« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
author. There, spread out on his desk, are the verdicts of a hundred, a hundred and fity, or two hundred critics, who have had no communication with each other. Thus the author can see at a glance the critical map of his world in regard to his story. It is often an amazing experience for him as he surveys that map.
“Out of, say, 150 criticisms, he will often find that 140 are in substantial agreement. Each critic has reached his conclusion by a road true to his mind, but all of these personal paths have run together into a comunon highway of thinking. It is amazing as would be the verdict in imaginary case at law, in which 150 jurors should sift the evidence, each in solitary confinement, and then march back to the courtroom to give a verdict of 'acquittal or the reverse. Such a result as this could not possibly be reached unless these 150 human minds were working sincerely and intelligently. The knowledge that they do so work makes the author one in humanity with these workers, not one of whom he will possibly ever meet.
“ There is no measure of how vital such an experience is. Simply by it, we acquire faith in human nature. And the more faith an author has in human nature, the better his work will be. The less faith he has, the worse his work will be. All real literature is faith in human nature. Great satire seems to be an exception, for it is the literature of bitter attack, But great satire carries on the attack upon human nature always for the sake of making human nature grow right. As much as any other form of literature, great satire is, I say, founded on faith in human nature. Otherwise it cannot be great. Satire is the great scavenger of the Imagination in the Evolution of Life.
“Of course all the body of criticism does not consist of sympathies. A certain part of it may consist in nearly every case of antagonisms. The critic does not like your book, and like a man, or like a woman, he says so.
That is bad for the critic and it is bad for the author. No progress is born of such antagonism. In nature, the thing that goes with all birth is not hatred ; it is love.
To hate a book and to know that your book is hated is a black and damaging situation. It is just so much life taken out of both author and critic.
“To the question, what is the effect of criticism upon the reading public ? the answer is — there is no telling. This I do believe, that the best criticism of fiction written in this country at present comes in nearly every instance from the newspapers.
“ Technical knowledge is not the first requisite for the criticism of fiction. The direct, primary, pre-civilized – you might say the instinctive animal and instinctive spiritual forces of your own nature your best qualifications as a critic of imaginative literature. Added to these, a knowledge of technique is indispensable only when you seek to criticise a work on its technique. But the vast majority of reviewers
never going to criticise your work of fiction as anything more than human document. Your readers will largely be affected by your technique if it is good. Comparatively few will be conscious of your technique if it is bad.
“In spite of the intimate relation that exists between the critics and the authors, almost complete silence reigns between them. There is little or no communication between the great body of newspaper critics and the body of creative workers who work side by side and never meet. They live on each other's sympathies, and acknowledge each other. They constitute the biggest factor in each other's eyes and yet remain perfectly independent. Perhaps not one time in a hundred will a critic write to an author or an author write to a critic.
“There should be a word as to the inevitableness of this vast silence on each side of so much sympathy. It exists because you don't dare break it. You don't dare break it, because an expression of appreciation is an attempt at payment. The finest things cannot be paid for. One of them is duty. Duty pays for itself ; and the critic in doing his duty in the review of a book is critic-paid and must not be author-paid. So that the author with 150 letters before him osten wants to write 150 replies. Usually he
writes not one. The author knows that how- citizens and thank them for respecting him. ever his letter might be at first received, it When the young lover addresses the one he would lie as a dead weight on the critic's loves and is accepted, he cannot possibly mind, when the author's next book came to say: 'I am much obliged to you.' A father him for review. The attempt at payment cannot express gratitude to a son for reverwould have bound the critic hand and foot. encing him. Many upper regions of human
* And this brings us to gratitude, which nature are inaccessible to gratitude. What ends the whole matter. We often speak of we call gratitude in the lower planes begratitude as something that dwells on the comes transmuted in the upper into a thing heights of human nature. Rather, it dwells altogether different. All that is noble in on its own peak and can
cross to gratitude, if it ever scales other heights others. In truth, there are whole planes of with its living energy, drops its heavy name, human nature where it never is found. You and reappears there as a less burdened can't thank a fellow man for his friendship. spirit.”
James Ernest King. No citizen can arise in a mass meeting of The Boston Transcript.
THE DRAMA OF PURE EMOTION.
What hope is held to-day for the romantic drama, or the drama of pure emotion? A complex scientific age has had its reflection in the theatre. It has brought with it — and not without regrettable quences — intellection, and the drama of social ideas as opposed to that of unalloyed emotion. That the thesis play, which seeks to prove a proposition; the problem play, which puts a question; and the propagandist play, which is avowedly missionary, are, more or less, an outgrowth of some passing phase in our highly artificial liie, needs only to be stated to be believed. The future of any didactic literature is doubtful; for its vitality and appeal must be enfeebled when the idea becomes out-oi-date, or the particular problem treated has been solved by time. This fate awaits most contemporary plays whose tendency is to substitute for the portrayal of elemental and universal motives a protest against some existing evil or the expression of some idea. Scorning “native wood-notes wild" we take refuge in the inane causerie of the drawingroom, or we delight to represent the sordid aspects of modern life for sheer joy of the sordid, or perhaps baser motives.
It is pretty evident that the traditions of Shakspere, Molière, Calderon, Dumas the
elder, and Victor Hugo are being more and more discarded for the heritage of Ibsen. What has been the immediate effect on the atmosphere of modern drama? The light and airy touch has been abandoned for a melancholic pose; insurgency, and its distorted reflection, lubricity, have usurped the place of conciliatory humor; in a word, the idea has crowded out humanity.
All this has not been without its evil effects on the rising generation of dramatists. Sudermann, a frank imitator, Strindherg, in his
realistic moods, and Brieux have been held up as models for imitation. Rostand, it will be noted, is rarely mentioned; d'Annunzio is but slightly known to the general public, and such a figure as the late John M. Synge is tardily coming into his own. In America, it has been affirmed, a drama of the soil has been stified by the importation of European distresses to be remedied — very real and poignant, it may be, abroad, but purely chimerical here.
At Wallack's, Louis M. Parker, a romantic dramatist of a very high order, has won certain measure of
with his “Disraeli” and “Pomander Walk"; but his "Lady of Coventry” proved a Aat failure. Why? Not because it was a bad piece of
It is important for writers to know the die annually in the United States should meanings of the words they use, and not read " each year in the United States," to forget what familiar expressions origin
since one can die but once. ally meant. The expression “Man Runs The growing use of “kids” and “kiddies Amuck," may pass, but the newspaper head- instead of the good English word chilline, “ Man Runs an Exciting Muck," was in
dren” is to be regretted. Both of these excusable.
slang terms should be avoided, both in writMost” is not properly used in the sense
ing and in speaking. of “nearly.” Almost” is the proper
A mantle is a cloak. A mantel is a chimword. “Most” is often used colloquially
ney-piece. Don't get the words confused. for “almost," but if written, it requires an
“ Ever” is often misprinted for “even," apostrophe.
and “even" for ever,” because writers are The words “cyclone” and "tornado not careful about their handwriting. are often wrongly used. A cyclone is a vio- After you have said : “ The scene beggars lent storm, covering a large area, with wind description," don't try to describe it. blowing around a calm centre of low at- Etc.” is a very good abbreviation for mospheric pressure so that for any given
business purposes, but its in writing locality it may be regarded as a straight anything that has any claim to be literature wind. The cyclone may cover several states
should be avoided. Generally it can
be or half of the United States. A tornado is omitted without being missed. If some such a violent whirling wind revolving in a smali phrase is really needed, it is better to write area and progressing usually with much de- “and so forth,” or “and so on.” struction. A cyclone may continue for sev- “ Asphyxiated by gas is not tautology. eral days, while a tornado lasts only a short Asphyxia is a condition caused by interruptime and usually occurs in the afternoon or tion of respiration, as in suffocation or evening
drowning, or the inhalation of irrespirable Strata " is the plural of stratum," so gases. that the proofreader of the Century Maga- Alumni” is properly used in speaking of zine should have corrected the sentence, the graduates of a men's college, but the "The great strata of coal is soon
graduates of a girls' college are “alumnae." worked."
Harvard has alumni ; Vassar has alumnae ; "Annually means recurring every year.
the University of Michigan has both. The sentence, “At least 3,000,000 babies. CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Edward B. Hughes.
The Writer is published the first day of every monti. It will be sent, postpaid, ONE YEAR for ONE DOLLAR
*** All drafts and money orders should be made payable to The Writer Publishing Co. Stamps, or local checks, should not be sent in payment for subscriptions.
The Writer will be sent only to those who have paid for it in advance. Accounts cannot be opened for subscriptions, and names will not be entered on the list unless the subscription order is accoinpanied by a remittance.
The American News Company, of New York, and the New England News Company, of Boston, and their branches, are wholesale agents for The WRITER. It may be ordered from any newsdealer, or direct, hy mail, from the publishers.
Not one line of paid advertisement will be printed in The WRITER outside of the advertising pages.
*** Advertising in THE WRITER costs fifteen cents a line, or $2.10 an inch ; seven dollars a quarter page ; twelve dollars a half page ; or twenty dollars a page, for one insertion, remittance with the order. Discounts are five, ten, and fifteen percent. for three, six, and twelve months, For continued advertising payments muist made quarterly in acvance.
Contributions not used will be returned, if a stamped and addressed envelope is enclosed. TIE WRITER PUBLISHING CO.,
88 Broad Street, Room 416, P. (). Box 1905.
producing One appears in the Century. The editors say that Ellis Parker Butler adventurously submitted a story to them and it was suggested to Mr. Butler that some changes in the story might possibly improve it. This reply was forthcoming : E. P. BUTLER LITERARY FACTORY
242 State St., Flushing, X. Y. Department of Correction and Repairs.
April 30, 1913 Editor the Century Vagazine, New York. Dear Sir : -
Regarding your menio. of yesterday in regard to the 1913-1nodel story recently purchased by you from this company, would say we cannot understand why you have found so many repairs necessary.
While we only guarantee our product from one year írom date of purchase, all goods are examined before skipn.ent, and should reach you in good condition, and stand any ordinary wear and tear for twelve months. We cannot understand your complaint. Is it not possible you have allowed sand to get in the gear box of the story ?
However, we are shipping you by this same mail material to replace the unsatisfactory parts, Vos. 13 and 14, and trust that, with these in place, the purchase will give you good satisfaction.
In case of any iurther trouble please address this depart. n'ent.
E. P. Putler Literary Factory,
Per E. P. B. E. P. 1.-E. 1'. B.
In answering this communication please refer to Correction No. 987,564.
The other bit is a story told by the Vew York Tribune of a successiul pen-and-ink artist who received the following printed circular from an automobile firm ·
" You are cordially invited to participate in grand $100 prize-drawing contest. Each participant may submit one or more drawings advertising our autoniobile, and the winner will receive a grand prize of $100. Drawings must be sent prepaid, they Irust be original, and all unsuccessful drawings will remain the property of the undersigned.”
Short practical articles on topics connected with literary work are always wanted for Tue 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 Tue Writer are always open for any one who has anything helpful and practical to S?V. Articles should be closely condensed ; the ideal length is about 1,000 words.
Two bits of humor illustrating the relations between author and publisher are worth re
be shipped freight prepaid to New York.
The unsuccessful automobiles will remain the property oi the undersigned."
a reporter's message sent by wireless telephone can be delivered in the office of his newspaper “printed in column form."
W. H. H.
WRITERS OF THE DAY.
A reader of THE WRITER asks whether this extract might be taken as a description of any book issued within the year :“Jf in a picture, l'iso, you should see A handsome woman, with a fish's tail, Or a man's head upon a horse's neck, Or linnbs of beasts of the most different kinds Covered with feathers of all sorts of birds Would you not laugh and think the painter mad ? Trust me that book is as ridiculous Whose incoherent style, like sick men's dreams, Varies all shapes and mixes all extremes.”
Herbert Coolidge, whose story, “The Lady's lan at the Show-Down," appeared in Collier's for July 5, is a California man, al
a though he was born in Massachusetts. He grew up in Riverside, California, and spent five years specializing in English and sociology at Stanford University. Since leaving the university he has spent two years in Northern California among the Indians, doing missionary work and building up his health. He has spent several years in state sanitation work. During this time he has written stories which have appeared in the Youth's Companion, Outing, Out West, Sunset, and other magazines. His work deals with frontier life and conditions of the real West as he has known it. While a student he spent a summer in the high Sierras as forest ranger for the United States govern
He has also traveled in Mexico and Lower California. Within the last few years he has settled down at his home, just outside Palo Alto, California, to devote his entire time to his literary work. His first book, Pancho McClish," was published last fall by J. C. McClurg & Company. The Popular Magazine has accepted the serial rights of a second book, and Ir. Coolidge is now working on a third long story dealing with western liie. He is a brother of Dane Coolidge, who is also a writer of western fiction.
A prophecy regarding the newspaper of the future was made by Robert Donald, editor of the London Daily Chronicle, in his opening address as president of the Institute of Journalists. “The future methods of distribution," said he, “will be quicker and circulations will cover greater areas. Airships and aeroplanes will be used for the most distant centres. Electric trains and motor-planes running in special tracks will also be used. In the chief centres of population, papers will be distributed by electric or pneumatic tubes. News will be collected by wireless telephones. The reporter will always have a portable telephone with him with which he can communicate with his paper. At the other end the wireless telephone message will be delivered to the subeditor printed in column form. At the people's recreation halls, with the cinematograph and gramophone, all the news of the day will be given. People may become too lazy to read, and news will be laid on to the house or office just as gas and water is
The occupiers will listen to an account oi the news of the day read to them by much improved phonographs while sitting in their garden ; or a householder will have his daily newspaper printed in column form by a printing machine in his hall just as we have tape machines in offices now.” Part of this prophecy no doubt will come true, but most inventors will probably be puzzled when they are asked to invent a device by which
Robert Welles Ritchie, who had a story, entitled “Fate Vlaketh His Circuit," in the Popular Magazine for August 1, and who has other stories of lexico in revolution yet to be published in the same magazine, gathered his color of the grim country south of the Rio Grande at first hand while serving as a correspondent for the New York Sun during the Vadero revolution. The
was in Mexico City at the time the aged Lion of Pueblo,” President Portirio Diaz, resigned