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January 13, 1924 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1924-01-13

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The Pictorial Review
Synthetic Lit'ry Criticism

Nothing in the literary history of1
the past hundred years more insist-
ently demands our attention than the
usurpation by other arts of dominions
once belonging entirely to literature.
In spite of Baudelaire, in spite of Rim-
baud, in spite of Swinburne, all of
whom tried to capture for words the
fields of painting, of music, even of
architecture, nevertheless the poet,
the dramatist, and finally the novelist,
have seen themselves robbed of theme
after theme, have seen themselves
denied the right to tell a story, to
paint a picture, or to compose a
snatch of music.'
And this constant surrender of
words in behalf of other more vivid
means of expression is really a gain.
No man ever succeeded in conveying
his thoughts by words alone. Words
give experience at second, or some-
times at third-hand. They represent
life diluted, rendered innocuous.
It follows therefore that any fur-
ther conquest by some other part is a
cause for rejoicing. The latest strong-
hold of literature to fall is Criticism.
Logically this ought- to have fallen
first, because Criticism in words is t
about as far removed from actuality
as Poiret's from an Ann Arbor sor-
rority house. In poetry there may'
sometimes occur "words that breathe


-Drawing.by Halsey Davidson

and thoughts that burn"; in Criticism other two figures in the Criticism one. has ever attempted such a thing be- denies the necessity for reducing life
never. It is consequently a cause at represents Jesus of Nazareth, the fore, but there can be little doubt that a bit in order to make it more com-
once for surprise and for congratula- spirit of flagellation; the two-headed in perhaps a short time others will prehensible; but there is no need for
tion that pictorial criticism is now figure manifests the dual personality take up the idea. Surely a perusal of going through the process twice. The
supplanting-verbal criticism. controlling not only the actors in the the usuat verbal atrocities passing advantage of pictorial criticism is.
I have already said that the former. novel, but also the Russian race as a under ,the name of -criticism -makes that it restores to-a literary work that
kind possesses many advantages over whole. any one save the-professional review- vividness and freshness characteristic
the latter. To see in detail what From even this short and nade- er perceive. the-inadequacy of words of life itself. Of course, here bobs up
those advantages are one need only quate interpretation of Mr. David- to interpret a -work of art. At the again the age-old query, "Why have
examine the drawing above, which is son's pictorial criticism may be gath- worst, =words conceal or destroy that criticism at all?" Logically, thse Is
a review of Fyodor Diatoievski's ered some idea of the possibilities in- which .they are-meant to clarify; at no reason; but criticism is apparently
"The Brothers Karamazov." Back of herent in that art. No one else, so their best they bind still further an here to . stay. That being the case,
everything stands the blind, uncouth far as I have been able to ascertain,' already enchained experience. No one surely the more 'direct the criticism,
giant, which is Holy Russia. In the --- - -- the more valuable it is. We tnay
background of the picture the artist therefore hope that in the future
has delineated a flash of lightning, T h e L as t S up p er words will be supplanted for the pur-
which symbolizes the blinding bril- I poses of criticism as they have al-
liance, " the overwhelming power, ofRT N E ready been supplanted in the arts of
the book. Limned against the light- RTOSnarative, description, and pure aemo
ning stand forth, terrifically clear and : T HAD all been explained to a gorgeous powdered wig. He had tion,
stark, the characters of the story. As her, and yet . . . come late one night to her, and his kind
they are in life and in the pages of Plainly she was nervous. but stern consideration quite over-
Dostoievski, so has the artist por- It seemed as though the whelmed her. The very fact of a visit
trayed them-terrible, monstrous, yet hour would never come. The feeble from so high a; person convinced her
inadequate. He has portrayed, too, the clock ticked at an exasperating pace. how obligatory it was on her part to
discordant relations which they bear The hands, it seemed, almost refused release the Due. ORLANDO BEEDE
to one another, the hopeless welter of to move. All the sounds. of the dark- This .nobleman, she understood, was
passions and ideals which are the ness outside made her start, and then an uncle of the Due, a close confidant There are four different attitudes
tragedy of life. Symbolizing the fatal when nothing came of them she re- of the young man's father. He told taken towards jazz music. Some peo-
spirit of evil that wraps itself about laxed into feverish anxiety over the her that the Due was shortly to be ple are crazy about it, other hate it,
all the actors of the tale except Al- details of the table. married to the great Lady Trenton some think it clever and amusing,
yosha, a bloated serpent glares at the t from England across the channel. He
observer. Dominating the middle- jIt had all been carefully explained fo oln costecanl ewhileotesdnthikaut-tt
rdalso told her many other things as
ground of the drawing, by reason of to her, an6 she 'had professed to be well, but the conclusion was that the all.
his central position, is the figure of content. She had been told how fu- Duc would see her no more. Of, It may .generally be said of those
the father. Sharing the attention is tile and even unbecoming it was of course, it might be hard for her at who are crazy about jazz that they
the large figure of Orushenka, to be her to expect the Due to regard his first, perhaps a trifle unjust, but there are young and giddy, and that they
seen at the right of the father. The . his friendship for her seriously. were surely many men of her own love to dance (for jazz is really ex-
The Due, she was reminded, was a class who would desire her, and soon
placed-with obvious appropriateness gentleman, one of the noble gentry, she would forget.cellent to dance to); that their minds
-at the left of the sketch, accom- while she . . . t pretty peasant She hd said she understood, and are either permanently dull, or per-
panied by the emblems of penance, girlT Du truly, h been intere haps yet unsharpened. Those who
the cross and the scourge. Nearby, ested The just love jazz may, as any body else,
also, is pictured an emaciated creaet o, 'i have sudden crazes on Robert Frost,
ture which will at once remind the that inte oug. tebe h re A few days later, however, she re- music, philosophy, or anything Intel-
observer of the painting in which thenceived a note from the Due himself lectual, you know;b ut eventually
law ,sh.e was told, unwritten laws de- terod eoe azwl rv
pedfamouist Russianiiu artist. prt Rorich h a
famousRussia arti- Reric as he es, rawretthat mak itasking her to let h:m see her but their old, beloved Jazz will provea
typified the religious spirit of his tp'i un h l that i'astateions should nce more before his marriage. Late constant companion, and they will re-
ple. 0f the the nhrohers, lean, amx: lt-e night, he had added. She told turn to him with an increased .enthu-
formal editae, is 'ig a is et isenger in reply to tell the Due siasm. They'll just let Old Man Jazz
father. the cttain, a ith a ,) w5 1 II mat W 'd i er I tromise to the nobleman. chase away those blues, when Frost
sneer in hie lrulai it., r 1.e 5 it 51 f ." i'x ; {t . ii .' :-wr ettisl'il her Ii- and Beethoven hasv- fail ..

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