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came thoroughly materialistic, then indeed would the American spirit have perished.
It used to be commonly believed it still is by many-that poetic genius is very rare, almost superhuman. In reality it is widely distributed, like the capacity to sing. Anation which-sings, which keeps its songs and teaches them to its children, which expresses its spirit in new songs, will not see the springs of its idealism go dry. A nation in which poetry is continually produced will not thirst for inspiration.
American life has produced poetry. Not only is it in our own mother tongue, but it could not have been produced in any other English-speaking land in the world. American life sings. No one quite understands the American spirit who does not appreciate its new poetry. Christian Register.
Concerning Ghost Stories. After all, the most creepy ghost story yet written is Bulwer-Lytton's "Haunted and the Haunters," otherwise known as "The House and the Brain." Thackeray confessed in print that it frightened him. There is a fine touch in E. T. A. Hoffmann's " Marjorat": the scratching on the wall. There are chapters in Wilkie Collins's "Dead Secret" that we should not like to read alone at night by a swaling candle; the dream in "Armadale " is enough to strike terror to the stoutest soul, but "The Haunted Hotel," with its grisly horrors, approaches dangerously near burlesque. There is a good railway ghost story in the Mugby Junction" collection, and a better one on this subject by Marcel Schwob. We should not forget the dreadful story of the New York boarding house by Fitz James O'Brien, or Marion Crawford's steamship story, or the singularly unpleasant one by Henry James. Sheridan Le Fanu, a novelist not appreciated today, wrote hair-raising chapters, but we doubt if Bulwer's "Haunted and the Haunters" has been equalled. Phillip Hale, in the Boston Herald.
Relation of the Plot to the Story. Ask the average reader what he means by the plot of a story or play and he will usually say:
Why, the story is the plot." But the actual spinner of tales that pass in endless review through the pages of magazines and novels finds the plot something as it were quite apart from the story itself. He gets a glimpse of some incident concerning a group of people; he sees there is a story in it; then he must sort out the elements of the story and arrange them so as to make a telling plot. A good story does not always have a well-worked-out plot. The idea with which the writer starts out, the event which may be the climax of the story, and the effect of the climax moment on the experience of all concerned, these things all together may have picturesque value and all the possibilities of a moving or heroic or deeply significant story; yet if the plot element is not there, or if it is loose or chaotic or lacking in artistic effect or vital realism, the story somehow lacks convincing power and if not wholly a failure it falls short of being a great book.
Of course a book may be written without a plot, purposely stringing together occurrences of every day, sketching character, illuminating history or some department of human thought; such a book is really not a story, but a character study, or an essay, or a sketch of contemporary manners, or the like. To be a story there must be plot, a logical relation of events, such a working out of cause and consequent as makes the successive scenes of a play. Moreover, there must be always a central motive or purpose, what really amounts to a lesson which is to be brought home to the reader. This lesson is illustrated with concrete examples. Events in the experience of the characters all go to enlarge upon the theme. They are all shown tending irresistibly to the moment of climax or conclusion, when the reader cannot escape the author's idea, but must take home the lesson in a vital and enduring way. The great books are in the main those where this didactic purpose is hidden, perhaps even not consciously followed by the writer himself; for in the great books the lesson is wholly taught in these images or symbols, not in preachments; by
illustration rather than by precept. Yet it is hard to lose sight of this great moral suasion of any powerful book - suasion that is always convincing. This same power to convince is what marks the actor or singer who has what is popularly termed authority. The story writer who has authority has a clearly conceived theme, which might be illustrated by a thousand concrete examples. Yet he has chosen such a group of characters and chain of events as seem to him best to bring home the verity of his main thesis.
It is extremely useful in judging of the value of any book, then, to sketch first the reason, the abstract idea of the book, the thing which in a sermon is called the text, then to outline the plot, grouping the characters and events to show how they serve to illustrate the main idea. It is safe to say that if the book has no idea and cannot be shown to have a logically related group of characters and train of events, it is not a great work of art, however delightful as mere reading. - Christian Monitor.
The way to submit a short story or any other contribution to a newspaper or a magazine is to send by mail, enclosing return postage, a legible copy of the contribution addressed plainly to the editor of the publication, whatever it may be, enclosing a short note giving the author's name and address and requesting the return of the manuscript if unavailable.
"Our correspondent is apparently beset with the erroneous idea that a personal introduction of his contribution, even from a total stranger like himself, will commend his offerings to the special consideration of the editor. This idea has persisted for so long that it is hard to kill. It has grown into the elaborate superstition that magazines are is
sued under the management of a ring of influential' contributors who are able to gobble all the space for themselves and that the editor is deaf and blind to any merit outside that charmed circle. An equally foolish idea seems to persist in regard to newspaper contributions.
"The simple truth cannot be stated too often that what every editor wants is the best material he can get for his publication. It is equally true that he, and not the contributor, must be the judge of what is best
most available for his own use. If the contribution has merit, if it is written in good and simple English and if, also, it commends itself as of interest to the public and thus of benefit to his publication it is sure to get its own share of attention from the editor. This individual-multiple as he is in many instances is a busy man, and no correspondent should expect his piece to receive exceptional attention unless it has exceptional qualities. Even if it has, the best proof of that fact is the publication of the contribution and the consequent bestowal upon the contributor of a large audience which includes many intelligent minds."
MANUAL OF STYLE. A compilation of typographi cal rules governing the publications of the Uni versity of Chicago, with specimens of types used at the University Press. Third edition. 258 pp. Paper, cloth back, 85 cents. Chicago The University of Chicago Press. 1912.
Every printing office has its own "style," with rules regarding typographical matters governing its compositors and proofreaders. Some of the rules are universal, like that, for instance, which requires a period at the end of a sentence. but in many matters capitalization and word-compounding, for example there is a wide variation of taste, and in such matters each printing office is a law unto itself. This "Manual of Style" fixes the style for the publications of the University of Chicago Press, and it is peculiarly well adapted for use as a general guide because it comes from a printing office of the highest grade, has been worked out little by little in the every-day experience of nearly twenty years, and establishes rules to which well educated persons as a rule would not take exceptions. The Introductory Note says: "As it stands, this Manual is believed
EVERYDAY PHRASES EXPLAINED. 207 pp. Cloth, 60 cents, net. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. 1913.
'Everyday Phrases Explained" is the outcome of a literary competition, entitled "Knowledge Tests," which started in Pearson's Weekly (London) about two years ago. Its object was to bring out explanations of the meaning and origin, not generally known, of words and phrases in popular use, and these explanations are collected in this little volume. The book is entertaining for general reading, and useful for reference. It has a good index.
A HISTORY OF ENGLAND. By Allen C. Thomas, A. M., Professor of History in Harvard College. 651 pp. Cloth, $1.50, Boston: D. C. Heath & Co. 1913.
This "History of England" by Professor Thomas tells the story of the British nation from the earliest times down to the present day, including mention of parliamentary action on February 5, 1913. Its style is clear and simple, and while the book has been written for American schools it will attract and interest the general reader. In the presentation of the facts of English history, the political, social, and economic development of the people is dwelt upon, and while the causes and results of wars receive adequate attention, the details of the wars themselves are placed in the background. The relations between English and European History are shown by printing in an appendix a connected European History from the time of the Romans to the age of Louis XIV, and by inserting references to it in the text of the history itself. In this appendix is given a brief account - but adequate for the purpose of such important topics as the Roman Empire, the incursions of the barbarians, the age of Charlemagne, the rise of the states of modern Europe, the Holy Roman Empire, feudalism, monasticism, the crusades, and the reformation. The book is fully supplied with maps and illustrations, and references for collateral reading in books that may be readily found are given with each chapter.
A LEVANTINE LOG-BOOK. By Jerome Hart. 404 pp.
Mr. Hart is a most delightful traveling companion, and those who have journeyed with him in imagination with so much pleas
ure in his "Argonaut Letters" from Rome, Paris, Oberammergau, and other European places, and in his "Two Argonauts in Spain," will find equal enjoyment in journeying with him in this book through the Levant. Unlike many writers of books of travel, Mr. Hart satisfies his readers, telling them exactly what they want to know about foreign sights and scenes, giving sufficient information about methods and routes of travel to make his book extremely useful to others planning to follow in his footsteps, and, best of all, omitting trivial and tedious details which would clog the story and lessen interest in the narrative. A lively sense of humor is one of his most prominent characteristics, and no one can read his books and not shake every now and then with laughter. Successive chapters tell of the journey toward the Levant and on to Malta, Athens, Constantinople, Smyrna, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Cairo, taking the reader then up the Nile to Luxor, and from Thebes to Assouan. From first to last the book is always entertaining. It is handsomely printed, and its beauty and interest are enhanced by many first-class half-tone pictures.
BEHIND THE GARDEN WALL. By Robert Wallace. Illustrated by Elsinore Robinson Crowell. 65 pp. Boards, $1.00, net. San Francisco: Paul Elder & Co. 1913.
Mr. Wallace's "magic verses of the underside of things," with fanciful imaginings about frogs and dormice and beetles and bunnies and birds, will appeal to children, and Mrs. Crowell's quaint color pictures, by which the verses are illustrated, will make a no less forcible appeal.
THE SOCIAL RUBAIYAT OF A BUD. By Mrs. Ambrose
This satirical parody on the Rubaiyat is uniquely printed in purple and gold on fine double-leaf paper, and the ilustrations and decorations are particularly clever and quaint.
! THE WRITER is pleased to receive for review any books about authors, authorship, language, or literary topics, or any bocks that would be of real value in a writer's library, such as works of reference, history, biography, or travel. There is no space in the magazine for the review of fiction, poetry, etc. All books received will be acknowledged under this heading. Selections will be made for review in the interest of THE WRITER'S readers. ] NEWSPAPER WRITING AND EDITING. By Willard Grosvenor Bleyer, Ph. D. 365 pp. Cloth, $1.65, net. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1913. THE PUBLISHER. By Robert Sterling Yard. 180 Cloth, $1.00, net. Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company. 1913.
'Albert Edwards," whose real name is Arthur Bullard, has sailed for Panama, probably to get material for a book.
Charles Scribner's Sons announce "The Art of the Short Story," by Carl H. Grabo, instructor in English in the University of Chicago.
Katherine Tynan (Mrs. Hinkson) has written the reminiscences of twenty-five years of her life.
Everard Meynell, the son of Wilfred and Alice Meynell, has written a life of Francis Thompson which will appear in America this month. Mr. Meynell knew the poet intimately, and had access to his diary and let
The home country of R. L. Stevenson is carefully examined in a work to be published this month by Francis Watt, through Methuen. The book deals largely with the scenery of the novels and plays, and there is a critical estimate of Stevenson as man and writer.
"Anthony Trollope: His Work, Associates, and Originals," by T. H. S. Escott, is published by the John Lane Company.
"Henrik Ibsen, Poet, Mystic, and Moralist." by Henry Rose, is published by Dodd, Mead, & Co.
"Paul Bourget," by the Abbé Ernest Dinnet, published by the Houghton Mifflin Company, tells the salient facts of Paul Bourget's life, traces his evolution as a writer, and discusses his position in contemporary French literature with respect both to the past and to the future.
Copies may now be obtained from the Pub. lishers' Association, Stationers' Hall, London, of the Technical Dictionary of Publishing" in seven languages French, Ger man, English, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and Hungarian — presented by Mr. Heinemann to the International Congress of Publishers, held at Budapest. Not only are all the technical terms included of publishing and bookselling, but also those of printing, binding, engraving, and the like, as well as bibliographical and book collecting terms. addition, appendices showing, among other things, how the types vary and how proofs are corrected in different countries are included, and a full index is given in each language.
The Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration offers a first prize of $200 and a second prize of $100 for the best essays on "International Peace," by undergraduate women students or any college or university in the United States; and a prize of $100 for the best essay on "International Arbitration" by an undergraduate man student of any college or university in the United States or Canada. The essays, which must be submitted not later than March 15, 1914, must not exceed 5,000 words.
Oliver Morosco has announced a play contest, to the winner of which he will give a prize of $1,000, advance royalties of $500, and favorable terms for the life of the play. The contest will close January 15. No play of the "sex" or "vice" variety will be considered. Mr. Morosco prefers a comedy, but will not limit the contest to that sort of entertainment. Manuscripts may be sent direct to Mr. Morosco in Los Angeles, or to T. Daniel Frawley, Longacre Building, New York.
Street & Smith, New York, have begun publishing a new magazine, called Women's Stories, which will appear on the seventh and twenty-third of each month. It is an allfiction, illustrated magazine, intended to make a special appeal to women. The publishers say: "Better than anything in the world, current fiction represents the tendency of the thought of the times, and the most significant fact in the fiction of today is that women are demanding less and less the avoidance of the facts of life in the stories they read." This will make the seventh of the Street & Smith publications, the others being Ainslee's Magazine, the Popular Magazine, Smith's Magazine, the People's Magazine, the New Story Magazine, and the Top-Notch Magazine.
A Canadian monthly magazine for women called Everywoman's World is published by the Continental Publishing Company, Ltd., of Toronto.
The Manhattan Review (New York) is a new monthly magazine devoted largely to economics and international political subjects, with special reference to our relations with the Latin American republics.