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story and verse writer for four years, selling since been written, or are still on the forehis contributions to the People's Magazine, head of the time to come. But my first favthe Pacific Monthly, the Delineator, the Bo
orite at that moment was Cumberland hemian, the Argonaut, Out West, the Gray legend. Goose, and about fifty other magazines, Shall I ever forget the agony of the newspapers, and syndicates. Out West will first efforts ? There was the ground to clear publish Mr. Pitzer's first novel this summer with necessary explanations. This I did in as a serial, and the Pacific Monthly for the way of Scott, in a long prefatory chapMarch will contain one of his more ambi- ter. Having written the chapter, I read it tious attempts at story-telling. Mr. Pitzer aloud, and found it unutterably slow and confines himself for the most part to stories dead. Twenty pages were gone, and the inof the hill-folk-prospectors, miners, trap- terest was not touched. Throwing the chappers, summer cottagers, and ranchers, whose ter aside, I began with an ale-house scene, lives have been more or less his own. He intending to work back to the history in a is spending the winter at Ocean Park, Calif., piece of retrospective writing. The ale but he regards Denver as his home, and he house was better, but to try its quality I read hopes to spend next summer with pack it aloud, after the rainbow scene in 'Silas burros and a friendly artist (if he can per- Jarner,' and then cast it aside in despair. A suade one to accompany him) among the third time I began, and when the ale house Arizona deserts and New Mexican Pueblos. looked tolerable, the retrospective chapter
that followed it seemed flat and poor. How F. Roney Weir, author of the complete to begin by gripping the interest, how to tell novel, “ The Shingle Weavers," in the all and yet never stop the action — these People's Magazine for January, is a Seattle were agonizing difficulties. writer. Her novel, “ A Romance of Rabbit " It took me nearly a fortnight to start Run," appeared in the July number of the that novel, sweating drops of blood at every same magazine. A serial by her, “ The fresh attempt. I must have written the first Hired Man," which ran through Farm, half-volume four times, at the least. After Stock, and Home, has been published in that I saw the way clearer, and got on faster. book form. She also has a story in “Tilli- At the end of three months I had written cum Tales," a volume of short stories written nearly two volumes, and then, in good by members of the Seattle Writers' Club, and spirits, I went up to London. has published a book called “Britomart, the Vy first visit was to the editor of the Socialist."
Academy His rapid mind saw a new op
portunity that was just the thing I wanted PERSONAL GOSSIP ABOUT AUTHORS. for my hero, and I was in rapture. But I
was also in despair. To work this fresh inCaine. — Hall Caine tells, in Appleton's terest into my theme, half of what I had Magazine for March, of his early literary written would need to be destroyed ! struggles, and especially of the composition " It was destroyed, and for two months of his first novel, “ The Shadow of a Crime." more I labored over it. Then I took my He says :
work down to Liverpool, and showed it to “ When I began to think of a theme, I my friend, John Lovell. After he had read found four or five subjects clamoring for ac- it, he said : ceptance. There was the story of the prodi- “I suppose you want my candid opingal son, which afterward became 'The ion?' Deemster'; the story of Jacob and Esau, Well, ye-s,' I said. which in the same way turned into 'The "It's crude,' he said. “But it only wants Bondman'; the story of Samuel and Eli, sub-editing.' which after a fashion moulded itself finally “I took it back to London, began again into 'The Scapegoat,' as well as half a dozen at the first line, and wrote every page over other stories, chiefly Biblical, which have again. At the end of another month the
story had been reconstructed, and shorter by some fifty pages of manuscript. It had drawn my heart's blood to cut out my 'best' passages, but they were gone, and I knew the book was better. After that I went on to the end and finished with a tragedy. Then the story was sent back to Lovell, and I waited for his verdict.
"He offered one unfavorable criticism. "The death of your hero will never do,' he said. If you kill that man Ralph, you'll kill your book. What's the good? Take no more than the public will give you to begin with, and by and by they'll take what you give them.'
"It was practical advice, but it went sorely against the grain. The death of the hero was the natural sequel to the story; the only end that gave meaning, and intention, and logic to its motif. I had a strong predisposition toward a tragic climax to a serious story. But all arguments went down before my friend's practical assurance, 'Kill that man, and you kill your book.'
"With much diffidence I altered the catastrophe and made my hero happy. Then, thinking my work complete, I asked WattsDunton (the friend to whose wise counsel I owed so much in those days) to read some 'galley' slips of it. He thought the rustic scenes good, but advised me to moderate the dialect, and he propounded to me his wellknown views on the use of patois in fiction.
"It gives a sense of reality,' he said, 'and also has the effect of wit, but it must not stand in the way.'
The advice was sound. A man may know overmuch of his subject to write on it properly. So once again I ran Over my story, taking out some of the 'nobbuts,' and thedustas,' and the 'wiltas.'
"My first novel was now written, but I had still to get it published."
D'Annunzio. - Professor Hans Barth describes in the Berlin Tageblatt a visit he was privileged to pay Gabriele d'Annunzio — "privileged," because, as he says, it is easier to get near the Dalai Lama than near the most famous of Italian authors.
The professor, having been invited to tea, took the trolley at Florence, and soon reached Set
tignano, near which lies the poet's villa. "Cave canem et dominum" was the inscription he found on the gate; and hardly had he got in, when some thirty greyhounds surrounded him, barking and howling; but he safely got into the house. The host showed him all his rooms, each of them more or less of a library. Tea was served, with chocolate bonbons and cigarettes. "I never touch anything alcoholic," said the poet; and when the professor asked if he did not think that Italy would be ruined if everybody abjured wine, he answered: "Yes - and I do not wish to convert any one to my practice." He complained about the many absurd rumors printed in the newspapers about his sybaritic habits. "I get up at seven, take a bath and gymnastics, and a horseback ride. From ten till nine in the evening I work; my meals I take at my writing table. It is owing to this way of living that I feel so young." His novel, "Innocente," he wrote in three months and a half, buried in a deserted monastery. peasant daily brought me bread, eggs, and fruit, and if any one approached I scared him away by firing my rifle." After finishing a book, he mingles for a time with the most frivolous circles, where the only talk is of sports, thus securing complete brain rest. New York Evening Post.
Speaking of his new tragedy, D'Annunzio said recently to a correspondent of the New York Times: "It took just seventeen days from the first word to the finish seventeen days of intense work, in which I could not once leave the house. slept during the day, rising at five P. M., dining, exercising, etc., and at nine was at my desk, where I stayed until nine the next morning, with at midnight and at two A. M. a short interruption for a cup of bouillon. I have found this system to work so well that I shall pursue it with all other works.
"You want to know how I came to think of 'Fedra.' I had just had a rapid automobile trip through Italy, and had returned with my brain full of lyrics, feeling that prose could not express my sentiments, and 'Fedra' sprang up full born, although I had thought much about her ten years ago.
“I have promised three works to Treves, my publisher, for this year. One will be a modern drama called 'La Pietà.' It will have four personages only, a mother, her daughter-in-law, and two brothers. It develops rapidly, and is full of violent emotion. I took my inspiration for this from Michelangelo's ‘La Pietà' in St. Peter's. While writing I must have always before me something which personifies my idea and gives me inspiration. I shall work fifteen days without stopping, and hope in that time to finish it. I have also to produce 'Amaranta' and
romance called 'Forse, si; forse, no.' (Perhaps, yes ; perhaps, no.) Besides these three, I have a drama called “San Francesco.
Macquoid. – Mrs. Katharine S. Macquoid, aged eighty-five years, has just finished a novel which is awaiting publication, and is hali-way through another.
She has been writing stories for nearly fiity years — indeed, she will celebrate her jubilee as an author in October — but her later works show no sign of failing power.
“I did not begin to write until I was thirty-five,” she told an Express representative, “and then it was only because my husband urged me to do so. I had no confidence in my ability to write a book, and though I have written more than fifty books, the feeling of doubt and uncertainty was long in leaving me.
“I began by sending contributions — short stories, afterward published in book form under the title “Piccalilli' – to the Welcome Guest and Once a week. Then my husband persuaded me to write a novel. I called it 'A Bad Beginning,' literally because I thought that it began badly."
Mrs. Macquoid has written many books of travel, her husband as a rule supplying the illustrations. She has always been, and still is, much given to continental travel. A year ago she and her husband re-visited Normandy, of which they are very fond. Next year, so this vigorous old lady says, she may re-visit Yorkshire, and travel in the East Riding, which will be almost new ground to her.
“I plan out all my books before setting a word of them down,” she said. “For the
most part I work with a typewriter, except in the more emotional passages. You can't be emotional with a typewriter ; and I confess that I put a good deal of sentiment into my books. For such an old woman I write really very frivolous books, I believe.
“I work quite in a methodical way, and though I cannot always do eight hours a day as I used, I get through a great deal in the course of a day, particularly in the winter, when it is too cold to go out much.
“In the course of my long period of authorship I have noticed the change that has taken place in the popular taste for novels. I think the people of to-day are more superficial than those of the generation for which I first wrote, and their characteristics are reflected in their taste."
Mrs. Macquoid is particularly fond of historical novels - of which she has written not a few — and confesses to a passion for the writings of Dumas.
“ Of my own books, I suppose ‘Patty,' my best known, is my favorite, though she is so old now that I'm afraid she must be quite out of date. I think she first came out in '70 or '71. But I am very fond of 'At the Red Glove,' too. I received more money for that than for any other book that I have written.”
Of the two books still to appear, “Molly" is a romance of the eighteenth century ; and
Suzanne's Marriage" is a story of French life — the history of a mariage de conve
London Express. Stedman. -- Linda Stedman's eight pages of biographical introduction to The Poems of Edmund Clarence Stedman' (Houghton Mifflin Company ) are full of interest. Stedman's mother penned some memoirs, from the unpublished pages of which this passage is given : “He was a remarkably precocious child from birth, and a very strange one.
As soon as he could speak he lisped in rhyme, and as soon as he could write, which was at the age of six years, he gave shape and measure to his dreams. When he was between five and six years old, on being put to bed, he would get on his knees, bury his head in a pillow, and if told to lie down and go to sleep, would answer : ‘Let me alone, please, the poetry is coming.'' Almost to
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 Cos-grove, 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 $1,000 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. 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 qualiiying 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 topsy. turvy, 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
good literary style said by rhetoricians 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