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THE POINT OF VIEW
N one aspect, at least, that of the re- in newspaper parlance, without discrimina. porter's method of treatment, the journal- tion to whatever may be printed at length,
istic form of novel is sufficiently familiar. be it serious, sensational, or humorous, an Many a modern story of “local color”has been affair of state, a catastrophe, or a street inwritten in the manner of the correspondent cident. Reciprocally, such is the automatic "on a foreign assignment.” The out-of- working of habit, even the reader who takes the-way place is visited, and a study made his newspaper seriously may often find himwith painstaking accuracy for the setting of self passing over a matter of moment for the tale. Or perhaps some provincial author the “story” of some triviality amusingly sets himself down to describe the home from sketched. This encroachment of the news. which he has seldom strayed and its people as paper on the province of ordinary story-tellhe has always known them, minutely depict- ing, vitiating the popular taste and to some ing peculiarities, and producing often an ad- extent that of the more thoughtful, has also mirable bit of genre work. Or once more, had its part in delimiting the sphere of fiction the story-teller may belong to the school of
It has led to emphasis on the differrealism, which seeks to apply the ence between the clever photography of jourThe Newspaper scientific method to “noveling,” as and Fiction
nalism and that suggestiveness of impressionHowells calls it. In such a case, as ism which distinguishes the picture from the Professor Cross says in his little treatise on photograph; all the more if the subject be an “The Development of the English Novel,” episode, as in some short stories of the great “the story or groundwork of the novel must masters. The natural trend toward this latter never be invented out of one's head; it must has been undoubtedly strengthened by the rebe taken from direct observation, the news
volt from the Philistinism of a newspaper age; paper, or some well-authenticated report.” and appears in various breaks from the old For example, “it may be supposed that Zola conventions; for example, in the matter of the reads of a young woman who, when about to traditional “happy ending,” and the enleap into the Seine, is rescued by the police. deavor to reproduce, sometimes dramatically, He has an interview with her, finds out all he sometimes incidentally, the incompleteness of can about her, the surroundings under which life. Then, too, the newspaper usually deshe has grown up, and the character and occu- picts life as it is embodied in a constantly shiftpation of her parents. He studies similar ing series of individuals, selected haphazard; cases, let us say ten or twelve; then he makes a fact which has something to do with sendhis generalizations." The process is identi- ing the contemporary novelist to seek for cal, only carried infinitely further, with that study of life in the large, as it is embodied in of the reporter "assigned” to describe such groups or classes—if possible, some group or an incident for his paper.
class, the individual habits of whose members But quite beyond any surface likeness have not been made too familiar through the there is a subtle interplay of relation between all-gathering gossip of the press.
This was journalism and fiction of which little account unconsciously illustrated the other day by a is currently taken. The story quality of much chance remark of Mr. Howells that some that passes for news modifies the reading novel of the future should tell the story of the habits of a constituency including almost all loneliest class in New York—the rich people the reading public. This is a quality pecul- who drift from early provincial homes into iarly American. The American newspaper, New York. There they go through the moas an acute French observer has said, “is a tions of doing what the rich and fashionable huge collection short stories.” The apt- do around them, keep establishments, dine at ness of the description finds justification in expensive restaurants, and attend the opera, the accepted slang term of “story," applied, but live in reality detached lives so far as
social relationships are concerned. Even fection, we may not unprofitably consider the reporter does not unbidden invade their what this jewel of deportment cost. lonely privacy.
Louis XIV's bow has not inaptly been There is still another and more serious called the blossom of feudalism. Verily it side on which journalism touches current took centuries of feudalism, with all its fiction and shares its spirit. That spirit has slowly waning good and rapidly waxing evil, been called by Prof. Charlton M. Lewis “the to produce it. Without the previous history vaudeville spirit,” the spirit in which disil- of France and of Europe, from Charlemagne lusionment "takes refuge in the easy care- down to Louis himself, exactly as it was, that lessness of sceptical humor,” thus “losing, bow would have been impossible.
Tout se or half unconsciously letting go, the habit of tient in this world, and nothing can come of seriousness.” The significance of this is nothing. Moreover, the bow would have brought home in the saying of Mr. Corey in been equally impossible in any other state of “Silas Lapham”: “All civilization comes society than that in France in Louis's day. through literature now, especially in our So great an actor implies an intelligently apcountry. A Greek got his civilization by preciative audience; he was not the man to talking and looking, and in some measure a waste his sweetness on the desert air and cast Parisian may still do it. But we, who live pearls before swine. What would all those remote from history and monuments, we subtile indications of rank and court standmust read, or we must barbarize.”
ing have profited him with a court unable to apprehend them? The feudalism that
produced the actor had to produce the audiE have been told all our lives that ence, too; the one is inconceivable without
the “grand manner" is fast disap- the other. And when we consider that it
pearing from the face of the earth, had taken centuries of feudalism to produce and have tried to console ourselves by re- all this; that when it had once been produced flecting that this ill news must have been in all its imposing perfection it was actually heard quite as often by our great-grandpar- all of virtue that was left in feudalism itself ents. But what of consolation this act of and in the French monarchy; that all the soretrospection affords is more for not living in cial and political forces that had contributed the consulship of Plancus than for anything to produce it had exhausted themselves in else; for the disappearance of the “grand the effort, and, as in the century-plant, the manner” itself it can hardly console us. Yet, blossom had killed the tree, we may be parsupposing the bad news to be true, which it doned for asking: Was it, after all, worth really seems to be, may there not be com- the price? pensations? It is worth thinking of.
We may even ask, by the way, price apart, I suppose the supreme exemplar of the what was the intrinsic worth of the thing it“grand manner" known to history was Louis self? Let us consider for a moment to what XIV; at least, he is the most intimately asso- use this “supreme blossom of feudalism” ciated with it in the minds of most of us. The was primarily put. In plain English, to letstories that have come down to us of his bow ting everybody know his or her place. And are overwhelming to our self-conceit when looked at in this light, was Louis le Grand's we mentally compare that magnificent act of bow the act of what we should nowadays call courtliness with anything of the sort of which a gentleman? Hardly; in the last analysis we ourselves are capable. And that bow may it was the act of a bully and a snob, it emsafely be taken as a culminating point, not bodied sheer domineering insolence-grace
only of his regal bearing in particu- fully cured of its deformity, no doubt, as far The Grand Manner
lar, but of the “grand manner”in as lay within human power to cure it, but
general. By it the Grand Monarque sheer domineering insolence, for all that. could indicate to a nicety both the exact “L'État, c'est moi !" had twice the bluster, rank and the exact standing in court favor of but not half the ingrained depravity of that every recipient of his greeting; and this, too, impeccably discriminating bow. A jewel of with perfect apparent naturalness, without deportment, perhaps, but rather a poor bauthe least show of effort. Truly an accom- ble to be paid for with centuries of tyranny, plishment unique in the annals of bowing! oppression, cheating, and misery. And inStill, while admitting its unapproached per- trinsically valuable or not to Louis, it was surely of no value whatever to those who paid ness. It is only in the Bedouin of the desfor it. A pure case of sic vos non vobis! ert, who is more than half savage, that you
I think, too, that to leave this supreme ex- find any show of contemptuous haughtiness, ample, it will be found that wherever and of feeling his oats as one of the faithful. The whenever the “grand manner" has become town-bred Arab is not only majestic, but exgenerally noticeable in the great of this earth quisitely and unforcedly courteous to boot. —for the rank and file of humanity have sel- His gracious, beautifully simple civility to us dom had much of it—the social structure has foreigners seems to me the finest practical apbeen considerably rotten at its base. The plication of the noblesse oblige principle I know necessary conditions for the development of of; for, considering his real utter contempt the “grand manner are such that the one for us uncircumcised giaours, one would excan hardly go without the other. I have said pect him to be about as courteous to us as that without the French court and the whole an antebellum Southern planter to a "nigstructure of French society as they were in ger." Yet his civility betrays no effort, neiLouis's day he himself would have been noth- ther is there a visible trace of condescension ing. I maintain that wherever you find the in it. In short, the Tunisian and Algerian “grand manner" to be the rule, not the ex- Arab is the finest and most complete incarception, in what are called the upper strata nation I know of to-day of the “grand manof society, you will find a corresponding rot- ner" in its best estate—in a phase far higher tenness in the lower.
than was ever dreamt of in Louis XIV's Here is another significant example. Prob- philosophy. ably some of the finest and most striking ex- And of what is the Arab's “grand manner" emplars of the “grand manner" to-day are the blossom? Unquestionably of El Islam. to be found among the Arabs. Egypt and And in what coin is it paid for, where is the Arabia itself I do not know; but I think any. “corresponding rottenness"? It is paid for one who has looked through Tunisia and Al- in the rather poor theoretical creed and the geria with an observing eye will agree with infinitely poorer and meaner actual life of me. I certainly have never seen human be- the Mussulman; the rottenness is in the ings more completely sublime in look, car- civilization that has resulted from both, a riage, and general bearing than Arabs of the civilization so poor, so terribly limited in inbetter class in the last-named two countries. tellectual and ethical horizon, that to us No doubt, their wondrous flowing drapery Occidentals it seems more like barbarism. contributes to the impression they produce; Truly the price the Arab pays for his “grand but it does not take very keen observation to manner" is no light one; though it must see that their majesiy is really singularly in- be conceded to him that he pays the better dependent of outside accessories. It can hold part of it himself. In this he is surely suits own amid what would be to others exceed- perior to Louis XIV, who personally paid ingly damaging conditions. When you see a nothing. superb six-footer, in by no means particularly When we think what this so bitterly refine raiment, seated carelessly crosswise on the gretted “grand manner " has cost the world hind quarters of a very small and scrubby from first to last-in tyranny, class inequality, ambling donkey, and looking positively like oppression, stunted growth, infamy, wretchSolomon in all his glory, you begin to feel edness, and blood—we may well be consoled how much this impressive majesty is inherent for its “fast disappearing from the face of the in the man himself. Simplicity is doubtless earth.” Beautiful blossom, so fair, so statean important factor; the Arab is perfectly sim- ly, so gracious, but reared and brought to ple, and exhibits no trace of self-conscious- perfection by what awful gardening!
ARTISTSWITH THEORIES, CONVICTIONS, “It was matter for caution even in the days AND PRINCIPLES
when the sober high purposes of Continental R. HOLMAN HUNT'S extraordi. masters insured the cultivation of correctness nary autobiography gives the first and respect for questions of common sense;
official, and from one point of view, but now that these qualities are ridiculed and trustworthy* account of the Pre-Raphaelite put aside, there is greater reason for regardmovement—that of 1847-48. The book is ing foreign training as most pernicious and intended to give such an account; for its title altogether to be shunned by students of the is “Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphael- race to which Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milite Brotherhood." There is no attempt made ton, and the great fathers of our own art here to criticise that book in any way; but its belonged." strongly personal character will be clear to We have, then, to begin with, this point every person who reads this or any other se established: the ambition of at least this one ries of thoughts drawn from its pages. The Pre-Raphaelite (and he speaks for his assopreface and the text of the volumes read as if ciates as well) was to shut up England and the writer had addressed only a little group English art within its own bounds; and he of persons who would understand him at a was still of that mind when he was putting word, and would believe him without the ne- this book into final shape. He believed in cessity of proof or even demonstration; and being as English as possible; and as in 1847 who take his point of view in everything. he disbelieved in the then contemporary art
of the Continent, so when he wrote his prefI
ace (very recently, for his book is dated
1905) he was of the same mind, confirming SOME words of the preface are worth quot- and restating his views of sixty years before, ing, because they immediately introduce the and applying them to the art of the Contisubject of this paper, and tell us in the brief- nent as we have known it from 1870 to 1905. est and most positive way what is to be noted Now, when we think of what was in 1847 the in the first place in any record of Pre-Raph- contemporary art of the Continent, and that aelite theories and Pre-Raphaelite aims. he was looking at it from the island kingdom There has been, in that preface, allusion to without unusually strong perspective glasses the great and long-continued labor required of foresight and insight, we can see that he to make a thorough painter, and Burne-Jones was partly in the right. Let us suppose that has been quoted as having said that “at least we are in England in 1847—“the Continent" three hundred years” are needed to attain ma- must have seemed asleep; or that we are in turity in art. Then follow these sentences: 1848, and all is revolution, violence, politi
“The Greeks, the Romans, and the Ital- cal and social unrest; or that we are in 1849, ians eked out their short span of personal the French Revolution of the previous year observation and experience by handing on having resulted in a tentative republic, and their acquired wisdom to their pupils, and so the feeble revolts in other states all crushed. extended individual life, and thus more surely We have to look at, in our English cities, reached the goal of their ambition. I hope now and then a picture by Horace Vernet, or to convince my readers that every student of one by Rosa Bonheur, or perhaps by Paul art in the past was loyal to his own nationai. Delaroche. Pictures by Ingres, by Couture, ity, and that in these days men of British by Delacroix are hardly known. Ary Schefblood, whether of insular birth or of the homes fer, indeed, exhibits in London; but his pictbeyond the seas, should not subject them- ures would hardiy take captive the imaginaselves to the influence of masters alien to the tion, or bid Englishmen follow him. There sentiments and principles of the great Eng- is no daily practice of photography ready lish poets and thinkers.
to furnish monochromatic reproductions of * I do not ignore Mr. Harry Quilter's sketch in “ Pref. paintings, no annual volumes of Le Salon, artists who have grown up despising the Con- thought and Continental pictures is at all petinental art. Let us try to imagine how it culiar to half a century ago. It is not so very would be, even to-day, if we were to take as long since the Spectator quoted from a Paris the successor Horace Vernet either Edou- journal, which had sent its correspondent to ard Detaille or Alphonse de Neuville; if we the annual exhibition of the Royal Academy; should take as the successor of Paul Dela- the correspondent had looked with amazeroche, perhaps, J. P. Laurens; if we take, to ment at the placid English pictures with their stand for Scheffer, the famous Bouguereau. absence of historical verity when disagreeThose suggestions are not unfair, for though able, and their absence of modern allusion the military painters named are certainly far when either cynical or sad. And his comment superior to Horace Vernet in artistic impor- was to the effect, that the English pictures tance, they are not the more adequately the represented only La Reine—Le Lor Mairerepresentatives of a contemporary art. As Le Sunday-school-Monsieur, Madame et for Laurens—if he is not the equal of Dela- Bébé. The Spectator quoted those words and roche in moral purpose, he is his superior then made its own remark upon them, that in knowledge and in the variety of subjects “somehow or other they seemed to us like drawn from the archives of the past. Whom praise." Well, to say that that comment to name as the equivalent of Rosa Bonheur it sounded like praise was to accept-was it not? is not easy and not important to decide. The —the suggestion that these and others like point is that the Continental painters shown them were the proper subjects for modern art. to the English would be of the technically Tranquil English royalty living at Windsor efficient but hardly spirit-stirring class, and and walking on “the slopes,” perfunctory that those uninspired painters would not English officials embodied in the highly decocommend themselves to young Englishmen rative and traditional lord mayor, innocent of the purist school, of the nationalist school, English people, described by the French of the exclusive spirit which would set severe phrase then newly launched by Gustav Droz; limitations to art. Or, suppose that one of those were the fitting subjects of art, rather Gérôme's pictures of 1848 came to London than what Hunt found in Paris and described in the following year; what would young in these terms (vol. i, p. 186): “Nothing Englishmen of very earnest purpose think of to make intelligible the axiom that “art is “Innocence,” or of “ Jeunes Grecs excitant love. The startling antithesis proclaimed des Coqs à combattre"? What a hateful pict- that art is hatred, war, murder, lust, pride, ure, in subject and in technic, would it have and egoism.” That very “axiom,” “Art is been to them!
nor Mr. Bate's rather careful study in “The full of photogravures; there are only rare and English Pre-Raphaelite Painters," nor the several papers of Mr. W. M. Rossetti.
very brief runs to Paris for the poor young
love" seems to involve denial of the possible There was, indeed, the tremendous power assertion that art is life; but it is closely reand tragedy of Géricault, who had died twentylated to the primal assumption that art is years before—but then Géricault dealt with local patriotism. painful subjects, which to this day the English
II critic holds up to the horror of the English reader. Couture's “Les Romains de la THERE was another influence which told décadence" is passed upon by Hunt, who as strongly for the Pre-Raphaelite line of saw it in Paris in 1849-50, as the work of a thought as did that shrinking of the untravman "without the breath of life in his nos- elled middle-class Englishman from foreign trils." We have also Hunt's recollections ways and foreign views. It was the worship of Ingres and Delacroix, as counting little of fifteenth-century Italy as seen in its art with him, though his companion, Rossetti, and as inferred from its art. Fifteenth-cenwas pleased with Delacroix. And behind tury Italy was to these enthusiastic students these men-very new men in 1847—who was of early, even of archaic methods of painting, there? There was Baron Gros; there was a kind of half-made paradise. Ruskin had David, with the dull classicality shown in his printed, or was about to print (it is indiffer. more grandiose pictures, and a horror equal ent) those phrases of his about the mediæto that of Géricault's choice in his more per- val life of Pisa, in which the ladies and the sonal conceptions—the death of Marat, for knights are glorified, are treated as living an instance.
ideal human life, are held up with reproachLet us not once suppose that this Eng- ful comparisons to the inhabitants of the ugly lish shrinking from Continental subjects of nineteenth-century cities. And there are