories, and their portraits. That is not all; he then turns to written documents, reading up all that he thinks will be of the slightest service to him. Finally, he visits the places, lives a few days in the theatre, so as to gain a perfect knowledge of all its recesses; he passes some evenings in an actress' rooms, steeping himself as much as possible in the surrounding atmosphere. And, once his data are complete, his novel, as I have said, makes itself. The novelist needs but to distribute his facts logically. From what he has learned the plot of his drama, the story of which he has need as a general frame for his facts, will shape itself. The interest no longer lies in the strangeness of the story; on the contrary, the more commonplace and general it is, the more typical it becomes. Make your real characters move in real surroundings. To give your reader a scrap of human life, that is the whole purpose of the naturalistic novel."
"To-day the ruling characteristic of the novelist," Zola goes on to say, “is the sense of reality to feel nature and to be able to depict her as she really is. . . . A great novelist should have the sense of reality, and also personal expression. . . . In a word, in a study of humanity, I blame all description which is not an account of the environment which determines
and completes man. I have sinned enough myself to have the right to recognize the truth.'
So much for Zola's literary creed. His moral creed is expressed in another essay. where he says: "To write badly is the only crime which I can admit in literature. A well-made phrase is a good action . . . In my opinion, the unworthy begins where talent ends."
There are many passages in the volume, besides these, that are worthy of quotation. No student of the literary art can fail to be interested in it, no matter how much at variance his own ideas may be with what the author says. As for Zola's own opinion of his work, that is expressed in his introduction, where he says: "Doubts assail me, and I ask myself, Is it possible that these articles will be found to be my best work? For I am overcome with shame when I think of the enormous pile of romantic rhetoric which lies behind me.'
W. H. H.
AUTHORS AND THEIR PUBLIC IN ANCIENT TIMES. By George Haven Putnam. 309 pp. Cloth, $1.50. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1894.
Mr. Putnam's book, as its sub title says, is "a sketch of literary conditions and of the relations
with the public of literary producers, from the earliest times to the invention of printing." It was originally written, the author says, to form a preliminary chapter, or general introduction, to a history of the origin and development of property in literature, a subject in which he has for some time interested himself. He points out that in the modern sense of the term, no such thing as literary property existed in ancient times, or, in fact, until some considerable period had elapsed after the invention of printing. It was not until publishers began to make arrangements to give compensation to contemporaneous writers for the preparation of original works, or for original editorial work associated with classic texts, and not until, in connection with such arrangements, the publishers succeeded in securing from the state authorities, in the shape of "privileges," a formal recognition of their right to control the literary work then produced, that literary property, in the sense of intellectual property, came into an assured and recognized, though still restricted, existence. Property of this kind did not exist in Athens, in Alexandria, or in classic Rome, although there is evidence that in these cities there gradually came into existence a system, or a practice, under which authors secured some compensation for their labors. The evidences, or indications, of payments to authors are mainly to be traced in scattered references in their own works. It is only when the Augustan age of Roman literature is reached that we find in the works of such writers as Cicero, Martial, Horace, Catullus, and a few others a sufficient number of references upon which to base some theory, at least, of the relations of the authors with their publishers, and also as to the publishing and bookselling methods of the time. Mr. Putnam has sketched in this book these "beginnings of literary property,” and has prefixed some preliminary sketches concerning the beginnings of literature in Chaldea, Egypt, India, Persia, China, and Japan. His work is a most interesting and instructive one, and it is to be hoped that the engrossing business cares and the increased necessity for economizing eyesight, to which he refers in his preface, will not prevent. him from carrying to completion his proposed sketch of the development of property in literature from the invention of printing down to the present day.
W. H. H.
GERMAN FOR AMERICANS. By Dr. Jacob Mayer. Fourth. edition. 219 pp. Cloth, $1.00. Philadelphia: I. Kohler. 1894.
Dr. Mayer's "German for Americans" has reached its fourth edition - perhaps the best evidence of its value as a means for self-instruction in the German language. The plan of the book is excellent. The pronunciation of each German word used is given with the word, warranting correctness in reading. The gram
matical rules, though simple and comparatively few, cover the whole ground. The collection of phrases and dialogues is arranged with due regard to the peculiarities of the language and the needs of the student at home and abroad. The vocabulary, containing about 5,000 words, classifies nouns according to their gender, in three columns on each page. Throughout, the book is a sensible one. Its method is practical, and the results of using it are likely to be good.
W. H. H.
THE FIRST THREE YEARS OF CHILDHOOD. By Bernard Perez. Edited and translated by Alice M. Christie. 295 pp. Cloth, $1.50. Syracuse, N. Y.: C. W. Bardeen. 1894.
Nothing can be of greater human interest than the study of the mental development of the child. M. Perez's book is the result of his having set himself to follow out in little children the gradual awakening of those faculties which constitute the psychic activity. such a work, as a lover of children, a trained psychologist, and a writer of pædagogic literature, M. Perez was admirably qualified. His book is not a biographical sketch of a single child. He has made special note of the progress of one or two children who have come more especially within his observation, but his record is a wide and comprehensive one, comparing observations of a large number of children and arranging the results attained. Its scope may best be understood from mention of some of the chapter headings, viz.: "The Faculties of the Infant Before Birth,' "The First Impressions of the New-born Child," "Motor Activity at the Beginning of Life at Six Months at Fifteen Months," "The First Perceptions," "General and Special Instincts," "The Faculties of Intellectual Acquisition and Retention," "On the Elaboration of Ideas," "On Expression and Language,' "The Æsthetic Sense in Little Children," "The Moral Sense." M. Perez looks at the infant from the educator's point of view, and his book is a practical guide to the mother and teacher. It is both scientific and popular at once, and every intelligent parent will find it to be a book of unusual interest.
W. H. H.
The merits of Mr. Bechtel's new handbook. of synonyms are its convenience of form, its clearness of arrangement, the broadness of its plan, and its feature of giving the prepositionswhich are properly used with different words.. This last-mentioned feature is an important one. Those who incorrectly use such expressions as correspond with" for "correspond to," or "different to" or "different than" for "different from," will find their errors pointed out in this book. In forming his lists of synonyms Mr. Bechtel has made them as diversified as possible by including words of somewhat distantly related meaning, thus increasing copiousness of suggestion in the enlarged group of words. The book is a handy one, and, kept within easy reach, it will supply in an instant the word for which a writer might long cudgel his brain in vain.
W. H. H.
LOVE AFFAIRS OF A WORLDLY MAN. By Maibelle Justice.
THE ANARCHIST. By Richard Henry Savage. 399 pp.
A DEAD MAN'S STEP. By Lawrence L. Lynch (E. Murdock
HELPFUL HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS.
Pigeon-hole Extension. Every writer who has used pigeon-holes — and every writer should use pigeon-holes - has found that he didn't have
pigeon-holes enough. I don't mean writers who have pigeon-holes for ornament; I mean writers who use pigeon-holes - who take things out of them as often as they put them in — who don't have one particular receptacle marked "Immediate," and always crammed to overflowing, with the undisturbed dust of ages on the miscellany jammed inside. When writers who really use pigeon-holes, then, find the supply of available pigeon-holes giving out - as it always does when you use 'em right-they may find it a good scheme to subdivide them by the use of envelopes. Six labelled envelopes, with the flaps tucked in, inside of one labelled pigeon-hole, are almost as good as seven pigeonholes and they take up much less room. instance, a pigeon-hole labelled "Material for Articles Under Way" may have in it envelopes labelled "Suicide as a Fine Art," "The Idiocy of Editors," "Bicycling for Bishops," "The Disadvantages of Putting Arsenic in Nursing Bottles," "Sleeplessness the True Theory of Insomnia," and "How I Wrote My Successful Novel." Notes or newspaper clippings for use in the final writing of any one of these interesting articles may be filed in the proper envelope, where they will be found happily classified, when the day for writing it arrives. W. H. H. BOSTON, Mass.
To Mend Torn Pages.. If you chance to tear a page of the book you are reading, take some white tissue paper and the white of an egg for mucilage, and you can mend them neatly with very little trouble. The white of the egg will not stain the paper, and the tissue paper is so thin that print can easily be read through it.
A. B. L.
LITERARY ARTICLES IN PERIODICALS.
[The publisher of THE WRITER will send to any address a copy of any magazine mentioned in the following reference list on receipt of the amount given in parenthesis following the name - the amount being in each case the price of the periodical, with three cents postage added. Readers who send to the publishers of the periodicals indexed for copies containing the articles mentioned in the list will confer a favor if they will mention THE WRITER when they write.]
THE FIRST-EDITION MANIA. William Roberts. Reprinted from Fortnightly Review in Sunday School Times 48 c.) for April 7.
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN AMERICA. W. J. Stillman. Century (38 c. ) for May.
THE VALUE OF DIALECT. Professor A. Wauchope. North American Review (53 c.) for May.
THE UNKNOWN LIFE OF CHRIST. Edward Everett Hale. North American Review ( 53 c. ) for May.
THE SMALLEST BOOKS IN THE WORLD Gaston Tissandier. Translated from La Nature in Literary Digest ( 13 c.) for April 28.
ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS. Literary Digest ( 13 c. ) for April 28.
THE LIMIT OF ATHLETICS FOR BRAIN WORKERS. rice Thompson. Chautauquan ( 28 c. ) for May. ENGLISH MOTHERS IN FACT AND FICTION. Miss E. F. Andrews. Chautauquan ( 28 c.) for May.
FITZ-JAMES O'BRIEN AND HIS TIME. Champion Bissell. Lippincott's (28 c.) for May.
RUDIMENTARY MISTAKES OF WRITERS. Lippincott's ( 28 c. ) for May.
WASHINGTON IRVING. With fac-simile of his manuscript. Brander Matthews. St. Nicholas (28 c ) for May.
ADVICE TO YOUNG WRITERS. Illustrated with portraits. Lew Wallace, James Grant Wilson. George W. Cable, Julia Ward Howe, H. H. Boyesen, Gertrude Atherton. Demorest's (23 c.) for May.
THE ETHICAL VALUE OF THE NOVEL.
D. H. Hill, Jr.
Bookman (20 c.) for
REALISM OF TODAY. Countess Cowper. Reprinted from Nineteenth Century in Eclectic ( 48 c. ) for May.
FRANCIS PARKMAN AND HIS WORK. A. E. Bradley. Reprinted from Macmillan's Magazine in Eclectic (48 c.) for May.
THE ART OF READING BOOKS. J. E. C. Welldon. Reprinted from National Review in Eclectic ( 48 c. ) for May. MRS. MARGARET DELAND. With portrait. Literary Monthly (13 c.) for April 26.
A GLANCE AT LAMPMAN. Arthur J. Stringer. Canadian Magazine (28 c.) for April.
MISS NANCY BAILEY (the English indexer). trait. Ladies' Home Journal ( 13 c.) for May.