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November 27, 1921 - Image 5

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Censors and. Romanticists'
(By G. D. E.) above the other; certainly this virtu- I - We have bettered a little since Gau- humanity; for it is deplorable that
The psychology underlying the cen- ous sniveller is not unlettered, for all tier's time but not much. In Amer- young writers should sacrifice the
soring of books, the condemnation, of- the whinm-wham that he turns loose. ica art is still teetering on a question most holy things to success, and em-
I But one class or another, I am in- mark, on moral issues. I should not ploy an otherwise estimable talent in
f cil or otherweise, of books by Drei- 'b upie owk
terested in these moral archons. I e surprised to wake up any Sueday lewd pictures which would make a
ser, Cabell, and company, the raising am at present conducting a personal morning (about eleven-thirty) and captain of the dragoons blush. The
of Brobdignagian bugaboos over the study of four or five of them. The find that every statue of a horse had novel we are reviewing recalls 'Ther-
future of young America, the hooting doings of some of them are little short bee covered with canvas, calico,' or ese Philosophe,' 'Felicia,' 'Compere
and howling from press, platform and of staggering. I find that their char- gingham, the whole country over -- Mathieu,' and the 'Contes de Gre-
pulpit against the modern movement acters and'actions would well fit into on the grounds of respectability. court.'"
in this country - as I started to say a novel by Dreiser whom they so lust- After every sermon, every evangel- Then Gautier completely disposes of
before this sentence became too long ily condemn. I think I shall send istic meeting, every article in the At- the literary porkers with a question-
to predicate - all this interests me. some of the data to Havelock Ellis. lantic Monthly by Stuart P. Sherman, ing, "The virtuous journalist has im-
What lies at the bottom of it? I One of the best summings up of the I get ready to grab my bottle and race mense erudition in the matter of
cannot exactly'tell. I find that the situation is in Gautier's preface to his for Europe. But I am beginning to filthy novels. It would be curious to
clamorers are roughly divided into "Mademoiselle de Maupin", which I get weepful, and I started out with know why."
two classes; those who read all these find in a beautiful edition published something like psychology. My indig- And this questioning, this "why?"
books an condemn them, and those by Alfred A. Knopf. (I hope that it nation, my sobby epicedia will yet be answers itself. The answer will prob-
who read, perhaps, half of a certain won't be too much of a shock to some the ruination of me. ably be the root of the psychology
writer's book, blush, put it aside, and that I recognize books printed before What Gautier has to say concerning which I am interested in. It will
yell. Obviously this latter sort is not 1900 as meritorious.) The translation the literate bearers of the flaming probably end all of my secret and ne-
fit to give a decision. He starts with of the Maupin volume is Burton Ras- sword of righteousness is very point- farious investigations into the lives
a violent prejudice, or he would not coe's. ed. The following passage I refer- of the saints, present and past. In
consign the book to the second-hand Says Gautier about the self ap-' red to earlier in this article. It is a fact, the inquiries which I have con-
counter after reading so little of it. pointed guardians of public morals, bit of satire, a stereotyped recipe pre- eluded leave no doubt in my mind
Is this person afraid of his own "Such people know nothing of the ro- pared by Gautier for the sanctimoni- about it.
morals? Here, unless I am mistaken, mance of Rodrigo save the verse about ous cavilers of the modern spirit in I have used the words of Theophile
is a flicleer of the truth. Certainly, the snake. If there is any nakedness literature. Gautier. I have read "Mademoiselle
if he were sure of his immortal soul, in a picture or a book, they go straight "If you wish to read this book, shut de Maupin," not only once but sev-
he would never succumb to the sinful to it, like swine to the mire,, without yourself up carefully at home; do not eral times. To those who have charg-
temptations raised by mere print and troubling themselves about the full- let it lie about on the table. If your ed me as being forever resistant to
paper. This person is, at botton', a blown flowers, or the beautiful gold- wife or your daughter were to open romanticism, I can say that this book
fraud; disgusting, churlish, asinine, en fruit which hangs in every direc- it, she would be lost. It is a danger- is a beautiful and finished work of
Besides being, in my opinion, uncul- tion" ' ous book, and it counsels vice. It art. I know of no other volume more
lured, darned nigh illiterate and with- Precisely! It is to be regretted that, would, perhaps, have had a great suc- absolutely charming. It is, after all,
out a shadow of delicate taste or per- Gautier could not have spent a por- cess in the time of Crebillon, in the romance, a romance of the first wa-
ception, he is doubtless a hypocrite of tion of his time in this country. But petite maisons, at the delicate suppers ter, clear, sparkling, delicious, mir-
the first rank. I daresay that he would have ended of the duchesses; but now that snor- roring a beauty of azure and rose. I
As for the gents who read all these in the madhouse, or catching a part als are purified, that the hand of the am not against romance, at least not
books and condemn, who make com- of our glorious national spirit, would people has overthrown the worm-eat- against such romance as this. What I
parisons stretching back to the De- have gone to manufacturing stoves, en structure of aristocracy, etc., etc., am against is such stuff as that of the
cameron and Benvenuto Cellini, I furniture or bricks, and his conse-' that - that - that- there must be Porters, Gene Stratton and Eleanor,
shall let a quotation of Theophile quent fortune would have become a in every work an idea - a religious such stuff as Curwood's, Zane Grey's,
Gautier dispose of them later in this fit subject for a rhapsody by the, and moral idea - a view, lofty and Winston Churchill's. What I am
article. Certainly I respect this brand American Magazine. profound, answering to the needs of against is slobber!
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