A New Romance
The new romance and the new naturalism both spring from a common root--hatred of the meanness and ugliness of modern life; but romance seeks to evade and forget what naturalism examines curiously. It is a defense mechanism against things as they are and springs from:
1. Disgust at the verisimilitude of naturalism that parades the crude ugliness of life as if it were the reality. The dream more important than the fact, for our real existence is within the imagination, removed from material futilities, where we may satisfy our hunger for beauty, for far-ranging adventure, for ideal existence.
2. The impulse to free creation. Real life overshadowed and darkened by a sense of impotence; men are flies caught in the web of circumstance. But in romance the will is unshackled and the free imagination plays with time and space, shaping fate to its liking in terms of beauty, dwelling in a world as we should like it to be. Romance hence is the ideal cosmos of the ego.
3. The spirit of youth that has brooded over life and refuses to abandon its dreams. The inevitable outcome irony, an undertone of sadness, a recognition of the pessimism against which it desires to be a defense. This the final note. So compare the Eros et mors of old romance....1
Introduction: With the entry of America into the war came a sharp change in literary development. Regimentation due to war psychology destroyed the movement of social criticism which dominated fiction between 1903 and 1917. The liberal movement in economics and politics came to an abrupt end, and the problem novel ceased to be written. Almost overnight it became old-fashioned. The year 1918 sterile.3 With the year 1919 began a new literary period. Three major movements:
1. A resurgence of naturalism, inspired by psychology rather than by economics, with a tendency to impressionism in handling: represented by Sherwood Anderson.
2. A new romanticism, seeking ideal beauty as a defense against reality and emerging in irony: represented by James Branch Cabell.
3. A new criticism: A revolt of the young intellectuals against the dominant middle class--its Puritanism, its Victorianism, its acquisitive ideals: represented by Sinclair Lewis.
The Small Town In Fiction
The first expression of the new literature. Chiefly a middlewestern development--and a late phase of the literature of the local. A reaction from the "economic city," with its centralizing economics, which dominated the problem novel. Two antagonistic interpretations: (1) The romantic small town, or the theory of a kindly, democratic world; (2) The realistic small town, or the theory of a petty, competitive world.
1. The Romantic Interpretation of the Small Town. A hold-over from an earlier period. Derives from Riley; elaborated and defended by Meredith Nicholson, The Valley of Democracy (1918). According to this theory the middle-western village is: (1) A land of economic well-being, uncursed by poverty and unspoiled by wealth; (2) A land of "folksiness"--the village a great family in its neighborliness, friendliness, sympathy; (3) Primarily middle-class, and therefore characteristically American, wholesome, and human in spite of its prosaic shortcomings; (4) The home of American democracy, dominated by the spirit of equality, where men are measured by their native qualities.4
William Allen White: A Son of the Middle Border
Product of middle-class, Puritan Kansas. Dominated by sentiment, believes in the essential fairness of men. Two major ideas: (1) Belief in the excellence of western village life; (2) Fear lest this life be submerged by industrialism. A romantic and political Progressive. Formulated his political theory in The Old Order Changeth (1910)--thesis, that America is changing from representative republicanism to democracy. The problem is to make business honest. Not an intellectual. His plots resemble Thackeray's--leisurely, gossipy, confidential asides, a large canvas, many figures, a long period of time. His attitude admirably expressed in Emporia and New York (1906).
At the Court of Boyville (1899). The romance of youth set against the background of the small town. A world of dreams and loveliness: adventures that await beyond the horizon; the glory of pigtails and overalls. The democracy of the vacant lot: rivalry in marbles and hand-springs--the leadership of the capable. Sincerer work than Tarkington's Penrod. Contrast with Garland's Son of the Middle Border, and Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer.
A Certain Rich Man (1909). His plunge into the problem novel. Theme: fear of the economic city that draws the villager into its web. A contrast between the two worlds and two social ideals-the friendly democracy of the older America threatened by economic centralization.
In the Heart of a Fool (1918). One of the last of the problem novels. Theme--the invasion of the small town by industrialism and the disintegration of village virtues. The story of an idealist who opposes the ends of Main Street and his destruction by the herd. A suggestion of Sinclair Lewis. The conclusion--the excellence of love and the foolishness of selfishness. The background characters, studies in the reaction of the older ideal to the new egoism.
Booth Tarkington: The Dean of American Middle-Class Letters
Possesses the virtues of cleverness, optimism, humor, respectability. Honors all the Victorian taboos. Life is an agreeable experience--to the successful, hence it is well to rise. His chief theme, middle-class romance as exemplified in the "valley of democracy": courtship of nice young people through the agencies of parties and picnics. A skillful writer, with a light touch, but his art destroyed by love of popularity--a novel ends well that ends happily. A perennial sophomore, purveyor of comfortable literature to middle-class America.5
The Gentleman from Indiana (1899). A dramatization of the "good, dear people" theme. The college man who goes back to his people to live and work with them. A satisfying life results from merging individual life in the common village life. A flabby and somewhat saccharine philosophy.
Alice Adams (1921). The story of an instinctive actress and her competitive struggle for social position and a man. A clever, attractive, lovable girl defeated by her background--led into foolish little deceits to keep up appearances--victim of middle-class conventionality. Shabby parlors versus conservatories as settings for proposals. The Adams family has fallen behind their acquaintances in the business of rising in the world, and Alice sinks to a lower social scale. An overrated book.
The Midlander (1923). A contribution to booster literature and an unconscious satire on the emptiness of the middle-class mind. A real-estate venture and what came of it. The conception that "man is a wealth-and-comfort-producing machine." Supposed to be tragedy, but the tragedy lies in preferring the imported to the domestic article--choosing a New York girl instead of a local one. The suburb thrives, the automobile business goes forward, and the gods of getting on smile in the end.6
The other numerous titles of Tarkington signify nothing except to lovers of comfortable literature. The clever Hoosier has ceased to be an artist--the great failure in contemporary American fiction.
Dorothy Canfield (Fisher)
A clever dramatizer of the obvious: believes in the Woman Triumphant, and discovers in the right education of children--particularly girls--the solution of all problems. Two main themes:
1. A protest against the demands of "social life." The Squirrel Cage (1912). A contribution to the problem novel. A William Morris suggestion of the sufficiency of handicraft as an escape from social demands. An arraignment of the American home where the father scarcely knows the children and the mother is shut away from the outside world.
The Bent Twig (1915). A study of university community life
--the struggle between plain living and high thinking--of social pleasure and no thinking.
2. The defense of the village. The belief that community fellowship--a gathering to watch a century plant bloom--breeds an artistic spirit finer than old-world art and culture can offer. Especially a Vermont town is ideal for the proper bringing up of children. The Brimming Cup (1920). A story of the right bringing up of children. Rough Hewn (1922). The love of art and travel which leads inevitably to a Vermont town and marriage. Raw Material (1923). Sketches. The point of view given in "Paul Meyer"--the folly of thinking that a normal girl should prefer philology to matrimony.
The Realistic Small Town and the New Naturalism
The work of the younger intellectuals, more disciplined than the muckrakers, with wider culture and severer standards. Concerned for civilization, the things of the spirit, a free creative individualism, rather than political liberalism. A searching criticism of the triumphant middle class, its ideals and its habitat, the town and city; the repressive tyrannies of its herd mind; the futility of its materialism. Back of the novelists is a group of essayists, young critics of established ways: Van Wyck Brooks, Ludwig Lewisohn, Randolph Bourne, H. L. Mencken. They embody a reaction from: (1) The acquisitive ideal of a machine civilization. (2) "The great illusion of American civilization, the illusion of optimism"--the staple of middle-class business morale. (3) The sentimentalism of "comfortable literature," that evades reality and weakens the intellectual fiber. (4) The inhibitions of a Puritanism that has lost its sanctions. (5) The White-Tarkington doctrine of the "beautiful people" and "folksy village."
The movement began with Masters's Spoon River Anthology (1915). An earlier work is E. W. Howe's Story of a Country Town (1883):--stark, grim, unrelieved, revealing the "smoldering discontent of an inarticulate frontier."
Zona Gale--The Transition from Romance to Realism
I. Friendship Village romance. The Loves of Pelleas and Etarre (1907). Everyone is helpful, everyone loves, or wants to, or is unhappy for lack of it. Friendship Village (1908). A world where there is no sorrow, or sickness, and where brotherly love rules. Of the "folksy" school.
II. The shift to realism. Miss Lulu Bett (1920). A homely village tragedy of the repressed soul that rebels under the irritation of domestic pin-pricks. Plebeian characters, thin, cheap, tiresome; set in a shoddy world and rubbing each other's nerves. Deacon Dwight a sadist; Miss Lulu a grotesque. Treated from the outside in contrast with Sherwood Anderson's method. Faint Perfume (1923). A glorification of martyrdom. The conviction that life is hard, and the excellence of the economy of pain. A partial return to the Friendship Village note, but like Miss Lulu Bett in the picture of a self-worshiping family.7
American born but Irish bred. His early work, The Stranger's Banquet (1919), half problem novel--industrialism--which offered little scope for the Celtic wistfulness in which he conceives romance to lie.
Messer Marco Polo (1921). The romance of distant times and places, of unfamiliar backgrounds and lovely worlds: medieval Venice and its pageantry; a far quest over burning sands; the loveliness of little Golden Bells at the court of Kubla Khan; the ardor of love that tangles itself in religion. A wistfulness and beauty of phrase that remind one of Synge's Riders to the Sea. The loveliest romance of recent years.9
The Wind That Bloweth (1922). A rich fabric-Gaelic folk; the woman of the boulevard; the white sun-baked road to Damascus;the fire of revolution; the crack of cordage as the ship rounds the Horn--a saga of the unquiet heart.
The Changeling (1923). Short stories of quaint places, forgotten people; the Bible and love of Ireland. Done with excellent craftsmanship.
Blind Raftery (1924). A tale of a blind harpist in Dean Swift's Ireland and of his wife, Hilaria, who sings the song of the women of the streets in Cadiz. Life teaches them a philosophy expressed by the harpist in these words: "We sit a little while by ourselves in an apart, dark place, and we learn truths, of how certain things one believes to be good are but vulgar selfish things, and how certain things the small think evil are but futile accidents. And we learn to be kind; such wisdom comes when we are dead. And those who have never died in life . . . are pleasant shallow people, soulless as seals."
Began like Donn Byrne with a problem study--Peter Kindred (1919). A dual personality cut asunder and embodied in two characters: David the romantic fades out of the story, and Peter becomes a modern, absorbed in eugenics. A background of Phillips Exeter and Harvard.
Autumn (1921). An idyll of loneliness, with a commentary on materialism, done in simple, wistful language.
1. Mr. Jeminy, a village philosopher, disciple of Boethius and St. Francis, half pagan and yet Christian. Troubled over the poverty of the world that does not amass "love, peace, the quiet of the heart, the work of one's hand."
2. A village background. Mr. Jeminy wished to teach the children the secret of happiness instead of the folly of plus and minus, and was turned out of his school. An echo of Main Street in its commentary on village narrowness, hardness, gossip. A frigid Puritanism that disapproves Mr. Jeminy for speaking disrespectfully of God and denies happiness to Mrs. Wicket who is under God's sentence of unhappiness.
3. A note of determinism. A world of grotesques--all are hemmed in and cramped, longing for fresh experience and strange adventures, all are unhappy. So Aaron Bade with his flute and his "awkward thoughts and clumsy feelings." Margaret Bade with her conviction, "Life is so much spilt milk"; Farmer Barly with his commentary, "Folks are queer crotchets"; Anna Barly with her yearning for the "white wonder of life" and the trap. An indictment of New England for its destruction of natural happiness and the simple joy of life.
4. A profound irony. The end of Mr. Jeminy's hopefulness is disillusion. "Here within this circle of hills, is to be found faith, virtue, passion, and good sense. In this valley youth is not without courage, or age without wisdom." The outcome disproves this faith. Of his many pupils, "Not one is tidy of mind, or humble of heart. Not one has learned to be happy in poverty, or gentle in good fortune." Life as a whole is futile. The dead alone can ask God the meaning of life. "But for us, who remain, it has no meaning." The tale is Robert Frost done in prose--compare "Mending Wall."
The Puppet Master (1923). The most graceful fantasy in American literature. Papa Jonas, the puppet creator and master, watches the love of Annabelle Lee, a rag doll with shoe-button eyes, and Mr. Aristotle, a red-nosed, philosopher-clown puppet; and of Mary Holly and Christopher Lane, the poet. The theme is love--"Love is a man's soul: it does not grow like his hopes, it does not break like his heart.... But love goes by after a while." Papa Jonas is Mr. Jeminy, converted to the Stoic philosophy but lacking love. The note of determinism persists, but the Stoic attitude overcomes. "Yes," he said slowly, "one must make the best of what one has."
Joseph Hergesheimer: A Sophisticated Romantic
Began as a painter. After fourteen years' apprenticeship was accepted by the Saturday Evening Post, and began a career in popularity that rivals Tarkington's. Possesses the virtues and vices of the Post school. In earlier work a colorist, painting statuesques against artfully arranged backgrounds; a connoisseur of fabrics and poses and nature settings--nearly as "much concerned with the stuffs as with the stuff of life." In Cytherea the setting a sophisticated manipulation of the theme, as the hot Cuban night in Cobra with its naked primitive passions. A dabbler in psychology that develops into a crude Freudianism, particularly in Cytherea. Always a hint of artistic insincerity; something of a poseur yet a sensuous artist nature. His gorgeous prose style spotty and streaked by amazing crudeness.
The Three Black Pennys (1917). A study in the breaking out of willfulness in successive generations, set against a background of the history of iron-making in Pennsylvania. An elaboration of Tubal Cain. An anticlimax arranged for dramatic significance, suggesting the decay of romance in a hundred and fifty years of American industrial development. The first episode is Herge sheimer at his best. Howat Penny a study in moods that make him "angry at life"; but swept on by the will to possess. Ludowica Winscomb embodies a favorite theme--the suggestion of an older culture contrasted with the crude American reality. So compare Taou Yuen.
Linda Condon (1919). A study in the decay of surface beauty--
an empty form caught in the web of a shallow mother and the demands of stronger natures, but preserved by lack of emotional concern. Handled skillfully, with a somewhat forced unity symbolized by Linda's straight black bang; but the story leaves one with a sense of unconcern for Linda and her fate. The ending melodramatic. Note Van Doren's curious comment--" nearly the most beautiful American novel since Hawthorne and Henry James."
Java Head (1919). The story of an exotic that languishes in an uncongenial habitat. A contrast in backgrounds: the romance of old Salem in the days of the clipper ship; the romance of a far older East that makes Salem seem raw and crude. Taou Yuen a decorative lay figure, with aristocratic suggestions beyond anything the West knows. The dramatic significance of opium, that hangs like a pall over the East and brings degeneration and death to Puritan Salem. The end with its cheap love adventure, a conscious satire on western life. Hergesheimer's best work. A romantic atmosphere got without archaic trappings of speech and manners; nevertheless makes much of costume.
Balisand (1924). A romance of a Virginia Federalist in the days of the Revolution and after. A rich background of plantation life, with a touch of somewhat cheap mysticism. Of the school of Washington rather than Jefferson. A better work than The Bright Shawl or Cytherea.
His other titles signify little. Yet see the Saturday Evening Post for a series of furniture stories. Characteristic of his concern for the "stuffs of life." See in particular, "Mahogany" (Vol. 195, no. 53, January, 1923); "Pewter" (Vol. 196, no. 23, January, 1924); "Oak" (Vol. 196, no. 3, July, 1923).10
Certain Other Writers
Edith Wharton--The Genteel Tradtition and the New Plutocracy
A temperamental aristocrat, endowed with keen intelligence and ripe culture. Observes the ways of a wealthy society without culture and unconcerned with standards. A protest against the domination of the middle class. Mrs. Wharton isolated in America by her native aristocratic tastes. The older New York society without real distinction, bound by convention and with middleclass concern for respectability; the new society a vulgar plutocracy; outside both a pushing nouveau-riche class eager to climb. Hence she turns to the authentic aristocracy of Europe for satisfaction of her genteel tastes. In spirit she belongs to the ancien regime. The highest law of society is convention, but it must be noble, not vulgar.
The House of Mirth (1905). A story of New York's gilded society, and how it served one of its daughters. Lily Bart, trained for social leadership in a plutocracy, a finished and costly parasite, seeking a market for her beauty, yet restrained by instinctive refinement from seeing the game through. Lacking money she is caught in a web of convention and destroyed. In her world convention is the social law, and the tragedy flows from her inability to rise above it or to keep it wholly. The contrast between Selden and Trenor--the aristocrat and the plutocrat--characteristic of Mrs. Wharton.
Ethan Frome (1911). A dramatization of the "narrow house" theme-life held relentlessly in the grip of poverty and duty. A bleak and joyless existence that seeks escape and suffers lingering tragedy. Thereafter a stern isolation and iron repression. Mrs. Wharton's finest work.
The Custom of the Country (1915). A study of the social climber. The best of a series of novels satirizing the encroachments on New York exclusiveness by the rising plutocracy and its daughters. The western plutocracy of pork presumably more vulgar than the eastern plutocracy of Wall Street, yet between them the older gentry crushed. So compare Boyesen, Social Strugglers (1893); Robert Grant, Unleavened Bread (1900). Undine Spragg, like Selma White, pushing, heartless, vulgar, showy, is set over against Ralph Marvell, a refined "dabbler with life"; Peter Van Degen, the "plunger"; and Elmer Moffatt, the self-made man. She embodies all that Mrs. Wharton most hates; all climbers are vulgar, she believes, both men and women.
The Age of Innocence (1920). A study of the older world of the eighteen-seventies. A loving yet satirical picture of a Pharisaic society, "wholly absorbed in barricading self against the unpleasant"; that lives secluded, protected by its taboos, and fears reality. A sterile world of clan conventions and negations; a decadent Victorianism. The Van der Luydens of Skuytercliff are of the same stuff as the Dagonets in The Custom of the Country; and the dilettante Newland Archer is another Ralph Marvell. Into this dead world enters Ellen Olenska with her vivid old-world experiences, who threatens to rebel, yet finally yields to the clan taboos. The book fades out like the lives of the Van der Luydens. An admirable work.
Old New York (1924). Four carefully done tales that sketch New York in the forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies. A return to her best manner, with the finish of The Age of Innocence.
Her other later work not important. Glimpses of the Moon (1922) inconsequential; and A Son at the Front (1923)--an attempt to document the reactions of an artist with a son in the army--only half successful.
Mrs. Wharton a finished artist who grasps her material firmly; an intellectual attitude, delighting in irony. Unaffected by the problem novel, and schools of naturalism or romanticism. Not a thinker like Cabell, whose irony springs from an imagination that contemplates man in his relation to cosmic forces, but an observer whose irony springs from noting the clash between men and social convention. The last of our literary aristocrats of the genteel tradition. Her attitude expressed in the words, "Je suis venue trop tard dans un monde trop vulgaire."
Willa Cather: Epics of Women
The Middle Border of Hamlin Garland seen through different eyes. She looks back lovingly to a pioneer West, as the cradle of heroic lives. An epic breadth of prairie spaces and industrious years, with a note of regret--Optima dies prima fugit. Against this background she sets her immigrant women, with their vigor and wealth of life, and considers how the West has dealt with them. Peasant heroines, with their strong natures hidden under queer speech and garb, set in a waste of wild red grass, bitter winters, burning summers, virgin soil and great loneliness. A long-ignored theme-the lot of the immigrant who has come on a desperate adventure-the struggle of their children with the soil. Compare The Jungle, for the industrial exploitation of the immigrant.
Has matured slowly. The Troll Garden (1905), and Alexander's Bridge (1910), are inconsequential. Her real work done late. Belongs to no school. Is neither naturalistic nor romantic. Is unconcerned with problems. Except for a single attack on the ugliness of the small western town--"The Sculptor's Funeral" in The Troll Garden--she ignores middle-class America and its Main Streets. An individual artist, sincere, capable; an excellent craftsman.
O Pioneers (1913). The story of Alexandra Bergson, a daughter of the Middle Border; calm, tenacious, capable; loving the soil and bringing it to abundant productiveness. The new world had brought out diverse qualities in the Swedish peasant family; the older brothers common, dull, vulgarized by Americanization; the younger brother suggestive of the better side of American opportunity. Alexandra the directing mind and controlling will. Over against her is set the Bohemian Marie Tovesky, childlike in her spontaneous enthusiasm. The tragic ending handled with great skill. Thrown about the whole, a harsh Nebraska countryside through changing periods. One who had not lived through similar experiences and loved the memory could not write so.
The Song of the Lark (1915). The story of Thea Kronberg, who by virtue of fierce energy and iron strength rises to triumph as an artist. There are no romantic stage-effects, only the passionate struggle of a tenacious will. Thea a peasant nature of vast solidity. The most convincing story of artist life written by an American. A changing background: the mean little Colorado town, the loneliness of Chicago, Europe, the great spaces of the Southwest.
My Antonia (1918). The story of Antonia Shimerda: an opulent peasant nature with strong mother instinct, thwarted by meager opportunities and vulgar environment. Her life runs a narrow round: the early pioneer experience with its loneliness and black tragedy; the town experience of the hired girl, who lives eagerly; the later life of a hard-working mother on a lonely farm. Antonia "a rich mine of life like the founder of early races," loving, generous, eager, yet belonging to the soil. To vulgarize such natures by cramming them into a conventional mold, passes for Americanization--this the implied thesis.
One of Ours (1922). The story of Claude Wheeler, with strength imprisoned by a society that opens its opportunities to Main Street natures like Bayliss Wheeler. A suggestion of naturalism in the handling of the theme: Claude caught by the negative character Enid Royse because he fails to appreciate the complementary strength of Gladys Farmer--a true Cather woman, enmeshed in Gopher Prairie. A futile, ironical ending: better to die in battle than be destroyed by the pettiness of Gopher Prairie. The war atmosphere seems curiously old-fashioned.
The Lost Lady (1923). A change of theme. The story of Mrs. Forester, an embodiment of traditional feminine charm, quite superior to such incidents as age or loyalty--a type of woman outside Miss Cather's experience and understanding.11
Some War Books
The late war the first in our history that has produced an aftermath of searching criticism in fiction or drama. The romantic note dominant in all earlier accounts, particularly of the Revolution and the Rebellion. Such stories written by men who took no part in them. The Civil War produced only one book of realistic criticism, that was mutilated by the publisher to temper its cynicism, and that enjoyed no popularity--The Recollections of a Private, by Warren Goss. The late war is producing a considerable group, all realistic and critical; the romantic note has not yet appeared.
John Dos Passos
Three Soldiers (1921). A naturalistic handling of war that serves as a commentary on One of Ours. The most notable American work on the theme since Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage. Similar in temper to Henri Barbusse, Under Fire, but dealing with the barracks and the drill field. Compare with Andreas Latzko, Men in War-impressionistic in handling. Dos Passos a young artist from the university, an idealist who enlists and is disillusioned. A study of the war machine and the effect of regimentation on different types of men--the contrast between army discipline and a lax individualism, and the disasters that may ensue from sudden change. Fuselli a low-grade character who wants to rise; Chrisfield a solid animal who becomes sullen; Andrews a highly nervous organism, to whom routine is killing. Coarse episodes set in a brilliant background: the glamour of militarism gone.
E. E. Cummings
The Enormous Room (1922). A brilliant revelation of the tortures endured by an artist unjustly imprisoned in a French military prison. Supplements Three Soldiers in destroying the appeal of military glamour. An attack particularly on the common notion of heroic, chivalrous France.
Through the Wheat (1923). An impressionistic handling of the reactions of a normal American soldier, Private Hicks, to the war. The keynote is numbness--a deadly numbness which offers the sole defense of the normal mind against the horrors it confronts. Its matter-of-factness, detached point of view, and the ordinariness of the hero, set it apart from Three Soldiers and The Enormous Room. An excellent bit of impressionism.
Plumes (1924). A story of war by one who has suffered mutilation from it. The theme--"If you are smashed badly . . . and if you have any intelligence you must remake a world to live in." A study of post-war disillusionment, naturalistically handled. So compare the play in which he collaborated--What Price Glory?
Youth in Revolt--Certain Purveyors of the Hectic
A group of youthful poseurs at the mercy of undigested reactions to Nietzsche, Butler, Dadaism, Vorticism, Socialism; overbalanced by changes in American critical and creative standards, and in love with copious vocabularies and callow emotions. Given to satirizing the educational methods of alma mater; quick to espouse new causes; enthusiastic for revolt as a profession. A prolific movement which as yet has accomplished nothing seriously creative.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise (1921); The Beautiful and the Damned (1922). A bad boy who loves to smash things to show how naughty he is; a bright boy who loves to say smart things to show how clever he is. Precocious, ignorant--a short candle already burnt out.
Stephen Vincent Benet and Floyd Dell
Benet: Heavens and Earth (1920); The Beginning of Wisdom (1921); Young People's Pride (1923); Jean Hugenot (1923). Floyd Dell: Moon Calf (1921); Briary Bush (1922); Janet March (1923).
Luminaries of the school which holds that the sufficient tests of intellectual emancipation are rolled hose, midnight discussions, black coffee, and the discarding of wedding rings. Floyd Dell the most serious and ablest of the group.
Eric Dorn (1921); Gargoyles (1922). An almost naturalistic distrust of formal education, love, and government, and an unsubstantiated belief in the efficacy of revolt in general and the romance of city streets in particular. A burnt-out rocket. His last books--1001 Afternoons in Chicago (1923) and Florentine Dagger (1924) worse than inconsequential.