Lapas attēli
[blocks in formation]



Gilder. - He was a small, slightly-built man, with the same mingling of the feminine and the seraph that we imagine in Shelley ; his eyes bespoke the poet – large, dark, far-seeing, melancholy always, even when he smiled. “Not hurting'

was almost a religion to him. There is a writer who remembers going to him with a letter from the late Charles Dudley Warner and some manuscripts for sale. She was nursing what seemed a forlorn hope ;

she was very tired, and rather hungry, and inordinately afraid, and it was a dreadful day. The rain was falling in a blunt, steady, uncompromising pour. The would-be author's feet were wet and her black gloves thoroughly damp, and Mr. Gilder came out from his office far-eyed, pre-occupied, forbidding. He stood up and let the lady stand'; he listened with impatience, and dismissed her cursorily. Nothing could have been more icy than the atmosphere of that office. Finally the poor writer escaped, choking down sobs, but the tears rained before she reached the elevator. She faced the outer door, to find the rain still uncompromising, and she had left her umbrella on the fifth floor of the Century building. There was a grain of practical common sense at the bottom of the writer's soul, and she realized that more than ever, because she was an utter failure, must she take care of her umbrellas ; so, bravely she faced the elevator boy, the line of clerks in the outer office, the two stenographers in the ante-room, and, to her horror, Mr. Gilder himself. But in the interim he had somehow shed the formidable editor ; he was Richard Watson Gilder, poet and man, with a soul magnificently free. He made the writer sit down, he apologized for the weather, and said he had ample time to talk. He promistd to read the manuscripts carefully himself, and if he could not take them to tell candidly why. And he sent her, the second time, beaming past the long line of clerks

and proud before the elevator boy! He accepted a manuscript by a special messenger that night, and he remained ever after a willing adviser and helper of that writer. To the writer the whole matter grew to seem a comic incident, a joke, a good story to tell, but Mr. Gilder never liked it. “Don't tell that story," he would say. · Don't remind me of it. One may have done it so often when they were not obliging enough to cry, and so one never knew." For even when it lay a decade.or more in the past, he could not bear the pain of having inflicted pain. – L! C. W., in Harper's Weekly.

Frank G. Carpenter, in an interview with Mr. Gilder, one time drew from the editor

characteristic opinion of the average editor's attitude toward the young writer :

Has the young, untried writer any chance in the editorial rooms of the modern magazine ?" asked Mr. Carpenter. “Many people believe that only the writings of men of established reputations are considered by your magazine editors."

That is not true," replied the editor of the Century. “ The new writer has every chance. The competition for good matter is too great to allow an editor to pass over any manuscript without consideration. The hope of every editor is that he may be able to secure some new light in the literary sky. He is so anxious to do this that he often exaggerates the discovery of some slight talent. He is always discovering that he has made mistakes in the past, and I have said that an editor's hell is paved with the manuscripts which he has rejected but which he wishes he had accepted. He has turned them down only to find that some other editor has discovered genius in them. The result is that he is afraid that he may miss finding the spark of genius in the new manuscripts before him, and he often gives the new writers too much chance." A writer in the New York Evening Post

Mr. Gilder's interest in new authors :

“So far as I know, the Century was the only magazine which asked contributors whose manuscripts had been accepted for the first time to come and call. It was, no

says of



doubt, Mr. Gilder's idea. He not only observed that friendly attitude toward visitors himself, but saw to it that others in his office did likewise.

“Nothing annoyed him more than to receive a manuscript which struck his fancy, but which had been handed up to him by one of the Readers with only a perfunctory commendation. I have heard that he was inclined to be severe with Readers who did not keep a sharp eye out for originality, no matter how slight it might have been.

" Mr. Gilder had his own tastes and ideas, of course, and he was always striving to bring up the rest of the office to his way of thinking. And he did have a great influence upon the editorial staff.

“ Whenever he found among the manuscripts on his desk one which struck his fancy, he was unable to conceal his rejoicing. In fact, he went about the office advertising his discovery to every one present.” Oppenheim, — A few years

ago James Oppenheim, author of the Doctor Rast" stories, believed two things very strongly, first, that he could n't write short stories ; second, that he would n't if he could. His wife, however, thought otherwise.

She alone had faith in his power. One morning she set paper and pen before him, and said : “Now, write !" He groaned, lamented his luck, but finally he wrote. A week later he tried again. After a while it became a habit. Mrs. Oppenheim, in spite of protests, kept sending these efforts to the magazines, and after a while came the surprise. Editors began to take them and ask for more. This led finally to the writing of the “Doctor Rast” stories, which have appeared in the American, Everybody's, and Pearson's, and are now published in book form.


would modestly have called them — and stated what I already knew to be a fact, that he was in the habit of receiving $50 apiece for such metrical affairs. They were each four or five stanzas in length, and twenty years ago would have brought from $3 to $5 apiece in the literary market. Recently one of the most prominent writers of light verse in England sent word to me that he should be glad to furnish me with a short poem,' the subject to be of his own choosing, for $150, the understanding being that he was to reserve all of his ‘rights' – that is to say, he was to have the privilege of publishing his

in England, selling them over again there, and also that he was to use them in his next book. I know one gentleman author who receives $1,200 each for his short stories, and even at that price I am informed that he cannot supply the demand.

' Perhaps it is highly immoral on my part to quote these prices, as they are, in a sense, misleading, and serve as undue encouragement to a host of minor writers, who have come to believe that there is nothing so easy as the business of writing. They are misleading because they convey the impression of ‘easy money,' and more particularly because the quality of the material that commands such extremely high prices is ephemeral and seems so easy to write.

“The ephemeral quality, however, is in many ways the most difficult to attain ; and then it entails certain sacrifices on the part of an author ; it really means that he voluntarily relinquishes all hope of posterity. He becomes the creature of the hour, and in proportion to his facility in ‘hitting off' the present atmosphere does his material command the highest prices. He is also constantly confronted by that grim spectre, a public's fickleness. His audience may tire of him at almost any moment, and he be left high and dry on the sands of obscurity, his reputation nothing but a memory.

* It is unquestionably true, however, that the average price for literary material is much higher than it was twenty years ago. It has advanced much more in proportion than the scale of literary work. I believe it



Prices Paid for Manuscripts. — Thomas L. Masson, who has been literary editor of Life since 1893, writing in the New York Times about authors, says :

“ The other day an author friend of mine sent me a couple of poems - or 'verses,' he



Of course,

was about eighteen years ago that Bill Nye, of tragedy and adventure, and that the enone of the most famous of our American tire super-structure of humor rests upon humorists, was at the height of his literary seven jokes of great antiquity, that of the 'output,' as the vernacular has it. At that mother-in-law, for example, being clearly time I happened to be the editor of his traceable to the closing verses of Genesis *copy.' He wrote, as a rule, about two xxvi., which gave to William Black the title and a half columns a week, and received of “A Daughter of Heth” for one of his $200 for each letter. Two or three years stories. ago another equally popular humorist, who Whatever may be responsible, these litoccupies the same relative position in the erary likenesses are to be found, and the public eye that Bill Nye did, received $1,000 charge of plagiarism quickly follows. Longa week for an equal amount of work.

fellow's “ Hiawatha,” it appears, was taken About ten years ago the highest price from the Norse sagas, the theme being paid by the majority of first-class periodicals slightly altered, but the metrical form unfor regular material — that is, for material changed. Holmes's “ Last Leaf,” it is alnot specially ordered — was two

leged, is but a paraphrase of an old Japaword. One or two magazines paid four nese poem, and “The Raven” had a worthy cents per word for stories, and this was Italian predecessor in “The Parrot." But spoken of with awe by the paid writer. if Poe borrowed, he also lent, for Lever inSince then one of our weeklies has offered. corporated with slight alterations the story five cents a word for all stories accepted in of “Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather" in the regular course of events.

one of his works. Doyle is likewise inmuch higher prices are paid in special in- debted to Poe for both plot and character, stances. ... On the other hand, it is quite since “ The Cask of Amontillado” is but true that a lot of excellent prose – as prose thinly disguised in one of his tales, while the goes nowadays - is being written and sold niethods of Sherlock Holmes savor not a at much lower prices. One or two of the little of those employed by Monsieur Dupin. highest-class periodicals — from a literary Doyle has also been a great borrower in standpoint — do not pretend to pay such other fields ; “ Micah Clarke " is strikingly high rates. ... As a rule, the periodical like big John Rudd in “ Lorna Doone,” and that pays the highest rates is making a bid Sir Nigel, of “The White Company,” is for popular and — in certain

scarcely more than a faint echo of Cerephemeral favor.''

vantes' famous character. And yet Doyle, Literary Borrowing.– There is no apparent as a writer, is both great and popular — two reason why a real literary genius should be adjectives not necessarily conjoined, as the under the necessity of copying from the respective efforts of Plato and Miss Laura writings of others, and yet considerable evi- Jean Libbey may serve to prove. dence may be adduced to show that authors Sienkiewicz's ' Pan Zagloba” has been of acknowledged creative ability have been called the Russian Falstaff. Varryatt, in guilty of plagiarism.

his “Pasha of Many Tales," lifts whole secOne explanation offered is that the copy- tions from Voltaire's “Candide," and there ing may have been unconscious. A still is a queer phrase about the "friar's garb of better one accounts largely for the simi- black and white and gray” that is repeated larities of expression by tracing them to a word for word in the writings of Voltaire, common source of inspiration, such as love, Bryant, and Ingersoll. the moon, or, as some claim, a state of the Emerson seems to have borrowed largely liver. Surprise has also been manifested from two strangely diverse sources, Monthat there is not a greater evidence of liter- taigne and the Bible. He indirectly acary appropriation, in view of the fact that knowledged his indebtedness to the former there are but seventeen original situations in by including him in his “Representative the world upon which to build all the themes Ven.” As to the latter, it is not so evident




[ocr errors]



To go

that he recognized the rock from which he common notion that the word "ye" in was hewn. Yet it is not difficult to see in archaic. English — the definite article

is to his transcendental essay on the “Oversoul” be pronounced like the personal pronoun an abstraction of the Christian doctrine of “ Ye olde curiosity shop," and the like. A ihe Holy Spirit. His saying, “The true slight investigation of the older English litpoet gets drunk on water," is but a para- erature will show that the "th" is written phrase of Paul's “Drink not wine, but be with a “y” in other combinations of letters. filled with the spirit," while akin to both is Take the Shakespeare inscription at StratPope's “ Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian ford, and you will find the word 'that" spring." Ingersoll wrote: “Upon the written “yt ” in two instances. The "y" is shadowy shore of death the sea of trouble phonetic, and there is not the slightest evi

no wave," but long before that old dence that "th” was ever pronounced difIsaac Watts sang of death's serenity, “And ferently from what it is to-day. — Boston not a wave of trouble rolls across my peace

Transcript. ful breast." - Washington Post.

Why should the society editor insist that a Concordance Making. – Annie E. Trimble, wedding occurred," instead of taking who has been making a concordance of place ? But this abuse of the word seems Walt Whitman, says that the poet had a

venial when we turn to the sporting page “prodigious vocabulary.” In. gathering and find that every event recorded, from a index sheets into bundles she made a curi- dog fight to a running race, is “classy." ous discovery. While A is an average size, Probably the word is a slangy equivalent of as also B, C, E, F, L, and as many others, "high class.” At any rate, it is as illegitiit takes J, K, G, V, Y all together to make mate and offensive as “brainy." a bundle the size of A, and C is twice and S through the catalogue of misused words

three times the size of A. This was surpris- would far exceed the limits of any editorial - ing until one noticed how many of the most article. Yet one can hardly leave the sub

musical and sweet-sounding words — poets' ject without recording a solemn protest words - begin with a sibilant. Zeus, zinc, against the phrase "armed with a warrant," zones, and Zuyder Zee are the only z's in or the aeronaut who “negotiates a trip” Leaves of Grass."

around the aerodrome. And one would like Miss Trimble says : “To those wishing to add that "inaugurate," which means to to become thoroughly acquainted with the , induct in office, does not happily characterize work of an author my advice is simple, the running of a new railroad train or the 'concord him.' There is no surer method. opening sale of autumn millinery. — Buffalo At once you get his innermost meaning, and Commercial. test his best worth." Words Commonly Misused. The word

LITERARY ARTICLES IN PERODICALS. “necessity” is habitually used as the equivanecessary," instead of being its di

[ For the convenience of readers The WRITER will

send a copy of any magazine mentioned in the fol. rect opposite. A man says : “I do not care

lowing reference list on receipt o the amount given for the luxuries of life if I have the necessi

in parenthesis following the name - the ties," when probably he has the

being in each case the price of the periodical with sities" in calamitous abundance. Quite as

three cents postage added. Unless a price is given, the

periodical must be ordered from the publication common a blunder is the confusion between

office. Readers who send to the publishers of the the words "expect" and "suspect.” A man

periodicals indexed for copies containing the articles says : “There is a knock at the door. I mentioned in the list will confer a favor if they will 'expect that is the tax collector."

mention THE WRITER when they write. ]

He should say : "I have been expecting the tax

SOME REMINISCENCES OF CHARLES DARWIN. James collector, and suspect that is he." Germane

Bryce. Harper's Magazine ( 38 c. ) for December. to this subject and furnishing perhaps the

LETTERS OF LAFCADIO HEARN. Elizabeth Bisland. most amusing form of popular error is the Atlantic ( 38 c.) for December.

[ocr errors]

lent of “



RICHARD WATSON GILDER. With full-page por. trait. H. M. Alden. Harper's Weekly ( 13 c. ) for November 27.

PoET AND Patriot ( Richard Watson Gilder ). Outlook ( 18 c. ) for November 27.

EDMOND ROSTAND. With portrait. Outlook ( 18 c. ) for November 27.

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND LETTERS. Illustrated with photographs.

Brander Matthews. Outlook ( 18 c.) for November 27,




The Novel Two THOUSAND YEARS AGO. Gamaliel Bradiord, Jr. Atlantic ( 38 c. ) for December.

SOME PLATITUDES CONCERNING DRAMA. John Gals. worthy. Atlantic ( 38 c. ) for December.

THE CONVENTION OF Books. Samuel M, Crothers. Atlantic ( 38 c. ) for December.

Inside VIEWS OF FICTION. Mabel Taliaferro. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for December.

THE CASUAL READER. F. M. Colby. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for December.

INTERNATIONAL MARRIAGE IN AMERICAN Fiction. A. Schade Van Westrum. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for December.

THE DETECTIVE STORY IN GERMANY AND SCANDI. NAVIA. Grace Isabel Colbron. Bookman ( 28 c. ) for December.

MACAULAY FIFTY YEARS AFTER. William R. Thayer. North American Review ( 38 c.) for De. cember.

THE MODERN Shorr STORY. W. J. Dawson. North American Review ( 38 c.) or December.

STEVENSON AND HENLEY. Beatrice Post Candler, Putnam's Magazine ( 28 c.) for December.

A MAGAZINE PUBLISHER WHO HAS MADE MilLIONS ( Edwin Gardner Lewis ). Walter B. Stevens, Putnam's Magazine ( 28 c. ) for December.

Fron IBSEN'S WORKSHOP. William Archer. Forum for December.

THE HAPPY ENDING IN THE THEATRE. Clayton Hamilton. Forum for December.

RICHARD WATSON GILDER. With portrait. John Finley. American Review of Reviews ( 28 c. ) for De. cember.

MATTHEW ARNOLD. Florence Earle Coates. Lip. pincott's ( 28 c.) for December.

THE GREAT AMERICAN DRAMA. Illustrated. Emmett C. King. Metropolitan ( 18 c. ) for December.

THE ROMANCE OF COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY. J. Horace McFarland. Suburban Life ( 28 c. ) for December.

CLYDE FITCH AS COLLABORATOR. Willis Steele. Theatre for December.

PECUNIARY REWARDS OF PLAYWRITING. Richard Savage. Theatre for December.

THE ART OF ILLUSTRATING. - IV. William Brett Plummer. Author ( London ) ( 18 c. ) for December.

IS AN HONEST AND SANE NEWSPAPER Press Pos. SIBLE ? " An Independent Journalist.” American Journal of Sociology ( 53 c. ) for November.

BROWNING's Saul." B. O. Flower. Editor's Quiet Hour, Twentieth Century Magazine ( 28 c. ) for December.

BURNS THE DEMOCRAT. C. A. G. Jackson. Twentieth Century Magazine ( 28 c. ) for December.

THE PRACTICAL EDUCATION OF NEWSPAPER MEN. ( With sketch and portraits of J. Newton Nind. ) National Printer-Journalist ( 23 c. ) for December.

SOME CHINESE POETRY. Harper's Weekly ( 13 c.) for November 20.

A MASTER JOURNALIST. William M. Laffan, 18481909.

With full-page portrait. Harper's Weekly ( 13 c. ) for November 27.

ON BOOKWORMS. Harper's Il'eekly ( 13 c.) for November 27.

MR. CHESTERTON ON MR. Shaw. Outlook (8 c.) for Vovember 13.

John Bigelow's “Retrospections of Active Life” was published November 24, the day before the author's ninety-second birthday.

Charles Scribner's Sons regard “ American Prose Masters," by W. C. Brownell, which they have just published, as the most important volume of American literary criticism published in many years. It deals with Cooper, Hawthorne, Poe, Henry James,

, Emerson, and Lowell.

Frank Harris's book “The lan Shakespeare and His Tragic Life Story” is founded on the articles published in the Saturday Review, when Mr. Harris was editor of that journal, establishing that Shakespeare “in his plays and poems has painted himself twenty times over from youth to age at full length."

Of two new books relating to Sir Walter Scott, the most important is “The Skene Papers : Memories of Sir Walter Scott," by James Skene, that Laird of Rubislaw who was one of the novelist's oldest and closest friends. The other volume contains, under the title of “Sir Walter Scott's Friends," chapters on Old Ladies of Sir Walter's Youth, Makers of the Minstrelsy, Literary Ladies, Abbotsford Household, and Scott's Relation to Other Poets. Mrs. Florence VacCunn is the author of this volume.

Caroline Norton, whose biography by Jane Grey Perkins has just been issued by Henry Holt & Co., under the title, “The Life of the Honorable Mrs. Norton," was the author of some well-known songs, including “ Bingen on the Rhine," We Have Been Friends Together," and “ Juanita : Soft O'er the Fountain." Mrs. Norton is probably best known as the author of “The Lady of La Garaye.”


« iepriekšējāTurpināt »