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December 04, 1921 - Image 5

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inition. It is not a science and can- tions into another language form a
not be conveniently tagged. Even art test of true poetry. The French en-
Authorsiand beauty are still without satis- joy a prose version of "The Raven"
ifactory definitions, although rhetori- as much as we enjoy the original.
cians, philosophers, and critics since Mr. Mordell also finds an uncon-
SBERWOOD ANIDERSON RECEIVES the stories of "Winesburg" are linked the time of Aristotle have been trying scious rhythm in emotional climaxes.
THE "DIAL" PRIZE together while Dreiser's stories in to find comprehensive labels for them. This may or may not be true. 0.
"Twelve Men" are apt to be torn from The only result is a contradictory Henry once wrote an interesting story
(By G. D. E.) Ieach other in the course of time, and mass of verbosity. Perhaps George on the subject. This. as some of Mor-
Word has just came to me from B. hence lost, because in the latter vol-I Moore approached the truth as closely dell's psychoanalytical conclusions,
W. Huebsch, the publisher of Sher- une, the stories are separate and dis- as any of them when he succintly may be open to question. Anyone
tinct. stated that "Art is Nature digested." who has read his "The Erotic Motive
d s that this au- It may be asked why Dreiser did not I Alhough he is dissatisfied with most in Literature" will understand that he
thor has been awarded the "Dial" receive the prize instead of Anderson. of the previous attempts to define{ is a thorough Freudian. Fortunately
prize of two thousand dollars. This, The question is fair enough. The poetry, Albert Mordell is not content he devotes but one chapter to Freud's
to my mind, is very encouraging. answer is that Dreiser has not been to let the matter drop. In his "The theories in his present volume. When
In the first place, in a country that active for two or three years. His Literature of Ecstasy" (Boni Liver-. he says that "the poet relieves him-
furnishes no subsidies or grunts to last good book, "Twelve Men," came right) he brings forth still another self of emotions that are bursting
its rtsts, it isdiscgtlyts tout in 1919. Since then he has pub- theory as to the basic element of within him and cures himself of in-
ts artists, it is distinctly encouraging lished only "Hey Rub-a-Dub-Dub!'" poetry. He believes that it is depend- cipient neurosis," he is on compara-
that this sort of thing be done pri- which is by far his worst wor, sev- ent upon neither rhyme nor meter, tively safe ground, but when he talks
vately. It is probably better this way. eral hundred pages of exceedingly nor even rhythm. One thing and one of "wish fulfillments" and the "Oedi-
If the government gave it, it would amateurish Great Thinking. Ander- thing only, he says, determines wheth- pus complex" he enters into rather
son, on the other hand, only last year er a piece of literature is poetry; and dubious speculation.
ponressmy otoh chrea ifes atshipublished "Poor White," a wonder- that is ecstasy. This book propounds an interest-
congressmen, or to such goniffs s fully good novel, and this year, a col- The word "ecstasy" is derived from ing hypothesis. Its case is made con-
Harold Bell Wright; in short, to the lection of stories by him under the the Greek words meaning, "to make vincing by the detailed mass of evi-
most popular author. This is, after title "The Triumph of the Egg" has stand out." Mordell further defines dence corralled by its author, who has
all, the people's country. just been published. I hope to re- ecstasy as "any emotion that grips a made an exhaustive study, not only of
In the second place, it is gra.ifyiig view it next week. man strongly," accenting ecstasy of poetry, but of critical, philosophical,
tha sc nd magane ats gtheial Sherwood Anderson easily leads the a universal appeal. It is, however, and psychological writings on poetry.
active field. Me has only Willa Cather not without an intellectual element. But, after all, Mr. Mordell, like his
above reproach from a literary stand- and Joseph Hergesheimer as rivals. It "represents a form of monomania predecessors, is trying to clamp down
point, free from fossilization, pro- I congratulate Anderson, and I con- connected with certain ideas. It is a poetry within the limits of a single
gressive in its ideals, should do this! gratulate the "Dial." rapturous state in which the person definition. Granting that he is right
thing. It judges material impartial- is governed by preoccupation with a and that ecstasy is the determining
ly for its pages, and I have the ut- definite viewpoint." factor of poetical literature, how is
most faith that it will bestow"its year- The author points out that ecstasy one to determine ultimately the pres-
ly award in equally impartial fashion. WhAT IS A L'OEMI cannot be attained when dealing with ence of this factor? A definition. to
One of the proofs that it will Is that it (By I . commonplace or trite ideas. To achieve hold, must be more or less universal,
picked Sherwood Anderson. Itrue ecstasy the writer must have a ly accepted. Will there be a general
That brings me to the third point, When J. C. Squire spoke here re- "great idea," he must be ahead of his agreement as to exactly what com-
and the most important, namely that cently, he very skillfully dodged giv- time. Ibsen and Nietzsche are two prises ecstasy and what does not?
Anderson received the award. He, has ing a definition of poetry by quoting flaring examples. , While Mordell comes closer to dis-
in every degree, deserved it. His Mr. Chesterton on elephants, "I don't Having stated his thesis at some closing the fundamentals of poetry
book, "Winesburg Ohio" is an Ameri- length, Mr. Mordell goes on to show than any critic I have ever read, I
can classic, one of the few that will know boy to define an elephant, but hit much prose is really poetry. He fear his theory will be a difficult one
live. It rivals "Twelve Men" by Dreis- I know one when I see it." Poetry, rives as examples the prose poetry of to apply. The appreciation of poetry
er, and has the added advantage that like all aesthetic subjects, eludes def- the Bible, the Arabs, and the ancient is more or less a subjective affair, as
E:yptians; and also some of the prose witness the perennial controversy
writings of Goethe, Taine, Heine, Haw- over the writing of Whitman. When
thorne, Poe, Emerson, and many oth- all is said and done perhaps Mr. Chest-
3_ers. In fact, he considers prose a erton's method of identifying ele-
natural medium for expresisng ec- phants is the best rule for deciding
N O W stacy, claiming that meter often dis- hat is a poem.
tracts from emotion. Literal transla- (Continued on Page 6)

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/ 1 I

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