20 Oct. '10
Henri Becque, one of the greatest dramatists of the nineteenth century, and certainly the greatest realistic French dramatist, died at the close of the century in all the odour of obliquity. His work is now the chief literary topic in Paris; it has indeed rivalled the Portuguese revolution and the French railway strike as a subject of conversation among people who talk like sheep run. This dizzy popularity has been due to an accident, but it is, nevertheless, a triumph for Becque, who until recently had won the esteem only of the handful of people who think for themselves. I should say that no first-class modern French author is more perfectly unknown and uncared-for in England than Henri Becque. I once met a musical young woman who had never heard of Ibsen (she afterwards married a man with twelve thousand a year—such is life!), but I have met dozens and scores of enormously up-to-date persons who had never heard of Henri Becque. The most fantastic and the most exotic foreign plays have been performed in England, but I doubt if the London curtain has ever yet risen on a play of Becque's. Once in Soho, a historic and highly ceremonious repast took place. I entertained a personage to afternoon tea in a restaurant where afternoon tea had never been served before. This personage was the President of the Incorporated Stage Society. He asked me if I knew anything about a French play called "La Parisienne." I replied that I had seen it oftener than any other modern play, and that it was the greatest modern play of my acquaintance. He then inquired whether I would translate it for the Stage Society. I said I should be delighted to translate it for the Stage Society. He expressed joy and said the Committee would sit on the project. I never heard any more.
* * * * *
Becque wrote two absolutely first-class modern realistic plays. One is "La Parisienne." The other is "Les Corbeaux." Once, when I was in Paris, I saw exposed among a million other books in front of the window of Stock's shop near the Theatre Francais, a copy of "Les Corbeaux." Opening it, I perceived that it was an example of the first edition (1882). I asked the price, and to my horror the attendant hesitated and said that he would "see." I feared the price was going to be fancy. He came back and named four francs, adding, "It's our last copy." I paid the four francs willingly. On examining my trophy I saw that it was published by Tresse. Now Stock became Tresse's partner before he had that business to himself. I had simply bought the play at the original house of its publication. And it had fallen to me, after some twenty-five years, to put the first edition of "Les Corbeaux" out of print! I went home and read the play and was somewhat disappointed with it. I thought it very fine in its direct sincerity, but not on the same plane as "La Parisienne."
* * * * *
Antoine, founder of the Theatre Libre, director of the Theatre Antoine during brilliant years, and now director of the Odeon (which he has raised from the dead), was always a tremendous admirer of Becque. It was through Antoine that Paris had such magnificent performances of "La Parisienne." He had long expressed his intention of producing "Les Corbeaux," and now he has produced "Les Corbeaux" at the Odeon, where it has been definitely accepted and consecrated as a masterpiece. I could not refrain from going to Paris specially to see it. It was years since I had been in the Odeon. Rather brighter, perhaps, in its more ephemeral decorations, but still the same old-fashioned, roomy, cramped, provincial theatre, with pit-tier boxes like the cells of a prison! The audience was good. It was startingly good for the Odeon. The play, too, at first seemed old-fashioned—in externals. It has bits of soliloquies and other dodges of technique now demoded. But the first act was not half over before the extreme modernness of the play forced itself upon you. Tchehkoff is not more modern. The picture of family life presented in the first act was simply delightful. All the bitterness was reserved for the other acts. And what superb bitterness! No one can be so cruel as Becque to a "sympathetic" character. He exposes every foolishness of the ruined widow; he never spares her for an instant; and yet one's sympathy is not alienated. This is truth. This is a play. I had not read the thing with sufficient imagination, with the result that for me it "acted" much better than it had "read." Its sheer beauty, truth, power, and wit, justified even the great length of the last act. I thought Becque had continued to add scenes to the play after it was essentially finished. But it was I who was mistaken, not he. The final scene began by irritating and ended by completely capturing the public. Teissier, the principal male part, was played by M. Numes in a manner which amounted to genius.
* * * * *
"Les Corbeaux" was originally produced at the Theatre Francais, where it was not a success. All Becque's recent fame is due, after Becque, to Antoine. But now that Antoine has done all the hard work, Jules Claretie, the flaccid director of the Francais, shows a natural desire to share in the harvest. Becque left a play unfinished, "Les Polichinelles." Becque's executor, M. Robaglia, handed this play to M. Henri de Noussanne to finish—heaven knows why! M. de Noussanne has written novels entirely bereft of importance, and he is the editor of Gil Blas, a daily paper whose importance it would not be easy to underestimate; and his qualifications for finishing a play by Becque are in the highest degree mysterious. The finished play was to be produced at the Francais. The production would have been what the French call a solemnity. But M. Robaglia suddenly jibbed. He declared M. de Noussanne's work to be unworthy, and he declined to permit the performance of the play. Then followed a grand and complicated shindy—one of those charming Parisian literary rows which excite the newspapers for days! In the end it was settled that neither M. de Noussanne's version nor any other version of "Les Polichinelles" should ever be produced, but that the journal L'Illustration, which gives away the text of a new play as a supplement about twice a month, should give, one week, Becque's original incomplete version exactly as it stands, and M. de Noussanne's completed version the next week, to the end that "the public might judge." Then Stock, the publisher, came along and sought to prevent the publication on the strength of a contract by which Becque had bound himself to give Stock his next play. (Times change, but not publishers!) However, L'Illustration, being wealthy and powerful, rode over M. Stock. And the amateurs of Becque have duly had the pleasure of reading "Les Polichinelles." Just as "Les Corbeaux" was the result of experiences gained in a domestic smash-up, and "La Parisienne" the result of experiences gained in a feverish liaison, so "Les Polichinelles" is the result experiences gained on the Bourse. It is in five acts. The first two are practically complete, and they are exceedingly fine—quite equal to the very best Becque. The other acts are fragmentary, but some of the fragments are admirable. I can think of no living author who would be equal to the task of completing the play without making himself ridiculous.
* * * * *
Becque was unfortunate in death as in life. At his graveside, on the day of his funeral, his admirers said with one accord: "Every year on this day we will gather here. His name shall be a flag for us." But for several years they forgot all about Becque. And when at length they did come back, with a wreath, they could not find the grave. It was necessary to question keepers and to consult the official register of the cemetery. In the end the grave was rediscovered and every one recognized it, and speeches were made, and the wreath piously deposited. The next year the admirers came again, with another wreath and more speeches. But some one had been before them. A wreath already lay on the grave; it bore this inscription: "To my dear husband defunct." Now Becque, though worried by liaisons, had lived and died a bachelor. The admirers had discoursed, the year before, at the grave of a humble clerk. After this Paris put up a statue to Becque. But it is only a bust. You can see it in the Avenue de Villiers.
27 Oct. '10
At the beginning of this particularly active book season, reviewing the publishers' announcements, I wrote: "There are one or two promising items, including a novel by Henry James. And yet, honestly, am I likely at this time of day to be excited by a novel by Henry James? Shall I even read it? I know that I shall not. Still, I shall put it on my shelves, and tell my juniors what a miracle it is." Well, I have been surprised by the amount of resentment and anger which this honesty of mine has called forth. One of the politest of my correspondents, dating his letter from a city on the Rhine, says: "For myself, it's really a rotten shame; every week since 'Books and Persons' started have I hoped you would make some elucidating remarks on this wonderful writer's work, and now you don't even state why you propose not reading him!" And so on, with the result that when "The Finer Grain" (Methuen, 6s.) came along, I put my pride in my pocket, and read it. (By the way, it is not a novel but a collection of short stories, and I am pleased to see that it is candidly advertised as such.) I have never been an enthusiast for Henry James, and probably I have not read more than 25 per cent. of his entire output. The latest novel of his which I read was "The Ambassadors," and upon that I took oath I would never try another. I remember that I enjoyed "The Other House"; and that "In the Cage," a short novel about a post-office girl, delighted me. A few short stories have much pleased me. Beyond this, my memories of his work are vague. My estimate of Henry James might have been summed up thus: On the credit side:—He is a truly marvellous craftsman. By which I mean that he constructs with exquisite, never-failing skill, and that he writes like an angel. Even at his most mannered and his most exasperating, he conveys his meaning with more precision and clarity than perhaps any other living writer. He is never, never clumsy, nor dubious, even in the minutest details. Also he is a fine critic, of impeccable taste. Also he savours life with eagerness, sniffing the breeze of it like a hound.... But on the debit side:—He is tremendously lacking in emotional power. Also his sense of beauty is oversophisticated and wants originality. Also his attitude towards the spectacle of life is at bottom conventional, timid, and undecided. Also he seldom chooses themes of first-class importance, and when he does choose such a theme he never fairly bites it and makes it bleed. Also his curiosity is limited. He seems to me to have been specially created to be admired by super-dilettanti. (I do not say that to admire him is a proof of dilettantism.) What it all comes to is merely that his subject-matter does not as a rule interest me. I simply state my personal view, and I expressly assert my admiration for the craftsman in him and for the magnificent and consistent rectitude of his long artistic career. Further I will not go, though I know that bombs will now be laid at my front door by the furious faithful. As for "The Finer Grain," it leaves me as I was—cold. It is an uneven collection, and the stories probably belong to different periods. The first, "The Velvet Glove," strikes me as conventional and without conviction. I should not call it subtle, but rather obvious. I should call it finicking. In the sentence-structure mannerism is pushed to excess. All the other stories are better. "Crafty Cornelia," for instance, is an exceedingly brilliant exercise in the art of making stone-soup. But then, I know I am in a minority among persons of taste. Some of the very best literary criticism of recent years has been aroused by admiration for Henry James. There is a man on the Times Literary Supplement who, whenever he writes about Henry James, makes me feel that I have mistaken my vocation and ought to have entered the Indian Civil Service, or been a cattle-drover. However, I can't help it. And I give notice that I will not reply to scurrilous letters.
ENGLISH LITERARY CRITICISM
3 Nov. '10
I learn that Mr. Elkin Mathews is about to publish a collected uniform edition of the works (poems and criticism) and correspondence of the late Lionel Johnson. I presume that this edition will comprise his study of Thomas Hardy. The enterprise proves that Lionel Johnson has admirers capable of an excellent piety; and it also argues a certain continuance of the demand for his books. I was never deeply impressed by Lionel Johnson's criticisms, and still less by his verse, but in the days of his activity I was young and difficult and hasty. Perhaps my net was too coarse for his fineness. But, anyhow, I would give much to have a large homogeneous body of English literary criticism to read at. And I should be obliged to any one who would point out to me where such a body of first-rate criticism is to be found. I have never been able to find it for myself. When I think of Pierre Bayle, Sainte-Beuve, and Taine, and of the keen pleasure I derive from the immense pasture offered by their voluminous and consistently admirable works, I ask in vain where are the great English critics of English literature. Beside these French critics, the best of our own seem either fragmentary or provincial—yes, curiously provincial. Except Hazlitt we have, I believe, no even approximately first-class writer who devoted his main activity to criticism. And Hazlitt, though he is very readable, has neither the urbaneness, nor the science, nor the learning, nor the wide grasp of life and of history that characterizes the three above-named. Briefly, he didn't know enough.
* * * * *
Lamb would have been a first-class critic if he hadn't given the chief part of his life to clerkship. Lamb at any rate is not provincial. His perceptions are never at fault. Every sentence of Lamb proves his taste and his powerful intelligence. Coleridge—well, Coleridge has his comprehensible moments, but they are few; Matthew Arnold, with study and discipline, might perhaps have been a great critic, only his passion for literature was not strong enough to make him give up school-inspecting—and there you are! Moreover, Matthew Arnold could never have written of women as Sainte-Beuve did. There were a lot of vastly interesting things that Matthew Arnold did not understand and did not want to understand. He, too, was provincial (I regret to say)—you can feel it throughout his letters, though his letters make very good quiet reading. Churton Collins was a scholar of an extreme type; unfortunately he possessed no real feeling for literature, and thus his judgment, when it had to stand alone, cut a figure prodigiously absurd. And among living practitioners? Well, I have no hesitation in de-classing the whole professorial squad—Bradley, Herford, Dowden, Walter Raleigh, Elton, Saintsbury. The first business of any writer, and especially of any critical writer, is not to be mandarinic and tedious, and these lecturers have not yet learnt that first business. The best of them is George Saintsbury, but his style is such that even in Carmelite Street the sub-editors would try to correct it. Imagine the reception of such a style in Paris! Still, Professor Saintsbury does occasionally stray out of the university quadrangles, and puts on the semblance of a male human being as distinguished from an asexual pedagogue. Professor Walter Raleigh is improving. Professor Elton has never fallen to the depths of sterile and pretentious banality which are the natural and customary level of the remaining three.... You think I am letting my pen run away with me? Not at all. That is nothing to what I could say if I tried. Mr. J.W. Mackail might have been one of our major critics, but there again—he, too, prefers the security of a Government office, like Mr. Austin Dobson, who, by the way, is very good in a very limited sphere. Perhaps Austin Dobson is as good as we have. Compare his low flight with the terrific sweeping range of a Sainte-Beuve or a Taine. I wish that some greatly gifted youth now aged about seventeen would make up his mind to be a literary critic and nothing else.
MRS. ELINOR GLYN
10 Nov. '10
After all, the world does move. I never thought to be able to congratulate the Circulating Libraries on their attitude towards a work of art; and here in common fairness I, who have so often animadverted upon their cowardice, am obliged to laud their courage. The instant cause of this is Mrs. Elinor Glyn's new novel, "His Hour" (Duckworth, 6s.) Everybody who cares for literature knows, or should know, Mrs. Glyn's fine carelessness of popular opinion (either here or in the States), and the singleness of her regard for the art which she practises and which she honours. Troubling herself about naught but splendour of subject and elevation of style, she goes on her career indifferent alike to the praise and to the blame of the mob. (I use the word "mob" in Fielding's sense—as meaning persons, in no matter what rank of life, capable of "low" feelings.) Perhaps Mrs. Glyn's latest book is the supreme example of her genius and of her conscientiousness. In essence it is a short story, handled with a fullness and a completeness which justify her in calling it a novel. There are two principal characters, a young half-Cossack Russian prince and an English widow of good family. The pet name of the former is "Gritzko." The latter is generally called Tamara. Gritzko is one of those heroic heroes who can spend their nights in the company of prostitutes, and their days in the solution of deep military problems. He is very wealthy; he has every attribute of a hero, including audacity. During their very first dance together Gritzko kissed Tamara. "They were up in a corner; every one's back was turned to them happily, for in one second he had bent and kissed her neck. It was done with such incredible swiftness...." etc. "But the kiss burnt into Tamara's flesh." ... "'How dare you? How dare you?' she hissed."
* * * * *
Later, "... 'I hate you!' almost hissed poor Tamara." (Note the realistic exactitude of that "almost.") "Then his eyes blazed.... He moved nearer to her, and spoke in a low concentrated voice: 'It is a challenge; good. Now listen to what I say: In a little short time you shall love me. That haughty little head shall be here on my breast without a struggle, and I shall kiss your lips until you cannot breathe.' For the second time in her life Tamara went dead white...." Then follow scenes revelry, in which Mrs. Glyn, with a courage as astonishing as her power, exposes all that is fatuous and vicious in the loftiest regions of Russian fashionable society. Later, Gritzko did kiss Tamara on the lips, but she objected. Still later he got the English widow in a lonely hut in a snowstorm, and this was "his hour." But she had a revolver. "'Touch me and I will shoot,' she gasped.... He made a step forward, but she lifted the pistol again to her head ... and thus they glared at one another, the hunter and the hunted.... He flung himself on the couch and lit a cigarette, and all that was savage and cruel in him flamed from his eyes. 'My God!... and still I loved you—madly loved you ... and last night when you defied me, then I determined you should belong to me by force. No power in heaven or earth can save you! Ah! If you had been different, how happy we might have been! But it is too late; the devil has won, and soon I will do what I please.'... For a long time there was silence.... Then the day-light faded quite, and the Prince got up and lit a small oil lamp. There was a deadly silence.... Ah! She must fight against this horrible lethargy.... Her arm had grown numb.... Strange lights seemed to flash before her eyes—yes—surely—that was Gritzko coming towards her! She gave a gasping cry and tried to pull the trigger, but it was stiff.... The pistol dropped from her nerveless grasp.... She gave one moan.... With a bound Gritzko leaped up...."
* * * * *
"The light was grey when Tamara awoke. Where was she? What had happened? Something ghastly, but where? Then she perceived her torn blouse, and with a terrible pang remembrance came back to her. She started up, and as she did so realized that she was in her stockinged feet. The awful certainty.... Gritzko had won—she was utterly disgraced.... She hurriedly drew off the blouse, then she saw her torn underthings.... She knew that however she might make even the blouse look to the casual eyes of her godmother, she could never deceive her maid."... "She was an outcast. She was no better than Mary Gibson, whom Aunt Clara had with harshness turned out of the house. She—a lady!—a grand English lady!... She crouched down in a corner like a cowed dog...." Then he wrote to her formally demanding her hand. And she replied: "To Prince Milaslavski. Monsieur,—I have no choice; I consent.—Yours truly, Tamara Loraine." Thus they were married. Her mood changed. "Oh! What did anything else matter in the world since after all he loved her! This beautiful fierce lover! Visions of enchantment presented themselves.... She buried her face in his scarlet coat...." I must add that Gritzko had not really violated Tamara. He had only ripped open her corsage to facilitate respiration, and kissed her "little feet." She honestly thought herself the victim of a satyr; but, though she was a widow, with several years of marriage behind her, she had been quite mistaken on this point. You see, she was English.
* * * * *
"His Hour" is a sexual novel. It is magnificently sexual. My quotations, of course, do less than justice to it, but I think I have made clear the simple and highly courageous plot. Gritzko desired Tamara with the extreme of amorous passion, and in order to win her entirely he allowed her to believe that he had raped her. She, being an English widow, moving in the most refined circles, naturally regarded the outrage as an imperious reason for accepting his hand. That is a summary of Mrs. Glyn's novel, of which, by the way, I must quote the dedication: "With grateful homage and devotion I dedicate this book to Her Imperial Highness The Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia. In memory of the happy evenings spent in her gracious presence when reading to her these pages, which her sympathetic aid in facilitating my opportunities for studying the Russian character enabled me to write. Her kind appreciation of the finished work is a source of the deepest gratification to me."
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The source of the deepest gratification to me is the fact that the Censorship Committee of the United Circulating Libraries should have allowed this noble, daring, and masterly work to pass freely over their counters. What a change from January of this year, when Mary Gaunt's "The Uncounted Cost," which didn't show the ghost of a rape, could not even be advertised in the organ of The Times Book Club! After this, who can complain against a Library Censorship? It is true that while passing "His Hour," the same censorship puts its ban absolute upon Mr. John Trevena's new novel "Bracken." It is true that quite a number of people had considered Mr. Trevena to be a serious and dignified artist of rather considerable talent. It is true that "Bracken" probably contains nothing that for sheer brave sexuality can be compared with a score of passages in "His Hour." What then? The Censorship Committee must justify its existence somehow. Mr. Trevena ought to have dedicated his wretched provincial novel to the Queen of Montenegro. He painfully lacks savoir-vivre. In the early part of this year certain mysterious meetings took place, apropos of the Censorship, between a sub-committee of the Society of Authors and a sub-committee of the Publishers' Association. But nothing was done. I am told that the Authors' Society is now about to take the matter up again. But why?
[24 Nov. '10]
I suppose that there are few writers less "literary" than Mr. W.H. Hudson, and few among the living more likely to be regarded, a hundred years hence, as having produced "literature." He is so unassuming, so mild, so intensely and unconsciously original in the expression of his naive emotions before the spectacle of life, that a hasty inquirer into his idiosyncrasy might be excused for entirely missing the point of him. His new book (which helps to redeem the enormous vulgarity of a booming season), "A Shepherd's Life: Impressions of the South Wiltshire Downs" (Methuen), is soberly of a piece with his long and deliberate career. A large volume, yet one arrives at the end of it with surprising quickness, because the pages seem to slip over of themselves. Everything connected with the Wiltshire downs is in it, together with a good deal not immediately therewith connected. For example, Mr. Hudson's views on primary education, which are not as mature as his views about shepherds and wild beasts of the downs. He seldom omits to describe the individualities of the wild beasts of his acquaintance. For him a mole is not any mole, but a particular mole. He will tell you about a mole that did not dig like other moles but had a method of its own, and he will give you the reason why this singular mole lived to a great age. As a rule, he remarks with a certain sadness, wild animals die prematurely, their existence being exciting and dangerous. How many men know England—I mean the actual earth and flesh that make England—as Mr. Hudson knows it? This is his twelfth book, and four or five of the dozen are already classics. Probably no literary dining club or association of authors or journalists male or female will ever give a banquet in Mr. Hudson's honour. It would not occur to the busy organizers of these affairs to do so. And yet—But, after all, it is well that he should be spared such an ordeal.
NEO-IMPRESSIONISM AND LITERATURE
[8 Dec. '10]
The exhibition of the so-called "Neo-Impressionists," over which the culture of London is now laughing, has an interest which is perhaps not confined to the art of painting. For me, personally, it has a slight, vague repercussion upon literature. The attitude of the culture of London towards it is of course merely humiliating to any Englishman who has made an effort to cure himself of insularity. It is one more proof that the negligent disdain of Continental artists for English artistic opinion is fairly well founded. The mild tragedy of the thing is that London is infinitely too self-complacent even to suspect that it is London and not the exhibition which is making itself ridiculous. The laughter of London in this connexion is just as silly, just as provincial, just as obtuse, as would be the laughter of a small provincial town were Strauss's "Salome," or Debussy's "Pelleas et Melisande" offered for its judgment. One can imagine the shocked, contemptuous resentment of a London musical amateur (one of those that arrived at Covent Garden box-office at 6 a.m. the other day to secure a seat for "Salome") at the guffaw of a provincial town confronted by the spectacle and the noise of the famous "Salome" osculation. But the amusement of that same amateur confronted by an uncompromising "Neo-Impressionist" picture amounts to exactly the same guffaw. The guffaw is legal. You may guffaw before Rembrandt (people do!), but in so doing you only add to the sum of human stupidity. London may be unaware that the value of the best work of this new school is permanently and definitely settled—outside London. So much the worse for London. For the movement has not only got past the guffaw stage; it has got past the arguing stage. Its authenticity is admitted by all those who have kept themselves fully awake. And in twenty years London will be signing an apology for its guffaw. It will be writing itself down an ass. The writing will consist of large cheques payable for Neo-Impressionist pictures to Messrs. Christie, Manson, and Woods. London is already familiar with this experience, and doesn't mind.
* * * * *
Who am I that I should take exception to the guffaw? Ten years ago I too guffawed, though I hope with not quite the Kensingtonian twang. The first Cezannes I ever saw seemed to me to be very funny. They did not disturb my dreams, because I was not in the business. But my notion about Cezanne was that he was a fond old man who distracted himself by daubing. I could not say how my conversion to Cezanne began. When one is not a practising expert in an art, a single word, a single intonation, uttered by an expert whom one esteems, may commence a process of change which afterwards seems to go on by itself. But I remember being very much impressed by a still-life—some fruit in a bowl—and on approaching it I saw Cezanne's clumsy signature in the corner. From that moment the revelation was swift. And before I had seen any Gauguins at all, I was prepared to consider Gauguin with sympathy. The others followed naturally. I now surround myself with large photographs of these pictures of which a dozen years ago I was certainly quite incapable of perceiving the beauty. The best still-life studies of Cezanne seem to me to have the grandiose quality of epics. And that picture by Gauguin, showing the back of a Tahitian young man with a Tahitian girl on either side of him, is an affair which I regard with acute pleasure every morning. There are compositions by Vuillard which equally enchant me. Naturally I cannot accept the whole school—no more than the whole of any school. I have derived very little pleasure from Matisse, and the later developments of Felix Vallotton leave me in the main unmoved. But one of the very latest phenomena of the school—the water-colours of Pierre Laprade—I have found ravishing.
* * * * *
It is in talking to several of these painters, in watching their familiar deportment, and particularly in listening to their conversations with others on subjects other than painting, that I have come to connect their ideas with literature. They are not good theorizers about art; and I am not myself a good theorizer about art; a creative artist rarely is. But they do ultimately put their ideas into words. You may receive one word one day and the next next week, but in the end an idea gets itself somehow stated. Whenever I have listened to Laprade criticizing pictures, especially students' work, I have thought about literature; I have been forced to wonder whether I should not have to reconsider my ideals. The fact is that some of these men are persuasive in themselves. They disengage, in their talk, in their profound seriousness, in their sense of humour, in the sound organization of their industry, and in their calm assurance—they disengage a convincingness that is powerful beyond debate. An artist who is truly original cannot comment on boot-laces without illustrating his philosophy and consolidating his position. Noting in myself that a regular contemplation of these pictures inspires a weariness of all other pictures that are not absolutely first rate, giving them a disconcerting affinity to the tops of chocolate-boxes or to "art" photographs, I have permitted myself to suspect that supposing some writer were to come along and do in words what these men have done in paint, I might conceivably be disgusted with nearly the whole of modern fiction, and I might have to begin again. This awkward experience will in all probability not happen to me, but it might happen to a writer younger than me. At any rate it is a fine thought. The average critic always calls me, both in praise and dispraise, "photographic"; and I always rebut the epithet with disdain, because in the sense meant by the average critic I am not photographic. But supposing that in a deeper sense I were? Supposing a young writer turned up and forced me, and some of my contemporaries—us who fancy ourselves a bit—to admit that we had been concerning ourselves unduly with inessentials, that we had been worrying ourselves to achieve infantile realisms? Well, that day would be a great and a disturbing day—for us.
BOOKS OF THE YEAR
[12 Jan. '11]
The practice of reviewing the literature of the year at the end thereof is now decaying. Newspapers still give a masterly survey of the motor-cars of the year. I remember the time when it was part of my duty as a serious journalist to finish at Christmas a two-thousand word article, full of discrimination as fine as Irish lace, about the fiction of the year; and other terrifying specialists were engaged to deal amply with the remaining branches of literature. To-day, one man in one column and one day will polish off what five of us scarcely exhausted in seven columns and seven days. I am referring to the distant past of a dozen years ago, before William de Morgan was born, and before America and Elinor Glyn had discovered each other. Last week many newspapers dismissed the entire fiction of 1910 in a single paragraph. The consequence is that there has been no "book of the year." A critic without space to spread himself hesitates to pronounce downright for a particular book. A critic engaged in the dangerous art of creating the "book of the year" wants room to hedge, and in the newest journalism there is no room to hedge. So the critic refrains from the act of creation. He imitates the discretion of the sporting tipster, who names several horses as being likely to win one race. "Among the books of the year are Blank, Blank, and Blank," he says. (But what he means is, "The book of the year is to be found among Blank, Blank, and Blank.") Naturally he selects among the books whose titles come into his head with the least difficulty; that is to say, the books which he has most recently reviewed; that is to say, the books published during the autumn season. No doubt during the spring season he has distinguished several books as being "great," "masterly," "unforgettable," "genius"; but ere the fall of the leaf these works have completely escaped from his memory. No author, and particularly no novelist who wishes to go down to posterity, should publish during the spring season; it is fatal.
* * * * *
The celebrated "Dop Doctor" (published by Heinemann) and Mr. Temple Thurston's "City of Beautiful Nonsense" (published by Chapman and Hall) have both sold very well indeed throughout the entire year. In fact, they were selling better in December than many successful novels published in the autumn. Yet neither of them, assuming that there had been a book of the year, would have had much chance of being that book. The reason is that they have not been sufficiently "talked about." I mean "talked about" by "the right people." And by "right people" I mean the people who make a practice of dining out at least three times a week in the West End of London to the accompaniment of cultured conversation. I mean the people who are "in the know," politically, socially, and intellectually—who know what Mr. F.E. Smith says to Mr. Winston Churchill in private, why Mrs. Humphry Ward made such an enormous pother at the last council meeting of the Authors' Society, what is really the matter with Mr. Bernard Shaw's later work, whether Mr. Balfour does indeed help Mr. Garvin to write the Daily Telegraph leaders, and whether the Savoy Restaurant is as good under the new management as under the old. I reckon there are about 12,055 of these people. They constitute the elite. Without their aid, without their refined and judicial twittering, no book can hope to be a book of the year.
Now I am in a position to state that no novel for very many years has been so discussed by the elite as Mr. Forster's "Howard's End" (published by Edward Arnold). The ordinary library reader knows that it has been a very considerable popular success; persons of genuine taste know that it is a very considerable literary achievement; but its triumph is that it has been mightily argued about during the repasts of the elite. I need scarcely say that it is not Mr. Forster's best book; no author's best book is ever the best received—this is a rule practically without exception. A more curious point about it is that it contains a lot of very straight criticism of the elite. And yet this point is not very curious either. For the elite have no objection whatever to being criticized. They rather like it, as the alligator likes being tickled with peas out of a pea-shooter. Their hides are superbly impenetrable. And I know not which to admire the more, the American's sensitiveness to pea-shooting, or the truly correct Englishman's indestructible indifference to it. Mr. Forster is a young man. I believe he is still under thirty, if not under twenty-nine. If he continues to write one book a year regularly, to be discreet and mysterious, to refrain absolutely from certain themes, and to avoid a too marked tendency to humour, he will be the most fashionable novelist in England in ten years' time. His worldly prospects are very brilliant indeed. If, on the other hand, he writes solely to please himself, forgetting utterly the existence of the elite, he may produce some first-class literature. The responsibilities lying upon him at this crisis of his career are terrific. And he so young too!
"THE NEW MACHIAVELLI"
[2 Feb. '11]
A pretty general realization of the extremely high quality of "The New Machiavelli" has reduced almost to silence the ignoble tittle-tattle that accompanied its serial publication in the English Review. It is years since a novel gave rise to so much offensive and ridiculous chatter before being issued as a book. When the chatter began, dozens of people who would no more dream of paying four-and-sixpence for a new novel that happened to be literature than they would dream of paying four-and-sixpence for a cigar, sent down to the offices of the English Review for complete sets of back numbers at half a crown a number, so that they could rummage without a moment's delay among the earlier chapters in search of tit-bits according to their singular appetite. Such was the London which calls itself literary and political! A spectacle to encourage cynicism! Rumour had a wonderful time. It was stated that not only the libraries but the booksellers also would decline to handle "The New Machiavelli." The reasons for this prophesied ostracism were perhaps vague, but they were understood to be broad-based upon the unprecedented audacity of the novel. And really in this exciting year, with Sir Percy Bunting in charge of the national sense of decency, and Mr. W.T. Stead still gloating after twenty-five years over his success in keeping Sir Charles Dilke out of office—you never can tell what may happen!
* * * * *
However, it is all over now. "The New Machiavelli" has been received with the respect and with the enthusiasm which its tremendous qualities deserve. It is a great success. And the reviews have on the whole been generous. It was perhaps not to be expected that certain Radical dailies should swallow the entire violent dose of the book without kicking up a fuss; but, indeed, Mr. Scott-James, in the Daily News, ought to know better than to go running about after autobiography in fiction. The human nose was not designed by an all-merciful providence for this purpose. Mr. Scott-James has undoubted gifts as a critic, and his temperament is sympathetic; and the men most capable of appreciating him, and whose appreciation he would probably like to retain, would esteem him even more highly if he could get into his head the simple fact that a novel is a novel. I have suffered myself from this very provincial mania for chemically testing novels for traces of autobiography. There are some critics of fiction who talk about autobiography in fiction in the tone of a doctor who has found arsenic in the stomach at a post-mortem inquiry. The truth is that whenever a scene in a novel is really convincing, a certain type of critical and uncreative mind will infallibly mutter in accents of pain, "Autobiography!" When I was discussing this topic the other day a novelist not inferior to Mr. Wells suddenly exclaimed: "I say! Supposing we did write autobiography!"... Yes, if we did, what a celestial rumpus there would be!
* * * * *
The carping at "The New Machiavelli" is naught. For myself I anticipated for it a vast deal more carping than it has in fact occasioned. And I am very content to observe a marked increase of generosity in the reception of Mr. Wells's work. To me the welcome accorded to his best books has always seemed to lack spontaneity, to be characterized by a mean reluctance. And yet if there is a novelist writing to-day who by generosity has deserved generosity, that novelist is H.G. Wells. Astounding width of observation; a marvellously true perspective; an extraordinary grasp of the real significance of innumerable phenomena utterly diverse; profound emotional power; dazzling verbal skill: these are qualities which Mr. Wells indubitably has. But the qualities which consecrate these other qualities are his priceless and total sincerity, and the splendid human generosity which colours that sincerity. What above all else we want in this island of intellectual dishonesty is some one who will tell us the truth "and chance it." H.G. Wells is pre-eminently that man. He might have told us the truth with cynicism; he might have told it meanly; he might have told it tediously—and he would still have been invaluable. But it does just happen that he has combined a disconcerting and entrancing candour with a warmth of generosity towards mankind and an inspiring faith in mankind such as no other living writer, not even the most sentimental, has surpassed. And yet in the immediate past we have heard journalists pronouncing coldly: "This thing is not so bad." And we have heard journalists asserting in tones of shocked reprehension: "This thing is not free from faults!" Who the deuce said it was free from faults? But where in fiction, ancient or modern, will you find another philosophical picture of a whole epoch and society as brilliant and as honest as "The New Machiavelli"? Well, I will tell you where you will find it. You will find it in "Tono-Bungay." H.G. Wells is a bit of sheer luck for England. Some countries don't know their luck. And as I do not believe that England is worse than another, I will say that no country knows its luck. However, as regards this particular bit, there are now some clear signs of a growing perception.
* * * * *
The social and political questions raised in "The New Machiavelli" might be discussed at length with great advantage. But this province is not mine. Nor could the rightness or the wrongness of the hero's views and acts affect the artistic value of the novel. On purely artistic grounds the novel might be criticized in several ways unfavourably. But in my opinion it has only one fault that to any appreciable extent impairs its artistic worth. The politically-creative part, as distinguished from the politically-shattering part, is not convincing. The hero's change of party, and his popular success with the policy of the endowment of motherhood are indeed strangely unconvincing—inconceivable to common sense. Here the author's hand has trembled, and his persuasive power forsaken him. Happily he recaptured it for the final catastrophe, which is absolutely magnificent, a masterpiece of unforced poignant tragedy and unsentimental tenderness.
SUCCESS IN JOURNALISM
[16 Feb. '11]
It is notorious that in London—happily so different from other capitals—there is no connexion between the advertisement and the editorial departments of the daily papers. It is positively known, for instance, that the exuberant editorial praise poured out upon the new "Encyclopaedia Britannica" has no connexion whatever with the tremendous sums paid by the Cambridge University Press for advertising the said work of reference. The almost simultaneous appearance, of the advertisements and of the superlative reviews is a pure coincidence. Now, in Paris it would not be a coincidence, and nobody would have the courage to pretend that it was. But London is a city apart. In view of this admitted fact I was intensely startled, not to say outraged, by a conversation at which I assisted the other day. A young acquaintance, with literary and journalistic proclivities, and with a touching belief in the high mission of the London press, desired advice as to the best method of reaching the top rungs of the ladder of which he had not yet set foot even on the lowest rung. I therefore invited him to meet a celebrated friend of mine, an author and a journalist, who has recently quitted an important editorial chair.
* * * * *
The latter spoke to him as follows: "My dear boy, you had better get a situation in the advertisement department of a paper—no matter what paper, provided it has a large advertisement revenue; and no matter what situation, however modest." Here the youth interrupted with the remark that his desire was the editorial department. The ex-editor proceeded calmly: "I have quite grasped that.... Well, you must work yourself up in the advertisement department! What you chiefly require for success is a good suit, a good club, an imperturbable manner, and a cultivated taste in restaurants and bars. In your spare time you must write long dull articles for the reviews; and you must rediscover London in a series of snappish sketches for a half-penny daily, and also write a novel that is just true enough to frighten the libraries and not too true to make them refuse it altogether: it must absolutely be such a novel as they will supply only to such subscribers as insist on having it. When you have worked your way very high up in the advertisement department, and are intimate with advertisement agents and large advertisers to the point of being able to influence advertisements amounting to fifty thousand pounds a year—then, and not before, you may look about you and decide what big serious daily paper you would like to assist in editing. Make your own choice. Then see the proprietor. If he is not already in the House of Lords, he will assuredly be on Mr. Asquith's private list of five hundred candidates for the House of Lords. The best moment to catch him is as he comes out of the Palace Theatre, about a quarter past eleven of a night. Tell him on the pavement that you have edited a paper in Chicago, and he will at once invite you into his automobile. You go with him to his club, and then you confess that you have not edited a paper in Chicago, but that you have adopted this device in order to get speech with him, and that all you desire is a humble post on the editorial staff of his big serious daily.
* * * * *
"He will insult you. He will inform you that he has forty candidates for the most insignificant post on the editorial staff, and that there is not the remotest chance for you. You then tell him that you are an expert writer, a contributor to the monthlies and quarterlies, and the author of a novel which Mr. James Douglas has described as the most stupendously virile work of fiction since Tourgeniev's 'Crime and Punishment.' He will insult you anew, and demand your immediate departure. You then say to him, in a casual tone: 'I can bring you ten thousand pounds' worth of ads. a year.' He will read your deepest soul with one glance, and will reply, in a casual tone, 'I dare say I could find you something regular to do on the magazine page.' You go on airily: 'I'm pretty sure I can bring twenty thousand pounds' worth of ads. a year.' He will then order R.P. Muria cigars, and say with benevolence: 'It just happens that the head of our reviewing department is under notice. How would that suit you?' You then unmask all your batteries, and tell him squarely that you can bring him advertisements to the tune of a thousand pounds a week. Whereupon he will reply, shaking you fraternally by the hand: 'My dear fellow, I will make you editor at once.'"
* * * * *
So spake my celebrated friend. Of course, he is a cynic. He may be a criminal cynic. But he spake so. From time to time London dailies do me the honour to reprint saucy paragraphs from this weekly article of mine. My friend said to me: "You can print what I've said, if you like. No daily paper in London will reprint that."
[2 March '11]
Among the astonishing phenomena of a spring season which promises to be quite as successful, in its way, as the very glorious autumn season (publishers must have spent a happy Christmas!) is the success of a really distinguished book. I mean "Marie Claire." Frankly, I did not anticipate this triumph. For, of course, it is very difficult for an author of experience to believe that a good book will be well received. However, "Marie Claire" has been helped by a series of extraordinary reviews. No novel of recent years has had such favourable reviews, or so many of them, or such long ones. I have seen all of them—all except one have been very laudatory—and I am in a position to state that if placed end to end they would stretch from Miss Corelli's house in Stratford-on-Avon across the main to Mr. Hall Caine's castle in the Isle of Man. This may be called praise. One of the best, if not the best, was signed "J.L.G." in the Observer. It is indeed a solemn and terrifying thought that Mr. Garvin, who, by means of thoroughly bad prose persisted in during many years, has at last laid the Tory Party in ruins, should be so excellent a judge of literature. Mr. Garvin made his debut in the London Press, I think, as a literary critic; and it is a pity (from the Tory point of view) that he did not remain a literary critic. I am convinced that Mr. Balfour and Lord Lansdowne would personally subscribe large sums to found a literary paper for him to edit, on condition that he promised never to write another line of advice to their party. The Telegraph would bleed copiously; the Observer would expire; the Fortnightly Review would stagger in its heavy stride, but there would be hope for Tories!... In the meantime, five thousand copies of the English translation of "Marie Claire" were sold within a week of publication. It is improbable that the total English sale will be less than ten thousand. Now translated novels rarely achieve popularity. The last one to be popular here was Fogazzaro's "The Saint"; but the popularity of "The Saint" was not due to artistic causes.
* * * * *
I think I may say that I am thoroughly accustomed to the society of women novelists. Peculiar circumstances in my obscure life have thrown me among women writers of all sorts; and I can boast that I have helped to form more than one woman novelist; so that the prospect of meeting a new one does not agitate me in the slightest degree. I make friends with the new one at once, and in about two minutes we are discussing prices with the most touching familiarity. Nevertheless, I own that I was somewhat disturbed in my Midland phlegm when the author of "Marie Claire" came to see me. The book, read in the light of the circumstances of its composition, had unusually impressed me and stirred my imagination. It was not the woman novelist who was coming to see me, but Marie Claire herself, shepherdess, farm-servant, and sempstress; it was a mysterious creature who had known how to excite enthusiasm in a whole regiment of literary young men.... And literary young men as a rule are extremely harsh, even offensive, in their attitude towards women writers. I stood at the top of the toy stairs of the pavillon which I was then occupying in Paris, and Madame Marguerite Audoux came up the stairs towards me, preceded by one of her young sponsors, and followed by another. A rather short, plump little lady, very simply dressed, and with the simplest possible manner—just such a comfortable human being as in my part of the world is called a "body"! She had, however, eyes of a softness and depth such as are not seen in my part of the world. With that, a very quiet, timid, and sweet voice. She was a sempstress; she looked like a sempstress; and she was well content to look like a sempstress. Nobody would have guessed in ten thousand guesses that here was the author of the European book of the year. But when she talked the resemblance to the sempstress soon vanished. Sempstresses—of whom I have also known many—do not talk as she talked. Not that she said much! Not that she began to talk at once! Far from it. When I had referred to the goodness of her visit, and she had referred to the goodness of my invitation, and she was ensconced in an arm-chair near the fire, she quite simply left the pioneer work of conversation to her bodyguard. Her bodyguard was very proud, and very nervous, as befitted its age.
* * * * *
It was my reference to Dostoievsky that first started her talking. In all literary conversations Dostoievsky is my King Charles's head. She had previously stated that she had read very little indeed. But at any rate she had read Dostoievsky, and was well minded to share my enthusiasms. Indeed, Dostoievsky drew her out of her arm-chair and right across the room. We were soon discussing methods of work, and I learnt that she worked very slowly indeed, destroying much, and feeling her way inch by inch rather than seeing it clear ahead. She said that her second book, dealing with her life in Paris, might not be ready for years. It was evident that she profoundly understood the nature of work—all sorts of work. Work had, indeed, left its honourable and fine mark upon her. She made some very subtle observations about the psychology of it, but unfortunately I cannot adequately report them here.... From work to prices, naturally! It was pleasing to find that she had a very sane and proper curiosity as to prices and conditions in England. After I had somewhat satisfied this curiosity she showed an equally sane and proper annoyance at the fact that the English and American rights of "Marie Claire" had been sold outright for a ridiculous sum. She told me the exact sum. It was either L16 or L20—I forget which.
* * * * *
When Madame Audoux had gone I reviewed my notions of her visit, and I came to the conclusion that she was very like her book. She had said little, and nothing that was striking, but she had mysteriously emanated an atmosphere of artistic distinction. She was a true sensitive. She had had immense and deep experience of life, but her adventures, often difficult, had not disturbed the nice balance of her judgment, nor impaired the delicacy of her impressions. She was an amateur of life. She was awake to all aspects of it. And a calm common sense presided over her magnanimous verdicts. She was far too wary, sagacious, and well acquainted with real values to allow herself to be spoilt, even the least bit, by a perilous success, however brilliant. Such were my notions. But it is not in a single interview that one can arrive at a due estimate of a mind so reserved, dreamy, and complex as hers. The next day she left Paris, and I have not seen her since.
[20 April '11]
I opened Mr. John Masefield's novel of modern London, "The Street of To-day" (Dent and Co.), with much interest. But I found it very difficult to read. This is a damning criticism; but what would you have? I found it very difficult to read. It is very earnest, very sincere, very carefully and generously done. But these qualities will not save it. Even its intelligence, and its alert critical attitude towards life, will not save it. I could say a great deal of good about it, and yet all that I could say in its favour would not avail. It would certainly be better if it were considerably shorter. I estimate that between fifty and a hundred pages of small talk and miscellaneous observation could be safely removed from it without impairing the coherence of the story. The amount of small talk recorded is simply terrific. Not bad small talk! Heard in real life, it would be reckoned rather good small talk! But artistically futile! Small talk, and cleverer small talk than this, smothered and ruined a novel more dramatic than this—I mean Mr. Zangwill's "The Master." I am convinced that a novel ought to be dramatic—intellectually, spiritually, or physically—and "The Street of To-day" is not dramatic. It is always about to be dramatic and it never is. Chapter III, for instance, contains very important material, essential to the tale, fundamental. But it is not presented dramatically. It is presented in the form of a psychological essay. Now Mr. Masefield's business as a novelist was to have invented happenings for the presentment of the information contained in this essay. He has saved himself a lot of trouble, but to my mind he has not yet come to understand what a novel is.
* * * * *
His creative power is not yet mature. That is to say, he does not convince the reader in the measure which one would expect from a writer of his undoubted emotional faculty. And yet he is often guilty of carelessness in corroborative detail—such carelessness as only a mighty tyrant over the reader could afford. The story deals largely with journalism. And one of the papers most frequently mentioned is "The Backwash." Now no paper could possibly be called "The Backwash." It is conceivable that a paper might be called "The Tip Top." It is just conceivable that a paper might be called "Snip Snap." But "The Backwash," never! Mr. Masefield knows this as well as anybody. The aim of his nomenclature was obviously satiric—an old dodge which did very well in the loose Victorian days, but which is excruciatingly out of place in a modern strictly realistic novel. A trifle, you say! Not at all! Every time "The Backwash" is mentioned, the reader thinks: "No paper called 'The Backwash' ever existed." And a fresh break is made in Mr. Masefield's convincingness. A modern novelist may not permit himself these freakish negligences. Another instance of the same fault is the Christian name of Mrs. Bailey in "The New Machiavelli." It was immensely clever of Mr. Wells to christen her "Altiora." But in so doing he marred the extraordinary brilliance of his picture of her. If you insist that I am talking about trifles, I can only insist that a work of art is a series of trifles.
* * * * *
Mr. Masefield's style suffers in a singular manner. It is elaborate in workmanship—perhaps to the point of an excessive self-consciousness. But its virtue is constantly being undermined by inexactitudes which irritate and produce doubt. For example:
"They entered the tube station. In the train they could not talk much. Lionel kept his brain alert with surmise as to the character of the passengers. Like Blake, a century before, he found 'marks of weakness, marks of woe,' on each face there." Blake in the tube! Mr. Masefield will produce a much better novel than "The Street of To-day."
LECTURES AND STATE PERFORMANCES
[25 May '11]
Driven by curiosity I went to hear Mr. H.G. Wells's lecture last Thursday at the Times Book Club on "The Scope of the Novel." Despite the physical conditions of heat, and noise, and an open window exactly behind the lecturer (whose voice thus flowed just as much into a back street as into the ears of his auditors), the affair was a success, and it is to be hoped that the Times Book Club will pursue the enterprise further. It was indeed a remarkable phenomenon: a first-class artist speaking the truth about fiction to a crowd of circulating-library subscribers! Mr. Wells was above all defiant; he contrived to put in some very plain speaking about Thackeray, and he finished by asserting that it was futile for the fashionable public to murmur against the intellectual demands of the best modern fiction—there was going to be no change unless it might be a change in the direction of the more severe, the more candid, and the more exhaustively curious.
* * * * *
Of course the lecturer had to vulgarize his messages so as to get them safely into the brain of the audience. What an audience! For the first time in my life I saw the "library" public in the mass! It is a sight to make one think. My cab had gone up Bond Street, where the fortune-tellers flourish, and their flags wave in the wind, and their painted white hands point alluringly up mysterious staircases. These fortune-tellers make a tolerable deal of money, and the money they make must come out chiefly of the pockets of well-dressed library subscribers. Not a doubt but that many of Mr. Wells's audience were clients of the soothsayers. A strange multitude! It appeared to consist of a thousand women and Mr. Bernard Shaw. Women deemed to be elegant, women certainly deeming themselves to be elegant! I, being far from the rostrum, had a good view of the backs of their blouses, chemisettes, and bodices. What an assortment of pretentious and ill-made toilettes! What disclosures of clumsy hooks-and-eyes and general creased carelessness! It would not do for me to behold the "library" public in the mass too often!
* * * * *
I could not but think of the State performance of "Money" at Drury Lane on the previous night: that amusing smack at living artists. There has been a good deal of straight talk about it in the daily and weekly papers. But the psychology of the matter has not been satisfactorily explained. Blame has been laid at the King's door. I think wrongly, or at least unfairly. Besides being one of the two best shots in the United Kingdom, the King is beyond any question a man of honourable intentions and of a strict conscientiousness. But it is no part of his business to be sufficiently expert to choose a play for a State performance. He has never pretended to have artistic proclivities. Who among you, indeed, could be relied upon to choose properly a play for a State performance? Take the best modern plays. Who among you would dare to suggest for a State performance Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," Bernard Shaw's "Man and Superman," John Galsworthy's "Justice," or Granville Barker's "The Voysey Inheritance"? Nobody! These plays are unthinkable for a State performance, because their distinction is utterly beyond the average comprehension of the ruling classes—and State performances are for the ruling classes. These plays are simply too good. Yet if you don't choose an old play you must choose one of these four plays, or make the worst of both worlds. Modern plays being ruled out, you must either have Shakespeare or—or what? What is there? "The Cenci"?
* * * * *
Can you not now sympathize with the King as he ran through, in his mind, the whole range of British drama? But the truth is that he did not run through the whole range of British drama. Invariably in these cases a list is submitted for the sovereign to choose from. It is an open secret that in this particular case such a list was prepared. Whether or not it was prepared by Mr. Arthur Collins, organizer of Drury Lane pantomimes, I cannot say. The list contained Shakespeare and Lytton, and I don't know who else. Conceivably the King did not want Shakespeare. To my mind he would be quite justified in not wanting Shakespeare. We are glutted with Shakespeare in the Haymarket. Well, then,—why not "Money"? It is a famous play. We all know its name and the name of its author. And that is the limit of our knowledge. Why should the King be supposed to be acquainted with its extreme badness? I confess I didn't know it was so bad as now it seems to be. And, not very long ago, was not Sir William Robertson Nicoll defending the genius of Lytton in the British Weekly? It is now richly apparent that "Money" ought not to have been included in the list submitted to the King. But it is easy to be wise after the event.
* * * * *
Let it be for ever understood that State theatres and State performances never have had, never will have, any real connexion with original dramatic art. That is one reason why I am against a national theatre, whose influence on the drama is bound to be sinister. To count the performance of "Money" as an insult to living artists is to lose sight of a main factor in the case. The State and living art must be mutually opposed, for the reason that the State must, and quite rightly does, represent the average of opinion. For an original artist to expect aid from the State is silly; it is also wrong. In expressing a particular regard for the feelings of musical comedy, and in announcing beforehand his intention of being present at the first night of the new Gaiety masterpiece, the King was properly fulfilling his duties as a monarch towards dramatic art. Art is not the whole of life, and to adore musical comedy is not a crime. The best thing original artists can do is to keep their perspective undistorted.
A PLAY OF TCHEHKOFF'S
[8 June '11]
At last, thanks to the Stage Society, we have had a good representative play of Anton Tchehkoff on the London stage. Needless to say, Tchehkoff was done in the provinces long ago. "The Cherry Orchard," I have been told, is Tchehkoff's dramatic masterpiece, and I can well believe it. But it is a dangerous thing to present foreign masterpieces to a West End audience, and the directors of the Stage Society discovered, or rediscovered, this fact on Sunday night last. The reception of "The Cherry Orchard" was something like what the reception of Ibsen's plays used to be twenty years ago. It was scarcely even a mixed reception. There could be no mistake about the failure of the play to please the vast majority of the members of the Society. At the end of the second act signs of disapproval were very manifest indeed, and the exodus from the theatre began. A competent authority informed me that at the end of the third act half the audience had departed; but in the narrative fever of the moment the competent authority may have slightly exaggerated. Certain it is that multitudes preferred Aldwych and the restaurant concerts, or even their own homes, to Tchehkoff's play. And as the evening was the Sabbath you may judge the extreme degree of their detestation of the play.
* * * * *
A director of the Stage Society said to me on the Monday: "If our people won't stand it, it has no chance, because we have the pick here." I didn't contradict him, but I by no means agreed that he had the pick there. The managing committee of the Society is a very enlightened body; but the mass of the members is just as stupid as any other mass. Its virtue is that it pays subscriptions, thus enabling the committee to make experiments and to place before the forty or fifty persons in London who really can judge a play the sort of play which is worthy of curiosity.
* * * * *
In spite of the antipathy which is aroused, "The Cherry Orchard" is quite inoffensive. For example, there is nothing in it to which the Censor could possibly object. It does not deal specially with sex. It presents an average picture of Russian society. But it presents the picture with such exact, uncompromising truthfulness that the members of the Stage Society mistook nearly all the portraits for caricatures, and tedious caricatures. In naturalism the play is assuredly an advance on any other play that I have seen or that has been seen in England. Its naturalism is positively daring. The author never hesitates to make his personages as ridiculous as in life they would be. In this he differs from every other playwright that I know of. Ibsen, for instance; and Henri Becque. He has carried an artistic convention much nearer to reality, and achieved another step in the evolution of the drama. The consequence is that he is accused of untruth and exaggeration, as Becque was, as Ibsen was. His truthfulness frightens, and causes resentment.
* * * * *
People say: "No such persons exist, or at any rate such persons are too exceptional to form proper material for a work of art." No such persons, I admit, exist in England; but then this play happens to be concerned with Russia, and even the men's costumes in it are appalling. Moreover, persons equally ridiculous and futile do exist in England, and by the hundred thousand; only they are ridiculous and futile in ways familiar to us. I guarantee that if any ten average members of the august Stage Society itself were faithfully portrayed on the stage, with all their mannerisms, absurdities, and futilities, the resulting picture would be damned as a gross and offensive caricature. People never look properly at people; people take people for granted; they remain blind to the facts; and when an artist comes along and discloses more of these facts than it is usual to disclose, of course there is a row. This row is a fine thing; it means that something has been done. And I hope that the directors of the Stage Society are proud of the reception of "The Cherry Orchard." They ought to be.
SEA AND SLAUGHTER
[6 July '11]
Recent spectacular events at Court have been the cause of a considerable amount of verse, indifferent or offensive. But it is to be noticed that the poets of this realm have not been inspired by the said events. I mean such writers as W.B. Yeats, Robert Bridges, Lord Alfred Douglas, W.H. Davies. And yet I see no reason why a Coronation, even in this day of figure-heads and revolting snobbery, should not be the subject of a good poem—a poem which would not be afflicting to read, either for the lettered public or for the chief actor in the scene. However, the time for such poems has apparently not yet arrived. And meanwhile the sea-and-slaughter school have been doing an excellent work these last few weeks in demonstrating how entirely absurd the sea-and-slaughter school is. Mr. Alfred Noyes has been very prominent, not only in his native page, Blackwood's, but also in the Fortnightly Review. Mr. Noyes is, I believe, the only living versifier whose books are, in the words of an American editor, "a commercial proposition." He is by many thought to be a poet. Personally, I have always classed him with Alfred Austin, not yet having come across one single stanza of his which would fall within my definition of poetry. Here is an extract from his "A Salute from the Fleet":
Mother, O grey sea-mother, thine is the crowning cry!—
I am bound to interrupt the quotation here in order to vent my feelings of extreme irritation caused by the mere phrase. "O grey sea-mother." Why should this phrase drive me to fury? It does. Well, to recommence:
Mother, O grey sea-mother, thine is the crowning cry! Thine the glory for ever in the nation born of thy womb! Thine is the Sword and the Shield and the shout that Salamis heard, Surging in AEschylean splendour, earth-shaking acclaim! Ocean-mother of England, thine is the throne of her fame!
Fancy standing on the shore to-day and addressing the real sea in these words and accents! Fancy the poet doing it! The mood and the mentality are prehistoric. I would not mind Mr. Noyes putting himself lyrically into the woaded skin of our ancestors. But I do think he might have got a little nearer the mark in indicating the "throne of her fame." Because I expect Mr. Noyes knows as well as anybody that the real throne of England's fame is not in the sea at all. England's true fame springs from the few acts of national justice which she has accomplished, and from the generous impulses which as a nation she has had—as, for example, in her relations with Italy; as, for example, in the Factory Acts which prevented children from working eighteen hours a day six or seven days a week. The patriotic versifiers of this country will, if they persist, end by making the sea impossible for a plain man to sail on. I have long felt that I want never again to read anything about the sea, except the advertisements of auxiliary yawls and cutters in the Yachting World. I recommend these advertisements as a balm for sores caused by rhymed marine Jingoism.
A BOOK IN A RAILWAY ACCIDENT
[20 July '11]
Books are undoubtedly cursed, and rendered unreadable in a new sense. I don't know how many years it is since I was informed that Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's "L'Eve Future" was a really fine novel. I bought it, and I was so upset, in my narrow youthfulness, to find that the author had made a hero of Thomas Alva Edison, and called him by his name, that I could not accomplish more than two chapters. Later I was again informed that "L'Eve Future" was a really fine novel, and I had another brief tussle with it, and was vanquished by its dullness. I received a third warning, and started yet again, and disliked the book rather less, and then I completely lost it in a removal. After months or years it mysteriously turned up, like a fox-terrier who has run off on an errand of his own. But I did not resume it. And then after another long interval the idea that I absolutely must read "L'Eve Future" gathered force in my mind, and I decided that the next time I went away for a week-end I would take it with me. This was in France. I took it away with me. I read a hundred pages on the outward journey and I got on terms with "L'Eve Future." "Ce livre m'attendait," as a certain French novelist said when he read "Tom Jones." On the return journey I was deep buried in "L'Eve Future," when a fearful jolting suddenly began to rock the saloon carriage in which I was. The jolting grew worse, very much worse. Women screamed. I saw my stick fly out of the rack above my head across the carriage. The door leading to the corridor jumped off its hinges. Then shattered glass fell in showers, and I saw an old lady beneath an arm-chair and a table. The shape of the carriage altered. And then, after an enormous crash, equilibrium was established amid the cries of human anguish. I had clung to the arms of my seat and was unhurt, but there were four wounded in the carriage. My eye-glasses were still sticking on my nose. Saying to myself that I must keep calm, I put them carefully away, and began to help to get people out of the wreck. It was not until I looked about for my belongings that I saw that the corner of a tender had poked itself into our carriage. Outside, a mail-van and two enormous coaches were lying very impressively on their sides, and two wounded girls were lying on the grass by the track, and people were shouting for doctors. I ultimately got away with my bag and stick and hat, and walked to the nearest station, where a porter naturally asked me for my ticket. I hired an auto and reached Paris only a quarter of an hour late for dinner. And I congratulated myself on my calmness and perfect presence of mind in a railway accident. Only "L'Eve Future" was not in my bag. I had forgotten it, and my presence of mind had thus been imperfect. I did not buy another copy of "L'Eve Future," and I don't think I ever shall, now.
"FICTION" AND "LITERATURE"
[31 Aug '11]
Publishers' advertisements of imaginative work are so constantly curious that one gets accustomed to their bizarre qualities and refrains from comment. But Messrs. Hutchinson, who are evidently rather proud of having secured Lucas Malet's new long novel, have thought of a new adjective, and the event must be chronicled. They are announcing to the world that Lucas Malet's new novel is "literary"—"the literary novel of the autumn." I cannot be quite sure what this means, but it is probably intended to signify that, in the opinion of Messrs. Hutchinson, Lucas Malet's novel is very special—that is to say, it is not a mere novel. Less adroit publishers than Messrs. Hutchinson might have described it as an "art novel." (Cf. "art furniture," all up Tottenham Court Road.) Some of the most esteemed provincial dailies have a column headed "Literature" on five days of the week, but on the sixth day that column is headed "New Fiction." You see the distinction. Messrs. Hutchinson are doubtless hinting to the provinces that the new book is something between "literature" and "fiction," and combines the superior attributes of both. Once the Athenaeum, apparently staggered by the discovery that Joseph Conrad existed, reviewed a novel of his under the rubric of "Literature," instead of with other novels under the rubric of "Fiction." Messrs. Hutchinson have possibly an eye also on the Athenaeum. Personally, I would not permit my publishers to advertise a novel of mine as literary. But on the whole I wouldn't seriously object to the adjective "unliterary."
Academies, French and British, 81 Academy, the British, 228-234 Academy, the, under the editorship of Mr. Hind, 4, 19; under other controls, 38, 64 Advertisements, 300 Agents, literary, 22, 72 Aid, State, for the artist, 319 Albert, Henri, 78 Alexander, Sir George, 63 American postal censorship, 193 Anderson, Sir Robert, 193 Andreief, Leonide, 224 Anglo-Saxon, the, 243 Anthologies, 5 Antoine, director of the Odeon, 257, 259 Apoutkine, 225 Archer, William, 140 Aristophanes, 54 Arnold, Matthew, 19, 268 Art, the theory of, 283, 284 "Art of the short story," the, 86 "Artifex" reviews the Letters of Queen Victoria, 12 Artists, creative, 13, 158, 228 and critics, 158 as critics, 158, 283 and money, 242, 250-254 Asquith, H.H., 302 Athenaeum, the, 68, 71; its review of "A Set of Six," 36, 332 Audoux, Marguerite, 305 Austin, Alfred, 325 Author, the, 130 Author, the, and the publisher, 13, 16, 17, 22, 33, 71, 204 Authors and gift-books, 68 Authors' Society, the, 130, 171, 233, 277, 291 Autobiography in fiction, 295 Ayscough, John, 28
Balfour, A.J., 82, 87, 291, 306 Balzac, 12, 134, 183, 252 Balzac, Prof. Saintsbury's introductions to the works of, 43, 183 Baring, Maurice, 208 Barker, H. Granville, 317 Barres, Maurice, 82 Barrie, J.M., 5, 94 Barry, Dr. W.F., 143 Baudelaire, Charles, 16, 221 Bayle, Pierre, 267 Bazin, Rene, 65 Becque, Henri, 255-262, 323 Beerbohm, Max, 145 Bennett, James Gordon, 193 Benson, Arthur Christopher, 4, 11, 239-241 Berenson, Bernhard, 158 Bernhardt, Sarah, a caricature of, 79 Bernstein, Henri, 197 Beverley Fathers, the, and their library, 189 Bible, the, 172 Binyon, Mrs. Laurence, edits "Nineteenth-Century Prose," 5 Blackwood's Magazine, 325 Blake, William, 18, 314 Book in a railway accident, a, 328 Bookman, the, 5, 143 Book-buyer, the, 32, 71 Book-market, the, 133 Book-pedlar, the, 105 Books of the Year, 77, 289 Boot, Sir Jesse, 106, 173 Booth, E.C., "The Cliff End," by, 26 "Borgia!" a sensational novel, 226 Boston Libraries Censorship, the, 190 Bourne, George, 120 Bournemouth, 227 Bradley, A.C., 269 Bridges, Robert, 22, 63, 325 Brieux, 155, 195-200 British Academy of Letters, the, 228-234 British Weekly, see Nicoll, Sir W.R. Bronte, Charlotte and Emily, 42, 210 Browning, Robert, 126 Bunting, Sir Percy, 295
Caine, Hall, 56, 175, 206, 305 Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, 87 Cambridge University Press, 300 Capus, Alfred, 197 Carpenter, Edward, 22 Censorship by the libraries, 167, 181, 271 postal, in England and America, 193 Cezanne, 282 Chamberlain, Joseph, 137 Charity, the sale of books for, 68 Charmes, Francis, 81 Chavannes, Puvis de, 190 "Cherry Orchard, The," Tchehkoff's play, 321-324 Chesterton, G.K., 150-152 Christie, Manson, and Woods, 281 Christmas, the publishers', 73 Churchill, Winston, 291 Circulating libraries, the, 88 Classics, the reading of, 33 Clear, Claudius, see Nicoll, Sir W.R. Clemenceau, 61 Clifford, Dr. John, 196 Coleridge, S.T., 268 Collins, Arthur, 318 Collins J. Churton, 41, 269 Colonial expansion, German, 30 Comedians, stage, 63 Composition, the foundation of all arts, 27 Conductor, an orchestral, 43 Confessions, 77 Convention, literary, 118 Conrad, Joseph, 9, 27, 32, 36-40, 87, 94, 231, 238, 332 Corelli, Marie, 32, 47, 48, 49, 56, 103, 206, 305 Corroborative detail, 312 Criticism, English literary, 267 the, of artists, 158, 283 Critics, artists and, 158 newspaper, 26, 36 professorial, 41, 269 Crosland, T.W.H., 64 Cross, Donatella, 235 Crosse and Blackwell, Messrs. Curel, Francois de, 253
Daily Mail, the, 127, 138, 139 Daily News, the, 150, 295 Daily Telegraph, the, 306 Danby, Frank, 10 D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 235 Dante, 19 Darling, Mr. Justice, 12 Davies, W.H., 78, 325 Davray, Henry, 220 Debussy, Claude, 280 Defoe, Daniel, 172 Dehan, Richard (Clotilde Graves), 290 "De Profundis," suppressions in, 217 Dial, the, 243 Dialogue, novel, 311 Dickens, Charles, 105, 134, 139, 252 Dilettanti of letters, the, as a class, 229 Dilke, Sir Charles, 295 Dixie, Lady Florence, 193 Dobson, Austin, 270 Donnay, Maurice, 197 Dostoievsky, F.M., 117, 208-213, 216, 308 Douglas, Lord Alfred, 64, 325 James, 303 Drama in the novel, 311 Dumas fils, Alexandre, 200
"Ecce Homo," Nietzsche's, 77 Edinburgh Review, the, on "Ugliness in Fiction," 8 "Editions," French and English, 59 Eliot, George, 8, 135 Elton, Oliver, 269 Emerson, R.W., 190 "Encyclopaedia Britannica, The," 300 English literary criticism, 267 English Review, the, 66, 145, 294 Epic, the, and the Sonnet, 87 Esher, Lord, 11
Factory Acts, the, 327 Fay, William, 63 "Fiction" and "literature," 328 Fiction, autobiography in, 295 ugliness in, 8 Fielding, Henry, 172, 192, 271 Flaubert, Gustave, 16, 212 Florio, John, 223 Fogazzaro, Antonio, 306 Forster, E.M., 292 Fortnightly Review, the, 193, 306, 325 France, Anatole, 59, 82, 232 Free library, the Municipal, 104 Frith, W.P., 210
Galsworthy, John, 9, 95, 184, 214-216, 317 Garvin, J.L., 291, 305 Gauguin, 282 Gaunt, Mary, 276 Gautier, Theophile, 139 George V, King, 317 Georges, Mlle., 99 German Colonial expansion, 30 Gide, Andre, 66, 155 Gift-Books, Royal, 68 Gil Blas, 259 Gilchrist, R. Murray, 87, 94, 117 Gladstone, Lord, 157 W.E., 51 Glasgow libraries, censorship in the, 192 Glyn, Elinor, 10, 271-277, 289 Goethe, 19 Gogol, 117, 208 Gorky, Maxim, 224 Gould, Jay, 193 Grahame, Kenneth, 57 Grosvenor library, the, 106
Hand, T.W., librarian at Leeds, 189 Hankin, St. John, 140 Hardy, Thomas, 8, 9, 87, 94, 96, 137, 172, 192, 267 Harland, Henry, 91 Harper's Magazine, 51 Harraden, Beatrice, 47 Harriman, 193 Havergal, Francis Ridley, 241 Hazlitt, William, 268 Heaton, Sir J. Henniker, 196 Heinemann, William, 169, 170 Herford, Prof. C.H., 84, 269 Hewlett, Maurice, 130 Hill, Rowland, 135 Hind, C. Lewis, as editor of the Academy, 4 Hocking, the brothers, 103 Holiday reading, 222 Holmes, O.W., 190 Hope, Anthony, 47, 130 Houssaye, Henry, 81 Hudson, W.H., 278 Hugo, Victor, 134, 155 Hull and the libraries Censorship, 185 Hull Daily Mail, the, 186, 187 Hutchinson, Sir G.T., 130, 169 Thomas, Wordsworthian researches of, 18
Ibsen, Henrik, 321, 323 l'Illustration, 260 Impressionistic Method, the, 37 Ingram, J.H., 84 Intimations of Immortality, 63 Irwin, Mabel McCoy, 194
Jacobs, W.W., and Aristophanes, 53, 94 James, Henry, 87, 95, 263-266 Jaures, Jean, 61 John o' London, see Whitten, Wilfred Johnson, Lionel, 267 Journal, a report in the Paris, 223 des Debats, the, 81 Journalism, success in, 300-304
Keary, Peter, 188 Keats, John, 237 Kingsley, Charles, 105 Kipling, Rudyard, 55, 57, 94, 160-166 Knight, Prof. W., Wordsworthian researches of, 18
Labourer, the Surrey, 120 Lamb, Charles, 268 Lambert, Canon, 186 Lane, John, 120 Lang, Andrew, 51, 83, 114 Lansdowne, Lord, 306 Laprade, Pierre, 283 Lectures and State Performances, 315 Leasing, 159 Letters, the, of Queen Victoria, 11, 16, 68, 69 Libraries, 106 the circulating, 88 and their subscribers, 33 the, and "His Hour," 271 censorship by the, 167, 181, 271 Library, the Municipal Free, 104 Literary criticism, English, 267 Literary periodical, the, 242 Liverpool, 44 London, 160; and the Neo-Impressionists, 280 a book on, 3 the potential reading public of, 101 the Bishop of, 77 Longfellow, H.W., 190 Love poetry, 145 Lowell, J.R., 190 Lucas, E.V., 6, 150 Lucifer, an American journal, 193 Lytton, Lord (and "Money"), 316-319
Mackail, J.W., 270 Macmillan, Sir Frederick, 130 "Madame Bovary," terms of the publication of, 16 Madeleine, Jules de la, 16 Malet, Lucas, 331 Mallarme, Stephane, 65 "Man of Kent, A," see Nicoll, Sir W.R. Manchester, the potential reading public of, 101 Manchester Guardian, the, 47, 84, 237 Marjoram, J., 145 Masefield, John, 28, 311-314 Mason, Frederic, 77 Mathews, Elkin, 267 Matisse, 283 Maupassant, Guy de, 86, 117, 137, 252 Maxwell, W.B., 9, 27 Meyerfeld, Dr. Max, 217 Memoirs, books of scandalous, 98, 181 "Mercure de France, Societe du," 59 Meredith, George, 87, 95, 134-139, 173, 227 Merrick, Leonard, 5, 94 Methuen, Sir A.M.S., 130 Middle-class, 89 Milton, 19, 20 Mitchell library, Whitman's poems at the, 192 Moliere, 19 Money, artists and, 242, 250-254 "Money," a gala performance of, 316 Montague, C.E., 201-203 Montaigne, 222 Montenegro, the Queen of, 276 Moore, George, 8, 87, 94, 172, 176, 190 Morley, Lord, 22 Morning Post, the, 208 Mudie's, 33, 52, 88, 173, 174, 175 Municipal Free library, the, 104 Murray, John, action against the Times, 11, 16
Napoleon's mistresses, 99 Nation, the, 84 Nelson's Sevenpenny novels, 107, 130 Neo-Impressionism and literature, 281 Neolith, the, 243 New Age, the, 122, 246 "New Machiavelli, The," 294-299 New York, 160, 161 Newcastle-on-Tyne, 3 Nicoll, Sir William Robertson, 5, 26, 29, 67, 114, 222, 319 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 78 Norris, W.E., 49 Novel, a "literary," 331 a sexual, 271 dialogue and drama in the, 311 library censorship of the, 167, 181, 271 the sevenpenny, 72, 107, 130 the six-shilling, 22, 72, 131 the, ugliness in, 8 of the season, the, 26 Novels and short stories, a perennial discussion, 86 autobiography in, 295 shilling, 107 the length of, 248 the sales of, 68, 131 Novelists and agents, 22, 72 Nousanne, Henri de, 259, 260 Noyes, Alfred, 325 Numes, M., 259
Omar Khayyam, 84 Ospovat, Henry, 79
Pall Mall Gazette, the, 137 Paris, 155, 256 Pater, Walter, 227 Pedlars, book-, 105 Pemberton, Max, 103 Periodical, the literary 242 Persky, Serge, 224 Perusals, unfinished, 235-237 Phillpotts, Eden, 47, 87 Pinero, Sir A.W., 140 Play of Tchehkoff's, a, 321-324 Poe and the short story, 84 Poetry, love, 145 marine, 325 official recognition of, 155 Poets, contemporary, 63, 325 Post-Impressionists, see Neo-Impressionism Postal censorship, English and American, 193 Prices of books, the, 14, 130 Prose, the, of Wilfred Whitten, 3 Professors, 41, 269 Provinces, the potential reading public of the, 101 Public, the, 88 a publisher on "the public," 204 disdain of artists for the public, 243 the characteristics of the middle-class public, "the backbone," 88-94 treatment of this class by contemporary novelists, 94-96 unreadiness of this class to be pleased, 97 explanation of its concern with fiction, 98 the potential public in the industrial Midlands, 101 trade failure to cater for this public, 102-104 the Free Libraries, 104 the book-pedlar, 105 cheap editions, 107 the sections composed of dilettanti, 229 "right people," 291, 294 as book-buyers, 32 Publishers' Association, the, and Library Censorship, 169, 277 Publishers and authors, 204-207 English and French, compared, 17 their place in literature, 13 profits, 11, 16, 72, 182 Publishing seasons, bad, 22, 26, 68 Punch, 143 Putney, the High Street, 123
Quiller-Couch, Sir A.T., 55, 87
Railway accident, a book in a, 328 Raleigh, Prof. Sir Walter, 44, 238, 269 Reading on holiday, 222 Realism, the progress towards, 118; Russian realism, 208 Rembrandt, 281 Reprints, cheap, 33 Reviewers, 26, 36 Revue des Deux Mondes, the, 81 Reynolds, Stephen, 78, 120 Richards, Grant, 26 Richardson, Frank, 109 Samuel, 139, 172, 192 "Rita," 51 Robaglia, M., 259 Rockefeller, J.D., 193 Rodin's statue of Hugo, 156 Rosebery, Lord, 250 Ross, Robert, 217 Rossetti, D.G., 172 Roussel, 283 Rouveyre's caricature of Bernhardt, 79 Royal Academy, the, 234. Russian fiction and drama, 117, 141, 208-213, 224, 321 Rutherford, Mark, 94
Sainte-Beuve, 267, 268, 270 Saintsbury, George, 42, 269 Sales, the, of novels, 59, 68, 131 Sampson, John, his edition of Blake, 18 Sargent, John, 95, 190 Savoy, the, 243 Scarborough, 227 Schuecking, Dr. Levin, 66 Scott, Sir Walter, 86, 105, 134, 139, 252 Scott-James, R.A., 295 Sculpture, proposal for an academy of, 234 Sea and Slaughter, 325-327 Season, the novel of the, 26 Seasons, bad publishing, 22, 68 Selincourt, Ernest de, his edition of Keats, 18 Series of reprints, cheap, 33 Sevenpenny novel, the, 72, 107, 130 Shakespeare, 19, 172, 318 Shaw, George Bernard, 84, 130, 195, 200, 291, 316, 317 Shelley, P.B., 172, 318 Shilling novels, 107 Short story, the, in England, 38, 84 Shorter, C.K., 26, 29, 42, 114, 188 Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 105 Sims, G.R., 126 Single lines, the, of Wordsworth, 18 Six-shilling novel, the, 22, 72, 131 Smith, Sir F.E., 78, 291 Nowell, his edition of Wordsworth, 18, 21 Smith, Reginald, 130 the Rt. Hon. W.F.D., 47 and Son, W.H., 88, 132 Smollett, Tobias, 192 "Societe du Mercure de France," the, 59 Sonnet, the, and the Epic, 87 Sphere, see Shorter, C.K. Stacpoole, H. de Vere, 28 Stage Society, the Incorporated, 256, 321 State performances, lectures and, 315 Stationers' shops and books, 103 Stead, W.T., 295 Stendhal, 60, 96, 134, 211 Stephen, Sir Leslie, 19 Sterne, Laurence, 172 Stevenson, R.L., 37, 81, 86, 221, 252 Stock, M., the French publisher, 256, 260 Strand Magazine, the, 113 Strauss, Richard, 280 Style, English, 45 Success in Journalism, 300-304 Suppressions in "De Profundis," 217 Surrey labourer, the, 120 Swift, Jonathan, 172 Swinburne, Algernon Charles, 22, 66, 123 Switzerland, 227 Symons, Arthur, 209 Synge, J.M., 63
Taine, 267, 270 Tchehkoff, Anton, 117, 141, 208, 225, 258, 321-324 Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 84, 85, 103, 125, 126, 156 Thackeray, W.M., 134, 139, 315 Thurston, E. Temple, 290 Times, the, and the letters of Queen Victoria, 11 an article on Trollope in, 148 Book Club, 88, 315 Literary Supplement, 48, 266 Tolstoy, 117, 192, 208, 224 Tonnelat, M., on German colonial expansion, 30 Tourgeniev, 117, 208-213 Tree, Sir H. Beerbohm, 197 Trevena, John, 276 Trollope, Anthony, 134, 139, 148 Tunbridge Wells, 12
Ugliness in fiction, 8 Unclean books, 143 Unfinished perusals, 235 "Unpleasant" books, 97
Vachell, Horace Annesley, 97 Vallotton, Felix, 283 Verlaine, Paul, 28 Victoria, Queen, the Betters of, 11, 16, 68, 69 Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, 129, 328 Vladimir, the Grand Duchess, 276
Walkley, A.B., 62, 140, 194, 222 Ward, Mrs. Humphry, 39, 47, 56, 65, 103, 130, 139, 206, 291 Wedgwood, A.F., 237 Wells, H.G., 61, 62, 78, 87, 94, 109-116, 123, 186, 192, 294-299, 313, 315 Westminster Gazette, the, 60, 69, 248 White, Gilbert, 84 W. Hale (Mark Rutherford), 94 Whitman's poems at the Mitchell Library, 102 Whitten, Wilfred (John o' London), 3 Wilde, Oscar, 66, 217, 317 Williams, Daniel, a bookseller, 12 Woman's Journal, the Boston, 193 Wordsworth, William, 18, 157 Wyman, Messrs., 132
Yeats, W.B., 63, 325 Yellow Book, the, 243 Yonge, Charlotte M., 8, 105, 136, 210
Zangwill, Israel, 311 Zola, Emile, 59, 208
PRINTED AT THE COMPLETE PRESS WEST NORWOOD LONDON
[Transcriber's Note: In the section UNCLEAN BOOKS, 8 July '09, a quotation mark was added at the end:
"What is the geographical situation of this house of Dr. Barry's, hemmed in by flaming and immoral advertisements and by soliciting sellers of naughtiness?"]