« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
if he would let them have the poem just for the love of the thing. That was not an unusual request to be made by editors of American periodicals in those days. At all events, English consented, then went home and forgot all about his promise until reminded of it by a letter from Willis.
He had the manuscript of a sea poem, which, however, he had discarded as not up to the mark, but which played its part, nevertheless, in the composition of "Ben Bolt.” When he sat down at his desk to write something new for the Mirror, it seemed as if the mantle of Dibdin were reluctant to fall upon him, and the poem of the sea was not forthcoming By one of those curious reflex actions of the mind, he drifted into reminiscences of his boyhood, and almost before he knew it he had written the line : “Don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt ?
The poem consists of five stanzas of eight lines each, but not until the last line is there the slightest hint as to its hero's walk in life, when suddenly he is apostrophized as “Ben Bolt of the salt sea gale," a line that gives considerable "lift” to the whole and adds a touch of vigor to what was simply a sentimental ballad. It looks as if Dr. English had bethought himself at the finish that Willis had asked for a sea poem, and, in order to comply with the request, had introduced the line at the end of five stanzas in which the sea was conspicuous by its absence. The curiously interesting fact is, however, that when he was half way through the last stanza his inspiration absolutely gave out. He “got stuck," as the more commonplace saying is, when he chanced to think of the discarded sea poem, and simply copied the last four lines of it on to what he had written, making them the last four lines of “Ben Bolt,” which was duly published in the New York Mirror of September 2, 1843, with a few commendatory words ( by way of compensation ) from the editors, and signed with the author's initials, “T. D. E." -Gustav Kobbé, in the New York Herald.
The Pigeon-hole Snare. -- Years ago some one you know it was John Willis Baer – had in his office in our building a roll-top
desk, with, on top of it, an extension full of pigeon-holes, — about forty of them. He took it into his head one day to do away with that desk and install in its place a broad table containing a few drawers. He asked me if I would not like the desk and the set of pigeon-holes on top, and I jumped at the chance. The desk had a few more compartments than the one I had been using, and there were about forty additional pigeonholes. I was enraptured, as Mr. Baer knew I would be.
Since that time, I assure you, those pigeonholes have been full. What has slipped into them no one but an editor can realize, because no one but an editor knows the vast variety of stuff that an editor has an opportunity to accumulate – is compelled to accumulate, almost. Indeed, an editor's life is a running fight against the on-rushing waves of written and printed paper. Letters, manuscripts, papers, clippings, programmes, cards, proofs, memoranda, schedules, engravings, books — the flood is endless and insistent.
And pigeon-holes are so convenient for it ! At the end of a long, hard day, with a desk still discouragingly littered with all sorts of abominable stuff, and with your stenographer, however willing, yet needing to go home, a happy thought takes possession of you — the pigeon-holes ! You rapidly classify that
Unanswered letters pop into one pigeon-hole, unread manuscripts into another, memoranda of articles to write into a third, memoranda of articles to ask for into a fourth, and so on.
There is so much virtue in classification. The pigeon-holes absorb it all with so much alacrity. Your desk looks so clean and neat when you are through. You shut it up with satisfaction. And you open it the next morning with equal satisfaction. It is bare of all reproaching litter. No tasks awaiting you stare you in the face. Your mind accommodatingly passes by the fact that they are hidden away in the pigeon-holes. You enter upon the day with a light heart.
Once this pigeon-hole trick is learned it is easily repeated, till it soon grows into the pigeon-hole habit. The pigeon-holes become
sadly as concerns historic facts and yet sur- Even the printers refused to get angry vive.” That brings Dr. Mitchell to the over the delay, and forthwith the form was broader question of the purpose of the his- seut up, and changes went on for an hour. torical novel – is the latter to be judged as At last, though publication was delayed fully history or fiction ? “ The purpose of the two hours, the editor, but not Mr. Warner, novel,” he says, “is, after all, to be accept- had the supreme satisfaction of knowing that ably interesting. If it be historical, the his- the work was as nearly perfect as human art toric people should not be the constantly could make it, and the edition was sent out. present heroes of the book. The novelist's
“ While we
were walking up the street proper use of them is to influence the fates toward the Youmans country home," writes of lesser people and to give the reader such the editor, “we quietly talked about books sense of their reality as in the delineation of and bookmen. characters is rarely possible for the histo- "'You are most painstaking,' we ventured. rian.” – New York Times Saturday Review. "• Yes,' said Mr. Warner modestly, 'I Warner. The extraordinary pains and
never could dash off anything readily like patience with which the late Charles Dudley
some writers. It has always been real labor
for me.' Warner did his literary work are shown in an account given by a writer in the New
Then you revise all your work the same Amstel Magazine of the strenuous way in which Mr. Warner produced an obituary no
“ ' I have always found it necessary to do
Even in writing for the “Easy Chair" tice some years ago. Professor Edward L. Youmans was
I have to be painstaking. Nor have I ever close personal friend of Mr. Warner, and on
been able to use the typewriter with any dethat account, when Mrs. Youmans died, the gree of satisfaction.
The trouble seems to
be that either in dictating or in using the editor of a daily paper asked Mr. Warner to write a sort of personal appreciation of her.
typewriter I at once become self-conscious and mechanical. For some
my This he consented to do.
thoughts — what few ideas I may possess He was left alone from ten A. M. until halfpast twelve, when he went to lunch. Return
seem to flow more easily from the pen.'” ing at two o'clock, he worked without interruption until four o'clock, when he turned CURRENT LITERARY TOPICS. over to the editor what he had written.
Yet the work was not complete. Mr. How “Ben Bolt” Was Written. Du MauWarner read the first proof, and in succes- rier made a fortune out of “Trilby." Thomas sion three revised sheets.
Dunn English never received a cent from Each time he made change after change “Ben Bolt." in phraseology, seeking out the one right The circumstances in which the lines were word, while even in the nicety of paragraph- written, and which were related to me by the ing he seemed to make clearer what he de- author's daughter, Miss Alice English, who sired to express. Nor did the close 'revision often heard them from her father, seem to end with the marking of the last proof.
take us far back in American literature ; for After the paper had gone to press and the Dr. English personally knew Edgar Allan first sheets had been brought up to the com- Poe and many of the other early American posing room for an O. K., Mr. Warner writers. During the summer of 1843 he was looked wistfully at the editor, and ob- visiting in New York, where he became acserved :
quainted with N. P. Willis, who with George “Would you object to lifting the form? I
P. Morris recently had revived the New York see a sentence in the last paragraph that Mirror. Willis asked English to contribute might be somewhat changed. She was too
a sea poem, explaining, however, that the good, you know, to have a slovenly tribute
paper was run on very small capital, and that paid to her.”
its editors would be greatly obliged to him
if he would let them have the poem just for desk, with, on top of it, an extension full of the love of the thing. That was not an un- pigeon-holes, - about forty of them. He usual request to be made by editors of took it into his head one day to do away American periodicals in those days. At all with that desk and install in its place a broad events, English consented, then went home table containing a few drawers. He asked and forgot all about his promise until re- me if I would not like the desk and the set minded of it by a letter from Willis.
of pigeon-holes on top, and I jumped at the He had the manuscript of a sea poem, chance. The desk had a few more compartwhich, however, he had discarded as not up ments than the one I had been using, and to the mark, but which played its part, never- there were about forty additional pigeontheless, in the composition of “Ben Bolt.”
holes. I was enraptured, as Mr. Baer knew When he sat down at his desk to write some- I would be. thing new for the Mirror, it seemed as if the
Since that time, I assure you, those pigeonmantle of Dibdin were reluctant to fall upon
holes have been full. What has slipped into him, and the poem of the sea was not forth
them no one but an editor can realize, becoming. By one of those curious reflex
cause no one but an editor knows the vast actions of the mind, he drifted into reminis
variety of stuff that an editor has an opporcences of his boyhood, and almost before he
tunity to accumulate – is compelled to acknew it he had written the line :
cumulate, almost. Indeed, an editor's life is “Don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt ?”
a running fight against the on-rushing waves The poem consists of five stanzas of eight of written and printed paper. Letters, manulines each, but not until the last line is there
scripts, papers, clippings, programmes, cards, the slightest hint as to its hero's walk in life, proofs, memoranda, schedules, engravings, when suddenly he is apostrophized as “Ben books -- the flood is endless and insistent. Bolt of the salt sea gale," a line that gives
And pigeon-holes are so convenient for it! considerable "list" to the whole and adds a
At the end of a long, hard day, with a desk touch of vigor to what was simply a senti
still discouragingly littered with all sorts of mental ballad. It looks as if Dr. English had abominable stuff, and with your stenographer, bethought himself at the finish that Willis
however willing, yet needing to go home, a had asked for a sea poem, and, in order to
happy thought takes possession of you - the comply with the request, had introduced the
pigeon-holes ! You rapidly classify that line at the end of five stanzas in which the
Unanswered letters pop into one sea was conspicuous by its absence. The
pigeon-hole, unread manuscripts into curiously interesting fact is, however, that
another, memoranda of articles to write into when he was half way through the last stanza
a third, memoranda of articles to ask for into his inspiration absolutely gave out. He
a fourth, and so on. “got stuck," as the more commonplace say- There is so much virtue in classification. ing is, when he chanced to think of the dis
The pigeon-holes absorb it all with so much carded sea poem, and simply copied the last
alacrity. Your desk looks so clean and neat four lines of it on to what he had written,
when you are through. You shut it up with making them the last four lines of “Ben
satisfaction. And you open it the next mornBolt,” which was duly published in the New
ing with equal satisfaction. It is bare of all York Mirror of September 2, 1843, with a
reproaching litter. No tasks awaiting you few commendatory words (by way of com
stare you in the face. Your mind accommopensation) from the editors, and signed with
datingly passes by the fact that they are hidthe author's initials, “T. D. E.” –Gustav
den away in the pigeon-holes. You enter Kobbé, in the New York Herald.
upon the day with a light heart. The Pigeon-hole Snare. Years ago some Once this pigeon-hole trick is learned it is one you know - it was John Willis Baer - easily repeated, till it soon grows into the had in his office in our building a roll-top pigeon-hole habit. The pigeon-holes become
crammed. Before long they will hold no
Then it is the turn of the drawers, and they, also, are crowded. Then some fine day you wake up to the fact that the entire desk is full of postponed duties. In dismay you haul out the contents of a pigeon-hole. With growing dismay you examine it, and discover accusing dates upon the letters, and note the memoranda that should long ago have been attended to. Oh, the day of reckoning comes to every culprit of the pigeonhole! Well for him if he grits his teeth, sets himself to clearing out those traps for sloth, and, after they are cleared out, resolutely shuts the roll-front down over them and throws the key out of the window !
That is what I intend to do. No more pigeon-holes for me! No more, pigeonholes in my desk - or, if I retain them, they shall be used not for tasks, but for tools. And, more than that, no more pigeon-holes in my mind. For it is as easy to pigeon-hole a duty in the mind as a letter in the desk. Amos R. Wells, in the Christian Endeavor World.
value, I rank pathos first, love second, adventure third, humor fourth. You manufacture love plots and adventure, and, to an extent, humor, but you can't manufacture pathos ; it must come of itself.
“As for the book business, the trouble with it lies with the authors and the agents. The book business is all wrong. The normal price of a book ought to be fifty cents, and not $1.50.
"Fifteen or twenty years ago the author put himself in the hands of a good publisher and stayed with him for life. His publishers built up a business round him, and paid him the standard royalty of ten per cent.
Both publishers and authors did well.
“Then came the literary agent. Watt, of London, was the first, I think. He made a business of booming authors' prices ; he set the publishers to bidding against another, and ran the royalties up as high as thirty per cent. or more on the gross retail price of a book.
" With such large royalties — amounting on a $1.50 book to forty or forty-five cents a copy — the publisher gets no satisfactory return, for he must sell the $1.50 book to the dealer for about eighty cents. The whole thing is wrong.
“ Men of to-day don't put the thought, the candle-light into their work. They are too eager to live well and buy well. I would n't turn things back. This is all
a part of human development. We'll square the new things to us and ourselves to the new things, but at present the authors are too much interested in fine houses and automobiles."
Literary Questions. — Frank A. Munsey and Lord Northcliffe (formerly Alfred Harnsworth ) recently discussed present-day literary questions together, and what they said is reported by the New York Herald. Among other things, Lord Northcliffe said : “Dictation and the typewriter and the literary agent, with his contracts, are entirely destroying imaginative work. I consider that the literary agents are killing good authorship. Their forcing method causes writers to sell work as fast as they can write it. It ties many of them up with more contracts than they can ever fill. You can raise asparagus under a frame, but it has an insipid taste.
“There are practically no 'first-raters' today in either England or America, but there are plenty of what I call 'first-class secondraters.' They do very useful service, and the average of such work is much higher to-day than it was fifty years ago. But genius is killed."
Mr. Munsey said: "In classifying the elements of fiction according to commercial
MANUAL OF LANGUAGE LESSONS. by F. R. Heath. 275 PP.
Cloth. Cincinnati : The Phonographic Institute Company. 1908.
This “Manual of Language Lessons ” is a useful book. The first sixty-four pages are devoted to Grammar, a valuable feature being the lists of sentences to be copied correcting errors. Then come twenty-six pages of Missing Word Exercises” – sentences with blanks for words to be supplied. Next are thirty pages of Synonyms Defined, and then a dozen pages of " Definition and Use
office. Readers who send to the publishers of the periodicals indexed for copies containing the articles mentioned in the list will confer a favor if they will mention THE WRITER when they write. )
W. H. H.
of Words." Rules for Capitalization and Punctuation fill nearly thirty pages, and then come exercises in Composition, and rules and examples of Correspondence, some of the examples being very amusing, as well as instructive. Next come forty-two lessons in Spelling and thirty pages of Etymology, and the book ends with a list of Homonyms, or words having the same sound as other words, but differing in meaning. There are few educated persons who cannot learn something from the book. BORDERLAND STUDIES. Volume II. By George M. Gould, M. D. 311 pp. Cloth. Philadelphia : Blakiston's Son & Co. 1908.
The first volume of Dr. Gould's “ Borderland Studies” was published in 1896. This second volume reprints essays, addresses, and lectures, most of which have long been out of print. Writers will be more particularly attracted by the papers on
Style," and “History and Psychology in Words," and “Some Ethical Questions," which are reprinted from the little volume — no longer in print -“Suggestions to Medical Writers,' published in 1900, but Dr. Gould is always interesting, even to those who disagree with his strongly-expressed opinions, and the whole book is worth attention. THE FRIENDLY Craft. A collection of American let. ters. Edited by
Elizabeth Deering Hanscom, Ph.D., professor of English in Smith College. 364 pp. Cloth, $1.25. New York : The Macmillan Company. 1908.
The idea of “The Friendly Craft” - the collection in a single volume of interesting and suggestive letters and extracts from letters written by Americans of note – is excellent, and it has been admirably carried out. As the compiler says : “The reflection of a bit of by-gone life, an odd or whimsical view of a situation, a swift and unconscious revelation of character, often merely the happy or individual turn of a phrase, – these and causes as slight have governed choice," - and the choice in almost every case will be approved by a multitude of readers. Incidentally the letters in the book give, by implication and direct suggestion, some practical hints about letter-writing that all who indulge in the gentle art of correspondence would do well to read.
The New LITERATURE. “B. P.” Atlantic ( 38 c.) for January.
CHARLES Eliot NORTON. Barrett Wendell. Atlantic ( 38 c. ) for January.
POE AND MRS. WHITMAN. Professor James A. Har. rison and Charlotte F. Dailey. Century ( 38 c. ) for January.
The SHORT STORY. Editor's Study, Harper's Magazine ( 38 c. ) for January.
THE ELIZABETHANS AND MR. SWINBURNE. F. V. Keys. North American Review ( 38 c. ) for January.
EDGAR ALLAN POE. From an English point of view. With portrait. Norman Douglas. Putnam's Magazine ( 28 c. ) for January.
POE AS A Critic. Sherwin Cody. Putnam's Maga. zine ( 28 c. ) for January,
BALZAC IN BRITTANY. Illustrated. W. H. Helm. Putnam's Magazine ( 28 c. ) for January.
ISRAEL ZANGWILL. Clarence Rook. Putnam's Magacine ( 28 c. ) for January.
Some RARE GLIMPSES OF STEVENSON. „Bailey Millard. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for January.
E. A. PoE AND SECRET WRITING. Firmin Dredd. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for January.
E. A. PoE IN Society. Eugene L. Didier. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for January. THE PLAYWRIGHT
His PLAYERS. Brander Matthews. Scribner's ( 28 c. ) for January.
Poe. W. C. Brownell. Scribner's (28 c.) for January
THE CAREER OF HERBERT SPENCER. Professor Les. ter F. Ward. Popular Science Monthly ( 33 c. ) for January.
POETRY AND SCIENCE IN THE CASE OF CHARLES DARWIN. Edward Bradford Titchener. Popular Science Monthly ( 33 c.) for January.
THE CRISIS THE NOVEL IN France. Albert Schinz. Forum ( 28 c. ) for January.
A FORGOTTEN AMERICAN POET ( Frederick Goddard Tuckerman ). Walter Prichard Eaton. Forum ( 28 c. ) for January.
The Last Great BIOGRAPHY. Whistler personified by Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell. Harrison S. Morris. Lippincott's ( 28 c. ) for January.
Pos. George L. Knapp. Lippincott's ( 28 c. ) for January.
My Story. V. – Rossetti's Struggle. Hall Caine. Appleton's ( 18 c. ) for January.
EDGAR ALLAN POE. Hamilton W. Mabie. Ladies' Home Journal for January.
Walt WHITMAN'S EARLY LIFE ON LONG ISLAND. Willis Steell. Munsey's Magazine for January.
EDGAR ALLAN Poe, THE Most ORIGINAL GENIUS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. Morris Bacheller. Mun. sey's Magazine for January.
THE LOVE LETTERS. OF GEORGE SAND AND ALFRED DE MUSSET - II. Illustrated. Metropolitan ( 18 c.) for January.
LITERARY ARTICLES IN PERIODICALS,
(For the convenience of readers The Writer will send a copy of any magazine mentioned in the following reference list on receipt of the amount given in parenthesis following the name - the
amount being in each case the price of the periodical with three cents postage added. Unless a price is given, the periodical must be ordered from the publication