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the last day of his life Stedman continued that service of advice and guidance which no young writer sought in vain. " Those who loved him best loved best of all the cordial gravity with which he took every man
anuscript thrust at him and set himself to see what could be done about it."
CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS.
What Is Poetry? - Magazine editors favorite butts for the men and women whose masterpieces they have rejected. So there will be joy in the ranks of the unaccepted over the Westchester County Magazine's reprint (with editorial comment ) of Professor William Herbert Carruth's popular poem, “ Each in His Own Tongue.” The poem, we are told, “was promptly rejected by such prominent magazines as the Century Magazine, Scribner's Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, the Cosmopolitan, Harper's Magazine, Lippincott's Magazine, the Arena, and McClure's Magazine." It was accepted by the New England Magazine, and printed in November, 1895. “ It has been reprinted hundreds of times in America, Europe, and Asia. So much for the wisdom of those magazine editors.” Here are three stanzas from this masterpiece : “A fire mist and a planet,
A crystal and a cell,
And caves where the cavemen dwell ;
And a face turned from the clod -
And others call it God.
Now it is quite impossible for any cultivated ear to accept this as poetry. Attempt to scan the lines, and you must give up in despair. Metrically the “poem” presents a hideous og-trot of ca nous consonants. Nor has it any inner beauty of meaning to redeem its metrical imperfections. have been reprinted “hundreds of times," but never, I will venture to affirm, in any magazine, either here or abroad, which aims to maintain a high standard of literary value. “So much for the wisdom of those magazine editors !” – New York Herald.
Writing for Writing's Sake. – When the “best seller" can't do anything else to make himself interesting to a gaping world, he can at least talk about his “earnings.” One of the tribe has recently been telling what these were in his early days, and, looking back upon them from the apex of a career which has long been richly upholstered, he shudders at the “stiff struggle” which he had to make on a beggarly $1.500 a year. Whereupon the London Bookman asks a number of popular novelists to describe the agonies of their apprenticeship to letters. They retort, in general, that they did n't agonize so prodigiously, and, in any case, they can't understand why an author should n't consider himself “ on velvet" with an annual income of $1,500. What is most interesting, however, about these confessions is that they are nearly all marked by the right feeling disclosed in this note of John Oxenham's :
" I took to writing of a night as an alterative (please do not let your proofreader make it alter. native ! ) to the dull grind of business life, and I wrote for the sheer pleasure of escape into a new world of my own invention, where I could, to some extent, at all events, have things a little bit my own way. I was not writing for bread and cheese, but for the pleasure of writing."
Is there any other rational spirit in which to embark upon the literary career ? Fell circumstance may sometimes inexorably complicate the situation. The late George Gissing, for example, had hardships fairly forced
But these only deepened his sense of the danger of mixing thoughts of writing with thoughts of bread and cheese. Here is his warning: “With a lifetime of dread experience behind me, I say that he
“ Like tides on a crescent sea beach,
When the moon is new and thin, Into our hearts high yearnings
Come welling and surging in Come from the mystic ocean,
Whose rim no foot has trod Some of us call it Longing,
And others call it God.
“ A picket frozen on duty
A mother starved for her brood Socrates drinking the hemlock,
And Jesus on the rood ; And millions who, humble and nameless,
The straight, hard pathway trod Some call it Consecration,
And others call it God."
who encourages any young man or woman to look for his living to 'literature' commits no less than a crime." - New York Tribune.
Writing as a Profession.—John O'Hara Cosgrove,
editor of Everybody's Magazine, looks at the profession of story-writing in America through very rose-colored spectacles when he says, in the New England Magazine :
“A good story is worth from $10 to $1,000, determined by its length, its value, and the reputation of the writer. The authors who have made a public of their own through their books are paid a higher rate than those whose reputation has not extended beyond the magazine field. The writers of whom this is true average from $10,000 to $250,000 a year. The less successful average from $4,000 to $8,000. But there are other compensations than mere dollars and cents for the writer. He is his own master ; he labors when and where he pleases ; and he has the satisfaction of the artist in his work. As to fame : he has the recognition of his craft rather than that of society at large ; for art has not yet attained rank in America."
Pretentious Writing.-"The straining and preciosity that infect so much of our current literary production" are vigorously attacked by the Chicago Dial -- thus :
“ From the use of words for the concealment of thought to their use for the concealment of its absence is an easy step, and one that seems to be taken by extraordinary numbers of writers at the present time. How else should the voracious printing presses be fed with copy,' or the artless public get its intellectual breakfast food ? The appetite of the masses may, of course, be served with commonplace thoughts and sentiments garnished with the tissue-paper ornaments of commonplace rhetoric, and their case has thus been disposed of in all ages. But just above the level of the masses there is a stratum of readers who demand some touch of distinction in the product set before them. Fortunately, a sham distinction is sufficient for their needs, and they think brummagem quite as good as gold. These give to the pretentious writer, who has nothing to say, but many ingenious ways of saying it, the opportunity for which he has been seeking, and he sets bravely out to win with his pen the plaudits that may be thus cheaply got.”
The fashion in which this writer arranges his “thoughts” is thus set forth by the Dial :
Among his methods are the employment of tortuous constructions that have to be puzzled out, and bold ellipses that permit several guesses for each meaning. Sometimes he acquires a reputation for great subtlety of thought by the use of qualifying clauses, and puts so many of them into a sentence that when it is ended one wonders what it started out to say. Sometimes he indulges in reckless figurative language, that he may be credited with great powers of imagination. Still again, he darkly hints that his writing is symbolical, and will reveal a precious inner significance to those who penetrate its verbal veil. This is a particularly fetching trick, because anybody can find symbols in anything by looking hard enough, so each investigator may feel sure that he has discovered the right ones, and admire his own acumen with all the naïve satisfaction of an intellectual Jack Horner. Finally, if all these devices fail to bring the writer a following, he may resort to paradox, for paradox, if only startling enough, is unfailingly effective. Let him deny all self-evident propositions as a matter of principle, declare the wildest of absurdities to be the most obvious of truths, turn all current ideas topsyturvy, posing throughout as the one normal thinker in a mad world, and he will soon enjoy a very pretty reputation as a philosopher. Examples of how the thing has been done will come to the mind of every reader of current fashionable literature.'
Getting a Good Literary Style. -- The elements of good literary style said by rhetoricians to be
clearness, force, and beauty. Many attain the first ; some the first two ; but few show all the graces of a charming English style. No doubt there is much difference in natural aptitude ; but many cases prove that often the grace of a good style is not a gift, but something which has been gained by care and well-directed effort. The style of Frank T. Bullen, the author of “ The Cruise of the Cachelot," is remarkable, in view of the fact that he was without the advantages of a good education. But the secret of it is that when he ran away and became a sailor, on the ship was a small library of standard books.
No one read them but he ; but in the long days of the voyage he read and re-read the volumes of Scott, and other standard writers, and, as
he says : “That was all the English style I the bitter pill and drink its very dregs." knew." He was steeped in correct English. Advice and warning from a successful man The Gettysburg address of Abraham Lin- of business to a gathering of young people : coln will always be a classic of English style, “Every rung in the ladder of success is and the method in which he attained the paved with slippery stones, on which only ability to write it was forced upon him by the clear head and the steady hand can retain his early poverty. He had few books, and their footing.” The fearless suffragette was used to walk long distances to borrow a addressing a meeting of mere men. She had good book when he heard of one. At home graphically related to them the fascinating he had but little money to buy writing paper, story of the strenuous struggle the ladies and he was accustomed to put the contents had made for that most priceless of possesof the books he read into propositions. sions, a vote -how every obstacle had been These he would write out on the wooden conquered, and victory was at last in sight. shovel, and then erase every unnecessary “We have now,” she shrieked, “almost word in order to get them in the shortest crossed the trackless desert, and the harbor form. He then transferred them to paper lights are stretching out their arms to greet for safe keeping, and in this way gained his us !” –T. P.'s Weekly. wonderful power of literary clearness and Financial Beginnings of Authors. Hall condensation. It is told of Phillips Brooks, Caine's statement that he received only $855 that when he was a student in Harvard Col- for the first novel he wrote was received lege, his chum tried to get him interested in with some amusement among English novelathletics, but it was his custom, when his ists, who straightway volunteered confi. chum went out to the games, to spend the dences as to their receipts for first works. time writing essays in words of one syllable. Edgar Jepson, whose “ Lady Noggs” has To this practice he owed his clear and force- run into many editions, made just $10.40 on ful style as a preacher and writer. We hap- his first two books. John Oxenham's first pen to know that President George E. efforts brought him $125. Horr, of the Newton Theological Institution, Cutcliffe Hyne tells that he worked for six when a student in Brown University, wrote years before he made $750 a year, and the out the kind of words used by Macaulay in general opinion is that, compared with his his celebrated paragraph on the Roman brother novelists, Hall Caine's “ stiff Catholic church, and then practiced writing struggle” for glory was really a primrose paragraphs on various subjects, with the
path of affluence. — New York Sun. words in corresponding order, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and so on. No doubt the elegant and impressive style for which he LITERARY ARTICLES IN PERIODICALS. is admired is largely due to this practice. Things dashed off on the spur of the mo- [ For the convenience of readers THE WRITER will ment are not those which live, but those send a copy of any magazine mentioned in the fol.
lowing reference list on receipt of the amount given wrought out with toil. — The Watchman.
in parenthesis following the
amount English as She Is Wrote. – An amateur his
being in each case the price of the periodical with torian is responsible for this : “All along three cents postage added. Unless a price is given, the the ever-flowing stream of history you can
periodical must be ordered from the publication
office. Readers who send to the publishers of the discern the silent footprints of the crowned
periodicals indexed for copies containing the articles "heads of Europe !” The village reporter, on mentioned in the list will confer a favor if they will the death of the village poet : “ That daunt- mention The WRITER when they write. ] less pen shall write no more, for its eyes are closed forever." From the speech of a ris- SHAKSPERE's “ HENRY VIII." Illustrated. J.
Churton Collins. Harper's Magasine ( 38 c.) for ing young politician: “The fierce light of public opinion shall dog their footsteps until
Home FAUST. Robert H. it strangles them. Then shall they swallow Schauffler. Century ( 38 c. ) for March.
name - the
AT HERRICK'S HOME IN Devon. Illustrated. Edna Bourne Holman. Scribner's ( 28 c. ) for March.
THE PRESS AND THE PROFESSORS. G. Stanley Hall. Appleton's ( 18 c. ) for March. MY
STORY. VII. - Literary Beginnings. Hall Caine. Appleton's ( 18 c. ) for March.
BURNS, THE PoET DEMOCRACY. Hamilton Wright Mabie. North American Review ( 38 c. ) for March.
The EvoLUTION OF DRAMATIC TECHNIQUE. Archibald Henderson. North American Review ( 38 c. ) for March.
WRITING AS A FINE ART. George Philip Knapp. Forum ( 28 c.) for March. THE FORTY IMMORTALS.
Brander Matthews. Munsey's for March.
THE CARTOONISTS OF THE MIDDLE West. Raymond Roy Olson. Bohemian for March.
ROBERT BONNER. Joel Benton. Alcolm for March.
JOSEPH PULITZER, MASTER JOURNALIST. James Greelman. Pearson's Magazine for March.
THE SUMMER Home MARGARET DELAND. Leonard Barrow. Country Life in America for March.
A GROUP OF HARVARD Poets. With portraits of George Cabot Lodge, Joseph Trumbull Stickney, William Vaughn Moody, George Santayana, and Percy MacKaye. Harvard Graduates' Magazine ( 78 c. ) for March.
REVIVING A LANGUAGE. The Author (London) ( 18 c. ) for March.
THE COMMERCIAL VALUE OF PATHOS OR HUMAN IN. TEREST. National Printer-Journalist ( 23 c.) for Feb. ruary.
LINCOLN AS A MASTER OF STYLE. Professor James R. Taylor. Zion's Herald ( 9 c.) for February 3.
William Mathews, LL.D. With portrait. Watchman for February 18.
CATU'LLE MENDÈS. Outlook ( 13 c.) for Febru. ary 20.
THE LOVE LETTERS OF HAWTHORNE. Illustrated. Arthur H. Gleason. Collier's (13 c.) for Febru. ary 20.
THE CHIEF OF THE PARNASSIANS ( Catulle Mendès ). With portrait. Harper's Weekly ( 13 c. ) for Febru. ary 20.
A CAPABLE HUMORIST. Mark Twain. Harper's Weekly ( 13 c. ) for February 20.
JAMES MACARTHUR With portrait. Harper's Weekly ( 13 c.) for February 20.
F. B. Sanborn, of Concord, will publish next month his “Recollections of Seventy Years." As the last of the founders of the famous Concord School of Philosophy, and as the friend, often the literary executor, of such men as Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, and John Brown, Mr. Sanborn has at his command a wealth of hitherto unknown material. The work is divided into two volumes, one devoted to his political and the other to his literary life.
“ Henrik Ibsen : The Man and His Plays," by Montrose Moses, is published by Mitchell Kennerley, New York.
Edgar Allan Poe matriculated at the University of Virginia February 14, 1826, and in commemoration of the centenary of his birth, the university has issued a sumptuous volume, edited by Professor James A. Harrison, and published by the Putnams, giving full and ungarbled copies of the last letters written by Poe to Mrs. Sarah Helen Whit
“The Raven," by George Hazelton, published by D. Appleton & Co., is the love story of Edgar Allan Poe, told in novel form.
For several years one of the standard textbooks in college courses on versification has been “Specimens of English Verse," by Professor Raymond M. Alden, of Leland Stanford University. Now a new book by Professor Alden, “Introduction to Poetry," is announced by Henry Holt & Co. This will be a discussion of the theory of poetry, more comprehensive in treatment than the author's previous volume, and will deal not only with the technical metric sub-divisions, but also with the various classes of poems, and with the problems of the inner nature of poetry.
Theodore Watts-Dunton is preparing not only a volume of “Reminiscences of D. G. Rossetti and William Morris at Kelmscott," but a volume which, under the title of “The Renascence of Wonder," will give a critical account of the romantic movement, and a book discussing "Shakespeare's Adequacy to the Coming Century."
A study of Walt Whitman by Professor G. R. Carpenter, of Columbia, is to be added to the English Men of Letters Series.
NEWS AND NOTES
Kipling is not passing the winter in South Africa this year. Instead, he went to the Alpine village of Engelburg, where he is working on a book and spending spare hours in ski-ing and tobogganing. It is reported that the region about Engelburg will serve as a background for the story in hand.
Miss Constance Hill has written a book, entitled “Maria Edgeworth and Her Circle in the Days of Bonaparte and Bourbon." The experiences of Miss Edgeworth during her visits to Paris in the first twenty years of the last century were often interesting, and Miss Hill has devoted herself to that period.
“ The Life of Sir Isaac Pitman," the inventor of phonography, by Alfred Baker, has been published by Isaac Pitman & Sons, New York.
Mrs. Ethel Romanes has written to the New York Herald to say that the only life of her husband, G. G. Romanes, was written by herself, and that the late Miss Yonge never wrote anything about him.
The late M. Brunetière's “Histoire de la Littérature Française Classique" will probably be completed from notes and plans left in his desk. A third part has just appeared.
Archibald R. Colquhoun has just written his autobiography, under the title, “Dan to Beersheba."
Professor Charles Macaulay Stuart, D. D., has been elected editor of the Northwestern Christian Advocate ( Chicago ), to fill the place made vacant by the death of Dr. D. D. Thompson
The first number of a monthly magazine entitled Travel and Exploration was issued in January by Wetherby & Co., 326 High Holborn, London. S. Carter Gilmore, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, is the editor.
The English woman is a new monthly journal to be published in England, and “intended to reach the cultured public and bring before it in a convincing and moderate form the case for the enfranchisement of women." There will be articles by experts
trades in which women are engaged, stories, art criticisms, contributions in French, and translations from the German and the Italian. The committee of management consists of Lady Frances Balfour, Lady Strachey, Miss Cicely Hamilton, and Mrs. Grant Richards.
The Forum now prints poetry and fiction.
Short Stories becomes a * large-print” magazine with the March issue. Its object is to save the “failing eyesight of the nation.”
A Parisian literary journal has just founded a prize of 3,000 francs, to be awarded by a jury of Academicians for the best novel by a young author produced during the past two years. The prize is to be given annually, in order to encourage the writing of the novel in France.
A publishing house of Moscow promises a complete edition of the works of Tolstoy, numbering about twenty-five volumes. Hitherto a complete edition has not been possible, owing to the censorship and the difficulties in paying royalties. Under the arrangements of the publishers, royalties to the amount of $250,000 will be paid in annual installments of $25,000. This edition is said to have the approval of Premier Stolypin.
Martha Finley died at Elkton, Md., January 30, aged eighty-one.
Grover Flint died at Newport News, Va., January 31, aged forty-one.
John Gilmer Speed died at Mendham, N. J., February 5, aged fifty-five.
Catulle Mendès died near Paris February 7, aged sixty-seven.
Russell Sturgis died in New York February II, aged seventy-two.
James MacArthur died in New York February 11, aged forty-two.
William Mathews died in Boston February 14, aged ninety-one.
Hon. Carroll D. Wright died in Worcester, Mass., February 20, aged sixty-eight.
John Boyd Thacher died at Albany February 24, aged sixty-one.
Abram English Brown died at Bedford, Mass., February 25, aged sixty years.
Theodore Ledyard Cuyler, D. D., died in Brooklyn February 26, aged eighty-seven.
Emmanuel Poire (“Caran d'Ache”) died in Paris February 26, aged fifty-one.
James A. LeRoy died at Fort Bayard, N. VI., February 28, aged thirty-four.
Roy Farrell Greene died recently, aged thirty-five.