Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

Metropolitan for August, began writing vaudeville stories for the New York Morning Telegraph, under the name of Helen Green, eight years ago.

She wrote other fiction, also, living at different times in New York, Northeast Canada, the tropics, and the American West, but wherever she was she turned out twelve columns a week for the Telegraph until 1910. In 1912 she began writing magazine stories. She now lives

an island in Prince William Sound, Alaska, where her husband is manager of a large copper mine, and she is at work on an Alaska book.

on

PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS.

[ocr errors]

definitely? And the rhythm cries aloud for it, it seems to me.

“ The vast, upright " Quoere -- "the upright" ... for rhythm. “ Then a sunbeam burst thro' the blind tent-room

Showed Saul." Now, will you think whether, to enforce the | admirable effect of your sudden sunbeam, this first line shall not be rendered more rapid by the removal of the clogging epithet “blind - which you repeat, too, I believe, farther on in the next page ?

Of the great ride from Ghent to Aix, Miss Barrett wrote with the enthusiasm of conviction : “ You have the very trampling and breathing of the horses all through — and the sentiment is left in its right place, through all the physical force and display. ...I know you must be proud of the poem, and nobody can forget it who has looked at it once. . By the way, how the 'galloping' is a good galloping word ! And how you felt it, and took the effect up and dilated it by repeating it over and over in your first stanza, doubling, folding one upon another, the hoof-treads."

De Coulevain. The novelist who wrote under the nom de guerre of “ Pierre de Coulevain " and who was in real life Mlle. Favre, died a fortnight ago in Switzerland. Mlle. Favre, who was no longer young, was cluse, shrinking from human companionship. She had been a governess in England, where she found the material for her book, “L'Ile Inconnue.” One who knew her says that “the idea of death obsessed her and she carried about with her in one of the innumerable trunks by which she was always surrounded — for she delighted in a wandering life — the dress and shoes she intended to wear in her coffin.” – New York Tribune.

own

re

66

Browalog. Among the Browning manuscripts sold in May was a little group in Elizabeth Barrett's delicate handwriting, containing her suggestions for verbal alterations in Browning's “ Dramatic Romances and Lyrics,” which he was preparing for the press. “It is curious to find Elizabeth Barrett, whose ear, to judge from her poetry, was not remarkably sensitive, criticising the imperfect rhythm of Robert Browning. But Miss Barrett was a better critic than poet at this period ( which, be it remembered, was before the ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese' and 'Aurora Leigh')." Her notes on Saul” are reproduced by the writer in the Cornhill to illustrate her niethod. She writes :

" Nor til: from his tent." Would you not rather write “until,” here, to break the course of monosyllables, with another reason ?

“For in the black mid-tent silence

Three drear days – " A word seemed omitted before silence” - and the short line is too short to the ear - not to say that drear days conspires against ' dread ways,” found afterward. And the solemn flow of the six lines should be uninterrupted, I think.

The entrance of David into the tent is very visible and characteristic - and you see his youthfulness in the activity of it and the repetition of the word “foldskirts has an Hebraic effect.

“ But soon I descried

Something more black than the blackness." Should it not be “A something" - more

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

at many a kind of work in order to increase his knowledge of men and things and forward his literary career. He had even been a clerk in a publishing house at nine dollars a week in order to learn more about how books are made. We are told that when the manuscript of The Blazed Trail” was finished he gave it to Jack Boyd, the foreman, to read. Boyd began it after supper one evening and when White awoke the next morning at four o'clock he found him still at it. As Boyd never even read a newspaper, White regarded this as a triumph and felt that success was assured.

CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.

Editing for Girls. A very delicate question inevitably faces any American publication that wishes to exercise leadership in thought. Either it has to confine itself to topics and treatment which are suitable to all members of the family at any age, and thereby cut itself off from much that is important, or else it has to take for granted that it is written for intelligent adults, and in this case there will be a certain amount of scolding whenever anything is published that is not especially adapted to the immature mind For our part, we have chosen the second course.

We should like to be popular among the fourteen-year-olds, even those of conventional parentage, but we are not willing to give up the entire expression of our thought on all serious matters of the day. Nothing, it need scarcely be said, will be published in this paper that is not entirely moral, but a great deal will be published that is extremely frank. – Harper's Weekly.

The End of the Story. One of the chief joys of which advancing civilization has deprived us is that of reading books with a comfortable certainty as to the outcome. In an earlier and more restful day the novelreader was never haunted by the shadow of an impending doom. Let the trials of Arabella be never so heart-rending, let Mordaunt be baffled by fate in every chapter but the last, none the less the reader could

banish his fears in the certainty that at last Arabella would fall into Mordaunt's arms, and that the cruel uncle, brought finally to pious repentance, would declare the happy pair the irs to his enormous wealth.

All this may have been silly, but it was immensely comforting. That it in no way detracted from the interest is proved by the enthusiasm with which many of the old stories were read and re-read. To-day things are very different. The traditional happy ending is frowned upon ; the hero often either fails altogether to win his prize or else wins it only to find that the gilded idol was of clay. Even in the lightest of comedy scenes we are oppressed with the thought of tragedy to follow ; we cannot guess the outcome till we reach the end of the book, and then too often we only wish it had been otherwise.

The rampant realists announce that this is like life itself. Life is uncertain and frequently tragic ; why should the creatures of fiction beforeordained to happiness? Demanding realism at any expense, the novelist of to-day goes forth to wallow in misery and proclaims that he is doing well.

This is the great justification of the modern storv-ending, that it is true to life. That is exactly what is the matter with it. We do not read fiction, unless we are suffering from morbidness, in order to get an extra dose of the uncertainty of life. We read it to be entertained. Should we find much pleasure in watching an acrobat if we really half expected him to break his neck in the course of the performance? This pall of uncertainty which envelops many stories of to-day may be realistic, but it does not make the sort of reading which is a delight in comfortable hours of mental relaxation.

The old novel, with its leisurely motion and interminable length, had many faults, but at least it did not sin through a misconception of its purpose.

Reiormers are necessary evils, and the man who is forever crying out to us to mend our ways is like the slave whose duty mind the king of old, in the midst

SO

was

to

re

was

near.

are

[ocr errors]

are

are

re

verse

Are you

6

All pay

of the feast, that death

always the poet receive less for his poem now than Such things

necessary

and twenty years ago?”. beneficial, but they

not pleasant. * On the contrary," replied Dr. Wheeler, Unpleasant, too, the countless

“ he receives more.

He sells more minders of the imminence of misfortune and and gets more for it. Not long ago the tragedy in daily life. Why should we carry Poetry Society authorized me to investigate this gloom with us into fiction? Why not, the condition of the magazine poetry marrather, enjoy to the full whatever the novel- ket. I sent the following letter to twentyists have to tell, knowing well that it will seven leading American monthly and weekly all come right in the end?

magazines : The writers of romance, whose minds I am endeavoring to procure for the Poetry Society have not been obscured by a fog of petty

of America definite data regarding the rates of com. truths, have always recognized this fact.

pensation paid by the magazines for poetry and the

basis on wluich such rates are computed. Ivanhoe must wed his insipid Rowena, and

willing to send me replies to the following questions? the reader must never doubt that he is go- 1. By what method do you fix the price of a poem ing to do so. D'Artagnan must win the accepted for publication? By the number of lines, military glory for which he longs ; let his

or the character of the poem, or how? clothes be riddled with bullets, not one of

2. Do you pay upon acceptance or upon publica

tion, or sometimes one way or sometimes the other? them must be allowed to reach a vital spot

3. What are your rules of payment, and what is the before the marshal's staff is nis. What mininum for very short poems, such as quatrains? should we think of David Balfour if, instead

“Of the first eighteen replies received, of living to write his memoirs, he had inop- this is a brief summary.

on acportunely died amid the Highland crags? It ceptance,' or within a week or ten days is only the novel-writers of today, the self- thereafter. In six replies the merit of the proclaimed students of humanity, who keep poem is given as the first consideration in their readers in doubt, who veil the end- fixing the price, the length of the poem reing as something too awful to be disclosed

ceiving secondary consideration. In four before its time which, indeed, it often is.' replies, the length of the poem is said We may read their books with interest, but usually 'to determine the price, and one ediwe read the others with delight. The Bell- tor states that merit is all he considers. To

can venture to prophesy which type my second question, five editors replied that of book will have the more enduring life.- they paid from fifty cents to a dollar a line. The Bellman.

Six gave fifty cents a line as their regular Prices Paid for Poelry. “ Three times as

rate, and one said that he always paid a much magazine verse is printed to-day as

dollar a line. The minimum rate for very ever before,” said Dr. Edward T. Wheeler,

short poems was given in one letter as $10, President of the Poetry Society of America.

in two as $5. in one as $2.50, and in one as There are magazines that exclude fiction

$2,‘for couplets.' and essays. Chicago has Poetry, a Maga

“So you see, the rewards for poetry are zine of Verse, Boston has Poet-Lore and

increasing instead of decreasing. There are the Poetry Journal, London has the Poetry

many poets, you know, who have no income

other than from poetry, and who, nevertheReview and Poetry and Drama, and Paris has La Phalange. Among the popular

less live comfortably. Alfred Noyes writes magazines, those most popular are those

poetry for a living, and so, I believe, does that print the most poetry.”

John Masefield. In this country, Arthur "What about the reward of poetry?" Dr.

Guiterman and Berton Braley live on the Wheeler was asked. “You say that the

proceeds of the sale of their verse." – New

York Times. magazines print three times as much poetry as in former years.

Is not the ten- Scouling for New Au'hors. Churchill Wilodency, then, to cheapen verse? Does not

liams, associate editor of the Saturday

man

66

now

Women

man.

Evening Post, and an author himself, was masses whose soul she studies with suche describing the methods used in discovering admirable skill and fidelity?” asks a writer writers. In his office he explained to the in the New York Evening Post, who goes interviewer how he goes about this impor- on to say:

The old New York families tant task.

in “The Custom of the Country' have such “If you could come down to my house you attractive names as Dagonet, Marvell, and would find it stacked with the latest maga- Van Degen, but the climbers from the small zines. I go through many of these, and factory towns of the Middle West are called when I come across stories of unusual merit

Undine Spragg, Bertha Shallum, and InI try to find their authors. I do not mean diana Frusk. The girl in 'The Reef' is that I try to take an author away from a Sophie Viner. The idea seems to be that,. periodical with which he is connected, but I coming from the cultureless region where try to induce him to send us some material. everything is ugly, these successful Middle But we do not give commissions. We Western manuiaoturers and their always reserve the right to reject a story, must bear ugly names. As a matter of fact even if we have told an author to write for the tribes who come out of Pittsburgh will: us. Every week almost I go over to New bear euphonious names like Howard, Greg. York, where I meet some of these authors

ory, Thompson, Roberts, Moffatt, and and I negotiate with them for stories. All Brown. The Henry James influence is disthe ideas that rule this paper originate right tinctly visible in this lorgnette attitude here with Mr. Lorimer, our editor. He gets which would saddle the vulgar masses with an idea for a special article, for instance, and a hideous nomenclature." then names some one he thinks competent Commenting on this, the San Francisco to handle it. Then I go over and meet the Argonaut remarks : “An Eastern critic asks.

And it is pleasant work. There never why Mrs. Wharton chooses such ugly names was a man more happy in his position than for her middle-class heroines, and cites the I am. I find that I have as much room for name of Sophie Viner, the chief girl in. creative effort as if I were writing myself. • The Reef.' Now Sophie Viner is not a It is a great pleasure to find talent where no beautiful name, but we fail to see what else one saw it before. I do not think I am this particular damosel could have been boasting when I say we discovered Mon- called. The name fits her like a glove. As tague Glass. We saw some of his humorous soon as we know that she is called Sophie skits in some trade journals. I then found Viner we seem to have a premonition of him in a downtown lawyer's office in by no exactly what she will do. To have called means affluent circumstances.

And we

her Montmorency, for example, or Daggaged him for the Post.”

onet, would have frustrated the whole story. Speaking of Jack London, Mr. Williams

were writing a novel, which said: “He reads extensively and absorbs a solemnly promise not to do, the name of tremendous lot-economics, philosophy, the heroine, or the hero, would be made and science. He finds time to put out a the subject of prayer

and meditation, good deal of work and meritorious work at although not of fasting. Any one can find that. He has built himself a fine home in beautiful names, but to find appropriate Glen Ellen, Calif., and I should not be sur- names is a very different matter. Imagine prised if his income were thirty or forty changing the name of Mr. Pecksniff, or of thousand dollars a year.

And at one time Mr. Snodgrass, or of Mr. Pickwick. It he barely had enough to eat.” – Albert could not be done without fatal results. Mordell in Philadelphia Record.

And Sophie Viner by any other name would Names of Characters in Fiction. -. “Why will

be quite another girl.” Mrs. Wharton insist on picking out such A “New Style” in Journalism. — There is utterly hideous names for the women of the also, it seems, a new style of reportorial and

en

If we

we

woe

means

man

[ocr errors]

SO

66

editorial writing - a "human nature" style, if you please. A syndicate is seeking - for modest compensation - to popularize the new style. Here's a sample of it:

“ Motherhood's primeval passionate grief, barbaric in its lone immensity, is the one heroic aftermath of

that will long mark the Dayton and the Hamilton foods of recent memory."

If this is human nature, give us sub-human nature. If this is new, give us the old. Give us reporting and editorial writing that show knowledge of facts, possession of ideas, directness, lucidity, and brevity of expression.

It is an affront to poor human nature to advertise in its name empty, meaningless rhetoric, pathos, and a sad “ derangement of epitaphs."—Chicago Record-Herald. Naming the “World's Wort." - In the Book

Isaac Marcosson relates how the World's Work got its name. A conference was held to determine the character of the new magazine. Rudyard Kipling was in this country, and being a member of the called “ D. P." family, he sat in." Doubleday, so the story goes, was for a magazine with a literary flavor.

"No," said Page. “We want a magazine that is live, virile, constructive — that will be the voice of the democracy.”

After he had his way, the question of a title came up.

Kipling, who had listened attentively, spoke up :

What you really want is a magazine that deals with the work of the world."

In a flash Page leaped to his feet, pounded the table (for he is very demonstrative ), and said :

“ There it is – the World's Work. Kipling has given us our title.” And thus the infant was christened.

lacreasing One's Vocabulary. – As the result of a talk with a lexicographer a writer for the New York Sun says that the English language is growing at the rate of. 5,000 words a year.

The English novelist Locke, author of “The Morats of Marcus Ordeyne," "Simple Septimus,” and others in which a large and Alexible vocabulary is displayed, says that the

English possess the richest language in the world, but pride themselves upon keeping their wealth of words between the covers of a dictionary and expressing themselves in slang.

If our language is growing at the rate of five thousand words a year none of us need hope to acquire any considerable proportion of the new words as they find their way into the dictionaries, but a good vocabulary is a great asset to any one, not merely to writers, speakers, and teachers.

What are you doing as the years pass to increase your vocabulary, in other words, to secure your share of the wealth of words ? Reading good literature gives you easy

of becoming acquainted with new words. Even in old works you will find many possible and useful additions to your vocabulary, but the surest means of increasing your store of words, and at the same time increasing precision - not preciseness - is to get into the habit of consulting the dictionary.

Of course, nearly every home boasts a dictionary. A majority of business establishments have one for use as a last resort in emergencies, but comparatively few persons recognize the dictionary as a source of lasting information — and even of genuine entertainment as well as a friend in need when a dispute is to be settled or when there is doubt as to the spelling of a word.

The dictionary habit, once formed, is a constant and positive source of pleasure as well as of profit.

To reach its greatest usefulness the dictionary must be available at the cost of a minimum expenditure of energy. In the library it should be at the reader's elbow, and, preferably, where it is not necessary to list its weight. Upon its availability depends to a large extent, the reader's acquirement of the habit of consulting it not merely to ascertain the meaning of a word in order that the sentence containing it may be understood, but to discover derivations and shades of meaning.

The habit of consulting encyclopedias and other reference books is profitable, and pos

a

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »