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April 05, 1925 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1925-04-05

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%U r)AT, APRT T, , 1 ?t5

+* +A+L
a *

Books and Writers

+ + +*

In Quest of the

School of Journalism, believes that
specialization is the chief characteris-
tic of the new journalism. Editor and
Golden Fleece jPublisher quotes him as saying that
the tendency now is for men "to sink
their roots down into some one sub-
ject in which they can become an
He wants to speak and write with authority. Authoritativeness is what

By Ward Allan Howel
No census has ever been taken ofs
that vast and ever growing companya
of eager spirits who feel an unquench-
able urge to create, to write, to pro-
duce perchance the long-looked-for
great American novel or play. But
from the bungalow courts of Califor-
nia to the hall bedrooms of New York
it is certain that their number is,
legion, their quest a common one-
the Golden Fleece of Successful
To some of them an Editor is a
malignant person utterly devoid of
literary discrimination or taste; to
others more fortunate in avoiding the
receipt of those slips which are al-
ways so careful to state that rejec-
tiondoes not necessarily imply a lack
of merit, he is apt to appear as a good
fairy, a keen intelligent man who
holds the key to the treasury.
What is the royal road to his favor?
Where should the Golden Fleece be
sought? In the college class room?
F. O. B. Scranton? Or in the School
of Hard Knocks? The writer of this
article askeddseveral prominent
authors and. editors their ideas on
suitable preparation. Their replies
Hamlin Garland: "A college edu-
cation is not essential to a writer but
a knowledge of history, literature,
psychology and aesthetics is and must
be acouired somehow by any writer
who expects to be anything more than
a hick reporter for the daily press.
A college education is a good start."
Heywood Broun: "It is a bromide
but a true one that an excellent pre-
liminary to the career of a writer is
newspaper work-if the writer doesn't
,tay in it more than five or six years.
College, I should say, is not essetial,
w ut it'smost useful courses which do
seem to me very useful are probably
History and English. I know this
hardly breaks the ice but as a matter
of fact, to go any further in would be
beyond me!"
Karl E. Harriman, Editor, Red
Book Magazine: "It seems to me
that any sort of education; the more
comprehensive the better, or any
course of reading, must inevitably be
b~eneficial to one who contemplates a
literary career. There Is nothing one
can learn, no impressions he can re
ceive, no information he can secure,
which will not benefit him as a
Zona Gale: "I should say that edu-
cation for one who wishes to write is
the same background of education
which everyone should have before he
begins to specialize-that which will
draw out from him the highest pos-
sible response to life, to its 'wonders
of human "relationship, human re-
search and the whole history of human
aspiration. This may or may not
mean a collerge education. Like every
other study of value this is a case
study and depends largely on the In-
dividual. Then as to his preparation
for his specialty, which should be only
a branch of his general preparation,
I should say that those are of greatest
value which give him the greatest
sense of contact with living human
being and their problems. Ethics,
philosophy, sociology are just as im-
portant to him as English-are even
more important than English. He
does not need to be told to study the
great writers any more than he needs
to be told to stay in the open-he will
do both because he cannot help him-
self. This sounds didactic-in every
case I mean of course 'I think'!"
It seems to be the general consen-
sus of professional opinion 'therefore
that a quite thorough course of study is
highly desirable. But probably most
college rhetoric instructors will agree
with the Boston Herald that the col-
lege student no longer has the
patience to tread the paths his fathers
trod. He is in quest of the royal road.

dash and brilliancy on a vocabulary of
a few hundred words. And so with
many of the brethern outside the
college halls.
Hence we have one reason for they
rapid spread of the Teach-You-How-
To-Write-By-Mail-Schools. For some
thing like ten dollars down and two
dollars and seventy-five cents per
month for eight months thereafter
these concerns endeavor to provide the
magic wand which will push forth
the budding genius to its full fruit.
All too frequently however the flower-
ing process suffers a frost. Mr.
Mencken is of the opinion that such
methods may produce favorite contri-
butors to Silly Stories or True Orgies
but that no aspirant of genuine talentj
is ever helped-rather many a one is
greatly damaged.I
Robert Louis Stevenson always{
maintained that imitation was the onlyI
way to learn to write. Imitate authors4


holds down a job." In other words if
for example one aspires to be a
foreign correspondent, then study,
and study hard while in college, such
subjects as international politics,
economics and history. With the back-
ground and with the facts at hand,
the writing of them is quite apt to be
the least of the problem.
Before concluding this article it
might not be amiss to refer to those
two besetting sins of modern writing
so illuminatingly described by Sir
Arthur Quiller-Couch in his discourse,
"On The Art Of Writing," as "Jour-
nalese" and "Jargon." One who is
addicted to Journalese is according
I to Sir Arthur "like the Babu trying
all the while to embellish our poor
language, to make it more floriferious,
more poetical-like the Babu for
example, who, reporting his mother's
death, wrote, 'Regret to inform you,
the hand that rocked the cradle has

Dial Press) Bernhardt describes a One of the most important autobio- book will be based on this address
farewell performance in New York: graphies announced for the year will which will, however, be considerably
"I was twenty-five minutes getting to be Hilaire Belloc's "The Cruise of the enlarged.
This and That the stage-door. Hundreds of people Nona," for publication by Houghton * * *
shook my hand, begging me to return. Mifflin Company in May. "The Nona A new novel by Iai Hay Beith,
One lady removed her broach and is the name of my boat in which I "Paid in Fuull" will be published next
- __--- fastened it to my mantle. At each have done a great deal of sailing dur- month by Houghton Mifflin Company.
"The Spanish Farm" by R. H. step I took I was detained. One lady ing the last twenty years," he writes. Major Beith is now on the continent
had the idea of producing her pocket- "The book will consist mainly in following the successful appearance
book and asking me to write my name. reminiscences, judgments, stories, and of the dramatized version of "Paid in
thornden Prize for 1924, is in its third The idea spread like lightning. Very all the rest which comes into a man's Full," "The Happy Ending" now play-
printing in America, and its fourth in 4 young people made me write my name mind when he is thinking upon the ing in London.
England. In awarding the prize, the on their cuffs. I was completely ex- past and upon his own acquired .* * *
well known novelist A. E. W. Mason, hausted. My arms were loaded with knowledge." "The Amazing Guest" by Gilbert
said he had read a lot of books which small bouquets. I felt some one be- _*Watson which Houghton Mifflin Gom-
were merely "analysis upon analysis hind me pulling my hat. I turned published last fall has recently
and nothing more." A lot of peopleAt around quickly. A lady with a air AH ttle book of national firiportance, panyaublishelandalharectly
were content with thrusting the analy-' of scissors in aher hand was trying to Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biographical ared in England Ceitay
sis at the reader's head and saying, cut a lock of my hair, but she only Sketch" by William Lawrence, Bishopb-
"It's a book." "But, it is not a book" succeeded in cutting my feather. of Massachusetts will be published
he declared-"It is merely a certain Detectives had to liberate me." by Houghton Mifflin Company in A second edition of "Observations"
nuumber of grammatical phrases April. Bishop Lawrence has been by Marianne Moore, which received
printed upon a certain number of * * * selected to deliver the address before'the Dial Prize award in 1924, will be
pages of more or less paper. I of Rafael Sabatini whose first novel of the Massachuetts State Legislature in issued early in April by Lincoln
haers o ore orespae. tI man America, "The Carolinian" was pub- Commemoration of Senator Lodge. The MacVeagh: The Dial Press.
characters to be representedl to me in ihd nFerayb Hogtn
. . lished in February by Houghton---
their proper environment and acting Mifflin Company is considering writ-
true to type. The truth is, that a ing a novel about John Smith. Saba-
book lives because it is a joy to read, tini recently went to Birmingham,
c 'England, to attend the first perform-
. * * * ance of his play, "The Tyrant" which!
In her last book "The Art of the will open later in London. "Author- Bo bs / ( ater
Theatre" (Lincoln MacVeagh: The ship," he writes, "has its burdens.

with various styles and eventually he kicked the bucket'." Jargon on the
believed you would evolve from the other hand is marked by no such
melting pot so to speak, your own gusto or zeal but "like respectability
personal and individual style. "Be- in Chicago, Jargon stalks unchecked
fore he can tell what cadences he in our midst." Circumlocution and the
truly prefers the student should have use of abstract nouns rather than
tried all that are possible; bdfore he concrete ones are its vices. The writ-
can choose and preserve a fitting key ing of "the coffin of John Jenkins,
of words, he should long have prac-I deceased" rather than merely "John
ticed the literary scales." a- Jenkin's coffin" and "the answer to the
Benjamin Franklin's plan of study- question is in' the negative" instead
ing the Spectator essays closely was 1cf a plain "no" are horrible examples
somewhat similar but the, distinction of jargon that are cited.
lies in that Franklin strove to be emu- Such are the pitfalls that await
lative rather than imitative-not like unwary feet. But why continue the
Addison but as well or better was his distressing enumeration? The great
theory. Both theories or a combina- quest for the Golden Fleece goes on
tion of both are useful but their rela- I and will continue to go on apace.
tive merits will depend largely on the Once inoculated with its virus the
individual himself. victim knows no peace. Many start
As regards writing in the purely but few reach the shining heights
journalistic field Dean Walter Wil- I where rests the golden prize.
liams of the University of Missouri, But nevertheless we can all try!
'!It1t11 111111tlti11 t11 t11 U1 [Iltitt111111 1 t| litlllllill lII Ulll tlllll tt11t61tllll i
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Iillllll flilllll ll ll illill tlltll ll tlllltllllltl l l lllllll1 t1111Ii11110111li ll ti _ n

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