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October 23, 1921 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1921-10-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

(By Lawrence H. Conrad)
In The-Michigan Daily Magazind for
Sun., Oct. 16, there appeared an article
by Delbert Clark which presented, with
no attempt at summarizing, the opin-
ions of a few campus authorities upon
the relation of thinking to writing.
I believe this relation to be vital. I
think that the question, "Do thinkers
write and do writers think?," should
not be dismissed with the statement
which this writer used in conclusion
-"And there you are."
I wish to voice the belief that great
writers are invariably great thinkers,
men of great ideas, either originating
with themselves in a manner which
none of us is able to describe, or which
are so perfectly conceived that they
become the property of the expositor
by absorption.
The amateur writer may and often
does write a better English sentence
than the established writer whose
works are read widely, but the line
of demarcation between these two is
distinctly accentuated by the wealth
of ideas and the value of the' ideas
with which each is dealing; in short,
the test of literary greatness in the
present order of things is thought,
new thought, clear thought and
thought which has for any reason the
quality of being arresting. C
A great writer is nothing if not a
great thinker, for after all It is the
story-value of fiction, the critical-value
of essays and articles and the thought-
value of most poetry which stamps it
as literature. The young writer who
has ideas, however poorly expressed,
who shows a tendency to begin with
a line of, thought and carry it to a
place where the reader's imagination
has never been before, will receive
instant encouragement from editors
and publishers who will pass with a
shrug any perfectly written manu-
script which does not do this.
The case of Swinburne, who "in a
masterful fashion took the ideas of
the ancient classical writers, many of
them crude and ill-expressed, and re-
wrote them, giving them a wonderful
lustre and a lasting place In English
verse,' is peculiar but it Is not unique.
We cannot brand him a plagiarist
without branding a good many others;
we cannot say that he was not a
great thinker unless we are very sure
that all ideas, to be original, must
spring full-clothed from the brain of
their parent, and even then we must
investigate; whetherthat parent had
or had not previously swallowed, in
turn, the parent of that idea. Where,
Romances of After the War
One of the most interesting features
of the readjustment of human rela-
tions after the war has been the some-
times humorous or heart-appealing ro-
mances of the returning men, many of
whom have been wounded. Mrs.
Bertha Lippincott Coles, has collected
five of these romances under the title
of "Wound Stripes."
Of Interest to Geographers
One of the msot interesting and little
known countries in the world is Kash-
mir, located on the edge of India.
C. E. Tyndale Biscoe, M. A., has writ-
ten a new book on this marvellous
and beautiful land of valleys and snow-
clad mountains. This is entitled,
"Kashmir In Sunlight and Shade," and
will be published in this country.

at Writers and Great Thinkers
after all, do ideas come from? dress which a great thinker has made thinker alone is able to supply. The
Writers of fiction tell us that they for it, arrests our attention, records proper organization of a man's mind
come "out of the air," traceable now a pleasing impression for having been is of greater value if he is to be a
and then to in our minds before, and leads us out writer, than the development of his
"a sunset-touch, into a field of thought which we were skill with the pen.
A fancy from a flower-bell, some willing but unable to create for our- The "how" of writing is always s'-
one's death, selves. ordinate to the "what" of writing. On'
A chorus-ending from Euripides,-" Great thinkers are not of necessity cannot, in health, lose the technique
or, it may be, from a personality that great writers, but they could be if of writing, once he has had it. It is
is suggestive, from a half-sentence they would, for, as your authority has like riding a bicycle: once learned, it
heard as one goes through a revolving pointed out, "Simultaneously with the is-a permanent acquisition and can be
doorway, from any one of the many idea are born the words to fit it." called into practice at any time. Writ-
experiences which befall each of us Writers often get their ideas from per- ers do, however, frequently go into
daily, but which take their place in sons themselves unable to write litera- a decline for lack of ideas, thpugh
literature only as they strike, like the ture (notoriously from their wives), their pen-strokes continue to be as
seed which fell upon fallow ground, but ideas so borrowed are never whole sure and as virile as ever. Indeed, the
the mind of a great thinker. The ideas; they are never carr-. to con- fact of ceasing to be a great thinker
idea, then, half-formulated in our less- clusion, or, if seemingly entire, lack is the only catastrophe that can be-
er minds, comes back to us in the the seasoning and spicing which a real fall a writer who is once established.



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