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Title: Expository Writing
Author: Curl, Mervin James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     [Illustration: Publisher's Device]





     U. S. A.

     FROM 1914 TO 1918


Since one of the pleasures of life is in being indebted to friends
for kindnesses so generously given that the givers were unaware of
the indebtedness which they were creating, the author is happy to set
forth several acknowledgments of most helpful counsel and aid. To Dr.
Emerson G. Sutcliffe, with whom a complete text on the whole subject of
rhetoric had been projected, only to be set aside, and to result, for
the present, in the text now published, the author wishes to express
his thanks for advice, criticism, and general wise help throughout the
preparation of this text. Dr. Herbert L. Creek read many sections of the
book in manuscript, and made valuable suggestions. At the suggestion of
Dr. Jacob Zeitlin the chapter on the "Informal Essay" was rewritten,
with much improvement. Helpful advice was given concerning different
sections of the book by Dr. Frank W. Scott, Dr. Harold N. Hillebrand,
Dr. Clarissa Rinaker, and Miss Ruth Kelso. Dr. Robert C. Whitford and
Mr. Bruce Weirick read a part of the book and kindly commented upon it.
All these kind friends were members, at the time of giving aid, of the
faculty of the University of Illinois.

To Professor Fred L. Pattee, of the Pennsylvania State College, the
author feels an especial debt of gratitude for unfailing interest and
cheer and much wise counsel.

To Mr. Warner G. Rice, a student in the University of Illinois, the
author wishes to make acknowledgment for reading one chapter in
manuscript and making valuable suggestions.

So many friends have helped at one time and another that whatever of
good the book may contain is doubtless due largely to them. For its
faults the author alone is responsible.

Due credit is made in the proper places to the several publishers who
with unfailing kindness and courtesy allowed the use of material drawn
from their publications.

     _Boston, Massachusetts_
         _August 9, 1919_



       II. HOW TO WRITE EXPOSITION                     11

      III. DEFINITION                                  73

       IV. ANALYSIS                                   113


       VI. CRITICISM                                  190

      VII. THE INFORMAL ESSAY                         231

     VIII. EXPOSITORY BIOGRAPHY                       257


           INDEX                                      305




"The Anglo-Saxons," Emerson said, "are the hands of the world"--they,
more than any other people, turn the wheels of the world, do its work,
keep things moving. Without lingering to quarrel with Emerson, or
to justify him, we may safely assert that Expository Writing is the
hands of literature. In a world which man even as yet only slightly
understands, surrounded as he is by his fellows who constantly baffle
his intelligence, and shut up within the riddle of himself, Exposition
attempts to explain, to make clear, to tear away the clouds of mystery
and ignorance.

Exposition attempts to answer the endless curiosity of man. "What is
this?" man asks, of things and of ideas. "Who are you?" he addresses to
his fellows. "How did this originate, what caused it, where is it going,
what will it do, how is it operated?" he repeats from birth to grave.
Perhaps the most interesting question in the world is the never-ending
"What does this mean to me, how does it affect me, how can I use it?"
These are the questions--and there are more of them--which Exposition
tries to answer. Obviously, in making the answers the writing will
often be garbed in the sack suit of business, will sometimes roll up
its sleeves, will pull on the overalls or tie the apron. Then it may
explain the workings of a machine, the wonders of a printing press, or
may show the mysteries of Congressional action, or the organization
of a department store, or even tell how to bake a lemon pie. But it
may also appear in the opulence of evening costume, and criticize the
ensemble of an orchestra, discuss the diplomacy of Europe, address us
in appreciation of the Arts. It may assume the fine informality of the
fireside and give us of its most delightful charms in discussing the
joys of living and learning, the whimsicalities of the world. In any
case it will be answering the endless curiosity of man.

It would not be rash to say that more expository thinking is done than
any other kind of mental activity. The child who dismantles a clock to
find its secret is doing expository thinking; the official, of however
complicated a business, who ponders ways and means, is trying to satisfy
his business curiosity; the artist who studies the effect of balance, of
light and shade, of exclusion or inclusion, is thinking in exposition;
politicians are ceaselessly active in explaining to themselves how
they may, and to their constituents how they did. We cannot escape
Exposition. The question then arises, since this form of writing is
always with us how can we make it effective and enjoyable?

All writing should be interesting; all really effective writing does
interest. It may not be required that every reader be interested in
every bit of writing--that would be too much to hope for in a world
where sympathies are unfortunately so restricted. To peruse a directory
of Bangkok, if one has no possible acquaintance in that city, might
become tedious, though one might draw pleasure from the queer names and
the suggestions of romance. But if one has a lost friend somewhere in
New York, and hopes that the directory will achieve discovery, the bulky
and endless volume immediately takes on the greatest interest. Lincoln,
driven at length to write a recommendation for a book, to escape the
importunities of an agent, wisely, whimsically, wrote, "This is just the
right kind of book for any one who desires just this kind of book." Wide
though his sympathies were, he recognized that not every one enjoys
everything. The problem of the writer of exposition is to make as wide
an appeal as he can.

Interest in reading is of two kinds: satisfaction and stimulation. And
each of these may be either intellectual or emotional or both. The
interest of satisfaction largely arises when the questions which the
reader brings with him to his reading are answered. A reader who desires
to know what is done with the by-products in a creamery, where the skim
milk goes to, will be satisfied--and interested--when he learns the
complete list of uses, among them the fact that skim milk is largely
made into the white buttons that make our underclothing habitable.
The reader who leaves an article about these by-products with the
feeling that he has been only half told is sure to be dissatisfied,
and therefore uninterested. In the same way, when a reader picks up an
article or a book with the desire to be thrilled with romance or wonder,
to be taken for the time away from the business of the world, to be
wrenched with pity for suffering or with admiration for achievement--in
other words, when a reader brings a hungry emotion to his reading--if he
finds satisfaction, he is interested.

The interest of stimulation may include that of satisfaction, but
not necessarily. It is the interest that drives a person to further
thinking or acting for himself, that loosens his own energies and makes
him aware of desire for satisfaction that he did not know he had. A
reader may, for example, peruse an editorial in a daily paper and find
a complete array of facts, setting forth in detail the subject, and may
be satisfied about the subject. He may read another editorial which will
not leave him cold, indifferent, but will set his brain to churning with
ideas, or may even make him clap on his hat and start forth to change
things in the world. The second editorial has given him the interest of

Writing that makes the interest of stimulation is the writing of power:
to the mere satisfaction of hunger, such as one can get from eating
dry oatmeal, it adds the stimulation, the joy in life that a fragrant
cup of coffee would add to the oatmeal. Exposition that satisfies is
adequate; that which stimulates is powerful. Obviously, some expository
writing would suffer from being filled with the power to rouse the
reader. Much legal writing must be addressed to the intellect alone;
often the entrance of stimulation, the rousing of the emotions, will
destroy the chance for justice. Obviously, again, some subjects can be
treated to contain both kinds of interest: an account of the devastation
of northern France may be as cold as a ledger in its array of facts
which are to be added; it may also be so treated as to rouse a vitriolic
hatred for the government that caused such devastation to be made.
Each treatment is allowable, and each necessary for a perfectly proper

Let us admit, without debate, that much expository writing is stupid.
Why is it thus? Largely for two reasons: the writer has not made his
material mean anything to himself, and he has not made it significant
for his reader. In writing exposition there is no place for him who
draws his pen along like a quarry slave who is soon to be scourged
to his dungeon and does not care for anything. A person who finds no
interest in his subject should do one of two things: consult a physician
to see if his health is normal so that he may expect reasonably vivid
reactions to life and things; or choose a new subject. Interest, in
other words, enters at the moment when the writing becomes related
vitally to human beings, and not until that moment. Why do students
enjoy reading the writings of William James? Simply because the author
made his facts relate to himself and to everybody else. If a writer
feels like saying, "I don't see anything interesting in this!" and
yet he feels duty pointing a stern finger at composition, he should
examine the subject more nearly, should see if it does not in some way
affect him, does not present a front that he is really concerned with.
Suppose, for example, that the task presents itself of accounting for
the use of skim milk, and suppose that the writer thinks skim milk of
all things the stupidest. Well, buttons, they say, are made from it--but
who cares what buttons are made from; their purpose is to hold clothes
together, and that's all! But wait a bit: here are some hundreds of
gallons of skim milk, from which thousands of buttons can be made.
Without the milk, the buttons will be cut from shells, perhaps, at a
much larger cost. Ah, the pocketbook is affected, is it--well, let's
have the milk used, then. And when one stops to think of it, is it not
remarkable that from a soft thing like milk a hard thing like a button
should be made? Isn't man, after all, rather ingenious? Who in the world
ever thought of milk buttons? Some such process the mind often passes
through in its approach to a subject. At length it finds interest, and
then it can write--and not before.

Here is the difference, then, between being a dumb beast of a reporter
of facts, and a free agent of an interpreter. Some facts, to be sure,
are in themselves so startling that mere report is sufficient. Slight
comment is needed to horrify an audience at Turkish atrocities in
the war. Perhaps comment would even weaken the effect. The terrible
poignancy of such facts so fires the imagination that more is perhaps
positively harmful. Many facts are not thus immediately translated into
human experience. At first thought the fact that a new hotel will be
supplied with indirect lighting seems a mere fact of trade: instead
of ordering hanging chandeliers of one kind, the builder will order
another kind. But thought of more fully, this fact takes on both the
interest of satisfaction and that of stimulation: why did the builder
decide to install the indirect system? and what will the effect be?
Imagining one's self in that hotel at the end of a long and bewildering
journey, with nerves on edge and eyes aflame with dust, will relate the
fact of choice at once to human feelings and needs--and the subject
is interesting. A reader can be made to understand the workings of the
engine in a super-six automobile, and also to feel the power of it; to
understand a cream separator and also to thrill to the economy of time
and strength which it brings; to understand a clarinet and also to rouse
to the beauty of its voice; to understand an adding machine and also to
marvel at the uncanny weirdness of the invention. The writer interprets
as soon as he brings his subject into relation with human life and shows
its real value.

As already mentioned, care is to be exercised to use the treatment
which the subject demands. An explanation, for practical purposes, of
a machine lathe will be dangerous if it attempts too much imaginative
stimulation: there would lurk too great a danger to material fingers. An
essay, on the other hand, such as those of Lamb and Stevenson, depends
largely on its imaginative interpretation, on its appeal to the interest
of stimulation. For a neutral newspaper account of a football game the
following heading was used: "Yesterday's game between the University of
Illinois and the University of Chicago resulted in no score for either
side." That is a bald report of the facts, for a neutral audience. The
interpreting spirit, as it appeared at the two universities, colored
the tale: "Fighting Illini tie Maroons 0-0"; and, "Maroons hold Illini
to 0-0 score." These two headings, if expanded into complete articles,
would color the story with interpretation for a specific audience that
is vitally interested. The accounts would probably be more interesting
than that of the newspaper, but they would also run the chance of being
less fair.

For Webster's New International Dictionary _art_ is defined as follows:
"Application of skill and taste to production according to æsthetic
principles; an occupation having to do with the theory or practice of
taste in the expression of beauty in form, color, sound, speech, or
movement." George Gissing, making a definition of the same subject for
his book, _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, writes as follows:

     It has occurred to me that one might define Art as: an
     expression, satisfying and abiding, of the zest for life. This
     is applicable to every form of Art devised by man, for, in his
     creative moment, whether he produce a great drama or carve a piece
     of foliage in wood, the artist is moved and inspired by supreme
     enjoyment of some aspect of the world about him; an enjoyment
     keener in itself than that experienced by another man, and
     intensified, prolonged, by the power--which comes to him we know
     not how--of recording in visible or audible form that emotion of
     rare vitality. Art, in some degree, is within the scope of every
     human being, were he but the ploughman who utters a few would-be
     melodious notes, the mere outcome of health and strength, in the
     field at sunrise; he sings or tries to, prompted by an unusual
     gusto in being, and the rude stave is all his own. Another was he,
     who also at the plough, sang of the daisy, or the field mouse,
     or shaped the rhythmic tale of Tam o' Shanter. Not only had life
     a zest for him incalculably stronger and subtler than that which
     stirs the soul of Hodge, but he uttered it in word and music such
     as go to the heart of mankind, and hold a magic power for ages.[1]

  [1] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_. By
      permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City.

Of these two definitions obviously the first attempts merely to satisfy
the intellectual curiosity of the reader, is a mere report of facts, and
the second is interested in making an interpretation, in stimulating the
reader. For most readers the words of Gissing would be more interesting;
though, since a dictionary is not primarily an amusement, it is a bit
unfair to mention the fact.

Interesting our expository writing must be; it must also be truthful.
Nothing worse can be imagined than the kind of writing that forgets the
facts, that remembers only the desire to please. Under the pleasing
phraseology of any bit of expository writing there must be the firm
structure of thought, and the close weave of fact. Expository writing
is commonly divided into Definition and Analysis. Definition attempts
to set bounds to the subject, to say "thus far and no farther," to tell
what the subject is. Analysis regards the subject as composed of parts,
mutually related, which together form the whole, and attempts to divide
the subject into as many parts as it contains. Analysis is divided into
classification and partition. Classification groups individual members
according to likeness, as one might classify Americans according to
color or birthplace or education or health, in every case placing those
who are alike together. Partition divides an organic whole into its
parts, as one might divide the United States Government into its three
branches of legislative, judicial, and executive, or the character of
George Washington into its components. Now definition and analysis often
intermingle and help each other, and are often informally treated,
but somehow, in every piece of exposition, the underlying thought
must have a sound basis of one or the other or both. This will be the
nucleus of the thinking; it may then be treated as a bald report or
as an interpretation, aiming merely to give information or to rouse
the further interest of the reader. The method of treatment will be
determined by the nature of the facts and the purpose of the author in

It cannot be too strongly stated that the underlying thought and the
interest are really one, after all. As you approach a subject, and
learn its character and meaning, you will be at the same time learning
whether it is a subject capable of great appeal or only of slight
attraction. Interest is not something laid on, but is a development from
the nature of the facts themselves. The first question should be, "Is
this interesting?" and then the second question may follow, "How shall I
bring out the interest?" Remember that interest depends on relation to
human beings; the closer the relation, the greater the interest.

Mr. Henry Labouchere, English statesman and for many years editor of
_Truth_, had an ideal reaction to life, so far as interest is concerned.
If, scanning the horizon for interest, he had bethought himself of the
rather impolite advice of the Muse to Sir Philip Sidney, "'Fool,' said
my Muse to me, 'look in thine heart and write,'" he would have found,
upon following the advice, a heart full of eager curiosity and readiness
to be attracted to anything. The following account of one of his
qualities, as related in his biography, is worth remembering when you
feel like saying, "Oh, I don't see anything interesting in that!": "If
he had encountered a burglar in his house already loaded with valuables,
his first impulse would have been, not to call the police, but to engage
the intruder in conversation, and to learn from him something of the
habits of burglars, the latest and most scientific methods of burgling,
the average profits of the business, and so forth. He would have been
delighted to assist his new acquaintance with suggestions for his future
guidance in his profession, and to point out to him how he might have
avoided the mistake which had on this occasion led to his being caught
in the act. In all this he would not by any means have lost sight of his
property; on the contrary, the whole force of his intellect would have
been surreptitiously occupied with the problem of recovering it with
the least amount of inconvenience to his friend and himself. He would
have maneuvered to bring off a deal. If by sweet reasonableness he could
have persuaded the burglar to give up the 'swag,' he would have been
delighted to hand him a sovereign or two, cheer him with refreshment,
shake hands, and wish him better luck next time; and he would have
related the whole story in the next week's _Truth_ with infinite humor
and profound satisfaction."

To make clear, to explain,--that is the task of exposition. Such
writing does not have the excitement of the fighting-ring, which we
find in argument, nor does it attain the lyric quality of impassioned
description, or the keen wild flight of narrative. It keeps its feet on
the earth, tells the truth--but tells it in such a way, with so much
of reaction on the writer's part, and with so strong an appeal to the
reader's curiosity or imagination or sympathy, that it is interesting,
that it is always adequate, and may be powerful.



The Problem

All writing--except mere exercise and what the author intends for
himself alone--is a problem in strategy. The successful author will
always regard his writing as a problem of manipulation of material
wisely chosen to accomplish an objective against the enemy. The enemy is
the reader. He is armed with two terrible weapons, lack of interest and
lack of comprehension. Sometimes one weapon is stronger than the other,
but a wise author always has an eye for both. The strategic problem is,
then, so to choose material, and so to order and express it, that the
reader will be forced to become interested, to comprehend, to arrive,
in other words, at the point in his feeling and thinking to which the
author wishes to lead him. The author's objective is always an effect
in the reader's mind. In so far as the author creates this effect he is
successful. And the time to consider the effect, to make sure of its
accomplishment, is before the pen touches the paper.

Sometimes the author makes a mistake in his planning, as did the
composer Handel when he wrote the oratorio of "The Messiah." He placed
the "Hallelujah Chorus" at the end of the oratorio. But when, toward the
end of the second section, he saw from his place on the stage that the
audience was not so enthusiastic as he had expected it to be at that
point, he changed his plan, with practical shrewdness rushed to the
front and shifted the famous chorus from the end of the third section to
the end of the second, and had the satisfaction of seeing the audience
so moved that first the King rose, and then, of course, the audience
with him. The chorus has stood at the end of the second part to this
day; that is the place for it--it brings about the effect that Handel
desired much better there than if it were saved for the end of the
oratorio. The oratorio is, in other words, a greater work than it would
have been had not the author kept a keen eye for the audience, for the
effect, and a willingness to change his plans whenever the gaining of
the effect required a change. Just so the writer should constantly scan
the horizon of the reader's mind for signs of interest and for shafts of

The effect that the writer desires in the reader's mind may be of
different natures. In Baedeker's Guide-Book the aim is largely to
satisfy the understanding, to meet the reader's desire for compact
information. In some of Poe's tales the effect is of horror. Patrick
Henry aimed primarily to rouse to vigorous action. Shakespeare wished to
shed light upon the great truths of existence, to satisfy the reader's
groping curiosity, and also to thrill the reader with pity and terror or
with high good humor or the unrestrained laughter of roaring delight.

In so far as the author accomplishes his purpose, in just so far he is
successful. When friends complimented Cicero, telling him that he was
the greatest orator, he replied somewhat as follows: "Not so, for when I
give an oration in the Forum people say, 'How well he speaks!' but when
Demosthenes addressed the people they rose and shouted, 'Come, let us
up and fight the Macedonians!'" If Cicero was correct in his estimate,
Demosthenes was the greater orator--of that there can be no doubt--for
he gained his effect. President Wilson's great war messages had as one
of their objects, certainly, the rousing in American hearts of a high
thrill to the lofty object for which they fought, the overcoming of
might with right. The remarkable success of the messages attests the
author's power.

Now the author will accomplish this effect in the reader's mind only
if his writing "takes hold," and it will "take hold" only if it is
weighty, that is, only if it bears toward the desired end in every part
and in every implication. This is as true in writings that aim at light,
frivolous effects as in those that stir the deeper emotions, in writing
that aims at the understanding almost alone as in that which strives not
only to make clear but to infuse with deathless appeal to the heart.
A treatise on the fourth dimension must bear, in every stroke, toward
the complete satisfaction of the reader's intellectual curiosity; a
comedy must lay down each word in the intention of liberating the
silver laughter of humor; a tragedy must leave us in every implication
serious, even in its introduction of comical material to heighten the
tragic nature of the whole. To make every word bear in the one general
direction--that is the writer's task. In no other way can he move the
reader's mind and heart as he wishes to.

An author finds, however, that to gain the desired effect requires
skillful manipulation on his part. He confronts a mass of refractory
material, often full of contradictions, in which any potential effect
seems almost as difficult to discover as the proverbial needle in the
well-known haystack. For example, when a historian sits down, one
hundred years hence, to the task of explaining the Great War, he will
be confronted with an amazing welter of endless facts, tendencies,
personal, national, and racial ambitions, enmities, competitions in
trade, language, customs, indiscretions of diplomats, inscrutable
moves of controlling powers, checks and counter checks, assertion
and denial, accusation and assurance of innocence, bribery and plots
and spy systems, amateur comment in newspaper and magazine, defenses
by people who have retained their poise and other defenses by those
whose faculties have been unseated by the awful strain of war--and
everywhere he will find the endless array of events and detailed facts
of organization of civil and military life to mold somehow into a
consistent, intelligible whole. Well may he say that the task is too
great for mortal man. Yet somehow the history is to be written, somehow
the effect that he wishes is to be gained. Obviously the great prime
task is to unify, to bring order out of chaos, to create from formless
material a real edifice of thought. Exactly the same task awaits the
writer of any kind of literature; in a short theme no less, the first
great duty is to find some principle whereby the author can exclude the
useless and include what is of value.

The first question to ask is--and it is also the last and the
intervening question--"What am I trying to accomplish?" At first
thought this question may seem the most obvious, the most elementary,
and the least helpful query possible. But upon its being successfully
met depends the whole success of the writing, whether of choosing or
ordering or proportioning the material, or of expressing the selected
ideas. For, since the chief task before the writer is to make his
thoughts and his expression drive in one direction, so that the whole
composition is simplified in the reader's mind, is unified and given an
organic existence, even the choice of words, upon which depends so much
of the tone of the composition, is largely settled by the answer to this
question of what the author hopes to accomplish.

In Exposition, the explaining the relations among things and ideas, we
are commonly told that we must "cover the ground," must "stick to the
subject," must "include whatever is valuable and reject the rest." But
such directions are insufficient. Until I have some touchstone, some
applicable standard, I cannot tell whether material is valuable or not.
It is as if one were brought into the presence of multifarious building
material,--wood both hard and soft, cement and the other ingredients
of concrete, bricks, stucco, and steel beams, and terra cotta
tiles,--and then were requested to build a house, using whatever of the
material might be of value, and removing the rest. The builder would
be nonplussed. He cannot build, now with wood, now with stone, and
again with tile; if he did, the saying would be all too true, "There's
no place like home!" He can do nothing reasonable until he has been
informed as to the kind of house desired, until he is given a principle
of selection. Then, if he has been bidden to make a brick house, he
at once knows what his object is, and can then reject whatever does
not help him, in the accomplishment. In the same way, if I am asked to
write five thousand words about Horticulture, I am at a loss to choose
from the history of the science, or the present status, or the still
unsolved problems, or the relative advancement in different countries,
or the possibility of the pursuit of horticulture as a profession, or
the poetic, the imaginative stimulus of working among apple blossoms,
or the value to health of working in the open air. Perhaps any one
of these divisions of the total subject would require five thousand
words; certainly with so limited an amount of material of expression
I cannot cover all; and if I choose a bit of each, the result will
hopelessly confuse the reader as to the science, for I shall perforce
write a series of mere _disjuncta membra_. I must, then, choose at once
some guiding principle of selection that will make clear whether, for
instance, the poetic appeal of the science has anything to do with my
object. Then, and only then, shall I be able to write an article that
will "take hold," that will bear in every part toward some definite
goal, that will leave my reader with a well-organized, easily understood
piece of writing. Only thus can I escape making a mere enumeration about
as sensible as to add potatoes and church steeples and treasurers'
reports and feather boas and card parties and library paste in the
hope of making an integral whole. This guiding idea, which avoids such
selections, may perhaps best be called the "controlling purpose" of the
theme or article or book.

The Controlling Purpose

_What, then, is the controlling purpose? It is the answer to the
question, "What am I trying to accomplish?" It is the intelligent
determination on the writer's part to make the material of his writing
march straight toward a definite goal which he wishes the reader to
perceive. It is the actively operating point of view of the writer,
the positive angle of vision that he takes toward the subject._ The
controlling purpose in Lincoln's mind as he rode up to Gettysburg
must have been to bring home to the civilians of the country, with a
great humble thrill toward accomplishment, the fact that after the
soldiers had done all they could, the civilians must reverently take
up the fight for freedom and union. His address is immortal. But
suppose, for a moment, that he had ascended the platform with the vague
idea of "saying something about America, the war, you know, and the
soldiers, and liberty,--oh, yes, Liberty, of course,--and, oh, things
in general." Though he had thundered for hours his words would likely
have been ineffective. Only an intense realization of the purpose in
one's mind, and a consistent bending of one's efforts to gain this end,
bring simplicity, weightiness, and the powerful effect in the reader's
mind. From the reader's point of view, in fact, we might say that
the controlling purpose is the means of making writing interesting,
since nothing so holds a reader's mind as to feel that he is getting
somewhere, that he is accomplishing something by his efforts. In no
other way can he be made so clearly to see his progress, for only thus
can he be prevented from undirected wandering.

Source of the Controlling Purpose

_a._ _The Subject itself_

When we ask how we shall find and choose the controlling purpose, we
discover that it is determined by three things; the subject itself, the
personality of the writer, and the character of the reader. Just how
these three operate to determine the cast of the writing we shall now
attempt to discover.

The first thing for the writer to do is to look at the subject itself
and learn what it is, really understand it. He must know its exact
nature before he can be allowed to proceed with the development. Now
this often requires much honesty, for it is necessary to put aside
prejudice and bias of all kinds and to look at the subject just as it
is, with a passionate desire to learn its exact nature. For example, if
you are to write about the value of a college education, and you are an
idealist, you may be tempted to overlook the fact that such a training
does actually help a man to earn more money than he otherwise would. You
may think that such a consideration is beneath your dignity. But you
must put aside your prejudice for the time being and must look the fact
honestly in the face. And, if you are a hard-headed, practical person,
you must nevertheless admit that a college education is broadening,
chastening, in its influence. In either case you will not stop until
you have looked at all possible sides of the subject. You will amass
such facts, then, as that a college education is broadening, that it
increases earning capacity, that it puts a person in touch with the
world, that it makes him more able to be a useful citizen. Other facts
also will occur to you, but let us suppose that these are the most
important. If you carefully examine them you will perhaps come to the
conclusion that a college education is valuable in that it helps a
person to realize his best possibilities in every way, as a citizen,
a friend, a personality. Or, if you are to write about the aeroplane,
you will discover that it is heavier than air, that it is propelled
by motor-power, that it attains certain speeds, that it has definite
lifting power, that it is self-stabilizing to a remarkable degree, that
it is made of certain kinds of material, of certain weight, and that
it has one, or two, or even three planes. In addition you will note
the qualities of efficiency, of triumphing over winds, of beautiful
poise, and smoothness of execution. In both these cases you have been
seeking the core of your subject, the real meaning of it, its essence.
You must, before you begin to write a word, be able to say what all the
noticed facts amount to, to say, "All told, this subject, this machine,
or whatever it is, means so-and-so." Perhaps of the aeroplane you would
say, "This machine stands for wonderful potential efficiency, not yet
completely understood." In the same way we say of people and things, "He
is a bore," or "a tyrant," or, "That is a great social menace," or some
other such comment. In each case we have tagged the person or thing with
what we think it is at its heart, with its total significance. And not
until we have done this are we at all ready to begin writing.

_b._ _The Writer's Attitude_

The second influence in determining the controlling purpose is the
reaction of the writer to the subject. In the following estimate of Lord
Morley, the great English statesman, you will notice that, though the
treatment seems to be, at first, purely objective, quite impersonal,
the author cannot keep himself out: he enters with the fifth word,
"thrilling," in which he shows where he stands himself in regard to
truth, and he appears more at length in the last two clauses of the
selection, where he definitely set the approval of his own heart upon
Lord Morley's attitude. The third influence, that of the reader, appears
also, for when you consider that the article was written for Englishmen
to read, you see the molding for the national temper, different of
necessity from that which would have been made for Frenchmen, for
example. The author relies upon a knowledge of Morley among his readers,
and upon a certain definite attitude among them toward the truth.

     You will catch that thrilling note in the oratory of Lord
     Morley at all times, for he touches politics with a certain
     spiritual emotion that makes it less a business or a game than a
     religion. He lifts it out of the street on to the high lands where
     the view is wide and the air pure and where the voices heard are
     the voices that do not bewilder or betray. He is the conscience of
     the political world--the barometer of our corporate soul. Tap him
     and you will see whether we are at "foul" or "fair." He has often
     been on the losing side: sometimes perhaps on the wrong side: never
     on the side of wrong. He is

     True as a dial to the sun,
     Although it be not shined upon.

     There is about him a sense of the splendid austerity of
     truth--cold but exhilarating. It is not merely that he does not
     lie. There are some other politicians of whom that may be said. It
     is that he does not trifle with truth. It is sacred and inviolate.
     He would not admit with Erasmus that "there are seasons when we
     must even conceal truth," still less with Fouché that "les paroles
     sont faites pour cacher nos pensées."[2] His regard for the truth
     is expressed in the motto to the essay "On Compromise": "It makes
     all the difference in the world whether we put truth in the first
     place or in the second." This inflexible veracity is the rarest
     and the most precious virtue in politics. It made him, if not, as
     Trevelyan says of Macaulay, "the worst popular candidate since
     Coriolanus," at least a severe test of a constituency's attachment.
     It is Lord Morley's contribution to the common stock. Truth and
     Justice--these are the fixed stars by which he steers his barque,
     and even the Prayer Book places Religion and Piety after them, for
     indeed they are the true foundation of religion and piety.[3]

  [2] Words were made to conceal our thoughts.

  [3] A. G. Gardiner: _Prophets, Priests, and Kings_. By permission of
      the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City.

The second consideration, then, is, "What does this subject mean to
me?" Of course there are subjects in which this question is of slight
importance: in writing a treatise on mathematics, for instance, one
might be quite indifferent to any personal reaction, though in even such
a piece of writing there might appear a thrill at the neat marshaling
of forces for the inevitable waiting answer to the problem. In general,
however, this question is of great importance. Stevenson goes so far as
even to say that the author's attitude is more important than the facts
themselves. Certainly a writer cannot tell what is the truth for himself
unless he expresses his ideas in the light of his own personality.
Suppose that in the case of the aeroplane, though you believe the
central fact as we expressed it above, you are primarily appealed to by
the fact that the motor is of the utmost importance, and that at present
it is not so highly developed as it should be for perfect flying. You
are, in other words, impressed with the problem that confronts engineers
of making the motor more efficient. Your controlling purpose would now
be modified, then, and would perhaps read, "The aeroplane is a machine
of wonderful potential efficiency not yet completely understood,
_especially as regards the driving power_." In the same way you would
modify the purpose of the treatment of college education and might say,
"A college education is valuable in that it helps a person to realize
his best possibilities in every way, but _especially as an heir of all
the wisdom of the ages gone_."

The relative importance of this second consideration depends on whether
the subject is much or little affected by personal interpretation. In
the personal essay, as written by Lamb, for example, we may care more
for the man than for the facts, or more for the facts as seen by the man
than for the mere facts alone. In questions of society, of morality, of
taste, in which the answer is not absolute in any case, in all matters
that affect the well-being of humanity and in which there is a shifting
standard, the attitude of the writer is important. The writer who wishes
to have a voice of authority must cling to the fact as to a priceless
jewel, but he must also remember that if, for example, he is writing
on Feminism, or Socialism, or Church Attendance, or The Short Ballot,
or The New Poetry, or The Value of Social Clubs in the Country, or
any such subject, we, the readers, eagerly wait on his words as being
primarily an expression of his personal reaction to the matter. And the
final value of the treatment will depend on whether the personality is
well-poised, largely sympathetic, able to take an elastic view of the
subject and to bring it home to the reader as a piece of warmly felt and
honestly stated conviction. In exposition, as well as in argument, we
must ask the witness,--that is, the writer,--whether he is prejudiced
or not. Especially must we do this when we happen to be the author
ourselves. Violent condemnation of Capital by a man who has become
embittered by mistreatment at the hands of employers must be taken with
somewhat of caution, just as sweeping arraignment of Socialism by an
arrogant capitalist must be eyed askance.

It might not be amiss to remark here that the writer in a college class
who declares that he has no reaction to his subject, that he is quite
indifferent to it, should do one of two things, either choose a new
subject, or drop from college and go to work at some vitalizing effort
with other people which will bring home realities to him in such a way
that he cannot fail to react.

In the following brief incident it is interesting to note how the author
shows his own personality. Another would have thought of the problem
of dietetics involved, or of the absence of coffee or "parritch" or
the rasher of bacon, or of the austerity of the meal. To Gissing[4]
the incident was significant as showing a national characteristic both
admirable and amusing.

  [4] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Summer,"
      XXI. By permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York

     At an inn in the north I once heard three men talking at their
     breakfast on the question of diet. They agreed that most people ate
     too much meat, and one of them went so far as to declare that,
     for his part, he rather preferred vegetables and fruit. "Why," he
     said, "will you believe me that I sometimes make a breakfast of
     apples?" This announcement was received in silence; evidently the
     two listeners didn't quite know what to think of it. Thereupon the
     speaker, in rather a blustering tone, cried out, "Yes, I can make a
     very good breakfast on _two or three pounds of apples_."

Wasn't it amusing? And wasn't it characteristic? This honest Briton
had gone too far in frankness. 'T is all very well to like vegetables
and fruit up to a certain point; but to breakfast on apples! His
companions' silence proved that they were just a little ashamed of him;
his confession savoured of poverty or meanness; to right himself in
their opinion, nothing better occurred to the man than to protest that
he ate apples, yes, but not merely one or two; he ate them largely,
_by the pound_! I laughed at the fellow, but I thoroughly understood
him; so would every Englishman; for at the root of our being is a
hatred of parsimony. This manifests itself in all manner of ludicrous
or contemptible forms, but no less is it the source of our finest
qualities. An Englishman desires, above all, to live largely; on
that account he not only dreads but hates and despises poverty. His
virtues are those of the free-handed and warm-hearted opulent man; his
weaknesses come of the sense of inferiority (intensely painful and
humiliating) which attaches in his mind to one who cannot spend and
give; his vices, for the most part, originate in loss of self-respect
due to loss of secure position.

_c._ _The Reader_

The third consideration is, "Who is my reader, and what are his
characteristics?" The counter-question, "What difference does it
make who my reader is?" can be summarily answered with the statement
that it makes a great deal of difference. As soon as you note what a
large part temperament plays in the forming of opinions in politics
and religion and social questions, and remember that no two people
ever react to any truth in exactly the same way--that what seems to
one sensible person monstrous will appear to another equally sensible
person as highly virtuous--you will see that in all writing, where
either the understanding or the emotions are involved, this question
assumes importance. If we believe the theory with which we set out,
that all writing is done to accomplish an object, that is, a certain
effect in the reader's mind, and then remember that different readers
take different trails to the same objective, and that some must be even
coaxed back from one trail into another, we shall see that it is vital
that the reader do not select the wrong way, and, like a futile dog,
"bark up the wrong tree." A hasty glance at current magazines will at
once show how operative this consideration is in practical writing:
_The Atlantic Monthly_ uses a different set of subjects and a different
style of expression from that of _The Scientific American_ or _The Black
Cat_ or _The Parisienne_. The editors, in other words, are remembering
who their readers are and are trying to meet them with gifts, not with
weapons of offense. After all, the reader is always the destination of
all writing; the place where the effect will be made is the reader's

To apply this third consideration to our two subjects, the value of a
college education and the aeroplane, let us see how the treatment should
differ according to the differing readers. If, in the treatment of the
first subject, we are presenting our statements to a body of educators,
even though the facts of college education remain unmoved, and though
our personal leaning toward the supreme value in dowering the student
with the wisdom of the past is unchanged, we shall yet see that these
educators have already thought as we have about the matter, that merely
to repeat to them will be futile and wearying; and we shall, if we are
wise, change the point of attack and develop the value as enabling the
student _to apply to practical problems the wisdom of the past_. Or, if
the readers are to be politicians whom we wish to enlist in sympathy
with larger endowments, we shall perhaps treat the subject as being
_increased political insight and sympathy with all people_. In the
treatment of the aeroplane, if we are presenting our words to engineers,
we shall probably analyze the present lack of proper engine power and
try to suggest means of correction. And we shall make our presentation
in language that has not been stripped of its technicalities but has
been allowed to stand in engineering terms. But if we address a body of
benevolent women who are trying to organize an "Airmen's Relief Fund,"
and who look upon the machine with horror as a potential destroyer
of life, we shall simply show that _accidents may be caused through
faulty engines which may often result in loss of life_. The original
controlling purpose will now appear, "The value of a college education
lies in its offering the best chance for personal development through
showing to the student his heirship to all the wisdom of the ages
past, especially as this is applied to present-day problems," or, "The
aeroplane is a machine of great potential efficiency not yet completely
understood, especially as regards the driving power, through which lack
of understanding grave accidents may occur."

Now if we scan these two statements carefully, I believe that we shall
be persuaded of their inadequacy. To explain to the benevolent women
who are interested in saving lives the fact that we do not yet fully
understand the aeroplane, is like attempting to persuade a man from the
path of an oncoming thunderous locomotive by telling him of the lack of
laws to regulate public safety. In other words, we have forgotten that a
wedge makes the easiest entrance, and we have attacked on far too broad
a front, have failed to whittle away the chips that are of no value to
the reader. Perhaps we need a complete restatement of the controlling
purpose, occasioned by the nature of the reader. We may say that the
value of a college education is in enabling a student to be of service
to the state by applying the wisdom of the past, or that the aeroplane,
partly through our ignorance of it, is causing terrible accidents.
These purposes are far different from those with which we started out.
All are perfectly true; these are better adapted to our particular
readers, are more useful in helping to accomplish our selected aim. The
gist of the matter is this: wisdom in writing demands that we discover
the special loophole through which our readers regard the subject and
then bring our material within the view from that loophole, bearing
in mind always the training and the prejudices of the reader, and
conforming material to suit the special needs.

One large reason why college themes are liable to dullness is the fact
that few students write for any one in particular. They merely put down
colorless facts which do not stir a reader in the slightest. They forget
that facts exist, really, only as they relate to people, individual
people, and that they must be clothed attractively, as is virtue for
a child's consumption, or the reader will have none of them. Even
the patient writer of themes should regard a specially chosen reader
as at the same time his best friend and his potentially worst enemy:
friend in the sense of recipient of literary gifts, and enemy in the
sense of possible foiler of all the author's good intentions. As enemy
the reader must be conquered, must be made to read and understand; as
friend he is to be sympathetically met and smiled upon. And if there
be no reader determined by the circumstances, the writer should choose
some well-known friend and adapt his material to that friend, or should
select any ordinarily intelligent being and use the widest appeal that
he can.

_d._ _Relative Value of Sources_

Now the relative value of these three sources of the controlling purpose
is variable. In an article for the encyclopædia the writer's reaction
should be subordinated, since the reader comes to the encyclopædia for
facts and not for opinion. Likewise the reader, in such an article,
will be of minor importance, for the article is addressed to general
ordinary intelligence that desires a straightforward statement. But as
we have seen, an article on Feminism must with the greatest care watch
the reader and the writer--the reader because the subject rouses both
assent and opposition; the writer because the subject is of the kind
that depend largely on opinion. So a theme on the problem of the hired
man, or Tennyson's attitude toward science, or the reasons for attending
one university rather than another, or the value of mechanical stokers,
or the application of Mendel's Law to human beings will vary its purpose
according to the varying importance of the three sources. Only one great
caution needs to be made. Never falsify or mistreat the facts: they are
the supreme thing. It is for this fault that the newspapers are most
blameable: they consider their readers and their own points of view, but
all too often they treat the facts cavalierly. A high reverence for the
truth, and an unflinching determination to tell it are prime essentials.

The Controlling Purpose and the Emotional Reaction

So far we have been concerned with the problem of placing the _facts_
before the reader, of appealing to his intelligence. But writing
consists of vastly more than that alone. After the understanding,
sometimes before, must be considered the emotions. We have the facts, we
know what we think of them, and we are reasonably sure of the reader's
attitude. Now we must discover how to set the reader's emotions afire
in so far as we desire such an effect. In listening to a great tragedy
we perceive the cold analysis of a great truth of life; but that is
not all: far out beyond the bounds of understanding our emotions are
profoundly stirred and we _feel_ pity and terror. So in the account of
a tremendous battle, of a fire, of anything that touches human life
at all nearly and with power, our emotions are called into play. Now
different pieces of writing, just like different subjects, call for
different degrees of emotional reaction. Drama always rouses us, lyric
poems depend upon their emotional quality, the informal essay has much
emotional appeal, fiction of any sort stirs our feelings, and the more
powerful the writing is, the more sure the appeal.

At first thought most expository writing might be considered to make
slight appeal, if any, to emotions. That is not necessarily true; the
more effective the exposition, the more real is usually the call to
feeling. Often this call is subtle, usually it is subordinate to the
appeal to the understanding, but in most effective expository writing
it will be found. In an explanation of the Panama Canal certainly there
would be roused the reader's admiration and wonder at the magnitude
of the operation. The mere analysis of the facts in a criminal trial
often settles the case, so great is the emotional appeal. In didactic
writing the call to emotion is less strong, though such a writer as
Jonathan Edwards could explain the writhing of man like a spider before
the Almighty in a profoundly moving way. In axiomatic mathematical
propositions we find perhaps the least strong appeal: that the sum of
the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles might seem to be
divorced from all excitement. But in most exposition when emotional
appeal is overlooked the writing suffers.

In an account of the American Civil War, for example, the writer
might set out to show that the conflict was the culmination of the
struggle between yeoman and cavalier begun long since in England. But
the war meant more than that. The author will then see the emotional
significance of the fight and will add to his purpose the intention
to thrill the reader at the magnificent exhibition, on both sides, of
devotion to an idea. So Emerson, in his essay on "Fate" in _The Conduct
of Life_, fills the reader with gloom for page after page, detailing how
thoroughly the individual is bound down by conditions of birth, sex,
breeding, wealth--and then in two wonderful sentences he turns the
whole course of thought and emotion by saying, "Intellect annuls fate.
So far as a man thinks, he is free," and the reader is stirred as with a
trumpet call to renewed courage, which, to use Emerson's words, "neither
brandy, nor nectar, nor sulphuric ether, nor hell-fire, nor ichor, nor
poetry, nor genius" can overcome. And the historian Greene, in his
well-known account of Queen Elizabeth, states his controlling purpose
in the words, "Elizabeth was at once the daughter of Henry and of Anne
Boleyn." But these words are not the whole of his purpose; he intends,
besides the intellectual grasping of the Queen's character, an intense
admiration and wonder at the resourcefulness, the shrewd judgment, and a
reaction of amusement to the strange outbreaks of unwomanly freaks or of
feminine wiles.

The controlling purpose, then, is almost always of a dual nature; it
aims at both the understanding and the emotions. Whenever there is any
real possibility of making it thus double the writer should so express
it to himself.

In the following magazine article such a double purpose obviously
exists. First of all there are the facts of the marching of American
troops through London. These facts are unchangeable. Baldly stated, the
significance of the fact is that the New World is coming to the help
of the Old World against the monster of unrestrained militarism. To a
person who regards life coldly, as the mere interplay of calculable
forces, one whose emotions are not concerned, this would be a sufficient
statement of the whole truth, of the total significance. But such
writing would miss the chance of power, would be forever less valuable
than it ought to be, for a great warming of the heart answers those
footfalls in London streets. In other words, just as we have seen that
there are two kinds of exposition--mere noting of facts and interpreting
of facts--so we now see that interpretation can be either lifeless,
or moving, charged with power. It is the old difference between the
drama and a sermon: the play thrills and the sermon convinces. Either
may add the other quality--a fine drama or a well-made sermon does. In
this account of American soldiers in London the truth is made clear, but
far more than that it is made alive, pulsating with emotion of national
pride, of racial solidarity, of high moral purpose. In so far as the
writer succeeds in stirring us, in just so far he is more likely to make
the truth take hold upon us and bind us firmly in its grasp. It is the
writing that both convinces and moves us that is lasting, that is really


  [5] Stacy Aumonier, in _The Century Magazine_, December, 1917. By
      courtesy of the publisher, The Century Company, New York City.

     At midday on August 15 I stood on the pavement in Cockspur
     Street and watched the first contingent of American troops pass
     through London.

     I had been attracted thither by the lure of a public "show,"
     by the blare of a band, and by a subconscious desire to pay tribute
     in my small way to a great people. It was a good day for London,
     intermittently bright, with great scurrying masses of cumuli
     overhead, and a characteristic threat of rain, which fortunately
     held off. Cockspur Street, as you know, is a turning off Trafalgar
     Square, and I chose it because the crowd was less dense there than
     in the square itself. By getting behind a group of shortish people
     and by standing on tiptoe I caught a fleeting view of the faces of
     nearly every one of the passing soldiers.

     London is schooled to shows of this kind. The people gather
     and wait patiently on the line of route. And then some genial
     policemen appear and mother the people back into some sort of line,
     an action performed with little fuss or trouble. Then mounted
     police appear, headed by some fat official in a cockade hat and
     with many ribbons on his chest. And some one in the crowd calls out:

     "Hullo, Percy! Mind you don't fall off yer 'orse!"

     Then the hearers laugh and begin to be on good terms with
     themselves, for they know that the "show" is coming. Then follows
     the inevitable band, and we begin to cheer.

     It is very easy and natural for a London crowd to cheer. I
     have heard Kaiser William II cheered in the streets of London!
     We always cheer our guests, and we love a band and a "show"
     almost as much as our republican friends across the channel. I
     have seen royal funerals and weddings, processions in honor of
     visiting presidents and kings, the return of victorious generals,
     processions of Canadian, Australian, Indian, French and Italian
     troops and bands. I wouldn't miss these things for worlds. They
     give color to our social life and accent to our everyday emotions.
     It is, moreover, peculiarly interesting to observe national traits
     on a march: the French, with their exuberant élan, throwing kisses
     to the women as they pass; our own Tommies, who have surprised the
     world with their gayety, and keep up a constant ragging intercourse
     with the crowd and cannot cease from singing; the Indians, who
     pass like a splendidly carved frieze; the Canadians, who move
     with a free and independent swing and grin in a friendly way; the
     Scotch, who carry it off better than any one. But I had never seen
     American troops, and I was anxious to see how they behaved. I said
     to myself, "The American is volatile and impressionable, like a
     child." I had met Americans who within an hour's acquaintance
     had told me their life-story, given me their views on religion,
     politics, and art, and invited me to go out to Iowa or Wisconsin or
     California, and spend the summer with them. Moreover, the American
     is above all things emotional and--may I say it?--sentimental. It
     would therefore be extremely interesting to see how he came through
     this ordeal.

     The first band passed, and the people were waving flags and
     handkerchiefs from the windows. We could hear the cheers go up from
     the great throng in the square. And there at last, sure enough, was
     Old Glory, with its silken tassels floating in the London breeze,
     carried by a solemn giant, with another on either side.

     And then they came, marching in fours, with their rifles at
     the slope, the vanguard of Uncle Sam's army. And we in Cockspur
     Street raised a mighty cheer. They were solemn, bronzed men, loose
     of limb, hard, and strong, with a curious set expression of purpose
     about them.

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     And they looked neither to the right nor the left; nor did
     they look up or smile or apparently take any notice of the cheers
     we raised. We strained forward to see their faces, and we cried out
     to them our welcome.

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     They were not all tall; some were short and wiry. Some of the
     officers were rather elderly and wore horn spectacles. But they did
     not look at us or raise a smile of response. They held themselves
     very erect, but their eyes were cast down or fixed upon the back
     of the man in front of them. There came an interval, and another
     band, and then Old Glory once more, and we cheered the flag even
     more than the men. Fully a thousand men passed in this solemn
     procession, not one of them smiling or looking up. It became almost
     disconcerting. It was a thing we were not used to. A fellow-cockney
     near me murmured:

     "They're solemn-looking blokes, ain't they?"

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     The band blared forth once more, a drum-and-fife corps with
     a vibrant thrill behind it. We strained forward more eagerly to
     see the faces of our friends from the New World. We loved it best
     when the sound of the band had died away and the only music was
     the steady throb of those friendly boots upon our London streets.
     And still they did not smile. I had a brief moment of some vague
     apprehension, as though something could not be quite right. Some
     such wave, I think, was passing through the crowd. What did it mean?

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     The cheers died away for a few moments in an exhausted
     diminuendo. Among those people, racked by three years of strain and
     suffering, there probably was not one who had not lost some one
     dear to them. Even the best nerves have their limit of endurance.
     Suddenly the ready voice of a woman from the pavement called out:

     "God bless you, Sammy!"

     And then we cheered again in a different key, and I noticed
     a boy in the ranks throw back his head and look up. On his face
     was the expression we see only on the faces of those who know the
     finer sensibilities--a fierce, exultant joy that is very near akin
     to tears. And gradually I became aware that on the faces of these
     grim men was written an emotion almost too deep for expression.

     As they passed it was easy to detect their ethnological
     heritage. There was the Anglo-Saxon type, perhaps predominant; the
     Celt; the Slav; the Latin; and in many cases definitely the Teuton:
     and yet there was not one of them that had not something else, who
     was not preëminently a good "United States man." It was as though
     upon the anvil of the New World all the troubles of the Old, after
     being passed through a white-hot furnace, had been forged into
     something clear and splendid. And they were hurrying on to get this
     accomplished. For once and all the matter must be settled.

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     There was a slight congestion, and the body of men near me
     halted and marked time. A diminutive officer with a pointed beard
     was walking alone. A woman in the crowd leaned forward and waved an
     American flag in his face. He saluted, made some kindly remark, and
     then passed on.

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     The world must be made safe for democracy.

     And I thought inevitably of the story of the Titan myth, of
     Prometheus, the first real democrat, who held out against the gods
     because they despised humanity. And they nailed him to a rock, and
     cut off his eyelids, and a vulture fed upon his entrails.

     But Prometheus held on, his line of reasoning being:

     "After Uranus came Cronus. After Cronus came Zeus. After Zeus
     will come other gods."

     It is the finest epic in human life, and all the great
     teachers and reformers who came after told the same story--Christ,
     Vishnu, Confucius, Mohammed, Luther, Shakespeare. The fundamental
     basis of their teaching was love and faith in humanity. And
     whenever humanity is threatened, the fires which Prometheus stole
     from the gods will burn more brightly in the heart of man, and they
     will come from all quarters of the world.

     He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
     He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible, swift sword.

     There is no quarter, no mercy, to the enemies of humanity.
     There is no longer a war; it is a crusade. And as I stood on the
     flags of Cockspur Street, I think I understood the silence of those
     grim men. They seemed to epitomize not merely a nation, not merely
     a flag, but the unbreakable sanctity of human rights and human
     life. And I knew that whatever might happen, whatever the powers
     of darkness might devise, whatever cunning schemes or diabolical
     plans, or whatever temporary successes they might attain, they
     would ultimately go down into the dust before "the fateful
     lightning." "After Zeus will come other gods."

     _Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp._

     Nothing could live and endure against that steady and
     irresistible progression. And we know how you can do things,
     America. We have seen your workshops, your factories, and your
     engines of peace. And we have seen those young men of yours at the
     Olympic Games, with their loose, supple limbs, their square, strong
     faces. When the Spartans, lightly clad, but girt for war, ran
     across the hills to Athens and, finding the Persian hosts defeated,
     laughed, and congratulated the Athenians, and ran back again--since
     those days there never were such runners, such athletes, as these
     boys of yours from Yale and Harvard, Princeton and Cornell.

     And so on that day, if we cheered the flag more than we
     cheered the men, it was because the flag was the symbol of the
     men's hearts, which were too charged with the fires of Prometheus
     to trust themselves expression.

     At least that is how it appeared to me on that forenoon in
     Cockspur Street, and I know that later in the day, when I met a
     casual friend, and he addressed me with the usual formula of the

     "Any news?"

     I was able to say:

     "Yes, the best news in the world."

     And when he replied:

     "What news?"

     I could say with all sincerity:

     "I have seen a portent. The world is safe for democracy."

Proper Use of the Controlling Purpose

Despite whatever of good has been said here about the controlling
purpose, there may lurk the suspicion that it is, after all, dangerous,
that perhaps it gives to a piece of writing a tendency toward bias,
partial interpretation, even unfairness, and that it makes toward
incompleteness. In the first place, in answering this charge, we must
remember that facts _as related to people_ are eternally subject to
different interpretations according to shifting significance, which is
determined largely by the individual to whom the facts are related. In
the second place we have to remind ourselves that seldom does a writer
try to say all that can be said about his subject. Much is always either
implied or left to another piece of writing. And finally, even when
an author attempts perfect completeness and objectivity, he usually
addresses his work to some one in particular, even though the "some
one" is as vague as the general reading public; and that some one has a
particular attitude that must be borne in mind.

In "Solemn-Looking Blokes" not everything about the subject is said.
From one point of view the tramp of American feet in London streets
signified that the United States had emerged from its traditional
aloofness and had joined the main current of the world; from another,
that a tremendous military preparation was going on in America, the
first fruits of which were those solemn ringing steps; from another,
that however Europe had professed to despise American power, she
was now willing, eager, to accept American aid; from another, that
the old enmity between England and America has been forgotten in
the common bond of like ideals and racial traditions. Each of these
possible meanings--and there are more not listed here--is implied in
the treatment actually given to the subject. No one of them is really
developed. Instead, we have flowering before us the idea that the world
is to be made safe for democracy. No one would presume to declare that
the total possibilities of the subject are here met and explained; yet
no one can rightly say that the chosen treatment is unfair. Considering
the facts, the author, and the people who would read the article, and
their emotional connection with the facts, we see that the author chose
the purpose that seemed most useful--to make American hearts warm to
the fact that their country was helping to make the world safer for all
men everywhere. In other words, facts are useful only in so far as they
accomplish some definite end, which, in writing, is to make the reader
see the truth as the author thinks that he should try to make the reader
see it.

Now, of course, if the writer makes an unfair analysis, if he blindly
or willfully falsifies in seeing or expressing his subject, his writing
is not only useless but actually vicious. The analysis must be correct.
Every subject has its center of truth, which can be discovered by
patient clear thinking; if the thinking be either unclear or impatient,
the interpretation will be false. If the author of "Solemn-Looking
Blokes" has made an incorrect estimate, his writing is futile. There is
no more challenging quest than the search for the real truth at the core
of a chosen subject. Perhaps the very difficulty of attaining success is
what has stayed many minds in floundering, timid, fogginess.

As to the charge that infusion of emotional quality into the writing
produces bias, first of all it must be said that if the subject contains
no emotion, none should be attempted in the writing. In a report, for
example, of the relative value of different woods for shingles, an
author will hardly try to infuse emotion, for the reader wishes to
learn, quickly and easily, just what kind of wood is the best. But most
subjects are not thus aloof; even the report about shingles becomes
of vast significance to the owner of extensive timber lands which are
suddenly found to be of high value. All subjects which concern the
prosperity and happiness of humanity are charged with emotion; the
nearer to the great facts of life, such as birth, marriage, death,
food, shelter, love, hatred, the keener the emotion. Who shall write of
problems of heredity and leave us unstirred? Who shall treat of our
vast irrigation projects, which turn the deserts into fair gardens and
give food to millions of people, without firing the imagination? The
writer's task is to look so clearly at his subject that he discovers its
true value to both brain and heart.

As a matter of fact, in writing of such subjects a writer finds that
words _will be_ emotional, whether he will have them so or not, that
they take sides, are charged with tendency and fly toward or away from
an emotional quality with all the power of electricity. Now, this
emotional quality, when it is uncontrolled, is dangerous. Words that
show tendency must be guided with the firm hand lest they lead the
reader into wrong impressions and into the confusion that comes from
counter emotions, the strong impression of disunion. It is only by
relating these cross-tendencies to a guiding idea that they can be made
to serve the author's purpose. To choose wisely a controlling purpose
that recognizes and handles the inherent emotions of words is merely to
organize inescapable material. In the following selection from Emerson's
"Fate" we find the emotional quality both high and well-organized.
Such a paragraph might easily be made to confuse a reader hopelessly,
but Emerson drives the chargers of his thought straight to his goal,
intellectual and emotional, and holds tight his reins:

     Nature is no sentimentalist,--does not cosset or pamper us.
     We must see that the world is rough and surly, and will not mind
     drowning a man or a woman, but swallows your ship like a grain
     of dust. The cold, inconsiderate of persons, tingles your blood,
     benumbs your feet, freezes a man like an apple. The diseases, the
     elements, fortune, gravity, lightning, respect no persons. The way
     of Providence is a little rude. The habit of snake and spider, the
     snap of the tiger and other leapers and bloody jumpers, the crackle
     of the bones of his prey in the coil of the anaconda,--these are
     in the system, and our habits are like theirs. You have just
     dined, and however the slaughter-house is concealed in the graceful
     distance of miles, there is complicity, expensive races--race
     living at the expense of race. The planet is liable to shocks from
     comets, perturbations from planets, rendings from earthquake and
     volcano, alterations of climate, precessions of equinoxes. Rivers
     dry up by opening of the forest. The sea changes its bed. Towns
     and counties fall into it. At Lisbon an earthquake killed men like
     flies. At Naples three years ago ten thousand persons were crushed
     in a few minutes. The scurvy at sea, the sword of the climate in
     the west of Africa, at Cayenne, at Panama, at New Orleans, cut off
     men like a massacre. Our western prairies shake with fever and
     ague. The cholera, the small-pox, have proved as mortal to some
     tribes as a frost to crickets, which, having filled the summer with
     noise, are silenced by the fall of the temperature of one night.
     Without uncovering what does not concern us, or counting how many
     species of parasites hang on a bombyx, or groping after intestinal
     parasites or infusory biters, or the obscurities of alternate
     generation,--the forms of the shark, the _labrus_, the jaw of the
     sea-wolf paved with crushing teeth, the weapons of the grampus,
     and other warriors hidden in the sea, are hints of ferocity in the
     interior of nature. Let us not deny it up and down. Providence has
     a wild, rough, incalculable road to its end, and it is of no use to
     try to whitewash its huge, mixed instrumentalities, or to dress up
     that terrific benefactor in a clean shirt and white neck-cloth of a
     student in divinity.[6]

  [6] Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Fate," _The Conduct of Life_. Houghton
      Mifflin Company, publishers, Boston.

Now this controlling purpose, including both the appeal to the
understanding and that to the emotions, should be stated, clearly,
before the author begins his actual writing, in one sentence. The value
of this is at once apparent: our minds tend all too much to wander from
subject to subject, browsing here and there, without any really directed
feeding. Now such procedure, though difficult to avoid, is nevertheless
harmful to our writing. The edge of the writing is never so keen, the
telling of the message, whatever it may be, is never so well done,
until we thoroughly organize and direct all that we are to say. In
phrasing the controlling purpose in one sentence, we make just such an
organization. And we have one which is most easily handled, most easily
remembered, least likely to allow us to escape into empty wandering.
Even in a long work this should be done, this unifying knot should be
tied in the writer's mind. Those readers who rise from the last pages
of a long historical work, covering several volumes and hundreds or
thousands of pages, with a clear central conception of the whole work
are profoundly grateful to the author. It is safe to say that such a
conception could not have been given to the reader had not the writer,
before he wrote a word, formulated in a few words the goal, the aim of
his writing. This sentence should include the emotional appeal either as
stated in a separate clause or phrase, or as expressed in the choice of
words to present the facts.

The amount of machinery that seems to be required for using the
controlling purpose may appear too much for practical purposes in one
short lifetime. The truth is that the actual finding of the purpose will
require much less time, often, than the explanation of the process here
has needed. In a short theme you will often be able to scan the subject
itself, to estimate your own reaction to the subject, and to determine
upon your reader with remarkable quickness. More frequently you will
find difficulty in determining the emotional quality of the material
and your desires. But a little practice will enable you to do the
preliminary thinking with rapidity and comfort. But if your subject is
difficult, and if the effect is of great importance, by no means allow
yourself to be swerved from determination to find the real object which
you are seeking, but even at the expense of time and trouble state the
center of your intentions as related to the subject, yourself, and your

Practical Use of the Controlling Purpose

We have yet to answer the practical question: when I sit down to
write, of just what value will the controlling purpose be to me in the
actual task of expressing my ideas? How can it really serve me in my
writing? The answer is clear: the controlling purpose is of the utmost
strategic value in helping to select and arrange material for attack
upon the objective, which is the effect to be created in the reader's
mind. Now the best strategy always combines the line of greatest
advantage to the writer, the line of least resistance from the reader,
and the necessities of the subject. In other words, what point can
I attack easiest, where is my opponent weakest, what demands of the
ground--gullies, hills, swamps, etc.--must I allow for? Sometimes these
three are more or less mutually antagonistic; sometimes they unite with
the greatest helpfulness, as we shall see.

_Selection of Material_

The first question is, What, and how many, forces shall I choose for
the attack? Remember, we do not now merely attack in general, wherever
we find an enemy. Instead, we decide that our objective is, perhaps,
a hill ten miles across the enemy's frontier. The taking of that hill
is our controlling purpose. It would be easiest for us to use several
regiments of fresh young troops. But the terrain is strewn with gullies
and hillocks, with boulders and tangled timber. So we shall use two
regiments of veteran troops who are accustomed to rough country, and
follow these with some fresh youngsters who are endowed with sense and
a desire to outdo the veterans. Since the enemy has a strong battery,
we shall use heavy artillery. And since the enemy lacks machine guns,
we shall use many of them and catch him where he is weak and may be
terrified. We could easily send thirty camp kitchens to the fighting
lines, but strategy demands that they be kept back.

In exactly the same way Mr. Burroughs plans the essay which follows this
discussion. His controlling purpose is obviously to make the reader
understand the process of bee-hunting in such a way as to be attracted
to it as a delightful sport. The nature of the subject demands that
the several steps in the process be explained. Well, that suits Mr.
Burroughs, because he knows these steps. The easiest method for him
is to narrate his own experiences. Of course he could investigate the
authorities on bee-hunting, and write a treatise, but that would be more
difficult, and moreover, it would not meet the line of least resistance
from the reader. To be successful, the essay must overcome the reader's
inertia and make him feel that he is actually sharing in things that he
enjoys. The selection is thus determined. From his personal experience,
as giving the writer the greatest advantage, Mr. Burroughs chooses.
He selects details about the beauty of nature because a reader would
prefer to have fine surroundings. He mentions traits of the bee that are
interesting or necessary to know. He narrates two special experiences
of his own for added attractiveness. And all the while, lest inertia
raise its head, he lures the reader with the glimpses of pails full of
rich golden honey. In other words, keeping his eye for his controlling
purpose, Mr. Burroughs can easily select the things that will accomplish
that purpose to his own greatest advantage, the reader's greatest ease,
and according to the demands of the subject.

You do not find in the essay a discussion of the lucrative value of
bees, nor of the complicated life of the hive, nor of the present
standing of the science of bee-keeping. These topics, however
interesting, are not useful to the controlling purpose. The standard
is, not connection, but usefulness. "Any road," says Carlyle, "this
simple Entepfuhl road, will lead you to the end of the world," and if
you follow mere connection with your subjects, you will find yourself
at the end of the world. The practical helpfulness of the controlling
purpose is seen when you ask yourself the question, "Does the matter
that I am putting in this paragraph, this sentence, actually advance my
reader in thought or emotion or both, nearer the point to which I wish
to lead him?" Thus the question of selection is answered.

_The Ordering of the Material_

If we could have our own sweet will in attacking the hill ten miles
beyond the border, we should ask the enemy to stack his arms, and then,
with trumpet and drum and flag we should sweep in and take possession.
But our sweet will must give way to necessity. Since unscalable crags
lie ahead, we shall have to go round to the rear of the hill. Since we
must cross a swamp, engineers must precede and build a road. Though we
should like to crawl up a wide valley on the other side, we must choose
a smaller one, because the enemy could wither us away in the larger one.
And, to trick the enemy, we shall perhaps open fire far off on the left,
while we are stealing out to the right, and thus we may take him off his
guard. Our purpose of securing that hill makes these things necessary.

Similarly, in writing, we may sometimes employ the order of greatest
advantage, but more often we must modify this order to meet the
requirements of the subject and to rouse the least resistance from
the reader. In Stevenson's essay, "Pulvis et Umbra," part of which
follows the essay by Mr. Burroughs, the author used the method of
greatest advantage. His object is to thrill the reader at the thought
that mankind constantly strives in spite of all his failures. Several
orders are possible: he could treat of the striving alone, neglecting
the failure; he could treat the striving first and then the failure, or
vice versa, and so on. He saw that he would gain his purpose best if he
treated failure first, until he had fairly overwhelmed the reader, and
then suddenly shifted and showed that in spite of all this failure man
still strives. He had to run the risk of offending the reader at the
beginning by his insistence upon failure, and thus rousing the reader's
possible great resistance. For we do not like to read unpleasant things.
But he took the chance, knowing that if, by skillful use of words he
could persuade the reader through the first part, he could easily thrill
him with the reaction. For it makes a great difference whether we say,
"In spite of striving, man always fails," or "In spite of failure, man
always strives." The selection from the essay which appears here is
taken from the middle. It is interesting to note that the first two
sentences of the essay read: "We look for some reward of our endeavors
and are disappointed; not success, not happiness, not even peace of
conscience, crowns our ineffectual efforts to do well. Our frailties
are invincible, our virtues barren; the battle goes sore against us to
the going down of the sun." And the words of the final sentence of the
essay are: "Let it be enough for faith, that the whole creation groans
in mortal frailty, strives with unconquerable constancy: surely not all
in vain."

In the essay by Mr. Burroughs the author's advantage and the reader's
acquiescence largely coincide, so that the author can at once begin
with remarks about the attractiveness of the hunt, the delights of its
successful conclusion. To discuss at once the possibility of being stung
would have been unwise, because unpleasant, and the controlling purpose
of the essay is to attract. Later, this topic can safely be tucked in.

Mr. Wilson's war messages showed a combination of the lines of greatest
advantage and of least resistance with the nature of the historical
events. These messages began with a series of facts which, obviously
true, would rouse no resistance and would at the same time insert some
resentment against Germany, the very thing that the author wished to
do. Then they followed the strict chronological order, as if the author
were pursuing a course already mapped for him--which, of course, he
was not doing. With the controlling purpose of showing that America's
entrance into the war was occasioned entirely by Germany's actions, he
then proceeded to base the proposals of the messages upon the very facts
that the readers had already accepted in accordance with his ultimate
point of view. Such skillful manipulation deserved the success that the
messages met.

All three of these examples gain their point, their objective. They do
this largely because the authors knew exactly what they wished to do,
what their controlling purposes were, and then marshaled their material
so as to accomplish this end. Some of the topics that are subordinated,
such, for example, as the possibility of being stung, are as important
as others which are magnified, such as the beauty of nature--that is,
they are as important in an impersonal way. As soon as the controlling
purpose is known, however, they immediately become dangerous unless so
placed as to bring the reader nearer the goal and not to push him from
it. The point is that knowing the controlling purpose, that is, having
thought out beforehand exactly what you wish to do with subject and
reader, you are at once aware of both helps and obstacles, and can make
use of the one, avoid the other.

Thus you will consider both the reader's ease and his prejudices. If
you are to write of abstruse matters, of some question in philosophy
or ethics or religion, in order to carry your reader with you you will
begin with things that he can understand, and thus pave a highway into
the misty lands where you desire to take him. Failure of some eminent
philosophers to receive recognition has been due to their lack of a
comprehensive controlling purpose, to their restricting attention to the
subject alone regardless of the reader. In setting forth the principle
of the machinery that digs tunnels under rivers Mr. Brooks in _The
Web-foot Engineer_ first shows how a boy digs a tunnel into a sand
bank, and then proceeds, with the reader's understanding assured, to the
more complex but still similar operation under the river. In explaining
inductive reasoning, with the controlling purpose of making it seem both
frequent and natural, Huxley showed first how we reason practically
about the nature of apples in a basket at the grocer's. The reader's
resistance is thus avoided and the writer's advantage is increased.

A shrewd controlling purpose also makes allowance for the reader's
prejudices. You ought to take as much care to cajole your reader into
following you as the cook does to make us happy to the final morsel.
After ices and cakes and coffee a roast or a soup is positively
offensive; the cook wisely wins the battle of the spit and the dripping
pan while the epicure is still receptive. So, if you are to explain
democracy in a state where the recall of judges is practiced to an
aristocrat who distrusts the "common herd" and is easily ruffled, you
will do well to preface discussion of this recall with words about the
general excellence of life in the state and then, when your reader is
in a mood of acceptance, pass to the possibly offensive topic. Without
knowing just what you wish to accomplish, you are likely to write in
what may seem a dogged, defiant mood that intends to strike right and
left, hoping to wallow through to victory.

If between us and the enemy's fort is a stream which needs pontoons for
crossing, and we blindly start out marching up toward victory with no
pontoons, we shall perhaps sail away to sea, but shall also probably
not win the fort. If we insist upon keeping our platoon as rigidly
straight, even while we climb hills through the woods, as ever a line
was kept at West Point, we shall come to grief. So, if the logic of the
subject has imperious demands, the controlling purpose must make count
of them. William James in his essay, "The Moral Equivalent of War,"
saw that before a reader could understand how civic work could be a
moral equivalent, he must see what the morality of war is. The subject
demands this. In an account of the United States Government it might be
logically necessary to state and explain first the theory of checks and
balances before the relations of executive, legislative, and judicial
branches could be properly estimated. Wisely chosen, the controlling
purpose of such an account would make this fact at once evident.

Constantly keeping in mind, in planning and composing an article, what
the objective is, makes even the individual paragraphs and sentences
more successful. If you will examine the paragraphs in "Pulvis et
Umbra," you will observe, pretty uniformly, at the beginning and end of
each, a strong statement of the message of the paragraph, sentences of
high emotional value. Each paragraph definitely advances the cause of
the controlling purpose. Even the sentences--an example of a sentence
uncontrolled occurs in Mr. Hamlin Garland's book, _A Son of the Middle
Border_: "It stood on the bank of a wide river and had all the value of
a seaport to me, for in summer-time great hoarsely bellowing steam-boats
came and went from its quay, and all about it rose high wooded hills."
The final item about the hills is in no way necessary, does not even
help to give the feeling of a seaport, which more often than not lacks
high hills. A sentence from Stevenson is in contrast: "The sun upon my
shoulders warmed me to the heart, and I stooped forward and plunged into
the sea." In this sentence facts, rhythm, even the sound of the words
drive in one direction.

Without being too dogmatic--for every problem in writing is new and
not infrequently a law to itself--you may be sure that if you have a
definite controlling purpose, and know well what it is, you will be more
likely to attain success with subject and with reader when you come to
the ordering of your material.

Finally, since strategy suggests that we attack the weakest places in
the enemy's defense, we shall do well, unless the logic of the subject
or the reader's prejudice demand otherwise, to make our strongest
blows when the enemy, the reader, is least prepared, that is, at the
beginning and the end. Success in writing depends so much upon the
freshness of the reader's mind, that an _attaque brusque_ at first to
insert important things, and a strong reinforcement at the end, when
the reader is pricking up his ears at the coming final period, form
a wise strategy. If, in order to understand one point, another is
necessary, or to avoid irritation, a roundabout method is advisable,
the path is plain. When these accidents do not obtain, the reader's
understanding will be most easily won at the beginning and the end. At
these points you must see to it that the reader is guided, with the
first word, toward the emotional tone that your controlling purpose
demands, and toward some important idea that bolsters this purpose, even
if, as we have seen Stevenson do, you seem to be at first flying away
from the purpose which we later discover. Thus Mr. Taft, in an article
entitled "Present Relations of the Learned Professions to Political
Government," places the ministry at the beginning and the law at the
end. His controlling purpose is to make the reader believe that every
profession offers large chance for the conscientious man to be of use to
the political government. Consequently he chooses the two that he thinks
most important, and of these places the less important at the beginning
and the more important at the end. In this way he succeeds at once in
turning the reader as he wishes, and leaves him also with the strongest
possible bias toward belief. And since these two professions offer the
greatest chance for victory for his controlling purpose, he gives them
much more space than to the others, almost three times as much to law,
for instance, as to teaching.

Moreover, since the emotions are affected in much writing, the skilled
strategist will instantly bear in mind just what emotion he wishes
to rouse, and will see that the ideas of greater moving value receive
larger development. Mr. Burroughs gives much more space to the sections
that deal with the excitement and the joy of bee-hunting than to those
that deal with the less pleasant side. To the difficulty of detecting
the flight of a bee he gives the single sentence: "Sometimes one's head
will swim following it, and often one's eyes are put out by the sun." To
the interesting actions of the bee when it is caught he gives at least
ten times as much space. In this way he guides the reader's emotions in
the way he wishes them to go--and makes successful writing.

The chief strategic problem in exposition, then, is that of so choosing
and arranging the material that the point of the writing is made
with the proper emphasis. For the accomplishment of this purpose the
writer must be able to answer the question, "_What do I wish to do
in this piece of writing?_" Then he must bring all the material and
its expression to bear upon the reader's mind so that the desired end
may be inevitable. To determine what his purpose is the writer must
consult the subject itself, his own personality, and the reader. He
must also bear in mind the reader's intellect and his emotions. And
he must unify the approach to both intellect and emotions. The firmly
held conception of what his purpose is will determine what material he
is to choose--what is useful and what is not--and also how to arrange
this material and how to proportion the space that different sections
shall have. He will arrange the material for the greatest advantage to
himself and the least resistance from the reader. In other words, to
make his writing successful in the sense of accomplishing its end, the
writer must, before he sets down a single word, decide upon what his
controlling purpose is to be and just how he intends to make material
and expression--even in the individual sentence--unite to drive in the
one direction of that controlling purpose.


_John Burroughs_

  [7] John Burroughs: _Pepacton_. Houghton Mifflin Company, publishers,

     One looks upon the woods with a new interest when he suspects
     they hold a colony of bees. What a pleasing secret it is; a tree
     with a heart of comb-honey, a decayed oak or maple with a bit of
     Sicily or Mount Hymettus stowed away in its trunk or branches;
     secret chambers where lies hidden the wealth of ten thousand little
     free-booters, great nuggets and wedges of precious ore gathered
     with risk and labor from every field and wood about.

     But if you would know the delights of bee-hunting, and how
     many sweets such a trip yields beside honey, come with me some
     bright, warm, late September or early October day. It is the golden
     season of the year, and any errand or pursuit that takes us abroad
     upon the hills or by the painted woods and along the amber colored
     streams at such a time is enough. So, with haversacks filled with
     grapes and peaches and apples and a bottle of milk,--for we shall
     not be home to dinner,--and armed with a compass, a hatchet, a
     pail, and a box with a piece of comb-honey neatly fitted into
     it--any box the size of your hand with a lid will do nearly as
     well as the elaborate and ingenious contrivance of the regular
     bee-hunter--we sally forth. Our course at first lies along the
     highway, under great chestnut-trees whose nuts are just dropping,
     then through an orchard and across a little creek, thence gently
     rising through a long series of cultivated fields toward some high,
     uplying land, behind which rises a rugged wooded ridge or mountain,
     the most sightly point in all this section. Behind this ridge for
     several miles the country is wild, wooded, and rocky, and is no
     doubt the home of many wild swarms of bees.

     After a refreshing walk of a couple of miles we reach a point
     where we will make our first trial--a high stone wall that runs
     parallel with the wooded ridge referred to, and separated from it
     by a broad field. There are bees at work there on that goldenrod,
     and it requires but little manoeuvring to sweep one into our
     box. Almost any other creature rudely and suddenly arrested in
     its career and clapped into a cage in this way would show great
     confusion and alarm. The bee is alarmed for a moment, but the bee
     has a passion stronger than its love of life or fear of death,
     namely, desire for honey, not simply to eat, but to carry home as
     booty. "Such rage of honey in their bosom beats," says Virgil. It
     is quick to catch the scent of honey in the box, and as quick to
     fall to filling itself. We now set the box down upon the wall and
     gently remove the cover. The bee is head and shoulders in one of
     the half-filled cells, and is oblivious to everything else about
     it. Come rack, come ruin, it will die at work. We step back a few
     paces, and sit down upon the ground so as to bring the box against
     the blue sky as a background. In two or three minutes the bee is
     seen rising slowly and heavily from the box. It seems loath to
     leave so much honey behind and it marks the place well. It mounts
     aloft in a rapidly increasing spiral, surveying the near and minute
     objects first, then the larger and more distant, till having
     circled about the spot five or six times and taken all its bearings
     it darts away for home. It is a good eye that holds fast to the bee
     till it is fairly off. Sometimes one's head will swim following it,
     and often one's eyes are put out by the sun. This bee gradually
     drifts down the hill, then strikes away toward a farm-house half
     a mile away, where I know bees are kept. Then we try another and
     another, and the third bee, much to our satisfaction, goes straight
     toward the woods. We could see the brown speck against the darker
     background for many yards.

     A bee will usually make three or four trips from the hunter's
     box before it brings back a companion. I suspect the bee does not
     tell its fellows what it has found, but that they smell out the
     secret; it doubtless bears some evidence with it upon its feet or
     proboscis that it has been upon honey-comb and not upon flowers,
     and its companions take the hint and follow, arriving always many
     seconds behind. Then the quantity and quality of the booty would
     also betray it. No doubt, also, there are plenty of gossips about
     a hive that note and tell everything. "Oh, did you see that?
     Peggy Mel came in a few moments ago in great haste, and one of
     the up-stairs packers says she was loaded till she groaned with
     apple-blossom honey which she deposited, and then rushed off again
     like mad. Apple blossom honey in October! Fee, fi, fo, fum! I smell
     something! Let's after."

     In about half an hour we have three well-defined lines of bees
     established--two to farm-houses and one to the woods, and our box
     is being rapidly depleted of its honey. About every fourth bee goes
     to the woods, and now that they have learned the way thoroughly
     they do not make the long preliminary whirl above the box, but
     start directly from it. The woods are rough and dense and the hill
     steep, and we do not like to follow the line of bees until we
     have tried at least to settle the problem as to the distance they
     go into the woods--whether the tree is on this side of the ridge
     or in the depth of the forest on the other side. So we shut up
     the box when it is full of bees and carry it about three hundred
     yards along the wall from which we are operating. When liberated,
     the bees, as they always will in such cases, go off in the same
     directions they have been going; they do not seem to know that
     they have been moved. But other bees have followed our scent,
     and it is not many minutes before a second line to the woods is
     established. This is called cross-lining the bees. The new line
     makes a sharp angle with the other line, and we know at once that
     the tree is only a few rods into the woods. The two lines we have
     established form two sides of a triangle of which the wall is the
     base; at the apex of the triangle, or where the two lines meet in
     the woods, we are sure to find the trees. We quickly follow up
     these lines, and where they cross each other on the side of the
     hill we scan every tree closely. I pause at the foot of an oak and
     examine a hole near the root; now the bees are in this tree and
     their entrance is on the upper side near the ground, not two feet
     from the hole I peer into, and yet so quiet and secret is their
     going and coming that I fail to discover them and pass on up the
     hill. Failing in this direction, I return to the oak again, and
     then perceive the bees going out in a small crack in the tree. The
     bees do not know they are found out and that the game is in our
     hands, and are as oblivious of our presence as if we were ants
     or crickets. The indications are that the swarm is a small one,
     and the store of honey trifling. In "taking up" a bee-tree it is
     usual first to kill or stupefy the bees with the fumes of burning
     sulphur or with tobacco smoke. But this course is impracticable on
     the present occasion, so we boldly and ruthlessly assault the tree
     with an axe we have procured. At the first blow the bees set up
     a loud buzzing, but we have no mercy, and the side of the cavity
     is soon cut away and the interior with its white-yellow mass of
     comb-honey is exposed, and not a bee strikes a blow in defense of
     its all. This may seem singular, but it has nearly always been my
     experience. When a swarm of bees are thus rudely assaulted with an
     axe, they evidently think the end of the world has come, and, like
     true misers as they are, each one seizes as much of the treasure as
     it can hold; in other words, they all fall to and gorge themselves
     with honey, and calmly await the issue. When in this condition they
     make no defense and will not sting unless taken hold of. In fact
     they are as harmless as flies. Bees are always to be managed with
     boldness and decision.

     Any halfway measures, any timid poking about, any feeble
     attempts to reach their honey, are sure to be quickly resented. The
     popular notion that bees have a special antipathy toward certain
     persons and a liking for certain others has only this fact at the
     bottom of it; they will sting a person who is afraid of them and
     goes skulking and dodging about, and they will not sting a person
     who faces them boldly and has no dread of them. They are like dogs.
     The way to disarm a vicious dog is to show him you do not fear
     him; it is his turn to be afraid then. I never had any dread of
     bees and am seldom stung by them. I have climbed up into a large
     chestnut that contained a swarm in one of its cavities and chopped
     them out with an axe, being obliged at times to pause and brush the
     bewildered bees from my hands and face, and not been stung once. I
     have chopped a swarm out of an apple-tree in June and taken out the
     cards of honey and arranged them in a hive, and then dipped out the
     bees with a dipper, and taken the whole home with me in pretty good
     condition, with scarcely any opposition on the part of the bees. In
     reaching your hand into the cavity to detach and remove the comb
     you are pretty sure to get stung, for when you touch the "business
     end" of a bee, it will sting even though its head be off. But the
     bee carries the antidote to its own poison. The best remedy for bee
     sting is honey, and when your hands are besmeared with honey, as
     they are sure to be on such occasions, the wound is scarcely more
     painful than the prick of a pin.

     When a bee-tree is thus "taken up" in the middle of the day,
     of course a good many bees are away from home and have not heard
     the news. When they return and find the ground flowing with honey,
     and piles of bleeding combs lying about, they apparently do not
     recognize the place, and their first instinct is to fall to and
     fill themselves; this done, their next thought is to carry it home,
     so they rise up slowly through the branches of the trees till they
     have attained an altitude that enables them to survey the scene,
     when they seem to say, "Why, _this_ is home" and down they come
     again; beholding the wreck and ruins once more they still think
     there is some mistake, and get up a second or a third time and
     then drop back pitifully as before. It is the most pathetic sight
     of all, the surviving and bewildered bees struggling to save a few
     drops of their wasted treasures.

     Presently, if there is another swarm in the woods, robber-bees
     appear. You may know them by their saucy, chiding, devil-may-care
     hum. It is an ill-wind that blows nobody good, and they make the
     most of the misfortune of their neighbors; and thereby pave the way
     for their own ruin. The hunter marks their course and the next day
     looks them up. On this occasion the day was hot and the honey very
     fragrant, and a line of bees was soon established S.S.W. Though
     there was much refuse honey in the old stub, and though little
     golden rills trickled down the hill from it, and the near branches
     and saplings were besmeared with it where we wiped our murderous
     hands, yet not a drop was wasted. It was a feast to which not only
     honey-bees came, but bumble-bees, wasps, hornets, flies, ants. The
     bumble-bees, which at this season are hungry vagrants with no fixed
     place of abode, would gorge themselves, then creep beneath the bits
     of empty comb or fragment of bark and pass the night, and renew the
     feast next day. The bumble-bee is an insect of which the bee-hunter
     sees much. There are all sorts and sizes of them. They are dull
     and clumsy compared with the honey-bee. Attracted in the fields by
     the bee-hunter's box, they will come up the wind on the scent and
     blunder into it in the most stupid, lubberly fashion.

     The honey-bee that licked up our leavings on the old stub
     belonged to a swarm, as it proved, about half a mile farther down
     the ridge, and a few days afterward fate overtook them, and their
     stores in turn became the prey of another swarm in the vicinity,
     which also tempted Providence and were overwhelmed. The first
     mentioned swarm I had lined from several points, and was following
     up the clue over rocks and through gulleys, when I came to where
     a large hemlock had been felled a few years before and a swarm
     taken from a cavity near the top of it; fragments of the old comb
     were yet to be seen. A few yards away stood another short, squatty
     hemlock, and I said my bees ought to be there. As I paused near it
     I noticed where the tree had been wounded with an axe a couple of
     feet from the ground many years before. The wound had partially
     grown over, but there was an opening there that I did not see at
     the first glance. I was about to pass on when a bee passed me
     making that peculiar shrill, discordant hum that a bee makes when
     besmeared with honey. I saw it alight in the partially closed
     wound and crawl home; then came others and others, little bands
     and squads of them heavily freighted with honey from the box. The
     tree was about twenty inches through and hollow at the butt, or
     from the axe mark down. This space the bees had completely filled
     with honey. With an axe we cut away the outer ring of live wood and
     exposed the treasure. Despite the utmost care, we wounded the comb
     so that little rills of the golden liquid issued from the root of
     the tree and trickled down the hill.

     The other bee-tree in the vicinity, to which I have referred,
     we found one warm November day in less than half an hour after
     entering the woods. It also was a hemlock, that stood in a niche
     in a wall of hoary, moss-covered rocks thirty feet high. The tree
     hardly reached to the top of the precipice. The bees entered a
     small hole at the root, which was seven or eight feet from the
     ground. The position was a striking one. Never did apiary have a
     finer outlook or more rugged surroundings. A black, wood-embraced
     lake lay at our feet; the long panorama of the Catskills filled the
     far distance, and the more broken outlines of the Shawangunk range
     filled the near. On every hand were precipices and a wild confusion
     of rocks and trees.

     The cavity occupied by the bees was about three feet and a
     half long and eight or ten inches in diameter. With an axe we cut
     away one side of the tree and laid bare its curiously wrought
     heart of honey. It was a most pleasing sight. What winding and
     devious ways the bees had through their palace! What great masses
     and blocks of snow-white comb there were! Where it was sealed up,
     presenting that slightly dented, uneven surface, it looked like
     some precious ore. When we carried a large pail of it out of the
     woods, it seemed still more like ore.

     In lining bees through the woods, the tactics of the hunter
     are to pause every twenty or thirty rods, lop away the branches or
     cut down the trees, and set the bees to work again. If they still
     go forward, he goes forward also and repeats his observations till
     the tree is found or till the bees turn and come back upon the
     trail. Then he knows he has passed the tree, and he retraces his
     steps to a convenient distance and tries again, and thus quickly
     reduces the space to be looked over till the swarm is traced home.
     On one occasion, in a wild rocky wood, where the surface alternated
     between deep gulfs and chasms filled with thick, heavy growths of
     timber and sharp, precipitous, rocky ridges like a tempest-tossed
     sea, I carried my bees directly under their tree, and set them to
     work from a high, exposed ledge of rocks not thirty feet distant.
     One would have expected them under such circumstances to have gone
     straight home, as there were but few branches intervening, but they
     did not; they labored up through the trees and attained an altitude
     above the woods as if they had miles to travel, and thus baffled
     me for hours. Bees will always do this. They are acquainted with
     the woods only from the top side, and from the air above; they
     recognize home only by landmarks here, and in every instance they
     rise aloft to take their bearings. Think how familiar to them the
     topography of the forest summits must be--an umbrageous sea or
     plain where every mark and point is known.

     Another curious fact is that generally you will get track of a
     bee-tree sooner when you are half a mile from it than when you are
     only a few yards. Bees, like us human insects, have little faith in
     the near at hand; they expect to make their fortune in a distant
     field, they are lured by the remote and the difficult, and hence
     overlook the flower and the sweet at their very door. On several
     occasions I have unwittingly set my box within a few paces of a
     bee-tree and waited long for bees without getting them, when, on
     removing to a distant field or opening in the woods I have got a
     clue at once.

     Bees, like the milkman, like to be near a spring. They do
     water their honey, especially in a dry time. The liquid is then
     of course thicker and sweeter, and will bear diluting. Hence, old
     bee-hunters look for bee-trees along creeks and near spring runs
     in the woods. I once found a tree a long distance from any water,
     and the honey had a peculiar bitter flavor imparted to it, I was
     convinced, by rain water sucked from the decayed and spongy hemlock
     tree, in which the swarm was found. In cutting into the tree,
     the north side of it was found to be saturated with water like a
     spring, which ran out in big drops, and had a bitter flavor. The
     bees had thus found a spring or a cistern in their own house.

     Wild honey is as near like tame as wild bees are like their
     brothers in the hive. The only difference is that wild honey
     is flavored with your adventure, which makes it a little more
     delectable than the domestic article.


_Robert Louis Stevenson_

  [8] R. L. Stevenson: _Across the Plains_. Copyright, 1892, by Charles
      Scribner's Sons, New York City.

     What a monstrous specter is this man, the disease of the
     agglutinated dust, lifting alternate feet or lying drugged with
     slumber; killing, feeding, growing, bringing forth small copies
     of himself; grown upon with hair like grass, fitted with eyes
     that move and glitter in his face; a thing to set children
     screaming;--and yet looked at nearlier, known as his fellows
     know him, how surprising are his attributes! Poor soul, here for
     so little, cast among so many hardships, filled with desires so
     incommensurate and so inconsistent, savagely surrounded, savagely
     descended, irremediably condemned to prey upon his fellow lives:
     who should have blamed him had he been of a piece with his destiny
     and a being merely barbarous? And we look and behold him instead
     filled with imperfect virtues, infinitely childish, often admirably
     valiant, often touchingly kind; sitting down, amidst his momentary
     life, to debate of right and wrong and the attributes of the deity;
     rising up to do battle for an egg or die for an idea; singling out
     his friends and his mate with cordial affection; bringing forth in
     pain, rearing with long-suffering solicitude, his young. To touch
     the heart of his mystery, we find in him one thought, strange to
     the point of lunacy: the thought of duty; the thought of something
     owing to himself, to his neighbor, to his God; an ideal of decency,
     to which he would rise if it were possible; a limit of shame, below
     which, if it be possible, he will not stoop. The design in most
     men is one of conformity; here and there, in picked natures, it
     transcends itself and soars on the other side, arming martyrs with
     independence; but in all, in their degrees, it is a bosom thought.
     It sways with so complete an empire that merely selfish things come
     second, even with the selfish: that appetites are starved, fears
     are conquered, pains supported; that almost the dullest shrinks
     from the reproof of a glance, although it were a child's; and all
     but the most cowardly stand amidst the risks of war; and the more
     noble, having strongly conceived an act as due to their ideal,
     affront and embrace death. Strange enough if, with their singular
     origin and perverted practice, they think they are to be rewarded
     in some future life: stranger still, if they are persuaded of the
     contrary, and think this blow, which they solicit, will strike
     them senseless for eternity. I shall be reminded what a tragedy of
     misconception and misconduct man at large presents: of organized
     injustice, cowardly violence, and treacherous crime; and of the
     damning imperfections of the best. They cannot be too darkly drawn.
     Man is indeed marked for failure in his efforts to do right. But
     where the best consistently miscarry, how tenfold more remarkable
     that all should continue to strive; and surely we should find it
     both touching and inspiriting, that in a field from which success
     is banished, our race should not cease to labor.

     If the first view of this creature, stalking in his rotatory
     isle, be a thing to shake the courage of the stoutest, on this
     nearer sight he startles us with an admiring wonder. It matters
     not where we look, under what climate we observe him, in what
     stage of society, in what depth of ignorance, burthened with what
     erroneous morality; by campfires in Assiniboia, the snow powdering
     his shoulders, the wind plucking his blanket, as he sits, passing
     the ceremonial calumet and uttering his grave opinions like a
     Roman senator; in ships at sea, a man inured to hardship and vile
     pleasures, his brightest hope a fiddle in a tavern and a bedizened
     trull who sells herself to rob him, and he for all that simple,
     innocent, cheerful, kindly like a child, constant to toil, brave to
     drown, for others; in the slums of cities, moving among indifferent
     millions to mechanical employments, without hope of change in the
     future, with scarce a pleasure in the present, and yet true to his
     virtues, honest up to his lights, kind to his neighbors, tempted
     perhaps in vain by the bright gin-palace, perhaps long-suffering
     with the drunken wife that ruins him; in India (a woman this time)
     kneeling with broken cries and streaming tears as she drowns her
     child in the sacred river; in the brothel, the discard of society,
     living mainly on strong drink, fed with affronts, a fool, a thief,
     the comrade of thieves, and even here keeping the point of honor
     and the touch of pity, often repaying the world's scorn with
     service, often standing firm upon a scruple, and at a certain cost,
     rejecting riches: everywhere some virtue cherished or affected,
     everywhere some decency of thought and carriage, everywhere the
     ensign of man's ineffectual goodness:--ah! if I could show you
     this! if I could show you these men and women, all the world over,
     in every stage of history, under every abuse of error, under every
     circumstance of failure, without hope, without help, without
     thanks, still obscurely fighting the lost fight of virtue, still
     clinging, in the brothel or on the scaffold, to some rag of honor,
     the poor jewel of their souls!


The Value of Outlines

It has been thought that the old Scotchman who said, "A man's years are
three score and ten, or maybe by good hap he'll get ten more, but _it's
a weary wrastle all the way through_!" came to his final words as the
result of writing outlines. If this be true, surely it is unfortunate,
for the writing of outlines brings exceeding great reward. An outline
is not an ancient form of blind discipline, but rather a helping hand
across the bogland of facts and ideas. It is a most useful instrument
toward good writing; its justification is its practical usefulness. This
usefulness, helpfulness, is double in its value--to the writer and to
the instructor, when there is one.

As to the value of an outline for the writer--without an outline you
face in your writing a complicated problem, more complicated, in
fact, than is justifiable. At one and the same time you must make
your thinking logical and your expression adequate--distinguished if
possible. Either of these tasks is sufficient to demand all your powers;
together, they offer a really overwhelming problem. Stevenson, to whom
style was of the greatest importance, as bone of the bone and blood of
the blood of the writing, wrote to a friend, "Problems of style are
(as yet) dirt under my feet; my problem is architectural, creative--to
get this stuff joined and moving." It was only after he had fitted his
material together that he felt able to devote himself to making the
beautiful prose that is so much admired. A noted Frenchman is quoted
as exclaiming, when first he beheld the famous Brooklyn Bridge, "How
beautiful it is!", then, "How well made it is!" and finally, after a
moment's reflection, "How well planned it is!" A good piece of writing
should have the same comments made; but they cannot be made, usually,
without the carefully planned outline.

You face the problem, without an outline, of answering the two questions
about every detail that presents itself for treatment: first, shall I
include or exclude this detail; and secondly, how shall I make this
detail help the general flow of my writing, and how shall I express it
so that it shall contribute to the proper tone of the work? And while
you thus judge each small detail, you must also keep your critical
faculties active to estimate your total course, whether you are cleaving
your way clearly, steadily, and with sufficient directness to your goal,
whether the work as a whole is answering your desires.

Now to ask the unaided brain, unless it has had long years of training,
to perform all this critical work during the actual process of
expression, is nothing short of cruel--and almost sure of failure. For
in any writing which enlists from you even a spark of interest the
fervor of creative work, the stimulating effect of seeing the work grow
under your pen, tends often to unseat the critical powers, to destroy
perspective, to make a detail seem more valuable or less valuable than
it should, on the whim of the momentary interest or repulsion. Thus the
logic of the writing is impaired, for details are included which should
not enter, and others are excluded which ought to be welcomed, and
proportions are bad. And the expression is so liable to unevenness as to
be less worthy than it should be. Bad logic and uneven expression beget

The outline helps to overcome these difficulties. In the first place,
it is not final, can be changed at will, and makes no extraordinary
demands on the powers of expression. In the second place, as regards
logic, the outline shows the relation of ideas to each other and to
the whole subject; you can estimate rather easily whether a detail is
of sufficient value to warrant inclusion, and, if so, how much space
it deserves. For in the outline you have the bare fact, succinctly
expressed, which enables you to focus your attention upon the thought.
But since logic is more than mere inclusion and order and spacing, and
deals also with the logic of attitude, the outline is again of service.
For it shows what should be the tone of the complete piece of writing,
and how this tone should be modified by the individual section of the
writing. Suppose that you are to write of the attitude of a politician
toward party principles. If a heading in your outline reads, "He never
_feared_ to _modify_ principles to meet inevitable conditions," the
attitude which you take in writing will be radically different from
that which you would assume if the heading read, "He never _hesitated_
to _warp_ principles to outwit unfavorable conditions." Both the logic
of structure and that of attitude, then, are aided by the use of an
outline. And, at any point in the actual completed writing, you can
easily determine by referring to the outline, whether you are gaining
the effect that you desire and what progress you have made. And in
the third place, as regards expression, the outline relieves you of
the necessity of doing the constructive thinking of the subject, and
enables you to apply all your powers to the actual saying of your
message. Shakespeare might have written, instead of "the multitudinous
seas incarnadine," "make all the ocean, that's full of fishes,[9] look
red"--but he did not. Had he done so, where would now have been the
power and the charm? Expression is of utmost value, and you can ill
afford to slight it. For this reason, and especially since distinguished
expression is so difficult to form, to be released from the attendant
worry of constructive thinking is of the greatest help to the writer.
Both logic and expression, then, are dependent on the outline: with it
they are more sure.

  [9] If this be the meaning of "multitudinous."

Instead, then, of feeling that dim dread of failure, which ever dogs the
writer's steps, with a well-constructed outline you can feel comparative
safety in the possession of a safe guide in case of perplexity. You will
be initiated, will know the secrets of your subject, will have a "grip"
with your facts and ideas, and can apply your powers to putting the
intangible thoughts into tangible words.

As for being of value to the instructor, often he too can estimate more
surely and easily the worth of the writing if he has the skeleton to
examine. For there the structural defects are more apparent, are not
concealed by the pleasant flow of words, just as the structure of a
skyscraper is more apparent before the wall-tiles or bricks are laid
on to conceal the girders. The instructor can therefore often point
out insufficiencies in the thought, or wrong relations, which might
otherwise stand as defects in the finished work.

The Form of the Outline

Shall an outline be written in words and phrases or in complete
sentences? In the first place, so far as any reader except the author
is concerned, complete sentences are necessary for understanding.
Often they are necessary for the writer himself. In an outline of a
theme explaining gas engines the isolated heading _Speed_ means nothing
definite to any one but the author, if indeed to him. A reader cannot
tell from such a word whether speed is important or insignificant, or
whether the author intends to give to gas engines credit for comparative
excellence in this property. If, however, the heading reads, "In the
important property of _Speed_ gas engines are the equal of steam
engines," the reader knows at once what is meant, whether he may agree
with the statement or not. He can definitely tell from an outline of
complete sentences what the course of thought is to be and what will be
the tone of the theme. The reader, then, needs complete sentences. The
writer, on the other hand, might seem to be sufficiently helped by mere
words or phrases, since he naturally knows what he means. But does he
know? The chances are that when an author puts down such a heading as
_Speed_ he has only a large general notion of what he means, without
being sure of the immediate connection and application, and with perhaps
no idea at all of the tone which he intends to catch. If the author will
write the sentence quoted above, he will complete his thought, make it
really definite, and be pretty sure to know what he is talking about,
what he intends to do. Furthermore, even though he know, when he sets
down a phrase, what he means by it, the chance is strong that when he
arrives at the expansion of the phrase he will have forgotten some of
the implications and may give the heading a cast that he did not intend.
Whether he knows definitely what he means or not, the writer is more
safe if he uses complete sentences, and for any other reader of the
outline complete sentences are quite necessary.

Outlines are of three kinds: those that show the topic relations by
division into indented headings; those that show the sequence of
paragraphs by statement of the topic sentence; and those that combine
these two forms. The primary object of the first form, which is
illustrated by the first outline of "An Idyl of the Honey-Bee" which
follows, is to aid in the thinking, to plot out the ground and to group
the material. In this first outline a glance at the five main headings
makes the plan of the essay at once apparent--first a statement of the
effect of bees upon us; then an account of a hunt; then some specific
examples to drive things home; then some special directions that might
be overlooked, and finally a tribute to the joy of the hunting. The
benefit of this kind of outline is that the general relationships
among topics are made clear, the large divisions of thought appear,
and the writer can with comparative ease tell whether he has covered
the subject, and whether he has chosen the best order of thought. It
avoids the invertebrate flow of thought that is unaware of structure. In
other words, it is of value chiefly to the thinking. It does not show
which topics shall be grouped into paragraphs together, and it does
not, of course, phrase the topic sentences, usually. In such an outline
care should be taken to make each heading a complete sentence, and to
make headings that are of the same rank fairly parallel in structure
of expression unless this interferes with the tone of the heading. For
example, A, B, and C under III are made similar in structure since they
bear the same general relation to III.

The second type of outline, that in which a list of the topic sentences
is given, and which is illustrated by the second outline of "An Idyl of
the Honey-Bee" which follows, is of value, especially if used with an
outline of the first type, in that it shows just how much of the thought
should go into the various paragraphs, and thereby establishes the
divisions of expression. Comparison of the two outlines of "An Idyl of
the Honey-Bee" will show that paragraph 5 in the second outline includes
all the material in the four headings, 2, a, 1´, and b, under II in the
first outline. Now for the writer to know beforehand how he intends
to divide his material into paragraphs is of great value; otherwise he
might be giving to some comparatively minor point--which for the moment
assumes interest for him--a separate paragraph, as if, for example, Mr.
Burroughs had dwelt at length on the interesting location of trees on
ledges. In other words, this second kind of outline is valuable chiefly
in its arrangement and placing of material. Its service in making
the original choice is not so immediately apparent. It has also the
advantage that it indicates pretty well what kind of expression is to be
used in the expanded form.

The third type of outline, which many writers prefer to either of
the others, indicates both the topics to be treated and the division
into paragraphs. It may be constructed in either of two ways: first,
the topic sentences may be stated in their regular order, with the
subdivisions of the thought as they appear in the indented outline
grouped under the topic sentences; or in the indented outline the
paragraphs may be indicated by the regular sign for the paragraph at
any point where a new division is to be made. That is, in the first of
the two outlines that follow, the first paragraph might be indicated
in the first outline as including I and I, A; the second as including
II and II, A; the third as including II, B, 1, a, b, etc. Or, in the
second outline the subheadings of the first might be indicated under
the various topic sentences. The value of this type of outline is
obviously that it both shows the logic of the thought and the divisional
arrangement for presentation in paragraphs. With such an outline the
chances that you could go wrong, in even a long theme on a difficult
subject, are slight.

Do not fail, therefore, when your theme is to be of any considerable
length, or when the subject is at all difficult, to make an outline.
There is no greater pleasure in the world than that of creative effort
when the creator knows what he is about. But when the ideas are hazy,
when the writer does not know exactly what he wishes to do and what
impression he wishes to make--then the process of creation is anything
but pleasant. And since the outline presents a pattern of your work,
since with it you cannot fail to see what your intentions are and
what the requirements of your subject, regard it as your best writing
friend--and make use of the rights of friendship and require service.


    I. A colony of bees increases our interest in a wood.

        A. The secret of the hidden golden store of honey is pleasing.

   II. The hunt is most interesting, especially in the autumn.

        A. Nature, as we tramp with luncheon and with bait, is in her
           greatest glory.

        B. We are stimulated by the odds against our finding the tree.

            1. Determining the direction of the tree is a problem.

                a. It is easy to catch the first bee and watch it devour
                   the bait.

                b. But to be sure of its rapid flight home requires
                   sharp eyes and concentrated watching.

                c. Only after three or four trips of the first bee do
                   others discover the secret of our bait and join in
                   establishing the necessary "line" to the tree.

            2. Determining the distance of the tree requires skill.

                a. From another point we make a new "line" that meets
                   the first at the tree.

                    1´. This is called "cross-lining."

                b. It is easy to pass by the tree even when we know
                   about where it is.

        C. Once found, the tree must be attacked boldly.

            1. Bees do not sting a bold person.

            2. But when a sting is touched, even on a dead bee, it

            3. Honey is the best cure for the sting.

        D. The actions of the bees are interesting.

            1. Those which are away from home do not recognize the ruins
               of their own hive, and begin to eat.

                a. At last they pathetically understand.

            2. Robber bees come for plunder.

                a. Bumble-bees arrive in large numbers.

                    1´. Compared with honey-bees they are clumsy.

  III. Two examples from experience show the chances for missing and the
       delights of triumph.

        A. Both trees were hemlocks.

        B. Both were in interesting situations.

        C. Both yielded good store of honey.

   IV. Special facts, occasioned by the habits of bees, need to be

        A. In the woods, the hunter must stop, every little while, to
           test his "line."

            1. Sometimes he is baffled, because the bees do not know the
               woods from the ground side.

        B. Bees hunt for honey far from home.

            1. Usually it is easier to find a tree half a mile away than
               from only a few yards.

        C. Since bees like water, a careful hunter looks along creeks
           and near springs.

    V. Wild honey is better than tame because it tastes of the adventure
       of finding it.


    1. The presence of a colony of bees in a wood gives it interest.

    2. The fall is the best time to start with luncheon and bait off
       across the fields a-hunting.

    3. After two miles we catch several bees and watch them start for
       home with our honey.

    4. After several trips, other bees that have discovered the secret

    5. With one line established, we move on, establish another, find
       the tree and attack it.

    6. Boldness in handling bees is essential.

    7. Bees that are away from home when their tree is attacked have
       considerable difficulty in recognizing it.

    8. Robber bees join the plundered to eat all the remnants of honey.

    9. A neighbor honey-bee leads to another store in a hemlock.

   10. Another tree in the vicinity, also a hemlock, had a superb

   11. The honey in this tree was most pleasing to see and to carry

   12. In lining bees one must stop every little while and test his
       line; bees puzzle sometimes by their actions since they know the
       woods only from above.

   13. Bees discover their home to the hunter better when they are
       caught at some distance from the tree.

   14. Since bees like water, it is well to hunt along brooks and near

   15. Wild honey is sweeter than tame.


    I. Select the words and phrases in the selection from _Pulvis et
       Umbra_ which immediately help to accomplish the controlling
       purpose of the essay.

   II. From what grade in the intellectual and social world does
       Stevenson select his examples in the paragraph beginning: _If the
       first view of this creature_, etc.? Why? From what grade would
       you select examples for a similar paragraph if you intended the
       creation of despair as your controlling purpose? What common
       qualities are found in _all_ Stevenson's examples through the
       selection? Why does he strive for this quality?

  III. Make an outline of "An Idyl of the Honey-Bee," using the material
       which now appears, but placing the accent of the essay upon the
       difficulty of obtaining the honey, instead of upon the pleasures
       of the hunt, as it is now placed--in other words, outline the
       essay with change of controlling purpose.

   IV. Write the first paragraph of the essay, and the last one, as you
       would wish them to appear if your intention were to make
       difficulty rather than joy the controlling purpose.

    V.  1. Make an outline for "Solemn-Looking Blokes" with the
           controlling purpose of bringing out the romantic nature of
           the presence of American troops in England.

        2. Make an outline such as would suit the expression of an
           American who had been living in England since the declaration
           of war in 1914 and had been taunted with the apathy of the
           United States government, and now was supremely proud to see
           United States troops in England.

   VI. Write a final paragraph of "Solemn-Looking Blokes" to express any
       of the following controlling purposes:

        1. Joy at the union of the old and the new worlds in a common

        2. Heartache at the awfulness of soldiers' sailing 3000 miles
           to die because an autocratic government precipitated war.

        3. The pride of an American resident in London over the physique
           of the United States soldiers.

        4. The astonishment of a London school-boy who has just read in
           his history how the American colonies rebelled.

        5. The apprehension of a British Tory lest aristocracy be doomed
           when the troops of a great democracy appear so far away from
           home to battle against autocracy.

  VII. Write outlines and themes on any of the following subjects to
       accomplish the different controlling purposes:

        1. The Scientific Reduction of Noise.

            1. To show the _social duty_ of engineers.

            2. To show the wonder of man's analytical powers.

            3. To show the seriousness of the difficulties that must be

        2. The Growing Appreciation of Good Architecture in America.

            1. To show the good educative work of our architects.

            2. To show the influence of European travel.

            3. To show the effect of the general rise in standards of

        3. The Popular Magazines.

            1. To show the general looseness of thinking.

            2. To show the senseless duplication of material and ideas.

            3. To show the opportunity for a host of authors.

        4. The Effects of the Big Mail-Order Houses.

            1. To show how they ruin the small country store.

            2. To show how they increase the opportunities of the small

            3. To show how they help give employment in the large

        5. Is Religion Declining?

            1. To show the shifting of responsibility from creeds to

            2. To show the changed status of the church.

            3. To show the effect of increased education on religion.

        6. "Best Sellers."

            1. To show the relation of their immediate popularity to
               their final valuation.

            2. To indicate the qualities necessary to a "best seller."

            3. To show the effect upon the thinking of a nation that has
               many "best sellers."

        7. Results of the Farm Credit Legislation.

            1. To show the relief gained for the farmers.

            2. To show the effect on increased production.

            3. To show the fairer economic distribution.

        8. The Use of Concrete.

            1. To show the general economic value.

            2. To show the general lightening of toil that it may have

            3. To show the variety of its service.

        9. The American Spirit.

            1. To show its idealism.

            2. To show its indebtedness to England, or France, or

            3. To show how it may help the world.

       10. Beethoven's Piano-forte Sonatas.

            1. To show them as the culmination of the sonata

            2. To show their romantic nature.

            3. To show the development of Beethoven's genius as he

       11. Heredity in Plants.

            1. To show the similarity to heredity in man.

            2. To show how knowledge of heredity in plants may serve an
               economic purpose.

            3. To show the wonderful consistency of the laws of heredity
               in plants.

       12. Glacial Action in the Mississippi Valley.

            1. To show the economic result.

            2. To indicate the sweep of time consumed in the formation.

            3. To show the picturesque qualities in the gradual action.

 VIII. What is the controlling purpose in the following selection? Point
       out the influence upon the writer of knowing that Bostonians
       would read his words. Indicate how the selection would differ if
       the controlling object were to be bitter jealousy expressed by a
       resident in a newer, larger, envious city.

          Boston has a rather old-fashioned habit of speaking
          the English language. It came upon us rather suddenly one day
          as we journeyed out Huntington Avenue to the smart new gray
          and red opera house. The very coloring of the _foyer_ of that
          house--soft and simple--bespoke the refinement of the Boston
          of to-day.

          In the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, in every
          other one of the glib opera houses that are springing up
          mushroom-fashion across the land, our ears would have been
          assailed by "Librettos! Get your Librettos!" Not so in Boston.
          At the Boston Opera House the young woman back of the _foyer_
          stand calmly announced at clocklike intervals:

          "Translations. Translations."

          And the head usher, whom the older Bostonians
          grasped by the hand and seemed to regard as a long-lost
          friend, did not sip out, "Checks, please."

          "Locations," he requested, as he condescended to the
          hand-grasps of the socially elect.

          "The nearer door for those stepping out," announces
          the guard upon the elevated train, and as for the surface and
          trolley-cars, those wonderful green perambulators laden down
          with more signs than nine ordinary trolley-cars would carry at
          one time, they do not speak of the newest type in Boston as
          "Pay-as-you-enter-cars," after the fashion of less cultured
          communities. In the Hub they are known as Prepayment cars--its
          precision is unrelenting.[10]

  [10] Edward Hungerford: _The Personality of American Cities_. By
       courtesy of the publisher, Robert M. McBride & Co., New York

   IX. What is the controlling purpose in the following selection from
       Mr. John Masefield's volume of _Gallipoli_? Analyze this
       controlling purpose as to the subject itself, the author's
       personal reaction, and the intended readers--largely perhaps, the
       American people.

          Let the reader imagine himself to be facing three
          miles of any very rough broken sloping ground known to him,
          ground for the most part gorse-thyme-and-scrub-covered,
          being poor soil, but in some places beautiful with flowers
          (especially a "spiked yellow flower with a whitish leaf") and
          on others green from cultivation. Let him say to himself that
          he and an army of his friends are about to advance up the
          slope towards the top, and that as they will be advancing in
          a line, along the whole length of the three miles, he will
          only see the advance of those comparatively near to him, since
          folds or dips in the ground will hide the others. Let him,
          before he advances, look earnestly along the line of the hill,
          as it shows up clear, in blazing sunlight only a mile from
          him, to see his tactical objective, one little clump of pines,
          three hundred yards away, across what seem to be fields. Let
          him see in the whole length of the hill no single human being,
          nothing but scrub, earth, a few scattered buildings, of the
          Levantine type (dirty white with roofs of dirty red) and some
          patches of dark Scotch pine, growing as the pine loves, on
          bleak crests. Let him imagine himself to be more weary than he
          has ever been in his life before, and dirtier than he has ever
          believed it possible to be, and parched with thirst, nervous,
          wild-eyed and rather lousy. Let him think that he has not
          slept for more than a few minutes together for eleven days and
          nights, and that in all his waking hours he has been fighting
          for his life, often hand to hand in the dark with a fierce
          enemy, and that after each fight he has had to dig himself a
          hole in the ground, often with his hands, and then walk three
          or four roadless miles to bring up heavy boxes under fire. Let
          him think, too, that in all those eleven days he has never
          for an instant been out of the thunder of cannon, that waking
          or sleeping their devastating crash has been blasting the air
          across within a mile or two, and this from an artillery so
          terrible that each discharge beats as it were a wedge of shock
          between the skull-bone and the brain. Let him think too that
          never, for an instant, in all that time, has he been free or
          even partly free from the peril of death in its most sudden
          and savage forms, and that hourly in all that time he has seen
          his friends blown to pieces at his side, or dismembered, or
          drowned, or driven mad, or stabbed, or sniped by some unseen
          stalker, or bombed in the dark sap with a handful of dynamite
          in a beef-tin, till their blood is caked upon his clothes and
          thick upon his face, and that he knows, as he stares at the
          hill, that in a few moments, more of that dwindling band,
          already too few, God knows how many too few, for the task to
          be done, will be gone the same way, and that he himself may
          reckon that he has done with life, tasted and spoken and loved
          his last, and that in a few minutes more may be blasted dead,
          or lying bleeding in the scrub, with perhaps his face gone
          and a leg and an arm broken, unable to move but still alive,
          unable to drive away the flies or screen the ever-dropping
          rain, in a place where none will find him, or be able to help
          him, a place where he will die and rot and shrivel, till
          nothing is left of him but a few rags and a few remnants and
          a little identification-disc flapping on his bones in the
          wind. Then let him hear the intermittent crash and rattle of
          the fire augment suddenly and awfully in a roaring, blasting
          roll, unspeakable and unthinkable, while the air above, that
          has long been whining and whistling, becomes filled with the
          scream of shells passing like great cats of death in the air;
          let him see the slope of the hill vanish in a few moments into
          the white, yellow, and black smokes of great explosions shot
          with fire, and watch the lines of white puffs marking the hill
          in streaks where the shrapnel searches a suspected trench; and
          then, in the height of the tumult, when his brain is shaking
          in his head, let him pull himself together with his friends,
          and clamber up out of the trench, to go forward against an
          invisible enemy, safe in some unseen trench expecting him.[11]

  [11] John Masefield: _Gallipoli_. By courtesy of the publishers, The
       Macmillan Company, New York City.

       What light does the following paragraph which appears at the
       beginning of the book throw upon the controlling purpose?

          Later, when there was leisure, I began to consider
          the Dardanelles Campaign, not as a tragedy, nor as a mistake,
          but as a great human effort, which came, more than once, very
          near to triumph, achieved the impossible many times, and
          failed, in the end, as many great deeds of arms have failed,
          from something which had nothing to do with arms nor with the
          men who bore them. That the effort failed is not against
          it; much that is most splendid in military history failed,
          many great things and noble men have failed. To myself, this
          failure is the second grand event of the war; the first was
          Belgium's answer to the German ultimatum.[12]

  [12] John Masefield: _Gallipoli_. By courtesy of the publishers, The
       Macmillan Company, New York City.

    X. Explain what would be your controlling purpose in a theme on any
       of the following subjects, and how you would _arrange your
       material_ to accomplish this purpose.

        1. What is the Primary Function of a Successful Novel?

        2. The Philosophy of Woman Suffrage.

        3. Lynch Law and Law Reform.

        4. The Conservatism of the American College Student.

        5. Intellectual Bravery.

        6. A Mediæval Free City.

        7. Mr. Roosevelt's Career as an Index of the American Character.

        8. Practical Efficiency as an Enemy to "Sweetness and Light."

        9. The Æsthetics of the Skyscraper.

       10. Possibilities for the Small Farmer in America.

       11. The Future of Civil Engineering.

       12. Housekeeping as an Exact Science.

   XI. Indicate what your controlling purpose would be in writing of
       the following subjects, if you chose your purpose from the
       _subject-matter alone_. Then show how the purpose might be
       affected by the different sets of readers as they are indicated
       in the subheadings.

        1. The Intelligence of the Average Voter.

            a. For a woman who eagerly desires woman suffrage.

            b. For a refined but narrow aristocrat, descendant of an old

            c. For an agitating member of the I.W.W.

        2. The Value of Courses in Literature for the Technical Student.

            a. For a hard-headed civil engineer.

            b. For a white-haired, kindly old professor of Greek, who
               resents the intrusion of science and labor.

            c. For a mother who wants her son to "get everything good
               from his technical course."

        3. The Delights of Fishing.

            a. For a woman who cannot understand why her husband wants
               to be always going on silly fishing trips.

            b. For a group of city men who are devotees of the sport.

            c. For a small boy who hopes some day to go with "Dad" on
               his trips.

        4. The Value of the Civic Center.

            a. For a man who resents the extra taxation that would be
               necessary to make one in his city.

            b. For a prominent, public-spirited architect.

            c. For a young woman graduate from college who eagerly
               desires to "do something" for her city.

        5. The Spirit of the "Middle West," the "Old South" or any other
           section of the country.

            a. For a proud resident.

            b. For a sniffy resident of another section.

            c. For a person who has never thought of such a thing.



Definition is the process of explaining a subject by setting bounds to
it, enclosing it within its limits, showing its extent. The ocean is
properly defined by the shore; a continent or island is defined by its
coastline: shores set limits to the ocean; coastlines bound the island
or continent. So, when a child asks, "What is Switzerland?" you show
on the map the pink or yellow or green space that is included within
certain definite boundaries. These boundaries set a limit to the extent
of that country; in other words, they define it. As soon as a traveler
steps beyond the limit of that country, he is at once in another
realm, has become identified with a quite different set of conditions
and circumstances--he is, in fact, in a country that has a different
definition from that of Switzerland. In the same way, when some one
asks what truth is, or nickel steel, or a grand piano, or humanism, or
art, or rotation of crops, or a rocking chair, or the forward pass,
you attempt, in your reply, to set bounds to the thing in question, to
restrict it, to fence it off, to state the line beyond which if it goes
it ceases to be one thing and becomes another. It is by no means always
an easy task to find this line. Many a child has come to grief in his
attempts to keep safely within the limits of truth and yet be close up
to the realm of desirable falsehood. Likewise many witnesses in court
have been beguiled or browbeaten into crossing the line without knowing
that they were getting into the country of the enemy. But though the
quest for the line may be difficult, a true definition must set off the
thing being defined from other things, must set bounds to it, enclose it
within its limits, show its extent.

The Process of Definition

The logical process of defining consists of two steps: first, stating
the class or group to which the object of definition belongs, as to say
that Switzerland is a _country_, the forward pass is a _strategic device
in football_, humanism is a _philosophy of personal development_; and
second, pointing out the difference between the object of definition
and other members of the class, showing how it is distinguished from
them. Since the purpose of definition is to limit the thing defined,
the practical value of the first step is at once apparent. If, in
total ignorance, a resident of India asks you, "What is ragtime?" the
most helpful thing in the world that you can do for him is to cleave
away with one stroke everything else in the world but music--absolute
exclusion of all other human interests--and place ragtime in that
comparatively narrow field. That is the first thing of great help.
However many qualities you may attribute to ragtime,--whether you call
it inspiring, invigorating, pleasing, detestable, or what not,--you
are making at best only slow progress toward defining, really limiting
ragtime. The number of pleasing things, for example, is so endless, and
the things are so diverse in character that your listener is almost as
ignorant after such a quality has been attributed as he was before. But
the moment that you limit ragtime to music you scatter untold clouds of
doubt and place the inquirer in the comfortable position of having a
fairly large working knowledge. What is left for the inquirer to do is
merely to distinguish ragtime from other kinds of music--after all, a
rather simple task. Likewise in any definition, such as that of rotation
of crops, the first necessity is to place the subject in its proper
field, in this case agriculture; the grand piano in the class of musical
instruments; the rocking chair in the class of furniture.

Now sometimes the task of discovering to what class your subject
belongs is difficult. Is a believer in Unitarianism a Christian? He
follows the ethical teachings of Jesus but denies him any special
divinity. In this case obviously the question of classification will
depend on the definition that we make of Christianity. Is a man who
serves the state in legislative or judicial capacity and at the same
time writes novels to be called a statesman or a man of letters?
Governments have fallen into difficulty with each other over such
things as contraband of war, there being great doubt at times whether
a particular thing is properly contraband or not. The question is
sometimes doubtful--you will be inclined to say, "I don't know what to
call this," but in making a definition call it you must. The United
States Government, facing the problem of discovering the proper class
for frogs' legs, in determining customs duties after much perturbation
placed them under the heading "poultry." Ordinarily you will find
slight difficulty in determining the class; but in every case you must
patiently search until you have found some class into which your subject
naturally fits. Until you have done this you obviously cannot set it
apart from other members, because you will not really know what the
other members are, you will be forced to run through the total list of
human ideas and things. Until you know that _oligarchy_ is one form of
political society you cannot know whether to set it off from _democracy_
and _monarchy_ or from _Christianity_ and _Buddhism_. First, then,
however difficult, discover the class to which your subject belongs. In
the following definition of a _clearing-house_, you will find that in
the course of time the class to which the subject belongs has changed,
has come to include more space, needs a larger fence to surround it, and
therefore the definition has been changed.

     What is a clearing-house? The Supreme Court of the State
     of Pennsylvania has defined it thus: "It is an ingenious device
     to simplify and facilitate the work of the banks in reaching
     an adjustment and payment of the daily balances due to and from
     each other at one time and in one place on each day. In practical
     operation it is a place where all the representatives of the banks
     in a given city meet, and, under the supervision of a competent
     committee or officer selected by the associated banks, settle their
     accounts with each other and make or receive payments of balances
     and so 'clear' the transactions of the day for which the settlement
     is made."

     But we must go farther than this, for though originally
     designed as a labor-saving device, the clearing-house has expanded
     far beyond those limits, until it has become a medium for united
     action among the banks in ways that did not exist even in the
     imaginations of those who were instrumental in its inception. A
     clearing-house, therefore, may be defined as a device to simplify
     and facilitate the daily exchange of items and settlements of
     balances among the banks, and a medium for united action upon all
     questions affecting their mutual welfare.[13]

  [13] Francis M. Burdick: _The Essentials of Business Law_. By courtesy
       of the publishers, D. Appleton & Co., New York City. Copyright
       1902, 1908, by D. Appleton & Co.

The second step in the logical process of definition is to show how the
subject for definition differs from other members of its class. Once I
am told that the piano is a musical instrument I must next learn wherein
it differs from the violin, the kettle-drum, and the English horn. The
surname _Tomlinson_ partly defines a person as a member of the Tomlinson
family, but the definition is not complete until the name is modified
and the person is distinguished by _George_ or _Charles_ or whatever
name may belong to him. A skillful shepherd knows not only his flocks
but also the characteristics of the different members of the flocks,
so that he can say, "This sheep is the one in X flock that is always
getting into the clover." Here "X flock" is the class, and the quality
of abusing the clover is the distinguishing individual tag. Since the
desire in this part of the process of defining is to set individuals
apart, no mention will be made of qualities that are shared in common
but only of those that are peculiar to the individual. These qualities
that distinguish individual members of classes from each other are
called the _differentia_, just as the class is commonly called the

For convenience in keeping the list of differentia reasonably small,
to avoid unwieldiness of definition, care must be exercised in
choosing the class. When a class which itself contains other possible
classes is chosen, a long list of differentia will be necessary. It
is well, therefore, to choose a relatively small class to begin with.
For example, if I put the piano into the large class of _musical
instruments_, I shall then be under the necessity of amassing sufficient
differentia to set it apart from wind instruments whether of brass
or wood, from instruments of percussion, and from other stringed
instruments that do not use metal strings. If I restrict the class
to _stringed instruments_, I thereby exclude the differentia of both
wind instruments and instruments of percussion. If I further restrict
the class, at the beginning, to _instruments with metal strings_, I
need then to employ only such differentia as will set it off, perhaps,
from instruments that do not have a sounding board for their metal
strings. Such restriction of the class is advisable chiefly for purposes
of economy of effort in discovering the differentia, and is usually
accomplished, in expression, by preceding the class name with a limiting
adjective or by using a limiting phrase. This adjective or this phrase
is likely to be the expression of differentia among smaller classes, the
differentia among individual members being stated more at length later
in the definition.

The process of definition will be complete, then, when the subject of
definition has been assigned to a class, which for convenience should be
relatively small, and the qualities that distinguish the subject from
other members of the class have been found.

The Two Main Classes of Definitions

Two main classes of definition exist: first, the rigidly logical,
scientific kind such as is found in dictionaries, textbooks, and
other such writings which are not concerned with emotional values;
and second, the less rigid, more expanded, more informal kind which
aims to please as well as to instruct, and which is found in essays
and all forms of writing with a strong human appeal. The two kinds
are alike in the presence of both genus and differentia; they differ
chiefly in the presence, in the less formal, of the qualities of
pleasingness and stimulation as opposed to the quality, in the formal,
of scientific impersonality, cold intellectuality. For example, the
Standard Dictionary defines a _correspondent_ as "one who communicates
by means of letters; specifically one who sends regular communications
from a distant place to a newspaper or a business house." The author
of the volume entitled _Famous War Correspondents_[14] defines, with
much the same fundamental ideas, if not indeed exactly the same, a _war
correspondent_ as follows:

  [14] F. L. Billiard: _Famous War Correspondents_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Little, Brown & Co., Boston. Copyright, 1914.

     The war correspondent is a newspaper man assigned to cover a
     campaign. He goes into the field with the army, expecting to send
     his reports from that witching region known as "the front." He is
     a special correspondent commissioned to collect intelligence and
     transmit it from the camp and the battle ground. A non-combatant,
     he mingles freely with men whose business it is to fight. He may be
     ten thousand miles from the home office, but he finds competition
     as keen as ever it is in Fleet Street or Newspaper Row. He is
     engaged in the most dramatic department of a profession whose
     infinite variety is equalled only by its fascination. If he becomes
     a professional rather than an occasional correspondent, wandering
     will be his business and adventure his daily fare. Mr. A. G. Hales
     is of the opinion that the newspaper man who is chosen as a war
     correspondent has won the Victoria Cross of journalism.

     For the making of a first-rate war correspondent there are
     required all the qualifications of a capable reporter in any other
     branch of the profession, and others besides. Perhaps it is true
     that the regular hack work of the ordinary newspaper man is the
     best training for the scribe of war. The men who had reported
     fires and train wrecks in American cities proved themselves able
     to describe vigorously and clearly the campaign in Cuba. William
     Howard Russell had been doing a great variety of descriptive
     writing before he was sent to the Crimea. The prime requisites for
     a satisfactory war correspondent are those fundamental to success
     in any kind of newspaper work, the ability to see straight, to
     write vividly and accurately, and to get a story on the wire.

     Occasionally a brilliant workman appears from nowhere, the
     happy possessor of an almost uncanny intuition of movements and
     purposes. Such a man was Archibald Forbes. But Forbes, no less than
     the average special, had to have the physical capacity to march
     with the private soldier, to ride a hundred miles at a clip at
     top speed over rough country, to sleep in the open, to stand the
     heat of the desert and the cold of the mountain height, to endure
     hunger and thirst and all the deprivations of a hard campaign.
     Every correspondent at times must keep going until his strength is
     utterly spent. He must have the tenacity which does not yield to
     exhaustion until his messages are written and on the way to his
     paper. When the soldier ceases fighting, the correspondent's work
     is only begun. He needs also to have a degree of familiarity with
     the affairs of the present and the history of the past which will
     secure him the respect of the officers with whom he may associate.
     Along with the courage of the scout he should possess the suavity
     and tact of the diplomat, for he will have to get along with men of
     all types, and occasionally, indeed, his own influence may overlap
     into the field of international diplomacy. British correspondents,
     having covered many wars, small and great, since 1870, usually
     are acquainted with several languages, and often have acquired a
     knowledge of the technicalities of military science.

Of the two kinds of definition--formal and informal--you will more often
have occasion to write the second. You must guard against the danger,
in such writing, of allowing the interest to cloud the truth, of being
led into inaccurate partial statements by your desire to please. At the
root of every good definition is still the accurate statement of genus
and differentia. It is chiefly of the second kind that we shall treat
here. If you can write a definition that is pleasing and stimulating and
also accurate, you can always boil it down into the more bald formal
statement such as the dictionary offers. Whatever powers of grace or
neatness in expression you possess, whatever powers of saying things
in a pleasing manner, it is your privilege to employ in the writing of

General Cautions

For the sake of clearness and general effectiveness a few cautions need
to be made. In the first place, be sure to exclude everything from your
definition that does not properly belong in it. For example, if you
define the aeroplane as a machine that journeys through the air under
its own power, you include dirigible balloons, which are not aeroplanes.
You must introduce both the characteristics of being heavier than air
and of having a plane or planes before your definition can stand. You
will make this exclusion by choosing both class and differentia with the
greatest care.

In the second place, include everything that does properly belong in the
definition. If you define a bridge as a roadway over a stream, either
resting on piers or hanging on cables strung over towers, you exclude
pontoon bridges certainly, and all bridges across dry chasms, if not
other kinds. Not until you include all varieties of things crossed and
all the methods of support and the various materials used will your
definition be sound and complete. This does not mean that you will have
to make an endless list of all possible forms, but that you will make a
comprehensive statement which will allow of being distributed over all
the different forms and kinds of bridges.

In the third place, use simple and familiar diction. Since the first
purpose of a definition is to explain, one that is obscure or difficult
makes confusion worse confounded. The famous--or notorious--definition
which Dr. Johnson made of so simple a thing as _network_, "anything
reticulated or decussated at equal distances with interstices between
the intersections," is worse than useless because it positively throws
dust upon a comparatively easy matter to perceive--unless the reader
take time out for meditation. Remember that the Gettysburg Address and
many of Shakespeare's sonnets are largely in words of one syllable. And
then do not be afraid that you will be understood; the fire is always
presumably somewhat more uncomfortable than the frying-pan.

In the fourth place, do not use the term that you are defining, or
any derivative of it. When college freshmen, in mortal combat with a
quiz question, define a description as _something that describes_,
they use words that profit them nothing. That a cow is a cow is fairly
obvious. The temptation to make this mistake, which, in the intellectual
world, occupies the relative space of the saucy old advice, "Chase
yourself round the block!" occurs usually when a long definition is
being written, in which the writer forgets to keep the horizon clear,
and finally falls into the formula _x_ is _x_. To avoid yielding to
such temptation, you will do well, after a definition is complete, to
phrase it in a single sentence which shall include both differentia
and genus, and in which you can easily discover the evil formula _x_
is _x_. Bardolph, in Shakespeare's _King Henry IV_, yields to the
temptation--for which we are glad as to humor but not made wise as to
meaning--when Shallow puts him to the test:

     _Shallow_: Better accommodated! it is good; yea, indeed, it
     is: good phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable.
     Accommodated! it comes of accommodo: very good; a good phrase.

     _Bardolph_: Pardon me, sir; I have heard the word. Phrase
     call you it? by this good day, I know not the phrase; but I will
     maintain the word with my sword to be a soldier-like word, and a
     word of exceeding good command, by heaven. Accommodated; that is,
     when a man is, as they say, accommodated; or when a man is, being,
     whereby 'a may be thought to be accommodated; which is an excellent

In the fifth place, be sure that you define, and do not merely "talk
about" the subject. Any amount of however interesting comment that fails
to accomplish the two necessities of definition, statement of the genus
and the differentia, is futile; it is not definition. This temptation,
like the former one, will be overcome if you take the trouble to phrase
the actual material of your definition in one sentence that really
includes both genus and differentia. As a minor suggestion, do not begin
your definition with the words, "X is when" or "X is where," unless you
are defining either a unit of time or a place--and even then you will do
well to avoid these too frequently used phrases.

Finally, do not make your definition too mechanical, too much lacking in
real life. Thinking of how you must deal with genus and differentia, you
are liable to be overwhelmed with the grim duty of being logical, and to
forget that you should also be human, that people read definitions, as
other kinds of writing, in the double hope of information and pleasure.
No real antagonism exists between logic of the strictest kind and
pleasurable presentation, as is proved by the examples quoted during the
course of this chapter and at the end. While you remember your subject,
remember also your reader; then you will be unlikely to make a dull

Methods of Defining

You may use various methods of defining. Sometimes you will choose only
one, and sometimes you will combine. There is no special virtue in one
method more than another except as sometimes one happens to be more
useful for a given case, as we shall see. In selecting your method,
then, select on the basis of practical workability for the effect that
you desire to create, adhering to one or using several as seems most

_a._ _The Method of Illustration_

One of the most useful, natural, and easy methods is that of giving an
example or illustration of the thing that is being defined. The great
usefulness of this method lies in the stimulating quality that the
concrete example always has. If you wish to define an abstract quality,
for example, such as _patriotism_, or _honor_, or _generosity_, you
will often find advantage, for the first, in calling up the figure of
Washington, of Lincoln, of Cromwell; in citing, for the second, the
case of some man who, after bankruptcy, has set himself to pay all his
former debts, or of Regulus who, though he had the chance not to keep
his promise to return to Carthage as prisoner, yet bade Rome farewell
and returned to unspeakable torture; in presenting, for the third, a
specific set of conditions, such as possession of only one dime, which
is then shared with another person who is even less fortunate, or
showing a known person, like Sir Philip Sidney, who, though at death's
door on the field of battle, urged that the exquisite joy of cold water
be given to a comrade who was even more terribly in need. In every one
of these cases the quality under definition is presented in an easily
grasped, concrete form that has the great advantage of human interest,
of stimulating the reader's thought. That using such a method is natural
is apparent as soon as we remember that we think largely in concrete
forms, specific cases. That it is rather easy is obvious, because so
many instances are always at hand to be used.

The danger in this method is that the example chosen will not be
entirely fair. Such lack of fairness may occur if the example covers
too little ground of the definition or if it too highly accentuates
one phase of the subject of definition. If, for instance, you cite the
example of the man who gave away his only pair of shoes, as an example
of generosity, you may run the risk of making the reader think that
nothing but an extreme act has the real stamp of the generous giver, or
that generosity is expressed only in material ways, forgetting that it
is generous to acknowledge a fault or to overlook unintended affront.
To avoid this danger be sure that your example is fair and sufficiently
comprehensive, and if it is not, choose other examples to add to it
until you are convinced of the all-round fitness of your definition. In
the following examples you may feel that Gissing does not wholly define
_poverty_, whereas Shaw is more complete in his approach to defining
_ability that gives value for money_, and Mr. Morman by taking a typical
example and working it out arrives at complete understanding with
perhaps less of piquant interest.

     Blackberries hanging thick upon the hedge bring to my memory
     something of long ago. I had somehow escaped into the country and
     on a long walk began to feel mid-day hunger. The wayside brambles
     were fruiting; I picked and ate, and ate on, until I had come
     within sight of an inn where I might have made a good meal. But
     my hunger was satisfied; I had no need of anything more, and,
     as I thought of it, a strange feeling of surprise, a sort of
     bewilderment, came upon me. What! Could it be that I had eaten,
     and eaten sufficiently, _without paying_? It struck me as an
     extraordinary thing. At that time, my ceaseless preoccupation was
     how to obtain money to keep myself alive. Many a day I had suffered
     hunger because I durst not spend the few coins I possessed; the
     food I could buy was in any case unsatisfactory, unvaried. But here
     nature had given me a feast, which seemed delicious, and I had
     eaten all I wanted. The wonder held me for a long time, and to this
     day I can recall it, understand it.

     I think there could be no better illustration of what it means
     to be poor in a great town.[15]

  [15] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Autumn."
       By permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York

            *       *       *       *       *

     In business, as a rule, a man must make what he gets and
     something over into the bargain. I have known a man to be employed
     by a firm of underwriters to interview would-be insurers. His sole
     business was to talk to them and decide whether to insure or not.
     Salary, £4000 a year. This meant that the loss of his judgment
     would have cost his employers more than £4000 a year. Other
     men have an eye for contracts or whatnot, or are born captains
     of industry, in which cases they go into business on their own
     account, and make ten, twenty, or two hundred per cent where you or
     I would lose five. Or, to turn back a moment from the giants to the
     minnows, take the case of a woman with the knack of cutting out a
     dress. She gets six guineas a week instead of eighteen shillings.
     Or she has perhaps a ladylike air and a figure on which a mantle
     looks well. For these she can get several guineas a week merely
     by standing in a show-room letting mantles be tried on her before
     customers. All these people are renters of ability; and their
     ability is inseparable from them and dies with them. The excess of
     their gains over those of an ordinary person with the same capital
     and education is the "rent" of the exceptional "fertility." But
     observe, if the able person makes £100,000, and leaves that to his
     son, who, being but an ordinary gentleman, can get only from two
     and a half to four per cent on it, that revenue is pure interest on
     capital and in no sense whatever rent of ability.[16]

  [16] George B. Shaw: _Socialism and Superior Brains_. By courtesy of
       the publishers, John Lane Company, New York City.

            *       *       *       *       *

     By "amortization" is meant the method of paying a debt by
     regular semi-annual or annual installments. To illustrate:

     Suppose a farmer gives a mortgage on his farm of $1000, with
     interest at 5 per cent. In addition to the interest, he agrees
     to pay 2 per cent a year on the principal. This makes a total of
     7 per cent a year, or a payment of $70, which may be paid in two
     semi-annual installments of $35 each. The first year's interest
     and payment on the principal are taken as the amount to be paid
     annually. But of the first payment, $50 represents the interest
     and $20 the payment on the principal. After the first year's
     payment, therefore, instead of owing $1000, the farmer owes only
     $980, with interest at 5 per cent.

     For the sake of simplicity, let us suppose that payments
     are made annually. When the next time of payment comes round,
     the farmer pays his $70. Since his debt is less, the interest
     the second year amounts to $49 instead of $50, and therefore the
     payment on the principal is $21 instead of $20 as it was the first
     year. In the second year the debt is reduced to $959.

     On the return of the third time of payment the farmer pays
     another $70, of which amount $47.95 represents the interest and
     $22.05 the payment on the principal. This reduces the farmer's
     mortgage debt to $936.95.

     Now, this system of payment and method of reducing the debt
     continues until the mortgage has been lifted by a gradual process.
     Thus, while the annual payments are always the same, the amount
     of interest is always decreasing and the amount of the payments
     on the debt is always increasing. Consequently, the mortgage is
     paid off in ten to forty years according to the rate of payment on
     the loan that the debtor himself elects to pay when the contract
     is made. This is the simple principle of amortization, and it is
     recognized in Europe as the safest, easiest, and best method of
     reducing land-mortgage indebtedness hitherto conceived and put into

  [17] J. B. Morman: _Principles of Rural Credit_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, The Macmillan Company, New York City.

If, then, you have a subject that is abstract and perhaps difficult
to understand in abstract explanation; if you wish, to stimulate your
readers and make their reading pleasant; if, for any reason, you wish
to write informally, then you may well decide to employ the useful,
natural, and easy method of definition by illustration.

_b._ _The Method of Comparison or Contrast_

A second method, closely akin to that by illustration, is the method of
defining by comparison or contrast. The value of this method lies in
its liveliness and the ease with which it makes an idea comprehended.
The liveliness derives largely from the usual presence of specific facts
or things with which the subject of definition is compared or to which
it is contrasted, and from the imaginative stimulus that perception of
similarity in function creates. The implied definition of leader in
politics in Lincoln's famous remark about changing political parties in
war time, "Don't swap horses while crossing a stream," is not only true,
but more, it is interesting. The ease of comprehension is due largely
to employing the method of proceeding from the known to the unknown
in that comparison is usually made to things already familiar. If
contrast is used, there is the added interest of dramatic presentation
found especially in oratorical definitions. Liveliness and ease in
comprehension make this method a valuable one in addressing a popular
or an unlearned body of readers; it presents the truth and it enlists
interest. In the following examples you will not be aware of dramatic
quality in the first but you will find picturesque qualities in both.

     Lord Cromer describes a responsible statesman in a democracy
     as very much in the position of a man in a boat off the mouth of a
     tidal river. He long has to strive against wind and current until
     finally a favorable conjunction of weather and tide forms a wave
     upon which he rides safely into the harbor. There is an essential
     truth in this which no man attempting to play the part of leader in
     a democracy can forget except at his peril. Government by public
     opinion is bound to get a sufficient body of public opinion on its
     side. But withal it is manifestly the duty of a leader to help form
     a just public opinion. He must dare to be temporarily unpopular,
     if only in that way he can get a temporary hearing for the truths
     which the people ought to have presented to them. He is to execute
     the popular will, but he is not to neglect shaping it. It is his
     duty to be properly receptive, but his main striving ought to be
     that virtue should go out of him to touch and quicken the masses
     of his citizens. If their minds and imaginations are played upon
     with sufficient persistence and sufficient skill, they will give
     him back his own ideas with enthusiasm. A man who throws a ball
     against a wall gets it back again as if hurled by the dead brick
     and mortar; but the original impulse is in his own muscle. So a
     democratic leader may say, if he chooses, that he takes only what
     is pressed upon him by the people; but his function is often first
     to press it upon them.[18]

  [18] Gustav Pollak: _Fifty Years of American Idealism_. Houghton
       Mifflin Company. By courtesy of _The Nation_.

            *       *       *       *       *

     The quack novel is a thing which looks like a book, and
     which is compounded, advertised, and marketed in precisely the
     same fashion as Castoria, Wine of Cardui, Alcola, Mrs. Summers's
     free-to-you-my-sister Harmless Headache Remedy, Viavi Tablettes,
     and other patent medicines, harmful and harmless. As the patent
     medicine is made of perfectly well-known drugs, so the quack novel
     of course contains perfectly familiar elements, and like the
     medicine, it comes wrapped in superlative testimonials from those
     who say they have swallowed it to their advantage. Instead of
     "After twenty years of bed-ridden agony, one bottle of your Fosforo
     cured every ache and completely restored my manhood," we have "The
     secret of his powers is the same God-given secret that inspired
     Shakespeare and upheld Dickens." This, from the Philadelphia
     _Sunday Dispatch_, accompanies a quack novel by Mr. Harold Bell
     Wright, of whom the Portland, Oregon, _Journal_ remarks, "It is
     this almost clairvoyant power of reading the human soul that has
     made Mr. Wright's books among the most remarkable works of the
     present age." Similar to that aroma of piety and charity which
     accompanies the quack medicines, an equally perceptible odor of
     sanctity is wafted to us with Mr. Wright; and just as imitators
     will make their boxes and bottles to resemble those of an already
     successful trade article, so are Mr. Wright's volumes given that
     red cloth and gold lettering which we have come to associate with
     the bindings of Mr. Winston Churchill's very popular and agreeable
     novels. Lastly--like the quack medicines--the quack novel is
     (mostly) harmful; not always because it is poisonous (though this
     occurs), but because it pretends to be literature and is taken for
     literature by the millions who swallow it year after year as their
     chief mental nourishment, and whose brains it saps and dilutes.
     In short, both these shams--the book and the medicine--win and
     bamboozle their public through methods almost identical.[19]

  [19] Owen Wister: _Quack Novels and Democracy_. By courtesy of The
       Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston.

For complete truth you need to present both resemblance and difference.
This necessity is apparent as soon as we remember that the differentia
are of vital importance, that we understand the subject only when we
see how it differs from other members of the same class. When these
differences are obvious, of course they need no mention. But in defining
_wit and humor_, for example, or _immorality and unconventionality_,
we must know not only the parallelisms but also the divergencies. The
best method of procedure is to discover in each of the subjects compared
the vital things, the heart without which it could not exist, and then
to observe how these work out in the particulars of the subject. In
defining _State_ and _Nation_ in the following selection Mr. Russell
takes care to show both resemblances and differences.

     _Nation_ is not to be defined by affinities of language or a
     common historical origin, though these things often help to produce
     a nation. Switzerland is a nation, in spite of diversities of race,
     religion, and language. England and Scotland now form one nation,
     though they did not do so at the time of our Civil War. This is
     shown by Cromwell's saying, in the height of the conflict, that he
     would rather be subject to the dominion of the royalists than to
     that of the Scotch. Great Britain was one state before it was one
     nation; on the other hand, Germany was one nation before it was one
     state. What constitutes a nation is a sentiment and an instinct--a
     sentiment of similarity and an instinct of belonging to the same
     group or herd. The instinct is an extension of the instinct which
     constitutes a flock of sheep, or any other group of gregarious
     animals. The sentiment which goes with this is like a milder and
     more extended form of family feeling. When we return to England
     after having been on the Continent, we feel something friendly in
     the familiar ways, and it is easy to believe that Englishmen on
     the whole are virtuous while many foreigners are full of designing

     Such feelings make it easy to organize a nation into a state.
     It is not difficult, as a rule, to acquiesce in the orders of a
     national government. We feel that it is our government, and that
     its decrees are more or less the same as those which we should
     have given if we ourselves had been the governors. There is an
     instinctive, and usually unconscious, sense of a common purpose
     animating the members of a nation. This becomes especially vivid
     when there is a war or a danger of war. Any one who, at such a
     time, stands out against the orders of his government feels an
     inner conflict quite different from any that he would feel in
     standing out against the orders of a foreign government, in whose
     power he might happen to find himself. If he stands out, he does
     so with a more or less conscious hope that his government may in
     time come to think as he does; whereas, in standing out against a
     foreign government, no such hope is necessary. This group instinct,
     however it may have arisen, is what constitutes a nation, and what
     makes it important that the boundaries of nations should also be
     the boundaries of states.[20]

  [20] Bertrand Russell: _National Independence and Internationalism_.
       By courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston.

_c._ _The Method of Division_

A third method, often used, and similar in its general form to analysis,
divides the subject into its various headings, the sum of which must
equal the whole. This method differs from analysis, perhaps, in that it
treats the subject throughout as a unit rather than as a congregation of
parts. This method may be used to define a subject like _mathematics_,
in stating that it is the pure science which includes arithmetic,
algebra, geometry, etc., or to define a quality like _patriotism_, by
enumerating the qualities that patriotism has. These qualities may be,
also, the uses to which the subject can be put, as in defining a tool or
a machine. The method consists in establishing the genus and then, from
a mental map of the subject, selecting the various parts that constitute
the whole, whether these parts be of physical extent, as in defining
the United States by giving the various sections of the country, or of
spiritual significance, as in defining an honest man by stating the
qualities that he should possess.

One danger from this method is lack of completeness; great practical
value attaches here to the caution to be sure that the definition
includes all that properly belongs under it. Another danger is in the
temptation to "talk about" the subject without actually defining it,
merely saying some pleasant things and then ceasing. The caution against
this danger in general must be remembered. Properly used, this method,
though it is sometimes rather formal, should result in great clearness
through completeness of definition. The following celebrated definition
of a "classic" is a good example of compact definition by this method,
and the definition of "moral atmosphere" of a more leisurely, informal

     A classic is an author who has enriched the human mind, who
     has really added to its treasure, who has got it to take a step
     further; who has discovered some unequivocal moral truth, or
     penetrated to some eternal passion, in that heart of man where it
     seemed as though all were known and explored, who has produced his
     thought, or his observation, or his invention, under some form, no
     matter what, so it be large, great, acute, and reasonable, sane and
     beautiful in itself; who has spoken to all in a style of his own,
     yet a style which finds itself the style of everybody,--in a style
     that is at once new and antique, and is the contemporary of all

  [21] Sainte-Beuve.

            *       *       *       *       *

     The moral atmosphere of the office was ideal. I mean more in
     the extended and not alone in our specific English sense, though
     in the latter it was even perhaps more marked. There was not only
     no temporizing, compromising, compounding with candor, in either
     major matters or trifling; there was no partiality or ingenuity
     or bland indifference by which the devil may be, and so often
     is, whipped round the stump. There was in the _Nation's_ field
     and conception of its function no temptation to anything of this
     sort, to be sure, which consideration may conceivably qualify its
     assessment of merit on the Day of Judgment--a day when we may hope
     the sins of daily journalism will, in consequence of the same
     consideration, be extended some leniency--but certainly cannot
     obscure the fact of its conspicuous integrity. There were people
     then--as now--that complained of its fairness; which involved,
     to my mind, the most naïve attitude imaginable, since it was
     the _Nation's_ practice that had provided the objector with his
     criterion of fairness in journalism. Of course he might assert that
     this was only a way of saying that the paper made extraordinary
     claims which in his estimation it failed to justify; but this was
     verbiage, the fact being as I have stated it.

     But I also mean by moral atmosphere the peace, the serenity,
     the gentleness, the self-respect, the feeling of character, that
     pervaded the office. We seemed, to my sense, so recently filled
     with the reactions of Park Row phenomena, "to lie at anchor in
     the stream of Time," as Carlyle said of Oxford--which, actually,
     we were very far from doing; there was never any doubt of the
     _Nation's_ being what is now called a "live wire," especially
     among those who took hold of it unwarily--as now and then some
     one did. Mr. Garrison shared the first editorial room with me.
     Mr. Godkin had the back office. The publication offices were in
     front, occupied by the amiable Mr. St. John and his staff, which
     included a gentle and aristocratic colored bookkeeper who resembled
     an East Indian philosopher--plainly a Garrisonian protégé. The
     silence I especially remember as delightful, and I never felt from
     the first the slightest constraint; Mr. Garrison had the courtesy
     that goes with active considerateness. The quiet was broken only
     by the occasional interchange of conversation between us, or by
     the hearty laugh of Mr. Godkin, whose laugh would have been the
     most noteworthy thing about him if he had not had so many other
     noteworthy characteristics; or by a visit now and then from Arthur
     Sedgwick, in my time not regularly "on" the paper, who always
     brought the larger world in with him (the office _was_ perhaps
     a little cloistral as a rule), or the appearance of Earl Shinn
     with his art or dramatic criticism--both the best written, if not
     also the best we have ever had in this country, and the latter so
     distinguished, I think, as to be unique.

     Of course, there were visitors, contributors and candid
     friends, but mainly we worked in almost Quakerish tranquillity five
     days in the week during my incumbency.[22]

  [22] Gustav Pollak: _Fifty Years of American Idealism_. Houghton
       Mifflin Company. By courtesy of _The Nation_.

_d._ _The Method of Repetition_

A fourth method, which may be used in connection with any other,
consists in repeating the definition over and over in different words,
from different points of view, driving home by accumulated emphasis.
The value of this method lies in its feeling of absolute sureness in
the reader's mind: once completed, the definition seems quite settled,
quite tamped down, quite clinched. It is a difficult method to employ,
for the writer is in great danger of saying exactly the same thing again
and again, forgetting to assume different points of view. From such a
definition tediousness is of course the result. The subjects treated by
this method are likely to be abstract matters upon which light is shed
from various angles, as if one poured spot lights from all sides upon
some object which remains the same but which delivers up all its phases.
Emerson often used this method, as in the following example where both
the method of repetition and that of comparison are used:

     The two parties which divide the state, the party of
     Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have
     disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made.... It
     is the counteraction of the centripetal and the centrifugal forces.
     Innovation is the salient energy; Conservatism the pause on the
     last movement. "That which is was made by God," says Conservatism.
     "He is leaving that, he is entering this other," enjoins Innovation.

     There is always a certain meanness in the argument of
     conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact. It
     affirms because it holds. Its fingers clutch the fact, and it
     will not open its eyes to see a better fact. The castle which
     conservatism is set to defend is the actual state of things, good
     and bad. The project of innovation is the best possible state
     of things. Of course conservatism always has the worst of the
     argument, is always apologizing, pleading a necessity, pleading
     that to change would be to deteriorate: it must saddle itself
     with the mountainous load of the violence and vice of society,
     must deny the possibility of good, deny ideas, and suspect and
     stone the prophet; whilst innovation is always in the right,
     triumphant, attacking, and sure of final success. Conservatism
     stands on man's confessed limitations, reform on his indisputable
     infinitude; conservatism on circumstance, liberalism on power;
     one goes to make an adroit member of the social frame, the other
     to postpone all things to the man himself; conservatism is
     debonair and social, reform is individual and imperious. We are
     reformers in the spring and summer, in autumn and winter we stand
     by the old; reformers in the morning, conservers at night. Reform
     is affirmative, conservatism negative; conservatism goes for
     comfort, reform for truth. Conservatism is more candid to behold
     another's worth; reform more disposed to maintain and increase
     its own. Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no
     invention; it is all memory. Reform has no gratitude, no prudence,
     no husbandry. It makes a great difference to your figure and your
     thought whether your foot is advancing or receding. Conservatism
     never puts the foot forward; in the hour when it does that, it is
     not establishment, but reform. Conservatism tends to universal
     seeming and treachery, believes in a negative fate; believes that
     men's temper governs them; that for me it avails not to trust in
     principles, they will fail me, I must bend a little; it distrusts
     nature; it thinks there is a general law without a particular
     application,--law for all that does not include any one. Reform in
     its antagonism inclines to asinine resistance, to kick with hoofs;
     it runs to egotism and bloated self-conceit; it runs to a bodiless
     pretension, to unnatural refining and elevation which ends in
     hypocrisy and sensual reaction.

     And so, while we do not go beyond general statements, it may
     be safely affirmed of these two metaphysical antagonists, that
     each is a good half but an impossible whole. Each exposes the
     abuses of the other, but in a true society, in a true man, both
     must combine.[23]

  [23] Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The Conservative," in _Nature, Addresses,
       and Lectures_. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

_e._ _The Method of Elimination_

Two methods, which are perhaps less frequently found, but which are
none the less useful, remain to be mentioned. The first is the method
of elimination, that is, the method of defining a thing by telling
what it is not, by eliminating all things with which it might become
confused. This method is of great value in defining an idea which is
often considered to mean what it actually does not. By shutting out
the erroneous interpretations, one by one, the errors are finally
disposed of. This method is most effective when not only are the wrong
interpretations excluded, but the correct idea, interpretation, is
positively stated at some point. If this is not done there lingers
in the reader's mind a taint of suspicion that either the author did
not know exactly the correct meaning, or that the subject is really
too difficult to bear real definition. And with a reader who does not
think clearly in original ways a positive statement is almost essential
lest he be unable to tell what the subject really is, after all, being
unable to supply the residue after the process of elimination has been
completed. Following this method Mr. Cross defines Socialism by showing
that it is not anarchy, is not single tax, is not communism, and is
not other systems with which it is often confused. The result is to
leave socialism standing out by itself with clearness. In the following
definition of college spirit the author has followed the method of
elimination to clear away the haze that in many minds surrounds the

     College spirit is like ancestry: we are all supposed to have
     it, but few of us know intimately what it is. The freshman in whose
     heart beats desire to show loyalty, the graduate whose pulse stirs
     as the train nears the "little old college," the alumnus who
     unties his purse-strings at the clarion call of a deficit--do these
     show loyalty by mere desire or by deeds? And if by deeds, by what
     kind of action shall their loyalty be determined?

     In the first place, college spirit is not mere voice culture.
     The man who yells until his face is purple and his throat is a
     candidate for the rest cure is not necessarily displaying college
     spirit--though he may possess it. Yelling is not excluded; it
     is merely denied the first place. For, to parody Shakespeare, a
     man can yell and yell and still be a college slacker. Cheering,
     indiscriminate noise making, even singing the college song with
     gusto at athletic games--none of these will stamp a man as
     necessarily loyal. Nor will participation in athletic sports or in
     "college activities" of other natures be sufficient to declare a
     man, for the participation may be of a purely selfish nature. The
     man who makes a record in the sprints chiefly for his own glory,
     or the man who edits the college paper because by so doing he can
     "make a good thing out of it" for himself, is not possessed of
     true college spirit, for college spirit demands more than mere
     selfishness. In the same way, taking part in celebrations, marching
     down Main Street with a flag fluttering round his ears, a sunflower
     in his buttonhole, an inane grin on his face, a swagger in his
     gait, and a determination to tell the whole world that his "dear
     old Alma Mater" is "the finest little college in the world"--this,
     too, is without avail, though it is not necessarily opposed to
     college spirit. For this exhibition, also, is largely selfish.
     Likewise, becoming a "grind," removing one's self from the human
     fellowship that college ought to furnish in its most delightful
     form, and becoming determined to prepare for a successful business
     career without regard to the warm flow of human emotion through the
     heart--this is not college spirit. All these harmless things are
     excluded because they are primarily selfish, and college spirit is
     primarily opposed to selfishness.

     True college spirit is found in the man whose heart has warmed
     to the love of his college, whose eyes have caught the vision of
     the ideals that the college possesses, whose brain has thought
     over and understood these ideals until they have become very fibre
     of his being. This man will yell not for the selfish pleasure
     of wallowing in sentimentality, but for the solid glory of his
     college; will run and leap, will edit the paper with the desire to
     make and keep the college in the front rank of athletic, social,
     and intellectual life; will study hard that the college may not be
     disgraced through him; will conduct himself like a gentleman that
     no one may sneer at the institution which has sponsored him; will
     resent any slurs upon the fair name of the college; will be willing
     to sacrifice himself, his own personal glory, for the sake of the
     college; will be willing to give of his money and his time until,
     perhaps, it hurts. And above all, he will never forget the gleam
     of idealism that he received in the old halls, the vision of his
     chance to serve his fellows. The man who does these things, who
     thinks these things, has true college spirit.

_f._ _The Method of Showing Origin, Cause, Effect_

The other of these two methods is that of defining by showing the origin
or causes of the subject or by showing its effects. If we can be made
to see what forces went to the making of anything, or what has resulted
from it, we shall have a fairly clear idea of the nature of the thing.
Thus we may perhaps best understand the nature of _cabinet government_
by showing how the system came into being, what need it filled, what
forces produced it. The same method might make clear _primitive Greek
drama_, _the Hanseatic League_, _fertilization of land_, _the Federal
Reserve System of Banking_, _the modern orchestra_. And by showing
the effects we might define such matters as _the Montessori method of
education_, _the Feudal System_, _anarchy_, _militarism_. The writer of
a definition after this method needs to take care that when he has shown
the various causes or effects, he surely binds them somehow together and
vitally to the subject of definition. There must be no dim feeling in
the mind of the reader that, after all, the subject is not yet clearly
limned, not yet set off from other things. The definition which follows
makes clear the origin of the mechanical engineer, and by showing what
he does, what need there was for him, what lack he fills, makes clear
what he is.

     The period of systematic and scientific power development is
     coincident with the true progress of the most basal of the several
     branches of natural philosophy, chemistry, physics, mechanics,
     thermodynamics, and the theory of elasticity of materials of
     construction; and there is no doubt that the steam engine, which
     was designed and built by workmen before these were formulated,
     attracted the attention of philosophers who, in attempting
     to explain what took place in it, created a related body of
     principles by which future development was guided, and which are
     now the fundamental bases for the design of the future. Those
     men who became familiar with the natural sciences, and also with
     the shop methods of making machinery, and who brought both to
     bear on the problem of the production of machinery for specified
     conditions, combining the special knowledge of the scientist and
     the shop mechanic, were the first mechanical engineers; and the
     profession of mechanical engineering, which is the term applied to
     this sort of business, was created out of the efforts to improve
     power systems, so as to make them more efficient and adapted to
     all classes of service, and to render that service for the least

  [24] C. E. Lucke: _Power_. By courtesy of the publishers, the Columbia
       University Press.

Emerson makes a definition of the civilization of America in the
following selection wherein he describes the effect of American society
and life upon the individual.

     The true test of civilization is, not the crops, not the
     size of cities, not the census,--no, but the kind of man the
     country turns out. I see the vast advantages of this country,
     spanning the breadth of the temperate zone. I see the immense
     material prosperity,--towns on towns, states on states, and wealth
     piled in the massive architecture of cities: California quartz,
     mountains dumped down in New York to be repiled architecturally
     alongshore from Canada to Cuba, and thence westward to California
     again. But it is not New York streets, built by the confluence of
     workmen and wealth of all nations, though stretching out toward
     Philadelphia until they touch it, and northward until they touch
     New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, Worcester, and Boston,--not
     these that make the real estimation. But when I look over this
     constellation of cities which animate and illustrate the land, and
     see how little the government has to do with their daily life, how
     self-helped and self-directed all families are,--knots of men in
     purely natural societies, societies of trade, of kindred blood, of
     habitual hospitality, house and house, man acting on man by weight
     of opinion, of longer or better-directed industry; the refining
     influence of women, the invitation which experience and permanent
     causes open to youth and labor: when I see how much each virtuous
     and gifted person whom all men consider, lives affectionately with
     scores of people who are not known far from home, and perhaps with
     greatest reason reckons these people his superiors in virtue and in
     the symmetry and force of their qualities,--I see what cubic values
     America has, and in these a better certificate of civilization than
     great cities or enormous wealth.[25]

  [25] Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Civilization," in _Society and Solitude_.
       Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

These, then, are the various methods that are in common use. The list
might be extended, but perhaps enough varieties have been discussed to
be of practical value. The choice of method will depend on the result
that the writer wishes to accomplish; at times he will wish to please
the reader's fancy with an illustration, and again he may wish to
contrast the subject to something else. If at any time more methods than
one are useful, there is not the slightest objection to combining; in
fact, most definitions of any length will be found to have more than one
method employed. Remember that the methods were made for you, not you
for the methods. And so long as you make your subject clear, so long as
you set it off by itself in a class, distinct from other members of the
class, you can be sure of the value of your definition.


    I. Discover the restricting adjectives or phrases that will reduce
       the number of differentia required by the genus in the following

        1. Vaudeville is _an entertainment_.

        2. Pneumonia is _a disease_.

        3. The Browning gun is _a machine_.

        4. Landscape gardening is _an occupation_.

        5. Smelting is _an operation_.

        6. Lyrics are _writing_.

        7. A college diploma is _a statement by a body of men_.

        8. Rotation of crops is _a system_.

        9. The Republican party is _an organization_.

       10. Anglo-Saxon is _a language_.

       11. An axe is _a tool_.

       12. A printing press is _a steel structure_.

       13. A hair-net is _weaving_.

       14. Literature is _writing_.

       15. Militarism is _an attitude of mind_.

   II. Write a definition of any of the following, showing how the
       subject has shifted its genus by its development, as the
       _clearing-house_ (page 75) has.

        1. The Temperance Movement (sentimental crusade; sensible
           campaign for efficiency).

        2. War.

        3. Incantation (means of salvation; curiosity).

        4. Household Science (drudgery; occupation).

        5. Aristocracy (through physical strength; through birth;
           through property).

        6. Justice (B.C.; A.D.).

        7. Chemistry (magic; utility).

        8. The Presidency of the United States (as changed by Mr.
           Wilson's procedure with Congress).

        9. The Theater (under Puritan and Cavalier).

       10. Electricity (curiosity; fearsome thing; utility).

       Of course any one of these ten subjects can be defined with a
       changeless genus, but such a genus is likely to be in the realm
       of the abstract, pretty thoroughly divorced from practical life.

  III. From the following definitions taken from Webster's New
       International Dictionary construct definitions of a more
       amplified, pleasing nature, after the manner of the definition of
       _war correspondents_.

        1. _Laziness_ is the state of being disinclined to action or
           exertion; averse to labor; indolent; idle; slothful.

        2. _Efficiency_ is the quality of being efficient, of producing
           an effect or effects; efficient power or action.

        3. A _department store_ is a store keeping a great variety of
           goods which are arranged in several departments, especially
           one with dry goods as the principal stock.

        4. _Metabolism_ is the sum of the processes concerned in the
           building up of protoplasm and its destruction incidental to
           the manifestation of vital phenomena; the chemical changes
           proceeding continually in living cells, by which the energy
           is provided for the vital processes and activities and new
           material is assimilated to repair the waste.

        5. _Judgment_ is the faculty of judging or deciding rightly,
           justly, or wisely; good sense; as, a man of judgment; a
           politician without judgment.

        6. _Puddling_ is the art or process of converting cast iron into
           wrought iron, or, now rarely, steel by subjecting it to
           intense heat and frequent stirring in a reverberatory furnace
           in the presence of oxidizing substances, by which it is freed
           from a portion of its carbon and other impurities.

        7. _Overhead cost_ is the general expenses of a business, as
           distinct from those caused by particular pieces of traffic.

        8. A _joke_ is something said or done for the sake of exciting a
           laugh; something witty or sportive (commonly indicating more
           of hilarity or humor than jest).

        9. A _diplomat_ is one employed or skilled in the art and
           practice of conducting negotiations between nations, as in
           arranging treaties; performing the business or art of
           conducting international discourse.

       10. A _visionary_ is one who relies, or tends to rely, on
           visions, or impractical ideas, projects, or the like; an
           impractical person.

       11. An _entrepreneur_ is an employer in his character of one who
           assumes the risk and management of business.

       12. _Loyalty_ is fidelity to a superior, or to duty, love, etc.

       13. A _prig_ is one narrowly and self-consciously engrossed in
           his own mental or spiritual attainments; one guilty of moral
           or intellectual foppery; a conceited precisian.

       14. _Heresy_ is an opinion held in opposition to the established
           or commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote
           division or dissension.

       15. _Eugenics_ is the science of improving stock, whether human
           or animal, or of improving plants.

   IV. Compare the definitions of the following which you find in the
       Century Dictionary, the Standard Dictionary, the Webster's New
       International Dictionary and the New English Dictionary; find the
       common elements, and make a definition of your own.

        1. Literature.

        2. Living wage.

        3. Capillary attraction.

        4. Sympathy.

        5. Classicism.

        6. Inertia.

        7. Fodder.

        8. Religion.

        9. Introspection.

       10. Individuality.

       11. Finance.

       12. Capital.

       13. Soil physics.

       14. Progress.

       15. Narrow-mindedness.

    V. Look up the definitions of the following terms and estimate the
       resulting amount of increase in your knowledge of the subject
       which includes the terms. Do you find any stimulus toward
       _thinking_ about the subject? What would you say, as the result
       of this investigation, about the value of definitions? What does
       Coleridge mean by his statement "Language thinks for us"?

        1. _Religion_:   awe, reverence, duty, mystery, peace, priest,
                         worship, loyalty, prayer, supplication, trust,
                         divinity, god, service, church, temple, heaven,

        2. _Socialism_:  property, social classes, economic rights,
                         capital, labor, wages, the masses, aristocracy,
                         envy, self-respect, economic distribution,
                         labor union, boycott, strike, lock-out,
                         materialism, profit-sharing.

        3. _Ability_:    genius, wit, talent, insight, judgment,
                         perseverance, logic, imagination, originality,
                         intellectuality, vitality.

        4. _Music_:      sound, rhythm, melody, harmony, orchestra,
                         interval (musical), key, beat, tonic,
                         modulation, musical register, polyphony,
                         monophony, sonata, oratorio, musical scale,
                         diatonic, chromatic, tempo.

        5. _Democracy_:  independence, suffrage, representation,
                         equality, popular, coöperation.

   VI. Are the two statements which follow definitions? If not, why not?
       What would be the effect of the use of definitions of this type
       in argument? Write a defining theme with such a definition as its
       nucleus, and test its value.

        1. Beauty is its own excuse for being.

        2. Virtue is its own reward.

  VII. In the following definitions[26] what are the genera? Are the
       definitions fair? How would you criticize them in general? Write
       a theme using the differentia noted, and trying to catch in the
       theme the spirit that is shown in the lists.

  [26] From B. L. T.'s "The Line o' Type Column." By courtesy of the
       _Chicago Tribune_.

          Highbrow: Browning, anthropology, economics,
          Bacon, the up-lift, inherent sin, Gibbon, fourth dimension,
          Euripides, "eyether," pâté de fois gras, lemon phosphate,
          Henry Cabot Lodge, Woodrow Wilson.

          Low-highbrow: Municipal government, Kipling,
          socialism, Shakespeare, politics, Thackeray, taxation, golf,
          grand opera, bridge, chicken à la Maryland, "eether," stocks
          and bonds, gin rickey, Theodore Roosevelt, chewing gum in

          High-lowbrow: Musical comedy, euchre, baseball,
          moving pictures, small steak medium, whiskey, Robert W.
          Chambers, purple socks, chewing gum with friends.

          Lowbrow: Laura Jean Libbey, ham sandwich, haven't
          came, pitch, I and her, melodrama, hair oil, the Duchess,
          beer, George M. Cohan, red flannels, toothpicks, Bathhouse
          John, chewing gum in public.

 VIII. Expand the following definition[27] into a theme, using the
       combined methods of illustration and comparison. What is the
       value of having the heart of the definition stated before the
       theme is begun?

  [27] George Bernard Shaw: _The Sanity of Art_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Boni & Liveright.

          The worthy artist or craftsman is he who serves
          the physical and moral senses by feeding them with pictures,
          musical compositions, pleasant houses and gardens, good
          clothes and fine implements, poems, fictions, essays, and
          dramas which call the heightened senses and ennobled faculties
          into pleasurable activity. The great artist is he who goes a
          step beyond the demand, and, by supplying works of a higher
          beauty and a higher interest than have yet been perceived,
          succeeds, after a brief struggle with its strangeness, in
          adding this fresh extension of sense to the heritage of the

   IX. See "Poverty" (page 84).

        1. In view of the fact that Gissing uses so slight an
           illustration to fix his ideal, what makes the definition
           valuable? Compare the value of this definition with another
           of the same subject such as you might find in a text on
           Sociology or Economics.

        2. Define by illustration any of the following: Homesickness,
           Jealousy, Despair, Discouragement, Vulgarity, Opulence,
           Misery, Cheapness, Tenacity, Anger, Adaptability, Man of
           action, Man of executive ability, Statesman, Ward boss, Man
           of learning, Luck, Courage, Business success, "Bonehead
           Play," Political shrewdness, The "College Widow," Perfect
           technique, Up-to-date factory, Social tact, A Snob, "Some
           Kid," Other-worldliness, A Gentleman, A Lady, A "real meal,"
           A fighting chance, Good breeding, A "Social climber,"
           Community music, Poetic justice, A wage-slave, A political
           ring, Good team-work, Elasticity of mind, Bigotry.

           How far is definition by illustration concerned
           with _morality_? Could you, for example, so illustrate
           _courage_ as to seem to exclude a really courageous person?
           What necessity in employing this method does your answer to
           the preceding question indicate?

           Define any of the following: The ideal leader of
           the "gang," The ideal ward boss, The ideal town librarian,
           The ideal teacher, The ideal military general, captain,
           corporal, The ideal headwaiter, The ideal foreman in a
           factory, The ideal soda-clerk, The ideal athletic coach, The
           ideal intellectual leader, The ideal orchestra conductor, The
           ideal mayor, The ideal "boss" in a steel mill, on a farm, of
           an engineering gang, of cotton pickers, of lumberjacks.

           Is the definition of a _Responsible Statesman_ any
           the less sound because the differentia are duties rather than
           facts? Write a theme explaining why an executive too far
           "ahead of his times" fails of immediate results.

        3. In the manner of the definition of _Amortization_, write a
           definition of the following: Collective buying, Sabotage,
           Montessori method of education, Dry cleaning, Dry farming.

    X. What is the chief value of the following selection as a real
       definition? Which is of greater value, this selection or the kind
       of definition that would be found in a text on geography?

       Define, in a manner similar to that of the selection: New
       England, The Middle West, The "Old Dominion," "The Cradle of
       Liberty," "Gotham," The "Gold Coast," "Dixie," "The Old South,"
       "The Auld Sod," "The Corn Belt," "The Wheat Belt," The Anthracite
       Region, The Land of Big Game, "The Land of Heart's Desire," "The
       Cockpit of Europe," "The Vacation Land."

          Between the Seine and the Rhine lay once a beautiful
          land wherein more history was made, and recorded in old
          monuments full of grace and grandeur and fancy, than in
          almost any other region of the world. The old names were
          best, for each aroused memory and begot strange dreams:
          Flanders, Brabant, the Palatinate; Picardy, Valois, Champagne,
          Franche-Comté; Artois, Burgundy, and Bar. And the town names
          ring with the same sonorous melody, evoking the ghosts of a
          great and indelible past: Bruges, Ghent, Louvain, and Liége;
          Aix-la-Chapelle, Coblenz, and Trêves; Ypres and Lille, Tournai
          and Fontenoy, Arras and Malplaquet; Laon, Nancy, Verdun, and
          Varennes; Amiens, Soissons, and Reims. Cæsar, Charlemagne, St.
          Louis, Napoleon, with proconsuls, paladins, crusaders, and
          marshals unnumbered; kings, prince-bishops, monks, knights,
          and aureoled saints take form and shape again at the clang of
          the splendid names.

          It is not a large land, this Heart of Europe; three
          hundred and fifty miles, perhaps, from the Alps to the sea,
          and not more than two hundred and fifty from the Seine at
          Paris to the Rhine at Cologne; half the size, shall we say, of
          Texas; but what Europe was for the thousand years following
          the fall of Rome, this little country--or the men that made
          it great--was responsible. Add the rest of Normandy, and the
          spiritual energy of the Holy See, and with a varying and
          sometimes negligible influence from the Teutonic lands beyond
          the Rhine, and you have the mainsprings of mediævalism, even
          though for its full manifestation you must take into account
          the men in the far countries of the Italian peninsula and the
          Iberian, in France and England, Bavaria, Saxony, Bohemia.[28]

  [28] Ralph Adams Cram: _The Heart of Europe_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York City. Copyright,

   XI. Note the two selections that follow, in comparison with the
       definitions of a responsible statesman and quack novels on pages
       87 and 88, and write a definition of any of the following groups,
       using the method of comparison and contrast.

          A sale of personal property is the transfer of its
          general ownership from one person to another for a price
          in money. It is almost always the result of a contract
          between the seller and the buyer. If the contract provides
          for the transfer of ownership at once the transaction is
          called "a present sale," or "a bargain and sale," or "an
          executed contract of sale." If it provides for the transfer
          of ownership at some future time it is called "a contract to
          sell," or "an executory contract of sale."

          The business transaction most nearly resembling a
          sale is that of barter, or the transfer of one article of
          personal property for another, as when A and B trade horses,
          or wagons, or oats, or cows. It differs from a sale only
          in this, that the consideration for each transfer is the
          counter-transfer of a chattel instead of money. Next to barter
          in its likeness to sale is a mortgage of personal property,
          usually called a chattel mortgage. This, in form, is a sale,
          but it contains a proviso that if the mortgagor pays a certain
          amount of money, or does some other act, at a stipulated time,
          the sale shall be void. Even though the mortgagor does not
          perform the act promised at the agreed time, he still has the
          right to redeem the property from the mortgage by paying his
          debt with interest. In other words, a chattel mortgage does
          not transfer general ownership, or absolute property in the
          chattels, while a sale does.

          A sale differs from a bailment.... The former is the
          transfer of title to goods, the latter of their possession.
          A bailee undertakes to restore to the bailor the very thing
          bailed, although it may be in a changed form, while the buyer
          is to pay money to the seller for the subject-matter of their

  [29] Francis M. Burdick: _The Essentials of Business Law_. By courtesy
       of the publishers, D. Appleton & Co., New York City. Copyright,
       1902 and 1908.

          The familiar distinction between the poetic and the
          scientific temper is another way of stating the same
          difference. The one fuses or crystallizes external objects
          and circumstances in the medium of human feeling and passion;
          the other is concerned with the relations of objects and
          circumstances among themselves, including in them all
          the facts of human consciousness, and with the discovery
          and classification of these relations. There is, too, a
          corresponding distinction between the aspects which conduct,
          character, social movement, and the objects of nature are able
          to present, according as we scrutinize them with a view to
          exactitude of knowledge, or are stirred by some appeal which
          they make to our various faculties and forms of sensibility,
          our tenderness, sympathy, awe, terror, love of beauty, and all
          the other emotions in this momentous catalogue. The starry
          heavens have one side for the astronomer, as astronomer, and
          another for the poet, as poet. The nightingale, the skylark,
          the cuckoo, move one sort of interest in an ornithologist,
          and a very different sort in a Shelley or a Wordsworth. The
          hoary and stupendous formations of the inorganic world, the
          thousand tribes of insects, the great universe of plants,
          from those whose size and form and hue make us afraid as if
          they were deadly monsters, down to "the meanest flower that
          blows," all these are clothed with one set of attributes by
          scientific intelligence, and with another by sentiment, fancy,
          and imaginative association.[30]

  [30] John Morley: _Miscellanies_, vol. I. By courtesy of the
       publishers, The Macmillan Company, New York City.

        1. Autocracy and Democracy.

        2. Fame and Notoriety.

        3. Cribbing and Lying.

        4. Immorality and Unconventionality.

        5. Musician and Music Lover.

        6. Popularity and Cheapness.

        7. Enthusiast and Crank.

        8. An Irish Bull and a Paradox.

        9. Puppy Love and Real Love.

       10. Boiling and Broiling.

       11. Honesty and Truthfulness.

       12. White Lies and Falsehoods.

       13. Liberty and License.

       14. Wages and Unearned Increment.

       15. Knowledge and Scholarship.

       16. Religion and Superstition.

       17. Broadmindedness and Spinelessness.

       18. Architecture and Architectural Engineering.

       19. Socialism and Anarchy.

       20. Wit and Humor.

       21. Enough and Sufficient.

       22. Genetic Heredity and Social Heredity.

       23. Lying and Diplomacy.

       24. Theology and Religion.

       25. Force, Energy, and Power.

       26. Sanitary Engineers and Plumbers.

       27. Business, Trade, and Commerce.

       28. "Kidding" and Taunting.

       29. Eminence and Prominence.

       30. Realism and Romanticism.

       31. Kinetic and Potential Energy.

       32. Popular and Permanent Literature.

       33. A "Gentleman Farmer" and a Producer.

       34. An Employer and a Slave-driver.

       35. A Practical Joke and a "Mean Trick."

       Is the following selection properly a definition by the method
       of comparison? What is defined? Are the general statements that
       serve as background true? In how far does the whole selection
       depend for its validity upon the truth of these general

          There is a difference between boys and men, but it
          is a difference of self-knowledge chiefly. A boy wants to do
          everything because he does not know he cannot; a man wants to
          do something because he knows he cannot do everything; a boy
          always fails, and a man sometimes succeeds because the man
          knows and the boy does not know. A man is better than a boy
          because he knows better; he has learned by experience that
          what is a harm to others is a greater harm to himself, and
          he would rather not do it. But a boy hardly knows what harm
          is, and he does it mostly without realizing that it hurts. He
          cannot invent anything, he can only imitate; and it is easier
          to imitate evil than good. You can imitate war, but how are
          you going to imitate peace? So a boy passes his leisure in
          contriving mischief. If you get another fellow to walk into a
          wasp's camp, you can see him jump and hear him howl, but if
          you do not, then nothing at all happens. If you set a dog to
          chase a cat up a tree, then something has been done; but if
          you do not set the dog on the cat, then the cat just lies in
          the sun and sleeps and you lose your time. If a boy could find
          out some way of doing good, so that he could be active in it,
          very likely he would want to do good now and then; but as he
          cannot, he very seldom wants to do good.[31]

  [31] William Dean Howells: _A Boy's Town_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Harper & Brothers, New York City. Copyright, 1890.

  XII. Does the style of the definition of moral atmosphere (page 9) fit
       well with the subject? Would the definition be more effective if
       written in a more formal style?


        1. The scholarly atmosphere of a university.

        2. The business atmosphere of the Stock Exchange.

        3. The holy atmosphere of a large church.

        4. The inhuman atmosphere of an ordinary criminal court.

        5. The human atmosphere of a reunion (of a class, a family, a
           group of friends).

        6. The majestic atmosphere of Niagara Falls.

        7. The beautiful atmosphere of a pond of skaters.

               {inspiring   }
        8. The {overpowering} atmosphere of a steel mill.
               {brutal      }
               {beautiful   }

        9. The calm atmosphere of a dairy farm.

 XIII. Does the following selection serve to define _honor_ as too
       difficult of attainment, as too closely bound up with fighting?
       Is any definition of _privilege_ implied? Define honor as taught
       in a college and honor as taught in the business world. Can a
       State University afford to maintain the kind of honor that forces
       it to "remain loyal to unpopular causes and painful truths"? Is
       the honor that seeks "to maintain faith even with the devil"
       foolish? Write a report on the state of honor in your college or
       university such as Washington or Lincoln would have written after
       investigating conditions in the student politics of the
       institution, or conditions in examinations and quizzes.

          Honor, perhaps because it is associated in the
          public mind with old ideas of dueling and paying gambling
          debts, and in general with the habits, good and bad, of
          a privileged class, is not in high repute with a modern
          industrial community, where bankruptcy laws, the letter of
          the statute book, the current morality of an easy-going,
          good-natured, success-loving people, mark out a smoother path.
          But the business of a college is not to fit a boy for the
          world, but to fit him to mould the world to his ideal. Honor
          is not necessarily old-fashioned and antiquated; it will adapt
          itself to the present and to the future. If it is arbitrary,
          or at least has an arbitrary element, so are most codes of
          law. If honor belongs to a privileged class, it is because
          it makes a privileged class; a body of men whose privilege
          it is to speak out in the scorn of consequence, to keep an
          oath to their own hurt, to remain loyal to unpopular causes
          and painful truths, to maintain faith even with the devil,
          and not swerve for rewards, prizes, popularity, or any of the
          blandishments of success. Because it is arbitrary, because it
          has rules, it needs to be taught. To teach a code of honor is
          one of the main purposes of education; a college cannot say,
          "We teach academic studies," and throw the responsibility for
          honor on parents, on preliminary schools, on undergraduate
          opinion, on each boy's conscience. Honor is taught by the
          companionship, the standards, the ideals, the talk, the
          actions of honorable men; it is taught by honoring honorable
          failure and turning the back on all manner of dishonorable

  [32] Henry Dwight Sedgwick: _The New American Type_. Houghton Mifflin
       Company, Boston, publishers.

  XIV. Define, by showing the origin, any of the following:

       Highway Engineering, The County Agricultural Adviser, Customs
       Officer, A private secretary, The linotype machine, National
       public opinion, The Federal Reserve Board, The "Spoils System,"
       The American Federation of Labor, American "Moral Leadership" in
       1918, The Caste System, The mechanical stoker, The canal lock,
       The trial balance sheet, The Babcock Test.

   XV. Are the following statements true definitions? Wherein does their
       worth consist? What causes any weakness that they may have?

        1. Life is one long process of getting tired.

        2. Life is the distribution of an error--or errors.

        3. Life is eight parts cards and two parts play; the unseen
           world is made manifest to us in the play.

        4. Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from
           insufficient premises.

        5. The body is but a pair of pincers set over a bellows and a
           stewpan and the whole fixed upon stilts.

        6. Morality is the custom of one's country and the current
           feeling of one's peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal

        7. Heaven is the work of the best and kindest men and women.
           Hell is the work of prigs, pedants and professional
           truth-tellers. The world is an attempt to make the best of

        8. Going to your doctor is having such a row with your cells
           that you refer them to your solicitor. Sometimes you, as it
           were, strike against them and stop their food, when they go
           on strike against yourself. Sometimes you file a bill in
           chancery against them and go to bed.[33]

  [33] All these are from _The Note-Books of Samuel Butler_, published
       by A. C. Fifield, London.

  XVI. In the light of the following definition of _Superiority of
       Status_ write a definition of any of the following: Superiority
       of birth, Superiority of training, Superiority of vitality,
       Superiority of environment, Superiority of patronage.

          There is another sort of artificial superiority which
          also returns an artificial rent: the superiority of pure
          status. What are called "superiors" are just as necessary
          in social organization as a keystone is in an arch; but the
          keystone is made of no better material than any other parts of
          a bridge; its importance is conferred upon it by its position,
          not its position by its importance. If half-a-dozen men are
          cast adrift in a sailing-boat, they will need a captain. It
          seems simple enough for them to choose the ablest man; but
          there may easily be no ablest man. The whole six, or four
          out of the six, or two out of the six, may be apparently
          equally fit for the post. In that case, the captain must be
          elected by lot; but the moment he assumes his authority, that
          authority makes him at once literally the ablest man in the
          boat. He has the powers which the other five have given him
          for their own good. Take another instance. Napoleon gained the
          command of the French army because he was the ablest general
          in France. But suppose every individual in the French army
          had been a Napoleon also! None the less a commander-in-chief,
          with his whole hierarchy of subalterns, would have had to
          be appointed--by lot if you like--and here, again, from the
          moment the lot was cast, the particular Napoleon who drew the
          straw for the commander-in-chief would have been the great,
          the all-powerful Napoleon, much more able than the Napoleons
          who were corporals and privates. After a year, the difference
          in ability between the men who had been doing nothing but
          sentry duty, under no strain of responsibility, and the man
          who had been commanding the army would have been enormous.
          As "the defenders of the system of Conservatism" well know,
          we have for centuries made able men out of ordinary ones by
          allowing them to inherit exceptional power and status; and
          the success of the plan in the phase of social development to
          which it was proper was due to the fact that, provided the
          favored man was really an ordinary man, and not a duffer, the
          extraordinary power conferred on him did effectually create
          extraordinary ability as compared with that of an agricultural
          laborer, for example, of equal natural endowments. The
          gentleman, the lord, the king, all discharging social
          functions of which the laborer is incapable, are products as
          artificial as queen bees. Their superiority is produced by
          giving them a superior status, just as the inferiority of the
          laborer is produced by giving him an inferior status. But the
          superior income which is the appanage of superior status is
          not rent of ability. It is a payment made to a man to exercise
          normal ability, in an abnormal situation. Rent of ability is
          what a man gets by exercising abnormal ability in a normal

  [34] George Bernard Shaw: _Socialism and Superior Brains_. By courtesy
       of the publishers, John Lane Company.

 XVII. In the following selection how many definitions occur, or how
       many things are defined? Do you understand what the author says?
       How many words do you have to look up in the dictionary before
       you understand the article? Could the author have made the
       subject clear in a sensible extent of space?

       What would you say is the chief virtue of the selection? How is
       it gained? For what kind of audience was the article written?
       What was the author's controlling purpose? Point out how he
       attains it.

       Do you find any _pattern-designers_ among novelists, poets,
       architects, landscape gardeners? Name a novel, a poem, a
       building, a park, which is primarily a pattern-design. Name one
       which is not a pattern-design so much as a dramatic expression.
       Which is the more significant? Which is more difficult to make?

       Define: Futurist painting, Free verse, Social morality, in
       relation to their preceding forms. Explain, through definition,
       the controversy between Paganism and Christianity, between
       Monarchy and Democracy, between Classical Education and
       Industrial Education, between Party Politics and Independent
       Politics, between Established Religion and Non-Conformist Views.

          Music is like drawing, in that it can be purely decorative,
          or purely dramatic, or anything between the two.... You
          can compose a graceful, symmetrical sound-pattern that exists
          solely for the sake of its own grace and symmetry. Or you can
          compose music to heighten the expression of human emotion;
          and such music will be intensely affecting in the presence
          of that emotion, and utter nonsense apart from it. For
          examples of pure pattern-designing in music I should have
          to go back to the old music of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and
          fifteenth centuries ... designed to affect the hearer solely
          by its beauty of sound and grace and ingenuity of pattern;
          absolute music, represented to-day in the formal sonata and

          The first modern dramatic composers accepted as binding
          the rules of good pattern-designing in sound; and this
          absurdity was made to appear practicable from the fact that
          Mozart had such an extraordinary command of his art that his
          operas contain numbers which, though they seem to follow the
          dramatic play of emotion and character, without reference to
          any other consideration whatever, are seen, upon examining
          them from the point of view of the absolute musician, to be
          perfectly symmetrical sound-patterns.... Even Mozart himself
          broke away in all directions, and was violently attacked by
          his contemporaries for doing so, the accusations levelled at
          him being exactly those with which the opponents of Wagner so
          often pester ourselves. Wagner completed the emancipation of
          the dramatic musician from these laws of pattern-designing;
          and we now have operas, and very good ones, too, written by
          composers not musicians in the old sense at all: that is, they
          are not pattern-designers; they do not compose music apart
          from drama.

          The dramatic development also touched purely instrumental
          music. Liszt tried hard to extricate himself from pianoforte
          arabesques, and become a tone poet like his friend Wagner.
          He wanted his symphonic poems to express emotions and
          their development. And he defined the emotion by connecting
          it with some known story, poem, or even picture: Mazeppa,
          Victor Hugo's Les Preludes, Kaulbach's Die Hunnenschlacht,
          or the like. But the moment you try to make an instrumental
          composition follow a story, you are forced to abandon the
          decorative pattern forms, since all patterns consist of
          some form which is repeated over and over again, and which
          generally consists in itself of a repetition of two similar
          halves. For example, if you take a playing-card (say the five
          of diamonds) as a simple example of pattern, you find not only
          that the diamond pattern is repeated five times, but that each
          established form of a symphony is essentially a pattern form
          involving just such symmetrical repetitions; and, since a
          story does not repeat itself, but pursues a continuous chain
          of fresh incident and correspondingly varied emotions, Liszt
          invented the symphonic poem, a perfectly simple and fitting
          common-sense form for his purpose, and one which makes Les
          Preludes much plainer sailing for the ordinary hearer than
          Mendelssohn's Melusine overture or Raff's Lenore or Im Walde
          symphonies, in both of which the formal repetitions would
          stamp Raff as a madman if we did not know that they were mere

  [35] George Bernard Shaw: _The Sanity of Art_, "Wagnerism." By
       courtesy of the publishers, Boni & Liveright.



Suppose that the president of a railroad asked you to report on the
feasibility of a proposed line through a range of hills; or that you
found it necessary to prove to an over-conservative farmer that he
should erect a hollow-tile silo at once; or that your duty as chairman
of the town playground committee led you to examine an empty lot for
its possibilities; or that, as an expert in finance, you were trying
to learn the cause of the deficit in a country club's accounts. In the
first case you would examine the proposed route for its practicability,
would estimate the grades to be reduced, would look into the question of
drainage, would consider the possibility of landslides, would survey the
quality of the road-bed: all with a view to making a complete report on
the practicability of the route proposed. In the other cases you would
determine the conditions in general that you confronted, would answer
the questions: what is the value of a hollow-tile silo? why is this site
suitable for a playground? what is wrong with the finances of this club?
Such tasks as these occur in life all the time; in college they confront
one whenever an inconsiderate instructor asks for a term paper on, say,
"Conditions in New York that Made the Tweed Ring Possible," or "The
Influence of the Great War on Dyestuffs," or "Tennyson's Early Training
as an Influence on his Poetry," or some other subject. In every one of
these cases the writer who attempts to answer the questions involved is
writing analysis, for _Analysis is the breaking up of a subject into its
component parts, seeing of what it is composed_.

In every such case you would wish, first of all, to tell the truth.
Of what use would your analysis be if you incorrectly estimated the
drainage of the proposed railway route and the company had to expend
thousands of dollars in fighting improper seepage? Unless the analysis
was accurate, it would be useless or worse. But suppose that you told
the truth about the site for the playground, its central position, its
wealth of shade, its proper soil conditions, and yet forgot to take into
account the sluggish, noisome stream that flowed on one side of the plot
and bred disease? Your report would be valueless because it would be, in
a vital point, quite lacking. In other words, it would be incomplete.
For practical purposes it would therefore, of course, be untrue.

If you wish to write an analysis, then, your path is straight, and it
leads between the two virtues of truth and thoroughness. Your catechism
should be: Have I hugged my fact close and told the truth about it?,
and, Have I really covered the ground?

The question of truth enters into every analysis; none may falsify.
Completeness, on the other hand, is a more relative matter. In the
report of a tariff commission it is essential; all the ground must
be covered. In a thorough survey of Beethoven's music no sonata or
quartette may be omitted. In determining the causes of an epidemic
no clue is to be left unexamined until all possibilities have been
exhausted. In the case of the term paper mentioned above, on the other
hand, "Tennyson's Early Training as an Influence on his Poetry," not
everything in his early life can be considered in anything short of
a volume. In such a case you may well be puzzled what to do until
you are suddenly cheered by the thought that your task is primarily
one of interpretation, that what you are seeking is the _spirit_ of
the training. There would seem, therefore, to be various degrees of
completeness in analysis. On the basis of completeness, then, we may
divide analysis into the two classes of the _Formal_ and the _Informal_.

The Two Classes of Analysis

Formal analysis is sometimes called _logical analysis_--that is,
complete, as in the report of a tariff commission--because it continues
its splitting into subheadings until the demands of the thought are
entirely satisfied. Such thorough meeting of all demands might well
occur in an analysis of trades-unions, or methods of heating houses, or
such subjects. Informal analysis, on the other hand, which is sometimes
called _literary analysis_, does not attempt to be so thorough, but
aims rather at giving the core of the subject, at making the spirit
of it clear to the reader. For example, Mr. P. E. More in an essay
on Tennyson, which is primarily an informal analysis, makes one main
point, that "Tennyson was the Victorian Age." This he divides into
three headings: (1) Tennyson was humanly loved by the great Victorians;
(2) Tennyson was the poet of compromise; (3) Tennyson was the poet of
insight. Now in these three points Mr. More has not said all that he
could say, in fact he has omitted many things that from some angle
would be important, but he has said those things truthfully that are
needed for a proper interpretation of the subject, for a sufficient
illumination of it, for showing its spirit. It is, therefore, a piece of
informal analysis.

The two examples which follow illustrate formal and informal analysis,
the first one classifying rock drills thoroughly, and the second very
informally discussing some odds against Shakespeare.

     Hammer drills may be classed under several heads, as follows:
     (1) Those mounted on a cradle like a piston drill and fed forward
     by a screw; (2) those used and held in the hand; and (3) those used
     and mounted on an air-fed arrangement. The last two classes are
     often interchangeable.

     Mr. Leyner, though now making drills of the latter classes,
     was the pioneer of the large 3-inch diameter piston machine to be
     worked in competition with large piston drills. The smaller Leyner
     Rock Terrier drill was brought out for stopping and driving; it
     could not, apparently, compete with machines of other classes.

     When the drills are thus divided we have:

     1. Cradle drills--Leyner, Leyner Rock Terrier, Stephens
     Imperial hammer drills and the Kimber.

     2. Drills used only with air feed--Gordon drill and the large
     sizes of the Murphy, Little Wonder, and others.

     3. Drills used held in the hand or with air feed--Murphy,
     Flottman, Cleveland, Little Wonder, Shaw, Hardy Nipper, Sinclair,
     Sullivan, Little Jap, Little Imp, Traylor, and others. Again, they
     may be divided into those that are valveless, with the differential
     piston or hammer itself acting as a valve. The Murphy, Sinclair,
     Little Wonder, Shaw, Little Imp, Leyner Rock Terrier, and Kimber
     drills belong to this class. The large Leyner drill is worked by a
     spool valve resembling that of the Slugger drill; the Flottman by a
     ball valve; the Little Jap by an axial valve; the Gordon drill, by
     a spool valve set at one end of the cylinder at right angles to it;
     the Waugh and Sullivan drills by spool valves set in the same axial
     line as the cylinder; the Hardy Nipper, and the Stephens Imperial
     hammer drills by an air-moved slide-valve set midway on the side of
     the cylinder; the Cleveland by a spool set towards the rear of the

     They may again be divided into those drills in which the
     piston hammer delivers its blow on the end of the steel itself. A
     collar is placed on the drill to prevent its entering the cylinder.
     The other class has an anvil block or striking pin. This anvil
     block fits into the end of the cylinder between the piston and the
     steel. It receives and transmits the blow, and also prevents the
     drill end from entering the cylinder.[36]

  [36] Eustace M. Weston: _Rock Drills_. By courtesy of the publishers,
       McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. Copyright.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Powerful among the enemies of Shakespeare are the commentator
     and the elocutionist; the commentator because, not knowing
     Shakespeare's language, he sharpens his faculties to examine
     propositions advanced by an eminent lecturer from the Midlands,
     instead of sensitizing his artistic faculty to receive the
     impression of moods and inflexions of being conveyed by word-music;
     the elocutionist because he is a born fool, in which capacity,
     observing with pain that poets have a weakness for imparting to
     their dramatic dialog a quality which he describes and deplores
     as "sing-song," he devotes his life to the art of breaking up
     verse in such a way as to make it sound like insanely pompous
     prose. The effect of this on Shakespeare's earlier verse, which
     is full of the naïve delight of pure oscillation, to be enjoyed
     as an Italian enjoys a barcarolle, or a child a swing, or a baby
     a rocking-cradle, is destructively stupid. In the later plays,
     where the barcarolle measure has evolved into much more varied and
     complex rhythms, it does not matter so much, since the work is no
     longer simple enough for a fool to pick to pieces. But in every
     play from _Love's Labour's Lost_ to _Henry V_, the elocutionist
     meddles simply as a murderer, and ought to be dealt with as such
     without benefit of clergy. To our young people studying for the
     stage I say, with all solemnity, learn how to pronounce the English
     alphabet clearly and beautifully from some person who is at once an
     artist and a phonetic expert. And then leave blank verse patiently
     alone until you have experienced emotion deep enough to crave for
     poetic expression, at which point verse will seem an absolutely
     natural and real form of speech to you. Meanwhile, if any pedant,
     with an uncultivated heart and a theoretic ear, proposes to teach
     you to recite, send instantly for the police.[37]

  [37] George Bernard Shaw: _Dramatic Opinions and Essays_. Archibald
       Constable & Co., Ltd., London, publishers.

Analyses are to be divided also upon the basis of whether the subject is
an individual or a group of individuals, that is, whether the subject
is, for example, the quality of patriotism, which is to be analyzed
into its components, or, in the second place, shade trees, which are to
be grouped into the classes which together constitute such trees. Of
these two kinds of analysis we call the first _Partition_ and the second
_Classification_. The logical process is the same in the two cases, in
that it divides the subject; the difference lies in the fact that in the
first case the subject is always single, though it may of course be
complicated, and in the second it is always plural, and may contain a
very large number of individuals, as for example the human race--all the
billions of all the ages gone and yet to come.

In this treatment of analysis you will find the main divisions made
on the basis of formality and the matter of single or plural subject
treated under each of the other headings.

Formal Analysis

Formal analysis, which requires completeness of division,--which is
not well done until every individual case is accounted for, or, in
Partition, every quality or factor or part,--is found in reports to
corporations, in estimates of conditions for some society, in government
documents, in textbooks, and in other kinds of writing where detailed
and complete information is necessary for judgment. A report to the city
of Chicago on the subject of the smoke nuisance will be valuable largely
as it entirely covers the ground, discovers all the conditions that the
city has to face. Such a report will be primarily a partition of the
question, though it may employ classification of various like situations
or conditions. Likewise an account of the game birds of North America
will be a formal analysis only if every kind of game bird is given a
place in the account. The object of formal classification and partition
is to give information, to array facts completely. The following
classification of oriental rugs, which in its course also employs
definition, or a close approach to it, will be finally sufficient only
if no rug can be found which is not included within the classes named.
The partition of the character of Queen Elizabeth will be of lasting
value as formal partition only if it really accounts for the total
character of the subject. That it makes only two main divisions is in no
way indicative of its completeness; the question is merely, are all the
qualities included under those two headings?

     It is a common impression that oriental rugs are as difficult
     to know as the 320,000 specimens of plants, and the 20,000,000
     forms of animal life that Herbert Spencer advised for the teaching
     of boys. This impression is wrong. There are only six groups or
     families of oriental rugs, and less than fifty common kinds. The
     novice can learn to distinguish the six families in sixty minutes.
     He would confuse them occasionally on so short acquaintance, but a
     college examiner would give him a passing grade.

     Persian rugs are the rugs that are profusely decorated with
     a great variety of flowers, leaves, vines, and occasional birds
     and animals, woven free hand, with purely decorative intent. India
     rugs are those in which flowers, leaves, vines, and occasional
     animals are woven as they appear in nature. Early Indian weavers
     transcribed flowers to rugs as if they were botanists; modern
     Indian weavers are copyists of Persian patterns and their copies
     are plainly not originals.

     In broad generalization, therefore, the two families of
     oriental rugs that are decorated almost exclusively with flowers
     have distinct styles that render their identification comparatively

     The Turkoman and Caucasian families of oriental rugs also
     pair off by themselves. They are the rugs of almost pure geometric
     linear design. Turkoman rugs, comprising the products of Turkestan,
     Bokhara, Afghanistan, and Beluchistan, are red rugs with web or
     open ends, woven in the patterns of the kindergarten--squares,
     diamonds, octagons, etc. That wild tribes should dye their wools in
     the shades of blood and weave the designs of childhood is fitting
     and logical.

     Caucasian rugs differ from Turkoman rugs in being dyed in
     other colors than blood red, in omitting the apron ends, and
     in being more crowded, elaborate, and pretentious in geometric
     linear pattern. The Caucasian weaver's distinction as the oriental
     cartoonist, the expert in wooden men, women, and animals, is
     well deserved. He holds the oriental rug patent on Noah's ark
     designs. Incidentally Mount Ararat and Noah's grave, "shown" near
     Nakhitchevan, are located on the southern border of his country.

     Chinese and Turkish rugs pair off almost as logically as the
     other rug families, although they are totally unlike in appearance.
     They contain both geometric linear and floral designs; the designs
     of the very early rugs of both groups generally are geometric, and
     the later ones floral. But these facts are not identifying.

     Chinese rugs can be recognized instantly by their colors,
     which are determined by their backgrounds, the reverse of the
     Persian method, which is to make the design the principal color
     medium. The Chinese colors are probably best described as the
     lighter and softer colors of silk--dull yellows, rose, salmon red,
     browns, and tans, the design usually being blue. The Chinese were
     the original manufacturers and dyers of silk, and they applied
     their silk dyes to their rugs.

     Turkish rugs that are ornamented with flowers and leaves
     can be distinguished from Persian and Indian products by the
     ruler-drawn character of their patterns. A keen observer describes
     them as quasi-botanical forms angularly treated. Turkish rugs that
     contain the patterns common to the Caucasian and Turkoman families
     can be recognized by their brighter, sharper, and more contrasting
     colors. The key to the identification of this most difficult rug
     family is to be found in the Turkish prayer rugs. To know Turkish
     rugs, one must see many of them; to know the other families one
     need see only a few.

     Reduced to a minimum statement, the identification of the six
     oriental rug families amounts to this:

     Persian rugs--floral designs drawn free hand.

     India rugs--floral designs photographed and copied.

     Turkoman rugs--geometric linear design, blood red, web ends.

     Caucasian rugs--geometric linear designs, numerous blended

     Chinese rugs--floral and geometric linear designs, silk colors.

     Turkish rugs--floral designs, angular, ruled; and geometrical
     designs, bright contrasting colors.

     To be able to identify an oriental rug as a particular kind
     of Persian, Indian, Turkish, Turkoman, Caucasian or Chinese
     weaving is somewhat more of an accomplishment. The way to begin
     is to study first the rugs that have distinct or fairly constant
     characteristics. Take Persian rugs, for example:

     Bijar--rugs as thick as two or even three ordinary rugs.

     Fereghan--small leaf design, usually with green border.

     Gorevan or Scrapi--huge medallions, strong reds and blues.

     Herat or Ispahan--intricate, stately design on claret ground.

     Hamadan--a camel hair rug.

     Kashan--dark, rich, closely patterned, extremely finely woven.

     Kermanshah--the "parlor" rug, soft cream, rose, and blue.

     Khorassan--plum colored, small leaf design, long, soft, wool.

     Kurd--colored yarn run through the end web.

     Meshed--soft rose and blue with silver cast.

     Polonaise--delicately colored antique silk rug.

     Saraband--palm leaf or India shawl design on rose or blue

     Sehna--closest woven small rug, minute pattern.

     Shiraz--limp rug, the sides overcast with yarns of various

     Tabriz--reddish yellow, the design sometimes resembling a
     baseball diamond.

     To extend this list would make wearisome reading. Let it
     suffice to indicate that many oriental rugs, like people, have
     marked facial distinctions, and that many others have marked
     peculiarities of body and finish, that make them easy to recognize.
     Ease of naming, however, ceases with distinct markings, and rugs
     that are out-and-out hybrids, the cross-bred products of wars,
     migrations, and trade, are not named, but attributed.

     Hybrid oriental rugs--the bane of the novice and the joy
     of the collector--are largely an epitome of the wars of Asia.
     Cyrus the Great, heading a host of Persians, conquered the
     Babylonians 500 years before Christ. Of course the Babylonians
     became interested in Persian rugs and appropriated some of their
     patterns. Two hundred years later Alexander the Great invaded Asia
     and conquered it, except the distant provinces of India and China.
     The Mohammedan Arabs mastered the Persians in the East and the
     Spaniards in the West in the sixth century. Genghis Khan, out of
     China with warriors as numerous as locusts, made a single nation of
     Central Asia in the thirteenth century; and Tamerlane later made
     subject farther dominions. Even 200 years ago the Afghans conquered
     the Persians; and as recently as 1771, 600,000 Tartars fled from
     eastern Russia to the frontiers of China under conditions to make
     DeQuincey's essay, "Revolt of the Tartars," a contribution to rug

     The wonder is not, therefore, that Chinese patterns are
     found in Turkestan, Persian, and Turkish rugs; that Persian
     patterns are found in Indian, Caucasian and Turkish rugs; that
     Turkish-Mohammedan patterns reach from Spain to China; and that
     European designs are found wherever oriental invention bent the
     knee to imitation. The wonder is rather that there are so many
     oriental rugs with distinct or fairly constant characteristics.[38]

  [38] Arthur U. Dilley: "Oriental Rugs," in _The New Country Life_,
       November, 1917. By courtesy of the publishers, Doubleday, Page &

            *       *       *       *       *

     She was at once the daughter of Henry and of Anne Boleyn. From
     her father she inherited her frank and hearty address, her love of
     popularity and of free intercourse with the people, her dauntless
     courage and her amazing self-confidence. Her harsh, manlike voice,
     her impetuous will, her pride, her furious outbursts of anger, came
     to her with her Tudor blood. She rated great nobles as if they were
     school-boys; she met the insolence of Essex with a box on the ear;
     she would break now and then into the gravest deliberations to
     swear at her ministers like a fishwife. But strangely in contrast
     with the violent outlines of her Tudor temper stood the sensuous,
     self-indulgent nature she derived from Anne Boleyn. Splendour
     and pleasure were with Elizabeth the very air she breathed. Her
     delight was to move in perpetual progresses from castle to castle
     through a series of gorgeous pageants, fanciful and extravagant as
     a caliph's dream. She loved gaiety and laughter and wit. A happy
     retort or a finished compliment never failed to win her favour.
     She hoarded jewels. Her dresses were innumerable. Her vanity
     remained, even to old age, the vanity of a coquette in her teens.
     No adulation was too fulsome for her, no flattery of her beauty too
     gross. "To see her was Heaven," Hatton told her, "the lack of her
     was hell." She would play with her rings that her courtiers might
     note the delicacy of her hands; or dance a coranto that the French
     Ambassador, hidden dexterously behind a curtain, might report her
     sprightliness to his master. Her levity, her frivolous laughter,
     her unwomanly jests, gave colour to a thousand scandals. Her
     character, in fact, like her portrait, was utterly without shade.
     Of womanly reserve or self-restraint she knew nothing. No instinct
     of delicacy veiled the voluptuous temper which had broken out in
     the romps of her girlhood and showed itself almost ostentatiously
     throughout her later life. Personal beauty in a man was a sure
     passport to her liking. She patted handsome young squires on the
     neck when they knelt to kiss her hand, and fondled her "sweet
     Robin," Lord Leicester, in the face of the court.[39]

  [39] J. R. Green: _Short History of the English People_.

Informal Analysis

The formal analyses are in general far less frequent than the informal,
which are found constantly in the weekly and monthly magazines and in
the editorials of our daily papers. These analyses aim at giving the
core of the subject, the gist of the matter, with sufficient important
facts or points as background. Thus you will read an account of our
relations with Mexico during the revolution in that country. Not
everything is said; only the vital things. A study of the character
of Mr. Roosevelt or of Mr. Wilson, an article explaining the problems
that had to be faced in the building of the Keokuk or the Shoshone
dams, a treatment of the question of conscription in England--these
and thousands of others flood upon us with the object of illuminating
our approach to the subject, of interpreting for us the heart of the
matter. Mr. More, in the essay already mentioned, says little about
Tennyson's verse form, about his zeal for the tale of Arthur, about the
influence upon him of the classics of Greece and Rome. Into a complete
treatise these would of course enter; here Mr. More's object is not
all-inclusiveness, as one should examine the Pyramids for not only
their plan and size but also for their minute finish, their varying
materials, their methods of jointure, and the thousand other details;
rather he estimates what his subject is, as one should journey round the
Pyramids, view them in general, find their significance, and discover
the few essentials that make them not cathedrals, not Roman circuses,
but Pyramids. In other words, interpretation is the object rather than
completeness of fact.

Obviously an informal analysis must be complete as far as it goes,
must be complete for its author's purpose, is not good writing if it
gives only a partial interpretation which gets nowhere. It is at once
apparent, then, that the controlling purpose which has been discussed
at length in an earlier chapter is in informal analysis of the utmost
importance. Only as it is clearly held in mind will the author know
when to stop, what to choose. In formal analysis, where his object is
to say all that there is to say, he chooses and ceases to choose by the
standard of completeness of fact; in informal analysis he must choose
and cease to choose by the standard of whether he has accomplished
the desired effect, made the desired interpretation. His analysis,
therefore, is valuable only when he has chosen the proper interpretation
and has made it effective and clear. If he wishes to analyze a period
of history for the purpose of showing the romance of the period, he
will choose and cease to choose largely in so far as his material helps
to establish the romance, and he will not hesitate to neglect many a
fact that would be otherwise important. In the following selection from
George Eliot's _Mill on the Floss_ you will find an analysis of the
effect of the Rhone scenery on the author written purposely with the
intention of driving home the dreariness of the subject, and therefore
with material chosen for that end:

     Journeying down the Rhone on a summer's day, you have perhaps
     felt the sunshine made dreary by those ruined villages which stud
     the banks in certain parts of its course, telling how the swift
     river once rose, like an angry, destroying god, sweeping down
     the feeble generations whose breath is in their nostrils, and
     making their dwellings a desolation. Strange contrast, you may
     have thought, between the effect produced on us by these dismal
     remnants of commonplace houses, which in their best days were
     but the sign of a sordid life, belonging in all its details to
     our own vulgar era; and the effect produced by those ruins on the
     castled Rhine, which have crumbled and mellowed into such harmony
     with the green and rocky steeps, that they seem to have a natural
     fitness, like the mountain-pine; nay, even in the day when they
     were built they must have had this fitness, as if they had been
     raised by an earth-born race, who had inherited from their mighty
     parent a sublime instinct of form. And that was a day of romance!
     If these robber barons were somewhat grim and drunken ogres, they
     had a certain grandeur of the wild beast in them--they were forest
     boars with tusks, tearing and rending: not the ordinary domestic
     grunter; they represented the demon forces forever in collision
     with beauty, virtue, and the gentle uses of life; they made a
     fine contrast in the picture with the wandering minstrel, the
     soft-lipped princess, the pious recluse, and the timid Israelite.
     That was a time of color, when the sunlight fell on glancing steel
     and floating banners; a time of adventure and fierce struggle--nay,
     of living, religious art and religious enthusiasm; for were not
     cathedrals built in those days, and did not great emperors leave
     their Western palaces to die before the infidel strongholds in the
     sacred East? Therefore it is that these Rhine castles thrill me
     with a sense of poetry: they belong to the grand historic life of
     humanity, and raise up for me the vision of an epoch. But these
     dead-tinted, hollow-eyed, angular skeletons of villages on the
     Rhone oppress me with the feeling that human life--very much of
     it--is a narrow, ugly, grovelling existence, which even calamity
     does not elevate, but rather tends to exhibit in all its bare
     vulgarity of conception; and I have a cruel conviction that the
     lives these ruins are the traces of were part of a gross sum of
     obscure vitality, that will be swept into the same oblivion with
     the generations of ants and beavers.[40]

  [40] George Eliot: _Mill on the Floss_. Houghton Mifflin Company,
       Boston, publishers.

Informal analysis is not only less complete, but also less strict in
adherence to pure analysis alone. It employs whatever is of value,
believing that the material, the message, is greater than the form.
Outside really formal analysis, which is likely to be fairly dull to all
except those who are eager for the particular information given, most
analytical articles make free use of definition whenever it will serve
well to aid the reader's understanding or to move his emotions toward a
desired goal; of description if it, like definition, proves of value;
even of anecdote and argument if these forms are the fittest instruments
for the fight. Thus Hawthorne, analyzing English weather, does not
hesitate to dress out his analysis in the charms of personal experience
and anecdote and description, which in no way obscure the facts of the
weather, but merely take away the baldness of a formal statement and add
the relish of actual life.

     One chief condition of my enjoyment was the weather. Italy
     has nothing like it, nor America. There never was such weather
     except in England, where, in requital of a vast amount of horrible
     east wind between February and June, and a brown October and
     black November, and a wet, chill, sunless winter, there are a few
     weeks of incomparable summer scattered through July and August,
     and the earlier portion of September, small in quantity, but
     exquisite enough to atone for the whole year's atmospherical
     delinquencies. After all, the prevalent sombreness may have brought
     out those sunny intervals in such high relief that I see them, in
     my recollection, brighter than they really were: a little light
     makes a glory for people who live habitually in a gray gloom. The
     English, however, do not seem to know how enjoyable the momentary
     gleams of their summer are; they call it broiling weather, and
     hurry to the seaside with red, perspiring faces, in a state of
     combustion and deliquescence; and I have observed that even their
     cattle have similar susceptibilities, seeking the deepest shade, or
     standing midleg deep in pools and streams to cool themselves, at
     temperatures which our own cows would deem little more than barely
     comfortable. To myself, after the summer heats of my native land
     had somewhat effervesced out of my blood and memory, it was the
     weather of Paradise itself. It might be a little too warm; but it
     was that modest and inestimable superabundance which constitutes a
     bounty of Providence, instead of just a niggardly enough. During
     my first year in England, residing in perhaps the most ungenial
     part of the kingdom, I could never be quite comfortable without
     a fire on the hearth; in the second twelvemonth, beginning to get
     acclimatized, I became sensible of an austere friendliness, shy,
     but sometimes almost tender, in the veiled, shadowy, seldom smiling
     summer; and in the succeeding years,--whether that I had renewed
     my fibre with English beef and replenished my blood with English
     ale, or whatever were the cause,--I grew content with winter and
     especially in love with summer, desiring little more for happiness
     than merely to breathe and bask. At the midsummer which we are now
     speaking of, I must needs confess that the noontide sun came down
     more fervently than I found altogether tolerable; so that I was
     fain to shift my position with the shadow of the shrubbery, making
     myself a movable index of a sundial that reckoned up the hours of
     an almost interminable day.

     For each day seemed endless, though never wearisome. As far
     as your actual experience is concerned, the English summer day
     has positively no beginning and no end. When you awake, at any
     reasonable hour, the sun is already shining through the curtains;
     you live through unnumbered hours of Sabbath quietude, with a calm
     variety of incident softly etched upon their tranquil lapse; and
     at length you become conscious that it is bedtime again, while
     there is still enough daylight in the sky to make the pages of your
     book distinctly legible. Night, if there be any such season, hangs
     down a transparent veil through which the bygone day beholds its
     successor; or, if not quite true of the latitude of London, it may
     be soberly affirmed of the more northern parts of the island, that
     To-morrow is born before its Yesterday is dead. They exist together
     in the golden twilight, where the decrepit old day dimly discerns
     the face of the ominous infant; and you, though a mere mortal, may
     simultaneously touch them both with one finger of recollection and
     another of prophecy. I cared not how long the day might be, nor how
     many of them. I had earned this repose by a long course of irksome
     toil and perturbation, and could have been content never to stray
     out of the limits of that suburban villa and its garden. If I
     lacked anything beyond, it would have satisfied me well enough to
     dream about it, instead of struggling for its actual possession. At
     least, this was the feeling of the moment; although the transitory,
     flitting, and irresponsible character of my life there was perhaps
     the most enjoyable element of all, as allowing me much of the
     comfort of house and home, without any sense of their weight upon
     my back. The nomadic life has great advantages, if we can find
     tents ready pitched for us at every stage.[41]

  [41] Nathaniel Hawthorne: _Our Old Home_. Houghton Mifflin Company,
       Boston, publishers.

An extension of this willingness to make grist of whatever comes to the
writer's mill lies in the close approach, at times, that analysis makes
to the informal essay. Of course the line is difficult to draw--and
perhaps not necessarily drawn--and most informal essays are to some
extent, at least, analytical. The more you desire your analysis to
become interesting, the more you wish to take hold of your reader,
the more you will make use of the close approach unless your subject
and its facts are of a kind to repel such intimacy. An analysis of
the nebular hypothesis deals with facts of so august a nature, on
so nearly an unimaginable plane, that intimacy seems out of place,
impudent, like levity in cathedrals. But if you have such a subject as
George Gissing[42] chose in the following analysis of the sportswoman's
attitude and character, you may well, as he did, throw aside the
formalities of expression and at once make truce of intimacy with your
reader. So long as you do not obscure the facts of the analysis, make it
unclear or blurred, so long you are safe.

  [42] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Spring."
       By permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York

     I found an article, by a woman, on "Lion Hunting," and in this
     article I came upon a passage which seemed worth copying:

     "As I woke my husband, the lion--which was then about forty
     yards off--charged straight towards us, and with my .303 I hit
     him full in the chest, as we afterwards discovered, tearing his
     windpipe to pieces and breaking his spine. He charged a second
     time, and the next shot hit him through the shoulder, tearing his
     heart to ribbons."

     It would interest me to look upon this heroine of gun and pen.
     She is presumably quite a young woman; probably, when at home, a
     graceful figure in drawing-rooms. I should like to hear her talk,
     to exchange thoughts with her. She would give one a very good idea
     of the matron of old Rome who had her seat in the amphitheatre.
     Many of those ladies, in private life, must have been bright and
     gracious, highbred and full of agreeable sentiment; they talked of
     art and of letters; they could drop a tear over Lesbia's sparrow;
     at the same time, they were connoisseurs in torn windpipes,
     shattered spines, and viscera rent open. It is not likely that many
     of them would have cared to turn their own hands to butchery, and,
     for the matter of that, I must suppose that our Lion Huntress of
     the popular magazine is rather an exceptional dame; but no doubt
     she and the Roman ladies would get on well together, finding only a
     few superficial differences. The fact that her gory reminiscences
     are welcomed by an editor with the popular taste in view is perhaps
     more significant than appears either to editor or public. Were this
     lady to write a novel (the chances are she will) it would have the
     true note of modern vigour. Of course her style has been formed by
     her favourite reading; more than probably, her ways of thinking and
     feeling owe much to the same source. If not so already, this will
     soon, I dare say, be the typical Englishwoman. Certainly, there is
     "no nonsense about her." Such women should breed a terrible race.

Kinds of Informal Analysis

_a._ _Enumeration_

Informal analysis may appear in various forms, not all of which are
at once apparent as analysis until we disabuse our minds of thinking
that analysis must be, always, complete in facts. For example, informal
analysis often appears in the form of enumeration, in which the
author "has some things to say"--always for a definite purpose--and
says them in some reasonable order. Thus Mr. Herbert Croly, in his
article "Lincoln as More than American," analyzes Lincoln's character
as related to the characters of other Americans through the qualities
of intellectuality, humanness, magnanimity, and humility. More might
be said; the analysis is not complete in fact, but it serves the
purpose of the author. It is distinctly in the enumerative order, the
progression being determined by the controlling purpose of delineating
Lincoln as worthy of not only respect but even true awe, the awe that
we give only to those great souls who, in spite of all their mental
supremacy, are yet beautifully humble.

_b._ _Equation_

Informal analysis often appears in the form of equation: the subject of
analysis is stated as equal to something else--a quality, an instrument
from another field of human knowledge, the same thing in other more
common or well-known words. For example, William James, in his essay
"The Social Value of the College Bred," first states that the value of a
college education is "to help you to know a good man when you see him,"
and then explains what he means by this phrase. This form of analysis,
then, is usually in the nature of a double equation: _x_ is equal to
_y_, which, in turn, can be split up into _a_, _b_, _c_. The method
really consists in arriving at an easily comprehended statement of the
significance of the subject through the medium of a more immediately
workable or attractive or simple synonymous statement. It is an
application of the old formula of going from the known to the unknown,
except that in this case we proceed from the unknown to the known and
then return to the unknown with increased light.

_c._ _Statement of Significance_

A third form of informal analysis is the showing of the significance
of the subject, its root meaning. In this case the writer attempts not
so much to break the subject into its obvious parts as to set before
the reader the meaning of it as a whole, in so short a compass, often,
that it will not need further explanation, or if it does, that it may
be then divided after the statement in easier form has been made. The
following explanation of the philosophy of Nietzsche illustrates this
form of analysis:

     The central motive of Nietzsche seems to me to be this. It is
     clear to him that the moral problem concerns the perfection, not
     of society, not of the masses of men, but of the great individual.
     And so far he, indeed, stands where the standard of individualistic
     revolt has so often been raised. But Nietzsche differs from other
     individualists in that the great object toward which his struggle
     is directed is the discovery of what his own individuality itself
     means and is. A Titan of the type of Goethe's or Shelley's
     Prometheus proclaims his right to be free of Zeus and of all other
     powers. But by hypothesis Prometheus already knows who he is and
     what he wants. But the problem of Nietzsche is, above all, the
     problem. Who am I, and, What do I want? What is clear to him is
     the need of strenuous activity in pressing on toward the solution
     of this problem. His aristocratic consciousness is the sense that
     common men are in no wise capable of putting or of appreciating
     this question. His assertion of the right of the individual to
     be free from all external restraints is the ardent revolt of the
     strenuous seeker for selfhood against whatever hinders him in
     this task. He will not be interrupted by the base universe in the
     business--his life-business--of finding out what his own life is to
     mean for himself. He knows that his own will is, above all, what he
     calls the will for power. On occasion he does not hesitate to use
     this power to crush, at least in ideal, whoever shall hinder him
     in his work. But the problem over which he agonizes is the inner
     problem. What does this will that seeks power genuinely desire?
     What is the power that is worthy to be mine?[43]

  [43] Josiah Royce: _Nietzsche_. By courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly

_d._ _Relationship_

A fourth class of informal analytical writing is the showing the
relationship that exists between two ideas or things, as cause and
effect, as source and termination, as contrary forces, or as any
relation that has real existence. Under this heading will be found the
large group of articles that answer the question _why?_, as for example,
"Why the Quebec Bridge Collapsed," "Causes of the Strike among the
Garment Workers," "Popular Opinion as Affecting Government Action," and
other such subjects. In the following analysis of the relation existing
between human action as result, and impulse and desire as causes, you
will find such an informal presentation of material.

     All human activity springs from two sources: impulse and
     desire. The part played by desire has always been sufficiently
     recognized. When men find themselves not fully contented, and not
     able instantly to procure what will cause content, imagination
     brings before their minds the thought of things which they believe
     would make them happy. All desire involves an interval of time
     between the consciousness of a need and the opportunity for
     satisfying it. The acts inspired by desire may in themselves be
     painful, the time before satisfaction can be achieved may be very
     long, the object desired may be something outside our own lives,
     and even after our own death. Will, as a directing force, consists
     mainly in following desires for more or less distant objects, in
     spite of the painfulness of the acts involved and the solicitations
     of incompatible but more immediate desires and impulses. All this
     is familiar, and political philosophy hitherto has been almost
     entirely based upon desire as the source of human actions.

     But desire governs no more than a part of human activity, and
     that not the most important but only the more conscious, explicit,
     and civilized part.

     In all the more instinctive part of our nature we are
     dominated by impulses to certain kinds of activity, not by desires
     for certain ends. Children run and shout, not because of any good
     which they expect to realize, but because of a direct impulse to
     running and shouting. Dogs bay the moon, not because they consider
     that it is to their advantage to do so, but because they feel an
     impulse to bark. It is not any purpose, but merely an impulse,
     that prompts such actions, as eating, drinking, love-making,
     quarrelling, boasting. Those who believe that man is a rational
     animal will say that people boast in order that others may have a
     good opinion of them; but most of us can recall occasions when we
     have boasted in spite of knowing that we should be despised for it.
     Instinctive acts normally achieve some result which is agreeable to
     the natural man, but they are not performed from desire for this
     result. They are performed from direct impulse, and the impulse
     often is strong even in cases in which the normal desirable result
     cannot follow. Grown men like to imagine themselves more rational
     than children and dogs, and unconsciously conceal from themselves
     how great a part impulse plays in their lives. This unconscious
     concealment always follows a certain general plan. When an impulse
     is not indulged in the moment in which it arises, there grows up
     a desire for the expected consequences of indulging the impulse.
     If some of the consequences which are reasonably to be expected
     are clearly disagreeable, a conflict between foresight and impulse
     arises. If the impulse is weak, foresight may conquer; this is
     what is called acting on reason. If the impulse is strong, either
     foresight will be falsified, and the disagreeable consequences will
     be forgotten, or, in men of heroic mold, the consequences may be
     recklessly accepted. When Macbeth realizes that he is doomed to
     defeat, he does not shrink from the fight; he exclaims:--

                             Lay on, Macduff,
         And damned be he that first cries, Hold, enough!

     But such strength and recklessness of impulse is rare.
     Most men, when their impulse is strong, succeed in persuading
     themselves, usually by a subconscious selectiveness of attention,
     that agreeable consequences will follow from indulgence of their
     impulse. Whole philosophies, whole systems of ethical valuation,
     spring up in this way; they are the embodiment of a kind of
     thought which is subservient to impulse, which aims at providing
     a quasi-rational ground for the indulgence of impulse. The
     only thought which is genuine is that which springs out of the
     intellectual impulse of curiosity, leading to the desire to know
     and understand. But most of what passes for thought is inspired by
     some non-intellectual impulse, and is merely a means of persuading
     ourselves that we shall not be disappointed or do harm if we
     indulge this impulse.

     When an impulse is restrained, we feel discomfort, or even
     violent pain. We may indulge the impulse in order to escape from
     this pain, and our action is then one which has a purpose. But the
     pain only exists because of the impulse, and the impulse itself is
     directed to an act, not to escaping from the pain of restraining
     the impulse. The impulse itself remains without a purpose, and the
     purpose of escaping from pain only arises when the impulse has been
     momentarily restrained.

     Impulse is at the basis of our activity, much more than
     desire. Desire has its place, but not so large a place as it
     is seemed to have. Impulses bring with them a whole train of
     subservient fictitious desires: they make men feel that they desire
     the results which will follow from indulging the impulses, and that
     they are acting for the sake of these results, when in fact their
     action has no motive outside itself. A man may write a book or
     paint a picture under the belief that he desires the praise which
     it will bring him; but as soon as it is finished, if his creative
     impulse is not exhausted, what he has done grows uninteresting to
     him, and he begins a new piece of work. What applies to artistic
     creation applies equally to all that is most vital in our lives:
     direct impulse is what moves us, and the desires which we think we
     have are a mere garment for the impulse.

     Desire, as opposed to impulse, has, it is true, a large and
     increasing share in the regulation of men's lives. Impulse is
     erratic and anarchical, not easily fitted into a well-regulated
     system; it may be tolerated in children and artists, but it is not
     thought proper to men who hope to be taken seriously. Almost all
     paid work is done from desire, not from impulse: the work itself
     is more or less irksome, but the payment for it is desired. The
     serious activities that fill a man's working hours are, except in
     a few fortunate individuals, governed mainly by purposes, not by
     impulses toward these activities. In this hardly any one sees an
     evil, because the place of impulse in a satisfactory existence is
     not recognized.

     An impulse, to one who does not share it actually or
     imaginatively, will always seem to be mad. All impulse is
     essentially blind, in the sense that it does not spring from
     any prevision of consequences. The man who does not share
     the impulse will form a different estimate as to what the
     consequences will be, and as to whether those that must ensue are
     desirable. This difference of opinion will seem to be ethical
     or intellectual, whereas its real basis is a difference of
     impulse. No genuine agreement will be reached, in such a case, so
     long as the difference of impulse persists. In all men who have
     any vigorous life, there are strong impulses such as may seem
     utterly unreasonable to others. Blind impulses sometimes lead to
     destruction and death, but at other times they lead to the best
     things the world contains. Blind impulse is the source of war, but
     it is also the source of science, and art, and love. It is not the
     weakening of impulse that is to be desired, but the direction of
     impulse toward life and growth rather than toward death and decay.

     The complete control of impulse by will, which is sometimes
     preached by moralists, and often enforced by economic necessity, is
     not really desirable. A life governed by purposes and desires, to
     the exclusion of impulses, is a tiring life; it exhausts vitality,
     and leaves a man, in the end, indifferent to the very purposes
     which he has been trying to achieve. When a whole nation lives in
     this way, the whole nation tends to become feeble, without enough
     grasp to recognize and overcome the obstacles to its desires.
     Industrialism and organization are constantly forcing civilized
     nations to live more and more by purpose rather than impulse. In
     the long run such a mode of existence, if it does not dry up the
     springs of life, produces new impulse, not of the kind which the
     will has been in the habit of controlling or of which thought
     is conscious. These new impulses are apt to be worse in their
     effects than those which have been checked. Excessive discipline,
     especially when it has been imposed from without, often issues
     in impulses of cruelty and destruction; this is one reason why
     militarism has a bad effect on national character. Either lack of
     vitality, or impulses which are oppressive and against life, will
     almost always result if the spontaneous impulses are not able to
     find an outlet. A man's impulses are not fixed from the beginning
     by his native disposition: within certain wide limits, they are
     profoundly modified by his circumstances and his way of life. The
     nature of these modifications ought to be studied, and the results
     of such study ought to be taken account of in judging the good or
     harm that is done by political and social institutions.[44]

  [44] Bertrand Russell: _Why Men Fight_. By courtesy of the publishers,
       The Century Company, New York City.

_e._ _Statement of a Problem_

A fifth form in which analysis often appears is as a statement of
a problem. An engineer who is asked by a city to investigate the
conditions that confront the municipality as regards water supply will
have such a problem to state. The statement will presumably consist
of several divisions. First of all, of course--and this will be
essential in all such statements--will be an analysis of the conditions
themselves. In this particular case he will find out how much water is
needed, how great the present supply is, what sources are available for
increased supply, what the character of the water in these other sources
is, and anything else that may be of value to the city. If any former
attempts at solution have been made, he may mention them. If he is
asked to recommend a plan of procedure, he will make an analysis of the
details of this plan and will present them.

Now obviously the nature of the audience will determine somewhat the
manner of approach to the conditions. If, for example, the problem
is to be stated to the financial committee of the city, the angle
of approach will be that of cost; if to a prospective constructing
engineer, from that of difficulties of construction of reservoirs or
from that of availability of sources. If you are to state the problem
of lessening the illiteracy in a given neighborhood, you will approach
the subject for the school committee from the angle, perhaps, of the
establishment of night schools, or from that of the necessary welding
of nationalities; for the charitable societies from that of the poverty
that compels child labor in the community. And in the recommendations
for meeting the conditions, if such recommendations are made, attention
must be paid to the particular people who will read the analysis. Of
course if you make an abstract, complete survey, you will cover the
ground in whatever way seems most suitable.

Such an analysis, when it is in the nature of a report, will presumably
be in brief, tabulated form. If, on the other hand, it is not a report,
the subject may be treated more informally, made more pleasing. The
following statement of the problem of the development of power machinery
is made rather formally from the angle of the constructive engineer with
an eye also to the financial conditions.

     The problem of power-machinery development is, therefore,
     divisible into several parts: First, what processes must be carried
     out to produce motion against resistance, from the energy of winds,
     the water of the rivers, or from fuel. Second, what combinations of
     simply formed parts can be made to carry out the process or series
     of processes. These two steps when worked out will result in some
     kind of engine, but it may not be a good engine, for it may use up
     too much natural energy for the work it does; some part may break
     or another wear too fast; some part may have a form that no workman
     can make, or use up too much material or time in the making; in
     short, while the engine may work, it may be too wasteful, or do its
     work at too great a cost of coal or water, attendance in operation,
     or investment, or all these together. There must, therefore, be
     added several other elements to the problem, as follows: Third, how
     many ways are there of making each part, and which is the cheapest,
     or what other form of part might be devised that would be cheaper
     to make, or what cheaper material is there that would be equally
     suitable. Fourth, how sensitive to care are all these parts when
     in operation, and how much attendance and repairs will be required
     to keep the machine in good operating condition. Fifth, how big
     must the important parts of the whole machine be to utilize all the
     energy available, or to produce the desired amount of power. Sixth,
     how much force must each part of the mechanism sustain, and how
     big must it be when made of suitable material so as not to break.
     Seventh, how much work can be produced by the process for each unit
     of energy supplied.[45]

  [45] Charles E. Lucke: _Power_. By courtesy of the publishers, the
       Columbia University Press.

Principles of Analysis

The problem that confronts you, then, in either kind of analysis,
however formal or informal it may be, is, How shall I go to work? The
first necessity is the choosing of a basis for division of the subject,
whether it be in classification or partition. The necessity for this
arises from the demand of the human mind for logical consistency. Life
seems often wildly inconsistent, but we demand that explanation of
it or any phase of it be arranged according to what seems to us some
logical law of progression, some consistent point of view. And in truth
without some such law or basis the mind soon becomes hopelessly enmeshed
and bewildered. I cannot expect my reader to understand my treatise
on locomotive engines, my classification of them, if I regard them
now as engines of speed, now as means of conveyance, now as potential
destroyers of life, and now as instruments whereby capitalists become
rich and workmen become poor. As often as I change my point of view,
so often I shall be under the necessity of making a new arrangement of
the engines, a new alignment. It is like skimming past a cornfield with
the platoons of green spears constantly shifting their number, their
direction, and their general appearance. If I station myself at one
point, I can soon make reasonable estimates, but so long as I whirl from
point to point my estimate must whirl likewise and I shall be confused
rather than helped. If, then, you are to analyze, say, our present-day
domestic architecture, it is not enough to heap together everything that
occurs to you about houses: their size, material, color, arrangement,
finish, beauty, convenience, situation as regards sidewalks, their
heating and upkeep. To prevent your reader from becoming hopelessly
muddled, from seeming to deal with the valley of the unorganized dry
bones of fact, you must have some guiding principle, some basis, some
point of view. Suppose that you take _beauty_ as your basis. Then at
once you have a standard by which you can judge all houses, to which you
can relate questions of position, arrangement, convenience, lighting,
heating, etc. Each of these questions is now significant as affecting
the cause of beauty. You could, of course, choose _convenience_ as your
basis, to which, then, beauty would be subordinate as contributing or
opposing. Asked to analyze the architecture of a railroad terminal, you
will not do well to plant dynamite under it and make an architectural
rummage sale of its parts; rather you will choose, perhaps,
_serviceability_ as your basis, and will then examine tracks, offices,
waiting rooms, etc. to see what the whole is. No part will thereby be
overlooked; each will be significant, and the whole will be unified by
your single point of view. An analysis of MacDowell's music might be
based on _emotional power_; of the currency problem on that of _general
distribution_; of universities on that of _proportion of cultural to
so-called practical courses_. Notice, also, that the choosing of a
basis of division is just as necessary in one kind of analysis as in
another, that formality and informality do not affect the logic of the
situation in the least, that whatever the subject or the proposed method
of treatment, you must be consistent in your point of view, must make a
pivot round which the whole can turn.

Sometimes more than one principle will be necessary, in a complicated
analysis, as in judging a route for a railway we saw the necessity for
considering grades, drainage, landslides, etc., as we might interweave
the bases of cost, beauty, convenience, etc., but--like the reins of
the ten-span circus horses--all will be found to run back finally to
the single driver--in the case of the railway, _practicability_. In
classifying dredges, for example, we may use as basis the action of
the machine upon the bottom of the body of water, that is, whether the
action is continuous or intermittent; in this case we shall find four
types of continuous dredges: the ladder, the hydraulic, the stirring,
and the pneumatic; and we shall find two classes of intermittent: the
dipper and the grapple dredges. Or we may divide all dredges on the
basis of whether they are self-propelling or non-propelling. Finally,
we may take as basis for the classification the manner of disposing of
the excavated materials, in which case we shall find several groups.
In the following example we have two bases used for classifying
clearing-houses. The use of more than one basis will depend on whether
we can by such use make more easily clear to a reader the nature of the
subject and on whether different readers will need different angles of

     The clearing-houses in the United States may be divided into
     two classes, the sole function of the first of which consists in
     clearing-notes, drafts, checks, bills of exchange, and whatever
     else may be agreed upon; and the second of which, in addition to
     exercising the functions of the class just mentioned, prescribes
     rules and regulations for its members in various matters, such
     as the fixing of uniform rates of exchange, interest charges,
     collections, etc.

     Clearing-houses may also be divided into two classes with
     reference to the funds used in the settlement of balances: First,
     those clearing-houses which make their settlements entirely on a
     cash basis, or, as stated in the decision of the Supreme Court
     above referred to, "by such form of acknowledgment or certificate
     as the associated banks may agree to use in their dealings with
     each other as the equivalent or representative of cash"; and
     second, those clearing-houses which make their settlements by
     checks or drafts on large financial centers.[46]

  [46] James G. Cannon: _Clearing-Houses_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, D. Appleton & Co., New York City. Copyright, 1900.

Sometimes, also, the minor sections may have a different basis from
the main one, a different principle of classification. For example,
a general basis for an analysis of the Mexican situation during Mr.
Wilson's administration might be _general world progress_. This might
cover our immediate relations with Mexico, our less close relations with
South America, and our rather more remote relations with Europe. The
first division might then possibly choose for its principle _fundamental
causes for inter-irritation_; the second, _our trade relations with
South America_; and the third, the _possibility of trouble through the
Monroe Doctrine_. All would unite under the one heading of general
progress, and so long as they were kept distinct would be serviceable.
For the uniting into one main principle is the important thing. It is
by this, and this only, that the reader will easily receive a clear
understanding of the subject.

Having selected this unifying basis, you must then be careful lest your
subdivisions be only the subject restated in other words. If you are
analyzing a railroad route for practicability, do not name one division
_general serviceability_, for you will merely have made a revolution
of 360 degrees and be facing exactly as you faced before. In analyzing
Scott's works for humor do not name one division _ability to see the
funny side of life_, for again you will have said only that two equals
two. Each section must be less than the whole.

Even more caution is required to keep the divisions from overlapping.
The man who wrote an enthusiastic account of the acting of Sir Johnston
Forbes-Robertson with subheadings as follows: (1) emotional power, (2)
effect on audience, (3) intellect, (4) appealing qualities, saw that
his divisions--like a family of young kittens--overlapped and sprawled
generally. When he had selected _moving power_ as his main principle,
and had then divided the treatment into the following headings: (1)
appearance, (2) voice, (3) general handling of the situation, (4) effect
at the time, and (5) memories of the performance, he found that his
kittens had become well-mannered little beasties and sat each in his
place. The overlapping of subdivisions is likely to occur because of
one or both of two causes: lack of clear thinking, and lack of clear
expression. Be sure, then, first to cut neatly between parts in dividing
your apple, and then to label each part carefully so that the reader
will not say, "Why, three is just like two!"

Finally, be sure that the sum of your divisions equals the whole.
This means that in logical analysis you must continue the process of
dividing until nothing is left. You must follow the old advice: "Cut
into as small pieces as possible, and then cut each piece several
times smaller!" Such would be the process in analyzing and classifying
types of cathedral architecture; your work will not be complete until
you have included all possible forms. The same would hold true in a
thorough analysis of bridges; all forms would demand entrance. When you
write informal or literary analysis, on the other hand, since here the
object is illumination rather than exhaustion, almost suggestiveness
rather than completeness, choose the significant vital divisions and let
the rest go. This does not mean that in informal analysis you may be
careless; "any old thing" is far from being the motto; strict thinking
and shrewd selection are quite as necessary as in formal analysis. The
point is that the divisions will be fewer in number, as in an article
on the subject of the failure of freshmen in the first semester your
object, in informal analysis, would be to group the causes, for the
convenience of the reader, into a few general divisions which should
give him a clear idea of the subject without necessitating long and
painful reading. In literary analysis especially it is often well to
express in one sentence the gist of your thought, as Mr. More says,
"Tennyson was the Victorian Age." It is always well to be able to
express this sentence. Of course care must be exercised not to make the
structure of the article too evident by the presence of such a sentence,
but its judicious use will help to unify the thought for the reader. For
most minds analysis is difficult. Whatever you can do, therefore, to
make it easy will be worth while in gaining success.


    I. Why, from the point of view of analysis, is it difficult to
       select a list of "the greatest ten" living men, or women? Make
       such a list and then examine its foundations. Is a similar list
       of novels or plays or symphonies as difficult to make?

   II. Use any of the following sentences as a nucleus sentence on which
       to build an informal analysis.

        1. The attitude of scientific efficiency is incompatible with
           feelings of humanity.

        2. A college career does not always develop, but in fact often
           kills, intellectual integrity.

        3. The worst enemy of the American Public is the newspaper that
           for political or business reasons distorts news.

        4. Studies are the least valuable of college activities except
           as they stimulate the imagination.

        5. Our Country is so large that a citizen is really justified,
           mentally and morally, in being provincial.

        6. The study of literature in college is, except for the person
           of no imagination, deadening to the spirit.

        7. The fifteen-and twenty-cent magazine is a menace to American
           life in that its fiction grossly distorts the facts of life.

        8. The farmer who wishes to keep his soil in good condition
           should use legumes as increasers of fertility.

        9. The effect of acquisition of land property is always to drive
           the possessors into the Tory camp.

       10. The engineer is a poet who expresses himself in material
           forms rather than words.

  III. Make a formal classification, in skeleton form, of any of the
       following subjects. Then determine what qualities the subject has
       that indicate how such a classification can be made interesting,
       either by material or treatment. Then write an analytical theme
       which shall thoroughly cover the skeleton classification and
       shall also be attractive. (Compare the classification of Rock
       Drills (page 115) and Oriental Rugs (page 119) to note the
       difference in the amount of interest.)

        1. Building materials for houses.

        2. China dinner-ware.

        3. Forms of democratic government.

        4. Methods of irrigation in the United States.

        5. Types of lyric poetry.

        6. Chairs.

        7. Commercial fertilizers.

        8. Tractors for the farm.

        9. Contemporary philosophies of Europe and America.

       10. American dances.

       11. Elevators.

       12. Filing systems.

       13. Races of men in Europe.

       14. Gas ranges.

       15. Pianos.

       16. Contemporary short stories of the popular magazines.

       Indicate, in any given subject, how many possible bases for
       classification you could choose, as, for example, you might
       classify chairs on the basis of comfort, expense, presence of
       rockers, upholstery, adaptation to the human figure, material for
       the seat, shape of back, etc.

   IV. Analyze any of the following problems, first without
       recommendation of solution, and second with recommendation as if
       you were making a report to a committee or employer or officer.

        1. Summer work for college students.

        2. Keeping informed of world affairs while doing one's college
           work faithfully.

        3. "Outside activities" for college students.

        4. Faculty or non-faculty control of college politics.

        5. Choosing a college course with relation to intended career in

        6. Selecting shrubbery for continuous bloom with both red and
           blue berries in winter.

        7. The mail-order houses.

        8. Preventing money panics.

        9. Dye-manufacture in the United States.

       10. Gaining foreign markets.

       11. The farmer and the commission merchant.

       12. The brand of flour selected for use in large hotels.

       13. Color photography.

       14. Wind pressure in high buildings.

       15. Street pavement.

       16. Electrification of railroads.

       17. Heating system for an eight-room house.

       18. Choice of cereal for children of six, nine, and eleven--two
           boys, one girl.

       19. Lighting the farmhouse.

       20. Creating a high class dairy or sheep herd.

       21. Creating an apple (or other fruit) orchard.

       22. Method of shipping potatoes to a distant point, in boxes,
           barrels, sacks.

       23. Best use of a twenty-acre farm near a large city.

       24. Investment of $500.00.

       25. Best system of bookkeeping for the farmer.

       26. Kind of life insurance for a man of twenty.

       27. Location of a shoe factory with capital of $250,000.00.

       28. Cash system in a large general store.

       29. Reconciling Shakespeare's works with the known facts of his

       30. The secret of Thomas Hardy's pessimism.

       31. Reconciling narrow religious training with the increased
           knowledge derived from college.

       32. The failure of college courses in English composition to
           produce geniuses.

       33. The creation of a conscientious political attitude in a

       34. Selection of $10,000 worth of books as the nucleus for a
           small town library.

    V. Decide upon a controlling purpose for an informal analysis of any
       of the following subjects, indicate how you hope to make the
       analysis interesting, state why you choose the basis that you
       do--and then write the theme.

        1. Prejudices, Flirts, Entertainments, Shade-trees, Methods of
           advertising, Languages, Scholastic degrees, Systems of
           landscape gardening for small estates, Migratory song birds
           of North America, Laces.

        2. Causes of the Return-to-the-Soil movement, Origins of our
           dairy cattle, Benefits of intensive agriculture, Imported
           plant diseases, Legumes.

        3. Opportunities for the Civil (or Mechanical or Electrical,
           etc.) Engineer, Difficulties of modern bridge-building, The
           relation of the engineer to social movements, The
           contribution of the engineer to intellectual advance.

        4. Changes in the United States system of public finance since
           Hamilton's time, The equitable distribution of taxation, The
           benefits of the Federal Reserve Movement in Finance, Forms of
           taxation, Systems of credit.

        5. Possibilities for Physiological Chemistry, Obstacles to color
           photography, The chemistry of the kitchen, The future of the
           telescope, The battle against disease germs, Theories of the
           atom, Heredity in plants or animals, Edible fresh-water fish.

        6. Bores, The terrors of childhood, The vanities of young men,
           Methods of coquetry,--of becoming popular,--of always having
           one's way, The idiosyncrasies of elderly bachelors, Books to
           read on the train, Acquaintances of the dining-car.

   VI. Write a 250 word analysis of whatever type you choose on any of
       the following subjects:

       The dishonesty of college catalogues, The prevalence of
       fires in the United States, Causes of weakness in I beams, Effect
       of fairy stories on children, Religious sectarianism, Public
       attitude toward an actress, The business man's opinion of the
       college professor, The tyranny of the teaching of our earliest
       years, The state of American forests, Municipal wastefulness,
       Opportunities for lucrative employment at ---- college or
       university, The effect of oriental rugs in a room, The attitude
       of people in a small town toward their young people in college,
       People who are desolate without the "Movies" four or five times a

  VII. Write a 1500-2000 word analytical theme on any of the following

        1. The Responsibilities of Individualism.

        2. American Slavery to the Printed Word.

        3. The Ideal Vacation.

        4. What Shall We Do with Sunday?

        5. The Value of Reading Fiction.

        6. Why I am a Republican, or Democrat, or Pessimist, or
           Agnostic, or Humanist, or Rebel in general, or Agitator

        7. The Classics and the American Student in the Twentieth

        8. The Chief Function of a College.

        9. The Decline of Manners.

       10. A Defense of Cheap Vaudeville.

       11. The Workingman Should Know His Place and Keep It.

       12. The Study of History as an Aid to a Critical Estimate of the

       13. The Relation of Friendship to Similarity in Point of View.

       14. Intellectual Leadership in America.

       15. The Present Situation in the World of Baseball.

       16. The Reaction of War upon the Finer Sensibilities of

       17. Patriotism and Intellectual Detachment.

       18. The Breeding Place of Social Improvements.

       19. Organization in Modern Life.

       20. The Conflict of Political and Moral Loyalty.

       21. Why Has Epic Poetry Passed from Favor?

       22. The Stability of American Political Opinion.

       23. The Shifting Geography of Intellectual Leadership in the

 VIII. In the following selection what does Mr. Shaw analyze? On what
       basis? Is he thorough? If not, what does he omit? Does the
       omission, if there is any, vitally harm the analysis?

          Passion is the steam in the engine of all religious
          and moral systems. In so far as it is malevolent, the
          religions are malevolent too, and insist on human sacrifices,
          on hell, wrath, and vengeance. You cannot read Browning's
          Caliban upon Setebos; or, Natural Theology in the Island,
          without admitting that all our religions have been made as
          Caliban made his, and that the difference between Caliban
          and Prospero is not that Prospero has killed passion in
          himself whilst Caliban has yielded to it, but that Prospero
          is mastered by holier passions than Caliban's. Abstract
          principles of conduct break down in practice because kindness
          and truth and justice are not duties founded on abstract
          principles external to man, but human passions, which have, in
          their time, conflicted with higher passions as well as with
          lower ones. If a young woman, in a mood of strong reaction
          against the preaching of duty and self-sacrifice and the rest
          of it, were to tell me that she was determined not to murder
          her own instincts and throw away her life in obedience to
          a mouthful of empty phrases, I should say to her: "By all
          means do as you propose. Try how wicked you can be: it is
          precisely the same experiment as trying how good you can be.
          At worst you will only find out the sort of person you are.
          At best you will find that your passions, if you really and
          honestly let them all loose impartially, will discipline you
          with a severity which your conventional friends, abandoning
          themselves to the mechanical routine of fashion, could not
          stand for a day." As a matter of fact, we have seen over and
          over again this comedy of the "emancipated" young enthusiast
          flinging duty and religion, convention and parental authority,
          to the winds, only to find herself, for the first time in her
          life, plunged into duties, responsibilities, and sacrifices
          from which she is often glad to retreat, after a few years'
          wearing down of her enthusiasm, into the comparatively loose
          life of an ordinary respectable woman of fashion.[47]

  [47] George Bernard Shaw: _The Sanity of Art_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Boni & Liveright.

       Analyze the relation of _sincerity_ to _teaching_,
       of _intellectual bravery_ to _reading_, of _subservience_
       to _politics_, of _vitality_ to _creative writing_, of
       _broadmindedness_ to _social reform_, of _sympathy_ to _social

       Rewrite Mr. Shaw's article so as to place the sentence
       which now begins the selection at the end. Is the result an
       improvement or a drawback? What difference in the reader might
       make this change advisable?

   IX. In the light of the following statement of the philosophy of Mr.
       Arthur Balfour, the English statesman, analyze, into one word if
       possible, the philosophy of Lincoln, of Bismarck, of Mr. Wilson,
       of Robert E. Lee, of Webster, of William Pitt, of Burke, of any
       political thinker of whom you know.

       In the same way analyze the military policy of Napoleon or
       Grant or any other general; the social philosophy of Jane Addams,
       Rousseau, Carlyle, Jefferson, or any other thinker; the creed
       of personal conduct of Browning, Whitman, Thackeray (as shown
       in _Vanity Fair_), or of any other person concerned with the

       Analyze the effect of such a philosophy as Mr. Balfour's.
       Analyze the relation of such a philosophy as this to the actively
       interested personal conduct of the holder of it toward definite
       personal ends.

          Balfour is essentially a sceptic. He looks out on
          life with a mingled scorn and pity--scorn for its passionate
          strivings for the unattainable, pity for its meanness and
          squalor. He does not know the reading of the riddle, but he
          knows that all ends in failure and disillusion. Ever the rosy
          dawn of youth and hope fades away into the sadness of evening
          and the blackness of night, and out of that blackness comes no
          flash of revelation, no message of cheer.

              The Worldly Hope men set their hearts upon
              Turns Ashes--or it prospers; and anon
                Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
              Lighting a little Hour or two--is gone.

          Why meddle with the loom and its flying shuttle? We
          are the warp and weft with which the great Weaver works His
          infinite design--that design which is beyond the focus of all
          mortal vision, and in which the glory of Greece, the pomp of
          Rome, the ambition of Carthage, seven times buried beneath the
          dust of the desert, are but inscrutable passages of glowing
          color. All our schemes are futile, for we do not know the end,
          and that which seems to us evil may serve some ultimate good,
          and that which seems right may pave the path to wrong. In this
          fantastic mockery of all human effort the only attitude is the
          "wise passiveness" of the poet. Let us accept the irrevocable
          fate unresistingly.

       In a word, Drift. That is the political philosophy of Mr.

  [48] A. G. Gardiner: _Prophets, Priests, and Kings_. By permission
       of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City.

    X. Analyze the method of treatment that the author uses in the
       following selections about King Edward VII and Mr. Thomas
       Hardy, and in the one just quoted about Mr. Balfour. Would the
       result in the reader's mind be as good, or better, if the author
       specified a larger number of qualities? Why? What feeling do you
       have as to the fairness of the three treatments? Does any one
       of the three seem to claim completeness? Which is most nearly

       Write a similar analysis, reducing to one or two main
       qualities or characteristics, the American Civil War, the French
       Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Romantic Movement in
       Literature, the Celtic Spirit, the Puritan Spirit, Socialism,

          Now, King Edward is, above everything else, a very
          human man. He is not deceived by the pomp and circumstance in
          the midst of which it has been his lot to live, for he has no
          illusions. He is eminently sane. He was cast for a part in the
          piece of life from his cradle, and he plays it industriously
          and thoroughly; but he has never lost the point of view of the
          plain man. He has much more in common with the President of a
          free State than with the King by Divine right. He is simply
          the chief citizen, _primus inter pares_, and the fact that
          he is chief by heredity and not by election does not qualify
          his views of the reality of the position. Unlike his nephew,
          he never associates the Almighty with his right to rule,
          though he associates Him with his rule. His common sense and
          his gift of humor save him from these exalted and antiquated
          assumptions. Nothing is more characteristic of this sensible
          attitude than his love for the French people and French
          institutions. No King by "Divine right" could be on speaking
          terms with a country which has swept the whole institution of
          Kingship on to the dust-heap.

          And his saving grace of humor enables him to enjoy
          and poke fun at the folly of the tuft-hunter and the collector
          of Royal cherry stones. He laughingly inverts the folly. "You
          see that chair," he said in tones of awe to a guest entering
          his smoking room at Windsor. "That is the chair John Burns
          sat in." His Majesty has a genuine liking for "J. B." who, I
          have no doubt, delivered from that chair a copious digest of
          his Raper lecture, coupled with illuminating statistics on
          infantile mortality, some approving comments on the member
          for Battersea, and a little wholesome advice on the duties
          of a King. This liking for Mr. Burns is as characteristic of
          the King as his liking for France. He prefers plain, breezy
          men who admit him to the common humanities rather than those
          who remind him of his splendid isolation. He would have had
          no emotion of pride when Scott, who, with all his great
          qualities, was a deplorable tuft-hunter, solemnly put the wine
          glass that had touched the Royal lips into the tail pocket of
          his coat, but he would have immensely enjoyed the moment when
          he inadvertently sat on it.[49]

  [49] A. G. Gardiner: _Prophets, Priests, and Kings_. By permission of
       the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City.

          Thomas Hardy lives in the deepening shadow of the
          mystery of this unintelligible world. The journey that began
          with the bucolic joy of _Under the Greenwood Tree_ has reached
          its close in the unmitigated misery of _Jude the Obscure_,
          accompanied by the mocking voices of those aerial spirits who
          pass their comments upon the futile struggle of the "Dynasts,"
          as they march their armies to and fro across the mountains and
          rivers of that globe which the eye of the imagination sees
          whirling like a midge in space. Napoleon and the Powers! What
          are they but puppets in the hand of some passionless fate,
          loveless and hateless, whose purposes are beyond all human

              O Immanence, That reasonest not
              In putting forth all things begot,
              Thou buildest Thy house in space--for what?
              O Loveless, Hateless!--past the sense
              Of kindly-eyed benevolence,
              To what tune danceth this Immense?

          And for answer comes the mocking voice of the Spirit

              For one I cannot answer. But I know
                'T is handsome of our Pities so to sing
                The praises of the dreaming, dark, dumb Thing
              That turns the handle of this idle Show.

          Night has come down upon the outlook of the writer
          as it came down over the somber waste of Egdon Heath. There
          is not a cheerful feature left, not one glint of sunshine in
          the sad landscape of broken ambitions and squalor and hopeless
          strivings and triumphant misery. Labor and sorrow, a little
          laughter, disillusion and suffering--and after that, the dark.
          Not the dark that flees before the cheerful dawn, but the dark
          whose greatest benediction is eternal nothingness. Other men
          of genius, most men of genius, have had their periods of deep
          dejection in which only the mocking voice of the Spirit Ironic
          answered their passionate questionings. Shakespeare himself
          may be assumed to have passed through the valley of gloom in
          that tremendous period when he produced the great tragedies;
          but he came out of the shadow, and _The Winter's Tale_ has the
          serenity and peace of a cloudless sunset. But the pilgrimage
          of Thomas Hardy has led us ever into the deeper shadow. The
          shades of the prison-house have closed around us and there is
          no return to the cheerful day. The journey we began with those
          jolly carol-singers under the greenwood tree has ended in the
          hopeless misery of Jude.[50]

  [50] A. G. Gardiner: _Prophets, Priests, and Kings_. By permission of
       the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City.

   XI. On what basis is the following analysis of the farmer's life
       made? Do you discover any overlapping of parts? Is the analysis
       so incomplete as to be of slight value? At what point can you
       draw the line between analysis and mere "remarks" about a

          Over and above the hardiness which the farm
          engenders, and of a far higher quality, is the moral courage
          it calls into play. Courage is the elemental virtue, for
          life has been and will forever be a fight. A farmer's life
          is one incessant fight. Think what he dares! He dares to try
          to control the face of this planet. In order to raise his
          crops he pits himself against the weather and the seasons;
          he forces the soil to his wishes; he wars against the plant
          world, the bacterial world. Is not that a fight, looked at
          philosophically, to make one stand aghast? After I had been on
          the farm seven years, the tremendousness of the fight that my
          fellow farmers were waging disclosed itself to me with a force
          no figure of speech can convey. Until one can be brought
          to some realization of this aspect of the farmer's life, he
          has no adequate grounds for comprehending the discipline and
          development which is the very nature of the case that life
          must receive. I often contrast the life of the clerk at his
          books, or the mechanic at his bench, or the professional man
          at his desk, with the lot of the farmer. The dangers and
          uncertainties they confront seem to me extraordinarily mild
          compared with the risk the farmer runs. That the former will
          be paid for their work is almost certain; it is extremely
          uncertain whether the farmer will be paid for his. He must
          dare to lose at every turn; scarcely a week passes in which
          he does not lose, sometimes heavily, sometimes considerably.
          Those moments in a battle when it seems as if every plan had
          gone to smash, which so test the fortitude of a general, are
          moments which a farmer experiences more frequently and more
          strenuously than men in most occupations. If he sticks to his
          task successfully his capacity for courage must grow to meet
          the demands; if he will not stick, he is sifted out by force
          of circumstance, leaving the stronger type of man to hold the

  [51] Arthur M. Judy: _From the Study to the Farm_. By courtesy of The
       Atlantic Monthly Company.

       Analyze the life of the iron-worker, the country doctor,
       the head-nurse of a city hospital, the college professor, the
       private detective.

  XII. Would you classify the following selection as formal or informal
       classification or partition?

       Write a similar treatment of fuel power, moral power,
       physical strength, intellectual power.

          Wherever rain falls streams will form, the water of
          which represents the concentrated drainage of all the land
          sloping toward that particular valley at the bottom of which
          the stream flows. This stream flow consists of the rainfall
          over the whole watershed less the amount absorbed by the
          earth or evaporated from the surface, and every such stream
          is a potential source of power. The possible water-power of
          a country or district is, therefore, primarily dependent on
          rainfall, but also, of course, on absorption and surface
          evaporation. In places where the land is approximately flat,
          the tendency to concentrate rainfall into streams would be
          small, as the water would tend to lie rather in swampy low
          pools, or form innumerable tiny, slowly moving brooks. On the
          contrary, if the country were of a rolling or mountainous
          character, there would be two important differences
          introduced. First, water would concentrate in a few larger
          and faster-moving streams, the water of which would represent
          the collection from perhaps thousands of square miles; and
          secondly, it would be constantly falling from higher to lower
          levels on its way to the sea. While, therefore, all streams
          are potential, or possible sources of power, and water-power
          might seem to be available all over the earth, yet, as a
          matter of fact, only those streams that are large enough
          or in which the fall of level is great enough, are really
          worth while to develop; and only in these districts where
          the rainfall is great enough and the earth not too flat or
          too absorbent, or the air too dry, may any streams of useful
          character at all be expected. The power represented by all the
          water of a stream, and its entire fall from the source to the
          sea, is likewise only partly available. No one would think of
          trying to carry water in pipes from the source of a stream
          a thousand miles to its mouth for the sake of running some

  [52] Charles E. Lucke: _Power_. By courtesy of the publishers, the
       Columbia University Press.

 XIII. For what kind of reader do you judge that the following partition
       of the orchestra was written? Is the partition complete? What
       is the basis on which it is made? How does it differ from an
       appreciative criticism of the orchestra as a musical instrument?
       (See chapter on _Criticism_.)

       Make a similar partition of the brass band, the feudal
       system, the United States Government, the United States Army, the
       Hague Conference, the pipe organ, the printing press, a canal
       lock, a Greek drama, a large modern circus, mathematics, etc.

          The modern orchestra is the result of a long
          development, which it would not be profitable to trace in this
          book. It is a body of instruments, selected with a view to
          their ability to perform the most complex music. It will be
          readily understood that such an instrumental body must possess
          a wide range of timbres, a great compass, extensive gradations
          of force, the greatest flexibility, and a solid sonority
          which can be maintained from the finest pianissimo to the
          heaviest forte. Of course the preservation of some of these
          qualities, such as flexibility and solidity, depend largely
          upon the skill of the composer, but they are all inherent in
          the orchestra. They are gained by the use of three classes of
          instruments, grouped under the general heads of wood, brass,
          and strings, which have special tone-colors and individuality
          when heard in their distinct groups, but which combine
          admirably in the ensemble.

          It is the custom to name the three groups in the
          order given because, for the sake of convenience, composers
          place the flute parts at the top of the page of the score
          where the wide margin gives room for their high notes. The
          other wood-wind instruments follow the flutes, so as to keep
          the wood-choir together. The brass is placed under the wood
          because its members are so often combined with some of the
          wood instruments in sounding chords. This brings the strings
          to the bottom of the page, the instruments of percussion
          (drums, cymbals, etc.) being inserted between them and the

          The instruments of the conventional symphonic
          orchestra of the classic period, then, are flutes, oboes,
          clarinets, bassoons in the wood department, horns, trumpets,
          and trombones in the brass, and violins, violas, violoncellos,
          and double-basses for strings. Modern composers have added
          for special reasons the English horn, which is the alto of
          the oboe, the bass-clarinet, the contrabassoon (which sounds
          an octave lower than the ordinary bassoon), the bass-tuba,
          a powerful double-bass brass instrument, and the harp. The
          piccolo, a small, shrill flute sounding an octave higher than
          the ordinary flute, was introduced into the symphony orchestra
          by Beethoven, though it had frequently been used before in
          opera scores.[53]

  [53] W. H. Henderson: _What is Good Music_? By courtesy of the
       publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York City. Copyright,

  XIV. Criticize the following analysis of the indispensability of Law.
       Write an analysis of the necessity for conformity to current
       style in dress, the necessity for theaters, of the reason why
       ultimate democracy is inevitable for the whole world; of the
       inevitability of conflict between advancing thought and
       established religion; of the unavoidability of struggle between
       capital and labor.

          The truth is, laws, religions, creeds, and systems
          of ethics, instead of making society better than its best
          unit, make it worse than its average unit, because they are
          never up to date. You will ask me: "Why have them at all?"
          I will tell you. They are made necessary, though we all
          secretly detest them, by the fact that the number of people
          who can think out a line of conduct for themselves even on
          one point is very small, and the number who can afford the
          time for it is still smaller. Nobody can afford the time to
          do it on all points. The professional thinker may on occasion
          make his own morality and philosophy as the cobbler may make
          his own boots; but the ordinary man of business must buy at
          the shop, so to speak, and put up with what he finds on sale
          there, whether it exactly suits him or not, because he can
          neither make a morality for himself nor do without one. This
          typewriter with which I am writing is the best I can get; but
          it is by no means a perfect instrument; and I have not the
          smallest doubt that in fifty years' time authors will wonder
          how men could have put up with so clumsy a contrivance. When a
          better one is invented I shall buy it: until then, not being
          myself an inventor, I must make the best of it, just as my
          Protestant and Roman Catholic and Agnostic friends make the
          best of their imperfect creeds and systems. Oh, Father Tucker,
          worshiper of Liberty, where shall we find a land where the
          thinking and moralizing can be done without division of labor?

          Besides, what have deep thinking and moralizing to
          do with the most necessary and least questionable side of
          law? Just consider how much we need law in matters which have
          absolutely no moral bearing at all. Is there anything more
          aggravating than to be told, when you are socially promoted,
          and are not quite sure how to behave yourself in the circles
          you enter for the first time, that good manners are merely a
          matter of good sense, and that rank is but the guinea's stamp:
          the man's the gowd for a' that? Imagine taking the field
          with an army which knew nothing except that the soldier's
          duty is to defend his country bravely, and think, not of
          his own safety, nor of home and beauty, but of England! Or
          of leaving the traffic of Piccadilly or Broadway to proceed
          on the understanding that every driver should keep to that
          side of the road which seemed to him to promote the greatest
          happiness to the greatest number! Or of stage managing Hamlet
          by assuring the Ghost that whether he entered from the right
          or the left could make no difference to the greatness of
          Shakespeare's play, and that all he need concern himself
          about was holding the mirror up to nature! Law is never so
          necessary as when it has no ethical significance whatever,
          and is pure law for the sake of law. The law that compels
          me to keep to the left when driving along Oxford Street is
          ethically senseless, as is shown by the fact that keeping
          to the right serves equally well in Paris; and it certainly
          destroys my freedom to choose my side; but by enabling me to
          count on every one else keeping to the left also, thus making
          traffic possible and safe, it enlarges my life and sets my
          mind free for nobler issues. Most laws, in short, are not the
          expression of the ethical verdicts of the community, but pure
          etiquette and nothing else. What they do express is the fact
          that over most of the field of social life there are wide
          limits within which it does not matter what people do, though
          it matters enormously under given circumstances whether you
          can depend on their all doing the same thing. The wasp, who
          can be depended on absolutely to sting if you squeeze him, is
          less of a nuisance than the man who tries to do business with
          you not according to the custom of business, but according
          to the Sermon on the Mount, or than the lady who dines with
          you and refuses, on republican and dietetic principles, to
          allow precedence to a duchess or to partake of food which
          contains uric acid. The ordinary man cannot get through the
          world without being told what to do at every turn, and basing
          such calculations as he is capable of on the assumption that
          every one else will calculate on the same assumptions. Even
          your man of genius accepts a hundred rules for every one
          he challenges; and you may lodge in the same house with an
          Anarchist for ten years without noticing anything exceptional
          about him. Martin Luther, the priest, horrified the greater
          half of Christendom by marrying a nun, yet was a submissive
          conformist in countless ways, living orderly as a husband and
          father, wearing what his bootmaker and tailor made for him,
          and dwelling in what the builder built for him, although he
          would have died rather than take his Church from the Pope.
          And when he got a Church made by himself to his liking,
          generations of men calling themselves Lutherans took that
          Church from him just as unquestioningly as he took the fashion
          of his clothes from the tailor. As the race evolves, many a
          convention which recommends itself by its obvious utility
          to every one passes into an automatic habit like breathing.
          Doubtless also an improvement in our nerves and judgment
          may enlarge the list of emergencies which individuals may
          be entrusted to deal with on the spur of the moment without
          reference to regulations; but a ready-made code of conduct for
          general use will always be needed as a matter of overwhelming
          convenience by all members of communities.

          The continual danger to liberty created by law
          arises, not from the encroachments of Governments, which are
          always regarded with suspicion, but from the immense utility
          and consequent popularity of law, and the terrifying danger
          and obvious inconvenience of anarchy; so that even pirates
          appoint and obey a captain. Law soon acquires such a good
          character that people will believe no evil of it; and at this
          point it becomes possible for priests and rulers to commit
          the most pernicious crimes in the name of law and order.
          Creeds and laws come to be regarded as applications to human
          conduct of eternal and immutable principles of good and
          evil; and breakers of the law are abhorred as sacrilegious
          scoundrels to whom nothing is sacred. Now this, I need not
          tell you, is a very serious error. No law is so independent
          of circumstances that the time never comes for breaking it,
          changing it, scrapping it as obsolete, and even making its
          observance a crime. In a developing civilization nothing can
          make laws tolerable unless their changes and modifications are
          kept as closely as possible on the heels of the changes and
          modifications in social conditions which development involves.
          Also there is a bad side to the very convenience of law. It
          deadens the conscience of individuals by relieving them of
          the ethical responsibility of their own actions. When this
          relief is made as complete as possible, it reduces a man to a
          condition in which his very virtues are contemptible. Military
          discipline, for example, aims at destroying the individuality
          and initiative of the soldier whilst increasing his mechanical
          efficiency, until he is simply a weapon with the power of
          hearing and obeying orders. In him you have legality, duty,
          obedience, self-denial, submission to external authority,
          carried as far as it can be carried; and the result is that
          in England, where military service is voluntary, the common
          soldier is less respected than any other serviceable worker
          in the community. The police constable, who is a civilian and
          has to use his own judgment and act on his own responsibility
          in innumerable petty emergencies, is by comparison a popular
          and esteemed citizen. The Roman Catholic peasant who consults
          his parish priest instead of his conscience, and submits
          wholly to the authority of his Church, is mastered and
          governed either by statesmen and cardinals who despise his
          superstition, or by Protestants who are at least allowed to
          persuade themselves that they have arrived at their religious
          opinions through the exercise of their private judgment. The
          moral evolution of the social individual is from submission
          and obedience as economizers of effort and responsibility, and
          safeguards against panic and incontinence, to willfulness and
          self-assertion made safe by reason and self-control, just as
          plainly as his physical growth leads him from the perambulator
          and the nurse's apron strings to the power of walking alone,
          and from the tutelage of the boy to the responsibility of the
          man. But it is useless for impatient spirits (like you and
          I, for instance) to call on people to walk before they can
          stand. Without high gifts of reason and self-control: that is,
          without strong common-sense, no man yet dares trust himself
          out of the school of authority. What he does is to claim
          gradual relaxations of the discipline, so as to have as much
          liberty as he thinks is good for him, and as much government
          as he thinks he needs to keep him straight. If he goes too
          fast he soon finds himself asking helplessly, "What ought I
          to do?" and so, after running to the doctor, the lawyer, the
          expert, the old friend, and all the other quacks for advice,
          he runs back to the law again to save him from all these and
          from himself. The law may be wrong; but anyhow it spares
          him the responsibility of choosing, and will either punish
          those who make him look ridiculous by exposing its folly, or,
          when the constitution is too democratic for this, at least
          guarantee that the majority is on his side.[54]

  [54] George Bernard Shaw: _The Sanity of Art_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Boni & Liveright.



The problem of giving directions for making or doing something, or of
explaining the working of an organization, is not always easy to solve.
Most difficulties, however, occur through lack of considering just what
the problem involves, and through lack of sufficiently simplifying the
material. Thus, when you ask an old man in a strange city where the
post-office is, he is likely to reply somewhat as follows: "You keep on
just as you are going for a little ways, and then turn down a narrow
street on the right and go along for four blocks, and then turn to
your left and go until you come to a square, and then go across it and
down a side street and through an office building, and then it's the
stone building on the corner of the second street to your right." You
stroke your chin, meditate a bit, and, if you are polite, thank your
informant for his kind intentions. Then you ask the next person whom
you meet to tell you where the post-office is. The old man meant well,
of course, but he failed to simplify. So did the author of the little
book that Johnny received for Christmas mean well when he explained
how to make a beautiful chemical effect. But Johnny, who was a fairly
impetuous youth, did not stop to read the footnote at the end which
warned against working near a fire. When he was seraphically pouring
his chemicals together near the old oil lamp in the "shop" there came a
flash, a deafening roar--and little Johnny had no time either to examine
footnotes or, after the smoke had cleared, for _post-mortem_ complaints.
The trouble lay in the fact that the author did not give Johnny the
necessary information at the essential time.

It seems that neither piety nor wit will suffice to locate post-offices
or direct experiments or explain machines. Better than either of these
is the ability to make the mechanism, the process, the organization
transparently clear, with each bit of information given at exactly the
proper moment. For, since the object of such explanation as attempts to
make clear is primarily information, the main quality of the writing
should be clearness. Everything that stands in the way of this quality
should be made to surrender to explanation. If the subject is itself
interesting or remarkable, the facts may speak for themselves, as in
an account of the nebular hypothesis; if the subject is merely common,
as for example the force pump, the primary aim should be clearness.
Pleasing presentation, however desirable, is secondary. No amount of
pleasant reading on the subject of making photographs, the working of
periscopes, the organization of literary societies will be of value if
at the end the reader has not a well-ordered idea of how to go to work
or of how the thing of which you treat is operated.

General Cautions

For these reasons certain principles of caution can be laid down. The
first caution is, do not take too much for granted on the reader's part.
First of all take stock of your reader and his knowledge of the subject
and then write in accordance with your discoveries. If, in explaining
the bicycle to a Fiji Islander, you fail to note that the two wheels
are placed tandem rather than parallel, he may form a thoroughly queer
notion of the machine. And your protest, "Why, I supposed he would _know
that_!" is in vain. This caution does not mean that you must adopt a
tone of condescension, must say, "Now children," and patter on, but that
you will not omit any important part of the explanation unless you are
sure that your reader is acquainted with it. The second caution, which
is corollary with the first, is that you do not substitute for the
gaps in the written information the silent knowledge that is in your
own mind. The danger here lies in the fact that, knowing your subject
well, you will write part of it and think the rest. Having for a long
time practiced the high hurdles, for example, when you come to explain
them you will run the paradoxical risk of being so thoroughly acquainted
with the subject that you will actually omit much vital information and
thus make your treatment thin. And the third caution is, avoid being
over technical. An expert can always understand plain English; a layman,
on the other hand, can soon become hopelessly bewildered in a sea of
technicalities. Treatment of technicalities demands sense, therefore;
when a term is reasonably common its presence can do no harm, but when a
term is known only to the few, substitute for it, when writing for the
many, plain English, or define your terms.


Perhaps the greatest lack in expositions of this type is centralization.
A reader rises from the account of a cream separator or a suspension
bridge or the feudal system with the feeling that many cogs and wires
and wheels and spouts and lords and vassals are involved, but without a
clear correlation of all these elements into a clear and simple whole.
Now a suspension bridge is much more organic than a scrap heap, and the
feudal system than a city directory. It is for you as the writer to make
this clear, to show that all the things are related, that they affect
each other and interact. For this purpose you will find the greatest
help in the device of ascertaining what the root principle is, the
fundamental notion or purpose of the subject that you are explaining.
For example, to make your reader see the relation of the various parts
of the tachometer you should discover and present the fact that the
machine relies primarily on the principle of centrifugal force as
affecting the mercury that whirls as the automobile moves. Once this
principle is grasped by the reader, the various parts of the mechanism
assume their proper places and relations and become clear. Now obviously
this root principle is to be sought _in the subject itself_; here is no
place for an author to let his fancy roam where it will without keeping
an eye steadily upon the machine or process. You are trying to explain
the machine, not some vague or fanciful idea of what the machine might
be if it were like what your fancy says; therefore, in the words of the
good old advice, which comes handy in most writing, "keep your eye on
the object," which in this case will be the machine or the process or
the organization. And the more complicated the mechanism or process,
the more necessary will be the discovery of the root principle--a
printing machine, for instance, with its amazing complexity, will be
helped wonderfully by such a device, and the reader will welcome the
device even more than he would in an explanation of how, for example, a
fountain pen works--though he will be glad for it in any case.

This root principle, nucleus, core, kernel can often be stated in one
sentence. You can say, for instance, in speaking of bridges like those
across the East River, "A suspension bridge consists of a roadway hung
by wires from huge cables which are anchored at the ends and are looped
up over one or more high supports in the stream." This sentence may not
be immediately and entirely clear, but it serves to show quickly what
relations parts have to each other, and to it the reader may refer in
his mind when detailed treatment of the maze of wires and bolts becomes
bewildering. Often this sentence need not be expressed alone; it should
always be thought out in the writer's mind.

If it is expressed, such a sentence may stand at the beginning as a sort
of quick picture, or it may come at the end as a collecting statement
of what has preceded, or at any point where it seems to be of the most
value to the reader. It may take various forms as, for example, it
may state in essence how the machine or process works, is operated, or
what it is for, or of what it consists. If it occurs at the end as a
summary, it may be a summary of _facts_ in which the points made or the
parts described are enumerated, or it may be a summary of _essence_, in
which the significance or the principle of the thing is stated. In the
following examples the sentence will be found near the beginning in both
cases, and in the nature of a statement of the principle of operation.

     Of tools used for cutting, perhaps the most remarkable of
     all is the oxygen blow-pipe. This is a little tool something the
     shape of a pistol--which a workman can easily hold in one hand.
     It is connected by a flexible tube to a cylinder of compressed
     oxygen, and by another tube to a supply of coal-gas. Thus a jet of
     oxygen and a jet of coal-gas issue from the nozzle at the end of
     the blow-pipe, and, mingling there, produce a fine point of flame
     burning with intense heat. If this be directed upon the edge of a
     thick bar or plate of steel it will in a few seconds melt a tiny
     groove in it, and, if the pipe be moved along, that groove can be
     developed into a cut and in that way very thick pieces of steel can
     be severed quite easily. The harder the steel, too, the more easily
     it is cut, for hard steel contains more carbon than soft, and that
     has a tendency to burn with oxygen, actually increasing the heat
     of the flame. A bar of iron a foot long can be cut right down the
     center in fifty seconds. It is said that scientific burglars have
     been known to use blow-pipes to open safes with; but a very strange
     thing about them is that, while they will cut hard steel of almost
     any thickness almost like butter, they are completely baffled by
     a thin sheet of copper. The reason of this is that copper is such
     a good conductor of heat that the heat of the flame is conducted
     quickly away, and so the part in contact with the flame never
     becomes hot enough to melt.[55]

  [55] Thomas W. Corbin: _Engineering of To-day_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Seeley, Service & Co., London.

            *       *       *       *       *

     There is another very efficient substitute for the dynamite
     cartridge, which may abolish blasting even in hard-rock mines.
     It is a hydraulic cartridge, or an apparatus that works on the
     principle of the hydraulic jack. Unlike dynamite, which consists of
     a lot of stored and highly concentrated energy that is let fly to
     do what destruction it may, the hydraulic cartridge is absolutely
     inert and devoid of potential energy when placed in the blast-hole.
     Only after it is in place is the energy applied to it. This it
     gradually accumulates until it acquires enough to burst open
     the rock without wasting a lot of energy in pulverizing it. The
     apparatus is under the direct control of the miner all the time.
     There is nothing haphazard about its operation.

     The cartridge consists of a strong steel cylinder, made in
     various sizes. Disposed at right angles to the length of the
     cylinder are a number of pistons, or rams, that may be forced
     out laterally by pumping water into the cylinder. The cartridge
     is introduced into the blast-hole with the rams retracted. Then
     a quick-action pump is operated to move the rams out so that
     they come in contact with the rock. After this, by means of a
     screw-lever a powerful pressure is exerted upon the water, which
     forces out the rams until the rock gives way under the strain.[56]

  [56] Taken from _The Century Magazine_ by permission of the
       publishers, The Century Co.


The development of this kind of exposition will vary somewhat according
to the nature of the subject. If you are explaining a process--how to
make a campfire, or how to find the width of an unbridged river, or how
to make bread--you will naturally follow the chronological order and
tell what to do first, what second, and so on. If several materials are
to be used in the process, you may enumerate them all at the beginning,
for collection, or state them piece by piece as they are needed. For
example, you may say, "In making a kite you will need so many pieces of
such wood of such and such sizes, with paper or cloth, strong twine,
glue, nails, etc." You may cast the whole process into a personal
mood by telling how some one, perhaps yourself, did it on a previous
occasion. This method, if it is judiciously used, adds interest. You
must take care not to seem to encumber obviously simple directions,
however, with the machinery of personal narrative so that the whole
account is longer than it should be. In case you are treating some
process in which mistakes are easily made, you can often help the reader
by showing how some one--preferably yourself--did it wrongly and thereby
came to grief. Or you can state concisely what not to do if there is
chance for mistake. In developing films, for example, you may warn the
reader not to mix any of the Hypo with the Fixing Bath; in picking his
apples not to break the twigs of the tree; in paddling a canoe through
rapids not to become excited. Note how, in the account which follows
of how to handle a punt, the author makes the material quite human and
personal--to the reader's pleasure.

     You may get yourself a tub or a working-boat or a wherry, a
     rob-roy or a dinghy, for every craft that floats is known on the
     Thames; but the favorite craft are the Canadian canoe and the punt.
     The canoe you will be familiar with, but your ideas of a punt are
     probably derived from a farm-built craft you have poled about
     American duck-marshes--which bears about the same relationship to
     this slender, half-decked cedar beauty that a canal-boat bears to a

     During your first perilous lessons in punting, you will
     probably be in apprehension of ducking your mentor, who is lounging
     among the cushions in the bow. But you cannot upset the punt any
     more than you can discompose the Englishman; the punt simply upsets
     you without seeming to be aware of it. And when you crawl dripping
     up the bank, consoled only by the fact that the Humane Society man
     was not on hand with his boat-hook to pull you out by the seat of
     the trousers, your mentor will gravely explain how you made your
     mistake. Instead of bracing your feet firmly on the bottom and
     pushing with the pole, you were leaning on the pole and pushing
     with your feet. When the pole stuck in the clay bottom, of course
     it pulled you out of the boat.

     Steering is a matter of long practice. When you want to throw
     the bow to the left, you have only to pry the stern over to the
     right as you are pulling the pole out of the water. To throw the
     bow to the right, ground the pole a foot or so wide of the boat,
     and then lean over and pull the boat up to it. That is not so easy,
     but you will learn the wrist motion in time. When all this comes
     like second nature, you will feel that you have become a part of
     the punt, or rather that the punt has taken life and become a part
     of you.

     A particular beauty of punting is that, more than any other
     sport, it brings you into personal contact, so to speak, with the
     landscape. In a few days you will know every inch of the bottom of
     the Char, some of it perhaps by more intimate experience than you
     desire. Over there, on the other curve of the bend, the longest
     pole will not touch bottom. Fight shy of that place. Just beyond
     here, in the narrows, the water is so shallow that you can get the
     whole length of your body into every sweep. As for the shrubbery
     on the bank, you will soon learn these hawthorns, if only to avoid
     barging into them. And the Magdalen chestnut, which spreads its
     shade so beautifully above the water just beyond, becomes quite
     familiar when its low-reaching branches have once caught the top of
     your pole and torn it from your hands.[57]

  [57] John Corbin: _An American at Oxford_. Houghton Mifflin Company,
       Boston, publishers.


If you are explaining a mechanism, you may follow different orders. You
may explain chronologically, showing what happens first, what next, and
so on, as in the printing press you would show what happens first to
the paper, and then what processes follow. Here you must be careful not
to give a long list at the beginning of all the different parts of the
machine. Such a list bewilders and is rarely of any real value. Instead
of saying, for example, that a reaper and binder consists of a reel, a
knife, a canvas platform and belt, etc., you will do well to simplify at
the beginning, and say, perhaps, that from the front the machine looks
like a dash with an inverted V at one end: thus: ____[Greek: L] and then
go on to relate the various parts to this simple scheme. The brief
paragraph which follows illustrates the principle in a slight space.

     The stone-boat is a peculiar vehicle incidental to America,
     and has nothing whatsoever to do with the water. It resembles a
     huge metal tray or shovel hauled by a team of horses. And its
     special path is as novel as the boat itself. It is only two wooden
     lines fashioned from tree-logs adzed roughly flat on the upper
     side, well greased, and laid promiscuously and roughly parallel on
     the ground. The stone is prized and levered on to the tray, and
     hauled with a speed, which, bearing in mind the primitive road, is
     astonishing, to the dump, where a sharp swing round on the part of
     the horses pitches the mass down the bank.[58]

  [58] F. A. Talbot: _The Making of a Great Canadian Railway_. By
       courtesy of the publishers, Seeley, Service & Co., London.

If you prefer, you can use, instead of the chronological order, the
device of showing what the need was for the machine and how it fills the
need, or what the object of the machine is and how it accomplishes that
object. An explanation of the cotton gin might present the woeful waste
of time before the gin was invented and then show how the invention
annuls that waste. One of the periscope might state the object of
invisible observation and then show how, by tubes and mirrors, this
object is accomplished. Or finally, as a third general method, you may
state the root principle and then expand in detail. With this scheme you
might state that the piano is an instrument in which felt hammers strike
metal strings that are stretched across a sounding board, and then go on
to show the significance, as related to this notion, of keys, pedals,
music rest, and other details. Often this method is the most helpful
for a reader, since it gives him at once a nucleus of theory round
which he can group the details with immediate or rapid understanding
of their relations and significance. In so simple a machine as the ice
cream freezer to introduce names like "dasher" without previous warning
may result in momentary confusion, whereas if the principle is stated
at the beginning, and the reader knows that the object is to bring the
cream into contact with the coldest possible _surface_ so as to produce
speed in freezing, the "dasher," when mentioned, is at once significant.
The description and explanation of a track-layer, which follows, is so
made as to be both clear and interesting.

     The track-layer is one of the most interesting tools with
     which the railway-builder carries out his epoch-making work. It is
     a cumbersome, ungainly, and fearsome-looking implement, but with a
     convincing, grim, and business-like appearance. From the front it
     resembles a gallows, and for this reason has earned the sinister
     sobriquet of "the gibbet" among certain members of the engineering
     fraternity. On the front of the truck there is a lofty rectangular
     scaffolding of rigid construction, strongly based and supported for
     the hard, heavy work it has to perform. A jib runs forward into the
     air from the bottom of either leg to meet at the outer extremity
     and to form a derrick. The car on which the structure is mounted
     carries a number of small steam-engines, each of which has to
     perform a particular function, while at the commanding point high
     up on the rectangular construction is a small bridge, from which
     the man in control of the machine carries out his various tasks and
     controls the whole machine. Ropes, hooks, and pulleys are found on
     every side, and though, from the cursory point of view, it appears
     an intricate piece of mechanism, yet its operation is absurdly

     This machine constitutes the front vehicle of the train, with
     the bridge facing the grade and the projecting boom overhanging the
     track. Immediately behind are several trucks piled high with steel
     rails, fish-plates to secure connection between successive lengths
     of rails, spikes, and other necessaries. Then comes the locomotive,
     followed by a long train of trucks laden with sleepers. On the
     right-hand side of the train, level with the deck of the trucks,
     extends a continuous trough, with its floor consisting of rollers.
     It reaches from the rearmost car in the train to 40 or 50 feet in
     advance of the track-layer, the overhanging section being supported
     by ropes and tackle controlled from the track-layer truck whereby
     the trough can be raised and lowered as desired.

     The appliance is operated as follows. The engine pushes the
     fore-part of the train slowly forward until the end of the last
     rail laid is approached. The rollers in the trough, which is in
     reality a mechanical conveyor, are set in motion. Then the gangs
     of men stationed on the rear trucks with might and main pitch the
     bulky sleepers into the trough. Caught up by the rollers, the
     ties are whirled along to the front of the train, and tumble to
     the ground in a steady, continuous stream. As they emerge, they
     are picked up by another gang of men who roughly throw them into
     position on to the grade. Other members of the gang, equipped with
     axes and crowbars, push, pull, haul, and prize the ties into their
     relative positions and at equal distances apart.

     When thirty or forty sleepers have been deposited in this
     manner, a pair of steel rails are picked up by the booms from the
     trucks behind the track-layer, are swung through the air, and
     lowered. As they near the ground ready hands grasp the bar of
     steel, steady it in its descent, and guide it into its correct
     position. The gauge is brought into play dexterously, and before
     one can realize what has happened the men are spiking the pair of
     rails to the sleepers, have slipped the bolts into the fish-plates
     connecting the new rail with its fellow already in position, and
     the track-layer has moved slowly forward some 13 or 16 feet over a
     new unit of track, meanwhile disgorging further sleepers from the
     mouth of the trough.

     The noise is deafening, owing to the clattering of the weighty
     baulks of timber racing over the noisy rollers in the conveyor,
     the rattle of metal, and the clang-clang of the hammers as the men
     with powerful strokes drive home the spikes fastening the rail to
     its wooden bed, and the hissing and screeching of steam. Amid the
     silence of the wilderness the din created by the track-layer at
     work is heard for some time before you can gain a glimpse of the
     machine train. The men speak but little, for the simple reason
     that they could scarcely make themselves heard if they attempted
     conversation. Each moves with wonderful precision, like a part of
     an intricate machine.

     In this way the rail creeps forward relentlessly at a steady,
     monotonous pace. The lines of sleepers and rails on the track
     disappear with amazing rapidity, and the men engaged in the task of
     charging the conveyor-trough and swinging the rails forward, appear
     to be in a mad race with steam-driven machinery. The perspiration
     rolls off their faces in great beads, and they breathe heavily as
     they grasp and toss the weighty strips of timber about as if they
     were straws. There is no pause or diminution in their speed. If
     they ease up at all the fact becomes evident at the front in the
     course of a few seconds in a unanimous outcry from the gangs on the
     grade for more material, which spurs the lagging men on the trucks
     behind to greater effort. The only respite from the exhausting
     labor is when the trucks have been emptied of all rails or sleepers
     and the engine has to run back for a further supply, or when the
     hooter rings out the time for meals or the cessation of labor.

     The track-layer at work is the most fascinating piece of
     machinery in the building of a large railway. The steam-shovel may
     be alluring, and the sight of a large hill of rock being blown
     sky-high may compel attention, but it is the mechanical means
     which have been evolved to carry out the last phase--the laying of
     the metals--that is the most bewitching. One can see the railway
     growing in the fullest sense of the word--can see the thin, sinuous
     ribbon of steel crawling over the flat prairie, across spidery
     bridges, through ravine-like rock-cuts, gloomy tunnels, and along
     lofty embankments. Now and again, when the apparatus has secured a
     full complement of hands, and every other factor is conducive, the
     men will set to work in more deadly earnest than usual, bent on
     setting up a record. Races against time have become quite a craze
     among the crews operating the track-layer on the various railways
     throughout America, and consequently the men allow no opportunity
     to set up a new record, when all conditions are favorable, to slip

  [59] F. A. Talbot: _The Making of a Great Canadian Railway_. By
       courtesy of the publishers, Seeley, Service & Co., London.


If you are explaining an organization you may again use the
chronological order and show how the organization came about as it is,
how for example the Federal Reserve Board was appointed for certain
reasons each of which has its correspondent in the constitution of the
board. Such a method is useful in explaining the feudal system, the
college fraternity, the national convention of a political party. Or,
finally, you can state the root idea, sometimes appearing as purpose
or significance, and then expand it. A labor union, thus treated, is a
body of men who individually have slight power of resisting organized
capital, but can collectively obtain their rights and demands.

Aids in Gaining Clearness

Clearness then, through centralization, is the all-important necessity
of expositions of this type. To aid in gaining this quality you will do
well to avoid technical terms, as has already been mentioned. You can
make use of graphic charts when they will be useful, so long as they are
not merely a lazy device for escaping the task of writing clearly. Some
machines, such as the printing press or the rock drill, defy explanation
without charts and plates. Textbooks often wisely make use of this
device. You can also use familiar illustrations, as the one here used of
the reaper and binder or the one likening Brooklyn Bridge to a letter
H with the sides far apart, the cross piece extended beyond the sides,
and a cable looped over the tops of the sides. Such illustrations at
the beginning of the whole or sections are useful in helping the reader
to visualize. Another important aid to clearness is to take care that
nothing is mentioned for which the way has not been prepared. Just as
in a play we insist that the action of a character be consistent, that
a good man do not suddenly commit wanton murder, and that the villain
do not suddenly appear saintly, so we rightly demand that we be not
suddenly confronted with a crank, wheel, office, or step in a process
which bewilders us. You ought to write so that your reader will never
pucker his brow and say, "What is this?" And when a detail has some
special bearing, introduce it at the significant point. To have told
little Johnny in the beginning that he must keep his chemicals away from
flame would have avoided explosion and death; to declaim loudly after
the explosion is of no value. And finally, from a purely rhetorical
standpoint, make careful transition from section to section so that the
reader will know exactly where divisions occur, and make liberal use of
summaries whenever they may be useful without being too cumbersome.

Notice how, in the following paragraph, the writer has given the gist of
the machines so that, if he wishes to expand and make a full treatment,
he will still have a nucleus which will considerably facilitate the
reader's understanding.

     Continuous dredges are of four types--the ladder, the
     hydraulic, the stirring, and the pneumatic dredges. The ladder
     dredge excavates the bottom by means of a series of buckets running
     with great velocity along a ladder. The buckets scrape the soil at
     the bottom, raise the débris to the surface and discharge it into
     barges or conveyors so as to send it to its final destination. The
     hydraulic dredge removes the material from the bottom by means of a
     large centrifugal pump which draws the materials, mixed with water,
     into a suction tube and forces them to distant points by means of a
     long line of pipes. The stirring dredges are those employed in the
     excavation of soils composed of very finely divided particles; they
     agitate the soils and the material thus brought into suspension
     is carried away by the action or current of water. The pneumatic
     dredges are those in which the material from the bottom is forced
     into the suction tube and thence into the discharging pipe, by the
     action of continuous jets of compressed air turned upward into the

  [60] Charles Prelini: _Dredges and Dredging_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, D. Van Nostrand Company, New York City.

Notice also the care with which the author of the paragraph which
follows and explains the phonopticon states early in his treatment the
scientific basis for the operation of the machine, without knowing which
a reader would be hopelessly confused to understand how the machine
could possibly do what the author says it does.

     The element selenium, when in crystalline form, possesses
     the peculiar property of being electro-sensitive to light. It is
     a good or bad conductor of electricity according to the intensity
     of the light that falls upon it, and its response to variations of
     illumination is virtually instantaneous.

     This interesting property has been utilized in a wide variety
     of applications, ranging from the transmission of a picture over a
     telegraph line to the automatic detection of comets; but by far the
     most marvelous application is that of the phonopticon.... It is an
     apparatus that will actually read a book or a newspaper, uttering
     a characteristic combination of musical sounds for every letter it

     The principle of operation is not difficult to understand.
     A row of, say, three tiny selenium crystals is employed, each
     crystal forming part of a telephone circuit leading to a triple
     telephone-receiver. In each circuit there is an interrupter that
     breaks up the current into pulsations, or waves, of sufficient
     frequency to produce a musical note in the receiver. The
     frequency differs in the three circuits, so that each produces
     its characteristic pitch. Although the conductivity of selenium
     is increased by intensifying its illumination, the electrical
     connections in this apparatus are so chosen that while the crystals
     are illuminated no sounds are heard in the telephone, but when the
     crystals are darkened, there is an instant audible response.

     The apparatus is placed upon the printed matter that is to
     be read, with the row of crystals disposed at right angles to the
     line of type. The paper directly under the crystals is illuminated
     by a beam of light. This is reflected from the unprinted part of
     the paper with sufficient intensity to keep the telephone quiet,
     but when the crystals are moved over the black printing, the light
     is diminished, and the crystals lose their conductivity, causing
     the telephone to respond with a set of sounds which vary with the
     shape of the letter. Suppose the apparatus was being moved over the
     letter V, the upper crystal would encounter the letter first, then
     the middle one would respond, next the lower one would come into
     action for an instant, followed by a second response of the middle
     crystal and a final response of the upper crystal. A set of notes
     would be sounded somewhat after this fashion: _me_, _re_, _do_,
     _re_, _mi_. The sound combination with such letters as S and O is
     more complicated but it is distinguishable. When we read with the
     natural eye we do not spell out the words letter by letter, but
     recognize them by their appearance as a whole. In the same way with
     the mechanical eye entire words can be recognized after a little

            *       *       *       *       *

     Of course the phonopticon is yet in the laboratory stages,
     but it offers every prospect of practical success, and its
     possibilities are untold. It is quite conceivable that the
     apparatus may be elaborated to such an extent that a blind man
     may see (by ear) where he is going. His world may never be bathed
     in sunshine, but he may learn to admire the beauties of nature as
     translated from light into music.[61]

  [61] Taken from _The Century Magazine_ by permission of the
       publishers, The Century Co.

Aids in Gaining Interest

If mere clearness alone were the only quality to strive for, this kind
of writing might remain, however useful, eternally dull except to one
who is vitally interested in the facts, however they are treated. But
for this there is no need; no reason exists why you should not make
this kind of writing attractive. For you can, in addition to making a
machine clear, endow it with life; in addition to enumerating the steps
in a process, make it a fascinating adventure. Suppose that you are
explaining how to learn to swim--is not the thought of waving one's
arms and legs in dreamy or frantic rhythm as he lies prone across the
piano bench humorous? Why, then, exclude the humor? And is not the
person who is trying to learn much alive, with the pit of his stomach
nervously aware of the hardness of the bench? Why, then, make him a
wooden automaton, or worse, a dead agent? So long as you do not obscure
the point that the reader should note, all the life, all the humor of
which you and the process are capable should be introduced. Just so with
a machine. You can explain the engine of an airship so that the reader
will exclaim, "I see"; what you ought to do is so to explain the engine
that he will say, "I see, and bless you, I'd like to see one go!" You
ought to make the beautiful efficiency, the exquisite humming life of
the thing, its poise, its athletic trimness so take hold of the reader
that his imagination will be fired, his interest thoroughly aroused.

Now this you cannot do by thrusting in extraneous matter to leaven the
lump. Webster in the Senate did not introduce vaudeville to enliven his
_Reply to Hayne_, but he found in the subject itself the interest. First
of all, then, study your machine, your process, your organization, until
you see what its quality is, its spirit, until you are yourself aware of
its life, and then make this live for your reader. A railroad locomotive
should be made thrilling with its pomp and power, a military movement
should be made an exquisitely quick piece of living constructive work,
a submarine should have all the craft and the romance of a haunting
redskin, the roasting of a goose should be made a process to rouse the
joys of gluttony forevermore. Now to do this will require exercise
of the imagination, and if you find yours weak your first duty is to
develop it. If it is strong and active, on the other hand, allow it free
play, only watching lest it may obscure the subject--for clearness is
always first. There need, however, be no discrepancy between the two
qualities. The following extract from an essay by Mr. Dallas Lore Sharp
illustrates the possibilities of both interest and truth.



     No more carpet-laying bills. Do your own laying. No wrinkles.
     No crowded corners. No sore knees. No pounded fingers. No broken
     backs. Stand up and lay your carpet with the Perfect Automatic.
     Easy as sweeping. Smooth as putting paper on the wall. You hold
     the handle and the Perfect Automatic does the rest. Patent
     Applied For. Price ---- --but it was not the price! It was the
     tool--a weird hybrid tool, part gun, part rake, part catapult,
     part curry-comb, fit apparently for almost any purpose, from the
     business of blunderbuss to the office of an apple-picker. Its
     handle, which any child could hold, was somewhat shorter and
     thicker than a hoe-handle, and had a slotted tin barrel on its
     ventral side along its entire length. Down this barrel, their
     points sticking through the slot, moved the tacks in single file to
     a spring-hammer close to the floor. This hammer was operated by a
     lever or tongue at the head of the handle, the connection between
     the hammer at the distal end and the lever at the proximal end
     being effected by means of a steel-wire spinal cord down the dorsal
     side of the handle. Over the fist of a hammer spread a jaw of sharp
     teeth to take hold of the carpet. The thing could not talk; but it
     could do almost anything else, so fearfully and wonderfully was it

     As for laying carpets with it, any child could do that. But
     we didn't have any children then, and I had quite outgrown my
     childhood. I tried to be a boy again just for that night. I grasped
     the handle of the Perfect Automatic, stretched with our united
     strength, and pushed down on the lever. The spring-hammer drew
     back, a little trap at the end of the slotted tin barrel opened for
     the tack, the tack jumped out, turned over, landed point downward
     upon the right spot in the carpet, the crouching hammer sprang,

     And then I lifted up the Perfect Automatic to see if the tack
     went in,--a simple act that any child could do, but which took
     automatically and perfectly all the stretch out of the carpet;
     for the hammer did not hit the tack; the tack really did not get
     through the trap; the trap did not open the slot; the slot--but no
     matter. We have no carpets now. The Perfect Automatic stands in
     the garret with all its original varnish on. At its feet sits a
     half-used can of "Beesene, the Prince of Floor Pastes."[62]

  [62] Dallas Lore Sharp: _The Hills of Hingham_, "The Dustless Duster."
       Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, publishers.

Besides the devices that have been mentioned you can use that of making
the agents in the action definite, real persons, and you can make a
process seem to be actually going on before the eyes of the reader. You
can suffuse the whole theme with a human spirit, for everything has a
human significance if only you will find it.

Finally, use tact in approaching your reader. Do not "talk down" to
him, and do not over-compliment his intelligence or wheedle him. Rather
regard him as a person desirous of knowing, your subject as a thing
capable of interest, and yourself as a really enthusiastic devotee. Take
this attitude, and as long as you make clear, so long your chances for
success will be good.


    I. 1. Indicate other practical root principles beside the one
          mentioned which a theme on any of the following subjects
          might well try to express.

        1. How to teach a dog tricks--the patience required.

        2. How to learn to swim--the humor, or the grim determination.

        3. How to manage an automobile--the cool-headedness required.

        4. How to find the trouble with a balky engine--the careful,
           patient, unangered searching.

        5. How to make an exquisite angel cake--the delicacy necessary.

        6. A steel mill--the power displayed.

        7. The aeroplane motor--its concentrated energy.

        8. The reaper and binder--the coöperation of parts.

        9. The camera--its sensitiveness.

       10. The adding machine--the uncanny sureness of it.

       11. The United States Supreme Court--its deliberateness.

       12. The feudal system--its picturesque injustice.

       13. The college literary society--its opportunities.

       14. The Grange--its sensible usefulness.

       15. The Federal Reserve Board--its safety.

       2. Make two or more outlines for each subject, choosing your
          material to indicate different root principles. Wherein does
          the difference in material consist? How much material is
          common to all the outlines on the same subject? Is this common
          material made of essential or non-essential facts?

   II. Find some simplifying device such as the one suggested for the
       reaper and binder, for any of the following mechanisms, and
       indicate how you would relate the parts of the machine to the

        1. A concrete mixer.

        2. A derrick.

        3. A vacuum cleaner.

        4. A lawn-mower.

        5. A rock-crusher.

        6. A pile-driver.

        7. A Dover egg-beater.

        8. A hay-tedder.

        9. A printing-press.

       10. An apple-sorter.

  III. State, _in one complete sentence_, the nucleus from which a theme
       treatment of any of the following subjects would grow. Be sure
       that this sentence is sufficiently inclusive, has much meat. Mr.
       Wilson, in writing of the National House of Representatives,
       evidently had a sentence like the following in mind: "The House
       of Representatives is an efficient business body the work of
       which is accomplished largely through committees, and centralized
       round a powerful speaker."

        1. The operation of a sewing machine.

        2. The explanation of a pulley.

        3. The explanation of a cream separator.

        4. The principle of the fireless cooker.

        5. The principle of the steam turbine.

        6. The principle of the bread mixer.

        7. The principle of the piano.

        8. The principle of the electric car.

        9. The principle of the steel construction of sky scrapers.

       10. The principle of the metal lathe.

       11. The Interstate Commerce Commission.

       12. The college fraternity.

       13. A national political convention.

       14. The Roman Catholic Church, or any other church.

       15. The modern orchestra.

       16. The Boy Scout Movement.

       17. The International Workers of the World.

       18. An American State University.

       19. A stock exchange.

       20. A national bank.

       21. How to play tennis.

       22. How to detect the tricks of fakirs at county fairs.

       23. How to make a symmetrical load of hay.

       24. How to run "the quarter."

       25. How to pack for camping.

       26. How to rush a freshman.

       27. How to make money from poultry.

       28. How to make a successful iron casting.

       29. How to plan a railroad terminal yard.

       30. How to use the slide rule.

   IV. The Track Layer (page 166).

        1. In view of the fact that the text suggests avoidance of a
           beginning list of parts of a machine, what is your opinion of
           the list in this selection? Could the explanation have been
           made as well without this list? Better?

        2. Would this explanation be as well done if the author began
           with hearing the machine at a distance, and then approached,
           described the appearance of the machine, and finally stated
           its principle? Does the method, the order, have any really
           close connection with the value of the explanation?

    V. Write themes on the following subjects, bearing in mind that the
       _facts_ of the subject remain constant even though the readers
       may vitally differ and therefore need widely varying treatments.

        1. The adding machine.

            a. For a business man who wishes to reduce expenses in his

            b. For a woman who has worked painfully at figures in an
               office for thirty years and regards the process of
               "figuring" as sacred.

            c. For a person who says, "I just never could get figures
               straight anyway!"

        2. The typewriter.

            a. For a person who complains that people haven't brains
               enough to read his "perfectly plain handwriting."

            b. For a person who thinks that the clicking sound of the
               machine will be terribly disagreeable.

            c. For an old gentleman who for years clung to the use of a
               quill, and has only within a few years brought himself to
               use a fountain pen.

        3. Fruit farming (limited to one kind of fruit).

            a. For a city man of not too robust health but of
               considerable wealth who wishes a reasonably quiet
               pleasant existence.

            b. For a young man who has just inherited 150 acres of fine
               apple land but is half inclined toward becoming a bank

            c. For a person who has read Burroughs and thinks that the
               poetic appeal of fruit trees and birds must be delightful.

        4. The Process of Canvassing for a Book.

            a. For a college student who wishes to make much money.

            b. For a person who always buys books from canvassers and
               whom you wish to enlighten as to their methods.

            c. For a young man who possesses a glib tongue which he
               wishes to turn to good financial use.

        5. The Commission Form of City Government.

            a. For a man who wishes to improve the régime in his city.

            b. For a person who contends that our municipal government
               is hopelessly behind that of European cities.

            c. For a politician of doubtful character who has served
               several terms as mayor under the old system.

        6. The Hague Peace Conference.

            a. For a person who declares that international coöperation
               is impossible.

            b. For a person who is seeking a precedent for a "League to
               Enforce Peace."

            c. For a militarist.

   VI. Compare the two selections which follow, and determine which is
       the more interesting, and why. Would the kind of treatment that
       the second receives be fitting for the first? Rewrite each, in
       condensed form, in the style of the other.

          It will, I believe, be more interesting if, instead
          of talking of launches in general, I describe the launch of
          the great British battleship _Neptune_ which I witnessed
          recently at the famous naval dockyard at Portsmouth.

          It will, however, be necessary to commence with
          a short general explanation. As we already know, the keel
          of a vessel is laid upon a row of blocks, and from the keel
          it grows upwards plate by plate. As it thus gets higher and
          higher it has to be supported laterally, in order to keep it
          in an upright position, and for this reason strong props or
          shores are placed along the sides at frequent intervals. Now
          it is easy to see that the vessel cannot move until these
          shores have been taken away, yet, if they are removed, what is
          to prevent the ship from falling over?

          This dilemma is avoided by putting the vessel on
          what is called a cradle. It is to my mind best described by
          comparison with a sledge. A sledge has a body on which the
          passenger or load is placed, while under it are runners,
          smooth strips which will slide easily over the slippery
          surfaces of the snow, and finally there is the smooth snow to
          form the track.

          In the same way the ship, when it starts on its
          first journey, rests upon the body of the cradle, which in
          turn rests upon "runners" which slide upon the "launching
          ways," the counterpart of the smooth snow.

          These "ways" are long narrow timber stages, one on
          each side of the ship and parallel with the keel. They are
          several feet wide, and long enough to reach right down into
          the water. Needless to say, they are very strong, and the
          upper surface is quite smooth so that the runners will slide
          easily, and there is a raised edge on each to keep them from
          gliding off sideways. Grease and oil are plentifully supplied
          to these ways, and then the "runners" are placed upon them.
          These, too, are formed of massive baulks of timber, and their
          underside is made smooth so as to present as good a sliding
          surface as possible to the "ways." Finally upon the runners is
          built up the body of the cradle itself. Timber is again the
          material, and it is carefully fitted to the underside of the
          ship so that, when the weight is transferred from the blocks
          under it to the cradle, it will rest evenly and with the least
          possible strain; for it must be borne in mind that a ship is
          designed to be supported on the soft even bed which the water
          affords and not on a timber framework. There is a danger,
          therefore, of the hull becoming distorted while resting upon
          the cradle, so it is stayed and strengthened inside with
          temporary timber work.

          So far all seems easy, but the weight of the ship
          is still on the blocks, while the cradle is as yet doing
          practically nothing. There remains the stupendous task of
          transferring the weight of the ship, thousands of tons, from
          one to the other. How can it be done?

          This is left until the morning of the day appointed
          for the launch, and it is then done by a method which is quite
          startling in its simplicity. The power to be obtained by means
          of a wedge has been known for ages, yet it is that simple
          device which enables this seemingly impossible work to be
          accomplished with ease.

          Between the "runners," as I have termed them, and
          the body of the cradle itself, a large number of wedges are
          inserted, perhaps as many as a thousand. But of course they
          cannot be driven one at a time, as a single wedge would simply
          crush into the timber without lifting the cradle at all; they
          are therefore all driven at once. An army of men are employed,
          and they all stand with heavy hammers ready to strike. At the
          sound of a gong a thousand hammers fall as one, and a thousand
          wedges begin to raise the ship with the cradle on it. Then a
          second sound on the gong, and a second time a thousand hammers
          strike together; then again and again, until all the wedges
          have been driven home and the weight of the ship has been
          lifted partly off the blocks on to the cradle.

          Then the blocks are gradually removed, a proceeding
          which is rendered easy by the fact that it has for one of the
          layers which compose it a pair of wedges which can be easily
          withdrawn so as to leave all the other timbers free. There are
          an enormous number of these blocks to be removed from under
          a big ship, and the operation takes considerable time. They
          are removed, too, gradually, so that the whole of the weight
          of the ship, which will ultimately rest upon the cradle, may
          come on to it by degrees, and so if there should be anything
          wrong--with the cradle, for instance--the operation of
          removing the blocks could be suspended before it had gone too
          far; for the engineer, though he sometimes does very daring
          things, and none more daring than the launching of a big ship,
          is really a very cautious man, and always likes to keep on the
          safe side.

          At Portsmouth there is an old custom in connection
          with the removal of the blocks from under the ship which
          prescribes that the men shall sing at their work.

          This is a matter in which they take a pride, so that
          while the blocks are being taken away sounds of excellent
          male voice part-singing float out from the invisible "choir"
          underneath the ship.

          The removal of the blocks is so arranged that it
          shall be completed just before the time for the ceremony,
          since when they are all gone the ship is all "alive,"
          straining, as it were, to get away down the slippery ways
          into the water, and a very slight mishap would be sufficient
          to bring about a premature launch. Indeed, during these last
          moments the vessel is only held back by a few blocks left
          under the bow--it must be understood that a ship commences its
          career by entering the water _backwards_--and one timber prop
          on each side, called the "dog-shores."

          These "dog-shores" are, in effect, huge catches
          which keep the ship from moving, and which are released at the
          right moment by the falling of two weights.

          The launch of the _Neptune_ took place at eleven
          o'clock in the morning, and for an hour or so previously
          spectators had been assembling. Picture to yourself a great
          steel vessel--merely the hull, of course--500 feet long and
          as high as a three-story house. Close to the bow is a gaily
          decorated platform, crowded with people, while thousands
          occupy stands on either side, and still more stand on the open
          ground and on every point from which a view can be obtained.
          On the bow of the vessel there is hung a festoon of flowers
          with a bottle of wine concealed in it, while round the bow
          passes a cord, the ends of which are supporting the weights
          which hang just over the dog-shores.

          As the clock strikes, the lady who is to perform the
          ceremony, a royal duchess, arrives upon the scene and takes
          her place on the elevated platform close to the bow of the
          ship. A short religious service is conducted by the chaplain
          of the dockyard assisted by the choir of the dockyard church,
          and then the duchess leans forward, takes hold of the wine
          bottle suspended by the floral festoon, draws it towards her
          and lets it go again. As the bottle swings back and dashes
          to pieces against the steel stem of the vessel, she says,
          "Success to the _Neptune_ and all who sail in her."

          Then an official steps forward with a mallet and
          chisel. The former he hands to the lady, while the latter he
          holds with its edge upon the cord. Now is the critical moment,
          and among all the thousands of spectators not a sound is to
          be heard. A few blows of the mallet upon the chisel and the
          cord is severed; exactly at the same moment the two weights
          fall, the dog-shores are knocked out of the way, and the
          great vessel begins slowly and majestically to glide down to
          the water. The few remaining blocks under the bow are pulled
          over by the motion of the ship, and fall with a crash, which
          is soon drowned by the cheers of the people and sounds of
          patriotic airs played by the band.

          There are a large number of sailors and workmen upon
          the ship, and as soon as she is in the water they drop the
          anchors and bring her to rest, while tugs rush to her and take
          her in tow to the dock where she is to be fitted up.

          But what becomes of the cradle? It is made in two
          halves, the part on each side being connected to that on the
          other by chains passing under the keel, and in these chains
          there is a connection which can be released by pulling a cord
          from the deck of the ship. When the ship has reached the
          water, therefore, and the cradle has done its work, the cord
          is pulled and the two halves of the cradle, being mainly of
          timber, float off, to be captured and towed back to shore.

          The grease upon the launching ways and cradle is
          melted by the heat due to friction, and much of it is to be
          found floating upon the water immediately after the launch, so
          numbers of small boats immediately put off and men with scoops
          collect it.[63]

  [63] Thomas W. Corbin: _Engineering of To-day_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Seeley, Service & Co., London.

                 *       *       *       *       *

          The word _head_ affords a good example of radiation.
          We may regard as the central meaning that with which we are
          most familiar,--a part of the body. From this we get (1) the
          "top" of anything, literally or figuratively, whether it
          resembles a head in shape (as the head of a cane, a pin, or
          a nail), or merely in position of preëminence (as the head
          of a page, the head of the table, the head of the hall); (2)
          figuratively, "leadership," or concretely, "a leader" (the
          head of the army, the head of the school); (3) the "head" of a
          coin (the side on which the ruler's head is stamped); (4) the
          "source" of a stream, "spring," "well-head," "fountain-head";
          (5) the hydraulic sense ("head of water"); (6) a "promontory,"
          _as Flamborough Head_, _Beechy Head_; (7) "an armed force," a
          "troop" (now obsolete); (8) a single person or individual, as
          in "five head of cattle"; (9) the "main points," as in "the
          heads of a discourse" (also "notes" of such points); (10)
          mental power, "intellectual force."

          Here again there is no reason for deriving any of
          our ten special senses from any other. They are mutually
          independent, each proceeding in a direct line from the central
          primary meaning of head.

          The main process of radiation is so simple that it
          is useless to multiply examples. We may proceed, therefore, to
          scrutinize its operations in certain matters of detail.

          In the first place, we observe that any derived
          meaning may itself become the source of one or more further
          derivatives. It may even act as a center whence such
          derivatives radiate in considerable numbers, precisely as if
          it were the primary sense of the word.

          Thus, in the case of _head_, the sense of the "top"
          of anything immediately divides into that which resembles a
          human head in (1) shape, or (2) position merely. And each of
          these senses may radiate in several directions. Thus from
          (1) we have the head of a pin, of a nail, of a barrel, of an
          ulcer, "a bud" (in Shakespeare); from (2) the head of a table,
          of a hall, of a printed page, of a subscription-list. And some
          of these meanings may also be further developed. "The head of
          the table," for instance, may indicate position, or may be
          transferred to the person who sits in that position. From the
          head of an ulcer, we have the disagreeable figure (so common
          that its literal meaning is quite forgotten), "to come to a
          head," and Prospero's "Now does my project gather to a head,"
          in _The Tempest_.

          Sense No. 2, the "forefront" of a body of persons,
          the "leader," cannot be altogether separated from No. 1.
          But it may come perfectly well from the central meaning. In
          every animal but man the head actually precedes the rest of
          the body as the creature moves. At all events, the sense of
          "leadership" or "leader" (it is impossible to keep them apart)
          has given rise to an infinity of particular applications and
          idiomatic phrases. The head of a procession, of an army, of a
          class, of a revolt, of a "reform movement," of a new school of
          philosophy--these phrases all suggest personal leadership, but
          in different degrees and very various relations to the persons
          who are led, so that they may all be regarded as radiating
          from a common center.

          By a succession of radiations the development of
          meanings may become almost infinitely complex. No dictionary
          can ever register a tithe of them, for, so long as a language
          is alive, every speaker is constantly making new specialized
          applications of its words. Each particular definition in the
          fullest lexicon represents, after all, not so much a single
          meaning as a little group of connected ideas, unconsciously
          agreed upon in a vague way by the consensus of those who use
          the language. The limits of the definition must always be
          vague, and even within these limits there is large scope for

          If the speaker does not much transgress these limits
          in a given instance, we understand his meaning. Yet we do
          not and cannot see all the connotations which the word has
          in the speaker's mind. He has given us a conventional sign
          or symbol for his idea. Our interpretation of the sign will
          depend partly on the context or the circumstances, partly on
          what we know of the speaker, and partly on the association
          which we ourselves attach to the word in question. These
          considerations conduct us, once more, to the principle on
          which we have so often insisted. Once more we are forced to
          admit that language, after all, is essentially poetry. For it
          is the function of poetry, as Sainte-Beuve says, not to tell
          us everything, but to set our imaginations at work: "La poésie
          ne consiste pas à tout dire, mais à tout faire rêver."

          Besides the complexity that comes from successive
          radiation, there is a perpetual exchange of influences among
          the meanings themselves. Thus when we speak of a man as "the
          intellectual head of a movement," _head_ means "leader" (No.
          3), but has also a suggestion of the tenth sense, "mind."
          If two very different senses of a word are present to the
          mind at the same moment, the result is a pun, intentional
          or unintentional. If the senses are subtly related, so that
          they enforce or complement each other, our phrase becomes
          imaginatively forcible, or, in other words, recognizable
          poetry as distinguished from the unconscious poetry of

          So, too, the sudden re-association of a derived
          sense with the central meaning of a word may produce a
          considerable change in effect. _Head_ for "leader" is no
          longer felt as metaphorical, and so of several other of the
          radiating senses of this word. Yet it may, at any moment,
          flash back to the original meaning, and be revivified as a
          conscious metaphor for the nonce. "He is not the _head_ of his
          party, but their mask"; "The leader fell, and the crowd was a
          body without a _head_."

          Radiation is a very simple process, though its
          results may become beyond measure complicated. It consists
          merely in divergent specialization from a general center. It
          is always easy to follow the spokes back to the hub.[64]

  [64] Greenough and Kittredge: _Words and Their Ways in English
       Speech_. By courtesy of the publishers, The Macmillan Company,
       New York City.

       Write a theme on any of the following subjects, adapting
       your style to the character of the subject--formal or informal,
       impersonal or personal, etc.

       In each of these subjects discover the root principle
       which will serve as your controlling object, and state it in a
       sentence. State also how you expect to make the theme interesting.

        1. How to handle a swarm of bees.

        2. How a publicity campaign is managed.

        3. The process of inoculation.

        4. The process of fumigation.

        5. How an ingot of steel is made.

        6. The physiological process of stimulation.

        7. The process of reforming criminals.

        8. How to break into society.

        9. How to memorize a long sonata.

       10. How to make a well.

       11. The process of civilization.

       12. How a locomotive is assembled.

       13. How a torpedo is launched.

       14. How good literary taste is acquired.

       15. The process of naturalization.

       16. The process of simplification in language.

       17. The process of organizing a "clean up" campaign.

       18. How big steel beams are put in place on the twentieth story.

       19. The process of fertilization of land.

       20. The process of inoculating land for alfalfa.

       21. The process of making a trial balance sheet.

       22. How to audit the accounts of a club, store, treasurer, or

       23. The process of pasteurization.

       24. The process of modulation in music.

       25. How to fire a blast furnace.

  VII. Write the material contained in the explanations of the blow-pipe
       and the hydraulic cartridge (page 161) in the more picturesque
       form of a personal experience, showing how you, or some one, used
       the mechanism for a particular purpose. Which method of treatment
       is more effective? Why? Would you be willing to lay down a
       general rule about the method of treatment? If not, why not?

 VIII. Use the method employed to explain dredges (page 170) to write a
       theme that shall discriminate briefly the various types of the

        1. Valves.

        2. Tractors.

        3. Egg-beaters.

        4. Styles in landscape painting.

        5. Systems of bookkeeping.

        6. Methods of learning a foreign language.

        7. Churns.

        8. Methods of packing apples.

   IX. In the following selection you will find an account of how an
       engineering problem was solved. With this as a model, write an
       account of any of the following:

        1. The Shoshone, or Keokuk, or Roosevelt Dam.

        2. The Panama Canal.

        3. The Cape Cod Canal.

        4. The Chicago Drainage Canal.

        5. The Chicago Breakwater.

        6. The Galveston Sea Wall.

        7. The Key West Railroad.

        8. The Mississippi Levees.

        9. An Army Cantonment.

       10. A Shipyard.

       11. A Big City Subway.

       12. Some Development in Your Own Town.

          The construction of the reservoirs and aqueduct for
          bringing a daily supply of five hundred million gallons into
          New York from the Catskill Mountains has involved engineering
          work of great magnitude, and in some cases of considerable
          perplexity and difficulty. As it turned out, the most serious
          problem was encountered at the Hudson River, where the
          engineers had to determine upon the best method for conducting
          the water past that great natural obstacle.

          Four alternative plans were considered: first, to
          lay steel pipes in trenches dredged across the river bottom;
          second, to drive a tunnel through the glacial deposit in the
          river bottom; third, to carry the aqueducts across the river
          on a bridge; and lastly, to build a huge inverted siphon at
          a depth sufficient to bring it entirely within the solid
          underlying rock. The last was the plan adopted.

          To determine the depth and character of the rock,
          fifteen vertical holes were drilled from the surface of
          the river, and two inclined holes, of different degrees of
          inclination, were driven from each shore. Six of the vertical
          holes reached bed rock, and one of them in the center of the
          river reached an ultimate depth of 768 feet, when it had to
          be abandoned without reaching bed rock. This boring developed
          the fact that the present Hudson River flows in an old glacial
          gorge which has been filled up with deposits of silt, sand,
          gravel, clay, and boulders to a depth of over 800 feet.

          Now it was realized that a deep-pressure tunnel,
          to be perfectly reliable, must lie in absolutely sound and
          unfissured rock; and since it was impossible to test the
          rock by vertical borings made from scows anchored in the
          river, the engineers determined to explore the underlying
          material by means of inclined borings driven from either
          shore. Accordingly, two shafts were sunk to a depth of between
          two and three hundred feet, and from them two diamond drill
          borings were started, which ultimately crossed at a depth of
          1500 feet below the surface of the river. A good rock was
          found at that level. To make the survey more reliable, a
          second pair of holes was drilled at a less inclination, which
          crossed at a depth of 950 feet below the river surface. The
          rock was found to be perfectly satisfactory, and such water
          as was found was limited in extent and due to well-understood
          geologic causes.

          It was therefore determined to sink the east and
          west shafts to a depth of from 1150 to 1200 feet below ground
          surface, and connect them by a tunnel 3022 feet in length at
          a depth of 1100 feet below the river surface. The shafts have
          been sunk, that on the West Shore to 1153 feet, the East
          Shore shaft to 1185 feet, and the boring of the tunnel toward
          the center of the river has made good progress, the easterly
          section having advanced at the present writing about 260
          feet, and the westerly section 170 feet from their respective
          shafts. Both the shafts and the tunnel will be lined with a
          high grade of Portland cement concrete which will give them a
          finished internal diameter of 14 feet. The aqueduct reaches
          the Hudson River at an elevation of 400 feet above mean water
          level. Hence the total head of water is about 1500 feet, and
          the total pressure on each square foot of the tunnel is
          46 1/2 tons, which is balanced with a wide margin of safety by
          the weight of the super-incumbent mass of rock, silt, and

  [65] "The Catskill Water Supply Tunnel," in the _Scientific American_,
       vol. 104. By courtesy of The Scientific American Publishing

    X. In the following account of an emotional and mental process what
       root principle do you find? Does the author show traces of
       influence from the intended readers, the American public? Does
       the author take too much for granted in the reader, or not
       enough? Does she show tact in approaching the reader? Write
       the account in an impersonal, abstract way, as if you were
       reporting "a case" for a statistician, and then give your
       estimate of the two. What light does your estimate throw upon the
       advice to make the actors in a process specific?

          How long would you say, wise reader, it takes to
          make an American? By the middle of my second year in school
          I had reached the sixth grade. When, after the Christmas
          holidays, we began to study the life of Washington, running
          through a summary of the Revolution, and the early days of the
          Republic, it seemed to me that all my reading and study had
          been idle until then. The reader, the arithmetic, the song
          book, that had so fascinated me until now, became suddenly
          sober exercise books, tools wherewith to hew a way to the
          source of inspiration. When the teacher read to us out of a
          big book with many bookmarks in it, I sat rigid with attention
          in my little chair, my hands tightly clasped on the edge of
          my desk; and I painfully held my breath, to prevent sighs of
          disappointment escaping, as I saw the teacher skip the parts
          between bookmarks. When the class read, and it came my turn,
          my voice shook and the book trembled in my hands. I could
          not pronounce the name of George Washington without a pause.
          Never had I prayed, never had I chanted the songs of David,
          never had I called upon the Most Holy, in such utter reverence
          and worship as I repeated the simple sentences of my child's
          story of the patriot. I gazed with adoration at the portraits
          of George and Martha Washington, till I could see them with
          my eyes shut. And whereas formerly my self-consciousness had
          bordered on conceit, and I thought myself an uncommon person,
          parading my schoolbooks through the streets, and swelling with
          pride when a teacher detained me in conversation, now I grew
          humble all at once, seeing how insignificant I was beside the

          As I read about the noble boy who would not tell a
          lie to save himself from punishment, I was for the first time
          truly repentant of my sins. Formerly I had fasted and prayed
          and made sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, but it was more
          than half play, in mimicry of my elders. I had no real horror
          of sin, and I knew so many ways of escaping punishment. I am
          sure my family, my neighbors, my teachers in Polotzk--all
          my world, in fact--strove together, by example and precept,
          to teach me goodness. Saintliness had a new incarnation in
          about every third person I knew. I did respect the saints,
          but I could not help seeing that most of them were a little
          bit stupid, and that mischief was much more fun than piety.
          Goodness, as I had known it, was respectable, but not
          necessarily admirable. The people I really admired, like my
          Uncle Solomon, and Cousin Rachel, were those who preached the
          least and laughed the most. My sister Frieda was perfectly
          good, but she did not think the less of me because I played
          tricks. What I loved in my friends was not inimitable. One
          could be downright good if one really wanted to. One could be
          learned if one had books and teachers. One could sing funny
          songs and tell anecdotes if one traveled about and picked up
          such things, like one's uncles and cousins. But a human being
          strictly good, perfectly wise, and unfailingly valiant, all at
          the same time, I had never heard or dreamed of. This wonderful
          George Washington was as inimitable as he was irreproachable.
          Even if I had never, never told a lie, I could not compare
          myself to George Washington; for I was not brave--I was afraid
          to go out when snowballs whizzed--and I could never be the
          First President of the United States.

          So I was forced to revise my own estimate of myself.
          But the twin of my new-born humility, paradoxical as it may
          seem, was a sense of dignity I had never known before. For if
          I found that I was a person of small consequence, I discovered
          at the same time that I was more nobly related than I had
          ever supposed. I had relatives and friends who were notable
          people by the old standards,--I had never been ashamed of my
          family,--but this George Washington, who died long before I
          was born, was like a king in greatness, and he and I were
          Fellow Citizens. There was a great deal about Fellow Citizens
          in the patriotic literature we read at this time; and I knew
          from my father how he was a Citizen, through the process of
          naturalization, and how I also was a citizen, by virtue of
          my relation to him. Undoubtedly I was a Fellow Citizen, and
          George Washington was another. It thrilled me to realize what
          sudden greatness had fallen on me; and at the same time it
          sobered me, as with a sense of responsibility. I strove to
          conduct myself as befitted a Fellow Citizen.

          Before books came into my life, I was given to
          star-gazing and day-dreaming. When books were given me, I fell
          upon them as a glutton pounces on his meat after a period
          of enforced starvation. I lived with my nose in a book, and
          took no notice of the alternations of the sun and stars. But
          now, after the advent of George Washington and the American
          Revolution, I began to dream again. I strayed on the common
          after school instead of hurrying home to read. I hung on fence
          rails, my pet book forgotten under my arm, and gazed off to
          the yellow-streaked February sunset, and beyond, and beyond. I
          was no longer the central figure of my dreams; the dry weeds
          in the lane crackled beneath the tread of Heroes.

          What more could America give a child? Ah, much more!
          As I read how the patriots planned the Revolution, and the
          women gave their sons to die in battle, and the heroes led
          to victory, and the rejoicing people set up the Republic,
          it dawned on me gradually what was meant by _my country_.
          The people all desiring noble things, and striving for them
          together, defying their oppressors, giving their lives for
          each other--all this it was that made _my country_. It was
          not a thing that I _understood_; I could not go home and tell
          Frieda about it, as I told her other things I learned at
          school. But I knew one could say "my country" and _feel_ it,
          as one felt "God" or "myself." My teacher, my schoolmates,
          Miss Dillingham, George Washington himself could not mean more
          than I when they said "my country," after I had once felt
          it. For the Country was for all the Citizens, and I _was a
          Citizen_. And when we stood up to sing "America," I shouted
          the words with all my might. I was in very earnest proclaiming
          to the world my love for my newfound country.

              "I love thy rocks and rills,
              Thy woods and templed hills."

          Boston Harbor, Crescent Beach, Chelsea Square--all
          was hallowed ground to me. As the day approached when the
          school was to hold exercises in honor of Washington's
          Birthday, the halls resounded at all hours with the strains
          of patriotic songs; and I, who was a model of the attentive
          pupil, more than once lost my place in the lesson as I
          strained to hear, through closed doors, some neighboring class
          rehearsing "The Star-Spangled Banner." If the doors happened
          to open, and the chorus broke out unveiled--

              "O! say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
              O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?"

          delicious tremors ran up and down my spine, and I
          was faint with suppressed enthusiasm.[66]

  [66] Mary Antin: _The Promised Land_. Houghton Mifflin Company,
       Boston, publishers.

       Write an account of any of the following processes _as

        1. The high school "star" learns in college that other bright
           people exist.

        2. The first realization of death.

        3. Becoming loyal to a school.

        4. Discovering pride of ancestry.

        5. Finding that classical music is interesting.

        6. A despised person becomes, on acquaintance, delightful.

        7. Becoming reconciled to a new town, or system of government,
           or catalogue system in a library.

        8. Learning that not everything was discovered by an American.

        9. Becoming aware that there is a life of thought.

       10. Becoming reconciled to a great loss of money or friends.

       11. Deciding upon a new wall-paper.

       12. Fitting into the town circles after a year away at college.

       13. Discovering that some beliefs of childhood must be abandoned.

       14. Perceiving that you really agree with some one with whom you
           have been violently squabbling.

       15. The literary person finds attractiveness in engineering and
           agriculture--and vice versa.

       16. Working out a practical personal philosophy of life.

       17. Finding a serious motive in life.

       18. Determining upon a tactful approach to a "touchy" person.

       19. Acquiring the college point of view in place of the
           high-school attitude.

       20. Discovering one's provincialism.

       21. Discovering one's racial or national loyalty.

       22. Finding out that the world does not depend on any individual,
           but goes ahead, whether he lives or dies.



Few of us pass a day without answering such questions as, "What do you
think of the Hudson car?" or, "How did Kreisler's playing strike you?"
or, "What is your opinion of the work of Thackeray or Alice Brown or
Booth Tarkington?" or, "Do you like the X disc harrow?" When we are
among intimate friends we give our opinions, based on our personal
reaction to the subject of inquiry or on our impartial estimate of it
as an automobile, a musical performance, a collection of books, or an
agricultural machine. Many of us give a large space in our conversation
to such estimates on all conceivable subjects. And, for purposes of
insignificant conversation, there is no reason why we should not.
Accused of making "Criticism" in the formal sense, however, many of us
should recoil with terrified denial. But that is exactly what we are
doing, whether we praise or blame, accept or reject, so long as we base
our opinion on sincere personal or sound principles, we criticize. _For
criticism is the attempt to estimate the worth of something--object
or idea--either abstractly on a basis of principles and relations, or
personally on the basis of our reactions to the subject of criticism._
That is, we may, for example, criticize the roads of New York State on
the basis of what a road is for and how well these roads serve their
purpose, or we may take as basis the inspiration, the keen ecstasy that
we feel as we skim over the smooth boulevard. So long as our notions of
good roads are sound, so long as we react sensibly, with balance, to the
smooth rounding way, we make good criticism, we judge the worth of the
subject of criticism and find it either good or bad.

It is to be noted that this criticism is something more than mere
comment, than mere off-hand remarks. The old saying is, "Anybody
can say _something_ about _anything_!" An off-hand utterance _may_
tell the truth; we cannot be sure that it will. Only when we have a
well-considered basis of either principle or personal feeling can we be
at all certain of our opinions.

Now the range in which our opinions, our criticisms, may be expressed,
is as wide as human thought and accomplishment. We sometimes think of
criticism as being confined to literature and art, and speak of literary
criticism, musical criticism, dramatic criticism, and art criticism, as
if these were all. The term criticism has actually been so restricted
in common practice that unless otherwise noted it is taken for granted
as applying to these subjects. But criticism is much more comprehensive
than such restriction indicates: any object or subject is capable
of criticism. Just as we might arrive at the conclusion that Booth
Tarkington's stories about Penrod are either good or bad, so we might
say that a make of piano, a type of bridle, a new kind of fertilizer, a
method of bookkeeping, a recipe for angel cake is good or is sufficient
or is valueless. We might have--in fact we do have--Engineering
Criticism, Carpenter Criticism, Needlework Criticism, Poultry Criticism,
and as many kinds as there are classes of subjects. In this treatment
we shall use the term in this broad sense and include all subjects in
our scope. Of course we are to remember that the criticism becomes of
more value as the subject of criticism is of more moment: criticism of
the drama is nobler, perhaps, than criticism of egg beaters and picture
hooks. We must also remember that the less high orders of criticism are
neither useless nor undesirable but often most helpful.

Requirements demanded of the Critic

Since, then, the brand of the critic is on us all, since we practice the
habit, consciously or not, most of the time, and since the range is
so wide, no reason exists why we should be terrified at the thought of
writing criticism, of making formal estimate. Certain requirements are
demanded, to be sure; not every one can dive into the sea of criticism
without making an awkward splash and receiving a reddening smart. But
these requirements are in no way beyond the possibility of acquiring by
any one who will set himself to the task.

_a._ _Ability to analyze_

In the first place, a critic must have the power to analyze. We have
seen that analysis consists in breaking a subject into its components,
in discovering of what it is made. This is the first great necessity
in criticizing. You wish, for example, to make a criticism of a new
rifle for your friends. It is not enough that you should with gusto
enunciate, "It's just great!" "Oh, it's fine, fine and dandy!" "Golly
but it's a good one!" Your friends are likely to ask "Why?" or to say,
"The gentleman doth protest too much!" If, on the other hand, you remark
that the rifle is admirable because of its sights, its general accuracy,
its cartridge chamber, its comparative freedom from recoil, then you
will be giving your friends definite and useful criticism, for you will
have analyzed the virtue of the object into its components. Now this
necessity for analysis exists in criticism of literature and art just
as in criticism of rifles. Before you can properly estimate the value
of a novel or a play you must divide the impression it makes into the
various heads, such as emotional power, convincingness in the message
of the book or play, truth to life, and whatever heading you may think
necessary. Until you do this your impressions, your judgments will of
necessity be vague and dim in their outlines, and though they may seem
to be comprehensive, will be found actually to be insufficient to give
your reader or listener a firm notion of the subject--he will have no
nucleus of thought round which his total estimate will center. As soon,
however, as you analyze, and make definite, so soon he will receive
real enlightenment. In the following account of the work of James
Russell Lowell at the Court of Saint James we find at once this careful
breaking of the subject into parts which can be treated definitely. Had
the writer merely uttered general impressions of the diplomacy of our
ambassador we who read should have been comparatively unhelped.

To those who hold the semi-barbarous notion that one of the duties of
a foreign minister is to convey a defiant attitude toward the people
to whom he is accredited--that he should stick to his post, to use the
popular phrase, "with his back up," and keep the world that he lives in
constantly in mind that his countrymen are rough, untamable, and above
all things quarrelsome, Mr. Lowell has not seemed a success. But to them
we must observe, that they know so little of the subject of diplomacy
that their opinion is of no sort of consequence. The aim of diplomacy
is not to provoke war, but to keep the peace; it is not to beget
irritation, or to keep it alive, but to produce and maintain a pacific
temper; not to make disputes hard, but easy, to settle; not to magnify
differences of interest or feeling, but to make them seem small; not to
win by threats, but by persuasion; not to promote mutual ignorance, but
mutual comprehension--to be, in short, the representative of a Christian
nation, and not of a savage tribe.

No foreign minister, it is safe to say, has ever done these things so
successfully in the same space of time as Mr. Lowell. If it be a service
to the United States to inspire Englishmen with respect such as they
have never felt before for American wit and eloquence and knowledge, and
thus for American civilization itself, nobody has rendered this service
so effectually as he has done. They are familiar almost _ad nauseam_
with the material growth of the United States, with the immense strides
which the country has made and is making in the production of things to
eat, drink, and wear. What they know least of, and had had most doubts
about, is American progress in acquiring those gifts and graces which
are commonly supposed to be the inheritance of countries that have
left the ruder beginnings of national life far behind, and have had
centuries of leisure for art, literature, and science. Well, Mr. Lowell
has disabused them. As far as blood and training go, there is no more
genuine American than he. He went to England as pure a product of the
American soil as ever landed there, and yet he at once showed English
scholars that in the field of English letters they had nothing to teach
him. In that higher political philosophy which all Englishmen are now
questioning so anxiously, he has spoken not only as a master, but
almost as an oracle. In the lighter but still more difficult arts, too,
which make social gatherings delightful and exciting to intellectual
men, in the talk which stimulates strong brains and loosens eloquent
tongues, he has really reduced the best-trained and most loquacious
London diners-out to abashed silence. In fact, he has, in captivating
English society,--harder, perhaps, to cultivate, considering the vast
variety of culture it contains, than any other society in the world,--in
making every Englishman who met him wish that he were an Englishman too,
performed a feat such as no diplomatist, we believe, ever performed

  [67] Gustav Pollak: _Fifty Years of American Idealism_. Houghton
       Mifflin Company. By courtesy of _The Nation_.

_b._ _Knowledge of the General Field_

Besides the ability to analyze the critic must have some knowledge
of the general field in which the subject lies. For a man who has
never thought about musical form to attempt criticism of a sonata is
foolish--he can at best merely comment. It is this fact that vitiates
much of the cracker-barrel criticism of the country store--subjects are
estimated about which the critic is largely ignorant. When an uneducated
person makes shrewd comment, as he often does, on a play, he will
usually be found to have criticized a character such as he has known or
the outcome of a situation the like of which he is familiar with rather
than the play as a whole. Now perfect criticism would demand perfect
knowledge, but since that is impossible, a good working knowledge will
suffice, the wider the better. Knowledge of the general principles of
piano playing will enable a critic to estimate, in the large, the work
of a performer; he cannot criticize minutely until he has added more
detailed knowledge to his mental equipment.

_c._ _Common Sense_

However much knowledge and ability to analyze a critic may have, he is a
will-o'-the-wisp unless he have common sense and balance. Since a critic
is in many ways a guide, he must guard as sacred his ability to see the
straight road and to refuse the appeal of by-paths, however attractive.
As critic, you must not be overawed by a name, be it of artist or
manufacturer, nor allow much crying of wares in the street to swerve you
from your fixed determination to judge and estimate only on the worth of
the subject _as you find it_. This is far from meaning that the critic
should give no weight to the opinions of others; you should always do
that; but, having examined the subject, and knowing your opinions, you
should then speak the truth as you see it. Your one final desire should
be to go to the heart of the matter accurately, and then to state this
clearly. And just as you do not blindly accept a great name, so do not
be wheedled by gloss and appearance, but keep a steady aim for the truth.

_d._ _Open-mindedness_

Finally, this balance, this passion for the truth, will lead the critic
to strive always for open-mindedness. "I would rather be a man of
disinterested taste and liberal feeling," wrote Hazlitt, "to see and
acknowledge truth and beauty wherever I found it, than a man of greater
and more original genius, to hate, envy, and deny all excellence but my
own...." And he was right when he said it: the willingness to accept a
new idea or object if it is worthy, whether it go against the critic's
personal desires or not, is one of the great qualities that he will find
indispensable. "I never heard of such a thing!" is not a sufficient
remark to condemn the thing. In fact, almost a sufficient answer to such
an exclamation would be, "Well, what of it?" or, "'T is time you did."

Methods of Criticism

Armed with open-mindedness, then, with balance and common sense, with
knowledge of the field, and with ability to analyze, you are ready to
begin. What method shall you pursue? Though no absolutely sharp line
can be drawn between kinds of criticism, we may treat of three that are
fairly distinct: the historical method, the method by standards, and
the appreciative. In most criticism we are likely to find more than one
method employed, often all three. You need not confine yourself to one
any more than a carpenter need refuse to use any but one tool, but for
purposes of comprehension and presentation we shall keep the three here
fairly distinct. We shall examine the three now, briefly, in the order

_a._ _The Historical Method_

Suppose that you are asked to criticize one of Cooper's novels, say
_The Last of the Mohicans_. You find in it red men idealized out of the
actual, red men such as presumably never existed. You may, then, in
disgust throw the book down and damn it with the remark, "The man does
not tell the truth!" But you will not thereby have disposed of Cooper.
Much better it would be to ask, How came this man to write thus? When
did he write? For whom? How did men at that time regard the Indian? In
answering these questions you will relate Cooper's novel to the time in
which it was written, you will see that before that time the Indian was
regarded with unmixed fear, as too often since with contempt, and that
at only that time could he have been idealized as Cooper treats him. You
would relate the novel to the whole movement of Sentimentalism, which
thought that it believed the savage more noble than civilized man, and
you would then, and only then, get a proper perspective. Your original
judgment, that Cooper's Indians are not accurate portraits of their
kind, would not be modified; for the whole work, however, you would have
a new attitude.

In the same way, asked for an opinion of the old-style bicycle with
enormous front wheel and tiny trailer, you would not summarily reply, "I
prefer a chainless model of my own day," but would discover the place
that the old style occupied in the total development of the bicycle,
would look at it as related to the preceding absence of any bicycle,
and would see that, though it may to-day be useless, in its time it was
remarkable. Likewise you will discover that the old three-legged milking
stool has been in immemorial use in rude byres and stables, since three
points--the ends of the legs--always make a firm plane, which four
points do not necessarily do. And one hundred years hence, when a critic
comes to judge the nature faking of the early twentieth century, he will
relate this sentimental movement to the times in which it appeared, and,
though he may well finally be disgusted, he will understand what the
thing was and meant, how it came about, what causes produced it.

Illustration of the value of this method is found in the following
historical account of the American business man. To a European this man
sometimes is inexplicable--until he reads some illuminating setting
forth of the facts as here.

     As long as the economic opportunities of American life
     consisted chiefly in the appropriation and improvement of
     uncultivated land, the average energetic man had no difficulty
     in obtaining his fair share of the increasing American economic
     product; but the time came when such opportunities, although still
     important, were dwarfed by other opportunities, incident to the
     development of a more mature economic system. These opportunities
     which were, of course, connected with the manufacturing,
     industrial, and technical development of the country, demanded
     under American conditions a very special type of man--the man
     who would bring to his task not merely energy, but unscrupulous
     devotion, originality, daring, and in the course of time a large
     fund of instructive experience. The early American industrial
     conditions differed from those of Europe in that they were fluid,
     and as a result of this instability, extremely precarious. Rapid
     changes in markets, business methods, and industrial machinery
     made it difficult to build up a safe business. A manufacturer or
     a merchant could not secure his business salvation, as in Europe,
     merely by the adoption of sound conservative methods. The American
     business man had greater opportunities and a freer hand than his
     European prototype; but he was too beset by more severe, more
     unscrupulous, and more dangerous competition. The industrious and
     thrifty farmer could be fairly sure of a modest competence, due
     partly to his own efforts, and partly to the increased value of his
     land in a more populous community; but the business man had no such
     security. In his case it was war to the knife. He was presented
     with choice between aggressive daring business operations, and
     financial insignificance or ruin.

     No doubt this situation was due as much to the temper of the
     American business man as to his economic environment. The business
     man in seeking to realize his ambitions and purposes was checked
     neither by government control nor social custom. He had nothing
     to do and nothing to consider except his own business advancement
     and success. He was eager, strenuous, and impatient. He liked the
     excitement and risk of large operations. The capital at his command
     was generally too small for the safe and conservative operation of
     his business; and he was consequently obliged to be adventurous,
     or else to be left behind in the race. He might well be earning
     enormous profits one year and be skirting bankruptcy the next.
     Under such a stress conservatism and caution were suicidal. It
     was the instinct of self-preservation, as well as the spirit of
     business adventure, which kept him constantly seeking for larger
     markets, improved methods, or for some peculiar means of getting
     ahead of his competitors. He had no fortress behind which he could
     hide and enjoy his conquests. Surrounded as he was by aggressive
     enemies and undefended frontiers, his best means of security lay
     in a policy of constant innovation and expansion. Moreover, even
     after he had obtained the bulwark of sufficient capital and more
     settled industrial surroundings, he was under no temptation to quit
     and enjoy the spoils of his conquests. The social, intellectual,
     or even the more vulgar pleasures, afforded by leisure and wealth,
     could bring him no thrill which was anything like as intense as
     that derived from the exercise of his business ability and power.
     He could not conquer except by virtue of a strong, tenacious,
     adventurous, and unscrupulous will; and after he had conquered,
     this will had him in complete possession. He had nothing to do but
     to play the game to the end--even though his additional profits
     were of no living use to him.[68]

  [68] Herbert Croly: _The Promise of American Life_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, The Macmillan Company, New York City.

In criticizing literature and art this method is often difficult, for we
must take into account race, geography, and other conditions. We must
see that only in New England, of all the sections of the United States,
could Hawthorne have written, that Tolstoi could not have written in
Illinois as he did in Russia, that Norse Sagas could not have appeared
among tropical peoples, that among the French alone, perhaps, could
Racine have come to literary power as he did. And in examining the work
of two writers who treat the same subject in general, as Miss Jewett
and Mrs. Freeman treat New England life, we shall find the influence
of ancestry and environment and training largely determining, on the
one hand the quaint fine sunshine, on the other hand the stern hard
Puritanism. We shall also have to learn what incidents in an author's
life have helped to determine his point of view, how early poverty, or
sorrow, or a great experience of protracted agony or joy have made him
sympathetic, or how aristocratic breeding and the early introduction
into exclusive circles have made him naturally unresponsive to some of
the squalor, the sadness of lowly life. We shall perceive that the early
removal of Scott to the country began his intense love for Scottish
scenery and history, that the bitter laughter of Byron's mother turned
part of the poet's nature to gall. In other words, when we are dealing
with the exquisitely fine products of impassioned thought we have a
difficult task because so many influences mold these thoughts, so many
lines of procedure are determined by conditions outside the particular
author or artist, all of which must be considered if we wish our work
to be really of value. The following illustration shows in brief space
the attempt to link a movement in literature to the times in which it
appeared, to show that it is naturally a product of the general feeling
of the times.

     Yet, after all, it is not the theories and formulæ of its
     followers that differentiate the "new poetry"; the insistence upon
     certain externalities, the abandonment of familiar traditions,
     even the new spirit of the language employed, none of these are
     more than symptoms of the deep inner mood which lies at the roots
     of the whole tendency. This tendency is in line with the basic
     trend of our times, and represents the attempt in verse, as in many
     other branches of expression, to cast off a certain passionate
     illusionment and approach the universe as it actually is--the
     universe of science, perhaps, rather than that of the thrilled
     human heart. This is the kernel of the entire new movement, as has
     already been clearly pointed out by several writers on the subject.

     Everywhere in the new verse we are conscious of a certain
     objective quality, not the objective quality of _The Divine Comedy_
     or _Faust_, which is achieved by the symbolic representation in
     external forms of inner spiritual verities, but an often stark
     objectivity accomplished by the elimination of the feeling human
     medium, the often complete absence of any personal reaction. We
     are shown countless objects and movements, and these objects and
     movements are glimpsed panoramically from the point of view of
     outline, color, and interrelation, as through the senses merely;
     the transfiguring lens of the soul is seldom interposed or felt
     to be present. To the "new poet" the city street presents itself
     in terms of a series of sense-impressions vividly realized, a
     succession of apparently aimless and kaleidoscopic pageantries
     stripped of their human significance and symbolic import. They have
     ceased to be signs of a less outward reality, they have become
     that reality itself--reality apprehended from a singly sensuous
     standpoint untainted by any of the human emotions of triumph
     or sorrow, pity or adoration. Love is thus frequently bared of
     its glamour and death of its peculiar majesty, which may now be
     regarded as deceitful and fatuous projections of the credulous
     soul, and not to be tolerated by the sophisticated mood of the
     new and scientific poet, for it is exactly with these beautiful
     "sentimentalities" that the analytic mind of science is not

  [69] From _Scribner's Magazine_, September, 1917. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York City. Copyright,

This method seeks, then, to place a work, whether of art or science or
industry, in its place in the whole course of development of such ideas.
It examines causes such as commercial demands, general prosperity, war,
and only after this examination gives the work its estimate of value.

Now this method may seem uninteresting, dry, dull. Not always does it
escape this blame. For it is inevitably impersonal, it looks at the
thing perhaps coldly--at least without passion. But in so doing, and in
considering the precedents and surroundings of the object of criticism,
it largely escapes the superficiality of personal whim, and it avoids
silly reaction to unaccustomed things. Much of our empty criticism of
customs in dress and manners of architecture such as that of Southern
California, of other religions such as those of the Chinese and the
Hindoos, would be either done away or somewhat modified if we used this
method. One reason, perhaps, why the Goths destroyed the beautiful
art works of Rome was the fact that they had not the critical spirit,
did not relate these works to their development and race. Of course
there were other reasons. By linking the object of criticism to the
race as a whole, by seeing how and why it became created, the critic
is largely broadened and the reader is kept from superficiality.
Moreover, when this method is not too abstractly pursued, it gives to
things, after all, a human meaning, for it links them to humanity. That
it may be misleading in literature and art is obvious, for a creation
may be accounted for in an attractive way as the result of certain
forces that had their beginnings in sense and wisdom, and so be made
to seem admirable, whereas it really has little worth on a basis of
lasting usefulness and significance. But, properly and thoroughly used,
this method, even though it gives us an account of a work rather than
finally settling its value, scatters away the vague mists of superficial
generalization and drives deeply into causes and results.

_b._ _The Method by Standards_

As the historical method is generally impersonal, objective, so is the
method of criticizing by standards. In using this method we try to
determine whether the object of criticism fulfills the demands of its
type, whether its quality is high or low. For example, we thus judge
a tennis court as to its firm footing, its softness, its retention of
court lines, its position as regards the sun. In all these qualities
an ideal tennis court would be satisfactory; the question is, is this
one. So a headache powder should relieve pain without injuring with evil
drugs; if this one does, we shall not condemn it. If the rocks in a
landscape painting look like those which the heroic tenor in grand opera
hurls aside as so much "puffed wheat," we must condemn the artist, for
rocks should look solid. An evangelist should have certain qualities
of piety and reverence, and should accomplish certain lasting results;
we shall judge Billy Sunday, for example, according to whether he does
or does not fulfill these demands. Likewise a lyric poem should have
certain qualities of freshness, grace, passion, by which we rate any
given lyric.

In fact, we ask, in any given case, does this work do what such a
thing is supposed to do, does it have the qualities that such a thing
is supposed to have? And on our answer will depend our judgment. This
is the kind of criticism that business men use constantly; they rate
a cash system or a form of order blank or an arrangement of counters
in a store on the basis of the presence or absence of the qualities
that distinguish an ideal system, blank, arrangement. In the following
example we have a combination of the historical and the standards
methods, finally accounting for and judging the value of the common
kinds of cargo steamers.

     A trip round any busy seaport will show the reader, if he has
     not noticed it already, that there are many different types of the
     ordinary cargo steamer. The feature which displays the difference
     most noticeably is the arrangement of the structures on the deck,
     and it may be reasonably asked why there are these varieties, and
     how it is that a common type has not come to be agreed upon.

     The answer to that question is that the differences are not
     merely arbitrary, but are due to a variety of influences, and it
     will be interesting to look briefly at these, as the reader will
     then be able, the next time he sees a cargo steamer, to understand
     something of the ideas underlying its design.

     The early steamers had "flush" decks, which means that the
     deck ran from end to end without any structures of considerable
     size upon it; a light bridge was provided, supported upon slender
     uprights, for "lookouts" purposes, and that was all. On the face of
     it this seems a very simple and admirable arrangement. It had many
     disadvantages, however, as we shall see.

     In the first place, it permitted a wave to come on board at
     the bow and sweep right along the deck, often doing great damage.
     This was mitigated somewhat by building the ships with "shear,"
     that is, with a slope upwards fore and aft, so as to make the ends
     taller than the middle. That, however, was not sufficient, so ships
     were built with an upper deck, so that the bow should be high
     enough to cut through the waves instead of allowing the water to
     come on board. Owing, however, to the method by which the tonnage
     of a ship is reckoned, as will be explained later, that had the
     effect of adding largely to the tonnage _on which dues have to be
     paid_ without materially increasing the carrying capacity of the

     The difficulty was therefore got over in this way. The bow
     was raised and covered in, forming what is known as a "top-gallant
     forecastle," which not only had the effect of keeping the water
     off the deck, but provided better accommodation for the crew as
     well. That did not provide, however, against a wave overtaking the
     ship from the rear and coming on board just where the steering
     wheel was, so a hood or covering over the wheel became usual,
     called the "poop." Nor did either of these sufficiently protect
     that very important point, the engine-room. For it needs but a
     moment's thought to see that there must be openings in the deck
     over the engines and boilers, and if a volume of water should
     get down these, it might extinguish the fires and leave the
     ship helpless, absolutely at the mercy of the waves. The light
     navigating bridge was therefore developed into a substantial
     structure the whole width of the ship, surrounding and protecting
     the engine-and-boiler-room openings, and incidentally providing
     accommodation for the officers.

     Ships of this type answered very well indeed, for if a wave
     of exceptional size should manage to get over the forecastle, the
     water fell into the "well" or space between the forecastle and
     bridge-house, and then simply ran overboard, so that the after part
     of the ship was kept dry.

     Then troubles arose with the loading. The engines, of course,
     need to be in the center, for they represent considerable weight,
     which, if not balanced, will cause one end of the ship to float
     too high in the water. Thus the hold of the ship is divided by the
     engine-room into two approximately equal parts, but out of the
     after-hold must be taken the space occupied by the tunnel through
     which the propeller shaft runs, from the engine to the screw. Thus
     the capacity of the after-hold becomes less than the forward one,
     and if both are filled with a homogeneous cargo such as grain (and,
     as we shall see presently, such a cargo must always entirely fill
     the hold), the forward part of the ship would float high in the
     water. The trouble could not be rectified by placing the engines
     further forward, for then the ship would not float properly when

     Shipowners overcame this trouble, however, by raising the
     whole of the "quarter-deck"--the part of the deck, that is, which
     lies behind the after end of the "bridge-house"--and by that means
     they made the after-hold deeper than the other. Thus the commonest
     type of all, the "raised quarter-deck, well-decker," came into
     existence, a type of which many examples are to be seen on the

  [70] Thomas W. Corbin: _Engineering of To-day_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Seeley, Service & Co., London.

In the following paragraphs Professor Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale
University criticizes the use of final e in English words. You will note
that he uses a combination of the historical method and the method by

     There seems to be something peculiarly attractive to our
     race in the letter _e_. Especially is this so when it serves no
     useful purpose. Adding it at random to syllables, and especially to
     final syllables, is supposed to give a peculiar old-time flavor to
     the spelling. For this belief there is, to some extent, historic
     justification. The letter still remains appended to scores of
     words in which it has lost the pronunciation once belonging to
     it. Again, it has been added to scores of others apparently to
     amplify their proportions. We have in our speech a large number
     of monosyllables. As a sort of consolation to their shrunken
     condition an _e_ has been appended to them, apparently to make
     them present a more portly appearance. The fancy we all have for
     this vowel not only recalls the wit but suggests the wisdom of
     Charles Lamb's exquisite pun upon Pope's line that our race is
     largely made up of "the mob of gentlemen who write with ease." The
     belief, in truth, seems to prevail that the final _e_ is somehow
     indicative of aristocracy. In proper names, particularly, it is
     felt to impart a certain distinction to the appellation, lifting it
     far above the grade of low associations. It has the crowning merit
     of uselessness; and in the eyes of many uselessness seems to be
     regarded as the distinguishing mark of any noble class, either of
     things or persons. Still, I have so much respect for the rights of
     property that it seems to me every man ought to have the privilege
     of spelling and pronouncing his own name in any way he pleases.

     The prevalence of this letter at the end of words was largely
     due to the fact that the vowels, _a_, _o_, and _u_ of the original
     endings were all weakened to it in the break-up of the language
     which followed the Norman conquest. Hence, it became the common
     ending of the noun. The further disappearance of the consonant
     _n_ from the original termination of the infinitive extended this
     usage to the verb. The Anglo-Saxon _tellan_ and _helpan_, for
     instance, after being weakened to _tellen_ and _helpen_, became
     _telle_ and _helpe_. Words not of native origin fell under the
     influence of this general tendency and adopted an _e_ to which they
     were in no wise entitled. Even Anglo-Saxon nouns which ended in a
     consonant--such, for instance, as _hors_ and _mús_ and _stán_--are
     now represented by _horse_ and _mouse_ and _stone_. The truth is,
     that when the memory of the earlier form of the word had passed
     away an _e_ was liable to be appended, on any pretext, to the end
     of it. The feeling still continues to affect us all. Our eyes have
     become so accustomed to seeing a final e which no one thinks of
     pronouncing, that the word is felt by some to have a certain sort
     of incompleteness if it be not found there. In no other way can
     I account for Lord Macaulay's spelling the comparatively modern
     verb _edit_ as _edite_. This seems to be a distinction peculiar to

            *       *       *       *       *

     In the chaos which came over the spelling in consequence of
     the uncertainty attached to the sound of the vowels, the final _e_
     was seized upon as a sort of help to indicate the pronunciation.
     Its office in this respect was announced as early as the end of
     the sixteenth century; at least, then it was announced that an
     unsounded _e_ at the end of a word indicated that the preceding
     vowel was long. This, it need hardly be said, is a crude and
     unscientific method of denoting pronunciation. It is a process
     purely empirical. It is far removed from the ideal that no letter
     should exist in a word which is not sounded. Yet, to some extent,
     this artificial makeshift has been, and still is, a working
     principle. Were it carried out consistently it might be regarded
     as, on the whole, serving a useful purpose. But here, as well as
     elsewhere, the trail of the orthographic serpent is discoverable.
     Here as elsewhere it renders impossible the full enjoyment of
     even this slight section of an orthographic paradise. Here, as
     elsewhere, manifests itself the besetting sin of our spelling,
     that there is no consistency in the application of any principle.
     Some of our most common verbs violate the rule (if rule it can
     be called), such as _have_, _give_, _love_, _are_, _done_. In
     these the preceding vowel is not long but short. There are further
     large classes of words ending in _ile_, _ine_, _ite_, _ive_,
     where this final _e_ would serve to mislead the inquirer as to
     the pronunciation had he no other source of information than the

     Still, in the case of some of these words, the operation of
     this principle has had, and is doubtless continuing to have, a
     certain influence. Take, for instance, the word _hostile_. In the
     early nineteenth century, if we can trust the most authoritative
     dictionaries, the word was regularly pronounced in England as if
     spelled hós-t[)i]l. So it is to-day in America. But the influence
     of the final _e_ has tended to prolong, in the former country, the
     sound of the preceding _i_. Consequently, a usual, and probably the
     usual, pronunciation there is hos-t[=i]le. We can see a similar
     tendency manifested in the case of several other adjectives. A
     disposition to give many of them the long diphthongal sound of the
     _i_ is frequently displayed in the pronunciation of such words as
     _agile_, _docile_, _ductile_, _futile_, _infantile_. Save in the
     case of the last one of this list, the dictionaries once gave the
     _ile_ nothing but the sound of _il_; now they usually authorize
     both ways.

     Were the principle here indicated fully carried out,
     pronunciations now condemned as vulgarisms would displace those
     now considered correct. In accordance with it, for instance,
     _engine_, as it is spelled, should strictly have the _i_ long.
     One of the devices employed by Dickens in _Martin Chuzzlewit_ to
     ridicule what he pretended was the American speech was to have
     the characters pronounce _genuine_ as _gen-u-[=i]ne_, prejudice
     as _prej-u-d[=i]ce_, _active_ and _native_ as _ac-t[=y]ve_ and
     _na-t[=i]ve_. Doubtless he heard such pronunciations from some
     men. Yet, in these instances, the speaker was carried along by the
     same tendency which in cultivated English has succeeded in turning
     the pronunciation _hos-t[)i]l_ into _hos-t[=i]le_. Were there
     any binding force in the application of the rule which imparts
     to the termination _e_ the power of lengthening the preceding
     vowel, no one would have any business to give to it in the final
     syllable of the words just specified any other sound than that of
     "long i." The pronunciations ridiculed by Dickens would be the
     only pronunciations allowable. Accordingly, the way to make the
     rule universally effective is to drop this final _e_ when it does
     not produce such an effect. If _genuine_ is to be pronounced
     _gen-u-[)i]n_, so it ought to be spelled.[71]

  [71] Thomas R. Lounsbury: _English Spelling and Spelling Reform_. By
       courtesy of the publishers, Harper & Brothers, New York City.

Now it is evident that unless the critic's standards are fair and
sensible, unless they are known to be sound and essential, his criticism
is likely to be valueless. If my ideas of the qualities of ideal tennis
courts are erratic or queer, my judgment of the individual court will
be untrustworthy. Your first duty as critic, then, is to look at your
standards. In judging such things as ice cream freezers, motorcycles,
filing systems, fertilizers, rapid-firing guns, and other useful
devices, you will find no great difficulty in choosing your standards.
When you come to literature and the arts, however, you find a difficult
task. For who shall say exactly what a lyric poem shall do? Or who
shall bound the field of landscape painting? No sooner does Reynolds
begin painting, after he has formulated the laws of his art and stated
them with decision, than he violates them all. No sooner did musicians
settle just what a sonata must be than a greater musician appeared who
transcended the narrower form. Moreover, in the field of literature
and the arts we often find great difficulty in surmounting the cast of
our individual minds; we like certain types and are unconsciously led
to condemn all others. The great critic rises superior to his peculiar
likes and prejudices, but most of us are hindered by them. One great
benefit to be derived from writing this particular kind of criticism
is in gaining humility--humility at the greatness of some of the works
of the past, before which, when we really look at them, we are moved
to stand uncovered, and humility at the lack of real analysis that we
have made before we attempt the criticism, and finally humility at the
tremendous effort we must make to write criticism at all worthy of the
subjects. But the difficulty of writing such criticism well should make
you exert yourself to the utmost to acquire skill before you attempt
this form.

This method, like the historical, makes against superficiality, for
it necessitates real knowledge of the class to which the object of
criticism belongs, the purposes of the class, its bearings, and then
a sure survey of the individual itself. And in forcing the critic to
examine his standards to determine their fairness and soundness it makes
against hasty judgment. Properly used, this method should result in
something like finality of judgment.

_c._ _The Appreciative Method_

There come occasions when you are not primarily interested in the
historical significance of the subject of criticism, and when you are
indifferent to objective standards, when, in fact, you are almost wholly
interested in the _individual_ before you, in what it is or in the
effect it has on you. You rather _feel_ toward it than care to make a
cold analysis of it; you are moved by it, are conscious of a personal
reaction to it. In such cases you will make use of what is called
appreciative criticism. This method consists in interpreting, often for
one who does not know the work, the value of the work, the good things
in it, either as they appear to one who studies or as they affect the
critic. After reading a new book, for example, or attending a concert,
or driving a wonderfully smooth running automobile, or watching the team
work in a football game, you are primarily interested in the phenomena
shown as they are in their picturesque individuality or in your own
emotional reaction to them. In the following example George Gissing
makes an appreciative criticism of English cooking, not by coldly
tracing the historical influences that have made this cooking what it
is, nor by subjecting it to certain fixed standards to which admirable
cooking should attain, but rather by telling us what English cooking is
and by giving us the flavor of his own emotional delight in it.

     As so often when my praise has gone forth for things English,
     I find myself tormented by an after-thought--the reflection that I
     have praised a time gone by. Now, in this matter of English meat.
     A newspaper tells me that English beef is non-existent; that the
     best meat bearing that name has merely been fed up in England for a
     short time before killing. Well, well; we can only be thankful that
     the quality is still so good. Real English mutton still exists, I
     suppose. It would surprise me if any other country could produce
     the shoulder I had yesterday.

     Who knows? Perhaps even our own cookery has seen its best
     days. It is a lamentable fact that the multitude of English people
     nowadays never taste roasted meat; what they call by that name
     is baked in the oven--a totally different thing, though it may,
     I admit, be inferior only to the right roast. Oh, the sirloin of
     old times, the sirloin which I can remember, thirty or forty years
     ago! That was English, and no mistake, and all the history of
     civilization could show nothing on the tables of mankind to equal
     it. To clap that joint into a steamy oven would have been a crime
     unpardonable by gods and men. Have I not with my own eyes seen it
     turning, turning on the spit? The scent it diffused was in itself a
     cure for dyspepsia.

     It is a very long time since I tasted a slice of boiled beef;
     I have a suspicion that the thing is becoming rare. In a household
     such as mine, the "round" is impracticable; of necessity it must
     be large, altogether too large for our requirements. But what
     exquisite memories does my mind preserve! The very coloring of a
     round, how rich it is, yet how delicate, and how subtly varied! The
     odor is totally different from that of roast beef, and yet it is
     beef incontestable. Hot, of course, with carrots, it is a dish for
     a king; but cold it is nobler. Oh, the thin broad slice, with just
     its fringe of consistent fat!

     We are sparing of condiments, but such as we use are the best
     that man has invented. And we know _how_ to use them. I have heard
     an impatient innovator scoff at the English law on the subject of
     mustard, and demand why, in the nature of things, mustard should
     not be eaten with mutton. The answer is very simple; this law has
     been made by the English palate--which is impeccable. I maintain
     it is impeccable. Your educated Englishman is an infallible
     guide to all that relates to the table. "The man of superior
     intellect," said Tennyson--justifying his love of boiled beef and
     new potatoes--"knows what is good to eat"; and I would extend it to
     all civilized natives of our country. We are content with nothing
     but the finest savours, the truest combinations; our wealth, and
     happy natural circumstances, have allowed us an education of the
     palate of which our natural aptitude was worthy. Think, by the bye,
     of those new potatoes, just mentioned. Our cook, when dressing
     them, puts into the saucepan a sprig of mint. This is genius. No
     otherwise could the flavour of the vegetable be so perfectly, yet
     so delicately, emphasized. The mint is there, and we know it; yet
     our palate knows only the young potato.[72]

  [72] Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Winter." By
       permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.

Appreciative criticism may on the one hand approach criticism by
standards, since, for example, to praise a pianist for melting his
tones one into another implies that such melting is a standard. It may,
again, consist largely in telling what the thing _is_, as to say that
the Progressive Party was one that looked forward rather than backward,
planned reforms for the people, insisted on clean politics, etc. It
may, in the third place, consist in giving a transcript of the writer's
feelings as he is in the presence of the subject of criticism, as one
might picture the reaction of inspiration to a view from a mountain
peak, or express his elation in listening to a famous singer, or show
his wild enthusiasm as he watches his team slowly fight its way over
the goal line. In all three of these cases the criticism answers the
question, "What does this work seem to be, what do I find in it, and
wherein do I think it is good?" That is appreciative criticism.

Now since you can adequately estimate in this way only when you are
aware of the qualities of the subject, the first requirement for success
in this kind of criticism is keen and intelligent sympathy with the
work, an open-minded, sensible hospitality to ideas and things. If I am
quite unmoved by music, I cannot make reliable appreciative criticism of
it. If I have no reaction to the beauty of a big pumping station, when
asked for criticism of it, I shall perforce be silent. If my mind is
closed to new ideas, I can never "appreciate" a new theory in science,
in sociology, in art or in religion.

In the next place, I must refrain from morbid personal effusion. Certain
of our sentimental magazines have published, at odd times, extremely
personal rhapsodies about symphonies and poems. The listener has been
"wafted away," has heard the birdies sing, the brooks come purling over
their stones, has seen the moon come swimming through the clouds--but
the reader of such criticism need not be too harshly censured if he
mildly wonders whether the critic ought not to consult a physician.

Sometimes this fault occurs through the endeavor to make the criticism
attractive, one of the strong demands of the appreciative kind. Since
the personal note exists throughout, and since you wish to make your
reader attracted to the object that you criticize, your writing should
be as pleasing as is legitimately possible. Allow yourself full rein to
express the beauties of your subject with all the large personal warmth
of which you are capable, with as neatly turned expression as you can
make, always remembering to keep your balance, to avoid morbidness in
any form.

It is in this way that you will give to your criticism one of its
most valued qualities, appealing humanness. Less final, perhaps, in
some ways, than the historical method or the method by standards, the
appreciative is likely to be of more immediate value in re-creating the
work for your reader, in giving him a real interpretation of it. And
this method, like the other two, fights against superficiality. Such a
silly saying--silly in criticism--as "I like it but I don't know why"
can have no place here. One may well remember the answer attributed to
the artist Whistler, when the gushing woman remarked, "I don't know
anything about art but I know what I like!" "So, Madam, does a cow!" If
you guard against the morbid or sentimental effusive style, and really
tell, honestly and attractively, what you find good in the subject, your
criticism is likely to be of value. Note that in the selection which
follows, though the author feels strongly toward his subject, he does
not fall, at any time, into gushing remarks that make a reader feel
sheepish, but rather keeps a really wholesome tone throughout.

     To-day I have read _The Tempest_. It is perhaps the play that
     I love best, and, because I seem to myself to know it so well, I
     commonly pass it over in opening the book. Yet, as always in regard
     to Shakespeare, having read it once more, I find that my knowledge
     was less complete than I supposed. So it would be, live as long as
     one might; so it would ever be, whilst one had the strength to turn
     the pages and a mind left to read them.

     I like to believe that this was the poet's last work, that he
     wrote it in his home in Stratford, walking day by day in the fields
     which had taught his boyhood to love rural England. It is ripe
     fruit of the supreme imagination, perfect craft of the master hand.
     For a man whose life business it has been to study the English
     tongue, what joy can there be to equal that of marking the happy
     ease wherewith Shakespeare surpasses, in mere command of words,
     every achievement of these even, who, apart from him, are great?
     I could fancy that, in _The Tempest_, he wrought with a peculiar
     consciousness of this power, smiling as the word of inimitable
     felicity, the phrase of incomparable cadence, was whispered to him
     by the Ariel that was his genius. He seems to sport with language,
     to amuse himself with new discovery of its resources. From king to
     beggar, men of every rank and of every order of mind have spoken
     with his lips; he has uttered the lore of fairyland; now it pleases
     him to create a being neither man nor fairy, a something between
     brute and human nature, and to endow its purposes with words. Those
     words, how they smack of the warm and spawning earth, of the life
     of creatures that cannot rise above the soil! We do not think of it
     enough; we stint our wonder because we fall short in appreciation.
     A miracle is worked before us, and we scarce give heed; it has
     become familiar to our minds as any other of nature's marvels,
     which we rarely pause to reflect upon.

     _The Tempest_ contains the noblest meditative passage in all
     the plays; that which embodies Shakespeare's final view of life,
     and is the inevitable quotation of all who would sum the teachings
     of philosophy. It contains his most exquisite lyrics, his tenderest
     love passages, and one glimpse of fairyland which--I cannot but
     think--outshines the utmost beauty of _A Midsummer Night's Dream_;
     Prospero's farewell to the "elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes
     and groves." Again a miracle; these are things which cannot be
     staled by repetition. Come to them often as you will, they are
     ever fresh as though new minted from the brain of the poet. Being
     perfect, they can never droop under that satiety which arises from
     the perception of fault; their virtue can never be so entirely
     savoured as to leave no pungency of gusto for the next approach.

     Among the many reasons which make me glad to have been born in
     England, one of the first is that I read Shakespeare in my mother
     tongue. If I try to imagine myself as one who cannot know him face
     to face, who hears him only speaking from afar, and that in accents
     which only through the laboring intelligence can touch the living
     soul, there comes upon me a sense of chill discouragement, of
     dreary deprivation. I am wont to think that I can read Homer, and,
     assuredly, if any man enjoys him, it is I; but can I for a moment
     dream that Homer yields me all his music, that his word is to me as
     to him who walked by the Hellenic shore when Hellas lived? I know
     that there reaches me across the vast of time no more than a faint
     and broken echo; I know that it would be fainter still, but for its
     blending with those memories of youth which are as a glimmer of the
     world's primeval glory. Let every land have joy of its poet; for
     the poet is the land itself, all its greatness and its sweetness,
     all that incommunicable heritage for which men live and die. As
     I close the book, love and reverence possess me. Whether does my
     full heart turn to the great Enchanter, or to the Island upon
     which he has laid his spell? I know not. I cannot think of them
     apart. In the love and reverence awakened by this voice of voices,
     Shakespeare and England are but one.[73]

  [73] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Summer."
       By permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.

Practical Helps

We have said that criticism of literature and art seems to be more
difficult than criticism of machines and buildings and commercial
systems. It is. Literature and art, as being the expression of the high
thought of the human heart about the world, man, and his relations to
the world, demand in a critic who attempts to estimate them at least
some underlying philosophy of life, at least some insight into the
affairs of the human soul. And such philosophy, such insight, does not
come without being eagerly sought or without much thinking. I can soon
tell whether a force pump is efficient; I may for some time pause before
I estimate a picture or a lyric poem. For the field of the pump is small
and definite, its relations are simple, whereas the lyric is intimately
bound up with the whole of life.

But we need not, therefore, despair of writing criticism of literature
and art. The more sensible thing is to simplify our task. This we can
do, in large measure, by asking the famous three questions of Coleridge:
First, What did the author intend to do? second, How did he accomplish
his purpose, well or ill? third, Was the purpose worth striving for?
These three questions, sensibly considered and properly answered, will
make a by no means paltry criticism.

Still the problem remains, how shall I write this criticism, whatever
method I may be pursuing. Certain points of advice may be of use.
In the first place, be sure of your attitude, that it is fair and
sincere, that it is honest and as unprejudiced as possible. Then do
not browbeat your reader into accepting this attitude. Allow him the
right to make final decision, and, moreover, credit him with the right
to some brains--he will be thus much happier. In the second place, be
sure that you know what you are talking about, that you are sure of the
_facts_, whether you treat literature or machinery or government or
rotation of crops. Without proper facts you can never reach a sound
conclusion. And "keep your eye on the object." In no kind of writing
is there a greater tendency to fritter off into related subjects which
are still not exactly the one in hand. Be sure that you write about the
subject, then, and not about some other. In the next place, since many
remarks apply equally well to a host of subjects, as, for instance,
that it is "efficient" or "inspiring," aim first of all, before you
write a word, to find the one characteristic that your subject possesses
that distinguishes it from others. Ask yourself wherein it is itself,
wherein it differs from other like things, what it is without which
this particular subject would not be itself. And having determined
this point, be sure to make your reader see it. Whatever else you do,
prize that characteristic as the jewel of your criticism's soul, and
so sharply define, limit, characterize that your reader's impression
will be not the slightest blurred. A student whose theme in criticism
received from the instructor the verdict that it was not distinguishing,
that it might apply as well to another poet, replied that the theme had
originally been written about another, and in the press of circumstance
had been copied with only a change in the title. The point is that the
criticism had not been a good estimate of the original subject. It was
worthless in both cases, because it was not distinguishing.

Finally, when you come to the expression, be sure that what you say
means something, and that you know what it means. Ask yourself, "What
does this mean that I have written?" and, if you have to admit that you
do not know, in all conscience suppress it. Avoid the stock phrases that
are colorless. You can fling "interesting" at almost any book, or its
opposite, "stupid," just as you can apply "true to life," "good style,"
"suggestive," "gripping," "vital," "red-blooded," "imaginative," and
hosts of other words and phrases equally well to scores of subjects.
The reviewer through whose mind a constant stream of subjects passes,
is forced to fall into this cant unless he be a genius, but you have no
business to do so. The trouble here, again, is in not knowing exactly
what you wish to say and are saying, lack of thorough knowledge of your
subject, for you do not know it until you have reached its heart. The
result of half-knowledge is always flabbiness and ineffectiveness. Be
careful, moreover, in making the structure of your total criticism,
especially in criticism by standards, that you do not make the form of
your work seem mechanical and wooden. Do not, for example, except in
a report, give a dry list of the qualities which the subject should
possess, and then one by one apply them to see if it will pass muster.
Such writing may be true, but it is awkward. The form of critical
writing should be as neat as that of any other kind of writing.

And in all your attitude and expression try to treat the subject as far
as possible in its relation to humanity, to keep it from being a mere
abstraction, to make it seem of real significance to the lives of men,
if possible to the life of your reader.

The value of writing criticism should by this time be apparent. It
forces our minds out of the fogginess of vague thinking, it makes us
see things sharply, it guides us away from the taint of superficiality,
it makes a solid base for our opinions. Through criticism we discover
why we are interested, and then naturally we desire more interest, and
by feeding grow to a larger appreciation and conception of the realm in
which our minds are at work. We thus do away with the mere chance whim
of like and dislike, and understand why we like what we do. In other
words, criticism increases our intelligent reaction to life.


    I. Mr. Lowell's Work in England (page 193).

        1. By what standards is the work of Lowell as United States
           Minister to England criticized?

        2. Do these standards exhaust the qualifications of an admirable

        3. If not, what other standards would you suggest?

        4. What is the _controlling purpose_ of the criticism?

        5. In view of this _controlling purpose_, are the standards
           which the criticism includes sufficient?

        6. Write a similar criticism on any of the following subjects:

            The presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

            The presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

            The work of Mr. Goethals on the Panama Canal.

            The career of Mr. Bryce as British Ambassador to the United

            The career of James J. Hill, or of Cecil Rhodes, as

        7. Write a historical criticism of Lowell's career in England,
           _accounting for_ the attitude he assumed as determined by the
           understanding of America which the English nation of the time
           had, and by Lowell's character.

   II. The American Business Man (page 197).

        1. Criticize any of the following by accounting for their rise
           and their characteristics:

            The athletic coach in American colleges.

            The present-day university president.

            The "information" man at the railway station.

            The county adviser in agriculture.

            The reference librarian.

            The floorwalker in department stores.

        2. Write an appreciative criticism of the American Business Man
           as he might seem to an Englishman on his first trip to
           America; as he might seem to Plato; to Napoleon; to the poet
           Shelley; to Shakespeare; to a Turkish rug merchant.

  III. The "New Poetry" (page 200).

        1. Is this criticism fair and unbiased?

        2. What attitude does the author try to create in the reader?
           How would the choice of material have differed had the author
           desired an opposite effect?

        3. Criticize, by relating to the times in which the subject
           appeared, the following: Cubist Art, Sentimentalism, The
           Renaissance of Wonder, The Dime Novel, The Wild-West Moving
           Picture Film.

   IV. Cargo Steamers (page 203).

        1. Criticize, by the method used in this example: Gang Plows,
           Electric Street Cars, Football Fields, Art Galleries (their
           architecture), Adding Machines, Systems of Bookkeeping.

    V. The English Language (page 205).

        1. Criticize, by the method of standards, the following:
           American Costumes as Candidates for Universal Use, The Metric
           System, The American Monetary System, The Gary Schools, The
           Civic Center Idea.

   VI. English Cooking (page 210).

        1. If Gissing had been criticizing English cooking from the
           point of view of a dietitian, what standards would he have

        2. Criticize modern American cooking by showing its rise and the
           influences that have controlled it.

        3. Write an appreciative criticism of any of the following
           subjects: Thanksgiving Dinner in the Country, A "Wienie
           Roast," The First Good Meal after an Illness, The Old
           Swimmin' Hole, The Fudge that Went Wrong, American Hat
           Trimming, The Florist's Shop, Grandmother's Garden, The Old

  VII. The Tempest (page 213).

        1. Does Gissing here allow his natural bias as an Englishman to
           sway him too much? Do you know as much about _The Tempest_,
           from this criticism, as you would like to?

        2. Criticize, _as an American_, with yet due restraint:
           Lincoln's Addresses, Mr. Wilson's Leadership in Idealism,
           Walt Whitman's "Captain, My Captain," MacDowell's "Indian
           Suite" or "Sea Pieces" or "Woodland Sketches," St. Gaudens'
           "Lincoln," O. Henry's Stories of New York, John Burroughs'
           Nature Essays, Patrick Henry's Speeches, Mrs. Wharton's Short

 VIII. Make a list of trite or often used expressions that you find in
       criticisms in the weekly "literary" page of an American
       newspaper. Try to substitute diction that is more truly alive.

   IX. When next you hear a symphony, listen so that you can write an
       Appreciative Criticism. Then look up the history of symphonic
       music and the life of the composer, and write a Historical
       Criticism. Do this with any piano composition which you admire.

    X. Rock Drills.

          Tappet valve drills were the earliest design made for
          regular work, and are now the only type really suitable
          for work with steam, as the condensation of the steam
          interferes with other valve actions. They have also special
          advantages for certain work which have prevented them from
          becoming obsolete. The valve motion is positive and not
          affected by moisture in compressed air. The machine will keep
          on boring a hole that may offer great frictional resistance
          where some other drills would stick.

          Disadvantages. These drills cannot deliver a perfectly
          "free" or "dead" blow. In other words, there is always
          some exhaust air from the front of the piston, caught
          between it and the cylinder by the reversal of the valve just
          before the forward stroke is finished. In some ground this
          is by no means a defect, for where the ground is dead or
          sticky this cushion helps to "pick the drill up" for a rapid
          and sure return stroke, preventing its sticking and insuring
          a maximum number of blows per minute. The length of stroke
          must be kept long enough for the movement of the piston to
          knock over the valve. The valve on the Rio Tinto machine is a
          piston, or spool valve; on other machines the valve is of the
          plain D-slide valve type. The Rand "giant" drill has a device
          to reduce the total air pressure on the back of the valve.
          This of course makes the valve take up its own wear and form
          its own bearing surface, thus reducing leakage. The seats
          generally require periodical cleaning and are raised to give
          material to allow "scraping up."

          Where the lubrication is deficient, as it generally is,
          the coefficient of friction may reach 25 per cent, especially
          in the presence of grit. Taking a valve area of 6 sq. in.
          exposed to 80-lb. pressure, it might require a force of
          120 lbs. to move the valve. This means that the blow struck
          by the piston is retarded to a corresponding degree, and in
          some cases the valve tends to wear its seat into an irregular
          surface. Some writers have contended that the turning movement
          of the piston is also hindered; but as the blow of the tappet
          occurs at the beginning and end of the stroke, while the
          turning movement is a positive and continuous one along all
          the length of the back stroke, this effect is not noticeable.
          As the tappet is struck 400 to 600 times per minute, the wear
          and stress is great. Specially hardened surfaces on pistons
          and tappets are needed as well as large wearing surfaces, or
          renewable bushings, for the tappet to rock on. When wear takes
          place the throw of the valve is reduced; cushioning becomes
          greater and the stroke is shortened. The resistance and
          pressure of the tappet tends to throw increased and unequal
          wear on the opposite side of the cylinder.[74]

  [74] Eustace M. Weston: _Rock Drills_. By courtesy of the publishers,
       McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

        1. If you were writing an appreciative criticism of the working
           of a rock drill, how would you change the style of writing?

        2. Write a criticism by standards of the Water-Tube Boiler, of
           the Diesel Engine, of Oil as Fuel for Ships, of one
           particular make of Corn Planter or Wheel Hoe, or Piano, or
           Motorcycle, or Machine Gun, or Mining Explosive, or of one
           method of Advertising, or of the German Army, or of the
           Dreadnaught as a Fighting Machine.

   XI. Jingo Morality.

          Captain Mahan's chosen example is the British occupation
          of Egypt. To discuss the morality of this, he says, is
          "as little to the point as the morality of an earthquake."
          It was for the benefit of the world at large and of the
          people of Egypt--no matter what the latter might think
          about it, or how they would have voted about it--and that
          is enough. Tacitly, he makes the same doctrine apply to the
          great expansion of the foreign power of the United States,
          which he foresees and for which he wants a navy "developed
          in proportion to the reasonable possibilities of the future
          political." What these possibilities are he nowhere says,
          and he gives the reader no chance of judging whether they
          are reasonable or not. But he speaks again and again of the
          development of the nation and of national sentiment as a
          "natural force," moving on to its desired end, unconscious
          and unmoral. What he says of British domination over Egypt,
          Captain Mahan would evidently and logically be ready to say of
          American domination of any inferior power--that it has no more
          to do with morality than an earthquake.

          Of course, this really means the glorification of brute
          force. The earthquake view of international relations
          does away at once with all questions of law and justice and
          humanity, and puts everything frankly on the basis of armor
          and guns. Finerty could ask no more. No one could accuse
          Captain Mahan of intending this, yet he must "follow the
          argument." He speaks approvingly of international interference
          with Turkey on account of the Armenian atrocities. But has not
          the Sultan a complete defense, according to Captain Mahan's
          doctrine? Is he not an earthquake, too? Are not the Turks
          going blindly ahead, in Armenia, as a "natural force," and is
          anybody likely to be foolish enough to discuss the morality of
          a law of nature? Of course, the powers tell the Sultan that he
          is no earthquake at all, or, if he is, that they will bring
          to bear upon him a bigger one which will shake him into the
          Bosphorus. But if there is no question of morality involved,
          the argument and the action are simply so much brute force;
          and that, we say, is what Captain Mahan's doctrine logically
          comes to.

          Another inadvertent revelation of the real implications
          of his views is given where he is dwelling on the fact
          that "the United States will never seek war except for
          the defense of her rights, her obligations, or her necessary
          interests." There is a fine ambiguity about the final phrase,
          but let that pass. No one can suspect that Captain Mahan means
          to do anything in public or private relations that he does
          not consider absolutely just. But note the way the necessity
          of arguing for a big navy clouds his mind when he writes of
          some supposed international difficulty: "But the moral force
          of our contention might conceivably be weakened, in the view
          of an opponent, by attendant circumstances, _in which case our
          physical power to support it should be open to no doubt_."
          That is to say, we must always have morality and sweet
          reasonableness on our side, must have all our quarrels just,
          must have all the precedents and international law in our
          favor, but must be prepared to lick the other fellow anyhow,
          if he is so thick-headed and obstinate as to insist that
          morals and justice are on _his_ side.

          This earthquake and physical-power doctrine is a most
          dangerous one for any time or people, but is peculiarly
          dangerous in this country at this time. The politicians
          and the mob will be only too thankful to be furnished a
          high-sounding theory as a justification for their ignorant
          and brutal proposals for foreign conquest and aggression.
          They will not be slow, either, in extending and improving the
          theory. They will take a less roundabout course than Captain
          Mahan does to the final argument of physical power. If it
          comes to that in the end, what is the use of bothering about
          all these preliminaries of right and law? They will be willing
          to call themselves an earthquake or a cyclone, if only their
          devastating propensities can be freely gratified without any
          question of morals coming in. With so many signs of relaxed
          moral fiber about us, in public and in private life, it is no
          time to preach the gospel of force, even when the preacher is
          so attractive a man and writer as Captain Mahan.[75]

  [75] Gustav Pollak: _Fifty Years of American Idealism_. Houghton
       Mifflin Company. By courtesy of _The Nation_.

        1. In the light of this criticism, write an estimate, on the
           standard of high moral international relations, of Mr.
           Wilson's policy toward Mexico.

        2. Write a criticism by standards of the remark of Mr. Lloyd
           George and Mr. George Creel that they are thankful that
           England, that America, were _not_ prepared for war in 1914.

        3. Write an appreciative criticism of Captain Mahan's doctrine
           from the point of view of a man who thumps his chest and
           cries "America über Alles!" Compare the sanity of your
           criticism with that of the article above.

        4. Would the criticism of Captain Mahan's doctrine be sounder
           if he had been a German?

        5. Criticize the statement that what young people need is
           industrial education, something to teach them how to earn a
           living. Then criticize the other statement that the necessary
           thing is to make young people into fine personalities, into
           true gentlemen and gentlewomen.

  XII. Vegetarianism.

          There is to me an odd pathos in the literature of
          vegetarianism. I remember the day when I read these
          periodicals and pamphlets with all the zest of hunger and
          poverty, vigorously seeking to persuade myself that flesh was
          an altogether superfluous, and even repulsive, food. If ever
          such things fall under my eyes nowadays, I am touched with a
          half humorous compassion for the people whose necessity, not
          their will, consents to this chemical view of diet. There
          comes before me the vision of certain vegetarian restaurants,
          where, at a minimum outlay, I have often enough made believe
          to satisfy my craving stomach; where I have swallowed "savory
          cutlet," "vegetable steak," and I know not what windy
          insufficiencies tricked up under specious names. One place
          do I recall where you had a complete dinner for sixpence--I
          dare not try to remember the items. But well indeed do I see
          the faces of the guests--poor clerks and shopboys, bloodless
          girls and women of many sorts--all endeavoring to find a
          relish in lentil soup and haricot something-or-other. It was a
          grotesquely heart-breaking sight.

          I hate with a bitter hatred the names of lentils and
          haricots--those pretentious cheats of the appetite, those
          tabulated humbugs, those certificated aridities calling
          themselves human food! An ounce of either, we are told, is
          equivalent to--how many pounds? of the best rump-steak. There
          are not many ounces of common sense in the brain of him who
          proves it, or of him who believes it. In some countries,
          this stuff is eaten by choice; in England only dire need can
          compel to its consumption. Lentils and haricots are not merely
          insipid; frequent use of them causes something like nausea.
          Preach and tabulate as you will, the English palate--which is
          the supreme judge--rejects this farinaceous makeshift. Even
          as it rejects vegetables without the natural concomitant of
          meat; as it rejects oatmeal-porridge and griddle-cakes for a
          midday meal; as it rejects lemonade and ginger-ale offered as
          substitutes for honest beer.

          What is the intellectual and moral state of that man who
          really believes that chemical analysis can be an equivalent
          for natural gusto?--I will get more nourishment out of an
          inch of right Cambridge sausage; aye, out of a couple
          of ounces of honest tripe; than can be yielded me by half a
          hundredweight of the best lentils ever grown.[76]

  [76] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Winter."
       By permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York

        1. Write a criticism by standards of this appreciative
           criticism. Is Gissing fair or sensible in his attitude?

        2. Write an appreciative criticism of Feminism, Temperance,
           Socialism, Open-Air Sleeping, The Bahai Movement in America,
           Community Singing, The Moving Picture as Substitute for the
           Novel, Drinks that Do Away with Coffee, Systems for Growing
           Strong without Effort.

        3. How far ought a writer to allow purely _personal_ reaction to
           determine his judgment in criticism?

 XIII. Emerson's Literary Quality.

          Emerson's quality has changed a good deal in his later
          writings. His corn is no longer in the milk; it has grown
          hard, and we that read have grown hard too. He has now ceased
          to be an expansive, revolutionary force, but he has not
          ceased to be a writer of extraordinary gripe and unexpected
          resources of statement. His startling piece of advice, "Hitch
          your wagon to a star," is typical of the man, as combining
          the most unlike and widely separate qualities. Because not
          less marked than his idealism and mysticism is his shrewd
          common sense, his practical bent, his definiteness,--in
          fact, the sharp New England mould in which he is cast. He
          is the master Yankee, the centennial flower of that thrifty
          and peculiar stock. More especially in his later writings
          and speakings do we see the native New England traits,--the
          alertness, eagerness, inquisitiveness, thrift, dryness,
          archness, caution, the nervous energy as distinguished from
          the old English unction and vascular force. How he husbands
          himself,--what prudence, what economy, always spending up,
          as he says, and not down! How alert, how attentive; what an
          inquisitor; always ready with some test question, with some
          fact or idea to match or verify, ever on the lookout for some
          choice bit of adventure or information, or some anecdote that
          has pith and point! No tyro basks and takes his ease in his
          presence, but is instantly put on trial and must answer or be
          disgraced. He strikes at an idea like a falcon at a bird. His
          great fear seems to be lest there be some fact or point worth
          knowing that will escape him. He is a close-browed miser of
          the scholar's gains. He turns all values into intellectual
          coin. Every book or person or experience is an investment that
          will or will not warrant a good return in ideas. He goes to
          the Radical Club, or to the literary gathering, and listens
          with the closest attention to every word that is said, in hope
          that something will be said, some word dropped, that has the
          ring of the true metal. Apparently he does not permit himself
          a moment's indifference or inattention. His own pride is
          always to have the ready change, to speak the exact and proper
          word, to give to every occasion the dignity of wise speech.
          You are bartered with for your best. There is no profit in
          life but in the interchange of ideas, and the chief success is
          to have a head well filled with them. Hard cash at that; no
          paper promises satisfy him; he loves the clink and glint of
          the real coin.

          His earlier writings were more flowing and suggestive, and had
          reference to larger problems; but now everything has got
          weighed and stamped and converted into the medium of wise and
          scholarly conversation. It is of great value; these later
          essays are so many bags of genuine coin, which it has taken
          a lifetime to hoard; not all gold, but all good, and the fruit
          of wise industry and economy.[77]

  [77] John Burroughs: _Birds and Poets_. Houghton Mifflin Company,
       Boston, publishers.

        1. Would you describe this as appreciative criticism or
           criticism by standards? If it is appreciative, has it any of
           the value that we commonly attribute to criticism by
           standards? Why? If it is criticism by standards, does it
           approach the appreciative? Why?

        2. Criticize, in the method that Mr. Burroughs uses, the
           literary quality and message of Carlyle, Walt Whitman,
           William James, John Dewey, Macaulay, Hawthorne, Arnold
           Bennett, and others.

        3. Criticize, in the same manner, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony,
           the Cathedral of Rheims, the Parthenon, the Capitol at
           Washington, Michigan Boulevard in Chicago, the Skyline of
           Lower New York, the Sweep of the Mississippi River, the
           Quality of Niagara Falls, the Quality of Harold Bell Wright's
           Works. Of course any other individual can be substituted for
           any of these.

  XIV. Military Drill.

          A lettered German, speaking to me once of his year of military
          service, told me that, had it lasted but a month or two
          longer, he must have sought release in suicide. I know very
          well that my own courage would not have borne me to the
          end of the twelvemonth; humiliation, resentment, loathing,
          would have goaded me to madness. At school we used to be
          "drilled" in the playground once a week; I have but to think
          of it, even after forty years, and there comes back upon me
          that tremor of passionate misery which, at the time, often
          made me ill. The senseless routine of mechanical exercise was
          in itself all but unendurable to me; I hated the standing in
          line, the thrusting out of arms and legs at a signal, the
          thud of feet stamping in constrained unison. The loss of
          individuality seems to me sheer disgrace. And when, as often
          happened, the drill-sergeant rebuked me for some inefficiency
          as I stood in line, when he addressed me as "Number Seven!"
          I burned with shame and rage. I was no longer a human being;
          I had become part of a machine, and my name was "Number
          Seven." It used to astonish me when I had a neighbor who
          went through the drill with amusement, with zealous energy.
          I would gaze at the boy, and ask myself how it was possible
          that he and I should feel so differently. To be sure, nearly
          all my schoolfellows either enjoyed the thing, or at all
          events went through it with indifference; they made friends
          with the sergeant, and some were proud of walking with him
          "out of bounds." Left, right! Left, right! For my own part, I
          think I have never hated man as I hated that broad-shouldered,
          hard-visaged, brassy-voiced fellow. Every word he spoke to me
          I felt as an insult. Seeing him in the distance, I have turned
          and fled, to escape the necessity of saluting, and, still
          more, a quiver of the nerves which affected me so painfully.
          If ever a man did me harm, it was he; harm physical and
          moral. In all seriousness I believe that some of the nervous
          instability from which I have suffered from boyhood is
          traceable to those accursed hours of drill, and I am very sure
          that I can date from the same wretched moments a fierceness
          of personal pride which has been one of my most troublesome
          characteristics. The disposition, of course, was there; it
          should have been modified, not exacerbated.[78]

  [78] George Gissing: _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_, "Spring."
       By permission of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York

        1. Draw up a list of the headings that might appear in a
           criticism of military drill by standards, in a criticism by
           the historical method, and in a less purely personal
           appreciative criticism than the example here. Which of the
           criticisms, as judged from these headings, would be of most
           value to a reader of intelligence?

        2. In a subject like this is so strong a personal reaction
           justified? Is it possibly of real value? Does the criticism
           prove anything about military drill?

        3. Write an appreciative criticism of a thoroughly personal
           nature of any of the following: Carpentry, Rug-beating,
           Chapel-attendance, Memorizing Poetry, Repairing Automobiles
           in the Mud, Fishing in the Rain, Cleaning House, Getting up
           Early, Being Polite to People Whom You Dislike, Being Made to
           Do One's Duty, College Politics.

   XV. National Sentiment.

          National sentiment is a fact and should be taken account of
          by institutions. When it is ignored, it is intensified and
          becomes a source of strife. It can be rendered harmless only
          by being given free play so long as it is not predatory. But
          it is not, in itself, a good or admirable feeling. There is
          nothing rational and nothing desirable in a limitation of
          sympathy which confines it to a fragment of the human race.
          Diversities of manners and customs and traditions are on the
          whole a good thing, since they enable different nations to
          produce different types of excellence. But in national feeling
          there is always latent or explicit an element of hostility
          to foreigners. National feeling, as we know it, could not
          exist in a nation which was wholly free of external pressure
          of a hostile kind.

          And group feeling produces a limited and often harmful
          kind of morality. Men come to identify the good with
          what serves the interest of their own group, and the bad
          with what works against those interests, even if it should
          happen to be in the interest of mankind as a whole. This group
          morality is very much in evidence during war, and is taken
          for granted in men's ordinary thought. Although almost all
          Englishmen consider the defeat of Germany desirable for the
          good of the world, yet most of them honor a German fighting
          for his country, because it has not occurred to them that his
          action ought to be guided by a morality higher than that of
          the group. A man does right, as a rule, to have his thoughts
          more occupied with the interests of his own nation than with
          those of others, because his actions are more likely to
          affect his own nation. But in time of war, and in all matters
          which are of equal concern to other nations and to his own, a
          man ought to take account of the universal welfare, and not
          allow his survey to be limited by the interest, or supposed
          interest, of his own group or nation.[79]

  [79] Bertrand Russell: _National Independence and Internationalism_.
       By courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly Company.

        1. Write a criticism of any of the following, judging by the
           results produced: School Spirit, Capitalism, Living in a
           Small Town, National Costume, Giving up One's Patriotism,
           Family Loyalty, Race Loyalty, Class Distinction, Restriction
           of Reading to the authors of One Nation.

        2. Would Mr. Russell's criticism be of more value if it showed
           more emotion, if it were less detached? Can a writer
           profitably criticize such a reality as _national sentiment_
           without introducing emotion?

  XVI.    A constitutional statesman is in general a man of common
          opinions and uncommon abilities. The reason is obvious. When
          we speak of a free government, we mean a government in which
          the sovereign power is divided, in which a single decision is
          not absolute, where argument has an office. The essence of the
          _gouvernement des avocats_, as the Emperor Nicholas called
          it, is, that you must persuade so many persons. The appeal
          is not to the solitary decision of a single statesman,--not
          to Richelieu or Nesselrode alone in his closet,--but to the
          jangled mass of men, with a thousand pursuits, a thousand
          interests, a thousand various habits. Public opinion, as it is
          said, rules; and public opinion is the opinion of the average
          man. Fox used to say of Burke, "Burke is a wise man, but he
          is wise too soon." The average man will not bear this: he is
          a cool, common person, with a considerate air, with figures
          in his mind, with his own business to attend to, with a set
          of ordinary opinions arising from and suited to ordinary
          life. He can't bear novelty or originalities; he says, "Sir,
          I never heard of such a thing _before_ in my life," and he
          thinks this a _reductio ad absurdum_. You may see his taste
          by the reading of which he approves. Is there a more splendid
          monument of talent and industry than the _Times_? No wonder
          that the average man--that any one--believes in it. As Carlyle
          observes: "Let the highest intellect, able to write epics,
          try to write such a leader for the morning newspapers: it
          cannot do it; the highest intellect will fail." But did you
          ever see anything there that you had never seen before? Out
          of the million articles that every one has read, can any one
          person trace a single marked idea to a single article? Where
          are the deep theories and the wise axioms and the everlasting
          sentiments which the writers of the most influential
          publication in the world have been the first to communicate to
          an ignorant species? Such writers are far too shrewd. The two
          million or whatever number of copies it may be they publish,
          are not purchased because the buyers wish to know the truth.
          The purchaser desires an article which he can appreciate at
          sight; which he can lay down and say, "An excellent article,
          very excellent--exactly my own sentiments." Original theories
          give trouble; besides, a grave man on the Coal Exchange
          does not desire to be an apostle of novelties among the
          contemporaneous dealers in fuel,--he wants to be provided with
          remarks he can make on the topics of the day which will not
          be known _not_ to be his, that are not too profound, which
          he can fancy the paper only reminded him of. And just in the
          same way, precisely as the most popular political paper is
          not that which is abstractly the best or most instructive,
          but that which most exactly takes up the minds of men where
          it finds them, catches the fleeting sentiment of society,
          puts it in such a form as society can fancy would convince
          another society which did not believe; so the most influential
          of constitutional statesmen is the one who most felicitously
          expresses the creed of the moment, who administers it, who
          embodies it in laws and institutions, who gives it the highest
          life it is capable of, who induces the average man to think,
          "I could not have done it any better if I had had time myself."

          It might be said that this is only one of the results of that
          tyranny of commonplace which seems to accompany civilization.
          You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the
          real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor. What
          law is so cruel as the law of doing what he does? What yoke
          is so galling as the necessity of being like him? What
          espionage of despotism comes to your door so effectually
          as the eye of the man who lives at your door? Public opinion
          is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself;
          it requires us to think other men's thoughts, to speak
          other men's words, to follow other men's habits. Of course,
          if we do not, no formal ban issues; no corporeal pain, no
          coarse penalty of a barbarous society is inflicted on the
          offender: but we are called "eccentric"; there is a gentle
          murmur of "most unfortunate ideas," "singular young man,"
          "well-intentioned, I dare say; but unsafe, sir, quite unsafe."
          The prudent of course conform: The place of nearly everybody
          depends on the opinion of every one else. There is nothing
          like Swift's precept to attain the repute of a sensible
          man, "Be of the opinion of the person with whom at the time
          you are conversing." This world is given to those whom this
          world can trust. Our very conversation is infected: where
          are now the bold humor, the explicit statement, the grasping
          dogmatism of former days? they have departed, and you read in
          the orthodox works dreary regrets that the art of conversation
          has passed away. It would be as reasonable to expect the art
          of walking to pass away: people talk well enough when they
          know to whom they are speaking; we might even say that the
          art of conversation was improved by an application to new
          circumstances. "Secrete your intellect, use common words, say
          what you are expected to say," and you shall be at peace; the
          secret of prosperity in common life is to be commonplace on

          Whatever truth there may be in these splenetic observations
          might be expected to show itself more particularly in the
          world of politics: people dread to be thought unsafe in
          proportion as they get their living by being thought to be
          safe. "Literary men," it has been said, "are outcasts"; and
          they are eminent in a certain way notwithstanding. "They can
          say strong things of their age; for no one expects they will
          go out and act on them." They are a kind of ticket-of-leave
          lunatics, from whom no harm is for the moment expected; who
          seem quiet, but on whose vagaries a practical public must
          have its eye. For statesmen it is different: they must be
          thought men of judgment. The most morbidly agricultural
          counties were aggrieved when Mr. Disraeli was made Chancellor
          of the Exchequer: they could not believe he was a man of
          solidity, and they could not comprehend taxes by the author
          of "Coningsby" or sums by an adherent of the Caucasus. "There
          is," said Sir Walter Scott, "a certain hypocrisy of action,
          which, however it is despised by persons intrinsically
          excellent, will nevertheless be cultivated by those who desire
          the good repute of men." Politicians, as has been said, live
          in the repute of the commonalty. They may appeal to posterity;
          but of what use is posterity? Years before that tribunal
          comes into life, your life will be extinct; it is like a moth
          going into chancery. Those who desire a public career must
          look to the views of the living public; an immediate exterior
          influence is essential to the exertion of their faculties.
          The confidence of others is your _fulcrum_: you cannot--many
          people wish you could--go into Parliament to represent
          yourself; you must conform to the opinions of the electors,
          and they, depend on it, will not be original. In a word, as
          has been most wisely observed, "under free institutions it
          is necessary occasionally to defer to the opinions of other
          people; and as other people are obviously in the wrong, this
          is a great hindrance to the improvement of our political
          system and the progress of our species."[80]

  [80] Walter Bagehot: "The Character of Sir Robert Peel," _Works_, vol.
       III. Travelers Insurance Company, Hartford, Conn.

        1. Apply Bagehot's criticism of the effects of a democratic
           average to the fate of Socrates, Jesus, Columbus, Galileo,
           Roger Williams, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln. Do your
           results justify Bagehot's statements?

        2. If Bagehot's theory is true, how do you account for any
           advance in a democracy, for woman suffrage, for example,
           or the election of senators by popular vote, or the
           inaugurating of an income tax?

        3. Apply his remarks about literary men to the career of Thomas
           Carlyle, Heine, Galsworthy, and others who have criticized
           their times.

        4. Does the Christian religion tend to make a man act on his own
           original ideas?

 XVII. Do you believe the following statement by a well-known musical
       critic? If the statement is true, how far is it possible to
       extend it, to how many forms of art or business?

          While the lover of music may often be in doubt as to the
          merit of a composition, he need never be so in regard to
          that of a performance. Here we stand on safe and sure ground,
          for the qualities that make excellence in performance are all
          well known, and it is necessary only that the ear shall be
          able to detect them. There may, of course, be some difference
          of opinion about the reading of a sonata or the interpretation
          of a symphony; but even these differences should be rare.
          Differences of judgment about the technical qualities of a
          musical performance should never exist. Whether a person
          plays the piano or sings well or ill is not a question of
          opinion, but of fact. The critic who is acquainted with the
          technics of the art can pronounce judgment upon a performance
          with absolute certainty, and there is no reason in the world
          why every lover of music should not do the same thing. There
          should not be any room for such talk as this: "I think Mrs.
          Blank sang very well, didn't you?" "Well, I didn't like it

          And there should be no room for the indiscriminate applause
          of bad performances which so often grieve the hearts of
          judicious listeners. Bad orchestral playing, bad piano
          playing, bad singing are applauded every day in the course of
          the musical season by people who think they have a right to
          an opinion. I repeat that it is not a matter of opinion but a
          matter of fact; and a person might just as well express the
          belief that a short fat man was finely proportioned as to say
          that an ill-balanced orchestra was a good one, and he might
          as well say that in his opinion a fire-engine whistle was
          music as to say that a throaty voice-production was good

  [81] W. H. Henderson: _What is Good Music_? By courtesy of the
       publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York City. Copyright,



It is a fine thing to be serious, to draw one's self up to a formal task
of explaining a machine or analyzing an idea or criticizing a novel;
and it is just as fine, and often more pleasurable, to banish the grim
seriousness of business and take on pliancy, smile at Life--even though
there be tears--and chuckle at Care. Life is more than mere toil; there
are the days of high feast and carnival, the days of excursion, and
then the calm quiet days of peaceful meditation, sometimes even the
days of gray sadness shot through with the crimson thread of sacrifice
and sorrow. Often in the least noisy days we see most clearly, with
most balance, and with the keenest humor, the finest courage. Like an
athlete who cannot be forever in the life of stern rigor but must stray
at times into the ways of the drawing-room and the library, so we at
times take our ways into the realm of whim and sparkle and laughter,
of brooding contemplation, of warm peace of soul. "I want a little
breathing-space to muse on indifferent matters," says Hazlitt, and,
"Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my
feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner--and
then to thinking!" In such moods we look for a good friend to talk with,
and when the friend is not at hand--why, we may write informal essays
to make record of our thoughts and feelings. For the Informal Essay is
the transcript of a personal reaction to some phase or fact of life,
personal because the author does not regard life with the cold eye of
the scientific thinker, and because he does not, on the other hand,
insist, as does the reformer, that others than himself accept the views
he sets forth. He will not force his belief upon others, will not even
hold it too feverishly himself, but, if we cannot accept, will even
smile urbanely--though he may think we are quite wrong--and bow, and go
his own way.

The greatest charm of the informal essay is its personal nature.
There is little, if indeed anything, personal about the analysis of
problems or situations, slight revelation of the author in a treatise
on dietetics or party politics or bridge building. This kind of writing
is essentially the writing of our business. "But what need of ceremony
among friends?" Lamb asks, and hits the heart of the informal essay. We
are with friends, and with them, if the mood is on us, we chat about the
delights of munching apples on snappy October mornings, or the humor of
the scramble for public office, or the romance of spanning a stream in
the hills, or, at times, the mysteries of life and death. And then the
chat is thoroughly personal, we feel no grim duty, but only the quiet
pleasure of uttering whatever we may think or feel, about things in
which we find our personal interests aroused. It is as the counterpart
in literature of such talk in living that the informal essay reveals
the personal note, is really the lyric of prose. For the informal essay
does not affirm, "This must be done!" or, "I will defend this with my
life!" or, "This is undeniable truth!" Rather it says, "This is how I
feel about things to-day," and if the essayist be aware that he has
not always felt thus, that he may even feel differently again, he is
unabashed. He will make you his confidant, will tell you what he thinks
and how he feels, will banish the cold front of business, and will not
be secretive and niggardly of himself, but only duly reticent.

As soon as we turn to informal essays we find this personal note. Here
is Cowley's essay "Of Myself," frankly telling of his life. Our eye
falls upon Hazlitt's words, "I never was in a better place or humor than
I am at present for writing on this subject. I have a partridge getting
ready for my supper, my fire is blazing on the hearth, the air is mild
for the season of the year, I have had but a slight fit of indigestion
to-day (the only thing that makes me abhor myself), I have three hours
good before me, and therefore I will attempt it." Such intimacy, such
personal contact is to be found only in the informal essay. Only in a
form of writing that we frankly acknowledge as familiar would Samuel
Johnson write "The Scholar's Complaint of His Own Bashfulness." And once
in the writing, the author cannot keep himself out. Steele, not Addison,
wrote the words, "He is said to be the first that made Love by squeezing
the Hand"--honest, jovial, garrulous Dick Steele, thinking, perhaps, of
his "Darling Prue."

If, then, you have some random ideas that interest you, if the memory of
your kite-flying days comes strong upon you, or of your early ambitions
to be a sailor or a prima donna, if you can see the humor of rushing for
trains or eluding taxes, or reciting without study, if you feel keenly
the joy of climbing mountains, or canoeing, or gardening, or fussing
with engines, or making things with hammer and nails or flour and sugar,
if you see the beauty in powerful machinery or in the deep woods and
streams and flowers, or the patient heroism--modest heroism--of the
men in "Information" booths at railway stations, if you find pathos
in the world, or humor, or any personal significance, and are able to
understand without being oppressed with seriousness or poignant reality,
even of humor,--if you remember or see or feel such things, and wish to
talk quite openly about them as they appeal to you, write an informal

Now you can write a personal essay that will be enjoyable only if your
personality is attractive. And you cannot draw a reader to you unless
you have a keen reaction to the facts of life. Writing informal essays
is impossible for the man whose life is neutral, who goes unseeing,
unhearing through the world; it is most natural to the man who touches
life at many points and touches with pleasure. Those magic initials,
R. L. S., which the world, especially the young world, loves, mean to
us a personality that reveled in playing with lead soldiers, in hacking
a way through the tropical forests of Samoa, in pursuing streams to
their sources, in cleaning "crystal," in talking with all living men,
in reading all living books, in whiling the hours with his flageolet.
"I have," says Lamb, "an almost feminine partiality for old china." We
think, perhaps, of Bacon as a cold austere figure, until we know him,
but is he cold when, writing of wild thyme and water mints he says,
"Therefore you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure
when you walk or tread" of sniffing their sweet fragrance? And is a
man uninterested who writes, "I grant there is one subject on which it
is pleasant to talk on a journey; and that is what one shall have for
supper when we get to our inn at night"? When we consider the loves of
that bright flower of English young manhood, Rupert Brooke, we can the
more keenly feel the loss that the essay, as well as poetry, had in his
untimely death.

    These have I loved:
            White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
    Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faëry dust;
    Wet roofs, beneath the lamplight; the strong crust
    Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
    Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;
    And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;
    And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,
    Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;
    Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
    Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
    Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is
    Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen
    Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;
    The benison of hot water; furs to touch;
    The good smell of old clothes; and other such--
    The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,
    Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers
    About dead leaves and last year's ferns....
                                              Dear names,
    And thousand other throng to me! Royal flames;
    Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
    Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing;
    Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
    Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
    Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
    That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
    And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
    Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould;
    Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
    And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
    And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass;--
    All these have been my loves.[82]

  [82] Rupert Brooke: _Collected Poems_. By courtesy of the publishers,
       John Lane Company.

Lamb's young Bo-bo was in the right of it, the right frame of mind,
when he cried, "O, father, the pig, the pig, do come and taste how nice
the burnt pig eats!" The true writer of informal essays can see that
Card Catalogues are humorous, that The Feel of Leather Covered Books is
sufficiently interesting to deserve treatment, that Shaving, and Going
to Bed Last, and Wondering if the Other Man Knows More, and Manners,
and Politeness, and The Effect of Office-holding upon Personality, and
Intellectual Deviltry, and The Humility of Sinners, and The Arrogance of
Saints, and The Joys of Calling Names, and City Chimney-pots, and The
"Woman's Page," and Keeping Up, and The Pleasures of Having a Besetting
Sin, and The Absurdities of Education, and When Shakespeare Nods, and
thousands of other subjects are all waiting to have their essays. Can
there be any possible interest in a carpet layer? Mr. Dallas Lore Sharp,
as we have seen,[83] finds it quite wonderful. Is he not to be envied
that his reaction was too keen to leave the tool lifeless? An informal
essayist would even, we think, find taste in the white of an egg. And
without this delight in life his essays will not be read, for they will
not present a pleasing personality, and the life of the essay is its
personal note.

  [83] See Chapter V.

A personality that is quite alive and thoroughly interested in all sorts
of things almost necessarily sees the concrete. Most informal essays are
full of individual instances, of anecdotes and scraps from life. The
author of "The Privileges of Age" in the _Atlantic Monthly_ does not
vaguely talk about age in general. She begins, "I have always longed
for the privileges of age--since the days when it seemed to me that
the elderly people ate all the hearts out of the watermelons," and she
continues with the misfortunes of being young, "In coaching, our place
was always between the two fattest! O Isabella is thin! She can sit
there!" In sheer delight at the memory Hazlitt writes, "It was on the
tenth of April, 1798, that I sat down to a volume of the New Eloise, at
the inn of Llangollen, over a bottle of sherry and a cold chicken." So
Addison, when he will tell us of Sir Roger de Coverley, confides to us
his habit of standing up in church service, even in prayer time, to look
round him and see if all his tenants are there, or shows him calling out
lustily to John Matthews, "to mind what he was about and not disturb the
congregation" when John was kicking his heels for diversion. Concrete
again, is Sir Roger's remark at the theater, "And let me tell you ...
though he speaks but little, I like the old Fellow in Whiskers as well
as any of them." All such detailed bits of life the essayist relishes,
and in turn they enrich his personality and make him able to give the
personal note that is the heart of the informal essay.

This mood of human interest is illustrated, of course, by other writers
than the informal essayists. The historian Parkman filled his volumes
with the intimate details of personal experience that keep them warm and
forever alive. As distinct from the dry-as-dust chroniclers, who eschew
all of the throbbing incidents of life, he was eager to include whenever
inclusion would help the reader's true imagination, such details as
that, back in colonial times, the thunderous praying of a member of the
General Court of Massachusetts, who had retired to his room for Heavenly
counsel, revealed the secret of the proposed attack upon the fortress
of Louisbourg to a landlady--and hence to all the world. Nor does he
fail to mention that when the Grand Battery at Louisbourg was captured,
William Tufts, of Medford, a lad of eighteen, climbed the flagstaff with
his red coat in his teeth and made it fast to the pole for a flag. As
we read Parkman's words, we can feel his heart glow with the joy of the
climbing lad, we know that in the historian there was beating the throb
of human love such as would have made him an admirable essayist had he
turned his hand to the form.

If, then, you feel like confidential writing, what may your subjects
be? Essayists have written about three main classes of subjects: first
always, people, their glory, their pathos, their sadness, and their
whims; second, nature as it appeals to the writers in a personal way,
reflecting their joys and sorrows, or contributing to their sense of
pleasure, beauty, and companionship in the world; and third, matters of
science, industry, art, literature, as the essayists think these affect
the emotions of humanity. If you are in wonderment and desire to speak
of the bravery of men fighting the battle of life, you may write with
Stevenson the somber but inspiring "Pulvis et Umbra." If you are tempted
to smile at the tendency of people to announce beliefs militantly, you
may write with Mr. Crothers "On Being a Doctrinaire." If man's ceaseless
quest of the perfect appeals, you may write with Mr. Sharp "The Dustless
Duster." The interesting old custom of having an awesome "spare
chamber," the hurly-burly and humor of moving, the fascinating process
of shaving that Grandfather performs on Sunday, the ways in which
some people make themselves lovable, others hateful, others pitiful,
and still others ridiculous--these are your rightful field if you but
care to use them. The informal essayist loves humanity not blindly but
wisely. "There is something about a boy that I like," Charles Dudley
Warner wrote, and thereby proved himself worthy to write such essays.
Lamb, thinking of chimney-sweeps, cries out, "I have a kindly yearning
toward these dim specks--poor blots--innocent blacknesses." Nor is the
essayist restricted to the lives of others; the true informal essayist
never forgets his own boyhood. The swimming and fishing larks, the tramp
for the early chestnuts, the machines that you built at ten years, the
tricks you played on friends and enemies, human and four-footed--these
await your essay. Especially your grown-up self offers a fertile
meadowland of essays. What are your hobbies--and have you any follies?
If you can but poke fun at yourself, we will listen. Finally, if you
have an interesting acquaintance, a rosy corner grocer, or a maiden aunt
of the old school, or a benignant grandfather, or a quaint laundress, or
"hired man," or anybody who is worth the words--and who is not?--and who
really interests you, you may make a character sketch. Thus Stevenson in
"A Scotch Gardener," Leigh Hunt in "The Old Lady," "The Old Gentleman,"
"The Maidservant," and John Brown in "Jeems the Doorkeeper." Remember
only one thing--you must, for some reason, see attractiveness in the
character, even the paradoxical attractiveness of repulsion. Remember
that Hazlitt wrote an essay on "The Pleasures of Hating."

When people do not offer subjects, turn to nature, as Mr. Burroughs
and Mr. Sharp and John Muir have turned in our day, and as others
have turned at times ever since there was an essay. Do you admire
the cool deep woods, the songs of the thrushes, the clouds that roll
into queer shapes, the endlessly talking brooks, the bugs that strive
and fight and achieve, the queer hunted live things that you see
everywhere? There is your essay. Mr. Warner wrote a delightful series
about gardening in which he makes fun--partly of himself, partly of
nature. Richard Jefferies found a subject in "July Grass." Mr. Belloc
gives the spirit of the primeval currents of air that bore the ships of
our forefathers in his essay, "On a Great Wind." California sequoias,
red-eyed vireos, the pig in his pen, the silly hens in their yard,
friendly dogs, a group of willows, a view from a mountain-top, trees
that rush past as you skim the road in your car, there's hardly a phase
of nature that does not offer an essay, have you but the eyes to see
and the heart to warm. One caution must be given. This kind of essay
will try to lure you into words that seem poetic but really lie; beware
that you tell the truth, for a sunset, glorious though it is, is still
a sunset. For the higher imaginative flights we reserve our verse. On
the other hand, scientific analysis is not for the essay; it is too
impersonal. Nature, as seen in the informal essay, is the nature of
emotion that keeps its balance through humor and sanity. Do not, then,
write an essay about nature unless you are sure of your balance, unless
you are sure that you can tell the truth.

But the essayist does not stop with the creations in nature; he goes on
to the works of man. He sees the exquisite beauty of a deftly guided
mathematical problem, the answer marshaled to its post in order, he
feels the exultation of a majestic pumping station, he knows the wonder
of the inspiration of artists. As you pass the steel skeleton of the
skyscraper, or see the liner gliding up the harbor, or thrill to the
locomotive that paws off across the miles, or stand in awe and watch
the uncanny linotype machine at its weird mysteries, you may find your
subject all ready for the expression. Mr. Joseph Husband finds the
romance of these.[84] Books, too, chats with your favorite authors,
trips through art galleries, listening to concerts, finding the wonders
of the surgeon,--all these, as they appeal to you, as you react to them,
as they disclose a meaning, are fit subjects for your essay. Thus Mr.
Crothers writes in "The Hundred Worst Books."

  [84] _America at Work._

Men, nature, things, all are at your beck if you but keenly feel their
appeal, if you have an honest thought about them. As you treat them do
not hesitate to use the word "I"; in the essay we expect the word, we
look for it, we miss it when it eludes us, for the great charm of the
informal essay is its personal note, its revelation of the heart of the

Since the essay is urbanely personal, it does not take itself too
seriously. Our definition declared that the essayist will not try to
force his views upon his reader nor hold them too feverishly himself.
If you are militant about a subject, you should write, not an informal
essay, but a treatise or an argument in which full play will be given
to your cudgels. If you violently believe in woman-suffrage--as you
well may--so that you can be only dead-serious about it, do not write
an informal essay. For the essay aims at the spirit as well as the
intellect, hopes to create a glow in the reader as well as to convince
him of a truth. You should write an informal essay when you are in
the mood of Sir Roger de Coverley as he remarked, "There is much to
be said on both sides." This does not mean that you should write
spinelessly--not in the least; it means only that you should be an
artist rather than a blind reformer. Sometimes the mind wishes to go
upon excursion, to give play to the "wanton heed and giddy cunning" that
are in the heart. The essay, says Richard Middleton, "should have the
apparent aimlessness of life, and, like life, its secret purpose." It
may be mere "exuberant capering round a discovered truth," to borrow
Mr. Chesterton's phrase. Again, it may feel the length of the shadows,
the cold breath of the mists of the still, unpierced places. The essay
does not deny the shadows; it rather believes in riding up to the guns
with a smile and the gesture of courtesy. It sees the truth always, but
it also prefers not to be a pest in declaring the truth disagreeably.
"Therefore we choose to dally with visions." Many an informal essay has
been written on "Death," but not in the mood of the theologian. The
essay has about it the exquisite flavor of personality such as we find
in the cavalier lads who rode to feasting or to death with equal grace
and charm. The real essay ought not to leave its reader uncomfortable;
it leaves to the militant writers to work such mischief.

Do not, therefore, ever allow your essay to become a sermon, for to the
sermon there is only one side. And do not try to wrench a moral from
everything. If you do, the moral will be anæmic and thin. Do not, after
watching brooks, be seized with a desire to have your reader "content
as they are." Nor, after the locomotive has melted into the distance
shall you buttonhole your reader and bid him, like the engine, be up
and doing! Better is it to play pranks with respectability and logic.
Stevenson's ability to write charming essays came partly from the fact
that, as Barrie has said of him, "He was the spirit of boyhood tugging
at the skirts of this old world of ours and compelling it to come back
and play." Mr. Chesterton often inspires us to do some really new
thinking by his ridiculous contentions. Where but in the essay could a
man uphold the belief that Faith is Nonsense and perhaps Nonsense is

In fact, humor is always present in the informal essay. It may be grave
or even sad, it is never really boisterous, it is best subtle and
quiet, but of whatever kind it should be present. Meredith said "humor
is the ability to detect ridicule of those we love without loving them
the less." Note, in the light of these words, John Brown's description
of his friend Jeems: "Jeems's face was so extensive, and met you so
formidably and at once, that it mainly composed his whole; and such a
face! Sydney Smith used to say of a certain quarrelsome man, 'His very
face is a breach of the peace.' Had he seen our friend's he would have
said that he was the imperative mood on two (very small) legs, out on
business in a blue greatcoat." Lamb had the gentle humor in exquisite
degree, kindly and shrewd. When the little chimney-sweep laughed at
him for falling in the street Lamb thought, "there he stood ... with
such a maximum of glee and minimum of mischief, in his mirth--for the
grin of a genuine sweep hath absolutely no malice in it--that I could
have been content, if the honor of a gentleman might endure it, to have
remained his butt and mockery till midnight." The humor is often ironic,
frequently dry and lurking, but kindly still, for the essayist loves his
fellow man.

Since the essay is not super-serious, it need not be too conscientiously
thorough and exhaustive. It must, to be sure, have some point, some core
of thought, must meditate, but it need not reach a final conclusion.
It often believes, with Stevenson, that "to travel hopefully is better
than to arrive," and it spends its time on the pleasant way. It takes
conclusions about as seriously as we take them when we sit with pipe and
slippers by the fireside and chat. Its view of the subject is limited
also. It is not a piece of research, it need not cover the whole ground
with all the minutiæ. The essayist, first of all, will admit that he
does not say all that might be said. Very likely he will declare that he
is merely making suggestions rather than giving a treatment. Think how
endless a real treatise on old china would be, and then how brief and
sketchy Lamb's essay is. The beauty of writing an informal essay is that
you can stop when you please, you do not feel the dread command of the

Just as the conclusion may be dodged, so the strict laws of rhetoric may
be winked at. De Quincey remarks, "Here I pause for a moment to exhort
the reader ... etc.," and for a whole page talks about a different
subject! But we do not mind, for, as has been said of him--and the
remark is equally true of many essayists--he is like a good sheep dog,
he makes many detours, may even disappear behind a knoll, but finally
he will come eagerly and bravely back with his flock and guide the
sheep home. Digressions are allowable, so long as safe return is made.
The formlessness of the essay is to be held by an invisible web that
is none the less binding, like the bonds of the Fenris wolf. We may go
round the subject or stand off and gaze at it, may introduce anecdotes,
bits of conversation, illustrations of various sorts, may even cast the
essay largely in narrative form, so long as at the heart of it there is
our idea. "You may tack and drift, only so you tack and drift round the
buoy." Hazlitt, in "On Persons One Would Wish to Have Seen," uses much
conversation. Thackeray, in "Tunbridge Toys," clings to the narrative

Mr. Richard Burton, in the foreword to his _Little Essays in Literature
and Life_, sums up the informal essay thus:

     The way of the familiar essay is one, of the formal essay
     another. The latter is informational, it defines, proves; the
     former, seeking for friendlier and more personal relations with
     the reader, aims at suggestion, stimulation. The familiar essay
     can be an impressionistic reflection of the author's experience in
     the mighty issues of living, or it may be the frank expression of
     a mere whim. It should touch many a deep thing in a way to quicken
     the sense of the charm, wonder, and terror of the earth. The
     essayist can fly high, if he but have wings, and he can dive deeper
     than any plummet line of the intellect, should it happen that the
     spirit move him.

     It is thus the ambition of the familiar essayist to speak
     wisdom albeit debonairly, to be thought-provoking without
     heaviness, and helpful without didacticism. Keenly does he feel
     the lachrymæ rerum, but, sensible to the laughing incongruities
     of human expression, he has a safeguard against the merely solemn
     and can smile at himself or others, preserving his sense of humor
     as a precious gift of the high gods. And most of all, he loves
     his fellow men, and would come into fellowship with them through
     thought that is made mellow by feeling....[85]

  [85] Richard Burton: _Little Essays in Literature and Life_. By
       courtesy of the publishers, The Century Company, New York City.

And so we return to our definition: the essay is the transcript of
personal reaction to some phase or fact of life, not weighted with
an over-solemn feeling of responsibility, charged with never-failing
balance and humor and liberty to wander without necessarily arriving,
frankly individual in its treatment of life, life as it seems to the
writer, whether the essay be about people or things or nature.

Of the length of the essay we may not be too definite. It may be only a
page in duration; it may cover fifty. When the writer has said what he
wishes to say, he blithely ceases, and leaves the work to the reader. In
style all the graces, all the lightness, the daintiness, the neatness
that he can command the author uses. He loves words for their sound,
their suggestiveness, their color. And since he is frequently expressing
a mood, he will, so far as he can, adapt the style to the mood. So
Lamb, in the exquisite reverie, "Dream Children," casts his vision into
the dreamy cadence that lures us into his very mood. So, finally, Mr.
Belloc, describing the wind, says:

     When a great wind comes roaring over the eastern flats toward
     the North Sea, driving over the Fens and the Wingland, it is
     like something of this island that must go out and wrestle with
     the water, or play with it in a game or battle; and when, upon
     the western shores, the clouds come bowling up from the horizon,
     messengers, out-riders, or comrades of the gale, it is something of
     the sea determined to possess the land. The rising and falling of
     such power, its hesitations, its renewed violence, its fatigue and
     final repose--all these are symbols of a mind; but more than all
     the rest, its exultation! It is the shouting and hurrahing of the
     wind that suits a man.[86]

  [86] Hilaire Belloc: "On a Great Wind." _From First and Last._ By
       courtesy of the publishers, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.


  [87] From The Contributors' Club. By courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly

     I have always longed for the privileges of age,--since the
     days when it seemed to me that the elderly people ate all the
     hearts out of the watermelons. Now it suddenly occurs to me that I
     am at last entitled to claim them. Surely the shadow on the dial
     has moved around it, the good time has come, and the accumulated
     interest of my years shall be mine to spend. Have you not had the
     same experience? For many years, as you may have noticed, the
     majority of the inhabitants of the earth were old. Even those
     persons over whom we were nominally supposed to exercise a little
     brief authority were older than we, and we approached the dragons
     of our kitchen with a deprecating eye. But now the majority has
     moved behind us; most people, even some really quite distinguished
     people, are younger than we. No longer can we pretend that our lack
     of distinction is due to immaturity. No longer can we privately
     assure ourselves that some day we, too, shall do something, and
     that it is only the becoming modesty of youth which prevents our
     doing it at once.

     One thing, willy-nilly, we have done,--or rather nature has
     done it for us. She is like von Moltke. "Without haste, without
     rest," is her motto, and knowing our tendency to dally, she quietly
     takes matters into her own hands. Suddenly, unconscious of the
     effort, we awake one morning and find ourselves old. If we can only
     succeed in being old enough, we shall also be famous, like old
     Parr, who never did anything, so far as I am aware, but live to the
     age of one hundred and forty-five.

     In order properly to appreciate our present privileges, let us
     consider the days of old and the years that are past. It was in the
     time before motors, and we rode backwards in the carriage. We did
     not like to ride backwards. In traveling, we were always allotted
     the upper berths. There was no question about it. We couldn't
     expect our venerable aunt, or our delicate cousin, or our dignified
     grandmother to swing up into an upper berth, could we? And in those
     days they cost just as much as lower ones and we paid our own
     traveling expenses. How expert we grew at swinging up and swinging
     down! Naturally the best rooms at the hotels went to the elder
     members of the party. In coaching, our place was always between the
     two fattest! "O Isabella is thin! she can sit there!"

     And what did we ask in return for these many unnoticed
     renunciations? Only the privilege of getting up at five to go
     trout-fishing, or the delight of riding all morning cross-saddle to
     eat a crumby luncheon in a buggy forest at noon. We wondered what
     the others meant when they said that the beds were not comfortable,
     and we marveled why the whole machinery of heaven and earth should
     be out of gear unless, at certain occult and punctually recurring
     hours, they had a cup of tea. And why was it necessary to make us
     unhappy if they didn't have a cup of tea?

     Young people are supposed to be mannerly, at least they were
     in my day, but old people may be as rude as they please, and no one
     reproves them. If they do not like a thing, they promptly announce
     the fact. The privilege of self-expression they share with the very
     young. Which reminds me, I detest puddings. Henceforth I shall
     decline to eat them, even in the house of my friends. Mine is the
     prerogative no longer to dissemble, for hypocrisy is abhorrent to
     the members of the favored class to which I now belong. They are
     like a dear and honored servitor of mine who used, on occasion,
     to go about her duties with the countenance of a thunderstorm.
     "Elizabeth," said I, once, reprovingly, "you should not look so
     cross." "But Miss Isabella," she remarked with reason, "if you
     don't _look_ cross when you _are_ cross, how is any one to know you
     are cross?"

     Speaking of thunderstorms, I am afraid of them. I have always
     been afraid since the days when I used to hide under the nursery
     table when I felt one coming. But was I allowed to stay under the
     table? Certainly not. All these years have I maintained a righteous
     and excruciating self-control. But old ladies are afraid and
     unashamed. I have heard of one who used to get into the middle of a
     featherbed. I shall not insist on the featherbed, but I shall close
     the shutters and turn on the lights and be as cowardly as I please.

     The two ends of life, infancy and age, are indulged in their
     little fancies. For a baby, we get up in the night to heat bottles,
     and there are certain elderly clergymen whose womenkind always
     arise at four in the morning to make coffee for them. That is not
     being addicted to stimulants. But the middle span of life is like
     a cantilever bridge: if it can bear its own weight it is expected
     to bear anything that can possibly be put upon it. "Old age
     deferred" has no attractions for me. I decline to be middle-aged. I
     much prefer to be old.

     Youth is haunted by misgivings, by hesitancies, by a
     persistent idea that, if only we dislike a thing enough, there must
     be some merit in our disliking it. Not so untrammeled age. From now
     on, I practice the philosophy of Montesquieu and pursue the general
     good by doing that which I like best. Absolutely and unequivocally,
     that which I like best. For there is no longer any doubt about it:
     I have arrived. I do not have to announce the fact. Others realize
     it. My friends' daughters give me the most comfortable chair. They
     surround me with charming, thoughtful, delicate little attentions.
     Mine is the best seat in the motor, mine the host's arm at the
     feast, mine the casting vote in any little discussion.

     O rare Old Age! How hast thou been maligned! O blessed land of
     privilege! True paradise for the disciples of Nietzsche, where at
     last we dare appear as selfish as we are!


  [88] John Burroughs: _Leaf and Tendril_. Houghton Mifflin Company,
       Boston, publishers.

     These still, hazy, brooding mid-April mornings, when the
     farmer first starts afield with his plow, when his boys gather
     the buckets in the sugar-bush, when the high-hole calls long
     and loud through the hazy distance, when the meadow-lark sends
     up her clear, silvery shaft of sound from the meadow, when the
     bush sparrow trills in the orchard, when the soft maples look
     red against the wood, or their fallen bloom flecks the drying
     mud in the road,--such mornings are about the most exciting and
     suggestive of the whole year. How good the fields look, how good
     the freshly turned earth looks!--one could almost eat it as does
     the horse;--the stable manure just being drawn out and scattered
     looks good and smells good; every farmer's house and barn looks
     inviting; the children on the way to school with their dinner-pails
     in their hands--how they open a door into the past for you!
     Sometimes they have sprays of arbutus in their button-holes, or
     bunches of hepatica. The partridge is drumming in the woods, and
     the woodpeckers are drumming on dry limbs.

     The day is veiled, but we catch such glimpses through the
     veil. The bees are getting pollen from the pussy-willows and soft
     maples, and the first honey from the arbutus.

     It is at this time that the fruit and seed catalogues are
     interesting reading, and that the cuts of farm implements have
     a new fascination. The soil calls to one. All over the country,
     people are responding to the call, and are buying farms and moving
     upon them. My father and mother moved upon their farm in the spring
     of 1828; I moved here upon mine in March, 1874.

     I see the farmers, now going along their stone fences and
     replacing the stones that the frost or the sheep and cattle have
     thrown off, and here and there laying up a bit of wall that has
     tumbled down.

     There is a rare music now in the unmusical call of the
     phoebe-bird--it is so suggestive.

     The drying road appeals to one as it never does at any other
     season. When I was a farm-boy, it was about this time that I used
     to get out of my boots for half an hour and let my bare feet feel
     the ground beneath them once more. There was a smooth, dry, level
     place in the road near home, and along this I used to run, and
     exult in that sense of light-footedness which is so keen at such
     times. What a feeling of freedom, of emancipation, and of joy in
     the returning spring I used to experience in those warm April

     I think every man whose youth was spent on the farm, whatever
     his life since, must have moments at this season when he longs to
     go back to the soil. How its sounds, its odors, its occupations,
     its associations, come back to him! Would he not like to return
     again to help rake up the litter of straw and stalks about the
     barn, or about the stack on the hill where the grass is starting?
     Would he not like to help pick the stone from the meadow, or mend
     the brush fence on the mountain where the sheep roam, or hunt
     up old Brindle's calf in the woods, or gather oven-wood for his
     mother to start again the big brick oven with its dozen loaves of
     rye bread, or see the plow crowding the lingering snowbanks on the
     side-hill, or help his father break and swingle and hatchel the
     flax in the barnyard?

     When I see a farm advertised for rent or for sale in the
     spring, I want to go at once and look it over. All the particulars
     interest me,--so many acres of meadow-land, so many of woodland,
     so many of pasture--the garden, the orchard, the outbuildings,
     the springs, the creek--I see them all, and am already half in

     Even Thoreau felt this attraction, and recorded in his
     Journal: "I know of no more pleasing employment than to ride about
     the country with a companion very early in the spring, looking at
     farms with a view to purchasing, if not paying for them."

     Blessed is the man who loves the soil!


  [89] By Frances Lester Warner, from "The Point of View" in _Scribner's

     I used to envy chess-players. Now I play. My method of
     learning the game was unprincipled. I learned the moves from the
     encyclopædia, the traditions from "Morphy, On Chess," and the
     practice from playing with another novice as audacious as I. Later,
     finding some people who could really play, I clove to them until
     they taught me all that I could grasp. My ultimate ambition is, I
     suppose, the masterly playing of the game. Its austere antiquity
     rebukes the mildest amateur into admiration. I therefore strive,
     and wistfully aspire. Meanwhile, however, I am enjoying the gay
     excitement of the unskilled player.

     There is nobody like the hardy apprentice for getting pleasure
     out of chess. We find certain delights which no past-master can
     know; pleasures exclusively for the novice. Give me an opponent
     not too haughty for my unworthy steel, one who may perhaps forget
     to capture an exposed bishop of mine, an opponent who, like me,
     will know the early poetry of mad adventure and the quiet fatalism
     of unexpected defeat. With this opponent I will engage to enjoy
     three things which, to Mr. Morphy, immortality itself shall not
     restore--three things: a fresh delight in the whimsical personality
     of the various chessmen; the recklessness of uncertainty and of
     unforeseen adventure; the unprecedented thrill of checkmating my
     opponent by accident.

     Mr. Morphy, I admit, may perhaps have retained through
     life a personal appreciation of the characters of the pieces:
     the conservative habits of the king; the politic, sidelong
     bishop; the stout little roundhead pawns. But since his forgotten
     apprenticeship he has not known their many-sided natures. To Mr.
     Morphy they long since became subject--invariably calculable.
     With a novice, the men and women of the chess-board regain their
     individuality and their Old World caprices, their mediæval
     greatness of heart. Like Aragon and the Plantagenets, they have
     magnificent leisure for the purposeless and aimless quest. The
     stiff, kind, circular eyes of my simple boxwood knight stare
     casually about him as he goes. Irresponsibly he twists among his
     enemies, now drawing rein in the cross-country path of an angry
     bishop, now blowing his horn at the very drawbridge of the king.
     And it is no cheap impunity that he faces in his errant hardihood.
     My opponent seldom lapses. My knights often die in harness, all
     unshriven. That risk lends unfailing zest. Most of all, I love my
     gentle horsemen.

     My opponent, too, has her loyalties, quixotic and unshaken.
     Blindly, one evening, I imperiled my queen. Only the opposing
     bishop needed to be sacrificed to capture her. The spectators were
     breathless at her certain fate. But my opponent sets high value
     upon her stately bishop. Rather this man saved for defense than
     risked for such a captive, feminist though she be, and queen. With
     ecclesiastical dignity the bishop withdrew, and my queen went on
     her tranquil way.

     Of all the men, the king reveals himself least readily. A
     noncommittal monarch at best. At times imperial and menacing, my
     king may conquer, with goodly backing from his yeomen and his
     chivalry. Sometimes, again, like Lear, he is no longer terrible in
     arms, his royal guard cut down. And at his death he loves always to
     send urgently for his bishop, who is solacing, though powerless to

     All this is typical of our second pleasure, the exhilaration
     of incautious and unpremeditated moves. Inexplicable, for example,
     this pious return of the outbound bishop at the last battle-cry of
     the king. At times, however, a move may well be wasted to the end
     that all may happen decently and in order. My opponent shares with
     me this respect for ceremony. Together we lament the ruins when a
     lordly castle falls. Our atrocities are never heartless; we never

     My opening moves, in general, are characterized by no mean
     regard for consequences. Let my men rush forth to the edge of the
     hostile country. Once there, there will be time enough to peer
     about and reconnoitre and see what we shall see. Meanwhile, the
     enemy is battering gloriously at my postern-gate, but at least
     the fight is on! Part of our recklessness in these opening moves
     consists in our confidential revelations to each other of all our
     plans and disquieting problems.

     "This needn't worry you at present," I remark, planting my
     castle on an irrational crag. "I'm only putting it there in _case_."

     That saves much time. My opponent might otherwise have
     found it necessary to waste long minutes in trying to fathom the
     unknowable of my scheme. Without this companionable interchange
     chess is the most lonely of human experiences. There you sit, a
     being solitary and unsignaled--a point of thought, a mere center
     of calculation. You have no partner. All the world is canceled for
     the time, except, perched opposite you, another hermit intellect
     implacably estranged and sinister. Oh, no! As yet we discuss our

     Poor journeymen players of the royal game! Strange clues to
     character appear around the friendly chess-board. There is the
     supposedly neutral observer of the game, who must murmur warnings
     or lament the ill-judged moves; without him, how would life and
     chess be simplified? There is the stout-hearted player who refuses
     to resign though his defeat is demonstrably certain, but continues
     to jog about the board, eluding actual capture; in life would he
     resign? There is the player who gives little shrieks at unexpected
     attacks; the player who explains his mistakes and what he had
     intended to do instead; the player who makes no sign whether of
     gloating or of despair. Most striking of all is the behavior of all
     these when they face the necessity of playing against the handicap
     of past mistakes; a wrong move may never be retracted by the
     thoroughbred. No apology, no retracting of the path; we must go on
     as if the consequences were part of our plan. It lures to allegory,
     this checkered board, these jousts and far crusades.

     Then, on to checkmate, the most perfect type of utter
     finality, clear-cut and absolute. Shah-mat! Checkmate! The king is
     dead. In most conclusions there is something left ragged; something
     still in abeyance, in reserve. Here, however, is no shading, no
     balancing of the scales. We win, not by majority, as in cards;
     success or failure is unanimous. There was one ballot, and that is
     cast. No matter how ragged the playing that went before, the end of
     a game of chess is always perfect. It satisfies the spirit. Always
     at last comes contentment of soul, though it be our king that dies.

The following subjects are suggested as suitable for treatment in
informal essays. They can, in many cases, be changed to suit individual
experience, can be made either broader or more restricted. Perhaps they
will suggest other somewhat similar but more usable subjects.


     1. The Pleasures of Selfishness.

     2. Wondering if the Other Person Knows More.

     3. Pipe and Slippers and Dreams.

     4. Middle-aged Kittens.

     5. Being "Tough."

     6. Early Rising.

     7. Scientific Eating.

     8. The Joys of the Straphanger.

     9. Vicarious Possessions in Shop Windows.

    10. Shopping with the Bargain Hunter.

    11. New Year's Resolutions.

    12. The Gossip of the Waiting-Room (of a Railroad Station, Doctor's
        Office, etc.).

    13. The Stimulation of Closet Skeletons.

    14. Planning Houses.

    15. Keeping an Expense Book.

    16. The Millinery of the Choir.

    17. The Joys of Being Profane before the Consciously Pious.

    18. "Darius Greens."

    19. Tellers of Dreams.

    20. Making the Most of Misfortunes.

    21. The Moral Value of Carrying a Cane.

    22. Souvenir Hunting.

    23. The Person Who Has Always Had "The Same Experience Myself."

    24. Prayer-meeting Courtships.

    25. The Exhaustion of Repose.

    26. "See the Birdie, Darling!"

    27. Politeness to Rich Relatives.

    28. "It must be so; I Read it in a Book!"

    29. "Anyway," as Stevenson said, "I did my darndest."

    30. The Moral Rigor of the Nightly Setting-up Exercises.

    31. "Hooking Rides."

    32. A Society to Forbid Learning to Play the Trombone (or Cornet or
        Piano or anything else).

    33. A Sophomore for Life.

    34. Country Auctions.

    35. The Virtues of Enviousness.

    36. The Melancholy of Old Bachelors.

    37. Village "Cut-ups."

    38. Early Assurances of Doleful Dying.

    39. Failing, to make Money, through Failure to make Money.

    40. People who never Did Wrong as Children.

    41. "Just Wait till I'm Grown-up!"

    42. Philosophers' Toothaches.

    43. The Morality of Stubbing One's Toe in the Dark.

    44. The Dolefulness of Celebrations.

    45. What to Do with Bores.

    46. The Young and the Still-young Woman.

    47. The Satisfaction of Intolerance.

    48. The Struggle to be an "Intellectual."

    49. Church Socials.

    50. The Revelations of Food Sales.

    51. White-haired Enthusiasm.

    52. "I have It in my Card Index."

    53. The Rigors of Shaving.

    54. The Right to a "Beauty Box."

    55. "Hopelessly Sane."

    56. The "Job" After Graduation.

    57. The Stupidity of Heaven.

    58. The Boon Companions of Hell.

    59. People Who Remember When You Were "Only So High!"

    60. Being a Gentleman though Rich.

    61. Great Men One Might Wish to Have Thrashed.

    62. The Awful Servant.

    63. Morality When the Thermometer Reads 95°.

    64. The Technique of Teas.

    65. Dangers of Criticism.

    66. Starvation or a New Cook?

    67. Superior Profanity.

    68. The Logic of the Movies.

    69. The "Woman's Page."

    70. The Neatness of Men.

    71. On Taking Off One's Hat.

    72. Fashions in Slang.

    73. Ambitions at Thirteen.

    74. The Joys of Whittling.

    75. Learning, without Education.


     1. Individuality in Shoes.

     2. Alarm Clocks.

     3. Rail Fences.

     4. Chimney Pots.

     5. Illuminated Mottoes.

     6. "Fresh Paint."

     7. Social Caste of Tombstones.

     8. The Lure of Banks.

     9. The Witchery of Seed Catalogues.

    10. Colonial Windows.

    11. Fishing Tackle in the Attic in January.

    12. The Invitation of the Label.

    13. Stolen Umbrellas.

    14. The Dolefuless of the Comic Supplement.

    15. The Humorousness of Card Catalogues.

    16. The Sweets and Dregs of Tin Roofs.

    17. The Tyranny of Remembered Melodies.

    18. Friendly Old Clothes.

    19. The Age of the Pennant.

    20. The Upper Berth.

    21. Bills in Dining Cars.

    22. Pound Cake.

    23. The Toothsome Drumstick.

    24. Cravats One Might Wish to Have Worn.

    25. Spite Fences.

    26. Personality of Teapots.

    27. "All You Have to Do Is--"

    28. Smoke on the Skyline.

    29. The First Long Trousers.

    30. The New Pipe.

    31. The Old Springboard.

    32. Drinking Fountains.

    33. The Work-savers--now in the Attic.

    34. Candlesticks.

    35. The Cantankerousness of Gas Engines.

    36. Weeds.

    37. The Pride of Uniforms.

    38. Leather-covered Books.

    39. The Pursuit of Oriental Rugs.

    40. Wedding Presents.

    41. Bird Baths.

    42. The Charm of Oil-Heaters.

    43. The Coquetry of Gift Shops.

    44. The Passing of the Hitching Post.

    45. Names One Might Wish to Have Had.

    46. Hall Bedrooms.

    47. The Lure of Historic Tablets.

    48. The Futility of Diaries.

    49. Squeaking Boards at Midnight.

    50. The Caste of Letter Heads.


     1. Walking in the Rain.

     2. Skylines.

     3. The Personified Trees of Childhood.

     4. Coffee in the Woods.

     5. The Psychology of Hens.

     6. The Humanity of Barnyards.

     7. The Smell of Spring.

     8. The Perfume of Bonfires.

     9. The Sounds of Running Water.

    10. Tracks in the Snow.

    11. The Spectrum of Autumn.

    12. The Mellowness of Gardens.

    13. The Clamor of the Silent Stretches.

    14. The Innocent Joy of Not Knowing the Birds.

    15. The Rigors of the Sleeping Porch.

    16. Inspiration of Mountain-tops.

    17. Noises on Cold Winter Nights.

    18. Cherries or Robins?

    19. The Airedale Pal.

    20. Snakes I Have Never Met.

    21. The Exhilaration of Winds.

    22. Spring Fever.

    23. The Philosophy of Campfires.

    24. Birds in a City Yard.

    25. The Majesty of Thunderstorms.

    26. The Music of Snow Water.

    27. Hedges.

    28. Mountain Springs.

    29. The Deep Woods.

    30. Summer Clouds.

    31. The Companionable Birds.

    32. The Dignity of Crows.

    33. Trout Pools.

    34. Muskrat Trails.

    35. The First Flowers of Spring.

    36. The Squirrels in the Park.

    37. The Dry Sounds in Nature.

    38. The Honk of the Flying Wedge.

    39. The Pageant of the Warblers.

    40. The Challenge of Crags and Ledges.

    41. The White-birch Country.

    42. Apple Blossom Time.

    43. The Majesty of Rivers.

    44. Old Orchards.

    45. Dried Herbs.

    46. Friendly Roadside Bushes.

    47. The Exultant Leap of Waterfalls.

    48. The Wind in Hemlock, Pine, and Spruce.

    49. Tree Houses.

    50. The Collection of Pressed Flowers.



Biography is of three kinds. First there is the purely dramatic, such
as we find in the plays of Shakespeare, Barrie, and others, and often
in novels of the more dramatic kind, which sets the subject to marching
up and down before our eyes, with the gestures and the speech of life.
Such biography sometimes covers a whole life, more often only a fraction
from which we are to judge of the whole. From this kind of biography
we draw our own conclusions of the hero; the producer sweeps aside the
curtain, displays his people, bows, and leaves us to our comment. This
is a most stimulating form of writing. The reader vicariously treads the
Roman Forum, or fights under the banner of the great Alfred, or perhaps
jostles in the surge of politics, or dreams an artist's dream, or even
performs the humble chores of a lonely farmhouse. The personalities may
never have lived except in the writer's brain, yet who that has read of
Colonel Newcome ever lets fade from his list of friends that delightful
gentleman? Who that has once met Falstaff forgets the roaring, jolly
old knave? Stevenson gave witness that almost more than from any one
else his courage and good cheer in dark days had caught fire from the
personality of Shakespeare's heroine Rosalind. If these persons of the
imagination can stimulate, how much more ought the subjects of the other
two forms of biography to fire the brain, for they are usually taken
from real life, are people who have faced the actual problems such as
the reader is meeting, people who have perhaps flamed in a glorious
career from birth to death or perhaps have gone quietly all their
days. The second form of biography is purely analytical. It watches
its subject, follows him through life, and only after this study sets
down its words, which aim to state for the reader the meaning of the
life. Such biography is illustrated in the brief analyses of Mr. Balfour
and Mr. Hardy on page 148. Here the author is the logical thinker who
draws the conclusions of careful meditation and says: such was the
significance of this man, this woman. The third kind of biography, the
expository, the kind with which we are here concerned, attempts to
combine the other two, hopes to present the pageant of life which the
hero lived, and especially to make an estimate of its importance, its
significance. Some novels approach this form when the author stops,
as Thackeray often does, to comment on the meaning of his people and
their deeds. This kind of biography attempts to accomplish what Carlyle
thought should be attempted, the ability to say, "There is my hero,
there is the physiognomy and meaning of his appearance and transit on
this earth; such was he by nature, so did the world act on him, so he on
the world, with such result and significance for himself and us."

The Problem

The primary object of expository biography is so to build up before the
reader's eyes the figure of the hero, so to cast against the background
of life the warm personality, so to recreate the lineaments and so to
give perspective to the whole that the reader will know the hero, will
be able to grasp his hand as a fellow human being with the game of life
to play, and will be aware of the significance of the personality to his
times and to the reader himself. To _paint the man_ is the pleasurable
adventure before the writer. Sir Christopher Wren bade us, if we wished
a memorial of him, to "look around" upon the arches and the high dim
places of his cathedral. So the writer of expository biography must
plant himself in the deeds and desires of his hero, must gaze steadily
into his eyes until he discovers the center of his being, and must then
set down the words, which, if well enough chosen, wisely enough fitted,
will outlast the toughest stone. It is in lack of true comprehension
of the hero's life that so many expository biographies fail to inspire
the reader, in the failure to remember that the writer is not merely
"silently expressing old mortality, the ruins of forgotten times," but
is trying to catch and record a living force, to live as long as men
understand it and are moved by it.

The chief duty of the biographer, then, is to discover the life-problem
of his hero, to understand it, to learn how the hero came by it, how
he tried to solve it, and what its significance is. Now this is much
more easily accomplished with the personalities who have closed their
span of existence than with those whom we know still living, with
their answer to their problem yet incomplete. Few of us have what
Mary Lamb said she possessed, "a knack I know I have of looking into
peoples' real character and never expecting them to act out of it--never
expecting another to do as I would in the same case." All the facts of
personality, the hints and gleams and shadows, bewilder us at times with
our friends, and we regret the lack of perspective that reveals the
central life-problem. But when we turn to Julius Cæsar, to Jeanne d'Arc,
to George Washington, or to some humble dweller of past days, we can
see the life whole, can discover the heredity, the natural endowment,
the surroundings, the changing deeds and the shifting acquaintances and
friends that determined for the hero what the life-problem should be.
With the truly remarkable advantage, then, of this central conception,
we can fall into cadence with the stride of our hero marching against
his problem and can picture forth the struggle and its significance.

In every biography there is this problem. Your hero is at "that game
of consequences to which we all sit down, the hanger-back not least,"
as Stevenson called life, and the manner in which the hero perceives
the "imperious desires and staggering consequences" will determine the
flavor of his life. To turn to Stevenson himself we find a white-hot
flame of romance cased in a feeble wraith of a body, the heart of the
man daring all things, romping through life a deathless youth before the
problem of adjustment between body and spirit. Or take the compounding
of that tremendous figure, George Washington--adamant integrity, the
zeal which, if unchecked, would often have brought the house tumbling
about his ears, the endless capacity for indignation, and with these
the patience that left men well-nigh dazed and the self-control that
made him god-like. Set him in the midst of the hurly-burly of a young
nation as doubtful of itself as youth, as eager, as impetuous, as
contradictory, with the forces of the Old World pitted against it and
with many traitors in its fold. Then conceive the problem of forming
wise conjunction between vision and accomplishment, between desire
and restraint, and the life of the man is at once unified, centered,
illuminated, and made significant.

The same result follows searching to the heart of any hero, high or low,
and failure thus to reach the heart causes the pallid uninteresting
heaping of details that mean nothing to the reader. No architect can
glorify the horizon with the silhouette of a cathedral, nor can he even
give a meaning to his accumulation of stone and mosaic and mortar, if
he heaps here a pile and there a pile, rears here a chapel, somewhere
else as fancy directs lays out an aisle, with no central problem of
relationship. Nor can you dignify your hero's nature with a mere basket
collection of the flying chips of life--a deed here, a word there, a
desire at another time. First, then, discover the problem that your hero
faced in the relation of his character to itself and to its times.

The Chief Aid in Solving the Problem

To discover the problem, really to understand it, requires as your
chief tool imaginative sympathy. Without this your writing will leave
your hero as flat and shiny as any conscientiously laundered piece of
linen. You are to picture him in relief, in the round, to make him live
again, step down from his pedestal, and put his shoulder alongside
ours and speak to us. We read in a history that faces the necessity of
condensation how William the Conqueror "consolidated his domains"--and
it means nothing at all to us of stimulating individual value. We do
not think of the recalcitrant underlings whose necks he had to force to
bow, of the weary eyes that gladly closed at the end of a terrible day's
work, of the frequent desire, which at times must be suppressed, perhaps
at times gratified, to run a sword through an opposing subject. We
forget, in other words, that William was a man, a personality, a bundle
of nervous reactions and desires. But the writing fails, as biography,
unless we do remember these things. It is in the discovery and
understanding of these details and in combining them into a personality
that our sympathy is required. No one should set pen to paper in the
service of biography who has not a lively personal interest in his hero,
who has not an open, loving feeling for him--saint or villain whichever
he may be--and desires to make his reader, in turn, _feel_ the hero's
personality. The ideal biographer is he who can peep out through the
eyes of his hero at the sights which he saw, can feel the surge of
ambition, of love, of hate, the quickening of the heart at success, and
the cold pallor of defeat. We have seen a grown person watch with cold
eyes a child who wrestles with a problem of digging a ditch or building
a dam or making a harness for the dog, gradually lose the coldness of
indifference, forget the gulf of years, kindle to the problem, and
finally with delight catch up spade or leather and give assistance.
Until you feel a similar thrill of sharing experience with your hero, do
not write about him.

Most of us really have this interest but we browbeat ourselves into
a belief that a biography, especially an expository biography, must
be dull. And, sad though we may be to admit it, most such biographies
written for courses in literature or history, are--well, plain stupid.
The lives are, to use Samuel Johnson's words, "begun with a pedigree and
ended with a funeral," and the dull stretch between is a mere series of
events which find unity only in that they all happen to the same person.
Such writing is, truly, inexcusable; it is like the railway journey of
the unfortunate soul who sees nothing but the clambering aboard and then
the folding of the hands for a long dull jouncing until lethargy can be
thrown off and it is time to clamber down again. Had the traveler but
the insight, or the inclination, he would perceive that his journey is
a high adventure spiced with a delicious flavor of challenge and reply.
Just so you may find that the writing of expository biography has the
charm of life itself. The patient clerk bends over his record sheet and
attests the arrival, the departure, of lifeless baggage tossed from hand
to hand, from car to car, piled up, taken down and set finally to rest
at its destination. But you deal not with lifeless baggage but with the
fascinating compound of flesh and blood, of desire and of will, that
changes the face of the world. No mere matter-of-fact attitude here,
but the perpetual wonder and joy at the turns and flashes of human
personality. Rather than be a matter-of-fact man Lamb wisely preferred
being a "matter-of-lie" man; the writer of expository biography finds
that his material is of such a nature as to be more interesting even
than lies. As Sir Thomas Browne said of his not remarkable life, "which
to relate were not a history but a piece of poetry and would sound to
common ears a fable."

Most of us find that the most fascinating study for man is Man. Not
only do we believe that "man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and
pompous in the grave," but that while alive he is more alluring than
anything else. We might conceivably even argue that Socrates advised
"Know thyself" out of fear lest our curiosity about our fellows absorb
all our effort. But so great is our fear of the formality of biography
that we often belie our sympathy and think that only the large dim
figures of the past, kings and potentates, who stride through mighty
events, are possible for treatment. Our fear is false. Stevenson was
again correct in saying, "The man who lost his life against a hen roost
is in the same pickle with the man who lost his life against a fortified
place of the first order." No life ever existed--absolutely not
one--that was not capable of an absorbing expository biography. The true
biographer never takes the point of view of the philosopher who said,
"Most men and women are merely one couple more." Rather he knows that,
however slight in the sweeping cycle of time a stick of striped candy
may be, to the child who drops it into the gutter it is of more weight
than a royal scepter. He knows, too, that the ordinary, respectable
citizen, one of the "common people," though he never is subject to
scandal like a villain and never molds kingdoms like the great figures
of history, is nevertheless, in his quiet sphere, a fit hero for
biography. He sees that to such a person the gaining, through patient
years of toil, of a little homestead, is as great a victory as for an
emperor to conquer a country, that to be elected moderator of the town
meeting or president of the "literary club" is a large adventure. Barrie
had the imagination to see that the day when the six haircloth chairs
entered his mother's parlor as the culmination of a long campaign, was a
day to her of thrilling adventure, of conquest, of triumph. And yet we
are afraid that biography ought to be dull!

Fear of the formality of writing is often the cause of our making
expository biography a mere combination of the succession of events
which history shows and a few dull comments about the subject, instead
of a real interpretation illuminated with the magic of sympathetic
understanding. With this fear upon us we write as awkwardly, as
lifelessly, as we deport ourselves at a reception where we forget the
pulse of humanity and are clutched by the fear of--we know not what.
Such a fear would palsy the hand of him who should attempt to weave
even the treasury of facts in the following statement with an estimate
of their significance. Writing of General Judah P. Benjamin, of the
American Civil War, Mr. Gamaliel Bradford says:

     Benjamin was a Jew. He was born a British subject. He made a
     brilliant reputation at the Louisiana Bar and was offered a seat in
     the United States Supreme Court. He became United States senator.
     When his state seceded, he went with it, and filled three cabinet
     positions under the Confederacy. He fell with the immense collapse
     of that dream fabric. Then, at the age of fifty-four, he set
     himself to build up a new fortune and a new glory, and he died one
     of the most successful and respected barristers in London.[90]

  [90] Gamaliel Bradford: _Judah P. Benjamin_. By courtesy of The
       Atlantic Monthly Company.

But with fear thrown off, with enthusiastic desire really to understand
sympathetically, we find no lack of interest. To any one the terrible
storm in the harbor of Apia, when ships were wrecked like straws and
lives were spilled out by scores, would offer material because of the
horror of the events. But only with imaginative sympathy could we write
an expository biography of a humble "Jackie" on a United States boat
in the harbor. With such sympathy, as we read that after the gruelling
agony of long fruitless fighting against the storm the sailors of the
United States Steamship _Trenton_, which was pounding its wooden hull to
splinters on the reef, climbed into the rigging and cheered while the
more lucky British boat _Calliope_ steamed past on her way to safety
in the open sea, we are thrilled with the fact that of those gallant
seamen every one is worthy of record. Some quiet lad from perhaps a
white farmhouse tucked into a little valley, who was honestly doing his
duty and hoping for the glory of the time when he should be a petty
officer, now while the teeth of death are already bared gloriously lifts
up his young voice in gallant recognition of his more successful fellows
of the _Calliope_! And yet the official record of the event would imply
no possibility of finding romance in this humble individual life.

The "meanest flower that blows" moved the poet's heart; we need not
be poets, but only sympathetic human beings, with the great gift of
comradeship, to be moved by even the lowliest man or woman. And the
objection that rises unbidden and declares us unfit to write expository
biography because we have not ourselves known great men is false. Quite
truly Carlyle demolishes such objection: "What make ye of Parson White
of Selborne? He had not only no great men to look on, but not even
men; merely sparrows and cockchafers; yet has he left us a _Biography_
of these; which, under its title _Natural History of Selborne_, still
remains valuable to us; which has copied a little sentence or two
_faithfully_ from the Inspired Volume of Nature, and is itself not
without inspiration. Go ye and do likewise." Certainly if you face the
setting forth of the life of some large figure of the past you have
a fascinating pageant to unriddle, to centralize. And just as surely
if you turn to the familiar figures of your home town, of your family
history, and really lay your spirit alongside, you will find deep
significance for yourself and for your reader. For every human being has
its Waterloo. Sometimes we play Wellington, sometimes Bonaparte, but
whether winning or losing we all tread the same way, and the fight is
as significant to each as ever the victory or defeat of Waterloo was to
Wellington or Napoleon.

The Process of Solving the Problem

With this great requisite of imaginative sympathy that sees value in
all human beings, then, we set out on our chief task, to find the
life-problem of our particular hero. This necessitates definition and
analysis. Somehow we must find the sphere in which our hero moved, the
group to which he belonged, and must then discover the qualities that he
showed in the group which made him a real individual. Such definition
and analysis will appear when we examine the character of the hero and
the events in his life.

1. Defining the Character

In placing the subject of biography in a group we must take care to
unify the character and at the same time to escape making him merely
typical. A biography is a portrait, and if it omits the peculiar
lineaments that distinguish the hero from all others, if it overlooks
the little details of personality, it is valueless, and certainly
uninteresting. The names of characters in old dramas, such as _Justice
Clement_, _Justice Shallow_, _Fastidious Brisk_, _Sir Politick
Would-be_, and of some of Scott's characters such as _Poundtext_, _Rev.
Gabriel Kettledrummle_, _Mr. Holdenough_, indicate the central point
of view of the characters but do not individualize them. Before we are
really interested in these people we must see the personal traits that
give charm. The unifying and centralizing of the character will be
accomplished through discovering the fundamental nature. When Cavour
wrote, "I am a son of Liberty, and it is to her that I owe all that I
am," he classified himself at once through revealing the inner heart
of his being. Mr. George Whibley gives both outward action and inward
attitude when he writes, "George Buchanan was the type and exemplar of
the wandering Scot." So a writer in the New York _Nation_[91] classifies
William James by finding the controlling motives of his life. "He was
a force of expansion, not a force of concentration. He 'opens doors
and windows,' shakes out a mind that has long lain in the creases of
prejudice. He is the most vital and gifted exemplar of intellectual
sympathy." Again, Mr. Bradford, in characterizing General Sherman,
writes, "Sherman is like one of our clear blue January days, with a
fresh north wind. It stimulates you. It inspires you. But crisp, vivid,
intoxicating as it is, it seems to me that too prolonged enjoyment of
such weather would dry my soul till the vague fragrance of immortality
was all gone out of it." And when some one asked Goldsmith, referring
to Boswell, "Who is this Scotch cur at Johnson's heels?" Goldsmith
replied, "He is not a cur, he is only a bur. Tom Davies flung him at
Johnson in sport, and he has the faculty of sticking." Each of these
characterizations classifies the subject; no one of them makes him a
distinct personality, for thousands have been wandering Scots, forces
of expansion, burs. The typifying is of great value in establishing the
central point of view of the subject, but it cannot be left to stand
alone in a real portrait.

  [91] Vol. 94, p. 363.

It is necessary that we define our hero by determining the class to
which he belongs, but such definition brings a great danger, the danger
of making a warped interpretation. At once we must take care, when we
discover the type of a man, not to overwork the type qualities, not to
make everything conform to this inner core, whether the detail properly
fits or not. For example, once we have called a man a _liberal_ we
shall need to guard against denying the conservative acts which are
in themselves contradictory of the general nature though in the large
they fuse with it. Such a tag is likely, if not guarded against, to
make the writer the victim of a kind of color-blindness in character,
so that he can see only the crimson of _liberal_, the lavender of
_conservative_. In a sentence like the following there lurks the
possibility of overworking a point of view, of riding rough-shod over
details that do not immediately swing into line. Speaking of General
Hooker, "General Walker observes shrewdly, 'He was handsome and
picturesque in the extreme, but with a fatally weak chin' ... Bear it
in mind in our further study." Spontaneity of reaction to the hero is
in possible danger of extinction when the biographer has solidly set
down the class name. The same danger is at hand when we find and state
the controlling motive of the hero's life, as when we say that he was
primarily ambitious, or exhibited above everything else courage. We need
be careful lest trivial matters be made to appear ambitious, thrillingly
courageous, and lest we deny what seems contradictory. In the following
characterization of the historian Green by his friend the Rev. Mr.
Haweis we find no such cramping effect, but a welling forth of creative
impression that makes Green live before our eyes.

     That slight nervous figure, below the medium height; that tall
     forehead, with the head prematurely bald; the quick but small eyes,
     rather close together; the thin mouth, with lips seldom at rest,
     but often closed tightly as though the teeth were clenched with an
     odd kind of latent energy beneath them; the slight, almost feminine
     hands; the little stoop; the quick alert step; the flashing
     exuberance of spirits; the sunny smile; the torrent of quick
     invective, scorn, or badinage, exchanged in a moment for a burst of
     sympathy or a delightful and prolonged flow of narrative--all this
     comes back to me vividly! And what narrative, what anecdote, what
     glancing wit! What a talker! A man who shrank from society, and yet
     was so fitted to adorn and instruct every company he approached,
     from a parochial assembly to a statesman's reception! But how
     enchanting were my walks with him in the Victoria Park, that one
     outlet of Stepney and Bethnal Green! I never in my life so lost
     count of time with any one before or since.... I have sometimes,
     after spending the evening with him at my lodgings, walked back to
     St. Philip's Parsonage, Stepney, towards midnight, talking; then he
     has walked back with me in the summer night, talking; and when the
     dawn broke it has found us belated somewhere in the lonely Mile
     End Road, still unexhausted, and still talking.[92]

  [92] Haweis: _Music and Morals_. By courtesy of the publishers,
       Longmans, Green & Co., New York City.

But when we have inveighed as much as we need against the dangers of
classification, we must swing round to the first statement that for
unifying the character and giving it fundamental significance such
classification is of great importance.

Merely to find the type to which a character belongs is not sufficient;
such a process leaves the character stamped, to be sure, but without
interest. We care for living people not chiefly because of their type
but because of their individuality, the little traits that set them
apart from their fellows. The next step, therefore, is to discover and
reveal the individuality. The type to which a character belongs is shown
by the large sweep of his whole life; his individuality is revealed
often most clearly in the slight incidents by the way. For this reason
the personal anecdote assumes importance as adding both interest and
completeness that consists in filling in the broad expanses of the
portrait with the lines of individual expression. This does not mean
that all anecdotes are of value for expository biography; only those
which are truly in the stream of personality, which help to establish
either the type or the individual. The whimsical nature of the little
incident which Mr. George Whibley[93] relates of the "scoundrel" Tom
Austin is of value not because it makes a picturesque note at a hanging,
but because it really helps to establish the full picture of the man:
"When Tom Austin was being haltered for hanging, the Chaplain asked
him had he anything to say. 'Only, there's a woman yonder with some
curds and whey, and I wish I could have a pennyworth of them before
I am hanged, because I don't know when I shall see any again.'" It
is easily said that Lincoln was a great democratic soul and a great
humorist. These are two useful tags. But when we know that to the
Englishman who remarked, "In England, you know, no gentleman blacks
his own shoes," he replied, "Whose does he black, then?" we feel the
peculiar tang of the Lincoln personality along with the type qualities
of democrat and humorist. After we have classified Washington as an
austere, cold, unemotional being, we find both corrective for a too
narrow classification, and insight into the peculiar qualities of the
man when we read how he swore "like an angel from Heaven" on the famous
occasion of the encounter with Lee. For the anecdote is, we see, really
in the main flow of Washington's nature. General Wolfe is tagged as a
romantic young warrior but takes on both interest and personality when
we read of his repeating Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"
as his men silently rowed him to the battle on the Heights of Abraham.
The personality of Madame de Staël's father is largely illuminated when
we learn that though the little daughter sat primly at table as long as
her mother remained in the room, as soon as she retired, with a cry of
delight the child flung her napkin at her father's head. Anecdote is
highly useful so long as we remember that it is not for adornment but
for revelation, not primarily for interest--though that is an important
function--but rather for proving in dramatic particular the quality
which we claim for our hero. Properly chosen anecdotes should be the
high lights in the proof of qualities which the writer's exposition
establishes in more sober manner. And of course they also serve to show
the differentia which make the character an individual, and thus help to
complete the definition.

  [93] _A Book of Scoundrels._

2. Analyzing the Character

_a._ _Heredity_

When once we have defined the character, have found its class and
to some extent its differentia, we can by analysis add to our
comprehension of it and to the distinguishing personal traits. We must
break up the character and see its manifestations and the results of
the influences that molded it. Heredity at once demands recognition.
It is not insignificant that Emerson was the descendant of a long line
of New England clergymen. The bravery of Stevenson is accounted for
partly by the doughty old builder of lighthouses, his grandfather Robert
Stevenson. Descent holds often, apparently, a guiding rein in directing
a character into its life-problem. Emerson's problem was comparatively
simplified, so far as personal integrity concerned him, for he was
by nature good. Lowell testified that it was perfectly natural for
himself to turn to literature, since in his childhood he had become
so accustomed to the smell of Russia leather in the bindings of his
father's books. The following sentence[94] shows the grip of descent
through the centuries which is not disguised by the man's name: "The
Mr. Balfour of those days has been altogether outgrown by the Admiralty
First Lord of the existing coalition, a Balfour in name only, in breadth
of shoulders, thickness of frame, heaviness of jaw, and proportions of
forehead a Cecil marvelously recalling, not only his illustrious uncle,
but that relative's Elizabethan ancestors." "Men are what their mothers
made them," says Emerson. "You may as well ask a loom which weaves
huckabuck why it does not make cashmere, as expect poetry from this
engineer, or a chemical discovery from that jobber." Partly, at least,
the life-problem is determined by the heredity; to each there is but one
future, "and that is already determined in his lobes and described in
that little fatty face, pig-eye, and squat form," to quote Emerson again
even though he lays undue stress, perhaps, upon the power of descent. In
the paragraph which follows you will find an interesting account of the
ancestry of O. W. Holmes, with a statement also of the essential quiet
of his life, which is nevertheless so often thought of as worthy of
biographical treatment.

  [94] T. H. S. Escott: _Great Victorians_. T. Fisher Unwin, London.

     Dr. Holmes came of this good, old, unmixed New England stock
     that ran back to Hell on the one side in the severest orthodoxy
     and up to Heaven on the other in large liberality. He discovered
     that the title deeds were all in Heaven--while all other claims
     were by squatters' rights outside the Garden of Eden. So Dr. Holmes
     grew into a Unitarian and proceeded to cultivate the descent which
     lies outside Paradise. His father was a minister, so beautiful in
     countenance, Holmes tells us, that he could never have believed
     an unkind thing, and his mother of different line was a Liberal
     by descent. Holmes was born, too, to the conflicting traditions
     of Yale and Harvard; but beyond being born, practically nothing
     ever happened to him afterwards. He had a little group of friends
     who were actually companions. During his whole life, except the
     two years of medical study in Europe in the beginning of his
     career, and the "hundred days in Europe" celebrated in one of his
     later books, he was never further away from Boston, for the most
     part, than Salem or Beverly, that Beverly, to which he referred
     in replying to a friend who had addressed a letter to him from
     "Manchester-by-the-Sea," as "Beverly-by-the-Depot." He went some
     summers to Pittsfield where he had a summer house, and where the
     sparkling Berkshire air seemed to suit his effervescent mind.
     But he was never "quite at home beyond the smell of the Charles

  [95] Thomas R. Slicer: _From Poet to Premier_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, The Grolier Society, London.

_b._ _Interests_

Then when your hero grows up, what are his interests? To what profession
or kind of work does he turn? Where does he find the satisfaction for
his energy that searches an outlet? Does he, like Thomas Carlyle, try
one and another profession only to fail and be driven, finally, into
the one work in which he could find the answer to the life-problem that
his personality presents? When his profession is chosen, what are his
interests? Does he work out his problem in a narrowly restricted field,
or does he call in the powers of a wide range of significant pursuits?
No expository biography of Leonardo da Vinci can overlook the astounding
breadth of the man's activity, especially as shown in the remarkable
document which he presented to Ludovico Sforza arranging his attainments
under nine different headings in military engineering and adding a tenth
for civil engineering and architecture,--and finally throwing in, as a
suggestion, his worth as painter and sculptor! There were the compounds
of a life-problem sufficiently complex to satisfy the most captious. Or
if the hero never moves from a tiny hamlet, treads only one path--as
Pericles is said to have done between house and office during the great
days of his power--the fact is significant. The grasp of ideas within
whatever field the hero may choose is also important. The distinction
between the personality that is merely efficient in handling facts, and
the personality that dominates the facts and drives them at his bidding,
that shows real power, has direct bearing on the nature and the solution
of the life-problem.

_c._ _Beliefs_

Nor can you overlook the hero's beliefs, whether in ethics or religion,
in politics, in the laws of society. In the analysis of Mr. Balfour, on
page 148, at once is apparent the large influence on his answer that is
caused by his sophistication. The bravery of the Stoic, the voluptuous
sentimentality of many religious people of modern times, vitally affect
the nature of the character which possesses them. If your hero is by
nature an aristocrat, if his sympathies are limited to the few choice
people of the world, his life-problem is radically different from that
of the natural democrat like Abraham Lincoln. Finally, whatever ideas he
may hold about the relation in society of man to man, of man to woman,
will inevitably influence his solution of his particular question, just
as his beliefs are themselves partly determined by his physical being.

_d._ _Friends_

Closely allied with his beliefs will be his choice of friends. Has he
the gift of familiarity, or does he struggle in vain to break through
the bars of personality, or is he terrified at the gulf between himself
and another? Does he regard friends as useful instruments, as pleasant
companions, or as objects of devoted affection? And how do his friends
react to him? It is worth remembering that the boy Tennyson wrote,
in grief, "Byron is dead!"--not only the boy but the older poet is
illuminated by the words. Stephen A. Douglas holding Lincoln's hat
beside the platform while the Gettysburg Address was being delivered
showed not only the mellowness of his own nature but the commanding
power of friendship that Lincoln possessed. The number of friends and
the range of their activity--whether selected from all sections of human
activity or from the hero's own more limited field--are important.

_e._ _Deeds_

Finally, the deeds of the hero are of the greatest significance in
indicating how he met his life-problem. Did he "greet the unknown with
a cheer" or did he like a doubtful bather shrink back from plunging
into the stream of activity? Were his deeds actuated by generous
motives, or by petty? "If," says Stevenson, "it is for fame that men do
brave actions, they are only silly fellows after all." Macbeth strode
through large events, as did Robert E. Lee, yet the dominating motives
were quite different, and these motives throw the utmost light on the
fundamentals of character.

Before you write, then, first define your hero, find his type and his
individuality, and then analyze his character to determine his descent,
his intellectual interests, his beliefs, his friends, and his deeds.
And remember that these are not in water-tight compartments, separated
from each other, but that they fuse together to make the personality, to
create the life-problem, and to answer it.

The Use of Events in the Life

Dramatic biography is almost wholly the moving events of life. The evil
of cheap fiction is partly that it will be nothing but events, that
only dust will be raised, no meaning found. Expository biography may
err in the opposite direction and exclude the "moving show," become
only abstract analysis and definition. You must guard against this,
because absence of events both complicates the writer's task and makes
his success with the reader more problematic. Moreover, since so largely
the positive personality of the hero will express itself in action,
since largely through events we shall discover what the life-problem is
and especially how it is met, to omit the flow of events is to lame the
interpretation. All readers, it is well to remember, have the child's
desire for more than mere information about the machine; they wish to
"see it go." The vitality of fiction is always increased by dramatic
presentation. Since you have a real character to make vital, bring to
your writing the devices that make characters real. Carlyle[96] well
characterizes the denatured style of treating living beings:

  [96] Thomas Carlyle: "Biography," in _Critical and Miscellaneous
       Essays_. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, publishers.

     Those modern Narrations, of the Philosophic kind, where
     "Philosophy, teaching by Experience," has to sit like owl
     on housetop, _seeing_ nothing, _understanding_ nothing,
     uttering only, with solemnity enough, her perpetual and most
     wearisome hoo-hoo:--what hope have we, except the for the most
     part fallacious one of gaining some acquaintance with our
     fellow-creatures, though dead and vanished, yet dear to us; how
     they got along in those old days, suffering and doing; to what
     extent, and under what circumstances, they resisted the Devil and
     triumphed over him, or struck their colors to him, and were trodden
     under foot by him; how, in short, the perennial Battle went, which
     men name Life, which we also in these new days, with indifferent
     fortune have to fight, and must bequeath to our sons and grandsons
     to go on fighting....

_a._ _Choice of Events_

The question at once arises, what events shall the writer select? The
total course is mapped for you: there is the pedigree, there the birth,
and finally there the funeral. These are inescapable. Just so, for most
heroes, marriage. But to choose only those facts that are common to all,
to make your hero do only the conventionally unavoidable things, will
leave him without personality. The question is, what did he do that was
peculiar to himself, what reaction to life did he alone, of all the
myriads, make? It is true that most men and women spend their time at
their profession or appointed task, whatever it may be, but what the
reader cries for is _how_ did they spend their time and energy? It is
not sufficient that you tell your reader that Robert Franz labored at
his profession of music. What you must do is to show how, in poverty,
which, but for the inexhaustible kindness of Liszt, would have been
unrelieved, with total deafness upon him, with his musician's-fingers
twisted and useless with paralysis, and with only slight recognition
from the world for his efforts, he quite beautifully subordinated
his own personality for the sake of his art and for years labored in
unremunerative love at the unwritten harmonies of Bach and Handel that
the public might have complete realization of the otherwise crippled
productions. When you tell that, your reader will understand _Robert
Franz_, not merely a somebody. Choose, then, the events that all share
in common if they are of value in giving a framework for your narrative
presentation, but especially choose those events that in their nature
illuminate the personality and complement your analysis.

We think of events as being public. There is also the hero's private
life. Often, especially with the more humble heroes, the home life
is more important than the public deeds, brings out more clearly the
real man than any amount of marching in the market place or discussing
in the public square. The incident related of Robert E. Lee when he
was President of Washington College is more revealing, almost, of his
greatness of heart than a far more important deed of the great General.
When a sophomore to whom Lee had recommended more intense application
to work, with the warning of possible failure, remarked, "But, General,
you failed," Lee quietly replied, "I hope that you may be more fortunate
than I." To neglect either public or private life makes the biography
less valuable; light upon the personality from whatever honest source is
to be eagerly sought.

_b._ _Relation of Events to Personality_

With your choice made, you yet face the difficulty of uniting events
and personality. It is not that you have parallel lines, one of action
and one of character; the two lines join and become one. You have the
choice of observing the personality through the medium of events, or
events through the medium of personality. Of the two, the latter is to
be preferred. To understand the personality we heed to know whether it
controls and directs events, or merely receives them. Into every life
a large measure of chance enters. Does the personality merely receive
the events, or does it master chance? Suppose that the following
analysis[97] of two widely different characters is correct, just:

  [97] Amiel's _Journal_.

     Mozart--grace, liberty, certainty, freedom, and precision of
     style, and exquisite and aristocratic beauty, serenity of soul,
     the health and talent of the master, both on a level with his
     genius; Beethoven--more pathetic, more passionate, more torn with
     feeling, more intricate, more profound, less perfect, more the
     slave of his genius, more carried away by his fancy or his passion,
     more moving, and more sublime than Mozart.... One is serene, the
     other serious.... The first is stronger than destiny, because he
     takes life less profoundly; the second is less strong, because
     he has dared to measure himself against deeper sorrows.... In
     Mozart the balance of the whole is perfect, and art triumphs; in
     Beethoven feeling governs everything and emotion troubles his art
     in proportion as it deepens it.

Now we know that Mozart's attitude toward patrons was sweetly
deferential and graceful, whereas Beethoven rushed into the courtyard
of his patron Prince Lobkowitz, shouting, "Lobkowitz donkey! Lobkowitz
donkey!!" and when, in the company of Goethe, he once met an archduke,
though Goethe made a profound bow with bared head, Beethoven reached
up, jammed his hat down tighter upon his head, and, rigidly erect,
stalked by without recognition of rank. These actions of Beethoven are
emotionally tempestuous. We have our choice of interpreting them as
resulting from his personality or of determining his personality as
revealed by the deeds. In general it is better to view deeds and events
in the light of personality.

_c._ _Relation to Society and Times_

Events happen to more than the hero alone; he is a member of society.
It is necessary, therefore, to link the events of his life to the
current of his times, to fit him into the background against which his
life was played. How was he affected, what influence did he exert, what
offices or positions of trust did he hold? Often, of course, estimate
of the personality will be considerably determined by his relations
with his contemporaries. You need to bear two cautions in mind: first,
not to misjudge a man because moral or social standards have shifted
since his times; and second, not to introduce so much matter about
his relationships as to obscure the outlines of his personality or as
to relegate him to less than the chief position. Imaginative sympathy
will be sufficient to prevent the first. If you really look through
your hero's eyes at the life that he saw, with his standards in mind,
though you may have to condemn his attitude from a more modern point of
view, you will be able to see that his deeds are quite comprehensible,
that perhaps, had you been in his place, you would have acted likewise.
We no longer decorate important bridges with the heads of criminals
set on pikes, as our ancestors did, nor do we burn supposed witches.
But though we condemn Edward the First of England for the one and the
Salem Puritans for the other, we can still love both Edward and the
Puritans--if we have imaginative sympathy. The second caution requires
simply that you make your hero dominate the scene. Now this is not an
easy task when you are reviewing, in many pages, the gorgeous pageant
of an age. We can easily imagine that if Parr had written the Life
of Johnson which he said would have been so much superior to that by
Boswell, and had included the threatened "view of the literature of
Europe," the poor old hero would have been roughly jostled away behind
the furniture. Mr. Barrett Wendell paid Carlyle a tribute of the highest
kind in writing of his _Frederick the Great_:

     Such a mass of living facts--for somehow Carlyle never lets
     a fact lack life--I had never seen flung together before; and yet
     the one chief impression I brought away from the book was that to
     a degree rare in even small ones it possessed as a whole the great
     trait of unity. In one's memory, each fact by and by fell into its
     own place; the chief ones stood out; the lesser sank back into a
     confused but not inextricable mass of throbbing vitality. And from
     it all emerged more and more clearly the one central figure who
     gave his name to the whole--Frederick of Prussia. It was as they
     bore on him from all quarters of time and space, and as he reacted
     on them far and wide, that all these events and all these people
     were brought back out of their dusty graves to live again.[98]

  [98] Barrett Wendell: _English Composition_. By courtesy of the
       publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York City. Copyright,

Make your hero stand near the footlights, then, and take care that he be
not in the shadows of the wings.

_d._ _Rhetorical Value of Events_

From a purely rhetorical point of view the inclusion of the events in
the hero's life is important because it offers a useful structural
scheme for the writing, the chronological order. The exact succession
of events need not be followed, surely; sometimes the intended effect
will demand a reversal of actual order, but the relation in time
will be found valuable for showing the growth of personality, of
intellectual grasp, of influence upon the world. Do not, then, neglect
the active life of your hero. By presenting it you will find the task
of composition lightened, you will help to establish the personality,
and you will give to the writing the dramatic vitality that is so much
desired by the reader.

The Problem of Telling the Truth

However imaginatively sympathetic you may be in interpreting your hero,
however carefully you may try to find his life-problem, and however
well you may attempt to define and analyze his personality, you will be
confronted with one almost insuperable problem--how to tell the truth.
In no form of exposition is this problem more difficult. For we are
more moved by human personality than by anything else, more "drawn to"
a person than to a machine, more affected by the comparatively parallel
problem of another human being than by the inanimate existence of wood
and steel. Long observation and study of our heroes seems often to make
us even less fitted to estimate their worth, for we reach the state of
companionship with them where we resent any fact that does not tally
with our formed judgment, and are tempted to exclude it. Mr. Gamaliel
Bradford divides biographers into "those who think they are impartial
and those who know they are not." Partiality operates, of course, both
for and against personalities. To quote Mr. Bradford again, "Gardiner,
for all his fairness, obviously praises the Puritans because they were
Puritans, the Cavaliers although they were Cavaliers." Adulation and
damnation are the logical extremes which result from a too operative
blind spot on the retina of judgment. You must remember and cling to the
fact that no man is perfect and no man wholly bad. Much as Boswell loved
Johnson he had the good sense to write, of his biography, "And he will
be seen as he really was, for I profess to write, not his panegyric,
which must be all praise, but his Life; which, great and good as he was,
must not be supposed to be entirely perfect." George Washington has
terribly suffered in the estimates of later times because of the desire
to make him perfect. The true expository biographer will conceal nothing
that is significant, whether he wishes, in spite of himself, perhaps,
that it did not exist.

The best cure for the errors of falsity from over-love or
over-condemnation is still sane imaginative sympathy. Stevenson made
perhaps the greatest personal triumph in his portraiture when he drew
Weir of Hermiston, the dour old "hanging judge" who so outraged by his
life all the author's feelings and is yet so presented that the reader
loves him despite his inhumanity, really perceives that an honest,
even if tough, heart beat in his breast. Another safeguard is absence
of desire to make rhetorical effect. An aureole is picturesque, horns
and hoofs add piquancy; the hand itches to deck the hero as saint
or to fit him out as devil. But you must subordinate any such cheap
desire, must write with the restraint that comes from seeing your hero
steady and seeing him whole. Balance is the golden word. "This thing
is true," wrote Emerson, "but that is also true." The vulgarity of the
superlatives of political campaigns has no place in your pages.

This imaginatively sympathetic attitude must not rely on itself alone,
but must employ the other safeguard against untruth, must passionately
pursue facts, and facts, and still facts to make the conception of the
hero complete and to give the writing that so much desired quality of
fullness. The very greatest care is necessary to determine what facts
are true and what are fallacious. You are largely at the mercy of your
second or third or tenth-hand sources when you write of historical
characters. When your hero is a living person you must challenge the
report of your own senses and general experience lest you admit what is
false or omit what is significant.

The Danger of Making a "Lesson"

And when you have assembled all your facts, and have determined upon
your interpretation of the hero, take the greatest caution that you
do not try to make the life a "lesson." Presumably a child never more
earnestly desires to commit murder than when some little Willie or Susie
has been held up as a model. If Willie and Susie escape with only kicked
shins, they may count luck benevolent. Your duty is to understand and
love, not to preach about the character. You are to give us an estimate
of the great adventure of this person through life, and leave to us to
make the moral, if any is to be made. If the life has a message, the
reader will catch it; if it has not, silence is virtuous.

The Rhetorical Form

Finally, the rhetorical problem of forming your material presents
itself. First of all do not forget that all the charms of style
of which you are capable should be summoned to your aid. Since you
deal with the fascinating subject of human personality your writing
should not be dull. All too many biographical essays begin stupidly.
When a first sentence reads, "Augustine was born at Tagaste, near
Carthage (about forty miles south of it), North Africa, November 13,
A.D. 354, seven years after the birth of Chrysostom," a reader
hardly finds a warmly inviting gleam in the writer's eye; he continues
to read only if he brought determination with him. But when Mr. Charles
Whibley begins, of Captain Hind, "James Hind, the Master Thief of
England, the fearless Captain of the Highway, was born at Chipping
Norton in 1618"; or of Haggart, "David Haggart was born at Canonmills,
with no richer birthright than thievish fingers and a left hand of
surpassing activity"; or of Sir Thomas Overbury, "Thomas Overbury, whose
haggard ghost still walks in the secret places of the Tower, was born a
squire's son, in 1581,"--when he uses such sentences to introduce the
hero to the reader, the ejaculatory "Eh?" takes voice and the reader
canters down the new delightful lane where a finger beckons. Whether you
use anecdote, or quotation, or important fact, or statement of birth, or
description, let your beginning invite and not dismay.

The chief structural problem is, without doubt, to fuse the analyzed
elements of deeds and friends and interests and others into one organic
whole. If you use the chronological sequence of events, which has
already been discussed, showing how each event or group of events
indicates the character, you will have an easily followed plan. Such
a plan, or that of treating the whole life from the point of view of
the central, controlling motive, is the ideal method. If you choose to
unify the whole by showing how events, friends, interests of various
kinds, and the other manifestations of the hero's life all establish
the central motive, you will have a more difficult, though more elastic
form. With this plan you can distribute the details in the points
where they will be of most value, can, for example, indicate a change
in the hero's nature by approaching through an event, a friendship, a
turning of tastes in reading or in general interests. The difficulty
here lies in the tendency toward such dispersion of details as to
destroy unity even though to gain this is the chief intention. In the
face of this difficulty you may use a third method, which is likely
to be less pleasing, less artistic, but more easily applied. You can
divide your material under the headings "events," "friends," "heredity,"
"interests," and then can treat each group, by itself, from the central
point of view. This is a useful method, and in complicated lives it is
sometimes the only method that is reasonably easy to handle. Closely
similar to this method is that of dividing your material under the
headings of the ways in which your hero affected his times, the ways in
which he was known. Thus you might treat of the reputation as converser,
as organizer, as literary man, as public servant, as friend of the poor,
or whatever heading your hero's life affords.

Whatever method you may employ, you should remember that a human life
does not appear in separate, distinct phases, that a man does not seem
to be now this, now that, but rather all details, of whatever nature,
mingle and fuse into a unit, however complicated it may be. You should
attempt, then, to make one main thread, of however many colors it may
be woven, rather than a series of parallel threads. Note how Thackeray
neatly unites various phases and forms of interest in Goldsmith's
life,[99] so neatly that as you casually read you are not aware of the
diversity of material--though it is there--but think rather of the total

  [99] At the end of the chapter.

If, then, you assume the attitude of imaginative sympathy, and study
your hero until you know what his particular life-problem was, what
his type and what his individuality, and with love and yet restraint
make your estimate, aiming at truth to character and to facts of his
life, you will produce writing that will be more than a mere scholar's
document, writing that will warm the heart of your reader to a new
personality and will be a friend of a winter evening fireside.


  [100] William Makepeace Thackeray: _The English Humorists of the
        Eighteenth Century_. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston,

    "Jeté sur cette boule,
    Laid, chétif et souffrant;
    Étouffé, dans la foule,
    Faute d'être assez grand;

    "Une plainte touchante
    De ma bouche sortit.
    Le bon Dieu me dit: Chante,
    Chante, pauvre petit.

    "Chanter, ou je m'abuse,
    Est ma tâche ici-bas.
    Tous ceux qu'ainsi j'amuse,
    Ne m'aimeront-ils pas?"

In these charming lines of Béranger,[101] one may fancy described the
career, the suffering, the genius, the gentle nature of Goldsmith, and
the esteem in which we hold him. Who of the millions whom he has amused
doesn't love him? To be the most beloved of English writers, what a
title that is for a man! A wild youth, wayward, but full of tenderness
and affection, quits the country village where his boyhood has been
passed in happy musing, in idle shelter, in fond longing to see the
great world out of doors, and achieve fame and fortune; and after years
of dire struggle and neglect and poverty, his heart turning back as
fondly to his native place as it had longed eagerly for change when
sheltered there, he writes a book and a poem, full of the recollections
and feelings of home; he paints the friends and scenes of his youth,
and peoples Auburn and Wakefield with remembrances of Lissoy. Wander he
must, but he carries away a home-relic with him, and dies with it on
his breast. His nature is truant; in repose it longs for change,--as
on the journey it looks back for friends and quiet. He passes to-day
in building an air-castle for to-morrow, or in writing yesterday's
elegy; and he would fly away this hour, but that a cage and necessity
keep him. What is the charm of his verse, of his style and humor?--his
sweet regrets, his delicate compassion, his soft smile, his tremulous
sympathy, the weakness which he owns? Your love for him is half pity.
You come hot and tired from the day's battle, and this sweet minstrel
sings to you. Who could harm the kind vagrant harper? Whom did he ever
hurt? He carries no weapon save the harp on which he plays to you and
with which he delights great and humble, young and old, the captains
in the tents or the soldiers round the fire, or the women and children
in the villages, at whose porches he stops and sings his simple songs
of love and beauty. With that sweet story of "The Vicar of Wakefield"
he has found entry into every castle and hamlet in Europe. Not one of
us, however busy or hard, but once or twice in our lives has passed an
evening with him, and undergone the charm of his delightful music.

  [101] For translation, see page 296.

Goldsmith's father was no doubt the good Doctor Primrose, whom we all
of us know. Swift was yet alive, when the little Oliver was born at
Pallas, or Pallasmore, in the county of Longford, in Ireland. In 1730,
two years after the child's birth, Charles Goldsmith removed his family
to Lissoy, in the county Westmeath, that sweet "Auburn" which every
person who hears me has seen in fancy. Here the kind parson brought up
his eight children; and loving all the world, as his son says, fancied
all the world loved him. He had a crowd of poor dependants besides those
hungry children. He kept an open table, round which sat flatterers and
poor friends, who laughed at the honest rector's many jokes, and ate the
produce of his seventy acres of farm. Those who have seen an Irish house
in the present day can fancy that one at Lissoy. The old beggar still
has his allotted corner by the kitchen turf; the maimed old soldier
still gets his potatoes and buttermilk; the poor cottier still asks his
honor's charity and prays God bless his reverence for the sixpence; the
ragged pensioner still takes his place by right of sufferance. There's
still a crowd in the kitchen, and a crowd round the parlor table;
profusion, confusion, kindness, poverty. If an Irishman comes to London
to make his fortune, he has a half-dozen of Irish dependants who take a
percentage of his earnings. The good Charles Goldsmith left but little
provision for his hungry race when death summoned him; and one of his
daughters being engaged to a Squire of rather superior dignity, Charles
Goldsmith impoverished the rest of his family to provide the girl with a

The small-pox, which scourged all Europe at that time, and ravaged
the roses off the cheeks of half the world, fell foul of poor little
Oliver's face when the child was eight years old, and left him scarred
and disfigured for his life. An old woman in his father's village
taught him his letters, and pronounced him a dunce. Paddy Byrne, the
hedge-schoolmaster, then took him in hand; and from Paddy Byrne he was
transmitted to a clergyman at Elphin. When a child was sent to school,
in those days, the classic phrase was that he was placed under Mr.
So-and-So's _ferule_. Poor little ancestors! it is hard to think how
ruthlessly you were birched, and how much of needless whipping and
tears our small forefathers had to undergo! A relative--kind Uncle
Contarine--took the main charge of little Noll; who went through his
school-days righteously doing as little work as he could, robbing
orchards, playing at ball, and making his pocket-money fly about
whenever fortune sent it to him. Everybody knows the story of that
famous "Mistake of a Night," when the young schoolboy, provided with a
guinea and a nag, rode up to the "best house" in Ardagh, called for the
landlord's company over a bottle of wine at supper, and for a hot cake
for breakfast in the morning,--and found, when he asked for the bill,
that the best house was Squire Featherstone's, and not the inn for which
he mistook it. Who does not know every story about Goldsmith? That is
a delightful and fantastic picture of the child dancing and capering
about in the kitchen at home, when the old fiddler gibed at him for his
ugliness, and called him Æsop; and little Noll made his repartee of:--

    "Heralds proclaim aloud this saying:
    See Æsop dancing and his monkey playing."

One can fancy a queer, pitiful look of humor and appeal upon that little
scarred face, the funny little dancing figure, the funny little brogue.
In his life and writings, which are the honest expression of it, he is
constantly bewailing that homely face and person; anon he surveys them
in the glass ruefully, and presently assumes the most comical dignity.
He likes to deck out his little person in splendor and fine colors. He
presented himself to be examined for ordination in a pair of scarlet
breeches, and said honestly that he did not like to go into the Church
because he was fond of colored clothes. When he tried to practise as a
doctor, he got by hook or by crook a black velvet suit, and looked as
big and as grand as he could, and kept his hat over a patch on the old
coat. In better days he bloomed out in plum-color, in blue silk, and in
new velvet. For some of those splendors the heirs and assignees of Mr.
Filby, the tailor, have never been paid to this day; perhaps the kind
tailor and his creditor have met and settled their little account in

They showed until lately a window at Trinity College, Dublin, on which
the name of _O. Goldsmith_ was engraved with a diamond. Whose diamond
was it? Not the young sizar's, who made but a poor figure in that place
of learning. He was idle, penniless, and fond of pleasure; he learned
his way early to the pawn-broker's shop. He wrote ballads, they say, for
the street-singers, who paid him a crown for his poem; and his pleasure
was to steal out at night and hear the verses sung. He was chastised by
his tutor for giving a dance in his rooms, and took the box on the ear
so much to heart that he packed up his all, pawned his books and little
property, and disappeared from college and family. He said he intended
to go to America; but when his money was spent, the young prodigal came
home ruefully, and the good folks there killed their calf (it was but a
lean one) and welcomed him back.

After college he hung about his mother's house, and lived for some years
the life of a buckeen,--passed a month with this relation and that, a
year with one patron, and a great deal of time at the public-house.
Tired of this life, it was resolved that he should go to London, and
study at the Temple; but he got no farther on the road to London and the
woolsack than Dublin, where he gambled away the fifty pounds given him
for his outfit, and whence he returned to the indefatigable forgiveness
of home. Then he determined to be a doctor, and Uncle Contarine helped
him to a couple of years at Edinburgh. Then from Edinburgh he felt that
he ought to hear the famous professors of Leyden and Paris, and wrote
most amusing pompous letters to his uncle about the great Farheim, Du
Petit, and Duhamel du Monceau, whose lectures he proposed to follow. If
Uncle Contarine believed those letters; if Oliver's mother believed that
story which the youth related, of his going to Cork with the purpose
of embarking for America, of his having paid his passenger money and
having sent his kit on board, of the anonymous captain sailing away with
Oliver's valuable luggage in a nameless ship, never to return,--if Uncle
Contarine and the mother at Ballymahon believed his stories, they must
have been a very simple pair, as it was a very simple rogue indeed who
cheated them. When the lad, after failing in his clerical examinations,
after failing in his plan for studying the law, took leave of these
projects and of his parents and set out for Edinburgh, he saw mother and
uncle, and lazy Ballymahon, and green native turf and sparkling river
for the last time. He was never to look on Old Ireland more, and only in
fancy revisit her.

    "But me not destined such delights to share,
    My prime of life in wandering spent and care,
    Impelled, with steps unceasing, to pursue
    Some fleeting good that mocks me with the view
    That like the circle bounding earth and skies
    Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies;
    My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
    And find no spot of all the world my own."

I spoke in a former lecture of that high courage which enabled Fielding,
in spite of disease, remorse, and poverty, always to retain a cheerful
spirit and to keep his manly benevolence and love of truth intact,--as
if these treasures had been confided to him for the public benefit,
and he was accountable to posterity for their honorable employ; and a
constancy equally happy and admirable I think was shown by Goldsmith,
whose sweet and friendly nature bloomed kindly always in the midst of a
life's storm and rain and bitter weather. The poor fellow was never so
friendless but he could befriend some one; never so pinched and wretched
but he could give of his crust, and speak his word of compassion. If
he had but his flute left, he could give that, and make the children
happy in the dreary London court. He could give the coals in that
queer coal-scuttle we read of to his neighbor; he could give away his
blankets in college to the poor widow, and warm himself as he best might
in the feathers; he could pawn his coat, to save his landlord from jail.
When he was a school-usher he spent his earnings in treats for the boys,
and the good-natured schoolmaster's wife said justly that she ought to
keep Mr. Goldsmith's money as well as the young gentlemen's. When he
met his pupils in later life, nothing would satisfy the Doctor but he
must treat them still. "Have you seen the print of me after Sir Joshua
Reynolds?" he asked of one of his old pupils. "Not seen it! Not bought
it! Sure, Jack, if your picture had been published, I'd not have been
without it half-an-hour." His purse and his heart were everybody's,
and his friend's as much as his own. When he was at the height of his
reputation, and the Earl of Northumberland, going as Lord Lieutenant
to Ireland, asked if he could be of any service to Doctor Goldsmith,
Goldsmith recommended his brother and not himself to the great man.
"My patrons," he gallantly said, "are the booksellers, and I want no
others." Hard patrons they were, and hard work he did; but he did not
complain much. If in his early writings some bitter words escaped him,
some allusions to neglect and poverty, he withdrew these expressions
when his Works were republished, and better days seemed to open for
him; and he did not dare to complain that printer and publisher had
overlooked his merit or left him poor. The Court's face was turned
from honest Oliver; the Court patronized Beattie. The fashion did not
shine on him; fashion adored Sterne; fashion pronounced Kelly to be
the great writer of comedy of his day. A little--not ill-humor--but
plaintiveness--a little betrayal of wounded pride which he showed
renders him not the less amiable. The author of the _Vicar of Wakefield_
had a right to protest when Newbery kept back the manuscript for two
years; had a right to be a little peevish with Sterne,--a little angry
when Colman's actors declined their parts in his delightful comedy, when
the manager refused to have a scene painted for it and pronounced its
damnation before hearing. He had not the great public with him; but he
had the noble Johnson and the admirable Reynolds and the great Gibbon
and the great Burke and the great Fox,--friends and admirers illustrious
indeed, as famous as those who, fifty years before, sat round Pope's

Nobody knows, and I dare say Goldsmith's buoyant temper kept no account
of, all the pains which he endured during the early period of his
literary career. Should any man of letters in our day have to bear up
against such, Heaven grant he may come out of the period of misfortune
with such a pure, kind heart as that which Goldsmith obstinately bore in
his breast! The insults to which he had to submit were shocking to read
of,--slander, contumely, vulgar satire, brutal malignity, perverting
his commonest motives and actions. He had his share of these; and
one's anger is roused at reading of them, as it is at seeing a woman
insulted or a child assaulted, at the notion that a creature so very
gentle and weak, and full of love, should have to suffer so. And he
had worse than insult to undergo,--to own to fault, and deprecate the
anger of ruffians. There is a letter of his extant to one Griffiths, a
bookseller, in which poor Goldsmith is forced to confess that certain
books sent by Griffiths are in the hands of a friend from whom Goldsmith
had been forced to borrow money. "He was wild, sir," Johnson said,
speaking of Goldsmith to Boswell, with his great, wise benevolence and
noble mercifulness of heart,--"Dr. Goldsmith was wild, sir; but he is no
more." Ah! if we pity the good and weak man who suffers undeservedly,
let us deal very gently with him from whom misery extorts not only tears
but shame; let us think humbly and charitably of the human nature that
suffers so sadly and falls so low. Whose turn may it be to-morrow? What
weak heart, confident before trial, may not succumb under temptation
invincible? Cover the good man who has been vanquished,--cover his face
and pass on.

For the last half-dozen years of his life Goldsmith was far removed from
the pressure of any ignoble necessity, and in the receipt, indeed, of
a pretty large income from the booksellers, his patrons. Had he lived
but a few years more, his public fame would have been as great as his
private reputation, and he might have enjoyed alive part of that esteem
which his country has ever since paid to the vivid and versatile genius
who has touched on almost every subject of literature, and touched
nothing that he did not adorn. Except in rare instances, a man is
known in our profession and esteemed as a skilful workman years before
the lucky hit which trebles his usual gains, and stamps him a popular
author. In the strength of his age and the dawn of his reputation,
having for backers and friends the most illustrious literary men of
his time, fame and prosperity might have been in store for Goldsmith
had fate so willed it, and at forty-six had not sudden disease taken
him off. I say prosperity rather than competence; for it is probable
that no sum could have put order into his affairs, or sufficed for his
irreclaimable habits of dissipation. It must be remembered that he owed
£2000 when he died. "Was ever poet," Johnson asked, "so trusted before?"
As has been the case with many another good fellow of his nation, his
life was tracked and his substance wasted by crowds of hungry beggars
and lazy dependents. If they came at a lucky time (and be sure they
knew his affairs better than he did himself, and watched his pay-day),
he gave them of his money; if they begged on empty-purse day, he gave
them his promissory bills, or he treated them to a tavern where he had
credit, or he obliged them with an order upon honest Mr. Filby for
coats,--for which he paid as long as he could earn, and until the shears
of Filby were to cut for him no more. Staggering under a load of debt
and labor; tracked by bailiffs and reproachful creditors; running from a
hundred poor dependents, whose appealing looks were perhaps the hardest
of all pains for him to bear; devising fevered plans for the morrow, new
histories, new comedies, all sorts of new literary schemes; flying from
all these into seclusion, and out of seclusion into pleasure,--at last,
at five-and-forty death seized him and closed his career.

       *       *       *       *       *

The younger Colman has left a touching reminiscence of him:

"I was only five years old," he says, "when Goldsmith took me on his
knee one evening whilst he was drinking coffee with my father, and began
to play with me,--which amiable act I returned, with the ingratitude of
a peevish brat, by giving him a very smart slap on the face: it must
have been a tingler, for it left the marks of my spiteful paw on his
check. This infantile outrage was followed by summary justice, and I
was locked up by my indignant father in an adjoining room to undergo
solitary imprisonment in the dark. Here I began to howl and scream most
abominably, which was no bad step toward my liberation, since those who
were not inclined to pity me might be likely to set me free for the
purpose of abating a nuisance.

"At length a generous friend appeared to extricate me from jeopardy;
and that generous friend was no other than the man I had so wantonly
molested by assault and battery. It was the tender-hearted Doctor
himself, with a lighted candle in his hand and a smile upon his
countenance, which was still partially red from the effects of my
petulance. I sulked and sobbed as he fondled and soothed, till I began
to brighten. Goldsmith seized the propitious moment of returning
good-humor, when he put down the candle and began to conjure. He placed
three hats, which happened to be in the room, and a shilling under each:
the shillings, he told me, were England, France, and Spain. 'Hey, presto
cockalorum!' cried the Doctor; and lo, on uncovering the shillings,
which had been dispersed each beneath a separate hat, they were all
found congregated under one! I was no politician at five years old, and
therefore might not have wondered at the sudden revolution which brought
England, France, and Spain all under one crown; but as also I was no
conjuror, it amazed me beyond measure.... From that time, whenever the
Doctor came to visit my father, 'I plucked his gown to share the good
man's smile; a game at romps constantly ensued, and we were always
cordial friends and merry playfellows. Our unequal companionship varied
somewhat as to sports as I grew older; but it did not last long: my
senior playmate died in his forty-fifth year, when I had attained my
eleventh.... In all the numerous accounts of his virtues and foibles,
his genius and absurdities, his knowledge of nature and ignorance of the
world, his 'compassion for another's woes' was always predominant; and
my trivial story of his humoring a forward child weighs but as a feather
in the recorded scale of his benevolence."

Think of him reckless, thriftless, vain, if you like,--but merciful,
gentle, generous, full of love and pity. He passes out of our life,
and goes to render his account beyond it. Think of the poor pensioners
weeping at his grave; think of the noble spirits that admired and
deplored him; think of the righteous pen that wrote his epitaph, and of
the wonderful and unanimous response of affection with which the world
has paid back the love he gave it. His humor delighting us still, his
song fresh and beautiful as when he first charmed with it, his words
in all our mouths, his very weaknesses beloved and familiar,--his
benevolent spirit seems still to smile upon us, to do gentle kindnesses,
to succor with sweet charity; to soothe, caress, and forgive; to plead
with the fortunate for the unhappy and the poor.


    I. List the chief qualities that you find in some historic figure,
       such as Oliver Cromwell, Louis XIV, Alexander Hamilton. Then make
       a chronological list of the dates in the life. Compare the two
       lists and determine how many members of the second list need to
       be included to make an expository account intelligible. Do you
       find other members which, though not really necessary, are so
       interesting as to be worth including? Can you establish any
       final general law about the relation of dates and qualities?
       Make the same experiment upon the life of some one of your

   II. What was the character of Michael Henchard, the chief figure in
       Thomas Hardy's novel _The Mayor of Casterbridge_, that enabled
       him to write the following as his epitaph? On the basis of the
       epitaph write a life of Michael Henchard.

          _Michael Henchard's Will_

          That Elizabeth--Jane Farfrae be not told of my death, or made
          to grieve on account of me.
          & that I be not bury'd in consecrated ground.
          & that no sexton be asked to toll the bell.
          & that nobody is wished to see my dead body.
          & that no murners walk behind me at my funeral.
          & that no flours be planted on my grave.
          & that no man remember me.
          To this I put my name.

                                                       Michael Henchard.

  III. Write an obituary notice of an acquaintance of yours; of the
       political "boss" of your town, county, state; of Abraham Lincoln;
       of Ulysses S. Grant before he awoke to his opportunities, in the
       Civil War, and another of him at the time of his death; of
       Theodore Roosevelt before he formed the Progressive Party and
       another of him after the election of 1916. Try in each case to
       give the reader a knowledge of the character and of the events in
       the life.

   IV. How much basis have you for making an estimate of the people of
       whom the following were said, if you limit your knowledge to the

        1. "To know her was a liberal education."

        2. "He was the homeliest man that came up before Troy."

        3. "No man ever came out of his presence without being braver
           than when he went in."

        4. "He never said a stupid thing and never did a wise one."

        5. "He was a very perfect gentle knight."

        6. "I never knew him to do a mean act."

       What conclusion do you draw as to the usefulness of general
       remarks about character?

    V. What relation do you find between personality and character? On
       which can you more surely depend for making a just estimate?
       Which do contemporaries of a subject for biography usually

   VI. Explain how the mistake was possible by which Daniel Webster's
       celebrated _Seventh of March Speech_ was interpreted at the time
       of delivery as a betrayal of Webster's principles, although later
       it was regarded as a speech of real integrity.

  VII. Explain how a man like Thomas Jefferson can be regarded by many
       as a great statesman and by others, such as Mrs. Gertrude
       Atherton for example, as a disgustingly vulgar person, almost a
       rascal. What light does your explanation throw upon the duties
       and dangers of writing biography?

 VIII. What light do the following remarks throw upon the speakers? How
       much justification would you feel in using the remarks as basis
       for biographical estimate?

        1. "I would rather be right than President!"

        2. "The state? I am the state!"

        3. "The public be damned!"

        4. "If they appoint me street scavenger I will so dignify the
           office by dutiful service that every one will clamor for it."

        5. "Gentlemen, I am an unconscionable time a-dying."

        6. "When you find something that you are afraid to do, do it at

        7. "I never asked a favor of any man."

        8. "We haven't begun to fight!"

   IX. Make the outline for an expository biography of one of the large
       figures of history, including the important events and showing
       the relations with contemporaries and the effect upon them. Then
       make a similar outline for the biography of some comparatively
       humble person of whom you know who has affected a more restricted
       group of contemporaries. Compare the two with a view to making
       this statement: As the great man was to his large group, so the
       lesser man was to his smaller group. What light does this shed on
       the individual life without regard to station in society?

    X. Write a life of Napoleon from the point of view of Wellington, of
       Prince Metternich, of Louis Philippe; a life of Robert Burns from
       the point of view of a country parson, of François Villon
       (supposing that Villon knew Burns), of William Shakespeare; a
       life of Michael Angelo from the point of view of an art student,
       of a humble worshiper in St. Peter's; a life of Richard Croker
       from the point of view of a ward boss, of a widow who has
       received coal for years from Tammany Hall, of an old-time
       gentleman in New York City; a life of Andrew Carnegie from the
       point of view of a laborer in the steel mills, of a spinster
       librarian in a small quiet town, of a college senior who is a
       member of the I.W.W., of a holder of shares in the steel trust;
       a life of Edison from the point of view of an artist who prefers
       candles to electricity, of a farmer's wife who no longer has to
       clean a multitude of lamps; a life of Jane Addams from the point
       of view of a political gangster, of a poor Italian woman whom
       Miss Addams has befriended, of a college girl who has a vision of
       woman's larger usefulness.

   XI. Write the life of a man who has just been elected to some office
       of prominence, such as a seat in the state senate or perhaps to
       the national house of representatives, and who is expected
       by all his friends and acquaintances to make a brilliant record.
       Then write another of the same man who has ignominiously failed
       to meet expectations and who has come back to his home town with
       a ruined reputation. Try to take the point of view of a person
       who does not know that the career is to fail, and then see how
       you will modify the whole account in the second life.

  XII. What is the central motive in Goldsmith's life as found by
       Thackeray? How does he bring out his conception of Goldsmith?
       Make an outline of the article in which you will list the
       various events in Goldsmith's life. Make another outline to
       show wherein the character and quality of the man are shown.
       Is enough given in each case to make sufficient knowledge on
       the reader's part? Do you think that Thackeray overemphasizes
       the sentimental appeal of Goldsmith's weaknesses and his mellow
       kindness? Do you find any element of information about the
       man conspicuously lacking, as, for instance, a statement of
       Goldsmith's friendships, his effect upon his times, or his
       beliefs? Is there any lack of imaginative sympathy on the part of
       Thackeray? Suppose that an efficient business man had written the
       article, would Goldsmith's lack of responsibility have escaped so
       easily? In the light of your answer to the preceding question do
       you think that the article is really fair?

_Translation of Béranger's poem_ (page 285)

Cast upon this ball, plain, insignificant and suffering; choked in the
crowd, through not being tall enough; my lips utter a piteous complaint.
God says to me, "Sing, child, sing." To sing, or I mistake, is my task
here below. Will not all those whom I thus amuse love me?



Two main sources exist from which you can get the material for
expository themes: books, including magazines and papers; and lectures
or interviews of any kind. Libraries differ greatly in the degree of
convenience, and some lecturers are much more readily intelligible than
others, and their lectures much more easily codified in notes. Even
the most conveniently arranged library, with the most accommodating
librarian, is rather formidable unless one knows the method of approach.
And until one has thought out the problem of taking notes from lectures,
even the most intelligible speaker presents great difficulties. Perhaps
a few words here will be of some use in unriddling the mysteries.

First of all a word needs to be said about the greatest slavery of
modern times--slavery to the printed word. "I read it in a book!"
is still for many people sufficient reason for believing anything,
however untrue, illogical, impossible it may be. It is well to remember
that nearly everybody writes books and yet very few of us are wise.
Obviously, not everything can be authoritative, especially when it is
contradicted in the next book. A reader without a good steadying sense
of balance, a shrewd determination to weigh what he reads and judge
of its value for himself is as helpless as a man in a whirlpool. You
need not be too stiff-necked toward a book, need not deny for the mere
sake of denial, but you do need to stand off and regard every book with
reasonable caution. Sometimes you can see for yourself that what is
said is not true. Sometimes you can at once feel that the spirit of the
book is unsafe, wild, unthinking. Sometimes you will detect at once a
blinding prejudice. Then be cautious. If the subject is unknown to you,
so that you have no safe basis for judgment about it, you are, to look
the matter squarely in the face, at the mercy of the book. But shrewd
inquiries as to the author's reputation, his opportunities for knowledge
of the subject, and an ever-watchful eye for reasonableness and good
judgment, will save you from many mistakes. And always remember that the
mere fact of a statement's being in print does not make it more true
than it was when merely oral. Don't, then, believe a printed statement
which you would hotly deny if you heard it from the lips of some one. It
is a matter of intellectual self-respect to read and judge, not to read
and blindly swallow.

Whether you read or listen, you will need to make notes. It would be
delightful if our flattering feeling that we can remember whatever we
read or hear were true--the trouble is, it is not. It is better to play
safe and have the record in notes, than to be too independent and find a
blank in your mind when time to write arrives.

The chief virtue in note-taking is economy. Economy saves time, space,
effort. The three interweave and are inextricable, in the total, but
may be somewhat distinguished. As to time: there is no virtue whatever
in slaving for hours over notes that need only a few minutes. Notes
are tools: their object is temporary, to be of service for composition
or future reference; they are not an object in themselves. Do not
worship them. On the other hand, since dull tools will not cut, don't
slight them. No greater pity can exist than for the pale student who
wrinkles her brow--it usually is _her_ brow--and attempts to make of
notes a complete transcription of a lecture or a book, with each comma
and every letter in proper sequence joined--only to pack the notes
away in a box in the attic--or perhaps burn them! A builder who should
have too meticulous care for his scaffolding is in danger of never
seeing his building completed. Notes seek essentials, and therefore
time should not be wasted on non-essentials. But, since slovenly,
ill-assorted, illegible notes require extraordinary time for deciphering
and arranging, it is of the greatest importance that you conserve
your future minutes by making your notes neat, ordered, legible. Any
abbreviations that you can surely remember are most useful. A complete
sentence--which really has no special need for completeness--that you
cannot read is worthless, but a few words that indicate the gist of
the thought, and are immediately legible, are most valuable. Moreover,
if you take time enough for every word, you are in danger of becoming
so engrossed in penmanship as to lose the broad sweep of the lecture
or book. Notes must drive toward unity and away from chaos. Your first
principle, then, should be to set down neatly what will be of real
service, and let the rest go.

As to space--any one who has made manuscripts from notes has learned
how irritating, how bewildering a huge mass of material can be. Some
subjects require such a mass, and in such a case the note-taker will use
as much space as he needs. But economy, which is the cardinal virtue,
will require as little diffusion, as great concentration as possible. If
you can succeed in including everything of value on one sheet, instead
of scattering it over several, you are to be congratulated. Only, be
sure that you do not neglect something of real value. You can often
save much space and effort and the use of stores of connecting words
and phrases if you will indent and subordinate sub-topics so that the
eye will show the relation at once. Such practice is admirable mental
training, also, for it teaches the listener or reader to keep his brain
detached for seeing relationships, for grasping the parts in relation to
the whole and to each other. If interesting remarks which do not bear
directly upon the main subject attract with sufficient intensity to
make record worth while, set them down in brackets, to indicate their
nature. Remembering, then, that a concentrated barrage is of more value
in attack than scattered fire, use as little space as may suffice for
the essentials. That is the second principle.

As to effort, remember that the old sea-captain whose boat was so leaky
that he declared he had pumped the whole Atlantic through it on one
voyage would have entered port more easily with a better boat. If you
do not take time and pains for grouping and ordering as you make your
notes, be sure that you will have much pumping to do when the article is
to be made. Grouping and ordering require concentration in reading or
listening--but there is no harm in that. You ought to be able to write
one thing and listen to another at the same time. Watch especially for
any indication in a lecture of change in topic. And don't be bothered by
the demands of formal rhetoric: if a complete sentence stands in your
way, set your foot on it and "get the stuff." And, of course, avoid a
feverish desire to set down every word that may be uttered; any one who
has seen the notebooks of students in which reports of lectures begin
with such records as "This morning, in pursuance of our plan, we shall
consider the topic mentioned last time, namely,--etc." become aware of
the enormous waste of energy that college students show. Essentials, set
down in athletic leanness--that is the ideal.

In taking notes from books, people differ greatly. Some use a separate
slip for each note, and much can be said in commendation of this system.
Some are able to heap everything together and then divine where each
topic is. In any case, strive for economy, catch the "high spots,"
and as far as possible keep like with like, notes on the same topic
together. It is always well, often imperative, to jot down the source of
each note, so that you can either verify or later judge of the value in
the light of the worth of the source.

Note-taking, in other words, is a matter of brains and common sense:
brains to see what is important, and sense to see that neatness and
order are essential to true economy, the great virtue of notes.

With the best of intentions, then, you enter the library. Since each
library is arranged on a somewhat individual scheme, and different
collections have different materials, you will need to examine the
individual library. A wise student will inquire at the desk for any
pamphlet that may help to unriddle the special system. Librarians are
benevolent people, do not wish to choke you, and are glad to answer any
reasonable question. If your questions are formless, if you really do
not know what you want, sit down on the steps and think it over until
you do, and then enter boldly and politely ask for information. Don't,
if you wish to learn about ship subsidies, for example, stroll in and
inquire for "Some'n 'bout boats?" The complimentarily implied power
of reading your mind is not especially welcome to even a librarian
who is subject to vanity--and incidentally he may think that you are
irresponsible. Any one who has been connected with a college library
knows that the notorious questions such as "Have you Homer's Eyelid?"
are not uncommon--and seldom bring desired results.

Since you have entered for information, summon all your resourcefulness
to try every possibility before you agree that there is no help for
you there. You can use the Card Catalogue, the Reference Books, the
Indexes, Year-Books and Magazine Guides, and finally, if every other
source fails, can lay your troubles before the librarian--but not until
you have fought bravely. Too many students are faint-hearted: if they
wish for information about, let us say, employers' liability, and do
not at once find a package of information ready-wrapped, they sigh,
and then smile, and then brightly inform the instructor, "The library
hasn't a single word about that subject!" The Card Catalogue does not
list employers' liability, let us say, and you do not know any authors
who have written on the subject. Do not despair; look up _insurance_,
_workmen_, _accidents_, _social legislation_, _government help_, and
other such titles until your brain can think of nothing more. Only then
resort to outside help.

The Card Catalogue will contain a card for each book in the library:
if you know the title, look for it. If you know the author but not the
title, look for the "author card." If you know neither author nor title,
look for the general subject heading. For each book will usually have
the three cards of subject, author, and title. If the subject is a broad
one, such, for example, as _Engineering_, do not set yourself the task
of looking through every card, but, if you wish for a treatise on the
history of engineering, look for the word _History_, in the engineering
cards, and then examine what books may be collected under that heading.
If you find cross references, that is, a recommendation to "see" other
individual cards, or other subject headings, do not overlook the chance
to gain added information.

Most of us too often forget the encyclopædias. If the catalogue has been
exhausted, then see what the encyclopædias may contain. Look in the
volume that contains the index, first, for often a part of an article
will tell you exactly what you wish, but the article as a whole will
not be listed under the subject that you are seeking. The _Encyclopædia
Britannica_, the _New International_, the _Nelson's Loose Leaf_ will
be of service on general topics. For agriculture consult _Bailey's
Encyclopædia_. For religion see the _Encyclopædia of Religion and
Ethics_ (Scribner), the _Jewish Encyclopædia_, the _New Schaff-Herzog
Encyclopædia of Religious Knowledge_ (Funk and Wagnalls), the _Catholic
Encyclopædia_ (Robert Appleton).

For dictionaries you will find the _Murray's New English Dictionary_,
often called the _Oxford Dictionary_, _The Standard Dictionary_, _The
Century_, _Webster's New International_, _Black's Law Dictionary_ and

Often you will wish to find contemporary, immediate material. The
magazines are regularly catalogued in the _Reader's Guide_, month
by month, with a combined quarterly and yearly and then occasional
catalogue, with the articles listed under the subject and the title or
author. Use your resourcefulness here, as you did in the card catalogue,
and do not give up. _Poole's Index_ will also help.

Many annuals are of value. The _World Almanac_ has a bewildering mass
of information, as does the _Eagle Almanac_ for New York City and Long
Island especially. The _Canadian Annual Review_, the _Statesman's
Year-Book_, _Heaton's Annual_ (Canadian), the _New International Year
Book_, which is "a compendium of the world's progress for the year,"
the _Annual Register_ (English), the _Navy League Annual_ (English,
but inclusive), and the _American Year-Book_, among others, will be of
service. Often these books will give you the odd bit of information that
you have hunted for in vain elsewhere. For engineering, the _Engineering
Index_ (monthly and collected) is useful.

For biography you will find Stephen's _Dictionary of National Biography_
useful, and Lamb's _Biographical Dictionary of the United States_.
Do not forget the _Who's Who_, the _Who's Who in America_, and the
corresponding foreign books for brief information about current people
of note.

For what may be called scattered information you can go to the _American
Library Association Index_ to general literature, _The Information
Quarterly_ (Bowker), _The Book Review Digest_ (Wilson), _The United
States Catalog_ (with its annual _Cumulative Book Index_), and the
(annual) _English Catalogue of Books_.

In using a book, employ the Table of Contents and the Index to save
time. For example, you will thus be referred to page 157 for what you
want. If instead you begin to hunt page by page, you will find that
after you have patiently run your eyes back and forth over the first 156
pages, your brain will be less responsive than you would wish when you
finally arrive at page 157. Moreover, there is all that time lost!

Often individual libraries have compiled lists of their own books on
various subjects. If you can find such lists, use them.

In other words, the search for material and the taking of notes is a
matter of strategy: it requires that the seeker use his wits, plan his
campaign, find what is available, and in the briefest time compatible
with thoroughness assimilate whatever of it is of value. Caution and
indefatigable zeal and resourcefulness--these are almost sure to win the


     Amiel's _Journal_, "Mozart and Beethoven", 277-278

     Antin, Mary, _The Promised Land_, "The Making of an American",

     _Atlantic Monthly_, The Contributor's Club, "The Privileges of
     Age", 245-247

     Aumonier, Stacy, "Solemn-Looking Blokes" (_Century Magazine_),

     Bagehot, Walter, _Works_, vol. III, "A Constitutional
     Statesman", 227-229

     Belloc, Hilaire, _First and Last_, "On a Great Wind", 244

     Bradford, Gamaliel, _Confederate Portraits_, "Judah P.
     Benjamin", 264

     Brooke, Rupert, _Collected Poems_, "The Great Lover", 234-235

     Bullard, F. Lauriston, _Famous War Correspondents_, "A
     Definition of the Correspondent", 78

     Burdick, Francis M, _The Essentials of Business Law_--
       "Definition of the Clearing-House", 76
       "Definition of Sale", 105

     Burroughs, John, _Birds and Bees_, "An Idyl of the Honey-Bee",
       Outline of "An Idyl of the Honey-Bee", 64-66
       _Birds and Poets_, "Emerson's Literary Quality", 224
       _Leaf and Tendril_, "A Breath of April", 247-249

     Burton, Richard, _Little Essays in Literature and Life_, "The
     Nature of the Informal Essay", 243-244

     Butler, Samuel, _The Note-Books of Samuel Butler_, "A Group of
     Definitions", 109

     Cannon, J. G, _Clearing-Houses_, "Classification of
     Clearing-Houses", 140

     Carlyle, Thomas, _Essay on Biography_, Selection from, 275-276
       Sartor Resartus, "The Entepfuhl Road", 40

     _Century Magazine_, "The Hydraulic Cartridge", 161-162
       "The Phonopticon", 171-172

     Corbin, John, _An American at Oxford_, "How to Handle a Punt",

     Corbin, T. W, _Engineering of To-day_, "Cargo Steamers", 203-205
       "The Oxygen Blow-Pipe", 161
       "Launching the Neptune", 178-181

     Cram, R. A., _The Heart of Europe_, "Definition of the Heart", 104

     Croly, Herbert, _The Promise of American Life_, "The American
     Business Man", 197-199

     Dilley, Arthur U, _Oriental Rugs_, "A Classification of Rugs",

     Eliot, George, _The Mill on the Floss_, "The Scenery of the
     Rhone", 124-125

     Emerson, Ralph Waldo, _Conduct of Life_, "Fate", 27-28; 36-37
       _Nature, Addresses, and Lectures_, "A Definition of
       Conservative and Innovator", 93-95
       _Society and Solitude_, "Definition of Civilization in
       America", 98-99

     Escott, T. H. S, _Great Victorians_, "Balfour", 271

     Gardiner, A. G., _Prophets, Priests, and Kings_, "Balfour", 148
       "King Edward VII", 148-149
       "Lord Morley", 19
       "Thomas Hardy", 149-150

     Garland, Hamlin, _A Son of the Middle Border_, a sentence from, 45

     Gissing, George, _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_--
       "Apples for Diet", 21-22
       "A Definition of Art", 7
       "A Definition of Poverty", 84-85
       "English Cooking", 210-211
       "Military Drill", 225-226
       "The Sportswoman", 128-129
       "The 'Tempest'", 213-214
       "Vegetarianism", 222-223

     Green, J. R., _Short History of the English People_, "Estimate
     of the Character of Elizabeth", 122-123

     Greenough and Kittredge, _Words and Their Ways in English
     Speech_, "The Process of Radiation", 181-183

     Haweis, Rev. Mr., _Music and Morals_, "The Character of J. R.
     Green", 268-269

     Hawthorne, Nathaniel, _Our Old Home_, "English Weather", 126-128

     Henderson, W. H., _What is Good Music_--
       "Criticism of Musical Performances", 230
       "The Modern Orchestra", 152-153

     Howells, W. D., _A Boy's Town_, "The Difference Between Boys
     and Men", 107

     Hungerford, Edward, _The Personality of American Cities_,
     "Boston", 68-69

     Judy, A. M., _From the Study to the Farm_, "The Farmer's
     Life", 150-151

     Lounsbury, T. R., _English Spelling and Spelling Reform_,
     "Final e", 205-208

     Lucke, C. E., _Power_, "The Mechanical Engineer", 98
       "The Problem of Power Machinery", 137
       "Water Power", 151-152

     Masefield, John, _Gallipoli_, "The Horror of the Fight", 69-70

     Morley, John, _Miscellanies_, vol. I, "The Distinction Between
     the Poetic and the Scientific Spirit", 105-106

     Morman, J. B., _The Principles of Rural Credit_,
     "Amortization", 85-86

     Pollak, Gustav, _Fifty Years of American Idealism_--
       "Jingo Morality", 220-222
       "Lowell at St. James", 193-194
       "Moral Atmosphere", 91-93
       "Responsible Statesman", 87

     Prelini, Charles, _Dredges and Dredging_, "The Operation of
     Dredges", 170

     Royce, Josiah, "Nietzsche" (_Atlantic Monthly_), 131

     Russell, Bertrand, _National Independence and Internationalism_--
         "National Sentiment", 226-227
         "State and Nation", 89-90
       _Why Men Fight_, "Impulse and Desire", 132-135

     Sainte-Beuve, "Definition of a Classic", 91

     _Scientific American_, "The Catskill Water Supply", 185-186

     _Scribner's Magazine_, The Point of View, "The New Poetry", 200-201

     Sedgwick, H. D., _The New American Type_, "Honor", 108

     Shakespeare, William, _King Henry IV_, "Bardolph on
     'Accommodate'", 81-82

     Sharp, Dallas Lore, _The Hills of Hingham_, "The Carpet
     Layer", 173-174

     Shaw, G. B., _Dramatic Opinions and Essays_--
         "The Odds Against Shakespeare", 116-117
       _Sanity of Art_, "Definition of Artist", 103
         "Indispensability of Law", 153-156
         "Passion", 146-147
         "Pattern Designers and Dramatic Composers", 111-112
       _Society and Superior Brains_--
         "Ability that Gives Value for Money", 85
         "Superiority of Status", 109-110

     Slicer, T. R., _From Poet to Premier_, "O. W. Holmes", 272

     Standard Dictionary, Definition of "Correspondent", 78

     Stevenson, R. L., "Pulvis et Umbra", 55-57
       "The sun upon my shoulders", 45

     Talbot, F. A., _The Making of a Great Canadian Railway_--
       "The Stone Boat", 165
       "The Track Layer", 166-168

     Taylor, B. L., _The Line o' Type Column_, "Highbrow," etc., 102

     Thackeray, W. M., _The English Humorists of the Eighteenth
     Century_, "Oliver Goldsmith", 285-294

     Warner, Frances L., "The Amateur Chessman" (From The Point of
     View, _Scribner's Magazine_), 249-252

     Webster's New International Dictionary, Definition of "Art", 6
       A series of definitions, 100-101

     Wendell, Barrett, _English Composition_, "Carlyle's Frederick
     the Great", 279-280

     Weston, E. M., _Rock Drills_, "Hammer Drills", 115-116
       "Tappet Valve Drills", 219-220

     Wister, Owen, _Quack Novels and Democracy_, "The Quack Novel", 88-89


     Ability of the critic to analyze, 192-194.

     Adaptation of treatment to subject, 6.

     Addison, Joseph, 233-236.

     Aids in gaining clearness in Mechanisms, Processes, and
     Organizations, 169-172.

     Aids in gaining interest in Mechanisms, Processes, and
     Organizations, 172-175.

     Aids in solving the problem in Expository Biography, 261-265.

     Amiel, Frederic, 277.

     Amount of expository writing, 2.

     Analysis, 8, 113-143;
       definition of, 113;
       enumeration as one kind of informal analysis, 129;
       equation as one kind of informal analysis, 130;
       formal analysis, 118;
       informal analysis, 129-137;
       kinds of analysis, the two, 115-118;
       kinds of informal analysis, 129-137;
       object of informal analysis, 124;
       the principles of analysis, 138-143;
       relationship as a form of informal analysis, 131;
       statement of a problem as a form of informal analysis, 136;
       statement of significance as a form of informal analysis, 130;
       the two virtues of analysis, 114.

     Analyzing the character in Expository Biography, 270-275.

     Antin, Mary, 189.

     Appreciative method of criticism, 209-215.

     Aumonier, Stacy, 29.

     Bagehot, Walter, 229.

     Balfour, Arthur James, 273.

     Barrie, Sir J. M., 241, 263.

     Beethoven, Ludwig van, 278.

     Belloc, Hilaire, 239, 244.

     Biography, Expository, 257-296;
       aid in solving the problem of, 261-265;
       analyzing the character of the hero, 270-275;
       beliefs of the hero, 273;
       choice of events in hero's life for, 276-277;
       defining the hero's character, 266-270;
       deeds of the hero, 274;
       events in hero's life, use of, 275-280;
       friends of the hero, 274;
       heredity of the hero, 270-272;
       interests of the hero, 272;
       kinds of, 257;
       lesson, danger of making one, 282;
       life problem of the hero, 258-260;
       object of expository biography, 258;
       problem, the chief, of expository biography, 258-261;
       problem of telling the truth, 280-281;
       process of solving the problem, 266-274;
       relation of events to personality, 277-278;
       relation of hero to society and times, 278-280;
       rhetorical form of expository biography, 282-285;
       rhetorical value of events, 280.

     B. L. T., 102.

     Boswell, James, 267, 279, 281.

     Bradford, Gamaliel, 264, 267, 281.

     Breadth of interest in writer of Informal Essays, 233-234.

     Brooke, Rupert, 234.

     Brooks, Sidney, 43.

     Brown, John, 238, 241.

     Browne, Sir Thomas, 262.

     Bullard, F. Lauriston, 78.

     Burdick, Francis M., 76, 105.

     Burroughs, John, 40, 41, 47, 224, 238, 247.

     Burton, Richard, 243.

     Butler, Samuel, 109.

     Byron, Lord, 200, 274.

     Cannon, J. G., 140.

     Carlyle, Thomas, 40, 258, 265, 272, 275, 279.

     Catalogs, use of, 301-302.

     Cause for stupidity in expository writing, 4, 25.

     Cause, method of showing, in definition, 97.

     Cautions about definitions, 80.

     Cavour, 266.

     Centralization, finding the root principle in mechanisms, etc.,

     Chesterton, Gilbert, 240, 241.

     Cicero, 12.

     Classification, 8, 117.

       aids in gaining, 169-172;
       in explaining mechanisms, etc., 157, 162.

     Coleridge, Samuel T., 215.

     Comparison and contrast, method of in defining, 86.

     Controlling purpose:
       definition of, 16;
       emotional reaction to, 26-33;
       practical use of, 39-47;
       proper use of, 33-38;
       source of, 16-26;
       source of in reader's attitude, 22-25;
       source of in subject, 16-18;
       source of in writer's attitude, 18-22;
       stated in one sentence, 37;
       value, relative, of sources for, 25.

     Cooper, James F., 196.

     Corbin, John, 164.

     Corbin, T. W., 161, 181, 205.

     Cowley, 232.

     Cram, Ralph Adams, 104.

     Critic, the:
       ability to analyze, 192-194;
       common sense, 195;
       knowledge of the general field of criticism, 194-195;
       open-mindedness, 195-196.

     Criticism, 190-217;
       ability to analyze, possessed by the critic, 192-194;
       common sense of critic, 195;
       criticism and comment, 91;
       definition of, 190;
       diction in, 216-217;
       knowledge of general field, possessed by critic, 194-195;
         appreciative, 209-215;
         historical, 196-202;
       standards, 202-209;
       open-mindedness of critic, 195-196;
       practical helps for writing, 215-217;
       range of criticism, 191.

     Croly, Herbert, 129, 199.

     Crothers, S. M., 237, 240.

     Da Vinci, Leonardo, 273.

     Deeds of hero in Expository Biography, 274.

     Defining the character of the hero in Expository Biography,

     Definition of analysis, 113;
       of criticism, 190;
       of informal essay, 231.

     Definition: 8, 73-112;
       cautions, general, about, 80;
       definition of, 73;
       differentia and genus, 77;
       difficulty in discovering genus, 74;
       methods of defining:
         of comparison or contrast, 86;
         of division, 90;
         of elimination, 95;
         of illustration, 83;
         of repetition, 93;
         of showing origin, cause, and effect, 97;
       process of definition, 74;
       restricting the genus, 77;
       two classes of, 78.

     Demosthenes, 12.

     De Quincey, 242.

     Dictionaries, use of, 302.

     Dilley, Arthur U., 122.

     Douglas, Stephen A., 274.

     Economy, in note-taking, 298-299.

     Edwards, Jonathan, 27.

     Elimination as a method in definition, 95.

     Eliot, George, 124-125.

     Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1, 27, 93, 95, 98, 224, 271, 282.

     Emotions, the, and the controlling purpose, 26-33.

     Encyclopædias, use of, 302.

     Enumeration as a form of informal analysis, 129.

     Equation as a form of informal analysis, 130.

     Escott, T. H. S., 271.

     Essay. _See_ Informal Essay.

     Events in hero's life for expository biography, 275-280.

       amount of, 2;
       answers questions, 1, 2;
       causes for stupidity in writing exposition, 4, 25;
       emotions and exposition, 27;
       problem, the, in writing, 11;
       success of, 12;
       task of, 9-10;
       truth of, 7.

     Formal analysis, 118.

     Franz, Robert, 276.

     Freeman, Mrs. M. E. W., 199.

     Friends of the hero in expository biography, 274.

     Gardiner, A. G., 19, 148, 149, 150.

     Garland, Hamlin, 45.

     Gissing, George, 7, 21, 84, 103, 128, 209, 214, 223, 226.

     Goethe, Johann, 270.

     Goldsmith, Oliver, 267, 284, 285.

     Gray, 270.

     Green, J. R., 28, 268.

     Greenough and Kittredge, 183.

     Hardy, Thomas, 294.

     Haweis, the Rev. Mr., 268.

     Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 126.

     Hazlitt, 195, 231, 232, 236, 238, 243.

     Henderson, W. H., 153, 230.

     Henry, Patrick, 12.

     Heredity in expository biography, 270-272.

     Historical method of criticism, 196-202.

     Holmes, O. W., 271-272.

     Howells, W. D., 107.

     Humor in the informal essay, 241-242.

     Hungerford, Edward, 69.

     Hunt, Leigh, 238.

     Husband, Joseph, 239.

     Huxley, Thomas, 44.

     Illustration as a method of definition, 83.

     Imaginative sympathy in expository biography, 261-265.

     Informal analysis, 123-138.

     Informal Essay, 231-244;
       breadth of interest in author of, 233-234;
       definition of, 231;
       humor in, 241-242;
       nature as subject for, 238-239;
       not too exhaustive, 242;
       not too serious, 240-242;
       not too rhetorically strict, 242-243;
       people as subjects for, 237-238;
       personal nature, 232-233;
       range of subject, 237;
       things as subjects for, 239-240.

     Interest in writing, 2;
       aids to gain, in mechanisms, processes and organizations,
       of two kinds, 3;
       relation to underlying thought, 8.

     Interpreting and reporting, 5.

     James, William, 4, 44, 266.

     Jefferies, Richard, 239.

     Jewett, Miss S. O., 199.

     Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 81, 233.

     Judicial criticism, here treated as criticism by standards,

     Judy, A. M., 151.

     Labouchere, Henry, 9.

     Lamb, Charles, 6, 26, 232, 235, 242, 262.

     Lamb, Mary, 259.

     Lee, Robert E., 274, 277.

       catalogues of, 301-302;
       dictionaries, 302;
       encyclopædias, 302;
       use of, 301-304.

     Lincoln, Abraham, 2, 16, 87, 269, 270.

     Liszt, Franz, 276.

     Lounsbury, Thomas, 205.

     Lowell, J. R., 271.

     Lucke, C. E., 98, 137, 152.

     Masefield, John, 69, 70, 71.

       ordering of, 41-47;
       selecting of, 39-41.

     Mechanisms, 157-175;
       aids for gaining clearness, 169-172;
       aids for gaining interest, 172-175;
       cautions, 158-159;
       centralization, 159-162;
       expression of root principle in one sentence, 160-161;
       necessity for clearness, 157-158;
       orders to be followed, 164-168.

     Meredith, George, 241.

     Methods, in criticism:
         appreciative, 209-215;
         historical, 196-202;
         standards, 202-209;
       in definition:
         comparison and contrast, 86;
         division, 90;
         elimination, 95;
         illustration, 83;
         origin, cause, and effect, 97;
         repetition, 93.

     Middleton, Richard, 240.

     More, P. E., 115, 123.

     Morley, John, 18, 105-106.

     Morman, J. B., 85.

     Mozart, W. A., 277.

       care in taking, 300;
       economy the chief virtue, 298-299;
       methods of taking, 300;
       space of notes, 299-300.

     Order of Material, 41-47.

     Organizations: 157-162 (general discussion), 168-169;
       aids to clearness, 169-172;
       aids to interest, 172-175.

     Parkman, Francis, 236.

     Parr, 279.

     Partition, 8, 117.

     People as subjects for informal essays, 237-238.

     Pericles, 273.

     Poe, E. A., 12.

     Pollak, Gustav, 86, 93, 194, 222.

     Prelini, Charles, 170.

     Problem, statement of a, in informal analysis, 136.

     Problem of expository biography, 248-261.

     Processes: 157-162 (general discussion), 162-164;
       aids to gaining clearness in, 169-172;
       aids to gaining interest in, 172-175.

     Relation of events to personality in expository biography, 277-278.

     Relation of hero to society and times in expository biography,

     Repetition as a method in definition, 93.

     Reporting vs. interpreting, 5.

     Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 208.

     Rhetorical strictness absent in informal essay, 242-243.

     Rhetorical value of events in expository biography, 280.

     Royce, Josiah, 131.

     Russell, Bertrand, 90, 135, 227.

     Sainte-Beuve, 91.

     Scott, Sir Walter, 200.

     Sedgwick, H. D., 108.

     Selection of material, 39-41.

     Shakespeare, William, 12, 60, 81, 257.

     Sharp, Dallas Lore, 173, 174, 237, 238.

     Shaw, G. B., 85, 102, 110, 112, 117, 146, 147, 156.

     Sidney, Sir Philip, 9.

     Significance, statement of, as form of informal analysis, 130.

     Slavery to printed word, 297.

     Slicer, T. R., 277.

     Smith, Sydney, 241.

     Socrates, 263.

     Sources of the controlling purpose, 16, 26.

     Standards, criticism by, 202-209.

     Steele, Richard, 232.

     Stevenson, R. L., 6, 41, 45, 55, 58, 66, 237, 238, 241, 257, 259,
     260, 263, 271, 274, 281.

     Strategy, the problem of, in writing, 11.

     Sympathy, imaginative, in expository biography, 261-265.

     Taft, Wm. H., 46.

     Talbot, F. A., 165, 168.

     Taylor, Bert Lester, 102.

     Tennyson, Alfred, 26, 274.

     Thackeray, Wm. M., 258, 284.

     Truth, as related to interest, 7-8.

     Unification, 13-14.

     Warner, C. D., 238, 239.

     Warner, Frances L., 249.

     Webster, Daniel, 173.

     Weston, E. M., 116, 220.

     Whibley, Charles, 266, 269, 283.

     Whistler, 212.

     Wilson, Woodrow, 12, 176.

     Wister, Owen, 89.

Transcriber's Note

Obvious typographical errors were repaired, as listed below. Other
apparent inconsistencies or errors have been retained. Missing,
extraneous, or incorrect punctuation has been corrected. Most of the
inconsistent hyphenation has been retained as many appear in quoted

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Text enclosed by equal signs is in bold (=bold=).

Although oe ligatures have been expanded, other diacritical marks are
enclosed by square brackets. For example, [)i] represents a breve over
the letter i, and [=y] represents a macron over the letter y.

Page 87, "wihe" changed to "with". (The value of this method lies in its
liveliness and the ease with which it makes an idea comprehended.)

Page 97, "aboveall" changed to "above all" for consistency. (And above
all, he will never forget the gleam of idealism that he received in the
old halls, the vision of his chance to serve his fellows.)

Page 203, "froward" changed to "forward". (... and my trivial story of
his humoring a forward child weighs but as a feather in the recorded
scale of his benevolence.)

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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.