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Title: The Borzoi 1920
       Being a sort of record of five years' publishing

Author: Various

Release Date: January 17, 2017 [EBook #53979]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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Being a sort of record of five years’ publishing

New York



Many readers have doubtless long been familiar with the catalogs issued now and again by European publishers—no bare lists of authors and titles, but such wholly charming productions as, for example, the annual almanacks of the Insel-Verlag of Leipzig. As I approached the conclusion of my first five years’ publishing it seemed to me—in view of the uncommon friendliness of so many readers—that they, at any rate, would perhaps receive with favor a more permanent record of the early activities of the Borzoi than it would be possible to present in the usual sort of American publisher’s announcement. Authors—may I say my authors?—greeted the idea with such enthusiasm (how generous their coöperation the following pages abundantly testify) that it soon took fairly definite shape. The original papers are of course the real excuse for The Borzoi 1920, while the balance of the book is intended simply to be useful—to the individual reader, the bookseller, and the librarian. I have tried to make the bibliography complete, but the Who’s Who is confined to writers who are, I hope, more or less definitely associated with my list (and from whom I could get the necessary information).

My best thanks are due many for whatever success Borzoi Books may have achieved. Those, first, who wrote them, and especially the generous contributors to this volume; the booksellers, who have been both friendly and intelligent in their coöperation; the critics who have been for the most part both understanding and encouraging; the loyal co-workers in my own office; and last, but not least, the readers who have made the whole venture possible.

Alfred A. Knopf.


Introduction Maxim Gorky ix
The Movies Claude Bragdon 3
Maxwell Bodenheim Witter Bynner 6
On the Art of Fiction Willa Cather 7
Astonishing Psychic Experience Clarence Day, Jr. 9
Max Beerbohm Floyd Dell 12
Joseph Hergesheimer Wilson Follett 15
On Drawing A. P. Herbert 20
A Note on the Chinese Poems translated by Arthur Waley Joseph Hergesheimer 24
Willa Cather H. L. Mencken 28
Van Vechten Philip Moeller 32
On H. L. Mencken George Jean Nathan 34
A Sketch Sidney L. Nyburg 37
Chant of the Nurses Eunice Tietjens 41
A Memory of Ypres H. M. Tomlinson 42
On the Advantages of Being Born on the Seventeenth of June Carl Van Vechten 48
The Master of the Five Willows Arthur Waley 52
How He Died Conrad Aiken 65
From “Youth and Egolatry” Pío Baroja 68
From “The Romantic Woman” Mary Borden 71
October Robert Bridges 74
“Letters of a Javanese Princess” Louis Couperas 75
April Charms William H. Davies 79
A page from “The Three Mulla Mulgars” Walter de la Mare 80
Burbank with a Baedeker; Bleistein with a Cigar T. S. Eliot 81
From “Where Angels Fear to Tread” E. M. Forster 83
Dorothy Easton’s “The Golden Bird” John Galsworthy 86
War and the Small Nations Kahlil Gibran 88
A First Review Robert Graves 89
Joe Ward E. W. Howe 90
Doc Robinson E. W. Howe 92
John Davis E. W. Howe 92
Concerning “A Little Boy Lost” W. H. Hudson 93
Ancient Music Ezra Pound 96
Fire and the Heart of Man J. C. Squire 97
Preface to “Deliverance” E. L. Grant Watson 101
Postscript   133


A Page from the Manuscript of Max Beerbohm’s “Seven Men” Frontispiece
Witter Bynner 6
Floyd Dell 12
Clarence Day, Jr. 12
Joseph Hergesheimer 15
Sidney L. Nyburg 28
Willa Cather 28
Carl Van Vechten 32
H. L. Mencken 34
George Jean Nathan 34
Eunice Tietjens 41
Pío Baroja 41
Mary Borden 72
Kahlil Gibran 89
Robert Graves 90
J. C. Squire 90
E. L. Grant Watson 102



[The following—reprinted from the Athenæum (London) of June 11th, 1920, and translated by S. Kotliansky is part of Gorky’s preface to the first catalogue of “World Literature,” the publishing house founded by him under the auspices of the Bolshevik government. It is reprinted here as a plea, as noble as it is typical of Gorky, for good books.

A. A. K.]

Is it necessary to speak of the necessity of a serious study of literature, or at least of a wide acquaintance with it? Literature is the heart of the world, winged with all its joys and sorrows, with all the dreams and hopes of men, with their despair and wrath, with their reverence before the beauty of nature, their fears in face of her mysteries. This heart throbs violently and eternally with the thirst of self-knowledge, as though in it all those substances and forces of nature that have created the human personality as the highest expression of their complexity and wisdom aspired to clarify the meaning and aim of life.

Literature may also be called the all-seeing eye of the world, whose glance penetrates into the deepest recesses of the human spirit. A book—so simple a thing and so familiar—is, essentially, one of the great and mysterious wonders of the world. Some one unknown to us, sometimes speaking an incomprehensible language, hundreds of miles away, has drawn on paper various combinations of a score or so of signs, which we call letters, and when we look at them, we strangers, remote from the creator of the book, mysteriously perceive the meaning of all the words, the ideas, the feelings, the images; we admire the description of the scenes of nature, take delight in the beautiful rhythm of speech, the music of the words. Moved to tears, angry, dreaming, sometimes laughing over xthe motley printed sheets, we grasp the life of the spirit, akin or foreign to ourselves. The book is, perhaps, the most complicated and mightiest of all the miracles created by man on his path to the happiness and power of the future.

There is no one universal literature, for there is yet no language common to all, but all literary creation, in prose and poetry, is saturated with the unity of feelings, thoughts, ideals shared by all men, with the unity of man’s sacred aspiration towards the joy of the freedom of the spirit, with the unity of man’s disgust at the miseries of life, the unity of his hopes of the possibility of higher forms of life, and with the universal thirst for something indefinable in word or thought, hardly to be grasped by feeling, that mysterious something to which we give the pale name of beauty, and which comes to an ever brighter and more joyous flower in the world, in our own hearts.

Whatever may be the inward differences of nations, races, individualities, however distinct may be the external forms of states, religious conceptions and customs, however irreconcilable the conflict of classes—over all these differences, created by ourselves through centuries, hovers the dark and menacing spectre of the universal consciousness of the tragic quality of life and the poignant sense of the loneliness of man in the world.

Rising from the mystery of birth, we plunge into the mystery of death. Together with our planet we have been thrown into incomprehensible space. We call it the Universe, but we have no precise conception of it, and our loneliness in it has such an ironical perfection that we have nothing with which to compare it.

The loneliness of man in the Universe and on the earth, which is to many “a desert, alas! not unpeopled”—on earth amid the most tormenting contradiction of desires and possibilities—is realized only by few. But the faint feeling of it xiis implanted in the instinct of nearly every man like a noxious weed, and it often poisons the lives of men who appear to be perfectly immune from that murderous nostalgia which is the same for all ages and peoples, which tormented equally Byron the Englishman, Leopardi the Italian, the writer of “Ecclesiastes,” and Lao-Tse, the great sage of Asia.

This anguish that arises from the dim sense of the precariousness and tragedy of life is common to great and small, to every one who has the courage to look at life with open eyes. And if a time is to come when men will have overcome this anguish and stifled in themselves the consciousness of tragedy and loneliness, they will achieve that victory only by the way of spiritual creation, only by the combined efforts of literature and science.

Besides its envelope of air and light all our earth is surrounded with a sphere of spiritual creativeness, with the multifarious rainbow emanation of our energy, out of which is woven, forged or moulded all that is immortally beautiful; out of which are created the mightiest ideas and the enchanting complexity of our machines, the amazing temples and tunnels that pierce the rock of great mountains, books, pictures, poems, millions of tons of iron flung as bridges across wide rivers, suspended with such miraculous lightness in the air—all the stern and lovely, all the mighty and tender poetry of our life.

By the victory of the mind and will over the elements of nature and the animal in man, striking out ever brighter sparks of hope from the iron wall of the unknown, we men can speak with legitimate joy of the planetary significance of the great efforts of our spirit, most resplendently and powerfully expressed in literary and scientific creation.

The great virtue of literature is that by deepening our consciousness, by widening our perception of life, by giving shape to our feelings, it speaks to us as with a voice saying: All ideals and acts, all the world of the spirit is created out of xiithe blood and nerves of men. It tells us that Hen-Toy, the Chinaman, is as agonizingly unsatisfied with the love of woman as Don Juan, the Spaniard; that the Abyssinian sings the same songs of the sorrows and joys of love as the Frenchman; that there is an equal pathos in the love of a Japanese Geisha and Manon Lescaut; that man’s longing to find in woman the other half of his soul has burned and burns with an equal flame men of all lands, all times.

A murderer in Asia is as loathsome as in Europe; the Russian miser Plushkin is as pitiable as the French Grandet; the Tartufes of all countries are alike, Misanthropes are equally miserable everywhere, and everywhere every one is equally charmed by the touching image of Don Quixote, the Knight of the Spirit. And after all, all men, in all languages, always speak of the same things, of themselves and their fate. Men of brute instincts are everywhere alike, the world of the intellect alone is infinitely varied.

With a clearness irresistibly convincing, fine literature gives us all these innumerable likenesses and infinite varieties—literature, the pulsing mirror of life, reflecting with quiet sadness or with anger, with the kindly laugh of a Dickens or the frightful grimace of Dostoevsky, all the complications of our spiritual life, the whole world of our desires, the bottomless stagnant pools of banality and folly, our heroism and cowardice in the face of destiny, the courage of love and the strength of hatred, all the nastiness of our hypocrisy and the shameful abundance of lies, the disgusting stagnation of our minds and our endless agonies, our thrilling hopes and sacred dreams—all by which the world lives, all that quivers in the hearts of men. Watching man with the eyes of a sensitive friend, or with the stern glance of a judge, sympathizing with him, laughing at him, admiring his courage, cursing his nullity—literature rises above life, and, together with science, lights up for men the paths to the achievement of their goals, to the development of what is good in them.

xiiiAt times enchanted with the beautiful aloofness of science, literature may become infatuated with a dogma, and then we see Emile Zola viewing man only as a “belly,” constructed “with charming coarseness,” and we also see how the cold despair of Du Bois Reymond infects so great an artist as Gustave Flaubert.

It is obvious that literature cannot be completely free from what Turgeniev called “the pressure of time”; it is natural, for “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” And it may be that the evil of the day poisons more often than it should the sacred spirit of beauty, and our search for its “inspirations and prayers”; these inspirations and prayers are poisoned by the venomous dust of the day. But “the beautiful is the rare,” as Edmond Goncourt justly said, and we most certainly often consider lacking in beauty and insignificant habitual things—those habitual things which, as they recede into the past, acquire for our descendants all the marks and qualities of true, unfading beauty. Does not the austere life of ancient Greece appear to us beautiful? Does not the bloody, stormy and creative epoch of the Renaissance with all its “habitual” cruelty enrapture us? It is more than probable that the great days of the social catastrophe we are going through now will arouse the ecstasy, awe and creativeness of the generations that will come after us.

Nor let us forget that though Balzac’s “Poor Relations,” Gogol’s “Dead Souls,” “The Pickwick Papers,” are essentially books that describe conditions of actual life, there is hidden in them a great and imperishable lesson which the best university cannot provide, and which an average man will not have learnt so exactly or so clearly after fifty years of hard-working life.

The habitual is not always banal, for it is habitual for man to be consumed in the hell fire of his vocation, and this self-consumption is always beautiful and necessary, as it is instructive for those who timidly smoulder all their life long, without xivblazing up in the bright flame that destroys the man and illuminates the mysteries of his spirit.

Human errors are not so characteristic of the art of the word and image; more characteristic is its longing to raise man above the external conditions of existence, to free him from the fetters of the degrading actuality, to show him to himself not as the slave, but as the lord of circumstance, the free creator of life, and in this sense literature is ever revolutionary.

By the mighty effort of genius rising about all circumstances of actuality, saturated with the spirit of humanity, kindling its hatred from the excess of passionate love, fine literature, prose and poetry, is our great vindication, and not our condemnation. It knows that there are no guilty—although everything is in man, everything is from man. The cruel contradictions of life that arouse the enmity and hatred of nations, classes, individuals, are to literature only an inveterate error, and she believes that the ennobled will of men can and must destroy all errors, all that which, arresting the free development of the spirit, delivers man into the power of animal instincts.

When you look closely into the mighty stream of creative energy embodied in the word and image, you feel and believe that the great purpose of this stream is to wash away for ever all the differences between races, nations, classes, and, by freeing men from the hard burden of the struggle with each other, to direct all their forces to the struggle with the mysterious forces of nature. And it seems that then the art of the word and image is and will be the religion of all mankind—a religion that absorbs everything that is written in the sacred writings of ancient India, in the Zend-Avesta, in the Gospels and Koran.

Maxim Gorky




By Claude Bragdon

I must protest against the movies, though I be stoned to death for it in the middle of Longacre Square.

My sight is either jaundiced or clairvoyant: which, I leave the reader to decide.

Strip life of its color, mystery, infinitude; make it stale, make it grey, make it flat; rob the human being of his aura, deny him speech, quicken his movements into galvanic action; people a glaring parallelogram with these gigantic simulacra of men and women moved by sub-human motives; drug the tormented nerves with music, so that the audience shall not go mad—this is the movie as it is to me.

The other day I read a panegyric on the most beautiful of all moving pictures. I forced myself to sit through it though I could scarcely forbear shrieking aloud. It was an amusement seemingly devised for devils in hell.

Only degradation of the soul and a vast despondency result from this seeking joy in the pictured suffering wickedness, weakness of others; in this orgy of sex-sentimentality, silliness, meaningless violence. Such amusement either depraves the mind or arrests its action, and makes of the heart a mechanical toy which must be shaken violently before it will act.

Why do people go to the movies? Because their caged souls seek forgetfulness and joy as insistently as blind eyes yearn for light. But joy is such a stranger to them that they ignorantly mistake this owl-eyed Monster of Darkness for the Blue Bird of Happiness. I have asked many why they go to 4the movies, and have heard many reasons—most of them bad—but one answer recurs like a refrain: “There isn’t any thing else to do.” It reminds me of John Russel’s reason why Eliza (of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) crossed the river on the ice. “The poor girl had no other place to go—all the saloons were closed.”

Today all the saloons are closed, and professional philanthropy prides itself on the fact that more men go now to the movies. The saloon was an evil institution, but the prostitution of the mind is worse than any poisoning of the nerves.

The priests of the temple of the Movie Momus do not know that they are offering a form of amusement which stifles the mind and hardens the heart. Doubtless they believe the contrary, but it is a case of the blind led by the blind: Neither know where they are going, and each depends upon the other to lead the way. Producers, impresarios, scenario-writers have always their ears to the ground to catch the first faint rumble of condemnation or approval. Their business is frankly to assimilate the popular taste in order to reproduce it. But this taste is fickle, being that of a child with a digestion impaired by too much of the wrong kind of food. The movie public is like the Athenian populace always eager for “some new thing,” and like the Roman mob it shows an insatiable greed for danger (to others) cruelty and destruction. Of daring it demands more daring; of beauty more nudity; of wickedness a deeper depth of wickedness; scenery must be ever more sumptuous, orgies more orgiastic, violence more violent. Lacking anything to turn its imagination away from these things, into some new channel, the public can only build high and higher this particular house of cards.

There is a great deal talked and written about the “educational value” of the movies, and this acts as a deterrent to many persons who are minded, as I am, to denounce this evil in the market place. But such deceive themselves with the 5word “education,” forgetting that mankind is one. In order that some may learn easily a few merely physical facts, such people countenance and support an institution that eats at the very heart of the spirit of man.

I hear in anticipation the crushing argument against my point of view: The Movies constitute the fourth largest industry in the world; they command the respect of governments, the service of the press, the participation of captains of industry, cabinet members, international bankers. But all this is quite beside the point, and reminds me of the answer once given to my criticism of an absurd soldiers’ monument: “It cost fifty thousand dollars and was carved out of a single piece of granite that weighed ten tons.”

The Movies too are carved out of a single piece of granite: the granite of ignorance of the obscure spiritual forces now active in the secret hearts of men.

On a vast scale, in infinite variety of detail, the Movies show

“The very age and body of the time its form and pressure.”

May not the unforeseen, amazing, ultimate result be to recoil in horror from the image there presented? The Movies represent the quest of joy aborted. Perhaps their true purpose is to bring bitter, but salutary knowledge.



By Witter Bynner

While poets have been placed by the critics in this or that category and have lent themselves more or less to the indignity, Maxwell Bodenheim has continued as he began, a poet of disturbing originality. Whether you like him or not, you cannot evade him. Let him once touch you and a perfume is upon you, pungent and yet faint, offensive and yet delicate, of the street and yet exotic. It is as if Pierian springs bubbled crystalline from the nearest sewer, forcing from you a puzzled and troubled enjoyment. It is as if a diamond leered or a rose exhaled sulphur or a humming-bird lanced your self-respect. It is a drunken thief’s hand, still deft, in the poetic treasury; nuances pouring Niagaran; sensibilities crowding in masquerade; madness mocking sanity; ideas dancing nude through confetti; a falsetto growl; a whispered song; a rainbow in the loose:—and yet, all the while a human eye watching the incredible kaleidoscope, an eye that sees and makes you see likewise, good and evil, beauty and pain, opposing and commingling their designs. Historically Bodenheim’s work is likely to share with Donald Evans’ very different “Sonnets from the Patagonian” the distinction of having initiated in American poetry for better or worse the season and influence of fantastic impressionism. Evans has now become almost orthodox, his green orchid is put away; but Bodenheim still wears in his lapel the coloured ghost of a butterfly-wing whose veinings mock at human progress.

Witter Bynner


By Willa Cather

One is sometimes asked about the “obstacles” that confront young writers who are trying to do good work. I should say the greatest obstacles that writers today have to get over, are the dazzling journalistic successes of twenty years ago, stories that surprised and delighted by their sharp photographic detail and that were really nothing more than lively pieces of reporting. The whole aim of that school of writing was novelty—never a very important thing in art. They gave us, altogether, poor standards—taught us to multiply our ideas instead of to condense them. They tried to make a story out of every theme that occurred to them and to get returns on every situation that suggested itself. They got returns, of a kind. But their work, when one looks back on it, now that the novelty upon which they counted so much is gone, is journalistic and thin. The especial merit of a good reportorial story is that it shall be intensely interesting and pertinent today and shall have lost its point by tomorrow.

Art, it seems to me, should simplify. That, indeed, is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole—so that all that one has suppressed and cut away is there to the reader’s consciousness as much as if it were in type on the page. Millet had done hundreds of sketches of peasants sowing grain, some of them very complicated and interesting, but when he came to 8paint the spirit of them all into one picture, “The Sower,” the composition is so simple that it seems inevitable. All the discarded sketches that went before made the picture what it finally became, and the process was all the time one of simplifying, of sacrificing many conceptions good in themselves for one that was better and more universal.

Any first rate novel or story must have in it the strength of a dozen fairly good stories that have been sacrificed to it. A good workman can’t be a cheap workman; he can’t be stingy about wasting material, and he cannot compromise. Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand—a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods—or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values. The courage to go on without compromise does not come to a writer all at once—nor, for that matter, does the ability. Both are phases of natural development. In the beginning, the artist, like his public, is wedded to old forms, old ideals, and his vision is blurred by the memory of old delights he would like to recapture.



Being a True Account of How Alfred A. Knopf Appeared
in a Vision to Clarence Day, Jr.
She tilts her head back

I have a friend who, when she hears a strange voice on the telephone, can visualize the person—that is to say, she sometimes can, if it interests her. She half-closes her eyes, tilts her head back, stares away off into space; and then she slowly describes the appearance of whoever is telephoning, almost as well as though he or she were standing before her. It is one of those supernatural gifts that seem to our times so startling.

French Academician

The reason I mention this is, that though I hadn’t supposed I was that sort of person, I had one of these mysterious psychic visions myself, years ago. It came to me while I was reading Mr. Knopf’s first announcements of books. I had never seen the man, never heard a word of what he was like, yet his image suddenly arose clear as a photograph before my inner eye. There he stood, tall and thin, an elder statesman, with a bushy white beard; round, glowing eyes, ivory skin; an animated savant.

He spoke in his circulars as a man of great taste and authority. I pictured him as a French Academician of American birth.

Year by year as I read his new catalogs this image grew stronger. People would ask me, “Have you met this man Knopf?” and I would say: “No, I haven’t, but I can tell you what he’s like just the same. I’m a bit of a 10psychic.” And then I would describe my strange vision. This sometimes annoyed them: they would even ask, “But how do you know?” I would then describe the sense of quiet certitude that comes with such an experience.

I found he had changed

Then one evening I met Mr. Knopf—in the flesh, as we phrase it. I found he had changed. He was more human, and in a way more impressive, but less picturesque. Instead of being tall and thin he was of medium-size, strong, and well-formed. And he wasn’t exactly what you’d call old: in fact he was in his twenties; and instead of a bushy white beard, he had only a small black moustache.

It is not for me to explain this astonishing and almost incredible discrepancy. I must leave that to the Psychical Research Society, to which I wish all success. The only way I can account for it is to suppose that Mr. Knopf has more than one personality. I admit I did not see in my vision the side he physically presents to the world. But it may be I am such a powerful psychic that I saw something deeper. I saw the more appropriate vehicle of his innermost soul.

We sat down for a talk. I tried out of courtesy not to use this power of mine any further. Even when I gave him my manuscript to publish, and we began to talk terms, I endeavoured not to peer into his heart. He gave me good terms however. He explained that his idea of a publishing house was a sort of a companionable enterprise, and that authors and publishers ought to be friends. They at least ought to try.

I carefully looked over his list to see who his author-friends were, and picked out one or two pretty rum ones and asked him about them. He admitted with composure that of course every man made mistakes. I said anxiously that I hoped I had made none in choosing him as my publisher. He said probably not; but it was harder for him to pick out the right 11authors. He added however that he had done very well—up to now.

We stared thoughtfully at each other....

I glanced at his list again. It did consist chiefly of quality belles lettres, after all. He really seemed to care about books. But then I wondered suspiciously if the very fact of his being so cultivated had made him a poor man of business. His appearance was certainly forceful and energetic, but nevertheless—

In spite of his bitter objections

I decided to have one more vision. I half-closed my eyes, the way that friend of mine does, and tilted my head back. Mr. Knopf seemed surprised. I paid no attention to this, but coolly gazed right into his mind. It was a tall, roomy mind, with long rows of thoughts, like onions on rafters—thoughts of bindings and dogs and Archimedes and authors and what-not. In the middle was a huge pile of packing cases (mostly unopened) containing his plans and ambitions in the publishing world. I am sorry now I didn’t unpack a few to see what they were, but they looked pretty solid; and I was distracted by seeing, way over in a corner, his thoughts of myself. As these were at that time rather mixed, I prefer not to describe them. My catching sight of them at all was merely one of those unhappy annoyances that must often upset a seer’s life. It’s one of the risks of the business.

As I gazed on, indignantly, something drew across his mind like a truck, only even more massive. I presently discerned that it was a large strong intention to go. Simultaneously—for the man is well coordinated—he said good-bye and went out.

I was left there alone in my rooms, with my weird psychic gift. I may add that after a brief contemplation of it, I rang for the janitor, and in spite of his bitter objections, transferred it to him.



By Floyd Dell

The very name of Max Beerbohm carries the mind back to the time when he first emerged as a literary figure—the time of the Yellow Book—the time of Whistler’s letters and Swinburne’s newest poem, of velvet jackets and plush knee-breeches, and foot-in-the-grave young poets who caroused mournfully at the sign of the Bodley Head. But it was above all the period of the Enoch Soameses who are celebrated by Max Beerbohm in his latest volume, “Seven Men”—an age of strange young Satanists who would be content with nothing less than founding a new English literature upon the cornerstone of their own thin sheaves of unintelligible poems. They are dead, now—they got tired of waiting for their immortality to begin—and forgotten, except for the wreaths of tender and ironic phrases which Max Beerbohm lays from time to time on their graves. He survives them, the Last of the Esthetes. And yet Enoch Soames would say bitterly that it was just like Fate that the Last of the Esthetes should be a man who never was an Esthete at all!

And there is something to the Enoch Soames point of view. Max Beerbohm’s title to Estheticism is rather precarious. His words may be the words of Dorian Grey, but the laughter behind them is surely the laughter of Huck Finn! Yes, under the jewelled stylistic cloak of Max Beerbohm, what do you find but the simple-hearted amusement of a healthy child? From the story of the Young Prince in “The Complete Works of Max Beerbohm,” to the celebrated Bathtub passage in “Zuleika Dobson,” the whole effect consists in the sudden substitution of the obvious for the recherché. You thought you were going to have to pretend to enjoy pickled nightingale’s tongues, and you find—greatly to your relief—that it is just ice-cream-and-cake!

Floyd Dell
Clarence Day Jr.

13And yet his style cannot be said to be mere masquerade. Max Beerbohm, it is hardly to be doubted, loves the magic of word and phrase and rhythm as devoutly as any pure soul who ever took opium in an attic for art’s sake.

I like to think of Max Beerbohm as a boy who ran away to sea and was captured and brought up by a band of pirates. The pirates, you understand, are that romantic crew who embarked under the Yellow flag upon a career of ruthless literary destruction in the ‘Nineties, at a time when it seemed that the deeps of literature were given over to a peaceful and profitable traffic in morals and ethics, pieties and proprieties and puerilities. What havoc they did create! The royal Victorian navy, for all its literary big guns, was helpless against them. It was not, in fact, until Captains Gilbert and Sullivan sailed out against them in the good ship Patience that they received any serious setback! And if we go to the log-books of Gilbert and Sullivan for further information about this particular adventure, we shall find it, I think, in “The Pirates of Penzance”—where the tender and confident relations of the virtuous young hero and his piratical captors may serve as an illuminating picture of young Max Beerbohm in piratical captivity among the Esthetes.

He learned his manners from them; and a more graceful band of literary desperadoes never existed. Nothing could exceed the savoir faire with which they scuttled the traditions and made the familiar virtues walk the fatal plank. And so it is that when we read Max Beerbohm today, the superb gallantry of his style suggests that he is going to commit a felonious assault upon our most treasured ideals. But he never does. 14You are stopped by a gun-shot across your bow, and you prepare for the worst. But the worst is merely a jolly invitation in a boyish voice to a game of marbles.

The combination is irresistible.... I am reminded of an authentic tale of the South seas. A band of wicked mutineers set their captain and officers afloat in an open boat, and sailed to Pitcairn Island, where they proceeded to live in the most Nietzschean fashion imaginable, enslaving the natives, taking their wives away from them, and living in fabulous luxury. They were a fractious lot, however, and they quarrelled among themselves, and shot each other up, and went insane and committed suicide, until the natives got tired of it, and revolted and killed them all—all except one gentle person who had got mixed up with the mutineers by mistake. He was not a Nietzschean; he believed at heart in all the old-fashioned virtues. And where the Nietzscheans had failed, he succeeded—so notably that when the island was rediscovered half a century later, he was ruling there in a little peaceful paradise, the Last of the Mutineers. There is something about gentleness, it would seem, that makes for survival. And I like to think that Max Beerbohm remains with us to tell the story of quaint, devil-worshipping literary mutineers like Enoch Soames, precisely because he cannot bear ever to press home the shining blade of his wit to its most deadly extent—because he does not really want to hurt anybody after all, not even Enoch Soames.

Photograph by Robert H. Davis



By Wilson Follett


When Mr. Knopf asked me to pay my brief respects to Joseph Hergesheimer, he must have been aware that I had not the material for an intimate portrait. He and my other readers must forgive me, then, if what I shall have to say tallies rather better with the exigencies of formal public criticism than with the more delightful convenances of this altogether jolly family party. After all, there is a certain advantage—especially for a person of amiably weak will—in knowing an author’s public aspects better than his private and personal. I cannot profess to be of those austere souls who can criticize the book of a friend as if he were not a friend, or, knowing and liking a man, can read or appraise his books uninfluenced by a charm which would still exist even if the books did not. Because of this distrusted weakness of my own temper, I insist on being glad that I never met or even saw Joseph Hergesheimer until “The Three Black Pennys” had become a solid part of my awareness of things—the things that do most richly signify. I never had any reason to think well—or ill—of this author until the Pennys and “Gold and Iron” had exerted their swift effortless compulsion. Even now, I can lay claim to no more than what the biographic essayist calls, in his standard idiom, a “literary friendship”—meaning thereby the occasional exchange of abysmally polite letters on purely impersonal subjects or personal subjects impersonally dealt with.



Yet even I have my one sufficiently quaint, sufficiently spicy reminiscence. And meet it is I set it down—partly because it seems too precious to die, even more because otherwise, as time shuffles the cards of our mortal anecdotage, it will be sure to turn up, with only the substitution of one name for another, as part of the mythos surrounding the late Jack London, or Richard Harding Davis, or some still flourishing nominee for an epitaph and an official biography.

It was three o’clock of a rainy summer morning in 1918. Hergesheimer and your present scribe were sleeping—or rather we were not—in the twin beds of a guest-room at San-Souci, in Hartsdale. A Nox Ambrosiana had been put behind us, and, we fatuously supposed, a few hours of ambrosial sleep lay ahead. It had been a great night, dedicated to much fine talk of Art, and as free from “the posings and pretensions of art” as Conrad’s Preface to “The Nigger.” But that is not the story.

Somewhere in the blackness under our opened windows, vocal in his forlornness, was Bistri, the flesh-and-blood original of the borzoi whose mere inadequate outline appears on a really amazing proportion of the most distinguished books now being published in These United States—or, if your literary capital be Arnold Bennett’s, Those United States. This Bistri, a perfectly incredible yet perfectly actual milk-white creature of enormous size, decorative as a dryad, but possessed of something less than half a gill of brains within his extremely dolichocephalic head, was frank to assert—and reiterate—his disapproval of the pelting rain and his cynical disillusionment in respect to the kindly graces of humankind. The sound was like the ululating whimper of a punished child, only it hinted no promise of subsiding, ever.

Genius, supine in the dark across the room, grew first restive, 17then indignant, then furious, and thence, passing round the circle of exhausted emotions, came back by the way of despair to a disgusted silence. Not so Bistri: silence was the last thing to fall within the orbit of his intentions, so long as the Master and Maker of dogs vouchsafed him breath and being. Gradually the silence of genius, there across the room, acquired a subtly grim texture. When next the voice of genius spoke, it was tensely, with suppressed ferocity, as through clenched teeth. What it said was this: “I’ll bet Scribner has got no such damned dog.

The rest, after Gargantuan laughter, was silence.... Ah, but was it, quite? Or did the speaker of these words, also deeming them too precious to die, retail them at late breakfast to the mistress of the borzoi, even as their sole hearer presently reported them at earlier breakfast to the borzoi’s master? It would be interesting to know—and not very surprising either way.


So far the record of a personal and temperamental susceptibility, of some incidental interest, perhaps, to the curious. What remains to speak of is the deeper susceptibility of which Mr. Hergesheimer’s books are the record, and which runs through all his public work, a determining law and a binding continuum; that enormous and delicate susceptibility to sights, sounds, forms, colours, movements, aspects, which is at once his purpose and his effect, his unconscious excuse for being and his conscious claim to self-justification. He might say, in the words of a document already referred to, and important in the history of fictional art: “My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel—it is, before all, to make you see. That—and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, 18consolation, fear, charm—all you demand and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.”

We can all see now, with the glib wisdom of after the event, that Mr. Hergesheimer’s career before its one sharp early break is—comparatively—all promise, and after that break—comparatively—all performance. In “The Lay Anthony” and “Mountain Blood” one finds a slight uneasiness or unevenness of recital, the result, I think, of a subconscious attempt to make the manner dignify and sanction two performances not, in matter, quite good enough to receive that ultimate sanction, style. With and after “The Three Black Pennys,” and very specially in “Java Head” and “Wild Oranges,” which remain thus far the masterpieces of perfect formal integrity, this discrepancy is lost from the reckoning. The artist has an exigent discrimination of that which is good enough for him to touch, and his touch upon it is exquisite.

But in one respect, the betrayal of a born artist’s susceptibility, the works of promise are at one with the works of performance. The man who could not help going out of his way, in “The Lay Anthony,” to allude to “Heart of Darkness” as “the most beautiful story of our time,” was simply predestined to write a book of which susceptibility to beauty should actually be the theme—as he did in “Linda Condon.” And the man who, in “Java Head,” achieved so supreme a saturation with the aromas and essences of loveliness, had prefigured his own future when, in “Mountain Blood,” he wrote: “The barrier against which he still fished was mauve, the water black; the moon appeared buoyantly, like a rosy bubble blown upon a curtain of old blue velvet.”

Just here, in the crystallization of his own sensitivity into the objective forms of beauty, lies the peculiar distinction of Hergesheimer. It is an aristocratic distinction. It is, if you go by the counting of tastes, a distinctly un-American trait. This fact it is, rather than any less fundamental consideration, 19which explains—even if it does not justify—those critics who even before they discover how to divide his name properly into syllables, discover that there is something slightly exotic about him. Exotic or autochthonous—what does it matter? The point is, Mr Hergesheimer’s power “to make you hear, to make you feel ... before all, to make you see” is the condition of his success as a coiner of beauty. It is also his way, whatever way another artist may take, to reveal to us those glimpses of deep truth for which we may, indeed, have forgotten to ask, but for which, once they are opened to our sight, we can never forget to be grateful.



By A. P. Herbert

It is commonly said that everybody can sing in the bathroom; and this is true. Singing is very easy. Drawing, though, is much more difficult. I have devoted a good deal of time to Drawing, one way and another; I have to attend a great many committees and public meetings, and at such functions I find that Drawing is almost the only Art one can satisfactorily pursue during the speeches. One really cannot sing during the speeches; so as a rule I draw. I do not say that I am an expert yet, but after a few more meetings I calculate that I shall know Drawing as well as it can be known.

The first thing, of course, is to get on to a really good committee; and by a good committee I mean a committee that provides decent materials. An ordinary departmental committee is no use: generally they only give you a couple of pages of lined foolscap and no white blotting-paper, and very often the pencils are quite soft. White blotting-paper is essential. I know of no material the spoiling of which gives so much artistic pleasure—except perhaps snow. Indeed, if I was asked to choose between making pencil-marks on a sheet of white blotting-paper and making foot-marks on a sheet of white snow I should be in a thingummy.

Much the best committees from the point of view of material are committees about business which meet at business premises—shipping offices, for choice. One of the Pacific Lines 21has the best white blotting-paper I know; and the pencils there are a dream. I am sure the directors of that firm are Drawers; for they always give you two pencils, one hard for doing noses, and one soft for doing hair.

Fig. 1

When you have selected your committee and the speeches are well away, the Drawing begins. Much the best thing to draw is a man. Not the chairman, or Lord Pommery Quint, or any member of the committee, but just A Man. Many novices make the mistake of selecting a subject for their Art before they begin; usually they select the chairman. And when they find it is more like Mr. Gladstone they are discouraged. If they had waited a little it could have been Mr. Gladstone officially.

Fig. 2

As a rule I begin with the forehead and work down to the chin (Fig. 1).

When I have done the outline I put in the eye. This is one of the most difficult parts of Drawing; one is never quite sure where the eye goes. If, however, it is not a good eye, a useful tip is to give the man spectacles; this generally makes him a clergyman, but it helps the eye (Fig. 2).

Now you have to outline the rest of the head, and this is rather a gamble. Personally, I go in for strong heads (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

I am afraid it is not a strong neck; I expect he is an author, and is not well fed. But that is the worst of strong heads; they make it so difficult to join up the chin and the back of the neck.

The next thing to do is to put in the ear; and once you have done this the rest is easy. Ears are much more difficult than eyes (Fig. 4).

I hope that is right. It seems to me to be a little too far to the southward. But it is done now. And once you have put in the ear you can’t go back; not unless you are on a very 22good committee which provides india-rubber as well as pencils.

Fig. 4

Now I do the hair. Hair may either be very fuzzy and black, or lightish and thin. It depends chiefly on what sort of pencils are provided. For myself I prefer black hair, because then the parting shows up better (Fig. 5).

Until one draws hair one never realizes what large heads people have. Doing the hair takes the whole of a speech, usually, even one of the chairman’s speeches.

Fig. 5

This is not one of my best men; I am sure the ear is in the wrong place. And I am inclined to think he ought to have spectacles. Only then he would be a clergyman, and I have decided that he is Mr. Philip Gibbs at the age of twenty. So he must carry on with his eye as it is.

I find that all my best men face to the west; it is a curious thing. Sometimes I draw two men facing each other, but the one facing east is always a dud.

There, you see (Fig. 6)? The one on the right is a Bolshevik; he has a low forehead and beetling brows—a most unpleasant man. Yet he has a powerful face. The one on the left was meant to be another Bolshevik, arguing with him. But he has turned out to be a lady, so I have had to give her a “bun.” She is a lady solicitor; but I don’t know how she came to be talking to the Bolshevik.

Fig. 6

23When you have learned how to do Men, the only other things in Drawing are Perspective and Landscape.

Fig. 7

PERSPECTIVE is great fun: the best thing to do is a long French road with telegraph poles (Fig. 7).

I have put in a fence as well.

LANDSCAPE is chiefly composed of hills and trees. Trees are the most amusing, especially fluffy trees.

Here is a Landscape (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8

Somehow or other a man has got into this landscape; and, as luck would have it, it is Napoleon. Apart from this it is not a bad landscape.

But it takes a very long speech to get an ambitious piece of work like this through.

There is one other thing I ought to have said. Never attempt to draw a man front-face. It can’t be done.



By Joseph Hergesheimer

It is the special province of poetry, as of charming women, to delight rather than afford the more material benefits. Nothing could be vainer than putting either of them to the rude uses of life; they are the essence of aristocracy; and the indifference, the contempt really, with which the mass of people regard poetic measures, and conversely, the disdain of charm for the whole common body of opinion, show clearly the wide separation between prosaic fact and fancy. The former has the allegiance of the mob, as it should, since, without imaginative sensibility, the mechanical process of existence is a stupid multiplication of similar instincts; while fancy, poetry, beauty, the properties of delicate minds and aspirations, are, by the very qualities necessary to their being, limited to a select few.

There were ages, long submerged now by the obliterating tide of progress, when poetry was, generally, a force in men’s lives; and then, as well, women’s beauty was held above their mere animality; but the levelling democracy of Christian religions, lending a new power to the resentment and suspicions of congregations of the inferior, ended perhaps for ever reigns of distinction. Yet, ironically, while sects vanished over night and fanatics were denied even the final distinction of martyrdom, while great empires sank leaving no ripple on the surface of memory, stray lines of wanton poetry, the record of lovely bodies, remained imperishable.

25They were deathless—such frivolities as the Trojan Helen and the words Sappho strung from her loneliness—because they were the inalienable property of the heart ... the clamorous dogmas were nothing more than the pretentions of anthropomorphic vanity. But that, with its tinsel promises and brimstone threats, a sentimental melodrama, gathered the audiences, the credulity, of humanity, and left unattended the heroic performance of naked beauty. This, at its best, was a sheer cool cutting of marble; but there was another beauty, hardly inferior, where embroidered garments and carmine and jade, both hid and revealed less simple but scarcely less significant emotions.

For this reason, while Ionic Greece is no longer a part of modern consciousness, the poem written by the sixth emperor of the Han dynasty, perhaps two thousand years ago, is identical with the present complex troubled mind: an autumn wind rises and white clouds fly, the grass and trees wither, geese go south—sadly he remembers his love and the pagoda-boat on the Fēn River. That, particularly, is the singular validity of the Chinese poems translated by Mr. Waley; page after page they are the mirror of the splintered colours, the tragic apprehensions and sharp longing, of a later unhappiness. Already, then, China was old and civilized, its philosophers had analysed hope into maxims of stoical and serene conduct; and its poetry was written in an unsurpassable dignity of repression.

The latest imagery, nothing in the world if not visual in perceptions of utmost fragile truth, is not so acute in observation and artifice as the song, in the second century, of Sung Tzu-hou. (She sees the fruit trees in blossom and, forgetting about her silkworms, begins to pluck the branches.) And no contemporary, it may be no Western, poet has approached the reflective cadences, the refrain of memory steeped in longing, that gives the lines of Po Chü-i their magic semblance to the 26wistful and fleet realities of mind. He has, but in greater degree, Verlaine’s power to invest lovely frivolities with permanence; an ability Arthur Symons occasionally brushed. His Old Harp, of cassia-wood and jade stops and rose-red strings, neglected for the Ch’iang flute and the Ch’in flageolet, vibrates with a tenderness of ancient forgotten melodies beyond any evocation of the Fêtes Galantes.

The poetry of those dynasties and men, however, aside from everything else, is made timeless, for us, by the celebration of its women, the wives, the concubines, the dancers of Hantan. They were, objectively, inconceivably different from the woman of today; yet the passions, the fidelity, they inspired, a little attenuated by the dust of centuries, are precisely the same which the heart retains. The Chinese women have always served an ideal of personal beauty, of correct formality, transcending any other: in May their satins are worked with the blossoms of spring and in October with chrysanthemums. Socially they occupied the women’s gardens—a position now regarded with contempt—but they were not, because of that, inferior. They dominated the masculine imagination and provided, together with music, the recompense of existence checkered by the dark squares of fate.

There are, too, as many wives praised as dancers summoned, as much constancy as there is incontinent pleasure. An emperor sends to all parts of China for wizards, hoping that they may bring back the spirit of his mistress. The General Su An, absent on service, begs the woman with whom his hair was plaited not to forget the time of their love and pride. Indeed, on the other side, in the poetry there is a marked restraint: the dancers are a stiff frieze in peacock blues and orange and gold behind the fragrant vapours of incense.

All is tranquillized, even the battle pieces are softened as though in distance, and the satire, often pungent and universal, is subdued by the realization of its uselessness. There is 27wine, in cups and jars, and drunkenness: Po Chü-i returns home, leaning heavily on a friend, at yellow dusk; but there are no raised voices or disturbance; and, soothed by the swallows about the beams, a candle flame in the window, the moon crowning the tide, he hears only the music of flutes and strings. There are roc and phoenix and red jungle fowl, ibis and cranes and wild swan along the river; women with bright lips sway to the silver tapping of their bells, ladies, long of limb, enter with side glances under moth eye-brows, and after them others with faces painted white, their deep sleeves reeking with scent. But they are only momentary; they are left, plucking vainly at the coats of those who will not stay, and the pure dawn holds a mango-bird singing among flowers.

They are poems that dwell on the green of mulberry trees and fields of hemp, on the oxen in the village streets, the burnished pools of carp, the lotus banks and rice furrows and glittering fret of snow. And there, equally, they are completely in the mood, or, rather, perfections of the attempted mood, of the present. In English lyrical poetry alone, and that, except for John Masefield, the beauty of yesterday and not today, have the settings of life been so beautifully refashioned. An ability of long habited lands; for its power is not in described nature, but the love of a particular soil—feathery bamboo at the door, a hollow of daffodils, are symbols not so much of recurrent seasons as of a deep-rooted passionate attachment for the city of Lo-yang or for the Devon sod. Without sincerity of human emotion words are no better than broken coloured glass.



By H. L. Mencken

If the United States ever becomes civilized and develops a literature, no doubt the Middle West will be the scene of the prodigy. The two coasts are washed by too many paralysing and distracting waves. Boston, after three hundred years, remains a mere suburb of London, timorous, respectable and preposterous—a sort of ninth-rate compound of Putney and Maida Vale. New York is simply a bawdy free port, without nationality or personality. As for San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Baltimore, once so saliently individual, they scarcely exist any longer, save for banking, political and census purposes. But in the Middle West the authentic Americano is still a recognizable mammal, and shows all his congenital spots, particularly upon the psyche. More, he has become introspective and a bit conscience-stricken, and so begins to analyse and anatomize himself. The fruits are “The Spoon River Anthology,” the novels of Norris and Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson’s terrific tales, the Little Theatre business, Lindsay and his uneasy college yells, George Ade and his murderous satire, Willa Cather and her poignant evocation of the drama of the prairie. Count out Hergesheimer and Cabell and you will scarcely find an imaginative writer doing genuinely sound work—that is, an imaginative writer of the generation still squarely on its legs—who is not from beyond the Alleghenies. Chicago is the centre of the new writing fever, as it is the centre of nearly all other native fevers.

Willa Cather
Sydney Nyburg

29Four or five years ago, though she already had a couple of good books behind her, Willa Cather was scarcely heard of. When she was mentioned at all, it was as a talented but rather inconsequential imitator of Mrs. Wharton. But today even campus-pump critics are more or less aware of her, and one hears no more gabble about imitations. The plain fact is that she is now discovered to be a novelist of original methods and quite extraordinary capacities—penetrating and accurate in observation, delicate in feeling, brilliant and charming in manner, and full of a high sense of the dignity and importance of her work. Bit by bit, patiently and laboriously, she has mastered the trade of the novelist; in each succeeding book she has shown an unmistakable advance. Now, at last, she has arrived at such a command of all the complex devices and expedients of her art that the use she makes of them is quite concealed. Her style has lost self-consciousness; her grasp of form has become instinctive; her drama is firmly rooted in a sound psychology; her people relate themselves logically to the great race masses that they are parts of. In brief, she knows her business thoroughly, and so one gets out of reading her, not only the facile joy that goes with every good story, but also the vastly higher pleasure that is called forth by first-rate craftsmanship.

I know of no novel that makes the remote folk of the western farmlands more real than “My Antonía” makes them, and I know of none that makes them seem better worth knowing. Beneath the tawdry surface of Middle Western barbarism—so suggestive, in more than one way, of the vast, impenetrable barbarism of Russia—she discovers human beings bravely embattled against fate and the gods, and into her picture of their dull, endless struggle she gets a spirit that is genuinely heroic, and a pathos that is genuinely moving. It is not as they see themselves that she depicts them, but as they actually are. And to representation she adds something more—something 30that is quite beyond the reach, and even beyond the comprehension of the average novelist. Her poor peasants are not simply anonymous and negligible hinds, flung by fortune into lonely, inhospitable wilds. They become symbolical, as, say, Robinson Crusoe is symbolical, or Faust, or Lord Jim. They are actors in a play that is far larger than the scene swept by their own pitiful suffering and aspiration. They are actors in the grand farce that is the tragedy of man.

Setting aside certain early experiments in both prose and verse, Miss Cather began with “Alexander’s Bridge” in 1912. The book strongly suggested the method and materials of Mrs. Wharton, and so it was inevitably, perhaps, that the author should be plastered with the Wharton label. I myself, ass-like, helped to slap it on—though with prudent reservations, now comforting to contemplate. The defect of the story was one of locale and people: somehow one got the feeling that the author was dealing with both at second-hand, that she knew her characters a bit less intimately than she should have known them. This defect, I venture to guess, did not escape her own eye. At all events, she abandoned New England in her next novel for the Middle West, and particularly for the Middle West of the great immigrations—a region nearer at hand, and infinitely better comprehended. The result was “O Pioneers” (1913), a book of very fine achievement and of even finer promise. Then came “The Song of the Lark” (1915)—still more competent, more searching and of even finer promise. Then came “The Song of the Lark” (1915)—still more competent, more searching and convincing, better in every way. And then, after three years, came “My Antonía,” and a sudden leap forward. Here, at last, an absolutely sound technique began to show itself. Here was a novel planned with the utmost skill, and executed in truly admirable fashion. Here, unless I err gravely, was the best piece of fiction ever done by a woman in America.

31I once protested to Miss Cather that her novels came too far apart—that the reading public, constantly under a pressure of new work, had too much chance to forget her. She was greatly astonished. “How could I do any more?” she asked. “I work all the time. It takes three years to write a novel.” The saying somehow clings to me. There is a profound criticism of criticism in it. It throws a bright light upon the difference between such a work as “My Antonía” and such a work as—.... But I have wars enough.



By Philip Moeller

Carl Van Vechten’s mental gesture is more or less unique in American literature. His work has about as much relation to what might be considered the “serious classical output” of writing today as irresistible footnotes have to filling an all too fulsome history. Whereas the bulk of the intellectual page of contemporary American writing is for the most part of transitional importance Mr. Van Vechten’s essays are replete with the delightful essence of what is importantly transitory.

As a critic of the fine arts and other things, his range is not so immense as it is extraordinary. How can one keep on the hat of appreciation before the work of a writer who improvises as adroitly about cats as about prima donne, who in one book tells the only authoritative story of the music of Spain, in another makes or breaks the fame of some famous player and in still another goes far afield to bring into the glow of his praise some hidden personage from some remote and delicious byway of life and letters? If he mounts into his garret to unopen ancient chests and write of olden things, he doesn’t neglect at the same time to look from his high window at what is going on about him. In the midst of the gorgeous hurry of New York he hears the quieter melody of far off places. He is a cosmopolitan critic and at the same time a critic of cosmopolis.

33Music is never very far from his pages. He is acknowledged as one of the most important of the musical critics in America because he has had the wise wisdom of not writing about music at all. He is one of the few musically informed who has sensibly refrained from any vacant analysis of tonal mysteries, one of the very few indeed who realizes the futility of filling soundless books with sounding but empty treatises on sound. He has had the rare and modest grace of letting music sing or play or “symphonize” for itself. His chief concern has been with interpretations and interpreters. Taking the one or the other as his theme he has written critical variations and the result has been critical creation.

His work has the quality of rare, spontaneous and intriguing talk. There is about his writing an air of delicate and urbane gossip, a knowledge and thought that does not take itself in any sense or at any moment as too profound to admit of a digression into gaiety. It is not so much what he knows as the very particular and personal way in which he knows it. His one cliché is a desperate detestation of all critical clichés. The woof of his thought is a charming destroyal of all accepted standards, the web of his thinking is a delicate but constructive anarchy. When he builds up we are grateful, when he tears down we are equally grateful because he always leaves behind him the intricate, infernally informed and fascinating machinery of his annihilation.



By George Jean Nathan

In the monthly department, “Répétition Générale,” which we jointly conduct in The Smart Set Magazine, there was some months ago incorporated the following paragraph:

“When one of us, in the course of his critical writings, indulges himself in polite words about the other, it is a common antic of the newspaper literary supplement professors to observe that this encomium is merely by way of mutual log-rolling, that it is based upon no sounder critical ground than our friendship for each other and our commercial alliance, and that it is perhaps not honestly believed in by either the one or the other. This, of course, is idiotic. We are friends and partners, not because we admire each other’s beauty, or each other’s conversation, or each other’s waistcoats or wives, but because we respect each other professionally, because each to the other seems to know his work in the world, and how to do it, and how to do it—it may be—just a little bit better than the next nearest man. This, obviously, is the soundest of all bases for friendship. It is not friendship that makes men approve one another; it is mutual approval that makes them friends.”

H. L. Mencken
George Jean Nathan

35Let me add a word about Mencken in particular. I respect him, and am his friend, because he is one of the very few Americans I know who is entirely free of cheapness, toadyism and hypocrisy. In close association with him for more than twelve years, I have yet to catch him in a lie against himself, or in a compromise with his established faiths. There have been times when we have quarrelled and times, I dare say, when we have hated each other: but when we have met again it has been always on a ground of approval and friendship made doubly secure and doubly substantial by the honesty of his point of view (however wrong I have held it), by the wholesomeness of his hatred, and by his frank and ever self-doubting conduct at our several Appomattoxes.

Perhaps no man has ever been more accurately mirrored by his writings than this man. He has never, so far as I know, written a single line that he hasn’t believed. He has never sold a single adjective—and there have been times when opulent temptations have dangled before him. And on certain of these occasions he could have used the money. There may be times when he is wrong and when his opinions are biased—I believed that there are not a few such times—yet if he is wrong, he is wrong honestly, and if he is biased, he neither knows it in his own mind nor feels it in his own heart. He is the best fighter I have ever met. And he is the fairest, the cleanest, and the most relentless.

But does he accept himself with forefinger to temple, with professorial wrinkles, as an Uplifting Force, a Tonic Influence? Not on your ball-room socks! No critic has ever snickered at him as loudly and effectively as he snickers at himself. “What do you think of your new book?” I usually ask him when he has finished one. And his reply generally is, “It’s got some good stuff in it—and a lot of cheese. What the hell’s the use of writing such a book, anyway? My next one....”

Life to him is a sort of Luna Park, and he gets the same sort of innocent, idiotic fun out of it. He would rather drink a glass of good beer than write; he would rather talk to a 36pretty girl than read; he would rather wallop the keys of a piano than think; he would rather eat a well-cooked dinner than philosophize. His work, which so clearly reflects him spiritually, represents him equally clearly in helpless revolt against his corporeal self.

This; a snapshot of Henry Mencken, for ever applying the slapstick to his own competence, constantly sceptical of his own talents, and ever trying vainly to run away from the pleasure that his temperament rebelliously mocks. I am happy to know him, for knowing him has made the world a gayer place and work a more diverting pastime. I am glad to be his partner, his collaborator, his co-editor, his drinking companion, and his friend. For after all these many years of our friendship and professional alliance, there is only one thing that I can hold against him. For ten years he has worn the damndest looking overcoat that I’ve ever seen.



By Sidney L. Nyburg

Many years ago it was my privilege to know a sturdy, forthright Judge who had, in his own youth, faced a jury upon a charge of murder. He had attempted no shifty, technical defence, but admitted frankly that he had killed a man, and had the best of reasons for having done so. The jury agreed with him and set him free, to sentence many another less fortunate creature, during his long and honoured career on the bench. I remember how often I used to wonder as I watched him meting out punishments whether he ever meditated upon his own narrow escape. If he did, it never seemed to temper his severity. He was there to deal out what he felt sure was justice, and the closed pages of his own personal history had nothing at all to do with his appraisement of the degrees of guilt or innocence of the culprits who stood before him.

Every one who, like myself, has committed the crime of authorship and afterwards presumes to sit in judgment upon the art of fiction is in a position somewhat analogous to that of my old friend, the Judge. It is true my own sins of this character have been few and obscure. Nevertheless, they must have been marked by the Recording Angel, and underscored with a sinister emphasis, since the Recording Angel has also for many generations coquetted with the business of professional book-making.

And my plea must be precisely that of this same militant Judge. After all, it’s not a bad excuse. Today’s criminal is 38no less red-handed because of the indelible stain we succeed in hiding so neatly under our own well-fitting glove.

One can afford carelessly to ignore the cheap jibes of those who insist on the obvious and meaningless taunt: “Why don’t you write as you say you would have other American fictionists write?” with the equally obvious retort that, if any author really succeeded in writing the book of which he dreamed, it would mean no more than that his dream was a tawdry, worthless thing.

It is enough for me, at least, to know what I wish to embody in my own writings, no matter how far short of success I may fall in the endeavour, or how certainly my adherence to my own beliefs may cost me the interest of a public in whose commendation I would find a healthy, human enjoyment, provided always, I could have it without compromise.

I believe, then, that fiction is something vastly more than a medium of amusement. I believe it has been, in all countries and ages, that art best fitted to interpret life to the human beings who share that life. I think it can be and should be made a revelation of man’s emotion, impulse and character. To me, it seems that any and every phase of human life, any and every choice of scene and dramatis personae is worthy of the fictionist’s study, and his only inflexible obligation is to paint life as he sees it instead of sophisticating his tints and outlines to portray what he would prefer seeing, or to depict what he thinks his readers would like to see, or, worst of all, to prove some pet thesis. I hold it as fundamental that, if one can give an understanding picture of any phase of life, no matter how trivial it may be intrinsically, he has contributed something to the comprehension of the most important of all things—Men and Women.

By his very choice of fiction as his mode of expression, the author is committed to some sense of form. He has acknowledged 39also the duty of telling some kind of a story which shall not prove unbearably dull to the sensitive and alert reader. If he has no story at all, he is an essayist in an ill-fitting disguise. If he cannot or will not endeavour to interest some portion of the public, he might as well keep a diary and secure it under lock and key; but the writer holds himself and his art too cheaply who makes no demands whatever upon his reader. A fictionist’s public has no right to a predigested diet, or to a menu skilfully arranged to give it only what it happens to enjoy.

Unless the author has something actually craving utterance, there is no excuse for his intrusion into a world already well provided with printed matter, and if he feels this impulse for expression he cannot satisfy it if he expresses the conception of his critics, his publishers, or that inarticulate abstraction called the public. If speaking his own thought, the public will not buy his wares, then it must go without them, and he must earn his bread in another fashion. But if this public chooses to traffic with him at all, it must do so upon his terms and at the price of some little effort upon its own part. If the reader will expend no such energy to gain a new idea or a new point of view regarding those ideas, then the thing he attempts to assimilate so easily will, after all, profit him nothing. The author is not the servant of his public. He is a man with something to say. If passers-by choose to listen—good. If they prefer to ignore him, he may not therefore seek some more alluring jingle of words to catch their fancy. If he descends to such devices he is a mere brother of the mountebank. He must paint truth as he sees it even if he realizes that other and better men cannot accept his pictures as truth. It is not his function to reproduce other men’s images, whether better or worse than his own. He must be austere to deny himself the luxury of preaching. If his work is what it ought 40to be, the reader may be stimulated to fashion out his own deductions, but the hedonist who sets out to point a moral, usually ends most immorally by distorting a character.

Last of all—for here lies the vital differences between the work of a mere honest craftsman and a true artist,—I should like to hope that in my pages, I might now and then capture some gleam of beauty—beauty of form, or of thought, or of comprehending insight. For without this, fiction is a thing of effort, dead and mechanical, however well intentioned. But beauty is the gift of the capricious gods, and no one by taking thought, or by the exercise of weary toil can feel sure of counting it among his treasures.

Pío Baroja
Eunice Tietjens

A Modern Greek Folk-Song

Translated from the French Version of Antonin Proust
By Eunice Tietjens

Sleep, my child! For if you sleep you shall have three cities, three villages and three monasteries. In the cities you shall command, in the villages you shall walk at leisure, in the monasteries you shall pray.

Sleep, my child! For if you do not wish to command, nor to walk at leisure, nor to pray, sleep shall carry you away to the vineyards of the Sultan. The Sultan shall give you grapes, the Moons of the Harem shall give you roses and the odalisques shall make you cakes of sesame.

Sleep, my child, sleep!



By H. M. Tomlinson

As for the city itself you probably know all about it, and wish you had never heard of it. As for me I had been in it so often that my mouth didn’t get so dry on wet days, when walking up that Sinister Street from Suicide Corner to what was once the Cloth Hall. There I was, one summer day, in a silence like deafness, amid ruins which might have been in Central Asia, and I, the last man on earth, contemplating them. There was something bumping somewhere, but it wasn’t in Ypres, and no notice is ever taken in Flanders of what doesn’t bump near you. So I sat on the disrupted pedestal of a forgotten building and smoked, and wondered why I was in the city of Ypres, and why there was a war, and why I was a fool.

It was a lovely day, and looking up at the sky over what used to be a school dedicated to the gentle Jesus, which is just by the place where one of the seventeen-inchers has blown a forty-foot hole, I saw a little round cloud suddenly appear in the blue, and then another, and then lots in a bunch, the sort of soft little cloudlets on which Renaissance cherubs rest their chubby hands, and with fat faces on one side consider mortals from cemetery monuments. Then came down dull concussions from the blue, and right over head I made out two Boche ‘planes. A shell case banged the pavé near me and went on to make a white scar on a wall. Some invisible things were whizzing about. One’s own shrapnel is often tactless. 43There was a cellar and I got into it, and while the intruders were overhead I smoked and gazed at the contents of the cellar—the wreckage of a bicycle, a child’s chemise, one old boot, a jam pot, and a dead cat. Owing to an unsatisfactory smell of many things I got out soon and sat on the pedestal again.

A figure in khaki came straight at me across the square, his boots sounding like the deliberate approach of Fate in solitude. It stopped, saluted, and said, “I shoodden stay ‘ere, sir. They’ve been gitten sights, and they gen’ally begin about now. Sure to drop some ‘ere.”

At that moment a mournful cry went over us, followed by a crash in Sinister Street. My way home! Some masonry fell in sympathy from the Cloth Hall.

“Better come with me till it blows over, sir. I’ve got a dug-out near.”

We turned off sharp, and not really before it was time to move, into a part of the city unknown to me. There were some unsettling noises, worse no doubt because of the echoes, behind us; but it is not dignified to hurry when you look like an officer. You ought to fill your pipe. I did so, and stopped to light it. Once I paused in drawing it, checked by the splitting open of the earth in the first turning to the right and the second to the left, or thereabouts.

“That’s a big ‘un, sir,” said my soldier, who then took half a cigarette from his ear, and a light from my match: we then resumed our little promenade. By an old motor bus, whose windows were boards, whose colour was War-Office neuter, but who, for memory’s sake, still bore on its forehead the legend “Liverpool Street,” my soldier hurried slightly, and was then swallowed up. I was alone. While looking about for possible openings, I heard his voice under the road, and then saw a dark mouth, low in a broken wall, and crawled in. Finding my way by touching the dark with my forehead and my shins, I found a lower smell of graves hollowed by a candle and a 44bottle. And there was my soldier, who provided me with an empty case, and himself another, and we had the candle between us. On the table was a tin of condensed milk suffering from shock, and some documents under a shell-nose. Pictures of partly clad ladies began to dimmer from the walls through the gloom. Now and then the cellar trembled.

“Where’s that old ‘bus come from?” I asked.

“Ah! the pore old bitch, sir,” said the soldier sadly.

“Yes, of course, but what’s the matter with her?”

“She’s done in, sir. But she’s done her bit, she has,” said my soldier, changing the crossing of his legs. “Ah! little did she think when I used to take ‘er acrorse Ludgit Circus what a ‘ell of a time I’d ‘ave to give ‘er some day. She’s a good ole thing. She’s done ‘er bit. She won’t see Liverpole Street no more. If Milertery Medals wasn’t so cheap, she ought to ‘ave one, she ought.”

The cellar had a shocking fit of the palsy, and the candlelight shuddered and flattened.

“The ruddy swine are ruddy wild today. Suthin’s upset ‘em. ‘Ow long will this ruddy war last, sir?” asked the soldier, slightly plaintive.

“I know,” I said. “It’s filthy. But what about your old ‘bus?”

“Ah! What about ‘er. She ain’t ‘arf ‘ad a time. She’s seen enough war to make a general want to go home and shell peas the rest of ‘is life. What she knows about it would make all them clever fellers in London who reckon they know all about it turn green if they heard a door slam. Learned it all in one jolly old day too. Learned it sudden, like you gen’ally learns things you don’t forgit afterwards.

“And I reckon I ‘adn’t anything to find out, either, not after Antwerp. It only shows—Don’t tell me, sir, war teaches yer a lot. It only shows fools what they don’t know but might ‘ave guessed if they ‘adn’t been fools.

45“You know Poperhinge. Well, my trip was between there an’ Wipers, gen’ally. The stones on the road was enough to make her shed nuts and bolts by the pint. But it was a quiet journey, take it all round, and after a cup o’ tea at Wipers I used to roll home to the garage. War? It was easier than the Putney route. Wipers was full of civilians. Shops all open. Estaminets and nice young things. I used to like war then better than a school boy likes Sat’d’y afternoons. It wasn’t work and it wasn’t play. And there was no rule you couldn’t break if you ‘ad sense enough to come to attention smart an’ answer quick. Yes, sir.

“I knew so little about war then that I’m sorry I never tried to be a milertary expert. But my education was neglected. I can only write picture postcards. It’s er pity. Well, one day it wasn’t like that. Not by a damn sight. It dropped on Wipers, and it wasn’t like that a bit. It was bloody different. I wasn’t frightened, but my little inside was.

“First thing was the gassed soldiers coming through. Their faces were green and blue, and their uniforms a funny colour. I didn’t know what was the matter with ‘em, and that put the wind up, for I didn’t want to look like that. What the ‘ell was up? We could hear a fine rumpus in the Salient. The civies were frightened, but they stuck to their homes. Nothing was happening there then, and while nothing is happening it’s hard to believe it’s going to. After seeing a Zouave crawl by with his tongue hanging out, and his eyes like a choked dog’s, and his face the colour of a mottled cucumber, I said good-bye to the nice lady where I was. It was time to see about it.

“And fact is I didn’t ‘ave much time to think about it; what with gettin’ men out and gettin’ reinforcements in. Trip after trip.

“But I shall never have a night again like that was till all I’ve ever done is called out loud, and I get thumbs down on the last day. Believe me, it was a howler. I steered the old ‘bus, 46but it was done right by accident. It was certainly touch and go. I shoodden ‘ave thought a country town, even in war, could look like Wipers did that night.

“It was gettin’ dark on my last trip in, and we barged into all the world gettin’ out—and gettin’ out quick. And the guns and reinforcements were comin’ up behind me. There’s no other road in or out, as you know. I forgot to tell you that night comin’ on didn’t matter much, because the place was alight, and the sky was bursting with shrapnel, and the high explosives were falling in the houses on fire, and spreading the red stuff like fireworks. It was like driving into a volcano. The gun ahead of me went over a child, but only its mother and me saw that, and a house in flames ahead of the gun got a shell inside it, and fell on the crowd that was mixed up with the army traffic.

“When I got to a side turning I went up, and hopped off to see how my little lady was getting on. A shell had got her estaminet. The curtains were flying in little flames through the place where the windows used to be. Inside, the counter was upside down, and she was lying among the glass and bottles on the floor. I couldn’t do anything for her. And further up the street my headquarters was a heap of bricks, and the houses on both sides of it alight. No good looking there for any more orders.

“Being left to myself, I began to take notice. While you’re on the job you just do it, and don’t see much of anything else, except with the corner of yer eye. I’ve never ‘eard such a row, shells bursting, houses falling, and the place was chock full of smoke, and men you couldn’t see were shouting and women and children, wherever they were, turning you cold to hear them.

“It was like the end of the world. Time for me to hop it. I backed the old ‘bus and turned her, and started off. Shells flashed in front and behind and overhead, and, thinks I, next 47time you’re bound to get caught in this shower. Then I found my transport officer, ‘is face going in and out in the red light. ‘E was smoking a cigarette, and ‘e told me my job. ‘E gave me my cargo. I just ‘ad to take ‘em out and dump ‘em. ‘Where shall I take ‘em, sir?’

“‘Take ‘em out of this, take ‘em anywhere, take ‘em where you damn like, Jones, take ‘em to hell, but take ‘em away,’ says he.

“So I loaded up. Wounded Tommies, gassed Arabs, some women and children, and a few lunatics, genuine cock-eyed loonies, from the asylum. The shells chased us out. One biffed us over on to the two rear wheels, but we dropped back on four on the top speed. Several times I bumped over soft things in the road, and felt rather sick. We got out o’ the town with the shrapnel a bit in front all the way. Then the old ‘bus jibbed for a bit. Every time a shell burst near us the lunatics screamed and laughed and clapped their hands, and trod on the wounded. But I got ‘er going again. I got ‘er to Poperhinge. Two soldiers died on the way, and a lunatic had fallen out somewhere, and a baby was born in the ‘bus; and me with no ruddy conductor or midwife.

“I met our chaplain, and says he: ‘Jones, you want a drink. Come with me and have a Scotch syrup.’ That was a good drink. I ‘ad the best part of ‘arf a bottle without water, an’ it done me no ‘arm. Next mornin’ I found I’d put in the night on the parson’s bed in me boots, and ‘e was asleep on the floor.”



[To Alfred A. Knopf, Jr.]
By Carl Van Vechten

The disadvantages of being born on any day at all are sufficiently obvious, and every mortal must occasionally experience moments of envy for those vice elementals who exist in the eldritch fourth dimension outside the limits of Time and Space. But there are certain days on which it seems particularly unpleasant and discouraging to be born: Christ’s birthday, for instance, whose sharers must face the fate of either receiving their Christmas presents on their birthday or else their birthday presents on Christmas, and the twenty-ninth of February, which by some is not regarded as a day at all. Any cold day in Winter is sufficiently cheerless in a land where Rum Punch, Mulled Claret, and Tom and Jerry are not to be readily procured; any hot day in Summer is scarcely suitable for celebration in a country which prohibits the sale of Amer Picon, Sloe Gin, and White Absinthe. No one really wants to be born in the Spring, which is a period of hope, or in the Autumn, which is a season of death and depression. I could, indeed, find many reasons for not being born on three hundred and sixty-four days. Fortunately there is one day in every year which is in every way worthy of being a birthday.

I say in every way, and then I remember that John Wesley was born on this day ... but that, after all, was probably an accident. Nor do I linger over the name of Charles Gounod, 49but the birth of Igor Stravinsky on June 17 was pre-ordained. There have been those who have chosen this as a suitable date on which to die: Joseph Addison on June 17, 1719, and Henrietta Sontag (in Mexico), on June 17, 1854. The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775, and the Battle of Waterloo on June 18 (not 1775!) so that the celebrated ball held on its eve, described so vividly in Vanity Fair fell on the seventeenth. And Abraham Lincoln was nominated on this day in 1860.

The Saints of the day bear fascinating, if somewhat unfamiliar, names: Nicander and Marcian, Saint Prior, Saint Avitus, Saint Botolph, Saint Molingus or Dairchilla. I like to think that some child carries one of these names, or that several children respectively carry them all.

The Stars are friendly. Gemini, the Twins, of the Air Triplicity, are in power. Mercury is the governing planet. The Astral Colours are Red, White, and Blue, which permit the child the choice of several patriotisms or gently dedicate him to polyglottism. The cabalistic stones of the day are blue, beryl, acquamarine, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, and sapphire.

The Twins endow those who fall under their sign with a genius for vacillation. They symbolically indicate a dual temperament, the eternal struggle between Psyche and Eros, which nowadays is of such interest to Freudian professors that these savants are said to pray many long hours each night that more children shall be born between May 20 and June 21. In the children of the Gemini one trait of character contradicts another. These lads wish to travel and they wish to stay at home. They are nervous and phlegmatic, happy and unhappy, serious and frivolous, satisfied and dissatisfied, affectionate and cold, generous and selfish. They are fond of colours and perfumes and rich foods. They delight in the Arts and Sciences, but as artists they will accomplish their best work through inspiration and not through study or preparation. 50They are, I am happy to observe, impatient and untruthful.

On court, hélas! après la vérité;
Ah! croyez moi, l’erreur a son mérite.

It is, you may see, a day on which charming people are born, who do what they please and lie about it afterwards to save their credulous dear ones needless perturbation. A Fish, a Water Bearer, a Lion, or a Virgin is allowed no such zodiacal privileges. His course is plain before him and he must follow it. But the Gemini! Each one of them is two! Nothing can be expected of him (or them), and everything! He can pleasantly make his way in the world, singing with Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself.

Roses bloom and strawberry shortcake is in season. The date is six months removed from Christmas in both directions so that a plentitude of presents may be looked for. The weather is usually delightful anywhere on the seventeenth of June and the day may be suitably celebrated in several climes. A wise young man of twenty-one, however, who claims this superior birthday, would, I think, celebrate it in London. When I say London, I mean the River: Windsor or Hampton Court or Richmond will do. He will take a nice girl with him, a neat flapper in a frock with a Liberty pattern, American boots, a French hat, and a Japanese sunshade. Later he may marry her if he likes, but it is better that he defer the ceremony until after the celebration.

The two will sit on the balcony of some old inn with a romantic name like the Star and Garter and observe the gay scene on the Thames over the obstruction of flower boxes brimming over with pansies, fuschias, mignonette, heliotrope, feverfew, 51daisies, petunias, geraniums, portulaca, phlox, verbenas, candytuft, and other mid-Victorian posies. The girl will be perfumed with Coty’s Vertige and the young man of twenty-one will be garbed in white serge. His tie will be Chinese blue and through its folds will gleam a sapphire. The two will smoke Demetrino cigarettes and the two will drink Scotch whisky and soda, just as if nothing had happened. Presently hunger will become an emotion and I should suggest an English mutton chop, with the kidney, Pommes frites, and large English green peas. There will be some conversation but not too much.

After luncheon the fellow will engage a boat and, placing the young lady in the prow, her sunshade held at the right angle, he will punt her up or down the river, skilfully manoeuvring his craft between the intricacies of rival punts, all of which bear rival young ladies with equally peerless sunshades. Then the young man, if he still be wise and twenty-one, and if his circumstances and his acquaintanceships and the soviet government permit, will motor the young lady to a country house where they will drink tea on the sloping lawn under the spreading trees, casting lengthening shadows. So they may celebrate, if such peaceful celebrations in the restful aristocratic manner are possible in 1939, and they will both be very happy when night, the warm embracing English night, wraps the lawn in darkness. And about the night I shall give them no advice.

June 17, 1920
New York


Translated by Arthur Waley

It is not known where he came from nor what was his real name. But because five willow-trees grew beside his house he was called the Master of the Five Willows. He was a quiet soul, content to pass through life without comment or ambition.

Though he loved reading he never probed for hidden meanings; but when they revealed themselves to him his joy was such that he forgot his dinner.

He loved wine, but could seldom afford it. His friends knew this and used to send for him whenever they had opened a cask. On such occasions he went on drinking steadily till he felt himself getting fuddled; then he went away. For he never stayed anywhere longer than he wished to nor left sooner than he chose.

The walls of his ruined house protected him neither from wind or rain; his short jacket was tattered and tied in knots; his bowl was often empty and his platter bare.

Yet his books—written only to please himself and give the world a few of his ideas—brought him happiness enough.

Thus heedless of failure, scornful of success, the Master lived and died.

By T’ao Ch’ien,
Called the Master of the Five Willows.




AIKEN, Conrad: Author “Scepticisms,”; b. 1889, Savannah, Ga. m. Educ.: Harvard (1912). Travelled extensively, living at different times in London, Rome and Windermere.

ALARCÓN, Pedro A. de: Author “The Three-Cornered Hat”; b. 10 March, 1833, at Guadix, Prov. of Granada, Spain, m. Doña Paulina Contrera de Reyes, 1866. Educ.: Guadix Seminary. Had a varied career as writer, soldier and politician. Died at Madrid, 19 July, 1891.

ANTONELLI, Etienne: Author “Bolshevik Russia”; b. France, 1879. When the war broke out was professor of political economy at the University of Poitiers. Wounded and decorated with Croix de Guerre, May, 1915. Sent to Russia on his recovery as military attaché at French Embassy.

BAROJA, Pío: Author “Youth and Egolatry”; b. San Sebastian, 28 Dec. 1872. Educ.: San Sebastian schools; Institute of Pamplona; studied medicine at Valencia; graduated as M. D. from University of Madrid, 1893. Practised medicine at Cestona for two years. Went to Madrid where he ran a bakery for six years. Since then he has been writing and publishing regularly.

BEERBOHM, Max: Author “Seven Men”; b. London, 24 Aug. 1872. m. Florence Kahn, of Memphis, Tennessee. Educ.: Charterhouse; Merton Coll. Oxford. Member of Academic Committee. Since 1901 there have been six exhibitions of his drawings. Lives in Italy.

BODENHEIM, Maxwell: Author “Advice”; b. Natchez, Miss., 1892. Educ.: Memphis, Tenn. Schools. Served three years in U. S. Regular Army, and studied law and art for a time in Chicago. Wrote verse for six years before having any accepted by the magazines.

BORDEN, Mary: Author “The Romantic Woman”; b. Chicago, Ill. m. 1st., Captain Turner of the British Army; 2nd., General Edward Lewis Spiers of the British Army, March, 1918. During the war she equipped at her own expense the first mobile field hospital of the French Army, for which she was decorated with the Legion of Honor. Resides in Paris.

BRAGDON, Claude Fayette: Author “Architecture and Democracy”; b. Oberlin, O., Aug. 1, 561866. Educ.: Oswego High School; architectural apprentice in offices of Bruce Price, N. Y., and Green and Wicks, Buffalo; m. Member N. Y. Architects’ League. Lives in Rochester, N. Y.

BRIDGES, Robert: Author “October”; Poet-Laureate since 1913; b. 23 Oct. 1844, m. 3 Sept. 1884, Monica, e. d. of Alfred Waterhouse, R. A.; one s. two d. Educ.: Eton; Corpus Christi Coll. Oxford (Hon. Fell.) After leaving Oxford travelled; then studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s, London; retired 1882.

BYNNER, Witter: Author “A Canticle of Pan”; b. Brooklyn, N. Y., 1881. Educ.: Harvard (1902). One time Assistant editor McClure’s Magazine and Literary Advisor McClure, Phillips and Co.

CATHER, Willa Sibert: Author “Youth and the Bright Medusa”; b. Winchester, Va., Dec. 7, 1875. Educ.: Univ. of Nebraska, graduating, 1895. Staff of Pittsburgh Daily Leader, 1897–01; asso. editor McClure’s Magazine, 1906–12.

CHENEY, Sheldon: Author “The Art Theatre.” b. Berkeley, California, 29 June, 1886. m. Maud Meaurice Turner, of Berkeley, 1910. Three children. Educ.: University of California, A. B. 1908. In business 1908–11, teaching and writing 1911–16, editorial and critical work 1916–20. Editor Theatre Arts Magazine.

DAVIES, William Henry: Author “The Autobiography of a Supertramp”; b. 20 April 1870, Newport, Mon.; of Welsh parents. Educ.: picked up knowledge among tramps in America, on cattle boats, and in the common lodging-houses in England. Apprenticed to the picture frame making; left England when apprenticeship closed and tramped in America for six years; came back to England and lived in common lodging-houses in London, making several trips as pedlar of laces, pins and needles; sometimes varied this life by singing hymns in the street; after eight years of this published book of poems; became a poet at 34.

DAWSON SCOTT, C. A.: Author “The Rolling Stone”; b. Dolwich near London. Educ.: Anglo-German College in Camberwell. m. Major H. F. N. Scott. Three children. Founded corps to prepare women to take men’s places during war. Later founded Tomorrow Club of which she is now Lecture Secretary.

DAY, Clarence, Jr.: Author “This Simian World”; b. New York City, 1874. Educ.: St. Paul’s School (New Hampshire) and Yale. Has lived at various health resorts and on ranches in the West, has been a member of the New York Stock Exchange and has served as an Enlisted man in the U. S. Navy. Not married. Lives in New York.

DE LA MARE, Walter: Author “The Three Mulla Mulgars”; b. 1873, lives in England.

57DELL, Floyd: Author “Mooncalf”; b. Barry, Ill., 1887. Educ.: Left school at age of 16 to work in factory; four years course in journalism in a middle western town. Was for some years Literary Editor of Chicago Evening Post, later Literary Editor of The Masses, and now conducts the monthly literary department of The Liberator of which he is an associate editor.

EASTON, Dorothy: Author “The Golden Bird”; b. London, 1889. Educ.: England, France and Germany. Contributor to Manchester Guardian, The Nation (London), etc.

ELIOT, Thomas Stearns: Author “Poems”; b. St. Louis, Mo., 1888. Educ.: Harvard (A. B. 1909; M. A. 1910); studied subsequently at the Sorbonne, Harvard Graduate School, and at Merton College, Oxford. Master at Highgate School, London, and lecturer under both the Oxford and London University Extension Systems. 1917–19, Assistant Editor of Egoist.

EVARTS, Hal G.: Author “The Cross Pull”; b. Topeka, Kansas, 1887. Left school to put in winter trapping. m. One son. Surveyed in Indian Territory; summered three years in Colorado Rustic Mountain landscaping; intervening winters with bond firms and trust company; two years real estate; four in retail shoe business then went back to Wyoming hills; three years fur farming.

FLETCHER, J. S.: Author “The Middle Temple Murder”; b. Halifax, 1863. m. 1884, Annie, d. of late James Harrison; two s. Educ.: Silcoates School and privately. Special correspondent for Leeds Mercury on several occasions; assistant leader writer for same journal, 1893–98; special correspondent for Yorkshire Post at Coronation ceremonies, 1902.

FOLLETT, Wilson: Author “The Modern Novel”; b. North Attleborough, Massachusetts, 21 March, 1887; Educ.: A. B. Harvard, 1909; m. Helen Thomas, 10 June, 1913. Has taught English at Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and Radcliffe College.

FORSTER, Edward Morgan: Author “Where Angels Fear to Tread”; b. 1879. Educ.: Tonbridge (day boy); King’s Coll., Cambridge. Clubs: Savile, Oxford and Cambridge Musical.

FRANKAU, Gilbert: Author “Peter Jameson”; b. 21 April 1884; Educ.: Eton. Entered his father’s business, 1904; commenced writing 1910; left England and travelled around the world, 1912–14; first commission 9th E. Surrey Regt. Oct. 1914; transferred to R. F. A. March 1915; appointed Adjutant to his Brigade, and proceeded overseas in that capacity; fought at Loos, Ypres, the Somme; promoted Staff Captain for special duty in Italy, Oct. 1916; invalided from the Service and 58granted rank of Captain, Feb. 1918.

GIBRAN, Kahlil: Author “The Forerunner”; b. 1883 Mt. Lebanon, Syria. Educ.: Beyrout College, Al-Ki-Hikmat. Studied art in Paris. Exhibition of paintings at Paris Salon, New York, Boston. Has had ten volumes prose and poetry in Arabic published in last ten years; several of them translated into Spanish, French, German, English. Now living in New York.

GRANT WATSON, E. L.: Author “Deliverance”; b. Steynes, N. London, 1885. m. Katharane Hannay, 1919. Educ.: Bedales School, Trinity College, Cambridge. 1st Class Nat. Science tripos 1906. Ethnological Expedition N. W. Australia 1910–12.

HERBERT, A. P.: Author “The Secret Battle”; Educ.: Winchester and New College, Oxford. Enlisted in the R. N. V. R. as Ordinary Seaman, Aug. 1914. Commissioned March 1915 and went with Hawke Batt’n., Royal Naval Division to Gallipoli. Invalided home, Aug., same year. Served in France. Wounded and sent home. Served, 1918 on Naval Staff at Admiralty.

HERGESHEIMER, Joseph: Author “San Cristobal de la Habana”; b. Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 15, 1880; Educ.: short period at a Quaker school, Philadelphia, and at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; m. Dorothy Hemphill, of West Chester, Pa., 1907.

HIGHAM, Charles Frederick: Author “Looking Forward”; M. P. b. 1876; Educ.: St. Albans. Assistant Organizer with Mr. Kennedy Jones, M. P., of the Victory War Loan Campaign of 1917; Freeman of the City of London; Member of the Guild of Gold & Silver Wyre Workers. Clubs: Carlton, 1900, National Sporting, Royal Automobile, Aldwych, etc.

HOOKER, Forrestine C.: Author “The Long Dim Trail”; b. Philadelphia. Raised in 10th U. S. Cavalry during frontier service against Indians; m. E. R. Hooker. Staff of Los Angeles Examiner. Secretary of Los Angeles Humane Society for Children. Investigator on District Attorney’s Staff. Secretary of Los Angeles Auxiliary of League of American Pen Women.

HOWE, Edgar Watson: Author “The Anthology of Another Town”; b. Treaty, Ind., May 3, 1854; Educ.: Common schools in Missouri. Started to work in printing office at age of 12; m. Clara L. Frank of Falls City, Neb, 1875. Published the Golden Globe at Golden, Colo., at age of 19; editor and proprietor of Atchison Daily Globe, 1877–1911; editor and publisher of E. W. Howe’s Monthly since Jan., 1911.

KROPOTKIN, P.: Author “Ideals and Realities in Russian Literature”; b. 9 Dec. 1842. Educ.: Corps of Pages, Petrograd 1857–62, Petrograd Univ. 1869–73. Gold medal Russ. Geographic Soc. for journey across Manchuria 591864. Explored glacial deposits Finland and Sweden 1871. Arrested for labour agitation 1874; confined in St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress; escaped 1876. Founded Le Revolte at Geneva; Expelled from Switzerland 1881; sentenced at Lyons to 5 yrs. imprisonment, 1883; Liberated 1886. Lived in England till Russian Revolution of 1917.

McCLURE, John: Author “Airs and Ballads”; b. Ardmore, Oklahoma, 19 Dec. 1893. Educ.: University of Oklahoma; in Paris, 1913–14. Member of the national Hobo College fraternity, “Quo Vadis”; has tramped about two thousand miles in the South-west. Runs The Olde Bookshop in New Orleans.

MACKAYE, Percy: Author “Rip Van Winkle”; b. New York, 16 March 1875. Educ.: Harvard A. B., Hon. M. A. Dartmouth, Univ. of Leipzig; m. Marion H. Morse of Cambridge 1898. Travelled in Europe 1898–1900, taught private school New York 1900–1904, lectured Harvard, Yale, Columbia on theatre 1904–1919.

MAUGHAM, William Somerset: Author “The Land of the Blessed Virgin”; b. 1874; m. Syrie Barnado; one d. Educ.: King’s School, Canterbury, Heidelberg University, St. Thomas’s Hospital.

MENCKEN, Henry Louis: Author “Prejudices”; b. Baltimore, Md., Sept. 12, 1880. Educ.: Balt. Poly. Inst., graduating 1896. Unmarried. Reporter, 1899, city editor, 1903–5, Baltimore Morning Herald; editor Evening Herald, 1905; on staff Baltimore Sun, 1906–17; literary critic Smart Set, 1908, and editor (with George Jean Nathan) since 1914. War correspondent in Germany and Russia in 1917.

MILNE, Alan Alexander: Author “First Plays”; b. 18 Jan. 1882; assistant editor of Punch 1906–14; Royal Warwickshire Regt., Feb. 1915–19; m. Dorothy, d. of Martin de Selincourt. Educ.: Westminster; Trinity College, Cambridge. Edited The Granta, 1902; started journalism in London, 1903.

NATHAN, George Jean: Author “Comedians All”; b. Fort Wayne, Ind., Feb. 15, 1882; Educ.: Cornell University, graduating 1904. Unmarried. Editorial staff N. Y. Herald, 1904–6; dramatic critic and asso. editor Bohemian Magazine and Outing, 1906–8, also Burr McIntosh Monthly, 1908; dramatic critic for Phila. North American, McClure’s Syndicate and Cleveland Leader since 1912; dramatic critic Puck (with James Huneker) 1915–16; editor Smart Set (with H. L. Mencken) since 1914.

NYBURG, Sidney: Author “The Gate of Ivory” etc.; b. Baltimore, Md., Dec. 8, 1880; Educ.: Baltimore City College; LL. B. Univ. of Maryland, graduating 1901. m. Jan. 9, 1907. Practised law in Baltimore since 1902.

OPPENHEIM, James: Author 60“The Book of Self”; b. St. Paul, Minn. 24 May, 1882. Educ.: Two years of special courses at Columbia University. Assistant editor Cosmopolitan Magazine; later taught in an East Side Technical school. At age of 24 he began free-lancing. Was editor of The Seven Arts.

PERTWEE, Roland: b. Brighton, 15th May 1885; m. Advice Scholtz of Capetown, South Africa, 1910. Educ.: London and Paris. Started as a portrait painter; abandoned painting in favour of the stage; left stage and became a writer in 1914. Served in Heavy Artillery Mechanical Transport in France during war.

RUSSELL, John: Author “The Red Mark”; b. Davenport, Iowa, 1885; son Charles Edward Russell. Educ.: Brooklyn schools and North-Western University; much foreign travel. Reporter N. Y. Herald and special correspondent Panama and Peru. Now lives in New York.

SHAFER, Don Cameron: Author “Barent Creighton”; b. Charlotteville, N. Y., Oct. 7, 1881; Educ.: Public Schools; m. Janeth E. Mitchell of Roxbury, N. Y., Jan. 10, 1910. Learned printer’s trade; reporter Schenectady Union, 1903; later, special writer for N. Y. World, Sun, Press and Times; also contributor to magazines. Advertising manager for General Electric Co.

SITWELL, Osbert: Author “Argonaut and Juggernaut”; b. London, 6 Dec. 1892. Educ.: Eton. Served in France as Officer in the Grenadier Guards 1914–15–16.

SQUIRE, John Collings: Author “Books in General”; b. Plymouth, 2 April 1884; m., 1908, Eileen H. A., d. of Rev. A. Anstruther Wilkinson; three s. Educ.: Bundell’s; St. John’s College, Cambridge (Historical Scholar, 1903; B. A. 1908; M. A. 1919); Literary Editor New Statesman since 1913; Acting Editor, 1917–19; contested Cambridge University (Lab), 1919. Editor the London Mercury, since 1919.

TIETJENS, Eunice (née Hammond): Author “Body and Raiment”; b. Chicago, Ill., 29 July, 1884. Educ.: France, Switzerland and Germany. Has travelled extensively in all parts of the world. Two years on the staff of Poetry in Chicago, the second as Associate Editor. For one year war correspondent in Paris for Chicago Daily News; m. 2nd Cloyd Head, Chicago, 1920.

TOMLINSON, H. M.: Author “Old Junk”; b. 1873. Joined the editorial staff of the Morning Leader, 1904, and the Daily News when the two papers amalgamated; War Correspondent in Belgium and France from Aug. 1914, and an Official Correspondent at General Headquarters of the British Armies in France, 1915–17. Assistant Editor The Nation (London) since 1917.

TRIDON, André: Author “Psychoanalysis and Behaviour”; b. France 8 May, 1877. Educ.: 61Paris, Clermont, Heidelberg and New York; m. 1903. Practising analyst in New York. First psychoanalyst in U. S. to deliver lectures on psychoanalysis open to the general public.

TURNER, George Kibbe: Author “Hagar’s Hoard”; b. Quincy, Ill., 23 Mar. 1869. Educ.: Williams College, graduating, 1890; m. Julia Hawks Patchen of Bennington, Vt., Oct. 19, 1892. Began newspaper work 1891. Editor and staff writer on McClure’s Magazine, 1906–17.

VAN VECHTEN, Carl: Author “The Tiger in the House”; b. Cedar Rapids, Iowa 17 June, 1880; m. Fania Marinoff. Ass’t Musical critic New York Times 1906–7, Paris correspondent same 1908–9, Editor program notes Symphony Society, New York 1910–11, Dramatic critic New York Press 1913–14.

VAN WESEP, Hendrikus Boeve: Author “The Control of Ideals”; b. 30 October, 1888, Amsterdam, Holland. Moved as a child to one of the Pioneer Dutch settlements in the Middle West. Educ.: Calvin College Preparatory School, Grand Rapids, Michigan; University of Michigan. Chief study philosophy; grad. 1912. Graduate work at Princeton University; Ph.D. 1917, in ethics and Greek Philosophy. Now employed by the Rockefeller Foundation for research work in philanthropic, public health, and sociological problems; m. Aleida Sophia van Vessem, 1917.

WALEY, Arthur David: Author “More Translations from the Chinese”; b. Tunbridge Wells, 1889. Educ.: Rugby and Kings’ College, Cambridge. Travelled in France, Germany and Spain. Entered Print Room of the British Museum in 1913. In the same year became assistant of Mr. Laurence Binyon, head of the oriental Section of the Print Room. Lives in Cartwright Gardens, London. Has never been outside Europe, but learnt Chinese and Japanese from native teachers in London.

WALLAS, Graham: Author “The Life of Francis Place”; b. Sunderland, 31 May 1858; m. 1897, Ada Radford; one d. Educ.: Shrewsbury School, 1871–77; Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 1877–81; Lecturer at London School of Economics since 1895; University Professor in Political Science, 1914; Lowell Lecturer, 1914.

WILKINSON, Louis Umfreville: Author “Brute Gods”; b. Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England, 17 Dec. 1881; son of late Rev. W. G. Wilkinson, formerly Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford. Educ.: Radley; St. John’s College, Cambridge; M.A. Cantab; Litt.D., St. John’s College, Annapolis; m. 1912, Frances Josefa Gregg; one s. one d.

WILLIAMS, James Mickel: Author “The Foundations of Social Science”; b. Waterville, N. Y., 1876. Educ.: A.B. Brown University 1898; B.D. Union Theolo. 62Sem., 1901; Ph.D. Columbia, 1906; m. Lucinda Chamberlain Noyes of Rochester, N. Y., 1913. Lecturer on Economics Vassar 1907–8; prof. econ. and soc. Hobart College 1908–1920.

1.  This paper appeared in “Land and Water” [London], but has never before been published in the United States.

2.  See Bibliography.

3.  This paper appeared in The Clarion [London] but has never before been published in the United States.





By Conrad Aiken
When Punch had roared at the inn for days
The walls went round in a ringing haze,
Miriam, through the splendour seen,
Twinkled and smiled like Sheba’s Queen,
Jake was the devil himself, the host
Scratched in a book like a solemn Faust;
And the lights like birds went swiftly round
With a soft and feathery whistling sound.
He seized the table with one great hand
And a thousand people helped him stand,
“Good-night!” a thousand voices said,
The words like gongs assailed his head,
And out he reeled, most royally,
Singing, amid that company.—
Luminous clocks above him rolled,
Bells in the darkness heavily tolled,
The stars in the sky were smoothly beating
In a solemn chorus, all repeating
The tick of the great heart in his breast
That tore his body, and would not rest.
Singing, he climbed the elusive street,
And heard far off his footsteps beat;
Singing, they pushed him through the door,
And he fell full length on the darkened floor....
66But his head struck sharply as he fell
And he heard a sound like a broken bell;
And then, in the half-light of the moon,
The twittering elvish light of June,
A host of folk came round him there,—
Sheba, with diamonds in her hair,
Solomon, thrumming a psaltery,
Judas Iscariot, dark of eye,
Satan and Faustus and Lorraine,
And Heliogabalus with his train....
The air was sweet with a delicate sound
Of silk things rustling on the ground,
Jewels and silver twinkled, dim,
Voices and laughter circled him....
After a while the clock struck two,
A whisper among the audience flew,
And Judy before him came and knelt
And kissed him; and her lips, he felt,
Were wet with tears.... She wore a crown,
And amethysts, and a pale green gown....
After a while the clock struck three
And Polly beside him, on one knee,
Leaned above him and softly cried,
Wearing a white veil like a bride.
One candle on the sill was burning,
And Faustus sat in the corner, turning
Page after page with solemn care
To count the immortal heartbeats there.
Slow was the heart, and quick the stroke
Of the pen, and never a word he spoke;
But watched the tears of pale wax run
Down from the long flame one by one.
Solomon in the moonlight bowed,
The Queen of Sheba sobbed aloud;
67Like a madonna carved in stone
Judy in starlight stood alone:
Tears were glistening on her cheek,
Her lips were awry, she could not speak.
After a while the clock struck four,
And Faustus said “I can write no more:
I’ve entered the heartbeats, every one,
And now the allotted time is done.”
He dipped his pen, made one more mark,
And clapped his book. The room grew dark.
At four o’clock Punch turned his head
And “I forgive you all,” he said....
At five o’clock they found him dead.


By Pío Baroja


If a militia of genius should be formed on Parnassus, Goethe would be the drum-major. He is so great, so majestic, so serene, so full of talent, so abounding in virtue, and yet, so antipathetic!


A skin of Lacrymae Christi that has turned sour. At times the good Viscount drops molasses into the skin to take away the taste of vinegar; at other times, he drops in more vinegar to take away the sweet taste of the molasses. He is both moth-eaten and sublime.

Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo, the most talented of rhetoricians! Victor Hugo, the most exquisite of vulgarians! Victor Hugo—mere common sense dressed up as art.


A nightmare, a dream produced by indigestion, a chill, rare acuteness, equal obtuseness, a delirium of splendours, cheap hardware, of pretence and bad taste. Because of his ugliness, because of his genius, because of his immorality, the Danton of printers’ ink.



A mysterious sphinx who makes one tremble with lynx-like eyes, the goldsmith of magical wonders.


At once a mystic and a sad clown. The Saint Vincent de Paul of the loosened string, the Saint Francis of Assisi of the London Streets. Everything is gesticulation, and the gesticulations are ambiguous. When we think he is going to weep, he laughs; when we think he is going to laugh, he cries. A remarkable genius who does everything he can to make himself appear puny, yet who is, beyond doubt, very great.

Sainte Beuve

Sainte Beuve writes as if he had always said the last word, as if he were precisely at the needle of the scales. Yet I feel that this writer is not as infallible as he thinks. His interest lies in his anecdote, in his malevolent insinuation, in his bawdry. Beyond these, he has the same Mediterranean features as the rest of us.


He impresses me as the Prince of Upstarts, grandiloquent and at the same time unctuous, a General in a Salvation Army of Art, or a monk who is a devotee of an esthetic Doctrine which has been drawn up by a Congress of Tourists.

A Word from Kuroki, the Japanese

“Gentlemen,” said General Kuroki, speaking at a banquet tendered to him in New York, “I cannot aspire to the applause of the world, because I have created nothing, I have invented nothing. I am only a soldier.”

If these are not his identical words, they convey the meaning of them.

70This victorious, square-headed Mongolian had gotten into his head what the dolichocephalic German blond, who, according to German anthropologists is the highest product of Europe, and the brachycephalic brunette of Gaul and the Latin and the Slav have never been able to understand.

Will they ever be able to understand it? Perhaps they never will be able.

Love of the Workingman

To gush over the workingman is one of the commonplaces of the day which is utterly false and hypocritical. Just as in the 18th century sympathy was with the simple hearted citizen, so today we talk about workingman. The term workingman can never be anything but a grammatical common denominator. Among workingmen, as among the bourgeoisie, there are all sorts of people. It is perfectly true that there are certain characteristics, certain defects, which may be exaggerated in a given class, because of its special environment and culture. The difference in Spanish cities between the labouring men and the bourgeoisie is not very great. We frequently see the workingman leap the barrier into the bourgeoisie, and then disclose himself as a unique flower of knavery, extortion and misdirected ingenuity. Deep down in the hearts of our revolutionists, I do not believe that there is any real enthusiasm for the workingman.

When the bookshop of Fernando Fé was still in the Carrera de San Jerónimo, I once heard Blasco Ibáñez say with the cheapness that is his distinguishing trait, laughing meanwhile ostentatiously, that a republic in Spain would mean the rule of shoemakers and of the scum of the streets.



By Mary Borden

Now that I’ve got back to the beginning, the night of the 10th of September, 1913, I find that I’ve told you all sorts of things, almost everything of importance, except just what happened that night. I’m afraid, in telling the story, I’ve got into rather a muddle. It’s so difficult to keep distinct what I felt and knew at various times, and what I feel and know now. Now the war is on us, and my chief feeling is one of fear, not any definite fear of Zeppelins or invasions, but a vague, dreadful fear, an acute sense of insecurity. The world is shaking, and its convulsions give one a feeling of having, to put it vulgarly, gone dotty. It’s as though I saw all the tables and chairs in my room moving about and falling over. Everything that was stable and was made to hang on to, and sit down upon, and lean against, is lurching. The great business of life seems to be to sit tight, but one has a suspicion that even the law of gravity may be loosed and that we shall find ourselves falling off the earth. Before the 4th of August, people in their secure little houses were enjoying their miseries and making capital out of their difficulties, and splendidly gambling on the future—the dark future that seemed so possible. Now it is all changed. It appears that the conduct of life is largely a matter of unconscious calculations. One says good-bye and calculates that the chances are a hundred to one, that one will meet this friend again. But when I said good-bye to Binky the other day at the one o’clock from Victoria, the chances were a hundred to one against his coming back. It’s 72a curious thing to have all the mathematics of life upset. It makes one feel like being in a mad-house. The laughter of Arch and Humpy rising in shrieks from the gardens seems incredible and wonderful. The security of childhood becomes the most precious thing on earth.

So you see how difficult it is to remember what my feelings were in 1913. I have told you about how the American quartette descended on us at Saracens, and I’ve told you about my clairvoyant moment at dinner, when I saw through them all as though an X-ray machine had been turned on them. I don’t want to go into all the complex impressions of their personalities and the queer, surcharged atmosphere that their minds altogether there, created in the house, because Louise’s wretched mind dominated them all for me as the evening went on, just as her voice drowned their voices and her tragedy eclipsed their little troubles. Phyllis and Binky may have been under a strain; no doubt they were. Pat may have been uncomfortable, though I don’t believe he was. Claire, undoubtedly, drew a certain sinister satisfaction from Phil’s helplessness. But all those things scarcely count at all compared to the dreadful tension stretched over Louise and Jim. I had a feeling of something drawn round them, very tight, enclosing them in a space like the inside of a balloon, where the gases of their misery and distrust swelled to bursting. And the final act was just the bursting of a bubble that had been strained too long. And it seems, now, scarcely more important in the sum total of the world’s tragedy than the bursting of a toy balloon, buyable for a penny, and in competition with the roar of armaments, scarcely more noisy.

Mary Borden

73And yet, if we are immortals, all of us, then it was, of course, much more than that, and the amount of pain that was mine afterward, and the cowardly giving in to the hopeless boredom of life that resulted from it, all that will be balanced up against me, I suppose. I suppose my giving in to Ruffles, when I knew there was nothing in it, will be laid up against me. I don’t know. I don’t care very much. It’s so difficult to decide whether that sort of thing really matters. To my father it would matter so terribly, and to Binky it would—it did—matter so little. I could never tell from his manner whether he accepted it in knowledge or was altogether unaware. But it’s curious that Louise should have accused me of the thing that hadn’t happened and was not going to, because my father came to see us.



By Robert Bridges
April adance in play
met with his lover May
where she came garlanded.
The blossoming boughs o’erhead
were thrill’d to bursting by
the dazzle from the sky
and the wild music there
that shook the odorous air.
Each moment some new birth
hasten’d to deck the earth
in the gay sunbeams.
Between their kisses dreams:
And dream and kiss were rife
with laughter of mortal life.
But this late day of golden fall
is still as a picture upon a wall
or a poem in a book lying open unread.
Or whatever else is shrined
when the Virgin hath vanished;
Footsteps of eternal Mind
on the path of the dead.


By Louis Couperus

When the letters of Raden Adjeng Kartini were published in Holland, they aroused much interest and awakened a warm sympathy for the writer. She was the young daughter of a Javanese Regent, one of the “princesses” who grow up and blossom in sombre obscurity and seclusion, leading their monotonous and often melancholy lives within the confines of the Kaboepatin, as the high walled Regent’s palaces are called.

The thought of India, or as we now say, perhaps more happily, Java, had a strange fascination for me even as a child. I was charmed by the weird mystery of its stories which frightened even while they charmed me. Although I was born in Holland, our family traditions had been rooted in Java. My father began his official career there as a Judge, and my mother was the daughter of a Governor General, while my older brothers had followed their father’s example and were officials under the Colonial Government.

At nine years of age I was taken to the inscrutable and far off land round which my early fancy had played; and I passed five of my school years in Batavia. At the end of those five years I felt the same charm and the same mystery. The thought of Java became almost an obsession. I felt that while we Netherlanders might rule and exploit the country, we should never be able to penetrate its mystery. It seemed to me that it would always be covered by a thick veil, which 76guarded its Eastern soul from the strange eyes of the Western conqueror. There was a quiet strength “Een Stille Kracht”[9] unperceived by our cold business-like gaze. It was something intangible, and almost hostile, with a silent, secret hostility that lurked in the atmosphere, in nature and above all, in the soul of the natives. It menaced from the slumbering volcanoes, and lay hidden in mysterious shadows of the rustling bamboos. It was in the bright, silver moonlight when the drooping palm trees trembled in the wind until they seemed to play a symphony so gentle and so complaining that it moved me to my soul. I do not know whether this was poetic imagination ever prone to be supersensitive, or in reality the “Quiet Strength,” hidden in the heart of the East and eternally at war with the spirit of the West. It is certainly true that the Javanese has never been an open book to the Netherlander. The difference of race forms an abyss so deep that though they may stand face to face and look into each other’s eyes, it is as though they saw nothing.

The Javanese woman of noble birth is even more impenetrable. The life of a Raden Adjeng or a Raden Adjoe is a thing apart. Even the Dutch officials and rulers of the country know nothing of the lives of these secluded “princesses,” as we like to call the wives and daughters of the Regents, though they themselves lay no claim to a title which in Europe ranks so high.

Suddenly a voice was heard from the depths of this unknown land. It rose from behind the high protecting wall that had done its work of subjection and concealment through the ages. It was gentle, like the melodious song of a little bird in a cage—in a costly cage it is true, and surrounded by the tenderest care, but still in a cage that was also a prison. It was the voice of Raden Adjeng Kartini, which sounded above the walls of the close-barred Kaboepatin. It was like 77the cry of a little bird that wanted to spread its wings free in the air, and fly towards life. And the sound grew fuller and clearer, till it became the rich voice of a woman.

She was shut in by aristocratic traditions and living virtually imprisoned as became a young “princess” of Java; but she sang of her longing for life and work and her voice rose clearer and stronger. It penetrated to the distant Netherlands, and was heard there with wonder and with delight. She was singing a new song, the first complaint that had ever gone forth from the mysterious hidden life of the Javanese woman. With all the energy of her body and soul she wanted to be free, to work and to live and to love.

Then the complaint became a song of rejoicing. For she not only longed to lead the new life of the modern woman, but she had the strength to accomplish it, and more than that, to win the sympathy of her family and of her friends for her ideals. This little “princess” lifted the concealing veil from her daily life and not only her life, her thoughts were revealed. An Oriental woman had dared to fight for feminism, even against her tenderly loved parents. For although her father and mother were enlightened for noble Javanese, they had at first strongly opposed her ideas as unheard of innovations.

She wanted to study and later to become a teacher to open a school for the daughters of Regents, and to bring the new spirit into their lives. She battled bravely, she would not give up; in the end she won.

Raden Adjeng Kartini freed herself from the narrow oppression of tradition, and the simple language of these letters chants a paean “From Darkness into Light.”[10] The mist of obscurity is cleared away from her land and her people. The Javanese soul is shown simple, gentle, and less hostile than we 78Westerners had ever dared to hope. For the soul of this girl was one with the soul of her people, and it is through her that a new confidence has grown up between West and the East, between the Netherlands and Java. The mysterious “Quiet Strength” is brought into the light, it is tender, human and full of love and Holland may well be grateful to the hand that revealed it.

This noble and pure soul was not destined to remain long upon earth. Had she lived, who knows what Raden Adjeng Kartini might not have accomplished for the well being of her country and her people; above all, for the Javanese women and the Javanese child. She was the first Regent’s daughter to break the fixed tradition in regard to marriage; it was customary to give the bride to a strange bridegroom, whom she had never seen, perhaps never even heard of, until her wedding day. Kartini chose her own husband, a man whom she loved, but her happy life with him was cut short by her early death.

It is sometimes granted to those whom the gods love to bring their work to fruition in all the splendour of youth, in the springtime or the summer of their lives. To have worked and to have completed a great task, when one is young, so that the world is left richer for all time—is not that the most beautiful of all the gifts of the gods?



By William H. Davies
When April scatters coins of primrose gold
Among the copper leaves in thickets old,
And singing skylarks from the meadows rise,
To twinkle like black stars in sunny skies;
When I can hear the small woodpecker ring
Time on a tree for all the birds that sing;
And hear the pleasant cuckoo, loud and long—
The simple bird that thinks two notes a song;
When I can hear the woodland brook, that could
Not drown a babe, with all his threatening mood:
Upon whose banks the violets make their home,
And let a few small strawberry blossoms come;
When I go forth on such a pleasant day,
One breath outdoors takes all my care away;
It goes like heavy smoke, when flames take hold
Of wood that’s green and fill a grate with gold.


By this time, it was plain, Thimble and Thumb had found something to raise them to the window-hole, for Nod, as he glanced up, saw half of both their astonished faces (one eye of each) peering in at the window. He waved his lean little arms, and their faces vanished.

“Why do you wave your long thumbs in the air?” said the old Gunga uneasily.

“I wave to Tishnar,” said Nod, “who watches over her wandering Princes, and will preserve them from thieves and cunning ones. And as for your filthy green-weed soup, how should a Mulla-mulgar soil his thumbs with gutting fish? And as for the Water-midden’s song, that I cannot teach you, nor would I teach it you if I could, Master Fish-catcher. But I can catch fish with it.”

The old Gunga squatted close on his stool, and grinned as graciously as he could. “I am poor and growing old,” he said, “and I cannot catch fish as once I could. How is that done, O Royal Traveller?”



By T. S. Eliot

Tra-la-la-la-la-la-laire—nil nisi divinum stabile est; caetera fumus—the gondola stopped, the old place was there, how charming its grey and pink—goats and monkeys, with such hair too!—so the countess passed on until she came through the little park, where Niobe presented her with a cabinet, and so departed.

Burbank crossed a little bridge
Descending at a small hotel;
Princess Volupine arrived,
They were together, and he fell.
Defunctive music under sea
Passed seaward with the passing bell
Slowly: the God Hercules
Had left him, that had loved him well.
The horses, under the axletree
Beat up the dawn from Istria
With even feet. Her shuttered barge
Burned on the water all the day.
But this or such was Bleistein’s way:
A saggy bending of the knees
82And elbows, with the palms turned out,
Chicago Semite Viennese.
A lustreless protrusive eye
Stares from the protozoic slime
At a perspective of Canalotto.
The smoky candle end of time
Declines. On the Rialto once.
The rats are underneath the piles.
The jew is underneath the lot.
Money in furs. The boatman smiles,
Princess Volupine extends
A meagre, blue-nailed, phthisic hand
To climb the water-stair. Lights, lights,
She entertains Sir Ferdinand
Klein. Who clipped the lion’s wings
And flea’d his rump and pared his claws;
Thought Burbank, meditating on
Time’s ruins, and the seven laws.


By E. M. Forster

Harriet, meanwhile, had been coughing ominously at the drop-scene, which presently rose on the grounds of Ravenswood, and the chorus of Scotch retainers burst into cry. The audience accompanied with tappings and drummings, swaying in the melody like corn in the wind. Harriet, though she did not care for music, knew how to listen to it. She uttered an acid “Shish!”

“Shut it,” whispered her brother.

“We must make a stand from the beginning. They’re talking.”

“It is tiresome,” murmured Miss Abbott; “but perhaps it isn’t for us to interfere.”

Harriet shook her head and shished again. The people were quiet, not because it is wrong to talk during a chorus, but because it is natural to be civil to a visitor. For a little time she kept the whole house in order, and could smile at her brother complacently.

Her success annoyed him. He had grasped the principle of opera in Italy—it aims not at illusion but at entertainment—and he did not want this great evening-party to turn into a prayer-meeting. But soon the boxes began to fill, and Harriet’s power was over. Families greeted each other across the auditorium. People in the pit hailed their brothers and sons in the chorus, and told them how well they were singing. 84When Lucia appeared by the fountain there was loud applause, and cries of “Welcome to Monteriano!”

“Ridiculous babies!” said Harriet, settling down in her stall.

“Why, it is the famous hot lady of the Apennines,” cried Philip; “the one who had never, never before—”

“Ugh! Don’t. She will be very vulgar. And I’m sure it’s even worse here than in the tunnel. I wish we’d never—”

Lucia began to sing, and there was a moment’s silence. She was stout and ugly; but her voice was still beautiful, and as she sang the theatre murmured like a hive of happy bees. All through the coloratura she was accompanied by sighs, and its top note was drowned in a shout of universal joy.

So the opera proceeded. The singers drew inspiration from the audience, and the two great sextettes were rendered not unworthily. Miss Abbott fell into the spirit of the thing. She, too, chatted and laughed and applauded and encored, and rejoiced in the existence of beauty. As for Philip, he forgot himself as well as his mission. He was not even an enthusiastic visitor. For he had been in this place always. It was his home.

Harriet, like M. Bovary on a more famous occasion, was trying to follow the plot. Occasionally she nudged her companions, and asked them what had become of Walter Scott. She looked round grimly. The audience sounded drunk, and even Caroline, who never took a drop, was swaying oddly. Violent waves of excitement, all arising from very little, went sweeping round the theatre. The climax was reached in the mad scene. Lucia, clad in white, as befitted her malady, suddenly gathered up her streaming hair and bowed her acknowledgment to the audience. Then from the back of the stage—she feigned not to see it—there advanced a kind of bamboo clothes-horse, stuck all over with bouquets. It was very ugly, and most of the flowers in it were false. Lucia 85knew this, and so did the audience; and they all knew that the clothes-horse was a piece of stage property, brought in to make the performance go year after year. None the less did it unloose the great deeps. With a scream of amazement and joy she embraced the animal, pulled out one or two practicable blossoms, pressed them to her lips, and flung them into her admirers. They flung them back, with loud melodious cries, and a little boy in one of the stage-boxes snatched up his sister’s carnations and offered them. “Che carino!” exclaimed the singer. She darted at the little boy and kissed him. Now the noise became tremendous. “Silence! silence!” shouted many old gentlemen behind. “Let the divine creature continue!” But the young men in the adjacent box were imploring Lucia to extend her civility to them. She refused, with a humorous, expressive gesture. One of them hurled a bouquet at her. She spurned it with her foot. Then, encouraged by the roars of the audience, she picked it up and tossed it to them. Harriet was always unfortunate. The bouquet struck her full in the chest, and a little billet-doux fell out of it into her lap.

“Call this classical!” she cried, rising from her seat. “It’s not even respectable! Philip! take me out at once.”



By John Galsworthy

The sketch is, I take it, commonly supposed to be the easiest form that a writer can use, and the bad sketch probably is. The good sketch, on the other hand, is about the hardest, for there is no time to go wrong, or, rather, in which to recover if one does go wrong. Moreover, it demands a very faithful objectivity, and a rare sensitiveness of touch. The good sketcher does not bite off more than he or she can chew, does not waste a word, and renders into writing that alone which is significant. To catch the flying values of life, and convey them to other minds and hearts in a few pages of picture may seem easy to the lay reader, but is, I do assure him, mortal hard.

The sketches in this, the first book of a young writer, are so really good, that they should require no preliminary puff. But the fact is that the reading public in America and England get so few good sketches, indeed so few volumes of sketches at all, that even the best work of this kind has unfairly little chance.

If I know anything and I am not alone in my opinion, the writer of this book has a sympathetic apprehension of life, and a perfection in rendering it which is altogether out of the common. Those readers who want not snapshots but little pictures, entirely without preciosity, extraordinarily sensitive and faithful, and never dull, because they have real meaning and truth, will appreciate this volume.

87Those who don’t know the southern countryside of England, and the simpler people thereof, will make a real acquaintanceship with it through some of these unpretentious pages. And the French sketches, especially, by their true flavour of French life, guarantee the writer’s possession of that spiritual insight without which art is nothing worth.

I will beat the drum no more; for if the reader likes not this mental fare, no noise of mine will make him.

Foreword to “The Golden Bird.”


By Kahlil Gibran

Once, high above a pasture, where a sheep and a lamb were grazing, an eagle was circling and gazing hungrily down upon the lamb. And as he was about to descend and seize his prey, another eagle appeared and hovered above the sheep and her young with the same hungry intent. Then the two rivals began to fight, filling the sky with their fierce cries.

The sheep looked up and was much astonished. She turned to the lamb and said,

“How strange, my child, that these two noble birds should attack one another. Is not the vast sky large enough for both of them? Pray, my little one, pray in your heart that God may make peace between your winged brothers.”

And the lamb prayed in his heart.

Kahlil Gibran


By Robert Graves
Love, Fear and Hate and Childish Toys
Are here discreetly blent;
Admire, you ladies, read, you boys,
My Country Sentiment.
But Kate says, “Cut that anger and fear,
True love’s the stuff we need!
With laughing children and the running deer,
That makes a book indeed.”
Then Tom, a hard and bloody chap,
Though much beloved by me,
“Robert, have done with nursery pap,
Write like a man,” says he.
Hate and Fear are not wanted here,
Nor Toys nor Country Lovers,
Everything they took from my new poem book
But the flyleaf and the covers.


By E. W. Howe

I was lately making a little automobile journey and met Joe Ward, a high-priced man. We were passing through the town of Centerville and stopped a moment to inquire the road to Fairview.

It happened that the man we addressed was Joe Ward himself, who said he was just about to leave for Fairview and would show us the way if we would give him a ride.

So he sat beside the driver and turned round and told us about the farms we passed. He knew every farmer on the way; how his crops were turning out and many other interesting facts, for this man was a clerk in the New York Store in Centerville and had been so employed nine years.

When we came to a crossroad he would say “Straight ahead” or “Turn to the right” to the driver and then tell us something of interest about his work in the New York Store. It seemed he was a very popular clerk; so popular, indeed, that the proprietor of the Boston Store, the principal opposition, had long wanted him.

“But I said to him frankly,” Joe Ward explained, “if you get me you’ll have to pay a man’s wages. I’m no cheap skate. I was born over on Cow Creek and no citizen of that neighbourhood would think of going to Centerville without trading with me.”

“Here,” I thought, “is a very high-priced man.”

Robert Graves
J C Squire

91I began wondering how much would induce him to leave the New York Store. And he proceeded to tell us—he couldn’t keep a secret.

“Besides the pull I have on Cow Creek, my grandfather is the leading farmer out the Fairview way and everybody knows I control the best trade round Fairview. So I says to Persinger, of the Boston Store: ‘If you get me you’ll get the best, but you’ll have to pay me. I’m human like everybody else; if you pay me I’ll work for you and do you all the good I can, but we might as well understand each other first as last—if you get me you’ll have to pay me. I’m no amateur. If you get me you’ll have to pay me twelve dollars a week.’”

But it developed before we reached the next town that Persinger, of the opposition store, wouldn’t stand an innovation like that, so Joe Ward got out at Fairview and said he was going back next morning to resume his work at the New York Store.



I have noticed that the people take as much delight in praising a worthless man as they take in abusing a respectable one. People say Doc Robinson, the town drunkard, was once a noted surgeon in London; that he was engaged to a beautiful young lady of New York, but gave her up because his parents objected, and thus went to the dogs; that he has the best education of any man in town; that he is a man of fine intellect; that he is a younger son of a titled family in England, and that when his brother dies he will become a duke.

I looked Doc up and discovered that the only notable thing that ever happened in his life was that he attended a veterinary college in Canada, where he was born on a farm and where he lived until he came to this country to make horse liniment, the basis of which, alcohol, he sweetened and drank, and thus became a drunkard.


A travelling man yesterday gave John Davis, the grocer, a twenty-cent cigar. John Davis has been selling cigars at his grocery store and smoking twenty years—and a good cigar made him sick.



A Letter from W. H. Hudson[19]
Dear Mr. Knopf:

Your request for a Foreword to insert in the American reprint of the little book worries me. A critic on this side has said that my Prefaces to reprints of my earlier works are of the nature of parting kicks, and I have no desire just now to kick this poor innocent. That evil-tempered old woman, Mother Nature, in one of her worst tantrums, has been inflicting so many cuffs and blows on me that she has left me no energy or disposition to kick anything—even myself.

The trouble is that I know so little about it. Did I write this book? What then made me do it?

In reading a volume of Fors Clavigera I once came upon a passage which sounded well but left me in a mist, and it relieved me to find a footnote to it in which the author says: “This passage was written many years ago and what I was thinking about at the time has quite escaped my memory. At all events, though I let it stand, I can find no meaning in it now.”

Little men may admire but must not try to imitate these gestures of the giants. And as a result of a little quiet thinking it over I seem able to recover the idea I had in my mind when I composed this child’s story and found a title for it in 94Blake. Something too of the semi-wild spirit of the child hero in the lines:

“Naught loves another as itself ...
And, father, how can I love you
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little birds
That pick up crumbs about the door.”

There nature is, after picking up the crumbs to fly away.

A long time ago I formed a small collection of children’s books of the early years of the nineteenth century; and looking through them, wishing that some of them had fallen into my hands when I was a child I recalled the books I had read at that time—especially two or three. Like any normal child I delighted in such stories as the Swiss Family Robinson, but they were not the books I prized most; they omitted the very quality I liked best—the little thrills that nature itself gave me, which half frightened and fascinated at the same time, the wonder and mystery of it all. Once in a while I got a book with something of this rare element in it, contained perhaps in some perfectly absurd narrative of animals taking human shape or using human speech, with such like transformations and vagaries; they could never be too extravagant, fantastic and incredible, so long as they expressed anything of the feeling I myself experienced when out of sight and sound of my fellow beings, whether out on the great level plain, with a glitter of illusory water all round me, or among the shadowy trees with their bird and insect sounds, or by the waterside and bed of tall dark bull-rushes murmuring in the wind.

These ancient memories put it in my mind to write a book which, I imagined, would have suited my peculiar taste of that early period, the impossible story to be founded on my own childish impressions and adventures, with a few dreams and fancies thrown in and two or three native legends and myths, such as the one of the Lady of the Hills, the incarnate spirit 95of the rocky Sierras on the great plains, about which I heard from my gaucho comrades when on the spot—the strange woman seldom viewed by human eye who is jealous of man’s presence and is able to create sudden violent tempests to frighten them from her sacred haunts.

That’s the story of my story, and to the question in your publisher’s practical mind, I’m sorry to have to say I don’t know. I have no way of finding out, since children are not accustomed to write to authors to tell them what they think of their books. And after all these excuses it just occurs to me that children do not read forewords and introductions; they have to be addressed to adults who do not read children’s books, so that in any case it would be thrown away. Still if a foreword you must have, and from me, I think you will have to get it out of this letter.

I remain,

Yours cordially,
W. H. Hudson.

November 14, 1917.



By Ezra Pound
Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, ‘tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Note.—This is not folk music, but Dr. Ker writes that the tune is to be found under the Latin words of a very ancient canon.



By J. C. Squire

It was eleven o’clock at night. I was preparing to write an essay. I was going to write it about a book. The book was a good and a beautiful book; it filled me with the noblest thoughts, made me a better man and fit for the most heroic actions. It was full of sagacity, of sound reasoning, of imagination checked by sense, of reflection shot through with vision. It was not only a good book, but a large and solid book, a book to be chewed like the cud, remembered and returned to, a virtuous and courageous book, a book of mettle, a book of weight. Unfortunately, or fortunately, just as I had finished reading the book and was biting the end of my fountain-pen, wondering how in God’s name I was to do it justice, I looked out of my attic window. The trees stood dark across the road; the river lay dark beyond the trees; but the light of the stars was not the only light. On the horizon, behind some trees and a house, glowing, reddening, rolling, there was a Fire.

There may be people who, when they see Fire in the distance, say, “Oh, what a pity! I hope the Insurance Company will not suffer heavily”; or “What a waste of material.” There may be people who say, “There is a Fire”—and then go to bed. There may even be people who say, “Well, what if there is a Fire?”—and turn grumpily to resume their discussion about the Ethics of Palaeontology or the Finances of a Co-operative Kitchen. If such people exist, I am not 98among them. When I saw this Fire I ran downstairs as hard as I could pelt and knocked up a neighbour. I said to him, “There is a Fire. Look!” He answered, “By Jove! so there is.” I said, “It may be twenty miles away or two miles away. The farther the bigger. If it is a long walk the compensation is proportionate.” He said, “Wait a minute till I put on my boots.” I said, “All right; but buck up or the Fire may die down.” He hurried; and we started walking. We did not know whither we were walking. All we knew was, and this thought slightly depressed us, that the direction of the Fire put out of the question any hope that it was the Albert Memorial or the Queen Victoria Memorial that was in process of combustion.

We walked along the river, past the terrace and the cocoa-butter factory, and the nuns’ school, and the creek, and the boathouses. The glare increased steadily as we went. When we reached the bridge it was in full view. An enormous factory was blazing away on the edge of the river below the bridge; the great span cut dark across the flames and the glow. As we climbed to the bridge we saw that there was a thin row of silent people leaning over the ironwork—looking at the Fire. The stars were above them and the velvet dark sky; the river flowed below them; a few hundred yards away great flames and intervolved clouds of smoke poured out of a huge building, the top windows of which were almost intolerably bright. The roof had gone and the pillars of stonework between the windows looked like the pillars of some ruined Greek temple against a magnificent gold sunset. It was all gold and blue; the moving gold and the still, all-embracing blue; and the crowd said nothing at all. There was no sound except when a great stretch of masonry fell in, and then there was a swelling sigh like that which greets the ascent of a rocket at a firework display. There was a wind, and it was chill; we passed on over the bridge and descended to the tow-path on 99the opposite bank. Along that path we went until we were opposite the Fire. About eight people, very indistinct in the gloom, were scattered amongst the waterside bushes. In front of us a fire-boat took up its position. Below and around the Fire little lights flashed; there were lights above the river (which was at low tide); voices shouted terrifically from the other bank; voices, addressed to ‘Arry, answered from the boat, and made reference to a line. An engine began working; hoses could be seen sending rising and falling sprays of water against a blaze that seemed capable of defying all the water in all the seas.

There we stood, watching. Only one sentence did we hear from our awed neighbours. There was a man who in the darkness looked portly and moustached. He took his pipe out of his mouth and said, optimistically, “Nice breeze; it ought to fan it along.” “Along” meant an enormous oil warehouse and wharf. Overhearing that remark, I told myself the truth. The moral man in me, the citizen, the patriot, were all fighting hard for supremacy. I was trying to say to myself: “This may mean ruin to somebody; you ought to pray that it should be got under at once”; and “How can you bear to see so much painfully-won material wastefully consumed!” and “This stuff would probably be useful at the Front; it has employed labour; its loss may be serious; its replacement may be difficult; Germany, Germany, Germany, Germany....” But all that company of virtuous selves fought a losing battle. Aloud or in quietness I (or they) could say all this and much more; but the still, small voice kept on repeating, “Don’t you be a humbug. It’s too good. You want this Fire to spread. You want to forget what it all means. You will be disappointed if the firemen got it under. You would like to see the next place catch fire, and the next place, and the next place, for it would be a devil of a great display.” Peccavi; that was certainly so.

100They got it under. They cornered it. Flames gave way to a great smoke; the smoke grew and grew; the path and the bushes faded from red into the indistinct hue of the starlit night. The mental glow died down; we felt cold, and moved, and walked towards home. And as we walked I meditated on the glory of Fire, fit subject for a poet, refreshment for the human spirit and exaltation for the soul. My emotions, when looking at it, had not been entirely base; I had felt, not merely a sensuous pleasure in the glories of that golden eruption under the blue roof of night, but wonder at the energies we keep under, their perpetuity and their source, and the grandeur of man, living amid so much vastness and power, valiantly struggling to cope with things greater than himself, save that they have no souls. And I thought that in the perfect and hygienic State where the firemen would find water, water everywhere, where the Super-Hose would be in use, where everything would be built of fireproof materials, and where extinguishers of a capacity not conceived by us would be available as a last resort, the wise sovereign would set apart beautiful large buildings, all made of timber, filled with oil, tar and sugar, surrounded with waste land and fronted by a wide reflecting river, which would periodically be set on fire for the consolation and the uplifting of men. I don’t want a big Fire made impossible.

And I wondered why it was that fire on a huge scale had never yet adequately inspired a poet. And then I thought that poets had, after all, done as yet very little, considering the materials that are daily displayed before them; and then I found great comfort and courage in the thought that the commonplace things, the things we all see and know, live by and live with, have so far merely been skirted, and that the provinces which remain to be explored and described and celebrated by imaginative writers are endless, and that only corners have as yet been spied into.



By E. L. Grant Watson

When I had completed my first book, I had a desire to write a preface, but was so strongly advised to let the book carry its own message that I refrained: with the result that only one reviewer saw what I was driving at. Later when the book was published in America, I was asked by my American publisher to write the preface which at first I had desired to write. Eighty per cent. of the American reviewers were not only sympathetic, but intelligent. Having been given the key, they read the book in the mood in which it was written. It seems to me permissible to provide such a key.

In writing this my third book, I have tried to portray a process of spiritual emancipation, of a freedom which is not content to find itself by any premature or artificial way of denial. Emancipation of this kind is difficult enough even for men; and for women, whose lives are, by nature of their biological functions, more closely interwoven in the material process, it is almost impossible. Yet sometimes it is achieved; perhaps most frequently through long or intense suffering. Yet all suffering ultimately entails joy; and so, also, through joy. Such a form of deliverance from the difficult complex of material things is not incompatible with the acceptance of life. Indeed the mistake has too often been made, that through any haphazard form of renunciation the spirit could find a short cut to its own freedom. Only through the acceptance 102of life can be attained a confidence strong enough for the happiness and that deliverance.

In this story I have chosen a woman so sensitive to the beauty of existence as to be conscious, through all her youth and adolescence, of that veiled terror that lurks at the very heart of beauty. Through fear she learns first humility, then courage and at last attains the spiritual power that raises its possessor above accident. And at each step her love for the increasing light of her own spirit grows stronger. It becomes more precious than even the unique love of woman for man. It becomes the arbiter of life, determining with a confidence unshaken by pity or desire the material limitations through which it can best find expression.

4.  From “Punch: The Immortal Liar.” To be published May, 1921.

5.  See Bibliography.

6.  See Bibliography.

7.  From “October.” See Bibliography.

8.  See page 138.

9.  See Couperus’ novel “Een Stille Kracht.”

10.  Door Duisternis tot Licht”—title under which Kartini’s Letters were first published in Holland.

11.  From “Collected Poems of W. H. Davies.” See Bibliography.


See Bibliography and page 136.

13.  From “Poems of T. S. Eliot.” See Bibliography.

14.  See Bibliography and page 142.

15.  See Bibliography.

16.  From “The Forerunner.” See Bibliography.

17.  From “Country Sentiment.” See Bibliography.

18.  This and the following two sketches are from Mr. Howe’s “The Anthology of Another Town.” See page 139.

19.  When I arranged with Mr. Hudson for the publication of an American Edition of “A Little Boy Lost” (see page 136), I asked him to write a special foreword to his American readers. He replied with this characteristic letter.

20.  From “Lustra and Earlier Poems.” See Bibliography.

21.  From “Books in General: Second Series.” See Bibliography.

22.  See Bibliography.


25 SEPTEMBER, 1915




SCEPTICISMS: Notes on Contemporary Poetry. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 306 pages; $2.00.


THE THREE CORNERED HAT. Translated by Jacob S. Fassett, Jr. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 208 pages; $1.50.


JEWISH CHILDREN. Stories Translated by Hannah Berman. 1920. 284 pages; 12mo, cloth; $2.00.


THE CONFESSIONS OF A LITTLE MAN DURING GREAT DAYS. Translated by R. S. Townsend. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 244 pages; [out of print].

THE CRUSHED FLOWER and Other Stories. Translated by Herman Bernstein. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 361 pages; $2.00.

THE LITTLE ANGEL and Other Stories. Translated by W. H. Lowe. 1915. 12mo, cloth; 255 pages; [out of print].


GONE WEST. By a Soldier-Doctor. Edited by H. M. G. and M. M. H. With a preface by Frederick W. Kendall. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 103 pages; $1.25.

THE BOOK OF MARJORIE. 1920. 12mo, Toyogami boards; 128 pages; $1.50.

WOMEN. 1919. 12mo, boards; 159 pages; $1.25.



BOLSHEVIK RUSSIA. Translated by Charles A. Carroll. 1920. 12mo, cloth, 319 pages; $2.50.


GOD AND MR. WELLS. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 144 pages; [out of print].

INDIA AND THE FUTURE. 1918. 8vo, cloth; 336 pages illustrated; [out of print].


THE TRIANGLE OF HEALTH. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 188 pages; [now published by Dr. Arnold].


WAR. A Play. Translated by Thomas Seltzer. 1916. 12mo, boards; 87 pages; [out of print].


FOUR PLAYS. Translated by Barrett H. Clark, with a Preface by Brieux. 1915. Contents: Olympe’s Marriage / Monsieur Poirier’s Son-in-Law / The House of Fourchambault / The Post-Script. Small 8vo, boards; 264 pages; $2.00.


THE CITY OF THE DISCREET. A Novel. Translated by Jacob S. Fassett. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 360 pages; $2.00.

CAESAR OR NOTHING. A Novel. Translated by Louis How. 12mo, cloth; 337 pages; $2.00.

YOUTH AND EGOLATRY. Translated by Jacob S. Fassett Jr. and Frances L. Phillips. 1920. Introduction by H. L. Mencken. [Number 1 in the Free Lance Books.] 12mo, half cloth; 267 pages; $1.75.



THE SINISTER REVEL. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, half cloth; 363 pages; $2.00.


OUR WAR WITH GERMANY: A History. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 398 pages, maps; $4.00.


NEW PATHS. 1919. 8vo, boards; 184 pages, illustrated; [out of print].


THE RUSSIAN SCHOOL OF PAINTING. Translated by Alexander Yarmolinsky. 1916. Small 4to, boards; 205 pages, illustrated; $5.00.


CRIMES OF CHARITY. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 278 pages; [out of print].


THE WILLY NICKY CORRESPONDENCE. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 166 pages. [Now published by Mr. Bernstein.]


MARTIN RIVAS. A Novel. Translated by Mrs. Charles Whitham. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 437 pages; $2.00.


ADVICE: A Book of Poems. 1920. 16mo, boards; 85 pages; $1.25.


SIX THEOSOPHIC POINTS and Other Writings. Translated 108by John Rolleston Earle, M. A. 1920. Contents: Six Theosophic Points / Six Mystical Points / On the Earthly and Heavenly Mysteries / On the Divine Intuition. 8vo, cloth; 220 pages; $3.00.

CONFESSIONS OF JACOB BOEHME. Compiled and Edited by W. Scott Palmer. Introduction by Evelyn Underhill. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 189 pages; $2.00.


THE ROMANTIC WOMAN. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 347 pages; $2.50.


SINGING CARR and Other Song-Ballads of the Cumberlands. 1918. 8vo, paper; 37 pages; $.75.


FOUR-DIMENSIONAL VISTAS. 1916. 8vo, cloth; 144 pages; $2.00.

ARCHITECTURE AND DEMOCRACY. 1918. 8vo, cloth; 229 pages, illustrated; $2.00.


OCTOBER and other Poems. 1920. 12mo, boards; 74 pages; $1.50.


BITS OF BACKGROUND: In One-Act Plays. 1919. Contents: Over Age / The Spark of Life / Strangers / Making a Man. 12mo, French boards; 120 pages; $1.00.


THE BELOVED STRANGER: Two Books of Song and a 109Divertisement for the Unknown Lover. Preface by William Marion Reedy. 1919. 12mo, half cloth; 121 pages; $1.50.

A CANTICLE OF PAN and Other Poems. 1920. 12mo, half cloth; 230 pages; $2.00.


THE DIARY OF A GERMAN SOLDIER. 1919. 12mo, boards; 253 pages; [out of print].


DANDELIONS. A Novel. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 356 pages; $2.00.


YOUTH AND THE BRIGHT MEDUSA. 1920. Contents: Coming Aphrodite! / The Diamond Mine / A Gold Slipper / Scandal / Paul’s Case / A Wagner Matinée / The Sculptor’s Funeral / “A Death in the Desert.” 12mo, cloth; 303 pages; $2.25.


THE OUTRAGE. A Novel. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 261 pages; $1.50.


THE ART THEATRE. 1917. 12mo, half cloth; 251 pages, illustrated; $2.00.


EAT AND BE WELL. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 147 pages; $1.25.

MEATLESS AND WHEATLESS MENUS. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 144 pages; $1.20.



BEATING ‘EM TO IT, or, The Sultan and the Sausages. Illustrated by Alfred J. Frueh. 1917. 12mo, boards; 126 pages; [out of print].


A STUDY IN ENGLISH METRICS. 1918. 8vo, cloth; 80 pages; $1.00.


THE ODES OF HORACE. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 181 pages; $1.50.


THE ECHO OF VOICES. Stories. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 304 pages; $2.00.


COLLECTED POEMS OF WILLIAM H. DAVIES. 12mo, boards; 190 pages; frontispiece by W. Rothenstein; $1.50.

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER TRAMP. With a preface by Bernard Shaw. 1917. 8vo, cloth; 367 pages; $2.50.


THE INWARD LIGHT. A Play. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 137 pages; $1.35.


THE ROLLING STONE. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 383 pages; $2.25.


THIS SIMIAN WORLD. 1920. Illustrated by the author. 12mo, cloth; 101 pages; $1.50.



THE PLOT AGAINST MEXICO. Introduction by John Farwell Moors. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 308 pages, illustrated; $1.50.


ZELLA SEES HERSELF. A Novel. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 315 pages; $2.00.

THE WAR WORKERS. A Novel. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 296 pages; $2.00.

THE PELICANS. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 358 pages; $2.50.

CONSEQUENCES. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 350 pages; $2.50.


THE THREE MULLA MULGARS. Illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 275 pages; boxed; $5.00.


WERE YOU EVER A CHILD? 1919. 12mo, cloth; 206 pages; $1.75.


MOLOCH. A Play. 1916. 12mo, boards; 102 pages; [out of print].


NJU. A Play. Translated by Rosalind Ivan. 1917. 12mo, boards; 96 pages; [out of print].


BOOKS IN GENERAL. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 280 pages; $2.00.

BOOKS IN GENERAL: Second Series. 1920. 8vo, cloth; 273 pages; $2.50.



COLOURS OF LIFE: Poems and Songs and Sonnets. 1918. 16mo, boards; 129 pages; $1.25.

JOURNALISM VERSUS ART. 1916. Square 12mo, cloth; 144 pages illustrated; [out of print].


THE GOLDEN BIRD and Other Sketches. Introduction by John Galsworthy. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 281 pages; $2.00.


EL GRAN GALEOTO. Edited by Aurelio M. Espinosa. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 271 pages; $1.50.


POEMS. 1920. 12mo, boards; 63 pages; $1.25.

EZRA POUND: His Metric and Poetry. 1918. 12mo, boards; 32 pages, frontispiece; $.35.


THE CROSS PULL. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 273 pages, frontispiece; $2.00.


MADAME BOVARY. Translated by Eleanor Marx Aveling. Introduction by Burton Roscoe. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 455 pages; $3.50.


THE MIDDLE TEMPLE MURDER. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 319 pages; $2.00.

THE TALLEYRAND MAXIM. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 295 pages; $2.00.

113THE PARADISE MYSTERY. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 306 pages; $2.00.

DEAD MEN’S MONEY. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 313 pages; $2.00.


THE MODERN NOVEL: A Study of the Purpose and Meaning of Fiction. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 336 pages; $2.00.


WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 283 pages; $2.25.


THE OTHER SIDE: and Other Poems. 1918. 16mo, boards; 80 pages; $1.00.

PETER JAMESON: A Romance. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 439 pages; $2.50.


AN ADOPTED HUSBAND. A Novel. Translated by M. Mitsui and Gregg M. Sinclair. 1919. 12mo, half cloth; 275 pages; $2.00.


THE WHISPERING DEAD. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 281 pages; $2.00.


THE SIGNAL and Other Stories. Translated by Captain Rowland Smith. 1915. 12mo, cloth; 363 pages; [out of print].


MADEMOISELLE DE MAUPIN. Translated from the French with an Introduction by Burton Roscoe. 1920. 8vo, cloth; 424 pages; $4.00.



THE MADMAN: His Parables and Poems. 1918. With three drawings by the author. 8vo, cloth; 73 pages; $1.50.

TWENTY DRAWINGS. With an Introductory Essay by Alice Raphael. 1919. 4to, half cloth; 62 pages; $5.00.
[There is also an edition of one hundred numbered copies, specially bound and autographed by Mr. Gibran. $15.00.]

THE FORERUNNER: His Parables and Poems. 1920. With five drawings by the author. 8vo, cloth; 64 pages; $1.50.


THE INSPECTOR GENERAL. A Comedy. Translated by Thomas Seltzer. 1916. 12mo, boards; 119 pages; [out of print].

TARAS BULBA: A Tale of the Cossacks. Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood. 1915. 12mo, cloth; 284 pages; $2.00.


THE PRECIPICE. A Novel. Translated from the Russian by M. Bryant. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 320 pages; [out of print].


THE WORLD PEACE AND AFTER. 1918. 12mo, boards; 154 pages; $1.25.


FAIRIES AND FUSILIERS. Poems. 1918. 16mo, boards; 97 pages; $1.25.

COUNTRY SENTIMENT. Poems. 1920. 16mo, boards; 104 pages; $1.25.


THE WHITE ROOK. 1918. 12mo, boards; 239 pages; $1.75.

115THE SHADOW OF MALREWARD. 1919. 12mo, boards; 336 pages; $1.90.


SHELLEY’S ELOPEMENT. 1918. 8vo, cloth; 296 pages; [out of print].


PISTOLS FOR TWO. 1917. Contents: George Jean Nathan / H. L. Mencken. 12mo, paper; 48 pages; [out of print].

HAROLD M. HAYS, Major, M. C., U. S. A.

CHEERIO. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 297 pages, frontispiece; $1.50.


PROPHETS OF DISSENT. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 228 pages; $1.50.


GREAT HEART. Introduction by Major-General Leonard Wood. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 256 pages, illustrated; $2.50.


THE SECRET BATTLE. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 266 pages; $2.00.

THE BOMBER GYPSY and Other Poems. 1920. 16mo, cloth; 111 pages; $1.50.


THE LAY ANTHONY. A Romance. 1919 [first published elsewhere 1914]. 12mo, cloth; 316 pages; $2.00.

MOUNTAIN BLOOD. A Novel. 1919 [first published elsewhere 1915]; 12mo, cloth; 368 pages; $2.25.

THE THREE BLACK PENNYS. A Novel. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 416 pages; $2.25.

116GOLD AND IRON. 1918. Contents: Wild Oranges / Tubal Cain / The Dark Fleece. 12mo, cloth; 332 pages; $2.00.

JAVA HEAD. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 225 pages; $2.00.
[One hundred numbered copies on special paper, specially bound and autographed by the author were also sold.]

THE HAPPY END. 1919. Contents: Lonely Valleys / The Egyptian Chariot / The Flower of Spain / Tol’able David / Bread / Rosemary Roselle / The Thrush in the Hedge. 12mo, cloth; 315 pages; $2.00.
[Fifty numbered copies on special paper, specially bound and autographed by the author were also sold.]

LINDA CONDON. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 304 pages; $2.00.
[Fifty numbered copies on special paper, specially bound and autographed by the author were also sold.]


SCIENTIFIC DISTRIBUTION. Introduction by James Howard Kehler. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 195 pages; $2.00.

LOOKING FORWARD: Mass Education Through Publicity. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 205 pages; $2.00.


HOW’S YOUR SECOND ACT. Introduction by George Jean Nathan, 1919. [First published elsewhere 1918.] 12mo, boards; 65 pages; $1.00.


NURSERY RHYMES OF NEW YORK CITY. 1919. 16mo, boards; 71 pages; $1.00.



CONFESSIONS OF AN OPERA SINGER. 1918. 8vo, cloth; 273 pages, illustrated; [out of print].


VENTURES IN COMMON SENSE. 1919. Introduction by H. L. Mencken; [number 2 in the Free Lance Books]; 12mo, half cloth; 273 pages; $1.75.


RICHARD KURT. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 341 pages; $2.25.


GREEN MANSIONS: A Romance of the Tropical Forest. With an Introduction by John Galsworthy. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 368 pages; $2.50.

BIRDS AND MAN. 1916. 8vo, cloth; 309 pages, frontispiece; $3.50.

TALES OF THE PAMPAS. 1917. Contents: El Ombú / Story of a Piebald Horse / Pelino Viera’s Confession / Niño Diablo / Marta Riquelme / Tecla and the Little Men / Appendix to El Ombú. 12mo, cloth; 261 pages; $1.50.

A LITTLE BOY LOST. 1918. Illustrated by A. D. M’Cormick. 8vo, cloth; 222 pages; $2.00.


PALESTINE: The Rebirth of an Ancient Nation. 1917. 8vo, cloth; 317 pages, illustrated; $2.50.


THE CABIN. A Novel. Translated by Francis Haffkine Snow and Beatrice M. Mekota. Introduction by John Garrett Underhill. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 310 pages; $2.00.



THE LOUDWATER MYSTERY. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 285 pages; $2.00.


ASPHALT: and Other Poems. 1917. 8vo, boards; 114 pages; $1.25.


HADDA PADDA. A Play. Translated by Sadie Louise Peller. Foreword by Georg Brandes. 1917. 12mo, boards; 80 pages; [out of print].


SUSSEX GORSE: The Story of a Fight. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 468 pages; $2.50.


ZANOZA. 1918. 16mo, boards; 112 pages, illustrated; [out of print].


MODERN RUSSIAN HISTORY. Translated by A. S. Kaun. 1916. Two volumes 8vo, cloth. Volume I 323 pages with maps. Volume II 384 pages with maps; $7.50 the set. (Sold only in sets.)


MUSHROOMS: A Book of Free Forms. 1916. [First published elsewhere 1916.] 12mo, boards; 156 pages; [out of print].

OTHERS: An Anthology of the New Verse. 1916. 12mo, boards; 160 pages; [out of print].

OTHERS: An Anthology of the New Verse. 1917. 12mo, boards; 120 pages; [out of print].



IDEALS AND REALITIES IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE. 1915. 8vo, cloth; 315 pages; $2.50.

MUTUAL AID: A Factor in Evolution. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 251 pages; $1.50.

A. J. L.

TALES AND TAGS. Illustrated by C. H. L. 1918. 8vo, half cloth; 115 pages; $1.25.


A HERO OF OUR TIME. A Novel. Translated by J. H. Wisdom and Marr Murray. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 344 pages; [out of print].


TARR. A Novel. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 379 pages; $2.00.


HOW THE WAR CAME. 1920. 8vo, cloth; 348 pages with map; $3.00.


LIFE AND STRUGGLES OF WILLIAM LOVETT in his Pursuit of Bread, Knowledge and Freedom. With some Short Account of the Different Associations he belonged To and of the Opinions He Entertained. Introduction by R. H. Tawney, B. A. 1920. Two Volumes: 16mo, cloth; 277 and 209 pages; $3.00 the set. (Sold only in sets.)


RUSSIA’S GIFT TO THE WORLD. 1915. 8vo, cloth; 48 pages; [out of print].



RIP VAN WINKLE: A Folk Opera in Three Acts. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 97 pages, illustrated; $1.50.

WASHINGTON: The Man who Made Us. 1918. 12mo, half cloth; 329 pages, illustrated; $2.00.


ROYAL HIGHNESS: A Novel of German Court Life. Translated by A. Cecil Curtis. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 372 pages; [out of print].


THE LAND OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN: Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia. 1920. 8vo, half cloth; 238 pages, frontispiece; $2.50.


YVETTE and ten Other Stories. Translated by Mrs. John Galsworthy. Introduction by Joseph Conrad. 1915. 12mo, cloth; 259 pages; $1.75.


AIRS AND BALLADS. 1913. 12mo, boards; 84 pages; $1.00.

THE STAGS HORNBOOK. 1918. 16mo, cloth; 446 pages; $2.00.


A BOOK OF PREFACES. (Opus 13). 1917. Contents: Joseph Conrad / Theodore Dreiser / James Huneker / Puritanism as a Literary Force. 12mo, cloth; 238 pages; $2.00.

PREJUDICES: First Series. 1919. Partial Contents: The Late Mr. Wells / Arnold Bennett / The Dean / Professor Veblen / The New Poetry Movement / The Heir of Mark 121Twain / Hermann Sudermann / George Ade / The Butte Bashkirtseff / 12mo, cloth; 254 pages; $2.00.

IN DEFENSE OF WOMEN. 1919 [First published elsewhere 1918]. 12mo, cloth; 218 pages; [Temporarily out of print. To be reissued in revised form in 1921].

A BOOK OF BURLESQUES. 1920 [First published elsewhere 1916]. Partial Contents: Death: a Philosophical Discussion / From the Program of a Concert / The Wedding: A Stage Direction / The Visionary / The Artist: a Drama Without Words. 12mo, cloth; 237 pages; $2.00.

THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 384 pages; [Temporarily out of print. To be reissued in revised form in 1921].

A BOOK OF CALUMNY. 1919. [First published elsewhere as “Damn,” 1918.] 12mo, cloth; 130 pages; [out of print].


HELIOGABALUS: A Buffoonery in Three Acts. 1920. 8vo, cloth; 183 pages; [out of print].
[Fifty numbered copies on special paper specially bound and autographed by the authors were also sold.]


FIRST PLAYS. 1920. Contents: Wurzel-Flummery / The Lucky One / The Boy Comes Home / Belinda / The Red Feathers. 12mo, cloth; 234 pages; $2.00.


FRED MITCHELL’S WAR STORY. 1917. 12mo, half cloth; 240 pages, illustrated; $1.50.


MADAME SAND. With a foreword by Mrs. Fiske and an introduction by Arthur Hopkins. 1917. 12mo, boards; 167 pages; $1.75.

122FIVE SOMEWHAT HISTORICAL PLAYS. 1918. Contents: Helena’s Husband / The Little Supper / Sisters of Susannah / The Roadhouse in Arden / Pokey. 12mo, Toyogami boards; 157 pages; $1.50.

MOLIERE: A Romantic Play. 1919. 12mo, French boards; 239 pages; $1.50.

SOPHIE: A Comedy. Prologue by Carl Van Vechten. 1919. 12mo, Toyogami boards; 264 pages; $1.75.


IN THE RUSSIAN RANKS. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 344 pages; [out of print].


WE MODERNS: Enigmas and Guesses. 1920. Introduction by H. L. Mencken; [number 4 in the Freelance Books]. 12mo, half cloth; 244 pages; $1.75.


JOHN MURRAY III. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 115 pages, illustrated; $1.50.


THE EVOLUTION OF AN INTELLECTUAL. 1920. Partial Contents: The Honesty of Russia / The Dream of Dostoevsky / Mr. Sassoon’s War Verses / Realism / The Gulf Between / The Sorrows of Satan / A Hero of our Time / The Problem of Intelligentsia / The Defeat of Imagination / The Republic of the Spirit. 8vo, cloth; 237 pages; $3.00.


MR. GEORGE JEAN NATHAN PRESENTS. 1917. Partial Contents: The Hawkshavian Drama / The American Musical 123Show / Slapsticks and Rosemary / The Case for Bad Manners / The Vaudeville / America’s Most Intellectual Actress / The Case of Mr. Winthrop Ames. 12mo, cloth; 310 pages; $2.00.

THE POPULAR THEATRE. 1918. Partial Contents: The Popular Theatre / Its Plays / Its Broadway and its Playwrights / Its Audiences / Its Music Shows / Its Comedians / Its Motion Pictures / Its Actors / Its Typical Season. 12mo, cloth; 236 pages; $2.00.

COMEDIANS ALL. A Book of Contradictory Criticism. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 269 pages; $2.00.

A BOOK WITHOUT A TITLE. 1919. [First published elsewhere 1918]. 12mo, boards; 85 pages; $1.00.


THE AMERICAN CREDO: A Contribution Toward the Interpretation of the National Mind. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 191 pages; $1.75.


CENTRAL EUROPE. Translated by Cristabel M. Meredith. 1917. 8vo, cloth; 362 pages; $3.00.


THE ANTICHRIST. 1920. Translation and Introduction by H. L. Mencken; [number 3 in the Free Lance Books]. 12mo, half cloth; 182 pages; $1.75.


THE BROWN MARE. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 145 pages.
[Now published by Doubleday, Page & Co.]


THE BOOK OF SELF. 1917. 12mo, boards; 273 pages; $2.00.



THE LIFE OF ROBERT OWEN by Himself. 1920. Introduction by M. Beer. 16mo, cloth; 368 pages; $1.50.


OUR WONDERFUL SELVES. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 349 pages; $2.00.


DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNMENT. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 304 pages; $2.00.


LUSTRA of Ezra Pound, with Earlier Poems. 1917. 12mo, boards; 202 pages; $1.50.

PAVANNES AND DIVISIONS, 1918. Partial Contents: Jodindranath Mawhwor’s Occupation / Aux Etuves de Wiesbaden / L’Homme Moyen Sensuel / Stark Realism / Twelve Dialogues of Fontenelle / Remy de Gourmont / Arnold Dolmetsch / Troubadours. 8vo, cloth; 272 pages, frontispiece; $2.50.


“NOH” or Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan. 1916. 8vo, cloth; 276 pages, frontispiece; $3.00.


MANON LESCAUT. Translated from the French with an Introduction by Burton Roscoe. 1919. 8vo, cloth; 345 pages; $3.50.


HOMO SAPIENS: A Novel in three parts. Translated by Thomas Seltzer. 1915. 12mo, cloth; 400 pages; [out of print].



THE SOLITARY HOUSE. 1918. 12mo, boards; 301 pages; $1.90.


THE DEAD HAVE NEVER DIED. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 262 pages; $2.00.


THE JEW PAYS: A Narrative of the Consequences of the War to the Jews of Eastern Europe, and of the Manner in which Americans have attempted to meet them. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 161 pages, illustrated; $1.50.


POINTED ROOFS. [Pilgrimage I]. Introduction by May Sinclair. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 303 pages; $2.00.

BACKWATER. [Pilgrimage II] 1917. 12mo, cloth; 293 pages; $2.00.

HONEYCOMB. [Pilgrimage III] 1918. 12mo, cloth; 286 pages; $2.00.

THE TUNNEL. [Pilgrimage IV] 1919. 12mo, cloth; 342 pages; $2.50.

INTERIM. [Pilgrimage V] 1920. 12mo, cloth; 284 pages; $2.00.


THE RED MARK and Other Stories. 1919. Contents: The Red Mark / Doubloon Gold / The Wicks of Macassar / The Practicing of Christopher / The Passion-Vine / The Adversary / The Slanted Beam / The Lost God / Meaning—Chase Yourself / Jetsam / East of Eastward / The Fourth Man / The Price of the Head / Amok. 12mo, cloth; 397 pages; $2.00.



GREAT RUSSIA: Her Promise and Achievement. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 264 pages; [out of print].


WHAT NEVER HAPPENED: A Novel of the Revolution. Translated by Thomas Seltzer. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 448 pages; $2.00.

THE PALE HORSE. Translated by Z. Vengerova. 1912. 12mo, cloth; 196 pages; [out of print.]


SONNETS OF HERBERT SCHOLFIELD. 1919. 12mo, half cloth; 151 pages; $1.50.


A WOMAN OF THIRTY. 1919. 12mo, half cloth; 135 pages. $1.50.


BARENT CREIGHTON: A Romance. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 335 pages. $2.00.


THE QUEEN OF CHINA and Other Poems. 1920. 8vo, half cloth; 207 pages; $2.00.


PRINCE MELODY IN MUSIC LAND. Illustrated by Mary Virginia Martin. 1917. 8vo, cloth; 183 pages; $1.50.


ARGONAUT AND JUGGERNAUT. 1920. 12mo, half cloth; 136 pages; $1.50.



THE LITTLE DEMON. A Novel. Translated by John Cournos and Richard Aldington. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 365 pages; [out of print].

THE OLD HOUSE. 1916. Stories. Translated by John Cournos. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 309 pages; [out of print].


WAR, PROGRESS, AND THE END OF HISTORY including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ; Translated by Alexander Bakshy. 1915. 8vo, cloth; 262 pages; [out of print].


THE PIONEERS OF LAND REFORM. 1920. Contents: “The Nationalization of the Land,” by Thomas Spence / “The Right of Property in Land,” by William Ogilvie / “Agrarian Justice,” by Thomas Paine. With an Introduction by M. Beer. 16mo, cloth; 219 pages; $1.50.


POEMS: First Series. 1919. 8vo, boards; 115 pages; $1.50.


NATIONAL MINIATURES. 1918. 12mo, cloth; 296 pages; [out of print].


MORAL. A Play. Translated by Charles Recht. 1916. 12mo, boards; 100 pages; [out of print].



BODY AND RAIMENT. Poems. 1919. 12mo, boards; 83 pages; $1.25.

PROFILES FROM CHINA: Sketches in Free Verse of People and Things Seen in the Interior. 1919. [First published elsewhere 1917]. 12mo, boards; 77 pages; $1.25.


THE JOURNAL OF LEO TOLSTOI. [Translated by Rose Strunsky.] 1917. 12mo, cloth; 447 pages; $2.50.


OLD JUNK. Foreword by S. K. Ratcliffe. 1920. 8vo, cloth; 208 pages; $2.00.


MOYLE CHURCH TOWN. 1915. 12mo, cloth; 388 pages; [out of print].

A DRAKE, BY GEORGE! 1916. 12mo, cloth; 397 pages; [out of print].


BRIAN BANKER’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 1917. 8vo, cloth; 300 pages; [out of print].


HAGAR’S HOARD. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 311 pages; $2.25.


THE PATHWAY OF ADVENTURE. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 312 pages; $2.00.



MUSIC AND BAD MANNERS. 1916. Contents: Music and Bad Manners / Music for the Movies / Spain and Music / Shall we Realize Wagner’s Ideals / The Bridge Burners / A New Principle in Music / Leo Ornstein. 12mo, boards; 243 pages; $2.00.

INTERPRETERS AND INTERPRETATIONS. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 368 pages; [out of print].

THE MERRY-GO-ROUND. 1918. Partial Contents: In Defense of Bad Taste / Music and Super-music / The New Art of the Singer / Music and Cooking / The Authoritative Work on American Music / De Senectute Cantorum. 12mo, boards; 334 pages; $2.00.

THE MUSIC OF SPAIN. 1918. Contents: Spain and Music / The Land of Joy / From George Borrow to Mary Garden / Notes. 12mo, boards; illustrated; 223 pages; $1.50.

IN THE GARRET. 1920. Partial Contents: Variations of a Theme by Havelock Ellis / The Folk Songs of Iowa / Isaac Albeniz / The Holy Jumpers / Sir Arthur Sullivan / On the Rewriting of Masterpieces / Oscar Hammerstein: An Epitaph / In the Theatres of the Purlieus. 12mo, boards; 347 pages; $2.00.

INTERPRETERS. 1920. Contents: Fremstad / Farrar / Mary Garden / Chaliapine / Mazarin / Yvette Guilbert / Nijinsky / Epilogue. 12mo, boards; 202 pages, illustrated; $2.00.


THE MEMOIRS OF A PHYSICIAN. Translated by Simeon Linden. Introduction and notes by Henry Pleasants, Jr. M. D. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 390 pages; [out of print].


A BOOK OF CAMPING. 1917. 12mo, cloth; illustrated; 195 pages. [Now published by Barse and Hopkins.]



THE RUSSIAN PROBLEM. 1914. [First published elsewhere 1915.] 8vo, cloth; 52 pages; [out of print].


THE RUSSIAN NOVEL. Translated by Colonel H. A. Sawyer. 1915. [First published elsewhere 1915.] 8vo, cloth; 348 pages, illustrated; [out of print].


RUSSIA’S MESSAGE: The People against the Czar. 1917. 8vo, cloth; 245 pages, illustrated; [out of print].


170 CHINESE POEMS. 1919. 8vo, half cloth; 243 pages; $2.50.

MORE TRANSLATIONS FROM THE CHINESE. 1919. 8vo, half cloth; 144 pages; $2.00.


THE LIFE OF FRANCIS PLACE (1771–1854). 1919. 8vo, cloth; 431 pages, frontispiece; $3.50.


WHERE BONDS ARE LOOSED. A Novel. 1917. 12mo, boards; 304 pages; $2.00.

THE MAINLAND. A Novel. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 311 pages; $2.00.

DELIVERANCE. A Novel. 1920. 12mo, cloth; 322 pages; $2.25.


WOLVES. A Novel. 12mo, cloth; 236 pages; $1.40.



THE BUFFOON. A Novel. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 428 pages; $2.50.

A CHASTE MAN. A Novel. 1917. 12mo, cloth; 338 pages; $2.50.

BRUTE GODS. A Novel. 1919. 12mo, cloth; 355 pages; $2.00.


CREATIVE INVOLUTION. Introduction by Edwin Markham. 1916. 12mo, cloth; 222 pages. [Now published by Miss Williams.]


MODERN ENGLISH WRITERS: A Study of Imaginative Literature 1890–1914. 8vo, 534 pages; $6.00.



A number of books are scheduled for publication in October. Some will doubtless be delayed, as manufacturing conditions are still difficult and transportation none too certain. However, I am bound to have out before the holidays three unusually charming gift books.

Van Vechten’s “The Tiger in the House” is the only complete account in English of the domestic cat. It is Carlo’s magnum opus and I have made in it, I think, quite the handsomest of all my books. A large octavo bound in half canvas with purple Japanese Toyogami sides stamped in gold. The text is set in Caslon old style type, and printed on India Tint Art Craft laid paper and since no more of this is to be manufactured till the indefinite future—if then—the edition for 1920 consists of only two thousand numbered copies. The book runs to almost four hundred pages, with bibliography and index and there are thirty-two full pages of the most charming cat pictures you ever saw. The price should be seven-fifty.

I am peculiarly proud to offer “Seven Men” by Max Beerbohm—the “incomparable Max.” These five stories were published in London last year by William Heinemann, but my edition will be different. For “Max” has given us an inimitable appendix and six drawings to illustrate it and neither text nor pictures have ever been printed before. Thus the Borzoi “Seven Men” becomes a real “first” and an item for collectors. On this account and because in order to give the book the odd shape (square octavo) I wanted I had to have the paper specially manufactured, the first printing consists 134of just two thousand numbered copies. It will probably be impossible to make further copies before next year. The probable price—four dollars.

W. H. Hudson’s “A Little Boy Lost” is now accepted, I fancy, as a classic for children of all ages. Dorothy P. Lathrop, whom many of you will remember for her delightfully imaginative pictures done last year for Walter de la Mare’s “The Three Mulla Mulgars,” has illustrated the Hudson book con amore. The result is a singularly fine large octavo—wholly successful, I think, as to paper, printing, and binding. I hoped this would not cost more than five dollars, but I fear the price must be set at six.

(By the way, I should like readers to realize this: that I try to make Borzoi Books as well as I know how. Then I base the price on what they cost to make. I do not fix the price first and then try to trim the quality so as to come within that price.)

Joseph Hergesheimer’s “San Cristobal de la Habana” is not fiction. It is about Havana—full of the colour he loves and of which he is a master—and Joe himself. It will please and interest his friends; it will probably enrage his enemies. But so engaging and candid a book will certainly be read. The first edition at any rate will be printed on Warren’s India Tint Olde Style paper and bound in half black cloth, with Chinese Orange board sides spattered with gold. Three fifty is the price and there will be a hundred numbered copies printed on Strathmore Laid paper, specially bound and autographed at seven-fifty.

I planned Mencken’s “Prejudices” to be an annual affair and the second series will be ready in October. It will be as provoking (and I hope and believe as popular) as its predecessor, though it will deal less with books and more with the ideas underlying them. The price will remain, for the moment anyway, two dollars.

135“The Gate of Ivory” is Sidney L. Nyburg’s latest and by far his most ambitious novel. The scene is the Baltimore of not so many years ago, and the story of Eleanor Gwynn, irresponsible, but brimful of audacity and charm, and Allen Conway, is close enough to the facts of a famous Maryland scandal to start it fairly on the way to the success I think it deserves. Two twenty-five, but as is likely to be the case with many books, the price will have to go up with subsequent editions, as a considerable increase in binding costs is expected this fall as well as some increase in printing.

I have the greatest confidence in Floyd Dell. He’s a different fellow, though, and doesn’t seem to have anything like the same kind of confidence in himself. But anyway last year I got him to write “Were You Ever a Child?”—essays on education as charming as their title, and now—at long last—I have his first novel. “Moon-Calf” is a real book or I’m sadly mistaken. It’s by far the best first novel by an American that has ever been offered me. The scene is our Middle West, and the story—obviously autobiographical—shows the influence of H. G. Wells in a way that marks, I think, a new note in our literature. Anyway I recommend “Moon-Calf” to every reader who cares a damn for my opinion of a novel; I want the book to sell so that Floyd Dell may be amply encouraged to do its sequel (when you read it you’ll see it has to have one). Probable price two-fifty.

André Tridon’s “Psychoanalysis and Behavior” is rather more of a real book than his first. It has a more organic unity—reads easier and is all in all a more finished product. Incidentally—though Tridon told me once that he was going to rewrite his first book every year for a different publisher—“Psychoanalysis and Behavior” duplicates none of the material in “Psychoanalysis.” The price is two-fifty.

The Atlantic Monthly occupies a unique position among our magazines, and most publishers, I think, realize the recommendation 136that serialization in it carries to readers of books. I am particularly glad, therefore, to say that Mr. Sedgwick printed several instalments of “Letters of a Javanese Princess” by Raden Adjeng Kartini in his magazine, where they aroused a good deal of interest and discussion. The original manuscript was very long and contained much indifferent material, so under our direction the translator, Mrs. Symmers, cut it down and prepared a careful, informing, introduction about Kartini, who, by the way, was the youngest daughter of a Javanese regent and probably the first feminist of the Orient. Then at the suggestion of Mrs. Knopf, whose favourite book this is, I asked Louis Couperus, the great Dutch novelist, to write a special introduction for our edition. His pages, few, but wholly charming, are an interesting feature of the book. A square octavo: probable price, four dollars.

I have reason to believe that “The Foundations of Social Science,” by James Mickel Williams, is a book that one can justly term epoch-making. Anyway, the work represents almost ten years out of the author’s life—years spent teaching in a small college rather than a large one, because only there could he hope to have sufficient time to devote to it. The manuscript was read for the author, and offered me for publication by an authority in whom I have the very greatest confidence—Charles A. Beard, formerly Professor of Politics at Columbia University and now director of the Bureau of Municipal Research in New York. In his book Professor Williams explains the human element in the motives of respect for law and the causes of increasing disrespect; the economic and political attitudes of employers on the one hand and labour on the other; progressive and reactionary judicial attitudes, especially with respect to labour legislation; the causes of national feeling and international rivalry and the difficulties in establishing a League of Nations. Ought not such a work prove of value and interest to intelligent citizens today? It will be a 137large octavo running to over five hundred pages and the price will probably be six dollars.

Last year Mr. Mencken got for me, and I published in his The Free Lance Books, “Ventures in Common Sense,” by E. W. Howe, of Atchison, Kansas. Immediately afterwards most enthusiastic letters reached the author from the big editors in the country—such men as Edward Bok, late of The Ladies’ Home Journal, John M. Siddall of The American Magazine, Don C. Seitz of The New York World, as well as letters from the presidents of very large corporations telling of their admiration for Mr. Howe’s philosophy. It seemed to me then as it does now that whether or not you agree with him—and more than likely you will disagree—Mr. Howe should be more widely known, particularly in the East. His unique little monthly is read almost exclusively by the really important people of the country, but the average man or woman would find it highly entertaining. For “Ed” Howe is the Middle West and the plain American incarnate and in his new book, “The Anthology of Another Town,” he presents a panorama, really, of a typically middle western small town. The price is two dollars.

A very important event in the book world will be, I think, the publication of a translation of Knut Hamsun’s “Hunger.” It is difficult to say why Hamsun is not known, really widely known, in the United States. A translation of one of his books was published a few years ago. But those who know Hamsun in the original seem to agree that “Shallow Soil” was the worst possible novel to select for launching him in America. I have been told of the greatness of Hamsun for a full five years now and at last I am stirred to action. There can be no question whatever that he is far and away the leading Scandinavian writer of the day, and if one may judge from the acclaim with which “Growth of the Soil” has been received in England, one of the very greatest writers of our age. 138You can read about him in The Encyclopaedia Britannica and you will learn there that “Hunger” is the book that first made him famous—almost a generation ago. This competent translation was first published in England in 1899, but Edwin Bjorkman’s informing, useful introduction, was specially written for me.

Many who read this have doubtless already seen the little printed fall announcements that went out from my office some months ago. In some respects this announcement is inaccurate. For example, I shall not publish de Bekker’s “Cuba.” Mr. de Bekker was delayed in getting the manuscript written and as the book required elaborate and special handling from an advertising point of view—it was to carry much advertising matter—I decided finally that since he was able to get another publisher it would be better so.

Over a year ago I persuaded Dr. A. A. Goldenweiser of The New York School for Social Research to undertake to write a good general introduction to anthropology—for the average reader. This was announced as “The Groundwork of Civilization,” but as Dr. Goldenweiser has only just delivered his manuscript, the book must go over until next year.

And now I would like to say something about my plans for 1921. In a general sort of way I want to give more attention to the work of American authors and publish more American books. American publishers show, I believe, altogether too much deference to work that reaches us from England. Obviously most of the time the young English novelist is a better craftsman than the American, but there are springing up all over the United States—in Detroit, St. Louis and Washington as well as New York, men and women who do know how to write and who have observed to advantage the life about them. To bring forward work of this kind shall be my chief aim. However, we must give the devil his due even if he be a foreigner, 139and I am quite sure that the feature of our spring list (I cannot be positive of this because at the time of writing negotiations are still in progress) will be our representation in America of the great Danish house of Gyldendal. Gyldendal were established in Copenhagen in 1770 and control today the majority of the best books published in Denmark and Norway. Not long ago they opened a branch in London especially for the publication of English translations of the books they control. I plan next spring to bring out the first of these, as follows:

“Growth of the Soil,” by Knut Hamsun. H. G. Wells has written Messrs. Gyldendal as follows regarding this novel:

Easton Glebe,
June 18, 1920.
Dear Sirs:

I have not yet written to thank you for sending me “Growth of the Soil” and making me acquainted with the work of Knut Hamsun. I am ashamed to say I have never before read a book by this great writer and indeed I did not know of his existence until now. It amazes me that he has so long been kept from the English reading public and the sooner you give us more of him the better I shall be pleased. I do not know how to express the admiration I feel for this wonderful book without seeming to be extravagant. I am not usually lavish with my praise but indeed the book impresses me as among the very greatest novels I have ever read. It is wholly beautiful; it is saturated with wisdom and humour and tenderness; these peasants are a triumph of creative understanding. I have seen no reviews here that do justice to this work. But I find my friends talking of it and, as it were, getting up their courage to appreciate it at its proper value. Give us one or two more books by Hamsun in English and our sluggish 140but on the whole fairly honest criticism will begin to realize the scale he is built upon—I say as much.

Very sincerely yours,
(Signed) H. G. Wells.

“The Song of the Blood Red Flower,” by the Finn, Johannes Linnankoski—a poetical tale of love which has created a veritable furor on the continent.

“Grim,” from the Danish of Svend Fleuron, a remarkable nature story—the life of a pike.

“Jenny,” by a Danish woman novelist, Sigrid Undset—to my mind an intensely interesting feminist novel—honest, convincing and moving.

“The Sworn Brothers,” a stirring tale of ancient Iceland, by Gunnar Gunnarsson, the leading Icelandic novelist—and a man who will bear watching. (His “Guest the One-Eyed” will follow.)

Once these books are out I expect that Gyldendal will send me over four or six new ones each season.

There will be two new detective stories by J. S. Fletcher, entitled probably “The Chestermarke Instinct” and “The Borough Treasurer,” as well as “The Wine of Life,” a novel of the studio and the stage by Arthur Stringer, author of “The Prairie Mother,” etc. Late in the season I expect to publish a new book by E. R. Punshon, whose “The Solitary House” was so well received two years ago. “Old Fighting Days” is an exciting tale of adventure and of the ringside in England in the days of Napoleon. These are books for entertainment pure and simple, but the volume of animal stories, by Hal G. Evarts, author of “The Cross Pull,” should be more than just that;—in fact, of universal and compelling interest.

January second should see the appearance of George Jean Nathan’s new book, “The Theatre, the Drama, the Girls.” It will be very similar to his last, “Comedians All,” quite his 141most successful—so far. At the same time John V. A. Weaver’s book of poems in the American language, should be ready. We are calling it “In America,” and it ought to attract a great deal of attention. The poems tell for the most part, good stories in the fascinating American vernacular.

This will be followed after an interval with a book (as yet unnamed) of characteristic light verse by “Morrie” Ryskind. “Morrie” is one of the best-known contributors to F. P. A.’s famous The Conning Tower in The New York Tribune, and F. P. A. himself has had not a little to do with the getting together of this book.

For a great many years all sorts of people whose opinions I respect have been talking to me about the novels of E. M. Forster. Finally Mr. Galsworthy, when he was last over here, told me about “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” which had never been published in the United States. I issued it last year, and although it did not have the sale I had hoped for, I am going right on reissuing Mr. Forster’s novels. The next will be “Howard’s End,” which has been out of print for a number of years. The regard which competent critics have for Mr. Forster’s work is very striking. A number of them, in fact, feel certain that it is only a matter of time before Forster’s work will be revived as has been that of Samuel Butler. We shall see. Meanwhile I have two other novels by Forster in line for publication, one of which has never been published in America.

Early last year I published “The Secret Battle,” a first novel by A. P. Herbert, a young Englishman. The book to me is still, as it was then, the very finest English novel that has come out of the war. Mr. Herbert has written a second novel entitled “The House by the River.” It is not, like “The Secret Battle,” the overflow of an intense emotional experience—it has nothing to do with the war. It is, in fact, a first rate murder story and of a very unusual kind. But the style of the first 142book is there,—my, how the man can write—the style that The Westminster Gazette said was “in many ways reminiscent of Defoe’s ... the model of the plain tale ... in which no artistic method of purpose obtrudes itself, but which nevertheless makes a single decisive artistic effect on the reader.”

Some other poetry will be Richard Aldington’s “Medallions in Clay,” translations mostly from the Greek; Conrad Aiken’s “Punch: the Immortal Liar”—a splendid title I think—and a volume by Michael Strange to be illustrated by John Barrymore.

André Tridon will have a new volume entitled “Psychoanalysis, Sleep and Dreams,” Joseph Hergesheimer expects to gather into “The Meeker Ritual” those stories which attracted so much attention when they appeared in The Century, and H. L. Mencken’s “In Defense of Women,” at present out of print, will be reissued—reset from an entirely revised manuscript. Mencken’s “The American Language,” by the way, greatly enlarged, revised and entirely reset, will be published (probably in two large volumes) in the fall of 1921.

Other books that I expect to have ready in the spring are “Deadlock,” the sixth volume in Dorothy Richardson’s now famous Pilgrimage Series, a fifth volume in Mencken’s The Free Lance Books, “Democracy and the Will to Power,” by James N. Wood, and a unique anthology of Devil Stories for which the editor, Dr. Maximilian J. Rudwin, formerly of Johns Hopkins University, has drawn on the literature of many countries. Dr. Rudwin has planned a series of diabolical anthologies of which this is to be the first.

I could go on, I suppose more or less indefinitely unfolding my plans for the future—they lay, didn’t Clarence Day say earlier in this book, “like onions on rafters”—but one must stop sometime and so I will speak only of two other books, both of them really unusual.

One, “In the Claws of the Dragon,” is a novel dealing with 143the marriage of an aristocratic young Chinaman—one of the bureaucrats—to a well-to-do French girl. The author, George Soulie de Morant is one of the most famous of French Sinologists, and his book presents as well as a fascinating and exciting story, a striking picture of life and customs in the country of Po-Chui.

The other book, “Children of No Man’s Land,” introduces another young English novelist, G. B. Stern. The manuscript was sent to one of my most trusted and capable readers. Here is his comment: “This book is the most brilliant and perfect study that exists of 1, the ultra-modern studio crowd, and 2, the hyphenate in war time; and it touches with wonderful deftness a variety of other matters—the Jews and Zionism; patriotism and internationalism; marriage and free love; heredity, convention and revolt.” I shall say no more, but I reproduce here a little sketch made by H. G. Wells after reading “Children of No Man’s Land”:



  1. Added ‘my’ on p. 37.
  2. Silently corrected typographical errors.
  3. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.

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