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The Mid-West Quarterly has been established by the University of Nebraska in the belief that there exists in this country a quantity of excellent writing for which there is no adequate medium of publication, and to afford opportunity for the intellectual essay of a critical character. The Mid-West Quarterly will appear under the editorial supervision of P. H. Frye, with associate editors Hartley Burr, Alexander and Philo M. Buck, Jr. It will be published by the Putnams, being issued during the months of January, April, July, and October.

Dress and Vanity Fair (New York) is a new periodical published by Conde Nast, who has made a success of Vogue and other journals. The Vanity Fair part deals with such outdoor pastimes as football, tennis, golf, motoring, and yachting, and also with affairs of the stage.

The Criterion of Fashion is the new publication of the Curtis Publishing Company, continued from Toilettes.

The Stenographer and the Phonographic World, the two oldest and strongest independent shorthand periodicals of America, have been consolidated under the title of the Stenographer and Phonographic World. The consolidated journal will be issued hereafter, monthly, from the office of the Stenographic World Publishing Gompany, 428 Perry Building, Philadelphia, but will be edited from New York City by James N. Kimball, editor-in-chief, assisted by Bates Torrey, of Boston, and H. G. Healey, of New York.

The Pulitzer Publishing Company, controlled by Walter Pulitzer, which publishes the Welcome Guest, is to be investigated by Mrs. committee of the stockholders.


Walter Pulitzer says that after the failure of Satire, her husband bought the Welcome Guest on bonds borrowed of her. Walter Pulitzer is a son of the late Albert Pulitzer, who was a brother of Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World. The heirs of Joseph Pulitzer are in no way associated with Walter Pulitzer in his publication ventures.

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In Munsey's Magazine henceforth will appear no serial stories, but instead there will be a complete novel in each issue. For the December number, "Black Is White," by George Barr McCutcheon, is announced.

In the November Atlantic, William Arthur Giil in a study of the business man in American fiction finds that the type receives fuller and fairer treatment than at the hands of English novelists, but finds also a tendency on the part of our writers to regard business as an occupation that should be regulated by sentiment rather than by law.

Professor A. G. Newcomer died at Stanford University, September 15, aged fortynine.

Captain Frederic Stanhope Hill died in Cambridge, Mass., September 24, 24, aged eighty-four.

Professor Charles F. Richardson died at Sugar Hill, N. H., October 8, aged sixty


Stanley Waterloo died in Chicago, October 11, aged sixty-seven.

Mrs. Mary Bradford Crowninshield died at Melrose, Mass., October 15.

William Garrott Brown died at New Canaan, Conn., October 19, aged forty-five.

Miss Mary A. Lathbury died at East Orange, N. J., October 21, aged seventy


Reuben Gold Thwaites died at Madison, Wisconsin, October 22, aged sixty years.

Samuel Eberly Gross died at Battle Creek, Michigan, October 24, aged sixty-nine.

Mrs. Isabel Chapin Barrows died at Groton-on-Hudson, N. Y., October 25, aged sixty-eight.




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Edmund Burke once said, in comparing the literary style of a certain author with that of Dr. Johnson: "It has all the contortions of the sibyl without the inspiration." This epigrammatic criticism is quite as applicable, perhaps, to the style of some modern authors as it was to the style of Dr. Young. Among American story writers of a certain class there seems to be an increasing tendency to produce sensational effects by practicing the art of the contortionist. The supple-bodied posture master tries to create interest or excite amazement by twisting himself into strained or convulsed attitudes, and by forcing his limbs into positions that are unusual, unnatural, or strenuously cramped. Writers of the contortionist

No. 12.

school endeavor to secure the same results by using language in the same way - doing violence to its words, wrenching its forms, and dislocating, more or less completely, its entire structure. They strive to catch and hold the attention of their readers, not by following the established rules of English composition, but by using extraordinary or inappropriate adjectives, by disregarding the significance of nouns, by twisting sentences into eccentric or grotesque forms, and by inventing figures of speech that are always far-fetched, capricious, or fantastic, and often preposterously absurd.

This contorted style is shown at its best or worst in "The White Linen Nurse " of Miss Eleanor Abbott, which ran for three months as a serial in the Century Magazine, and which is now published in book form. The plot of the story is not much better, or worse, than the plots of many other stories that the magazines print; but the incidents are forced, the characters talk and behave as no conceivable or realizable human beings would naturally talk or behave, and the framework of narrative shows everywhere a straining after originality, eccentricity, and sensational effect.

An illustration of the forced incident is to be found in the automobile accident. Motor cars often get beyond control and throw their occupants out; but a gasoline engine that is "dead" as the result of an accident does not bring itself to life and then have perceptible "tremors," emit "horrid creaks," and go "crinkle crankle" every few minutes in order to provide the story teller with a means of prolonging the reader's suspense.

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Illustrations of forced, artificial, or realizable talk and behavior are to be found

on almost every page. No imaginable child who has been thrown out of an automobile, whose clothing has been torn to pieces, whose eye has been so badly bruised that it looks like a "prizefighter's," and whose father has been suddenly killed, is likely to exclaim : "Is n't it fun!" and then to add as an afterthought: "But I had n't exactly planned to have him dead." A trained nurse who sees a man crushed under an automobile may conceivably ask herself: "What's the dose for a man under a car?" But a nurse who proposes to release the crushed man by "beginning at the beginning and taking the automobile all apart is so foolish as to be unimaginable.

The straining after effect, which is characteristic of "The White Linen Nurse" as a whole, is particularly noticeable in what Macaulay has called the "Turkey carpet style." Take, for example, the treatment of the soul. Locke has described the human soul as "an immaterial spirit," but in Miss Abbott's narrative the soul turns pale, "sweats" like a hard-working stevedore, and "creaks" like a rusty door-hinge. But other animate and inanimate things behave in ways that are equally surprising. Nerves "rattle," glory crackles," laughter "scuds and zigzags," smiles "tug," "whang," and "twitter"; hearts plunge," "pitch," and "lurch"; gloom gets "stale," campfires become conscious," paths "falter" and grow "wistful," footsteps "crackle" through through wet leaves, threats "zigzag," fangs "snarl," locks "bite," hurdygurdies "romp," and even a fountain pen "dallies daringly."



As for Miss Abbott's trees, plants, and flowers, there is hardly anything that they cannot do. Willows "yearn," pine trees "guzzle," phlox "clamors," pansies "tiptoe velvet-footed across the grass," and even "the mild old grass totters palsiedly down to watch some skittish young violets and bluets frolic in and out of a giggling brook." In the next revised edition of "How to Tell the Birds from the Wild Flowers" attention should certainly be called to these floral idiosyncrasies. No one is likely to

mistake a pine tree for a pine warbler if he will only remember that one "guzzles" while the other sings.

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Some of Miss Abbott's verbal combinations are so bizarre as to be puzzling, if not unintelligible. What, for example, is "a romantic smell"? Is it the "metallic scent of the stars? This seems probable, but one is left in doubt. "Phosphorescent breeze" is another puzzler. To visualize in imagination a luminous zephyr is extremely difficult; but it is no harder, perhaps, than to imagine a 'conscientious" towel; a "scented" star; browsing" spoon; a "leaf-green voice," "indomitable roof-top," or a squaretoed year."



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In the invention of extraordinary metaphors and similes the author of "The White Linen Nurse" stands without a rival. No other literary contortionist has ever dared to liken a moving automobile to "a huge portentous pill floating on smoothest syrup." It sounds like the recital of a trained nurse's nightmare. But why "portentous"? Apparently for no other reason than that both words begin with " p." Writers of the contortionist school rely chiefly upon incongruous adjectives and frenzied metaphors, but they do not wholly disdain such effects as may be produced by alliteration or assonance, and all through "The White Linen Nurse" are scattered such alliterative combinations as "portentous pill," "pranks and posies," "pinkiness of passing," "passion primitive, protective. proprietary," "glad glow," "vaporous vigil," "listless lake," "breasted birdlings," "hurled hopefully," "dallied daringly," "murky mystery," and chasm of crankiness."

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One would suppose that with unlimited freedom to change arbitrarily the meaning of adjectives, adverbs and nouns, the literary contortionist would find the dictionary supply of words amply large to meet all his wants; but he never does. In "The White Linen Nurse" the author has enriched her vocabulary by coining a lot of such new and expressive words as "temperish," "wanly." edginess," "craggedly," "worriedly," "wincingly," "courtingly," "scarily,"

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A characteristic specimen of the literary style affected by writers of the contortionist school is to be found in the description of the break of dawn in the mountains of Canada, which opens the third part of "The White Linen Nurse," and which is short enough, perhaps, to quote : —

"Dank and white with its vaporous vigil, the listless lake kindled wanly to the new day's breeze. Blue with cold, a precipitous mountain peak lurched craggedly home through a rift in the fog. Drenched with mist. bedraggled with dew, a greenfeathered pine tree lay guzzling insatiably at a leaf-brown pool. As monotonous as a sob, the waiting birch canoe slosh-sloshed against the beach."

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ined a precipitous mountain turning blue with cold, after an all-night spree, and lurching craggedly home through a rift in the fog, while its companion in dissipation, the bedraggled pine tree, still lay on the dank ground, guzzling insatiably.

Macaulay once said of Robert Montgomery's poems: —

"Such writing bears the same relation to poetry which the Turkey carpet bears to a picture. There are colors in a Turkey carpet out of which a picture might be made. There are words in Mr. Montgomery's writing which, when disposed in certain orders and combinations, have made, and will again make, good poetry. But as they now stand they seem to be put together, on principle, in such a manner as to give no image of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth."

One wonders what the distinguished essayist would have thought of "The White Linen Nurse." George Kennan.

The New York Times.

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"Perpendicular" and "vertical" are not synonymous, as many seem to think. "Vertical" is an absolute term and means upright in the direction of gravity. "Perpendicular" is a relative term, that means rightangled to something else. A horizontal line is perpendicular to a vertical line.

We often see the word "nor-easter" in print, but nobody ever heard an old sailor use it. The old sailors say "no'th-easter."

To write of a man as, for instance, "the well known poet," So-and-So, implies that he is not well known. If he really is well

known, the adjective is quite superfluous. Writing "the famous novelist" means that he is not famous.

"In the Spanish language" would be better written "in Spanish."

Instead of "The competition closes next March" it is better to say: The competition will close next March."

"Ere" is a poetic word, which in plain prose ought not to displace "before." "Editorial" is a good word, but reportorial" is not.

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News" is singular, not plural, so that the country editor who wrote pathetically: "As we go to press our Wentworth news have not arrived on account of being miscarried in the mails or some other reason," was wrong. Edward B. Hughes. CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

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THE WRITER is published the first day of every month. 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.

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gether in any way. Editors in reading manuscripts like to transfer the top sheet as it is read to the bottom of the package, or to lay the sheets singly upside down on the desk, so that when they have finished reading the manuscript will be in proper order. Sometimes they like to read holding but a single sheet at a time. It is well to humor editors. If, in spite of this, writers feel that they must fasten the sheets of a manuscrip together, the least offensive way is to use the wire clips that may be easily slipped on and off. The chances are good that the first editor who gets a manuscript so adorned will slip off the clip before he begins to read and lose it in the waste basket, but if the manuscript is returned the writer can slip on a new clip, if he likes. Ribbons, and tape and thread (no matter how neat the stitches are) never should be used. As for pins, listen to a postal clerk: "I must get about a hundred digs a day," he says, "from pins that systematic people use in their correspondence, and that stick through the envelopes. I have come to the conclusion that many writers so mail their manuscript with malicious intent. We fellows in the postoffice may not be the ones against whom they hold a grudge, but we are the ones that usually get the benefit of those pins."

The justice of Mr. Kennan's criticism of the style of Fleanor Hallowell Abbott, which he analyzes in the article reprinted in this number of THE WRITER, will be evident to those who have read only the opening paragraph of her story, "The White Linen Nurse," which is as follows:

"The White-Linen Nurse was so tired that her noble expression ached. Incidentally her head ached and her shoulders ached and her lungs ached and the ankle bones of both feet ached quite excruciatingly. But nothing of her felt permanently incapacitated except her noble expression. Like a

strip of lip-colored lead suspended from her poor little nose by two tugging wire-grey wrinkles her persistently conscientious sick-room smile seemed to be whanging aimlessly against her front teeth. The sensation certain was very unpleasant."

Is it true, as a correspondent of the New York Times says, that "although Miss Ab

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