- Consciousness and Science Fiction.
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Yeats "the finest comedian of his kind on the English-speaking stage" is not Mr. George Alexander, but Mr. William Fay!
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And who, outside Dublin, has ever heard of Mr. Synge, author of "The Playboy of the Western World? Yeats calls him "a unique man," and puts him above all other Irish creative artists in prose. And very probably Mr. Yeats is correct. For the difference between what informed people truly think about reputations, and what is printed about reputations by mandarins in popular papers, is apt to be startling. The other day I had a terrific pow-wow with one of the most accomplished writers now living; it occurred in the middle of a wood.
We presently arrived at this point: He asked impatiently: "Well, who is there who can write tip-top poetry to-day? Really, it is not so easy to put one's finger on a high-class poet.
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I gave the names of Robert Bridges and W. He wouldn't admit Mr. Yeats's tip-topness.
At first, with the immeasurable and vulgar tedium of Mr. Crosland's popular books in my memory, I thought he was joking. But he was not. He was convinced than an early book by the slanger of suburbs contained as fine poetry as has been written in these days. I was formally bound over to peruse the volume. Not that he had shares or interest in the Academy! Of course, I had to admit that Lord Alfred Douglas, before he began to cut capers in the hinterland of Fleet Street, had been a poet.
I have an early volume of his that, to speak mildly, I cherish. I should surmise that scarcely one person in a million has the least idea of the identity of the artists by which the end of the twentieth century will remember the beginning. The vital facts of to-day's literature always lie buried beneath chatter of large editions and immense popularities.
I wouldn't mind so much, were it not incontestable that at the end of the century I shall be dead. The Mrs. Humphry Ward of France, M. In comparing him to Mrs. Humphry Ward, I am unfair to the lady in one sense and too generous in another. Bazin writes perhaps slightly better than Mrs. Humphry Ward, but not much. Per contra , he is a finished master of the art of self-advertisement, whereas the public demeanour of Mrs. Humphry Ward is entirely beyond reproach.
Bazin did not get through his interview without giving some precise statistical information as to the vast sale of his novels.
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I suppose that M. My only objection to the activities of M. Bazin is that, not content with a golden popularity, he cannot refrain from sneering at genuine artists. It is indubitable that he had one aim—to produce the finest literature of which he was capable, and that to this aim he sacrificed everything else in his career.
Speaking of the respect which ought to be accorded to a distinguished artist, there is an excellent example of propriety in Dr.
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This is the kind of lapse from decorum which causes the judicious not to grieve but to shrug their shoulders. Probably "A Man of Kent" would wish to withdraw it. I trust he is aware that "The Age of Shakespeare" is packed full of criticism whose insight and sensitiveness no other English critic could equal. Cooper, novelist and writer for children, protesting against the publication of the Queen's Gift-Book and the royally commanded cheap edition of "Queen Victoria's Letters" during the autumn season, and requesting their Majesties to forbear next year from injuring the general business of books as they have injured it this year.
That some semi-official importance is attached to Mr. But Mr. Cooper undoubtedly exaggerates.
A HISTORY OF THE FRENCH NOVEL
He states that the two books in question "have ruined the present publishing season rather more effectively than a Pan-European war could have done. He says further: "Men and women who could trust to a sale of or copies of a novel, equally with authors who can command much larger sales, find that this year the sale of their annual novel has reached a tenth part of the usual figures.
The general view is that, while the season has been scarcely up to the average for fiction, it has not been below the average on the whole. Cooper is nothing if not sweeping. A few days later he wrote to the Westminster Gazette about the House of Lords, and said: "I am open to wager a considerable sum that if the Government fights a general election next year they will win back all their lost by-elections and get an increased majority besides.
Cooper's only weak point. It is a pity that Mr.
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Cooper's protest was not made with more moderation, for it was a protest worth making. The books of the two Queens have not ruined the season, nor have they reduced the sales of popular novels by 90 per cent.
The issue of "Queen Victoria's Letters" at six shillings was a worthy idea, but its execution was thoughtlessly timed. The volumes would have sold almost equally well at another period of the year. As for "Queen Alexandra's Gift-Book," I personally have an objection to the sale of books for charity, just as I have an objection to all indirect taxation and to the paying of rates out of gas profits.
In such enterprises as the vast, frenzied pushing and booming of the "Gift-Book," the people who really pay are just the people who get no credit whatever. The public who buy get rich value for their outlay; the chief pushers and boomsters get an advertisement after their own hearts; and the folk who genuinely but unwillingly contribute, without any return of any kind, are authors whose market is disturbed and booksellers who, partly intimidated and partly from good nature, handle the favoured book on wholesale terms barely profitable.
I will have none of Mr. Cooper's 90 per cent. I share Mr. Cooper's resentment.
go to site Still, I am not depressed about the general cause of serious literature. Serious literature is kept alive by a few authors who, not owning motor-cars nor entertaining parties to dinner at the Carlton, find it possible and agreeable to maintain life and decency on the money paid down by very small bands of truly bookish readers. And these readers are not likely to deprive themselves completely of literature for ever in order to possess a collection of royal photographs.
The injury to serious literature is slight and purely temporary. A melancholy Christmas, it seems! According to "a well-known member of the trade," the business is once again—the second time this year—about to crumble into ruins. Cooper's letter about the disastrous influence of royal books on the publishing season.
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