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literary London. It would be enough for Mr. Jepson that Mr. Eliot finds his native land intolerable; indeed, he says as much in his closing paragraph:
It would be the last absurdity for such a poet to go West and write for that plopp-eyed bungaroo, the Great-hearted Young Westerner on the make.
Well, in our humble opinion, Mr. Eliot's choice of exile has definitely narrowed the range of his art. He is probably in less danger than Mr. Jepson of identifying his hero Prufrock with “the soul of America”—he knows better than that, no doubt—but, like Henry James, another superfine artist, he has cut himself off from all possibility of expressing that soul, by giving up the inward union with it and removing himself from the spiritual claim of it. Making a wandering cosmopolite of himself, he probably dooms his art, again as Henry James did, to the presentation of the various phases of that rather forlorn human type. The Love-song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a masterpiece in precisely this kind; it is doubtful if even its author will be able to surpass it. But we protest that it is not the soul of America. Listen to Mr. Jepson:
Could anything be more United States, more of the soul of that modern land, than The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock? It is the very wailing testament of that soul, with its cruel clarity of sophisticated vision, its thin, sophisticated emotions, its sophisticated appreciation of a beauty, and its sophisticated yearning for a beauty, it cannot dare to make its own and so, at last, live.
Such a statement is curiously typical of much foreign misunderstanding of us. A certain kind of intellectualized
stay-at-home Englishman falls in with the intellectualized wandering American. The two sympathetically admire the beauty of the old things, the old ways, in literature, art and life, and distrust and dislike the new. Thus Prufrock's “cruel clarity of sophisticated vision” covers the western horizon for Mr. Jepson, becomes “the soul of that modern land” which, we are informed, is afraid to live. Of course, Mr. Jepson knows absolutely nothing about our soul. Probably his “plopp-eyed bungaroo” is nearer it than Mr. Eliot's world-weary hero. But Mr. Jepson has no longer the excuse of remoteness: the soul of America— a cross-section of it, so to speak—has now crossed the sea, and may be discovered by anyone who cares to get acquainted with our boys in the trenches. They are of all kinds—from farm and university, factory, office and forest range. They are not afraid of life—or death. We commend them to Mr. Jepson. H. M.
- THE SEw rostal rate:-los ^ This office has been bombarded of late by arguments
against the new zone rate for periodicals, which goes into effect July first. The Authors' League, the Publishers' Association, and other objectors tell us that the new law should be repealed, as it means the death of the magazines, of popular education (in a great measure) and of American literature. Well, we are not yet convinced. For years this nation has been giving, as President Taft once put it, a subsidy of over fifty millions a year to the periodicals. This was questionable policy even in time of peace, as abuses usually grow up around subsidies. In time of war it would seem obvious that the magazine business should cease to demand help from the government, but should pay full cost for the carriage of its products, like farmers and manufacturers. It is probable that the educative value of periodical litera. ture would not be impaired. The present system tends to centralize and standardize American literature. By enabling the publisher of Collier's, for example, to send his paper to San Francisco as cheaply as to Albany, it discourages spontaneous self-expression through local publishers in San Francisco, and encourages a marketable New York point of view. By enabling the Collier's man to send a mass of advertisements over the country at government expense, it makes him publish his paper to distribute these ads instead of to distribute the educative literature it contains. Thus, however noble his intentions, his paper is forced to print only the most popular thing, the thing which the people will buy in such numbers as to impart enormous value to the advertisements. Writers who can and will supply this purely commercial demand are thus forced more and more to a standard; when they conform they get a large audience and enormous prices, prices out of all relation to the literary or educative value of their product. Local self-government in intellectual matters would be, we believe, vastly more educative and vastly better for literature, than the present domination of New York. And local self-government will be enhanced by the new law. In various respects the new law should tend somewhat to de-commercialize the magazines; at any rate it will put them on a just basis before a people at war. It will increase PoETRY's bill for postage more, in proportion to income, than that of the Saturday Evening Post. But PoETRY is not howling, and probably both magazines will survive the
The New Poetry—An Anthology, edited by Harriet Monroe and Alice Corbin Henderson. Macmillan Co. The spirit which led the editors of The New Poetry, in their approach to the problem of selecting an anthology of modern American and British verse which should be hospitable to all poets entitled to a place therein, is happily embodied in Robert Frost's intriguing line— Something there is that doesn't love a wall. The portcullis of Carl Sandburg's “hog-butcher of the world” has been lowered in democratic fashion to an hundred and one men and women, all the alphabetical way from Conrad Aiken to Edith Wyatt. Lyrist and imagist, sonneteer and vorticist, lover of Attica in modern guise and proclaimer of New England after the fashion of Homer, priest of form and neophyte of freedom, the ism and the anti-ism which is just as passionate an ism: each is permitted to argue his case. It is apparent, to be sure, that several folk who have distinguished themselves since the year 1900 have been excluded or overlooked, and others who are included are not represented by what some of us consider their best effort, and still others are included whom the same some of us would have excluded or overlooked. I regret, for example, the absence of two such individualists as Marianne Moore and Mina Loy, artists who represent, respectively, the intellectual and the moral independence of the modern woman, and both of whom were recently graced with the paternal approbation of no less a mortal than Mr. Pound. And a book which hobnobs with aristocrats from every stratum of thought should not have snubbed that prince of Fifth Avenue, Donald Evans, who, with his amazing nonchalance of style, might likewise be termed the prince of poet-satirists. In the Irish galaxy, there should have been humble domicile for the Dublin singer, W. M. Letts. On the other hand, while I do not miss Alfred Noyes or Lascelles Abercrombie, who belong to the Victorian limbo, I am more than gently irritated by the presence of mouthing poetasters and rhetoricians of the stamp of Hamlin Garland, William Ellery Leonard, Percy Mackaye, James Oppenheim, Charles Hanson Towne and Louis Untermeyer. Luckily, there is compensation in the exile imposed upon Jessie B. Rittenhouse, Clinton Scollard, Seumas O'Sheel, George Sylvester Viereck, and their ilk. It is obvious that I am not an expert in cataloguing names, nor, for that matter, a well-read man; so permit me to open for myself the volume per se, advancing, like the editors,