THE MICHIGAN DAILY
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1921
Books And Authors
FRANK HARRIS he has since written Harris, calling
(By R. D. S.) attention to some of the latter's de-
ficiencies. 1efore reading Main
There was a time when Frank Mar- Street, Harris said, 'I know Sinclair
ris would have been the last man to Lewis and know that he will never
admit his literary failure. Even now, do anything great."
when he has finally "thrown up the His other fault is a petty egotism.
sponge," he blames the Philistinism Ile has never realized that to be a
of America rather than himself for his persistent egotist one must have suf-
ficient genius to carry it off, or else
lack of success. Be that as is may, expect unpopularity. Harris lacked
his small circle of admirers has been the genius and complained at unpopu-
dwindling steadily for the past few larity.
years, and the reason was rather to Principally for these two reasons
be found, for the most part, in Har- Harris had been a consistent failure
ris's constant dtuperation, in his re- in this country. After his exile
brought an end to his varied ventures
peated declarations of his own genius, in England, he came to the United
and in his outcries against the in- States, where he has been struggling
justice of being neglected. ever since to locate a public. Al-
There is no gainsaying that Frank though he found publishers for some
of his earlier works, he soon found
Harris is, in many ways a very bril- the doors of the publishing houses
liant man. He was at one time a suc- closed to hint, and he was forced to
cessful London editor. He has been resort to printing his own books.
in close contact with Wilde, Dowson, Pearson's Magazine, over half of
Beardsley, and in fact nearly all those which is written by the editor and
surprisingly talented literati who signed in conspicuously large print,
flourished in London during the has led a most precarious struggle for
nineties. He has written some ex- existence.
cellent short stories, two penetrating But Harris has, at lensgth, given up.
and pronouncing books on Shakes- Ie has gloried in the occasional
peare; and his Life and Confessions words of praise that have come from
of Oscar Wilde is a masterpiece of his friends and admirers, and he has
writing-if not of biography.
struggled bravely and fearlessly
But two outstanding faults have against contempt, derision, and negli-
constantly hampered Harris. In all 'gence. But he is now close on his
his critical work he has considered dotage and he realizes that it has been
personalities rather than merit. It a losing fight. It is rather pathetic
has perhaps been unfortunate that lie to see him relinquishing his hold on
has known personally so many writ- the long cherished-Pearson's and
ers. At any rate it has biased his es- once more returning to Europe. But
timate in nearly every case. Fre- it is for the best. He has written three
quently he has been grossly unfair. books that will live. He should be
He found Herbert Spencer cranky amply satisfied to leave these alone
and unreasonable in conversation; to bear his name to posterity, for
therefore, his philosphy was worth- his creative days are over and the ill-
less. Theodore Dreiser, although he humored critiques lie has ben writing
receives a generous allotment of space for the past few years can do no more
in Contemporary Portraits, is the than lower his already none-toose-
worst of present-day writers because Icure reputation.
(By G.D. E.)
At last the Forsyte family is ex-
tinct. It took Galsworthy three books
to do it in, but the deed is accom-,
plished. I thought for a while that}
he might have to resort to hydrocy-
anic acid or perhaps a dirk or two,
but no, the final Forsyte dies obscene-
ly enough with heart trouble.
The clan was first brought to the
public notice in "Man of Property"'
--or was it "In Chancery?" Now, in
"To Let" (Scribners) the whole busi-
ness is over with. But really, I want
a written guarantee that some For-
syte will not bob up again before I
stake my honor that they are all safe-
Why three books? One reads about
one generation. Then comes another
generation and another book. And
when the reader thinks the family is
disposed of and the book is sweetly
forgotten, along comes another gener-
ation and still another book.
What has. he offered in this case?
Indeed a great and Godly moral. Eng-
land is going to the dogs! The best
families are succumbing to jazz, fu-
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