A storm center of rage and controversy through­ out his life, once was invited by a minister in Virginia to "come down and be lynched."

• A man of many paradoxes, Lewis caused a furor by refusing the in 1926 because he did not believe in literary awards, but he accepted the in 1930. He was the first American to achieve this distinction_

• Both editors of this volume were close friends of Lewis for many years. Harry E. Maule was his edi­ tor, having known him from the time Lewis left Yale. Melville H. Cane was his long-time attorney and is still executor of the Lewis estate.

• They have edited this reader "with intelligence and a knowledge of the period-a kind of editing so rare in such volumes as to be a literary achievement in itself."*

*Fanny Butcher-Chicago Sunday Tribune

THE MAN FROM was originally published by , Inc. NOVELS BY SINCLAIR LEWIS

1914 Our Mr. Wrenn 1915 The Trail of the Hawk 1917 1917 1919 1920 Main Street 1922 1925 .1926 1927 1928 The Man Who Knew Coolidge 1929 1933 1934 Work of Art 1935 It Can't Happen Here 1938 The Prodigal Parents 1940 Bethel Merriday 1943 Gideon Planish 1945 1947 1949 The God-Seeker 1951 World So Wide A Sinclair Lewis Reader The Man from Main Street Selected Essays and Other

Writings: 1904-1950

Edited by Harry E. Maule and Melville H. Cane Assisted by Philip Allan Friedman


Random House edition published February, 1953

Giant Cardinal edition published Februa ry , 1963 1st printing ...... December, 1962

This Giant Cardinal** edition includes every word contained in the original, higher-priced edition. It is printed from brand-new plates made from completely reset, clear, easy-to-read type. Giant Cardinal editions ore published by Pocket Books, Inc., and are printed and distributed in the U.S.A. by Affiliated Publishers, a division of Pocket Books, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York 20, N.Y. *Trademark registered in the and other countries. **Trademark of Pocket Books, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York 20, N.Y., in the United States and other countries. L

Ccpyright, 1953, by the Estate of Sinclair Lewis, Melville H. Can e and Pincus Berner, Executors. Introductory notes copyright, 1953, by Harry E. Maule. All rights reserved. This Giant Cardinal edition is published by arrangement with Random House, Inc. Printed in the U.S.A. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Grateful acknowledgment for permission to use published material is made to the following:

Newsweek, for "Seeing Red" and "One-Man Revolution," copy­ right, 1937, by Weekly Publications, Inc.

The United Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, for "The Artist, the Scientist and the Peace," which appeared in The American Scholar in 1945.

The Literary Guild of America, Inc., for "A Note about Kingsblood Royal," which appeared in The Literary Guild Review, Wings.

Richard R. Smith Publisher, Inc., for "A Letter on Religion," from The Meaning of Life, edited by Will Durant, copyright, 1932, by Wi11 Durant.

The New Yorker, for "My First Day in New York," copyright, 1937, by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.

New Colophon, for "Breaking into Print," copyright, 1937, by Pynson Printers.

The New York Sun, Inc., for "Two Yale Men in Utopia," copy­ right, 1906, by The New York Sun, Inc.

Hearst Magazines, Inc., for "Is America a Paradise for Women?" published in Pictorial Review; "This Golden Half-Century, 1885- 1935," published in ; and "I'm an Old News­ paperman Myself," published in Cosmopolitan. Copyright, 1929, 1935, 1947, by The Hearst Corp.

The George Macy Companies, Inc., for "A Note on Book Collect­ ing," from Samples, copyright, 1935, by the Limited Editions Club, Inc.; "Introductory Remarks," from The Three Readers, copyright, v vi Acknowledgments

1943, by The Press of The Readers Club; Preface to Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev, copyright, 1941, by The Heritage Press; Preface to Main Street, The Limited Editions Club edition. copy­ right, 1937, by The Limited Editions Club, Inc.; Preface to : An American Portrait by Paxton Hibben, The Readers Club edition, copyright, 1942, by The Readers Club.

Esquire, Inc., for "The Death of Arrowsmith," published in Coro­ net; "Gentlemen, This is Revolution," and "Obscenity and Ob­ scurity," published in Esquire, copyright, 1941, 1945, by Esquire, Inc.

Yale Literary Magazine, for Launcelot, "Editor's Table," "In Praise of South Middle," "Unknown Undergraduates," and "Ram­ bling Thoughts on Literature."

New York Herald Tribune, for "A Pilgrim's Progress," "The American Scene in Fiction," "The Pre-War, Post-War, Post-Crash America," and "Our Friend, H. G.," copyright, 1924, 1929, 1936, 1946, by the New York Herald Tribune, Inc.

Harper & Row, for "A Letter on Style," from Types and Times in the Essay, selected and arranged by Warner Taylor, copyright, 1932, by Harper & Bros.

Saturday Review, for "William Lyon Phelps," and "Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto," copyright, 1939, 1944, by The Saturday Review Associates, Inc.

The Troutbeck Press-Mr. Joel Spingam, Publisher, for Introduc­ tion to Four Days on the W ebutuck River.

The New York Post, for "A Hamlet of the Plains," copyright, 1922, by The New York Post, Inc.

The American Peoples Encyclopedia, for "No Flight to Olympus," copyright, 1951, by Spencer Press, Inc.

Doubleday & Co., Inc., for "My Maiden Effort," copyright, 192 1, by Doubleday, Page & Co., Introduction to Selected Short Stories of Sinclair Lewis, copyright, 1935, by Sinclair Lewis; "Relation of the Novel to the Present Social Unrest: The Passing of Capitalism," published in The Bookman in 19 14; quotations from Sinclair Lewis: A Biographical Sketch by Carl Van Doren, with a Bibli- Acknowledgments vii ography by Harvey Taylor, copyright, 1933, by Doubleday, Doran · & Co., Inc.

The Crowell-Collier Publishing Co., for "How I Wrote a Novel on Trains and Beside the Kitchen Sink," published in the American, copyright, 192 1, by The Crowell-Collier Publishing Co.

Harcourt, Brace & Co., for "The Art of Dramatization" from Dodsworth, dramatized by , copyright, 1933, 1934, by Sinclair Lewis and Sidney Howard.

The New York Times, for " Bites Art," copyright, 1941, by Co.

The Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc., for "The Great Recorder" which appeared in The Book-of-the-Month Club News.

The Nation, for ", the Norse State," and "Main Street's Been Paved," copyright, 1923, 1924, by , Inc.

Liveright Publishing Corp., for "Minnesota, the Norse State," from These United States edited by Ernest Groening, copyright renewed, 1950, by Ernest Groening.

Current History, for "Back to ," copyright, 1936, by Form Publishing Co., Inc.

The Bell Syndicate, Inc., for "Americans in Italy," taken from a series of newspaper articles, copyright, 1949, by The Bell Syn­ dicate, Inc.

United Feature Syndicate, for "Cheap and Contented Labor," copy­ right, 1929, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

The Nobel Foundation, for quotations from Nobel: The Man and His Prizes, 1950.

The Viking Press, Inc., for "Two Letters to Carl Van Doren," which appeared in Three Worlds by Carl Van Doren, originally published by Harper & Bros., subsequently transferred to The Viking Press, copyright, 1936, by Carl Van Doren.

The editors wish to express their special appreciation to the fol­ lowing individuals: viii Acknowledgments

To Mr. James T. Babb, Librarian, Library, for making available material from the Lewis Collection at the Yale Library; Mrs. Marian H. Christensen, Principal Librarian, Archives, Uni­ versity of Minnesota, for bibliographical research; Mr. Philip Allan Friedman, for aid in research; Miss Leah Gadlow, for research, invaluable suggestions, criticism and for her unflagging efforts on behalf of this book; Mr. Donald C. Gallup, Curator of the Yale Collection of Ameri­ can Literature, for making available material from the Lewis Col­ lection at the Yale Library; Mr. Joseph Henry Jackson of the San Francisco Chronicle, for research on matters pertaining to the period when Sinclair Lewis lived in San Francisco; Mrs. Matthew Josephson of The American Academy of Arts and Letters, for her cooperation and for making available the Sinclair Lewis material from the Academy's collection; Mr. George Macy, for furnishing needed bibliographical data; Mrs. Christine Pollard, for aid on bibliographical matters. CONTENTS

Introduction xiii



The American Fear of Literature (Nobel Prize Address) 3 Letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee 18 Unpublished Introduction to Babbitt 21 Seeing Red (On Communism) 29 The Artist, the Scientist and the Peace 32 A Note About Kingsblood Royal 36 A Letter on Religion 41


S. L. Remembers

Self-Portrait (Berlin, August, 1927) 45 Self-Portrait (Nobel Foundation) 51 My First Day in New York 55 Two Yale Men in Utopia 60

Breaking into Print . 70 I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 75 Early Publishing Days 98 A Note on Book Collecting 101 The Death of Arrowsmith 104 ix X Contents


Early Writings

Launcelot 111 Suckling and Lovelace 112 Editor's Table 113 In Praise of South Middle 115 Unknown Undergraduates 119 The World Police 122


Literary Views

Pre-War, Post-War, Post-Crash America 129 Two Letters to Carl Van Doren 134 The American Scene in Fiction 142 Gentlemen, This Is Revolution 148 Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 153 A Pilgrim's Progress 165 Introduction to Four Days on the Webutuck River 169 A Hamlet of the Plains 171 Introductory Remarks 175 Preface to Fathers and Sons 181


Problems of the Craft

No Flight to Olympus 187 A Letter on Style 190 My Maiden Effort 192 Rambling Thoughts on Literature as a Business 195 How I Wrote a Novel on Trains and Beside the Kitchen Sink 199 Obscenity and Obscurity 208 Introduction to Main Street 214 Introduction to Selected Short Stories 219 The Art of Dramatization 220 Novelist Bites Art 229


People and Events

Foreword to Henry Ward Beecher: An American Portrait 235 The Great Recorder 238 One-Man Revolution 242 William Lyon Phelps 244 Our Friend, H. G. 248 This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 255


Places on the Journey

The Long Arm of the Small Town 273 Minnesota, the Norse State 275 Back to Vermont 286 Americans in Italy 290 1. Mr. Eglantine 29 1 2. Ann Kullmer 295 xii Contents

VIII Social Questions

Is America a Paradise for Women? 301 Main Street's Been Paved 312 Relation of the Novel to the Present Social Unrest : The Passing of Capitalism 330 Cheap and Contented Labor 343

Index of Na mes 367 IN1RODUCTION

ON THE DEATH OF SINCLAIR LEWIS AT ON , 1951, it became the duty of his executors to make an inven­ tory of his writings, both published and still in manuscript. In the process, and with the aid of existing bibliographies, they discovered articles in the files of magazines and newspapers long defunct; regular contributions to many national periodi­ cals on a wide range of subjects; unknown autobiographical reminiscences; reviews of current books which often served as the springboard for extended essays; manuscript outlines for his projected novels, such as the one for Babbitt, reprinted herein; and a miscellaneous assortment of unclassified literary notations of abiding value and interest. The vitality and variety of this material at once convinced the executors that it should be made available to the general public in a selected volume of Lewis's non-fiction pieces. The suggested project met with instant enthusiastic response, and the sympathetic cooperation between editors and publisher has resulted in the present collection.

The discussion of the place of Sinclair Lewis in the literary history of America will continue for many years. It is not the aim of this book to take a position on that subject, but rather to illuminate it by bringing together in one volume the cream of the material mentioned above. This covers every period of the author's life from college days to the year of his death. Of the many persons who could rightly claim intimate friendship with Sinclair Lewis at some time or other, not one ever knew all the eddies and cross-currents of that torrent of living and writing. Not that he was reticent. No man ever xiii xiv Introduction carried on his life more publicly than Lewis. But he was so immersed in the current project that he was impatient of any attempts to bring him back to reminiscence or explanation of past events. It will be many years before the whole being­ man and artist-can be captured and presented on the printed page. Meanwhile, this collection may spread a searchlight over some hidden areas. Few of his readers ever considered Lewis an essayist; yet this book, culled from nearly a million words of material, shows that his entire life was devoted to such writing, on every subject which captured his restless, all-embracing spirit. From the imitative theme papers written for Chauncey Tinker and William Lyon Phelps at Yale, through days of stormy radicalism, news jaunts over the face of America and Europe, residence in Vermont, Minnesota, New York and Massachu­ setts, up to his last days in Italy, we see here a volcanic energy at work. Here is the record of a many-sided man. We hope that this collection will be useful and instructive, but we know too much of Red Lewis to believe that here, or in a book of ten times the length, we could present him whole. We believe that it does hold intimations of one outstanding fact, that Sinclair Lewis perhaps exerted a more profound in­ fluence upon the United States of America than any other writer of his time. The critics may debate the niceties of his style; the literary historians may place him in an orderly niche. The fact remains that Lewis's books roused the world to a better understanding of America and affected the course of our national thinking about America and Americans. We venture to prophesy that, a century from now, literate people will look to Sinclair Lewis to tell what this country was like in those amazing four decades from 1910 to 1950. As Carl Van Doren said of Lewis in a biographical sketch published by Doubleday, Doran & Company in 1933: "Not one of them [Lewis's contemporaries] has kept so close to the main channel of American life as Mr. Lewis, or so near to the human surface. He is a part of channel and surface. To venture into hyperbole, not only is he an American telling stories, but he is America telling stories." Introduction XV Relieved of the iron discipline of fiction-writing, Mr. Lewis is at his free-wheeling best in many of these pieces. His opin­ ion of the moment always seemed the most important thing in the world to him, and, of course, he had opinions on every­ thing. In stating them he resorted to the slashing wit, and caricature of his novels. Some pieces are like Red talking with a group of congenial friends-an unforgettable experience for those who have heard him. He was a superb mimic, and used this talent freely to develop an idea. In controversy he was a ruthless opponent, and he did not hesitate to use sar­ casm, exaggeration, scorn and ridicule. We have included one or two such controversial pieces. Not to have done so would be to ignore an important facet of the man's literary personality. Also, we think the material in this book emphasizes Lewis's importance as a literary bridge. Entering the scene in the early 1900's-remember that he started the embryonic novel which became Main Street in 1905-he broke down the po­ lite tradition represented by William Dean Howells and pre­ pared the world for a freer, more critical, more realistic ap­ praisal of American life. Lewis has had very few imitators and none successful, but we think it can be demonstrated that the authors of the 1920's and 30's owe him a debt for breaking ground. As Carl Van Doren said, he was a seis­ mograph recording the changing moods and attitudes of the American public even before they themselves were conscious of them.

In selecting the material which appears here, two standards were followed. Sometimes they ran along together; sometimes they did not. First, of course, was the literary quality of the writer's output at the particular period of his life from which the article was drawn. Second was the historical importance of any given essay to Lewis's work as a whole. A corollary, or third standard, was the choice of pieces which revealed the man and the conditions of his life. The arrangement is topical rather than chronological, and the pieces are placed loosely under the subjects treated. In many instances, the xvi Introduction grouping is arbitrary because of Lewis's habit of starting off with one theme and branching out into other matters to make his point. Because magazine articles are invariably cut or edited, we have followed the author's complete text when it was avail­ able in original manuscript or in a carbon copy corrected by him. When such text could not be found in Lewis's papers, we have used the printed version. Likewise, when be himself gave a title to a piece, we have used that. When be did not, we have used the magazine title or, if it was unpublished, a simple, descriptive caption. With the exception of three essays, all have been used complete, either as Mr. Lewis wrote them or as the magazines published them. In three instances we have made some cuts to conserve space and to permit the publication of more items. We can only wish the readers of this book the same pleas­ ure of rediscovery that was ours in compiling it.

HARRY E. MAULE MELVILLE H. CANE THE MAN FROM MAIN STREET Intro -- t. (No head.ing. Ai 1 in 1 tal1os)

�his is the story or the ruler or America.

The story or the Tired Business Man, the man �th toothbrush mustache and harsh voic�who talks about motors and nrohibltion 1n the smok• 1n!?; compartment or" the Pullruan car, the nan who plays third-rate golf and first• rate poker at a second-rate co��try club near an energetic American city,.ef he eP 't.RPU lliXh• dlte4. ...QOW: MAE\a

Our co nqueror, diotator over our commerce, edu• cation, labor, art, poll tics, morals, and -· laok or conversation. f� C"��&-.....:..:..) ·�...R � S. c..� There are thirty millions or hlm,-Male and ta­ male, and his aut90racy.is ���aralleled. Xo Czar controlled tho neckware and dice-throwing ot his sertsJ o general. in tho most perilous • climax or war 6r de�anded that they ad­ mire narratives about co unchers an opt1m1at1o little g1rls. .nJle�i.�� But this completeness our ruler has -T.. . ..,� �11an morals and French politics and GenB&n in­ 'b.uatry have been determined by the Sound K1ddle- olass, � theiP Boure;eo1o1e, the.. Pumphreys1e• have never dared also to announce standards 1n soulpture and tabla-manners._ fOr 1n those lands there are \£1st.oc:"ratB] ana: who smilfi. at the impertlrienoe or the@t� un ag1native. But 1n America we have created the superman complete, and the mellifluous name or the archangelic monster 1s Pumphrey, good old Cl.'f. Pwlphrey, the ,Pl&1n oit1zen and omnipotent power. ('fo page a)

N 0 T (;.:: J+b--.- � el.. .., .. ��r� -�� ...... � ..-....- . , 1 �- . a . • . , � � � b •• Po-.. f'G.A.A l � " C!..J.. � i ' (,...... � .(, I �� ""'J ' ·""'-'�� ._� ...... :,� p .D.L... cJ-\, .1..lL. ..,._.. ,A J..!,�._y I> _,. ! tr Ba-R.-h, r,:...... ,. . J: .... t..o, ln o -- 2· { , R·c�OV!�t �1\. R· � ..... - G !hough this. is the individual romance ot one G.T.PUmphrey and not the breTiary ot his cam• JIUllity, tbat community enters his every mom-­ ent, tor it is himself, oreated in his Tar­ nished ·1aage. Jlonarch C1 t,;(B h gu1] et'ol:l:lf.

. � �'-.lllr....��ua..-�48 every 11ProsrensiTe, ·�&a��i�Y!ei"J 11va, up- t.o·date". ix thousand in the Un1 ted ' States and Western a.nada, with c eight a"- tO �-.��a.�Qd�.. � venerable exceptions. �0� ,....-

He is too tragic a tyrant tor tbe puerilit1e•· ot deliberate satire. And he is an individual, very easer and well-intentioned, credulou• ot . pioneering 1117tha, doubttul .ln his secret hour•, affectionate toward his rebellious da.ughter[:)­ a god selt-slain on his modern improved altar �- the !:lOSt grievous victim or his own militant ', dullness -- . orying- in restlesa dreams tor the arms ot Pht'Jlle, the shirt ot .Turgenrthe tW1- .11ght sea that knows not purit7·nor &tt1cienoy nor x oas1 s. I � n •.J . 4 ns +; 1 ..� I a.-':'...... -a.... �"-""= ."""' .... "¥<) ���- PACES FROM A SINCLAIR LEWIS NOTEBOOJt NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED ' . . .



The American Fear of Literature (Nobel Prize Address)

Letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee

Unpublished Introduction to Babbitt

Seeing Red (On Communism)

The Artist, the Scientist and the Peace

A Note About Kingsblood Royal

A Letter on Religion

The American Fear of Literature

An address by Sinclair Lewis, December 12, 1930, on receiv­ ing the Nobel Prize in Literature.

� Sinclair Lewis was the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. The award was made at the Nobel Festi­ val in the Stockholm Concert House on December 10, 1930. He received the prize from the hands of King Gustav and his address was delivered two days later in a ceremony before the , held at the Stock Exchange Hall. Some of the reasoning of the judges who made the award is set forth in the book, Nobel: The Man and His Prizes, written by various authors and published in 1950 by The Nobel Foundation, Stockholm. The following quotation is taken from the section on The Literary Prize, written by Andres Osterling: "The 1930 prize was awarded to Sinclair Lewis (b. 1885) 'for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of people.' On the final phrase special emphasis should be laid, because when the Academy agreed in favour of his nomination, it was influenced, among other things, by a desire to recognize a vigorous trend in modern literature-high-class American humour, the best traditions of which had been continued with such marked success by Sinclair Lewis. "Against him was weighed another wholly different painter of American reality, the ponderous and solemn , the pioneer American writer of novels criticizing social conditions. Against Lewis's gay virtuosity and flashing satire could be set Dreiser's all-embracing sympathies and his affec­ tion for the productive chaos of existence, but the future alone can decide which is the more significant." 3 4 DECLARATIONS The text of the address used here is a second edition re­ vised by the author. It was printed in a little book issued by , Brace and Company in May, 1931, entitled Why Sinclair Lewis Got the Nobel Prize, by , permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. The edition was only 2000 copies, according to the Harvey Taylor Bibliogra­ phy. Of the first, unrevised edition, 3000 copies were printed, of which 2000 were destroyed and 1000 distributed.

MEMBERS OF THE SWEDISH ACADEMY; LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Were I to express my feeling of honor and pleasure in having been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, I should be ful­ some and perhaps tedious, and I present my gratitude with a plain "Thank you." I wish, in this address, to consider certain trends, certain dangers, and certain high and exciting promises in present­ day . To discuss this with complete and unguarded frankness-and I should not insult you by being otherwise than completely honest, however indiscreet-it will be necessary for me to be a little impolite regarding certain institutions and persons of my own greatly land. - But I beg of you to believe that I am in no case gratifying a grudge. Fortune has dealt with me rather too well. I have known little struggle, not much poverty, many generosities. Now and then I have, for my books or myself, been somewhat warmly denounced-there was one good pastor in who upon reading my Elmer Gantry desired to lead a mob and lynch me, while another holy man in the State of Maine wondered if there was no respectable and righteous way of putting me in jail. And, much harder to endure than any raging condemnation, a certain number of old acquaintances among journalists, what in the galloping American slang we call the "I Knew Him When Club," have scribbled that since they know me personally, therefore I must be a rather low sort of fellow and certainly no writer. But if I have now and then received such cheering brickbats, still I, who have heaved a good many bricks myself, would be fatuous not to expect a fair number in return. The American Fear of Literature S No, I have for myself no conceivable complaint to make, and yet for American literature in general, and its standing in a country where industrialism and finance and science flourish and the only arts that are vital and respected are architecture and the film, I have a considerable complaint. ' I can illustrate by an incident which chances to concern the Swedish Academy and myself and which happened a few days ago, just before I took the ship at New York for Sweden. There is in America a learned and most amiable old gentle­ man who has been a pastor, a university professor, and a diplomat. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and no few universities have honored him with degrees. As a writer he is chiefly known for his pleasant little essays on the joy of fishing. I do not suppose that professional fishermen, whose lives depend on the run of cod or herring, find it altogether an amusing occupation, but from these es­ says I learned, as a boy, that there is something very im­ portant and spiritual about catching fish, if you have no need of doing so. This scholar stated, and publicly, that in awarding the Nobel Prize to a person who has scoffed at American institutions as much as I have, the Nobel Committee and the Swedish Academy had insulted America. I don't know whether, as an ex-diplomat, he intends to have an international incident made of it, and perhaps demand of the American Government that they land Marines in Stockholm to protect American literary rights, but I hope not. I should have supposed that to a man so learned as to have been made a Doctor of Divinity, a Doctor of Letters, and I do not know how many other imposing magnificences, the matter would have seemed different; I should have supposed that he would have reasoned, "Although personally I dislike this man's books, nevertheless the Swedish Academy has in choosing him honored America by assuming that the Ameri­ cans are no longer a puerile backwoods clan, so inferior that they are afraid of criticism, but instead a nation come of age and able to consider calmly and maturely any dissection of their Ian�, however scoffing." 6 DECLARATIONS I should even have supposed that so international a scholar would have believed that Scandinavia, accustomed to the works of Strindberg, Ibsen, and Pontoppidan, would not have been peculiarly shocked by a writer whose most anarchistic assertion has been that America, with all her wealth and power, has not yet produced a civilization good enough to satisfy the deepest wants of human creatures. I believe that Strindberg rarely sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" or addressed Rotary Clubs, yet Sweden seems to have survived him. I have at such length discussed this criticism of the learned fisherman not because it has any conceivable importance in itself, but because it does illustrate the fact that in America most of us-not readers alone but even writers-are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of every­ thing American, a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues. To be not only a best seller in America but to be really beloved, a novelist must assert that all American men are tall, handsome, rich, honest, and powerful at golf; that all country towns are filled with neighbors who do nothing from day to day save go about being kind to one another; that although American girls may be wild, they change al­ ways into perfect wives and mothers; and that, geographically, America is composed solely of New York, which is inhabited entirely by millionaires; of the West, which keeps unchanged all the boisterous heroism of 1870; and of the South, where everyone lives on a plantation perpetually glossy with moon­ light and scented with magnolias. It is not today vastly more true than it was twenty years ago that such of ours as you have read in Sweden, novelists like Dreiser and , are authentically popular and influential in America. As it was revealed by the venerable fishing Academician whom I have quoted, we still most revere the writers for the popular magazines who in a hearty and edifying chorus chant that the America of a hun­ dred and twenty million population is still as simple, as pas­ toral, as it was when it had but forty million; that in an industrial plant with ten thousand employees, the relationship The American Fear of Literature 7 between the worker and the manager is still as neighborly and uncomplex as in a factory of 1840, with five employees; that the relationships between father and son, between hus­ band and wife, are precisely the same in an apartment in a thirty-story palace today, with three motor cars awaiting the family below and five books on the library shelves and a divorce imminent in the family next week, as were those re­ lationships in a rose-veiled five-room cottage in 1880; that America has gone through the revolutionary change from rustic colony to world-empire without having in the least altered the bucolic and Puritanic simplicity of Uncle Sam. I am, actually,-extremely grateful to the fishingAcademician for having somewhat condemned me. For since he is a lead­ ing member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he has released me, has given me the right to speak as frankly of that Academy as he has spoken of me. And in any honest study of American intellectualism today, that curious institu­ tion must be considered. Before I consider the Academy, however, let me sketch a fantasy which has pleased me the last few days in the unavoid­ able idleness of a rough trip on the Atlantic. I am sure that you know, by now, that the award to me of the Nobel Prize has by no means been altogether popular in America. Doubt­ the experience is not new to you. I fancy that when you gave the award even to , whose Zauberberg seems to me to contain the whole of intellectual Europe, even when you gave it to Kipling, whose social significance is so profound that it has been rather authoritatively said that he created the British Empire, even when you gave it to Bernard Shaw, there were countrymen of those authors who com­ plained because you did not choose another. And I imagined what would have been said had you chosen some American other than myself. Suppose you had taken Theodore Dreiser. Now to me, as to many other American writers, Dreiser more than any other man, marching alone, usually unappre­ ciated, often hated, has cleared the trail from Victorian and Howellsian timidity and gentility in American fiction to bon- 8 DECLARATIONS esty and boldness and passion of life. Without his pioneering, I doubt if any of us could, unless we liked to be sent to jail, seek to express life and beauty and terror. My great colleague Sherwood Anderson has proclaimed this leadership of Dreiser. I am delighted to join him. Dreiser's great first novel, , which he dared to publish thirty long years ago and which I read twenty-five years ago, came to housebound and airless America like a great free Western wind, and to our stuffy domesticity gave us the first fresh air since Mark Twain and Whitman. Yet had you given the Prize to Mr. Dreiser, you would have heard groans from America; you would have heard that his style-! am not exactly sure what this mystic quality "style" may be, but I find the word so often in the writings of minor critics that I suppose it must exist-you would have heard that his style is cumbersome, that his choice of words is insensitive, that his books are interminable. And certainly respectable scholars would complain that in Mr. Dreiser's world, men and women are often sinful and tragic and despair­ ing, instead of being forever sunny and full of song and vir­ tue, as befits authentic Americans. And bad you chosen Mr. Eugene O'Neill, who has done nothing much in American drama save to transform it utterly, in ten or twelve years, from a false world of neat and com­ petent trickery to a world of splendor and fear and greatness, you would have been reminded that he has done something far worse than scoffing-he has seen life as not to be neatly arranged in the study of a scholar but as a terrifying, magnif­ icent and often quite horrible thing akin to the tornado, the earthquake, the devastating fire. And had you given Mr. the Prize, you would have been told that he is too fantastically malicious. So would you have been told that Miss Willa Cather, for all the homely virtue of her novels concerning the peasants of Nebraska, has in her novel, The Lost Lady, been so untrue to America's patent and perpetual and possibly tedious virtu­ ousness as to picture an abandoned woman who remains, nevertheless, uncannily charming even to the virtuous, in a The American Fear of Literature 9 story without any moral; that Mr. Henry Mencken is the worst of all scoffers; that Mr. Sherwood Anderson viciously errs in considering sex as important a force in life as fishing; that Mr. , being a Socialist, sins against the perfectness of American capitalistic mass-production; that Mr. is un-American in regarding gra­ ciousness of manner and beauty of surface as of some im­ portance in the endurance of daily life; and that Mr. is not only too young but, far worse, uses lan­ guage which should be unknown to gentlemen; that he ac­ knowledges drunkenness as one of man's eternal ways to happiness, and asserts that a soldier may find love more sig­ nificant than the hearty slaughter of men in battle. Yes, they are wicked, these colleagues of mine; you would have done almost as evilly to have chosen them as to have chosen me; and as a chauvinistic American--only, mind you, as an American of 1930 and not of 1880-I rejoice that they are my countrymen and countrywomen, and that I may speak of them with pride even in the Europe of Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Galsworthy, , Arnold Bennett, Feucht­ wanger, Selma LagerlOf, , Werner von Heiden­ stam, D'Annunzio, . It is my fate in this paper to swing constantly from opti­ mism to pessimism and back, but so is it the fate of anyone who writes or speaks of anything in America-the most con­ tradictory, the most depressing, the most stirring, of any land in the world today. ·Thus, having with no muted pride called the roll of what seem to me to be great men and women in American literary life today, and having indeed omitted a dozen other names of which I should like to boast were there time, I must turn again and assert that in our contemporary American literature, indeed in all American arts save architecture and the film, we -yes, we who have such pregnant and vigorous standards in commerce and science-have no standards, no healing com­ munication, no heroes to be followed nor villains to be con­ demned, no certain ways to be pursued and no dangerous paths to be avoided. 10 DECLARATIONS The American novelist or poet or dramatist or sculptor or painter must work alone, in confusion, unassisted save by his own integrity. That, of course, has always been the lot of the artist. The vagabond and criminal Fran�ois Villon had certainly no smug and comfortable refuge in which elegant ladies would hold his hand and comfort his starveling soul and more starved body. He, veritably a great man, destined to outlive in history all the dukes and puissant cardinals whose robes he was esteemed unworthy to touch, had for his lot the gutter and the hardened crust. Such poverty is not for the artist in America. They pay us, indeed, only too well; that writer is a failure who cannot have his butler and motor and his villa at Palm Beach, where he is permitted to mingle almost in equality with the barons of banking. But he is oppressed ever by something worse than poverty-by the feeling that what he creates does not matter, that he is expected by his readers to be only a decorator or a clown, or that he is good-naturedly accepted as a scoffer whose bark probably is worse than his bite and who probably is a good fellow at heart, who in any case certainly does not count in a land that produces eighty-story buildings, motors by the million, and wheat by the billions of bushels. And he has no institution, no group, to which he can turn for in­ spiration, whose criticism he can accept and whose praise will be precious to him. What institutions have we? The American Academy of Arts and Letters does contain along with several excellent painters and architects and states­ men, such a really distinguished university-president as Nicho­ las Murray Butler, so admirable and courageous a scholar as Wilbur Cross, and several first-rate writers: the poets Edwin Arlington Robinson and Robert Frost, the free-minded pub­ licist James Truslow Adams, and ·the novelists , Hamlin Garland, Owen Wister, Brand Whitlock and . But it does not include Theodore Dreiser, Henry Mencken, our most vivid critic, George Jean Nathan who, though still The American Fear of Literature 11 young, is certainly the dean of our dramatic critics, Eugene O'Neill, incomparably our best dramatist, the really original and vital poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Carl Sandburg, Robinson Jeffers and Vachel Lindsay and Edgar Lee Masters, whose Spoon River Anthology was so utterly different from any other poetry ever published, so fresh, so authoritative, so free from any gropings and timidities that it came like a revelation, and created a new school of native American poetry. It does not include the novelists and short-story writ­ ers, Willa Cather, Joseph Hergesheimer, Sherwood Anderson, , Ernest Hemingway, , Wilbur Daniel Steele, Fannie Hurst, Mary Austin, James Branch Ca­ bell, , nor Upton Sinclair, of whom you must say, whether you admire or detest his aggressive Socialism, that he is internationally better known than any other American artist whosoever, be he novelist, poet, painter, sculptor, musi­ cian, architect. I should not expect any Academy to be so fortunate as to contain all these writers, but one which fails to contain any of them, which thus cuts itself off from so much of what is living and vigorous and original in American letters, can have no relationship whatever to our life and aspirations. It does not represent literary America of today-it represents only Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It might be answered that, after aJl, the Academy is limited to fifty members; that, naturally, it cannot include every one of merit. But the fact is that while most of our few giants are excluded, the Academy does have room to include three extraordinariJy bad poets, two very melodramatic and insignif­ icant playwrights, two gentlemen who are known only because they are university presidents, a man who was thirty years ago known as a rather clever humorous draughtsman, and several gentlemen of whom-1 sadly confess my ignorance­ ! have never heard. Let me again emphasize the fact-for it is a fact-that I am not attacking the American Academy. It is a hospitable and generous and decidedly dignified institution. And it is not altogether the Academy's fault that it does not contain many 12 DECLARATIONS of the men who have significance in our letters. Sometimes it is the fault of those writers themselves. I cannot imagine that grizzly-bear Theodore Dreiser being comfortable at the serenely Athenian dinners of the Academy, and were they to invite Mencken, be would infuriate them with his boisterous jeering. No, I am not attacking-! am reluctantly considering the Academy because it is so perfect an example of the divorce in America of intellectual life from all authentic standards of importance and reality. Our universities and colleges, or gymnasia, most of them, exhibit the same unfortunate divorce. I can think of four of them, Rollins College in Florida, Middlebury College in Vermont, the University of Michigan, and the University of Chicago-which has had on its roll so excellent a novelist as Robert Herrick, so courageous a critic as Robert Morss Lov­ ett-which have shown an authentic interest in contemporary creative literature. Four of them. But universities and col­ leges and musical emporiums and schools for the teaching of theology and plumbing and sign-painting are as thick in America as the motor traffic. Whenever you see a public building with Gothic fenestration on a sturdy backing of concrete, you may be certain that it is another univer­ sity, with anywhere from two hundred to twenty thousand students equally ardent about avoiding the disadvantage of be­ coming learned and about gaining the social prestige con­ tained in the possession of a B.A. degree. Oh, socially our universities are close to the mass of our citizens, and so are they in the matter of athletics. A great college football game is passionately witnessed by eighty thousand people, who have paid five dollars apiece and motored anywhere from ten to a thousand miles for the ecstasy of watching twenty-two men chase one another up and down a curiously marked field. During the football season, a capable player ranks very nearly with our greatest and most admired heroes--even with Henry Ford, President Hoover, and Colo­ nel Lindbergh. And in one branch of learning, the sciences, the lords of business who rule us are willing to do homage to the devotees The American Fear of Literature 13 of learning. However bleakly one of our trader aristocrats may frown upon poetry or the visions of a painter, he is graciously pleased to endure a Millikan, a Michelson, a Banting, a Theo­ bald Smith. But the paradox is that in the arts our universities are as cloistered, as far from reality and living creation, as socially and athletically and scientifically they are close to us. To a true-blue professor of literature in an American university, literature is not something that a plain human being, living today, painfully sits down to produce. No; it is something dead; it is something magically produced by superhuman be­ ings who must, if they are to be regarded as artists at all, have died at least one hundred years before the diabolical invention of the typewriter. To any authentic don, there is something slightly repulsive in the thought that literature could be created by any ordinary human being, still to be seen walking the streets, wearing quite commonplace trousers and coat and looking not so unlike a chauffeur or a farmer. Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead. I do not suppose that American universities are alone in this. I am aware that to the dons of Oxford and Cambridge, it would seem rather indecent to suggest that Wells and Bennett and Galsworthy and George Moore may, while they commit the impropriety of continuing to live, be compared to any­ one so beautifully and safely dead as Samuel Johnson. I sup­ pose that in the universities of Sweden and France and Ger­ many there exist plenty of professors who prefer dissection to understanding. But in the new and vital and experimental land of America, one would expect the teachers of literature to be less monastic, more human, than in the traditional shadows of old Europe. They are not. There has recently appeared in America, out of the univer­ sities, an astonishing circus called "the New Humanism." Now of course "humanism" means so many things that it means nothing. It may infer anything from a belief that Greek and Latin are more inspiring than the dialect of contemporary 14 DECLARATIONS peasants to a belief that any living peasant is more interesting than a dead Greek. But it is a delicate bit of justice that this nebulous word should have been chosen to label this nebulous cult. Insofar as I have been able to comprehend them-for nat­ urally in a world so exciting and promising as this today, a life brilliant with Zeppelins and Chinese revolutions and the Bol­ shevik industrialization of farming and ships and the Grand Canyon and young children and terrifying hunger and the lonely quest of scientists after God, no creative writer would have time to follow all the chilly enthusiasms of the New Humanists-this newest of sects reasserts the dualism of man's nature. It would confine literature to the fight between man's soul and God, or man's soul and evil. But, curiously, neither God nor the devil may wear modem dress, but must retain Grecian vestments. Oedipus is a tragic figure for the New Humanists; man, trying to maintain himself as the image of God under the menace of dynamos, in a world of high-pressure salesmanship, is not. And the poor comfort which they offer is that the object of life is to develop self-discipline-whether or not one ever accomplishes any­ thing with this self-discipline. So this whole movement results in the not particularly novel doctrine that both art and life must be resigned and negative. It is a doctrine of the blackest reaction introduced into a stirringly revolutionary world. Strangely enough, this doctrine of death, this escape from the complexities and danger of living into the secure blankness of the monastery, has become widely popular among profes­ sors in a land where one would have expected only boldness and intellectual adventure, and it has more than ever shut creative writers off from any benign influence which might conceivably have come from the universities. But it has always been so. America has never had a Brandes, a Taine, a Goethe, a Croce. With a wealth of creative talent in America, our criticism has most of it been a chill and insignificant activity pursued by jealous spinsters, ex-baseball reporters, and acid professors. Our Erasmuses have been village schoolmistresses. How should The American Fear of Literature 15 there be any standards when there has been no one capable of setting them up? The great Cambridge-Concord circle of the middle of the Nineteenth Century-Emerson, Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, the Alcotts-were sentimental reflections of Europe, and they left no school, no influence. Whitman and Thoreau and Poe and, in some degree, Hawthorne, were outcasts, men alone and despised, berated by the New Humanists of their genera­ tion. It was with the emergence of William Dean Howells that we first began to have something like a standard, and a very bad standard it was. Mr. Howells was one of the gentlest, sweetest, and most honest of men, but he had the code of a pious old maid whose greatest delight was to have tea at the vicarage. He abhorred not only profanity and obscenity but all of what H. G. Wells has called "the jolly coarseness of life." In his fantastic vision of life, which he innocently conceived to be realistic, farmers and seamen and factory-hands might exist, but the farmer must never be covered with muck, the seaman must never roll out bawdy chanteys, the factory-hand must be thankful to his good employer, and all of them must long for the opportunity to visit Florence and smile gently at the quaintness of the beggars. So strongly did Howells feel this genteel, this New Hu­ manistic philosophy that he was able vastly to influence his contemporaries, down even to 1914 and the turmoil of the Great War. He was actually able to tame Mark Twain, perhaps the greatest of our writers, and to put that fiery old savage into an intellectual frock coat and top hat; His influence is not al­ together gone today. He is still worshipped by Hamlin Gar­ land, an author who should in every way have been greater than Howells but who under Howells' influence was changed from a harsh and magnificent realist into a genial and insig­ nificant lecturer. Mr. Garland is, so far as we have one, the dean of American letters today, and as our dean, he is alarmed by all of the younger writers who are so lacking in 16 DECLARATIONS taste as to suggest that men and women do not always love in accordance with the prayer-book, and that common people sometimes use language which would be inappropriate at a women's literary club on Main Street. Yet this same Hamlin Garland, as a young man, before he had gone to Boston and become cultured and Howellized, wrote two most valiant and revelatory works of realism, Main-Travelled Roads and Rose of Dutcher's Coolly. I read them as a boy in a prairie village in Minnesota­ just such an environment as was described in Mr. Garland's tales. They were vastly exciting to me. I had realized in read­ ing Balzac and Dickens that it was possible to describe French and English common people as one actually saw them. But it had never occurred to me that one might without indecency write of the people of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, as one felt about them. Our fictional tradition, you see, was that all of us in Midwestern villages were altogether noble and happy; that not one of us would exchange the neighborly bliss of living on Main Street for the heathen gaudiness of New York or Paris or Stockholm. But in Mr. Garland's Main-Travelled Roads I discovered that there was one man who believed that Midwestern peasants were sometimes bewildered and hungry and vile-and heroic. And, given this vision, I was released; I could write of life as living life. I am afraid that Mr. Garland would not be pleased but acutely annoyed to know that he made it possible for me to write of America as I see it, and not as Mr. William Dean Howells so sunnily saw it. And it is his tragedy, it is a com­ pletely revelatory American tragedy, that in our land of freedom, men like Garland, who first blast the roads to free­ dom, become themselves the most bound. But, all this time, while men like Howells were so effusively seeking to guide America into becoming a pale edition of an English cathedral town, there were surly and authentic fel­ lows-Whitman and Melville, then Dreiser and James Huneker and Mencken-who insisted that our land had something more than tea-table gentility. The American Fear of Literature 17 And so, without standards, we have survived. And for the strong young men, it has perhaps been well that we should have no standards. For, after seeming to be pessimistic about my own and much beloved land, I want to close this dirge with a very lively sound of optimism. I have, for the future of American literature, every hope and every eager belief. We are coming out, I believe, of the stuffi­ ness of safe, sane, and incredibly dull provincialism. There are young Americans today who are doing such passionate and authentic work that it makes me sick to see that I am a little too old to be one of them. There is Ernest Hemingway, a bitter youth, educated by the most intense experience, disciplined by his own high standards, an authentic artist whose home is in the whole of life; there is , a child of, I believe, thirty or younger, whose one and only novel, Look Homeward, Angel, is worthy to be compared with the best in our literary pro­ duction, a Gargantuan creature with great gusto of life; there is , who in an age of realism dreams the old and lovely dreams of the eternal romantics; there is , with his hatred of the safe and sane standards of Babbitt and his splendor of revolution; there is Stephen Benet who, to American drabness, has restored the epic poem with his glorious memory of old John Brown; there are Michael Gold, who reveals the new frontier of the Jewish East Side, and , who has freed the South from hoop-skirts; and there are a dozen other young poets and fictioneers, most of them living now in Paris, most of them a little insane in the tradition of James Joyce, who, however insane they may be, have refused to be genteel and traditional and dull. I salute them, with a joy in being not yet too far removed from their determination to give to the America that has mountains and endless prairies, enormous cities and lost farm cabins, billions of money and tons of faith, to an America that is as strange as Russia and as complex as China, a literature worthy of her vastness. Letter to the

Pulitzer Prize Committee

fJ Of all the sensational and controversial actions credited to Mr. Lewis in the 1920's, his refusal of the Pulitzer Prize in 1926 probably aroused stormiest comment. The letter itself was written from the Hotel Ambassador, Kansas City, Missouri, and an abstract of it was issued by his publishers, Harcourt, Brace and Company on May 4. It pro­ duced a wave of opinion pro and con from the press. The Literary Digest of May 29 quoted editorials by five major newspapers. The Philadelphia Record said in part : "He has a perfect right to express his personal aversion to accept the judgment. Not quite so happy is his assumption that any writer who does accept such a tribute thereby debases his profession and ex­ presses a paltry subservience to arbitrary authority for the sake of gain ....We think his passionate fears for literary freedom are a little neurasthenic." The Minneapolis Tribune in his home state said : "Essen­ tially a somewhat futile institution, the Pulitzer Prize award is dignified too much when Mr. Lewis proceeds to wax so spectacular and melodramatic about it." The Outlook, The Nation and The Survey all opened their pages to heated discussion of the author's action. William E. Harmon, president of The Harmon Foundation, attacked Mr. Lewis's position, while Agnes Repplier, and Carl Van Doren supported it. Some years later in his biographical sketch published by Doubleday, Doran and Company in 1933, Mr. Van Doren wrote in regard to Lewis's refusal of the prize : "He gave serious reasons for his stand ....Hardly any attention was paid to what he said. His true reasons were 18 Letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee 19 found for him by all the gossips ....Simplicity and originality are more than strategy. They are unpredictable, inimitable essentials. No matter what may happen, Adam must remain the first man. And Mr. Lewis must remain the first man who ever made a literary prize a nine-days' tempest in the Ameri­ can press. His craft was pure nature. He was simply and originally himself, and the endless argument flowed from that mysterious fact." The complete text of the published letter follows. siRs:- I wish to acknowledge your choice of my novel Ar­ rowsmith for the Pulitzer Prize. That prize I must refuse, and my refusal would be meaningless unless I explained the reasons. All prizes, like all titles, are dangerous. The seekers for prizes tend to labor not for inherent excellence but for alien rewards: they tend to write this, or timorously to avoid writing that, in order to tickle the prejudices of a haphazard com­ mittee. And the Pulitzer Prize for novels is peculiarly ob­ jectionable because the terms of it have been constantly and grievously misrepresented. Those terms are that the prize shall be given "for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood." This phrase, if it means anything whatever, would appear to mean that the appraisal of the novels shall be made not according to their actual literary merit but in obedience to whatever code of Good Form may chance to be popular at the mo­ ment. That there is such a limitation of the award is little under­ stood. Because of the condensed manner in which the an­ nouncement is usually reported, and because certain pub­ lishers have trumpeted that any novel which has received the Pulitzer Prize has thus been established without qualification as the best novel, the public has come to believe that the prize is the highest honor which an American novelist can receive. 20 DECLARATIONS The Pulitzer Prize for novels signifies, already, much more than a convenient thousand dollars to be accepted even by such writers as smile secretly at the actual wording of the terms. It is tending to become a sanctified tradition. There is a general belief that the administrators of the prize are a pontifical body with the discernment and power to grant the prize as the ultimate proof of merit. It is believed that they are always guided by a committee of responsible critics, though in the case both of this and other Pulitzer Prizes, the administrators can, and sometimes do, quite arbitrarily reject the recommendations of their supposed advisers. If already the Pulitzer Prize is so important, it is not absurd to suggest that in another generation it may, with the actual terms of the award ignored, become the one thing for which any ambitious novelist will strive; and the administrators of the prize may become a supreme court, a college of cardinals, so rooted and so sacred that to challenge them will be to com­ mit blasphemy. Such is the French Academy, and we have had the spectacle of even an intriguing for election. Only by regularly refusing the Pulitzer Prize can novelists keep such a power from being permanently set up over them. Between the Pulitzer Prizes, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and its training-school, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, amateur boards of censorship, and the in­ quisition of earnest literary ladies, every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile. In protest, I declined election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters some years ago, and now I must decline the · Pulitzer Prize. I invite other writers to consider the fact that by accepting the prizes and approval of these vague institutions we are ad­ mitting their authority, publicly confirming them as the final judges of literary excellence, and I inquire whether any prize is worth that subservience. I am, Sirs, Yours sincerely, (Signed) SINCLAIR . LEWIS Unpublished Introduction to Babbitt


11 This is the only heading to what Donald C. Gallup, Curator, Collection of American Literature of the , refers to as the "possible Introduction to Babbitt." It appears in Mr. Lewis's voluminous notebook for that novel, and so far as known was never published. The notebook is a part of the Yale collection of Lewis material left in his will to the University Library. The position in the notebook of this Introduction would indicate that it was written toward the end of the period of gathering material for the book. At the time this was written, it will be noticed, the pro­ tagonist's name was G. T. Pumphrey, not Babbitt, and the place was Monarch City, not Zenith. Interesting as an example of Mr. Lewis's scrupulous care, there is an added sheet of ex­ ceptions to his rather sweeping list of American cities where the G. T. Pumphreys dwell. These exceptions, in order of his notation, and in his spelling, are "N. Y., Chi., Boston, Phila., Washn., N. Orleans, Charleston, Victoria, S. Francisco."

THIS IS THE STORY OF THE RULER OF AMERICA. The story of the Tired Business Man, the man with tooth­ brush mustache and harsh voice who talks about motors and prohibition in the smoking compartment of the Pullman car, the man who plays third-rate golf and first-rate poker at a second-rate country club near an energetic American city. Our conqueror, dictator over our commerce, education, labor, art, politics, morals, and lack of conversation. There are thirty millions of him, male and female, and his autocracy is unparalleled. No czar controlled the neckware and 21 22 DECLARATIONS dice-throwing of his serfs; no general in the most perilous cli­ max of war has codified his soldiers' humor or demanded that while they engaged the enemy they admire narratives about cowpunchers and optimistic little girls. But this completeness our ruler has attained. Though English morals and French politics and German in­ dustry have been determined by the Sound Middle-Class, the , the Pumphreysie, have never dared also to an­ nounce standards in sculpture and table-manners. For in those lands there are outcasts and aristocrats who smile at the im­ pertinence of the unimaginative. But in America we have created the superman complete, and the mellifluous name of the archangelic monster is Pumphrey, good old G. T. Pum­ phrey, the plain citizen and omnipotent power.

Note: Above too much hints of another Main St. Most of this and all of "pos. part of Intro." cd be used, say, as Chap­ ter [word indistinct] in Part III or IV.

Though this is the individual romance of one G. T. Pum­ phrey and not the breviary of his community, that community enters his every moment, for it is himself, created in his varnished image. Monarch City is every "progressive, go­ ahead, forward-looking, live, up-to-date" city of more than eighty thousand in the United States and Western Canada, with 8 or 10 venerable exceptions. These exceptional cities Pumphrey visits with frequency, and stirs their theaters, hotels, books, and wholesalers to emulate the perfection of Monarch City, that even we who faint may win at the last to purity, efficiency, and ice water. Distinctly, however, Pumphrey is not a satiric figure, nor a Type. He is too tragic a tyrant for the puerilities of deliberate satire. And he is an individual, very eager and well-intentioned, credulous of pioneering myths, doubtful in his secret hours, affectionate toward his rebellious daughter and those lunch­ mates who pass for friends-a god self-slain on his modern improved altar-the most grievous victim of his own militant Unpublished Introduction to Babbitt 23 dullness--crying in restless dreams for the arms of Phryne, the shirt of J urgen and the twilight sea that knows not purity nor efficiency nor 34 x 4 casings.

As a PART OF INTRODUCTION, or in the story, or just im­ plied in the story, or in an appendix on Main Street vs. the Boulevard vs. Fifth Ave.

They are complex phenomena, these American cities of from 80,000 to 1 ,000,000. They are industrially magnificent. They supply half the world with motor cars, machine tools, flour, locomotives, rails, electric equipment-with necessities miraculous and admirable. They are provided with houses more elaborate than any palaces, with hotels and office build­ ings as vast as and more usable than any cathedral. Their citizens are not unaccustomed to Fifth Avenue, to Piccadilly, to the Champs Elysees. Hither comes Galsworthy to lecture, Caruso to sing, Kreisler to play (even though they do beg him always to play the Humoresque), and here, in a Little Theater, a Schnitzler play may have a hearing as soon as Vienna, long before London. Yet they are villages, these titanic huddles. They import Kreisler as they import silks­ not because they passionately love music or silks, but because those obvious symbols of prosperity give social prestige. To attend a concert is almost as valuable a certificate of wealth as to be seen riding in a Pierce-Arrow car. It is not an elegant and decorous listening to a great violinist which attests musi­ cal understanding; it is a passionate playing of one's own music-though the playing may be very bad indeed; may be nothing but the agitated scratching of four old cellists in a beery cellar. Since there is-as yet-no instrument which measures ergs of spiritual energy, the matter cannot be neatly and statistically proven, but one suspects that there is not one of these cities with a million, or half a million, people which has one tenth of the joyous mental activity of little Weimar, with its 35,000-among whom once moved no Crackajack Salesmen, perhaps, but only Goethe and Schiller. And those glorious Little Theaters-those radiant and eager 24 DECLARATIONS Little Theaters-indeed they do revel in Glaspell and Eugene O'Neill and Ervine-for one season or two; and then the players who have gone into this new sport for social prestige grow weary; the professional producer grows yet wearier of begging for funds, and of seeing newspapers which give a column to a road-company in a musical comedy, and two columns to a wedding between patent medicines and steel, present a brilliant performance of Shaw in two paragraphs with four solecisms; he goes his ways, and the Little Theater is not. V illages--overgtown towns-three-quarters of a million people still dressing, eating, building houses, attending church, to make an impression on their neighbors, quite as they did back on Main Street, in villages of two thousand. And yet not villages at all, the observer uneasily sees, as he beholds factories with ten thousand workmen, with machines more miraculous than the loaves and fishes, with twice the power and ten time:; the skill of a romantic grand duchy. They are transitional metropolises-but that transition will take a few hundred years, if the custom persists of making it a heresy punishable by hanging or even by ostracism to venture to say that Cleveland or Minneapolis or Baltimore or Buffalo is not the wisest, gayest, kindliest, usefullest city in all the world. So long as every teacher and journalist and workman admits that John J. Jones, the hustling sales-manager for the pickle factory is the standard in beauty and courtesy and justice­ well, so long will they be sore stricken with a pest of J. J. Joneses. It is not quite a new thought to submit that though ad­ mittedly Mr. Jones somewhat lacks in the luxuries of artistic taste and agreeable manners, yet he is so solid a worker, so true a friend, and so near to genius in the development of this astounding and adventurously new industrial system, that he is worthier, he is really more beautiful, than any Anatole France or [word omitted]. Are his pickle machines with their power and ingenuity a new art, comparable to vers libre, and is there not in his noisiest advertising, his billboards smeared across tranquil fields, a passion for achievement which is, to Unpublished Introduction to Babbitt 25 the unprejudiced discernment, a religious fervor, an esthetic passion, a genius such as inspired the crusader and explorer and poet? Is not his assailant a blind and reactionary fellow who demands in this rough glorious pioneer outworn standards and beauties dead and dry? Only it happens that these generous inquirers who seek to make themselves comfortable by justifying their inescapable neighbor, Mr. Jones, give him somewhat too much credit. Mr. Jones, the sales-manager, Mr. Brown, the general manager, Mr. Robinson, the president-all the persons in the pickle hier­ archy most to be accredited with passion and daring and new beauties-are nothing in the world but salesmen, commercial demagogues, industrial charlatans, creators of a demand which they wistfully desire to supply. Those miraculous, those ad­ mittedly noble machines-they were planned and built and improved and run by very common workmen, who get no credit whatever for pioneering. Those astounding pickle formulae, they were made by chemists, unknown and un­ glorified. Even those farfiung billboards, the banners of Mr. Jones's gallant crusade-their text was written by forty-a­ week copy-writers, their pictures-their very terrible pictures -painted by patient hacks, and the basic idea, of having billboards, came not from the passionate brain of Mr. Jones but was cautiously worked out, on quite routine and un­ romantic lines, by hesitating persons in an advertising agency. And it is these workmen, chemists, hacks, who are likely to be eager about beauty, courageous in politics-Moon-Calves -children of the new world. Mr. Jones himself-ah, that rare and daring and shining-new creator of industrial poetry, he votes the Republican ticket straight, he hates all labor unionism, he belongs to the Masons and the Presbyterian Church, his favorite author is Zane Grey, and in other particulars noted in this story, his private life seems scarce to mark him as the rough, ready, aspiring, iconoclastic, crea­ tive, courageous innovator his admirers paint him. He is a bagman. He is a pedlar. He is a shopkeeper. He is a camp-fol­ lower. He is a bag of aggressive wind. America has taken to itself the credit of being the one 26 DECLARATIONS pioneering nation of the world; it bas thereby (these three hundred years now) excused all flabbiness of culture and harshness of manner and frantic oppression of critics. And, strangely, Europe bas granted that assertion. Never an English author descends upon these palpitating and grateful shores without informing us that from our literature one expects only the burly power and clumsiness of ditch-diggers. We listen to him, and are made proud of the clumsiness and burliness-without quite going so far as to add also the power. It is a national myth. England bas, in India, Africa, Canada, Australia, bad quite as many new frontiers, done quite as much pioneering-and done it as bravely and as cruelly and as unscrupulously-as have we in pushing the western border from the Alleghenies to Honolulu. Thus France in Africa, Holland in the West Indies, Germany all over the world. And England has quite as many Rough Fellows as America. Lord Fisher criticizing the British navy in the tones of a tobacco-chewing trapper-is he so much less of a Rough Fellow and Pioneer and Innovator than the Harvard instructor reading Austin Dobson by candle­ light? The silk salesman, crossing the Arizona desert-in a Pullman-is he so much bolder a ditch-digger than Ole Bill, the English Tommy? A myth! America is no longer an isolated race of gallant Indian-slayers. It is a part of the world. Like every other na­ tion, it is made up of both daring innovators and crusted crabs. Its literature and its J. J. J oneses are subject to the same rules as the literature and the bustling innumerous J. J. Joneses of England or Spain or Norway. Mr. Henry van Dyke is no newer or more pioneering than Mr. H. G. Wells-and subject to no more lenient rules or more provincial judg­ ments. Of this contradiction between pioneering myth and actual slackness, these Monarchs, these cities of 300,000 or so, are the best examples. Unfortunately American literature has discerned as types of communities only the larger or older cities-as New York, San Francisco, Richmond-and the Unpublished Introduction to Babbitt 27 villages, with nothing between. Yet there is a sort of com­ munity in between, an enormously important type-the city of a few hundred thousand, the metropolis that yet is a village, the world-center that yet is ruled by cautious villagers. Only Booth Tarkington, with his novels flavored by Indianap­ olis, and a few local celebrities eager to present the opulence of their several Monarchs, have dealt with these cities which, more than any New York, produce our wares and elect our presidents-and buy our books. Yet they are important enough to quarrel over-they are great eno1;1gh to deserve the compliment of being told one's perception of the truth about them. Just use "city man & country girl" How dif from N. Y. To say that they are subject to the same rules as Munich or Florence does not at all mean that they are like Munich or Florence. They have grown so rapidly, they have been so innocent and so Republican and so Presbyterian and so alto­ gether boosting and innocent, that they have produced a type of existence a little different from any other in the world. It may not continue to be so different-it sometime may be subject also to fine tradition and the vision of quiet and honest work as against noisy selling of needless things­ but this fineness it will not attain without self-study, and an admission that twenty-story buildings are not necessarily nobler than Notre Dame, and that the population of 19,000 motor cars a day does not of itself prove those cars to be better built than cars produced at one a day. This foreshadowing of a future adoption of richer tradi­ tions does not, of course, mean at all that in the future these Monarchs are to be spiritually or physically like Munich or Florence. It is a paradox of psychology that it is precisely the richest philosophies, with the largest common fund of wisdom from all ages, which produce the most diverse and lovely products, while it is the thinner and hastier philosophies which produce the most standardized and boresomely similar products. German Munich and Italian Florence are vastly and enter­ tainingly different in all that counts-in passions, wines, 28 DECLARATIONS aspirations, and furniture-for the reason that they have both digested and held and brilliantly changed a common wisdom of Plato and Shakespeare and Karl Marx. But German Mil­ waukee and Italian Hartford are uncomfortably alike because they have cast off all the hard-earned longings of mankind and joined in a common aspiration to be rich, notorious, and One Hundred Per Cent American. It is this fact which is the second great feature of the Ameri­ can cities of 300,000-and as important as their other feature of unconquerable villageness. It is this fact which makes a novel that chanced to be local and concrete and true in re­ gard to Omaha equally local and concrete and true regarding twenty other cities. Naturally, they are not all precisely alike. There is a difference resulting from situation-from a back­ ground of hills or plain, of river or seacoast; a difference from the products of the back country-iron, wheat, cotton; a dis­ tinct difference from the various ages-the difference between Seattle and Charleston. But these differences have for a long time now tended to decrease, so powerful is our faith in standardization. When a new hotel, factory house, garage, motion-picture theater, row of shops, church, or synagogue is erected in gray Charleston, rambling New Orleans, or San Francisco of the '49ers, that structure is precisely, to the last column of reinforced con­ crete and the last decorative tile, the same as a parallel structure in the new cities of Portland or Kansas City. And the souls of those structures-the hospitality of the hotels, the mechanical methods in the garages, the minutest wording of the sermons in the churches-are increasingly as stand­ ardized as the shells. It would not be possible to write a novel which would in every line be equally true to Munich and Florence. Despite the fundamental hungers equally true to all human beings, despite the similarity of manners and conversation in the layer of society which contentedly travels all over the world, despite the like interest of kissing at Fiesole and at Gansedorf, so vastly and subtly are the differences in every outward aspect, Seeing Red (On Communism) 29 every detail of artistic aspiration and national pride and hope, that the two cities seem to belong to two different planets. But Hartford and Milwaukee-the citizens of those two distant cities go to the same offices, speak the same patois on the same telephones, go to the same lunch and the same athletic clubs, etc., etc., etc. Novel unlike M. St. cf Carol [Kennicott] on standardized life in U.S. The test of the sameness is in the people. If you were by magic taken instantly to any city of over 80,000 in the United States and set down in the business center, in a block, say, with a new hotel, a new motion-picture theater, and a line of newish shops, not three hours of the intensest study of the passing people-men on business errands, messenger boys, women shopping, pool-room idlers-would indicate in what city, indeed in what part of the country, you were. Only by traveling to the outskirts and discovering mountains or ocean or wheat fields, and perhaps Negro shanties, Mexican adobes, or German breweries, would you begin to get a clue-and these diverse clues lessen each year. They know it not but all these bright women and pompous men are in uniforms, under the discipline of a belligerent service, as firmly as any soldier in khaki. For those that like it-that is what they like; but there are those of us who hesitate about being drafted into the army of complacency.

Seeing Red (On Communism)

From Newsweek, November 29, 1937

11 In the following review of The Writer in a Changing World, a report of the Second American Writers Congress, published by the Equinox Press, Mr. Lewis showed that he saw clearly 30 DECLARATIONS just what Communism meant to writers and the world at large. This was written at a time when many intellectuals­ not to say government officials-were following the party line and the results bore their bitter fruit years later in the Hiss-Chambers Case, as well as other investigations of sub­ versive activity. For a man who at the very time of this review was argu­ ing the reasons why he should live in an ivory tower and was playing with the idea of a novel to be called The Quiet Mind, it is something of a foray into the arena.

IS IT FUNNY OR A LITTLE TRAGIC? Many would-be authors who long to produce honest fiction will be influenced by The Writer in a Changing World, the just-published report of the Second American Writers Congress, held in New York in June. The youngsters will seek here guidance to nobility, but find only a summons to submit themselves to Stalinist Communism. Comrade Earl Browder says: "They (the Communists) call for a common discipline for the whole democratic camp . . . Is that regimentation, is it intolerance, is it crushing the free spirit of truth?" Why, yes, Comrade, it is, when the discipline originates in the Kremlin. It's an old trick of the Communists, and a good one, to coax an illustrious innocent to serve as show-window dummy. They were able to use Dreiser so, until he murmured, with unexpected sincerity, that he disliked the Jews, whereupon he was heaved out of Zion. There is no excuse for anyone to swallow the Bolshevik claim to be the one defense against . There are too many dependable accounts of what, actually, the Communists have done in their own private laboratory. It is not necessary to listen to hacks for reactionary magazines, so large a store is there of scrupulous books by men who went to Russia with every hope, and returned in disgust. Recently published are Eugene Lyons' Assignment in Uto­ pia, the tale of a radical East Sider who in Russia found all his ideals cynically betrayed; Russia Twenty Years After, in Seeing Red (On Communism) 31 which Victor Serge, once a leader of the Communist Inter­ national, uncovers the intellectual racketeering and ruthless­ ness of the Russian bureaucracy; and, especially annoying to the pint-sized replicas of Stalin on Union Square, Andre Gide's Return from the U.S.S.R. Max Eastman's Artists in Uniform was so revelatory of what Communist discipline actually does do to writers that New Masses prophets would answer it only by a characteristic "All lies-all Fascist lies," and the two most recent books of William Henry Chamberlin, greatest of Anglo-American correspondents in Russia, Collec­ tivism: A False Utopia, and Russia's Iron Age, are the final pillorying of the Communist dictatorship. Rather neglected bas been Proletarian Journey, the exciting story of Fred Beal, once a Communist leader in textile strikes. Read it! He was charged, probably falsely, with murder in the Gastonia strike; he escaped to Russia, and found that workers' paradise a little worse than any Southern mill town. He also presents a noble portrait of American Communist leaders on vodka-jazzed junkets in Moscow-at the expense of American workers. He paints Mike Gold, the Lucius Beebe of Communist journalism : "Gold is a sentimental revolutionist who has been very successful in exploiting his sentiments. He is undoubtedly sincere in his feeling for the working classes and will do any­ thing to help them-from a safe distance. Gold was followed by the intellectuals among the American Communists, each of whom expected to write a 'best seller' or a popular play about the coming revolution and settle down on a farm in Pennsylvania." The Artist, the Scientist

and the Peace

First given as a radio broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, on December 16, 1944, as a part of the Opera Victory Rally Series. Reprinted by The American Scholar in its summer issue in 1945.

�Here Mr. Lewis states with customary vigor the choice be­ fore the artist-scientist in a world facing totalitarian rule. While this address was presented at a time when mankind's deliverance from the Nazi-Fascist menace seemed assured, it can be read today in the context of the present Communist threat to free nations. It is another example of the author's prescience.

IT IS POSSIBLE-IT IS AT LEAST POSSIBLE-that no artist and no scientist has ever been able to carry out half his plans to make mankind more cheerful and decent, and possible that this failure has been due less to the illness or laziness of the artist than to the fact that, since history began, all creative talents have been cramped by the insecurity of a world in­ sane with war and tyranny. Yet it has been the artist-scientist himself who has least acknowledged this, who has most tried to hide himself from the age-long conflict for a more reason­ able world. But a strange thing about the present wartime is the num­ ber of artist-scientists who have realized that their work, no matter how detached from commerce or political ambition it may be, is still dependent on the universal struggle for and against democracy; who have come out of the studio or the laboratory or the theater to stand with their fellow-workers; 32 The Artist, the Scientist and the Peace 33 who are listening to the question : "Which side are you on­ isolation or world-control-which side are you on?"-and whD are now answering it. The old-fashioned type of artist-scientist-the Pasteurs and Whistlers and Walter Paters-felt that their creative work was so superior that they could live in plush-lined clouds above the human struggle. Here and there a Voltaire or a Dickens or a physician like Vesalius knew that he could have no private light to work by if the whole world elsewhere was in darkness, and he cried "Let there be universal light!" even if, in so crying, he lost his respectable reputation or his very life. Then, during the last war, so timid and retired an etcher of society as Henry James saw that he and his work were meaningless unless he came out and rejoined the human race, and at last, rather timidly, he did so, and took his stand against Germany. All along, people like Bernard Shaw and Professor Einstein and Carl Sandburg have seen that their little desks were nothing unless they were joined to all the other little desks in the world, and that not least, but most of all men, the artist, the scientist must know and somewhat loudly state whether he is for tyranny and cruelty and machine discipline, or for the people, for all the people. In this war, among the German writers, the renowned , once the darling, almost the Frank Sinatra, of all revered German novelists and dramatists de­ cided on just which side he belonged. He belonged with safety and a handsome new farm and obsequiousness to all the goose-stepping lords of the revised Germany. So, even in wartime, he got these luxuries-he lost nothing but his self-respect, and the love of every decent man. That's excel­ lent-he openly took his side-he didn't hide his shame­ fulness. But certain Germans and Austrians, like Franz Werfel, Bruno Walter, Stefan Zweig, Freud, Bela Schick, Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger decided that new houses and new coats and the hoarse cheering of schmaltz-headed drill­ sergeants weren't enough to make up for the loss of honor, 34 DECLARATIONS the loss of that quiet satisfaction with your work which is life itself, and they went into exile, gave up every neighbor, every title, even the sweet sound of their own accustomed language, that the world might know on which side they were. But it's time to stop all that, isn't it? It's cosmic idiocy that an honest and competent man should have to lose even his own tongue and his beloved citizenship because he is too honest and too competent to stand for the botched tyrannies of gangster rulers. The world has always allowed that sort of thing, since long before the exile of Dante, and it is time, it always has been time, for a new kind of world organization which won't merely yearn for but actually produce security for the competent and honest, and not permit them again to be smashed by incessant and senseless wars. Public murder has become a little too costly-there are people who are really thinking about some sort of a law against it! Everybody suffers from the usurpation of wars, whether lawyer or garage-mechanic or farmer or housewife, but the problem of the scientist or the artist-and consequently the problem of such citizens as want to enjoy the product of the artist and to benefit by the discoveries of the scientist-is two­ fold. Like everybody else, he must think about that interesting task, making a living, a diversion extremely cramped by war, but his supreme interest bas little to do with a mere living. The ordinary workman, whether he is a carpenter or a senator, works best when he scrupulously follows the best standards of the day. When a surgeon takes out an appendix, we don't think more highly of him if he tries the experiment of getting at the appendix through the right elbow. But the creator in the arts and the researcher in the laboratory and the inventor in the workshop have a value exactly as their work is a little different from anything that has been done before. And they can never develop that differentness in a world of insecurity, where they know that anything they do, trivial or important, is judged not by its significance to man­ kind but by the way in which it tickles a gang of gorillas. Their native land is truth, but no artist or scientist in history The Artist, the Scientist and the Peace 35 has yet dwelt utterly and continuously in that land of truth, because it always has been stormed by the lovers of power. But it is not important merely for the artists and the sci­ entists themselves to see how their truth has been corrupted, to see where they stand; it is just as important for their ad­ mirers. When the Nazis burned the books in Berlin--or for that matter, when a certain handsome old city in these United States flops back into medievalism and bans books that do not seem to do much injury to the other cities-then it is the would-be readers of the books that suffer more than the writers; and when the Nazis decide that the music of Mendels­ sohn is Jewish and not at all the sort of thing that Dr. Goeb­ bels would care to write, then it is the lovers of symphonies and not the ghost of the great master that are robbed. If people really want great music, great poetry, great paint­ ing, if they really want medical discoveries which will save their babies from death, instead of wanting to live either in a Fascist slaughter-house or a comic-strip world of triviality, then they must give the artists and the scientists a civilization in which they can show what they rea11y can do--as none of them has ever yet had the chance to show. It isn't that the artist needs softer beds or more food, and as for publicity, in these days of radio and tabloids, he probably gets too much of it! It is a spiritual thing that he needs-an assurance that what he is doing is not futile, a sense that it profits him to produce what will demand of him the labor of years, that wiJI demand a whole lifetime of the most honest devotion, instead of quickly turning out some­ thing that will please the fickle vanity of Fascist playboys whose toys are not only the machine-gun and the rope but pretty propaganda. But the artist will never do his possibly magnificent best if there is going to be a patched-up world in which the prospects for an unending peace are just a little better than in 1936-if there are to be merely a few more pleasant fictions called treaties and tea-parties called conferences. I am not at all sure but that the most mulish kind of complete isolationism is not preferable to playing at world-government, because it is 36 DECLARATIONS at least honest: you know what and where it is. By the way, I imagine that this will be the only time during this series of broadcasts when confirmed isolationism is going to have such ardent praise! In the matter of civilization for the artist or scientist, it has been all or nothing, and usually it has been nothing. How­ ever great his talent, if it is at all corrupted by the cynicism that spreads in an insecure and dishonest world, then that one germ of despair will flourish until it rots the whole, and the artist or scientist, along with all his followers, will have a shining brilliance, but it will be the autumnal color of decay. Consider the science of genetics, the science of birth and the production of better children. So long as that science is devoted to producing more and stronger little Nazis, it is evil, and the more skillful it may become, the more evil it will be. That knowledge will not even begin to be valuable until it is devoted to producing not better little Germans­ yes, or better little Americans or Englishmen-but universally, everywhere in the world, regardless of uniforms, better human beings. The scientist, the artist, can ultimately contribute to making a world fit to live in, only in a world that is fit to live in-not a city or a state or a nation, but a world that is fit to live in. That fact he must know, and must proclaim.

A Note About Kingsblood Royal

Published in Wings, The Literary Guild Review, issued in June of 1947. Reprinted in condensed form in the Negro Di­ gest.

� According to custom of The Literary Guild, in choosing a book for distribution to their subscribers, Mr. Lewis was asked to write a piece about his novel for their magazine. He A Note About Kingsblood Royal 37 had come to New York from Thorvale Farm to make final preparations for a trip to Europe and was staying briefly at the Hotel Algonquin. He made it a point in his latter years not to be in America when a book was published. "If I re­ fuse to give interviews," he said, "I'm a crab. If I do, some reporter will ask questions which I will have to answer in a way that will be misinterpreted. Yes, the only course is to be away."

AFTER EVERYTHING WILL HAVE BEEN SAID about my twentieth novel, some of it with considerable heat, a voice here and there may announce the revolutionary tidings that the story itself is the important thing. My own conviction that one of the most amusing, exasperating, exciting and completely mysterious peoples in the world is the Americans, may well be ignored. My delight in watching the small Middle Western cities grow, sometimes beautifully and sometimes hideously, and usually both together, from sod shanties to log huts to embarrassed-looking skinny white frame buildings to sixteen­ story hotels and the thirty-story bank buildings, may be com­ mented on casually. There is a miracle in the story of how all this has happened in two or three generations. Yet, after this period, which is scarcely a second in historic time, we have a settled civilization with traditions and virtues and fool­ ishness as fixed as those of the oldest tribe of Europe. I merely submit that such a theme is a challenge to all the resources a novelist can summon. This innocent conviction may be overlooked. What will be cried from the housetops is that I have written a novel which is so frantically devoted to racial controversy that it will entail a new attack on Fort Sumter. Actually, the "race question" is only a small part of Kingsblood Royal, but it is the part which will stand out. And as old a hand at writing as myself remembers sadly, in the long winter evenings on my Massachusetts farm, how many times one airy opinion or unfortunate wise-crack in a book has swamped all the rest of the vast store of household recipes, curious facts about the domestic life of the kings of Bengal and the Eleventh Dynasty, 38 DECLARATIONS baseball records, notes on the conjugation of Italian verbs, cracks at the English, cracks at the Russians, especially violent cracks at the people who don't like Rotary, and carefully worked-out jokes which, as is notorious, have constituted the main contents of my books. It is probably perfectly safe in a novel to attack simulta­ neously the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and the Grand Mufti of the same salubrious town, but he would be a heroic man who should dare to say publicly that dogs are frequently nuisances and loving mothers some­ times talk too much. Never, never would I venture even to suggest either of these violent thoughts, and perhaps next to them in peril is to suggest that a final and complete solution of all racial questions is to hint that maybe Negroes are nothing more nor less than human beings. They have the same motorcycles, admiration for Ingrid Bergman, and hatred of getting up in the morning that characterize the rest of the human race-white, pink, tan, yellow, green and office-color. I don't think the Negro Problem is insoluble because I don't think there is any Negro Problem. The races of man­ kind in every country run through a gradation of color from intense black to the almost pure white which is to be found only in alarming cases of anemia. No one has ever determined just where the line in this shading is to be drawn. There are no distinctive colored persons. The mad, picture­ puzzle idiocy of the whole theory of races is beautifully be­ trayed when you get down to the question of "Negroes" who are white enough to pass as Caucasians. In several states of the Union, the definition either by judicial decision or by legal statute is that a Negro is a person who has one drop of African blood. Manifestly, a fair percentage of Negroes do look different from the average American, who is a combination of English, Scotch, Irish and German stocks. So do Sicilians look different. So do Assyrians look different. So do Chinese look different. And there was a time in our history, and ever so short a time ago, when the Scotch-English in New England thought all the Irish were fundamentally different and fundamentally inferior. A Note About Kingsblood Royal 39 And then these same conceited Yanks (my own people) moved on to the Middle West and went through the same psychological monkeyshines with the Scandinavians and the Bohemians and the Poles. None of the profound and con­ vincing nonsense of race difference can be made into sense. I do think, however, it makes sense to see and try to under­ stand a young man like my hero, kindly, devoted to bridge and hunting, fond of his pleasant wife and adorable daughter, who flies off the handle and suddenly decides that certain social situations, which he had never even thought of be­ fore, were intolerable. In order to fight those situations, with a grimness and a valor probably greater than that of any fancy medieval knight, not hysterically but with a quiet and devastat­ ing anger, he risks his job, his social caste, his good repute, his money, and the father and mother and wife and child whom he loves. When we find him, as we have found several million of him-or her-in each of our wars, we realize that the banal slickness of electric refrigerators and tiled bathrooms and con­ vertible coupes have no more lessened his romantic and rather terrifying courage than did the dirty, reed-covered floors and snarling dogs and dinners of gnawed beef bones coarsen the Knights of the Crusade. And probably the Knights of the Crusade no more sang poetry about themselves than does my hero, the young banker of Grand Republic, Minnesota. It is only centuries later that the epic poet comes along and finds them elevated and given to speaking in blank verse. It will be a sufficient reason for a lifetime of writing if my notes on my hero's refrigerator and electric razor will serve the purpose of some future Mr. Homer or Milton (born in North Dakota) who will make ringing heroic couplets out of him. The ring and the heroism are there all right, and I hope they are im­ plicit in my own sardonic cataloguing. Besides those "typical fine Young Americans"-as they are frequently called and as sometimes, I regret to say, they call themselves-there are one or two Negro characters whose learning and charm will be sharply questioned by critics who just haven't met that kind of people. There is one Dr. Ash 40 DECLARATIONS Davis, chemist, Doctor of Science, tennis player, musician who prefers Bach. There is another doctor among the colored brethren also-the Baptist preacher in a tiny chapel whom I present as a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia. I am going to be told that there are no such animals except in the rarest cases, and the teller is going to be sure of it because be hasn't met them. But he must not blame me because he has traveled so little. I refer him to some hundreds of Negroes easily to be found now, who are fit companions to Bill Hastie -His Excellency, the Honorable Dr. William Hastie, Gov­ ernor of the Virgin Islands, former Federal Judge of the United States of America, former Dean of Howard University Law School, Harvard man, scholar, a man known for his wit and charm and scholarship in London and Paris as he is in Washington and New York. Or to the eminent New York "colored'' surgeon, Dr. Louis T. Wright. These are distinguished and charming men, but you don't meet them in the daily press, which gives most Americans what they consider information about Negroes. If a poor drug-ridden Negro shoots a white woman, that is News. If his cousin, a competent Negro doctor, saves her life-that isn't News. Strangely enough-is it another sign of their inferiority?­ the Negroes seem to prefer men of education and training as their leaders instead of politicians distinguished for the amount of brass in their oratory and in their consciences, and Ph.D.'s are as common in the great Negro organizations as they are rare in Tammany Hall or the Union Club. Yes, it is certainly an odd and therefore undoubtedly inferior trait that they actually take seriously the education that all the rest of us praise so heartily in prospect and laugh at so convulsively when we run into it. Another question that is going to be debated is whether my young banker hero would actually do certain dangerous things which he feels called upon to take up, although it is only his own conscience that calls him, while all common sense is against it. And then I think of the story of Count Milhaly Karolyi. Before World War One be was the richest man in A Letter on Religion 41 Hungary, with a million or so acres, enormously fertile, and enormously profitable in their cattle and sugar beets. On his estates, solely in his possession, were a score of towns and villages and sugar factories, and a hundred people would drop in for one of the more casual and intimate luncheons. When the old regime was overthrown, Mike Karolyi decided that the ways of his ancestors for a dozen generations were gone forever, and knowing perfectly that it would mean that he would lose everything, that he would be impoverished, and that he would be lucky if the Ultra Whites on the one side and the Ultra Reds on the other did not kill him-with tor­ ture-he headed the first Hungarian Republic that cam­ paigned bravely and tragically against everything for which the great families like the Karolyis had always stood. And his chief cabinet minister was Baron Hatvany, whose story was precisely the same. Quite casually, these two men said, "God help me, I can do no other." And in little American cities, in quite respectable circles with quite respectable golf scorers, there are young men and women who give Luther's heroic saying a little differently, "I could do no other-thank God!" That's the story.

A Letter on Religion

From On the Meaning of Life, edited by Will Durant and published in 1932 by Ray Long and Richard R. Smith, Inc.

11 Readers who remember the sensational newspaper accounts of the brash young man who stood in a pulpit iri Kansas City and defied God to strike him dead, will be impressed by the objectivity and mildness of tone of this brief statement on religion by the author of Elmer Gantry. 42 DECLARATIONS

IT IS, I THINK, AN ERROR TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY NEED of religion to make life seem worth living, or to give consola­ tion in sorrow, except in the case of people who have been reared to religion so that should they lose it in their adult years, they would miss it, their whole thinking having been conditioned by it. I know several young people who have been reared entirely without thought of churches, of formal theology, or any other aspect of religion, who have learned ethics not as a divine commandment but as a matter of social convenience. They seem to me quite as happy, quite as filled with eagerness about life as anyone trained to pass all his troubles on to the Lord, or the Lord's local agent, the pastor. Their satisfaction comes from functioning healthily, from physical and mental exercise, whether it be playing tennis or tackling an astronomical problem. Nor do I believe that most of them will even in old age feel any need of religious consolation, because I know also a few old people who have been thus reared all their lives and who are perfectly serene just to be living. A seventy-four­ year-old agnostic like Clarence Darrow is not less but more cheerful and excited about life's adventure-yes, and "spiritual minded"-than an aged bishop whose bright hopes of Heaven are often overbalanced by his fear of Hell. If I go to a play I do not enjoy it less because I do not believe that it is divinely created and divinely conducted, that it will last forever instead of stopping at eleven, that many details of it will remain in my memory after a few months, or that it will have any particular moral effect upon me. And I enjoy life as I enjoy that play. II


Self-Portrait (Berlin, August, 1927)

Self-Portrait (Nobel Foundation)

My First Day in New York

Two Yale Men in Utopia

Breaking into Print

I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself

Early Publishing Days

A Note on Book Collecting

The Death of Arrowsmith

Self-Portrait (Berlin, August, 1927)

11 Simply nothing is known by the executors of the Lewis Estate, by the Yale Library or by the writer of these lines, of the origin of or reason for the composition of this compre­ hensive autobiographical sketch. It is dated Berlin, 1927, and a carbon copy of it was found among his papers at Thorvale Farm after his death. At a guess, it was written for his Ger­ man publisher. There is no record of its ever having been pri.nted. Granted this sketch repeats facts stated in other items of this section, its tone is typical of Lewis in a self-critical mood. As such, it presents an interesting sidelight on the man. It must be borne in mind that this sketch was written in 1927. In later years Lewis developed several interests and bobbies not entirely connected with his work. He discovered music and acquired a magnificent library of records of the world's finest compositions. Never a poseur about music, he rarely talked much about it but played records endlessly to find out what he liked. He became a passionate chess player -bow good the writer cannot testify, but visitors to Thorvale Farm were rated by their ability to play. Another hobby was the stt!dY of the Italian language, along with the history and art of Italy. No comment need be made upon the candid self-analysis revealed in this fugitive piece.

MR. JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER, AN AMERICAN AUTHOR WHOM I peculiarly recommended to Europe because he is free of that sociological itch which afflicts so many writers like myself, said once in a brief autobiography that there was really noth­ ing to recount of Hergesheimer the man which had not al­ ready been exhibited in the characters of his novels. And that 45 46 S. L. REMEMBERS is true of every novelist who, whether he be capable or lack­ ing, is a serious workman. It is not true of the hack writer. In private life the hack is often a charming fellow, a seer and a companion to his chil­ dren, tolerable to his wife, an excellent poker-player, and a great camp cook, despite the sapless virgin heroines and the pompously patriotic heroes whom he has created. Mr. Hergesheimer's contention I may claim for myself. Whether or not there is any merit in my books, I do not know and I do not vastly care, since I have had the somewhat ex­ hausting excitement of writing them. But, good or not, they have in them everything I have been able to get from life or to give to life. There is really no Sinclair Lewis about whom even that diligent scribbler himself could write, outside of what appears in his characters. All his respect for learning, for integrity, for accuracy, and for the possibilities of human achievement are to be found not in the rather hectic and exaggerative man as his intimates see him, but in his portrait of Professor Max Gottlieb, in Arrowsmith. Most of the fellow's capacity for loyalty to love and friendship has gone into Leora in that same novel, and into the account of George F. Babbitt's affec­ tion for his son and for his friend Paul-most, but thank Heaven, not quite all, since he remains fond and almost childishly admiring of a few friends, men and women. And whatever potentialities for hard, lean, Lindbergh-courage this Lewis, this product of the pioneer forests and wheatfields of Minnesota, may once have had, it has seemingly all gone into the depiction of such characters as "Hawk" Ericson (that aviator so curiously like Lindbergh, though created a dozen years ago) in the Trail of the Hawk or the resolute country doctor, Will Kennicott, in Main Street, or Frank Shallard, quakingly but unyieldingly facing the bloody Fundamentalist fanatics in Elmer Gantry. In his private life, the fellow him­ self has no drop of such courage. He trembles on the funiculars of the Swiss mountains, in automobiles speeding on wet pave­ ments, on ships moaning terror in the mid·sea fog. I am assuredly not indulging in that pretended modesty Self-Portrait (Berlin, August, 1927) 47 which is a reversed and irritating egotism-that "see me, I'm so noble that I can even admit that I am not noble." Nor am I hinting that here is a case interesting in its peculiarity. It's very common. I know a novelist who, in that real and unin­ hibited portion of him which is his novels, depicts with au­ thentic impressiveness a high, free, passionate, winged love between men and women, but who in private life is always creeping and peeping around corners as pitifully as any clerk starving for romance in his boarding-house. I know another who is all strength and soaring beauty in his books, yet privately sits by his fireside, puffy, pudgy, fussing over little bibelots. And I know a good many writers who find that the best inspiration for their accounts of austere self-rule is to be had in a bottle of whisky. No! If the ordinary lay-reader were wise, he would flee desperately from meeting most of his favorite authors. And this ecclesiastical secret which I am so unprofessionally giving away explains why the biographies of authors would be ach­ ingly dull if they were but written honestly. Take the subject of this particular biography-Sinclair Lewis. There was never in private life a less attractive or admirable fellow-except to a few people who like him from perversity or because they find his conversation amusing. Of that one thing, talk, he is a master, in certain of its minor and more flippant and hysterical phases. He imitates an American Bab­ bitt boasting about his motor car, a Swede or a Yankee speak­ ing German, a college professor lecturing ponderously on nothing in particular. An occasional auditor is delighted and exclaims, "This Lewis is giving us the very soul of a character, and through him of a civilization." But they overpraise the fellow. When they know him well enough, they find him repeating these parlor tricks over and over, as childishly as the village clowns described in his own Main Street. And anyway, he is really only practising, only making a sketch, for the next character he is to paint. When he is in such almost vaudeville-like moods, he is intolerably 48 S. L. REMEMBERS inconsiderate of the fact that others in the company might now and then like to talk. He rides them down, bewilders them and buries them in the flood of his boisterous comedy. Only thus, apparently, can he impress them. In the pro­ fundities of scientific conferences, in the delicate give and take of well-bred worldly chatter, in really earnest and scholarly consideration of the arts--even of his own novel­ writing-the fellow is as dumb as a fish. Besides a certain amount of lasting affection for his friends and this pyrotechnical conversation, the man seems to me to have no virtues whatever save a real, fiery, almost reckless hatred of hypocrisy-of what the Americans call "bunk," from the older word "buncombe," and this may not be a virtue at all, but only an envy-inspired way of annoying people by ignoring their many excellent qualities and picking out the few vices into which they have been betrayed by custom and economic necessity. He hates, equally, politicians who lie and bully and steal under cover of windy and banal eloquence, and doctors who unnecessarily and most lucratively convince their patients that they are ill; merchants who misrepresent their wares, and manufacturers who pose as philanthropists while under­ paying their workmen; professors who in wartime try to prove that the enemy are all fiends, and novelists who are afraid to say what seems to them the truth. Why, this man, still so near to being an out and out Methodist or Lutheran that he would far rather chant the hymns of his boyhood evangelicism than the best drinking song in the world, is so infuriated by ministers who tell silly little jokes in the pulpit and keep from ever admitting publicly their confusing doubts that he risks losing all the good friends he once had among the ministers by the denunciations in Elmer Gantry. But aside from these three virtues-if they be such-the man is a most dingy and unstimulating recluse. Tall, awk­ ward, rusty of hair, long-nosed, dressed neither handsomely nor with picturesque disarray, a Yorkshire yeoman farmer with none of the farmer's strength and horsey dash, he is a figure altogether unromantic. He has no hobbies save rather Self-Portrait (Berlin, August, 1927) 49 unimaginative travel to obvious and uninterestingly safe tourist centers. And he has no games. He has never in his life played bridge, golf, mah jong, or billiards; he plays tennis like an eight-year-old boy-quite definitely and literally so; his swimming is confined to a timorous paddling near shore; and even in motoring, though he comes from a land in which there must be at least 60,000,000 proficient drivers, he has as much dash and speed as an archdeacon of eighty, with false teeth and rheumatism. He detests polite dinner parties. As he listens to the ami­ able purring of nice matrons, he is afflicted with ennui as with disease. And years in Europe, even in Paris, have given him none of the charming tastes of the gourmet. He is (yet with­ out any of the barbarian's virility) a barbarian in the arts of the table. He prefers whisky and soda to the most delicate vintage; he is often known to commit that least excusable of American atrocities-smoking cigarettes between courses at a perfect dinner. And he boasts. He may seem modest enough in writing, but when he is gabbling and off his guard, he tells at tedious length what fools are all the critics who criticize him. The man is now forty-two. He looks, when he hasn't stayed up too late (as he is likely to do, talking, forever talking) slightly younger, because of his thinness. He was born, son and grandson of country doctors, in the sort of shambling prairie village which he has described in Main Street; a village of low wooden shops, of cottages each set in its little garden, of rather fine trees, with the wheat a golden sea for miles about. His boyhood was utterly commonplace-lessons in school, swimming in summer, hunting ducks in the autumn, skating in winter, with such household tasks as sawing stove-wood and cleaning from the sidewalk the deep snow of the far­ northern land. It was a boyhood commonplace except for a love of reading not very usual in that raw new town. He reveled in Dickens, Walter Scott, Washington Irving. Doubtless this habit of reading led to his writing. He began as a wild romanticist. His first efforts were entirely in verse- 50 S. L. REMEMBERS banal and imitative verse, all about troubadours and castles as sagely viewed from the eminence of a Minnesota prairie village. It is ironical that later in regions where castles and the memory of troubadours really did exist-in Kent and Cornwall, Fontainebleau and London and Rome-he should sit writing of Minnesota prairie villages! Lewis had a singularly easy youth. No picturesque chronicle of gallant fighting against poverty and inappreciation was his. His father sent him to Yale University; afterward he became a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, and literary adviser to publishers. In between there were a few adventures and a few lean years but they were only amusing incidents of youth. He went to a radical co-operative colony as a janitor, and was titanically a failure at the job. He ventured to Pana­ ma, during the time when the greatcanal was being excavated, in the hope of a job in that picturesque jungle. He sailed to in the steerage and came back stowaway-without the job! For a year and a half he lived in California; partly in a cottage near the beach of the Pacific, existing on borrowed money and trying to write short stories, in company with the American poet, William Rose Benet; partly doing (and doing very badly) newspaper work in San Francisco. But from 1910 to December, 1915, he was a very prosaic and unenterprising editor in New York, acquiring a wife, and a conviction that he never would, never could, learn to com­ pose anything more imaginative than advertisements for bad novels-though in America such advertisements can be very imaginative indeed. He did, with difficulty, manage to write two novels, Our Mr. Wrenn and The Trail of the Ha wk, during evenings after days of editorial work, but they were financial failures and at first critically unnoticed. A humorous story, written as a lark and without expecta­ tion that it would ever be published, opened for him the doors of the Saturday Evening Post, and in a few months he had enough money saved to be able to leave his position and start free-lancing. That was in December, 1915, and ever since then he has wandered, by train, motor, steamer, on foot. Naturally he is Self-Portrait (Nobel Foundation) 51 always being congratulated for thus scouring the world for information, and naturally he travels for no such estimable reason but only because he is afflicted with Wanderlust, which is one of the most devouring of diseases. In these eleven and a half years, the longest time he has spent in any one place was nine months in London. He has motored through nearly every state in America. He has seen Europe from Berlin down to Seville and Athens. He has spent weeks in Northern Canada, two hundred miles from any railroad or even wagon road. He drifted through the West Indies to Venezuela and Colom­ bia. But meantime he has written eleven books and some scores of short stories and articles, because he is able to settle down in a strange room in a strange city, and be serenely at work within three hours. During his hours of writing, he is indifferent as to whether his typewriter is beside a window looking on Fifth Avenue, a London fog, or a silent mountain. He is vaguely thinking now of the Orient-of India, Java, Japan-from which it is to be judged that his Wanderlust is incorrigible. A dull fellow, and probably unimaginative. Otherwise he would stay home and be inspired by his own vision instead of having to be aroused by new streets, new hills, new faces. A dull fellow whose virtue-if there be any-is to be found only in his books. SINCLAIR LEWIS

Self-Portrait (Nobel Foundation)

Written for the Nobel Foundation in 1930. Not published in the United States.

11 The autobiographical note which follows, necessarily re­ peats the facts set down in the previous one. Its use here seems justified, if not imperative, because of the difference in 52 S. L. REMEMBERS tone and emphasis. Also, since it was written at the request of the Nobel Foundation, the author himself considered it important.

TO RECOUNT MY LIFE FOR THE NOBEL FOUNDATION, I WOULD like to present it as possessing some romantic quality, some unique character, like Kipling's early adventures in India, or Bernard Shaw's leadership in the criticism of British arts and economics. But my life, aside from such youthful pranks as sailing on cattle-ships from America to England during university vacations, trying to find work in Panama during the building of the canal, and serving for two months as janitor of Upton Sinclair's abortive co-operative colony, Heli­ con Hall, has been a rather humdrum chronicle of much reading, constant writing, undistinguished travel a Ia tripper, and several years of comfortable servitude as an editor. I was born in a prairie village in that most Scandinavian part of America, Minnesota, the son of a country doctor, in 1885. Until I went East to Yale University I attended the ordinary public school, along with many Madsens, Olesons, Nelsons, Hedins, Larsons. Doubtless it was because of this that I made the hero of my second book, The Trail of the Hawk, a Norwegian, and Gustaf Sondelius, of Arrowsmith, a Swede-and to me, Dr. Sondelius is the favorite among all my characters. Of Carl Ericson of The Trail of the Hawk, I wrote-back in 1914, when I was working all day as editor for the George H. Doran Publishing Company, and all evening trying to write novels-as follows : "His carpenter father had come from Norway, by way of steerage and a farm in Wisconsin, changing his name [to Americanize it] from Ericsen. . . . Carl was second-genera­ tion Norwegian; American-born, American in speech, Ameri­ can in appearance save for his flaxen hair and china-blue eyes ....When he was born the 'typical Americans' of earlier stocks had moved to city palaces or were marooned on run­ down farms. It was Carl Ericson, not a Trowbridge or a Stuyvesant or a Lee or a Grant, who was the 'typical Ameri- Self-Portrait (Nobel Foundation) 53 can' of his period. It was for him to carry on the American destiny of extending the western horizon; his to restore the wintry Pilgrim virtues and the exuberant, October, partridge­ drumming days of Daniel Boone; then to add, in his own or another generation, new American aspirations for beauty." My university days at Yale were undistinguished save for contributions to the Yale Literary Magazine. It may be in­ teresting to say that these contributions were most of them reeking with a banal romanticism; that one who was later to try to present livingly ordinary pavements trod by real boots should through university days have written nearly always of Guinevere and Launcelot--of weary bitterns among sad Irish reeds--of story-book castles with troubadours vastly in­ dulging in wine, a commodity of which the author personally was singularly ignorant. What the moral is, I do not know. Whether imaginary castles at nineteen lead always to the sidewalks of Main Street at thirty-five, and whether the process might be reversed, and whether either of them is desirable, I leave to the psychologists. I drifted for two years after college as a journalist, as a newspaper reporter in Iowa and in San Francisco, as-in­ credibly-a junior editor on a magazine for teachers of the deaf, in Washington, D. C. The magazine was supported by Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. What I did not know about teaching the deaf would have in­ cluded the entire subject, but that did not vastly matter, as my position was so insignificant that it included typing hundreds of letters every week begging for funds for the magazine and, on days when the Negro janitress did not ap­ pear, sweeping out the office. Doubtless this shows the advantages of a university educa­ tion, and it was further shown when at the age of twenty-five I managed to get a position in a New York publishing house at all of fifteen dollars a week! This was my authentic value on the labor market, and I have always uncomfortably sus­ pected that it would never have been much higher had I not, accidentally, possessed the gift of writing books which so acutely annoyed American smugness that some thousands of 54 S. L. REMEMBERS my fellow-citizens felt they must read these scandalous docu­ ments, whether they liked them or not. From that New York position till the time five years later when I was selling enough short stories to the magazines to be able to live by free-lancing, I had a series of typical white­ collar, unromantic, office literary jobs with two publishing houses, a magazine (Adventure), and a newspaper syndicate, reading manuscripts, writing book-advertising, writing cata­ logues, writing uninspired book-reviews-all the carpentry and plumbing of the city of letters. Nor did my first five novels rouse the slightest whispers : Our Mr. Wrenn, The Trail of the Hawk, The Job, The Innocents, and Free Air, they were called, published between 1914 and 1919, and all of them dead be­ fore the ink was dry. I lacked sense enough to see that, after five failures, I was foolish to continue writing. Main Street, published late in 1920, was my first novel to rouse the embattled peasantry and, as I have already hinted, it had really a success of scandal. One of the most treasured American myths had been that all American villages were peculiarly noble and happy, and here an American attacked that myth. Scandalous! Some hundreds of thousands read the book with the same masochistic pleasure that one has in sucking an aching tooth. Since Main Street, the novels have been Babbitt, 1922; Arrowsmith, 1925; Mantrap, 1926; Elmer Gantry, 1927; The Man Who Knew Coolidge, 1928; and Dodsworth, 1929. The next novel, yet unnamed, will concern idealism in America through three generations, from 1818 till 1930-an idealism which the outlanders who -call Americans "dollar-chasers" do not understand. It will presumably be published in the autumn of 1932, and the author's chief difficulty in com­ posing it is that after having received the Nobel Prize, he longs to write better than he can! I was married, in England, in 1928, to , an American who had been the Central European corre­ spondent and chef de bureau of the New York Evening Post. My first marriage, to Grace Hegger, in New York, in 1914 had been dissolved. My First Day in New York 55 During these years of novel-writing since 1915, I have lived a quite unromantic and unstirring life. I have traveled much; on the surface it would seem that one who during these fifteen years has been in forty states of the United States, in Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, the West Indies, Venezuela, Co­ lombia, Panama, Poland, and Russia must have been ad­ venturous. That, however, would be a typical error of biog­ raphy. The fact is that my foreign traveling has been a quite uninspired recreation, a flight from reality. My real traveling has been sitting in Pullman smoking cars, in a Minnesota village, on a Vermont farm, in a hotel in Kansas City or Savannah, listening to the normal daily drone of what are to me the most fascinating and exotic people in the world-the Average Citizens of the United States, with their friendliness to strangers and their rough teasing, their passion for ma­ terial advancement and their shy idealism, their interest in all the world and their boastful provincialism-the intricate complexities which an American novelist is privileged to portray. And nowadays, at forty-six, with my first authentic home -a farm in the pastoral state of Vermont-and a baby born in June, 1930, I am settled down to what I hope to be the beginning of a novelist's career. I hope the awkward ap­ prenticeship with all its errors is nearly done!

My First Day in New York

�The following article appeared in The New Yorker of January 2, 1937, under the title of "That Was New York and That Was Me." Since the text here printed follows the author's original manuscript, we have used his own title, "My First 56 S. L. REMEMBERS Day in New York." It was written at his Vermont home, Twin Farms, South Pomfret, during the summer of 1936. Aside from its value as an autobiographical fragment, it will wring a pang of sweet sadness from the heart of anyone who can remember his or her first entry into New York with aspirations to conquer the world.

IT WAS A TinRD OF A CENTURY AGO, IN SEPTEMBER OF 1903, that I first came to New York, on my way to college. The Pacific cable bad just been opened and Roosevelt I had sent a message to Governor Taft of the Philippines; Whistler had just died; Carry Nation was pre-imitating Badoglio; the Wright brothers were three months later to make the first airplane flight; and, to crib from Mr. Mark Sullivan, in August, for the first time an automobile bad crossed the continent under its own power. It was the entering edge, then, of the new world of gasoline, and I should have found New York, which (except for trolleys and the elevated) was as horsified as it had been in 1700, a serene and provincial old town, to be remembered with nostalgia in these days of taxis. I didn't find it anything of the kind. Born in Minnesota, I had never been east of Chicago ex­ cept for a couple of months at , , an institution which singularly failed to resemble Columbia or the Sorbonne. Smoking was forbidden, and class parties were opened with a powerful prayer by some student in training as a Y.M.C.A. secretary. From Minnesota to Albany, there was nothing sensational in my journey, though later I found that the youth to whom I had confided, on a station platform, that, proudly I was a "Yale man," was also going east to enter the business of being a "Yale man." But, having attended a prep school instead of a Western high school, he knew that there was nothing more boorish, nothing that, in the cant of that day, would so thoroughly "queer" you, as to call yourself a Yale man .... He let me learn all about it, afterward, in New Haven, with the beneficent result that to this day, if anyone demands, "Aren't you the author?" I protest, "Certainly not. The fellow My First Day in New York 57 who you prob'ly saw his picture, he's my cousin, they say he looks like me, on account of because we're both skinny. But me, thank God, I'm in the wholesale grocery racket. Why say, brother, my territory... " By that time, the interested one has usually fled. Try it. With my trunk sent on to New Haven, I debarked at Albany, and came down to Manhattan by the Hudson River Day Boat. That's the sort of thing one has the sense to do, at eighteen, and never in the duller years thereafter; to swim into New York on a tide of history. There were my first mountains, the Catskills; there were Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle visible on the blue uplands or in the mountain gorges; George Washington rode all over the place; and there were stone houses that, compared with the frame cottages of a prairie village, seemed to me coeval with the Acropolis­ and in considerably better repair. This, I decided, oh, this was good; I was simply going to love the East, particularly New York; love it and dominate it. Give me twenty years and I would be a literary fellow there, with an income of at least two thousand dollars a year-prob'ly twenty-two hundred, by the time I was fifty-and a fine four-room flat, decorated with Japanese prints and Della Robbia plaques, in which I would entertain all the great artists of the day: Richard Le Gallienne and Maxfield Parrish, and James Huneker-the last of whom I prized, I imagine, not because he was a sound appraiser but because he furnished to the young pretender so many lovely names of Czech etchers and Finnish trioletists. (I had in the puerility of college prep only nibbled at the really enduring craftsmen: Hamlin Garland, Booth Tarking­ ton, , Finley Peter Dunne, William Gillette; while William Dean Howells wasn't romantic enough for me. Le Gallienne's Quest of the Golden Girl and The Idylls of the King were my meat; chicken a la king was tastier than Jamb chops. That is as it should be-Freshmen should be romantics, Sophomores should be Socialists, Juniors should be bums, and after that it doesn't matter.) I was coming into New York an emperor on a barge. It wasn't the skipper who was taking the boat in, but my will to L. 58 S. REMEMBERS conquer; and I was almost sorry for New York, that would have to yield so humbly to my demands. It was early dusk when the boat docked. I don't know whether the same pier served ferries also, or there were ferry houses hard by, but from the safe deck of the river-boat I was cast out into a riot of fiends. I know now that they were only Jersey commuters with their little hearts as white as snow, scampering home with Italian sausage and shin-guards for Junior and copies of The Century, thinking of nothing more alarming than an evening of Five Hundred or crochinole, and if they looked agitated, it was because they were afraid they would miss the 6:07. But to me, then, they were out of Inferno by Dore. In that smoky darkness, on the rough floor of the pier and the rougher pavement outside, pushed, elbowed, jabbed by umbrellas, my suitcase banging my legs, I saw them as the charging army of Satan himself, their eyes hateful, their mouths distorted with fury, their skinny hands clutching at me. From provincial embarrassment I turned to utter panic and fear. I wailed at a policeman, asking what trolley I should take for the Grand Central. Another dozen hussars of hell had shouldered me, bumped me and turned me about before the policeman took time to indicate a trolley with a jerked thumb. God knows where the street-cars took me in Manhattan that night-from the Harlem River to the Battery and back again, I should think. I know I changed cars several times, and each time desired to weep upon the shoulder of some ex­ ceedingly unsympathetic conductor or cop. The golden streets of the dream city were not merely tarnished; they were greasy. Everywhere, people bumped along the shadow-lurking streets as viciously, as threateningly, as they had at the ferry house. Their eyes seemed full of a passion of malice and every man­ ner of crime, and in their deft dodging at street corners, there was a surly, defiant, urban competence which the young man from Minnesota could surely never emulate. (Yes, and he never has; it's only moral cowardice that keeps him from tak­ ing a taxi to cross Madison A venue.) Dominate the city? He was beaten before he started, by this dirty-gray, hoarse, leap- My First Day in New York 59 ing dinosaur of a city; he would never drive it. (Nor ever has!) On that erratic trolley-journey, I saw but was too over­ powered to enjoy seeing, real live Italians and Chinamen and Negroes. I think-possibly I dreamed it afterward, but I think I gawked up from the trolley window at the fabulous Flatiron Building, highest business structure in the whole world-seven or eight times as high as the building in Sauk Centre which housed the Weekly Avalanche, the Masonic lodge, and photographer. But I know that miracu­ lously, without merit, I did come to the red brick barn that then was the Grand Central Station, and to a dirty day-coach for New Haven. Even if it had not been dark, I doubt if, in my exhausted disillusion, I could really have seen the Connecticut apple orchards and the little hilly fields, pointed with stone walls, to which I had been looking forward these five years. I was simply hiding in that day coach, which brought me, rather surprisingly I thought, to New Haven. It was quiet enough in New Haven, as with my suitcase I I plodded out of the station, looking for a hotel. I remember that the hotel I found wasn't much of a hotel. In fact, it was probably a thundering bad hotel, lacking air, respectable pillows, and running water. But its quiet, the gentility of its walls in not rising up and crushing me to death, as that New York crowd had so resolutely tried to do, were heavenly. So I had started my thirty-three years of New York and the East. Seven years later I came to New York to stay. I was twenty-five then-not quite so young and promising-and I had a job at fifteen dollars a week with the promise that if I stayed on the job for five or ten years, I might possibly rise to twenty-five a week. And that wasn't so enticing a New York, either, that fifteen-a-week New York where, pay-day being Saturday noon, we underlings in the business-in­ cluding George Soule now of the New Republic-never had breakfast on Saturday morning. London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Vienna-I have found them L. 60 S. REMEMBERS to be comfortable and easily familiar cities. If no citizen talks to you in London, the bobbies do give you directions. If in Paris on a wet day the taxis skid three times to the block, no one is ever hurt save in his vocabulary. But New York is still to me very much what it was on that September evening in 1903. Ogden Nash can have it; as for me I would not take a taxi from Ninetieth Street to the Village even to go to a party at which the presence was guaranteed, under heavy penalty, of Gandhi, Frank Sullivan, Phyllis McGinley, Dr. Harvey Cushing, General Goring, F.P.A., Bernarr Mc­ Fadden, and J. Edgar Hoover complete with sawed-off shot­ gun. My first day in New York has never quite ended. And eighty cents seems too much to pay for orange juice.

Two Yale Men in Utopia

From the New York Sun, December 16, 1906

11 Most of the biographical sketches of Sinclair Lewis have mentioned his sojourn at Helicon Hall, Upton Sinclair's ex­ periment in communal living. None of them has given as complete and colorful an account as Lewis does here. As Carl Van Doren said in A Biographical Sketch, published by Doubleday, Doran in 1933: "He looked for an intenser, richer life at Helicon Hall in as Hawthorne had looked for it in an earlier communistic experiment at Brook Farm, and found himself as dissatisfied as Hawthorne." Lewis's stay at Helicon Hall as furnace tender and man-of­ ali-work lasted about a month during the winter of 1906. (In his Nobel Prize "Self Portrait" Mr. Lewis stated that he worked at Helicon Hall for two months.) So far as known, the following piece is the author's sole account of this ex­ perience. As noted in the Introduction, this is one of three Two Yale Men in Utopia 61 items which we have taken the liberty of cutting. In each instance the deletions were made solely for reasons of space. The writer of these lines can attest the amusing truth of Mr. Lewis's picture of Helicon Hall in its brief and stormy existence, because he often visited the place and there first met Mr. Lewis. The account recalls one of the fragments of verse which Hal (as he was then called) used to rattle off without copy­ ing. This particular bit of nonsense referred to Professor William and Mrs. Anna Noyes of Teachers College, Columbia University, who enjoyed a supervisory post in charge of fellow-workers. One day after a grueling bout with a re­ fractory furnace and immovable bedspring, Lewis declaimed a verse reciting his woes. It ran, if memory serves, some­ thing like this:

Each genius to his menial task To honored labor, and at eve To sit and dream as girls and boys Except, that is, The bloodless ones called Noyes.

Did any reader, present on that occasion, copy down the verse? Although the diary dates are out of sequence, this is pre­ cisely the way the piece appeared in the Sun:

SATURDAY, NoVEMBER 3. -As Caesar once nearly remarked, I've come, seen and been conquered. Helicon Hall, near the summit of the Palisades, in Engle­ wood, N. J., as the prospectus puts it, is a great old establish­ ment. In spite of the bedsprings in the main hall and the re­ mains of packing boxes in the wooded court, which, I under­ stand, is called the patio; in spite of the fact that I'm to be an ordinary janitor, whereas I have always yearned to be some­ thing more elevated, I've promised to join the colony. The author of The Jungle did it. For three solid hours I sat in his office while language flowed from him in a scintillat- 62 S. L. REMEMBERS ing stream. It took him thus long to explain that my duty was to be firing a furnace. But after he had told how the cook was a Cornell M. A., the laundress a well-known assistant muckraker, the scullion a Tennessee lawyer and Poe critic, the other janitor a wealthy Providence wholesaler, it made my objections to janiting seem weak and unnatural. "I have always wanted to work with my hands," declared the Jungle man, displaying a large blister on his thumb. "See that? I got that chopping down a tree this morning." Then he took me down to see the swimming. pool, which he cheerfully characterized as "bully." A "jolly" bowling alley also shook my orthodox notions of the man who had baited the meat trust and written the poetic soul writhings of Arthur Stirling. Also I saw the engine with its bewildering array of valves and things, all of which, I understand, minister to the general purpose of keeping the house warm. During our tour of inspection Mr. Sinclair kept up a run­ ning fire of conversation in explanation of his plans. He had put up most of the money necessary to secure an option on the house, he said, so firm was his faith in his project. He ex­ pected to do away with regular servants altogether; the work was to be done wholly by socially "possible" people, who would earn enough to support themselves by a working day of six or seven hours and devote their leisure time to science, philosophy, art and literature. Budding young geniuses, in which class I was placed, were especially to receive encouragement. Here they will have quiet and a congenial atmosphere. I am enthusiastic about the plan. But one small cloud, not even of the proverbial man's hand bigness, mars the prospect. Upon my introduction to the housekeeper, who will be in loco Sinclairis as far as the actual running of the establishment is concerned, she looked at me critically, I may almost say piercingly, and asked : "Does he know that he will have to do sweeping?" "Yes, oh, yes," interrupted Mr. Sinclair, as I was just about to ask for further information. Two Yale Men in Utopia 63

"And window washing?" pursued the housekeeper merci­ lessly. "Oh, yes," repeated Mr. Sinclair, wriggling still further down into his chair-he is accustomed to sit, in a truly remarkable manner, upon the nape of his neck. I am glad that Mr. Sinclair answered these questions for me; they gave me a sort of shock, and I might not have been able to answer them so readily. Tuesday, November 13. -This is certainly an intellectual joint. This afternoon the cook, the scullion, the chambermaid, and the Columbia instructor in philosophy got into a calorific discussion of the decadence of George Moore, with side lights on Max Nordau. "Why, take Esther Waters," exclaimed the cook, forgetting the cocoa she was watching. "Is that degenerate? It's the es­ sence of genuine realism; and you know the exposition of the necessity of realism in the first chapter of Diana of the Cross­ ways." "Nietzsche says ..." began the philosophical one, when he was interrupted by the chambermaid. "Fudge!" she snorted. "Everyone knows that Esther Waters is a $1.08 reprint of Zola. It's ..." So we fought until it was decided to refer the matter to James Huneker, via The Editor, a colonist who knows the critic. Our discussion was merging into animadversions on the influence of the same set of ideas on Turgenev, and on the music of Tschaikowsky, when an unlovely odor from the stove made the cook exclaim: "I'm forgetting the cocoa." "And I the furnace," I moaned. "Twenty-three for moi." Which latter remark was to indicate that I am one of these real college boys, don't you know, and not one of the com­ mon or garden muckers, who could be blamed if they let the furnace go out occasionally. Friday, November 16. -sat two feet from Upton Sinclair, reading his Arthur Stirling this evening. Personally, I think it's excellent; sort of prolegomenon to the future Keith Rick­ man; but Sinclair regards it impersonally as a mistake because 64 S. L. REMEMBERS of its erroneous views on social subjects. The Upton Sinclair of the newspapers he regards quite impersonally also, saying correctly that there has been set up a hypothetical figure which has nothing to do with the real Sinclair. Arthur Stirling was supposed to be autobiographical, yet the poet is extravagantly emotional, wildly impractical; while Sinclair is the opposite-logical, non-emotional. True, both are inclined to solitude, both thinkers, readers of Nietzsche and the poets; but Sinclair is a broad man, an economist, and optimist (H. G. Wells presented a book to Sinclair as "To the most optimistic from the next most.") Stirling cowers in poetry as a refuge, as Pater would have men do. Assistant laundressing is another merry game. Instead of a washboard they use a patent business, which "works by suc­ tion." One stands there by the fiery-tempered little laundry stove pumping away on the handle of the thing. The only solace is to quote the "Ballad of East and West," whose meter is excellent for punctuation by the "urn-hum, urn-hum" of the handle. Then comes the wringing, one fishing semi-clean clothes from the water and sticking them into the wringer. It's no harder than gymnasium work, but that "mouse gray" water, as Yeats calls it-ashen gray, rather-is a most slimy, sweet thing to thrust one's fingers into . . . ! Finally it's out of doors with a large gingham apron, to hang up socks and towels, while some haughty delivery boy scorns me from his aristocratic grocery wagon. One of his ilk made me so sore that I attached my Chi Delta Theta tri­ angle to my watch chain, to make myself, at least, feel some of the comforting fact that I am a true scholar and a Yale man. I had finished the job, under the instructions which Mike roared at me above the buzzing of the boiler and noise of the machinery. While I was wet with perspiration from head to foot and gasping for breath, I was forced to join Mike in a mad scramble for kindling wood in order to build up the fire which I had nearly put out. When I had finally finished, and the gauge was slowly creeping up with its gladsome tidings that steam was again generating in the boiler, Mike took oc- Two Yale Men in Utopia 65 casion to remark that he had heard that mental work was much more laborious than physical. Gently but firmly I up­ held the negative. Right here allow me to remark that Mike is a true gentle­ man. Although he didn't know he was to be replaced, didn't know that Mr. Sinclair had decreed that he was quite im­ possible, nevertheless he had a strong suspicion of it. But this didn't keep him from showing me every courtesy; nay, kindli­ ness. I should feel sorry for him if I hadn't a sort of sneaking suspicion that he will be needed on that furnace job long, long after it is generally supposed. The dismissal of one who can work that engine, with its complication of hot-water pump, hot-air fan, steam-heating apparatus, automatic traps, which don't always automat, is not to be lightly considered. Sunday, November 25. -This morning the lawyer-Poe critic scullion got off the job with great suddenness, and de­ parted, bag and baggage, for New York. I've been taking his place. I'd often pitied that intellectual scull, but never adequately. He used to work from fourteen to seventeen hours a day and do rather less than the average woman scull can do in five. It was pathetic almost to see him peeling apples and pota­ toes in the lulls of sculling. He had such difficulty in getting the outsides off these things, and it took such an awful lot of them to supply the thirty or forty residents of the hall. The direct cause of his going was a difficulty with the cook regarding something which got burned. But I guess, as in the case of the Revolutionary War, there was a good deal in the indirect causes. They are going to get a regular scull woman from the village tomorrow. It will not be strictly in accord with the social idea of the colony, but I'm not kicking on a little thing like that. Tuesday, November 27. -The assistant housekeeper went this afternoon. She said she didn't like to make beds and fill water pitchers and empty slops. It hurt her wrists. She held some sort of business position in New York be­ fore she turned to the delights of Helicon and regretfully she 66 S. L. REMEMBERS has to go back to it-on account of her wrists. My wrists are a bit on the bum also. I spent the day digging a ditch for a drain pipe. It was better than sculling. The new scull woman certainly beats me hollow, anyway. However, I suppose even Elysium must have a reverse side; and from the formidable appearance of the furnace, I think it will require most of my time. Monday, November 5. -I've been very much on the job all day. I expected to work only seven hours a day, which is to give me an income of $35 a month, with expenses for board and room of about $24, but until things get settled I'll proba­ bly have to work nearer seventeen. My principal employment has been the carrying of count­ less bed springs, iron bedsteads and mattresses from their purely decorative position in the main hall to the various liv­ ing rooms on the second floor, where they may be useful as well as ornamental. This day's work has given me an insight into the true nature of bed springs which I probably would never have acquired otherwise. Wednesday, November 7. -This morning the housekeeper casually asked me whether I was accustomed to the use of tools : there was a set of shelves to be made for the kitchen, she said. The thought of more bed springs exaggerated my real ability scarcely to distinguish between saw and hammer and their uses into quite respectable craftsmanship, and so I was started at the shelves. After several trials I was able to saw a twelve-inch board very nearly straight across, and in the course of the afternoon I produced a set of shelves which really gave me some pride. I discovered, however, upon attempting to put them in, that I had miscalculated in the measurements to such an extent that they wouldn't fit in the place for which they had been in­ tended. But by knocking them to pieces again and sawing off the boards, I got them into place a little before dark. I trust no carpenter will ever have occasion to look at them. This evening I played billiards with the Columbia instructor, and there was a dance late in the evening. The instructor and I danced with the two maids who were imported today. Two Yale Men in Utopia 61 Tuesday, November 20. -This is a mighty pleasant place some ways. Take the evenings when I am not working. From the third-story gallery one looks down through the jungle of palm and rubber trees to the leaping flames of the great fireplace. It has an appealing, exotic charm. Once I saw the shadow of a palm tree cast above the niche at the end of the patio, where stood a Venus of Milo, a glory in the moonlight. They have talked of dedicating the four sides of the fireplace to science, philosophy or politics, the arts-and loafing. In reality it is all dedicated to the last, and to business. The fire bed is like a large brazier, hung from four pillars, which support the chimney. On one side sit three of us, the Loafers' Club, congratulating ourselves on knowing the science of contentedly doing nothing, lolling in our big wicker chairs and staring into the fire. On another side, even until eleven, sits the tireless housekeeper, talking purchases or adding accounts, or planning work. On another side is perhaps the remains of an adjourned mothers' meeting discussing soulfully whether the institutional­ ized children should be allowed to drink six or seven times a day. Loafing and business only. The arts and sciences are in their rooms pinkling (Helicon term for typewriting) articles for the magazines, which they do in such quantities here that it is unsafe to criticize any popular writer lest that writer be some resident of the colony in nom de plume. When all the diligent ones have gone to bed, when the lights have been turned out and the fire has almost died, the Loafers' Club still sits dreaming. A weird gray bat who in­ habits the patio whirs past and the moon gleams strangely through the big skylight over the court. A good place, say I, and redolent of dreams. But think of getting at that shoulder­ and back-breaking ditch digging again, first thing tomorrow! And seventeen million filthy rugs waiting to be beaten! Wednesday, November 21. -During the beating of those rugs this afternoon a fine young forest fire sprang up, and Irish Mike, the Columbia instructor, the veteran of the Civil War and I went out to fight it with brooms and gunny sacks. 68 S. L. REMEMBERS Real pioneering, this. Forest fires are a danger here, for there is a walk from the Hall to the Palisades of a mile and a half through virgin woods. From the Palisades there is a glori­ ous view of the Hudson. At night the lights of upper New York look like the lights in stage scenery. Also, it is worth living and janiting for to be able to stand at the dining room window beside a man of the finest sympathies and watch the rich sunset across the sweep of valley to the Jersey hills. There are rugs to beat instead of carpets, because simplifi­ cation is one theory here. They use paper napkins, for ex­ ample. Saturday, November 24. -My introduction to the furnace occurred today. Mike, who officiates in capacity of attendant at present and whom the wealthy Providence wholesaler and I are expected to replace, served as introducer. He kindly allowed me to clean the thing as a sort of starter. Today a new system was inaugurated with me. I'm to work whenever called upon-that is to say, be sort of continually on the job, with such leisure as comes between. I don't like this arrangement. Think of being in the middle of a gentle lyric and having to go to hitch up Dobbin. This morning I was called to build a grate fire in the middle of an octave on "Faustus." Beastly bore. Also I hear rumors that the management, which consists of the housekeeper and the wealthy wholesaler, who displays abilities too signal for a plain janitor, thinks my arrangement with them as to remuneration too much my way. They got a boy today who works all day (about twelve hours usually) for his board and $10 a month. As I work only seven hours and am rather less handy than the boy, it will be readily seen that I am a bad investment. The rumor comes pretty straight, too. Wednesday, November 28. -Cook left today. Laundress, who has been elected one of the board of directors, has been transferred to kitchen, and two regular washerwomen, one colored, imported to take care of laundry. More knocks at Two Yale Men in Utopia 69 social idea. Cook took her M.A. to Newark for a teacher's job, I understand. I feel almost like a lone survivor. Another maid imported today, and a man named O'Grady, to assist in kitchen. Also another boy to do about the work I've been doing, apparently. More interesting. Man imported last night to help with furnace left very suddenly this morning before breakfast. He merely asked me to tell 'the superintendent of buildings that he feared he couldn't fit into the place. Mr. Sinclair took out his long unused axe today and chopped down a tree and a half while he interviewed a Sun reporter. The Sun reporter will probably write about it in his article. P. S.-Later-The reporter wrote a lot about it in his article. Friday, November 30. -Here's where I get through. While I was in the Columbia instructor's room this evening, after banking the furnace fire for the night, telling him that the ex­ treme manualness of the labor is too much for me, there came an uproar from below. Voices called my name, and yelled "Where's Mike?" anxiously. Saturday, December 1. -Quit. Left for a visit in New Haven. Sunday, December 2. -In New Haven. It's pleasant to be among classmates, instead of being of the mass for a while. Took particular pains to patronize my old dormitory sweep­ a mere janitor! He seemed not to recognize me as of his craft. New York tomorrow. Though I can't janit properly, and though I received only $6 wages above my expenses for a month's work, yet a taste for real life has been awakening. Manual work has been hard, yet good for me. It has been a joy to live among real men and women, not schoolboys. Taking it by and large, where else than at Helicon Hall could I have learned so many new things every minute; or of how little worth I am in manual labor, seen so many novel yet vital things and have met in intimacy and equality so many thoroughly worthwhile people? Breaking into Print

From The Colophon, a periodical dedicated to fine printing, bookmaking and the interests of connoisseurs and collectors. Published in No. II of the New Series in the Winter of 1937.

1l This article covers the continuity and details of Mr. Lewis's writing career more completely than other sketches available. Lewis was the least reticent of men in conversation about himself, other people or anything that interested him, but he exhausted his own personal experiences so quickly, so in­ tensely, that later he rarely found them as interesting to talk about as ideas, events, people. Small talk drove him to mani­ acal fury and one suspects that in his mind personal reminis­ cences came under the heading of small talk. It is interesting to note that Mr. Lewis here credits to Mary Heaton Vorse a formula for successful writing which for many years had been ascribed to him. It is: "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."

ONE OF THE MOST CURIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT A WRITER, and one least often answered in biographies, is why he ever be­ came a writer at all; why, instead of the active and friendly career of a doctor or a revolutionist or an engineer or an actor or an aviator (stage-driver it would have been in my early day), be should choose to sit alone, year after year, making up fables or commenting on what other and livelier citizens actually do. There is no problem about it when the writer's family circle is "artistic"-as with Hugh Walpole, col­ lateral descendant of the great Horace and son of a brilliant bishop. He goes into his father's business somewhat as the 70 Breaking into Print 71 grocer's son takes in his turn to the appalling existence of handing ketchup and cornstarch across a counter all day long. But how the devil did a Wells, a Bennett, a Howells, a Whit­ man ever, in their dreary middle-class boyhood homes, hap­ pen on writing as a desirable thing to do? And how did a Harry Sinclair Lewis, son of an average doc­ tor in a Midwestern prairie village who never-but never!­ heard at table any conversation except "Is Mrs. Harmon feel- , ing any better?" and "Butter's gone up again" and "Mrs. Whipple told me that Mrs. Simonton told her that the Kellses have got a cousin from Minneapolis staying with them"-a youth who till he was ready to enter university had never seen any professional writer except the local country editors-how came it that at eleven he had already decided to become a short-story writer (an ambition, incidentally, that he never adequately carried out) and that at fourteen he sent off to Harper's Magazine what he believed to be a poem? A good many psychologists have considered that in such a case, the patient has probably by literary exhibitionism been trying to get even with his schoolmates who could outfight, outswim, outlove, and in general outdo him. Of me that ex­ planation must have been partly true, but only partly, because while I was a mediocre sportsman in Boytown, I was neither a cripple nor a Sensitive Soul. With this temptation to artistic revenge was probably combined the fact that my stepmother (since my father remarried when I was six, she was psy­ chically my own mother) read to me more than was the vil­ lage custom. And my father, though he never spoke of them, did have books in the house, and did respect them, as one who had been a schoolteacher before he went to medical school. Anyway, cause or not, there was, at eleven or earlier, the itch for scribbling. I must have been about ten when I regular­ ly wrote a newspaper with the most strictly limited clientele in the world-myself. It had "departments," with not only a by-line but a portrait of the department-editor. And at fifteen or so, I had a vacation-time job on the Sauk Centre Herald, setting type, running a hand-press, and writing items (usually 72 S. L. REMEMBERS ending "A good time was voted by all") at the combined salary of nothing at all. Toward the end of summer when I asked for a raise, I was fired on the reasonable grounds that I wasn't worth what I had been getting. But I first had, that summer (perhaps in 1899 or 1900), the ecstasy of thus Break­ ing into Print. By the time I had wriggled doubtfully into Yale, the itch was beyond prophylaxis. To writing, then, I devoted more eagerness than to any study, any sport, and on the Yale Literary Magazine and the Yale Courant I showered long medieval poems, with (0 God!) ladies clad in white samite, mystic, won-der-ful; tales about Minnesota Swedes; and even two lyrics in what must have been terrible German. Perhaps half of them were accepted. The Lit was solemn, awesome, grammatical, traditional, and completely useless as a work­ shop; the Courant was frivolous, humble, and of the greatest use ....There was also a class in short-story writing in which the teacher, later author of a couple of fifth-rate novels, might have been pretty harmful if he had only been brighter. During Yale I had my :first acceptance by a real magazine -and it was critical, slightly scandalous, and, I can now see, inclined to make any number of worthy persons uncom­ fortable. It was the time when Katherine Cecil Thurston's The Mas­ querader was the book of the hour, receiving as much quiver­ ing adulation as now lays itself before Gone with the Wind. At that time (end of my Sophomore year, if I remember) I happened on an old novel, The Premier and the Painter, by Israel Zangwill but published under a pseudonym, and this tale was in general scheme and a good many separate scenes precisely like The Masquerader. I reported this in an article published in the now perished The Critic . ... And that was the first of the many happy times that I have been damned, been put in my place, by the New York editorial writers. My next adventure in what is termed "letters" was even more dubious. Having a natural distaste for children and an inability to communicate with them which has persisted to this Breaking into Print 73 day, I naturally took to writing "children's verse," of which a litter appeared in the women's magazines. As I remember these finger-exercises, compared with them A. A. Milne's pranks are Miltonic. And it was during college or just after­ ward that I sold my first -to a California maga­ zine called The Blue Mule, and for the very satisfactory price of seven dollars. Commercially, at least, I had come on an impressive way since reportage on the Sauk Centre Hera/d. But all through college, with all this nonsense about Guinevere and Launcelot (a dumb hero if ever there was one), about the Little Ones and the gas-stove that was really a beastie, I was trying to plan a serious, a respectable novel. It was to be called The Children's Children, and it was an early guess at the four-generation novel that would, years later, with my having nothing at all to do with it, become only too ponderously plentiful. In my scheme, each genera­ tion was to revolt against the earlier, and move-from New Haven to Minnesota to California and then (in this I did a little anticipate a paradoxical migratory movement which then had only begun) rebound against the wall of the Pacific Ocean and back East again. I doubt if I ever wrote so much as ten pages of this opus, but out of planning it, seeing its dis­ tressing problems, I probably got more sense of writing than in all my spawn of scribbling for the magazines. So out of college, out West as secretary to Grace Mac­ gowan Cook-William Rose Benet and I shared a shack in Carmel when it was only a clearing among the pines-back East to work in a publishing house, and all the years from 1908 to 1914, trying to write my first actually completed novel, Our Mr. Wrenn. Main Street, which is always put down as my first book, happens to have been my seventh. Wrenn, published in 1914, was a fair piece of light fiction; its soundest virtue that it did have an authentic sympathy with a very little Little Man; a New York clerkling, lonely and timid, who longed to "see the world," as we used to say in those days before the world became suicidal and dishevelled and generally not worth seeing. He inherited a fortune of a 74 S. L. REMEMBERS few hundred dollars; he started off world-seeing by cattle­ boat to Liverpool and on foot through England; he became as retchingly homesick as I had been on just the same sort of trip after Freshman year in college; and he wisely returned to clerkship and littleness. The book sold well enough-perhaps 3000 copies-and even had two or three cordial reviews. Th at, naturally, was enough to make the disease chronic and incurable. So 1920, and Main Street and the damned photographs, interviews, invitations to lecture, nibbles (still resisted) from Hollywood, and all the rest of the clamor with which the world tries, inevitably, to keep a writer from his one job­ which is writing. It has been a good job and, even when it has been rather sweaty and nerve-jangling, I have enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed anything except pure re­ search in a laboratory. Mind you, the writing itself has been as important to me as the product, and I have always been somewhat indifferent as to whether I have been working on a solemn novel or an impertinent paragraph for The New Yorker. I have never been a propagandist for anything, nor against anything save dullness. A good job-and not for gold would I recommend it as a career to anyone who cared a hoot for the rewards, for the praise, for the prizes, for the embarrassment of being recognized in the restaurants, or for anything at all save the secret pleasure of sitting in a frowsy dressing-gown, before a typewriter, exulting in the small num­ ber of hours when the words (noble or ribald, it doesn't matter) come invigoratingly out in black on white, and the telephone doesn't ring, and lunch may go to the devil. And as the recipe for writing, all writing, I remember no high-flown counsel but always and only Mary Heaton Vorse's jibe, delivered to a bunch of young and mostly incompetent hopefuls back in 1911: "The art of writing is the art of ap­ plying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." As for the others-let them go to Hollywood or to the "studios" of the N .B.C., and everything will be idealistic, and the literary caravan will gaily on. I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself

From Cosmopolitan, April and May, 1947

� An autobiographical memoir of great value written at the author's Massachusetts place, Thorvale Farm, near Williams­ town, in late 1946 or early '47. The carbon copy of the original typescript shows that it was written as a three-part piece. Mr. Lewis's own subtitle calls ' it a "Series of Three Story Articles." The parts bore the fol­ lowing titles: I: Harry, the Demon Reporter II: You Meet Such Interesting People III: You Get Around So Much Here will be found the amusing account of the author's journalistic career in which the established author draws him­ self as a typical character in a Sinclair Lewis novel. Even more interesting is the light thrown upon the author's child­ hood. But no matter how much ridicule he may heap upon his early literary efforts, there was at the time he was first break­ ing into print a sort of general agreement among his detractors as well as his friends that Hal Lewis was something special, was headed for greater things. We couldn't have put it in words then, but we all felt it about him as we did not feel it about most of the others in the group.

Harry, the Demon Reporter

TO THE UNFORTUNATE NEWSPAPERMEN OF THE LATE 1940's, who never have any headlines to write except "Molotov Says No," I want to give a vision of the golden era from 1890 to 75 76 S. L. REMEMBERS 1910, when news was news and reporters were hairy-chested heroes continuously engaged in chartering special locomotives, rescuing ladies from opium dens-where, today, is there one single first-class horrible opium den?-and attending fires which, in the good old days, were never smaller than Con­ flagrations. In fact, everyone is urged to return at once to 1899, a particularly shining year, since it was marked by my joining the staff of the Sauk Centre Weekly Herald, in June. It was also marked by my being fired from the same, in July, the first of the four times when I was thus picked out as a Man of Promise. In 1899, if you had coursed through Steams County, Minne­ sota, plaintively searching for young Mr. Sinclair Lewis, you would not have found him. To this day, indeed, in Stearns County, only a few learned schoolteachers know him by that name. But there was, in Sauk Centre, a skinny, perpetually complaining small boy named "Ole Dock Lewis's youngest boy, Harry," or, more intimately, "Claude Lewis's red-headed kid brother." My older brother, Fred, was given to fishing and medita­ tion, but Claude was a hustler, the leader of his gang into such improving pursuits as hooking mushmelons (not steal­ ing muskmelons ), communal study of very fine little books about Deadeye Dick, the Daring Desperado of Deadwood, and, on Hallowe'en, moving small buildings up on the porch of the Superintendent of Schools, who was known as the Prof. Claude is a surgeon now, and a natural leader still. I might be indifferent to what George �ernard Shaw, George Jean Nathan, and George the Seventh might say, but for sixty years I have tried to impress my brother Claude. It has been my chief object and my chief failure. Some day, I shall go to Hollywood and make a million dollars, and buy a house with private night-club and a helicopter landing-field, solely to conquer his admiration. He will come out and look at it genially, and ask, "What direction does it face, and how many square feet of radiation has it, and what's the tax rate?" and I shall not know any of the answers, and shall again have failed. I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 77

When I was ten or so, Claude's gang, composed of old, seasoned scouts of fifteen, were masters of the woods, the lake, and the swimming-hole in Hoboken Crick (not Creek), up by the Arch. When I tried to swim there, getting no farther than bubbling and choking, Claude's more meticulous vandals tied my clothing in knots and painstakingly soaked it. When I climbed out of the mud and found my knotted costume, I rose to a precocious eloquence which received from Jim Hen­ dryx, Claude's lieutenant, my only compliment : "Gee, Harry musta swallowed the dictionary !" He was generously indic-ating that I might become a Prof or a state representative or even a Minneapolis auctioneer. Poor Jim! He wanted to be a great trapper in Saskatchewan, but he is merely a novelist! Despite such rebuffs and disasters, I insisted on tagging after the gang, and Claude had to assign none other than his com­ mando-chief, Charley McCadden, expert purloiner of chickens and rutabeggies (sic), to regularly losing me. And he never failed, never. Charley would confide to me, "Ah, gee, I'm sore on the gang! Lez just you and me go chase around." Who would not ignore even the gang for the honor of intimacy with a man of the world like Charley, who could chin himself seventeen times and who had bummed on the blind baggage clear to Osakis, not less than fifteen miles away? We strolled down to Main Street, engaged in sophisticated conversation about brakies on the G.N. and the catching of sunfish in Sauk Lake. As though I were his own age, not a mere child five years younger, Charley told me the inside secrets of local Society: that Horace Alden, the jeweler, was going to get up a new game called Tennis and had bought a striped red and black jacket for it; and that Prof Stanton had licked Bill Keller for sassing his teacher. We ambled along Main Street like the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Aosta on Piccadilly, and I felt that life was full of promise, and some day I would live in Minneapolis and be a reporter on the Tribune and own a sulky with red wheels. In front of S. P. Hansen's Grocery, Charley said carelessly, 78 S. L. REMEMBERS "Jus' second, got to see uh," and darted in. I waited. I looked at the wonder of oranges and pineapples in the window, and tried to charm cat, a haughty and public cat. Five minutes, which to a small boy are five hours, half a day, must have passed before I suspected that Charley bad ditched me -again. He had. He had skipped out by the back door of S.P.'s and was fleeing like a highwayman to join Claude's gang at their rendezvous, and I went home heartbroken, to read Grote's History of Greece, a vast and horrible opus in many volumes with fine print, which I stoutly went on plodding through, not because I enjoyed the thing but because I hoped, vainly, thus to impress Claude, Jim Hendryx, and the other young intel­ ligentsia of Sauk Centre. When I saw Charley that evening, upon certain matters relative to playing prisoner's-base under the arc light at Casper's corner, he demanded, "Where did you go, safternoon? Old Mr. Norris, the deepo agent, ast me to help him lug a package and," piously, "I was glad to help the old gentleman, and when I hustled back to S.P.'s, you was gone. Why, Harry, that ain't a nice way to treat a friend, to run out on him!" If I wept, it was less in grief over my thoughtlessness than from relief that I had, after all, not been betrayed by Claude's top sergeant. The next time was even easier for Old Sleuth McCadden. On a baking day of summer vacation, when the gang had de­ cided to tramp out to Cedar Lake, to prepare those exquisite boyland baked poatoes, black outside and raw within, Charley whispered to me that they were really going up to Ashley Crick, and he and I would fool 'em-walk up the N.P. tracks and catch 'em! In front of a large willow by the tracks, Charley screamed, "Lookit! Lookit the flying fox! There! Up in the tree!" Certain, from my extensive reading of the Youth's Com­ panion or Yousumpanion, that we were making a portentous discovery, because flying foxes were oftener to be found in Tasmania than on the Minnesota prairie, I rushed round and round the tree, encouraged by Charley's cries of "Up higher!" I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 79 which grew more and more faint. When I glanced down, Charley just wasn't there, he wasn't anywhere in sight. Big Chief McCadden had vanished up a gulley like a Chippewa, and there was nothing to be seen but the twin rails of the N .P. on the gravel embankment, like two streaks of fire. I had always failed to startle Claude's gang at skating, diving, shooting prairie chickens, or bobbing for fish through the ice, so I would have to overwhelm them with strictly high­ class intellectual feats. All right, then I'd become a reporter, and then they'd be sorry! But it was another three or four summers before I coaxed Mr. Hendryx to give me a job on the Sauk Centre Weekly Herald. He was the father of Jim, and of the golden Myra with whom I was in love. Was it before or after Myra that I cherished an adoration for Nellie Hansen which was chilled when, trying to kiss her at a nice refined game of Post Office, I landed only on her nose, and she ran out giggling and told the whole party? Mr. Hendryx was unusually literate for a country editor on the prairie in 1900, and he was not at all certain that Harry would be useful. "What makes you think you can become a reporter?" he wanted to know, and when I explained, "Oh, I wrote a short story for Miss Cooper for the Friday exercises in our grade," he sniffed, "How are you on sweeping the floor?" I quite understood that this would be one of my major literary achievements, and my mother would have been astonished by my enthusiasm over my gifts as a sweeper. I doubt if Mr. Hendryx was convinced, but he took me on­ at a salary of nothing a week. Those were the high days, and I could-anyway, I thought I could-look down on Charley McCadden and even Claude. I was a licensed reporter. I dashed up to Banker Lucius Kells at the G.N. Depot and, just as he got on the train for the Twin Cities, I craftily probed, "Are you thinking of taking a train for the Twin Cities?" Venerable old matrons of forty, who had never much noticed Claude's red-headed brother Harry, now called me up on their porches, bribed me (so 80 S. L. REMEMBERS early!) with cup cakes, and handed me the list of newly elected officers of the Kaffee-klatsch Klub. And once a new father gave me a cigar, which I took home to Claude, who said, "I don't want to see you with these poisonous things, Harry. You bring 'em right to me." While I was investigating the secrets of society and big business, I was also learning type-setting. I have doubts now about my speed, but I could pick up a piece of type and wave my arm in a figure of eight as ritually as any tramp printer. And, as a technical triumph, I did not write out my news items, but set them in type. You may see the young ad­ venturer composing in metal such lyrics as : "George O'Gara and Eddie Hansen was to the Cities last week they took in a theater show and while there they seen W. 0. P. Hilsdale, Judge Barto, Doc DuBois, John McGibbon, sr. and several other of our esteemed fellow townsmen they had a good time and went to a chop sooey restaurant but when interviewed on return they said they was real pleased to be back home there is no place like Sauk Centre. St. Paul is a lovely metropolis and etc. to make a visit to but they would not take it as a gift, give me Sauk Centre to live in every time they said." Now I submit that this was a ringing report, replete with ascertained fact, poetic emotion and human motives, but Mr. Hendryx so blue-penciled it on the proof that I had to reset the whole thing. I knew that schoolteachers were fanatics about commas and "they was," but you could not expect a man to be so fussy when he was busy giving the world his Message and trying to keep ink off his blouse. With my very first item, Mr. Hendryx shocked me. I had feverishly written something like this : "Mrs. Pike entertained the ladies of the Congregational Church last Thursday afternoon. Delicious cocoa and dough­ nuts were served and a good time was reported by all." "Harry," sniffed Mr. Hendryx, "did you specifically inquire of each lady incriminated whether she had a good time?'' "Huh?" I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 81 "How many of the ladies there present did you ask whether they had had a good time?'' "Well, gee, I guess I didn't ask any of 'em." "Yet you so far gamble with the truth as to state, in this moral family gazette, that each of them asseverated that she had a good time--on cocoa!" "Well, gee, that's just the way they write-even in the Herald!" "Only in the country correspondence, which I endeavor never to correct. My son, the first rule of writing is that if you have always seen a statement made in a certain way, that is itself a reason for not saying it that way." He seized his calamitous blue pencil; he drained out all of my heart's blood after "delicious cocoa and doughnuts were served." He snapped, "I'll bet they weren't so delicious, at that," and slammed the copy on the hook, whence it would be taken by the regular printer, a man who was always glancing at me and puzzling me by unexplained laughter.

With singulars and plurals tamed, I became the romantic reporter, solving mysteries, and now it was I who was followed by Charley McCadden! Ah, that triumph of the great creative brain over such vulgar gifts as whistling between your teeth! With Charley as my Dr. Watson, I pushed boldly into the Menace of the Signal Lights at Stabler's Grove. From my bedroom I noted lights appearing and vanishing in a regular pattern in the cottonwood grove just this side of Indian Mound, two miles away across lake and prairie. Lights! Popping out and vanishing! In a code! Way late at night-after nine o'clock! This was an era too early for German spies, too late for organized horse-thieves, but after reasonable and pro­ found thinking, I was certain that something criminal was afoot, and I gravely permitted my one-time superior officer, Charley, to have a look. We stood up there in my room, in the summer dusk, and, sure enough, there was the terrifying signal light-flash, dark, flash, dark, flash. "What would you think," I said calmly to Charley, in my 82 S. L. REMEMBERS office at Scotland Yard, "if I told you that operating out there, signaling their confederates, are the worst gang of inter­ national counterfeiters in all of Stearns County? Do you want to join me in detecating them?" Ye-es, maybe he would, quaked Charley. It was comforting to have behind me a man with the physical prowess of Sergeant-Major McCadden, who would even pick up garter snakes. I was not sure just what counter­ feiters do, when they get detecated. They might yell at you very loud, or even slap you, but the Sergeant-Major would yell right back-! hoped. Now, naturally, you could capture criminals only by night. Who ever heard of closing in on Professor Moriarty on a prairie afternoon, with meadow larks piping? But at Doc Lewis's you went to bed before nine-thirty. How would Sher­ lock Holmes have liked it if, when he had just put on a dress suit, a mask, and a crimson-lined opera cloak, to go out and rescue the King of Bohemia, Old Dr. Lewis had said to him, "Sherry, it's ten minutes after nine and time to get ready to go to bed, and no arguing now"? But came a night when the Doctor was out on a case and Mother spending a hectic evening at the Eastern Star Mem­ bership Committee meeting. Charley and I fled out to Stabler's Grove. We hooked a ride on a farm wagon, slipped off at the edge of the cottonwoods-and Colonel Lewis suddenly was scared to death. "Sssssssuppose they catch us catchin' 'em, Charley?" "Wwwwwwwwe'll run like the devil!" said that practical man. We crawled a perilous distance, at least ten feet, among the cottonwood trunks to a space from which we could see the farmyard. It was so disastrously still, as we crouched, that we could hear all those terrifying noises that do not exist. From the farmhouse kitchen a low light came with a calm and matter-of-fact steadiness that was the more threatening. What was the gang doing in there? Carving out lawless gold eagles with their jackknives ....Watching us through spy glasses? Then, "Look!" hissed Charley. Critics like F.P.A. sneer I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 83 that you cannot hiss a word with no S's in it. Charley did. He hissed it. And not till then had I perceived that one trouble with dangerous adventure is that sometimes there is danger in it. Out of the house came the familiar Mr. Stabler, carrying a lantern. He headed for the barn. As he walked, the trees in the barnyard cut off the light on his lantern in a clear pat­ tern of flash, dark, flash, dark, flash. Sergeant McCadden remarked bitterly, "Counterfeiters! Charley Bennett always did say you were the dumbest boy in the West End of town! Signaling! Look what Mr. Stabler's doing now!" So far as I could see, Mr. Stabler was merely patting a horse, but I trembled, "H-how d' you mean, Charley?" But Charley was not there, he just wasn't there at all, and I walked home alone through a darkness filled with counter­ feiters, spooks, grizzly bears, and two-toed sloths. Next morning, in the Herald office, Mr. Hendryx inquired, "Did you get any news about the Eastern Star membership from your mother this morning?" "Gee, I forgot to ask her." "That's all right. That's perfectly all right. Let me see, Harry. How much am I paying you now?" Wild expectations leaped in young hopeful. "Why, just now, you're paying me nothing a week." "Well, my boy, I'm afraid you aren't worth that much. You're fired, and I hope this will be only the first of many such journalistic triumphs." It was.

You Meet Such Interesting People

MY SECOND NEWSPAPER JOB was on the other weekly in the fair city of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the next summer vaca­ tion, and my rise in salary was one of the largest in journalistic history-three hundred infinities per cent. Match that, Horace Greeley! That is, I rose from nothing a week to three dollars 84 S. L. REMEMBERS a week, for merely sweeping, reporting, setting type, running the hand press, and rushing the growler, and if I was overpaid by perhaps one hundred infinities, yet I was an earnest scribe (sure, I said "scribe") who had learned to worry less about libel than about getting the middle initials of all subscribers right whenever we mentioned them-which was once a week or so. The name of the paper was the Sauk Centre Weekly Ava­ lanche.

Then, when I went east to college, I toyed .•.one evening a week on the New Haven Journal and Courier, a sheet re­ markable for the fact that the editors really liked reporters, even when they were young gentlemen from Yale who piped to Art Sloan, the telegraph editor, "I realize it's just my good luck that I'm studying Homer, while you fellows never had a chance to get educated. Eh?" " 'Eh,' Greek particle derived through Sanskrit from the primitive Iranian," said Art gravely. "Huh?" said the bewildered young gent. My first full-dress newspaper job was on the Waterloo, Iowa, Courier, and it demonstrated the financial value of a university education. For filling only three separate jobs at the same time--editorial writer, telegraph editor, and proof­ reader-! received eighteen dollars a week, which is six dollars per job ....That is, I received it till I was fired. In my editorials I was expected to deal chiefly with local Iowa politics. Now I sat ready to inform the citizens of Water­ loo about the ethnological variation between Nigeria and Uganda or the day-by-day proceedings of the Council of Trent, but I did not know that the Hon. Member from Cat­ tarincktus County was a fine judge of corn and a candidate for the supreme bench and a low dog in general, and without such knowledge, my editorials were worthless. Papers in Davenport and Mason City began to refer to the Immigrant Editor of Waterloo, and my Boss stared at me with growing speculation. I began to make not-very-difficult puns about Waterloo, and to save eight dollars a week out of my eighteen. If I I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 85 could last ten weeks, I would have enough to take me to New York, where the managing editors would all be waiting for me at the Grand Central. I dined at a bakery where, with nice stale rolls, you could get by for fifteen cents, and for romantic recreation, I walked the evening streets. Sometimes I walked north, out on the prairie and then, for variation, I walked south--out on the prairie, and went back to my furnished room, to sleep on a granolithic bed. Once I reck­ lessly ventured into a Recreation Park, just throwing twenty cents into the air, and a very nice-looking young woman looked at me smilingly-and I fled. I could see that young Delilah getting me to spend twenty cents more just as though it were water. Oh, those rare mad hours of the young poet, when you roister all night long! To make sure that I would be a rapidly climbing failure, I got into a row with the composing-room. As dramatic critic (that was my fourth job, but I don't think I was paid for it) I covered the one musical show that came to town that sum­ mer, and in my review, a pretty high and serious piece of work, I used the word "rococo." The foreman of the chapel came to me in my capacity as proofreader, pointed out that odd collection of O's surrounded by consonants, and grumbled, "There's no such a word." The proofreader, the editorial writer and the telegraph editor, all of them looked at him intolerantly and, with a nice combination of Yale and Sauk Centre in their communal voice, they snarled, "And have you taken the trouble to look it up in the dictionary?" The "my good man" was implied. No, he hadn't. But from then on I was in the position of a second lieutenant who has been sniffy to the sergeant who runs the colonel. On Thursday morning of my tenth week, the Boss ·came in cheerily with, "Well, he's just wired me-your successor. He'll be on the train in half an hour, so you get through this morning. But," in a debauch of generosity, "I'll pay you right through to Friday - evening!" That was the first I had heard of my successor and of 86 S. L. REMEMBERS being more succeeded than success, but with the eighty dol­ lars, minus two or three, that I had saved, I was on the train for Chicago on Friday morning. Ahead were New York and glory--quite a way ahead. I had a suitcase containing three extra shirts, the extra pair of trousers, and my Roget's Thesaurus. There is nothing to these voluptuous Pullmans. You see a lot more of Ohio scenery when you ride the day coach from Iowa to New York, and when you look at Ohio scenery, you can forget that out of four newspaper positions so far, you have been fired from two. What jobs youngsters do get, and bow lucky they are for them! If I bad been President of the First National, I would never, when the eighty-minus dollars were about gone in New York, have become Night Agent of the Joint Application Bureau of the Charity Organization Society and the Associa­ tion for the Improvement of the Condition of the Poor. (Their condition still seems pretty unimproved, for all my efforts.) That welter of uplift words meant that I sat at a desk from early evening to midnight, while ingratiating hoboes, to whom worthy citizens had given little cards with the address of the Bureau instead of giving them a quarter which might have been wasted on strong drink, came in and told me glorious lies about beachcombing in Samoa and con­ struction gangs in the Raton Pass. They breathed on me­ and that was as good as a two-day drunk-and begged, "Now, Mister, I ain't no panhandler, so don't send me to no Mooni­ CIPal Lodging House tonight-they steam your close­ grrrr!" I then fulfilled my mission toward Society by giving them a ticket to the Municipal Lodging House, to which they could have gone, free, without me. I seemed to be specializing in holding more than one job · at once, and nearly starving on the combined honoraria. At the noble J.A.B.C.O.S.A.I.C.P. I got about two dollars per letter per week. I was not only night agent, but by day I was an "investigator." Applicants for more extensive relief gave us the name of a former employer, and I went down there­ usually it was a loft on West Broadway or Bayard Street or I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 87 some other thoroughfare you never heard of-and asked about him. If the patient really had worked there and had never shot any pussy-cats or stolen the fixtures, we gave him enough relief so that he did not starve immediately, not for several more days. The two jobs together brought me seventy-five dollars a month from the J.A.B. ETC., plus whatever I could knock down on the swindle sheet. I did fairly well at that. I never dreamed of taking anything so gaudy as a street car; I charged up an entire ten cents of carfare, but actually I walked, even if it was over to Brooklyn. By such sheer embezzlement -for which I can probaply still be indicted, and the memory of which still keeps me from being too superior toward what society considers "bad people"-! managed on some days to add as much as thirty beautiful, beautiful cents to my in­ come, and on those days, I had lunch. I shall now inform the J. ETC. that if I had not been on the philanthropic side of the charity desk, I might have been on the wrong side, begging the night agent not to send me to the MooniCIPal Lodging House. I was rescued by two women writers, sisters and collabora­ tors, Grace Macgowan Cook and Alice Macgowan, bless their souls, who wired me from Carmel, California, asking whether I would care to consider going out as their secretary. Care? Consider? It must have taken me all of ten hours to resign from the charity-automat, pack my treasures-! now had two books and two extra pairs of trousers-and get on the train for California. Day-coach, naturally, and per­ haps six nights to San Francisco, but you slept half of every hour, round the clock, and popped out at every station, to tramp the platform and explain to the emigrant farmers you had met on the train, "I'm from New York-I'm a newspaper reporter-but I like to run out to California every now and then."

Carmel-by-the-Sea, loafing beside its crescent bay, was then the nearest to a young writer's paradise that I have ever seen. It has now become jammed with movie theaters, 88 S. L. REMEMBERS garages, playwrights, glass brick, surrealists, and people so rich that they own original paintings-well, pretty original. But in 1908 it was a drift of redwood bungalows lost among the pines. We were all poor as well as poetic. There was only one automobile in town, and the old lady who owned it apologetically offered us rides, but mostly we walked­ walked the four miles to Monterey and lugged back a ham­ burg steak and a gallon of muscatel, walked down the coast to a nest of rocks and picnicked with the breakers for orchestra. We wore corduroy and sweaters and sneakers and nothing much else. But we had one treasure that no Holly­ wood star, very few famous writers, can afford : we had leisure. If you make three thousand dollars a week, naturally you can't afford to take a fortnight off, because it would cost you six thousand dollars. Outrageous! But among our hobohemians at Cannel, it would not have cost even the richest of us more than a hundred dollars for two weeks' freedom, and for a lot of our young geniuses, the budget would have been nearer twenty. So we could afford to do exactly what we wanted to, which, among the eucalyptus, the poppies, the rafts of kelp agitated by the pale green-glass breakers, the still hollows in the pines, was usually doing nothing "useful" whatever. William Rose Benet came down from Benicia, California, where his great father was commandant of the Arsenal, and Bill and I shared a cottage for which we paid fifteen dollars a month, furnished. We washed our own clothes-that is, except when we just went in swimming in them, and sensibly called that enough-and we did our own cooking. As, be­ tween us, we knew how to make only boiled eggs, fried eggs, and something that for convenience we called coffee, we decided that it wasn't good for young poets to eat too much, and we depended on the almost daily picnics given by Grace and Alice, at which we filled up on a twenty-four-hour supply of abalone and Spanish beans. My job as secretary left me adequate leisure and I kept on writing and, I may tell you, not without success. For in a I'm an Old Newse_aperman Myself 89 little less than six months, I produced a very finejoke, which was accepted by Puck, and paid for! in money! and I com­ posed a wonderful story which ...Wel l, it never did exactly get printed, ever, anywhere, but it had an excellent title: "Citizen of the Mirage." And I was, for a time, a citizen in a California mirage. It was probably the most sensible time of my life. If I regret anything, it is that for only a couple of years was I a patently useless, irregular, undependable young man, wandering and getting fired, earning almost nothing and seeing almost every­ thing. Then I became a fairly responsible young editor in New York and acquired grim habits of industry and punctu­ ality, and what a mistake that was! If I had had a few more drops of the tramp in me, like Hemingway or Poe, I might have become a great writer instead of a careful chronicler of domestic rows. The best night of my six months in Arcady was when in a carryall-yes, with a fringed top--a dozen of us drove miles down the coast and, in the light of a vast bonfire shining out on tides that came straight from China, , look­ ing a little like Dante and a good deal like Fran9ois Villon, challenged the ocean roar by singing Kipling's "The Last Chantey," and then we all slept on the cliff, among the poppies. The high literary point was watching read Henry James for the first time. I hand this study on to the professors who deal with a mystery called Artistic Influences. Jack had quit being a galloping adventurer and had become a country gent, devoted to bridge-playing and pig-breeding. He used to stay with the Sterlings at Carmel, and though the great man was extremely friendly to the skinny, the red-headed, the practically anony­ mous secretary, it bothered that secretary to find that Jack seemed content now to play bridge all afternoon, all evening. At a neighboring cabin Jack picked up James's The Wings of the Dove and, standing there, short, burly, in soft shirt and black tie, the Master read aloud in a bewildered way while Henry James's sliding, slithering, glittering verbiage un- 90 S. L. REMEMBERS wound itself on and on. Jack banged the book down and wailed, "Do any of you know what all this junk is about?" It was the clash between Main Street and Beacon Street that is eternal in American culture. With all the pines and tamales and mountain snow, I was not getting on with my newspaper career. Why, I hadn't been really fired for almost a year now, and while one joke in six months was a nice clean output, it lacked box-office promise. So I went to San Francisco to hunt a job, and I did get on with the newspaper career and I·did get fired­ twice-and so I was a normal and promising young reporter again. As we shall see.

You Get Around So Much

NOW, AS AN HONEST MASSACHUSETTS FARMER, I AM AMAZED TO see how much embezzlement, chicanery, incompetence, and general anti-social behavior is revealed, as I study the career of Harry the Demon Reporter. It makes me suspicious of all the standard biographies, which never admit such crimes. Certainly George Sterling, the poet, was guilty at least of perjury and excessive imagination when he told Joe Noel, sports writer on the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, to let his city editor in on the secret that there was a wonderful young reporter and magazine writer named Mr. Lewis around those parts, that he seemed to like California almost as well as his native New York (Fifth Avenue), and might conceiv­ ably be persuaded to stay here. _An interview between Mr. Lewis and that innocent city editor was arranged with the pomp of a royal wedding. I had planned to Accept the Position at thirty a week­ which was vastly higher than my value in the labor market had ever been-but as I walked into the editor's office, Joe mysteriously handed me a slip reading, "Hit him for 35." Hit? Me, the international journalist? I did nothing so vulgar as to hit. I permitted the editor to know that I was a I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 91 Yale man and had had things published in these magazines and I knew New York like the inside of my hat (about which current hat, which I had left outside, the less that was said, the better). But I liked his nice little city, and I would be willing to stay around a while at-should we say forty or fifty a week?-oh, what did it matter-make it thirty-five­ expenses so much less in these smaller towns. So I tilted back in my chair and looked casually down on Market Street. Indeed it didn't matter at all, except that if I didn't get the thirty-five (and I would have listened happily to an offer of thirteen-fifty) I would have stopped eating, and sleeping under cover. He was a hard-boiled city editor and as credulous as all hard-boiled people, who are too busy admiring their own hard-boiledness to study other people. I got the job. If it were 1909 again and I were that editor, I would either fire this Lewis the first week, or create a special department · for him in the Saturday Supplement, and let him write his fool imaginative head off, and raise him and raise him-per­ haps to thirty-seven-fifty in ten or twelve years. Lewis was good at "human-interest stories," but he never saw the news or heard the news or brought in the news, and if the governor had shot the mayor at the ferry house and Lewis had been the only reporter there, he would have come sunnily trotting into the office with a lovely piece about Sunset Over the Golden Gate. Again does his real career make me suspect all the published Lives, especially the autobiographies, and when I read the triumphant pomposities of prime ministers and bishops and department-store barons, I suspect that along with their youthful twenty-six hours a day of industry and probity, they must have had endearing times of being ornery and idiotic. This Lewis discovered in San Francisco a den, plagiarized from Robert Louis Stevenson, where the hoboes drank only wine, all evening long, wine at five cents a can, and they were gently crazy, and in a room where shadows slid along the huge wooden tables, they told one another stories from 92 S. L. REMEMBERS the South Seas or sang together as languidly as the Lotos Eaters. But that story the editor would not let our young wonder hero write. Instead the editor told him that there were murmurings of financial scandal about a large orphan asylum, and would he kindly hustle out and get the dirt?

I found that the asylum was surrounded by a brutally high red-brick wall. A real reporter would presumably have climbed the wall at midnight, wriggled across the courtyard, anesthe­ tized the night watchman, removed the ledgers from the safe, and have had a front-page story for next afternoon's papers. But it pains me to say that I walked twice clear round that uncommunicative wall and just could not get any spiritual urge to shin over it. Nor was I properly resolved to ring at the unfriendly gate and ask the watchman, "Is the head of this institution a crook, and have you any proofs handy?" I am not boasting of this, mind you; I am sore lamenting it; but I went home to my boarding house (and I want to inform my landlord now, thirty-eight years later, that I did know he sneaked in and used my typewriter) and wrote a very nice poem about Helen's eyebrows or some equally newsy topic. Oh, valiant and ingenious youth! Was it William Pitt who was prime minister at twenty-three-and was it twenty-three and was it prime minister or president of the University of

Chicago? _ Not all of my epoch-making career by the Pacific had to do with odes to eyebrows. We were an afternoon paper, and I was in the office by eight A.M., writing headlines. I never did master the composition of headlines, an art even more deft and passionate than the old-time writing of epitaphs but highly resembling it, for are not headlines little tombstones for items of news that are now dead and frequently decayed? But still, I could manage a few curious masterpieces, such as: English Sir Says S.F. Be Biggest U.S. Burg From ten to four, we were supposed to go out and ask embarrassing questions of people who much preferred to be I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 93 let alone, and then, in the evening, we really got to work. An agitated election was coming, and every evening I had to report three or four oratorical debauches. The chief figure in the election was a gentleman known to spellbinders as "P. Haitch McCarthy, standard-bearer of th' City'n'County of San Francisco." I ineffaceably remember his golden smile, his beautiful mustache, and the heartiness with which he greeted the reporters, "Well, boys, God bless you," and it is characteristic of American politics, in which we have always been so much more ardent about personalities than about real principles, that the only things I now forget about P. Haitch are what he stood for, and whether we were adoringly for him or belligerently against him, and whether he won or lost! And that is how you write history. You collect the evi­ dence of eyewitnesses who were right there when it happened and who remember exactly what kind of a fancy vest Dickens wore and forget only whether he liked Christmas and the little ones and benevolent fat gentlemen, or hated the whole lot of them and tried to get them abolished. Such things as elections paled beside the Epic of the Vanishing Bellboy and the Grateful Whaleback. I was on the Bulletin hotel-beat at the time, engaged in persuading such distinguished visitors as English lecturers to state that, yes, San Francisco was larger than Los Angeles and more romantic than London. And on that beat I had an Adventure in Culture. We were told that a Chinese prince had just landed, and I skipped happily to his hotel to interview him. On the way I planned my story, which would obviously be very funny. He would be a fat and waddling prince, with comic mustachios and a long saber, and he would say, "Me heapee biggee princee," and with the superiority of all the Sauk Centres and the New Havens to such ridiculous out­ landers, I would tease him with clever questions. I never did see that prince. At the door of his suite I was greeted by a slim Chinaman in morning coat, quite the suavest and coldest and best-spoken man I had ever met, with an Oxford accent and a Mayfair blankness, and he murmured, 94 S. L. REMEMBERS "It would be quite impossible for you to see His Highness, but I should be- glad to answer any questions." Questions? I don't think I had any, beyond the familiar "Huh?" It was a moment of revelation about the world, as swift and complete as Mr. Hendryx's explanation of why you don't write "a good time was reported by all." But the bellhop epic was more triumphant. At a hotel which we shall call the Brown, there was an amiable assistant manager whom we might call Smith. Now I won't say that Mr. Smith ever tried to bribe me, but I did just happen to get around to the Brown very often at one o'clock, and Mr. Smith did just happen to think that the Brown would be honored to entertain a distinguished literary man like me at lunch-no obligations. And if afterwards Mr. Smith introduced me to a charming man who was-he said-an explorer from Arabia or a renowned soil-chemist from Kansas, it would make an interesting essay for the read­ ers of the Bulletin. Would it? I enjoyed those lunches-three kinds of soup and four kinds of dessert. At first, a salary of thirty-five a week had seemed magnificent, but I had now learned to eat regularly, and that devastating habit ruins more idealistic young men than love or liquor. Breezed up to me in the refined Brown lobby, one fine day, this Smith, bountifully beaming, and said Smith, "I got a swell story for you-exclusive. Last winter we bad an old lady from Connecticut staying here, terrible old crank, al­ ways complaining-what we call a Whaleback. But there was one bellboy-he said she was so like his mother-be never got sore at her, he just used to laugh and do any errand she asked him, and evenings when he was off duty-and mind you, she never tipped him one red cent-he'd sit and read to her, and all the other bellhops laughed at him, he was such a sap. Well, she's just died, back East, and she's left this boy her entire fortune-seventy-five thousand dollars. How's that?" "What's his name?" "Who?" I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 9S "The bellhop." "Oh. His name? You mean you want to know the bell­ hop's name? Can't you make ... ? Well, they used to call him Robert." "Last name?" "Oh-uh-Johnson." ''Where is he? I want to ask him some questions." "He's in the old lady's town in Connecticut, collecting the fortune. The eighty-five thousand." "What town?" "Medford." "That's in Massachusetts." "Oh, sure. I meant Massachusetts." "Look. Make it twenty thousand and I'll runthe story." "Do you mean to say . . . ?" "Twenty thousand!" "Okay!" Now the moral of this chronicle would be irretrievably bad, except that as I wrote the story for the Bulletin, I made our Bobby Johnson so tender to his elders, so given to brush­ ing his teeth and combing his hair and saving of electric lights and pieces of string, that he was a model for all future youth. Probably you can still see the influence of it, almost forty years later. When the story was published-for once, uncut-the hotel­ beat man on the Chronicle exclaimed, at the nearest bar, "Smith gave me that story before he did you and my city editor wouldn't let me use it. He said it sounded phony. Don't that show what dumb tyrants they put over us re­ porters?" I had incautiously announced that Bobby Johnson was com­ ing back this week, to go around with the twenty thousand and be oppressively kind to all the other bellhops in town and teach them to save string and read to old ladies. Now the sob-squad lady on the Bulletin was no less a mistress of heart­ throbs than Bessie Beattie, now famous for her hour on the radio. The city editor said, "I'll have Bessie interview the kid. We'll give him a big spread on Saturday, with photos." 96 S. L. REMEMBERS "You better let me do it," I begged. "You? You couldn't write a tender human story about a kid like that. Bessie will do it." My brain-child! My own Little Lord Fauntleroy and string­ saver and crusader against the life-sapping cigarette! I couldn't do his biography! I did not explain why Bobby would not be coming home this week. I let Mr. Smith of the hotel do all his own lying. I turned to ways of nobility and exact truth which, as is well known, unlike many fiction-writers whom I could and in private do name, I have followed ever since. Months later, when I was on the Associated Press-after I had been fired from the Bulletin and just before I was fired from the A.P., which was No. 4-Mr. Smith showed me a scrap-book full of press clippings about the Bellhop and the Whale back. I was again confused about the moral philosophy. This business simply did not go with the ethics I had learned from Spinoza and Horatio Alger, Jr. Many pure-minded vignettes had I written on suburban flower-shows, visiting swamis and the facts of wild-swan life which had never been read clear through even by the city editor who tossed them into the wastebasket. But this atrocity, this betrayal, this maudlin waterworks about that blithering and non-existent young prig, Robert, had been read and fondly reprinted all over the world-all mentioning the hotel! The diabolic Mr. Smith let me see that it had appeared-sometimes with a favorable editorial-in every city in America, in Paris, Lon­ don, Berlin, Rome, Pekin, Kandahar. And I, the author of this revised and more pestilential Tiny Tim, had not only been fired but was ripe for being fired again. One happy Californian eve on the night desk of the A.P., my immediate boss-then a mild and scholarly indoor man given to the study of magic, but some time to be known as a galloping foreign correspondent, a peering man with thick glasses and the kindest heart, a man named Karl Von Wiegand-muttered to me, "Do you know that the Coast Superintendent is planning to fire you tomorrow, because I'm an Old Newspaperman Myself 97 you just can't see a good news story? You might beat him to it." I walked languidly in on Charley Kloeber, the superinten­ dent, next day, and drawled, in the grossest imitation of Eng­ lish novels, "My dear fellow, I do hope I shall not inconven­ ience your overworked little staff too much, but I really must sever my connection here. The literary standard is too shock­ ingly low." Charley was a Virginian, soft-voiced and soft-eyed and he had played poker in Alaska and Lima and Helsinki. I had hoped that he would be furious at losing such a jewel, but he just looked mildly at me, and sighed, "Ah'd give a lot to know who told you ah was goin' to fire you!" So I went back East to Occupy a Responsible Position, on a magazine called The Volta Review, a journal for teachers of the deaf, a subject of which I knew less than I did of radar, even though radar had not yet been invented. The salary was fifteen a week, but they could not hold me, could never hold the literary parent of the Edifying Bellhop. In less than a year, I was back in New York, as editor for a book-publish­ ing house, and you may be sure I wasn't getting any miserable fifteen dollars a week-not at the age of twenty-five! No, I was getting twelve-fifty a week. So you can see how, without influence, solely by the ex­ ercise of my industry and genius, I had progressed not only socially but financially. In less than two years I had climbed from $35 a week on the Bulletin to $30 on the Associated Press to $15 on The Volta Review to $12.50 at the sedate and honorable firm of Frederick A. Stokes Company. Ah, youth and glory! I hope that you youngsters of the Mid-Century will have been moved by this chronicle of how masterful we all were in your fathers' day, to bustle out and emulate us. But humbly, boys, humbly! Early Publishing Days

1! Mr. Lewis understood better than most authors the intimate problems of publishing his books. Much of this knowledge de­ rived from the fact of his having served a long stint in the profession, first with the Frederick A. Stokes Company and some years later with George H. Doran. Also, as noted else­ where, he had worked on several magazines. This piece is included as a significant fragment of his early experience. It also provides a nostalgic portrait of all the young men who were winning their spurs in publishing nearly thirty years ago. So far as known, the complete article never ap­ peared in print. A condensed version was published in the "Doubleday Books News," a brochure, in 1947. It was written at Thorvale Farm, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and dated October 23, 1946. This memoir will be of special interest to those who were part of the publishing scene of those early days, both for the names of those with whom publicity-man-editor Lewis associated and for its tribute to a group of indefatigable sales­ men who have since become subject for legend. Too little tribute has been paid to that strange and temperamental genius, the publisher's book traveler. Lewis knew their prima­ donna qualities and appreciated their position as indispen­ sable envoys to The Trade.

OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO, BACK IN 1914 AND 1915, there were three young editors for publishers who used to meet at lunch at the aged Grand Hotel, and try to steal ideas from one another. There was the editor for Holt, who was going to stay with that firm forever and become its president; the editor for Doubleday, whose liveliest interest was in magazine stories; the editor for George H. Doran-later a large, clear 98 Early Publishing Days 99 tributary of the rolling Mississippi flood of the new Double­ day-who had tried to be a writer of fiction and had given up that folly forever and wistfully hoped some day to be George Doran's partner (in charge of author-lunching and London-trips) . The names of these three young men (well, along about thirty) were Alfred Harcourt, Harry Maule, and Sinclair Lewis, and all of us turned deftly from manuscript-reading to writing advertisements and jolly little publicity notes to the effect that Wratislaw Pallister-Wallow, the English detective­ story manufacturer, was fond of cats and Brussels sprouts, which, in those days, was our notion of hysterical press­ agentry. There were no page-advertisements of single (and not very good) books; no book clubs; certainly no radio programs on which authors disputed their rather doubtful right to live. In one quarter-page notice, I would list twenty new books, each of them with no more descriptive text than "'Amusing story,' N.Y. Herald." Sometimes I think that this was excel­ lent; that the danger today is of too-much, too-commercial exploitation of books, to the end that they shall become al­ most as profitable and dreary as blue razor blades and three­ way cough cures. And I note that the "historical novels" which we were so naive as to produce then were certainly less offensive than the much touted treatises on immorals at the court of King Charles which today are solemnly published even by the worthiest firms. But one thing in publishing today is vastly better: the hos­ pitality to the young writer, even to him who as yet shows only unripened promise. In most firms, thirty years ago, such, an aspirant would have been able to see only an eye­ glassed iceberg who wanted to give him back to the office boy, but now, if he has completed so much as the dedication page and half the title, he is likely to be invited by the presi­ dent himself to go out and enact a few scenes from The Lost Weekend. In my day of publishing, a young author's suggestion that an advance would enable him to complete his half-finished 100 S. L. REMEMBERS novel would have been countered by dropping him out of the window-and some of our publishing houses were way, way up, three or four stories up, in the twelve-story sky­ scrapers of that era. Now, it is just as likely to be the pub­ lisher himself who suggests an advance-and how wrong he is, too, at times! We were still, thirty years ago, letting ourselves be warmly mothered by Britain. A good author meant an English author, and there was something comic, to most publishers then, in the vanity of a youngster so bumptious as to think that a first-rate American author might be almost as good as a fifth-rate English author. Sound publishers then went twice a year to London, and came proudly back with the latest tea-and-lilacs romance of Mrs. Littleton Pagways (aunt of the vicar of Twit) and the new volume of Travels in Burma by General Sir Victor Llwellwyn, and never knew that in a college twenty miles away or a Greenwich Village flat a mile away or at a desk in his office, thirty feet away, was an un­ known boy or girl who was a neater and vastly more im­ portant writer than all save ten or fifteen of England's best. If we lacked then some of these modernities, we did have in the pre-Anschluss Doran one thing that cannot be im­ proved today: a selling staff that, without page-ads or radio roars to back them, were a perfect Foreign Legion among the heathen. Billy Corrigan, who knew the numbers and ages of children of every store-buyer from Camden, Maine, to San Socratio, the swift and quiet and efficient Bob Hayes, Rotch Drake, who was equally good at selling our "religious line" to pious buyers and at passing the latest Broadway anecdote on to provincial golf-clubs, and Eddie Ziegler, the baby of the lot, so youthfully enthusiastic that he not only loved selling books but did not mind reading them-1 do not think that any new atomic-power methods can produce a greater corps . Alas, I am getting over my publishing days. They are so far back now that I am beginning to be able to like some authors-a few of them-provided I do not have to do business with them! A Note on Book Collecting

From Samples: A Book Containing Many Fine Pages from the Books to be Published by The Limited Editions Club, Seventh Series, in 1941

� Never a collector of anything (except that he accumulated books as a magnet draws steel), Mr. Lewis here pays tribute to the collector's pursuit and the rewards to be derived from having good books appropriately printed and bound. In doing so he gives us a glimpse of the Sauk Centre library of his father, Dr. E. J. Lewis, and the ten-year-old boy stealing in to make acquaintance with Dickens, Scott, Goethe, Milton, Tennyson, not to mention the horrendous illustrations of his father's medical books. Mr. Lewis also wrote Prefaces for several books issued by The Limited Editions Club and was once a member of the jury, along with Clifton Fadiman and Sterling North, which awarded The Limited Editions Club Gold Medal to Ernest Hemingway.

LOOKING BACK FORTY YEARS, TO THE TIME WHEN I WAS TEN, I can remember every volume among the three or four hundred books that made up the library of my father, the country doctor-three or four hundred besides those porten­ tous leather-clad depositories of medical mystery filled with color plates depicting the awful intimacies of the innards; which, when The Doctor was safely away on a Case, you sneaked the gang in to behold and shiver over. There were Christmas Gift novels, of course, in a false brightness of gilt­ stamped bindings, and a dismal condensed cyclopedia with wiggly line drawings, and Beacon Lights of History, and a 101 102 S. L. REMEMBERS Bible Concordance-how that ever got there, into a house­ hold that accepted whatever the preacher in his black Prince Albert told us about Biblical history and let it go at that, without monkeying with the faith, I do not know. But among these slightly drab shelf-backs I can see four exciting bits : a set of Dickens, a set of Scott, a Goethe, and a leather-bound edition of Milton; exciting not only because of the great people who inhabited them but because of the books themselves. Probably I would have loved Ivanhoe and Rebecca and Rowena anyway, but I know that after four decades I still see them in steel-engraved voluptuousness : the wan knight from the Crusades returning, the tower com­ plete with ivy, the tresses of a maid forlorn. I am not certain whether, sociologically, these illustrations, these winsome type pages, were good for a small boy in a prairie village. Per­ haps they merely veiled from him the realistic joys of tramp­ ing the stubble fields and of fishing for perch in the crick. But that they were infinitely dear and stirring to him, I do know. And that I should have met Pickwick and Mrs. Nickleby and the Mysterious Stranger of Great Expectations in the drawings of Phiz and Cruikshank was important; and per­ haps important that back in 1895, when almost all current "trade books" were wretchedly designed and drably bound in penitential-looking brown cloth, the Milton should have been handsomely armored in leather. It was the first book, aside from schoolbooks, that my father ever bought, and he got it with painful savings from his diminutive salary as a rustic schoolteacher in the Pennsylvania hills, long before he studied medicine. No ancestral sword could be a prouder memory. As mysterious as the Concordance was his Wilhelm Meister in German. Heaven knows where he got it; he had never been nearer to Germany than Connecticut; and though his spoken German was fluent it was as innocent of grammar as a Hottentot, and consisted in such phrases as "Nun, Emil, wie ist die bellyache seit Sie die pork-chops fressen geendet?"! Yet there it was; the glow and scent of Europe in that em- A Note on Book Collecting 103 bossed book with the Gothic type and the delicate pen-and­ ink sketches. No contemporary travel film, with the im­ pertinent guffaws of the commentator, no glaring 1941 "roto­ gravure sections," could have given the small boy so quivering a sense of the old, the alien, the strange yet inexplicably familiar, as that beautiful book. I am glad that my father had it instead of a marble "Greek slave" or a surrey with chestnut horses. Here I learned how the garment may be fitted to the spirit of a book. There are two sorts of book collecting: of books fine and memorable in themselves, and of "items" that are merely rare-and generally monstrously expensive. Devotees of the second sort of collecting I suspect of being just such ex­ hibitionists as are the dreary people who are renowned for having the largest house on Myrtle Avenue or the costliest limousine in Omaha or the longest string of honorary degrees in the university. To possess one of the three copies of a dingy little pamphlet written by Thomas Hardy before he knew better; to hunt down, and pay real book-money for, one of the second issues of the first edition of a Kipling novel (the issue in which, on page 7, Smith is spelled Smiht) ; this is less noble than stamp collecting, for stamps do at least have fairly pretty little pictures on them, and they do instruct avid youth that there really may be such places as Sokotra, Cyrenaica, and the Kingdom of Bhutan (capital, Punakha, a strong natural fortress; ruler, Maharajah Jik-me Wangchuk). No, the collection of books for their rarity ranks with the collection of walking sticks, match books, or the shirts of movie heroes. But the collection of books that are distinguished in them­ selves, that are a delight to the hand as they are to the eye, that are masterful in paper, in binding, in the arrangement of the page, this is not so very different from the collection of superior paintings-and it is a hundred times or so more possible for purses that are none too fat. Yet even such books, I hear from friends much richer than I, are too costly for them. Well, these lads will spend two or three thousand for a car; three or four hundred for a radio; 104 S. L. REMEMBERS four hundred a month for rent, and think nothing of it-and a heavenly collection of fine books can be made, and· I know because I have done it, through The Limited Editions Club at not more than ten dollars apiece. I think that I would rather leave to my two boys, just as my father left me his leather Milton, a hundred or so books, each of which would be a delight that would last a hundred or so years, rather than the remains of a ten-year-old Rolls Royce, the cabinet of an obsolete radio, and a bunch of rent receipts!

The Death of Arrowsmith

From Coronet, July, 1941

11 This self-composed obituary, done in 1941, was obviously a sardonic thrust at the great American pastime of stalking the literary lion. Reading it more than a decade later, however, one is struck by its poignancy, by the aura of sadness sur­ rounding it. Instead of living out his days as a benign octogenarian, Lewis died in harness at the age of sixty-five, alone in a hospital in Rome. His son Wells had died six years earlier, having been killed in service on October 29, 1944. Of the literary giants mentioned, Van Doren, Dreiser, Hem­ ingway and Willa Cather have all passed from the ranks. Michael, Lewis's younger son, is married and beginning a career in the theater. Freeman Lewis, son of Sinclair Lewis's brother Claude, is Executive Vice-President of Pocket Books, Inc. Brother Claude himself, ten years older than Red, who always called his brother Sinclair, is still practicing medicine in St. Cloud, Minnesota, not far from the town where Lewis was born. He accompanied Red on his last trip to Europe. The Death of Arrowsmith 105 SINCLAIR LEWIS, WHO DIED PEACEFULLY IN HIS SLEEP YESTER­ day afternoon, at his small country-place in Northwestern Con­ necticut, has, at the age of eighty-six, been rather generally forgotten. For the past ten or fifteen years he has indulged in so secluded a life, devoting himself, apparently, only to his cats, his gardens, and brief essays on such little-read novelists as Mark Twain, that to many persons it may have been a surprise to find that he was still living. Yet at one time he was a figure of considerable notoriety, because of his jeering yet essentially kindly shafts at the pomposity and inefficiency of contemporary politicians and industrialists. Although now they are almost unread, a few of his novels, particularly Main Street, Arrowsmith, Babbitt, Elmer Gantry, and the ponderous four-volume chronicle of an American family, The Tintayres, which Mr. Lewis began in 1944 and completed in 1950, are familiar to all sociologists and literary historians, for their picture of the priggish and na'ive first half of this century. That this picture was well rounded or unprejudiced, no one will maintain. Mr. Lewis seems es­ sentially to have been a cheerful pathologist, exposing the cliches and sentimentalities of his day-the hearty falseness of senators and what were once known as "business boosters," the smirking attitudes toward women in his times, the personal ambitiousness of the clergy, the artists and the professional men, and the brazen mawkishness of patriotism. To the discerning reader of later years, it is evident that Mr. Lewis smote--or tried to smite-sentimentality because he knew himself to be, at heart, a sentimentalist, a romanti­ cist, to whom green hills and barricade-jumping soldiers and smiling girls and winter storms were as childishly exciting as they were to any popular female novelist, and that he mocked the cruder manifestations of Yankee Imperialism because he was, at heart, a fanatic American, who never really liked the condescensions of the English people among whom he often lived-including two solid years in Derby­ shire in 1951-2. The "style" of Mr. Lewis's rather long-winded pictures of Americana seems, on recent study, to indicate a descent from 106 S. L. REMEMBERS extraordinarily discrepant literary ancestors. From a perusal of his books, together with his own admissions, one may find him astonishingly deriving from both Dickens and Swinburne, H. G. Wells and A. E. Housman, Thomas Hardy and H. L. Mencken and Hamlin Garland. On the other hand, he seems to have left no literary descendants. Unlike his celebrated contemporaries, Theodore Dreiser (1871-1952) and Colonel Ernest Hemingway, who was so dramatically killed while leading his mixed Filipino and Chinese troops in the storm­ ing of Tokyo in 1949, Mr. Lewis seems to have affected but little the work of younger writers of fiction. Whether this is a basic criticism of his pretensions to power and originality, or whether, like another contemporary, Miss Willa Cather, he was an inevitably lone and insulted figure, we have not as yet the perspective to see. For a good many years, Mr. Lewis was an extensive and, it would almost seem, a foolishly experimental wanderer. He began his work with years on newspapers and in maga­ zine and publishing offices; he traveled through every state in the Union; he knew most of Europe and, after the end of World War II, in 1944, most of Asia. He even-possibly in unconscious imitation of his idol, Dickens-dabbled with acting, over three or four years, appearing in various pro­ fessional companies, with no especial credit or discredit either. But on his return from England in 1952, he settled im­ movably in the rural Connecticut to which he had many ties. Though Mr. Lewis himself was born (in 1885) in a Minne­ sota prairie hamlet, where his father was a quite typical country physician, that father and his ancestors for eight or nine generations were born in Connecticut, along the Housa­ tonic River, near which Mr. Lewis himself has lived these past twenty years. He attended Yale, and did his first news­ paper work on the New Haven Journal and Courier. It was natural then, that he should have settled in Connecticut, being weary of travel and of what he himself once called (in his brief travel book, Tea for Ph , Random House, 1945) "the chronic wanderer's discovery that he is everywhere such an The Death of Arrowsmith 107 Outsider that no one will listen to him even when he kicks about the taxes and the beer." Lewis was tall, lean, awkward, with a rough complexion and, in his later years, a skull completely bald, save for a fringe of still rusty hair. Had he sported a tousled wig and a chin whisker, he would almost comically have been taken for an impersonation of Uncle Sam, and a large share of the yearly dwindling number of interviewers and librarians who made a pilgrimage to his home (a pilgrimage invariably ruined by the old man's derisive frivolity about all artistic poses) have noted that with advancing years he became more and more the Last Surviving Connecticut Yankee. Even his voice assumed a Yankee twang that is now forgotten except in bad plays. His neighbors tell, as their liveliest recollection of him, that when Dr. Sir Wilfred Willoughby Westfrisket, Eisenbein Professor of American Literature at Oxford, waited for him at the home, one entire afternoon, Mr. Lewis was at a local garage, playing pinochle with the village constable-undertaker. Although, as remarked, Lewis seems to have had no "school" of imitators whatever, it is to be surmised that his influence on our literature has been healthful in his derision of dullness and formalism, his use of American lingo and humorous exaggeration intermingled with the more nearly scholastic manner that was an inheritance from his college days-and in a valid democracy whereby, in the world of Lewisian characters, a country editor or a Swedish fam1hand is at least the equal in dignity, worth, and romantic charm of any prince, any labor-leader with 10,000,000 followers­ or any novelist! His only surviving near relatives are his elder son, Wells, who was, it will be remembered, a captain in the A.E.F. of 1942, and who is probably a more distinguished, certainly a far more subtle and fastidious, novelist than his father; his younger son, Michael, president of the Afro-China Airways; and his nephew, Freeman Lewis, the publisher. The funeral, at the Millerton Cremation Sanctuary, was, by Mr. Lewis's dying request, attended only by the three servants (or, as he 108 S. L. REWEMBERS eccentrically called them, the "helpers") on his estate, to­ gether with the venerable Dr. Carl Van Doren, president emeritus of Columbia University and formerly ambassador to France. The only music was the playing of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, in records, and the only oratory Dr. Van Doren's sole observation, "This was a good workman and a good friend, who could still laugh in days when the world had almost worried itself out of the power of laughter." m



Suckling and Lovelace

Editor's Table

In Praise of South Middle

Unknown Undergraduates

The World Police


From the Yale Literary Magazine, March, 1904

1! The lonely boy from the western prairie came to Yale un­ mindful of the caste of Hotchkiss and Choate, but with a mind well steeped in book lore from his father's library of standard "works." This was acquired while the other boys of Sauk Centre were fishing, hunting, swimming or playing two­ old cat. No wonder that he seized the opportunities available to him in the classes of the beloved William Lyon Phelps and Chauncey Brewster Tinker. Under the influence of Tennyson, he wrote many pieces in the manner of his idol. The following poem is one of his first literary efforts to get into print-if not the very first. (See notes on "My Maiden Effort" in Section V.) It was written and published in his sophomore year when he was nineteen.


"Oft Launcelot grieves that he loveth the Queen But oftener far that she cruel hath been."

Blow, weary wind, · The golden rod scarce chiding; Sir Launcelot is riding By shady wood-paths pleasant To fields of yellow corn. He starts a whirring pheasant, And clearly winds his horn. The Queen's Tower gleams mid distant hills; A thought like joyous sunshine thrills, "My love grows kind." 111 112 EARLY WRITINGS Blow, weary wind, O'er lakes, o'er dead swamps crying, Amid the gray stumps sighing While slow, and cold, and sullen, The waves splash on the shore. 0'er wastes of bush and mullen, Dull crows flap, evermore. The Autumn day is chill and drear As you knight, thinking Guinevere Proves almost unkind. H. S. LEWIS

Suckling and Lovelace

� This theme paper was written by the young Harry Lewis for the undergraduate course in of the seventeetb century given at Yale by the late William Lyon Phelps. It is dated January 28, 1908. This was in the author's senior year. Although Lewis entered Yale in 1903, there was a hiatus in his college career from 1906 to 1907 when he was roaming far afield as mentioned elsewhere in these notes. He returned to Yale late in 1907 and by faculty vote was reinstated in the class of 1907. He was graduated in June of 1908 as a mem­ ber of the preceding class. This paper is interesting in that it reveals the presence of certain principles which were later incorporated into the literary creed of the mature Sinclair Lewis. The piece was band-written, was never published and in printing it here we have followed Mr. Lewis's original copy.

' CHARMING THO HIS THREE OR FOUR MOST FAMOUS LYRICS ARE, I find Lovelace needing lubrication-even if it must be ac­ companied with Suckling's lubricity the gain would be certain. Editor's Table 113 Even aside from the turgidity of his longer poems, there is in his better work, for the most part, the innocuous and amiable stiffness of a Lit sonneteer. Suckling is more interesting-because he is more human. Met in an unexpurgated edition, the healthy reader is likely so to be disgusted by such finetic ingenuity as greatly to pre­ fer Lovelace's boldness; but let him seek an expurgated edi­ tion. With, say, Shakespere I prefer an unexpurgated edition­ the comic sock to Comstockings but with Suckling I like the filth brushed off, that I may appreciate his humanity. A priori one is more interested in God than in fishing. And a posteriori I certainly have a keen interest in the relation be­ tween the human spirit & "That Power Not Ourselves-" & none at all in lugworms. I prefer Nietzsche to the catalog of Messers Fishhook & Co. But at the same time I prefer Walton to the raptures of Herbert or Felltham; simply because here there is a bigger individuality at free work. It takes a big perception to realize the picturesqueness of Old Rose sung above the cups of barley wine, at a time when men were principally intent, in literature, in being very good or very bad. Any Bible-pounding divine can rant of Heaven; Shakes­ pere is big enough to "would rather than 7 shilling he had his book of songs & sonnets." -Had this "bigger individuality" cared to turn to meditation, he would have been the more in­ teresting; but even when not doing so, his art stands calmly masterful.

Editor's Table

�The following three pieces from the Yale Literary Magazine were written in the year 1906. The first one shows the young student's awareness of a city beyond the college walls. In this he differed from the rest of the undergraduate body who 114 EARLY WRITINGS doubtless never considered anything off campus worthy of notice except Poli's, Morey's famous tavern and the Hueblein.

THERE IS AN EXCELLENT LITTLE PHRASE, by a New Havener, "The Fallacy of Elsewhere." Now the elsewhere may not be entirely fallacious, but at least we who are here in New Haven--even the man who declares that he came to Yale because he took the wrong train-all of us can learn many things about New Haven, to our exceeding profit. How many of the class in American Social Conditions think that only New York has slums? Do they know of the strange region of Oak Street, of its Saturday night when the Jewish Sabbath is just over? Have they ever seen it at three in the morning, when huge rats frisk boldly down the sidewalks, and the shops are opening for a new day? Do they know the delight­ ful dive on Fair Street, where beggars throw off blindness and lameness, as by a mighty miracle, and organ grinders tell wonderful tales to that Falstaff of a Neapolitan, mine host, of the quaint sheepskin jacket and the vast beers? Do they know the tale of the murder of a policeman in a terrible bat­ tle in New Raven's worst alley; that tale which your friend the policeman will tell you at two of a winter morning, as he slaps his half-frozen hands against his chest and tries doors? He is one of those strange outre people, the folk of the night, who live and tell one their heart's secrets when you are asleep-'-Or at that Hell-hole, the Tontine, which Mayor S. cannot see in his eager search for vice in this Puritan town. Oh, a wonderful folk you could find down Chapel Street if you had been awakened by the song of the linotypes. Or are you of a bookish turn? Do you realize that the Stokes house was a redcoat hospital when the British invaded New Haven; that here Jonathan Edwards courted the daugh­ ter of the house, and here Webster wrote a part of his dic­ tionary? Do you know that the whipping post stood not far from the district school house, on the college green? Do you know that the ghost of Morse still haunts the Weir house, where he invented the telegraph? Do you know the tales of the days when "great West India-men labored up the harbor In Praise of South Middle 115 under full sail"? Do you know how near to your room is the site of the house of the great Roger Sherman, visited by his friend Washington? Do you remember the brave days when the president of Yale marched out at the head of his students with a prayer and a musket to resist the redcoats? Have you ever seen one of the most wonderful collections of epoch-making pictures in the world? Have you studied them, as men come many a mile to do? They are in the Art School, two blocks or less from the room where you are reading this. Do you know of the fine collection of colonial things in the Historical Society building on Grove Street? It is quite as interesting as Poli's, which I am quite certain you have seen. And in the Cemetery on the same street are buried Eli Whitney, Noah Webster, Harriet Beecher Stowe's father, a vice-president of the United States, who signed the Declara­ tion, with a fine lot of Admirals and Generals, and famous scientists. Forget Mount Auburn, and visit the Grove Street cemetery for a bit of Youngish Night Thoughts. There are hundreds of stories and plots of the strange old days in New Haven for you, oh Lit. heelers, in books in the city and Yale Libraries. When the Wanderlust sends you in fancy to Paris or India, take a still longer voyage in that terra incognita, New Haven!

In Praise of South Middle

Being Mostly Epistolary

Published in the Yale Literary Magazine, December, 1906

"" THEY CALL IT NOW. PERHAPS WE ARE getting old-fashioned, out-o'-date, but it was not so when we roomed there, back in the half-forgotten days of 1904. In 116 EARLY WRITINGS that stern age we called the old Hall "South Middle," reminis­ cent of the days when there was a North Middle, and, no doubt, a Middle ipse to boot. For they are turning everything around, in these heretical days, confounding Middle and End to their content. Of course, there will be those who urge that Connecticut Hall was the original name; that it is a more aristocratic term, and indicative of the origin of the building. But what will they not hold, with their fine book-larnin' sophistries, sophistries modern in a Shakesperean sense? We lived there; our purses as ignorant of York Street as of New York. That stove! It kept us from ennui, and taught us the ninety-seven possible ways of not kindling fires. They say that there is steam in every room of their Connecticut Hall, these days. Sybarites! Shower baths, forsooth. There is one noble beauty of the new Sheff. Vanderbilt, and another of the Georgian churches on the Green; but none more distinctive than that of Connecticut, restored to gambrel roof and dormer windows. "Lived in a Hall with a gambrel roof." The firm honesty of its builders gleams in its present appear­ ance. With young paint on its woodwork, it cannot look so very different from the Connecticut of 1751. I sat on the Soph. fence, talking to a Southerner of speech rich, and soft as fudge. (Only analogy possible. Woe on them that have desecrated the name of this delicacy, and made it a common word and ribald, withal!) Mused the Southerner, "So this is Yale! Tell me, what is that new building, yonda ?" "New?'' I snorted. "Built in 1750." He thought that I was prevaricating. It is a trial to one who believes in a scientific art of lying to have his plans dis­ arranged by doubt, at such times as be may elect to tell the truth! Beautiful ; it is beautiful. Not so old as Massachusetts Hall at Harvard, but more comely. And it is a study in character. We can trace the efflorescence, perhaps the decay as well, of the Congregational faith in New England, by observation of the varying churches of different eras, as seen on the pleasant greens of the pretty towns about New Haven. So can we study In Praise of South Middle 117 changes in characteristics by gazing on Connecticut and the other buildings of the campus. The changes which have gone on in Connecticut Hall itself, from the age when men went out to fill their pitchers at the campus pump, to this of shower baths; the equally laudable changes in book-shelf contents which have gone on in these years; these show the advance in the civilization of Yale. Thus the analyst. But most would merely fancy the great men and events which the Hall has known. If not in it, then in a sister building near at hand, Calhoun toiled on the founda­ tions of that structure which was portentous in our history. Good deal of a grind, old Calhoun. Not very popular proba­ bly. But big, a mighty big man! Here, no doubt (who cares; the Gods ought to have had it here), Cooper raised many several sorts of the devil, until, to speak euphemistically, he was requested to leave. Here, per­ haps, Stedman wrote precursors of "Aucassin and Nicolette," as fine a lyric as we Americans have had. Here mused our "Ik Marvel." In the old days of Omega Lambda Chi, not so very long ago, hard by South Middle the Freshmen were gently, firmly, led to see the extreme littleness of their various raisons d'etre. They ran a gauntlet, a gauntlet of steel and covered by no fashion of velvet glove. There was a lusty manner of kicking Freshmen which caused them to place textbooks as shields to vulnerable places; thus causing even the veriest idler to employ his books well, for a little time at least. Certain folk, now out of the slough of Freshmanhood, would advocate the resumption of the old mode of celebrating Omega Lambda Chi as giving a sweeter, meeker mind to Freshmen than that bestowed by the kindly hazing of today. De gustibus ... Long ago there were Town and Gown rows which paled no jot before those of Verdant Green's Oxford. Once upon a time, when a lusty student had asserted that, to the best of his belief, a certain townie was a mucker, asserted it by stab­ bing the citizen, the New Haven folk rose and marched on Yale. Behind a barricade, from barred windows in South Middle and the rest of the Old Brick Row, the collegians, 118 EARLY WRITINGS armed with shotgun and bootjack, saw the rag-tag army tramp up the Green; discuss, straggle, disperse. Before the days of Osborn, the Fence was in front of South Middle, on the corner; and here were the sports of the day. From Connecticut, students have gone out to five wars. We have no gateways to tell of Yale heroes commanding at Buena Vista, or on the quarter-deck of Old Ironsides; but five of these stirring times there were. Note the portrait of a young Yalesian Major General, in Alumni Hall, sometime. Imagine some room in South Middle, say in 1860, where a South Carolina blood, and a Maine Yankee lived, and discussed the ethics of slavery. To a lover of the Lit., the Hall is a "holy and comfortable spot, withal." For here was the Lit. office a half-century ago. Hence came reports of the last, epoch-making debate in Brothers, or Linonia. Hence were sarcasms on the "hypo­ thetical verse on a hypothetical dream-lady" which some half­ baked bard had dared to submit. \Vhat is now the choicest of offices, A, Connecticut, charm­ ingly done in Colonial furnishings, with a brass knocker on the door, and the most lovable of occupants within; this was once the College Buttery, where one might buy cakes and, I believe, ale. In the central rooms, now offices, and two years ago, the Co-op., was once the college reading room, in charge of a young Ph.D. who was later the sage of the newspaper room; now the Linonia library, the haunt of the spirit of Charles Lamb, and of a custodian like R.L.S. in affection. But all these memories, confused and halting, are but intro­ ductions to that only book of Yale stories, Ways of Yale in the Consulship of Plancus. There, in a book which to read is to reread and to love, lives the rare old essence of South Middle. Since its rejuvenation, Connecticut Hall has that advantage unusual in old buildings; that it is a comfortable place of dwelling. There is one room on the top floor which has been a delight. One may lie on the big window-seat and note the elm-adorned stretch of the Green; across it, on Church Street, the lights, a mystery and a suggestion. The room has none of the metallic conventionality which is dangerously likely to Unknown Undergraduates 119 exist in the hard, well-planned new dormitories. And, around the fireplace, sit with one (even till dawn, tireless friends), the spirits of_ those who, for a hundred and fifty-six years have "lightly vaulted up three flights of stairs, in the brave days when they were twenty-one."

Unknown Undergraduates

From the Yale Literary Magazine, June, 1906

�- This essay has especial point since Lewis himself was an unknown undergraduate. With remarkable restraint for one so young, he poses some sharp questions concerning the social conventions of Yale and, indeed, of most American universi­ ties. In other writings some years later he expressed his bitter­ ness in more concrete terms.

TIDS IS A CONSTRUCTIVE ESSAY. THE SUBJECT OF STANDARD OF estimation of men might be handled from the destructive side, showing how easily those bubbles, overestimated men, could be pricked. But let us consider it from the other side, the lack of appreciation received by many, perhaps most men, in college. As a convenient means of considering them, take various honors by which admiration is shown; the Senior Class vote, the fence orations, the elections to fraternities and to the officerships of all kinds of organizations, various posi­ tions, athletic, literary and the like. Only a part of these can be covered here. Who is the man most to be admired? Sometimes the man who is so considered officially by his class; more often, I think, a man who is little known. The very fact that he has had to struggle may have kept him unknown, though it is this very struggle which makes him admirable. There is a man born and reared on the most wretched kind of a New 120 EARLY WRITINGS England "abandoned farm," who came to Yale with boorish habits, lack of appreciation of finer things, no quick percep­ tion of better ways in the new environment. He has won no honors, no prizes, no position, no popularity. But he has kept at it where most men would have ceased efforts; earning his way entirely, slowly but certainly learning the better things of the worlds of men and of books. His heredity has been against him: he has had no friends with him. But he has struggled, struggled alone, and he has won every battle with every odd against him. Is that not more to be admired than a facile success with everything allied on one's side? Who is the man who has done most for Yale? Is Yale any the better, or stronger, or purer; has it any more power to make men of "sweetness and light" because we have or have not lost any or all of the athletic events ever held? If you say "yes," try to give any logical reason for your opinions. Nor is this to disparage the great value of sports, which are useful, and useful exactly in proportion as the participants are boys. But which did the more for Athens; the athlete who won the greatest number of points at Olympus for her, or Aeschylus? I am confident that in each class there is some seemingly insignificant man, who, by the practice of high ideals, spreading far beyond the reach of his name, has bad no small share in our transformation from a narrow, rural school to a great, wise university. My standard of judgment is not original. It is that of Hawthorne's "Great Stone Face." Read it and see how it bears on the question of "Who has done most for Yale?" The handsomest man in the class may not be appreciated because he has not learned the fine art of display. The best­ dressed man may have to wear a suit for three years, yet know how to wear it, and show a delicate taste in the choice of ties. How do you judge who is "most likely to succeed"? By ability which may have been developed too soon, lasting only till his thirtieth year, perhaps; or by his careful foundation for large work in the more important tasks beyond? If you decide only according to what you have seen of his work, or even Unknown Undergraduates 121 by what he actually has done in all, your judgment is likely to be superficial. There are men who have yet to find them­ selves. I know of one, in another college, who was considered an awkward stick, who spent his days in the fields. Now he has a fair chance to become one of the greatest of zoologists. What did Oxford think of Percy Shelley, with his physical experiments and rampancy? He had not been fledged. Words­ worth had not found himself in Cambridge, and was little esteemed. Yet did they not succeed? Had their classes voted as we do, would either of these poets have been considered as the most likely to succeed? The meaning of "success" should be carefully considered; yet, even taking it as signifying fi­ nancial accomplishments, these same principles of hasty versus solid foundations apply. The best all 'round athlete may be mowing lawns on Whit­ ney Avenue, Saturday afternoons, or he may care nothing for sport. What does the word "athlete" mean, anyway? A recent magazine had a tale of a man from this world who went to Utopia, and lost a race, though he came in first, be­ cause their standard of judgment was based on the form of running, and maintenance of power unimpaired. How do you know that the man mowing lawns might not turn out like that man in your prep school who looked so hopelessly awk­ ward when he first stumbled over a hurdle? The divine cox­ swain may be tutoring; the much-to-be-desired fencer heeling the News, with no time for anything else. You may deem the courtesy of the pleasantest man in the class a tribute to the fact that you are well known and he one of the herd. The most really religious, finely inspired man may be, instead of some class deacon, a chap who has never entered Dwight Hall, who is perhaps what you call an "atheist." I am quite certain that there are men in every class who would "make the Lit." easily, if they cared to do so. The man you think a "grind," a word which is an "idol of the market-place," may be slow instead of too little fond of men, methodical instead of a mark-seeker. The heretic is more likely to be unknown to you personally, than by fame. You may call him a "cheese with a grouch" 122 EARLY WRITINGS and dislike him because he does not think and act as the "typical Yale man," which more or less unconsciously, you have been trying to become. Remember that he may have too big and too important a personality to permit it to be crushed in the mold you worship. Incidentally, the heretics of each age, the men with outlandish ideas and customs, have often become the heroes of the next. The worshipped "Yale man" of today would have been decried in Yale, as a "dandy," not long ago. Besides the men who are unknown but important there is the commonalty, whom you regard as mere entities, whose very names you do not know, or will forget before your triennial. Remember that they are men; and familiarity with any man, be he only the man who sits next to you in class, or, out of college, merely the waiter, will show that spark which makes him wonderful. This has been one great theme in realism. Why are these men unknown? Partly because you do not look for them, to your own disadvantage; and partly because they are kept down by lack of money, or racial influences, or interest in some line which is not popular, or from lack of early development, or because they have not seen what there is to be done and that they can do it. It is the way of life, of course, but let us try to be in a better way, if we shall be found worthy.

The World Police

Novel or Novelette Plot

� During the time when Mr. Lewis was theoretically in col­ lege, he made a trip to Europe on a cattle boat, spent a month as janitor and furnaceman at Upton Sinclair's Helicon Hall colony and made a trip to Panama, returning as a stowaway- The World Police 123 broke. After he left college he stayed awhile at Carmel, Cali­ fornia, supposedly working as secretary to Alice Macgowan and Grace Macgowan Cook, two sisters who were well-known writers of the time. He lived with William Rose Benet and the two were very much a part of the colorful Carmel scene of those days. During this period young Lewis was not only turning out potboilers but also using his facility for thinking up short­ story plots, which he sold as outlines and ideas to various writers of the day, inqluding Jack London. The following out­ line was offered to London but was not purchased and has never appeared in print. Lewis himself makes no reference in his autobiographical memoirs to his sale of plots. He has said in the Carmel days be sold only one thing-a joke to Puck. My authority for the statement that he sold plots is the word of people then close to him. In later years he never confirmed or denied the story and when questioned merely parried with a subject-changing remark. As to the success of his literary output in that period, the Harvey Taylor bibliography (Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1933) listed forty-nine published stories, poems, humorous articles, etc., which appeared from July of 1907 to the end of 1908 in , Life, Puck, Transatlantic Ta les, The Pacific Monthly, Youth's Companion, Century Magazine, The Delineator, etc. The final paragraph of this plot is startlingly prophetic: "This series is supposed to take place after the great world war of Germany and Japan versus U.S. and England."

FIRST, A COMMENT: I've been for years watching out for series. That's where Conan Doyle made his stake-starting the Sherlock Holmes Series; a bunch of stories which, each singly, would be lost; but which, unified by the central figure of S_herlock Holmes, made Conan Doyle all he is today. So in a lesser degree with Barr's Lord Stranleigh stories; Hornung's Raffles series; Le­ blanc's Arsene Lupin tales, and a hundred other instances. 124 EARLY WRITINGS I've got hold of several ideas for series; but infinitely the best of the bunch is The World Police. Deuce of it is, though, that I couldn't handle it as you could; haven't had the ex­ perience and never shall have, probably; being a chronic landlubber. But that's just where this series may appeal to you-for it gives a chance to use all sorts of dope about out of the way ends of the earth; backs o' the beyond, like the Solomon Isles, South American ports, Alaska. And it gives a chance to make stories out of colorful little incidents-that are only incidents unless unified by having some such central figure as The Man of the World Police. There are just two men in all the world who could handle this series to its fullest possibilities: Jack London and . The series should not be touched till you really feel ac­ quainted with the big central figure, the man who is the series; everything about him from his ideas on matrimony up to his brand of tobacco. He need not-should not, and, with you writing, would not-be in the least like Sherlock Holmes; but Holmes offers suggestions, nevertheless. My idea would be that this World Cop should be introduced in a big novelette, and then in such short stories and other novelettes from time to time as come up. A thousand little incidents, rather vague in themselves, can be chucked into the World Cop's hopper and come out usable stories, or parts of stories concerning him; so that he can, for years, be used as a stalking horse for shekels (dear shekels goblessem). And children will cry for him as well as for Castoria. You'll note that in the "invoice" I've included with letter I'm asking $40.00 for him. That's be­ cause I believe that he-being the central figure for such an endless series and not merely for one story-that he, plus the various stories regarding him I include here, is really worth that to Jack London. And here he is:

THE WORLD POLICE : This series is supposed to take place after the great world war of Germany and Japan vs. U.S. and England has ended in a world peace. It might be dated after the coming of Social- The World Police 125 ism; but I doubt it, because that regime would probably re­ sult in the formation of a world nation, and it's better for the series to have separate nations with which the world police toy.


Pre-War, Post-War, Post-Crash America

Two Letters to Carl Van Doren

The American Scene in Fiction

Gentlemen, This Is Revolution

Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto

A Pilgrim's Progress

Introduction to Four Days on the Webut uck River

A Hamlet of the Plains

Introductory Remarks

Preface to Fathers and Sons

Pre-\Var, Post-War,

Post-Crash America

From the New York Herald Tribune Books, September 20, 1936

11 This review of Carl Van Doren's autobiography Three Worlds is far more than an enthusiastic appreciation of an admired book. It is also a tribute to a beloved friend. Three Worlds was published in 1936 and this review appeared shortly after its release. Three Worlds was an ideal book for Lewis to review be­ cause in so many ways the two men's lives ran along parallel lines. Both were born and spent their youth in the Middle West in the comfortable homes of reasonably well-to-do doc­ tor fathers. Both, natural observers and writers, saw, and each in his own way recorded, the mighty changes which had come over the land in sixty years. Of all Lewis's friends and innumerable acquaintances, Carl Van Doren was probably his closest and dearest for the most years.

TilE THIN GRAY LINE OF VETERANS remaining from the battle of Intellectual Irritation, in the 1920's, when the jeering rebels led by such assorted anarchists as Mencken, Millay and Mas­ ters, unlike except in alliteration, plunged pitchfork or tuning fork into the tenderest exposures of all who were rotund and respectable, has been scattered. Some of the literary guerrillas, half Jesse James and half Henry, are dead, some are retired to suburban gardening, some have turned Bourbon. One of the few who has till now remained so recalcitrant that even Isidor Schneider and Robert Forsythe-the improved Ameri- 129 130 LITERARY VIEWS can models of Borodin and Trotsky-m ight be expected al­ most to approve of him has been Carl Van Doren, for while to him also has adhered some smell of Connecticut gardens, he has persisted in not caring a hoot whether this writer or that has been recommended by the customers and by the censors. Yet now, in his autobiography, Three Worlds, though he still shows himself critically independent, Mr. Van Doren goes and gets as independent of the Reds as he always has been of the Whites. But independence, like free speech, must never be allowed to work both ways. Thus, in part, are his dubious doctrines : ( 1) Having worked with hay fork and plow some eleven hours a day through the summers of his boyhood, he does not bravely resent it, though the world knows, now, that anyone of any age who works more than six hours a day, five days a week, is put upon, and anyone who ever, for as long as a month, works over forty-eight hours a week is just the same as a victim of dungeon torture, and under such horror will turn into a criminal, or a cow. (2) Van Do:r:en pretends that his boyhood was happy and that he really liked , when it is everywhere ad­ mitted that all decent and sensitive persons have so rotten a boyhood that rarely do they live through it, and that all fathers, mothers and brothers are at once duinb as dough and fiendishly brilliant in devising tortures for the heroes of auto­ biographies. (3) He does not, even in this enlightened day, feel that he missed so much in lacking "movies," radios and the enlighten­ ment of left-wing modern schools, where pupils at fourteen are taught to write sonnets and compose concertos. He man­ aged to get along with such poverty of nourishment as Haw­ thorne, Plutarch, Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Mark Twain, Gibbon, Shakespeare, Washington Irving and Ike Walton. Think of what Van Doren might have become if he had only had Clark Gable, and Walter Pitkin in­ stead! Then he might really have been educated. ( 4) He not only liked his home-he even liked, and Pre-War, Post-War, Post-Crash America 131 obdurately still likes, America in general. He apparently knows that our orphan tand is different equally from Stalin­ grad and from Blenheim Palace, that it has been rebuked and kicked out equally by Ezra Pound, Nancy Astor and Joshua Kunitz; he seems to be intelligent enough to perceive that here it is equally difficult to have tea with General Bal­ bo, H. R. M. Edward VIII, or Andre Gide. But apparently he is so Laodicean that he doesn't intend to do a thing about it. He is so disloyal equally to Fascists and Communists, that he likes this family and this world, instead of sensibly going to sleep and dreaming himself a set of new ones. He even tolerates America, though, like Edith Wharton, or James Truslow Adams, or Roger Baldwin, he is a typical 100 per cent Anglo-Saxon American-being compounded of Eng­ lish, Dutch, German and Indian-and the least that expects of such people is that they should re­ pent, as Mrs: Wharton and Mr. Adams and Mr. Baldwin in their assorted ways have done.

Carl Van Doren, reared on the Mid-Western farm of his doctor father, acquainted himself with the University of. Il­ linois, then with Columbia, where he got his Ph.D. in English literature and for years taught that same nebulous subject; long editor of The Literary Guild, author or editor of Swift, The Ninth Wave, Contemporary American Novelists, The Cambridge History of American Literature and others, ventur­ er into Greenwich Village, into New England hermitage, in­ to European wandering, brother of Mark Van Doren and more or less related to all the editors in New York, possibly excepting Walter Winchell and Charles Angoff, now at fifty­ one sets down what he has found interesting in life and what it has done to him. It is distinctly different from the volumes of literary recollections by such men as Ford Madox Ford, Frank Harris and Sisley Huddleston, who have devoted the magnificent inexactitude of their memories to listing all the literary persons they have ever met, with some account of what these freaks would have been like if they had only been just a little different. Three Worlds-it is unfortunate that the 132 LITERAllY VIEWS title is so close to Miss Gertrude Stein's Three Lives-is im­ portant not in anecdotage but in its serious portrayal of the several backgrounds and eras the author has seen: Hope, Ill., and its cornfields and humble church, a great university, editorial offices, sober talks in unsober speakeasies, the miracle play of seasons on the Housatonic, a pilgrimage with Stuart Sherman to British shrines; change from the age of sparse innocence to the age of even more innocent opu­ lence, to the nervous terror of the depression; the shy youth of the 'teens, flaming youth of the '20's, sulky and question­ ing and rather too unflaming youth of the '30's. Through all this the discovery of new American writers, not just as sur­ prising accidents, but as persons who have affected and sharply been affected by America's growing pains. It would be profitable to compare this revelation of a mind and of a way of living with the revelations in Sheean's Per­ sonal History, and Farson's The Way of a Transgressor. Any­ one who knows Van Doren will be certain that, had he de­ sired, he might equally have been an adventurous observer among foreign revolutions, among the dramas of street fight­ ing and truck parades of soldiers and plotters in secret rooms. That he has chosen the quieter adventures of the library has made his chronicle not less but conceivably more lively and more important. And (but this is no slur upon those other diverting books), he has not found that lines spoken in Rus­ sian or Arabic are any more dramatic than lines in Illinois Yankee or East Side Jewish. Lewisohn, also, and , Harold Stearns and George Seldes and Ernest Hemingway and Edgar Mowrer (to take as ill-assorted a group of roving American observers as may be assembled) have apparently found their greatest thrills in the already too-well-publicized idiocies and nobilities of the Pyrenees or the Cotswolds. But Van Doren, like Lewis Gannett and Thomas Wolfe, has preferred making American history to rereading European history. He finds it unneces­ sary to turn either to the old London or the new Moscow for inspiration; he discovers it, rich and pulsing, in an Illinois cornfield or a New York penthouse. Pre-War, Post-War, Post-Crash America 133 Throughout his book Mr. Van Doren breaks entirely away from his special literary field to contemplate the recurrent comedy of youth, and the confusing miracle whereby the son, without consciousness of having changed, yet becomes the father. "But affection, indulgence and humor alike are powerless against the instinct of children to rebel," he says. "It is as essential to their minds and wills as exercise to their bodies. If they have no reasons for it they will invent them, like na­ tions bound on war. It is hard to imagine families limp enough to be always at peace. Wherever there is character there will be conflict. The best that parents and children can hope for is that the wounds of their conflict may not be too deep or too lasting." And: "The black melancholy of young men has many apparent causes, but the many are really one: that the young men wish and will more than they can do." And of the contrast, in homes and in literature, between Youth of the two recent decades, Mr. Van Doren says : "The young after the war wanted to live freely. The young after the crash wanted to live at all. The villain in the drama of the '20's had been dullness. The villain of the '30's was poverty." Unlike the Youth of either, Mr. Van Doren perceives that there will, incredibly, be generations of the '40's and '50's also; that the fight is everlasting-but youth everlasting, also, to do the fighting.

Though this autobiography is not, like certain trusty exam­ ples, an effort to get as many notorious names as possible into the index, there are significant names enough, and particularly are there full portraits of those extraordinary poets, , who rightly saw Shelley as her nearest companion, of Edwin Arlington Robinson, who in Brooklyn yet lived on a Sabine Farm, and of Stuart Sherman, a devout modernist who nevertheless failed to measure Mencken and Dreiser, a shy campus classicist who ventured into the maelstrom of New York-to edit the book section of the Herald Tribune. As nearly as any autobiography that I know, this book gives a notion of what it has been about, in America since the war; 134 LITERARY VIEWS and that the story deals mostly with the makers of books does not keep it from being equally pertinent to scientists or politicians or intelligent merchants or simple people who read without any vanity or careerism at all. In the whole chronicle I happen to like best this discovery about one's own self which illustrates, incidentally, the lucidity of Van Doren's apparently easy style: "If this were fiction I might say that I went into a retreat to think things out. It still is history. I have never in my life thought things out, nor have I known anybody who ever did. I have always had to live them out, thinking as I went along. In my penthouse I was less a philosopher than a bear licking his wounds while nature healed them." This discovery I commend equally to all who are accus­ tomed to go off and brood about their incomparable wrongs, in the belief that they will just "begin to get things straight" before they pop into the psychoanalyst's shop, or the next Buchman station, or police headquarters. America, along with Scandinavia, may be called, and soon, to the hideous labor of trying to preserve in the world some­ thing of the tradition of civilization. For that straining task it is necessary that we should learn a little about ourselves, and Three Worlds gives us more than a little. It presents a sane and enormously talented American who has found our fields and our cement canyons not hag-ridden, but full of normal and exciting living.

Two Letters to Carl Van Doren

From the autobiography of Carl Van Doren, Three Worlds, published by Harper and Brothers in 1936

� Mr. Lewis did not believe in answering critics, but long be­ fore they met he sensed Carl Van Doren as one of the few Two Letters to Carl Van Doren 135 worthy of considered attention and one whose understanding was important to him. In the two letters which follow, to the man who later became his best friend, Lewis earnestly sets himself straight and explains what he is up to. The first letter was written from Washington, D. C., in November, 1920, after be had just read two reviews of Main Street. Lewis supposed that the one in The Nation, Novem­ ber lOth, was by Van Doren, though actually it was by Lud­ wig Lewisohn; the other, which was signed by Carl Van Doren, appeared in the New York Evening Post of November 20th. In the latter part of October, 1921, Mr. Lewis wrote the second letter from Italy. Herein he comments on Van Doren's essay "Revolt from the Village: 1920," which appeared in the October 12, 1921, issue of The Nation. Carl Van Doren's honest and fair-minded reply to the "So" ending the letter was his admission that be had not read much of Lewis's earlier work, and that his over-all opinion of it had been hasty. Accordingly, Van Doren revised part of his critique before its inclusion in his book, Contemporary American Novelists: 1900-1920, published in 1922 by Macmillan, and paid tribute to Sinclair Lewis, the author, whom he came to admire so greatly.

Washington, D. C. November, 1920 YES, I HAVE, I SUPPOSE, A RESPONSIBILITY; AT LEAST I'M GOING to act as though I bad one. Already I am planning a second novel of the same general sort as Main Street, though utterly different in detail. It is, this time, the story not of a Carol but of an Average Business Man, a Tired Business Man, not in a Gopher Prairie but in a city of three or four hundred thousand people (equally Minneapolis or Seattle or Rochester or At­ lanta) with its enormous industrial power, its Little Theater and Master of the Fox Hounds and lively country club, and its overwhelming, menacing heresy hunt, its narrow-eyed (and damned capable) crushing of anything threatening its com­ mercial oligarchy. I hope to keep it as far as may be from 136 LITERARY VIEWS all "propaganda"; I hope to make that man live-that man whom we have heard, in the Pullman smoker, ponderously lecturing on oil stock, the beauty of Lake Louise, the imperti­ nence of George the porter, and the excellence of his 1918 Buick which is so much better a model than the 1919.... All this you have brought on yourself by your interest! I want very eagerly to talk of novel-writing in general, of this next novel in very particular, with you ....It is, frankly, a hell of a job : first earning a living by nimble dives into The Saturday Evening Post, then realizing all the enormous and strident phenomena of a , then selecting, co-ordinating, crystallizing. There are not, in America, many to whom one may run wailing with problems, as one might, I fancy, in England. (There, perhaps, there are too many, and Beres­ ford and Swinnerton destroy, not develop, each other.) Hence you have brought on yourself-a responsibility, to quote you!

October, 1921 Written from Italy I have just been reading with the greatest interest your "Revolt from the Village"-as indeed I have read with such interest all the articles in the series. It is my supposition that you will publish these articles in book form, or use them as the basis for a book. If you do, the book will be taken as authority by a large number of people. Therefore I wish strenuously to suggest corrections in the consideration of myself in the article. Were it not for this book future, I should not comment on them. In the first place, I am not, in any slightest degree, nor have I ever been, influenced by Mr. Masters, greatly though I admire him: yet this you state as a definite (and important) fact-for example, in "It seems a notable achievement for a temper like Mr. Masters' to have drawn such a character [marginal note : i.e., S.L.'s] into its serious wake." I very definitely began to plan Main Street just after my sophomore year in college, in 1905-sixteen years ago, and ten years before Spoon River was published; I planned it in a form fundamentally like that in which, after many false starts, it Two Letters to Carl Van Doren 137 finallyappeared. Second, I have never really read Spoon River even to this day! Four years ago a friend used to read me cer­ tain of his favorite poems from Spoon River. I was enchanted by them-but the idiot, like so many disciples, so overread and overpraised that I have not even yet quite recovered enough to sit down with the book. Hence I know only the ten or twelve characterizations he was always reading; and because they were so few I have always thought of them as quite detached pictures of personalities with no especial rela­ tion to any small town or any revolt against a small town. I have seen three or four quite complete and convincing proofs that I took Main Street almost bodily from Madame Bovary. This seems improbable to me, as I had written half of Main Street before I chanced to read Bovary. But certainly I do not think I could have taken it both from Bovary and Spoon River. And I rather question (though here I am only guessing) that you are equally wrong about the influence of Masters on Zona Gale, and possibly even on Sherwood AndersoJ:!. Of course Masters, Gale, Anderson, myself, a hundred others, are all influenced in various ways by the same spirit of the times, by the same environment, and the same reactions against that environment. But this is always a commonplace of literary biography; it is no more unusual than the same influences acting on Keats, Shelley, and Coleridge; or on Bennett, Wells, and a number of others. My second complaint is (to me) more serious. I wonder if you realize that you present me as a damnably shabby figure jerked by chance into a freakish best-selling? "Before Main Street," you say, "Mr. Lewis had belonged to the smarter set among American novelists, writing much bright, colloquial, amusing chatter to be read by those who travel through books at the brisk pace of vaudeville." This clown, yea, even he, could be influenced by the great Masters to turn to decent work! I resent that-after the eighteen [footnote: 18 since the first thing I had published; 22 since I definitely be­ gan to write] arduous years I have spent in, first, learning my 138 LITERARY VIEWS craft to some degree and, second, becoming able, without total starvation, to begin to practise it! I have written "amusing chatter," yes, and a good deal of it-as Arnold Bennett, H. G. Wells, and even, in some of her short stories, Edith Wharton, have done. And some of that same amusing and colloquial chatter was, essentially, just as serious a presentation of human affairs as anything in Main Street. Ponderosity is not necessarily the distinguishing feature of veracity. But I have also written three novels which are in no sense amusing chatter. They are all bad, for various reasons, but they are none of them vaudeville. Have you read any of them? I doubt it. Certainly if you had read The Job, you would not have been quite so cheerfully sweeping. Let me sum them up : Our Mr. Wrenn, my first novel, published in 1914; a rather Kipps- or Wheels of Chance-like study of a little board­ ing-house man for whom I felt the greatest tenderness. The Trail of the Hawk, a novel very bad in its thin surface of realism, yet as honestly worked out as it could be at the time. Finally, The Job, the story of a quite dull stenographer which far from being vaudeville, was too somber, too lugubrious. It had some small attention-for example, a full-page review by Francis Hackett in New Republic, another by Floyd Dell in Masses, a half-page review by Edgett in the Transcript. Its sales were almost nothing, and it took me three more years before I was ready, mentally and financially, to take off the year required to write Main Street. And even in my magazine stories (yes, even in the serial Free Air, of which you were thinking when you wrote that objectionable sentence ) I have steadily sought to work out a means of doing as honest work as the powerful negations of the magazine editors would permit. Out of perhaps fifty stories in The Saturday Evening Post, Century, Harper's, and so on, I doubt if more than ten could with the slightest jus­ tice be classed as "brisk and amusing chatter." (For examples see "The Willow Walk," reprinted in E. J. O'Brien's Best Short Stories of 1918; or a story called "Young Man Axel­ bred," published in the Century, probably some time late in Two Letters to Carl Van Doren 139 1916;1 or a story with the bad, editor-given title "The Scarlet Sign" published in the Metropolitan some time in 1917: a story fully as bright and brisk and amusing as Dostoievsky; or "He Loved His Country," the story of the German-Ameri­ can who loved, and went on loving, both Germany and America, published in Everybody's some time in 1916; or the sardonic "Mother," rejected by The Saturday Evening Post because it was so impolite to mother-love, and published in Hearst's-God knows why!-in 1918; or "The Enchanted Hour," published in The Saturday Evening Post in August, 1919, and telling the case of a man who, at 45, discovers he has done none of the fine ardent things he desired as a boy; or "A Woman by Candlelight," "The Whisperer," or "Things," published in The Saturday Evening Post and each giving as unvaudevillistic a picture, with as unchattering a style, as any­ thing in Main Street-or in Moon-Calf! ) But especially I want you to read The Job, if you are going to publish these articles in book form. And you might glance at some of the others. And then I want you to think with considerable care about each word you wrote regarding me. Mind you, I should-could-have nothing to say if you reported that everything I have written, including Main Street, is bad, very bad, ill-written, clumsily conceived. Of that I cannot judge. But that I have for all these eighteen years since I first published a magazine article (I was eighteen then) been an only too serious workman, working definitely toward something which, I hope, I am now just beginning to get ; that I most certainly have not been just a Smart Chatterer whose conversion by Mr. Masters is almost miraculous; this I do insist. I am very sorry that you have so presented me to The Nation readers-The Nat ion being the one particular Ameri­ can periodical which I like best, and the only one which I have been reading regularly here in Europe. I am very sorry. I wish there were some way of your correcting it-if you find me not a liar in the preceding statement of what I regard

1 Published in June, 1917. 140 LITERARY VIEWS as facts. And certainly if it comes to a book, I hope you will change it ...And why not in The Nation? I am, at thirty-six, at the beginning of my work as a writer. Certain praises of Main Street at last give me the hope that eventually my work will veritably count. Of my work as a whole, no one has ever really written--except yourself-and you present me to the considerable number of readers of Main Street who may, perhaps, wish to know something about me, as the shoddiest of charlatans reformed by chance. And you do this, you sum me up, without having taken the trouble to read such novels of mine as The Job, or such short stories as "Things," and "The Willow Walk" and "The Scarlet Sign" and "He Loved His Country." I know you could not have read them; for however bad they are, however insufficient, however amateurish, however much the hypnotic influence of magazine-writing may have caused the writer to fall into that careful omission of "dangerous subjects" which produces sterility, yet certainly not one of these, or the others men­ tioned, is "bright amusing chatter to be read by those who travel through books at the brisk pace of vaudeville." I have, so far as I can remember, written only six letters to critics and journalists whom I do not know personally regard­ ing the thousands of reviews and comments, favorable and unfavorable, on Main Street. (This is the seventh, and one of the earlier six was a letter to you regarding your review in the New York Evening Post.) Of the six, four were notes of thanks; and only two were protests--one regarding one of the innumerable insulting statements Mrs. Dawson has made re­ garding my book, my personal taste, my appearance, my social position, my morals, and my manner of lecturing, in the New York Globe. The second was regarding an editorial in an newspaper which· asserted (in Tarkington's own town) that I had ridiculed Booth Tarkington, when I had done precisely the opposite. I have passed without notice some hundreds of long and short announcements that I am a liar, a fool, an illiterate, and God knows what all, because they come from people who do not matter. But you do, and your work does, and-behold! Two Letters to Carl Van Doren 141 Finally, since I have made this so long, may I just query (but much less certainly since this is a matter of opinion rather than fact) your theory, as expressed now both in the New York Evening Post and in The Nation, that I hate all dull people, that is, unintelligent people; and that therefore I am forever barred from the class of the Fieldings and Balzacs and Tolstoys (I use your own selection of people by whom you prove my deficiencies). In Main Street, I certainly do love all of the following people, none of whom could be classed as anything but "dull" (using your own sense of dull as meaning lacking in conscious intelligence) : Bea, Champ and Mrs. Perry, Sam and Mrs. Clark, Will Kennicott (dull about certain things but not all), Will's mother, and al­ most all of the farmer patients. And I love Carol who is dull about all the male world that interests Kennicott. And Guy Pollock who is of only a slight and dilettantish intelligence. And these are about the chief characters. But this I do not want to argue. It may be that you are quite right. But with the keen deep love I have for Bea in that book (for one exam­ ple) I wonder if it is more than partially true. And I always wonder whether it is ever very valid, that frequent mode of critics of saying that Evelyn Scott isn't a great writer because she isn't as suave as Edith Wharton; or that Edith Wharton isn't worth a damn because she hasn't the learning of Ana­ tole France; or that Anatole France is altogether hopeless because he has never written Shakespearean lyrics; or, to make the circle complete, that Shakespeare isn't much worth read­ ing nowadays because he doesn't, like Evelyn Scott, write of America and today? So! The American Scene in Fiction

From the New York Herald Tribune Books, April 14, 1929

1i A typical comment on the literary landscape of 1929 by the author of Main Street. Although Mr. Lewis cites many authors who are no longer in the public eye, the principles which he sets forth reveal his general attitude toward books about his native land.

I USED TO ARGUE WITH GEORGE SOULE IN THE BRAVE DAYS when I was twenty-six, when I earned $15 a week by reading manuscripts and never could afford breakfast on Saturday­ when, in fact, I knew so much that I could distinguish a meta­ thesis from a caesura-! used to argue about the importance of the scene in fiction. Both of us hoped then, perhaps both of us still hope, to be competent writers. George insisted that the scene did not count; that, since human passion and hunger and fear are universal, it did not matter whether a fiction writer or the composer of an opera set his scene in Detroit in 1910 A.D., Athens in 1910 B.c., or in that No Man's Land which is common to Italian librettists and to musical comedies featuring Fred Stone. But he was, I still think, in error. The scene of a story is the environment affecting the character, and that scene, the fact that it is chill or tropic, rustic or boilingly urban, voluptuous or ironed with poverty, brisk with State Street efficiency or creeping like a Wiltshire village, is as much a part of the protagonist's charac­ ter and development as his heart. And one can express adequately only a scene which one knows by the ten thousand unconscious experiences which come from living in it. One can "get up" a scene by reading 142 The American Scene in Fiction 143 about it, by visiting it as a stranger, but he has just that much more given himself a handicap. One can also conceivably write in a foreign language, but it is probable that Conrad would have been greater in Polish or in his almost native French than in the alien English. The Flaubert who wrote of the provincial French of which he had a back-yard and side­ street knowledge is greater than the Flaubert who mugged up history and produced the four-ringed failure of Salammbo-­ Edith Wharton of Ethan Frome is greater than the Edith Wharton of The Valley of Decision. But there is the other extreme-the school largely of bus­ tling amateurs, to whom the scene is everything; who feel that if they have moved the ancient story of man's lust and courage from Florence to Dade County, Fla., if they have re­ named Juliet "Liza Jane" and Romeo "Robby," then they have done something altogether original, and incidentally so benefited Dade County that their novels should sell at least a hundred thousand there. It is they who discover the Golden Wheatlands or Golden Southwest and are by their profes­ sionally enthusiastic publishers proclaimed as pioneers com­ parable to Kipling. With two weeks of research they can do you a story of Harlem or Sicily, a searching study of boot­ leggers in Ontario or the very soul of a Russian priest. They rank with the hacks who follow magazine fashions and at the proper season obediently produce "detective stories," "dog stories," "prize-fight stories," or "stories of a pure love." Somewhere between the extremists who desire characters to float in chaos and those who try to adorn their conventional tales with a new setting, as a cigarette manufacturer adorns his undistinguishable wares with a new slogan, is the wise realm that recognizes the value of the scene without trading on it. And it is astonishing how many American scenes have yet been untouched, and quite as astonishing how many others have been not merely touched but mauled. New York-arty parties in Greenwich Village, night clubs, the private woes of reporters, the rise of Jews from peddlers to clothing magnates with Riverside Drive apartments, the heroism of cops-these tales have been done to stupefaction. 144 LITERARY VlEWS

Yet there are ten thousand aspects of New York which have been untouched. There is the river front, which at night is straight out of Dickens. There are the clerks who live in the Bronx, a village life that yells to be chronicled by another Zona Gale. There are alimony hounds with their freakish so­ ciety of bogus nobility and more bogus gin. There are, in this city of seven million people-almost twice the population of Ireland--countless scenes for such writers (if they may ever be found) as care, for a day a month, to escape from literary teas and the kind of parties that have to be thrown; who will actually walk ten blocks and use their eyes. America-the literary map of it, apparently, shows three cities, New York, Chicago and New Orleans; then a stretch inhabited by industrious Swedes who invariably (after an edi­ fying struggle) become college professors or rich farmers; then a noble waste still populated by cowpunchers speaking the purest 1870; finally, a vast domain called Hollywood. But actually there are portions of the United States not included in this favorite chart. A tourists' motor camp, under the cottonwoods of Dakota or the Spanish oaks of Florida; twenty cars from as many states; fifty campers with five hundred tragedies and farces : the desperate family in the 1916 flivver, gambling their last cent in quest of that perfect job which is always to be found in the next state; the honeymoon couple wondering at vast cities of five thousand population; the old man, very quiet, who has to sleep sitting up in his car because of his heart. Or a town in the new commercial Georgia, where ante­ bellum tradition and the Fordian system are at war-a town with galleried houses on the outskirts but on Main Street a Movie Palace. Equally the towns in Vermont or Maine which are feeding that New South and feeding the farms of Iowa, the factories of Cleveland-ancient white towns whose man­ sions tomorrow will all of them be owned not by Hookers and Trowbridges and Twitchells, but by Italians and Ger­ mans and raceless summerites from New York. Gone or go­ ing are these traditions, Georgian and New England, and in their passing is tragedy and complicated wonder; yet for the The American Scene in Fiction 145 most part the writers who condescend to those states seem not to have heard that anything important has happened since the last drums of 1865. The universities! These preposterous factories with their ten or twenty thousands of conflicting spirits. Yet who, save Percy Marks and Robert Herrick and, so charmingly in A Man of Learning, Nelson Antrim Crawford, has written their Gar­ gantuan modern tale? And industrialism itself-more dramatic than the universi­ ties, more impressive and more terrible than any army with banners, a topic for a Shakespeare and a Zola combined, single organizations with 200,000 employees engaged in the most active and cunning war with half a dozen like armies -who of our young people longing for Greenwich Village or Paris so that they may "find something to write about" has been able to see, or has dared to attempt, this authentically epic theme? Is Waterloo a more gigantic spectacle than the Ford plant at River Rouge? Is the conquest of an Indian king­ dom by an English proconsul more adventurous than the General Motors' invasion of the German motor world? He that hath eyes to see, let him see! There is a common plaint that Americans are so much alike, divided into so few classes, that there is no chance for the portrayer of the American scene to find fresh aspects. "No! We must go to France, where people are individual, dif­ ferent." It is true that the Babbitt of Boston, the Babbitt of Charles­ ton and the Babbitt of Seattle are confusingly alike, but I do not know that they are much more alike than two English gentlemen from Manchester and Maidstone, two shopkeepers from Lyon and Amiens. And, however alike, it is the job of the writer of fiction to discover the differences beneath the similarities. (Though mind you, no matter how you differen­ tiate, unless you portray such obviously exceptional, such meretriciously "quaint" characters as Yankee philosophers or bootleggers, if ever you deal accurately with real contempo­ raries in Hart, Schaffner & Marx clothes, the critics will ac­ cuse you of "creating nothing but types." It's a way critics 146 LITERARY VIEWS have. It's like the journalists whose liveliest insult to a writer is to say that he is merely a journalist!) How vastly Americans differ may, if you will, be found in Willa Cather. She saw, therefore she gave breath of life to the Bohemians of Nebraska. She saw and made living the profes­ sor of history whose history could not quite make up for his loss of living life. She saw, in The Lost Lady, the small-town good woman who was also a big-town bad woman, without conflict. Even in the arty circles of New York, as viewed in Youth and the Bright Medusa, she got so far away from the conventional magazine conception of Greenwich Village par­ ties that her Village seems divided by the seven seas from the coy studios of magazine fiction. Americans alike? Is there even in the multiform Balkans a difference greater than that between the Iowa farmers of Ruth Suckow and the Provincetown fishermen of Wilbur Daniel Steele? Simple people are their characters, equally; they drive, or seek to drive, the same Fords; they study the same movies and comic strips, yet where her farmers are all heavy sim­ plicity, his fishermen are mystic as a Blake engraving. You say, and rightly, that the difference is not between the actual fishermen and farmers, but between the minds of Miss Suckow and of Mr. Steele-that these are veritable artists, cre­ ating their own worlds. Of course. But it is important that she should, with apparent contentment, certainly without hav­ ing to run off to Paris, find in her own backyard material for many books, and that Wilbur-though he is as restless-footed as Bill Seabrook, though he can by no violence be kept from slipping off to St. Kitts and Africa--dredges as much color, as much strangeness, out of the sands of Cape Cod as ever he has from Arab bazaars and Antilles canefields. No one today-if one may venture to claim Toronto as part of the American scene-is more brilliantly finding the re­ markable in the ordinary than Morley Callaghan. Here is magnificently the seeing eye. His publishers tell me that Cal­ laghan has been in New York only once or twice, on the briefest of business trips--certainly he has not been instructed in vision by attendance on literary teas. His persons and The American Scene in Fiction 147 places are of the most commonplace; his technique is so simple that it is apparently not a technique at all; and out of a street corner in a drab town, out of two lovers talking on a mean wooden bridge, out of a carpenter lying on a roof and eating an apple and thinking about a girl of whom he should not think, he makes pictures that one will remember for years after the most exotic and obviously dramatic chromo has faded. I had a letter ·once from a woman somewhere in the Mid­ dle West. She wanted, she said, to be a writer. But she had never had any experiences about which to write. All that she had known had been her town and the farms about; all that she had experienced had been birth, childhood, marriage, giv­ ing birth to two children, widowhood, poverty, and longing to do something beyond Main Street. Did I, she queried, think it was absolutely necessary for her to come to New York, live in Greenwich Village, get a job in a publishing house? (For all these things, of course, promising writers do, in a proper literary novel.) Or, by any miracle, could she write only of what she knew? If, some miraculous day, there appeared a man or a woman who could adequately write of a mid-Western woman who had been born, married, given birth to children and become a widow, if that genius could fully and passionately do only that one novel, he could sit down beside Flaubert forever content. But, then, that genius would not ask such a question as did the good lady in her letter, and he would not care a hang what anyone might write of the richness of the American scene. He would be too busy revealing it. For this is the law of instruction in writing, as it is in all other education-to him that hath shall be given, and he shall refuse it, because he needs it not; and to no one can you teach anything save to him who already knows it of himself and is bored by your instruction. Gentlemen, This Is Revolution

From Esquire, June, 1945

�For some months in 1945 Mr. Lewis conducted the Books section of Es quire magazine, reviewing only those publications which interested him or which seemed to him significant. His novel Kingsblood Royal, about a young Minnesota banker who learned that he had an infinitesimal strain of Negro blood in him and turned to Negroes as his own people, was pub­ lished in 1947. Yet those close to Lewis knew in 1945 that he was making a notebook and doing the research for a "Negro novel." That is all his confidants knew, because in later years while Lewis was incubating a book, he never talked about it. (He was eloquent on the subject of writers who "talked their books out" and never got around to writing them. ) Of his earlier books Arrowsmith and Elmer Gantry could be men­ tioned as exceptions, because in the case of Arrowsmith Paul de Kruif worked closely with him on technical research, and in the case of Gantry he saw and consulted many preachers. The fact remains that he was very close-mouthed about Kingsblood. In the light of later events it is understandable that he should have been interested in the current literature by and about Negroes. His last will carries bequests to the Na­ tional Association for the Advancement of Colored People and to the National Urban League. In the following review he states some of his own beliefs on the subject that was uppermost in his thought during that period.

Black Boy, THE STORY OF HIS OWN YOUTH IN THE SOUTH BY Richard Wright, the enormously talented young Negro who 148 Gentlemen, This Is Revolution 149 also wrote Native Son, has been greeted by several placidly busy white reviewers and by a couple of agitated Negro re­ viewers as betraying too much "emotion," too much "bitter­ ness." Now this is the story of a colored boy who, just yesterday, found in his native community not merely that be was penal­ ized for having the same qualities that in a white boy would have wanned his neighbors to universal praise-the qualities of courage, energy, curiosity, refusal to be subservient, the impulse to record life in words-but that he was in danger of disapproval, then of beatings, then of being killed, for these qualities, for being "uppity." Not bitterness but fear charges the book, and how this young crusader can be expected to look back only a few years to the quiet torture with anything except hatred is beyond me. When we have a successful comedy by an ex-prisoner about the kindness and humor of the warders in a German concen­ tration camp, then I shall expect Mr. Wright to mellow and to speak amiably of the teachers who flattened him, his colored neighbors and relatives who denounced him, the merchants who cheated him, the white fellow-mechanics who threatened him for wanting to learn their skills, and the librarian who suspected him-quite rightly-of reading that militant and bewhiskered Bolshevik, that polluter of temples and Chambers of Commerce, Comrade H. L. Mencken. There has recently appeared, at the same time as Black Boy, the skilled and important report by the secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, my friend Walter White, upon what has been happening to American Negro soldiers in our camps at home and in Eng­ land, and at the battlefront in Italy and Africa. There are in this report numerous exact incidents of Jim Crowism lugged into our Army of Democracy. The main impressions that come out of reading it are the continued segregation of Negro soldiers from their white comrades in Red Cross clubs and even in adjacent villages, and the fact that, except for a few sectors in which Negroes have brilliantly fought and flown, 150 LITERARY VIEWS they have been restricted to labor units instead of being trusted as fighters. Soldier workers, lugging supplies ashore during landings, or driving trucks or repairing roads under fire, get killed just as frequently-it may even be just as painfully-as the white fighters, but there is no credit in it. They are expected to live like dogs and not even to die as heroes. The assertions of Mr. White are amply backed up by a woman, a white woman, a woman from a Navy family, in another just-issued book, Jim Crow Grows Up, by Ruth Dan­ enhower Wilson. If there had appeared only these three books, these three disturbing Border Incidents, they would still be enough to make the wise observer fear that a revolution in Negro affairs is threatened. But one may go beyond them to a score of other related books published in the past three years, and if America can possibly take the time from its study of comic strips to discover even the titles of these books, it may realize that this is a revolution, and that it is not coming-it is here. The unwritten manifesto of this revolution states that the Negro, backed by a number of whites in every section of the land, is finished with being classed as not quite human; that he is no longer humble and patient-and unlettered; and that an astonishingly large group of Negro scholars and journalists and artists are expressing their resolution with courage and skill. They are no longer "colored people." They are people. Lillian Smith's novel, Strange Fruit, still a best seller and as such revealing new audiences, is not merely a small tragedy about two lovers separated by a color line which bothered everybody except the lovers themselves. It is a condensation of the entire history of one-tenth of our population. That amusing and amazingly informative book, New World A-Coming, by Roi Ottley, published in 1943, is not just a re­ port of the new Negro life in Harlem. It is a portent .of an entire new life for all American Negroes, and it was written by what is na'ively known as a "colored· man"-that is, a man who has by nature the fine rich skin that the rest of us try to acquire by expensive winter trips to Florida. Gentlemen, This Is Revolution 151 And the 1943 biography of Dr. George Washington Carver by Rackham Holt-who, like Lillian Smith, is very much the White Lady-portrays, on the positive side of the question, what one Negro could do, given any chance at all, even so small a chance that to a white man it would have seemed a balk. Dr. Carver, whose discovery of the food and the plastics to be found in the once disenfranchised peanut was salvation for large sections of the South, was the greatest agricultural chemist of our time. It is doubtful whether any flamboyant soldier or statesman or author has done more solid good for America than this Negro, the child of slaves. But in one thing the intellectual or just the plain reasoning Negro today has broken away from the doctrines of Dr. Car­ ver. This newcomer has progressed or seriously retrogressed, whichever you prefer. He is no longer, like Dr. Carver, ecstatic with gratitude to the white men who permit him the singular privilege of enabling them to make millions of dol­ lars. To such innocent readers as have not known that the Negro doesn't really like things as they are, such as have been shocked by the "bitterness" of Mr. Wright's Black Boy, there is to be recommended a book much more shocking. But here the shocks are communicated by graphs and columns of fig­ ures and grave chapters of sociology, which add up to exactly the same doctrines as Mr. Wright's. This is An American Dilemma, a 1,483-page treatise by Professor Gunnar Myrdal of Sweden and a staff of American assistants. Mr. Myrdal was invited by the Carnegie Corpora­ tion to come to America precisely because he was a foreigner, and less subject to our own prejudices. Anyone who reads through this vast work will really know something about the identity and the social position of the Negro, and anyone who desires to "argue the question" is invited to read it, whether he was born in Maine or Mississippi. Probably no other book has more exact information, more richness of Negro lore. Here is his complex origin, whereby the yardman whom you think so clownish may have in him the blood of Arabian princes as well as of Bantu warriors; 152 LITERARY VIEWS here are his economic status today, his religion and culture, his past and present share in politics, his social conflicts, his actual and possible jobs, his dollars-and-cents budget today. It is all as impersonal as penicillin, and as powerful. To this sober pair of volumes should be added the enlight­ enment and stimulation and considerable entertainment in a book published a few months ago by that excellent Southern institution, the University of North Carolina Press, at Chapel Hill; a book called What the Negro Wants. In tbis, fourteen distinguished Negro writers such as Langston Hughes, A. Philip Randolph, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary Bethune, Roy Wilkins, tell precisely what they think of it all. They are all serious, honest, and informed, but among them I prefer George Schuyler of the Pittsburgh Courier, who, despite his wit and easy urbanity, is perhaps the most serious of the lot. How any person so cultured that be can add two and two and get as much as three out of it can read the deft pages of Mr. Schuyler and still accept any of the Comical Coon, the Dancing Dinge, the Grateful Bellhop, the "Mah brethrens, Ab absquatulates tub consider" theory of Negro culture, I cannot understand. His thesis, bland as dynamite soup, is that there is no Negro Problem at all, but there decidedly is a Caucasian Problem; that of the universal American-English-Belgian­ Dutch-French-German-Portuguese exploiter who smugly talks about the "white man's burden" while be squats on the shoul­ ders of all the "colored men" in the world. Mr. Schuyler sug­ gests that in Kenya and Burma and Jamaica and Java and Peking just as much as in America these colored races are now effectively sick of it. He is, however, too polite to point up the facts that there are a lot more of them than there are of us, and that a machine gun does not inquire into the com­ plexion of the man who uses it. Here, all of these books begin to fit into a pattern. This suggestion of a universal revolt against the domination of white smugness is also the conclusion of A Rising Wind, even though the author is so gay and gentle a leader as Walter White. Quoting from Pearl Buck, another white woman who Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 153 is not content to be nothing more than that, Mr. White indi­ cates with what frightening care the entire "colored world" -including Japan-is watching and reporting upon our treat­ ment of our own Negroes in Army and Navy, in hotel and bus, in factory and pulpit and congressional committee room. Gentlemen, my pukka English-Irish-Yank-Swede-Dutch brethren, it behooves us to find out what this larger part of the world is thinking and most articulately saying about us. A slight injection of knowledge may hurt our feelings, but it may save our lives. I am delighted that in my first column for that stately household compendium, Esquire, I have been able to uphold the standards of refined and uncontaminated rhetoric and, here in my ivory tower in Duluth, to keep from taking sides and to conceal my personal views upon Messrs. White, Wright, Schuyler and Myrdal. Let us by all means avoid distasteful subjects and think only of the brightest and best.

Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto

11 Having been the storm center of several memorable contro­ versies, Mr. Lewis in his later years sedulously avoided per­ sonal publicity and rarely answered any attack upon himself or his books. His brush with Bernard DeVoto was a notable exception. The following article was published as a leader in the Saturday Review of Literature of April 15, 1944. The Saturday Review used the following editor's note explaining the background of the article : "In its preceding issue, the Saturday Review published as a preview of the book the last chapter of Bernard DeVoto's The Literary Fallacy, a series of lectures delivered by the author last year at the University of India under the auspices of the Patten Foundation. Mr. DeVoto drew up a sweeping and incisive indictment of the 154 LITERARY VIEWS leading writers of the 1920's. He wrote that: 'Never in any country or any age had writers so misrepresented their culture, never had they been so unanimously wrong. Never had writers been so completely separated from the experiences that alone give life and validity to literature ....The American people were not what their writers had believed them to be. Only persons so lost in logic, dreams, and theory that they were cut off from their heritage could have held those ideas. . . ' The following article was written in reply."

IN LITERARY TREATISES it has not been customary to make one's points by yelling "Fool" and "Liar," but perhaps we have all been wrong. In his new volume, The Literary Fallacy, my old friend Mr. Bernard DeVoto---large D and no space before the V, apparently-has this pronouncement:

Writers must be content to hold their peace until they know what they are talking about. Readers must be will­ ing to hold them to the job if they refuse to hold them­ selves. An uninstructed gentleness toward writers has been the mistake of readers in our time. Words like "fool" and "liar" might profitably come back to use .... If literature is to be serious then it cannot be permitted folly and lying and when they appear in it then they must be labeled and denounced.

Very well. I denounce Mr. Bernard DeVoto as a fool and a tedious and egotistical fool, as a liar and a pompous and boresome liar. He is a liar in his statement of the purposes of The Literary Fallacy, and a fool in his repetitious announcements that he is the one authority on the American frontier, psychoanalysis, family life, the literature of geology, the technic of biography, the treatment of burns, and on Mark Twain, and all New England writers whatsoever. The intrepid Mr. DeVoto rather fondles the offensive words. He writes, "Mr. Brooks's ignorance was for years a public instrument of literature. With its aid many writers . . . lied Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 155 flatly about the people they were presuming to interpret." And: "As a mind Martin (Arrowsmith ) suffers from arrested development, as a scientist he is a fool." Here is what, not very truthfully, Mr. DeVoto declares to be the thesis of his book. It is a four-barreled or machine­ gun thesis. ( 1) There was a mysterious age of literature known as the twenties, confined to exactly ten years. [Upon whose completion, at 12:01 A.M., January 1, 1930, God sighed, "I'll never try anything like that again!" S.L.] Mr. DeVoto admits that a few of the writers who exhibited in· the twenties may have been born several months before them and a still smaller squad may go on existing in the 1940's, but he implies that their publishing books in the twenties miraculously made all these zombies exactly alike­ for instance, Eugene O'Neill, Dale Carnegie, and Edith Whar­ ton, perhaps? (2) All of these scoundrels have maintained that a culture may best be understood by its books, and (3) such a belief in their own profession, like that of a priest, a soldier, a judge, or a teacher, is very naughty of them, and ( 4) to quote from The Literary Fallacy: "Never in any country or any age had writers so misrepresented their culture." Now all of this makes up an obvious lie, but the double-lie comes in the fact that none of this actually belongs to Mr. DeVoto's thesis. What he really says in this booklet is merely that Mr. DeVoto is an incalculably wiser and nobler man than Mr. Van Wyck Brooks. This is the third or fourth book, now, in which DeVoto has led a frantic one-man revolution with the slogan, "Brooks must go!" I do not believe that Mr. Brooks has ever an­ swered or ever will answer. He is too gentle, too just, too scholarly-and perhaps too pitying.

My first encounter with DeVoto was on a train to Phila­ delphia, years ago. He timidly introduced himself as a teacher who was trying to write for the Saturday Evening Post. I had never heard of him but I was interested in that frog-like face, those bright eyes, that boyish and febrile longing to be 156 LITERARY VIEWS noticed. I was reasonably polite to him, and he was grateful. I saw him several times afterward, but his screaming, his bumptiousness, his conviction that he was a combination of Walter Winchell and Erasmus, grew hard to take, and it is a long time now since I have seen him. And I note that in the same way a good many reviewers find the growing noisi­ ness and cocksureness of his books increasingly irritating. The man must be studied. Like his fellow ornaments of New England, Lydia Pinkham, , and Phineas T. Barnum, he has by brashness and self-advertise­ ment pushed himself into notoriety, and since no serious critic, like Mr. Brooks or Mr. Carl Van Doren or Mr. Fadi­ man or Mr. , bas thought it worth while to deflate him, many innocent and youthful believers still listen to him. When his The Year of Decision appeared last year and we found that if he would but gag his babbling ego be could still write remarkably sound and unhackneyed history, many of us believed, however, that he still bad a soul to save, and that the salvation might require nothing beyond a couple of mira­ cles and twenty years of patience.

The Literary Fallacy is, aside from a few rather anxious in­ troductory pages, composed of lectures delivered to the for­ tunate students of the University of Indiana in 1942-3 . A foreword issued by the Patten Foundation of the University explains, "The purpose of this prescription [sic] is to provide an opportunity for members and friends of the University to enjoy the privilege and advantage of personal acquaintance with the Visiting Professor." Let us not stray into speculation as to what the members and friends later thought about having had the privilege of personal acquaintance with the Visiting Professor. This is a small, thin book, prosily dull, carelessly planned, presenting nothing but Mr. DeVoto's bellows about his own importance. Why then waste bombs on it? I want to point the way to an adventure too beautiful for realization. What would happen if men like O'Neill and Hem- Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 151 ingway, who have been too busy with living and writing to take time out for self-defense, should some day turn on such talmudists as DeVoto, Howard Mumford Jones, Allen Tate, R. P. Blackmur, Yvor Winters, and Edmund Wilson-! won­ der if it is an accident that Mr. Wilson's invariable nickname, "Bunny," so resembles Mr. DeVoto's "Benny"? Most of them are dryer and more fastidious and responsible critics than DeVoto and much less given to shouting "Notice me-notice me," but they all have a kinship and it is their influence that has caused every college instructor now living to write, very badly, another book about Henry Adams, Henry James, T. S. Eliot, and William Faulkner. It might be impossible to persuade Ernest Hemingway to spend even one hour in reading the pomposities of Benny and Bunny, but if he should ever see how easy it is to crush them at their own game, then God help those mincing mes­ siahs. Mr. DeVoto often seems to be taking a pose and waiting for a camera, any camera. He does so in the first pages of The Literary Fallacy, where he worries:

Since ways of thinking are fairly constant, the fallacy which this book examines is likely to appear in some of the reviews of the book in literary periodicals. Readers who may want to see the fallacy in actual operation are advised to look for it there. The book . . . does not try to describe American literature during the 1920's com­ pletely, to tell the whole truth about it, or to pass judg­ ment on it as a whole, but some reviewers may report on it in an understanding that it tries to do all three.

With only a passing wonder as to why DeVoto repeats a statement three times and then calls it three statements, and as to whether it is his personal knowledge of reviewing that makes him so jumpily apprehensive about the intelligence and honesty of his fellow-reviewers, let us note that for once he does tell the truth about his book. It certainly is not a complete account of the literary crimes 158 LITERARY VIEWS of the 1920's. In fact, it is nothing at all but a long-winded confession of DeVoto's obsession about Van Wyck Brooks, plus a few envious references to other contemporaries, and two essays, one on the geologist John Wesley Powell and the other on the medical treatment of burns. These essays, which are as original and definitive as a high-school theme, are sup­ posed to indicate how many things we others failed to know and write about in the 1920's and to show how our books would have been written if we had been so lucky as to have Mr. DeVoto write them for us. How it must irritate him to have to sit around year after year waiting to find out what Van Wyck Brooks's next book will be, so that he may know what his new book will be. If Brooks ever tackles Proust or anything else east of Massa­ chusetts or south of New Jersey, then DeVoto is sunk for life. Let us check all this. Out of the 169 actually printed pages of this small book (on sale for $2.50 at several book stores, if you want to pay that much), one to four pages each are devoted to the sins of Dos Passos, Hemingway, Lewis, Wilson, Eliot, and Pound, and to the virtues of Frost and Farrell. Other writers are dis­ posed of more briefly. Mr. DeVoto finds twenty-one lines quite enough to deal with Willa Cather, E. A. Robinson, Sandburg, and Stephen Benet all put together, and from five to fifty words each, sufficient to finish up Mencken, Jeffers, Hecht, Dreiser, Dell, Tate, Fitzgerald, Frank, Mumford, Tom Wolfe, Carl and Mark Van Doren, MacLeish, Kazin, Beard, and Cabell. How right you are, Mr. DeVoto. Your treatise cannot be accused of completeness. Indeed it is so far from that foible that, in an account of the 1920's, it does not even mention Booth Tarkington, eleven of whose books appeared in the 1920's, Thornton Wilder, whose The Bridge of San Luis Rey came out in 1927, Herge­ sheimer, Sherwood Anderson, Elinor Wylie, Edna Millay, Upton Sinclair, , Edith Wharton, any dramatist whatever except O'Neill-whom DeVoto hates-Hervey Allen, Conrad Aiken, Glenway Wescott, E. E. Cummings, Ring Lardner, Evelyn Scott, Louis Bromfield, Hart Crane, Zona Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 159 Gale, or the Will Beebe who did for biology all that Mr. DeVoto's Mr. Powell did for geology. He may explain that he knows intimately and hates all of these figures but that in his gay little sloop he simply hasn't room for them. But he does have room for seventy pages, seventy out of the total 169, for his attack on Van Wyck Brooks! And he has room for the twelve pages of his medical treatise, the purpose of which is to prove that he knows more about medicine than Dr. Jacques Loeb, Dr. Paul de Kruif, and Dr. Martin Arrowsmith put together. And he can take ten pages for an account of Powell, the actual purpose of which is revealed on page 133:

For this man (Major Powell) wrote ...books, one of which we must glance at, his "Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States." Mr. Brooks has not heard about it, nor Mr. Mumford, Mr. Stearns, Mr. Lewisohn, Mr. Frank, Mr. Farrington, or Mr. Hicks, nor even Mr. Edmund Wilson or Mr. Kazin.

With all of his God-complex, Mr. DeVoto has never been so papal. Just how does he know what these men have heard of? I should think it likely that the late Vernon Parrington and the extremely learned Lewis Mumford, who have really inspired thought in America where DeVoto has merely done some inaccurate bookkeeping on it, have heard a great deal about Major Powell. I doubt their ever having made a habit of running to Father DeVoto and reporting to him everything they have heard. But suppose none of them had heard of Powell. So, as under any of his pen-names Mr. DeVoto would write, what? It is the job of all historians to revive forgotten men of importance. They do it daily and, because it is their job, none of them except DeVoto would ever wind up an historical report with "Look at me! How much smarter I am than any of you! You never heard of that! Yah, yah, yah!" That's how the yahoos got their name. 160 LITERARY VIEWS While we are on Powell, let us note Mr. DeVoto's acknowl­ edgment to "for checking my account of Powell." Why he should need Mr. Stegner for that task, which any child with the extensive account of Powell in the Dic­ tionary of American Biography before him could do in ten minutes, is a puzzle. For Wallace Stegner, author of On a Darkling Plain, The Big Rock Candy Mountain, et a[., is already one of the most important novelists in America, an incomparably better writer than DeVoto, and a number of us go daily to the cathedral and pray that he will get out of Harvard, get away from all the cultural quacks like Mr. DeVoto, go back to Utah and Iowa, and put on the mantle of greatness that is awaiting him. It's a dull pamphlet, this The Literary Fallacy, and stumble­ footed in style. On page 63 appears this example:

"Literary climate" is a phrase of literary shorthand which stands for the moods and feelings and ideas of writers, the ways in which books are conceived and the daily excitements in which they are written, for literary associations, literary experience, the tones and shades and nuances and colorations of writers' minds in relation to their books and to literature in general-in short for the whole sum of literary affect and effect.

The publishers' blurb says, "Mr. DeVoto makes his point with thoroughness, humor and truly brilliant phraseology." You can see that humor above, and the brilliance of the fol­ lowing must have brought the Indiana students right up out of their seats, cheering:

It is not my finding but that of criticism itself that in its new occupations also it still finds frustration, that in fact it is not merely frustrated but ignominiously routed.

Thus powerfully does he show that the writers of the 1920's -say Dorothy Canfield Fisher, George Kaufman, and James Branch Cabell-so lastingly corrupted our land as to have Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 161 contaminated the entire 11 ,000,000 of our fighting forces today. Until he pointed it out, I didn't know we were that good. Aside from its complaints about Mr. Brooks, the brochure contains two charges as specific and sensational as the remarks of a Senator who should reveal, "There are certain persons in a State which I shall not mention who have performed actions, or at least shown tendencies, that I can regard only as, if not sinister, then at least, beyond peradventure, pretty lousy." It is with this and no other courage and definiteness that Mr. DeVoto attacks his old literary buddies. Says he on page 167-and don't forget the new rule is that Fool and Liar must be applied to writers who make dis­ honorable statements-"Never in any country or any age had writers so misrepresented their culture, never had they been so unanimously wrong (as in America in the 1920's). Never had writers been so completely separated from the ex­ periences that alone give life and validity to literature." Just whom do you mean, Mr. DeVoto? Do you mean Hart Crane or Dreiser or Miss Glasgow or Edgar Guest? Surely even you can't be such an undeviating fool as to hint that all of the hundred or two hundred writers, including a second­ rate hack-writer of fiction named Bernard Augustine DeVoto, were so precisely alike as to be "unanimous" about all great spiritual issues from 1920 to 1930? If you don't mean a hundred, or seventy-five, or fifty, whom do you mean? Just those whom you mention? You don't mean Tarkington, Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, Hergesheimer, Ring Lardner or Elinor Wylie, then? Or are you too important, too busy with pious thoughts of Van Wyck Brooks, to be interested in these last at all? For a Visiting Professor, who considers his lectures important enough to be preserved in a book, instead of just sighing and burning them up like the rest of us, you are rather unclear, Mr. DeVoto. If the people you indict are those whom you have men­ tioned, let's hear more of them. Exactly what are the valid experiences that they have been so "completely separated from"? 162 LITERARY VIEWS From loving a red-headed girl, or being a grandmother, or serving in the navy, or committing a crime, or being con­ verted to Episcopalianism, or reading Bernard DeVoto-­ which can be quite an experience, sometimes, I assure you. And just which writers lacked just which experiences? You mean to say that you know all of this, Benny? You know what Waldo Frank thinks about war and God? You know the intimate family relationships, so revelatory of their philosophy, and the neighborhood friendships of Mencken and Jeffers and Mumford and Dos Passes? If you don't, then you are a nebulous liar. If you do, for Heaven's sake write out all that rich stuff instead of a piffling little pocket-book about how much smarter than Van Wyck Brooks you are. It is astonishing that, though he was bouncingly with us in the lethal twenties, DeVoto never saw how bad we were. Oh, he was there. There is no reason why any reader should remember them or even be able to give their titles, but he did publish novels in 1924, 1926, and 1928. He didn't notice then that most of his colleagues were assassins. In fact, it has taken him fourteen years to notice it. I wonder if he could have been aroused from his sinful ignorance by the evangelical Mr. Archibald MacLeish who, for about ten minutes, took charge of the press of America and explained that he had to save our youth from the evil medicine we had brewed in the twenties. MacLeish's doctrine was rather insulting to the millions of Americans whom he pictured as being so feeble-minded that we could utterly ruin them merely by saying that we con­ sidered service club luncheons and Americans on the Riviera dull. In other decades a like charge of infidelity has been attached to many other writers, to Dickens, Zola, Hawthorne, Tom Paine, and the Mark Twain who, unfortunately for his future reputation, has now been taken over by Mr. Bernard DeVoto as executor. Just as fair-and just as unprovable-an assertion would be that the major writers of the twenties, men who so loved their country that they were willing to report its transient Fools, Liars and Mr. DeVoto 163 dangers and stupidities, have been as valuable an influence as America has ever known. DeVoto shouldn't have been so innocent as to take his doctrine from MacLeish who, through a large part of the beleaguered twenties, was living in France and reading T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Mr. DeVoto feels a good deal of agony over the incon­ sistencies of Mr. Van Wyck Brooks, which appear to be very much like the inconsistencies of Mr. DeVoto who, in "Mi­ nority Report," published only four years ago, so warmly liked some of the writers he now finds vile or watery that he rebuked other critics for underrating them. He scolds Mr. Brooks for not writing about Francis Parkman as Mr. DeVoto would have written, and presents a sample of his own method, which sounds very much like what Mr. John Fiske actually did write on that subject long ago. Constantly busy with Brooks though Benny is, lately he has also been busy with writing a novel of his own. It is called The Woman in the Picture, and it was published only about a month before The Literary Fallacy, and by the same firm. Not that The Woman in the Picture is signed by Mr. De­ Voto. Certainly not. It is signed with his pen-name, "John August," and a damn silly pen-name it is, too. "Sardanapalus September" would have been much more convincing. Its scholarly and strictly non-commercial publishers say of The Woman in the Picture: "Sophisticated romance and fast­ moving adventure make this as exciting a tale as the author's last novel, Advance Agent. No more need be said." Oh yes, Messrs. Little, Brown, a lot more need be said. In The Woman in the Picture, Mr. Bernard DeAugust shows his belief in the people of these United States by depicting us as so dumb, softheaded, and ill-governed, with such idiotic police and F.B.I. and army and navy intelligence, that in the summer of 1942 a villain right out of the movies, one of these cold-eyed and non-alcoholic power-maniacs, was, with only half a dozen other plotters, going to take over and destroy our democracy. The only thing that saved us was a liberal journalist, equally good at economic theorizing and at eye-gouging, assisted by 164 LITERARY VlEWS an intellectual comic relief, who shows his training in Pareto and Emerson by constantly speaking with such humor as this : "You better buy a four-leaf clover. Yeah, get an asking price on rabbit's feet, too. So now what?" Serious literature, Mr. DeVoto. The hero has to drive the heroine halfway across the coun­ try, spending most of his time peeping at her bare legs and bosom, as enthusiastically reported by Mr. DeAugust, with a ten-year-old, behind-the-barn eroticism which has now been discarded by most of the pulps. There is also in the story the standard B-picture equipment of aeroplanes, automatic re­ volvers, telegraph codes, and gentlemen constantly getting themselves tied to logs, boxcars, telegraph poles, automobiles, Rocky Mountains, fences, statues of Ole Bull, coincidences, and lapses in the plot. But no cord can hold these guys, not when a serious writer who knows all about the literature of geology is creating 'em! I wonder how much Visiting Professor DeVoto told the students at the University of Indiana about John August and his ideals and methods of work and his blessed freedom from any influence by Van Wyck Brooks? I hope he wasn't ashamed of John August; I hope he didn't keep silent about his jolly yarn, The Woman Who Will Be Sold to the Pictures. Because in originality, in lucidity, in decent humanness it is much better fiction than The Literary Fallacy. On pages 170-2 of The Literary Fallacy, Mr. DeVoto promises the dawn:

There is a haste of literary people to exalt democracy, to exult in the native grain. . . . The American writer . . . has undertaken to re-create his personality with the proper proportions of Daniel Boone and Walt Whit­ man. His eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. 0 beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, he sings with a loving and compassionate heart . . . . Books will continue to be written by writers. [Extra­ ordinary! S.L.] They will faithfully present the ideas and emotions of writers. When those ideas and emotions A Pilgrim's Progress 165 chance to be true or great, books will be true and great. When they chance to be childish or frivolous or silly, books will correspond.

And with that, Mr. DeVoto yanks off the priestly robe, puts on a Hollywood jacket and finishes The Woman in the Picture, the most childish, frivolous, and silly dime-novel, the rp.ost lacking in any beautiful for spacious skies, the least perceptive of the coming of the Lord, the most re-created with the proportions of Tarzan and MGM, that I have read for years. Is he a liar? Perhaps not unintentionally. And fool? It is he who writes himself down a fool. And I quote again his, "Literature cannot be permitted folly and lying and when they appear in it they must be labeled and denounced." Yet Mr. DeVoto is a fool of cleverness, not of malice. He really has done all the bumptious monkey-tricks I ascribe to him, yet at heart he loves books and streets and laboratories, he wants to be liked, and lets his glibness run away with him. Can't you be a good boy, Benny, and stop yelling "Liar!" at your little playmates? You see, they might answer you-more and more of them might answer you, Benny.

A Pilgrim's Progress

� Only a small sprinkling of Mr. Lewis's published criticisms of books have been included in this volume. Over a period of twenty-five years or more he contributed book reviews or critical essays sporadically to various literary magazines and there were times when he wrote regularly for such magazines as The Nation, Newsweek and Esquire. The following review of A Story Teller's Story by Sherwood Anderson was published on November 9, 1924, in the New York Herald Tribune 166 LITERARY VIEWS Books. Aside from his comment on a significant writer, Mr. Lewis here reveals several aspects of his own literary creed.

NOW, OF ALL THE TOPICS IN THE WORLD, the most interesting is humankind, people and what they are like, the tale of what they have done and speculations upon their confused reasons for doing it. That is why fiction-the recounting of human customs-is the most popular form of writing; that is .why, in fiction, a garrulous account of human foibles is more stirring than the trickiest melodrama or the sublimest philosophy. Mr. Sherlock Holmes remains our favorite detective not because be was engaged in more dangerous and complicated matters than his imitators, not because his creator bad a less naive theory of the causes of crime, but because we behold him, smoking his pipe, morosely fiddling, loafing in his dress­ ing-gown. That is why the successful religions have been focused not upon ethics so much as upon a familiar human figure, why successful political movements have been inspired not by great economic principles but by a man-a Cromwell, a Lenin, a Lincoln, a Napoleon-figures produced, it may be, by ac­ cumulated submerged forces, yet necessary to those forces as outlets. A book, then, which really discloses a human being be­ comes important, and such a disclosure we tremendously have in Mr. Sherwood Anderson's new volume, A Story Teller's Story. Mr. Anderson begins with the gaiety and gallantry and thoroughgoing shiftlessness of his father, himself another story-teller, but born out of his own time and place, therefore a sign-painter and magic-lantern showman and tinker in Vic­ torian Ohio, instead of honored chronicler in New York or Paris or San Francisco. Tenderly Mr. Anderson recalls his boyhood. He does not whine about its poverty; does not, indeed, consider it in any degree impoverished, for were not his brothers and he Fenimore Cooper Indians, despising the softness of the city pale-faces? From this ardent small-town boyhood Mr. Anderson moves A Pilgrim's Progress 167 to factory jobs, to advertisement writing, to stolen glorious weeks when, with a whole hundred dollars saved, he could afford a stuffy furnished room where, lying on a dingy red comforter on a shaky cot, he could read all night, could absorb cinquecento Italy, so that gonfalons filled the room, and it was little matter that behind them the walls were spotty with washing water. Then he lost himself in the writing of tales; timeless hours of creation of human souls, not of canny endeavors to Put 'Em Across in the popular magazines. When he was already acclaimed as a person of power he came to New York-he came, this sign-painter, this advertisement-scribbler, this bi­ cycle-assembler, to the Great Ones, humbly to ask what secrets they had of artistry. Surely in universities or in the chattering studios of New York and Europe they must have discovered formulae unrevealed to a frequenter of saloon back rooms. It must be, one would think, a matter of enduring pride to Margaret Anderson, Waldo Frank, Van Wyck Brooks, Paul Rosenfeld, Gertrude Stein, Alfred Stieglitz, Stark Young, Jane Heap and some half a dozen others, the humility with which this vagrant and utterly original genius turned to them for wisdom, the gratitude with which he listened to their friend­ ship. . . . And all the while he continued, and gladly con­ tinued, to be one who did not come as a Distinguished Author affably occupying hotel suites, but as a poor man outstretched on rooming-house cots with dingy red comforters, meditating upon what at his highest he might do. There is the outline of the book: the pilgrim's progress of a man at once a genuine artist (in the rarely used exact sense of "genuine") and a small-town, pool-playing, story-telling Mid-Westerner. Sherwood Anderson is of importance in American letters­ in all of modern letters. Whether by reason of admiration or sharp dislike, all of us who desire fiction to be something more than a Ford manufactory of smart anecdotes must con­ sider his stories of American peasant life, so rigorously simple in expression, so forthright in thought. We have damned or 168 LITERARY VIEWS adored him or uncomfortably done both. Either way, there are few of us who have not been guilty of stating that, of course, whatever his merits, Mr. Anderson "lacks a sense of humor" and "is obsessed by sex." Aside from the pleasure of viewing a human soul, it will be for the beneficial increase in our humility to read A Story Teller's Story and to discover that Shenvood Anderson is not obsessed by sex and that he has a shining sense of humor. When he portrays his father, telling a farmer audience of Civil War heroisms, Mr. Anderson shows a humor equally free of the hysterical vulgarity of the Bill Nye school and the neat little jabs of contemporary New York wit. The father changes and enhances his tale to suit his auditors. He never exactly lies, but-wouldn't it be just as well, when in the story he returns to his old Southern home as a pro-Lincoln prisoner in the hands of stem Southern troops, to contrive to meet on the doorstep his non-existent but otherwise absolutely satis­ factory former body-servant? Another example of humor which the reviewer commends to the study of all anti-Andersonites is his explanation that there is reason for the frequent comparison of his stories to those of the Russians, since, like them, he was reared on cabbage soup. It is an admirable burlesque of the literary influence brand of criticism. Humor-in plenty. And as to this matter of "sex"-the intense terrifying vision which intimidated or revolted so great a share of us in Mr. Anderson's Many Marriages-be honestly shows us in this volume how bewildered he has been that the critics should call him "unclean" for attributing to his char­ acters the experiences and chaotic beautiful bewilderments which in real life do secretly besiege every man and woman. Aside from the book's absolute worth and its special value as a revelation of an authentic craftsman, it has another value as an explanation of that emerging Middle West of whose recent literature so much has been written-so little under­ stood. Like Mr. Carl Sandburg, Mr. Anderson has the calmness to see that the most vulgar and seemingly inarticulate of his Introduction to Four Days on the Webutuck River 169 cornbelt villagers are not inarticulate or in any slightest way vulgar, but rich with all life-significant and beautiful as any Russian peasant, any naughty French countess, any English vicar, any tiresomely familiar dummy of standard fiction. A Negro race-track follower, a nail factory truckman, the daughter of a boarding-house keeper, a man who to the eye was but a small-town merchant forgetting his invalidism in a periodical drunk in Chicago, yet to the understanding a seer-such people come out, in A Story Teller's Story, in all their friendliness, their importance.

Introduction to Four Days

on the Webu tuck River

11 The following example of Mr. Lewis's prose lyricism was written as an Introduction to Charles E. Benton's Troutbeck Leaflet No. 6, published privately by Professor Joel E. Spingarn, at the Troutbeck Press, Amenia, New York, in July, 1925. The author here points up the concept that it is the writers who have made places the living shrines of the human spirit -"who have," as he says, "created the sentient world for civilized man."

WHEN I WAS A BOY, IN THE PRAIRIES OF MINNESOTA, THERE WAS no book which had for me a more peculiar and literal en­ chantment than Walden of Thoreau. As in the case of most books which exercise an altogether mystical charm, it is dif­ ficult to analyze the elements of that charm. It is merely there. So to this boy, dreaming between the wheatfields and the sultry brook, Walden became a Mecca for which he longed more than for any other shrine in all the world-more even than for Kenilworth of Scott. 170 LITERARY VIEWS Dwelling beside Walden there was, as it came to the boy from the pages of Thoreau, a scholarly simplicity, an au­ thentic American virtue, high song without the silly silken hose of alien troubadours. The boy dreamed of saving the various nickels which he earned by hours of lawn-mowing that he might visit Walden and there find simple greatness. It is true that in later years when he did actually come to Walden he found it-a pond! It was considerably less enticing than the lakes of Minnesota. The fact was, of course, that it was Thoreau, and not the Maker of the Universe, who created the pond. And it has always been the Tboreaus who have created the sentient world for civilized man. To the erstwhile reader of Thoreau there is a reminiscent thrill about "Four Days on the Webutuck River." It is in the manner, the gallantry, if not quite in the profundity, of Father Thoreau himself. There is here an importance beyond the immediate and local significance. It may be that these Troutbeck Leaflets, along with their fellow presentations of the genius loci of America today, are evoking for us here the magic light which for three thousand years the poets and dreamers and wanderers have evoked in Europe. It is an extraordinary fact, as yet unnoted by the physiologist, that the human eye sees most clearly not directly but through a medium. The little road which wanders from London to Canterbury is perceived today and these many years, not just as a byway in Kent, but as the echoing path of Chaucer's pilgrims. Lon­ don is not a collection of homes and offices, but a living show peopled by the characters of Dickens and Thackeray and Charles Lamb. Thus it may be that by the Troutbeck Leaflets, and in particular by this "Four Days on the Webutuck River," the lovely streams and folded hills of York State will be revealed to our stupid eyes. This tale of two self-sufficient boys has made the Webutuck River, which has hitherto been to the direct eye a meaningless waterway, a stream forever now of legend and beauty and of memory. A Hamlet of the Plains

�It was, of course, inevitable that Mr. Lewis would have a deep and abiding interest in the work of Willa Cather, who presented fictional portraits of the farmers and townspeople of Nebraska, living in communities not very far west of his native Minnesota. This review of , which was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1922, appeared in the Literary Review of the New York Evening Post on Septem­ ber 22nd of the same year.

MOMENTS OF BEAUTY which reveal not an American West of obvious heroisms but the actual grain-brightened, wind­ sharpened land of today; moments out of serene October afternoons and eager April mornings and cold-gasping winter nights; all of them as tenderly remembered as the hedges of A Shropshire Lad. A portrait of a farm boy, whom the publisher in his rather vociferous jacket note bas reasonably called "a young Hamlet of the prairies." A decidedly interesting chronicle of the boy's marriage to a determined young female who loves the souls of the mis­ sionized Chinese, but who disdains to love the splendid flesh of the Nebraska farmer. A question as to the value of modernizing, of the motors, phonographs, cameras, farm machines for which the farmers trade their corn and wheat, their leisure and their contentment. A picture-scarce sketched before-of the new and me­ chanical type of farming which bas been replacing the earlier isolated agriculture. Half a dozen brilliant "minor characters" : Mahailey, the mountaineer woman; Mrs. Wheeler's shy beauty; Wheeler, 171 172 LITERARY VIEWS the pioneer farmer, curious about everything, extravagantly fond of a jest, viewing a joy in learning as absurd; a German family, which, in a diligent but dismal university town, retains the florid yet warm and comforting music love of its lost home. The courage to be tender and perfectly simple, to let the reader suppose, if he so desires, that the author lacks all un­ derstanding of the hard, varnished, cosmopolitan cleverness which is the note of the hour. These admirable discoveries are to be made in Miss Willa Cather's novel One of Ours, an addition to the ever dis­ tinguished fiction list of Mr. Knopf. Miss Cather ranks with Mrs. Wharton, Mr. Tarkington, Mr. Hergesheimer, and a few others as one of the American talents which are not merely agreeable but worth the most exact study, and a new book by her is an event to be reported intently. Yet her name is, even after such novels as My Antonia and 0 Pioneers, scarce known to the general public. Many a women's club which is fervent in its knowledge of all the novelists who seize attention by sneering, by describing frocks, or by fictionalizing handbooks of psychoanalysis, bas never beard of this quieter competence. Her style is so deftly a part of her theme that to the uncomprehending, to the seeker after verbal glass jewels, she is not perceivable as a "stylist" at all. But to the more discerning Miss Cather is a phenomenon to be examined excitedly, both as a pure artist and as an inter­ preter. Particularly is that true at present, during the dis­ cussions of a so-called "Middle Western group," whose grouping lies in the fact that they happened to be born within a couple of thousand miles of one another. Of the somewhat fabulous Middle West not even Mr. Hamlin Garland has given a more valid and beautiful expression than has Miss Cather. Because of these tokens of significance all sophisticated readers have prayed that the new novel, One of Ours, might be the book which would at last bring to her the public acclaim which she has never courted, yet without which, perhaps, she would never be quite content. Is One of Ours A Hamlet of the Plains 173 that book? Probably not. There is ground for fearing that, despite many excellences, it is inferior to others of her novels. It is indeed a book which, had it come from an experimenting youngster, would stir the most stimulating hope. And in any case it is one of the books of the year which one must recom­ mend, which must be read. Yet from Miss Cather it is dis­ appointing. The penalty of her talent is that she must be judged not by the tenderly paternal standards which one grants to clever children, but by the stern and demanding code befitting her caste. The most important defect is that, having set the Enid prob­ lem, she evades it. Here is young Claude Wheeler, for all his undecisiveness a person of fine perceptions, valiant desires, and a thoroughly normal body, married to a bloodless, evan­ gelical prig who very much knows what she doesn't want. The scene of Enid's casual cruelty on the wedding night is dramatic without affectation-a rare thing in domestic chron­ icles. And here are two possible and natural sources of com­ plication : the young woman whom Claude should have chosen and the itinerant minister who fawns on Enid. In all of this, even without the conceivable external complications, there is infinitude of possible interest. But Miss Cather throws it away. With Claude's relations to Enid left unresolved, the author sends Claude off to war. She might as well have pushed him down a well. Such things do happen; people with problems fairly explosive with vexatious interest do go off to war-and do fall down wells-but the error is to believe that they there­ by become more dramatic. The whole introduction of the great war is doubtful; it is a matter to be debated. It is fairly good journalism. Where she makes the collapse of a pig-pen important she makes the great war casual. In the war Claude is so heroic, so pure, so clever, so noble that no one can believe in him. Except for the arousing scenes on the army transport, with influenza stalking, her whole view of the war seems second-hand and­ for her-second-rate. It is a common belief that when the mountain portentously gives birth to a mouse the affair is ridiculous. In the arts the 174 LITERARY VIEWS opposite is clearly true. It would be absurd for an active mouse to take time to produce a lumpish mountain. In Flaubert his provincial housewife is more significant than Salammbo. The Dutch pictures of old women and cheeses are not less but more heroic and enduring than the eighteenth-century can­ vases massing a dozen gods, a hundred generals, and a plain­ ful of bleeding soldiers. In the world of the artist it is the little, immediate, compre­ hensible things-jackknives or kisses, bath sponges or chil­ dren's wails-which illuminate and fix the human spectacle; and for the would-be painter of our Western world a Sears­ Roebuck catalogue is (to one who knows how to choose and who has his imagination from living life) a more valuable reference book than a library of economics, poetry, and the lives of the saints. This axiom Miss Cather knows; she has lived by it not only in her prairie novels but in the sketches of that golden book Youth and the Bright Medusa, in which the artist's gas stove and the cabman's hat are paths to everlasting beauty. In One of Ours that truth does guide the first part of the book, but she disastrously loses it in a romance of violinists gallantly turned soldier, of self-sacrificing sergeants, sallies at midnight, and all the commonplaces of ordinary war novels. . . . Lieut. Claude Wheeler could not have been purer if he had been depicted by that sweet singer of lice and mud, Mr. Coningsby Dawson. It may well be that Claude was suggested by some actual, some very fine person who was tragically lost in the war. It may be that because in this book Miss Cather's own emotion is the greater she rouses less emotion in the reader. Certainly there is no intentional cheapening of her work to tickle the banal reader. But it is the hard duty of the artist to slay his own desire for his eternally selfish characters; to be most cool when his own emotion is most fiery; and in the death of Claude Wheeler there is far less beauty than in the small­ town burial of the sculptor in Youth and the Bright Medusa. As to the story of One of Ours, it is excellently natural. It concerns the unfolding of a youngster who, more by his own inability to explain himself to his father's coarse incompre- Introductory Remarks 175 hension than by any tricky complication of fate, is tom from his career and a chance to discover what he wants to do with life and sent back to farm work, which is-for him if not for his mates-a prison. The war gives him an escape which is closed by his death. Miss Cather does not seem to be quite certain what does happen to him. At times she is as undecisive as her own hero. There might be, in his losing all in what seemed to be the freedom of the war, a noble irony like the irony of the brooding Hardy. Perhaps there is meant to be. But it does not come through to the reader. One of Ours is a book which must be read. It is a book to which it would be an insult to give facile and unbalanced praise. It is a book for discussion. And one reviewer, at least, will rejoice if he be convinced by more competent discrim­ inations that One of Ours is not only as good as he thinks but incomparably better. There are books which it is a joy to attack; lying books, mawkish books, pretentious dull books, the books which stir a regrettable but natural spirit of deviltry, a desire to torture the authors, and a desire to keep the people from reading them. One of Ours is quite the opposite. It makes the reader, for a moment of modesty, hope more for its success than for the authority of his own judgment.

Introductory Remarks

Published as an Introduction to Section II of The Three Readers, (An Omnibus of novels, stories, essays and poems, Selected With Comments by the Editorial Committee of The Readers Club, Clifton Fadiman, Sinclair Lewis and Carl Van Doren.) Issued by The Press of The Readers Club in 1943. 176 LITERARY VIEWS � There was also a general Preface to this interestingly put together book in the form of "Letters to George" [Macy], the director of The Readers Club. Each letter is characteristic of its writer who speaks affectionately of his co-judges. Each of the three was assigned one-third of the book to fill with his favorite stories, essays and poems. Lewis chose to fill his part of the book with the reprinting of two novels he admired. They were Ruth Suckow's Country People and Eleanor Green's The Hill. Obviously the man from Main Street would have something pertinent to say about these two talented writers who took the Middle West as their field.

OF THAT BRIGHT, HARDY COUNTRY WHICH STANDS AT THE HEAD of the Great Valley-Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dako­ tas, with slivers of Illinois and Michigan-one would be able to trace the whole history in a narrow shelf of fiction : Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth, Rose \V ilder Lane's Let the Hurricane Roar, Hamlin Garland's Main-Travelled Roads, the books of Zona Gale and , the city novels of Grace Flandrau and William McNally and Margaret Culkin Banning, and, as a spiritual accounting of the whole business, the two short novels reprinted in this book: Ruth Suckow's Country People and Eleanor Green's The Hill. Since they all possess reality, these stories fit together, no matter how varied the moods. Harriet and Vinnie, the highly literate American girls of The Hill, might be the grand­ daughters of Miss Suckow's German August Kaetterhenry, or Rolvaag's Norwegian Per Hansa, or Rose Lane's Yankee Charles, or of Garland's Civil War soldier limping up a Wisconsin coulee. The first three of these crossed the Mississippi into a shining desolate prairie at about the same time, between 1870 and 1880-only seventy years ago. These novels tell better than maps and figures how that hostile sun-land became hu­ man. They indicate, too, how varied the prairie civilization be­ came in less than three generations. Regarding any new society, it is highly common and even more highly irritating Introductory Remarks 177 for outsiders to speak of it as uncomplex and insular. In this goodly year of 1943, when the Russians say to the British­ and the British say to the New Yorkers-and the New Yorkers say to all Middlewestemers, "When are you fellows going to wake up and hear about this war that's going on?" then the amount of heat kindled is about equal in all three cases. The Midwestern mentality is at least as contradictory as that of New England. One or both of the grandfathers of Vinnie, in The Hill, may well have been a Dakota home­ steader. He lived in a dark dugout, he was beset by blizzards, wolves, armies of grasshoppers; he sowed by hand and plowed with oxen; and his laborious and risky life was only a hand-turn different from that of the original American pioneers of 1620. It was, indeed, no fatter or more secure than a Saxon peasant's existence in the year 1000. From the pioneer's arrival on the plains to Vinnie contemplative on a hill is in chronicle time only fifty or sixty years, but in aspects of civilization it is a millennium. Vinnie's friends are still of the farm, still of the country of La Follette, yet they would be just as much at ease if they were studying singing in Milan or physics in Upsala or frivolity in Cannes. They are international. They and their families have in sixty years covered three centuries of cultural history, from Wesleyanism to Freudianism, from witchcraft to hysteria. Possibly they have ripened too quickly, and grown soft, ready for the pessimistic eye of a Spengler. In their preoccupation with the delicate flight of bird and cloud and fragile country sound, in their self-defeating de­ mand for no less than perfection in love, their quivering con­ sciousness that old people are frustrated and tragic because none of them has known an undiminishing passion, in all their sympathetic yet neurotic sensitivity, Eleanor Green's young people are, like the cultural refugees of the Left Bank, circa 1925, or like T. S. Eliot or Ezra Pound or Isadora, iridescent flies caught in the black web of an ancient and amoral European culture. They have in imagination returned to the Europe from which their grandfathers fled, but they have returned to the coffee houses, not to the hills. 178 LITERARY VIEWS They know and shiver to a beauty that their pioneer ancestors never conceived; if their prairie is more narrow in acres, it is ten times more crowded with exhausting wonder, and if they have shut out the blizzard, they have also shut it in. To the grandparents, if they are still alive-and they easily may be, aged somewhere over eighty-these modern children must seem selfish, idle, weak, and terrified of ghosts; armored in luxuries of which the old folks never heard, yet whimper­ ing because some finicky sweetheart does not like the length of their noses. And to the grandchildren, the pioneers seem as hard and narrow as the steel rails that, on a prairie track, stretch bleakly out till they meet. And how wrong both generations are! If the characteristic American jump from potatoes straight to Proust is a little dismaying, it also indicates a lively and incalculable mind. The young generation has, in the airplane cockpits of 1943, revealed that under its glib and glittering sloth, it has as much iron as anything on the frontier. On the other hand, the older generation once had, in the first sight of the young wheat, in sleep after toil, in visits to neighbors, in reading aloud from the Old Testament's poetry and tricky ethics, in annual pilgrimages to some vast city of five hundred popula­ tion, a course of pleasures that were not essentially different from the ecstasies of these young over a dive bomber or over the Shostakovich Seventh conducted by Mitropoulos. In the years outlined by Miss Suckow and Miss Green together, we have a flight through time dizzier than any fantasy of H. G. Wells. The fiction of Eleanor Green is as shy and secluded as a marsh at sunset, with the coloring rich beyond the soft browns of the foreground, but it has none of the Celtic Twi­ light of earlier lady novelists because, though she loves misti­ ness, she also has a passion of tenderness and pity for ordinary human beings. As: "She realized with exquisite clarity what living had meant to her father. These many years they bad lived together, he and her mother, and these many years he had hungered for Introductory Remarks 179 her love. Being a shy man, he thought that he annoyed her, and so had sought in every way to make himself as incon­ spicuous as possible. If it is my hands, Vinnie imagined him thinking, I will keep my hands from her sight. If it is my hair or the way my whiskers grow, I shall keep my hair cut and my face shaven. If it is my mouth, or the way I eat my food, I shall say little and chew carefully." Miss Green has brought off a difficult technique in allow­ ing for the whole time-extent of her story only four or five hours. The outward events are as simple as they are brief: a Wisconsin village family goes picnicking, and afterward Vinnie meets her lover. But we know the whole family and their hidden hearts, and the little Wisconsin valley where "the shadows lay in a blanket over the sheep and the grass, the deer and the thrush, and the whole place was bewitched." Eleanor Green is still very young, and as yet she bas published only three brief novels : The Hill and Pastoral and Ariadne Spinning. She has seen enough of New York and of an Eastern college, but she has had the good sense to live mostly in Wisconsin where she was born. That is very fortunate for Wisconsin, whether or not that lovely state is aware of the fact.

Where Miss Green skims through the trees, a bird at twi­ light, Miss Suckow tramps at hot noon. I don't know which will get the farther, nor whether loops and lineal rods can be compared. Ruth Suckow, born in 1892 in 's Iowa, where there is nothing to be seen but corn stalks and college towers and secretaries of agriculture, has stayed there except for aberrations into heathen California and Greenwich Village, and that is very fortunate for Iowa, which she has re-created in such genuinely native novels as The Folks and The Bonney Family and the recently published New Hope, with its beauti­ ful memory of the magic that is in the mind of a growing boy. No doubt it has been suggested to Miss Suckow as not 180 LITERARY VIEWS being a virtue that she seems more pedestrian than such thunderous pietists as Rolvaag, whose Norske God rides every blizzard, or the more fanciful school of Zona Gale and Eleanor Green. This suggestion Miss Suckow bas answered with spirit, in her own comments on her Co untry People: "The book is not an attempt to sum up all of rural life. It is not 'a saga of the pioneers' nor yet 'an epic of the soil.' In certain respects, as a rural novel, it is not typical, but per­ haps unique. There is no writer or artist concealed among its characters who is destined to come back . . . to write a book about, or paint a picture of, August Kaetterhenry. August himself never offers a soliloquy upon The Soil; be never seduces a hired girl; and he dies in bed, not overlooking his broad acres, nor clutching a handful of his own good earth. The author suggests that, if on no other grounds, she deserves credit for such abstentions. . . . The style has no particular beauty of its own. Yet it does fit the subject matter: in its careful minutire, its touch of dry country humor, even its hardness and tightness. It has a certain monotonous music, like the tuneless air of the windmill in the stillness of the country air." If Miss Suckow and Miss Green are opposite in almost every mood-so much the better for the Great Valley which produced them and which in turn they are now producing.

Aside from their regional kinship, Country People and The Hill have a tie in being excellent samples of a swift-winged and not too common form of fiction : the short novel, which conveys an impression of life without either the incomplete­ ness of the short story or the often tiresome insistence of the long novel. It bas been rather neglected, perhaps because magazine editors consider a tale of thirty or forty thousand words too long, and the book publishers wail that it is too short. Of this genre there have been only a few American masters, such as Willa Cather, Joseph Hergesheimer, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Hamlin Garland, Sarah Orne Jewett. To them Preface to Fathers and Sons 181 may be added now Eleanor Green and, though most of her stories run longer, Ruth Suckow. They indicate tha-t if a man has written twenty thousand excellent words, it is not aways desirable to add to the pot some eighty thousand words of tediousness in order to call the resultant stew a Novel.

Preface to Fathers and Sons

11 Mr. Lewis did not often write about books of foreign origin, but those who read the following Preface to a special edition of Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev will see why this work had a great appeal for the man from Sauk Centre. This edition was published for members of The Readers Club in 1943. It was done in the translation of Constance Garnett and, in addition to Mr. Lewis's preface, contained wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg.

DURING THE PRESENT VOGUE IN AMERICA OF THE CLASSIC RUS­ sian authors, which bas come partly from our admiration of the war achievement of the USSR and partly from an uneasy notion that our own fiction is, most of it, rather glib and shallow, the penitential gigantism of Tolstoy and Dostoievsky and the humorous sadness of Chekhov's plays have tended to screen a figure as great, if not so ponderous, as these­ that of Turgenev. He has been a little forgotten, but he will return, as Trollope bas. His tenderness is too rare a thing to lose. Tolstoy and Dostoievsky have tenderness, too, but it is the savage love of a peasant mother for a sick child. One of their mottos, printed larger than life, is We are not amused; they feel simultaneously that MANKIND must be saved and that it is not worth saving; and they never display Turgenev's ruling quality: gentleness. That civilized quality gives to his 182 LITERARY VIEWS version of the celebrated Russian Character a delicate and tolerable gray, to relieve the lowering black and aching white of the other Russian masters. It is possible for us American extroverts to understand his characters, to smile at them, to love them. It is hoped that this handsome new edition [of Fathers and Sons] will give to new readers a glimpse of a Russia that is more kindly and pastoral than the cellars of Gorki, but no less real and urgent. The leading character, Bazarov, the medical student who believes more in test tubes than in faith and banners, stands forever as the type of all young radicals and innovators in all ages, with his harsh honesty, his youthful disgust with all institutions founded on profit and honorifics, his bad manners, his generous friendships, and his final betrayal by just the sentimentality to which he thought he was most superior. Mr. Winterich, in describing how this book came to be, sug­ gests that it dates; but to me it dates no more than an O'Neill play or a Hemingway novel. In 1943 the story of Bazarov il­ luminates, just as it did in 1862, when it was published, a human puzzle that has always been fascinating and difficult. Bazarov called himself a "nihilist." Call him a Communist, or a surrealist, or a bio-physicist; give him cigarettes instead of cigars and a fast car instead of the post-chaises in which he galloped to see his brooding and elegant lady-love, Anna Sergyevna; and there will seem nothing outdated or naive about the ardor of his heart and the rebellion of his brain. His name is one of the few in fiction that lives on, like Quixote and Micawber and Sherlock Holmes, more immortal than all but a few actual personages. Yet from time to time there are new readers to whom that name must be re-intro­ duced. And there is nothing outdated in the desperate affection of Bazarov's father and mother for him, when he has been educated out of the snugness of their little house. Parental tyranny to the young has been adequately chronicled, but there is more drama and pity in the less-often recounted case of the parents' longing to keep their children's friendship and Preface to Fathers and Sons 183 affection. And how much drama and pity there is in it is shown by Turgenev here. To a Midwestern American reader, there is the charm of recognition in Turgenev's Russian landscapes : rolling fields with sparse woodlands, small streams, birch groves, skies quickened in early summer with larks; wheat and barley and plodding teams. . ..And serfs where once we bad slaves and then changed them for share-croppers, in the South, with the Northern Liberals talking about emancipation just as do Turgenev's more enlightened landowners. Fathers and Sons is a profound tale, a gentle tale, starred with two simple-hearted but imaginative love stories, and in it the Russian Gloom is lightened by a friendliness that is better than any conscious parade of humor. The book is about as long as a full-dress chapter in Thomas Wolfe, that Russian from North Carolina, or in Tolstoy, that Carolina planter from Russia; and, with most readers, that will be all right.


No Flight to Olympus

A Letter on Style

My Maiden Effort

Rambling Thoughts on Literature as a Business

How I Wrote a Novel on Trains and Beside the Kitchen Sink

Obscenity and Obscurity

Introduction to Main Street

Introduction to Selected Short Stories

The Art of Dramatization

Novelist Bites Art

No Flight to Olympus

�The following essay was published in the American People's Encyclopedia in 1948. When the editors of this reference work asked Mr. Lewis to contribute an article on the subject of fiction-writing, they perhaps did not anticipate the sort of thing he sent them. He refers to his lines as "surly remarks." Several times when college professors invited Mr. Lewis to address their classes in creative writing, they were surprised to hear him speak in the same tenor. His comments should offer a healthy and astringent antidote to the widespread idea that writing can be taught-or learned-from textbooks.

THERE IS NO COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE UNITED STATES IN which, in so permanent a work as an encyclopedia, it is desirable to treat the writing of fiction with the following surly remarks. In a democracy like this, while we stimulate a young man with belief that be may some day be president-at least of a motor agency-we also fail to inform him that in his competition with other equally fortunate freemen it will be well for him to have more talent and industry than the others. This is especially the case with writing fiction. Thanks to sentimental schoolteachers and the advertisements of firms which are not without guile in screaming that they can teach you to write, there is a general belief that anybody, man or woman, who has failed at plumbing, farming or housewifery, has only to take a couple of easy lessons-dealing with such trade secrets as: should you write with pen or typewriter; and are blonde airplane stewardesses or red-haired girls from Ice­ land the snappier heroines just now-to be able to compose a novel which will win the Pulitzer Prize and be sold to the movies for a million dollars. 187 PROBLEMS OF THE ·CRAFT The art of fiction is expected to pay off the widow's mortgage, to enable young people to get even with their relatives, and to bring fame and innumerable love letters to the bored bachelor. These are all worthy purposes, but the professional writer must keep warning the simple-hearted amateurs that he doubts their being able to learn in twenty hours what has taken him twenty years. The attitude of the bogus craftsman is often betrayed by his use of such phrases as "the writing game" and "the fiction racket," which are supposed to convey that the speaker is a modest fellow, but which, to a serious worker, are as offensive as the religious racket would be to a sincere churchman. If the amateur writer bas pleasure out of trying to set down his opinions of people and places, that is excellent, a worthy hobby; but if he expects some magic to select him from among the myriad other aspirants who are just as competent as he is-well, gambling on the horse races would be a better investment. Nor is it dangerous to discourage him, because if he is really good, he will pay no attention to me or any other policeman. Almost all rules about "how to write" are nonsense. They are based upon what some writer did in the past, upon some­ thing which may have been very useful for him but may not suit anybody else in history. Writing is not so easy as all that; a man cannot borrow a way of work from others ; upon him is the responsibility of finding his own way. One man works best in a desert and the next in a jazz rehearsal room; one before breakfast and one after midnight; one makes a 50,000-word plan and one, like Dickens, lists a couple of names and goes to work. There is only one fixed rule for writing, and that is hard and unpopular; the story that you have not set down in words will never win glory, no matter how many evenings you have spent in delighting yourself and annoying your relatives by relating its plot. Which is an elaborate way of saying: Work! There are a few footnotes : don't ask professional writers for their advice-they have a hard enough time doing their own work without doing yours; the most suitable "setting" No Flight to Olympus 189 for a story is one that interests you, and only you can decide that; and if you feel that you have a "message for the world," make some wistful effort to discover whether it is yours or something you heard in a sermon, an editorial, or a funny story on the radio last week. There is a belief that the first concept of a story is either a "plot" or the portrait of a person, or the impression of a place. Actually, these three are from the beginning mixed in your mind; you want to do a story about a person who, as he becomes real to you, dwells in a very definite house, street, city, class of society. You cannot tuck your imagination into compartments. The fancies of a child, who in a clump of weeds so vividly sees a dragon that he is frightened, are nearer a true greatness of creation than any technique in­ vented by the editor of a magazine whose real artistic purpose is to sell space to advertisers. The rules are nonsense because writing of any distinction is a mental process, not an air-conditioned shop under union rules. Most of the work of writing a novel is done in the author's mind before he makes a mark on paper-though after that he must have the patience to make such marks, eight hours a day for a year or so. Without regarding any of the rules, if you have a story that you passionately want to tell, if you can think about it by yourself, no matter what your hands and feet are doing, if you can keep from draining out all your interest by talking about it to other people, then you may have something-maybe. Even commercially, to compose as most "teachers of crea­ tive writing" advise is . a good way to starve, because there will be a million other unfortunates trying to obey that same teaching, producing that same banal tale. The most correct sparrows are rarely purchased for the better aviaries. If I knew a novice who really wanted to write, I would urge him to spend ten years ( 1) in looking at and listening to everything about him and asking himself, "What is this actually like, not what have I always heard about it?" and (2) in reading such novelists as Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Che­ khov, Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Hemingway, Cather, 190 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT Thomas Wolfe, Dos Passos, Henry James, Mark Twain, Wharton, Faulkner, Richard Wright, Maritta Wolff, Cald­ well, Farrell, Steinbeck, Dickens, Hardy, Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Scott, the Bronte sisters, Samuel Butler, H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, E. M. Forster, Kipling, Maugham, George Moore, Balzac and Proust. I would not guarantee that at the end of this probation he would be able to write one good paragraph, but certainly he would be less likely to write a bad one, and he would have had a golden decade. And if he did write at all, then, and if he had talent, his work might faintly belong with that of the masters, and not be standardized junk turned out on an as­ sembly line-ill made and selling cheap.

A Letter on Style

From Types and Times in the Essay, selected and arranged by Warner Taylor, Harper and Brothers, 1932

� This letter was written at the solicitation of Professor Taylor for that section of his book entitled Essays and Letters on the Art of Writing. Again Mr. Lewis takes a position typically contradictory to what one supposes to be the general belief. "He [the author] writes as God lets him," says Mr. Lewis.

I SUSPECT THAT NO COMPETENT AND ADEQUATELY TRAINED writer ever, after his apprenticeship, uses the word "style" in regard to his own work. If he did, he would become so self­ conscious that he would be quite unable to write. He may -if I myself am normal he certainly does--consider specific problems of "style." He may say, "That sentence hasn't the right swing," or "That speech is too highfalutin' for a plain chap like this character," or "That sentence is banal-got it A Letter on Style 191 from that idiotic editorial I was reading yesterday." The generic concept of "style," as something apart from, dis­ tinguishable from, the matter, the thought, the story, does not come to his mind. He writes as God lets him. He writes-if he is good enough!-as Tilden plays tennis or as Dempsey fights, which is to say, he throws himself into it with never a moment of the dilletante's sitting back and watching himself perform. This whole question of style vs. matter, of elegant style vs. vulgar, of simplicity vs. embroidering, is as metaphysical and vain as the outmoded (and I suspect the word "outmoded" is a signal of "bad style") discussions of Body and Soul and Mind. Of such metaphysics, we have had enough. Today, east and north of Kansas City, Kansas, we do not writhe in such fantasies. We cannot see that there is any distinction between Soul and Mind. And we believe that we know that with a sick Soul-Mind, we shall have a sick Body; and that with a sick Body, the Mind-Soul cannot be sane. And, still more, we are weary of even such a clarification of that metaphysics. We do not, mostly, talk of Body generically, but say, prosaically, "My liver's bad and so I feel cross." So is it with that outworn conception called "style." "Style" is the manner in which a person expresses what he feels. It is dependent on two things : his ability to feel, and his possession, through reading or conversation, of a vocabulary adequate to express his feeling. Without adequate feeling, which is a quality not to be learned in schools, and without vocabulary, which is a treasure less to be derived from exterior instruction than from the inexplicable qualities of memory and good taste, he will have no style. There is probably more nonsense written regarding the anatomy of "style" than even the anatomies of virtue, sound government, and love. Instruction in "style," like instruc­ tion in every other aspect of education, cannot be given to anyone who does not instinctively know it at the beginning. This is good style: John Smith meets James Brown on Main Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and remarks, "Mornin'! Nice day!" It is 192 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT not merely good style; it is perfect. Were be to say, "Hey, youse," or were be to say, "My dear neighbor, it refreshes the soul to encounter you this daedal morn, when from yon bill the early sun its beams displays," be would equally have bad style. And this is good style : In The Principles and Practice of Medicine by Osler and McCrae, it stands: "Apart from dysentery of the Shiga type, the amoebic and terminal forms, there is a variety of ulcerative colitis, sometimes of great severity, not uncommon in England and the United States." And this to come is also good style, no better than the preceding and no worse, since each of them completely ex­ presses its thought :

A savage place! as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

That I should write ever as absolutely as Coleridge, as Osler and McCrae, or as Jack Smith at ease with Jim Brown, seems to me improbable. But at least I hope that, like them, I shall ever be so absorbed in what I have to say that I shall, like them, write without for one moment stopping to say, "Is this good style?''

My Maiden Effort

�In 1921 Doubleday, Page and Company published for the Authors League of America, with an Introduction by Gellett Burgess, a symposium entitled "My Maiden Effort, Being the Personal Confessions of Well-known American Authors as to My Maiden Effort 193 Their Literary Beginnings." In this piece Mr. Lewis describes what is inferentially his first writing to see print. It was an article in which he told how he had discovered what he thought was a plagiarism. The piece was published in the magazine called The Critic. He was a sophomore at the time, so it probably appeared in the year 1904-5. He refers to him­ self as "a heeler of the Yale Lit. exulting in tenth-rate Ten­ nysonian verses about Launcelot." In Section III of this col­ lection will be found a poem entitled Launcelot which ap­ peared in the Yale Lit. and was dated March, 1904. It be­ comes a nice problem to determine what was really Mr. Lewis's first published work. The writer of these lines is inclined to believe that Lewis simply forgot or ignored what he had written for the Yale Literary Magazine. Scholars who delight in tracing such literary problems may start figuring this one. Harvey Taylor, whose bibliography of Lewis's writ­ ings was published by Doubleday, Doran & Company in 1933, lists the item as "the earliest known published writing by Sinclair Lewis," and notes that a limited edition of one hundred copies was privately printed for him (Harvey Taylor) in 1932 by the Harvard Press. A collector's item indeed!

A YALE SOPHOMORE, WITII NEITHER THE PICTURESQUENESS OF the lads who work their way through and study Greek in the box-offices of burlesque theaters, nor the wealth and good­ fellowship of the men who are admitted to the sanctity of junior societies. A heeler of the Yale Lit., exulting in tenth­ rate Tennysonian verses about Launcelot, troubadors, and young females reading poetry by firelight. All the while an imagination as full of puerile make-believe as that of a ten­ year-old boy. Katherine Cecil Thurston's The Masquerader appeared, and the romantic read it at one sitting, in Phil Morrison's room -a rich room, with etchings! Thereafter he was in his make­ believe a masquerader; now a disguised nobody thrilling the House of Commons; now a ruined Cabinet Minister. In the old Brothers and Linonia Library he found a novel 194 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT written by Israel Zangwi11 in his first days and signed with a pen name. The title of the novel was The Premier and the Painter, and in plot and characters it was a prototype of The Masquerader. The sophomore was thrilled; he was a Discoverer; he had found a Plagiarism; he could Collate, now, like Billy Phelps or Tinker. He wrote an aged-sounding article about the similarity of the two books, and it was typed by a classmate, Allan Updegraff, later to be a novelist and an innovator in poetry. The two discussed the name to be signed. The author had three names, whereof the first was Harry. Now, Harry, they agreed, was quite all right for the Commons and the Chat Noir lunch counter but not for the 1904 literary world where one could meet geniuses who had seen Richard Le­ Gallienne and James Huneker, where bearded men sat up late nights to discuss George Meredith, where one could, if a whopping success, make five thousand dollars a year! The "Harry" was buried-and the article was accepted by The Critic, selig. To the sophomore's flustered delight it was taken seriously. The New York Times Book Review gave a mildly cynical editorial to it, and Mrs. Thurston made answer-effectively. The sophomore was altogether certain that he had arrived. He "dashed off a little thing"-it was an era when one still said that, and spoke of one's "brain children." The little thing was a child verse and as the author had, at the time, never had anything to do with children, it was realistic and opti­ mistic. Not only was it taken by a woman's magazine but three dollars was, or were, paid for it! The sophomore began to spout verse, short stories, Whimsi­ cal Essays; he kept a dozen of them on the road at once; and for the next five years he was a commercial success. True, his contributions were artistically worthless but he must have made, by working every evening and every Sunday, an aver­ age of nearly forty dollars a year. But since then he has suspected that commercialism, even thus rewarded, is not enough-no, not enough! Rambling Thoughts on Literature

as a Business

From the Yale Literary Magazine, Centennial Number, 1936

�No one was better equipped than Mr. Lewis to speak on the subject of literature as a business. The pieces in this book show clearly that in his early career, before the publication of Main Street, the energetic Hal Lewis knew as much about writing and selling magazine articles as anyone on the scene. This essay, written in 1936, is of course based on conditions in the literary marketplace of that day; nevertheless the author of Main Street and Babbitt sets forth some of the cardinal principles which governed his working life up to that time.

IF I WERE A TEACHER OF LITERATURE IN YALE OR ANY OTHER university today, or if I were an editor of the Lit., I would discourse less to my disciples upon Joyce or proletarianism in the arts than upon the problem of helping such of them as have the itch and the ability to write to make a living. We of an older generation have done well. Indeed, in a great many cases we have received, both in money and in praise, so much more than we have ever deserved that if we were to run into Poe in the club, and he were to scoff, "I hear you're doing very well, my lad!" we would blush distress­ ingly, in memory of his struggles. And those of a somewhat younger generation cannot complain. Among Yalensians, there are Harrison Smith and John Farrar, who are as im­ portant as any publishers in America; there are Stephen Benet, and the John Chamberlain who has managed to make the 195 196 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT sedate New York Times swallow liberalism and gaiety, and like it. But I am afraid that there is under way a change which is somewhat menacing to the youngsters under twenty-five who believe that they, too, will, by their typewriters, acquire Rolls­ Royces, the unabridged Oxford Dictionary, the right to talk to Scott Fitzgerald at Mentone, Jermyn Street shoes, and all the other precious sweets which older writers have coveted and gained. That books "simply do not sell any more" is almost true. There are plenty of novels which have sold only ten thousand copies this past year of 1935 which fifteen years ago would have sold fifty thousand. I know of a really indispensable biography which certainly deserved a sale of five thousand and of which now, in two years, a whole six hundred copies have been taken by our celebrated culture-hungry nation. The author spent a solid year of work on it, and made a hundred and eighty dollars. All this is by no means the fault of the Depression only. The movie, the automobile, the road house, bridge, and, most of all, the radio are the enemies of magazine-reading, book-reading, and homicidally the enemies of book-buying, because they absorb both the leisure and the share in the family budget which our poor, wretched ancestors devoted to books. And with the rise in the wages of servants, we build smaller houses, rent smaller flats, today, and have no room for books. . . . Oh, of course we have room enough for one or two cars, for one or two coffin-sized radios, for the electric refrigerator and (if you live in a suburb, as I do) for a "game room" decorated in the style of a raths­ keller, but certainly no room for a couple of hundred books . . . . Besides. Who would read Sir Thomas Browne, or William Faulkner, if you prefer it that way, when he could be listening to Eddie Cantor or Ray Knight's Cockoos or, with the little ones, to the ltty Bitty Kiddy Hour? (Cross my heart! This last item was listed for nine P.M., Sunday, December 22, 1935, on station WHN.) I suspect that in the future a writer will be able to make Rambling Thoughts on Literature as a Business 197 a respectable living (say a thousand a year or so) only by toiling for the radio or Hollywood, and while there may arise geniuses who will be able to create century-enduring beauty and strength in those media ...yes? and I suppose some day there will be photographers as great as Rembrandt? . . . yet from what I know of those nimble arts, and from what I know of writers of the last five hundred years, it is about as probable as to suppose that bran will presently become a tastier dish than grouse. Even in such magnificent films as "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "The Informer," I suspect that the actors, the cameramen, and the director were much more important than any writer connected with the job; and as to the picture from David Copperfield, I am . glad that Mr. Dickens wrote it in an innocent supposition that books were books and not, at their highest, raw material for the Film Industry. And there are "good programs" on the radio. Woollcott and Van Loon have the dramatic gift which, in general, most writers lack in speech. Practically all "good programs" are music and nothing else and for writers in general I should say that deep-sea diving or manicuring has considerably livelier promise than the microphone, and that in general, if they will persist in writing, they may expect considerably less bread than stones-the latter not necessarily handed to them. Now of course this prospect will not stop, will scarcely halt, any writer who is authentic. You can't keep him from writing! A Bunyan or a Raleigh or an 0. Henry, even, is rapturous about the leisure and seclusion for writing that he finds in prison. A man who will not write as zealously for the Yale Lit., as for -or the Sa turday Evening

Post-is a bad craftsman, and all Nature rejoices when a bad craftsman passes to his bad forefathers. What the young writer of today should contemplate is a dual profession-and incidentally it would be the best thing in the world for his tortured creativeness to be forced to touch some non-literary world, forced to remember what saner folk are daily up to. Let the young Balzac or Byron not only wear his elbows shiny at his desk, but let him with equal 198 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT assiduity learn another and slightly more lucrative calling. But I would like him to keep out of advertising, journalism, and the teaching of literature, if possible, because they are too much akin to his writing. No, let him become a doctor or a grocer, a mail-flying aviator or a carpenter, a farmer or a bacteriologist, a priest or a Communist agitator, and with the two professions together, he may make a living . . . pro­ vided any of us will be "making a living," a couple of decades from now. I do not jest. I really know a poet, a good poet, who keeps alive by conducting a grocery store, with a gasoline pump in front of it, in northern Vermont. He has time not only to write, but to edit and, himself, by hand, to print a small magazine. I know of no chromium-plated, streamlined writer of magazine serials who has half his leisure or a tenth of his dignity. Were we all to do this, perhaps we might advance back­ ward to the nobility of Emerson, the preacher and lecturer, Hawthorne, the customs-house clerk and foreign consul, Whittier, the farmer and editor, Longfellow, the teacher, Lowell, the teacher and diplomat, Holmes, the doctor, Whit­ man, the government clerk, and Thoreau, the pencil-maker. Not one "professional writer" in the lot! I warn you, though, that if you become like any of these, you will not win the approval of Mr. Ernest Hemingway. In Men without Women, Farewell and Sun Also Rises it was indicated that Torn Wolfe and he are far the best among the fictioneers now under forty, but in his new book, Green Hills of Africa, a volume in which he tells how extremely amusing it is to shoot lots and lots of wild animals, to hear their quite­ human moaning, and see them lurch off with their guts dragging, Mr. Hemingway notes : "Emerson, Hawthorne, Whittier, and Company ...All these men were gentlemen, or wished to be. They were all very respectable. They did not use the words that people al­ ways have used in speech, the words that survive in language. Nor would you gather that they had bodies. They had minds, yes. Nice, dry, clear minds. This is all very dull." (Check!) How I Wrote a Novel 199 I told you this essay would be rambling. As always, Mr. Hemingway has inspired me; this time to the following "Lines to a College Professor" :

Mister Ernest Hemingway Halts his slaughter of the kudu To remind you that you may Risk his sacerdotal hoodoo If you go on, day by day, Talking priggishly as you do. Speak up, man! Be bravely heard Bawling the four-letter word! And wear your mind decollete Like Mr. Ernest Hemingway.

No, if you take my advice and combine the delights of selling coffee and pickles and figs with the delights of writing about them, you will never be allowed to throw the bull with Mr. Hemingway. But I wonder if you will care much. And about my taking my own advice? Too late; about twenty years too late. But I would give a lot if, between spells of the enchanted dreariness of writing, I could go to work in a biological laboratory, or possess an inn of my own to fuss over (in the kitchen rather than in the elegance of the "front office"), or be able to build a chicken house instead of forever sitting reading. Be off to your grocing, young man!

How I Wrote a Novel on Trains and Beside the Kitchen Sink

11 Hal Lewis, as he was then known to his friends, lived in Port Washington, Long Island, with his first wife, Grace Hegger Lewis, and commuted to an editorial and publicity job -in New York with the old George H. Doran Com- 200 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT pany. A lot of us knew he was working on a novel. Of course, he was always writing; indeed, had published two books and had been a regular contributor to the Saturday Eveni�g Post and other magazines for several years. But this novel, we sensed, was different, although he never told us anything about it. The following article in for April, 1921, tells how he squeezed out the time. The book was The Trail of the Hawk, published in 1915 by Harper & Brothers. His first book, Hike and the Aeroplane, was published by Frederick A. Stokes Company under the pseudonym of Tom Graham. It was written for boys and the author's own copy was inscribed "To Sinclair Lewis from the author, Tom Graham, his altered ego." His first novel, Our Mr. Wrenn, signed by himself, was published by Harper & Brothers in 1914. It will be noted that this article appeared in 1921, ap­ proximately a year after the publication of Main Street and six years after the publication of The Trail of the Hawk.

I HAVE A PillLOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLE, A HANDY AND PORTABLE key to achievement, for the twenty or thirty million young Americans who at the present second are wondering how they can attain it. It applies to shoemakers as much as to authors. It is: Six times one equals six. It sounds simple and rather foolish, and it is harder to carry out than an altitude flight. Being a professional writer, not a good one but quite a hard-working one, I hear at least once a week, "What's the trick? How can I break into the magazine game? I want to write. I've been reading your stuff, and I think I could do something like it. What must I do?" My first answer is, "Well, you can save a great deal of time by not reading my stuff. Read Thomas Hardy, Conrad, Ana­ tole France. Or, if you want the younger men, look at Joseph Hergesheimer, James Branch Cabell, Henry Mencken; and all of these astonishing young Englishmen-Walpole, Maugham, Cannan, Lawrence, and the rest." How I Wrote a Novel 201 The achievement hunter ferrets an ancient envelope out of his pocket and solemnly notes down the names, as though they were magic formulas, and I have a private fit of despair in the most convenient corner, because young men who solemnly note down things rarely put their notes into life. And, to defend my own sex, let me say that frequently the young man in question is a young woman. One out of every three women of any leisure will, without much pressing, confide that she "wants to write"-not to write anything in particular, but just write. After restoring the annotated envelope to a pocket where it will be lost for keeps, he, or she, confides that he-con­ found those pronouns-they confide that they are peculiar, quite different from all other humans, because, by the most extraordinary circumstances, they "haven't much time." The young newspaperman boasts that after a night at the grind, he is tired. And he says it with a haughty air of being the only person on the entire earth and suburban planets who works hard enough to get tired. And a young married woman tranquilly asserts that after a conference with cook, a bridge­ tea, laboring at eating dinner, and watching the nurse put baby to bed, she is so exhausted that she cannot possibly carry out her acute ambition to write. I want to add to recorded history the fact that there is no patent on being tired and no monopoly in it. Several people have been tired since the days of Assyria. It is not so novel a state that it is worth much publicity. When I hear of a marvel­ ous new case of it on the part of a yearner, I sigh: "But do you really want to write?" "Oh, yessssss!" "Why?" "Oh, it must be such a fascinating life." "Huh!" the boorish professional grunts, "I don't see any­ thing very fascinating about sitting before a typewriter six or seven hours a day." "Oh, yes, but the-the joy of self-expression, and the fame." "Fame! Huh! I'll lay you nine to one that if Rudyard Kip- 202 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT ling and Jack Dempsey arrived on the same train, Kipling wouldn't even be able to hire a taxi." "I don't care," the yearner insists. "I think my present life is intolerably dull, and I do want to write." "Very well then. I'll tell you the trick. You have to do only one thing: Make black marks on white paper. That little detail of writing is one that is neglected by almost all the aspirants I meet." He-and especially she-is horribly disappointed by my cynicism. He-and often she-finds nothing interesting in making marks on paper. What he, she, it, they, and sometimes W and Y, want to do is to sit dreaming purple visions, and have them automatically appear: (1) on a manuscript; (2) on a check from the editor. So he, and the rest of the pro­ nouns, usually finds the same clever excuse: "But I simply can't seem to find the time. Oh, I just lonnnnnnnnng to write, but when I sit down to it, someone always comes and disturbs me, and I'm so tired, ·a nd- Well, I always tell Adolphus that some day I'll have six months free, and I'll devote them to writing, and then I just know I'll suc­ ceed. I always say to Dolph, I know I can write better stuff than I read in all these magazines." "Look here. Could you get an hour free every day?" After a certain amount of bullying, they usually admit the hour. The newspaper reporter who desires to follow Irv Cobb confesses that he could make use of an hour while he is waiting for an assignment. The young housewife who wishes to produce a volume of fairy stories for children-and 96.3 per cent of all young housewives do so wish-grants that if she hustled a little with her sewing and marketing and tele­ phoning to other housewives, she could have an hour free. "All right!" the discouraging philosopher concludes, "an hour a day for six days is six hours a week, twenty-five or so hours a month. Anybody who is not deaf, blind, and addicted to dementia praecox, can write between a hundred and a thousand words an hour. Making it a minimum of a hundred, you can do five thousand words in two months-and that is a How I Wrote a Novel 203 fair-sized short story. At the maximum of a thousand, you could do a short story in a week. "Very few writers produce more than one short story a month, in the long average, though they can use as much as they wish of twenty-four hours a day. That is because they become wearied of invention, of planning new stories; must spur themselves by the refreshment and recreation of real life. But that real life you are getting all day. You have, as far as time goes, just as much chance as they. If you concentrate an hour a day you can produce somewhere between half as much as, and four times as much as, a professional writer. "Providing always-providing you can write. And providing you have enough will power to use your ability. And provid­ ing you stop deceiving yourself about not having the time!" Six times one is six, in hours as much as in the potatoes which William is always selling to John in the problem. But you can vary the multiplication. Of those few people who cannot control an hour a day, there are probably none above the mental grade of moron who cannot get in a quarter of an hour daily. If the aspirant actually is too tired at night, he can get up a quarter of an hour earlier in the morning. If a man wrote only twenty-five words a day, but kept that up for twelve years, be would have a full-length novel. Twelve years for one novel will seem slow to the get-literary-quick yearners. Yet most good writers toil through fifteen or twenty years of apprenticeship before they succeed, and a scholar thinks nothing of twenty years spent on a work of research which does well if it sells a thousand copies. If you have it in you to produce one thundering good novel, one really big novel, just one, your place in American litera­ ture will be safe for the next hundred years. For very few even of the well-known novelists ever produce as much as one thoroughly good novel in all their lives, and still fewer pro­ duce more than one. You can rival or excel them with twenty-five words a day-if you have the ability-and if you really want to. If you haven't the ability, and if you don't violently want to, then you couldn't do it with twenty-four hours free every day. 204 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT But once you understand this principle, you must also grasp another thing: the need of concentration. Each daily hour must instantly hook on the hour of the day before. Concentra­ tion can be learned-and without any trick exercises. It is largely habit. The taxi-driver, calm and concentrated in traf­ fic that would shatter an amateur, the policeman attending strictly to the crowd and ignoring the king driving by, the button maker serene on the job all day long-none of them are heroic exceptions, but all of them are practicing excellent concentration. It can be learned-if you want to. But for heaven's sake, if you don't sufficiently want to, stop yearning for the almost entirely imaginary glories of the literary career. Now, if all of this applied only to writing, it would scarce be worth recording. But it happens to apply equally to the ambition of almost every young man or woman, whether that ambition is the study of law, the designing of new types of airplanes--or of hats-the mastery of business detail, or gaining promotion and greater knowledge in your present work, your present office or shop. A large percentage of people go on vaguely believing that they would like to be lawyers or executives, vaguely desiring to do something about it, vaguely talking about it, vaguely excusing themselves. And the years slip on, treacherous and swift and cruel; and by and by they are seventy, and the chance has gone-for want of understanding that six times one daily hour is six hours every week. But let me tremulously endeavor to remove myself from the category of chest-pounding, imitate-me-and-you-will-be-suc­ cessful inspiration-mongers by hastening to admit that I have had many years of laziness. I have beat the job in about all the known ways. Jack Dunnigan fired me from the San Francisco Bulletin because I was a rotten reporter; and with amazing unanimity Charley Kloeber fired me from the Associated Press. But there did come a time when I desperately saw that if I was ever going to be free to write, I must-write! I, too, "had no time for it." I was, by now, a rather busy editor for a publishing firm. I read manuscripts, saw authors and artists, answered telephone calls from the printer, wrote How I Wrote a Novel 205 advertising, devised devilish ways of getting publicity, from nine-fifteen to five or six or seven, with forty miles a day of commuting besides. And, like the complainants of whom I complain, I was dead tired every evening-too tired to think of anything but the Krazy Kat pictures and the inviting genius of the man who invented sleeping. So I decided that I would not have time for being tired, in­ stead of not having time for writing. I wrote practically all of a novel on trains, and the rest of it I wrote at times when I didn't have time to write! About one morning a week-not oftener, I confess-I had courage enough to get up an hour earlier than usual. Our Long Island bungalow took an hour to heat after the furnace had been fed; but the kitchen was warm, and before the cook arrived from her palatial mansion I got in most of an hour of writing-with the drain board in the kitchen as my desk! Between adjectives I made a cup of coffee on the gas range. By request, my wife did not get up to make it for me. I wanted to concentrate on the job. And I may say that no studio-I believe there are writers who have things called studios-and no Hepplewhite chairs and Spanish tapestries and Sheraton desks ever made a better environment for writing than a drain board, with a cup of coffee steaming beside me in the sink. There was an hour a week, at least; and that was fifty hours a year. Commuting into New York took from thirty-five to fifty minutes. I finished the morning paper in seven or eight min­ utes, and after that I did not, as invariably I wanted to, gos­ sip about golf, the water rates, and Tammany with my fellow commuters. I looked around, got ready to be queer, hauled out a plain manila filing folder, and began to write in pencil, with the folder on my knee as a desk. I got from fifty to five hundred words done almost every morning. There are many paragraphs in The Trail of the Hawk­ probably the only arousing ones in that not very interesting novel-which were composed in order to give a good bewil­ dered time to some shoe merchant or broker sitting beside me in the train. At first their ponderously cautious curiosity 206 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT bothered me, but as I gradually got the habit of concentration, it amused me. Returning on the train at night, I was usually too tired to write again, but sometimes I did manage five minutes. And when I lunched alone I found that I could plan two or three days' work without having to "find time." I don't know that thinking about story plots took any longer than meditating on the impossibility of finding time to think about plots. In the evening, after dinner and playing and loafing and per­ haps reading a manuscript not finished in office hours, I could usually capture another hour or two. Oh, I didn't want to work. I was tired. I longed to go to bed. But I didn't let myself do it till midnight. Nor did Saturday afternoon have to be devoted entirely to tramping or tennis or a swim. I compromised. I was home by one; wrote for two hours; then enjoyed ten times more the beautiful freedom of a hike across the Long Island hills. A lot of you, my dear young friends, whose candid faces I see here before me tonight-and let me say that I am always glad to get back to your beautiful little city, the loveliest spot on my entire Lyceum circuit-many of you will endeavor to avoid my prosaic principle of six times one is six by turning virtuous; by quoting some of my predecessors on this plat­ form, and stating in pure and ringing accents that you can't write, or read law, or design frocks, or study for promotion in the office, at six-thirty A.M., on the drain board, because that would be unfair to your present job. I have yet to learn why excited, future-reaching, adventur­ ous work at your real ambition should be more injurious to your job than sitting up half the night to play poker, or gos­ siping in a smoke-filled room till you are a pulp of aimless­ ness, or painstakingly cooking fudge, or yawning at a senti­ mental movie full of domestic virtues and kitties, or industri­ ously reading the social column in a newspaper. Oh, I've been guilty. I've dawdled through the movies, sat talking about things that did not interest me with people who bored me-because it was too much trouble to shake them off and go home. The last time I committed these two faults in How I Wrote a Novel 207 one evening was something less than twenty-four hours before striking out these majestic chords on the typewriter. But at least I have learned this : When I have not done the things I thought I wanted to do; if, in the future, I shall not do the things I now think I want to do, the one excuse I may not use is: "I can't find the time." I have, and you have, twenty-four hours a day. And that is, so far as I can find out, approximately the same amount of daily time that was granted to Michelangelo, Pasteur, Shakespeare, or Ty Cobb. "I want to write." Well then, hang it-write! If you decide that the one way to do the job is to do it, kindly get through it without the use of any of the following words: Pep, punch, jazz, hustle, snap, virile, and, most of all, red-blooded. These words are the symbols of what may well be the worst fault in American philosophy-a belief that a shallow appearance of energy actually is energy. In begging people to use the selvages and scraps of their time, I wish them to understand that I am not advocating the Pep creed: that re­ ligion of making a lot of noise about what you're going to do as soon as you can take time off from making a lot of noise. There is no Pep, there is no phonographic bellowing of the cant phrases of the marketplace, in a quiet, resolute desire for daily concentration. In fact, the man who pounds his desk, and scatters papers all over the floor, and yells at the tele­ phone operator, and bursts into flights of optimism, has no time to settle down to the job. To the man with a sense of humor, this clamorous in­ sistence on violently hustling nowhere in particular, and stand­ ing on one's hind legs to advocate that form of activity as contributing to the welfare of the nation, is simply impossible. To the man with a passionate desire for beauty, with a long­ ing to build-whether it is to build novels or stone walls or shoes-there is only shrinking disgust at the yapping of the man whose entire creed is : "What you guys want to do is to jazz up the business and keep the iron men doing quick turnovers." The real disciple of success is diligent about the Lord's af- 208 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT fairs, yet he is curiously gentle. He uses his reason. And he does something more subtle than merely spending his spare quarter-hours in working for advancement. He thinks. Most people do not actively think about anything beyond the im­ mediate details of food and the job. For it is not easy to de­ tach one's self from pleased self-approbation and to see clearly one's relation to the round of life. The builder, and he may be a builder in business as much as in any art, concentrates on his building, yet sees all of life expanding, as circle beyond circle of possible achievement is disclosed. He will neither whine, "I can't find time," nor, at the other extreme, will he pound his own back and bellow, "Oh, I'm one grand little worker." His idol is neither the young man sighing over a listless pipe, nor the human calliope. He works, persistently, swiftly, without jar.

Obscenity and Obscurity

From Esquire, July, 1945

11 Mr. Lewis here pays his respects to two trends which have been matters of controversy and puzzlement to authors, read­ ers, publishers, critics, purity societies, voluntary censors and the public guardians of our morals, for a generation. (We needn't go into the trends from Chaucer, to Jane Austen, to Henry James.) Some people may be surprised at Lewis's posi­ tion on the Anglo-Saxon four-letter words; yet if they reflect on his books, they will find here a principle that guided his whole writing career.

' SO, MOST RESPECTED SIR, YOU RE SHOCKED BY SEEING THAT most disgusting of words printed right out in a book? You've never used it but once, and you felt so soiled afterward that Obscenity and Obscurity 209 you washed out your mouth, did you? And you simply won't have in the bouse a book that contains it, eh? No doubt you say, "Can they really print that now and not get arrested? Why, just a few years ago, every decent person was shocked if he saw damn in print, but now authors corrupt the morals of all virgins, smash up the home, and offend against the standards of Good Taste and the Bishop by printing that word ...." Which word do I mean, most respected Sir? I haven't said it, but you know exactly which one I mean-and you did not "just see it written on a fence one time." How can you con­ tinue to be shocked by anything so familiar to you? No, your real feeling is not moral at all but social. You regard it as you would regard the wearing of a red tie with evening clothes, or drinking cocktails after dinner. Hypocrisy is never pretty, but this one of yours is also a symptom of retarded juvenility, and a sign of futility, because once youngsters start using That Word, you can't stop them. So, having depicted your provincial childishness, I shall now turn right around and join you. I don't like That Word any better than you do, m.r.S. I don't like the use, either in a book or in the parlor, the use of any of those Nine Saxon Monosyllables which the sly and the roughneck use to describe natural functions just to be spicy. Yes, m.r.S., there is actually one worse imbecile than you, with your queasy reticences, and that is the literary botcher who is so limited in his vocabulary and in his under­ standing of human society that be can express reality or in­ dignation only by those illiterate, privy-wall, yahoo animal­ sounds. I was shocked not by the immorality but by the clumsiness of two current authors who, trying to make clear the woes of Southern Negroes, could show their squalor only by having the characters use That Word or its kinsmen. They do not know their business as missionaries. They slap the very ears that they are trying to cajole. Mr. Shaw and Mr. Karl Marx knew their job better. It is not merely that the dirty words-what do I mean by 210 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT "dirty words"?-you know what I mean!-it is not merely that they are childish and shock all the geftillte goldfish, but that they have no great value as "realism." The pious manur­ ists insist, "That's the way people do talk," but if an author really wanted to transcribe completely the conversation of the lowlifes, he could not do it just by using two or three dirty words to a page; he would have to use two or three or four to every sentence, until be was as sick of them as his readers. In a novel like Ward 20 by James Warner Bellah, a picture of the humanness and agony of mutilated soldiers in a hos­ pital, the democratic purpose is obviously to show the nobility in these slangy youngsters, but by unsparingly repeating the same dull, dirty words, Mr. Bellah makes it as dull as a clini­ cal report. Far better is The Brick Foxhole, by a really im­ portant new writer, , now a Marine. He cou­ rageously faces every seaminess in a soldier's holiday, sexual or social, but as be is too competent merely to remoutb the four-letter words, his characters become friends, not examples of the Priggishness of Conscientious Dirtiness. A book goes into the living room of strangers and the author with it, generously welcomed at first. Until he is certain that his hosts like to have their sociological revelations worded in the language of a vomiting coal heaver, be would do well to be at least as diplomatic as a policeman. Ob, my good friends Mr. Hemingway and Mr. Farrell, and you, Mr. D. H. Lawrence, selig, with the bleached subcellar smut of your Lady Chatterley's Lover-you boys started some­ thing when you began to undress in the drawing-room. When such of your followers as do not bathe or shave start imitating you, it doesn't look so romantic. They took your precept, "Be clever and dirty," but they were so dumb that they could follow only the last part of it. But whether it is more dreary to overuse That Word or to try to censor people who do use it, the Supreme Court must decide. Allied to the feeble violence of obscenity is the coy snooti­ ness of obscurity, of taking a weak little newborn thought and dressing it up like a mikado. It is particularly to be noted in Obscenity and Obscurity 21 1 the poets whose attitude is "If you're such an illiterate that you do not immediately see, when I speak of 'Dora,' that I am really referring to dory ph ora, which is, as I have just this minute learned from the dictionary, the Latin scientific word for the potato bug, why then I can't be bothered by your silly, senile, and probably Fascist opinion." These are the boys and girls who simultaneously boast that their works are so subtle that only sixty-two living persons can appreciate them, and rage because their books do not have a sale of 62,000. But not all of the obscurators are such warts. Unfortunately, among them are some of the most shining minds of our younger poets. Consider Marguerite Young, a scholar and a seer, who must be indicted for surrounding her real garden of beauty with a fence of fog through which no reader can peer. There seems to be no reason for having anything pub­ lished-that is, given to the public-if none of that public can understand it. If one truly refuses to communicate, then he should keep his manuscripts in the mother-of-pearl desk at home. Miss Young has a new prose volume, Angel in the Forest (Reyna] & Hitchcock). It is the history of the Utopian colonies at New Harmony, Indiana, whose benevolent insanity sug­ gests that the chronicle of America is not merely a financial chart prepared for Mr. Babbitt but an intricate tapestry of many colors. Overmannered though this lively book may be, it is not unduly hard reading. But in her poetry Miss Young displays obscurity at its most irritating. Last year was published her volume of verse, Moderate Fable, with such riddles as this:

By null of him unproved, pale unicorn And non-existent, each unearthly entity Like the hind which breeds only at the rising of Arcturus... .

Is that poetry, or is it the smoke of an ill-trimmed lamp in a handsome but unventilated room woven into a web whose 212 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT most precious quality is that no one can guess its origin or its purpose? The triple purposes of Symbolism, of the new Metaphysical poets, whose gods are T. S. Eliot and John Donne, are to per­ ceive the complex strangeness beneath the commonplace sur­ faces of persons and circumstances, to recognize the unity of dissimilar functions of life, and to express these inex­ pressibles in pictorial symbols which may have a richer emo­ tional power than rheumatic words. Now to accomplish any of this incantation is difficult, and the sound writer slaves to make his visions clear to others. When the exhibitionist deliberately makes his rites as confus­ ing as possible, he is permitted to go on only because so many people are afraid to blurt out, "I don't know what it means." For the same reason, Gertrude Stein, the Mother Superior of all that shoddy magic, is still extensively admired even though she is also extensively unread. Here is a quotation from another obscurator, R. Y. Zachary, appearing in the last number of that fascinating annual of , New Directions, published by James Laughlin at Norfolk, Connecticut, and to be recommended to all persons who want to know what the more ardent youngsters are up to. In Mr. Zachary's case, it is this:

The gardenia, with its plush-white modesty, Preempts a place for its red odor, Scent of Tlaelscuani, the goddess of mediocre beds, Her branchless turbary oozes

In pallid minds . o o

What? Now William Blake and Emily Dickinson were also sym­ bolists, and no poets have ever been less stereotyped, timid, or commercial. Yet their thoughts became crystal. Listen to Emily, in an extremely important book of her hitherto un­ published poetry, Bolts of Melody (Harper's), just issued this spring: Obscenity and Obscurity 213 Tell all the truth but let it slant, Success in circuit lies, Too bright for our infirm delight The truth's superb surprise.

I cannot complain if the poets wish to commit suicide by convincing the world that all poetry bas become so stylized and dreary that no sensible person will read any of it. But I do object when they begin to drag the veils of egotism over the hard clarity of prose. Here is a young novelist, Naomi Gilpatrick, whose first novel, The Broken Pitcher, is under the spell of Faulkner, Tom Wolfe and, perhaps, the shaggier manuals of psycho­ analysis. She is evidently a sensitive and really talented girl, but in her next book she must fight to be lucid as in this one she has fought to be allusive, illusive, and deep. Here, with many omissions, is a conversation between her heroine's mother and stepfather, who is supposed to be a good scientific researcher. Mother: "Isn't it funny bow those old refusals-to-serve come back in new and more deceptive guises? Goethe said the devil is be-who-denies." Father: "A scientist when he puts down the clean verities of fact wants the nuclear phrase.... We need what this poem gives-intimation." "You mean," Mother said thoughtfully, "the same ineluct­ able we have found in W. H. Auden, Rosamond Haas, Francis Thompson, Rilke." I guess that's what Miss Gilpatrick's hardboiled old re­ searcher did mean, and a hell of a bouse it must have been for the heroine to live in, if the Old Folks talked in that educated way very often. There is one young woman who is accepted as "different" and "authentic" even by the best celebrants of the black mass in Taos and Carmel and Greenwich Village and Norfolk: the who, with her two recent volumes of short stories, A Curtain of Green (Doubleday, Doran) and The Wide Net (Harcourt, Brace), has become possibly the most 214 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT distinguished of the new story-tellers. Oh yes, she had heard of Symbolism, but her writing is as clear-and as free of ob­ scenity-as the Gettysburg Address. Poor girl, she can't be either an Artist or a Modernist. That's a pity, isn't it, most respected Sir, and don't forget that even the Sphinx could never decide whether it is more idiotic to use That Word or to try to censor the people who do use it. And stop repeating it to yourself now! Not nice at all!

Introduction to iUai1z Street

� The following Introduction to Main Street was published in a handsome edition issued by The Limited Editions Club in 1937 with illustrations by Grant Wood. This was seventeen years after it was first published by Harcourt, Brace & Com­ pany. In this piece the author reveals that in 1905 he started a novel, out of which Main Street grew, while he was at home in Sauk Centre for his summer vacation from Yale. Only then the title was The Village Virus, and the chief character was Guy Pollock. The final draft, he says, was made in 1919 in Washington, D. C. What Lewis tells here of the writing of Main Street is probably as much as ever will be known. A few people know some details; others know a few more. Ob­ viously his first wife, Grace Hegger Lewis Casanova, knows most of all. But as stated elsewhere in these notes, Lewis did not like to rob a work in progress of its freshness by talking it out.

I MUST, SAYS THE PUBLISHER OF TinS EDITION OF Main Street, write an Introduction; and what, he suggests, with the bland­ ness characteristic of all publishers urging slothful writers to Introduction to Main Street 215 their task, would I like to say about the opus? What would I like to say? Nothing whatever! To me (and I think to most writers) there is no conceivable subject so uninteresting as one's own book, after you have finished the year of ditch­ digging and bricklaying, read the proofs with the incessant ir­ ritation of realizing how much better you might have said this or that if you had had another year, then fretted over the re­ views-equally over those in which you are hoisted to the elevation of world master, and those in which you are dis­ closed as a hypocritical illiterate. And years later, when a couple of million people have read your two-hundred-thousand-word essay on what you think of small towns, your laurels, weekly renewed, will be this letter:

"Our teacher in literature [sic] has set us a task we should each write to his favorite author please send me a signed photograph and write me by hand What do you think about small towns?"

11-Back in 1905, in America, it was almost universally known that though cities were evil and even in the farmland there were occasional men of wrath, our villages were ap­ proximately paradise. They were always made up of small white houses under large green trees; there was no poverty and no toil worth mentioning; every Sunday, sweet-tempered, silvery pastors poured forth comfort and learning; and while the banker might be a pretty doubtful dealer, he was inevitably worsted in the end by the honest yeomanry. But it was Neigh­ borliness that was the glory of the small town. In the cities, nobody knew or cared; but back home, the Neighbors were one great big jolly family. They lent you money, without questioning, to send Ed to business college; they soothed your brow in sickness-dozens of them, twenty-four hours a day, kept charging in and soothing your brow without a moment's cessation; and when you had nevertheless passed beyond, they sat up with your corpse and your widow. Invariably they encouraged youth to go to bigger and nobler things. And in 1905, I returned to my own Minnesota village for 216 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT vacation after my Sophomore year in Yale, and after two months of it, after two months of overhearing the villagers none too softly wonder, "Why don't Doc Lewis make Harry get a job on a farm instead of letting him sit around readin' and readin' a lot of fool histories and God knows what all?'' I was converted to the faith that a good deal of this Neigh­ borliness was a fake; that villages could be as inquisitorial as an army barracks. So in the third month of vacation, fifteen years before it was published, I began to write Main Street. But the title, then, was The Village Virus, and the chief character was not Carol Kennicott but Guy Pollock, the law­ yer, whom I depicted as a learned, amiable, and ambitious young man (altogether, you see, in the image of Doc Lewis's youngest boy, Harry ) who started practice in a prairie village and spiritually starved. I must have written about twenty thousand words of that script, but I remember nothing what­ ever about the details, and the script is as clean gone and vanished away as the script of my first play, which was the libretto for a musical comedy called President Poodle, com­ posed in 1911, with a zealous joy and an ignorance of the stage which I suppose rarely to have been equaled.1 Then, perhaps two or three years before 1919, when the final Main Street was started, I made another effort to tackle the book, now under the final title. I must have endured about thirty thousand words, this time, and, preserving that script, I was later to use about ten thousand in the final book. I felt that I wasn't up to it yet. (Whether I was up to it in 1919, either, I must leave to critics less prejudiced.) But that this was to be the book, I was determined during the four

1 The Yale Collection of American Literature, Yale University, includes a manuscript by Mr. Lewis of a musical comedy libretto, which he composed in 1911, intending it as a vehicle for George :M. Cohan: "President Pip: typewritten :MS. of Act III only of Mr. Lewis's first play-comedy, composed while working for Fred­ erick A. Stokes Publishing Company, 33 pages numbered '82' to '114.' " This may be the "P resident Poodle" he refers to. But there is no copy of the first draft of the novel later to be en­ titled Main Street. Introduction to Main Street 217 years when, after quitting the publishing-house grind in New York, I wandered all over the United States (New York to Florida to Minnesota to Seattle to California to New Orleans to New York) making my living by writing short stories, mostly for The Saturday Evening Post. I spent a good deal of time in Midwestern villages and, though I was now free of the inquisition, having a trade that was considered nearly as choice as medicine, law, the ministry, or even manufacturing, I still felt that the ghetto-like confinement of small towns could be-not always was but so easily could be-a respect­ able form of hell. The sudden sale of a Post serial called Free Air to the movies gave me the chance to take a year of freedom and write Main Street. I hastened to that ampler and pleasanter village, Washington, D. C., and in the fall of 1919 I began the thing in a furnished room, somewhere or other near the present Mayflower Hotel. I took the room as an office because my three-story residence up on Sixteenth Street was rather less stately and commodious than the description sounds. There were only six rooms in the three stories, and they were considerably too small for free, joyous, uninhibited cat-swing­ ing. I finished the 200,000 (maybe it was 1 80,000) words of Main Street on a particularly hot afternoon in early summer of 1920, and that night took the script up to Alfred Harcourt. But I had managed to do so only by working eight hours a day, seven days in most weeks, though a normal number of daily hours of creative writing is supposed to be about four .... That is, I mean, unless Comes the Revolution and I am driven from writing to real work, like bricklaying or soldier­ ing or being a nursemaid.

III-I suppose the book has sold a lot. I haven't the slightest notion how much, and not for years have I asked. But I do know that it is in the class of Anthony Adverse, Fannie Farm­ er's Cook Book, and the lesser-selling of the contract-bridge manuals. What more could an author ask? Even when my 218 PROBLEMS OF THE' CRAFT publishers of that day first had the MS, Harcourt agreed with me that, with luck, it had a very good chance of selling 15,000 copies. The sales manager, A. H. Gehrs, went mad and believed he could palm off 25,000-given a couple of years -but Alf and I smiled and let him rave. rv-When the sale started and my first fan letters came­ letters denouncing me for having sinned against the Holy Ghost; letters thanking me for having shown up the signator's neighbors-there appeared one on the stationery of a Salt Lake City hotel. That meant, of course, a traveling salesman, a little bored and killing time by correspondence. Opened, the manner of the letter seemed singularly distinguished, full of praise that was as discerning as it was cordial; and, look­ ing back for the signature, I found that of a man whom I had never seen, never dreamed of seeing-John Galswortby. v-1 have read, here and there, satisfying proof that Main Street was cribbed completely from The Spoon River An­ thology. I have seen even more satisfying proof that it is a transcript of Madame Bovary. I am no critic. I wouldn't know. I also recall happily an article-in the Saturday Eve­ ning Post, if I remember-which informed my ignorance that small towns in Europe are quite as narrow-minded as in America. True, I had myself said precisely the same thing in Main Street, ye'-rs before, but it is always comforting to be corrected. Even more helpfully I remember an article-! think it was by Mr. Struthers Burt-which confided to the world that it was a tremendous joke on me that Carol wasn't of as good stuff as her husband. As I bad most painstakingly planned that she shouldn't be-that she should be just bright enough to sniff a little but not bright enough to do anything about it-1 was delighted to have Mr. Burt compliment me by in­ dicating that he must have read my book before giving judg­ ment on it. It is gratifying still to be put in one's place. How unhappy I shall be when, sitting under my Vermont fig tree, no Mr. Introduction to Selected Short Stories 219 Struthers Burt takes the trouble to put me in my place. Per­ haps in that barren time, twenty years from now, I shall be­ come so desperate that I may even be willing to write about an ancient book called Main Street.

Introduction to Selected Short Stories

11 Only one collection of Mr. Lewis's nearly 200 published short stories was ever made. This was issued by Doubleday, Doran and Company in 1935 under the title of Selected Short Stories of Sinclair Lewis. The Introduction is interesting if for no other reason than for its statement of what the author learned about himself through rereading these stories. Lewis never had any interest in gathering together another collection ; he felt that the rest of his stories had served their purpose and might well be left in the files of old magazines.

UNTIL I READ PROOF ON THIS VOLUME OF SHORT STORIES I HAD seen none of them since their publication in magazines. And in many cases that was a long time ago. The following are the dates of original publication: "Let's Play King" and "Land" were published in 1931, "Go East, Young Man" in 1930, "A Letter from the Queen" in 1929. But the others belong to an era as distant now and strange as the days of Queen Victoria or of Noah's Ark-those days during and fol­ lowing the war when the world, because it thought that it had reached the very depth of misery, felt optimistically that everything must "get better." "Hack Driver" was published in 1923, "Moths in the Arc Light," "Things," "The Cat of the Stars," "Speed," and the "Kidnapped Memorial" in 1919, "The Ghost Patrol" and "Young Man Axelbrod" in 1917- nearly twenty years ago. To the stories published since 1930 the author feels some 220 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT relationship, but he reads the earlier stories with a skeptical eye. They are so optimistic, so laudatory. They are so certain that large, bulky Americans are going to do something and do it quickly and help the whole world by doing it. But I wonder if this American optimism, this hope and courage, so submerged now in 1935, are not authentic parts of American life. They are good things to have. Dialectics­ clarity-yes, but without a quite primitive courage these are feeble. One of the things interesting to the author, though per­ haps to no one else, in rereading these stories, is the dis­ covery that he, who has been labeled a "satirist" and a "real­ ist," is actually a romantic medievalist of the most incurable sort. He realizes that, but for some mysterious trick of destiny, he might, instead of being properly classed with the sub­ versive, the Communists who insist that most preachers are dull and most politicians are more afflicted by the gimmes than by righteousness, have gone on to be one of the really exemplary representatives of the Arts, men pure and tradi­ tional and frequently white-bearded, like Robert Underwood Johnson, Nicholas Murray Butler, Harold Bell Wright, and Edwin Markham. I think a couple of these stories are fairly good. I rather liked "Let's Play King," "The Willow Walk" and "A Letter from the Queen." I recommend them to my radio audience.

The Art of Dramatization

From the Harcourt, Brace and Company edition of the play Dodsworth, as dramatized by Sidney Howard, with comments by Sinclair Lewis and Sidney Howard. Published in 1933.

� Again Mr. Lewis takes the unexpected position. Instead of the usual plaint of the author that the dramatist has ruined The Art of Dramatization 221 his book, he analyzes with craftsmanlike objectivity the prob­ lems of playwriting and points out the artistic and technical differences between a novel and a play. In so doing, he enunciates, with docwnentation, his own theories on the mak­ ing of a play from a novel.

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, when the film made from my novel Arrowsmith appeared, and I was quoted-correctly-in the press as hugely approving its manner of presentation, I had from an earnest Intellectual in Chicago a letter vigorously damning me for having "sold out." It was as though I had dined with Mussolini, campaigned for Hoover, or paid my debts. My epistolary friend could not believe that I had praised the film because I really liked it. There are two popular tenets regarding the dramatization of fiction for the stage or the screen: The original author, if he be an honest fellow and not bribed by the producer, will loathe, abominate, and be sickened by the result, all in the most public manner possible, no matter how the dramatization is done; and, sec­ ond, such a dramatization is valid only as it follows the smallest details of the original fiction. This may be known as the "trot theory" of dramatization, since it is just as reasonable as it would be to assert that a translation from a foreign language is admirable in propor­ tion as it is literal; to maintain that "Seize mal, ich bin ins Ha us gegangen" should be rendered as "See a time, I am into the house gone," as it would be rendered in one of those classroom necessities, a trot. Actually, portions, and sometimes all, of a dramatization are valuable precisely as they depart from the detail of the original fiction. An example is in Act II, Scene 4-beginning on page 92-of Mr. Howard's dramatization of Dodsworth in this book. This scene, in which Sam is testy with Tub, Matey, Emily and everybody else, does not come from any specific scene in the original novel, and I never saw it nor knew anything about it till I heard it played at a dress re­ hearsal, yet it is my favorite scene in the whole play, and I feel that nothing more veraciously presents the theme and 222 PROBLEMS OF TH!:. CRAFT the characters of the original novel. That, that alone, a novel­ ist may demand from the dramatist-that he preserve, and in the different milieu of the stage sincerely present, the real theme and characters of the story. In this scene, taking but ten minutes or so to play, the characters and interrelationships of Sam, Tubby, Matey, Emily, and Harry are immensely clarified. Especially do we see that the Sam who has been somewhat too meek and eager with Fran can also fight, and that it is not by accident that he has become bead of his motor corporation. The story is car­ ried on-and, most of all, the scene is amusing in itself, with the agreeably idiotic conversation about the picture puzzle. But why could Mr. Howard not have done all this by dramatizing some actual incident of the book? Well, it bas not as yet been said more than a million times, so it is prob­ ably necessary to say a million more times that a play which an audience will enjoy for a period of never more than three hours and a half (and one hour and a half is more nearly the desirable length), which must be performed in a fixed and decidedly restricted space, in the presence of an audience of mixed and highly contradictory tastes, must have an utterly different set of incidents from a novel-incidents moving more swiftly and visually. A novelist can run on and on (and, alas, does! ).· He can perversely take twenty words to describe the Apocalypse and fifty pages to chronicle the hero's shaving, and still be endurable, because the reader can always slap the book shut and continue it only when be is in the mood. It is not quite so easy to see a play in installments -to walk out after two scenes, catch the train back to Yon­ kers, and come in another night for another scene or two. I agree with Mr. Howard in his introduction-that in all the fifty pages chronicling Sam's return to America there is no one incident which could so well tell the tale as the scene be has invented for the play. Novices who desire to dramatize novels-and they, I take it from my mail, make up 99.2% of all literary aspirants­ should profit by the manner in which Mr. Howard bas thus rendered the spirit of the novel by forgetting the letter. If The Art of Dramatization 223 they are to be perfectly successful in following his method, however, it might be well for them to have something of Mr. Howard's talent, and for the acquisition of that, un­ fortunately, I have not discovered a formula.

11-To show definitely just what Mr. Howard has done, I want to compare the end result with the original. The follow­ ing lengthy quotation1 is from pages 315-353 of the standard American edition of the novel Dods worth: the section which recounts Sam's bewildered and lonely wandering through Europe between leaving Fran in Berlin, where she is sup­ posed to get her divorce from him, and becoming sufficiently acquainted with Edith Cortright to see in her a possible com­ panion for a new life. In the play these thirty-eight pages of the novel are ade­ quately represented in Act III, Scene 2, beginning on page 129 of the book of the play in this volume-thirty-eight pages reduced to nine. (Though in defense of the novelist it must be asserted that the dramatist does have the scenery, the lights, the actors and their costumes to fatten out his brevity, while the novelist must, as well as their arbitrary narrow­ ness permits, do all of this with words-such a soul-grinding endlessness of words!)

III-Candidates for the headaching job of dramatization must not suppose that even Mr. Howard was immediately able to condense the preceding thirty-eight pages of the novel into the brevity of Act III, Scene 2. In preliminary versions of the dramatization, there were a score of pages of play script which vanished before the final version, as acted and as presented in this volume, was evolved. In place of the dozen lines at the end of Act III, Scene 1- pages 128-9 in this volume-in which it is so briefly yet definitely foreshadowed that Fran will try to get her divorce, that Sam will be generous, and that he will be lonely, there was another entire scene in Berlin, laid on the morning after

1 Omitted. 224 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT Sam's discovery of Fran's intentions toward Kurt. Sam is drinking a hasty cup of coffee, preparatory to taking the train in retreat from Fran who, as the curtain rises, is off stage, dressing. The scene, condensed, is as follows:

FRAN (offstage) : I'm putting your dress collars and ties in with your dress shirts and your toilet kit in the other bag. DODSWORTH : Thanks. FRAN : Which did you decide on? Flying or the train? DODSWORTH : I'm taking too much with me to fly. FRAN : Got your wagon lit? DODSWORTH: The porter's got it. Don't you want some coffee? FRAN : Pour it out for me. I'll be right in. (He starts to pour. His face contracts.) FRAN : There! (She enters, wearing dressing-gown.) It did shut. DODSWORTH : It was nice of you to pack for me. FRAN : I always have packed for you. (She sits at the table.) You didn't pour my coffee. DODSWORTH : No. (Their eyes meet for the first time. Hers fall. She pours coffee and hot milk into her cup.) FRAN : Well, that's that.

Then, after a discussion of the probable divorce and of money which, compared with the final acted version, seems quite as wordy as the original novel, Fran has a lovely Fran­ nish suggestion : she has telephoned Kurt to come around, because "try to remember that I'm in an anomalous position here in Berlin. It would be better for my reputation if you'd let Kurt and me see you off, so we'll look like just three friends together." This invitation to Sam to save her face, and to exhibit be­ fore her and her lover his agony at parting, given with all of her characteristic thoughtfulness-about herself, Sam has the The Art of Dramatization 225 courage to refuse, though in real life he probably would accept. And the omitted scene ends as follows :

FRAN : Don't look so forlorn, Sam darling! It is going to be a little hard to realize. But you and I just can't get on to­ gether. And I do love Kurt. I stand by that! (She takes a step toward him.) Just the same, we've had many happy times, you and II I won't forget them! Will you remember them? (She falters.) And . . . and will you try not to be too dreadfully lonely now? DODSWORTH (He has stood looking down. Now he looks up and smiles.): Dear, did I remember to tell you today that I adore you? (His breath catches in a single sob. He goes out quickly, closing the door after him.) (Blackout. End scene.)

IV-The dramatist, then, has revised himself quite as sharply as he has revised the novelist. He has made, between novel and final stage version, a dozen versions, and deleted any­ thing from an occasional "very" or "dear" or "of course" to whole scenes. For in transporting the chapters of the book just given into the single American Express Office scene, Mr. Howard on the way not only finally omitted the above lengthy parting in Berlin, but an entire scene in which, as in the book, Sam sought comfort in the arms of Nande Azeredo. And it was an excellent scene-carefully worked out, quite complete, then calmly chucked by Mr. Howard into the waste­ basket. In it we saw Sam, intolerably lonely, intolerably bored by the joys of travel, humped in a chair before the Cafe du Dome. Near him sit three or four Nebraska James Joyces, who ridicule this bourgeois, this intruder on their practically native Olympus, but feel that it would be only just and right to give him the privilege of buying them drinks. The girl Intellectual of the lot goes to Sam's table, picks him up, 226 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT prettily begs him for drinks in the manner which, among young females other than Intellectuals, is technically known as "gold-digging," and is about to extend his favors to her boy friends when the brisk Nande pounces on her, chases off the infuriated gold-digger, and makes Sam welcome. I hoped that Mr. Howard would retain this scene, but he was as ruthless with his own work as, when we first talked over the dramatization, I was with the literal wording of my novel. With several other scenes, also, he was wholesomely brutal. Where in the final version Sam gives his impression of Notre Dame in six lines-at the bottom of page 59-there was originally a whole scene (and to me a wholly desirable one) in which we beheld Sam sitting in Notre Dame, silent, un­ moving, absorbed in the rose window, while about him Paris­ ian worshippers chattered as they entered and made exit, and a succession of tourists came in to listen, one party after an­ other, to the inspiring and almost lyric revelation of the guides: "The cathedral is remarkable for its unity of design and measures four hundred and twenty-six feet long, one hundred and fifty-seven feet wide, and one hundred and fif­ teen feet high in the center. The vaulting is supported by seventy-five large columns and one hundred and eight small columns. The great organ bas six thousand pipes, one hun­ dred and ten stops, and five manuals. Here Napoleon was crowned Emperor of the French. Now if the ladies and gen­ _ tlemen will return to the omnibus, we will visit the Latin Quarter, haunt of celebrated artists, and then Napoleon's tomb." It was a scene at once amusing and impressive-Sam him­ self as solid and functional as one of the cathedral columns, silent amidst this mumbling. It would have played. But it was not necessary-and out it came. Yet probably it was neces­ sary to have written it, and completely, before one could be sure whether it should be retained or not. Mr. Howard also wrote, and then omitted, the bachelor dinner in London at which A. B. Hurd introduced Sam to the The Art of Dramatization 227 American businessmen living in London; a scene, for whose life I pled, vainly, in which on their first night in London Sam sat at the telephone, typically an American husband, try­ ing to get hold of someone else so that his wife would not have the agony of merely dining alone with her husband; and a scene at an English country house where Sam and Fran first meet Mrs. Cortright. v-Anyone who sees the lovely Nan Sunderland impersonat­ ing Mrs. Cortright would have no notion of the difficulty of getting that Cortright devil into the play early enough so that she might be "built up" for the final scenes. In the novel, she does not appear till page 222, when Sam and Fran send a letter of introduction to her flat in Venice (a flat of which Mr. Howard has entirely robbed her, apparently). For the novelist, that was all very well, because when he did reach her, he could devote as much space to her as he desired. But in the play we must be conscious of her early, however briefly. The reader, or the spectator at the spoken play, who finds her entrance, as I do, natural and easy, can have but little notion how the incidents and the characters had to be moved around to give her place. And that is again a departure from the detail of the novel-and that again is valid and honest dramatization. There are in the play several losses comparable to the steal­ ing of Mrs. Cortright's flat. Sam and Fran lose an entire son -his personality absorbed by Emily, the daughter. And Mme. de Penable seems to have lost an acute accent. And by Heaven knows what accident, Kurt has been demoted from Count to Baron. I rather fancy that happened in the last days of dress rehearsals in Philadelphia, before the open­ ing there, when between rewriting whole scenes of the play after midnight in Philadelphia, and contriving simultaneously to be in New York at the rehearsals of his Yellow Jack all the same week, Mr. Howard gave me an impression of being busy. One son, one earldom, and one acute accent-these 228 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT seem like vital losses, yet somehow I, their parent, have never missed them.

VI-Just as it was more compact and less confusing to have, in the play, just the one daughter instead of a son and a daughter, so does the play character, Henry Hazzard, Sam's successor, represent the many friends of Sam mentioned in the book who, when he is exiled to Europe, forget him without losing fondness for him. There was no such character in the novel, and the name Henry Hazzard was given in the book to a doctor who has no relationship to Sam's business. And, as a more dramatic adventure, an interest in aviation replaces the interest in caravans and in suburban developments which are credited to Sam in the book. The one thing a dramatization should not be is a mere dramatization. It is quite as much an act of creation as any play based entirely upon the dramatist's own design, and an acute study of the tale to be dramatized is less important than the process of imaginative reflection which recasts the original elements for the stage. I listened once to the script of a play portraying the romance of a famous philosopher. To prepare for it, the dramatist bad for months sedulously studied every word of the philosopher that was extant-letters as well as stories and essays-and it was her boast that, for the first time, here was an accurate portrait of the philosopher. For, as she correctly announced, every word of the dialogue at­ tributed to him-except for an occasional "yes" or "no" or "good evening, fair me lord"-actually came from his own works. So naturally, in the play he was deader than Moses. For it is a fortunate fact of this otherwise intolerable life that in private conversation even the most elegant writers do not continually talk in balanced beauty. Even a Henry James when he burns his fingers does not say, "The, though in­ herently vulgar yet also inherently, in these industrialized days, necessary coffee pot seems to me to possess a degree of heat which, in contact, is one of its lesser virtues." He just says, "Ob, damn!" Novelist Bites Art 229 It is not as a mirror but as a new creation that one of the ·greatest dramatizations is still read, is even still acted, by a good many people-the dramatization of a portion of Belle­ forest's "Histoires Tragiques" made by one Shakespeare, and called Hamlet.

Novelist Bites Art

�In this piece, written for the theater section of The New York Times of October 19, 1941, appears the only reference in this book to Mr. Lewis's days of barnstorming and direct­ ing. Perhaps readers will find it as interesting autobiographi­ cally as for the deeper principles which he proclaims in regard to propaganda and/ or art. In any event, while acting and directing, Lewis took his job seriously and worked at it with all the sincerity and in­ tensity which he brought to any other form of endeavor. The theater may have been a passing phase in his life, but while he was in it, he worked at the job with characteristic humility.

REAL PROPAGANDA PLAYS, LIKE REAL PROPAGANDA NOVELS, are neither good literature nor good philosophy. They are ad­ vertisements_ and, like all competent advertisements, often catch the attention illicitly. Who is so little emotional that his heart does not flutter over a thumbnail biography of Erasmus, which turns out to be an ad for whisky, or the portrait of a lovely woman, which reveals not the joys of romance but the speed of washing machines? But it is to be doubted whether the most purple ads have proved to be enduring literature. And the same doubt applies to all propaganda. In the Rollo books, so justly admired for presenting Victorian tightness, and in plays communicating the latest party line from the Kremlin, there may be useful 230 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT information, but no one bas ever gone mad over a Rollo book. I have never yet been altogether guilty of writing propa­ ganda, not even in It Can't Happen Here, which is propaganda against the propaganda of the Fascists and of the mass­ meeting addressers. I am consistent in finding pleasure over association with young Jack Levin's new play, Good Neigh­ bor, of which I seem to be the director. Good Neighbor is going to be called propaganda. Inevitably it will be, since it portrays an old orthodox Jewish couple, a Negro lady of the night and a German-American housewife and her timid son, as being all of them the victims of the social majority, of the passionate mob. Yet his story is not "propaganda," for that label should be used only on economic and religious patent medicines. Mr. Levin does not make his characters shriek that if we could just create new Congressional districts in Oklahoma, or join the Swiss in teaching the Stanislavsky method to the Choctaws, or if we could make spinach-eating compulsory, then the world would turn perfect, and the Players Club would lie down with the Lambs. His most hortatory moment in Good Neighbor is when Hannah, the heroic Jewish matron, a true mother in Israel, muses to her friend the policeman : "A white Gentile Ameri­ can you are. To you liberty is a word you found in a book­ something you got for nothing. When you ain't got it, then you know what it is." That is the voice of freedom that is founded not on com­ mittee meetings and little red books illuminated with graphs, but on the respect of every sort of human being for every other sort. It is not propaganda; it is an expression of a human nobility eternal and pervasive, which is just as likely to be found in a sharecropper as in a professional orator, and which rises above all the busy viewers-with-alarm. It has been something more than interesting to direct Good Neighbor, with a working day which, extending from 6 A.M. to midnight, has kept me out of the more vigorous forms of Novelist Bites Art 231 dissipation. It has been a professional job, not at all an "ad­ visory" one; and I have liked it not only because I admire the humanness of the play but because directing is in itself the most exciting of activities, much more exciting than sitting in cafes, skiing or growing potatoes in Vermont, which are the three standard pleasures normally recommended to novel­ ists by their bankers and their psychoanalysts. To a venerable and somewhat rusty novelist, directing is much more comforting than acting. Of this latter form of exhibitionism I have done a good deal in the past four years, but I have grown steadily more apprehensive at the sneering moment when, shivering behind a blank-faced flat, you realize that in just a second now you will be galloping out there on the perilously bright stage, to carry on a lot of monkeyshines in the leering presence of several hundred strangers-in the summer theater, several dozen. A novelist is not merely permitted but encouraged to knock off and read a detective story the moment he feels tired. It is considered rather picturesque of him to be found doing some­ thing quite new every evening at 9:3 7. But in the theater there is the most stubborn superstition about the need of an actor's being right there and coming on with exactly the same words at 9:3 7 every evening, and no picturesqueness wanted, please. But a director, like a novelist, may drive his characters pretty much as he wants to. During rehearsals, if he has eaten too many egg noodles at lunch, it is not considered vicious of him to sneak off to the dark rear of the theater auditorium for ten minutes of contemplation. And in action he can make pretty ingenues speak up and old troupers shut up and even tell radiant stars to scratch their noses-not that, of course, they 1Vill even think of going on scratching them after the run has started and the director has been sent back to the warehouse. Then the director can either retire to his estate in Sauk Centre or hang around the theater and play pinochle with those otlw unconsidered heroes, the stagehands, while the toil of the poor actors out there on the stage is just beginning. 232 PROBLEMS OF THE CRAFT Whether or not Good Neighbor converts the world to neighborliness-and it really might do a bit of that task­ certainly it has done a striking job of corrupting a once­ cloistered novelist by betraying to him the joys of directing. There is no job beyond it--except being a traffic cop. VI PEOPLE AND EVENTS

Foreword to Henry Ward Beecher: An American Portrait

The Great Recorder

One-Man Revolution

William Lyon Phelps

Our Friend, H. G.

This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935

Foreword to Henry Ward Beecher: An American Portrait

11 Nothing could have been more appropriate for the author of Elmer Gantry than a commission to write a preface to The Readers Club edition of Henry Ward Beecher: An American Portrait by Paxton Hibben. This reissue of a notable book ap­ peared in 1942. Mr. Lewis's remarks were also published in The Readers Club Bulletin which was sent to subscribers in December of 1941, since he was one of the judges who select­ ed the book. Mr. Hibben's biography of Beecher was originally pub­ lished in 1927 by George H. Doran.

WHEN THE REVEREND HENRY WARD BEECHER WAS SUED ON a charge of adultery with the wife of his friend Theodore Tilton, the America of 1871 was ecstatically shocked. For Mr. Beecher was, till his death in 1887, the archbishop of American liberal Protestantism. He came out for the right side of every question-always a little too late. John Brown's rifles were called "Beecher Bibles," and from the pulpit Beecher sold female slaves, to gain their freedom. He was re­ ferred to as "the greatest preacher since St. Paul," he was mentioned for the Presidency, he was a powerful writer of trash, and all over the land, families got out the carryall to drive into town and hear him lecture on everything from "The Strange Woman" to the cozy theory that a worker who didn't rejoice in bringing up five children on a wage of a dollar a day was a drunken gunnysack. Plymouth Church, in Brooklyn, paid him $20,000 a year, and in his pocket he liked to carry uncut gems. He would have been an intimate friend of Lincoln except for the detail that Lincoln despised him. He confided to many visitors that 235 236 PEOPLE AND EVENTS he was always glad to pray with Lincoln and to give him ad­ vice whenever the President sneaked over to Brooklyn in the dark, and the only flaw is that nobody except Beecher ever saw him sneak. During the Civil War, Beecher went to England and helped out the American Minister by converting to the cause of the North some tens of thousands of Midlanders who were al­ ready converted. He was a combination of St. Augustine, Barnum, and John Barrymore. He differed from the Reverend Elmer Gantry chiefly in having once, pretty well along in young manhood, read a book, and in being a Beecher, which was a special state of grace. His father, Lyman Beecher of Litchfield and Cincinnati, was a powerful hellfire preacher and progenitor, and his sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose Uncle Tom's Cabin was the first evidence to America that no hurricane can be so disastrous to a country as a ruthlessly humanitarian woman. At the sunlit height of Beecher's career came Tilton's suit for alienation of affection, and in Brooklyn and Litchfield they are still arguing about it. But its effect upon the Protestant Church, which might otherwise have taken over the whole government, is only beginning to be seen. This book, the late Paxton Hibben's story of Beecher, was published in 1927. It had great praise, but it also met with a hush-hush campaign on the part of certain pious writers and editors and librarians that amounted to violent suppression. The Committee of The Readers Club believes that it is re­ viving a book which is more stimulating now than when it was first published fourteen years ago. Nothing could finally suppress and silence so courageous and intelligent a man as Paxton Hibben, not even his death, in 1928, when he was forty-eight years old. He had been a member of the American diplomatic corps in Europe and Latin America, well trained in the service correctitudes of that caste, and he was a foreign correspondent of standing; yet he had taken the risk of vastly displeasing his superiors by his reports on Greece and the new Russia. Foreword to Henry Ward Beecher 237 When he turned to biography, in his book, the exactness of his scholarship would suggest that he had all his life never strayed farther from a library than to the University Co-op, though actually it was his foreign training which enabled him to see the contrasts which make this portrait so human. Beecher is here entire, from his boyhood, blundering, lonely, almost abnormal in the longing for friendly sympathy, through his frantic and fairly phony days as an ambitious young preacher on the Indiana frontier in 1837, up to his anti­ macassar splendor as a metropolitan pastor filled with pom­ posity and metaphors and the best oyster stew. He slapped the backs of all men, he tickled the ribs of almost all the current ideas, and he kissed a surprising proportion of the women. The subtitle of the book is An American Portrait, and in­ deed here is the portrait of that blowsy hoyden of an America that existed when Grant was accounted a statesman and Long­ fellow an epic poet. Although Hibben never wanders from his scrupulous portraiture to give highfalutin panshots of the whole country, yet in understanding Beecher we understand everything that was boisterously immature in American re­ ligion, American literature, American manners, and the Ameri­ can relationship, ardent but sneaking, between men and women. We understand all the spirited spinsters who wanted to paint water lilies on the backs of the herded buffalos. We understand what we are still living down. Here is the story of our own grandfathers, which is one-quarter of our own stories. Though we speak with the brisk quack of the radio, our words are still too often the lordly lard of Henry Ward Beecher. In discovering his emptiness, the country discovered its own emptiness and, as Captain Hibben says, "When the social history of the last quarter of the nineteenth century comes to be written, the Beecher case may be found to have had more to do with clearing the intellectual ground and freeing the minds of men from the clutter of the past than any other one episode." Hibben does not spare his patient. The horsehair hypocrisies of Beecher are set down like fever symptoms on a chart. He 238 PEOPLE AND EVENTS does not flinch from the charming melodrama of Beecher's association with the wives of all the backers of his one-man show. Yet the book is never lip-licking and never a tirade. You see that, given the glacial hellfire of old Lyman Beecher, his son Henry would have to be a hypocrite, exactly in ratio to his own energy and imagination and desire for affection. When it was published, this book was a little ahead of its time. The Committee believes that now it is just at its time.

The Great Recorder

An Impression of Carl Van Doren

�This loving appreciation of one of Mr. Lewis's best and closest friends was never published, so far as the records show. The original typescript was found among his papers at Thorvale Farm after his death. It carries a notation in Lewis's unmistakable square handwriting, "'Nov. 26, 1947," so it was written before the subject's death in 1950. Had he been in this country at that time to offer it for publication, how eagerly any literary magazine would have jumped at it. As affairs turned out, Lewis was in Italy, and it fell to the lot of the writer of these lines to inform him of the passing of his friend. Never a demonstrative man, his comment acknowledg­ ing the sad news was: "What a loss his and Bill Benet's deaths are! They seemed to me solid, enduring reminders of an old day, always dependably true."

IF YOU SAW HIM ON A TRAIN , UNKNOWN AND UNEXPLAINED, you would be certain that Carl Van Doren is a person of power and competence. Probably you would conclude that he was some one who dealt with large numbers of people, or with immense problems of construction; that he was an en­ gineer or a surgeon or a general-but not a general given The Great Recorder 239 to pearl-handled revolvers. Broad-shouldered, tall, slim-flanked, with stubbly hair, well tanned and level-eyed, looking at people with the assurance of a man who is used to sizing them up and amiably dealing with them, Mr. Van Doren would, at sixty, appear to you as the melodramatic magazine­ hero grown into humor and common sense. But if you watched him read, with his eyes quickly eating up the pages, never stopping to rest amid the shocking strain of learning sixty new facts a minute, you would be puzzled. You would recognize him then not just as a man given to yelling large numbers of persons into order, but as the hook­ man, the student, the professional scholar, who is skilled to endure sitting still hour after hour, selfless and concentrated, quietly sure of what he is seeking in the twilight forest of print. You would be right in all your conclusions. Mr. Van Doren might easily have been a general--except that he has had more important things to do; and he is, he must have been at the age of three, the born collector of facts. What you could not guess about him, till you saw him with a familiar company, is that he also has a high talent for friendship, a gusty and gen­ erous liking for all sorts of people, even dull ones--even peo­ ple who contradict him!-and that warmth which is what the precise herdsman of little woolly facts will usually lack. Van Doren is the scholar; yes, he could have sat down with Erasmus; but they would have discussed football or girls or the vintage of their wine as vigorously as the late stirring dis­ coveries in Finnish philology. In another aspect Mr. Van Doren is to be distinguished from many of the competent researchers mutely huddled among the steel stacks. He has not only their scrupulous pa­ tience in tramping through wildernesses of old letters, news­ paper files, the opinions of querulous divines and politicians long imprisoned in gray pamphlets; he has not only their industry to find out what happened, against all fond tradition, but he also has the genius to see what the reality means. When he dealt, and "definitively," with Franklin, he did not merely accumulate all that is to be known about Franklin's 240 PEOPLE ANO EVENTS mind and hopes and table-manners, but he saw through to the significance of that ribald saint, and made us the better understand ourselves as Americans by showing, in Franklin, the genesis of so much of our Americanism. In his new book, The Great Tradition, Mr. Van Doren dra­ matically presents what happened when the F.F. worked out a tenable government for our difficult and litigious ancestors. What is a more important matter for us, be suggests that to­ day, when the bodies which are trying to unite for common security are not irascible colonies but turbulent nations, represented by undiplomats who are minatory in fifty lan­ guages-today, when union is ever more desirable and less probable, there is no more reason for the eventual failure of common sense than there was in 1787. It may be important for our instruction that Mr. Van Doren should be equally a man of vision and a man of sharp accuracy. But to speak of him so majestically is to make him sound as pompous as a college president-that separate, depressing breed. Mr. Van Doren is the great Herr Doktor Professor Geheimrath, certainly, but he keeps all such vitiating virtues under control. I have never heard any one insult him by call­ ing him "Doctor"-as though he were some normal-school prof who needed a leg up. Usually, be is "Carl." I live on a farm in the hills, and I find that some of the friends who are most entertaining in New York or London are lost and awkward here, intimidated by the butterflies and afraid of midnight silence. But Van Doren is equally at home here and in town. The mountain brook, or brandy at Twenty­ One; the Algonquin, or Ye Wayside; rural free delivery men, or radio directors among the slick studios-they are natural to Van Doren and he is equally gay and friendly with them­ and in the twenty-five years that I have known him, he has not become one decibel less gay. And-this is extraordinary-he can be informative without being dull. No one among scholars demands precision more rigorously than Van Doren. It saddens him that a colleague should state that Major Thaddeus Q. Benner mounted the breastworks at The Great Recorder 241

6:17 P.M. when only a year or two of research would show that he was Thaddeus P. and that he did his mounting at 6:19. And yet, like Lloyd Lewis or Stewart Holbrook, and unlike a considerable share of professor-historians, Van Doren finds history not a pious chore but life and romance. He will tell you an anecdote of eighteenth century New Jersey (where, perhaps, his Dutch ancestors raised mammoth barns), and its characters will walk before you, diverting and alive. But he does not, like the new contemporary "historical novelists" feel that unless a gentleman's pantaloons were of steel or silk, he was no good as a hero, no good at all. To Van Doren, writing of a lively tailors' rebellion in Amsterdam in 1648, the tailor on Amsterdam Avenue in 1948 loses none of his importance and dignity-and he reveals to us how the business of the one came from the craft of the other-and thereby makes them both the more interesting. He has in­ creasingly become an authority on that puzzling set of people, more contradictory than the Chinese, more confusing than the Bavarians-the Americans. It was perhaps an important progress in Van Doren when he turned from studying Dean Swift-impressive though his book was-to the less literary but no less savage and even more moving Provincial Ameri­ cans. That he has a certain universality, that he is human al­ ways and approachable, come not only from Mr. Van Doren's combination of serenity with zest, but from his training. Too many historians have been cursed by having lived always in a library, often in the same library, on the same campus, all the way from college freshman year to retirement as officially defunct professors. But there has been in Van Doren's life something of his Franklin's catholicity. Van Doren came from the Illinois prairie, where his father was both farmer and phy­ sician; he has known the University of Illinois, Columbia University, England and Europe. He has the mystic label of "Ph.D.," which is our Improved-American, or jeep, model of knighthood. He taught at Columbia, and took off the curse by being headmaster in a girls' school. But he left the sunless halls of Academic Success for the bare hills and fat valleys 242 PEOPLE AND EVENTS of free-lancing, and he has been editor, anthologist, lecturer, radio star, with a farm in the Litchfield hills and an apart­ ment far, far up above the lights of Central Park. But all his careers have been only masks held up before the kind and steady eyes that have unceasingly been fixed, now on the wry script of old manuscripts, now on human faces-pale or very dark, bland or intense, Oriental or Yankee-the faces of his friends. It is good that a biographer of great men should have in him something of their greatness. I was walking once with Carl Van Doren up a trail in the Taconic Mountains, and over us we saw an eagle. In a hundred walks along that trail, I have never seen an eagle be­ fore, and I have never seen one since.

One-Man Revolution

From Newsweek, November 22, 1937

11 Mr. Lewis, while conducting a weekly literary column, took occasion to write an essay on Thoreau, as a review of a new edition of Walden published by Houghton Mifflin that year with notes and biography by Henry Seidel Canby. This piece reveals a little-known phase of the life of its author, who once stood in a pulpit and defied God to strike him dead, the man who noisily refused the Pulitzer Prize, the man who had a famous altercation with Theodore Dreiser. His solitary periods in Duluth and at Thorvale· Farm were living proof of this concern. At one time, around 1940, he discussed seriously with this writer the idea of doing a novel of a contemplative man, to be called The Quiet Mind.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA THERE WAS A SCHOLAR WHO conducted a one-man revolution and won it. He died seventy- One-Man Revolution 243 five years ago, and we aren't within seventy-five years of catching up with him. He was Henry Thoreau, who helped to make Concord, Mass., as vast as London. He wanted, more than anything else, to buy his own time, and not to "buy time" on the radio-that cosmic feat-but to buy it from life; and out of that time he wanted leisure, not to sleep or shout or show off to the neighbors, but to enjoy the fruits of his growing brains and the delights of his ever-sharpening eyes, that took in not the clumsy hewings of the Acropolis or the Taj Mahal, but the divine delicacies of twigs and bird wings and morning ripples on Walden Pond. He did not merely want it. He did it. Devoting a shrewd Yankee brain to the accurate measuring of his own wants, he saw just how few things he needed to wear and eat and own in order to be comfortable. No half-jeering questions of his neighbors could induce him to toil-as surveyor, as pencil­ maker-for one pennyworth more. He built his own warm shack, and in it he lived with a dignity vaster than any harassed emperor. He was popular in his social set, though it was not composed of the humble Bedauxes of his day, but of swallows and chipmunks and sunfish, and other swift, elegant, and shining notabilities. All this, with gaiety and warmth, he wrote out in Walden, one of the three or four unquestionable classics of American literature; published in 1854 and more modern than Dos Passes. The greater noises of his human circle, such as Emerson and Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott's power­ fully argumentative papa, considered him amiable but idiotic, and he is outlasting all of them. His Walden, and all that is important from his other books, with notes and biography by Henry S. Canby, in an 848-page volume handsomely published by Houghton Mifflin at $5, is the book buy of the year. I am burning a candle in the hope that 100,000 copies will be given as Christmas presents this year, to all young persons who are, and very reasonably, worrying about their economic futures, all married couples envious of their friends' automobiles, all Communists, all reactionaries, and all who have been affected by a phenomenon 244 PEOPLE AND EVENTS which, if I remember, I mentioned last week, i.e., Dale Carnegie, the Bard of Babbittry. Regarding the enthusiastic doctrines of Dr. Carnegie, Thoreau wrote, eighty-two years before How To was pub­ lished: "It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live ·. . . lying, flattering, contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity, that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes or his hat . . . making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day .... I have traveled a great deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways." I would not set Dale Carnegie and Heywood Broun as the captains of our freedom, now that it is menaced by Italy, by Germany, by Japan-and by the United States of America. But Henry Thoreau I would set, and this man, to whom the very notion of dictatorship would be inconceivable, I would make the supreme Duce.

William Lyon Phelps

From the Saturday Review of Literature, April 1, 1939

� The love and admiration which many people had for the late William Lyon Phelps was not confined to Yale. He was known and revered throughout the English-speaking world as a man, a teacher and an expounder of English literature. He thoroughly enjoyed books and reading and could com­ municate his enthusiasm to others. The world will not for­ get his definition of a novel-"a good story well told." When at Yale, the young Harry S. Lewis took all the courses be could under Billy Phelps and there absorbed the William Lyon Phelps 245 poems of Tennyson so completely that throughout his life he could improvise nonsense in the stately rhythms of the Laureate. When, for example, some colleague in publicity would start to recount an exploit, Lewis was apt to break in and carry the story on in Tennysonian words and meter. The following essay is Sinclair Lewis's tribute to his old and much loved teacher, written thirty-one years after his graduation and only a few months after Professor Phelps's death on August 21, 1943.

I RATHER TIDNK THAT OF ALL PEOPLE I HAVE KNOWN, PROFES­ sor William Lyon Phelps-"Billy" Phelps-has, with the pos­ sible exception of Gene Debs, the greatest love of hwnan beings and, with the possible exception of Arnold Bennett, the greatest love of novels and of plays. These twin affections have made him the greatest of teachers, as well as the most agreeable of companions; and his Yankee efficiency and shrewdness of vision have made him more efficient than the sentimental Gene, just as a youthful liveliness has made him more lustily amusing than ever was Arnold. Not that he has not had sentimentalities. I would like to tackle the impossible and keep a little out of the booming Yale-bulldog chorus of adulation which has always followed Billy; to try, a little, to duck out back of the massed admirers of old grads who keep reminding you, quite accurately, that Billy remembers the faces and the names of more Yale alumni, more presidents of women's clubs, more booksellers, more theater ushers, more actors, and more Yale novelists than ten Jim Parleys put together. I would like it clear that Billy has often been overenthusiastic about ephemeral bits of cleverness, about all the pixie descendants of Peter Pan, and that he has always covered too much ground. Yet with all this he remains the one man in his generation of college teachers who has been most able to inoculate students, even quite stupid ones, apparently formed only for the purpose of falling with virile grunts upon pigskin ovoids, with his own passion for the secret joys of good literature. With this, as teacher and human being and college officer, 246 PEOPLE AND EVENTS he has stood conspicuously for changing the old caste-ridden, army-like, fear-gripped university into a friendly concourse of human beings interested in learning. For over forty years, he has been to each generation of college students the Best Neighbor, the kindliest older friend, of the whole faculty. Here is an example of it, from days even before mine-and I graduated from Yale thirty-one years ago. At that time, Chauncey Brewster Tinker, now Yale's proudest English scholar, was a timid Freshman from the out­ lands of Colorado, and Billy a bounding young instructor, not always too well liked by his superiors, because of his embar­ rassing doctrine that even undergraduates were human. By a mistake in marking, young Tinker (the most zealous of at­ tendants on pious services) was put down as having too many chapel cuts. He protested to the Dean, and was told to take his medicine like a little man, and not try to lie out of it. Tinker had never met Phelps, then, but he had heard of him as a sort of St. Francis who sensibly gave more attention to Freshmen than to those loftier creatures, the sparrows. He barged in on Billy, told his story, was instantly perceived as an honest cub, and reassured. What then happened between the cocky young Instructor Phelps and the awe-robed Dean nobody knows, but Tinker was exonerated. And nobody ever will know what happened, because when I told this to Billy, he himself had utterly forgotten it. Why should he remember a mere hourly incident like saving the whole career of a shining young scholar? My own first bright experience with Billy was when I had to make up for several months of absence by what are jocularly known as "examinations." In other subjects, I took painful written tests which revealed nothing whatever except a natural glibness. But Billy, in ten minutes of amiable talk, really did find out what I knew about seventeenth-century poetry (which, in those days, when I was young and edu­ cated, was a good deal). At this moment of writing I am a member of Equity and, touring with a play, I may be understood as being compli­ mentary when I say that in everything Billy Phelps was a William Lyon Phelps 247 great actor. He was like none of the traditional pedagogues­ the long-faced and dry and disapproving, the bushy and hearty, or the dapper and cynical. He had the handsome, square, mobile face of an actor; the quickly changing, bounti­ fully feeling eyes of the actor; and the actor's natural grace­ fulness and natural authority among duller and less imagina­ tive men. I have long felt that it was only chance that kept Billy from being a truly great actor-manager-another Beer­ bohm Tree or Henry Irving or Sacha Guitry, or Noel Coward. He would have roared at you his most lion-like as Othello, and then between acts have had an ant-like delight in the tiniest detail of the theater-why the deuce the hot-water tap didn't run in Miss Eglantine Devereaux's dressing-room, and how in the name of Garrick it had been possible for George Jarndyce, the character man, to miss his cue by a whole .00007 of a second, and throw an entire scene. He would have reveled in the new musical score, in the scene designer's blueprints, in the patient diligence of the director. As it is, Billy bas enlivened the whole dismal realm of university grind by bringing to it some of the perverse charm of the theater, and when be incredibly greets a whole regi­ ment of old boys each by his name at an Alumni Dinner (in Tarrytown or Tucson or Tuscany), in his gay friendliness there is an eagerness and warmth which, on the stage, would have enchanted thousands. With such gifts, Billy bas not, like a considerable percentage of teachers, been afraid to stalk out from the secure mock­ battles of the campus into the real war of mature life. I have seen him with bishops and generals and turtle-mouthed steel magnates and whole seethings of professional writers as their peer, their much prized friend. I think of another well-known teacher of English who bas been of value and comfort to generations of would-be writers in college but who, once they escape from his admonitions, begins to belittle them, with a paternal jealousy and a certain uneasy provincialism. Not Billy, ever. No one would be happier than be that one of his brood should outdistance him in fame. And, thus liberated from village envy, be has, without losing one of the disciplined 248 PEOPLE AND EVENTS standards of the schoolroom, for many years been able to see the passing show and passing showmen of French and English and American life as one familiar with the great. What a kind, good, innocent, sweet life Billy Phelps's has been! Yet all his kindness and sweetness have not been the protective virtues of a timid man, but the easily worn adorn­ ments of a strong man, a cosmopolitan man, a man veritably of the world!

Our Friend, H. G.

From New York Herald Tribune Books, October 20, 1946

�Like so many of his generation, Mr. Lewis was deeply in­ fluenced by the work of H. G. Wells. Indeed, Lewis rated Wells very high among the intellectual leaders of the times, and as the prophet of a sweeter, more reasonable world to come. Along with this admiration was great personal affection. The instant he arrived in England, as a successful author, he visited Wells. They warmed to each other immediately. It is significant that Lewis's first son was named Wells, after the author of Tono-Bungay. The following tribute, written shortly after Wells's death, extols H.G. both as a writer and as a man. The circumstances of their lives prevented the two authors' seeing each other very much or very often, but when they did meet, they could pick up exactly where they had left off, as if there had never been an interruption.

1HE DEATH OF H. G. WELLS HAS BEEN MOURNED IN ESSAYS THAT have amply recorded him as a prophet of world-government, a critic of hwnan sloppiness in all its surprising variety, a competent biologist and historian, a magic storyteller. We Our Friend, H. G. 249 who are over sixty have remembered all that he meant to us from 1910 to 1930, in Greenwich Village or Pekin or Sauk Centre or Twitterton-on-Twit. For here was a man who, more than any other of this century, more even than Shaw or a whole tribe of Huxleys, suggested to our young minds the gaudy fancy (which conceivably might also be sober fact) that mankind can, by taking thought, by real education, ac­ quiresuch strange, crimson-shot, altogether enchanted qualities as cheerfulness, kindness, honesty, plain decency, refusal to make ourselves miserable and guilty just to please some institution that for a century has been a walking and talking corpse. But that real education, bubbled Wells, shouted Wells, had to be based on imagination combined with respect for known facts and zest in disclosing undiscovered facts, not on the sanctity of academic degrees as nice little introductions to business careers, or the jealousies of competitive schoolmasters, or athletic records and the design of new desks for school­ rooms. We, say in Greenwich Village in 1910, were as stimulated by the drug of Wells's zeal and ingenuity and wit as these children today are by the new drugs of Stalinism and benze­ drine. We caught from him not only the faith that education can be as exciting as other forms of exploration and danger, but that marriage can be freed of hate and competitiveness, that politicians could be as honest and as well trained in their profession as carpenters and printers in theirs, and that daily life might use the science which has been so revered and so strictly left out in a hermit's cell-that houses might become beautiful and easy of maintenance, clothing be ele­ gant and somewhat less ridiculous than bowler hats, food be a delight without drudgery thrice a day, ships cease to be floating coalsheds and take on something of a fish's ease and swiftness. As book after book by Wells came out, we were as de­ lighted by Mahatma Wells as the followers of Father Divine by his bounties. Particularly were we excited by Tono­ Bungay, that liveliest of novels. I have just re-read it, this 250 PEOPLE AND �VENTS September. It seems to date only in the unimportant aspect of aviation-engineering; it is as fresh and surprising as when it first appeared, in 1909. And it is, fortunately, still in print; in the Modern Library series, if not elsewhere. In Tono-Bungay, that basic Anglo-American phenomenon, the quick acquisition of great wealth and the general ob­ sequiousness that follows it, were treated in a new way, with derision yet without Marxian bitterness, with the nerve and the swindling and the accidents that made up the luck of Ponderevo, the titan of commerce, and explained with exact details that were sometimes dramatic and sometimes extremely funny. The love affairs which were no minor occupation of Ponde­ revo's aide and nephew were related with a fresh, frank, quite new treatment of love stories, honest and human and just a bit absurd, and behind all of the several stories that inter­ mingled in Tono-Bungay there was a sound social knowledge of what this whole business adventure meant, of how silly it was and how dangerous it could be. lbis whole treatment of wealth was different from the ro­ mantic awe and anger of the earlier novelists, except, per­ haps, the Mr. Merdle of Dickens, in Little Dorrit. To them, the bagging of a fortune, the ruin of a few hundred thousand trusting speculators, had been either the strategy (and edifying industry) of a genius, or the dirty tricks of a devil in human form. They did not know that there were economic accidents, as Wells did, and all their moral indignation was childish compared with his amused fury that sometimes a little man, a stupid little man, might have handed to him as playthings, to fondle or tear apart, the bank accounts of ten thousand people. If Marx and Darwin came to their eras with surprising shocks of enlightenment, I doubt if those shocks were so emotional and moving as Wells's revelations of human motives were to us in the days of "red-ink joints" and studios re­ markable with batik hangings and arty ladies ditto, and the Lafayette and the basement of the Brevoort. For all the authenticity of its message-that mankind does not, as a Our Friend, H. G. 251 matter of virtue and good form, have to be stupid-there was in the early Wells, especially in Mr. Polly, such a sensational gaiety. "Fun," "jolly," "active"-such words were favorites of Wells, and he elevated their playground flavor to maturity. Here was a new and livelier Plato-not- necessarily a vastly inferior one-and of course the world knew nothing and did nothing about that phenomenon. The wealth of the Indies that had made Great Britain a power was nothing compared with the solider wealth which that nation might have built on the fantastic yet sound imagination of H. G. Wells, if they had known how to use him. They have, of late, perceived the value of a and, still later, his danger, but in an H. G. Wells they saw nothing but an amusing spinner of yarns. When he stood for Parliament, he was defeated-of course. That may have been as well for the happiness of the House of Com­ mons. It is easy to conceive that if he had ever stood on that not too shining floor and said what he thought, about almost anything, the whole House might have blown up-whoosh, as Uncle Ponderevo put it-and Britain might have found itself either back under King Arthur, with H.G. conducting the Round Table and Chivalry Ministry, or else in a collecti­ vist commonwealth that would have made the mild arrange­ ments of Comrade Stalin look like a college co-op. Yes, there was truly a great man, and the citizens saw him walk among them and heard him talk, and knew nothing of what was there. Now these various qualities of Wells as a great man have, as I said, been well studied since his death, particularly his premonitions of all the attitudes that produce an atomic bomb. What I have not seen, though it may have been well considered in some of the 150,000 magazines that, thank Heaven, I do not feel it my duty to read, is the great man as a man-a great man, a little man, a very funny man, a talka­ tive man, a generous man, a recklessly romantic man, a round little bouncing ball of a man-a man! If his appearance was their only guide, it is no particular wonder that the universities' constituency did not, when he 252 PEOPLE AND EVENTS campaigned, elect H.G. to Parliament. The son of a shop­ keeper-cricketer, himself a shop-assistant in youth, he looked just that. You could, in his most spacious days, still see him at the counter, unimpressive, busy and serious about the brand of thread you wanted, cheery and chatty and common­ place, zealous to please though never at all humble. He was round, dumpy, his mustache was arty, and his voice a thin reed. He simply did not know how to be an exhibitionist; he never could have said to himself, "Gracious, how excited this waiter would be if he knew he was waiting on H. G. Wells!" I know of two cases, one in London and one in a suburb of New York, in which, at a "party," a woman galloped up to the hostess to demand, "Who is that plump little man who talks so amusingly and so wisely?" One of the lady discoverers was the wife of a publisher and the other a professional journalist, but to neither did it occur that this casual man was the tremendous H.G.; merely that he was singularly charming and sensible. Perhaps that casual humanness, more even than his fancy, his indignation at cruelty, or his sense of order-which is science-made him so great a novelist: teller of tales, dis­ coverer of importance in the pettiest and drabbest "character." Perhaps it was his placid willingness to be a plain man­ and nothing so ruggedly heroic as the plain man of the hills or the prairies, but merely the plain man of the side-streets, the dismal pubs, the workers' debating hall-that kept him free of spuriousness even in his days of greatest glamor, and made his characters real even when, poor devils, they had to walk not through proper stories but through labyrinths of social problemizing. H.G. was free, on one hand, of all the high-collared pomposity of the successful literary gent at his club, at com­ mittee meetings, on the lecture platform, and of the querulous self-importance and conniving of the left-wing Gauleiter to whom Radicalism has become a career and a salve, and of the touchy dignity of the academic scientist. He was alien to all praying-mantis posing. On the other hand, he saw, knew, loved the genuine dignity of the little man of the streets and Our Friend, H. G. 253 factories and upland farms, and was well content to be taken for one of them. Nobody ever called him or could imagine ever calling him Dr. Wells or Professor Wells or Sir Herbert or Lord Bromley. He did pretty well when he got called Mister Wells and not the usual H.G. Most Englishmen in his case would have been complimented on having "lived down the Cockney." But H.G. lived up the Cockney, to glory. It was part of this virtue that he could, at seventy, be as active as a small boy without feeling guilty of the crime of lese majesty against himself. He could go into any grand society without feeling that he was being particularly honored, into any humble circle, any drab village or hotel, without feel­ ing that he was slumming. I dined once with H.G., Arnold Bennett and Lord Beaver­ brook-oh innocent days of pre-World War 11!-at the Chinese Restaurant on Oxford Circle and not one of the four of us-the housekeeper's son, the pottery-town lawyer's clerk, the Canadian Scotch minister's son, the country doctor's son-felt that we were being ever so cute and adventurous. We just liked eggs foo yung and chicken and conversation-and low prices! The three more-or-less British journalists tried to prove to the naive American that they knew something about politics. But he had got about; he cannily refused to believe any of their stories that began, "I was saying to the Prince of Wales," or "to Baldwin," even though, probably, they were all exactly true. I watched H.G. once at a party where Frank Harris elected himself guest of honor and Socrates. Frank brilliantly explained how he had come to be so intimate with people he had never met in his life; he revealed scandalous secrets about poets and statesmen that had only the minor defect of being entirely untrue; he laid down rules that were still just as true as when Aristotle had laid them down first. Through it all, H.G. looked about beadily, neither offended nor listening, till he decided which was the prettiest girl in the room, where- 254 PEOPLE AND EVENTS on he moved into a corner with her. I doubt if she ever knew that this was the great H.G. Wells. I doubt if H.G. ever knew that, either. I saw him rather more grandly at his country place, north of London-a comfortable Georgian bouse, not impressive but don't make any mistake; you were on a corner of the estate of the Countess of Warwick and you dressed for dinner and no bobobemian monkey-business. She was the lady bountiful of the newly forming Labour Party, but she was a countess, and don't forget it-the labor leaders didn't. There, H.G. bad an earnest tennis court and you got dragged out to it on a Sunday early-afternoon, just when you wanted a nap-and you came, screaming or not. I was nearly twenty years younger than H.G., thinner, and six or seven inches taller, but the aggressive little fiend had me lying exhausted on the court within a quarter of an hour. He bounced so that, even with his ruddy face, in his white flannels you could not tell him from the tennis balls, which led to mistakes in serving. He had, too, a famous game of handball all over his ancient barn. You bad to know every angle of the beams to play it well, and be knew them all, with a diplomat's cunning, and his energy was ferocious. There, one afternoon twenty-odd years ago, we played with an unknown friend of H.G. who was, said everybody, a man with some future if there should ever be a successful Labour Party. He was some kind of a free-lance journalist, and though be had some importance in labor circles, the visiting American fireman had never heard of him. He was rather tall, handsome in a sort of 1890 traveling-man-heartbreaker way, and very bad at handball. He pounded around the floor, flatfooted and awkward, with his big sneakers smacking the ancient boards like paddles. Nor, during halts, did he have anything of interest to say, and I firmly refused to take H.G.'s prediction of his coming glory. His name was Ramsay MacDonald. That evening, he bad charades, ingenious, diabolic, and H.G. acted better than any novelist that ever lived, except his This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 255 not-too-dissimilar colleague, Charles Dickens. I wonder if that was accident? It is a banality to compare lively novelists to Dickens. "Mr. Vernon Schmidt, author of the ever-popular Bronco Brown stories, is the Dickens of western South Dakota." But with Wells there is a link that is the clearer the more one thinks of it. Though it may be that Wells never read it, though it cer­ tainly cannot be said that he was "influenced" by it, David Copperfield's tale of his first year in London is so close to the beginning of Tono-Bungay that the reader becomes confused, remembering them. Humor-passion--devotion to dull but well-loved people-hatred of cruelty-joy in a story for the story's sake and in a phrase for its innocent-seeming kick­ Dickens and Wells had them all. If Dickens had the greater inexplicable magic, Wells had the greater knowledge of hidden motives, the deeper comprehension of the world's peril of self-destruction, and infinitely more freedom from senti­ mentality. It may be that for us, now, he is the more important of the two novelists-which might leave only Tolstoy and Dostoievsky on higher thrones. I wish I could have talked to you once more, H.G.!

This Golden Half-Century,


From Good Housekeeping, May, 1935

11 In celebrating the changes in the world in fifty years of his life, it was not the airplane, the radio, motion pictures, the automobile, the telephone or any other of the world-changing mechanical inventions which Mr. Lewis considered most im­ portant or significant. (Bear in mind that this was in 1935, 256 PEOPLE AND EVENTS that comparatively happy age of innocence, before atomic fission, before the general use of electronics, before television, before radar, rockets, jet planes and guided missiles.) What Lewis thought most vital were the social and political changes which he had observed and which were so full of meaning for the future. "Whatever the outcome," he writes, " ...the only thing we can know about the Perfect Society is that it will never arrive."

ONCE UPON A TIME TIIERE WAS AN UNBROKEN AGE OF HALF A century when there was romance everywhere, and life, in­ stead of being a dusty routine, was exciting with hope and courage and adventure into utterly new lands. Handsome young men in helmets rode the fastest steeds that ever had been known. Great wars and terrible there were, and deplorable cruel­ ties, but in its times of peace, maidens in silver and flowered silks danced to strange music, freed from the pious caution of duller days. Vaster castles and more shining than had yet been known were erected in cities which all night long sounded to the gaiety of flutes; and if in the villages at the foot of each castle there were wormy huts of the stricken poor, yet here, too, was new hope and warmer anger. It was a golden age, a romantic age, a passionate age, of which Swinburne should have sung, or Virgil. I should like to have lived through that age. Well, I did, seeing that I was born in 1885 and that it is DOW 1935. Fifty years is not so long a time, even as go men's brief lives. Fifty years ago John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was decidedly a grown man-forty-five years old, with a son aged eleven. On January 8, 1935, died a Spanish lady, Senora Martina de la Rosa, of Santa Ana, California, who fifty years ago had reached the quite mature age of seventy-nine. And Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Supreme Court Justice, was then forty-four, and this year at ninety-three wrote an article for the Law Quarterly Review in which he declared : "In the life of a community fifty years are few indeed, but This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 257 when these years are marked by developing scholarship and deepening insight, they must have profound importance. I do not believe it is simply the bias of a contemporary which makes me feel that the last fifty years have been of unusual significance." Truly an unusual significance! It is probable that, except for the Napoleonic Era, there has in all history never been a half century which has witnessed such changes in all aspects of human life. But the important evolution has not been in the obvious mechanical improvements. True, we have the airplane, so that we can go from coast to coast in less than a dozen hours. True, the tidings are carried not by a slowly transported newspaper but by radio, heard simultaneously round the world; and for timely pic­ tures (mostly the same old mugs of the same politicians) we have the talking newsreel instead of the plush-handled stere­ opticon. But-and this will be a fell blow to my sons, who have an unformulated notion that their grandfathers lived approxi­ mately like Captain John Smith at Jamestown in 1607-this hasn't been quite the first mechanical age. The telephone, the telegraph, the electric light, the steam engine, the gasoline engine were all going in 1885, and as for that most self­ satisfied convenience, modern plumbing, it isn't vastly better than the �oman baths of 100 A.D. Even in the matter of speed we haven't advanced so much as press agents boast­ and Jeremiahs moan. The myth of miraculously increased speed! In 1851, ten years before the Civil War, the S.S. Pacific sailed from England to New York in nine days and nineteen hours. In 1882 the Alaska made it in six days, eighteen hours, which is considerably less than the average crossing time of all steamers today. There are very decent small liners which regularly take ten days right now. While you are being thrilled by the fast time of the new streamlined trains, remember that a complete New York Central train in 1893, over forty years ago, went one mile in thirty-two seconds, which is at the rate of 112.5 m.p.h. In 258 PEOPLE AND EVENTS 1840, in England, a locomotive, though with only a tender attached, made ten miles in eight minutes, and that is 75 m.p.h. In 1848, on the Great Western, an English train did fifty-three miles at 68 m.p.h. Even with automobiles, though it is true that in two decades the average road speed has increased from twenty to forty miles an hour, and true that Sir Malcolm Campbell, given a special $100,000 car and no traffic to meet, can make 272 m.p.h. (for one mile!), yet it must be noted that in the Indianapolis Classic in 1911 the race was won at 74 m.p.h., and in 1933 at only 30 m.p.h. faster! No, we are not so much speedier, in locomotion, or morals or music, than our grandfathers. But it would be nonsense to say that we have not made impressive, life-molding me­ chanical changes. We have tremendously improved the telegraph, the tele­ phone, the electric light, and the other dodges of a rich nature which existed before 1885. The automobile has moved whole cities of dwellings out into the country, while the air­ plane has made New York and Chicago only a commuter's distance apart. The tractor and the combine have revolution­ ized farming-and bankrupted a lot of farmers. The use of the X-ray and radium has added power to medicine. The skyscraper has changed all American cities from overgrown towns into veritable metropolises. Gasoline and oil for fuel have partly freed us from coal dust and the wastefulness of steam. The motion picture is the first new art since the invention of harmony in music. And not least important, being vain human beings as we are, the manufacture of synthetic silk has given every poor girl her silk stockings, which may be at least as important to her, and to her boy friend, as trans-Atlantic aviation. And the inner-spring mattress and circulating ice water and the free newspaper at the door every morning-these we have added to the dolorous hotels of 1885. Nor are these more noticeable mechanical changes, the ones that get the publicity in the Sunday newspapers, the only significant advancements (or retrogressions to barbarism, This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 259 whichever way you care to look at it!) that have made this a world-modifying period. Less obvious are the invention of oxyacetylene welding, which makes possible a completely new control of steel in building, the Diesel engine, the linotype, the electric furnace, the transparent photographic film, nitro­ gen fixation, and, in medicine, the possibility of curing or at least controlling the ancient world plagues of yellow jack, malaria, syphilis, diabetes, pernicious anemia. Before 1885 millions of people who can now be saved died of these horrors, and if the epoch had no other reason for having existed, it ought ten thousand years from now to be glorious for having produced Banting, Walter Reed, Ehr­ lich, and some two-score other medical pioneers. (Only it won't be, seeing that in their own day they are less known than any Grade-A kidnapper. And in saying it, I am at con­ siderable risk, as the renowned bacteriologist, Dr. Hans Zins­ ser of Harvard, has in a just-issued book lambasted me for having suggested that a bacteriologist is likely to be more heroic and amusing than the average street sweeper.) Important, revolutionizing, yet all these material devices are less important fundamentally than what has happened to the domestic and social forms of humanity. The innova­ tions, or attempted innovations, fathered by Lenin and Mus­ solini and perhaps Franklin D. Roosevelt (to take three politi­ cal leaders who are opposed one to another on every possible issue), by Freud and Einstein and perhaps Bernard Shaw­ this turmoil of ideas which have in common only the relentless criticism of all our old dogmas-is (like it or hate it ) the thing that has marked our half century more than all tricks of wire and wheel and gasoline. It is not in the least certain that any of the changes now in process will last. If the Bolsheviks aspire to destroy free speech, free thought, home, marriage, formal religion, privacy, economic inequality of man and woman, the Nazis leap to shut up the woman in the home more tightly than she has been for two centuries; the Fascists give more homage to religion and marriage than ever before, and the Democracy of America, Britain, France, and Scandinavia awakens to a 260 PEOPLE AND EVENTS feverish new championship of free speech and that right to personal privacy which (or so it seems to us) is unobtain­ able without private and individual homes. Whatever the outcome will be (and we can be sure only that it will be various in various parts of the earth, and that it will nowhere be permanent, and that the only thing we can know about the Perfect Society is that it will never arrive), the way toward it bas been through the most stirringly excit­ ing battle of wits that any half century, again with the pos­ sible exception of the Napoleonic Era, bas ever known. No matter if we should go back to all the certainties of two hundred years ago, when the Father of the Family was an unquestioned high priest and dictator, we shall not for several centuries, at least not in America, Britain, and Scandinavia, again have a society in which it will be naughty for the young generation to question anything and everything: in government or religion or morals or medical treatment or the proper method of writing free verse. And, being thus freed from the sense of guilt in question­ ing, the new generations will (perhaps!) make less .tomfool criticisms, and be less tomfool cocksure about their own wisdom, and join less and less tomfool cults of revolt. No, fifty years is not so long a time, yet it is long enough to take us back to an incident and a man who represented completely the colonizing, adventuring, touchingly naive Great Britain that existed from Queen Elizabeth nearly through the reign of Victoria, and that is as gone now as the days of Dan'l Boone in America. On 1 anuary 26, 1885-Gladstone was then Prime Minister -General Charles George Gordon saw the followers of Mahdi, the Egyptian warrior-messiah, finally charge through the walls of Khartoum. For nine and a half months, with just one other British officer for aide and a force of badly armed Gyppies for troops, he had held the city against rebels inspired with mad desert fanaticism. Inside the city savage hunger, relentless heat, and creeping fever enfeebled them, but Gordon's last letter, to his sister, said, This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 261 "I am quite happy, thank God, and I have tried to do my duty." Now the rebels bad burst through. Gordon nodded to his ragged staff, lighted a cigarette, and placidly walked out into the spears of the fanatics. He was instantly killed, his bead was cut off, and there died perhaps the last of the medieval knights. He was a military engineer, a great governor of savage provinces, a man of complete courage. He knew India, China, South Africa authoritatively. But be was as simple as Colonel Newcome. His busy bobby was the study of the Bible and of the geography of Palestine. Inconceivable to him would be the modern general who is at borne in Chelsea studios, in jazzy night clubs, and on week-end bops to Paris. He was nearer to the Crusades than to the Black Shirts of Sir Oswald Mosley-and be died but fifty years ago. Root must have read with excitement of the death of Chinese Gordon, for our jurist was forty years old then. The last of the knights. No--there was born three years after Gordon's death a man surprisingly like him, and sur­ prisingly unlike, in Colonel Lawrence. He was equally a figure out of goldleaf romance; be was equally a master of Asiatic languages and Asiatic ways. A scholarly young archae­ ologist from Oxford, be learned Arabic so well that be could easily go native without detection, and be, practically alone, brought the Arabs into the Great War to win Asia Minor for the Allies. His secret journeys and fights in the desert were quite as improbable as anything in Aladdin, and (perhaps) they made more sense. When it seemed to him that the Allies, after the war, bad betrayed their promises of self-rule to the Arabs, he angrily resigned his Colonel's commission in 1920, changed his name, and in a self-punishment that again was medieval, rejoined the army as a common soldier, and to this day he remains plain Aircraftsman Shaw-who translates Homer when be is not repairing struts. All that sounds like General Gordon, but three things show the immense swift change in psychology. Gordon would 262 PEOPLE AND EVENTS not have been so neurotic as to become an exhibitionistic private-refusing the jam just to hurt Mamma's feelings. It's the age of the gay neurote, this is! Gordon, the simple Evangelical, could never have mastered Lawrence's sensitive and scholarly knowledge of ancient Asia Minor. And to Gordon it never could have occurred, as it has to Lawrence, that just possibly England has no divine right to the empires she has occupied, that just possibly a Hindu or an Egyptian who fights British rule in his own country may not be a rebel but a patriot! So fast was the mental traveling time between 1885 and 1920! Oh, there have been great conflicts, shining personalities, terrifying events in these "commonplace," these "overmech­ anized" fifty years. The obvious climax, that Great War from which civiliza­ tion may never recover, with its attendant Bolshevik revolu­ tion in Russia, break up of Austria-Hungary, Nazification of Germany, modernization of Turkey, which has altered all of Europe and a fine share of Asia and Africa, is not the only epochal happening of the time. Perhaps quite as important have been the events in the Far East, with America's occupa­ tion of Hawaii and the Philippines, the Chino-Japanese War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, and now the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, with a seizure of all of China and a conflict with Russia as possibilities ahead. The Boer War was as obviously contrived and written by Kipling as was the Great War by H. G. Wells, but as to our Spanish-American War, I have only a private opinion as to who the author could have been. It has been variously chronicled as a high crusade and as an error. But I do know that in it the American people had an idealism as great as anything in 1914-18. I know it because I was once acquainted with a thin red-headed boy living in a Minnesota prairie village, who so stoutly believed in 1898 that he must save the Cubans that he ran away from home to become a drum­ mer boy, and perhaps get him a wicked Spaniard or two. He had twenty cents and-what must be incredible to a This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 263 thirteen-year-old boy of today, accustomed to being driven in Father's automobile if he should have to go even a quarter of a mile-he did not believe that there was anything in­ herently awful in walking. He tramped ten miles to the agreeable village of Melrose and, after spending five cents out of his hoard for a jelly roll, viewed the wonders of Melrose while he waited for the Minneapolis train by which he was going to reach an en­ listment office. He was too lofty a patriot to worry about so vulgar a thing as train fare; of course the conductors would be pleased to carry free a young apostle of freedom. The wind went completely out of him when the train came in, and from it stepped his father, apprised by tele­ graph of the young hero's course. And that was the nearest he ever got to any war-that and his reception in the eighth grade when he returned to it! Great wars, great purposes, great disasters! Thirty thousand killed by the eruption of Pelee, in Martinique; seventy-six thousand by the eruption in Sicily in 1908; one hundred thousand drowned by the 1911 flooding of the Yangtze; a so-called influenza epidemic in 1918 which was not so far behind the Black Death of the Middle Ages. Great explorations and flights, with a quality of hardihood that betrays as idiotic the pessimists who moan that man­ kind has turned physically soft. Peary and Amundsen and Scott and Shackleton and Byrd and Colonel Fawcett; Lind­ bergh and Eckener and Frank Hawks and Kingsford-Smith and Wiley Post-to name any one of them is rather foolish, for there will be a hundred others quite as daring. And even while the above paragraph was being written, this January, 1935, Amelia Earhart was flashing from Hawaii to Oakland, and ending forever not only the myth that we are softer than our pioneer forebears, but also the myth that women have less endurance and resoluteness than men. And today comes the plebiscite in the Saar. That's the sort of epoch we're having. Each week has an event extraordinary enough to have contented the historians of two whole decades a few hundred years ago. 264 PEOPLE AND EVENTS One fact by itself will indicate what social changes we have seen in fifty years. Nine monarchies have abolished their kings : Russia, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Austria, China, Turkey, and Brazil-you probably had forgotten this last one, but in 1889 Brazil exiled Dom Pedro, who had been its emperor for fifty years. And this list does not include the minor kings of Germany, nor include Hungary and Bohemia, which of course lost their monarch along with Austria. And we have seen great, bitterly cruel atrocities all over the world. It has not, for all its advances in medical science, all its charities, been a kindly half century. After the Great War, slaughter by every side, red and white equally. In Hungary they buried hundreds of people alive. Just this last year, in Germany, the "purge" was like nothing so much as the St. Valentine's Day murder of gangsters in Chicago. In Italy they filled decent, quiet country schoolteachers up with castor oil. In Ireland the Black and Tans murdered-and were murdered. In Austria they battered down with cannon the beautiful apartment houses that were the country's only social creation since the Great War. In France that gallant folk-assisted by Americans-went out in airplanes to bomb the miserable Rifi tribesmen who thought that they, and not the French, owned their own African country. And in Russia--oh, who knows what happens in Russia? But we do definitely know that just the other day something like a hundred people were shot down without what we call a fair trial, in revenge for one assassination. And William Henry Chamberlin, commonly considered the best American newspaper correlipondent in Russia, asserts in his recent book, Russia's Iron Age, that "during the winter of 1932 and the spring of 1933 stark famine stalked through great areas of Ukraine and the North Caucasus, the lower and middle Volga, and parts of Central Asia, levying a ten percent death toll on a population of fifty or sixty millions." Five or six million people-more than the whole popula­ tion of Ireland or of Norway-dying of starvation in that one winter, just two years ago! And Mr. Chamberlin insists that Th is Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 265 they could all have been saved had it not been that the Bolshevik leaders were determined to teach the peasants a lesson when they refused to give up their individual holdings -their homes for generations!-and join the collectivist farms! But perhaps one can understand the blood-dripping fury of the Bolsheviks when one reads that the White Russians re­ venged the assassination of the Czar and his family by heap­ ing on their graves a pile of peasants' bodies twenty-eight feet high. But I write this with no smugness about the superiority of the Anglo-Saxons. In 1919, in Amritsar, India, the British troops turned their machine guns loose on a meeting of un­ armed Hindus and killed hundreds of them. And in America we have lynched more than four thousand people since 1885. Read that again. We have lynched more than four thousand people since 1885. And in almost every case that meant, also, the most atrocious tortures before the death-burning alive, hacking off fingers for souvenirs. That, with kidnapping, bootlegging, open murder of rival gangsters, deliberate hiring of known murderers as scabs in strikes, and-to take the opposite side-organization of unions with a lead pipe, has made our half century in America al­ most as horrible as it has been glorious. It is a great age for the coming of great men! There is so much to do! There are two equal sins for a thinker or a doer in this year of 1935: to despair of the noble future of mankind; and to believe that this savage race, mankind-so much more savage than the tigers because we kill not just for meat, but for our highest ideals�an be made all sweet and holy just by a few fine phrases. 1885-1935! Harry Gerguson, a boy from New York's East Side, successfully posing as a royal Romanoff! Eugene Victor Debs (one of the gayest raconteurs I have ever met) organiz­ ing the Pullman strike and going to jail. A strange egg named Death Valley Scotty, with a hidden gold mine, taking a special train to New York, to blow in a million or so in a 266 PEOPLE AND EVENTS few days. A simple Canadian boy named Max Aitken becom­ ing Lord Beaverbrook of England, and one of the most powerful newspaper owners in all the world; and an equally simple boy from Birkenhead-which is the Jersey City of Liverpool-becoming the Earl of Birkenhead, Lord Chancel­ lor of Britain. It is a very great foolishness that says that in our plumbing­ demanded and electric-lighted age we have no Don Quixotes and no Galahads. When the Titanic sank in 1912, and 1635 men, women, and children went down, and Astor and Straus stood quietly on deck, smoking, rather than rush the boats, and till they died the band played "Nearer, My God, to Thee" there was heroism surely the peer of anything in the Middle Ages. In incident this half-century bas perhaps been even greater than the Napoleonic Era. In great and individual men it has probably been less. If you will sit down with paper and pencil, you will be able to name fewer distinguished soldiers of the Great War, which happened just yesterday, than of our Civil War, or even of the Napoleonic wars, a century and more ago. Whom can you remember from the Great War? Well-Pershing, Foch, Joffre, Kitchener, Von Hindenburg, Haig, Von Ludendorff, Sergeant York, Richthofen, Guynemer. And whom else? Like Whitman, I sing to you of Great Men. And precisely the thickness of population, of which in every country we are proud today, is the thing that most militates against individual distinction. In Gopher Prairie, with two or three thousand population, there will be two or three dozen veritably great men-not famous men, but men so rare of personality that they can never be forgotten. But were these men to be taken to Chicago or New York, they would be intimidated into meek nothingness. Thus it has been in history. The tiny Athens of Pericles, the England of Queen Eliza­ beth, with its ten or twelve million population, in their rustic alleys had geniuses who endure undimmed. It is conceivable that Elizabeth and Shakespeare, living at the same time in that rather moldy little town of London, were the greatest woman This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 267 and the greatest man that have ever lived. And it was the age of Cervantes in Spain! The other thing that today inhibits greatness is just plain noise. Any one who shows himself as a little above the rank of a taxicab driver is so pestered with interviews, sound mo­ tion pictures, teas, letters from admirers, that he can not continue to do his work. Being a celebrity is very nearly the opposite of being a great man. I suspect that Shakespeare never knew that he was "great." In London, of course, he knew that he was neither a "gentle­ man" nor a "scholar." He was proud that after rehearsals he should be welcomed at Mermaid Tavern by Ben Jonson, who condescendingly said of him that he "had little Latin and less Greek." I fancy that Shakespeare was proud only of the fact that in middle age he was able to go back to his little town of Stratford-on-A von and buy there so decent a house that the boys in the haberdashery were impressed. In the era of 1785 to 1835 there were giants beside whom we seem petty. Then, a hundred years ago, lived (though some of them were old when the period began, some but young when it finished) all the saints and monsters of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, all the leaders of our Revolutionary War, and the foundation of our Re­ public, all our crusaders for Abolition, and most of our Civil War commanders-Lincoln was born in 1809, Lee in 1807. Then were all the founders of Modern Europe: Victoria, Garibaldi, Gladstone, Disraeli, Bismarck, even Frederick the Great, for Frederick lived on till 1786. But in the arts and sciences the period was even more distinguished, since it in­ cluded : Dickens, Thackeray, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Goethe, Kant, Jane Austen, the Brontes, Carlyle, De Quincey, George Eliot, Charles Lamb, Macaulay, Rossetti, Walter Scott, Emerson, Poe, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Balzac, Dumas, Sr. and Jr., Flaubert, Heine, Schiller, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Gogo!. In music it was incredible, with Beethoven, Brahms, Mo­ zart, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Wagner. And contemporary were 268 PEOPLE AND EVENTS Davy Garrick, Gainsborough, Corot, Millet, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Darwin, Pasteur, Morse, Fulton, Stephenson, Eli Whitney, and five religious leaders, equally powerful and about as different one from another as the wildest novelist could contrive--Cardinal Newman, Brigham Young, John Wesley, General William Booth, and Mary Baker Eddy. A half-century crowded with genius! A few celebrities born in the period lived on into ours : Queen Victoria, Bismarck, Ruskin, Tennyson, Browning, Whitman, Herbert Spencer, Li Hung Chang, Mrs. Eddy, Booth, Huxley, Gladstone, Pasteur, and two women who changed war suffering and booze suffering: Florence Night­ ingale and Frances E. Willard. But most of their work was done before our age, and what people have we whose entire or principal activity belongs to our own fifty years? Well, there are the two Roosevelts, Kaiser Wilhelm, Mus­ solini, Hitler, Lenin, Trotzky, Stalin, Gandhi, Diaz, Sun Yat­ sen, Chiang Kai-shek, Woodrow Wilson, Clemenceau, Briand, Cecil Rhodes, Asquith, Lloyd George, Sam Gompers, Kemal (Pasha), Henry George, Frances Perkins, Marie of Rou­ mania. For scientists and inventors : Metchnikoff, Koch, Banting, Ehrlich, Jacques Loeb, Einstein, Theobald Smith, M. and Mme. Curie, Michelson, Compton, Millikan, Max Planck, Rutherford, Burbank, , Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers, Curtiss, Ford, Edison, and Mar­ coni, with John Haldane, the physicist, who is rivaled only by his brother, Lord Haldane, great Lord Chancellor and great minister for war, and by his son, J. B. S. Haldane, the bio-physicist. We have done well in the matter of writers, with Tolstoy, Ibsen, Strindberg, Bernard Shaw, Henry James, Gorki, Wells, Hardy, Conrad, George Moore, Kipling, Swinburne, Lagerlof, Stevenson, Wilde, Maeterlinck, Romain Rolland, Hauptmann (celebrated now as the only major German writer who sup­ ports Hilter) , Tagore, Hamsun, Yeats, Erik Karlfeldt, Thomas Mann, Anatole France, Howells, Eugene O'Neill, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Harold Frederic, Stephen Crane, Frank This Golden Half-Century, 1885-1935 269 Norris, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Cabell, Dreiser, Croce, D'Annunzio, Proust, Mencken, Hemingway, Lewis Carroll, Pirandello, James Joyce, and Zola-no more distinguished for his novels than for his defense of Major Dreyfus, whose five­ year imprisonment on Devil's Island on a false charge of selling military secrets was as extraordinary as any tale of the Man in the Iron Mask. As to the stage, we can be fairly content with Bernhardt, Duse, Irving, Modjeska, Rejane, Reinhardt, and no less than eight Barrymores; and as to painters with Whistler, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Sorolla, Gauguin, Zuloaga. But for creative music we have only Rimsky-Korsakov, Tschaikovsky, Sullivan, Stravinsky, and Richard Strauss. Edu­ cators come off better-if not in numbers, at least in quality, with Montessori, Dewey, Gilman, the brothers Flexner, Booker T. Washington, and Freud, who is equally educator and physician. Probably more important, at least, in America, than any of these professional groups have been our barons of busi­ ness: Rockefeller, Carnegie, James J. Hill, Harriman, Gould, Frick, the three Morgans, the du Ponts, the Vanderbilts, the founders of our largest banks and department stores and mail-order houses, and our chief manufacturers of automo­ biles and electrical devices. For these, like it or not, have been our rulers. It is the custom to say that in journalism we have fallen beneath the celebrated individual editors like Horace Greeley and Marse Henry Watterson. I doubt it. Today the journalist must also be an industrialist, not merely a man with an earnest quill pen in a dirty den,for he serves a million people and not ten thousand. There have been an extraordinary group of editors and publishers-in America: Hearst, Ochs, Curtis, Lorimer, McCormick, Pulitzer, Brisbane, Scripps, Howard, Collier, Reid, and that true heir of Greeley, William Allen White, out in Emporia, Kansas; in England: North­ cliffe, Beaverbrook, Rothermere, William Stead, and half a dozen others; with the Ullsteins in Germany as powerful as any of them. 270 PEOPLE AND EVENTS I believe that the Press has never been more nearly free. I know that never before has it been able to bring to any small bungalow that has two or three cents beyond the price of the morning milk swift news from the entire world-and on Sunday, at least, from Mars and the latest sunspot to boot! It is an admirable list, when to it are added the soldiers and the adventurers whom I have mentioned earlier. But it must gloomily be admitted that it is feeble compared with an honor roll which starts off with Napoleon, Bismarck, Frederick the Great, Washington, Lincoln, Dickens, Marx, and Darwin! Actually, however, that should not cause public wailing, for -like all lists and statistics, particularly during campaigns­ there is a trick in it. The fact is that we don't yet know how the boys and girls who today are twenty or younger will tum out. If a Menuhin can be a world violinist now, at seventeen, what may he be at thirty? Perhaps just as Lincoln was born in 1809 but was nearly unknown till 1860, there may have been born in 1909 another Lincoln whom we shall not recognize until 1960. When all of Youth that has been born in 1885-1935 shall have had its chance, that half-century may perhaps be put down as the noblest in history. But to take that chance, Youth must not be afraid to show itself, not as perpetually clever and shiny and speeding, but as filled with the awkward, faith-dipped simplicity which is the quality of greatness. It must not be afraid of anything-for just ahead of us may lie the world's most vicious war, or the benign curbing of cancer and tuberculosis; another Shakespeare, or another scourge of Dillingers in low places and Kreugers in high; a flight to Mars, or a descent into an ocean of lava; a peaceful world nation, or a world shattered into ten thousand bandit tribes. Has any century ever started its thirty-fifth year so excit­ ingly? VII PLACES ON THE JOURNEY

The Long Arm of the Small Town

Minnesota, the Norse State

Back to Vermont

Americans in Italy

1. Mr. Eglantine

2. Ann Kullmer

The Long Arm of the Small Town

� "It was a good time, a good place, and a good preparation for life," wrote Sinclair Lewis of his home town, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, twenty-nine years after he had left it to go to college. One of the least sentimental of men, Mr. Lewis ac­ cepted the invitation of his high-school annual, the 0-Sa-Ge, to write a piece for its fiftieth anniversary issue. Thus did he pay homage to his old school and to the town where he was born. "The Long Arm of the Small Town," published in 1931, gave pleasure alike to old schoolmates and the current crop of students. Thereafter it was forgotten until the Lewis me­ morial services held in Sauk Centre on January 28, 1951. At that simple, moving ceremony the article was read by Dr. J. F. DuBois, a schoolmate. Those who attended the services will never forget the effect of those words, delivered before the boyhood friends and neighbors of a man who had traveled far from Sauk Centre and had become the first American winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.

IT IS EXTRAORDINARY HOW DEEP IS THE IMPRESSION made by the place of one's birth and rearing, and how lasting are its memories. It is twenty-nine years now since I left Sauk Cen.tre to go east to college. In this more than a quarter of a century, I have been back two or three times for a couple of months, several times for a couple of weeks, but otherwise I have been utterly out of touch with the town. Yet it is as vivid to my mind as though I had left there yesterday. I find myself thinking of its streets and its people and the familiar, friendly faces when I am on the great avenues of New York, or Paris, or Berlin, or Stockholm; when I am in 273 274 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY little stone hilly villages of Italy, or sun-basking villas in Spain, or the yellow ancient temples of Athens. To me, for­ ever, ten miles will not be a distance in the mathematical tables, but slightly more than the distance from Sauk Centre to Melrose. To me, forever, though I should live to be ninety, the direction west will have nothing in particular to do with California or the Rockies; it will be that direction which is to the left-toward Hoboken Hill-if you face the house of Dr. E. J. Lewis. So primitive and inherent are the impressions of boyhood. And I, who am writing this in Connecticut and shall go in mid May to the farm which I have bought in Vermont, haven't the slightest regret that I was born and reared in a prairie village instead of in New England or New York, or old England or the Continent of Europe, for the matter of that. If I seem to have criticized prairie villages, I have certainly criticized them no more than I have New York, or Paris, or the great universities. I am quite certain that I could have been born and reared in no place in the world where I would have bad more friendliness. Indeed, as I look at these sons of rich men in New England with their motor cars and their travel, it seems to me that they are not having one-tenth the fun which I bad as a kid, swimming and fishing in Sauk Lake, or cruising its perilous depths on a raft (probably made of stolen logs), tramping out to Fairy Lake for a picnic, tramping ten miles on end, with a shotgun, in October; slid­ ing on Hoboken Hill, stealing melons, or listening to the wonders of an elocutionist at the G .A.R. Hall. It was a good time, a good place, and a good preparation for life. Minnesota, the Norse State

From The Nation, May 30, 1923. Reprinted in These United States, A Symposiuni, edited by Ernest Groening, Second Series, Boni & Liveright, 1924

11 With typical force and gusto Mr. Lewis sets forth the social and political conditions of his native state which make it different from all others. In this precisely factual piece one will find not only the background of many of his novels, the milieu of Gopher Prairie, Zenith, Grand Republic, but also the actual living basis for most of his characters.

ON MAY 9, 1922, MR. HENRY LORENZ OF PLEASANTDALE, Saskatchewan, milked the cows and fed the horses and re­ ceived the calls of his next farm neighbors. Obviously he was still young and lively, though it did happen that on May 9 he was one hundred and seventeen years old. When St. Paul, Mendota, and Marine, the first towns in Minnesota, were established, Henry was a man in his mid-thirties-yes, and President Eliot was seven and Uncle Joe Cannon was five. As for Minneapolis, now a city of four hundred thousand people, seventy-five years ago it consisted of one cabin. Be­ fore 1837, there were less than three hundred whites and mixed breeds in all this Minnesotan domain of eighty thousand square miles-the size of England and Scotland put together. It is so incredibly new; it has grown so dizzyingly. Here is a village which during the Civil War was merely a stockade with two or three log stores and a company of infantry, a refuge for the settlers when the Sioux came raiding. During a raid in 1863, a settler was scalped within sight of the stockade. 275 276 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY Now, on the spot where the settler was scalped, is a bunga­ low farmhouse, with leaded casement windows, with radio and phonograph, and electric lights in house and garage and barns. A hundred blooded cows are milked there by ma­ chinery. The farmer goes into town for Kiwanis Club meet­ ings, and last year he drove his Buick to Los Angeles. He is, or was, too prosperous to belong to the Nonpartisan League or to vote the Farmer-Labor ticket. Minnesota is unknown to the Average Easterner, say to a Hartford insurance man or to a New York garment-worker, not so much because it is new as because it is neither Western and violent, nor Eastern and crystallized. Factories and shore hotels are inevitably associated with New Jersey, cowpunchers and buttes with Montana; California is apparent, and Florida and Maine. But Minnesota is unplaced. I have heard a Yale junior speculate: "Now you take those Minnesota cities-say take Milwaukee, for instance. Why, it must have a couple of hundred thousand population, hasn't it?" (Nor is this fiction. He really said it.) This would be a composite Eastern impression of Minne­ sota: a vastness of wind-beaten prairie, flat as a parade ground, wholly given up to wheat-growing save for a fringe of pines at the north and a few market-towns at the south; these steppes inhabited by a few splendid Yankees--one's own sort of people-and by Swedes who always begin sen­ tences with "Veil, Aye tank," who are farmhands, kitchen­ maids, and icemen, and who are invariably humorous. This popular outline bears examination as well as most popular beliefs; quite as well as the concept that Negroes born in Chicago are less courteous than those born in Ala­ bama. Minnesota is not fiat. It is far less fiat than the province of Quebec. Most of it is prairie, but the prairie rolls and dips and curves; it lures the motorist like the English roads of Broad Highway fiction. Along the skyline the cumulus clouds forever belly and, with our dry air, nothing is more spectacular than the crimson chaos of our sunsets. But our most obvious beauty is the lakes. There are thousands of them-nine or ten thousand-brilliant among suave grain fields or masked by Minnesota, the Norse State 277 cool birch and maples. On the dozen mile-wide lakes of the north are summer cottages of the prosperous from Missouri, lllinois, even Texas. Leagues of the prairie are utterly treeless, except for arti­ fi.cial windbreaks of willows and cottonwoods encircling the farmhouses. Here the German Catholic spire can be seen a dozen miles off, and the smoke of the Soo Line freight two stations away. But from this plains country you come into a northern pine wilderness, "the Big Woods," a land of lumber camps and reservation Indians and lonely tote-roads, kingdom of Paul Bunyan, the mythical hero of the lumber­ jacks. The second error is to suppose that Minnesota is entirely a wheat State. It was, at one time, and the Minneapolis flour mills are still the largest in the world. Not even Castoria is hymned by more billboards than is Minneapolis flour. But today it is Montana and Saskatchewan and the Dakotas which produce most of the wheat for our mills, while the Minnesota farms, building tall red silos which adorn their barns like the turrets of Picardy, turn increasingly to dairying. We ship beef to London, butter to Philadelphia. The iron from our Mesaba mines is in Alaskan rails and South African bridges, and as to manufacturing, our refrigerators and heat-regulators comfort Park Avenue apartment houses, while our chief underwear factory would satisfy a Massachusetts Brahmin or even a Chicago advertising man. Greatest error of all is to believe that Minnesota is en­ tirely Yankee and Scandinavian, and that the Swedes are helots and somehow ludicrous. A school principal in New Duluth analyzed his three hun­ dred and thirty children as Slovene, 49; Italian, 47; Serbian, 39; American, 37; Polish, 30; Austrian and Swedish, 22 each; Croatian, 20; colored, 9 (it is instructive to note that he did not include them among the "Americans") ; Finnish, 7; Scotch, 6; Slav unspecified, 5; German, French, Bohemian, and Jewish, 4 each; Rumanian, Norwegian, and Canadian, 3 each; Scandinavian, unspecified, 8; Lithuanian, Irish, Ukrai- 278 PLACES ON THE .JOURNEY nian, and Greek, 2 each; Russian and English, 1 each-60 per cent of them from Southern and Eastern Europe! Such a Slavification would, of course, be true only of an industrial or mining community, but it does indicate that the whole Mid-Western population may alter as much as has the East. In most of the State there is a predomination of Yankees, Germans, Irish, and all branches of Scandinavians, Icelanders and Danes as well as Swedes and Norwegians. And among all racial misconceptions none is more vigorously absurd than the belief that the Minnesota Scandinavians are, no matter how long they remain here, like the characters of that esti­ mable old stock-company play "Yon Yonson"-a tribe humor­ ous, inferior, and unassimilable. To generalize, any popular generalization about Scandinavians in America is completely and ingeniously and always wrong. In Minnesota itself one does not hear (from the superior Yankees whom one questions about that sort of thing) that the Scandinavians are a comic people, but rather that they are surly, that they are Socialistic, that they "won't Americanize." Manufacturers and employing lumbermen speak of their Swedish employees precisely as wealthy Seattleites speak of the Japs, Bostonians of the Irish, Southwesterners of the Mexicans, New Yorkers of the Jews, marine officers of the Haitians, and Mr. Rudyard Kipling of nationalist Hindus­ or nationalist Americans. Unconsciously, all of them give away the Inferior Race Theory, which is this: An inferior race is one whose members work for me. They are treacherous, ungrateful, ignorant, lazy, and agitator ridden, because they ask for higher wages and thus seek to rob me of the dollars which I desire for my wife's frocks and for the charities which glorify me. This inferiority is inherent. Never can they become Good Americans (or English Gentlemen, or High-wellborn Prussians). I know that this is so, because all my university classmates and bridge-partners agree with me. The truth is that the Scandinavians Americanize only too quickly. They Americanize much more quickly than Ameri­ cans. For generation after generation there is a remnant of stubborn American abolitionist stock which either supports Minnesota, the Norse State 279 forlorn causes and in jail sings low ballads in a Harvard ac­ cent, or else upholds, like Lodge, an Adams tradition which is as poisonous as Communism to a joy in brotherly boosting. So thorough are the Scandinavians about it that in 1963 we shall be hearing Norwegian Trygavasons and Icelandic Gi­ slasons saying of the Montenegrins and Letts: "They're reg'lar hogs about wages, but the worst is, they simply won't Ameri­ canize. They won't vote either the Rotary or the Ku Klux ticket. They keep hollering about wanting some kind of a doggone Third Party." Scandinavians take to American commerce and schooling and journalism as do Scotsmen or Cockneys. Particularly they take to American politics, the good old politics of Harri­ son and McKinley and Charley Murphy. Usually, they bring nothing new from their own experimental countries. They per­ mit their traditions to be snatched away. True, many of them have labored for the Nonpartisan League, for women suffrage, for co-operative societies. The late Governor John Johnson of Minnesota seems to have been a man of destiny; had he lived he would probably have been President, and possibly a President of power and originality. But again-there was Senator Knute Nelson, who made McCumber look like a left-wing syndicalist and Judge Gary like Fran�;fois Villon. There is Congressman Steenerson of Minnesota, chairman of the House postal committee. Mr. Steenerson once produced, out of a rich talent matured by a quarter of a century in the House, an immortal sentence. He had been complaining at lunch that the Nonpartisan League had introduced the ob­ scene writings of "this Russian woman, Ellen Key," into the innocent public schools. Someone hinted to the Scandinavian Mr. Steenerson, "But I thought she was a Swede." He answered : "No, the Key woman comes from Finland and the rest of Red Russia, where they nationalize the wonzen." Naturally it is the two new Senators, Henrik Shipstead and Magnus Johnson, who now represent to the world the Scandinavian element in Minnesota. How much they may bring to the cautious respectability of the Senate cannot be 280 PLACES ON THE .JOURNEY predicted but certainly, like John Johnson, they vigorously represent everything that is pioneer, democratic, realistic, American in our history. Good and bad, the Scandinavians monopolize Minnesota politics. Of the last nine governors of the State including Senatorial-Candidate Preus, six have been Scandinavians. So is Harold Knutson, Republican whip of the House. Scandi­ navians make up a large proportion of the Minnesota State Legislature, and while in Santa Fe the Mexican legislators speak Spanish, while in Quebec the representatives still de­ bate in French, though for generations they have been citizens of a British dominion, in Minnesota the politicians who were born abroad are zealous to speak nothing but Americanese. Thus it is in business and the home. Though a man may not have left Scandinavia till he was twenty, his sons will use the same English, good and bad, as the sons of settlers from Maine, and his daughters will go into music clubs or into cocktail sets, into college or into factories, with the same prejudices and ideals and intonations as girls named Smith and Brewster. The curious newness of Minnesota has been suggested, but the really astonishing thing is not the newness-it is the old­ ness, the solid, traditionalized, cotton-wrapped oldness. A study of it would be damaging to the Free and Fluid Young America theory. While parts of the State are still so raw that the vil­ lages among the furrows or the dusty pines are but frontier camps, in the cities and in a few of the towns there is as firm a financial oligarchy and almost as definite a social system as London, and this power is behind all Sound Politics, in di­ rect or indirect control of all business. It has its Old Families, who tend to marry only within their set. Anywhere in the world, an Old Family is one which has had wealth for at least thirty years longer than average families of the same neighborhood. In England, it takes (at most) five generations to absorb "parvenus" and "profiteers" into the gentry, whether they were steel profiteers in the Great War or yet land profiteers under William the Conqueror. In New York Minnesota, the Norse State 281 it takes three generations-often. In the Middle West it takes one and a half. No fable is more bracing, or more absurd, than that all the sons and grandsons of the pioneers, in Minnesota or in California, in Arizona or Nebraska, are racy and breezy, un­ mannerly but intoxicatingly free. The grandchildren of men who in 1862 fought the Minnesota Indians, who dogtrotted a hundred miles over swamp-blurred trails to bear the alarm to the nearest troops-some of them are still clearing the land, but some of them are complaining of the un-English quality of the Orange Pekoe in dainty painty city tea-rooms which stand where three generations ago the Red River fur­ carts rested; their chauffeurs await them in Pierce-Arrow limousines (special bodies by Kimball, silver fittings from Tif­ fany); they present Schnitzler and St. John Ervine at their Little Theaters; between rehearsals they chatter of meeting James Joyce in Paris; and always in high-pitched Mayfair laughter they ridicule the Scandinavians and Finns who are trying to shoulder into their sacred, ancient Yankee caste. A good many of their names are German. Naturally, beneath this Junker class there is a useful, sophis­ ticated, and growing company of doctors, teachers, newspaper­ men, liberal lawyers, musicians who have given up Munich and Milan for the interest of developing orchestras in the new land. There is a scientific body of farmers. The agricul­ tural school of the huge University of Minnesota is sound and creative. And still more naturally, between Labor and Aristocracy there is an army of the peppy, poker-playing sales­ hustling He-men who are our most characteristic Americans. But even the He-men are not so obvious as they seem. What their future is, no man knows-and no woman dares believe. It is conceivable that, instead of being a menace in their na·ive boosting and their fear of the unusual, they may pass only too soon; it is possible that their standardized bathrooms and Overlands will change to an equally standardized and formula-bound culture-yearning Culture, arty Art. We have been hurled from tobacco-chewing to tea-drinking with gasp­ ing speed; we may as quickly dash from boosting to a beauti- 282 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY ful and languorous death. If it is necessary to be Fabian in politics, to keep the reformers (left wing or rigid right) from making us perfect too rapidly, it is yet more necessary to be a little doubtful about the ardent souls who would sell Cul­ ture; and if the Tired Business Man is unlovely and a little dull, at least he is real, and we shall build only on reality. Small is the ducal set which controls these other classes. It need be but small. In our rapid accumulation of wealth we have been able to create an oligarchy with ease and efficiency, with none of the vulgar risks which sword-girt Norfolks and Percys encountered. This is one of the jests which we have perpetrated. The nimbler among our pioneering grandfathers appropriated to their private uses some thousands of square miles in northern Minnesota, and cut off-or cheerfully lost by forest fire--certain billions of feet of such lumber as will never be seen again. When the lumber was gone, the land seemed worthless. It was good for nothing but agriculture, which is an unromantic occupation, incapable of making millionaires in one generation. The owners had few of them acquired more than a million dollars, and now they could scarcely give their holdings away. Suddenly, on parts of this scraggly land, iron was discovered, iron in preposterous quan­ tities, to be mined in the open pit, as easily as hauling out gravel. Here is the chief supply of the Gary and South Chi­ cago mills. The owners of the land do not mine the ore. They have gracefully leased it-though we are but Western­ ers, we have our subsidiary of the United States Steel Com­ pany. The landowner himself has only to go abroad and sit in beauty like a flower, and every time a steam shovel dips into the ore, a quarter drops into his pocket. So at last our iron-lumber-flour railroad aristocracy has be­ gun to rival the beef barons of Chicago, the coal lords of Pennsylvania, and the bond princes of New York. This article is intended to be a secret but flagrant boost. It is meant to increase civic pride and the value of Minnesota real estate. Yet the writer wonders if he will completely satis­ fy his chambers of commerce. There is a chance that they would prefer a statement of the value of our dairy products, Minnesota, the Norse State 283 the number of our admirable new school buildings, the num­ ber of motor tourists visiting our lakes, and an account of James J. Hill's encouraging progress from poverty to magnif­ icence. But a skilled press agent knows that this would not be a boost; it would be an admission of commerce-ruled bar­ renness. The interesting thing in Minnesota is the swift evolu­ tion of a complex social system, and, since in two generations we have changed from wilderness to country clubs, the ques­ tion is what the next two generations will produce. It defies certain answer; it demands a scrupulous speculation free equally from the bland certitudes of chambers of commerce and the sardonic impatience of professional radicals. To a realistic philosopher, the existence of an aristocracy is not (since it does exist) a thing to be bewailed, but to be exam­ ined as a fact. There is one merit not of Minnesota alone but of all the Middle West which must be considered. The rulers of our new land may to the eye seem altogether like the rulers of the East--ofNew England, New York, Pennsylvania. Both groups are chiefly reverent toward banking, sound Republicanism, the playing of golf and bridge, and the possession of large motors. But whereas the Ea�terner is content with these sym­ bols and smugly desires nothing else, the Westerner, however golfocentric he may be, is not altogether satisfied; and rau­ cously though he may snortle at his wife's "fool suffrage ideas" and "all this highbrow junk the lecture-hounds spring on you," yet secretly, wistfully he desires a beauty that he does not understand. As a pendant, to hint that our society has become some­ what involved in the few years since Mr. Henry Lorenz of Saskatchewan was seventy, let me illogically lump a few per­ sonal observations of Minnesota: Here is an ex-professor of history in the State University, an excellent scholar who, retiring after many years of service, cheerfully grows potatoes in a backwoods farm among the northern Minnesota pines, and builds up co-operative selling for all the farmers of his district. Here is the head of a Minneapolis school for kindergart- 284 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY ners, a woman who is summoned all over the country to ad­ dress teachers' associations. She will not admit candidates for matriculation until she is sure that they have a gift for teach­ ing. She does something of the work of a Montessori, with none of the trumpeting and anguish of the dottoressa. Here is the greatest, or certainly the largest, medical clinic in the world-the Mayo Clinic, with over a hundred medical specialists besides the clerks and nurses. It is the supreme court of diagnosis. Though it is situated in a small town, off the through rail routes, it is besieged by patients from Utah and Ontario and New York as much as by Minnesotans. When the famous European doctors come to America, they may look at the Rockefeller Institute, they may stop at Harvard and Rush and Johns Hopkins and the headquarters of the Ameri­ can Medical Association, but certainly they will go on to Rochester. The names of "Charley" and "Will" have some­ thing of the familiarity of "R.L.S." and "T.R." Here is a Chippewa as silent and swart as his grandfather, an active person whom the cavalry used to hunt every open season. The grandson conducts a garage, and he actually un­ derstands ignition. His farm among the lowering Norway pines be plows with a tractor. Here is a new bookshop which is publishing the first Eng­ lish translation of the letters of Abelard. The translator, Henry Bellows, is a Ph.D., an editor, and a colonel of militia. Here are really glorious buildings: the Minneapolis Art Institute, the State Capitol, the St. Paul Public Library, and Ralph Adams Cram's loveliest church. Here, on the shore of Lake of the Isles, is an Italian palace built by a wheat specu­ lator. Here where five years ago were muddy ruts are perfect cement roads. Here is a small town, a "typical prairie town," which has just constructed a competent golf course. From this town came a minister to Siam and a professor of history in Columbia. And here are certain Minnesota authors. You know what Mid-Western authors are-rough fellows but vigorous, igno­ rant of the classics and of Burgundy, yet close to the heart of humanity. They write about farmyards and wear flannel shirts. Minnesota, the Norse State 285 Let us confirm this portrait by a sketch of eleven Minnesota authors, most of them born in the State: Charles Flandrau, author of Harvard Episodes and Viva Mexico, one-time Harvard instructor, now wandering in Spain (Agnes Repplier has called him the swiftest blade among American essayists) ; Scott Fitzgerald, very much a Minneso­ tan, yet the father of the Long Island flapper, the prophet of the Ritz, the idol of every Junior League; Alice Ames Winter, recently president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs; Claude Washburn, author of The Lonely Warrior and several other novels which, though they are laid in America, imply a European background (he has lived for years now in France and Italy); Margaret Banning, author of Spellbinders; Thomas Boyd, author of that valiant impression of youth in battle, Through the Wheat; Grace Flandrau, of Being Re­ spectable and other authentically sophisticated novels; Wood­ ward Boyd, whose first novel, The Love Legend, is a raid on the domestic sentimentalists; Carlton Miles, a dramatic critic who gives his Minnesota readers the latest news of the con­ tinental stage (he is just back from a European year spent with such men as Shaw, Drinkwater, and the director of La Scala); Brenda Ueland, who lives in Greenwich Village and writes for the Atlantic Monthly; Sinclair Lewis, known pub­ licly as a scolding corn-belt realist, but actually (as betrayed by the samite-yclad, Tennyson-and-water verse which he wrote when he was in college) a yearner over what in private life he probably calls "quaint ivied cottages." Seventy-five years ago-a Chippewa-haunted wilderness. To­ day-a complex civilization with a future which, stirring or dismaying or both, is altogether unknowable. To understand America, it is merely necessary to understand Minnesota. But to understand Minnesota you must be an historian, an eth­ nologist, a poet, a cynic, and a graduate prophet all in one, Back to Vermont

From The Forum, April, 1936

�They used to say of him that "Red is always buying places.'' Certainly that was true of the last dozen years of his life. He bought and furnished no less than five homes, including a house in Bronxville, N. Y., Twin Farms at South Pomfret, Vermont, a big duplex apartment in New York, a Tudor castle in Duluth, and Thorvale Farm, near Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he lived the last few years before his final trip to Italy. In that period he went abroad several times and stopped at innumerable New York hotels. This was, of course, a manifestation of his restlessness, his growing dis­ content with any one environment. Here Mr. Lewis tells why he settled in Vermont "for good."

TinS REASONABLE AND WHOLESOME PLAN for finding a place in which one could be content to dwell does, I admit, start with rather a lot of If's, but then so do aU plans for World Peace, Happy Marriage, and the Perfect Diet. If I could afford it-if se1f and family could instantly be transported from one coun­ try to another without the tedium of journeying-if one could be rid of the headache of packing and unpacking-and if there weren't quite so many different interesting kinds of in­ come taxes-then it would all be simple. From October 15 to January 1, I would Jive in New York, and for two reasons : it is the most exciting, idea-jammed, high-colored city in the world, except perhaps Moscow, and I speak its language, at least some of its languages, better than I do the Muscovite. Second, on the blessed annual New Year's Day when I escaped from its bibulous hysteria, any place in 286 Back to Vermont 287 the world, any place at all, even Addis Ababa, would seem enchantingly restful. Bermuda, then, till the middle of February, and a pink cot­ tage and golden sands and quiet driving on white roads and even-if not too large a proportion of New York has also simultaneously escaped to Bermuda-a fair amount of work. Till April, in California, but not near Los Angeles, no; rather in the , with its memories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Herbert Hoover, Jack London, Aimee McPherson, and suchlike romantics; where the witch cypresses breathe to the open Pacific and the polo players breathe to the Del Monte bartender. The stratospheric transfer is most needed now; from Cali­ fornia to catch April in Venice, the one city that, despite motorboats, tables d'hote, and American papers in the kiosks, is as magic in daily experience as ever it was on canvas. All sound travel writers remark of the Grand Canyon and Venice, "Who could ever find words to describe their wonders?"­ after which they find a lot of words, and often very good ones, to describe the same. I'm not sure whether I prefer sit­ ting on Point Lobos, Carmel, looking out to Japan across the bewitched and mocking rocks, or sitting in Venice's Piazza San Marco, looking up to the cathedral across a mixed ver­ mouth. England, then, for ·May-half the time in London and half in any of twenty skylark-lilting counties : Devon or Kent or Sussex or Norfolk, where I have just been ambling along the Broads in a Buxom wherry so well trained that without a touch of the tiller it stops at every riverside pub. Oh, I am willing to be broad-minded; I am willing to change the schedule so that it shall be Venice or England in any month of the year except from mid-November to mid-March. And I can be tempted to Paris, Stockholm, Capri, Florence, the Good Hope Ranch in Jamaica, or Trinidad, in place of the amiable spots listed; and I'd like again to have an autumn in Minnesota, when the prairie chickens, what few are left, are out in the pale-gold stubble. 288 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY But, with all this flightiness, this conceivable change, I must-and as a matter of fact mostly do--have from the first of June to the middle of October on my farm in Ver­ mont.


Some seven years ago, my wife and I went there, without prejudice. We had lived a good deal abroad; we came back to America with only the unrigid notion that we should like a farm somewhere not too far from the New York where, by chance, lived most of our friends. We knew practically no one in Vermont; had no past ties to it-not till we had seen those friendly, shy-colored, serene hills, when instantly we seemed to have ties past, present, and future. Here was a place of peace, yet not the cloying peace of an Italian vale but the peace of clear, cool air and an easy vigor without nerves. Since then, without permission, we have added New Hampshire and the Berkshire Hills, on the New York side of the border as well as in Massachusetts, to that kingdom of the hills where sheep still graze on little trails- among scrub maple and lichen-patterned rocks and people still have time to sit on the porches of country stores and milk comes out of cows, not out of cans ....Usually! We had found on our quest for land-that so-ancient quest which America forgot for a generation but has taken up again hungrily these last ten years-other contemplative valleys and hillsides in Connecticut and Massachusetts, but the prices were too high then, in 1928. (They have dropped incredibly since.) I refer you to Mrs. Fisher and Kit Morley and old Rowland E. Robinson for more detailed raving about the charms of our Vermont ....Of secret streams, clear and tiny, slipping under an old stone wall, through an old upland pasture gone to seed and in August a lovely tawniness, through a birch grove-the Grecian shrines must have been like that when they were new and really inhabited by the divinity that has died with the dying stone-and at last, among the needles in Back to Vermont 289 a solemn wood of spruce and hemlock, whispering in a tiny waterfall. ...Of the mountains (not, like the Rockies, so vast as to terrify) when at twilight they begin to grow. I want, rather, to give details in a thoroughly realtor fashion. (No, I have no land to sell and, thank heaven, I don't need to buy any, either!) For most people who come from west of Buffalo or south of Washington, Vermont is doubtless too far away for a vaca­ tion home. Even for a New Yorker, all save the southern part of it is too far away for anyone who wants to spend all but his week ends in that interesting city whose symbol is a steel riveter, rampant. My farm is three hundred miles from New York; a brisk eight-hour drive: railroad connections abomi­ nable. But for a writer, a teacher, a retired man of affairs, anyone who can take a two-month vacation, the place was appointed by the divine powers, and the only reason that I haven't gone into the Vermont real-estate business is that I have been somewhat occupied of late with sundry other forms of mis­ sionary labor. For fifteen hundred to three thousand dollars, part down, you would, if you poked about long enough, find a hundred­ acre farm with a solid old farmhouse of eight or ten rooms. It might have running water; it would not have a bathroom, electric lights, or a telephone. There would be one or two magnificently timbered old barns; one of them would make such a studio or minstrels' hall as to draw tears from Christo­ pher Wren. It would be two-thirds of the way up a mountain­ side, protected from too shrewd a wind but looking ten or twenty miles down a valley between hills checkered with pastures among small forests of pine, maple, and poplar. With luck, it would have a trout stream. Th,ere would be one or two or three miles of dirt road, narrow, crooked, very decent in summer, foul in early spring and late autumn. Five or ten miles away would be a village almost as gracious as Litchfield or Sharon. You can spend thirty dollars on modern improvements-i.e., fifteen for kerosene lamps and fifteen 290 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY for a fine tin tank to bathe in-and have a stoutly com­ fortable place, an authentic home, for the rest of your life. Your neighbors will be varied. Within a few miles of me, these past few years, have lived such slightly unco-ordinated persons as George and Gilbert Seldes; Alexander Woollcott; Dr. Leo Wolman; Lynn Montross; Richard Billings, the great railroader; Fred Rothermell; Louis Adamic; and a gentleman named Calvin Coolidge. But, except at Dorset and Man­ chester, you will find no roar and flood of summerites. And as to the natives . . . They are a complicated, reticent, slyly humorous lot, and I doubt if any place in the world will you find a citizenry which so strictly minds its own business. If you come to know them but slowly or not at all, they do not snoop; they do not pry; they have the reserve and self-respect of an an­ cient race that feels too secure to be more than just vaguely amused by the eccentricities of outlanders. Of a millionaire New Yorker, a Rodin, or a George Bernard Shaw, a Vermont farmer would stoutly say, "He ain't my kind of folks, but guess he's just as good as anybody else, long's he don't inter­ fere with me." It is a cool land, with ever-changing skies, this Vermont. For me it is peace and work and home.

Americans in Italy

1. Mr. Eglantine 2. Ann Kullmer

11 The following two pieces appeared in a series on Italy which Mr. Lewis wrote for the Bell Syndicate in 1948. The articles were published in many papers in the United States and Canada between January and May of the next year and at- Americans in Italy 291 tracted considerable editorial comment. Lack of space for­ bids the use in tbis book of more than two. Thes� articles, with the completion of bis novel World So Wide, published a few weeks after his death on January 10, 1951, constitute his final printed work. For several months before his fatal illness, be was writing something which Alexander Manson, the author's secretary-courier in Lewis's last months, revealed, in a Saturday Evening Post article, to be poetry. This material remains in the hands of the Lewis Estate, but there has been no announcement in regard to its publication. Mr. Eglantine is representative of a type common in Europe, which Lewis knew well and abominated. In his many visits abroad he knowingly allowed himself to be fleeced time after time by the American expatriate grafter, just to watch the creature perform. He had an almost pathological feeling about paying his own debts instantly and an equal hatred for the freeloader or deadbeat. Yet, as a student of humanity, be tolerated these leeches with an amused contempt and frequently kept a group of people fascinated for hours by his impersonation of the notable ones who lent color to the European scene. The second article, in a very different mood, deals with an American of another sort, and with an occasion to make a fel­ low-countryman proud. It tells the story of how Ann Kull­ mer of Macomb, Illinois, and Dorset, Vermont, conducted a concert at the San Carlo Opera House of Naples in the win­ ter of 1948. She was the first woman, American or otherwise, to direct an Italian orchestra in a major presentation. As stated earlier in these notes, Lewis's love for music came late in his life, and this is the only piece in our collection that reflects it.

1. Mr. Eglantine

MR. VERNON EGLANTINE IS THIN AND RATHER TALL AND AS RE­ spectable-looking as an English muffin. He resembles a pro- 292 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY fessor in a five-elm college, and that is what he was until that slight misconception of his interest in a girl student, when the college president is said to have chased him down the steps of Old Main and halfway to the library. Since then, he has prepared house organs for large and robust Cleveland firms, written verse for greeting cards, and translated scandal­ ous novels from languages he does not quite understand into English which you'd better not understand. And for thirty years he has been a veteran of American artistic colonies in Europe, along with his latest wife, Mitzi, who is jolly and has large amounts of black hair, not often washed. Verny and Mitzi are usually shaky from ten A.M., when they rise, till ten-ten, when they have their first cognac. They were insiders in the good old days of the Left Bank in Paris. Ten thousand Americans lived in Paris then and had their own bars and restaurants and newspapers. There Verny added to his literary art the art of sponging. His specialty was getting the names of rich new American arrivals from the local papers, calling on these innocents to ask, with all his skinny and stork-like solemnity, about a hypothetical uncle back home, and gratefully inviting the tenderfoot of the boulevards out to a fat lunch. Good old Mitzi always just happened to drop in at the restaurant and she got invited too. Sometimes, with Verny's bright conversation and hints of how to see in Paris what could not be seen, the lunch was good for a hundred-dollar touch, so thankful was the cultural sucker at having this new friend to show him the soft and dusky underside of Paris. Sometimes it was only twenty-five­ and a dollar and a half accepted cheerfully. Anyway, it was always a lunch--enough sordid solid sustenance to last the Eglantines for two days, so that they could reserve their cash for the more necessary provender of grappa and brandy. ·when the magnificent luncheon bill was reverently borne in, on silver, Verny as host would look at it yawningly, and do a skilled and professional fumble. Oh! He had left his purse at home! Never mind; they knew and loved him here in this brocaded restaurant; they'd take his check. And he would actually, with the slow art of the old master, bring out a real Americans in Italy 293 check book, but what do you think? All the checks had been used up. Sometimes the Eglantines had a quarter of an hour of warm pleasure in watching the downfall of the sucker, who ten days before had been a canny banker or salesman back home. Sometimes it was only five sly, exquisite minutes. But always, finally, the sucker paid for the lunch. Except that the Eglantines made it a principle that if he had "lent" them, as it was called, over seventy-five dollars, they themselves would pay, out of the fistful of paper francs which Mitzi carried in her greasy black and gold handbag. They felt that they were spiritually soiled by having thus to associate with American businessmen, but they made up for it in their wonderful permanent friends of the Latin Quarter cafes : women with faces like athletic young men, young men with faces like petulant girls, and all the geniuses who for ten years now had been writing a non-objective free­ verse play about Edgar Allan Poe. (After 1946, this play, all the hundred lines of it so far written, would be turned into an existentialist drama with Lord Haw Haw as the hero.) When War II came to make such annoying inconvenience to gentle people like the Eglantines, Verny and Mitzi escaped to England, where she washed her hair (early in 1941 that was) and he took to shaving and was employed by the gov­ ernment as an expert on American culture. Much later, they found that they should have returned to America, for their old friend Hank Hiller, who in Paris had never rated much higher than Anatole France, had gone to California and founded an academy of geniuses who stupefied America with admiration by spelling all the five-letter words with four let­ ters, so that, reading them, young ladies in Bennington Col­ lege became able to shock their ex-prospector grandfathers. The Eglantines frolicked back to Paris in '47, but all the glories of their particular France, so nicely rotting like a de­ caying pear, were gone, and it was cold. They decided to take their combination of American enterprise and French culture to Italy, early in 1948. Naturally, they first tried Capri, that lovely rock island 294 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY of the sirens, which ever since the Emperor Tiberius has been a refuge for slightly frowsy genius. But they discovered there much better hobohemians and cadgers than themselves, Russians and Hungarians and Peruvians and Javanese, and they all spoke real spoken Italian. Verny did not speak it, no, not enough to call an Italian pussy-cat. He merely trans­ lated from it. And wrote articles on the young Italian poets. And Capri was so small, with so few boats, that nasty shop­ keepers could get to you about that little matter of the five thousand lire for wine and cheese. They moved then to the neighboring island of Ischia, in the Bay of Naples, where the damp brethren were gathering, but all of these ingrates were inclined to keep their lire for themselves. Indignantly, they went on to Florence. They did find, in the Camillo and Sostenza, in Florence, such small, cheap, excellent restaurants jammed with American art stu­ dents and Russian mystics and Italian pianists, as in Paris had always meant pickings, but in disgust they also found that even the most arty-looking Anglo-Americans went regu­ larly to church; that some of the English rather liked England, and some of the Americans still hankered after ice-cream soda and Grant Wood's paintings. They were broke. Mitzi had to do babysitting for the wife of an American vice-consul, and Vemy had to go to work and finish up his book on Romanesque Art: A Handbook for Normal Schools. He went so far as to walk nine whole blocks to look at the Tuscan Gothic church of Santa Maria Novella, which was the most intensive laboratory work he had ever done on the subject, and it took him seven cognacs to recover. Then the good rumors came in. On the Ligurian Coast, be­ low Genoa, in a bus-stop village where Ezra Pound had once lived, robed in purple petulance, the Boys and Girls were be­ ginning to flutter in, and the beautiful realm of art freed from morals and oatmeal porridge would soon be established again. To this village fled Vemy and Mitzi, and the first person they saw walking down the tiny Corso was a rich and lan­ guorous American gent in Basque trousers and sash and rope sandals, and with him were a young lady in severe riding Americans in Italy 295 breeches and starched white shirt, and another young lady in a smock so artistic and modern and novel that it might have been worn by her grandmother, who used to be the shock of the more advanced artistic circles in West Virginia. The strangers and the Eglantines all looked at one another knowingly. "Have a strega?" murmured the American gent. V erny and Mitzi sighed and smiled and felt good-like a Hemingway hero after the seventh beer-and they knew that in Europe there would never be a time when Americans too sensitive to cope with high schools and tarpon fishing and gum and airconditioning will not be able to find somewhere an asylum where the less-hairy Whitmans will sit together from 22:30 to 2 and tell one another how superior they are to all the Babbitts in Iowa and Ireland and Oslo and South Uruguay. The Eglantines are still at that village on the Italian Riviera and every day they still say to each other, after borrowing lunch money, "I do hope this place won't be ruined by all these dreadful American tourists."

2. Ann Kullmer

TALL, GHOSTLY WALLS OF WHITE AND GOLD, SIX TIERS HIGH, lighted only from the rehearsal lamps on stage; the royal box surmounted by scarlet robes and a great gilt crown, all futile now, and in that box, listening, the ghosts of royal Murats and Bourbons. In humbler boxes, the humbler but greater ghosts of Bellini and Rossini and the other Italian composers who, in this sacred, vast room, first heard their music given full life. The San Carlo Opera House of Naples, built in 1737, and the Naples Symphony Orchestra rehearsing for the second concert of the 1948-49 winter season. On stage in flimsy chairs, a busy mob in sweaters and shirt sleeves, very much like any New York musical group, with five pretty women among them-one of them the Konzertmeister. Then, striding 296 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY out to direct them, no gaunt European male conductor, but a girl and an American girl-the first woman, American or otherwise, ever to direct an Italian orchestra in a major pre­ sentation. Ann Kullmer of Macomb, Illinois, and Dorset, Vermont, facing the probably approving ghost of Donizetti! Not till the advanced age of six did Miss Kullmer complete her piano study and switch to the violin, and she was all of eleven when she won the first prize of the Detroit Conserva­ tory, and a venerable fourteen when she became a member of the Indianapolis Symphony. Then off to Leipzig to study conducting, along with the violin, and nine years ago, at the hoary age of twenty-two, in Berlin, she first conducted an orchestra. Now, on stage, she comes out to the podium-a sturdy, energetic girl in work clothes of tan silk blouse and green skirt. She raps, and all of the ninety-odd musicians-some of them old enough to be her grandfather-snap into obedience. She has a proud, dark head, held high. Like other young orchestra leaders today, she conducts from memory, without a score, and does not use a baton, but molds the music with her two strong hands, with arms that swing like in a walking race. Conductor's baton, field marshal's baton, king's sceptre, slavedriver's whip-all are gone now and, in what we call a mechanical age, the human hand returns to its bare magic. For her Naples concert, Miss Kullmer had not chosen an easy program. It included the Second Sibelius, which had never before been presented in Naples, and 's Rodeo, with its mocking and intricate Wild Western Ameri­ can rhythms, which had not been heard in all Italy. None of her musicians knew a bar of eit,Per opus, and she had not merely to drill them-this foreigner, this young woman now first landed in Italy-but to teach them every step. I still don't know how she did it, for with all her knowledge of French and German, when she had taken the steamer for this tour she had not known a word of Italian except for such Americans in Italy 297 juicy musical directions as are printed at the beginnings of movements. She learned it all, she said, from her little book and from her stewardess on the ship-in ten days! Yet here, in a lan­ guage which seemed to be accepted by these shrewd profes­ sionals as Italian, she was pounding them, encouraging them, clarifying the tricky passages of old Sibelius who is no friend to smooth amateurs. And the orchestra loved it, loved her, and at intermission they jammed into her dressing room to call her "Maestra" with affection and to beg for her autograph. That day I had seen three beautiful things : A monastery, brimming with utter peace, on a lava island-hill set against the rugged sulphurous slope of Mt. Vesuvius; a rainbow over the Bay of Naples from the terrace of a restaurant on the cliff at Sorrento; and now the unity of artists from two dis­ tant nations in a common creation of beauty. For the actual concert next evening, though Italian music­ fanatics are not particularly welcoming to novelties like Cop­ land, the vastness of the San Carlo was full, clear up through the sixth tier from which the diminished features of students looked down as if from the roof of a tall apartment house. The bearded professors who had to be shown were there, and I picked out a round-faced and contemptuous youngish man, condescending to all the old stagers, as a music critic­ even in the warm Naples early afternoon I shivered. And, higher up in station as they were lower down in ticket prices, were the hundreds of music students-all hard-boiled, ready enough to welcome a fellow artist among the American Bar­ barian Invaders, but quite as ready to hoot at Miss Kullmer if she and her Copland proved to be nothing but slick jazz novelties. Now, before the orchestra, majestic in tails and white shirt fronts, the conductor was equally formal in white blouse and dead-black skirt; and when her long arms stretched out for the first notes, the magic that is music and the stage and the hyp­ notized crowd came quick and sharp, and she already had won. 298 PLACES ON THE JOURNEY It was all an ovation: five curtain calls for Miss Kullmer at intermission, seven at the end, and the mass rising in admira­ tion for her, in fondness for her; and in that were both the monastery peace and the power of Vesuvius. _ At the concert I sat with three American oilmen, very proud of "our Ann," though they had never before seen her, and with the officers of the destroyer-tender, the USS Grand Can­ yon. At the end, the executive officer-commander sighed, "I wonder if our being here and Ann's being here don't both have some new meaning in history? Some day her debut here might mean as much as the Marshall Plan." The doctor-commander reminded us that just across from the San Carlo is Naples's renowned Galleria--eloquently re­ corded in John Home Burns's novel, The Gallery-and that there, under a lofty glass roof, in a private crossroads free from the rain and from the horrors of traffic, are practically all the liquor shops in the world, together with the spectacle of night strollers who are quite astonishingly ready to be friendly with such innocent strangers as we. Seated there, drinking the Italian equivalents of cokes, we heard a stately couple at the next table give verdict, with a handwave toward the San Carlo, "Si, benissim�benissima!" Next day, all the music critics in the Naples papers said that here had been no freak importation, like the unfortu­ nate appearance of boy conductors in velvet knee pants; that Ann Kullmer's had been a directorial triumph: solid, massive, sure. Is that history-this Illinois girl in an opera house built forty years before the American revolution? If that isn't his­ tory, what is? Vlll SOCIAL QUESTIONS

Is America a Paradise for Women?

Main Street's Been Paved

Relation of the Novel to the Present

Social Unrest: The Passing of Capitalism

Cheap and Contented Labor

Is America a Paradise for Women?

From The Pictorial Review, June, 1929

� This piece was the author's side of a debate with his second wife, Dorothy Thompson, Mr. Lewis taking the affirmative and Miss Thompson the negative. Friends who have heard him arguing any point which at the moment took his fancy will see in this as true a reflection of his voice and manner, under certain circumstances, as can be found-the hyperbole made convincing, the staggering gen­ eral knowledge, the annoying facility for bending that knowl­ edge to his uses, the intolerance (for the moment) of any contrary voice; and at the end, so often, a dizzying reversal of position in which he knocked all his own arguments out and left his hearers gasping.

WHEN OUR ANCESTRESS EVE STILL DWELT IN EDEN SHE COM­ plained a good deal to Father Adam, and to all of the ani­ mals that would listen, about the dullness of the scene and the society. She wanted to live some place else. She was certain that all the men in all the Some Place Elses were gallanter to­ ward women, and with lips apart she listened to the first gigolo who flattered her. But that gigolo was a Serpent and not a sound domestic adviser, no matter bow well be danced in the moonlight, no matter bow glistening his scales. When she took his advice and was pushed into the Great World Outside which she had desired, she found that all the time, without knowing it, she had been in Paradise. Eve's voluble belief that Eden was not Paradise did not keep it from being Paradise. And perhaps the fable is not entirely untrue for today. 301 302 SOCIAL QUESTIONS I decidedly do not maintain that these United States com­ pose or ever will compose, an absolute Paradise for women --or men, or children, or any other breed of animals. But neither is any other country, and I do maintain that for the woman with imagination and eagerness this country presents problems and opportunities, presents a conceivable future, which are more stimulating than the beautiful peace of any other land. I do not maintain that Mr. George F. Babbitt is any more uplifting as a husband than he is as a luncheon-club orator; I do not maintain that he makes love more exquisitely than the pretty Don Juans and Casanovas you see playing on the sands at the Lido. But I do maintain that Mrs. George F., if she has the stuff in her, has the chance here, and the invita­ tion, to take part in creating a dramatic new world of indus­ try, education, family life, and that her husband, poor clump, leaves her more free than any woman on earth to tickle her egotism with the flattery of the Don Juans betweenwhiles. It would be the flattest sort of chauvinism to say that we have here all the European security of tradition, sweetness of easy gaiety, beauty of old marble--as yet. What we may have five hundred years from now no one knows save "the ama­ teur ethnologists who have patented this Nordic supremacy myth," but now we are still awkward and self-conscious with newness, and we boast only that we may not quaver. We can show nothing like an English drawing-room at tea­ time, a French cafe looking on chestnuts in Spring bloom, a German mountain-top with the knapsacked hikers singing, or the slopes of Capri in Autumn sunshine as seen from the walls of Tiberias. No, we have nothing here save the spectacle of the very center of the world's greatest revolution-a revolu­ tion that makes the Bolshevik upheaval seem like a mere national election and the French Revolution like a street fight! We need not read history for our drama-we are in history, right now! The world is changing (for good or bad) from an ill-connected series of individualist businesses to a common­ wealth of gigantic industries in which each individual has no Is America a Paradise for Women? 303 more freedom than a private (or even a general) in an army in wartime. Whether or not this loss of freedom is compensated for by an increased sense of importance in belonging to an organiza­ tion mighty and significant, whether one would prefer to be the lone trapper or the smartly uniformed corporal with his companions-in-arms, is not the question, for we have already been drafted, and, like it or not, we are in that war-the most exciting and dangerous war in history. And women, hitherto the weeping stay-at-homes or the wailing refugees in war, have as much place in this one as any man. The woman teacher, controlling the education of a hundred men children; the woman wife, no longer regarding her man's business as a mystery but as a plain job which she can understand as well as he; the woman uplifter or politician or salesman of real estate or publisher or author-she has exactly the place in this universal army that her brains and energy and ambition demand. She is less secure than the lady of the manor, controlling her spinning maids and the grubbers in the walled garden, four hundred dead years ago-but, then, she no longer has to remain back home in the manor! If Eve now finds Eden dull the world allows her to go out and make her own Paradise-and the women in America who have opened the barber-shops to women and closed the bar­ rooms to men have done that remaking of Paradise to an ex­ tent which is slightly dismaying to low, ordinary men like myself-to such an extent that I wonder whether the question here debated should not be, "Is America a Paradise for Any One Except Women?" I doubt whether any of the reasons usually given so patly and fatly by most reporters of America as a female Paradise are really important. It is true that women here have more "domestic conveniences" than anywhere else in the world­ more electric flatirons and toasters and refrigerators and dish­ washing machines, more gas-stoves and vacuum cleaners and oil-furnaces and garbage-incinerators. But then! For the wom­ en who are mistresses the servants are so much more ex- 304 SOCIAL QUESTIONS pensive that the ruling class can have but a quarter as many of them as elsewhere in the world. And for the women who are servants (it must distinctly be remembered, though discussions of women rather frequently forget it, that the wives of doctors and lawyers and authors and sales-managers do not compose the entire feminine world) -for the women servants, their apparently high wages and their laboratory-like kitchens do not always make up for the fact that most Americans do not have the reverence for good cooking nor the respect for smart servants which is to be found in Europe. And it is true that our women have more leisure than in Europe. Think of the canned goods which permit them to prepare dinner in five minutes! "Think of the increasing num­ ber of women in service-flats whose chief daily task is to struggle out of bed and find the remains of yesterday's box of candy!" Yet this constantly offered reason why our women should be happy often means precisely nothing. It's not the heat-it's the h�midity; it's not the leisure-it's what one may do with the leisure. A man in solitary confinement in prison has complete lei­ sure, yet I am told that he rarely gets any great ecstasy out of it. I am certain that a woman who has to work in the fields all day, but who works with her men-folk, who sings with them, who laughs as she eats her bread and cheese under the hedge, who feels strong, and resolute, and significant, is con­ siderably happier than a woman in a workless apartment who, afternoon upon drab afternoon, has nothing to do save play bridge, go window-shopping, look at a movie. The third reason usually given for the paradisiality of America for women-that their husbands are so generous, so complaisant, so obedient-seems to me equally bunk, be­ cause most human beings would rather be united to spouses whom they must struggle to please, but whom they respect, than to weaklings whom they can twist around their fingers, but whom they despise. Whether they are conscious of it or not, most women would rather be married to a Napoleon than to a Mr. Pickwick-and it is precisely the amiable, Is America a Paradise for Women? 305 vague, foolishly generous virtues of a Pickwick that have been exhibited as admirable in American husbands. I seem to be arguing against my own thesis, that America is the women's Paradise. I am not. I am trying to dispose, or suggest ways of disposing, of foolish reasons for a wise thesis, because more debates are lost by the sentimental rea­ soning of the advocates than by the savagery of the opponents. No, I do not present America as desirable for women be­ cause it gives them an easy life, but precisely because it gives them a hard life-a keen, belligerent, striving, exciting life of camp and embattled field; because it gives them a part in this revolution which (whether we like it or hate it) is chang­ ing all our world from the lilac-hedged cottages of Main Street to the overpowering, the intimidating yet magnificent bastions of Park Avenue; from the chattering court follow­ ing a toy monarch in glass coaches to the hard, swift proces­ sion of industrial lords in 120 h.p. cars. Women not only can take full part in this revolution-they are taking it, and such women, though they may long to re­ turn to the lilacs and roses and peace of Main Street, are certainly not returning. If they can not utterly enjoy being warriors, they can never now enjoy anything less valiant. Consider a woman like Miss Frances Perkins, recently ap­ pointed State Commissioner of Labor in New York-a posi­ tion of considerable significance in a State where at least eight million people are classed as laborers or the families of laborers-a position considerably weightier than that of the King of Norway or Sweden or the President of the Irish Free State. Miss Perkins has, with zest, climbed through all the grades from that of an unknown social worker struggling for fire­ escapes on factories, through years as Her Honor the Judge in the Workmen's Compensation Court, to her present power. And she has managed to do it without any of that celebrated "loss of femininity," for in private life Miss Perkins is a Mrs., an extremely good wife and mother, and the most entertaining of friends. Consider Miss Mabel Willebrandt. Whether one admires 306 SOCIAL QUESTIONS her as an enforcer of prohibition or detest her as an evangelical politician and self-advertiser, one must admit that more than any one else in the country she has won the right to be Attorney General of the United States. Then consider a woman who was completely opposed to Miss Willebrandt in the late lamented campaign-Mrs. Henry Moskowitz, AI Smith's prime adviser and chief coach. If he had won, the credit would have belonged to her as much as to his own vivid self. And with them, view Miss Elisabeth Marbury, who is, both as politician and as producer of plays, quite the equal of any man rival. And turning to what is sometimes known with amiable pleasantry as "the art of writing," regard women like Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Ruth Suckow, Mary Austin, Anne Parrish, Gertrude Atherton, Dorothy Canfield, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Kathleen Norris, Alice Duer Miller, Josephine Herbst, Evelyn Scott, Katherine Mayo--at least as important as any equal number of males. I could go on with women congressmen, researchers, actress­ es, heads of social settlements, editors, or women in business --developing narrow white tearooms into millionaire candy companies. I could suggest that Aimee Semple McPherson is, admire her or detest her, the most renowned figure in organ­ ized religion in America today, better known than Billy Sun­ day, S. Parkes Cadman, or Harry Emerson Fosdick, and more adored by her following. And the greatest religious leader of the decade before her was another woman-Mary Baker Eddy! But these celebrated ladies I bring in only as a hint that, increasingly, the greatest careers in this country are open to women. But that fact, applying only to a few women of ex­ traordinary vigor, or charm, or intelligence, or instinct for publicity, is less important than the fact that everywhere in America women have, if they care to seize it, a power and significance at least equal to that of the men about them. It is most seen in the schools. Actually, two distinguished English observers, Mr. Bertrand Russell and Mr. H. G. Wells, complain that the chief trouble Is America a Paradise for Women? 307 with America is that women have too much control of our education and, thus, training our future citizens in the way they shall think or fear to think, have control of all our social life; that through the preponderance of women teachers in our schools all America is becoming feminized. They politely hint that though the Typical American Busi­ nessman, with his heavy shoulders, his large spectacles, his clenched cigar, his growling about poker and gold and fishing and the stockmarket, seems to the eye particularly masculine, at heart, in his fear of offending the conventions, in his obedi­ ence to public prejudice, in his negative attitude that goodness consists not in doing fine things but in failing to do dangerous things, he is tied to the apron-strings of the women teachers of his boyhood; that he bas become effeminized, without having the virtues of being frankly feminine. Whether or not Mr. Wells and Mr. Russell are anything save ingenious, it is certain that in all our schools save a few private retreats for the rather wealthy, it is women who do nine-tenths of the direct teaching. The school principals, with their fussiness about ventilation and assignments in Caesar, may be men, but it is women who day after day give, equally to boys and to girls, their concepts of courage, learning, decency, good manners, along with the less significant instruc­ tion in the details of algebra and the exports of Sumatra. And when the boys and girls go home, it is mother-not father, as in England or Germany-who chiefly instructs them in the ethics of sex and cleanliness. And to make it all com­ plete, on the Sabbath day it is women who, in Sunday-school, teach them the eternal mysteries. Women to whom Paradise is escape from responsibility, amorous flattery, and emulating the lilies of the field, will find all this rather grubby and irritating. But to women for whom Paradise is creation of life and thought, living life, this opportunity of having more power than was ever seized by any bandit dictator will be more satisfying than any condition of life that women in any other age, in any land, have ever known. It is not alone the professional teachers, the home-determin- 308 SOCIAL QUESTIONS ing mothers, and the religious instructors among American women who have power and the zest of activity. Everywhere in Europe, or in China or Timbuktu, for that matter, it is males who determine what books and operas and painters shall be popular, what social movements--eugenics or tene­ ment reform or revised taxation-shall be considered mo­ mently important. But in America these decisions are to an inconceivable ex­ tent made by our women's clubs. A curious situation, which will puzzle future historians, almost to frenzy. For ninety per cent of our male politicians, however billowing their frock coats, however basso pro/undo their voices on the radio, how­ ever noble their hawklike or Roman noses as depicted in the rotogravure sections, in private life use such brains as they may have only on the chesslike problems of political ad­ vancement. Their utterances on the things regarding which they are supposed to be experts and representatives of the pee-pul, their opinions on prohibition, , pacifism, agri­ cultural relief, and what not, are determined for them by the women's clubs back home. It is the women, in these clubs, in their courses of study, their reading, their prejudices or lack of prejudices, who form the only really large and half-way co-ordinated "body of public opinion" in these hustling but uncontemplative States. And when all the male editors have produced their maga­ zines, male publishers have issued their books, male authors have composed their arguments (on, for example, such a subject as "Is America the Women's Paradise?"), when the male playwrights and producers have set forth their wares, and male critics have given judgment on novels, after this it is the women, the one sex in the country that really reads and meditates and talks to others about its reading and the fruits of its meditation, that decides what book or play, what maga­ zine or article, shall be sufficiently approved-or vigorously enough disapproved!-to be allowed to live and have its being. Is America a Paradise for Women? 309 What brought prohibition to America? The Anti-Saloon League, the lauded evangelists? Not by a long shot! They do themselves too much honor! It was the women of America, working for these past hundred and fifty years, diffidently beginning in the days when in frontier cabins they heard their men-folk yowling over fifty-cent-a-gallon corn liquor, rising at last to the women's temperance societies in all the evangelical churches, and the grim and powerful W.C.T.U.; it was the women at home, coaching their sons in the evils of alcohol and raising Cain if their husbands came home with a breath. The women of America wanted prohibition, and got it. If they ever want any other incredibly revolutionary experiment -Communism or universal church union, polygamy or vege­ tarianism, pacifism or cannibalism-they will get that, too, and all the walrus-voiced politicians and ingenious pamphle­ teers will be but megaphones for their small, invincible voices. In fact, men have accomplished but one thing in America­ they have, by some magic which one would suppose to be beyond their powers, kept women from knowing how lucky a human being is to be born a woman in these United States, to be born one of the ruling sex and not one of that pompous, waddling, slightly ridiculous, and pathetic race of belated children known as men! But there are women, and many women, and extraordinarily intelligent and pleasant and notable women, who answer that this is all very well, and even perhaps partly true, but as for them, they do not desire this power, this influence. They want the things symbolized by the traditional beauty of Europe-husbands who are also charming lovers, children who are not automata to be filled up with feminized education, backgrounds suggesting two .thousand years of building and passion and aspiration-who desire, in fact, to be not states­ men in step-ins, but to be women! Well, if they desire gallantry, it is at least as much up to them as it is up to men to create among our hitherto some­ what stiff and embarrassed people, with our subconscious theory that the good Lord somehow made an error in creat- 310 SOCIAL QUESTIONS ing bodies, the suave yet passionate atmosphere which raises Europeans above the level of shamefaced flirtation. And I believe that it is precisely the reckless flapper, who is so much condemned by the long-noses for her wicked "necking," who is, in an experimental way, beginning to create that atmosphere; I believe that as the New York of the '70's, the plushhorse New York of the Jim Fisks and the Boss Tweeds, has turned into a metropolis which in elegance compares with any European capital whatever, so a generation from now American social life, the easy and unembarrassed association of men and women, will have the richness known in Europe today. And meanwhile, if our imprisoned Eves want Europe-why, they can have it! Among all the nations of earth, only in America, Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia are the women allowed to go off traveling alone, at their own sweet wills, without having an infernal row kicked up by their husbands, fathers, brothers, and cousins even unto the seventh connection. And none of the three other lands gives to their women such liberty as does America. The English squire can, without hysterics, see his women go off to the Continent alone, but he expects them to stick to safe, canonical places-the nice quiet hotel at Vevey, or Cousin Ethelbert's at Hyeres, or that really sweet pension at San Remo where you never meet any Americans or Italians or curious people like that. But the American woman who feels that she must have European spice to her Yankee corn bread may go as she pleases, if her husband or father has money enough-or al­ most money enough-and he hears with equanimity, prob­ ably with too much equanimity, that she has stayed at a doubtful hotel in Paris, that she. has gone to the Coliseum by moonlight with a count of the most dubious countishness. If an Italian, an Austrian, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, heard of such capers, his wife would jolly well be told to stay there in the Coliseum with her count, in rain and sleet as well as affable moonlight. But our American yearner, when she tires of gigolos and galleries, can come home at will, and at will Is America a Paradise for Women? 311 resume her position as Lady Mussolini of the local study club. I do not mean to say that any large percentage of American husbands have the money to permit their wives to indulge in such escapism. But they all have the willingness. And it is astounding how much American women in families of no great wealth do travel. The wife of the average small-town doctor or lawyer, with an income of thirty-five hundred dollars a year, expects to go across at least once. The wife of a man of corresponding income in Europe would be lucky if she were allowed to visit Aunt Marie a hundred miles away. In her family the money would be saved-for what? For her son, that he might show the smartness which in Europe belongs not to women but to the lordly malef In no other land, in no other age, have women expected to have their cakes and eat them. The joke is that they actually get away with it! For every native American woman who sighs that she is a martyr to live here, there is a foreign-born American woman who gloats that she is lucky to have come. We have a young Czech maid, six years in America, who saved enough money so that last summer she was able to go back to Bohemia to see her father and mother. She had a notion of remaining, but she returned in two months, and thus Mary explains it: "Gee, I'm never going back to that country again. Say, gee, it was fierce. My Old Man makes my Old Woman do whatever he wants her to. She can't do nothing without he lets her. There was a fellow there wanted to marry me. He's well off, too, that fellow. But when I looks at my Old Woman, 'Nix,' I says, 'not on your life ; I'm going back to America, where a woman gets what money she earns and don't get it took off her by her Old Man like they do back in the Old Country. Not on your life,' I says; 'even a cook is her own boss in America,' I says. "And say, my Old Man, he don't need money none; he's got a mill, he's fixed good, but he keeps ahinting and ahinting about the money I'd saved and how a man ought to get what 312 SOCIAL QUESTIONS his daughter's made, and I says, 'Here's a thousand bucks,' I says, and say, he took it! And he didn't need it! Say! Do you know what the trouble with them Europeans is? They don't think about nothing but money!" I had intended, with Rockefeller-like philanthropy, to pre­ sent Mary's opinion to the next European who writes or lectures about Das Dollar Land and Uncle Shylock. But I donate it, instead, to all the Eves who find Eden insufficiently like Paradise to suit them, and who are unwilling to do any­ thing whatever to make it so.

Main Street's Been Paved

From The Nation, September 10, 1924

�There was a presidential campaign in 1924 and the candi­ dates were Calvin Coolidge, John W. Davis and Robert M. La Follette. The Nation sent the fairly radical young author of Main Street, published only four years before in 1920, to Gopher Prairie to see what Doc Kennicott and the rest of the folks out there thought of the presidential race. In this thumb­ nail sequel to Main Street we learn more about Carol Kenni­ cott, Dave Dyer, Guy Pollock, etcetera, themselves, than their views of the political candidates. One wonders just how much the article advanced the candidacy of the magazine's candi­ date, La Follette.

WHEN T/ze Nation ASKED ME TO VISH' GOPHER PRAIRIE, Minnesota, and ask the real he-Americans what they thought of the Presidential campaign, I was reluctant. Of all the men whom I met in Gopher Prairie years ago, during that college vacation when I gathered my slight knowledge of the village, Dr. Will Kennicott was the one whom I best knew, and for Main Street's Been Paved 313 him I held, and hold, a Little Brother awe. He is merely a country practitioner, not vastly better than the average; yet he is one of these assured, deep-chested, easy men who are al­ ways to be found when you want them, and who are rather amused by persons like myself that go sniffing about, wonder­ ing what it all means. I telegraphed the doctor asking whether he would be home, for sometimes in summer he loads his wife and the three boys in his car and goes north for a couple of weeks' fishing. He answered-by letter; he never wastes money .by telegraphing. Yes. He was in Gopher Prairie till the middle of August; would be glad to talk with me; knew Carrie (his wife) would enjoy a visit with me also, as she liked to get the latest gossip about books, psychoanalysis, grand opera, glands, etc., and other interests of the intellectual bunch in N. Y. I arrived in Gopher Prairie on No. 3, the Spokane Flier. Many people will be interested to know that No. 3 is now leaving Minneapolis at 12:04, that the St. Dominick stop has been cut out, and that Mike Lembcke, the veteran trainman so long and favorably known to every drummer traveling out of Mpls., has been transferred to the F line, his daughter hav­ ing married a man in Tudor. I was interested to see the changes in Gopher Prairie in the past ten years. Main Street now has three complete blocks paved in cement. The Commercial and Progress Club had erected a neat little building with a room to be used either for pleasure and recreation or for banquets; it has card tables, a pool table, a top-notch radio; and here on important oc­ casions, like the visit of the Congressman or the entertain­ ment of the Twin City Shriners' Brass Band, the ladies of the Baptist Church put up a regular city feed for the men folks. The lawns are prettier than they used to be; a num­ ber of the old mansions-some of them dating back to 1885-have been rejuvenated and beautified by a coating of stucco over the clapboards; and Dave Dyer has a really re­ markable California bungalow, with casement windows, a 314 SOCIAL QUESTIONS kind of Swiss chalet effect about the eaves, and one of the tallest radio aerial masts I have seen west of Detroit. But quite as striking was the change in Dr. Kennicott's office. The consulting-room has been lined with some patent ma­ terial which looks almost exactly like white tiling-the only trouble with it, he told me, is that lint and so on sticks to it. The waiting room is very fetching and comfortable, with tapestry-cushioned reed chairs and a long narrow Art Table on which lie Vogue, the Literary Digest, Photoplay, and Broadcasting Tidings. When I entered, the doctor was busy in the consulting­ room, and waiting for him was a woman of perhaps forty, a smallish woman with horn-rimmed spectacles which made her little face seem childish, though it was a childishness dubious and tired and almost timid. She must once, I noted, have been slender and pretty, but she was growing dumpy and static, and about her was an air of having lost her bloom. I did not at first, though I had often talked to her, recognize her as Carol, Dr. Kennicott's good wife. She remembered me, however, by my inescapable ruddiness and angularity; and she said that the doctor and she did hope I'd drop in for a little visit after supper-she was sorry they couldn't invite me to supper, but the new hired girl was not coming along as well as they had hoped, as she was a Pole and couldn't speak a word of English. But I must be sure to come. There would be a really fine concert from WKZ that evening -of course so much of the broadcast stuff was silly, but this would be a real old-time fiddler playing barn-dance music -all the familiar airs, and you could hear his foot stamping time just as plain as though he were right there in the room -the neighbors came in to enjoy it, every Thursday evening. Oh! And could I tell her-There'd been such an argument at the Thanatopsis Club the other day as to what was the dernier cri in literature just now. What did I think? Was it Marcel Proust or James Joyce or by Edna Ferber? She couldn't wait any longer for the doctor. Would I mind Main Street's Been Paved 315 telling him to be sure to bring home the thermos bottle, as they would need it for the Kiwanis picnic? She whispered away. I thought she hesitated at the door. Then the big, trim doctor came out of the consulting-room, patting the shoulder of a frightened old woman, and chuck­ ling, "So! So! Don't you let 'em scare you. We'll take care of it all right!" From his voice any one would have drawn confidence; have taken a sense of security against the world-though perhaps a sense of feebleness and childishness and absurdity in com­ parison with the man himself; altogether the feeling of the Younger Brother. I fumbled at my mission. "Doctor, a New York magazine-you may not have heard of it, but I remember that Mrs. Kennicott used to read it till she switched over from it to the Christian Science Monitor -The Nation, it's called; they asked me to go around and find out how the Presidential campaign is starting, and I thought you'd be one of the ..." "Look here, Lewis, I've got a kind of a hunch I know exactly what you want me to do. You like me pers-onally­ you'd probably take a chance on my doctoring you. But you feel that outside of my business I'm a complete dumbbell. You hope I'm going to pull a lot of bonehead cracks about books and writings and politics, so you can go off and print 'em. All right. I don't mind. But before you lash me to the mast and show me up as a terrible reactionary-that's what you parlor socialists call it, ain't it?-before you kid me into saying the things you've already made up your mind you're going to make me say, just come out and make a few calls with me, will you?" As I followed him downstairs I had more than usual of the irritated meekness such men always cast over me. He pointed to a handsome motor with an inclosed body. "You see, Lewis, I'm doing all the Babbitt things you love to have me do. That's my new Buick coop, and strange to say I'd rather own it-paid for in advance!-than a lot of cubist masterpieces with lop-jawed women. I know I oughtn't 316 SOCIAL QUESTIONS to get that way. I know that if I'd just arrange my life to suit you and the rest of the highbrows, why, I'd make all my calls on foot, carrying a case of bootlegged wood alcohol under one arm and a few choice books about Communism under the other. But when it drops much below zero, I've got a curious backwoods preference for driving in a good warm boat." I became a bit sharp. "Hang it, doctor, I'm not a fool. Personally, I drive a Cadillac!" This happened to be a lie. The only mechanical contrivance I own is not a Cadillac but a Royal typewriter. Yet I was confused by his snatching away my chance to be superior by being superior to me, and for the second I really did believe I could beat him at motor-owning as I can beat him at theories of aesthetics. He grinned. "Yeh, you probably do. That's why you haven't got any excuse at all. I can understand a down-and-outer becoming a crank and wanting to have Bob La Follette or this William Z. Foster-or, God! even Debs!-for President. But you limousine socialists, a fellow like you that's written for the real he-magazines and might maybe be right up in the class of Nina Wilcox Putnam or even , if you did less gassing and drinking and more work and real hard thinking-how you can go on believing that people are properly impressed by your pose of pretending to love all the lousy bums-well, that's beyond me. Well, as I said : Before we go into politics and Coolidge, I want to show you a couple of things to point out what I mean." He called to Dave Dyer, in the drug-store. Dave is really an amiable fellow; he used to keep me supplied with beer; and we would sit up, talking science or telling dirty stories or playing stud poker, till a couple of hours after everybody else in town had gone to bed-till almost midnight. Dave came out and shouted: ·:Glad to see you again, Lewis." "Mighty nice to see you, Dave." "I hear you been up in Canada." "Yuh, I was up there f'r little trip." "Have nice trip?" Main Street's Been Paved 317

"You bet. Fine." "Bet you had a fine trip. How's fishing up there?" "Oh, fine, Dave. I caught an eleven-and-a-half pound pickerel-jack-fish they call 'em up there-well, I didn't exactly catch it personally, but my brother Claude did-he's the surgeon in St. Cloud." "Eleven naf pounds, eh? Well, that's a pretty good-sized fish. Heard you been abroad." "Yes." "Well. ...How'd the crops strike you in Canada?" "Fine. Well, not so good in some parts." "How long you planning stay around here?'' "Oh, just a couple days." "Well, glad to seen you. Drop in and see me while you're here." I was conscious, through this agreeable duologue, that Dr. Kennicott was grinning again. Dave Dyer's amiability had lubricated my former doubtfulness and I was able to say almost as one on a plane of normality with him: "Oh, what are you sniggering at?" "Oh, nothing, nothing-posolutely Mr. Leopold, absotively Mr. Loeb. (Say, that's a pretty cute one, eh? I got it off the radio last night. ) I just mean it always tickles me to see the way you loosen up and forget you're a highbrow when you run into a regular guy like Dave. You're like Carrie. As long as she thinks about it, she's a fierce Forward Looker and Deep Thinker and Viewer with Alarm. But let the hired girl leave the iron on a tablecloth and burn it, and Carrie forgets all about being a Cultured Soul and bawls hell out of her. Sure. You write about Debs, but I'd like to see you acting natural with him like you do with Dave!" "But really, I'm very fond of Gene." "Yeh. Sure. 'Gene,' you call him-that's the distress signal of your lodge-all you hoboes and authors and highbrows have to say 'Gene.' Well, I notice when you talk to Dave, you talk American, but when you get uplifty on us, you talk like you toted a monocle. Well, climb in." I considered the sure skill, the easy sliding of the steering- 318 SOCIAL QUESTIONS wheel, with which he backed his car from the curb, slipped it forward, swung it about the new automatic electric traffic signal at the comer of Main and Iowa, and accelerated to thirty-five. "I guess you've noticed the paving on Main Street now," he said. "People that read your junk prob'ly think we're still wading through the mud, but on properly laid cement the mud ain't so noticeable that it bothers you any! But I want to show you a couple of other things that otherwise you'd never see. If I didn't drag you out, your earnest investiga­ tion would consist of sitting around with Carrie and Guy Pollock, and agreeing with them that we hicks are awful slow in finally making Gopher Prairie as old as Boston. Say, do you play golf?"

"No, I haven't ..." "Yeh. Thought so. No Fearless Author or Swell Bird would condescend to lam a pill. Golf is a game played only by folks like poor old Doc Kennicott of G.P., and the Prince of Wales and Ring Lardner and prob'ly this H. G. Wells you're always writing about. Well, cast your eye over that, will you." We had stopped, here on the edge of Gopher Prairie­ this prairie village lost in immensities of wheat and naivetes, this place of Swede farmers and Seventh Day Adventists and sleeve-garters-beside a golf course with an attractive club­ house, and half a dozen girls wearing smart skirts and those Patrick sweaters which are so much more charming, more gay, than anything on Bond Street or Rue de Ia Paix. And in a pasture beside the golf course rested an airplane. I could say only: "Yes. I see. But why the airplane?" "Oh, it just belongs to a couple more Main Streeters from some place in Texas that are taking a little tourist trip round all the golf courses in the country-terrible pair, Lewis; one of 'em is a Methodist preacher that believes hard work is better for a man than whisky-never would dare to stand up in a bacteriological argument with this give-'em-the-razz scientist friend of yours, De Kruif; and the other is a coward­ ly lowbrow that got his Phi Beta Kappa at Yale and is now guilty of being vice-president of a railroad. And one other Main Street's Been Paved 319 curious little thing: I went into Mac's barbershop to get my shoes shined this morning, and Mac says to me : 'Afraid you got to let 'em go dusty, Doc-the bootblack is out playing golf.' Now, of course, we're a bad, mean, capitalistic bunch that 're going to vote for thai orful Wall Street hireling, Coolidge. In fact, we're reg'lar sadists. So naturally we don't mind playing golf with the bird that blacks our shoes, and we don't mind the hired girl calling us by our first names, while you earnest souls . . . '' He had forced me to it. "Oh, go to hell!" He chuckled. "Oh, we'll save you yet. You'll be campaign­ ing for Cal Coolidge.'' "Like hell I will!" "Look, Lewis. May I, as a rube, with nothing but an A.B. from the U of Minn (and pretty doggone good marks in all subjects, too, let me tell you!) inform you that you pulled 'hell' twice in successive sentences, and that the first person singular future indicative of the verb 'to be' is 'shall' and not 'will'? Pardon my hinting this to a stylist like you .... Look, I'm not really trying to razz you; I'm really trying the best method of defense, which I believe is attack. Of course you don't think so. If the Japs were invading America, you'd want to have a swell line of soap boxes built along the California coast, and have this bird Villard, and this John Haynes Holmes, and this Upton Sinclair-and prob'ly Lenin and Trotzky and Mother Eddy and some Abrams practitioners and Harry Thaw-all get up on 'em and tell the dear artistic Japs how you love 'em, and then of course they'd just be too ashamed to come in and rape our women. But, personally, I'd believe in going out with one grand sweet wallop to meet 'em." "Doctor, you have two advantages. Like all conservatives, all stout fellows, you can always answer opponents by representing them as having obviously absurd notions which they do not possess, then with tremendous vigor showing that these non-existent traits are obviously absurd, and ignoring any explanation. But we cranks try to find out what is the reality of things-a much less stout and amusing job. And 320 SOCIAL QUESTIONS then, while we admit enormous ignorances, you never try to diagnose anything you can't physic or cut out. You like to do an appendectomy, but an inqury into the nature of 'sue-

. " cess' . . . "I've noticed one funny thing in all your writings and stuff, Lewis. Whenever you have to refer to a major operation, you always make it an appendectomy. Have you a particular fondness for 'em, or don't you know the names of any others? I'd be glad to buy you a medical dictionary. All right. I'll quit. Now I want to show you a few other changes in G.P." He drove back into town; he pointed out the new school­ building, with its clear windows, perfect ventilation, and warm-hued tapestry brick. "That," he said, "is largely Vida Wutherspoon's doing. Remember her and you and Carrie used to argue about educa­ tion? You were all for having Jacques Loebs and Erasmuses and Mark Hopkinses teaching, and she concentrated on clean drinking-pails. Well, she pounded at us till we built this .... Meantime, what've you done for education?" I ignored it, and asked what sort of teachers in this ad­ mirably ventilated building were explaining Homer and bio­ chemistry and the glory of God to the youth of Gopher Prairie. "The teachers? Oh, I guess they're a bunch of dubs like the rest of us; plain ordinary folks. I guess they don't know much about Homer and biochemistry ....By the way, in which school are you giving your superior notions about Homer and biochemistry, and meanwhile correcting themes, and trying to help the girls that get so inspired by the sort of junk you and Mencken write that they blow home at three A.M., lit to the guards? You hint--of course you haven't met any of 'em but you know it all beforehand-you aren't satisfied with our teaching; we've got a bunch of dumbbells. . . . Willing to come here and teach Latin, math, and history, so they'll be done right? I'm on the school board. I'll get you the job. Want to?" At my answer he sniggered and drove on . He showed me the agreeable new station--depot, I think he called it-with Main Street's Been Paved 321 its flower-bordered park; the old-fashioned English garden put in by a retired German farmer; and the new State fish­ hatchery. He demanded: "Well, how about it? Main Street seem to be existing almost as well as the average back alley of some burg in Italy?" "Certainly. You have them completely beaten-materially!" "I see. Well, now we've got one other exhibit that we, any­ way, don't think is just 'material'-how birds like you love that word! We've got a baseball team that's licked every town of our size in the State, and we got it by hiring a professional pitcher and coach for five months, and going down into our jeans, without any 'material' return, and paying him three hundred dollars a week!" "How much do you pay your teachers a month?" was all I had to say, but it provided voluble, inconclusive debate which lasted the twenty-odd miles to a hamlet called New Prague. Dr. Kennicott stopped at a peasantlike cottage in the Polish settlement of New Prague, and as he knocked I be­ held him change from a Booster to the Doctor. What he did in that house I do not know. I do not understand these big suave men who go in to terrified women and perform mysteries and come out--calm, solid, like stockbrokers. During his fifteen minutes within there was the shriek of a woman, the homicidal voice of a man speaking some Slavic tongue-and as he started off he said to me only: "Well, I think I've got her to listen to reason." "Good Lord, what reason? What do you mean? What happened in there? Who was the man? Her husband or another?" I have never seen quite so coldly arrogant a cock of the eyebrow as Kennicott gave me. "Lewis, I don't mind explaining my financial affairs to you, or my lack of knowledge of endocrinology, or my funny notion that an honest-to-God Vermont schoolteacher like Cal Coolidge may understand America better than the average pants-maker who hasn't been over from Lithuania but six months. If you insist on it, of course I shouldn't mind a bit 322 SOCIAL QUESTIONS discussing my sexual relations to Carrie. But I do not ever betray my patients' confidence!" It was splendid. Of course it didn't happen to be true. He had often told me his secrets, with the patients' names. But aside from this flaw it was a noble attitude, and I listened becomingly as he boomed on : "Sol Let that pass. Now, why I brought you out there was: Look at this cross-roads burg. Mud and shacks and one big Ford garage and one big Catholic church. The limit. But look at those two Janes coming." He lifted his square, competent hand from the steering­ wheel and pointed at two girls who were passing a hovel " bearing the sign "Gas, Cigarettes, Pop and EATs ; and those girls wore well-cut skirts, silk stockings, such shoes as can be bought nowhere in Europe, quiet blouses, bobbed hair, charming straw hats and easily cynical expressions terrifying to an awkward man. "Well," demanded Kennicott. "How about it? Hicks, I suppose!"

"They would look at home in Newport. Only ..." He exploded. "Sure. 'Only.' You birds have to pull an 'only' or an 'except' when we poor dubs make you come look at facts! Now, do stop trying to be a wisecracker for about ten seconds and listen to a plain, hard-working, damn successful Regular Guy! Those girls-patients of mine­ they're not only dressed as well as any of your Newports or Parises or anywhere else, but they're also darn' straight, decent, hard-working kids--one of 'em slings hash in that God-awful hick eating joint we just passed. And to hear 'em talk--Oh, maybe they giggle too much, but they're up on all the movies and radio and books and everything. And both their dads are Bohemians; old mossbacks ; tough old birds with whiskers, that can't sling no more English than a mushrat. And yet in one generation, here's their kids-real queens. That's what we're producing here, while you birds are panning us-talking-talking ..." For the first time I demanded a right to answer. I agreed, Main Street's Been Paved 323 I said, that these seemed to be very attractive, probably very clever little girls, and that it was noteworthy that in one generation they should have arisen, in all their radio-wise superiority, from the bewildered peasants one sees huddling at Ellis Island. Only, was it Doc Kennicott and Dave Dyer and the rest of Main Street who were producing them? Dr. Kennicott might teach them the preferability of listening to the radio instead of humming Czech folk-songs, but hadn't they themselves had something to do with developing their own pretty ankles, buying their own pretty silk stockings, and learning their own gay manners? And, I desired to be informed, why was it that to Dr. Kennicott the sleek gaiety of socialistic Slavic girls in New York was vicious, a proof that they were inferior, a proof that no one save Vermont conservatives should be allowed to go through Ellis Island, while the sleek gaiety of movie­ meditating Slavic girls on Main Street was a proof of their superiority? Was it because the one part had Dr. Kennicott for physician and the other did not? There was debate again. I perceived that I had not begun to get my interview; that I was likely to be fired by Mr. Villard. I calmed the doctor by agreeing that his ideas were as consistent as they were practical; and at last I had him explaining Coolidgeism, while he drove back to Gopher Prairie at thirty-five on straight stretches, twenty on curves. "Well, I hope you're beginning to get things a little straighter now, Lewis. I wanted you to see some of the actual down-to-brasstacks things we've accomplished-the paving on Main Street, the golf course, the silk stockings, the radios­ before I explained why everybody around here except maybe a few sorehead farmers who'll vote for La Follette, and the incurable hereditary Democrats who'll stick by Davis, is going to vote for Coolidge. We're people that are doing things -we're working or warring-and in the midst of work or war you don't want a bunch of conversation; you want re­ sults. "Now, first you expect me-prob'ly you've already got it written; darn' shame you'll have to change it-you expect 324 SOCIAL QUESTIONS me to pan hell out of Bob La Follette. You expect me to say he's a nut and a crook and a boob and a pro-German. Well, gosh, maybe I would've, up till a couple of years after the war. But as a matter of fact, I'm willing-l'm glad to admit he's probably a darn' decent fellow, and knows quite a lot. Maybe it's even been a good thing, some ways, to have a sorehead like him in the Senate, to razz some of the saner element who otherwise might have been so conservative that they wouldn't have accomplished anything. I imagine prob'bly La Follette is a good, honest, intelligent man, a fighter, and a fellow that does things. But that's just the trouble. We mustn't be doing too many things, not just now. There's a ticklish situation in the world, with international politics all mixed up and everything, and what we need is men that, even if maybe they haven't got quite so much imagination and knowledge, know how to keep cool and not rock the boat. "Just suppose a couple of years ago, when Banting was working out insulin for diabetes but his claims weren't con­ firmed yet, suppose you and all the rest of you Earnest Thinkers, including La Follette, had come to me hollering that I was wrong to go on doing the honest best I could just dieting my diabetes patients. You tell me about Banting­ but equally you tell me about some other scientist named, say, Boggs, who had something new for diabetes. What'd I have done? Why, I'd of gone right on being a stingy old con­ servative and dieting my cases! "Now, when it proves Banting is right and Boggs is wrong, I follow Banting and kick out Boggs, but I don't do either till I know. Boggs might have been a wiz, that took his degree of X.Y.Z. at Jena, but he was premature-he was wrong-he wanted to do too much. Well, La Follette is Boggs, a beaner but plumb wrong, and I and some twenty-thirty million other Americans, we're Coolidge, sitting back and watching, handing it to Banting and such when they prove they've got the goods, but never going off half-cocked. "The trouble with La Follette isn't that he'd lay down on his job or not understand about railroads and the tariff but Main Street's Been Paved 325 that he'd be experimenting all the time. He'd be monkeying around trying to fix things and change things all the time. And prob'bly there's lots of things that do need fixing. But just now, in these critical times, we need a driver that won't try to adjust the carburetor while be's making a steep bill. "So. Not that I mean we're worried-as long as we have a cool head like Cal's at the wheel, with his Cabinet for four­ wheel brakes. We ain't been half so worried as you Calamity Howlers. You say that unless La Follette is elected, gosh, the dome of the Capitol will slide off into the Potomac, and Germany will jump on France, and prob'bly my aerial mast will get blown down. Well, far's I can see, most of the folks around here are getting their three squares a day, and the only thing that seems to keep agriculture from progressing is the fact that the farmers can get three bucks a quart for white mule, so they're doing more distilling than manuring. "Oh, yes, we've bad bank failures and there's an increase of tenant-farming. But d' ever occur to you that maybe it's a good thing to close up a lot of these little one-horse banks, so we can combine on bigger and better ones? And about this tenant business; is that any worse than when every farmer owned his own land but had such a big mortgage plastered on it that be didn't really own it at all? "No, sir, you got to look into these things scientifically.... Say, is that left front fender squeaking or do I imagine it? There, don't you bear it now? I do. I'll have Mat fix it. Gosh, bow I hate a squeak in a car! "Now I imagine this sheet The Nation tries to let on that the whole country is rising against the terrible rule of Coolidge. And I saw a copy of this American Mercury-Guy Pollock lent it to me-where some bird said Coolidge was nothing but a tricky little politician with nothing above the eyebrows .... By the way, notice that Ford and Edison and Firestone are going to call on him? Of course those lads, that're merely the most successful men of affairs and ideas in the country, they're plumb likely to call on a four-flushing accident! Oh, sure! "Well, now look here. First place, did you ever see a four­ flusher that went on holding people's confidence? I never did- 326 SOCIAL QUESTIONS Oh, except maybe this chiropractor that blew into town three years ago and darned if he isn't still getting away with it! In the second place, suppose Cal were just a tricky little poli­ tician, without a he-idea in his bean. Well, what do you need for the office of President? "For medicine, and for writing, too, I imagine, some ways, you need brains. You're working single-handed, no one to pass the buck to, and you got to show results. But a preacher now, all he's got to do is to make a hit with his sermons, and a lawyer simply has to convince the poor cheeses on the jury that his learned opponent is a lying slob. In the same way, for President you need a fellow that can pull the wool over everybody's eyes, whether it's in the primaries back home in Hickville or whether it's dealing with Japan or Russia. If Cal can get by without having any goods whatever, then he's the boy we want, to keep the labor unions in order and kid along the European nations! "Then, next place.... Oh, all this talk is just wasted energy. You know and I know that Coolidge is going to be elected. Be better if they called the election off and saved a lot of money, and damn the Constitution! Why, nobody is interested, not one doggone bit. "As you ride around the country, do you hear anybody talking politics? You hear 'em talking about Leopold and Loeb, about Kid McCoy, about the round-the-world fliers, about Tommy Gibbons's battle in England, about their flivvers and their radios. But politics-nix! And why? Because they know Coolidge is already elected! Even the unregenerate old Democrats, that would love to have Brother Charlie run the country on the same damedfool, unscientific, they-say basis on which William Jennings has the nerve to criticize evolution! "I haven't met one single responsible well-to-do person who's for La Follette. Who've we got boosting him, then? Well, I can tell you-1 can tell you mighty darn' quick! A lot of crank farmers that because they don't want to work and keep their silos filled want to make up for it by some one who, they hope, will raise the price of wheat enough so they can get by without tending to business! The fellows that've Main Street's Been Paved 327 always followed any crazy movement-that ran after the Populists and the Nonpartisan League! And a lot of workmen in the cities that think if some crank comes into office they'll all become federal employees and able to quit working! "But aside from these hoboes ...Well, I guess I've asked a hundred people who they were going to vote for, some around G.P. and some on the smoker down to St. Paul, and ninety out of the hundred say: 'Why, gosh, I haven't thought much about it. Haven't had time to make up my mind. I dunno. Besides, anyway, I guess Cal is going to win.' "Now, about these so-called 'exposures' of the Attorney General and so on. Well, I've always suspected there was a lot more to it than you saw on the surface-lot of fellows trying to make political capital out of it-and the fact that Wheeler is running with La Follette proves my contention, and I for one don't propose to let him get away with it, let me tell you that right now! "Nope. Unless we have an awful' bad crop failure, and the crops never looked better than they do this year, we've got you licked. Cal is elected. It's all over but the shouting.''

I called on Kennicott and his wife after six o'clock supper, but I could not get the talk back to the campaign. Carol hesitated that, yes, she did admire La Follette, and Davis must be a man of fine manners if he could be ambassador to the Court of St. James's, but just this year, with so many bank failures and all, it wasn't safe to experiment, and she thought she would vote for Coolidge; then some other time we could try changes. And now-brightening-had I seen The Miracle and St. Joan? Were they really as lovely and artistic as people said? It was time to tune in on the barn-dance music from WKZ, and we listened to "Turkey in the Straw"; we sat rocking, rocking, the doctor and I smoking cigars, Carol inexplicably sighing. At ten I felt that they would rather more than endure my going, and I ambled up a Main Street whose glare of cement 328 SOCIAL QUESTIONS pavement, under a White Way of resplendent electric lights, was empty save for bored but ejaculatory young men support­ ing themselves by the awning-cords in front of Billy's Lunch Room and the Ford Garage. I climbed to the office of Guy Pollock, that lone, fastidious attorney with whom Carol and I used once, in the supposition that we were "talking about literature," to exchange book titles. He was at home, in his unchanged shabby den, reading Van Loon's Story of the Bible. He was glad to see me. With Kennicott I had felt like an intruder; to Carol I seemed to give a certain uneasiness; but Guy was warm. After amenities, after questions about the death of this man, the success of that, I murmured, "Well, there've been a lot of changes in the town-the pavement and all." "Yes, a lot. And there's more coming. We're to have a new water system. And hourly buses to the Twin Cities­ fast as the trains, and cheaper. And a new stone Methodist church. Only . . ." " 'Ware that word!" "I know it. Only--only I don't like the town as well as I used to. There's more talk, about automobiles and the radio, but there's less people who are interested in scandals, politics, abstractions, gallantries, smut, or anything else save their new A batteries. Since Dr. Westlake died, and this fellow Miles Bjornstam went away, and Vida Sherwin's become absorbed in her son's progress in the Boy Scouts, and even Carol Kennicott . . . Oh, well, the doctor has convinced her that to be denunciatory or even very enthusiastic isn't quite re­ spectable-! don't seem to be awakened by the talk of any one here. "And in the old days there were the pioneers. They thought anybody who didn't attend an evangelical church every Sun­ day ought to be lynched, but they were full of juices and jests. They're gone, almost all of them. They've been replaced by people with bath-tubs and coupes and porch-furniture and speed-boats and lake-cottages, who are determined that their possessions of these pretty things shall not be threatened Main Street's Been Paved 329 by radicals, and that their comments on them shall not be interrupted by mere speculation on the soul of man. "Not, understand me, that I should prefer the sort of little people you must find in Greenwich Village, who do nothing but chatter. I like people who pay their debts, who work, and love their wives. I wouldn't want to see here a bunch of superior souls sitting on the floor and dropping cigarette butts in empty hootch glasses. Only ..." He scratched his chin. "Oh, I don't know. But it depresses me so, that perpetual bright talk about gas-mileage and mah jong here. They sing of four-wheel brakes as the Persian poets sang of rose leaves; their religion is road-paving and their patriotism the relation of weather to Sunday motoring; and they discuss balloon tires with a quiet fervor such as the fifteenth century gave to the Immaculate Conception. I feel like creeping off to a cottage in the Massachusetts hills and taking up my Greek again. Oh, let's talk of simpler things!" "Then tell me your opinion of the presidential campaign. I suppose you'll vote for Coolidge. I remember you always liked books that the public libraries barred out as immoral, but you wanted to hang the I.W.W. and you thought La Follette was a doubtful fellow." "Did I? Well, this time I'm going to vote for La Follette. I think most of the people who resent, when they go calling, having good talk interrupted by having to listen to morons saying 'Well, good evening, folks!' amid the demoniac static from the loud-speaker-most of them must vote for La Follette, and if we don't elect him this year, some time we shall. I have faith that the very passion in the worship of the Great God Motor must bring its own reaction." "Kennicott feels he has us beaten forever." "If he has, if the only voice ever to be heard at the altar is Coolidge on the phonograph and the radio, then our grand­ · sons will have to emigrate to Siberia. But I don't believe it. Even the Kennicotts progress-! hope. His ancestors ridiculed Harvey, then Koch, and Pasteur, but he accepts them; and his grandsons will laugh at Coolidge as Kennicott now laughs at the whiskers of Rutherford B. Hayes. 330 SOCIAL QUESTIONS "But meanwhile I feel a little lonely, in the evenings. Now that the movies have, under the nation-wide purification by fundamentalism and the rigid Vermont ideals of the Presi­ dent, changed almost entirely from the lively absurdities of cowpuncher films to unfaithful wives and ginny flappers in bathing suits, I can't even attend them. I'm going-and, Lord, how I'll be roasted by the respectable lawyers!-I'm going out to campaign for La Follette! "We must all do it. We've been bullied too long by the Doc Kennicotts and by the beautiful big balloon tires that roll over the new pavement on Main Street-and over our souls!"

Relation of the Novel to the Present Social Unrest: The Passing of Capitalism

From The Bookman, November, 1914

� This article is a historic summation of the intellectual cur­ rents sweeping through the literary scene on the eve of World War I. Mr. Lewis takes up the work of H. G. Wells, Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair, Frank Norris, Jack London, Robert Herrick and others, finding that "practically every thoughtful writer of today sees . . . a coming struggle which shall threaten the very existence of this status called capitalism." It is an interesting bit of literary history to read in the light of events in 1953. While Lewis was always on the side of the downtrodden, he takes no sides here but writes merely as a literary reporter. One might well tum back to Section I and reread his piece "Seeing Red" written in 1937 when the events of twenty-three years had so greatly changed the aspect of the eternal battle The Passing of Capitalism 331 between right and left. In "Seeing Red" Mr. Lewis very definitely takes a position.

EXTRAORDINARILY CONFUSED IS THE QUESTION OF what we are going to do with this world to make it a comfortable place of dwelling for all of us. You find quite amiable people who look forward with genuine satisfaction to the coming of a revolution which shall change everything. You find quite courageous souls who are perfectly satisfied with the manner in which things in general improve from year to year. But almost all of the people who do think are agreed that things are not as they should be; that education is either absurd or weightily inefficient; that under the present economic system -technically called "capitalism"-products do not get dis­ tributed as they should. Only-what is to be done? Such is the condition of most earnest after-dinner talk­ and such, precisely, is the condition of fiction, in the cases where individual dramas are seen against a background of general change. Aside from Tono-Bungay of Mr. Wells, The Iron Heel of Mr. London, The Jungle of Mr. Sinclair, The Chasm of Mr. George Cram Cook, and a very few other novels, there are none that say out boldly, "Capitalism must pass, indeed al­ ready is passing, into collective ownership." But it is truly astonishing to find the number of slaps, tiny or resounding, at the vast monster of poverty which occur in even the lightest of modern novels, though often these are accompanied by a rather wistful bewilderment on the part of the slapper. No longer is there a Meredith to whom a mild feminism is thrillingly "advanced"; no longer does one take very seriously the belief of Hardy that his wretchedly beset characters are victims of inexplicable blind forces. The pure individualism of Wharton and James and Howells is out of the trend. It is Wells, Dreiser, Herrick, Walpole, to whom one turns for a complete criticism of life today-and in them one finds back of all the individual's actions a lowering background of People -people with clenched fists, people saying a great many im­ polite things, people highly discomforting the cultured and 332 SOCIAL QUESTIONS the nice by raucously demanding that they have some share in the purple and fine linen. That Mr. H. G. Wells should be named first will be no surprise to a large number of connoisseurs of fiction. The somewhat perilous title of "the greatest living novelist" be­ longs as much to him as to any man living. And Mr. Wells terrifically sees this human spectacle in the group. Tono-Bungay reveals to the reader to whom his own little tuppenny-ha'p'ny shop is still the center of the universe a world that is composed entirely of just such short-sighted shopkeepers. His young man comes up to the Titanic Lon­ don timidly believing that this great network must needs be governed by some supreme intelligence. How otherwise can there be a London County Council and innumerable homes? And he finds that the whole enormous city is simply a hodge-podge of clumsy inefficiency, with every man sharing that youthful faith that there is some central mind which takes care of everything-and consequently blithely leaving the care of Things in General to that beautifully omniscient (and quite as beautifully non-existent) Central Mind. Tono-Bungay looks upon High Finance, upon Large Pro­ duction and Keenly Competitive Industry and the Initiative of the Entrepreneur as nothing more or less than chance and inefficiency and intolerable cruelty to those upon whose chests Chance sets the lucky. Without ranting, without saying very much about socialism, Wells goes the whole journey and con­ victs capitalism of puerile cruelty to most people, leaving in the reader's mind a strong feeling that men are about done with leaving the conduct of things in general to little men in woollen undergarments who have made a fortune by the manufacture of injurious patent medicines. He leaves a strong desire to see men get together and act like men; try seriously (at least with some part of the seriousness which an office manager puts into the selection of rubber erasers) to find out what is the matter with the economic system, and remedy it. Behind all the charming faults and painfully fatal little virtues of Mr. Polly, also, Mr. Wells shows Things in General being misconducted or not conducted. The foolish haber- The Passing of Capitalism 333 dashery where Mr. Polly accumulated poverty and indigestion is frankly the symbol of all the State's activities. The barren shops which figure now as laundries, now as stationery shops, now as chemists' establishments, are pitiful makeshifts for a modern system of distribution, Mr. Wells assures us. And when an author begins to attack the Modern System of Distribution he is head over heels in the strange heresy of socialism, even though his diabolic intentions are veiled. If it were not now quite as lacking in smartness to quote Omar as it is to quote Tennyson, one might remark that Mr. Wells desires to "grasp this sorry scheme of things entire." He should have sermons preached against him, for certainly his plan would stop nowhere short of taking every single man of us from our ruts-whether we be editors or oil magnates or floor-scrubbers-and turn us into part of a smoothly and consciously co-ordinated State. Which would doubtless be good for oil and editing and floor-scrubbing, but smack of socialism and enmity to capitalism. Finally, in The World Set Free, that truly panoramic book, Mr. Wells shows the world doing just this thing; consciously co-ordinating the activities of the States; and capitalism, the private control of manufacture and distribution, disappears _with the Theory of Armaments, and all the rest of the good old belief that the best way to keep peace is to encourage large armies to fight. Nor is The World Set Free any Utopian Romance; any echo of Looking Backward, or News from Nowhere. It is founded on real life as it is, at the time of this writing, being so desperately played out in Europe. There is one thing to be said for capitalism. Under it, an H. G. Wells can be pro­ duced. Tono-Bungay, as an intimate study of what finance means to the financier is, however, but a brief Christmas booklet compared with the work of our own Theodore Dreiser. The very fact that this admirable novelist sees in business an adventure, a romance, quite comparable to all the crusading and hand-kissing of hackneyed fiction, is an indication that men are no longer regarding business as "shop-keeping- 334 SOCIAL QUESTIONS unfit for a gentleman" but a very big enterprise worthy of admiration or bitter attack. To Frank Cowperwood, whose experiences so continue through Mr. Dreiser's The Financier and The Titan that these books are really one, there was adventure in collecting pic­ tures and beautiful rooms and houses, greater adventure in collecting amorous experiences, but greatest experience in collecting varieties of financial power. He experimented with stocks in Philadelphia and, pioneering in Chicago in the days before it was a commanding metropolis, cornered gas, then traction. But never did he genuinely realize that his suave skill in controlling great industries meant life and death to a very large number of men. He paid his employees well enough -but only to avoid strikes; and that tribute he easily got back from "the people" by his professional skill in bribing legislators. He never considered them as a body of followers to whom he was in any wise responsible. Indeed, it is to be doubted if Mr. Dreiser much realizes such a situation, him­ self. He very deeply, very dramatically, sees Frank Cowper­ wood as a man fighting and loving and winning and losing. But he very shallowly sees him as a part of a system. Never­ theless he cannot help so seeing him, to some extent. It stands upon page 519 of The Titan:

But against [Cowperwood's supporters] were the preachers-poor wind-blown sticks of unreason who saw only what the current palaver seemed to indicate. Again there were the anarchists, socialists, single-taxers and . public-ownership advocates. There were the very poor who saw in Cowperwood's wealth and in the fabulous stories of his New York borne and of his art-collection a heartless exploitation of their needs. At this time the feel­ ing was spreading broadcast in America that great political and economic changes were at band-that the tyranny of iron masters at the top was to give way to a richer, freer, happier life for the rank and file. A na­ tional eight-hour day law was being advocated, and the public ownership of public franchises. And here now The Passing of Capitalism 335 was a great street-railway corporation, serving a popula­ tion of a million and a half, occupying streets which the people themselves created by their presence, taking toll from all these bumble citizens to the amount of sixteen or eighteen million dollars in the year and giving in re­ turn, so the papers said, no universal transfers (as a matter of fact, there were in operation three hundred and sixty-two separate transfer points) and no adequate tax on the immense sums earned. The working-man who read this by gas or lamplight in the kitchen or parlor of his shabby flat or cottage . . . felt himself to be de­ frauded of a portion of his rightful inheritance.

It is to be suspected that, throughout this long passage, Mr. Dreiser is speaking out his own mind only in the paren­ thesis which defends the generosity of the almost philanthropic company in granting transfers. It is probable that be genuinely admires Frank Cowperwood, quite as much for his rather perilous faults-such as a confusing carelessness with his neighbor's wife-as for his virtues of courage and good taste. But this same growing tendency on the part of the people to demand something for themselves is precisely that tendency which they who approve it call the "beginning of the down­ fall of capitalism" and which the comfortably propertied call "the growing unrest and ingratitude of the masses." The type of person who writes to a newspaper that be hopes no student-waiter will lose the caste mark of the collegian gentle­ man by taking a tip would deplore this tendency. But there it is, if the biggest, vitalest current fiction truly mirrors the hour, and you may do what you like--only do not overlook it. It is quite essential for the capitalist to read Tono-Bungay and behold bow blithely Mr. Wells conceives the great financier as a clumsy player of ping-pong. It is quite essential for the socialist to read The Financier and The Titan and see how romantic a figure is the pirate of finance to Mr. Dreiser. And it is quite essential for the reader too unim- 336 SOCIAL QUESTIONS portant to have either label to read both and discover that fiction is no longer like the home life of our dear Queen. Next to Mr. Dreiser, Mr. Robert Herrick has most interest­ ingly pictured finance-though in the picture of industry-in­ general doubtless Mr. Frank Norris surpassed them both. In his very latest book, Clark's Field, Mr. Herrick fascinatingly traces the rake's progress which is society's reward to a family for the social virtue of holding a field which they could not sell. That field, once an inferior pasture near to Boston (which city Mr. Herrick remarkably disguises by calling it "B "), - becomes a nest of tenements, worth thousands a front foot. The accruing money enables a very inferior type of young heiress to buy a parasite husband, spoils her life, and her husband's, and every one's whom it touches, and never brings happiness to one of the bedraggled workers who toss at night in the airless tenement rooms over the old "Clark's field." After a close-knit chronicle of the gradual awakening of the heiress to the fact that she had neither right to, nor joy in, the money from the field, Mr. Herrick does not suggest any very deep-reaching solution of that oldest of questions regard­ ing sociology, "But what can we do?'' He would have her erect a market, give the tenement-dwellers something of a chance. But nothing more. Despite this failure to suggest a wider solution (which is probably quite intentional on Mr. Herrick's part; he has long dwelt in Chicago, and such solutions as single-tax and social­ ism are not, we may safely conclude, unknown to that city) he does place the problem strikingly before the reader. And not for the first time. Already, in A Life for a Life he had burningly declared that the ingenious capitalists, with their cleverness at form­ ing companies and their stupidity at being human beings, had no conceivable right to their mines, their banks, their rail­ roads, and no real skill in their conduct. He-the efficient university instructor-had mocked bitterly the complacent university president who lets his right hand know precisely what his left is doing in order that both hands may be busily gathering in funds from rich philanthropists. He-the The Passing of Capitalism 337 well-received-had in A Life for a Life presented wealthy society as stupid and inexcusable. Again, there is no real solution presented; no propaganda urged; but a terribly earnest picture of capitalism as a thing that should, must, will pass. And in The Memoirs of an American Citizen Mr. Herrick finds a pork-packer, a would-be sincere and honest financier, blind to the rest of the world and its needs; giving up all human interests for ambition. Very cleverly, he tells the story in the first person, but wherever he gives the pork­ packer's own version of his philosophy of finance, the sharp watcher may spy Mr. Herrick's mocking smile behind the pork-packer's broad shoulder. Into The Memoirs of an American Citizen, as also into his One Woman's Life enters a remembrance of the Hay­ market Riot. That incident seems to haunt every writer who mentions Chicago. It appears in The Bomb, by Mr. Frank Harris, of course; in Mr. Dreiser's The Titan; and a low echo of its explosion is heard in half a dozen other books. It was an expression of this movement which threatens the passing of capitalism-whether or no it shall effect that passing. These novels of Chicago seem nearly all of them to be tinged with thoughtfulness about real life. Take, for example, that very excellent recent novel, The Precipice, by Miss Elia W. Peattie. Take The Pit; which brings one to Frank Norris. Unlike Mr. Herrick, Mr. Norris did, apparently, have a definite solution of the social confusion. As expressed at the end of The Octopus, his solution is that we must take all the apparent injustice of the world as necessary friction of prog­ ress. Now that is, of course, a quite tenable view. It is comforting to the capitalist. But in general The Octopus is not at all comforting to the capitalist. It makes us believe that injustice is everywhere prevalent and not at all to be tolerated as necessary friction. It shows men battling for fields properly theirs. It makes us rage at the power given dirty little agents of the bigger powers. Broad and visualizable as is its picture of the great San Joaquin Valley, it is broader in its picture 338 SOCIAL QUESTIONS of the human men and women who are crushed in order that the San Joaquin may have a railway. Probably Frank Norris was not essentially what is called a "radical." Probably he could find capitalism the system that its fortunate adherents claim it to be-the only sensible means of getting things really done. But nevertheless he takes one into the hearts of crushed men so successfully that one stops to think what the meaning of capitalism is-a process equally recommended as favorable and fatal to capitalism. _ Gone is Frank Norris; McTeague has staggered to his death; the tentacles of the Octopus are still; but today, in the year of Tagore and the siege of Liege, young men are still discovering The Octopus, and, reading it, asking themselves the why and how of Society-in-General. And if enough young men do that we shall have something-it may be a new capitalism, it may be an autocracy, it may be a complete anarchism, but it will be a condition of society in which such men as they of the San Joaquin shall not reap thistles. Gone, perhaps, is Mr. Upton Sinclair, too, for today one hears of him not as a novelist but as an experimenter in diet, and as a revolutionist who is either a complete traitor or a quiet hero, depending on your economic theories. But Mr. Sinclair did one novel which first gave an almost painfully brilliant picture of life in brogans, and unhesitatingly suggested socialism as a remedy-The Jungle. (Note, by the way, that The Jungle, too, was a tale of Chicago.) It is scarcely neces­ sary to dwell upon either the strength of his presentation or the terms of his solution. They are classic. And his later novels, such as The Millionaire, follow their example. Less well known, perhaps because it is very new, is Mid­ stream, by Will Levington Comfort, published this year of international disgrace, 1914. Here is a criticism not merely of the poverty producing economic system but of all the phases of life. Society as we make it, declares Mr. Comfort, who dares to give his own real experiences as an example of what society can do, is the most perfectly inefficient thing that could be conceived by a great diabolic philosopher. The schools teach vacuity; the offices, crudeness; the army, The Passing of Capitalism 339 brutality. The conception of capitalism scarce enters Mid­ stream, however; and Mr. Comfort's profoundly believed solution lies in one's own development of a creative will, and in the love of good women. But Mr. George Cram Cook, whose The Chasm is not so widely known as it should be, and as it certainly will be when Mr. Cook follows it with another so good a novel, joins with The Jungle in a perfectly definite declaration that socialism is the solution. He does not, like Mr. Sinclair, dwell greatly on the misfortunes of the poor, except at the end of the book, where the American heroine finds herself mixed up in the Russian revolution. Rather, it is his purpose to show what is technically known as the "class-conscious worker"; the man of strong hands, not afraid of overalls, who reads wise books and speaks out his demands. The Chasm has been condemned as propagandist; it has been defended as signifi­ cant; has been praised for the splendor of its picture of love between a girl of the classes and a real man; but no matter how it is taken, one is not likely to forget, after reading it, that there is a group of men who, right or wrong, demand social co-operation with a voice that shall be heard. With The Chasm one associates Miss Susan Glaspell's second novel, The Visioning. Here, too, is the growth of class consciousness. The particular point of attack on the social system is in a picture of the army as a perfectly useless body of men who might-as foresters or canal-builders, say-be very useful. And, curiously, Chicago again enters into these thoughtful romances, though most of the action in both books transpires in the Tri-Cities-Davenport, Rock Island and Moline. Both show the Midwest as a place of ferment-ferment intellectual and material. Both are in delightful contrast to the knights and artists and motorists of average fiction. For both show real life. And does it not by now seem that practically every writer --certainly in America and to some extent in England-who is gravely seeking to present the romance of actual life as it is today, must perforce show capitalism as a thing attacked, 340 SOCIAL QUESTIONS passing-whether the writer lament or rejoice or merely complain at that passing? Few of them have any very clear idea of how the passing is to occur; as to what is to take its place. And now more than ever, with the European war shaking all the belief of the International Socialists in their might, one wonders what and how and why and when. Yet there it is, in nearly every seeing writer of today-an attack on capitalism. Naturally, the few writers just mentioned are but a tiny proportion of the men and women doing significant work, and reacting to this matter of changing economics. Take the sharp convictions of Leroy Scott and , who add, both of them, to a delightful dramatic sense a stern belief in the coming revolution (a revolution probably bloodless, they be­ lieve) . Take that marvelous picture of the new class-conscious woman, Comrade Yetta, by Albert Edwards. There is in Comrade Yetta no vague and rambling picture of a "new woman"; no yearning presentation of a woman who wants to go away from any particular Here to some magic and mythical There, to study painting or do anything else that shall keep her from housework. Comrade Yetta is no pleasantly illusive picture of a lady with a "temperament" written by a lady who hopes that her own divine restlessness will be recognized in the heroine. Rather, Yetta is a fighter; one who talks not at all about temperament, but a good deal about the conditions of industry, and does that talking not in scented studios, but on the bard streets during a strike. Little Yetta is a Jew of Jews, a revolutionist of revolutionists, yet a woman of women; leading her girls in the shirtwaist strike, and loving her Jewish journalist husband like a real woman. Mr. Edwards in his picture devotes no great amount of space to a discussion of what the result of all this struggling is to be. But it is apparent that be believes some form of co-operation to be the only final solution. He presents the sweat-shop proprietor as being quite as much a victim of conditions as the girls who work for him. And, best of all, he presents both sides as real human beings. But no matter The Passing of Capitalism 341 how he presents them, no matter how little he says of "cap­ italism," that word is the half-visible water-mark on every page of the book. Jack London's is a name which, of course, must be thought­ fully remembered in a consideration of this sort. Though adventure is the thing for which most of his books are re­ membered, in such novels as The Iron Heel and The Valley of the Moon, in such short stories as "South of the Slot" one finds an unflinching opposition to large private ownership; a wonderful feeling of companionship with the man in his shirt sleeves; a grateful lack of patronage toward what even the most sympathetic writers are very often inclined to regard as "the lower classes." In the new writers, the men of one book, the problem is not neglected. Take, for instance, Mr. Howard Vincent O'Brien, in whose New Men for Old is a keenly felt abhor­ rence for tricky business. Take still more the young English writers. There is Hugh Walpole who, after a series of such charm­ ing novels as Fortitude and The Gods and Mr. Perrin and The Prelude to Adventure, novels with the magic of beauty, impregnated with a love of the sea beating on the Cornish cliffs, has at length in his latest novel, The Duchess of Wrexe, found his greatest task in watching the changing social con­ dition, watching the fires they're building in the Grand Duke's woods. There is Mr. Oliver Onions-who attests to the im­ portance of the present struggle by opposing it. In his trilogy, concluding with The Story of Louie, Mr. Onions devoted him­ self to the individual drama; but now, in Gray Youth he is seen turning all his attention to the forces that demand change. Socialism-feminism-eugenics-he attacks them all, with a vigor which indicates their importance. Such changes Mr. Compton Mackenzie sees in Youth's Encounter; such does Mr. Gilbert Cannan portray in Old Mole. Of all that remarkable group of young Englishmen there are scarce two who do not watch-sometimes anxiously, sometimes with bewilderment-the social drama which is so much greater than the individual drama, and find in it matter to color all 342 SOCIAL QUESTIONS their pages. (Yellow, some call the color, and some find it an inspiriting red; but there it is!) This catalogue would, of course, be ludicrous without a consideration, direct or implied, of Bennett, Galsworthy, Con­ rad, Hardy, Kipling, Shaw, Chesterton, George Moore. And, except for Hardy and Moore, there is not one of these men who has not seen the matter of the power-and the possible future downfall--of capitalism as a tremendous factor in their characters' individual lives. Even Conrad, the seafaring, writes of anarchists. Even Kipling, the god of the cold bath and morning gallop and other imperialistic habits, by his very anxiety in defending the soldiers of the empire, betrays a belief that there is rather a large number of strange persons who are interested in no empire short of an international one. As for Galsworthy, with his Strife and the uneasy interest of nearly every character in the changing world, and Bennett with his great gallery of plain working people, to both of them the glory of the Classes is gone; the time of the Common People has come. Marvelous is the picture of the "average man" in Clayhanger. And the recognition of the average man is bound to give that man a desire to try his hand at running things. And that desire, carried far enough, is likely to be disastrous to capitalism. When, near the beginning of Clayhanger, Mr. Bennett sug­ gests that Clayhanger's education has been an entirely useless and worthless training in non-existent theories, he is going very far in attacking Things as They Are. Naturally, any one with a little time for reading and a certain amount of ingenuity can find many giant names to back up an assertion opposite to my thesis, and declare as plausibly as Chesterton that most important writers regard the passing of capitalism as a Utopian dream. Bennett him­ self, in a little book just published, called The Author's Craft, strongly advises the literary-minded to keep away from circles where the discussion of reform is the chief business of life. But summing them all up, going from real observer to real observer, it may be contended that practically every thought­ ful writer of today sees behind the individual dramas of his Cheap and Contented Labor 343 ·- characters a background of coming struggle which shall threaten the very existence of this status called capitalism. Approve or disapprove-there's the struggle, mirrored in fiction.

Cheap and Contented Labor

� This was originally published in 1929 as a series of articles in the Scripps-Howard newspapers, released by the United Feature Syndicate. It was republished as a pamphlet that same year by the Women's Trade Union League, in an edition of 25,000 copies. The pamphlet carries the subtitle "The Picture of a Southern Mill Town in 1929." Opposite the title page ap­ pears the following note signed by the Kiwanis Club of Marion, North Carolina : "This booklet presents facts and conclusions in behalf of the city of Marion that must needs command the careful attention of the whole great world of industry, commerce and finance." The text has been cut somewhat because of space limita­ tions. Of all of Mr. Lewis's twenty-two novels, the unwritten "labor novel" was threshed over by more people and more openly discussed than any other. Perhaps it is a fair question to ask if that is the reason, considering the author's tempera­ ment and method of work, it was never finished. As is gen­ erally known, Lewis enlisted the help of technical experts on various books, most notably Arrowsmith and Elmer Gantry. For the most part he went it alone, retaining the freshness of the writing for the book rather than for talk. The following piece is considered important for this col­ lection because it reflects what was in his mind in 1929, when he was most actively at work on the labor project. None of the notebooks or partial drafts of the labor novel has ever been published, and this is the only available expression on 344 SOCIAL QUESTIONS the subject. True, it is journalism, but Lewis took the United Feature assignment to cover the textile strike, because at that time he was steeping his mind in material for the labor novel. What he learned there would be grist to his mill. The account by Professor Roman Guthrie of Dartmouth of his work with Lewis on this project, given at the opening ceremonies of the Sinclair Lewis Exhibit at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in February, 1952, and re­ published in the Academy proceedings, is probably the most complete story that ever will be told of the ill-starred novel that never was written.

INTRODUCTION-This account of industrial justice in America today is a revision and extension of six articles on the cotton mills at Marion, N. C., which appeared in the Scripps-Howard newspapers beginning on October 21, 1929. Since then (this is written on November 25, 1929), two crucial things have happened, aside from court trials. The chiefs of the American Federation of Labor have met in Washington to pledge support for an aggressive unioniza­ tion of the whole South, with special financial aid to the United Textile Workers, that branch of the American Fed­ eration of Labor which affects not only cotton-mill towns like Marion, but all cotton-wool-silk-rayon mills in the whole country. But the second event is that the workers, especially in Marion, have become discouraged. They are hungry, tired, bewildered. They are sick of being shot down. Unless the whole country encourages them (and there are few more delicate and tactful forms of encouragement than dollar bills) they will crawl back into the slavery I have sought to picture here.

1-The history of the 1929 strikes at the Marion Manufactur­ ing Co. and the Clinchfield Mills at Marion, N. C., is told here. It is the strike in which deputy sheriffs fired upon textile Cheap and Contented Labor 345 mill workers with the unfortunate result that five, so far, are dead and more than twenty wounded. Early in 1929 there was trouble at these mills. Three or four malicious workers said that wages just above the starving line were not enough. The worst of these were two young men named Lawrence Hogan and Dan Elliott. I have met them both; to my simple mind they seem as fine, as magnificent young men as I have ever known. Lawrence is a huge, square-shouldered Irishman with a quiet voice and a vast efficiency. Dan is almost too sensationally good-looking. He looks like Henry Ward Beecher, with his lion's mane, and my chief fear is that when the Church of God has time to hear about what is happening to God's children, they will get hold of Dan and make him a popular preacher. These lads and a few others, sickened by conditions under which they lived, and having heard vaguely about a form of salvation known as "the Union," in all innocence and igno­ rance asked the State Federation of Labor how to organize. An organizer was sent in and the workers flocked to the Union. Committees were elected to interview Mr. Baldwin, man­ ager of the Marion Manufacturing Co. The demands were reduction of hours to ten a day, without decrease in wages. Twenty-two of the most active complainers were fired. A strike was declared in both the Marion Manufacturing Co. and the Clinchfield Mills on July 11, 1929. A certain amount of strike relief was provided by money sent down from the North. That "relief" might not seem al­ together adequate for people who live soft. In the way of food-and understand that this was the only food on which the strikers and their families lived during the period of the strike-it consisted of flour, salt pork, coffee, rice and occa­ sional potatoes. But at least a dozen of the strikers have told me that they were content, because this food is quite as good as what they could afford if they were working. 346 SOCIAL QUESTIONS The strike committee was able to provide such old clothes as were given to them. As to houses, the mill companies did not eject the strikers from their cottages, which are owned by the mills. They are planning to do so, however, and when they do, we shall have the spectacle of penniless families being moved out on those red clay streets-families with their sick and invalid. For Gastonia is in the same State of North Carolina as is Marion. And here is what happened last May, according to a press report, when like evictions were carried out against like striking and otherwise seditious mill-workers in Gastonia : "Striking members of the National Textile Workers Union were facing a new and pressing problem tonight as police deputies began carrying out eviction orders issued today against sixty-two families formerly employed by the Manville­ Jenckes Co. "The deputies began their dreary task at 2 o'clock this after­ noon. As the chill of nightfall crept over the town, they had entered thirteen of the mill shacks, dragging the humble fur­ nishings and cherished possessions into the street. "The mill people, although reduced to a condition approach­ ing absolute poverty by the five weeks' strike, offered no re­ sistance to the officers. In most cases they stood by passively while their homes were emptied. "Some, however, spoke bitter words, while a few of the women wept as they watched their belongings dumped into the gutter in front of the place where had been home. "For two families the eviction was a grave matter. lllness failed to stay the hand of the officers, although the order provides for special consideration of those families thus af­ flicted. "The families of Henry Tetherow and J. A. Valentine were evicted, strikers said, contrary to orders of Magistrate Bis­ mark Capps, who signed the eviction writ. Valentine's four­ year-old daughter was said to be seriously ill with smallpox against which this State has no quarantine laws." Well, then, there were the Marion strikers and their families, who, without having to work, were receiving enough food to Cheap and Contented Labor 341 keep from absolutely starving; who had $10-a-month houses and such old clothes as people happened to give them. With such luxury as this, foreigners would probably have gone of loafing forever. But these strikers were authentic 1 00 per cent Americans, and they wanted to get back to work. So on September 1 0 the strike was settled on this basis: were to be reduced to fifty-five a week; wages were to be increased at the pleasure of the Marion Manu­ facturing Co.-and since then they have honorably complied with this by increasing wages five per cent, which must be a tremendous help to a man making less than $13 a week­ and there was to be no discrimination against men who at that time belonged to the Union. It is the third clause, regarding discrimination against Union members which has created trouble. Union men say that in the Marion Manufacturing Co. all Union members have been discriminated against. The employers say that it is just a coincidence. A telegram from John Peel, from Marion, has just come to interrupt me. It says: "Carver one of wounded died noon." That makes six, instead of five, who were killed by the volley of the sheriff's deputies. I saw Carver in the hospital. He was very thin and yellow; he looked undernourished; he was very courteous to me, a stranger. He is dead now. He is one problem that we need not solve in Marion. Isn't it unfortunate that the nimble guns of the sheriff's deputies did not get all of those misplaced 600 who work for the Marion Manufacturing Co.! Then, like Mr. Carver, they would none of them have any more problems. To continue where I left off when the telegram came in, the employers at the Marion Manufacturing Co. say that it is just a coincidence that they have not re-hired the men who were most prominent in Union affairs-that it is because these men have proved, upon scientific investigation of their careers, not to be so brilliant as a mill-worker ought to be if you are going to force a salary of $13 a week upon him. Whichever of these sides is right, there arose discontent 348 SOCIAL QUESTIONS among the workers who had not been taken back into the mills. So Bill Ross, left in charge of the strike for the United Textile Workers Union, planned to call a strike in the Marion Manufacturing Co., presumably with the thought of a later strike in the Clinchfield Mills. The date of the calling of the strike was vaguely set for October 2, because Mr. Baldwin, president of the Marion Manufacturing Co., had been called away and the strikers, in their inconsiderate way, waited until he returned. They wanted to see if he would not rather settle the whole business instead of having another pocket edition of hell on earth. But on October 1, the superintendent of the mill, Adam Hunt, worried by the rumors of trouble, called in Sheriff Adkins, who brought with him some eleven deputies. Accounts differ enormously as to what happened in the mill that night. There is an assertion, current in Marion, that the sheriff and his men drank too much corn liquor. I have seen the sheriff's men. I do not believe that they needed corn liquor to start shooting. They look like hardboiled movie sheriffs. There is also discrepancy regarding what incitement was given that night to the workers to start trouble in the morn­ ing. One version has it that the mill foreman so taunted the workers, so badgered them and told them that they dared not quit, that, without any orders whatever from the malign, foreign labor leaders, with Bolshevik names like John Peel, they began to walk out voluntariiy at one o'clock in the morning. The day force at the Marion mill goes on at seven. It is a very curious thing that the workers-despite the charm of their company-owned houses-usually get to the mill and stand there gossiping long before the whistle blows. I have seen them do so, at noon. It may be quite true that from six to seven on the morning of October 2, the crowd of mill workers gathered early for a wicked purpose. But whether they were wicked or good, whether they inclined to the Bolsheviks or the Rotarians, there they were at 6:45. Cheap and Contented Labor 349 You had there a brick building, not particularly large, em­ ploying only 600 men, with a decent grassy yard in front of it; you had a narrow road, and across from it the building which combines the company office, the post office and the company store. What happened then is a case for the sovereign State of North Carolina to decide. I have sat for hour on hour in the courtroom at the feet of Judge Harding, sitting as a com­ mitting magistrate, and I have tried to make out from the witnesses of both sides just what did occur. I have heard somewhat conflicting testimony. I have heard that Sheriff Adkins shot down two men, and I have heard that he never even had his pistol loose from its holster. I have heard that the crowd of strikers were an angry and heavily armed mob, with sticks and revolvers, and I have heard that there wasn't a single gun among them. But so much is certain : The superintendent of the mills, Hunt, gave an invitation to all the strikers who wished to work to enter the mill. From the strikers there were cat-calls and curses. Tear gas was thrown by Sheriff Adkins and his men. Then the shooting started. The forces of law and order-naturally, I mean to say the forces of the sheriff and the mill owners-say that the shoot­ ing started from the middle of the road, from amidst the force of strikers, and that the sheriff and his eleven deputies, faced with a murderous mob, had to shoot in return. On the other side the workers insist that there were no guns and very few clubs among the strikers. They point out that among the eleven deputies and the Sheriff, the only injury was a scratch on the cheek of one of the deputies, whereas among the workingmen, there were four-then it was five, and now, since the telegram about Carver, it has become six -who were killed and twenty wounded. To an outsider, it seems astonishing that if the strikers were armed and belligerent, none of the deputies was wounded, 350 SOCIAL QUESTIONS and all but two of the strikers were shot in the back, as though they were fleeing from trouble instead of starting it. Astonishing! This shooting of twenty-five or thirty workmen brought the whole affair to a temporary end, and the strikers are now seeking for justice from . . . Where do you get justice? Since I wrote this, a North Carolina jury has made a Christ­ mas present of final exoneration to such of the deputies as Judge Harding did not release in the first commitment trial, and mill-owner Neal has announced that this makes every­ thing cheery and splendid. rr-This is the story of Old Man Jonas. When Sheriff Adkins threw tear-gas at the strikers, Old Man Jonas, the striker nearest to Adkins, attacked him with a stick. Adkins was broad, fat, strong, about forty years old, armed, and supported by the majesty of the Carolina law which he represented. Beside Jonas was the distinguished constable, Broad Robbins, aged perhaps fifty, but as powerful and menacing as a wolf. And Old Man Jonas was sixty-eight, and so lame with rheumatism that he had to walk with a cane -the cane with which he struck the sheriff. One would have thought that these two proud and powerful guardians of law and order would have been able to con­ trol Old Man Jonas without killing him. Indeed they made a good start. Adkins wrestled with him, and Broad clouted him in the back of the head. Jonas fell to his hands and knees. He was in that position when he was shot. The Court has decided that Adkins did not shoot him. Some one shot him-a lame man, sixty-eight, on his hands and knees, in the dust. The general shooting and the flight of strikers had now begun. If the fleeing strikers did any shooting at all, they would have had to shoot high; they couldn't possibly have shot that beaten and wallowing man. After the riot, Jonas, wounded fatally, was taken to the hospital with handcuffs on, was placed on the operating-table, Cheap and Contented Labor 351 with handcuffs still on, and straightway be died on that table

• . . with his handcuffs on.

I come now to the trial-the commitment trial, corres­ ponding to a Grand Jury hearing, of Sheriff Adkins and his men for murder. There was a rather curious mix-up of at­ torneys, for in this case, as Sheriff Adkins and his men were on trial for murder, the defense counsel were mill-lawyers­ the mill-lawyers were not attorneys for the prosecution, as in the trial of the Gastonia Communists at Charlotte. I feel certain that Judge Harding bas been desirous of get­ ting at the truth. But I hope that I shall never be on trial for my life-unless, like Sheriff Adkins, I have these attorneys defending me-before such an array of attorneys as those representing the mills, and, by the quaint custom of North Carolina, therefore representing the State, which is, ap­ parently, following its mill-owning Governor, quite willing to be identified only with the mill. Of course, the courtroom was filled with people, plain ordinary people, but since I have been in Marion I have learned that ordinary people count so little that they are scarcely worth describing. They were a bunch of tall, slim mountaineers, the men mostly wearing overalls, the women in their best gowns­ made in 1900 or earlier-and their girls and boys in rather smart clothing. For be it said that, however horrible the houses of the mill workers of Marion, the boys and girls are buying good clothes. Some day they may wish to have flivvers and decent food. I wonder what will happen then? I wonder if they will go on being satisfied with less than $13 a week wages? m-The crux at the present moment in Marion is the Marion Manufacturing Co., locally known as the Baldwin Mill. Mr. R. W. Baldwin is the president and general manager. He is a small, bewildered man who dashes about. On my first morning in Marion he sought me out to give me his version of the strike trouble. And, as one who bas 352 SOCIAL QUESTIONS every desire to be completely fair, I wish to repeat that version, which is this: Bill Ross, the local strike leader, threatened a new strike several days before the shooting. That is all of Mr. Baldwin's version-and fair enough, too. We have, out of the three mill-owners in Marion-Miss Sally and Mabry Hart and William Neal-two who assert that they are not unwilling to have conditions changed. I do not think that they will disagree with the theory that every worker in America bas, according to our present standards and according to our protestations of unprecedented pros­ perity, the right to a flivver, a radio, and a bouse which will keep the wind out on a cold night. But behind all of these individual manufacturers there is the powerful Southern Textile Association, the manufacturers. They have their mills in the South because of that famous supply of "cheap and contented labor." If Mr. Hart or Mr. Neal were to deal with the workers' union-if, by the most poetic imagining, Miss Sally were to do so--there are a number of things that the manufacturers' union could do. I wonder if Mr. Hart is courageous enough to fight them, on behalf of justice? He will be judged by what he does hereafter. There is another element, less organized than the textile manufacturers, which is quite as important in controlling the decisions of the manufacturers. This is, in Marion and every other mill town, the local body of respectable citizens. They do not wish any labor trouble. They do wish the Northern manufacturers to bring their plants to the South. They do wish to sell their lots, to find new patients for tooth extraction and appendectomies. Northerners have wondered why the respectable shop­ keepers and professional men of Marion and like Southern mill towns are not enamored of the celebrated Ford theories; Cheap and Contented Labor 353 why they do not support the workers' demand for more wages so that they may get more from the workers. In the first place, in these towns, the mills control the banks, the banks control the loans to small businessmen, the small businessmen are the best customers of the professional men--even when the latter are professional men of God­ and so the mills can back up the whole human train, down to the clerical caboose. Second, the South, more than any other part of the country, retains the idea of the Gentry versus the Lower Classes­ i.e., the Poor White Trash-with the Negroes not even in the social system. It doesn't take much to feel that you are Gentry. Owning a small grocery, as does Sheriff Adkins, will do it. But once you are in, you must fight, kidnap, kill, any­ thing to keep from being charged with seditious sympathy with those unruly monsters called the workers. To keep those monsters in check, clergymen will leave their Bibles for coiled ropes, physicians will leave their scalpels ...or, better, refuse to care for wounded strikers . . . till they get their money. It was a mob of men like this, professional men and police­ men, who kidnapped the labor organizers at Elizabethton, Tenn., only eighty-seven miles from Marion, put them across the border and told them not to return. It is a mob like this that will have something to say to Mr. Hart and Mr. Neal if they recognize the Union. Before I leave the owners I want to deal with one aspect of this whole Southern mill problem that is not too well known. This is the supposition that in some curious way all of the mill-owners are Southern gentlemen, while most or all of the discontented workers are Bolsheviks or some other kind of discontented foreigners. The fact is that a very large percentage of the ownership of the Southern textile mills is Northern. As for the strikers, the quaint thing is that they really are 100 per cent Southern and American-including the foreign agitators whose foreignness is readily indicated by such names as Peel, Hogan, and Elliott. I want to switch quickly now-it is such a quick switch on 354 SOCIAL QUESTIONS the typewriter, but so distant in social values-from the owners to the strikers. Here is the strike headquarters. It is only a few feet be­ hind the mill, on a plot which by some mischance does not belong to the company. It is the basement of a little store to which the workers have, very curiously, been going instead of to the company's store. Under this store the strikers have for their headquarters a room perhaps three times the size of an ordinary New York hall bedroom. This is the only place in which they can meet, except for the little sloping plot of ground which is their regular site for mass meetings. On this little plot there are eight new sawbucks. It was on these sawbucks that the coffins of the four men killed in the sheriff's defense of Americanization rested before the smashed bodies were taken away to a place where there is no argu­ ment about the best method of running Southern textile mills. Yet they are stubborn and unreasonable, these strikers. At the "dugout," as they call their headquarters, I met a widow of sixty. Her clothes, I should judge from the glass buttons, were made in 1870. They may have belonged to her mother. But, naturally, she had put on this, her best costume, when she went to the "dugout." I was introduced to her as she was going home with a sack of flour from the strike relief over her shoulder. I was told that she had no one to support her, because her older boys had gone away and were having enough difficulty taking care of themselves. She had worked in the mill for many years. "But now," said she, "I can never work there again. I can't go across the blood of our murdered boys at the mill gate. I don't know what is going to happen, but I reckon that it's time for the Lord to take care of me." That was an old woman, in old-time clothes, going along the road with a sack of flour over her shoulder. She believed in God. But in the modem and efficient America there is little place for old women who believe in God. And there was another man in that dugout. A man with Cheap and Contented Labor 355 quiet eyes. I do not find many men with quiet eyes in New York. This man's name is Dan Elliott. I have already referred to him as one of the strike leaders who discovered striking even before the "foreign" agitators came in. I hope he will leave Marion immediately. Marion is not a very healthy place for men with such foreign and Bolshevik names as Dan Elliott.

IV-Perhaps the strangest thing I found in the dugout, the headquarters of the strikers in Marion, N. C., was that there was absolutely none of the com liquor that has made the Southern mountains famous. These men were serious. They were not drinking. They were not even particularly angry. Oh, there were men among the strikers, not among their leaders, who did seem to be angry. There was a brother of one of the men who had been killed by the deputies of Sheriff Adkins. He said, rather gently, "This court proceeding ain't the end of this here." There was another who said, "I'd rather murder 'em up than have 'em murder us up." But mostly they were so quiet-so quiet. They went away from the hovel of the strike headquarters with their flour over their shoulders and said nothing.

After the battle with Sheriff Adkins and his men, the wounded strikers were taken to the Marion Hospital. Now this is supposed to be a community hospital. At least, when they were building it, the workers in the mills were invited to contribute to its building, and most of them did so. But when the men who had been shot down by the sheriff's posse were taken to the hospital, they were informed that they could not stay there, after their first emergency treatments, unless they paid. These men had no money with which to pay. So there was a somewhat unpleasant situation in the hospital. Bill Ross, the local labor leader, had to telegraph to New York to beg money so that the men would not be turned out. 356 SOCIAL QUESTIONS But all of that has been solved now, because most of the men who were taken to the hospital after the little fracas with the sheriff are dead. I want to describe what I myself have seen of living condi­ tions in Marion, N. C. From the court house in which the sheriff and his deputies were on trial there is a view which recalls Italy. If you dis­ regard a few littered backyards in the foreground, you can lose yourself in that smiling vista of hills and valleys, with a distant group of houses that are obviously plaster Italian villas. Well, they aren't. They are houses in the East Marion mill village and, seen closer, they are atrocious. It is about two miles from the town of Marion to the two mill villages which, along with the farmer trade, support Marion and glorify it. Marion itself has a bookshop, two movie theaters, and shops in which gents can get furnishings. But the 100 per cent American mill operatives do not often travel that long two miles-partly because they do not own motor cars, and partly because they haven't much to spend in the way of furnishing gents. On a wage which averages less than $13 a week you furnish yourself and your family mostly with over­ alls. No, the town of Marion proper is left to merchants, lawyers, doctors and the like. But, going out the two miles, you come to East Marion and to the mill of the Marion Manufacturing Co., which makes plain white cotton cloth, the sort of cloth that is used in cheap pillowcases. The mill is the center of the village, and to its six hundred employees it is the most interesting thing to be seen. Its clamorous shuttles, its dirty floors, its roar and utter ghastly fatigue take the place, for some six hundred men, women and children, of the quiet mountain glens from which our civilization has rescued them. Since the first strike at Marion, these six hundred are working only fifty-five hours a week, but in the good old days, before agitators came to disturb the peace of this idyllic village, they worked twelve hours a day or twelve hours a Cheap and Contented Labor 357 night, and had no time to think about such un-American ideas as how to get more than $13 a week. With wages so low, every one in the family over fourteen or so has to work in the mill, from dark till dark. Where there are younger children, the oldest--often it is a girl of eight or nine-has to wash the dishes, make the beds, try to clean the house and sweep the porch, and amuse the still younger slaves all day long. In the Baldwin mill, the floors are not very clean, the toilets rather unpleasant. For the young girls, and all such women workers as do not chew snuff, there is a fair degree of sick­ eningness in the fact that the snuff-chewers spit voluminously into the drinking-fountains and the linty space back of the looms. The Marion Manufacturing Co. provides houses for its employees. I have examined these houses with considerable care. They are rented to the employees at the incredibly low cost of 20 cents per room per week. That means that a four­ room house rents for $3.20 a month on the basis of four weeks to the month. Their water supply comes from old­ fashioned hand-pumps to two houses, of which each holds from two to twelve people. In one glimpse, on a visit to Marion mill villages, you can see that none of the houses has running water--or, therefore, toilets.1 The houses are all of them up on stilts, with no wind­ breaking foundations whatever, so that if there were any water-pipes, they could be seen. For toilets, there are ill-built privies and, of these, one often serves two families. The houses are of the cheapest and flimsiest construction. I have tried to pry the clapboards apart, and have found that it could be done with my little finger. A four-room house, in which twelve people may be living, is just this: It is a box with an unscreened porch. It has three

1 Since these and the other unkind Northern articles on Marion have been written, Mr. Baldwin has, with fanfares for his exces­ sive generosity, announced that be bas begun to dig sewers and install running water in all his mill cottages. 358 SOCIAL QUESTIONS living rooms and a kitchen. In each of the living rooms there are, normally, two double beds. In these double beds there sleep anywhere from two to five people, depending on their ages. I have been in a mill-worker's house in one of whose rooms was a striker wounded by Adkins's men; just out of the hos­ pital that morning with a bandaged leg, unable to move. He sat trying to look cheerful in front of a fireplace roaring with two handfuls (literally) of coal. In the two other tiny rooms that I saw there worked and talked and played five or six assorted adults and children. The kitchen was papered with newspaper. But I did not see the fourth room. In it, in her coffin, lay the aged aunt of the striker. She had died that morning, but they were so harassed, so crowded, so familiar with death, that they did not think to tell us about it until we were saying good-bye. In the kitchen is being cooked the family food, which con­ sists largely of flour biscuits, hominy, fat-back-the cheapest sort of salt pork-and coffee which will be served without cream or sugar. The Sheriff, Oscar Adkins, who was a grocer up to the time he was elected Sheriff, told me that the mill people insist on eating the finest of food. "Why," he said, "they eat Palace flour, and that's good enough so that I eat it myself." I want, therefore, in fairness, to give the report of the other side-to say that there are authorities who assert that these 100 per cent Americans eat flour good enough for Sheriff Adkins. But I must say that their babies, undernourished and dirty, playing about in the blazing red mud, do not look as though they ate food good enough for Sheriff Adkins. Governor Max Gardner, of North Carolina, himself a mill­ owner, has said in a recent report on the Carolina textile in­ dustry that North Carolina has been grievously misrepresented in the matter of wages, because a part of the mill-workers' pay is taken out in houses-such admirable houses as I have just described-which are provided by the company at a low rent. Cheap and Contented Labor 359 And it is true that the rent is low. In Marion it is only twenty cents a room per week. That is low, isn't it? But unfortunately it happens that precisely such bonny homes, owned by private persons and let for a profit, in Marion rent for $10 a month, so that all that the mill is giving to the workers in the way of free rent, to be added to their earnings of from $5 to $13 a week per person, is $6.80 a month. And when you divide $6.80 a month among two to twelve people living in each cottage, it is not a tremendous increase. Governor Gardner's own mill in Shelby, N. C., is among the model mills of the South. The houses which he himself gives to the workers are not at all the type I have described. But, nevertheless, mill-owner and Governor though he be, I suggest that his arithmetic is a little twisted. And I suggest that he, who has done nothing as yet about appointing a committee to investigate conditions at Marion, might go there and try living in one of those pasteboard boxes under which the wind howls in winter. If a man is to accept the responsibilities of so high an office as that of Governor of the State, it would seem to me to be noblesse oblige for him to share the lot of his humblest constituent. There was a time, before we became modernized and ef­ ficient, when kings prided themselves upon their willingness to bear sword and share meat with their humblest subject. It is doubtless too much to expect anything so quixotic from the Governor of a State. But if Max rdnerGa will go to Marion, with his family, and live in one of Baldwin's mill cottages all winter, and work, under normal conditions-and this, of course, implies that all of his family also will work­ in the mill, then I think he will before spring understand much about the need of unionization if the Carolina situation is ever to be solved-and Carolina to be saved. It must be stated that, in addition to this tremendous de­ crease in house rent, the worker at Marion and other Southern mill villages gets free electric light. So far as I have been able 360 SOCIAL QUJ!STIONS to find out, this free electric light costs the company $3 a month per house, at the most. I should think it would cost very much less, because when you have worked from ten to twelve hours a day-when you are looking forward to arriving at the mill at 6:45 each morn­ ing-you do not ordinarily sit up very late reading detective stories and consuming electric light. One of the most important things about the mill-cottage situation in Carolina is that every prosperous and reasonable man to whom you talk about it, North or South, says : "Well, perhaps their houses aren't so good when you take it from the standpoint of people like you and me. I guess we wouldn't like it so well to live there. But you gotta remember that the folks in those houses are just down from the mountains and, to them, these houses are a luxury." In the first place, this comforting theory happens to be en­ tirely inaccurate. The mill cottages are not better than the mountain log cabins of Tennessee and Kentucky and the Carolinas. I asked several minor officials of the Marion Manufacturing Co. wherein the cottages are definitely better. They said that the mill cottages were superior to the mountain log cabins in three respects-in that they have electric lights, in that they are painted, and in that they have board floors instead of beaten earth. This, of course, comes down to exactly one advantage­ that of the board floors. Electric lights are of no particular value to men who work from ten to twelve hours a day, and who do not sit up and read. They would be quite as well served by kerosene lamps or by candles. And the flimsy boards, however well painted, are decidedly less good material for houses, for protection against summer heat and winter cold, than honest logs. v-The mill cottages at Marion are lined with thin tongue and groove lumber. They are painted, inside and out, in drab colors. They are not altogether appetizing. But when the worker leaves his cottage for his long, careless hours of Cheap and Contented Labor 361 leisure, he has the privilege of seeing the other features of the East Marion mill village, provided practically free by the Baldwin Company. Passing down the somewhat lava-like roads, the worker comes to the free public features of the town. They are a really well-built public school, in which every teacher is under orders from the Mill company, so that no teacher is ever likely to criticize the company's policy; several churches, in which the preachers have one-half of their salaries paid by the Mill company so that, by a curious coincidence they, too, have nothing whatever to say about the gay little incident of killing six men and wounding twenty. I do not think that if I were a Minister of God, if I had the inconceivably high position of being in the confidence of Al­ mighty God himself, I would care to have half of my salary paid by the Marion Manufacturing Company. There are two other public places to which the mill-worker may go in Ma,rion. One is the company store. This store, which is supposed to serve a community of six hundred work­ ers and such members of their families as are not in the mill -which I would judge to be the children of under five and the old people over ninety-is about one-quarter as large as the country store serving the village of 1 00 people two miles from my home in Vermont. But that is probably a conscious and thoughtful act of the Marion Manufacturing Co., because when the average wage of all workers in the mill, including foremen-or "overseers" as they call them in the South-is less than $13 a week, they do not need a very large store to take care of their trade. And there are several other stores in the community, though they are not quite so large and handsome as that belonging to the company-which company store, by the way, is not co-operative. The final public feature of the East Marion mill village is the building variously known as the Y.M.C.A. and as the Community House. It touches me more than a little to think that when Baldwin had this built he must have felt that he was being authentically generous. 362 SOCIAL QUESTIONS It is a handsome building, of brick, with a classic fa�ade. It contains as good a swimming-pool as you can find. If the whole of East Marion were as admirable as that swimming­ pool, then you would have the paradise which God must have intended when He constructed these glorious hills, and then left the rest of the job to the Marion Manufacturing Co. But aside from the swimming-pool and the bowling alleys, there is nothing whatever in the Community House to com­ fort people after they have worked from ten to twelve hours in the noise and stench and linty air of the Marion Manu­ facturing Co. No, I am wrong. There is a library. I have examined its books with some care. I do not know who assembled that collection, but I think that he was somewhat unwise in pre­ senting these books as the final solace for people doomed to the hell of that life. I noted a book about Life among the Brahmins. I noted the Everyman's Pepys. I noted particularly a book: about Lin­ guistics, by Professor William Whitney, published in 1867. It must be a consolation to a woman like Mrs. Roberts, whose seventeen-year-old son was shot down by the deputies, who is a widow with young children to support, to be able to go to the Company Y.M.C.A., and read, perfectly free, a book on Linguistics published in 1867. Since the first Marion strike in July, this building has been closed to the public. It is now the headquarters of the State militia. That library room is now the office of the major commanding. So I am afraid that Mrs. Roberts must find con­ solation for the death of her seventeen-year-old son elsewhere. Oh! And there is one other public place, but it is only partly provided by the company. That is the government post office, at the rear of the company store. In most parts of these United States, it would be assumed that a post office was a "United States Government Post Office." But that is not true in Marion. During the first strike the State militia, who came in to keep peace, forbade the strikers to go to the post office for their mail, or for any other reason. In my innocent days I was told that the United States Gov- Cheap and Contented Labor 363 ernment is supreme in the United States of America. But I have learned a great deal in my few days in Marion, in the fair State of North Carolina. I have learned that the militia, under the orders of the State Governor, Max Gardner, has such power that it can close the office of the mail department of the United States Government to citizens of the United States. There was a time in the days of Jefferson when this would have been regarded as an act of rebellion and of treason. But such days have gone now, in this age of efficiency.

VI-The labor situation at Marion, N.C., is not impossible to solve. Marion is only forty miles, by an excellent and beautiful mountain road, from Asheville, to which a hundred thousand or so of tourists go with bright, open, inquiring minds every year. They must be intelligent, for otherwise they could not afford to stay at Asheville. And there are other resorts not far from Marion, with the distinguished universities of Chapel Hill and Duke, full of learned men, at no vast distance. Well, then! If every tourist who visits these resorts, and every student and professor at these universities, will drive to Marion and Clinchfield and look around, there will be no more labor trouble, because there will, after enough of us have looked at them, be no more of East Marion and Clinch­ field. I am told that the Marion Chamber of Commerce desires publicity. I want to give it all the publicity I can. I want to add to the much-hymned glories of the South the spectacle of Marion-the spectacle of genuine Native White Ameri­ cans, undefiled by non-English blood for ten generations, living and working under conditions as bad as those of Negro slavery before the Civil War. I want no one to take my word for it, still less do I want any one to take the word of those malign foreign agitators who recently have, for reasons mysterious but certainly evil, been stirring up disorder in the fair State of North Carolina. But I do want every fall and winter visitor to Asheville to 364 SOCIAL QUESTIONS drive over--oh, an hour will do it; an hour will take them from luxury to inferno--and see for themselves the houses and the people of the Marion Manufacturing Co. and the Clinchfield Mills. But if the Asheville tourists drive over to Marion, I beg that they will not stay too long-1 beg that they will return to their hotels by daylight, for in Marion they will be afraid of being shot if they make too many inquiries. The first night I was there, a pleasant gentleman went around town looking for me with a gun. In the dining room of the hotel you look about to see who is listening to you before you talk. When you go to bed you wonder whether or not you will be pulled out of it before morning by a mob of realtors, bankers and clergymen, as hap­ pened in Elizabethton. But perhaps the tourists will stay, for surely it is evident that the gallant American motorists would like to experience everything that happens in this one part of the country where the predominant population is of one hundred per cent Amer­ icans. I am told that one hundred per cent Americanization is now quite the choicest condition in the world. Well, then! In Marion there is a population of only about one per cent of foreign born; in the mills there is practically no labor that does not come from what is laughingly known as "pure Anglo­ Saxon blood." And the mill village illuminatingly shows what we can do to such undefiled people; what the contrast is between the treatment in these United States of pure stock and of those foreign elements whom we must keep out of America by a constantly revised immigration quota. I am afraid it will not be enough for the Buick-aristocracy to see the entertaining show of the 100 per cent Americans living in misery and under the shadow of mortal fear unless they see it with softened hearts and softened eyes and softened pocketbooks. For certainly their peers in Marion itself are not particularly moved--certainly the well-to-do Marion fellows of the men Cheap and Contented Labor 365 who did the kidnapping in Elizabethton, Tenn., do not seem to be stirred to angry pitch by the sight of horror. Of course! I know just bow much is to be expected of the respectables of Marion. They have deliberately made it clear that they are ready to fight for the mill-owners. Here is a pamphlet just issued by the Kiwanis Club of Marion-Kiwanians elsewhere, especially at their next national convention, are invited to consider the frankness of their brothers at Marion. A handsome pamphlet. Coated paper. Photographs of lakes, mountains, luxurious houses. In these quotations from it, the impertinent interpolations in parentheses are mine; and I have italicized certain sinister-openly and cynically sinister-lines : "This booklet presents facts and conclusions in behalf of the city of Marion that must needs command the careful attention of the whole great world of industry, commerce and finance. For Marion bas earned an established place in this broad sphere of affairs and occupies in its civic relations a secure position of honor, respect and shining promise. "And Marion's voice would address the ear of that impelling spiritual power whose name is called by men-Achievement. To those who possess this vital urge, Marion's message is clear, frank, simple and straightforward. A single word gives it expression: Come! "Come to Marion where there's courage. Where there's opportunity. Where there's help and co-operation for every worthy man and woman. Where there's wealth to gain. Come to Marion-now! "If you would live richly, locate your borne in Marion and join a most delightful company of neighbors, cultured and hospitable, sociable and sincere. "And for children, Marion is an ideal happy borne town, with a fairyland around it in which they may frolic and grow sturdier through all seasons of the year." (Happy fairyland, where an eight-year-old girl frolics on bare sun-bitten red clay, after only seven or eight hours a day of washing, combing, feeding, quieting her four smaller 366 SOCIAL QUESTIONS brothers and sisters, with no older person there to help. Happy Kiwanians, dreamers and poets of the Vital Urge!) "Clean and substantial pavements, modern lighting and all the conveniences of urban life place Marion well in the van of the most progressive cities of the New South-a South that is rushing toward a destiny of extraordinary wealth and glory. "And Marion aspires, through the liberal education of its youth, to speed the dawning day of universal mental training and attainment. "These tax rates are not only exceedingly low, but will al­ most certainly remain so under State laws and supervision that sharply limit the taxing powers of counties and municipalities. "Stocks and securities of non-resident corporations are en­ tirely exempt in North Carolina. Resident corporations are assessed under a fair and liberal system. "Taxation in Marion is deliberately intended to invite in­ vestors and investments. Careful study and consideration will assuredly reveal the promise that new capital is guaranteed the absolute minimum of cost from taxation. "Labor in McDowell county is plentiful and willing, and of a most intelligent, loyal and desirable kind. Under no more than reasonably fair treatment of its help, every factory or branch of industry is certain to be able to secure adequate, satisfactory and contented labor." (Was there ever a more extraordinary expression of Mar­ ionian and Kiwanian ideals than that "no more than REASON­ ABLY fair treatment"?) "Marion cordially invites the inspection of firms and in­ dividuals who may wish to investigate its desirability for any line of business or industry." To such an open declaration by the Marion businessmen that they will assist Capital to choke Labor, can there, on the part of workers, be any conceivable answer save the most militant and universal and immediate organization of trade unions? Can there be any conceivable policy for neutrals save hearty assistance to that labor organization with sympathy, with pen, and with money? "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." INDEX OF NAMES

A Baldwin, R. W., 345, 348, 352, 357, 362 Abelard, Peter, 284 Baldwin, Roger, 13 1 Adamic, Louis, 290 Baldwin, Stanley, 254 Adams, Henry, 157 Balzac, Honore de, 16, 190, 267 Adams, James Truslow, 10, 131 Banning, Margaret Culkin, 176, Ade, George, 57 285 Adkins, Oscar, 348, 349, 350, Banting, F. G., 13, 259, 269, 35 1, 353, 355, 358 324 Aeschylus, 120 Barnum, Phineas T., 156, 236 Aiken, Conrad, 15 8 Barr, Robert, 123 Alcott, Louisa May, 15, 243 Barrym ore, John, 236 Alden, Horace, 77 Barrymore Family, 269 Alger, Horatio, Jr., 96 Beal, Fred, 31 Allen, Hervey, 158 Beard, Charles A., 158 Amundsen, Roald, 263 Beaverbrook, Lord, 253, 266, Anderson, Margaret, 167 269 Anderson, Sherwood, 8-9, 11, Beebe, Charles William, 158 137, 158, 161, 165-168 Beecher, Henry Ward, 235-238, Angoff, Charles, 13 1 345 Annunzio, Gabriele d', 9, 269 Beecher, Lyman, 236, 238 Aristotle, 252 Beethoven, Ludwig van, 108, Asquith, Herbert Henry, 268 267 Astor, Nancy, 13 1 Bell, Alexander Graham, 53, Atherton, Gertrude, 132, 306 268 Auden, W. H., 213 Bellah, James Warner, 210 Augustine, St., 236 Belleforest, 228 Austen, Jane, 208, 267 Bellini, 295 Austin, Mary, 11, 306 Bellows, Henry, 284 Benet, Stephen, 17, 158, 195 Benet, William Rose, 50, 73, B 88, 123, 238 Badoglio, Pietro, 56 Bennett, Arnold, 9, 13, 71, 137, Balbo, General ltalo, 13 1 138, 190, 245, 253, 342 367 368 Index of Names

Benton, Charles E., 169 136 Beresford, Charles William, c Bergman, Ingrid, 38 Bernhardt, Sarah, 269 Cabell, James Branch, 8, 11, Bethune, Mary, 152 158, 160, 200. 268 Billings, Richard, 290 Cadman, S. Parkes, 306 Birkenhead, Earl of, 266 Caesar, Julius, 61, 307 Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold, Caldwell, Erskine, 190 267, 268, 270 Callaghan, Morley, 146

Blackrnur, R. P .. 157 Campbell, Sir Malcolm, 258 Blake, William, 212 Canby, H�nry Seidel, 242, 243 Boone, Daniel, 53, 164, 260 Canfield, Dorothy, See Fisher, Booth, General William, 268 Dorothy Canfield Borodin, Alex Porphyrievich, Cannan, Gilbert, 200, 341 129 Cannon, Joseph, 275 Boyd, Thomas, 284 Cantor, Eddie, 196 Boyd, Woodward, 285 Capps, Bismark, 346 Brahms, Johannes, 267 Carlyle, Thomas, 267 Brandes, Georg, 14 Carnegie, Andrew, 269 Briand, Aristide, 268 Carnegie, Dale, 155, 244 Brisbane, Arthur, 269 Carroll, Lewis, 268 Bromfield, Louis, 11, 158 Caruso, Enrico, 23 Bronte sisters, 189, 267 Carver, George Washington, 151 Brooks, Richard, 210 Cather, Willa, 6, 8, 11, 104, 105, Brooks. Van Wyck, 154, 155, 106, 146, 158, 171-175, 181, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 190, 268, 306 162, 163, 164, 167 Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, Broun, Heywood, 244 266 Browder, Earl, 30 Cezanne, Paul, 269 Browne, Hablot Knight, See Chamberlain, John, 195 Phiz Chamberlin, William Henry, 31, Browne, Sir Thomas, 196 264, 265 Browning, Robert, 268 Chambers, Whittaker, 29 Buck, Pearl, 152 Chang, Li Hung, 268 Burbank, Luther, 268 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 170, 208 Burgess, Gellett, 193 Chekhov, Anton, 189 Bums, John Horne, 298 Chesterton, G. K., 342 Burt, Struthers, 219 Chiang Kai-sbek, 268 Butler, Nicholas Murray, 10, Chopin, Frederic, 267 220 Churchill, Winston, 251 Butler, Samuel, 190 Clemenceau, Georges, 268 Byrd, Richard, 263 Clemens, Samuel, See Twain, Byron, Lord, 267 Mark Index of Names 369

Cobb, Irvin, 202 Dawson, Mrs., 140 Cobb, Tyrus, 207 Death Valley Scotty, 265 Cohan, George M., 216 Debs, Eugene, 245, 265, 316, Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 137, 318 192 Dell, Floyd, 138, 158 Collier, Peter, 269 Della Robbia, Andrea, 57 Comfort, Will Levington, 338 Dempsey, Jack, 191, 202 Compton, Arthur, 268 De Quincey, Thomas, 267 Conrad, Joseph, 143, 200, 268, Derleth, August, 176 342 DeVoto, Bernard, 153-165 Cook, George Cram, 331, 339 Dewey, Melvil, 269 Cook, Grace Macgowan, 73, 87, Diaz, Porfirio, 268 88, 123 Dickens, Charles, 15, 33, 49, Coolidge, Calvin, 290, 312, 316, 93, 100, 101, 106, 130, 143, 319, 321-330 162, 170, 188, 190, 250, 255, Copland, Aaron, 296, 297 267, 270 Corot, Jean-Baptiste, 268 Dickinson, Emily, 212 Corrigan, Billy, I 00 Disraeli, Benjamin, 267 Coward, Noel, 24 7 Divine, Father, 249 Cram, Ralph Adams. 284 Dobson, Austin, 26 Crane, Hart, 158, 161 Dom Pedro, 264 Crane, Stephen, 268 Donizetti, Gaetano, 296 Crawford, Nelson Antrim, 145 Donne, John, 212 Croce, Benedetto, 14, 269 Doran, George H., 98, 99, 235 Cross, Wilbur, 10 Don�. Gustave, 58 Cruikshank, George, 102 Dos Passos, John, 17, 158, 162, Cummings, E. E., 158 190, 243 Curie, Marie, 268 Dostoievsky, Fyodor, 139, 181, Curie, Pierre, 268 189, 255, 267 Curtis, Cyrus, 269 Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, 123 Curtiss, Glenn, 268 Drake, Rotch, 100 Cushing, Dr. Harvey, 60 Dreiser, Theodore, 3, 6, 7-8, 10, 11, 16, 30, 104, 106, 133, 158, 161, 242, 269, 330, 331, 333- 336, 337 D Dreyfus, Alfred, 268 D'Annunzio, See Annunzio, Drinkwater, John, 285 Gabriele d' Du Bois, Dr. J. F., 273 Dante Alighieri, 34, 89 Du Bois, Dr. W. E. B., 152 Darrow, Clarence, 42 Dumas, Alexandre, Jr., 267 Darwin, Charles, 250, 267, 270 Dumas, Alexandre, Sr., 267 Davis, Dr. Ash, 39 Dunne, Finley Peter, 58 Davis, John W., 312, 323, 327 Dunnigan, Jack, 204 370 Index of Names du Pont Family, 269 Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 160 Durant, Will, 41 Fisher, Lord, 26 Duse, Eleonora, 269 Fiske, John, 163 Dyer, Dave, 313, 316, 317, 323 Fitzgerald; Edw., 158 Fitzgerald, Scott, 285 Flandrau, Charles, 285 Flandrau, Grace, 176, 285 E Flaubert, Gustave, 143, 147, 267 Earhart, Amelia, 263 269 Eastman, Max, 31 Flexner brothers, 266 Eckener, Hugo, 263 Foch, Ferdinand, 131 Eddy, Mary Baker, 268 Ford, Ford Madox, 12, 268, 325 Edgett, 138 Ford, Henry, 190 Edison, Thomas A., 270, 325 Forster, E. M., 129 Edward 131 Forsythe, Robert, VIII, 307 Edwards, Albert, 340-341 Fosdick, Harry Emerson. 316 Edwards, Jonathan, 114 Foster, William, 20, 24, 141, Ehrlich, Paul, 259, 268 France, Anatole, 200, 269, 293 Eichenberg, Fritz, 181 159, 162, 167 Einstein, Albert, 33, 259, 268 Frank, Waldo, 269 Eliot, Charles, 275 Frederic, Harold, 267, 270 Eliot, George, 267 Frederick the Great, 33, 259, 269 Eliot, T. S., 157, 158, 163, 177, Freud, Sigmund, 212 Frick, Henry, 269 10, 158 Elizabeth I, Queen, 260, 266 Frost, Robert, 268 Elliott, Dan, 345, 354, 355 Fulton, Robert, Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 15, 163, 198, 199, 243, 267 156, 229, 239, 320 Erasmus, G Ervine, St. John Greer, 24, 281 Gable, Clark, 130 Gainsborough, Thop1as, 268 F Gale, Zona, 18, 137, 144, 159, 176, 180 Fadiman, Clifton, 101, 156, 175 Gallup, Donald C., 21 Farrar, John, 195 Galsworthy, John, 9, 13, 23, Farrell, James T., 158, 190, 210 218, 342 Farson, 132 Gandhi, Mahatma, 60, 268 Faulkner, William, 17, 157, Gannett, Lewis, 132 190, 196, 213 Gardner, Max, 358, 363 Fawcett, Colonel, 263 Garibaldi, Giuseppe, 267 Ferber, Edna, 11, 314 Garland, Hamlin, 10, 15, 16, Feuchtwanger, Lion, 9, 33 57, 106, 172, 176, 180 Firestone, Harvey, 325 Garnett, Constance, 181 Index of Names 371

Garrick, David, 268 Haig, Douglas, 266 Gary, Judge, 279 Haldane, J. B. S., 268 Gauguin, Paul, 269 Haldane, John, 268 Gehrs, A. H., 218 Haldane, Lord, 268 George, Henry, 268 Hamsun, Knut, 9, 268 Gerguson, Harry, 265 Hansen, Nellie, 79 Gibbon, Edward, 130 Harcourt, Alfred, 99, 217, 218 Gide, Andre, 31, 131 Harding, Judge, 349, 350, 35 1 Gillette, William, 57 Hardy, Thomas, 103, 106, 190, Gilman, Daniel, 269 200, 268, 331, 342 Gilpatrick, Naomi, 213 Harmon, William E., 18 Gladstone, William Ewart, 260, Harriman, Edward, 269 267, 268 Harris, Frank, 131, 253, 337 Glasgow, Ellen, 158, 161 Harrison, William Henry, 279 Glaspell, Susan, 24, 339 Hart, Mabry, 352, 353 Goebbels, Joseph, 35 Hart, Sally, 352 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, Harvey, William, 329 14, 23, 101, 102, 267 Hastie, Dr. William, 40 Gogol, Nikolai, 267 Hatvany, Baron, 41 Gold, Michael, 17, 31 Hauptmann, Gerhart, 33, 268 Gompers, Samuel, 268 Haw Haw, Lord, 293 Gordon, General Charles Hawks, Frank, 263 George, 260, 261 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 15, 120, Goring, Hermann, 60 130, 162, 189, 198, 243, 267 Gorki, Maxim, 182, 268 Hayes, Bod, 100 Gould, Jay, 269 Hayes, Rutherford B., 329 Grant, Ulysses S., 237 Heap, Jane, 167 Greeley, Horace, 83, 269 Hearst, William Randolph, 269 Green, Eleanor, 176, 177, 178, Hecht, Ben, 158 180, 181 Hegger, Grace, See Lewis, Grace Grey, Zane, 25 Hegger. Grote, George, 78 Heidenstam, Werner von, 9 Gruening, Ernest, 275 Heine, Heinrich, 267 Guest, Edgar, 161 Hemingway, Ernest, 9, 11, 17, Guitry, Sacha, 24 7 89, 101, 104, 106, 132, 156, Gustav, King, 3 157, 158, 182, 189, 198, 199, Guthrie, Professor Ramon, 344 210, 269, 295 Guynemer, 266 Hendryx, Jim, 77, 78, 79 Hendryx, Myra, 79 Herbert, George, 113 H Herbst, Josephine, 306 Hergesheimer, Joseph, 9, 11, Haas, Rosamond, 213 45-4� 158, 161, 17� 180, Hackett, Francis, 138 200 372 Index of Names

Herrick, Robert, 12, 145, 330, Jeffers, Robinson, 10, 158, 162 331, 336, 337 Jefferson, Thomas, 363 Hibben, Paxton, 235-237 Jewett, Sarah Orne, 180 Hicks, 159 Joffre, Joseph Jacques Cesaire, Hill, James J., 269, 283 366 Hindenburg, Paul von, 266 Johnson, John, 280 Hiss, Alger, 30 Johnson, Magnus, 279 Hitler, Adolf, 268 Johnson, Robert, 95, 96, 220 Hogan, Lawrence, 345, 353 Johnson, Samuel, 13 Holbrook, Stewart, 24 1 Jones, Howard Mumford, 157 Holmes, John Haynes, 319 Jonson, Ben, 267 Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 15, Joyce, James, 17, 195, 269, 281, 198. 256 314 Holt, Rackham, 151 Homer, 261, 320 Hoover, Herbert, 12, 221, 287 K Hoover, J. Edgar, 60 Hopkins, Mark, 320 Kant, Immanuel, 267 Hornung, 123 Karlfeldt, Erik Axel, 4, 268 Houseman, A. E., 106 Karolyi, Count Milbaly, 40 Howard, Roy, 269 Kaufman, George, 160 Howard, Sidney, 220, 227 Kazin, Alfred, 158, 159 Howells, William Dean, 15, 16, Keats, John, 137, 267 57, 71, 268, 331 Kells, Lucius, 79 Huddleston, Sisley, 131 Kemal, Mustapha, 268 Hughes, Langston, 152 Kennicott, Carol, 312, 315, 320, 16, 57, 63, 194 Huneker, James, 327, 328 Hunt, Adam, 348, 349 Kennicott, Claude, 317 Hurst, Fannie, 11 Kennicott, Dr. Will, 312, 314, 268 Huxley, Aldous, 315, 329, 330 Key, Ellen, 279 Kingsford-Smith, 263 I Kipling, Rudyard, 7, 52, 89, 103, 124, 143, 190, 201, 202, Ibsen, Henrik, 6. 268 262, 268, 278, 342 Irving, Sir Henry, 247, 269 Kitchener, Horatio, 266 Irving, Washington, 49, 130 Kloeber, Charley, 97, 204 Knight, Ray, 196 Knopf, Alfred A., 172 J Knutson, Harold, 280 Koch. Robert. 268, 329 James, Henry, 33, 89, 129, 157, Kreisler, Fritz, 23 180, 190, 208, 228, 268, 331 Kruif, Paul de, 148, 159, 318 James, Jesse, 129 Kuni tz, Joshua, 131 Index of Names 373

Lorenz, Henry, 275, 283 269 L Lorimer, George, Lovelace, Richard, 112-113 La Follette, Robert M., 312, Lovett, Robert Morss, 12 316. 323, 330 Lowell, James Russell, 15, 198 Lagerlof, Selma, 9, 268 Ludendorff, Erich von, 266 Lamb, Charles, 118, 170, 267 Luther, Martin, 41 Lane, Rose Wilder, 176 Lyons, Eugene, 30 Lardner, Ring, 11, 158, 161, 318 Laughlin. James, 212 M Lawrence, David Herbert, 200, 210, 261 McCadden, Charley, 77-83 Leblanc, 123 McCarthy, P. Haitch, 93 Le Gallienne, Richard, 57, 194 McCormick, Robert R., 269 Lembcke, Mike, 313 McCoy, Kid, 326 Lenin. Vladimir, 259, 269, 319 McCrae, John, 192 Levin, Jack, 230 McCumber, 279 Lewis, Claude, 76-77, 78, 79, McFadden, Bemarr, 60 104 McGinley, Phyllis, 60 Lewis, Dr. E. J., 76, 101, 216, McKinley, William, 279 273 McNally, William, 176 Lewis, Freeman, 104, 107 McPherson, Aimee, 287, 306 Lewis, Fred, 76 Macaulay, Thomas, 267 Lewis, Grace Hegger, 54, 199, MacDonald, Ramsay, 254 214 Macgowan, Alice, 87, 88, 123 Lewis, Lloyd, 241 Mackenzie, Compton, 341 Lewis, Michael, 104, 107 MacLeish, Archibald, 158, 162 Lewis, Wells, 104, 107 Macy, George, 176 Lewisohn, Ludwig, 1 32, 135, Maeterlinck, Maurice, 268 159 Mahdi, 260 Lincoln, Abraham, 236, 270 Mann, Thomas, 7, 9, 33, 270 Lindbergh, Charles A., 12, 46, Mansion, Alexander, 291 263 Marbury, Elisabeth, 306 Lindsay, Vachel, 11 Marconi, Guglielmo, 268 Lloyd George, David, 268 Marie, Queen of Romania, 268 Lodge, Henry Cabot, 279 Markham, Edwin, 220 Loeb, Dr. Jacques, 159, 268, Marks, Percy, 145 320 Marx, Karl, 28, 209, 250, 268, London, Jack, 89, 123, 124, 268, 270 287, 330, 33 1, 341 Masters, Edgar Lee, 11, 129, Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 136, 137, 139 1 1, 15, 198, 237 Matisse, Henri, 269 374 Index of Names

Maugham, William Somerset, 190, 200 N Maule, Harry, 99 Mayo, Katherine, 306 Napoleon, 268 Mayo brothers, 284 Nash, Ogden, 60 Melville, Herman, 16, 189 Nathan, George Jean, 10, 76 Mencken, Henry L., 9, 10, 12, Nation, Carry, 56 16, 106, 129, 133, 149, 158, Neal, William, 352, 353 162, 200, 269, 320 Nelson, Knute, 279 Mendelssohn, Moses, 35, 267 Newman, Cardinal John, 267, Menuhin, Yehudi, 269 268 Meredith, George, 194, 331 Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 268 63, 113 Metchnikoff, Elie, 64, Michelangelo, 207 Nightingale, Florence, 268 Michelson, Albert A., 13, 268 Noel, Joe, 90 Miles, Carlton, 285 Nordau, Max, 63 Millay, Edna St. Vincent, 11, Norris, Frank, 269, 330, 336, 129, 158 338 Miller, Alice Duer, 306 Norris, Kathleen, 306 Millet, Jean Franc;ois, 268 North, Sterling, 101 Millikan, Robert Andrews, 13, Northcliffe, Alfred, 269 268 Noyes, Mrs. Anna, 61 Milne, A. A., 73 Noyes, Professor William, 61 Milton, John, 101, 102, 104 Nye, Edgar Wilson (Bill), 168 Mitropoulos, Dimitri, 178 Modjeska, Helena, 269 Molotov, Viacheslav, 75 0 Monet, Claude, 269 Montessori, Maria, 269 O'Brien, E. J., 138 341 Montross, Lynn, 290 O'Brien, Howard Vincent, 269 Moore, George, 13, 63, 190, Ochs, Adolph S., 8, 11, 23-24, 268, 342 O'Neill, Eugene, 155, 156, 158, 182, 268 Morgan Family, 269 Onions, Oliver, 341 Morley, Kit, 288 Osler, Sir William, 181 Morse, Samuel F. B., 114, 268 Osterling, Andres, 3 306 Moskowitz, Mrs. Henry, Ottley, Roi, 150 Mosley, Sir Oswald, 261 Mowrer, Edgar, 132 Mozart, Wolfgang. 267 p Mumford, Lewis, 158, 159, 162 Murphy. Charley, 280 Paine. Thomas, 162 Mussolini, Benito, 221, 259, 268 Pareto, 164 Myrdal, Gunnar, 151, 153 Parkman, Francis, 163 Index of Names 375

Parrington, Vernon, 159 Reid, Whitelaw, 269 Parrish, Anne, 306 Reinhardt, Max, 269 Parrish, Maxfield, 57 Rejane, 269 Pasteur, Louis, 32, 207, 268, Rembrandt, 197 329 Repplier, Agnes, 18, 285 Pater, Walter, 33, 64 Rhodes, Cecil, �268 Peary, Admiral Robert, 263 Richthofen, Manfred, 266 Peattie, Elia W., 337 Rilke, 213 Peel, John, 347, 348, 353 Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai, 269 Pelley, William Dudley, 156 Rinehart, Mary Roberts, 306 Perkins, Frances, 268, 305 Robbins, Broad, 350 Pershing, General John, 266 Robinson, Edwin Arlington. 11, Phelps, William Lyon, 111, 112, 133, 158 194, 244-248 Robinson, Rowland E., 288 Phiz, 102 Rockefeller, John D., Sr., 256, Picasso, Pablo, 269 269 Pinkham, Lydia, 156 Rodin, Auguste, 290 Pirandello, Luigi, 269 Roget, Peter Mark, 86 Pitkin, Walter, 130 Rolland, Romain, 9, 268 Pitt. William, 92 Rolvaag, Ole Edvart, 176, 180 Planck, Max, 268 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 259, Plato, 28, 25 1 268 Plutarch, 130 Roosevelt, Theodore, 56, 268 Poe. Edgar Allan, 15, 62, 65, Root, Elihu, 261 89, 195, 267, 293 Rosa, Senora Martina de la,256 Pollock, Guy, 318, 325, 328 Rosenfield, Paul, 167 Pontoppidan, Henrik, 6 Ross, Bill, 348, 352, 355 Poole. Ernest, 340 Rossetti, Gabriel, 267 Post, Wiley, 263 Rossini, Gioacchino, 295 Pound, Ezra, 131, 158, 163, 177, Rothermell, Fred, 290

294 · Rothermere, Harold, 269 Powell, John Wesley, 158, 159 Ruskin, John, 268 Preus, 280 Russell, Bertrand, 268, 306, 307 Proust. Marcel, 158, 178, 190, Rutherford, Sir Ernest, 268 269, 314 Pulitzer, Joseph, 269 Pumphrey, G. T., 21, 22 s Putnam, Nina Wilcox, 316 Sandburg, Carl, 11, 33, 158, 168 Schick, Bela, 3 3 R Schiller, Friedrich von, 23, 266 Schneider, Isidor, 129 Randolph, A. Philip, 152 Schnitzler, Arthur, 23, 281 Reed, Walter, 259 Schuyler, George, 152, 153 376 Index of Names

Scott, Evelyn, 141, 158, 306 Stearns, Harold, 132, 159 Scott, Leroy, 340 Stedman, Edmund, 117 Scott, Robert Falcon, 263 Steele, Wilbur Daniel, 11, 146 Scott, Walter, 49, 101, 102, 130, Steenerson, Congressman, 279 169, 190, 266 Stegner, Wallace, 160 Scripps, Edward, 269 Stein, Gertrude, 130, 132, 167, Seldes, George, 132, 290 212 Seldes, Gilbert, 290 Steinbeck, John, 190 Serge, Victor, 31 Stephenson, George, 268 Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry, Sterling, George, 89, 90 263 Stevenson, Robert Louis, 91, Shakespeare, William, 28, 113, 268, 287 130, 141, 145, 207, 229, 266, Stieglitz, Alfred, 167 267 Stone, Fred, 142 Shaw, George Bernard, 7, 33, Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 115, 52, 76, 131, 209, 249, 259, 236 268, 285, 290, 342 Strauss, Richard, 269 Sheean, Vincent, 132 Stravinsky, Igor, 269 Shelley, Percy, 121, 133, 137, Strindberg, August, 6, 268 267 Suckling, Sir John, 112-1 13 Sherman, Roger, 115 Suckow, Ruth, 146, 176, 178, Sherman, Stuart, 132, 133 179, 180, 306 Shipstead, Hendrik, 279 Sullivan, Sir Arthur, 269 Shostakovich, Dmitri, 178 Sullivan, Frank, 60 Sibelius, Jean, 296 Sullivan, Mark, 56 Sinatra, Frank, 33 Sun Yat-sen, 268 Sinclair, Upton, 9, 11, 52, 60, Sunday, Billy, 306 62-63, 64, 65, 69, 122, 158, Sunderland, Nan, 227 269, 319, 330, 331, 339 Swift, Jonathan, 241 Sloan, Art, 84 Swinburne, Algernon Charles, Smith, Adam, 268 106, 256, 268 Smith, AI, 306 Swinnerton, Frank, 136 Smith, Harrison, 195 Smith, Captain John, 257 151 Smith, Lillian, T Smith, Theobald, 12, 268 Socrates, 253 Taft, William Howard, 56 Sorolla y Bastida, Joaquin, 269 Tagore, Sir Rabindranath, 268, Soule, George, 59, 142 338 Spencer, Herbert, 268 Taine, Hippolyte, 14 Spingarn, Professor Joel E., 169 Tarkington, Booth, 10, 27, 57, Spinoza. Baruch, 95 140, 158, 161, 172 Stalin, Joseph, 31, 25 1, 268 Tate, Allen, 157, 158 Stead, William, 269 Taylor, Harvey, 123, 193 Index of Names 377

Taylor, Warner, 190 Van Doren, Mark, 131, 158 Tennyson, Alfred, 101, 111, Van Dyke, Henry, 26 245, 268, 333 Van Gogh, Vincent, 269 Tetherow, Henry, 346 Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, Thackeray, William Makepiece, 197, 328 130, 170, 190, 267 Vanderbilt Family, 269 Thaw. Harry, 319 Vesalius, Andreas, 33 Thompson, Dorothy, 54, 301 Victoria, Queen, 219, 260, 267, Thompson, Francis, 213 268 Thoreau, Henry David, 15, 169, Villard, Henry, 319, 323 198, 242-244, 266 Villon, Fran�ois, 10, 89, 279 Thurston, Katherine Cecil, 72, Virgil, 256 193 Voltaire, Fran�ois Marie Arouet Tiberius, Emperor, 294 de, 33 Tilden, William, 191 Von Wiegand, Karl, 96 Tilton, Theodore, 235, 236 Vorse, Mary Heaton, 70, 74 Tinker, Chauncey Brewster, 111, 194, 246 Tolstoy, Leo, 181, 183, 189, 255, w 268 Tree. Sir Herbert Beerbohm, Wagner, Richard, 267 247 Walpole, Horace, 70 Trotsky, Leon, 129, 268, 319 Walpole, Hugh, 70, 200, Tschaikowsky, Peter Ilich, 63, 331, 341 269 Walter, Bruno, 33 Turgenev, Ivan, 63, 181, 183, Walton, Izaak, 130 267 Warwick, Countess of, 254 Twain, Mark, 8, 15, 105, 130, Washburn, Claude. 285 154, 162, 190 Washington, Booker T., 269 Washington, George, 57, 115, 270 u Watterson, Marse Henry, 269 Waugh, Evelyn, 190 Ueland. Brenda, 285 Webster, Noah, 115 Undset, Sigrid, 9 Wells, H. G., 9, 13, 15, 26, 64, Updegraff, Allan, 194 71, 106, 137, 138, 178, 190, 248-255, 262, 268, 306, 307, 318, 330, 332, 333, 335 v Welty, Eudora, 213 Werfel, Franz, 33 Valentine, J. A., 346 Wescott, Glenway, 158 Van Doren, Carl, 18, 60, 104, Wesley, John, 268 108. 129-141, 156, 158, 175, Westfrisket, Dr. Sir Wilfred 238-242 Willoughby, 107 378 Index of Names

Wharton, Edith, 10, 131, 138, Wolff, Maritta. 190 141, 143, 155, 158, 172, 180, Wolman, Dr. Leo, 290 190, 268, 306, 331 Wood, Grant, 179, 214, 294 Whistler, James McNeill, 33, Woollcott, Alexander, 197, 290 56, 269 Wordsworth. William, 121, 267 White, Walter, 149, 150, 152, Wren, Christopher, 289 153 Wright, Harold Bell, 220 White, William Allen, 269 Wright, Dr. Louis T., 40 Whitlock. Brand, 10 Wright, Richard, 148-149, 151, Whitman, Walt, 8, 15, 16, 71, 153, 190 164, 198, 266, 268 Wright brothers, 56, 268 Whitney, Eli, 115, 268 Wutherspoon, Vida, 320 Whitney, William, 362 Wylie, Elinor, 133, 158, 161 Whittier, John Greenleaf, 198 Wilde, Oscar, 268 Wilder, Thornton, 17, 158, 161 y Wilhelm, Kaiser, 268 Wilkins, Roy, 152 York, Sergeant, 266 Willard, Frances, E., 268 Young, Brigham. 268 Willebrandt, Mabel, 305, 306 Young, Marguerite, 211 William the Conqueror, 280 Young, Stark, 167 Wilson, Edmund, 157, 158, 159 Wilson, Henry Leon, 316 Wilson. Ruth Danenhower, 150 z Wilson, Woodrow, 268

Winchell, Walter, 131, 155 Zachary, R. Y., 212 Winter, Alice Ames, 285 Zangwill, Israel, 72, 194 Winterich, 182 Ziegler, Eddie, 100 Winters, Yvor, 157 Zinsser, Dr. Hans, 259 Wister, Owen, 10 Zola, Emile, 63, 145, 162, 269 Wolfe, Thomas, 17, 132, 158, Zuloaga, Ignacio, 269 183, 190, 198, 213 Zweig, Stefan, 33