THE WRITING OF THE
DRAKE UNIVERSITY, DES MOINES, IOWA
D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
By D. C. Heath & Co.
It is a pleasure
to be permitted to associate
with this little book
the name of my friend
Professor L. A. Sherman
of the University of Nebraska.
SUGGESTIONS FOR TEACHERS
In the author's classes the three stories in the volume entitled "Three Hundred Dollars" are first studied because of their simplicity, and these are followed by parts of "The Bonnie Brier Bush," and then by the stories from Bret Harte. Mrs. Phelps Ward's "Loveliness" is especially valuable for illustrating methods and devices for making a simple theme dramatically interesting. Students are required to mark stories with the symbols and discuss them with reference to the principles of which this little book is an exposition, but no recitation on the book itself is required. Perhaps one-third of the time in the class-room is spent in discussion of the short themes written by the class, and when convenient these are placed on the board before the class for that purpose. In the theme work following the suggested subjects the effort is made to confine instruction and practice to one thing at a time, but at the conclusion of the work of the term each member of the class is required to hand in a complete original story.
 WRITING OF THE SHORT STORY
1. Elements of the Story.—This little volume is meant to be a discussion of but one of the various forms that literature takes, and it will be first in order to see what are the elements that go to the making of a narrative having literary quality. A story may be true or false, but we shall here be concerned primarily with fiction, and with fiction of no great length. In writing of this sort the first essential is that something shall happen; a story without a succession of incidents of some kind is inconceivable. We may then settle upon incident as a first element. As a mere matter of possibility a story may be written without any interest other than that of incident, but a story dealing with men will not have much interest for thoughtful readers unless it also includes some showing of character. Further, as the lives of all men and women are more or less conditioned by their surroundings and circumstance, any story will require more or less description. Incidents are of but little moment, character showing may have but slight interest, description is purposeless, unless the happenings of the story develop in the characters feelings toward which we assume some attitude of sympathy or opposition. Including this fourth element of the story, we shall then have incident, description, character, mood, as the first elements of the narrative form.
2. A Succession of Incidents Required.—A series of unconnected happenings may be interesting merely from the unexpectedness—or the hurry and movement of the events, but ordinarily a story gains greatly in its appeal to the reader through having its separate incidents developed in some sort of organic unity. The handling of incidents for a definite effect gives what we call plot. A plot should work steadily forward to the end or dénouement, and should yet conceal that end in order that interest may be maintained to the close. Evidently a writer who from the first has in mind the outcome of his story will subordinate the separate incidents to that main purpose and so in that controlling motive give unity to the whole plot. Further, the interest in the plot will be put on a higher plane, if in the transition from incident to incident there is seen, not chance simply, but some relation of cause and effect. When the unfolding of the plot is thus orderly in its development, the reader feels his kindling interest going forward to the outcome with a keener relish because of the quickening of thought, as well as of emotion, in piecing together the details that arouse a glow of satisfaction.
3. The Character Interest.—We can hardly have any vital interest in a story apart from an interest in the characters. It is because things happen to them, because we are glad of their good fortune or apprehensive of evil for them, that the incidents in their succession gain importance in our emotions. We are concerned with things that affect our lives, and secondarily with things that affect the lives of others, since what touches the fortunes of others is but a part of that complex web of destiny and environment in which our own lives are enmeshed. In the story it is not so true as in the drama that, for the going out of our sympathies toward the hero or the heroine, there should be other contrasting characters; but a story gains color and movement from having a variety of individualities. Especially if the story is one of action, definite sympathies are heightened when they are accompanied by emotional antagonisms. In "The Master of Ballantrae," we come to take sides with Henry Durrie almost wholly through having found his rival, the Master, so black a monster. Such establishment of a common bond of interest between us and the character with whom our sympathies are to be engaged is a most effective means of holding us to a personal involvement in the development of the plot. There must not be too many characters shown, the relations between them must not be too various or too complexly conflicting, but where the interplay of feeling and clashing motives is not too hard to grasp, a variety of characters gives life and warmth of human interest to a story.
4. Uses of Description.—Inasmuch as there are other interests in our lives than those which are established by our relations with our fellows, interests connected with the material world about us, any narrative will probably have occasion to include some description. It may be necessary merely as an aid to our understanding of some of the details upon which the plot turns, it may help us to realize the personalities of the characters, and it is often useful in creating background and atmosphere, giving us some of the feelings of those with whom the story deals as they look upon the beauty, or the gray dullness, of the changing panorama of their lives. Stevenson's description of the "old sea-dog" in "Treasure Island" is an excellent illustration of the effectiveness of a few lines of description in making us know something very definite in the man.
"I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a handbarrow, a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man; his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the saber cut across one cheek, a lurid white."
5. Rossetti in "The Bride's Prelude," a story in verse, after merely glancing at the opening of the tale, devotes eight stanzas to description introduced for the purpose of background and atmosphere. Two of them are given here.
The light was counterchanged
In blent reflexes manifold
From perfume caskets of wrought gold
And gems the bride's hair could not hold
A slim-curved lute, which now,
At Amelotte's sudden passing there,
Was swept in some wise unaware,
And shook to music the close air."
This helps us to enter into the life and spirit of the time and place, to conceive imaginatively the likings, the desires, the passions, the purposes, and the powers that shall be potent in the story.
6. Kinds of Description.—Description is primarily of two kinds, that which is to give accurate information, and that which is to produce a definite impression not necessarily involving exactness of imagery. The first of these forms is useful simply in the way of explanation, serving the first purpose indicated in paragraph four. The second is useful for other purposes than that of exposition, often appealing incidentally to our sense of the beautiful, and requiring always nice literary skill in its management. It should be borne in mind always that literary description must not usurp the office of representations of the material in the plastic arts. It should not be employed as an end in itself, but only as subsidiary to other ends.
7. Various Moods as Incidents.—The moods in the characters of a story and their changes are connected with the incidents of the story, since they are in part happenings, and with the characters, since they reveal character. Apart from direct statement of them, we understand the moods of the actors in the little drama which we are made to imagine is being played before us from the things they say, from the things they do, and from gestures, attitudes, movements, which the author visualizes for us. If these moods are not made clear to us or we cannot see that they are natural, definite reactions from previous happenings in accord with character, we do not have a sense of organic unity in the narrative. We become confused in trying to establish the dependence of incident and feeling upon something preceding, and our interest flags. Everything that happens in a well-told story gives us feelings which we look to find in those whom the happenings affect in the tale, feelings which should call forth some sort of responsive action for our satisfaction. Clearly, if the characters are cold, if we cannot find in them moods of the kind and intensity that to us seem warranted, the story will be a disappointment.
Literary Divisions and General Principles
8. The Conceptual and Emotional.—Theoretically all writing is divided easily into two classes, conceptual and emotional, the literature of thought and the literature of feeling. In the actual attempt to classify written composition on this basis, however, no sharp distinction can be maintained. Even matters of fact, certainly such matters of fact as we care to write about, are of more or less moment to us; we cannot deal with them in a wholly unemotional way. In our daily lives we are continually reaching conclusions that differ from the conclusions reached by others about the same matters of fact, and are trying to make these matters of fact have the same value for others that they have for us. This is true of our business life as well as of our social and home life. It always will be so. It is doubtless true that if our knowledge of matters of fact embraced a knowledge of the universe, and if the experience of each of us were just like that of his fellow and included all possible experience, we might reach identical conclusions. This is not true and never can be true. It is in effect true of a small portion of the things about which we think,—the addition of one to two makes three for every one,—but outside of these things, writing need not be and seldom is purely conceptual.
9. Subject-matter.—Various as are the things about which we write and manifold as are our interests in them, they may be classified for our purposes under four heads: Matters of Fact, Experience, Beauty, Truth. Again, we shall find difficulty in separating each of these from each of the others. Some of our experiences have certainly been revelations of matters of fact; without our experiences, we should hardly have acquired any real sense of the beautiful; save for them we could not have known anything of truth. No accurate definition of these things carefully distinguishing between them can be attempted here. It may be assumed that what is meant by matters of fact will be understood without definition. As we read the story in great measure for the purpose of enlarging our experience, this part of our possible literary material is worth considering further. In the child we are able to detect very early a growing curiosity. That curiosity does not disappear when the child has grown from boy to man; he is still asking questions of the universe, still trying to piece the fragments of his knowledge into a law-ordered and will-ordered whole. What he knows has been the product of experience, what he may yet know further must be the product of experience. This experience may not all be personal, but even that which he gets at second hand is so far useful in helping him toward that understanding of the universe for which he hopes. He never will reach that understanding, all his experience will make but a fraction of things to be known matters of fact to him; and yet a deathless interest in the scarcely recognized belief that the facts and forces of which he has known have some unifying principle makes his emotions quicken at every new experience that may have possible significance.
10. Appeal of Experience, Beauty, and Truth.—It will be evident, then, that experience which somehow makes the impression of superior importance may be presented inorganically and yet gain an interested hearing. The method of creating this impression, whether through the appearance of conviction in the writer or by various literary devices, need not detain us here. We shall be concerned merely with noting that the possible relation of the particular to the general, of this experience to the whole of experience, makes it a thing of moment. In just what way experience develops in us the sense of the beautiful, just what it is in anything that makes us distinguish beauty in it, cannot now be determined. It will be enough for us to know that literature makes a large appeal to a sense of the beautiful in us, a sense not fortuitous and irrational, though varying, but normal and almost universal, dependent upon natural laws of development. Truth is also difficult of definition, but we may understand that when out of experience, as through a process of reasoning, we have reached a conclusion that is something more than a matter of fact, a conclusion touching our emotions and having vital spiritual interest to us, the experience, whether our own directly or at second hand, has brought us to a truth. Truth is, perhaps, that matter of fact of universal intelligence that transcends the matter of fact of the finite mind.
11. Literary Principles and Qualities.—There are some fundamental principles of literary presentation which we may briefly review here. All our study of science, and in a less obvious fashion, of all the physical, social, and artistic world about us, is more or less an attempt to classify, simplify, and unify facts whose relations we do not see at a glance. We must observe and learn the facts first, but they will be of no great utility to us as unrelated items of knowledge. The need of establishing some sort of law and order in our understanding of the mass of phenomena of which we must take cognizance is so insistent that we early acquire the habit of attempting to hold in mind any new fact through its relation to some other fact or facts. In other words, we can retain the knowledge we acquire only by making one fact do duty for a great many other facts included in it. Our writing must not violate what is at once a necessity and a pleasure of the mind. Unity, simplicity, coherence, harmony, or congruity, must all be sought as essential qualities of any writing. We must also indicate our sense of the relative values of the things with which we deal by a proper selection of details for presentation, a careful subordination of the less important to the more important through the proportion of space and attention given to each, and through other devices for securing emphasis. Let us keep in mind value, selection, subordination, proportion, emphasis, as a second group of terms for principles involved in writing. We may also wish to give our subject further elements of appeal through what may be suggested beyond the telling, through the melody and rhythm of the words, or through a quickening of the sense of the beautiful. Suggestion, melody, rhythm, beauty, are to be included, then, in a third group of qualities that may contribute to the effectiveness of what we write.
12. Conceptual Writing.—Of the literary qualities that have just been discussed, only the first group is perhaps essential to what has been designated as conceptual writing. Here we may place expository writing on subjects wholly matter of fact, mathematical discussions, scientific treatises largely, though not necessarily, and other writing of like character. As unity is the quality of importance here, we may well consider the units of discourse. Our first unit is that of the whole composition, the second that of the paragraph, and the third that of the sentence. Which of these is the prime unit, as the dollar is the prime unit of our medium of exchange, may not be evident at once; but if we examine the writing of clear thinkers carefully, without attempting to settle the matter in any doctrinaire fashion, we shall find that the paragraph, and not the sentence, is the more unified whole. I turn to Cardinal Newman, and in the middle of a paragraph find the sentence, "This should be carefully observed," a sentence meaningless when taken from the context. As a part of the paragraph it has a function, but it is certainly as a unit of detail and not as a prime unit. A writer like Carlyle makes these lesser units more important, but they are still subordinate to their use in the paragraph. In all our writing we shall do much for the unity, simplicity, and coherence of our work by seeing to it that our paragraphs are properly arranged and that each fulfills this function of a prime unit in the composition.
13. The Sense of Value.—When, in addition to statement of mere matters of fact, an author wishes to impress his readers with his own sense of the importance and the value of what he has to say, or of some special phase of his subject, he will employ the principles of the second group spoken of in a preceding paragraph. They cannot be ignored, indeed, in explanation of the simplest matters of fact, but a writer who means to convince and persuade will make more use of them. His personality will express itself in the selection of details and in the emphasis he places upon one detail or another. Among the literary forms which, besides being conceptual, are also concerned with persuasion, we find the oration, the essay, a great deal of business correspondence, and much of what we read in magazines and newspapers.
14. Writing having Artistic Quality.—When in addition to expressing matters of fact or truth, appealing perhaps to experience, we wish to arouse some sense of the beautiful and the artistic, we shall give our writing some or all of the qualities of the third group. Evidently, writing of this sort is in many respects the most difficult, since the writer must have regard for unity and the related principles, as well as for the qualities which peculiarly distinguish it. Experience, beauty, and truth are all available as subject-matter, and all the principles governing literary composition are concerned. Here we shall find the poem, the drama, the oration in some of its forms, most essays of the better sort, the greater part of good critical writing, literary description, and all narrative forms except the matter-of-fact historical writing of unliterary scholars.
15. Two Things Requisite in Writing.—It is to be borne in mind that the foregoing classifications are by no means absolute. Gardiner in his "Forms of Prose Literature" says very truly that the "essential elements, not only of literature, but of all the fine arts, are: first, an organic unity of conception; and second, the pervasive personality of the artist." It is true that much of our writing does not aspire to literary character, but in very little of our writing of any sort can we afford to neglect the first of these elements, and in very little of it do we care to leave the second out of account. Even in exposition of the simpler sort we may give to our writing the distinction of a more luminous style and the stronger appeal of a warmer personal interest, if we shape it into organic unity and make evident in it "the pervasive personality of the artist."
The Story in Particular
16. The Art of the Story.—However abstract the thinking of civilized man may become, "all our intelligence," to quote Ladd's "Outlines of Physiological Psychology," "is intelligence about something or other, ... resting on a basis of sensations and volitions." Difficult as it is and difficult as are the problems involved in its construction, the story is from some points of view the most elementary of literary forms. It is concerned directly with matters of sensation and volition. If it is to play upon our emotions, it must revive sensations and volitions, make us in some degree part of the action. Experience is at once its warp and woof, but while it gives us new experiences, it must, in connection with them, revive old ones and so become tangible and real for us.
Of the memories that have come to us through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, those that are visual are probably the most clearly defined and persistent for most people. The sensation of hearing doubtless comes next, and then those of touch, smell, and taste. A name will suffice to make us see the face of an absent friend; a few words, or the sight of a music roll, is enough to make us hear a favorite melody; a line or two on a printed page brings back to us the scent of the hayfield or the heavy odor of hyacinths in a conservatory. We must remember, too, that this may be in each case, not simply a bringing back of the idea of the things, but a reviving of the sensations themselves. The seat of sensation is after all the brain. Originally we experience sensation through some excitation of the end organs of sense, the ear, the nerves of touch, the retina; but these sensations become associated with verbal images in the mind, and finally the excitation of the verbal images results also in the revival of the original sensation. There is perhaps no one of us who has not seen wholly imaginary moving shadows or flashing lights in the dark. Such cases are not good illustrations of the point, possibly, but most of us can at will hear a connected succession of notes with which we have familiarized ourselves. In my own recent experience there occurred a very clear and wholly unexpected subjective sense of smell when reading of an experiment with frogs which recalled the distinctive odor of slimy water. Mr. James Sully, in "Illusions," says, "Stories are told of portrait painters who could summon visual images of their sitters with a vividness equal to that of reality, and serving all the purposes of their art." The same writer says again, and this is peculiarly significant, that "the physiologist Gruithuisen had a dream in which the principal feature was a violet flame, and which left behind it, after waking for an appreciable duration, a complementary image of a yellow spot." Here a purely subjective impression had been reproduced in the nerves of sense.
17. The Place of Sensation in Writing.—The thing that it seems important to dwell upon here is that subjective sensations do go out from the brain and stimulate in a very real fashion the sensations that are naturally excited by external stimuli localizing themselves in the end organs of sense. As these sensations, while not the all of emotion, are largely involved in emotion as its more poignant element, and as emotion is a first requisite in the appeal of a story, it is evident that the writer of stories will do well to acquire the art of reviving sensations. Further, as in the quickening of sensations our ideas become more tangible and real, writers who employ other literary forms will find that their style gains clarity and distinction by a like appeal to sensation when possible. Just how successful story-writers make appeal to sensation, revive experience, give new experience, and touch the sense of the beautiful is to be taken up more definitely in the following pages. We can understand, of course, that subjective sensations are not as strong as those which we experience directly, but on the other hand they may be more varied, they may crowd in upon us more rapidly, they may be more congruously chosen for a definite effect than in our actual life. The total effect may then be no less pronounced. In discovering how this is brought about we shall find the art of the short story.
Special Study of the Story
18. Symbols for Visualization.—On analyzing a story for the purpose of discovering the elements of which it is composed, and the kind and degree of appeal which they have for us, we shall find it convenient to employ a few symbols for the purpose of labeling our findings for discussion in the class room. Some of the directions which we make will be based upon differences in the way in which the things presented are effective in our minds, others upon differences in the things presented, themselves. First we shall work with symbols of description and visualization, of which for convenience we may distinguish four sorts shading one into the other, not clearly defined, and yet worth discussing, that we may cultivate a sharper sense of qualities of effectiveness in visualization. For these four sorts of visualization we may employ the symbols, V1, V2, V3, VB3. For the first of these the symbol V1 is not very satisfactory, since we will employ it for simple description which presents rather the idea of the thing than a mental picture, but it will perhaps be simpler to use it than to use a symbol for the word description. Having in mind the idea of a thing, we may by mental effort, if the idea is defined with sufficient clearness, call up the image of the object. V2 is the symbol for a visualization through a suggestion which the mind, by reason of the interest kindled, fills out to something more than the mere idea, more or less definite imagery resulting. In the V3 form, we are, as it were, compelled to see the image without mental effort, so swiftly and surely do the verbal memory images reëstablish old sensations or combine with old sensations to the formation of new. In the fourth form, we will add the B (Beauty) when the image which we see is such as to appeal pleasurably to the æsthetic sense. That there should be perfect agreement in the use of any one of these symbols in any particular case is, of course, not to be expected. Our individual experiences have been so different and the associations of sensation are so varied that the character and intensity of any visualization must differ in each individual. This, of course, is one of the things that complicate the problem of literary composition and make study of these things of particular importance.
19. Audition and Other Sensations.—As the problem of audition is of less moment than that of visualization, we will make but the one distinction between such presentation of sound as calls up the idea of the sound only, a1 and such as produces in us the sense of the sound itself, a2, premising that any one who chooses may make the three divisions preceding.
Appeals to the other senses as occurring less often, we may group together under the symbol S, using 1 with this, as with a, when it comes to us in the conceptual way, and 2 when it comes as an excitant of sensation.
20. Instances of Visualization.—Before we go farther, it will be well to examine briefly an example or two of literary description.
V2"The rim of the sun was burning the hilltops, and already the vanguard of his strength stemming the morning mists, when I and V2my companion first trod the dust of a small town which stood in our path. It still lay very hard and white, however, and sharply V1edged to its girdle of olive and mulberry trees drenched in dew, a compactly folded town well fortified by strong walls and many V2towers, with the mist upon it and softly over it like a veil. For it V1lay well under the shade of the hills awaiting the sun's coming. In the streets, though they were by no means asleep, but, contrariwise, S2busy with the traffic of men and pack mules, there was a V2shrewd bite as of night air; looking up we could perceive how faint the blue of the sky was, and the cloud-flaw how rosy yet with the flush of Aurora's beauty-sleep. Therefore we were glad to get into the market place, filled with people and set around with goodly S2brick buildings, and to feel the light and warmth steal about our limbs."
—Maurice Hewlett, "Earthwork out of Tuscany."
Here we shall first use the symbol V2, because the image presented is one that appeals at once to experience, experience too that has not been dimmed by frequence. The instant when the rim of the sun comes up bright and red is the instant when our expectation is most kindled toward the glory of the dawn and of the day which it foretokens. "The vanguard of his strength" in the next clause suggests the purely fanciful. This mixture of the concrete and the abstract does not go back to sensation, a thing worth noting and so the visualization is destroyed. The dependent clause brings up a new visualization, a V2, in the "dust of a small town." The second sentence is V1, until the close when it becomes V2 through the quickening of memories that have been emotional. The vagueness of a village hidden in the mist has appealed to our imagination in the assurance of a something unknown. The next sentence is V1, and so also is the next until in "the shrewd bite as of night air" we get an S2. The V2 of the faint blue of the sky is destroyed, as in the first sentence, by the merely intellectual playing of fancy in "Aurora's beauty-sleep." The next sentence gives us an S2 in the closing clause, for which the two preceding have been a preparation.
"Solemn and vast at all times, in spite of pettiness in the near details, the impression becomes more solemn and vast towards evening. The sun goes down, a swollen orange, as it were, into the sea. A blue-clad peasant rides home, with a harrow smoking behind him among the dry clods."
In this from Robert Louis Stevenson the last sentence brings the description to a V3; the smoking harrow is suggestive of so much more than the cloud of dust that has not yet settled to the earth in the stillness of the approaching twilight when the work of the day is done.
21. Motor Effects of Visualization.—There is another way in which things seen touch sensation. Look at a picture of the Laocoön for a moment. Fix your eyes upon the contortions of the limbs, see the agony of the face, note the fangs of the serpent ready to embed themselves in the flesh. While fastening these fearful details in your mind have you not felt some of the horror of it, and has not that feeling shown a tendency to innervate some of the muscles, has not your face shown some of the suffering which you have been studying, and have you not felt a tendency toward the muscular movements of one writhing in agony? Certainly, such motor impulses do result from certain kinds of visualization, and it need hardly be said that they are peculiarly effective in making us really alive with the emotion which inheres in the movement or the attitude which we see. If the gestures of a speaker are to be effective, they must seem natural to us; that is, they must be such as we would make if we were in that fashion attempting to express a similar emotion. Otherwise the motor suggestions of the words and the motor suggestion of the gestures may inhibit or neutralize each other, or at least produce a feeling of confusion. Halleck, in his "Education of the Central Nervous System," says, "All states of consciousness contain a motor element." When a visualization or an audition, as that of a sharp command, seems to have motor effects, we may add to the symbols of kind and degree of sensation the symbol x.
22. Inference in Literature.—It was apparent in the visualization quoted from Stevenson that some of the impressions which we get from literature we get as inferences. Dust does not arise from a harrow so as to have the appearance of smoke on a windy day, and therefore we know that it is quiet. In the opening of a story some things must be explained directly, and for such explanatory matter, matter from which we infer nothing beyond the statement, we will employ the symbol Exp.; but for other presentation of matters of fact we will employ the symbol F1. From facts as presented—and we will use the term in a comprehensive sense—we may or may not draw inferences, and we will distinguish facts from which no inference is drawn by the symbol F1, and those from which inference is drawn by the symbol F2. An inference may be preponderatingly intellectual or emotional; we may, when desirable, add the symbol a for one and b for the other. An inference we may call an "effect," and a fact as effect, whether the effect be emotional or conceptual, is clearly more potent in a literary way than a mere fact.
23. Effects of Incident and Mood.—Allied to the fact as effect is the incident which makes us know something more than the happening itself. All incidents we may distinguish under the symbols In1, In2a, In2b, the secondary symbols having the significance as with F above. Mood effects are, in general, more important, and it will be worth while to distinguish three sorts, m1, an inference which we draw regarding the mood of the writer, m2, a like inference which becomes infectious, creating in us in some degree a like feeling, and m3, an "effect" enabling us to draw an inference regarding the mood of a character in the story. In addition to this we shall find direct statement of mood, but that we shall mark with some of the preceding symbols, generally F1, perhaps. We may understand further that the mood effects are of both kind and degree. When the showing of mood is such as to make us realize in it the intensity of strong emotion or passion, we may indicate the heightening of the feeling by the addition of the symbol d, using k alone, or with d to indicate that the character of the mood is shown.
24. Methods of Characterization.—In our everyday life we are continually drawing inferences in regard to the characters of those about us, and we do the same thing in a story. Some writers tell us as clearly as they can the natures of the men and women they are revealing to us, while others leave that almost wholly for us to conjecture. We shall employ, then, two sets of symbols for character, one for direct statement of character, and one for character effects. The realization of character through direct statement may include presentation of motives, ideas, passions, will, special phases of development. It may come through report of the talk of others, or through statement of opinion generally entertained. c1 we will use for direct statement of character,—"John was a hard old miser,"—and we will add to this symbol the symbol a to indicate that this is only so far potent with us as to make us know the writer's understanding of the character merely, b to indicate that we recognize the writer's feeling for the character but do not share it, and c to indicate that the writer's feeling for his character affects us sympathetically to a like feeling. Another group of symbols, c2, c3, and c4, we will use for character "effects," for such knowledge of character as we gain by inference. c2 is a symbol for a general inference regarding a group of people or a community; c3 and c4 are symbols for inferences regarding the individual, c3 indicating the recognition of type or class qualities, c4, the recognition of more individual traits of character. The distinction here is merely one of matter of fact, a distinction not always to be made with sureness, since it is one of degree rather than altogether one of kind. When the way in which a man is good or cheerful or avaricious is differentiated for us from the way in which another man is good or cheerful or avaricious, he is so far individualized. Class characterization, c3, may be found along with individualization. The extreme accentuation of one or a few characteristics to the disregard of others gives the effect of individualization, but we shall understand this as in fact type characterization, since our natures are so complex that in almost no case can the conduct of any one be understood through knowledge of a few dominant traits of character. Individualization gives us intimacy of acquaintance; type or class characterization makes us see merely the striking, peculiar, or controlling expressions of personality. Guy Mannering in Scott's "Guy Mannering" is but a type of the conventional soldier. Tito Milema in George Eliot's "Romola" presents so many sides of a complex nature that we easily distinguish him from all other characters in fiction whatever.
25. The Subjective and Objective.—Writers, in their methods of presentation, may be broadly divided into two classes, those who write subjectively and those who write objectively. A subjective writer is one whose own personality, point of view, feeling, is insistent in what he writes. An objective writer, on the other hand, is one who leaves the things of which he makes record to produce their own impression, the writer himself remaining an almost impassive spectator, telling the story with little or no comment. Chaucer, in the prologue to the "Canterbury Tales," betrays his personal feeling for his characters continually, and so is subjective. Shakespeare in his plays is objective, presenting all sorts of men and women without show of his own attitude toward them.
26. Interest of the Plot and its Purpose.—We have seen that interest in incident is a first interest in the story. This interest, we must understand further, is not to be maintained by having things happen in a matter regulated only by chance or the exigencies of the author's invention at the moment. The unification of a story that results from the subordination of minor incidents to a final outcome is an essential necessity of the plot. The plot, indeed, is the arrangement of incidents with reference to the dénouement. The development of the plot should be such as to indicate an end toward which the succession of incidents is tending, and yet such as to keep the reader in suspense with regard to the nature of that end. There must be novelty in the happenings, and yet the novelty must not be so great as to keep the reader confused or strain belief. The permanent hold upon us of a piece of fiction is enhanced if it embodies some central truth, illustrating the working out of some law of life, or involved in the personal attitude of the writer toward some problem of existence. Only dilettanteism and superficiality forget that an artist, giving the form of beauty to his conceptions, is trying to make them as significant to others as they are to him, and that æsthetic and ethical, or spiritual, significance are inextricably interwoven. It will, of course, be the care of the artist to see that any didactic purpose is not obtrusive.
F2b 1. A tray of glasses was placed on the table with great solemnity by the "wricht," who made no sign and invited none. 2. You might have supposed that the circumstance had F2b escaped the notice of the company, so abstracted and unconscious was their manner, had it not been that two graven images a minute later are standing by the table.
m3k 3. "Ye 'ill taste, Tammas," with settled melancholy.
m3k 4. "Na, na; I've nae incleenation the day; it's an awful dispensation, this, Jeems. 5. She wuld be barely saxty."F2a
m3k 6. "Ay, ay, but we maun keep up the body sae lang as we're here, Tammas."
c2/c4 7. "Weel, puttin' it that way, a'm not sayin' but yir richt," yielding unwillingly to the force of circumstance.m2
c4/m3 8. "We're here the day and there the morn, Tammas. 9. She was a fine wumman—Mistress Stirton—a weel-livin'm3 wumman: this will be a blend, a'm thinkin'."
c4/m3 10. "She slippit aff sudden in the end; a'm judgin' it's frae the Muirtown grocer; m3but a body canna discreeminate on a day like this."
11. It was George Howe's funeral that broke the custom and closed the "service." F2b 12. When I came into the garden where the neighbors were gathered, the "wricht" was removing his tray and not a glass had been touched. Exp.+m2 13. Then I guessed that Drumtochty had a sense of the fitness of things and was stirred to its depths.
14. "Ye saw the wricht carry in his tray," said Drumsheigh as he went home from the kirkyard.
m3d 15. "Weel, yon's the last sicht o't ye' ill get or a'm no Drumsheigh. 16. I've nae objection masel' to a neighborm3k tastin' at a funeral, a' the more if he's come from the upper end o' the pairish, and ye ken I dinna hold wi' thae teetotal m3d fouk. 17. A'm ower auld in the horn to change noo. m3/F2b 18. But there's times and seasons, as the Gude Buik says, and it wud hae been an awfu' like business tae luik at a gless in Marget's Garden, and puir Domsie standing in ahent the brier bush as if he cud never lift his heid again."
27. Interpretative Application of the Symbols.—A little discussion of the foregoing from a "A Scholar's Funeral" in the "Bonnie Brier Bush" may serve to make some of these things clearer. The fact that the "wricht" is silent here in the first sentence makes us know that this is the usual custom and that these people have an underlying sense of decorum. Sentence two has the same effect in their abstraction, and this is emphasized again in the "two graven images." The third sentence is a mood "effect" of kind, since we recognize the conventionally sobered feeling without the "settled melancholy." This is true again in sentence four, and in five we have a "fact as effect," drawing the inference that they are a long-lived race in Drumtochty. From the yielding to an invitation so framed as to put aside the semblance of yielding to inclination, we get a knowledge of character which seems to us individual, but which is used by the author to indicate a local community characteristic. The author's mood of amused observation is evident here, too, in his unbelieving acquiescence in Tammas's point of view. In sentences eight and nine we come to know Jeems in a more individual way, through the mingling in him of moods of conventional solemnity and everyday discussion. This is repeated in sentence ten. In sentence twelve we draw an emotional inference concerning the degree of their feeling from the fact that "not a glass had been touched." This is told in the explanatory way in thirteen with the addition of a suggestion of the author's sympathetic understanding and appreciation. Knowing Drumsheigh's reserve, from things that have gone before this in the story, we feel that only strong emotion could have called out sentence fifteen; and the apologetic tone of sixteen and seventeen indicates rather mood than such heightened feeling. Sentence eighteen returns to the mood of fifteen and sixteen, and through the fact of Domsie's standing "ahent the brier bush" reveals both Domsie's mood and Drumsheigh's own in our knowledge of its emotional appeal to him.
28. Different Forms of the Story.—It is to be understood that certain types of the short story are not included in this study as not being available for detailed work. Stories in which the interest is almost wholly dependent upon the succession of incidents can profitably be studied only with relation to the plot. Generally in such cases the things that make the story effective will be readily apparent, and they can be brought out by a few questions. To give variety and interest to the work the teacher will occasionally find it desirable to call attention to stories in current periodicals, requiring the class to bring in analyses of them showing structure of the plot, methods of managing the reader's sympathies, fundamental motive of the story, the treatment of character and methods of presenting it, and such other things as seem most of moment in the story in question. When library facilities permit, it will be found worth while to make some comparison of the short story as it is now written in America with the short stories of fifty years ago and of the present day in England and France. No classification of stories is attempted here, since such classification is of no particular moment to the writer of stories.
A Few Cautions
29. The suggestions that follow are phrased to cover the matter of visualization, but they touch upon general principles which are of wider application. It has seemed more convenient at this point to give them this specific treatment.
30. Author's Purpose should be Concealed.—An attempt to bring about a visualization or any other artistic effect in the mind of the reader is foredoomed to failure when in any way the writer's purpose too evidently betrays itself as such. Too much in the way of direct statement or predication is one indication of such purpose, and is therefore more or less ineffectual. For effective visualization some sort of preparation of the mood or sympathies of the reader is generally required. This, however, should be concealed, being accomplished through suggestion, as is the visualization itself.
31. Unity in Visualization.—A visualization should be so managed as to bring the whole picture, or nearly all of it, into the mind at once. It is partly because it does not do this that the method by details is not generally effective. A string of incomplete images passing through the mind, each one taking the place of the preceding and effacing it, is not artistically satisfying. It is possible to retain such separate images and at the end bring them together in a complete picture, but this will require effort on the part of the reader; and it is fundamentally important in all writing to reduce the conscious attention and effort of the reader to the lowest point. Only extreme literary art can so nullify this effort in effect as to make description by detail pleasurable, if of any length. Description by detail is, perhaps, more admissible in writing having a meditative tone than in any other, except, of course, technical description.
32. Fine Writing.—Fine writing is especially to be avoided in visualization, since the tone of artificiality is immediately destructive of the reader's confidence in the sincerity of the writer. It betrays the author's purpose of producing an effect. The appearance of truth free from any semblance of over-statement is a first requisite.
33. In any visualization harmony of detail is of prime importance. Even in describing something actually seen it will sometimes be necessary to leave out items really present, but not of a kind to contribute to the general effect. The saying that "Truth is stranger than fiction" should read that fiction may not be as strange as truth. Harmony of mood is important, as well as harmony of detail, in the thing described. If the picture is a quiet one, exclamatory excitement on the part of the writer, however affecting the scene may be supposed to be, will prevent its becoming real to the reader. These things are, then, to be borne in mind with regard to the elements of a visualization: the details presented must be so far true to common knowledge and experience as to gain ready belief, they must have unity in fact and in effect, and they must also be sufficiently individual to appeal to the mind with something of the sense of novelty.
Reference Table of Symbols
|F1||=||Statement of fact from which no inference is drawn.|
|F2||=||Statement of fact from which an inference is drawn.|
|F2a||=||Statement of fact with inference mainly logical.|
|F2b||=||Statement of fact with inference mainly emotional.|
|In.||=||Statement of incident, secondary symbols as with F.|
|As1||=||Anticipatory suggestion, a foretelling of something to happen, leaving the reader in doubt as to how it is to be brought about.|
|As2||=||Anticipatory suggestion, a foreshowing of something definite to happen, exciting the reader's curiosity to know what it is and how it is to be brought about.|
|As3||=||Anticipatory suggestion, a foreshadowing of something to be expected in the way of character development and consequent happening.|
|V1||=||Description in which the mere idea of the thing described is presented.|
|V2||=||A kindling hint by which the mind is enabled to piece together a visualization of the object.|
|V3||=||Visualization of so vivid a kind as to possess the mind completely. This becomes|
|Vb3||when it pleasurably affects the sensibilities.|
|A1||=||Audition in the way of simple idea of the thing to be heard.|
|A2||=||Audition as a reviving of the sense of sound.|
|S1||=||Sensation, the mere presentation of the idea of an appeal to one of the other senses.|
|S2||=||Sensation, a subjective reviving of the sensation itself.|
|x||used to indicate that a subjective excitation of some one of the senses has motor effects, as in the shiver at the thought of a file upon the teeth.|
|m1||=||Mood "effect," from which we learn the feeling of the writer without experiencing it ourselves.|
|m2||=||Mood "effect" from which we sympathetically experience the feeling of the writer.|
|m3||=||Mood "effect," a revelation of the feeling of a character in the story.|
|c1||=||Direct statement of character.|
|c1a||=||Direct statement of character that does not reveal the author's attitude toward the character.|
|c1b||=||Direct statement in which we are made aware of the author's attitude toward the character, but are not affected by it.|
|c1c||=||Direct statement of character sympathetically influencing us to the author's attitude toward the character.|
|c2||=||Character "effect," characterization of a group or community of people.|
|c3||=||Character "effect," class or type characterization of the individual.|
|c4||=||Character "effect" in the way of individualization.|
|d||=||Degree, added to symbol for mood effect to indicate intensity of the feeling.|
|k||=||Kind, used to indicate that the inference concerns itself with character and not intensity.|
|/||=||A symbol employed (see section 26) to indicate that one inference is drawn as an ultimate conclusion from another more immediate inference.|
Subjects for Daily Themes
Subjects for visualization and the reviving of other sensations.
1. A sunset sky. 2. A group in the park. 3. A spring freshet. 4. The man at the threshing machine. 5. The city across the river: night. 6. Moonlight among the hills. 7. A city street. 8. The college campus. 9. Eleanor's rose garden. 10. The witch of Endor (1 Sam. xxviii: 6-25). 11. Mt. Pelée in eruption. 12. The woods at night. 13. David playing before Saul. 14. A ferny water course among the trees. 15. A bluebird in the orchard. 16. The violinist. 17. In time of apple blossoms. 18. The scent of new-mown hay. 19. Barbara at the piano. 20. The first watermelon. 21. Sailing with the wind. 22. Dawn in the mountains. 23. The wind among the pines. 24. The blacksmith and the forge.
Subjects for presentation of mood.
1. Uncle Dick hears the news. 2. Balboa catches sight of the Pacific. 3. Silas explains himself. 4. Napoleon looking back at Moscow. 5. Congressman Norris is refused the floor of the convention. 6. Johnnie is told that he may go to the circus. 7. Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga. 8. Bamba, king of an island in the south seas, sees the first ship of the white man. 9. Alfred meets a Hallowe'en obstacle.
Subjects for visualization and presentation of facts as "effects."
1. A deserted house. 2. In the second-hand store. 3. The railroad wreck. 4. The beggar at the door. 5. Representative Dongan reads a letter from "The Corners." 6. A woman at the station. 7. Mrs. Humphrey's kitchen. 8. The trail of war.
Subjects for character studies.
1. The village oracle. 2. The landlord of the Lion Inn. 3. The old stage-driver. 4. The conductor. 5. An old-fashioned music-master. 6. A pirate captain. 7. A country beau. 8. Deacon Bradley. 9. The school bully. 10. The female suffragist. 11. One of the four hundred. 12. A disciple of Mrs. Eddy. 13. "The man with the hoe." 14. The scissors grinder. 15. Captain Doty of the police. 16. A candidate for office.
The Complete Story
The invention of situations and plots can hardly be a matter of class-room instruction. If stories come to one, it is well. Study of the detailed means of making them living for the reader will then be worth while. The student should be encouraged to invent plots of his own, but as a simplification of this difficulty, to the end that some exercise in the writing of a complete story may be had, plots of some successful published stories are here given with suggestions regarding methods of treatment.
Scene, a saloon where both men and women are drinking. One of them, a girl, thinks she sees at the window the face of Christ with his tender eyes. She leaves and will not permit the others to go with her.
At a little distance she comes upon the stranger waiting for her. He tells her that when she wakes it will be to a new life and she will be his, bidding her go to a house he points out and remain for the night. She obeys, and the man passes into the shadow.
Introductory sentence in the original, giving the atmosphere of the story: "This was the story the mystic told." Concluding sentence in the original, connecting it with our sense of unfathomable mysteries: "And this the listener gravely asked, 'One was chosen, the others left. Were the others less in need of grace?'"
Divisions of the story. 1. Visualizing description of the saloon and of the street outside through which the stranger passes.
2. Appearance of the face at the pane and its effect on the young girl (m3 "effect"). This is the difficult part of the story, and the reader can be made to believe in it only through sympathy with the girl's feeling.
3. The talk of her companions and her answers (m3).
4. Her search for the stranger in the night (m3).
5. His talk to her when she finds him.
This story in the original contains a little less than two thousand words. It will be seen at once that unless handled in such fashion as to appeal vividly to the imagination, a story with this for its theme will seem weak and unreal. It must be made as suggestive as possible or it will fail. It preaches, but it must avoid the air of preaching. Consider carefully how you would present the stranger—whether first at the window or before—so as to affect the reader with a sense of something more than human in him.
Scene of the story is the prairie desert of the West in time of drouth. A party of men, including two who are not yet through their work in an eastern college, are riding in search of water, having had none for two days. Water is found, but shortly afterwards one of the two young men is missing. The talk of the others reveals the absent one's unselfishness and friendly devotion to his chum. Soon he is seen riding up excitedly and beckoning. The others follow him to a rough eminence, where he stops and listens, imploring them to tell him whether they can hear a voice calling. When they hear it too, he is assured that he has not lost his reason from the thirst, and together they begin a search which results in their discerning a cavern in the side of an embankment where a man lies on a couch moaning for water. As they try to enter, he warns them away with the cry of "smallpox."
The story is told to a group of friends gathered together of an evening, and the narrator draws from among his books a copy of Shakespeare found in the cavern by one of the men, bearing on its fly leaf, in addition to the owner's name, the word Brasenose, the name of one of the colleges at Oxford. The pathos of the story is in this last touch, an Oxford student dying so loathsome a death in a strange and desert land, and dying so heroically.
Divisions of the story. 1. Visualization of the desert and the men. The scent of water. Drinking from the muddied stream.
2. One of the young men starts off alone in a delirium of pain (m3). He returns suffering from the fear that he has lost his reason (m3).
3. The discovery of the cave (V3 and F2b). The delirious talk of the sick man. His sudden joy in the unexpected presence of human beings (V3 and m3). His final "G'way! G'way! Smallpox!"
4. The narrator of the story shows the copy of Shakespeare and the inscription on the fly leaf.
The story in the original contains about three thousand words. It is important that the suffering of the men be developed at some length in a convincing fashion. It serves as a preparation for the more terrible suffering of the one man who moans for water as he tears the foul smallpox sores. This should be presented in as visualizing a way as possible and with as full showing of mood as may be. The conclusion in division 4 must be altogether different in tone from the preceding. Narrator and listeners are in a world of ease and comfort, and their interest in the story is an interest in something pathetically remote.
Situations to be Developed into Plots
(Adapted from published stories not original)
1. Rome in the early centuries after Christ. Three persons are involved, one man and two women, one of whom has just pledged troth to the man. The man and the other woman are devotees of a mystic faith, whose priest residing in a dark cavern in the hills calls now one, now another devotee to pass through the "void" to eternal fellowship with God.
2. Oklahoma at the time of the opening of the strip for settlement. A man and his wife and two children come from Kansas to find land in the strip on the day of the run. They have failed in Kansas and are almost out of money. The husband, who is to make the run for the strip on horseback when the signal guns are fired, falls sick.
3. A lumber camp. In addition to the men, a man and his wife who cook and take care of the camp, and a half-witted chore boy. The chore boy tries to take care of the men and keep them from drinking. A number of the men go off to a neighboring town for a spree, and the chore boy goes with them.
4. Some place in the region of the mountain whites of the Carolinas and Tennessee. A beautiful girl with a tinge of negro blood that does not show in nature, intellectual endowment, or appearance. A mountain white to whom she is betrothed. A young man from the North visiting the family with whom she is staying is attracted by her. The contrast of the life of the mountain whites to which her betrothal if fulfilled dooms her, and that of the world of taste and culture which her nature demands.
Questions on "A Doctor of the Old School," from the "Bonnie Brier Bush"
1. a. What has been accomplished in your sympathies by this? 2. b. Has this been through direct statement of things calling for your sympathies, or through "effects"? c. Is the method cumulative and gradual, or direct and insistent? d. Would you say that the method here is objective or subjective? e. What symbols do you find that you have employed largely, and for what purpose have the devices for which two of these stand been employed? f. Would you say that the author puts much or little meaning into his words? Is the style diffuse and thin, or does it accomplish much with few words? Indicate a paragraph or page that justifies your conclusion and say how. g. Are the inferences which you are made to draw logical or emotional, and do they seem to you delicate and subtle or simple and direct? Indicate some of them in confirmation of your conclusion.
1. a. Do you see any change in the method of presenting MacLure here? b. How is it an advance in the development of the story or not? c. Was Part I. preparation for this or not, and if so, how? d. Does this have a definite climax and dénouement, and if so, where?
1. a. How does this make an advance upon the preceding in the revelation of MacLure? b. Does it in any way get nearer to elemental human feeling? c. Does it anywhere appeal directly to sensation? d. Do you find in this any feeling for the mystery of existence? Does it seem to be an integral part of the story, coming from its essential emotion and free from obtrusive moralizing, or not? e. Is there any increase in intensity of feeling in this or not, and if so, how is it indicated in the symbols you have employed? f. Has MacLure now been presented to us with full showing of his distinguishing characteristics or not? and do we find in him a vital human nature?
1. a. Do you think a death-bed scene a good subject for literary presentation or not? Why? b. Would you call it a difficult thing to present or not? c. Do you find anything objectionable here? d. Has the interest of the whole story depended upon incident or upon showing of character? e. Does this Part IV. serve in any particular way to round out our knowledge of MacLure, and if so, in what way? f. What is the especially appealing thing in the portrait of MacLure? And what in the fortune and circumstance of his life? g. Does this appeal touch in any fashion upon our sense of a something inscrutable governing our lives? h. Which of the different sorts of subject-matter (see section 9) seem to you to be the more largely employed here? So far as it is concerned with experience, is it a reviving of what we have experienced or an addition to our knowledge of life? Is there in it a truth that you could formulate into a law of life, or is the truth so much a matter of emotion as merely to touch the sensibilities and so give us a wider vision?
Questions on "Loveliness," by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps-Ward
(Atlantic Monthly, August, 1899)
1. a. Do you detect in this story any purpose beyond that of recounting a series of happenings? If so, what? b. If you were to write the story, would you think it prospectively a difficult thing to arouse interest in a dog? c. Has that been done here or not? d. If so, what are some of the author's devices and how successfully employed?
2. a. What is the artistic purpose of the first two paragraphs? Why does the author delay so long in telling us that she is writing of a dog? b. Does she let her own feeling for the girl and dog appear or not? If so, is it obtrusive or not? Effective or not, as your markings indicate? c. Are there any incidents in the story that a reader might for any reason be unwilling to accept? d. If so, how is the handling such as to disguise the difficulty or not, as the case may be?
3. a. What devices are employed to make us interested in Adah? b. Are we made to feel that her dependence upon the dog is natural and deserving of sympathy or not, and if so, how? c. Are the incidents so managed as to maintain interest in the expectation of the dénouement or not? d. Does the story seem to have sufficient unity of purpose and plan or not?
4. a. What symbols do you notice that you have employed most largely? b. Is the story written in the way of direct statement or of suggestion? c. For what frequent purpose would you say that the writer employs F2? M3? M2? d. Can you say in what the art of the story especially consists? e. What would you probably have thought of the story were its art less delicate and sure?
General Outline Questions for Study of Stories in Current Magazines, etc.
1. a. Upon what is the interest of the story especially dependent? b. Are the incidents presented rapidly and coherently, or slowly and disconnectedly? c. Is there a clearly defined plot or not? d. Does the plot have a climax of entanglement, or does it fail in developing this feature of the story interest?
2. a. How is character presented? b. Are the characters well chosen for their reactions among themselves? c. Are the things they do and say continually consistent or not? d. Are they sufficiently individualized to escape the appearance of the conventional and to hold interest?
3. a. Does the story state facts and happenings merely, or does it get hold of vital sensations and revive them? b. If so, in what ways does it seem to do that? c. In general does it seem to you subjective or objective in method?
4. a. How much of the interest of the story is in the development of the plot and how much in the stirring of vital sensations, including sympathetic moods? b. Does the development of the story center about any idea or attitude toward life? c. What excellences and what faults do you find in the story?
Some Stories Available for Study
"Five Hundred Dollars," "The Village Convict," and "Eli," all in a volume under the title of the first, Heman White Chaplin, Little, Brown & Co., $1.00.
"Loveliness," Elizabeth Stuart Phelps-Ward, Atlantic Monthly, August, 1899.
"The Flail of Time," Helen Choate Prince, Atlantic Monthly, August, 1899.
"A Christmas Carol," Dickens, Cassel's National Library, 10 cents.
"Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush," Ian MacLaren, David C. Cook, Elgin and Chicago, paper, 5 cents.
"The Luck of Roaring Camp," "Tennessee's Partner," Bret Harte, Houghton, Mifflin & Co., $1.00, Overland Monthly, September, 1902.
"Bonaventure" (Chapters XVI-XVIII), George W. Cable, copyrighted, but obtainable in a cheap reprint.
"The Game and the Nation," Owen Wister, Harper's Monthly, May, 1900.
Nettleton's "Specimens of the Short Story," Henry Holt & Co., 50 cents.
Books that may Profitably be Consulted
"Education of the Central Nervous System," R. P. Halleck, The Macmillan Co.
"The Philosophy of the Short Story," Brander Matthews, Longmans, Green & Co.
"The Short Story," Yale Studies in English, Henry Holt & Co.
"Forms of Prose Literature," J. H. Gardiner, Chas. Scribner's Sons.
"Working Principles of Rhetoric," J. F. Genung, Ginn & Co.
"Outline of Psychology," E. B. Titchener, The Macmillan Co.
"Short Story Writing," C. R. Barrett, Baker & Taylor Co., $ 1.00.
Chapter XII, "A Study of Prose Fiction," Bliss Perry, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
The Arden Shakespeare.
The Greater Plays in their literary aspect. One play in each volume, with Introduction, Notes, Essay on Metre, and Glossary. Based on the Globe text. From 144 to 224 pages. Cloth. Price, 25 cents a volume.
This edition presents the greater plays in their literary aspect, and not merely as material for the study of philology or grammar. Verbal and textual criticism has been included only so far as may serve to help the student in his appreciation of the poetry.
Questions of date and literary history have been fully dealt with in the Introductions, but the larger space has been devoted to the interpretative rather than to the matter-of-fact order of scholarship. Æsthetic judgments are never final, but the editors have attempted to suggest points of view from which the analysis of dramatic motive and dramatic character may be profitably undertaken.
In the Notes likewise, though it is hoped that unfamiliar expressions and allusions have been adequately explained, it has been thought more important to consider the dramatic value of each scene, and the part that it plays in relation to the whole.
Each volume has a Glossary, an Essay upon Metre, and an Index. Appendices are added upon points of interest that could not be treated in the Introduction or the Notes. The text is based on that of the Globe edition. The following plays are ready:—
Hamlet.—Edited by Edmund K. Chambers, B.A.
Macbeth.—Edited by Edmund K. Chambers, B.A., Oxford.
Julius Cæsar.—Edited by Arthur D. Innes, M.A., Oxford.
The Merchant of Venice.—Edited by H. L. Withers, B.A., Oxford.
Twelfth Night.—Edited by Arthur D. Innes, M.A., Oxford.
As You Like It.—Edited by J. C. Smith, M.A., Edinburgh.
A Midsummer Night's Dream.—Edited by Edmund K. Chambers, B.A.
Cymbeline.—Edited by A. J. Wyatt, M.A., Cambridge.
The Tempest.—Edited by F. S. Boas, M.A., Oxford.
King John.—Edited by G. C. Moore Smith, M.A., Cambridge.
Richard II.—Edited by C. H. Herford, L.H.D., Cambridge.
Richard III.—Edited by George Macdonald, M.A., Oxford.
Henry V.—Edited by G. C. Moore Smith, M.A., Cambridge.
Henry VIII.—Edited by D. Nichol Smith, M.A., Edinburgh.
Coriolanus.—Edited by Edmund K. Chambers, B.A., Oxford.
Much Ado About Nothing.—Edited by J. C. Smith, M.A., Oxford.
King Lear.—Edited by D. Nichol Smith, M.A., Edinburgh.
Introduction to Shakespeare.
By Hiram Corson, LL.D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in Cornell University. Cloth. 400 pages. Introduction price, $1.00.
This work indicates some lines of Shakespearean thought which serve to introduce to the study of the plays as plays. The introductory chapter is followed by chapters on: The Shakespeare-Bacon controversy,—The Authenticity of the First Folio,—The Chronology of the Plays,—Shakespeare's Verse,—The Latin and Anglo-Saxon Elements of Shakespeare's English. The larger portion of the book is devoted to commentaries and critical chapters upon Romeo and Juliet, King John, Much Ado about Nothing, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Anthony and Cleopatra. These aim to present the points of view demanded for a proper appreciation of Shakespeare's general attitude toward things, and his resultant dramatic art, rather than the textual study of the plays.
Introduction to Browning.
By Hiram Corson, LL.D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in Cornell University. Cloth. 348 pages. Introduction price, $1.00.
This volume affords aid and guidance to the study of Robert Browning's poetry, which, being the most complexly subjective of all English poetry, is, for that reason alone, the most difficult. The exposition presented in the Introduction, of the constitution and skillful management of the dramatic monologue and the Arguments given to the several poems included in this volume, will, it is hoped, reduce, if not altogether remove, the difficulties of this kind. In the same section of the Introduction certain peculiarities of the poet's diction are presented and illustrated.
The following is the Table of Contents:—
I. The Spiritual Ebb and Flow exhibited in English Poetry from Chaucer to Tennyson and Browning. II. The Idea of Personality and of Art, as an intermediate agency of Personality, as embodied in Browning's Poetry. (Read before the Browning Society of London in 1882.) III. Browning's Obscurity. IV. Browning's Verse. V. Arguments of the Poems. VI. Poems. (Under this head are thirty-three representative poems, the Arguments of which are given in the preceding section.)
A Source Book of Greek History
By Frederick Morrow Fling, Professor of Ancient History, University of Nebraska. Cloth. xiv + 370 pages. Illustrated. Introduction price, $1.00.
This book serves several purposes. It (1) supplies illustrative material, drawn from the best Greek sources, that may be used to supplement the school narrative; (2) by means of searching questions, it furnishes opportunity for more intensive study of certain periods; (3) by supplying data upon the writer of source, and at times, more than one source upon the same topic, it makes possible the study of simple problems in the value of evidence; (4) extracts are of sufficient length so that the pupil may be given some idea of Greek literature, as far as that is possible through the use of translations; (5) the illustrations not only supplement the written sources on the life of the Greeks, but have been selected with a view to impressing upon the minds of students the great value of the artistic work of the Greeks.
A Source Book of Roman History
By Dana C. Munro, University of Wisconsin. Cloth. Illustrated, x + 258 pages. Introduction price, $1.00.
The series of extracts from original sources contained in this book cover the following topics: Sources and credibility of early Roman history; religion; the army; monarchical institutions; the constitution of the republic; early laws and history; the conquest of the Mediterranean; the Punic wars; results of foreign wars; misrule of the optimates; the last century of the republic; the early empire; Christianity and Stoicism; Roman life and society—slavery, education, manners, customs, amusements; provinces and provincial administration, etc. References to supplementary sources are prefixed to each chapter.
A Day in Ancient Rome
A revision of Lohr's Aus dem alten Rom, by Edgar S. Shumway, recently Professor of Latin in Rutgers College. Cloth. 96 pages. Fifty-nine illustrations (seventeen full page). Retail price, 75 cents. Paper, 30 cents.
This attractive little book gives a picture of the famous old city as compared with the new. Availing himself of the latest excavations and of recent photographs, the author pictures graphically persons and places of classic fame as though vividly present.
Studies in General History
(1000 B.C. to 1880 A.D.) By Mary D. Sheldon, formerly Professor of History in Wellesley College, and Assistant Professor in Leland Stanford Jr. University. Half leather, xvi + 556 pages. Introduction price, $1.60.
This book gives a collection of historic material, which may be dealt with first-hand, as the pupil deals with the actual substance in chemistry, and with the living plant in botany. Work of this kind stimulates the student's historic sense and judgment. It is especially adapted to help students and teachers who do not have access to large libraries; it contains within itself all that is absolutely necessary for the work required. The material given consists of maps, pictures, lists of important events, men, works, and deeds, tables of political organizations, and extracts from original sources, including constitutions, creeds, laws, chronicles, and poems. It is accompanied by questions in the nature of problems, the answers to which must be worked out by the pupil himself from the given data. It is a book to be studied, not read.
Greek and Roman History
Or, Studies in General History, from 1000 B.C. to 476 A.D. By Mary Sheldon Barnes, formerly Professor of History in Wellesley College, and in Leland Stanford Jr. University. Cloth, xiii + 255 pages. Introduction price, $1.00.
This book contains the portion of Sheldon's Studies in General History which relates to Greece and Rome, including a small amount of prefatory ancient history. This portion meets the needs of students preparing for college, of schools in which ancient history takes the place of general history, and of students who have used an ordinary manual and wish to make a spirited and helpful review.
Teacher's Manual to General History
By Mary Sheldon Barnes. Cloth. 172 pages. Retail price, 85 cents.
The student's edition of the Studies in General History contains material and problems for independent study. The Teacher's Manual contains the answers to these problems, embodied in tabulations, and a running commentary of text, which will furnish suggestions for discussions and summaries.
Aids to the Teaching of General History
A pamphlet of 30 pages, by Mary Sheldon Barnes. Retail price, 10 cents. Also bound with the Teacher's Manual.
A select glossary, serving as an introduction to the history of the English Language. By Friedrich Kluge, Professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and author of Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache, and Frederick Lutz, Professor at Albion College, Mich. Cloth. 242 pages. Introduction price, 60 cents.
The purpose of this work is to serve as an introduction to the study of the historical development of the English language. The scope of the book is sufficient to give the student an insight into the main linguistic phenomena. While the method of discussion is concise, care has been taken to include all words the history of which bears on the development of the language at large. The authors have, in the first place, traced back to the older periods loanwords of Scandinavian, French and Latin origin, and such genuine English words as may afford matter for investigation. In this way there has been provided a "basis for every historical grammar of English."
A History of English Critical Terms.
By J. W. Bray. Cloth. 352 pages. Retail price, $1.00.
In literary criticism, and in the discussion of art, there are more than a hundred important terms whose history determines their present use and meaning. There are also several hundred others terms occasionally used in explaining the larger terms or their synonyms. All these terms are here arranged in alphabetical order. The history of the more important terms is presented in full. Under each is given: (1) Its grouping (by synonyms). (2) The historical limits of its use. (3) A brief statement of its meanings. (4) An explanation of its changes of meaning. (5) Representative quotations.
About one hundred and fifty critics are represented in the quotations, the work thus covering the entire field of English criticism.
The vocabulary of criticism is preceded by an Introduction, which gives a philosophical discussion of critical terms under three heads: (1) What is a Critical term? (2) General Historical Movements and Tendencies in Critical Terms. (3) Method of Dealing with the Separate Critical Terms.
The Outlook, New York: The book is not simply a collection of information; it is both a contribution to the history of criticism and a text-book for its study.
The Arden Shakespeare. The plays in their literary aspect, each with introduction, interpretative notes, glossary, and essay on metre. 25 cts.
Bronson's History of American Literature. 384 pages. 80 cents.
Burke's American Orations. (A. J. George.) Five complete selections. 50 cts.
Burns's Select Poems. (A. J. George.) 118 poems chronologically arranged, with introduction, notes, and glossary. Illustrated. 75 cts.
Coleridge's Principles of Criticism. (A. J. George.) From the Biographia Literaria. With portrait. 60 cts.
Cook's Judith. With introduction, translation, and glossary. Cloth. 170 pages. $1.00.
Cook's The Bible and English Prose Style. 40 cts.
Corson's Introduction to Browning. A guide to the study of Browning's poetry. Also has 33 poems with notes. With portrait of Browning. $1.00.
Corson's Introduction to the Study of Shakespeare. A critical study of Shakespeare's art, with comments on nine plays. $1.00.
Crawshaw's The Making Of English Literature. An interpretative and historical guide for students. Map and illustrations. 484 pages. $1.25.
Davidson's Prolegomena to Tennyson's In Memoriam. A critical analysis, with an index of the poem. 50 cts.
De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium Eater. (G. A. Wauchope.) 50 cts.
Hall's Beowulf. A metrical translation. 75 cts. Student's edition, 30 cts.
Hawthorne and Lemmon's American Literature. Contains sketches, characterizations, and selections. Illustrated with portraits. $1.12.
Hodgkin's Nineteenth Century Authors. Gives aids for library study of 26 authors. Price, 5 cts. each, or $3.00 per hundred. Complete in cloth. 60 cts.
Howes's Primer of English Literature. Illustrated. 50 cents.
Meiklejohn's History of English Language and Literature. Revised. 60 cts.
Milton's Select Poems. (A. P. Walker.) Illustrated. 488 pages. 50 cts.
Moulton's Four Years of Novel-Reading. A reader's guide. 50 cts.
Moulton's Literary Study of the Bible. An account of the leading forms of literature represented, without reference to theological matters. $2.00.
Plumptre's Translation of Aeschylus. With biography and appendix. $1.00.
Plumptre's Translation of Dante. Five vols. Illustrated. Student's edition, 50 cts. per vol. Library edition, $4.00 per set.
Plumptre's Translation of Sophocles. With biography and appendix. $1.00.
Shelley's Prometheus Unbound. (Vida D. Scudder.) 60 cts.
Simonds's Introduction to the Study of English Fiction. With illustrative selections. 80 cts. Briefer edition, without illustrative selections. Boards. 30 cts.
Simonds's Sir Thomas Wyatt and His Poems. With critical analysis. 50 cts.
Webster's Speeches. (A. J. George.) Nine select speeches with notes. 75 cts.
Whitcomb's The Study of a Novel. 251 pages. $1.25.
Wordsworth's Prefaces and Essays on Poetry. (A. J. George.) 50 cts.
Wordsworth's Prelude. (A. J. George.) Annotated. 75 cts.
Selections from Wordsworth. (A. J. George.) 168 poems chosen with a view to illustrate the growth of the poet's mind and art. 75 cts.
See also our list of books in Higher English and English Classics.