IV

SHERWOOD ANDERSON: A PSYCHOLOGICAL NATURALIST*

Unlike our earlier naturalists in handling of material and dramatic interests. Concerned with inner life rather than outer, with hidden drives rather than environment. Accepts the main criteria of naturalism: determinism, distortion, pessimism. A lean and sparing writer whose symbolisms are obscure and puzzling. single theme: the disastrous effect of frustrations and repressions that create grotesques. Due to (i) Crude, narrow environment that drives to strange aberrations; (2) Repressed instincts that break forth in abnormal action. The consequence a black loneliness-the hunger of fellowship and its denial. Limited in scope to episodic crises-hence his better stories short. Many failures: Marching Men; Windy McPherson's Son; Poor White (1920); Many Marriages (1923)-a clumsy account of a Babbitt gone on a psy chological spree; Horses and Men (1923)-some more Grotesques; see in particular "A Chicago Hamlet."

Winesburg, Ohio (1918). A prose Spoon River Anthology, with an excellent collection of grotesques. Sharp vignettes; lonely, thwarted lives, "confused and disconcerted by the facts of life." A back ground of earlier America, crude and ugly, that drives to religious fanaticism in Steve Bentley; to passionate rebellion in Kate Swift; to bitter irony in Ray Pearson. Note the deterministic conclusion of "The Untold Lie"-"Tricked, by Gad, that's what I was; tricked by life and made a fool of"; and the pessimism: . . . "The shouted a protest against his life, against all life, against everything that makes life ugly."

The Triumph of the Egg (1921). A strange and difficult book with its subtle symbolisms. The theme is the common hunger for romance and fellowship that confuses itself with sex and is un satisfied. Suggested in prefatory poem: "I have a wonderful story to tell but know no way to tell it."

1. The Egg. An epitome of his philosophy of grotesques. The egg breeds life that is futile, and life reproduces the egg. A morbid disgust that would bottle the egg, and the failure.

2. Out of Nowhere Into Nothing. Theme is the "white wonder of life"-what it is and the part it plays in sha-,ing life; a sex illusion that in its mystic appeal to youth guarantees the perpetuation of the race. To age there is no "white wonder," but thelife processes are dirty, and lead to final imprisonment in a common trap. Hence the "white wonder" is the supreme jest of nature, sardonic, beguiling, gathering its victims who eagerly run their predetermined course.

3. Brothers. A suggestion of the true "white wonder of life" the brotherhood of man in a lonely world-" beyond words, beyond passion-the fellowship in living, the fellowship in life." But men cannot break through the walls of themselves to grasp it, and the dirt of the world destroys its beauty. "The whole story of man kind's loneliness, of the effort to reach out to unattainable beauty, tried to get itself expressed from the lips of a mumbling old man, crazed with loneliness." "We have different names but we are brothers." "Already I have written three hundred, four hundred thousand words. Are there no words that lead into life?" See conclusion of "The Man in the Brown Coat."

A Story Teller's Story (1924). An attempt to lay bare the emo tional life of one seeking to be an artist in America; to plumb his own consciousness, to escape from a world he hates. Such escape comes from reaching down "through all the broken surface distrac tions of modern life to that old craft out of which culture springs." He must pull himself free from a deadening and devastating routine of an industrial society with its empty ambitions. And having found his craft he finds a recompense in life. "I sang as I worked, as in my boyhood I had often seen old craftsmen sing and as I had never heard men sing in factories. And for what I had written at such times I had been called unclean by men and women who had never known me, could have no personal reasons for thinking me unclean. Was I unclean? Were the hands that, for such brief periods of my life, had really served me, had they been unclean at such moments of service?" A stimulating and suggestive document of modern life.

The note of determinism in Anderson expressed in two images, the wall and escape-running to get away from what holds us fast. But in running away from the old self to find a new, we carry the old self with us. Anderson one of the three or four most important men now writing fiction in America. Compare with D. H. Lawrence.

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 im portant 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. . . .**

1917-1924*

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 dom inated fiction between 1903 and 1917. The liberal movement in economics and politics came to an abrupt end, and the problem noel ceased to be written. Almost overnight it became old-fash ioged. The year 1918 sterile.1 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.

I

THE SMALL TOWN IN FICTION

The first expression of the new literature. Chiefly a middle western 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 de fended by Meredith Nicholson, The Valley of Democracy (1918). According to this theory the middle-western village is: (I) 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.2

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 Pro gressive. 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).

The Court of Boyville (1899). The romance of youth set against the background of the small town. A world of dreams and loveli ness: adventures that await beyond the horizon; the glory of pig tails 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 (1899). 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 op poses 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, respect ability. 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 litera ture to middle-class America.3

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, at tractive, 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 acquaint ances 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.4

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: I. 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.

II

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 individual ism, 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: (I) 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 dis content 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.*



DONN BYRNE**

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.5

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 crafts manship.

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."


ROBERT NATHAN

Began like Donn Byrne with a problem study-Peter Kindred (1919). A dual personality cut asunder and embodied in two char acters: David the romantic fades out of the story, and Peter becomes a modern, absorbed in eugenics. A background of Phillips Exeter and Harvard.

Autumn (I92I). An idyll of loneliness, with a commentary on materialism, done in simple, wistful language.

I. Mr. Jemmy, 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 chil dren 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 disrespect fully 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 indict ment 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 mean ing." The tale is Robert Frost done in prose-compare "Mending Wall."

The Puppet Master (1923). The most graceful fantasy in Ameri can 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 over comes. "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 statu esques 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 psy chology 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 symbol ized by Linda's straight black bang; but the story leaves one with a sense of unconcern for Linda and her fate. The ending melo dramatic. 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 decora tive 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 atmos phere got without archaic trappings of speech and manners; never theless 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. 1917-1924 381 53, January, 1923); "Pewter" (Vol. 196, no. 23, January, 1924); "Oak" (Vol. 196, no. 3, July, 1923 ).6

IV

CERTAIN OTHER WRITERS

EDITH WHARTON-THE GENTEEL TRADITION AND THE NEW PLUTOCRACY

A temperamental aristocrat, endowed with keen intelligence and ripe culture. Observes the ways of a wealthy society without cul ture 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 middle class concern for respectability; the new society a vulgar plutoc racy; outside both a pushing nouveau-riche class eager to climb. Hence she turns to the authentic aristocracy of Europe for satis faction 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 conven tion 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 em bodies 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 un pleasant"; 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 A1exander'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.

0 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 oppor tunity. 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, gener ous, eager, yet belonging to the soil. To vulgarize such natures by cramming them into a conventional mold, passes for Americaniza tion-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 out side Miss Cather's experience and understanding.*



V

SOME WAR BOOKS

The late war the first in our history that has produced an after math of searching criticism in fiction or drama. The romantic note dominant in all earlier accounts, particularly of the Revolu tion 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 cyni cism, and that enjoyed no popularity-The Recollections of a Pri vate, by Warren Goss. The late war is producing a considerable group, all realistic and critical; the romantic note has not yet ap peared.

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 Andrews Latzko, Men in War-impressionistic in handling. Dos Passos a young artist from the university, an idealist who enlists and is disillu sioned. 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.

THOMAS BOYD

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.

LAURENCE STALLINGS

Plumes (1924). A story of war by one who has suffered mutila tion 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?

VI

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

Beret: Heavens and Earth (192o); 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.

BEN HECHT

Eric Dorn (1921); Gargoyles (1922). An almost naturalistic dis trust of formal education, love, and government, and an unsub stantiated 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.



OLE ROLVAAG'S "GIANTS IN THE EARTH

THE dramatic contrast between Per Hansa, type of the natural pioneer who sees the golden light of promise flooding the wind swept plains, and Beret, child of an old folk civilization who hungers for the home ways and in whose heart the terror of lone liness gathers, penetrates to the deeper reality of life as it was lived for three hundred years on the American frontier. It is not a late or rare phenomenon; it is only late and rare in literature. We have been used to viewing the frontier in broad and generous perspective and have responded most sympathetically to the epic note that runs through the tale of the conquest of the continent. It is the great American romance that gives life and drama to our history. It was this epic quality that de Tocqueville felt when he discovered the poetry of America in the silent march of a race toward the far-off Pacific, hewing its way triumphantly through forests and mountains to arrive at its objective. But the emo tional side, the final ledger of human values, we have too little considered-the men and women broken by the frontier, the great army of derelicts who failed and were laid away, like the Norse immigrant lad, in forgotten graves. The cost of it all in human happiness-the loneliness, the disappointments, the renunciations, the severing of old ties and quitting of familiar places, the appalling lack of those intangible cushions for the nerves that could not be transported on horseback or in prairie schooners: these imponder ables too often have been left out of the reckoning in our tradi tional romantic interpretation. But with the growth of a maturer realism we are beginning to understand how great was the price exacted by the frontier; and it is because Giants in the Earth, for the first time in our fiction, evaluates adequately the settlement in terms of emotion, because it penetrates to the secret inner life of men and women who undertook the heavy work of subduing the wilderness, that it is-quite apart from all artistic values-a great historical document.

If in one sense the conquest of the continent is the great Amer ican epic, in another sense it is the great American tragedy. The vastness of the unexplored reaches, the inhospitality of the wilder ness, the want of human aid and comfort when disaster came, these were terrifying things to gentle souls whom fate had not roughhewn for pioneering. Fear must have been a familiar visitor to the heart of the pioneer woman, and for a hundred and fifty years this fear of the dark wilderness was one reason why the settlements clung to the more hospitable seaboard. There, at least, was an outlook toward the old home. But with the crossing of the Allegheny Mountains, following the Revolutionary War, the frontier spirit came into its own. A spirit of restlessness took possession of men, and the thin line of settlements advanced swiftly, overrunning the Inland Empire with its interminable forests and malarial swamps, sprawling rudely from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. To subdue the land was no easy task. Upon the old and the weak the wilderness laid a ruthless hand, and even of the strength of the young it took heavy toll. Tragedy was always lurking at the door of the backwoods cabin. In Beveridge's Life of Lincoln there is a grim story of the hardships suffered by the Lincoln family in Indiana that leaves no room for romance-husband, wife, two children, and later an old couple, were forced to pig together all winter in a brush camp open on one side to the weather, with only a fire in front for cooking and heating-a mode of life below that of the Indian in his skin teepee. And then a mysterious disease fell upon them, virulent and fateful, and the old couple were taken from their cots on the ground and put away beneath the soil to find what rest they might there. That men should break and women go mad under such strain is no more than may be expected of human nature. Beret, the wife of Per Hansa, brooding in her sod-hut in Dakota, afraid of life and of her own thoughts, and turning for comfort to a dark re ligion, is a type of thousands of frontier women who-as the his torian Ridpath said of his parents-" toiled and suffered and died that their children might inherit the promise."

Very likely we should have felt the tragedy of the frontier long ago if we had been as much concerned with inner experience as with outward act, if we had been psychologists as well as chron iclers. But we have been too prone to romanticize the objective reality and disguise slatternly ways with the garb of backwoods independence. The realistic eighteenth century made no such mistake. Such infrequent glimpses of the first frontier as we catch in our early lit-rature suggest a swift descent into gross ness as the settlements were left behind. In the Journal of Madam Sarah Knight, which dates from the opening years of the eight eenth century, are brief notes of what fell under her sharp eyes on a horseback trip from Boston to New York. The sketches she has penciled are far from bucolic. Certain of the figures that emerge casually from her pages are no other than decivilized gro tesques-animal-like creatures for whom returning to a state of nature meant living filthily in mean huts, traveling back centuries toward the primitive ways of the cavemen. Of the emotional reactions of these early children of the wilderness Madam Knight tells us nothing; so casual an observer would have no opportunity to penetrate beneath the unlovely surface.

A quarter century later Colonel William Byrd, the first gentle man of Virginia, wrote his graphic History of the Dividing Line, an account of a boundary survey run between the colonies of Virginia and South Carolina. As the survey leaves the seacoast behind and approaches the frontier, the same characteristics ap pear that Madam Knight noted-a rough and surly independence, a dislike of established law and order, and a shiftless way of life that is content to subsist off the country. "Lubberland," Colonel Byrd called the Carolina backwoods where a new race of poor whites was springing up-a rude decivilized existence that bore heavily on the women and was heedless of the common amenities of social life. In Letters from an American Farmer (1773) written by St. John de Crevecoeur, a cultivated Norman who established himself in the colonies after serving in the French army under Montcalm, the same sharp judgment is passed on the frontier. Crevecceur was of the romantic school of Rousseau and eloquent in praise of life lived close to nature, yet even he discovers the frontier to be a blot on colonial civilization, the abode of rude and lawless figures who precede by a decade the sober army of occupation.

In the eighteenth century the testimony is clear that the fron tiersmen-or "borderers," as they were commonly called-were rough bumptious fellows who fled the settlements partly because of a dislike of ordered and seemly ways. The colonial gentry, men like the Rev. Timothy Dwight, held them in deep contempt and rejoiced when they quitted the settlements and plunged deep into the wilderness beyond the jurisdiction of church and state. Lawlessness, shiftlessness, a passion like Jurgen's to follow after their own wishes and their own desires, seem to have been the characteristics of these rude men and slatternly women, as the aristocratic eighteenth century judged them. That is very far from the whole story, to be sure. Our later historians have made clear that from this same leveling frontier issued the spirit of American democracy, and that from these rough individualists came the great movement of Jacksonianism that swept away the class distinctions of an earlier century. Accepting so much, and recognizing the part played by the frontier in shaping the institu tions and the psychology of America, it remains true, neverthe less, that the lot of the backwoodsman was hard and the price he paid in civilization for his freedom was great. The sod house of the Dakota plains was only a late adaptation of the primitive huts that were strung along the earlier frontier. What loneliness filled the hearts of the drab women who made hoecakes and dressed deer skins, what rebellions at their lot stirred dumbly within them, no record remains to tell and no literature has cared to concern itself about.

It was not till the nineteenth century that authentic accounts of the frontier, written by men who had come out of it, began to appear, yet even then in too scant volume. In Longstreet's Georgia Scenes, Joseph G. Baldwin's Flush Times of Alabama and Missis sippi, and Davy Crockett's Autobiography, the frontier is painted in homely colors that time cannot fade. Their brisk pages seem to have been dipped in the butternut dye-pot of the backwoods cabin. By far the most significant of them is the braggart but naively truthful narrative of the life of Cane-brake Davy who in his several removals followed the advancing frontier the length of the State of Tennessee. Davy would seem to have been the authentic backwoodsman, and the life of the individual may be taken as a description of the genus. Restless, assertive, unsocial, buoyantly optimistic and obsessed with the faith that better land lay farther west, cultivating a bumptious wit that was a defense mechanism against the meanness of daily life, he was only an improvident child who fled instinctively from civilization. As a full-length portrait of the Jacksonian leveler, in the days when the great social revolution was establishing the principles of an equalitarian democracy, the picture is of vast significance. But it is incomplete. Concerning the wife and daughters who were dragged at his heels in the successive removals, the narrative is silent. It is a man's tale, unenriched by the emotional experiences of a woman, and as such it tells only half the story of the frontier.

The Autobiography was the last pungent note of realism before the romantic revolution swept over American literature; and it was not till two generations later, when the war was over and the glories of the Gilded Age were fading, that the frontier came to realistic expression again in the works of Hamlin Garland. Main Travelled Roads, the first chapter in the tale of the Middle Border, is a prologue to Giants in the Earth, telling the story of the prairie settlement in the idiom of the generation that undertook the great adventure. In these brief tales is compressed the harsh temper of the eighties, when the spirit of revolt was running like wildfire across the prairies and the Middle Border was arming for battle. For a decade or more the farmers' affairs had been out of kilter, and a note of discontent had begun to appear in fiction. Before Garland, western life had been dealt with by Edward Eggleston in The Hoosier Schoolmaster and The Circuit Rider, and more searchingly by Ed Howe in The Story of a Country Town-a drab commentary on life in Atchison, Kansas, in the early eighties. But it is in Joseph Kirkland's Zury, The Meanest Man in Spring County (1887), that a deep sense of the meanness of frontier life is first adequately felt. The harsh constrictions of pioneer existence tightened about Zury as a boy when his father was struggling with debt, turning a naturally generous nature into a skinflint mortgage grabber. He early learned that he must fight to survive, and as a result his life was shut up in a narrow round of sordid accumulation. It was the poverty of the frontier, in Kirkland's eyes, that was the great hardship.

Hamlin Garland's more adequate story of the Middle Border, beginning militantly with Main-Travelled Roads (1887-92) and flowering in the idyllic saga of the Garlands and McClintocks (1914), is a chronicle that grows more significant as the times it deals with draw further into the past. Throughout his interpre tation run two dominant notes: the promise of future fulfillment when the prairies have been brought under the plow-the Per Hansa note of pioneer optimism; and then later, rising slowly into a ground swell, a note of discouragement suggesting the utter futility of a laborious existence. Underlying Main-Travelled Roads is a mood of bitterness that springs from a deep sense of failure a mood that grew harsher with the economic depression of the Middle Border in the eighties. The harvest was not fulfilling the expectations of seed time, and the bow of promise was gone from the prairie fields. The figures of bitter men and despondent women fill his pages and darken the colors of his realism. It is the cost of it all that depresses him-the toll exacted of human happiness. These early studies of Garland's strike the first note of the tragedy of the frontier. Starkly objective, they are sociolog ical sketches, the militant expression of a rebellious mood that had been deepening since the panic of 1873 burst the romantic bubble of frontier hopes. The history of two decades of economic maladjustment, with their Granger Populism, their passionate resentment at the favoritisms of government, their blind striking out at the plutocracy that was visibly rising amid the American democracy, is compressed within a few acrid tales that proposed to tell the plain truth about life on the Middle Border farm. Main-Travelled Roads is as complete an expression of the mood of the last years of the century-the outlook upon life, the eco nomic and political problems, the objective treatment of materials -as Giants in the Earth is an expression of the vastly different outlook and mood of our own day.

For a generation before 1917, when the movement was brought to a sudden stop, the mind of America was deeply concerned with problems of sociology. The growing spirit of realism was absorbed in politics and economics and concerned itself little with subjective analysis. The intellectuals were busily examining the Constitution in the light of its economic origins and interpreting American history in the light of frontier experience. The novelists, reflecting the current interests, were fascinated by the phenomena of in dustrialism and were studying curiously the new race of captains of industry who were weaving a strange pattern of life for America. The city had already come to dwarf the country. Chicago bestrode the Middle Border like a colossus, and the novelists found material for their realism in the cut-throat ways of business men. Their stories-harsh and strident as the grinding wheels on the over head "Loop"-were set against a background of sprawling cities hastening to grow big, where the battles of giants were fought and where the milieu-a vast network of impersonal forces-was more significant than the individual men and women who were borne onward in the stream of tendency to submerge or rise as chance determined. A note of stark determinism runs through much of the work; but it was a determinism of environing forces the objective world of the machine-rather than of character, and in consequence the deeper concern of fiction was sociological, the understanding of this impersonal machine order and the subduing of it to democratic ends. In such a world the farmer and the problems of the Middle Border were become as old-fashioned as ox-carts.

Ten years later, when Giants in the Earth was published, such objective treatment of materials was no longer the vogue. Since the war a revolutionary shift of interest has taken place, a shift from the sociological to the psychological. It is no longer the world of objective fact that obtrudes as the significant reality, but the subtler world of emotional experience, the furtive inner life of impulse and desire that Sherwood Anderson probes so curiously. The change of theme was first marked, perhaps, by Spoon River Anthology, with its mordant sketches of stunted and thwarted lives that Mr. Masters professes to regard as the natural harvest of a sterile village life. Spoon River ~4nthology is bitter in its sardonic rebellion against the genial optimisms of the "Valley of Democracy." From the epic thrust of expansion issued, as its natural progeny, a race of abortive grotesques, starved figures which suggest to Mr. Masters the cost in human values of severing the ties of kin and kind and throwing aside like an old shoe the creative wealth of social experience. The soil of the frontier village is too thin for men and women to strike deep root and grow to generous stature.

Since the publication of Spoon River Anthology, concern for psychological values has pretty much taken possession of our literature. In the lovely pages of Willa Cather's 0 Pioneers! and My Antonia there is revealed a warm sympathy with the emotional life of pioneer women and a poignant understanding of their bleak lot. But the analysis-as in Hamlin Garland's work-draws back from the threshold of final tragedy, pausing before it has pene trated to the hidden core of futility. The waste of all finer values exacted by the prairies is suggested by the queer figures of lonely immigrants who fade in the uncongenial environment, but it is not thrust into the foreground to dominate the scene. The vast stretches of the prairies are there-stern, inhospitable, breeding a dumb homesickness in alien hearts-where the red grass bends before the restless winds and the forces of nature are not easily tamed; but in the end the prairie is subdued and the scars it has laid on men's lives are forgotten. Since Willa Cather, others have dealt with the West-Ruth Suckow, Margaret Wilson, and Her bert Quick, to name a few-yet in none of their work is there the profound insight and imaginative grasp of the theme that gives to Giants in the Earth so great a sense of tragic reality.

In this creative return to the theme of the great American and venture the causes of human failure lie deeper than politics or economics. They are to be found in the impersonal forces of nature that are too powerful for the human will to cope with; and in the hidden weakness of fearful souls that cannot live when their roots have been pulled up from the congenial home soil. For all his titanic labors, Per Hansa, the viking, is struck down at last. There are few nobler passages in our fiction-the more telling for its restraint-than the final scene where, driven inexorably by circumstance, Per Hansa sets forth into the February blizzard to fetch a minister to the bedside of his stricken comrade. The note of determinism is there, subtle, pervasive. The Norns of his fathers had decreed that it should be so-in the urgings of the mystical Beret, in the dumb pleadings of the dying Hans Olsa and his broken-hearted wife. Per Hansa the strong, the capable one who never failed, who was cunning enough to outwit fate itself-Per Hansa would go out into the storm and return with the minister who would point the way to heaven to the troubled Hans Olsa. And so, driven by all the imperatives of fate, he sets out, skis on his feet and others at his back, to face the last great adventure. The blinding snow quickly wraps him about, the cold grips his heart, and Per Hansa is seen no more until on a soft May day, when the wheat is green in his fields and the corn is ready for planting, he is found seated by a haystack, his skis beside him and his face turned to the untrodden West. For all the heroic labors of Per Hansa, for all the tragic loneliness of Beret, the end is futility.

And Beret, the sick one, likewise is in the hands of the Norns. She had sinned through love of Per Hansa, and in the long brooding hours on the Dakota plains her mind gives way. She cannot rise to Per Hansa's delight in the newborn son. Peder Victorious symbol of Per Hansa's buoyant faith-for her is only another evidence of sin. This dark land of Dakota is marked by God's displeasure, and life for her becomes a silent struggle of renun ciation and atonement. A primitive Norse Calvinist, victimized by a brooding imagination that sees more devils than vast hell can hold, she dwells "on the border of utter darkness" where the forces of good and evil struggle. for the human soul. Across the gloomy Puritanism of her nature fall the shadows of an older and darker faith, and in her nostalgia the old Northland superstitions merge with the somber Northland religion to her undoing. The tragedy of Beret works itself out in the tender corridors of her own heart and, as Professor Commager has suggested, it is as universal as the tragedy of Goethe's Margarethe. In his portrayal of the "sick soul" of Beret hungering for the far homeland the Norse artist has achieved a triumph. The epic conquest of the continent must be read in the light of women's sufferings as well as in that of men's endurance. In whichever light it is read, it becomes something far more suggestive than a drab tale of frontier poverty or a sordid tale of frontier exploitation; it becomes vital and significant as life itself.

Giants in the Earth is a great and beautiful book that suggests the wealth of human potentialities brought to America year after year by the peasant immigrants who pass through Ellis Island and scatter the length and breadth of the land. Written in Nor wegian, and stemming from a rich old-world literary tradition, it is at the same time deeply and vitally American. The very atmosphere of the Dakota plains is in its pages, and it could have been written only by one to whom the background was a familiar scene. The artist has lived with these peasant folk; he is one of them, and he penetrates sympathetically to the simple kindly hearts hidden to alien eyes by the unfamiliar folk ways. To gather up and preserve in letters these diverse folk strains before they are submerged and lost in the common American mores, would seem to be a business that our fiction might undertake with profit.

Ole Edvart Rolvaag is himself a viking of the Per Hansa strain. Born of fisher folk, 2,2 April, 1876, on the island of Donna at the very edge of the Arctic circle, he took his name, following a common Norwegian custom, from the name of a cove on the shores of which he was brought up. It is a land barren except for the gorse and heather, and the long winter nights and the restless sea were certain to bring the imagination under their somber spell. At the age of fourteen, discouraged from further schooling by the family that contrasted him unfavorably with a brilliant brother, he turned fisherman, and for five years went off to the Lofoten Islands some two hundred miles away for the winter catches. Distrustful of the future, he made his great decision to come to America, landing in New York in 1896 with only a railway ticket to South Dakota. In the great West, still turmoiled by the agrarian up heaval of the nineties, he joined an uncle who had provided him transportation money, tried his hand at farming, worked at other jobs, and at the age of twenty-three, not having found himself, he turned once more to the formal business of schooling. In the fall of 1899 he entered Augustana College, a preparatory school in Canton, South Dakota. From there he went to St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 19o5 at the age of twenty eight. After a year at the University of Oslo in Norway, he joined the staff of St. Olaf College, where he is now Professor of Nor wegian Literature. In the larger sense, however, his education has been got from life, which he seems to have lived with a rich and daring intensity; and it is his own venturesome experience, certainly, that finds expression in the creative realism and brood ing imagination of his work. Intellectually and artistically he is of the excellent old-world culture. How greatly his professional studies determined his literary technique only a competent Nor wegian critic can judge; yet it is worth while comparing Giants in the Earth with Johan Bojer's The Emigrants-a work which, when announced as being in preparation, dramatically influenced his own novel.



THE SHORT STORY

Introduction. With the ferment of the seventies and eighties a new school of literature, that was effectively a denial of the genteel tradition: it was effectively a popularization-a taking it out of the severe realm of the Atlantic Monthly. It was an appeal to the middle class. From Henry James to Hamlin Garland a steady shift from right to left. This implied:

1. A shift from genteel to homely material.

2. A shift to realism from the earlier sentimentality. This genteel tradition constantly cropping out anew-in Margaret De land, in a changed form in Zona Gale. It has been strongest in New England-from Rose Terry Cooke through Sarah Orne Jewett to Mary Wilkins.

The short story commonly believed to be peculiarly representa tive of our genius-the stripping-away of the superfluous and the love of technical refinement. Derived from Poe and Hawthorne: both artists yet far removed from the tendencies which have con trolled the development of the short story since.

Theme. The American short story has dealt largely with the two great themes of all romance, love and adventure. The form con stitutes the great staple-is largely provided by women for women. The handling of this love theme reveals the inevitable shift from the genteel tradition to middle-class efficiency, and the spirit of the change is revealed in the changing dress of the heroine. In the seventies, crinoline, innumerable flounces of white muslin, lace parasols-no tan, no freckles, but a gentle pallor. Such dress and such heroines will exude sentiment. It will concern itself with at mosphere. Action brisk and efficient will appear unladylike, almost vulgar. What a change when the heroine clothes herself in a silk flour-sack-showing silk stockings, bare arms and neck-cultivat ing tan and freckles, bobbing her hair, going in for automobiles and golf and tennis! The older heroine dwelt in a world of sentiment without sex; the present-day heroine lives in a world of sex interest without sentiment. The more flounces in life and literature, the less the animal is exposed. Hence action has superseded sentiment -plot has superseded atmosphere. The hero becomes a Hart, Schaffner and Marx young business man and the middle-class note is struck loudly in the honk of the motor-car. The genteel tradition is laid away with the flowers.

Major Influences during the Sixties. Through the fifties and sixties literature uncertain and halting. The style largely set by old-world fashions. Three in particular:

1. Influence of Charlotte and Emily Bronte. A sort of senti mental and mawkish passion. Stilted style, as in Harriet Beecher Stowe. This fell in with the Irving note of the picturesque and was exploited in Godey's Lady's Book.

2. Influence of Dickens. At its height in the fifties: an emphasis upon the vulgar-plain and homely characters. Exploited in the fltlantic by Lowell. So Rose Terry Cooke in Miss Lucinda (1861).

3. Influence of the French realistic movement: Balzac, Flaubert. Only a faint beginning. Still a lot of romance stuff but given a local color and garnished with humor.

Counter Tendencies

. The inevitable development of the middle class city and the middle-class magazine, persistently affected by certain throw-backs to an older American tradition. America is of the city today, but day before yesterday it was still country, and in the backgrounds of our minds is a country setting and love of sim ple people. Three main tendencies:

1. The discovery of the local. The picturesqueness of the strange and remote in character, manners, speech. The charm of dialect and interest in out-of-the-way places. This a reaction from too much pavement and the rubbing-down of individual differences from city contact. "Characters" are bred in isolated places. This the dominant note in the short story from 1870 to 1900: to follow it from Bret Harte on is almost to write a history of the short story. It does not dominate the longer story. Constance Fenimore Woolson.

2. The discovery of "human interest." The feeling that men in the rough-with the bark on-may prove more interesting than the products of an artificial civilization. This had been spread by Dickens and by certain of the Atlantic writers.

3. The growing interest in realism. At first confused with the commonplace-so Pattee in his comment on Rose Terry Cooke's Miss Lucinda. A good deal of this earlier work is only another form of romance-little affected by the rising French movement. Real ism was to come slowly and late. All three of these made against the genteel tradition.

Henry James. His position peculiar. From his youth deracine his father hated American vulgarity, American journalism, and would not permit his son to take root. He grew up with an aristo cratic conception of civilization-his sole interest lay in such civ ilization, and the manners of the polite society of that civilization. No other American has so hated and feared contamination from the vulgar. He was thus the last flower of the Genteel Tradition, trans planted to an environment more congenial. As the middle-class became more clamorous, he withdrew to the Continent, to England, where the older ideas still lingered. There in the spirit of the realist he wrote with refined art and persistent detachment-even to a punctilious and princely refinement. As Mr. Howells says, "To enjoy his work, to feel its rare excellence, both in conception and expression, is a brevet of intellectual good form."

His World. Always that of the spender, of assured position. His main interest lies in women; their refinement appeals to his refine ment-no flappers or vulgarians but elegantly gowned women who never did the family washing. He is concerned with that which is dearest to the heart of aristocracy-standards of excellence. And in this he was true to his conception of civilization, for civilization begins after a competence has been assured. Those who are strug gling to acquire have not the leisure, the inclination, for civiliza tion. Hence Daisy Miller is a type of much of his work-the con trast between civilized Europe and uncivilized America, the one with standards of culture and manners and the other vulgarian. And his interest in American women results from the fact that they alone in America care for civilization and are painfully seek ing to achieve it.

His Realism. The beginnings of the movement which has been called psychological realism, concerning itself with motives and processes of thought-the inner life. Developed by Bourget and far more fully by Dorothy Richardson in such a book as Pilgrimage, the inner life of Miriam Henderson in many volumes. Far removed from later psychological fiction founded on Freudian theory-as in D. H. Lawrence, Sherwood Anderson. Again the genteel tradition dealing with people who in the main have genteel impulses only. James held in horror this later naturalism-it was merely vulgarian.

The Spirit of the Local. Into this prim world with its incipient realism came the note of the Far West: Mark Twain and Bret Harte, who set a new style-the romantic, picturesque, human interest story. This is a part of the Pike County idea of literature a native rogue-tale but with touches of sentiment and shortened to effective form. This followed by Eggleston's Hoosier Schoolmaster (1871) and this in turn by the flood of local work of the eighties. The most notable the work of Charles Egbert Craddock, Joel Chandler Harris, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Mary Wilkins. The first discovered the hill people, the second discovered the Negro-his primitive folk-poetry. In the work of the last, a struggle between the genteel tradition and realism-and the final triumph of the latter.



A CHAPTER IN AMERICAN LIBERALISM

Liberals whose hair is growing thin and the lines of whose figures are no longer what they were, are likely to find themselves today in the unhappy predicament of being treated as mourners at their own funerals. When they pluck up heart to assert that they are not yet authentic corpses, but living men with brains in their heads, they are pretty certain to be gently chided and led back to the comfortable armchair that befits senility. Their counsel is smiled at as the chatter of a belated post-Victorian generation that knew not Freud, and if they must go abroad they are bidden take the air in the garden where other old-fashioned plants-mostly of the family Democratici-are still preserved. It is not pleasant for them. It is hard to be dispossessed by one's own heirs, and especially hard when those heirs, in the cheerful ignorance of youth, forget to acknowledge any obligations to a hard-working generation that laid by a very substantial body of intellectual wealth, the income from which the heirs are spending without even a "Thank you." If therefore the middle-aged liberal occasionally grows irritable and indulges in caustic comment on the wisdom of talkative young men it may be set down as the prerogative of the armchair age and lightly forgiven.

Yet in sober fact there are the solidest reasons for such irritation.

The younger liberals who love to tweak the nose of democracy are too much enamored of what they find in their own mirrors. They are indisputably clever, they are spouting geysers of smart and cynical talk, they have far outrun their fathers in the free handling of ancient tribal totems-but they are afflicted with the short perspective of youth that finds a vanishing-point at the end of its own nose. There is no past for them beyond yesterday. They are having so good a time playing with ideas that it does not occur to them to question the validity of their intellectual processes or to inquire into the origins of the ideas they have adopted so blithely. Gaily engaged in smashing bourgeois idols, the young intellectuals are too busy to realize that it was the older generation that pro vided them with a hammer and pointed out the idols to be smashed. It is the way of youth.

Middle-aged liberals-let it be said by way of defense-at least know their history. They were brought up in a great age of liberal ism-an age worthy to stand beside the golden forties of last cen tury-and they went to school to excellent teachers. Darwip, Spencer, Mill, Karl Marx, Haeckel, Taine, William James, Henry George, were masters of which no school in any age need feel ashamed; nor were such tutors and undermasters as Ruskin, William Morris, Matthew Arnold, Lester Ward, Walt Whitman, Henry Adams, to be dismissed as incompetent. To the solution of the vexing problems entailed by industrialism-in America as well as in Europe-was brought all the knowledge that had been ac cumulating for a century. It was a time of reevaluations when much substantial thinking was done; when the flood of light that came with the doctrine of biological evolution lay brilliant on the intellectual landscape and the dullest mind caught some of the re flection. Few of the young scholars attended the lectures of Friedrich Nietzsche, and behavioristic psychology had not yet got into the curriculum; but Ladd and James were inquiring curiously into the mechanism of the brain, and animal psychology was pre paring the way for the later Freudians. It was the end of an age perhaps, the rich afterglow of the Enlightenment, but the going down of the sun was marked by sunset skies that gave promise of other and greater dawns.

To have spent one's youth in such a school was a liberal educa tion. The mind opened of its own will. Intellectual horizons were daily widening and the new perspectives ran out into cosmic spaces. The cold from those outer spaces had not yet chilled the enthusi asms that were a heritage from the Enlightenment, and the social idealism begotten by the democratic nature school still looked con fidently to the future. They were ardent democrats-the young liberals of the nineties-and none doubted the finality or sufficiency of the democratic principle, any more than Mill or Spencer had doubted it. All their history and all their biology justified it, and the business of the times was to make it prevail in the sphere of economics as it prevailed in the realm of the political. The cure for the evils of democracy was held to be more democracy, and when industrialism had been brought under its sway-when Amer a had become an economic democracy-a just and humane civ ilization would be on the threshold of possibility. To the achieve ment of that great purpose the young liberals devoted themselves and the accomplishments of the next score of years were the work of their hands. Certain intellectuals had been democrats-Paine and Jefferson and Emerson and Thoreau and Whitman and Mel ville-but they were few in comparison with the skeptical Whigs who professed democracy only to bind its hands. The Republican party had not been democratic since former days - and as Henry Adams said in i88o, it was accounted foolishness to believe in it in i88o. Autocracy was a toy to distract the voting man from the business of money-getting.

It was from such a school-richer in intellectual content, one might argue, than any the younger liberals have frequented-that the ferment of twenty years ago issued; a school dedicated to the ideals of the Enlightenment and bent on carrying through the un fulfilled program of democracy. Democratic aspirations had been thwarted hitherto by the uncontrolled play of the acquisitive in stinct; the immediate problem of democracy was the control of that instinct in the common interest. Economics had controlled the political state to its narrow and selfish advantage; it was for the political state to resume its sovereignty and extend its control over economics. So in the spirit of the Enlightenment the current lib eralism dedicated itself to history and sociology, accepting as its immediate and particular business a reexamination of the American past in order to forcast an ampler democratic future. It must trace the rise of political power in America in order to understand how that power had fallen into the unsocial hands of economics. The problem was difficult. American political history had been grossly distorted by partisan interpretation and political theory had been dissipated by an arid constitutionalism. The speculative thinker had long been dispossessed by the eulogist and the lawyer, both of whom had subsisted on a thin gruel of patriotic myths. Even the social historians, though dealing in materials rich in suggestion, had been diffident in the matter of interpretation, without which his tory is no more than the dry bones of chronicle. Inheriting no ade quate philosophy of historical evolution, the young school of his torians must first provide themselves with one, in the light of which the American past should take on meaning, and the partisan struggles, hitherto meaningless, should fall into comprehensible patterns.

That necessary work was to engage them for years, but in the meanwhile, as critical realists, their immediate business was with facts and the interpretation of facts. John Fiske a few years be fore had essayed to interpret the rise of democracy in Americaiy analogy from biological evolution, tracing the source of American democracy to the New England town meeting, which he explained as a resurgence of ancient Teutonic folk-ways. The theory was tenuous and it was not till Professor Turner drew attention to the creative influence of the frontier on American life that the historians were provided with a suggestive working hypothesis. Before that hypothesis could be adequately explored, however, and brought into just relations to a comprehensive philosophy of history, the rise of liberalism was well under way, marked by a rich ferment of thought that made the early years of the new century singularly stimulating. That ferment resulted from pouring into the vial of native experience the reagent of European theory-examining the ways of American industrialism in the light of continental social ism; and the result was an awakening of popular interest in social control of economics, a widespread desire to bring an expanding industrialism into subjection to a rational democratic program, that was to provide abundant fuel to the social unrest that had burst forth in sporadic flames for a generation. The great move ment of liberalism that took possession of the American mind after the turn of the century-a movement not unworthy to be compared with the ferment of the eighteen forties-was the spontaneous reaction of an America still only half urbanized, still clinging to ideals and ways of an older simpler America, to an industrialism that was driving its plowshare through the length and breadth of the familiar scene, turning under the rude furrows what before had been growing familiarly there. It was the first reaction of America to the revolutionary change that followed upon the exhaustion of the frontier-an attempt to secure through the political state the freedoms that before had come from unpre empted opportunity.

For a quarter of a century following the great westward expan sion of the late sixties America had been drifting heedlessly towards a different social order. The shambling frontier democracy that had sufficed an earlier time was visibly breaking down in presence of the imperious power of a centralizing capitalism. The railways were a dramatic embodiment of the new machine civilization that was running head on into a primitive social organism fashioned by the old domestic economy, and the disruptions and confusions were a warning that the country was in for vast changes. New masters, new ways. The rule of the captain of industry had come. The `farmers had long been in ugly mood, but their great rebellion was put down in 1896, and never again could they hope to wrest sovereignty from capitalism. The formal adoption of the gold standard in 19oo served notice to the world that America had put away its democratic agrarianism, that a shambling Jacksonian individualism had had its day, and that henceforth the destiny of the country lay in the hands of its business men. Capitalism was master of the country and though for the present it was content to use the political machinery of democracy it was driving towards an objective that was the negation of democracy.

The immediate reaction to so broad a shift in the course of manifest destiny was a growing uneasiness amongst the middle class-small business and professional men-who looked with fear upon the program of the captains of industry. Industrialization brought its jars and upsets. The little fish did not enjoy being swallowed by the big, and as they watched the movement of economic centralization encroaching on the field of competition they saw the doors of opportunity closing to them. It was to this great body of petite bourgeoisie that members of the lesser intel lectuals-journalists, sociologists, reformers-were to make appeal. The work was begun dramatically with the spectacularly advertised Frenzied Finance, written by Thomas W. Lawson, and appearing as a series in McClure's Magazine in 1903. The immense popular success of the venture proved that the fire was ready for the fat, and at once a host of volunteer writers fell to feeding the flames. The new ten-cent magazines provided the necessary vehicle of publicity, and enterprising editors were soon increasing their cir culations with every issue. As it became evident how popular was the chord that had been struck, more competent workmen joined themselves to the group of journalists: novelists-a growing army of them-essayists, historians, political scientists, philosophers, a host of heavy-armed troops that moved forward in a frontal attack on the strongholds of the new plutocracy. Few writers in the years between 1903 and 1917 escaped being drawn into the move ment-an incorrigible romantic perhaps, like the young James Branch Cabell, or a cool patrician like Edith Wharton; and with such popular novelists as Winston Churchill, Robert Herrick, Ernest Poole, David Graham Phillips, Upton Sinclair, and Jack London embellishing the rising liberalism with dramatic heroes and villains, and dressing their salads with the wickedness of Big Business; with such political leaders as Bob La Follette and Theo dore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson beating up the remotest villages for recruits; with such scholars as Thorstein Veblen, Charles A. Beard, and John Dewey, and such lawyers as Louis Brandeis, Frank P. Walsh, and Samuel Untermyer, the movement gathered such momentum and quickened such a ferment as had not been known before in the lands since the days of the Abolition controversy. The mind and conscience of America were stirred to their lowest sluggish stratum, and a democratic renaissance was all aglow on the eastern horizon.

At the core it was a critical realistic movement that spread quietly amongst intellectuals, but the nebulous tail of the comet blazed across the sky for all to wonder at: and it was the tail rather than the core that aroused the greatest immediate interest. Lincoln Steffens, Charles Edward Russell, Ida Tarbell, Gustavus Myers, and Upton Sinclair were read eagerly because they dealt with themes that many were interested in-the political machine, watered stock, Standard Oil, the making of great fortunes, and the like-and they invested their exposures with the dramatic interest of a detective story. Up to 1910 it was largely a muckraking move ment-to borrow President Roosevelt's picturesque phrase; a time of brisk housecleaning that searched out old cobwebs and disturbed the dust that lay thick on the antiquated furniture. The Gilded Age had been slovenly and such a housecleaning was long overdue. There was a vast amount of nosing about to discover bad smells, and to sensitive noses the bad smells seemed to be everywhere. Evidently some hidden cesspool was fouling American life, and as the inquisitive plumbers tested the household drains they came upon the source of infection-not one cesspool but many, under every city hall and beneath every state capitol-dug secretly by politicians in the pay of respectable business men. It was these cesspools that were poisoning the national household, and there would be no health in America till they were filled in and no others dug.

It was a dramatic discovery and when the corruption of Ameri can politics was laid on the threshold of business-like a bastard on the doorsteps of the father-a tremendous disturbance resulted. There was a great fluttering and clamor amongst the bats and owls, an ominous creaking of the machine as the wrenches were thrown into the well-oiled wheels, and a fierce sullen anger at the hue and cry set up. To many honest Americans the years between 1903 and 1910 were abusive and scurrilous beyond decency, years when no man and no business, however honorable, was safe from the pil lory; when wholesale exposure had grown profitable to sensation mongers, and great reputations were lynched by vigilantes and rep utable corporations laid under indictment at the bar of public opinion. Respectable citizens did not like to have their goodly city held up to the world as "corrupt and contented"; they did not like to have their municipal housekeeping brought into public dis repute no'matter how sluttish it might be. It was not pleasant for members of great families to read a cynical history of the origins of their fortunes, or for railway presidents seeking political favors to find on' the newsstand a realistic account of the bad scandals that had smirched their roads. It was worse than unpleasant, it was hurtful to business. And so quietly, and as speedily as could be done decently, the movement was brought to a stop by pressure put on the magazines that lent themselves to such harmful disclosures. Then followed a campaign of education. Responding to judicious instruction, conducted in the columns of the most respectable newspapers, the American public was soon brought to understand that it was not the muck that was harmful, but the indiscretion of those who commented in print on the bad smells. It was reckoned a notable triumph for sober and patriotic good sense.

So after a few years of amazing activity the muckraking move ment came to a stop. But not before it had done its work; not before the American middle class had been indoctrinated in the elementary principles of political realism and had rediscovered the social conscience lost since the days of the Civil War. Many a totem had been thrown down by the irreverent hands of the muckrakers, and many a fetish held up to ridicule, and plutocracy in America would not recover its peace of mind until at great cost the totems should be set up again and the fetishes reanointed with the oil of sanctity. The substantial result of the movement was the instruction it afforded in the close kinship between business and politics-a lesson greatly needed by a people long fed on romantic unrealities. It did not crystallize for the popular mind in the broad principle of economic determinism; that remained for certain of the intellectuals to apply to American experience. But with its sordid object-service-it punished the flabby optimism of the Gilded Age, with its object-lessons in business politics; it revealed the hidden hand that was pulling the strings of the political pup pets; it tarnished the gilding that had been carefully laid on our callous exploitation, and it brought under common suspicion the captain of industry who had risen as a national hero from the muck of individualism. It was a sharp guerilla attack on the sacred American System, but behind the thin skirmish-line lay a volunteer army that was making ready to deploy for a general engagement with plutocracy.

With the flood of light thrown upon the fundamental law by the historians, the movement of liberalism passed quickly through suc cessive phases of thought. After the first startled surprise it set about the necessary business of acquainting the American people with its findings in the confident belief that a democratic electorate would speedily democratize the instrument. Of this first stage the late Professor J. Allen Smith's The Spirit of flmerican Government (1907) was the most adequate expression, a work that greatly in fluenced the program of the rising Progressive Party. But changes came swiftly and within half a dozen years the movement had passed from political programs to economic, concerned not so greatly with political democracy as with economic democracy. Of this second phase Professor Beard's notable study, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913), was the greatest intellec tual achievement. Underlying this significant work was a philos ophy of politics that set it sharply apart from preceding studies a philosophy that unsympathetic readers were quick to attribute to Karl Marx, but that in reality derived from sources far earlier and for Americans at least far more respectable. The current con ception of the political state as determined in its form and activities by economic groups is no modern Marxian perversion of political theory; it goes back to Aristotle, it underlay the thinking of Har rington and Locke and the seventeenth-century English school, it shaped the conclusions of Madison and Hamilton and John Adams, it ran through all the discussions of the Constitutional Convention, and it reappeared in the arguments of Webster and Calhoun. It was the main-traveled road of political thought until a new highway was laid out by French engineers, who, disliking the bog of eco nomics, surveyed another route by way of romantic equalitarian ism. The logic of the engineers was excellent, but the drift of politics is little influenced by logic, and abstract equalitarianism proved to be poor material for highway construction. In divorcing political theory from contact with sobering reality it gave it over to a treacherous romanticism. In seeking to avoid the bog of economics it ran into an arid desert.

To get back once more on the main-traveled road, to put away all profitless romanticisms and turn realist, taking up again the method of economic interpretation unused in America since the days of Webster and Calhoun, became therefore the business of the second phase of liberalism to which Professor Beard applied him self. The earlier group of liberals were ill equipped to wage suc cessful war against plutocracy. Immersed in the traditional equal itarian philosophy, they underestimated the strength of the enemies of democracy. They did not realize what legions of Swiss Guards property can summon to its defense. They were still romantic idealists tilting at windmills, and it was to bring them to a sobering sense of reality that The Economic Interpretation of the Constitution was written. If property is the master force in every society one cannot understand American institutional development until one has come to understand the part property played in shaping the fundamental law. Interpreted thus the myths that had gathered about the Constitution fell away of themselves and the document was revealed as English rather than French, the judicious expres sion of substantial eighteenth-century realism that accepted the property basis of political action, was skeptical of romantic ideal isms, and was more careful to protect title-deeds to legal holdings than to claim unsurveyed principalities in Utopia. If therefore liberalism were to accomplish any substantial results it must ap proach its problems in the same realistic spirit, recognizing the masterful ambitions of property, recruiting democratic forces to overmaster the Swiss Guards, leveling the strongholds that prop erty had erected within the organic law, and taking care that no new strongholds should rise. The problem confronting liberalism was the problem of the subjection of property to social justice.

Yet interesting as was the muckraking tail of the comet, far more significant was the core-the substantial body of knowledge gathered by the scholars and flung into the scale of public opinion. The realities of the American past had been covered deep with layers of patriotic myths, provided in simpler days when the young Republic, suffering from a natural inferiority complex, was building up a defense against the acrid criticism of Tory Europe. Those myths had long since served their purpose and had become a con venient refuge for the bats and owls of the night; it was time to strip them away and apply to the past objective standards of scholar ship, and to interpret it in the light of an adequate philosophy of history. To this work, so essential to any intelligent understanding of the American experiment, a group of historians and political scientists turned with competent skill, and the solid results of their labor remained after the popular ferment'subsided, as a foundation for later liberals to build on.

The journalistic muckrakers had demonstrated that America was not in fact the equalitarian democracy it professed to be, and the scholars supplemented their work by tracing to its historical source the weakness of the democratic principle in governmental practice. America had never been a democracy for the sufficient reason that too many handicaps had been imposed upon the ma jority will. The democratic principle had been bound with withes like Samson and had become a plaything for the Philistines. From the beginning-the scholars discovered-democracy and property had been at bitter odds; the struggle invaded the Constitutional Convention, it gave form to the party alignment between Ham ilton and Jefferson, Jackson and Clay, and then during the slavery struggle, sinking underground like a lost river, it nevertheless had determined party conflicts down to the present. In this ceaseless conflict between the man and the dollar, between democracy and property, the reasons for persistent triumph of property were sought in the provisions of the organic law, and from a critical study of the Constitution came a discovery that struck home like a submarine torpedo-the discovery that the drift toward plutoc racy was not a drift away from the spirit of the Constitution, but an inevitable unfolding from its premises; that instead of having been conceived by the fathers as a democratic instrument, it had been conceived in a spirit designedly hostile to democracy; that it was, in fact, a carefully formulated expression of eighteenth century property consciousness, erected as a defense against the democratic spirit that had got out of hand during the Revolution, and that the much-praised system of checks and balances was de signed and intended for no other end than a check on the political power of the majority-a power acutely feared by the property consciousness of the times.

It was a startling discovery that profoundly stirred the liberal mind of the early years of the century; yet the really surprising thing is that it should have come as a surprise. It is not easy to understand today why since Civil War days intelligent Americans should so strangely have confused the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and have come to accept them as comple mentary statements of the democratic purpose of America. Their unlikeness is unmistakable: the one a classical statement of French humanitarian democracy, the other an organic law designed to safeguard the minority under republican rule. The confusion must be charged in part to the lawyers who had taken over the custodian ship of the Constitution, and in part to the florid romantic temper of the middle nineteenth century. When the fierce slavery struggle fell into the past, whatever honest realism had risen from the pas sions of the times was buried with the dead issue. The militant attacks on the Constitution so common in Abolitionist circles after 1835, and the criticism of the Declaration that was a part of the southern argument, were both forgotten, and with the Union re established by force of arms, the idealistic cult of the fundamental law entered on a second youth. In the blowsy Gilded Age the old myths walked the land again, wrapped in battle-torn flags and appealing to the blood shed on southern battlefields. It was not till the advent of a generation unblinded by the passions of civil war that the Constitution again was examined critically, and the earlier charge of the Abolitionists that it was designed to serve property rather than men, was heard once more. But this time with far greater weight of evidence behind it. As the historians dug amongst the contemporary records they came upon a mass of fact the Abolitionists had been unaware of. The evidence was written so plainly, in such explicit and incontrovertible words not only in Elliott's Debates, but in the minutes of the several State Conventions, in contemporary letters and memoirs, in newspapers and pamphlets and polite literature that it seemed incredible that honest men could have erred so greatly in confusing the Constitu tion with the Declaration.

With the clarification of its philosophy the inflowing waters of liberalism reached flood-tide; the movement would either recede or pass over into radicalism. On the whole it followed the latter course, and the years immediately preceding 1917 were years when American intellectuals were immersing themselves in European collectivistic philosophies-in Marxianism, Fabianism, Syndical ism, Guild Socialism. New leaders were rising, philosophical analysts like Thorstein Veblen who were mordant critics of Ameri can economics. The influence of socialism was fast sweeping away the last shreds of politicaNnd social romanticism that so long had confused American thinking. The doctrine of economic determin ism was spreading widely, and in the light of that doctrine the deep significance of the industrial revolution was revealing itself for the first time to thoughtful Americans. In its reaction to industrialism America had reached the point Chartist England had reached in the eighteen-forties and Marxian Germany in the eighteen-seventies. That was before a mechanistic science had laid its heavy dis couragements on the drafters of democratic programs. Accept ing the principle of economic determinism, liberalism still clung to its older democratic teleology, convinced that somehow economic determinism would turn out to be a fairy godmother to the prole tariat and that from the imperious drift of industrial expansion must eventually issue social justice. Armed with this faith liberal ism threw itself into the work of cleaning the Augean stables, and its reward came in the achievements of President Wilson's first administration.

Then the war intervened and the green fields shriveled in an afternoon. With the cynicism that came with post-war days the democratic liberalism of 1917 was thrown away like an empty whiskey-flask. Clever young men began to make merry over de mocracy. It was preposterous, they said, to concern oneself about social justice; nobody wants social justice. The first want of every man, as John Adams remarked a hundred years ago, is his dinner, and the second his girl. Out of the muck of the war had come a great discovery-so it was reported-the discovery that psychology as well as economics has its word to say on politics. From the army intelligence tests the moron emerged as a singular com mentary on our American democracy, and with the discovery of the moron the democratic principle was in for a slashing attack. Almost overnight an army of enemies was marshaled against it. The eugenist with his isolated germ theory flouted the perfectional psychology of John Locke, with its emphasis on environment as the determining factor in social evolution-a psychology on which the whole idealistic interpretation was founded; the beardless philosopher discovered Nietzsche and in his pages found the fit master of the moron-the biological aristocrat who is the flower that every civilization struggles to produce; the satirist discovered the flatulent reality that is middle-class America and was eager to thrust his jibes at the complacent denizens of the Valley of De mocracy. Only the behaviorist, with his insistence on the plastic ity of the new-born child, offers some shreds of comfort to the democrat; but he quickly takes them away again with his simplifi cation of conduct to imperious drives that stamp men as primitive animals. If the mass-the raw materials of democracy-never rises much above sex appeals and belly needs, surely it is poor stuff to try to work up into an excellent civilization, and the dreams of the social idealist who forecasts a glorious democratic future are about as substantial as moonshine. It is a discouraging essay. Yet it is perhaps conceivable that our current philosophy-the brilliant coruscations of our younger intelligentsia-may indeed not prove to be the last word in social philosophy. Perhaps-is this lese-majeste-when our youngest liberals have themselves come to the armchair age they will be smiled at in turn by sons who are still cleverer and who will find their wisdom as foolish as the wisdom of 1917 seems to them today. But that lies on the knees of the gods.

Endnotes:

from Sherwood Anderson: A Psychological Naturalist
*The notes that follow are from the syllabus. Publisher.

from A New Romance
* Cabell omitted, as there is a fuller discussion of him given.-Publisher.

from 1917-1924
* From the syllabus. Publisher. ' For a statement of the reaction of a young intellectual to the war, see Randolph Bourne, Untimely Papers, 1919.

from William Allen White: A Son of the Middle Border
2 For a criticism of Nicholson, see Randolph Bourne, The History of a Literary Radical, p. 128.

from Booth Tarkington: The Dean of American Middle Class Letters
3 See Mr. Cabell's criticism in Beyond Life, pp. 301-307. 4 For a review see the Nation, March 19, 1924.

from, Donn Byrne
* Sinclair Lewis omitted, as fuller material has been given.-Publisher. ** From the third section in the syllabus, which deals with "A New Romance." Publisher. 5 See Cabeil's review of Messer Marco Polo in Straws and Prayer-Books, pp. 52-59o The writer's full name is Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne.

from Certain Other Writers
6 For a striking characterization of Hergesheimer, see The Bookman, May, 1922. For an appreciation, see Cabell, Straws and Prayer-Books, pp. 195-221.

from Some War Books
* See remarks on Miss Cather in the introduction to the text edition of Ole Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth, which follows these syllabus notes.-Publisher.

from, Ole Rolvagg's "Giants in the Earth"
* Introduction to the text edition of Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth. Copyright 1929 by Harper and Brothers, by whose permission it is reprinted here. Publisher.

from The Short Story
*Lecture notes. This subject was not included in the contents, but contains some matter of interest. Publisher.

from, A Chapter in American Liberalism
* This was apparently not intended as the introduction to Part I of Book Three, but covers much of the ground indicated there. Publisher.



back| forward