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November 12, 1921 - Image 3

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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1921

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

3

A Few Platitudes Concerning Fiction
(By l Hardy Hoover) It chooses only a part, and that not Let us inquire into the legitimacy among them would be so stoical, so
Although it is true that the best the best part of man's terrestrial ex- of such exclusion. The fact that clI- negative in his reactions as Miss Lulu
artist is one who makes his own laws, istence, for the great majority of us max has hitherto been an institution Bett? How many mothers would re-
will agree that the best part of our and a sine qua non in drama and act to the news of Lulu's second mar-
is justified in disregarding the es- existence here is precisly that part fiction does not necessarily render it riage as did the mother of Lulu Bett?
sential canons of his chosen medium, which is not concerned with mundane indispensable. Yet this expunction is True, we must read emotion and
This passion for anti-form is due in affairs. not only a gross technical mistake but psychology between the lines of this
large measure to that phase in the Talso an unsound and unsupported in- book if we are to receive anything
orld of letters called naturalism. It hose who object will hurl back terpretation of human nature. It is at all, yet there is no doubt but what
is surprising to see ho senthusiastic- such names as Hauptmann, Hardy, poor technically because it Intrigues this method, although it has assured
is surprising to see how enthusiastic- Schnitzler, Dostoevsky, and others. readers and audiences only to disap- an ephemeral popularity, detracts
our younger writers have embraced The writer however does not maintain point them. seriously from the possible artistic
this method of expression. We see that naturalism is not art-but he Perhaps there is no more monoton- merits of the book.
many of them carried far out to sea does say that it is not the best art. ous level in contemporaneous Ameri- Te
by the excess of their own ardor. The second charge is that of con- fiction than that attained by the best- To continue, the expurgation of the
sciously and deliberately avoiding the seller of Miss Zona Gale. The book climax is unjustified from a human
is it not just to say that the n climax. has many staunch zealots yet who (Continued on page 5)
turallistic fictionist deprives himlself
and us of many of the higher artistic
values? And this, of course, he does
consciously. What justification is there
for viewing man's life solely and whol-
ly as a series of phenomena This
phase in literature is but a corollary
of the modern over-emphasized scien-
tific attitude.
There is a higher art than the mere
photographic observation of human ac-
tions. Although it is true that man
is a creature of environment it is just
as true that in his nobler moments
he transcends his environment. This
This he does by imagination, by ideal-
ism, by reflecting upon what he n
should be rather than what he is. DOESN'T the music of these mod-
Still, the practical protagonist of
naturalism will reply, how can one ern popular orchestras thrill you
express the spectacle of man trans-
cending his environment in objective and mare you hanker to get
terns? The process is difficult,u' hold of some instrument and
i is one which reveals the true
artist, as in "Hamlet", "Cyrano de
Bergerac", "Polyeucte", the "Book of
Job" "Faust", as in the biographies
of all dynamic men, all apostles, all
constructive geniuses. n A z T/ i -%T T/"\ L Y1 W HY not try a saxophone?

Progress is not effected by submit-
ting to environment and regarding
mankind as a natural phenomena but
by exercising imagination backed up
by intelligent human volition. Had
our ancestors held views analogous to
naturalism we would today be charac-
terized by astounding helplessness as
regards our struggle with nature as
well as by a much greater degree of
mental sterility than we possess at
present. The view of man solely as
the creature of environment seems to
be putting the cart before the horse.
Aside from external geographical
considerations man makes his own
environment. If he did not we would
still be living in caves and quaking
at the sound of thunder. If he hat
thought thus we would have had no
great art. If art, and thus of course
fiction, be considered as the spiritual
rebellion against environment, we can
readily perceive the limitations of
naturalism.
Considering these limitations, it is
apparent that this phase in drama and
fiction has two serious accusations to
face. The first of these is that of in-
directly opposing, that is, by exclu-
sion, imaginativeness, and idealism.
Although it were perhaps too severe a
figure to describe the relationship be-
tween these two elements as analog-
ously that between the camera and
th painting, it is still palpably defens-
ible to maintain that naturalism shuns
the treatment of many of those higher
qualities which distinguish man from
the beast. It savours of the animal-
ism of Zola and other French realists.

>AXUIPHUN When you get to fooling with
one of these instruments you'll
K IND not stop until you can make it
talk. And it's some talk, too, -
this saxophone kind!
CULTIVATE that musical bump.
Play a saxophone. There's a
world of pleasure -- and profit
too -in playing a saxophone.
COME in today and let us show
you our complete line of Conn
Saxophones - the best instru-
ments made.
. . os i

A

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