The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, July 17, 1897, Page 2, Image 2

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worthy record of the real life of the peo
ple. .Tuet why the novel has been given
the place of honor above the drama,
above poetry, above all forms of didactic
writiDg historical or critical not
even the novelists themselves or
the essayists know. Spieibagen says
that the tendency of the age to
wards science is so over-powering, so
threatening to the emotional and spirit
ual that the growth of the novel is a
measure of defence agampt materialism.
Marion Crawford's theory is that the
French Revolution introduced an emo
tional phase in social history, to which
may be attributed many of our tastes
and fashions. With it began the novel
in France, and in England it took a
freeh start and a new form. Sidney
Lanier ascribes the supremacy
of the novel to the development of
-personality or individuality. He thought
that the emeiging of the individual from
the mass so that today each stands by
himBelf, has brought about complexities
of relations, that tin older forms of liter
ary expression were inadequate to icter
pret. Mrs. Wilson thinks that "among
.the multitude of forces which have con
tributed to the life and thought of the
century, two can be distinguished as re
sponsible for the development of modern
"fiction" vix.; science and democracy."
.Realism in fiction is the outgrowth of
the scientific spirit, whose shibboleth
is fact, while democracy is one of the
new forces that has given a new dignity
to the individual, a new meaning and
significance ro the human soul; and it is
this apotheo6is of humanity that consti-
-tutes the chief tenet of the gospel of
- The novelist of today spends about as
much time explaining the merits of his
own school and attacking that of others
as he spends in writing novels. Under
lying all schools are the principles of
realism and idealism. "The supreme
idealism of the art of Phidias becomes
realism in the Pergamsn marbles, which
illustrate what art becomes, when there
ceases to be a selection of beautiful,
ideal types, when there is a minute
copying of the unimportant and the
ignoble, and a reproduction of the shock
ing aspects of life' "Idealism see3
'man and nature through the imagina-
-tion of the poet and insists upon postu
lating an unconditional truth and
beauty. In fiction this idealizing ten-
.dency becomes romanticism, when the
novelist chooses for his themes only
transcendental experiences and supreme
moments. Realism attempts to inter-
-pret lite as it really is; to discover the
heroism that is latent in the humblest
human soul. It endeavors to detect
moral worth and- spiritual beauty,
whether hidden under the peasant's
blouse or beneath the robes of royalty.
In the works of Zola and his school real,
ism attempts to bring fiction into tbe
-realms of science. Zola in his discussion
of what he 'calls "The Experimental
'Novel," (Le Roman Experimental) claims
-science, so long the avowed enemy of the
-imagination, as the guide and ally of the
realistic novel. Exactly the same
methods are to be adopted by the novel
ist that are used by the physician in his
study of physiology. .So far as possible,
the human soul is to be viv'sected, the
human passions are" to be subjected, in
the chemist's retort, to the actioo of sol
vents and reagents. Tne scientific
method of observation and experiment
must be applied to the study of life and
character and the experimental novel
will then become the most powerful
agent in the reformation of the world.
-In his work as observer and experimen
talist he will search out the determinism
of social phenomena, and this will en
able sociologists and legislators to ra-
-form the world. Zola says "Compare
with ours the work of idealistic writers
who rely upon the irrational and the
supernatural and -whose every flight up
ward k followed by a downfall into
metaphysical chaos. We (the realists)
are the ones who possess strength and
morality." Bnt the world does not ac
cept Zola's view and his works are on the
proscribed lists of our libraries, shunned
and condemned as immoral.
According to his theory the experi
mental novelist must trace every in
herited tendency, must observe and an
alyze the influence of constantly chang
ing environment, dissect every action
and motive to find its cause and effect;
then he can give accurately the life of a
man in all the changes that mark the
successive stages of his moral degener
acy; for all of Zola's characters are de
generates. But what place has the
imagination, the creative power, the
artistic conception in this scheme of the
novel? The experimental novel has been
described as making the novelist enter
the service of science as police reporter
fur the information of sociology, and
Zola Bays "We novelists are the examin
ing magistrates of men and their pas
sions." He confesses that a novelist
must possess individual temperament;
he must both produce aud direct phe
nomena. And here is the stumbling
block of his theory. Zola attempts the
impossible when he says the novelist
must modify nature without departing
from nature. How can he apply the
method of observation and experiment
upon creatures of his own scientific
imagination. The novelist must observe
and what novelist, whether idealist or
realist, docs not observe? But can he in
the true sense of the term perform ex
periments on the human soul as the
chemist anylyses the pancreatic fluid?
Passing from Zola's theories to his
works, we find in them masses of facts,
great and small, in which everything is
given the same prominence and consid
eration. There is a constant exaggera
tion of environment, and this is what
constitutes naturalism distinguished as
a species of realism. But it is what
Zola and his school write about, rather
than the way they write, that interests
the world. These same theories in the
novels of Howells and James give us
works of purity and refinement Zola
goes to the slums and the gutters for his
morceau du rue and no theory or
method will redeem them since they
violate the first prkc'ples of art; they
disgust and depress rather than delight
and inspire.
Dr. Sherman defines the novel as "a
-veracious Btudy of life to the end of in
terpreting Buch beauty and truth of
character as fairly warrant interpreta
tion." This view of the novel includes
romanticism and realism but finds no
place for naturalism.
But whatever the theory every
novelist knowB that the first es
sential of his novel must be to
interest To be literature it must be
a work of art in form, treatment and
composition. Although, when the moral
of a tale is intruded it can not have a
place in literature nothing that lasts is
without moral teaching. Since the
novel is a truthful portrait of life it can
not omit'the most pervasive feature of
jife. With the artistic temperament of
Sbak6pere, Hawthorne or Stevenson
the author will not label his moral as
E. P. Roe has done in his novels.
"Esthetics rather than ethics must be
the standard by which a novel is judged
and the reader must be permitted to
discover for himself the ethical truths
and their, application.'!
The influence of the novel upon con
duct and character illustrates the truth
that literature reflects life no more cer
tainly or truly than it influences life.
When wt consider that from seventy to
eighty per cent of the books drawn from
the circulating libraries of England,
with a Blightly smaller per cent in
America are books of fiction, we can ap
preciate the vast field of the novelist"
Mrs. Wilson thinks that no subject
should be proscribed to the novelist
"It is not the 6ul ject but the manner of
treating it that gives offense. Anna Kar
enina, The Scarlet Letter, The Cup of
Trembling and Zola's Nana series treat
of the same subject The difference is
in, the treatment
The"short story epitomizes the com
pressed tragedies of the nineteenth cen
tury Poe and DeMaupassant wore
masters of the art. The rules which the
former gave for its construction must
be followed by the successful shortstory
writer which now threatens the two vol
ume novel as the novel menaced the
"What shall this novel of the future be
and -vhat shall it contribute to life and
to human thought? We complain of
pessimism, the sordid character of the
realistic fiction of to-day. But does not
this mean that there is much that is
sordid and depressing in the social con
ditions of the century? The supreme
beauty of Greek att was but a reflection
of the beauty tbe artist aw every
where in the real life about him.
When society has solved the complex
problems of our civilization
and eliminated the evils that
cast their shadows over the realistic
fiction of the day. then there will come a
new and transfigured realism that will
not be content with revealing the tran
sitory and the superficial. ThiB new
and dominating realism will not oily
seek to give the actual, social realities
of the moment but will ccme into the
kingdom of the universal experiences of
the race. The novel of toda7 fails in its
purpose when it emphasizes the materi"
alistic and utilitarian spirit of the age
and its greatest opportunity lies in the
direction of quickening our sympathies,
stimulating our ideals and in opening up
new visions of spiritual truth and beauty.
To do this, the novelist must unite to
the truth of-the realist the vision of the
poet, who sees life stripped of tha mean
ingless and transfigured through the real
Fashions of the Day.
The times are changed and we are
changed with them, wrote the philoso
pher, only he put his idea into the
Latin tongue, wh'cb. is not now tbe
court language of the world. But his
idea was forcibly brought home to me
yesterday when paj ing a visit of- cere
mony as well as curiosity to the bou
doir office of the Bureau of Social re
quirements, presided over by Mrs.
Ledyard Stevens, at 19 West Forty
second street
It is not so many years ago that the
avennes open to a woman desirous of
turning an honest penny were limited
to two or three of the heavier drudgeries
of life, which ordinary servants are
both too ignorant and too set Bible to
take up. Now we find gentlewomen en
tering the lists in certain lines of busi
ness wherein their taste and tact have
aa opportunity to come into play,
boldly throwing down the gauntlet to
the lords of creation, and carrying off
the substantial prizes of success.
Mrs. Stevens, born in the purple (or
as near an approach to it as our spseudo
republicanism will admit to its social
dye-vat8),and connected by blood and
marriage with about all of "old" New
tork, had an original idea, and the
energy and business ability to put it into
Every one knows that, in even old
established houses, Eocial emergencies
sometimes arise which tax severly the
knowledge and resources of both mis
tress and servants both perhaps with a
lifelong training in their duties and
responsibilities. The desire to enter
tain is frequently nipped in the bud by
the conviction that a small staff of un
trained servants renders it impossible.
Then, too and this is a matter that
must only be mentioned in whispers
there are in our overgrown society and
on its borders people, very worthy
people in themselvas, who have plenty
of money, but are wanting ia the
savoirfaire, not to speak of the jene
sais quoi, to enable them to achieve
social success and to unlock the social
gates with even a golden key. Their en
tertainments are magnificent -but bar
baric. There is too much of the "clink
of gold."
Then there are the lazy folk, the mat
rons who know juBt what they want but
don't like the bother of overseeing mat
ters themselves, and don't exactly trust
the ordinary hired housekeeper. There
are mothers who want teachers for their
daughters, who can give them the
cachet of high breeding; in brief, there
are a thousand wants and needs, really
urgent ones, covered by the term 'Social
Requirements," and all of these Mrs.
Stevens stands ready to fill for her pat
rons, whether in or out of town, resi
dents of New York or in any city of the
With all the apparently inconsequen
tial vagaries of that incorporeal some
thing which or who dictates our modes,
there is yet generally to be found in
them that little lump of the leaven of
reason that leaveneth the whole mass.
Nothing in all the range of color tones
is cooler than gray, and so the dictums
of grays for July is mo3t appropriate, for
nothing can be hotter than July unless
it be July and August. These grays
run in all the varying tints, from stoce
to dove gray. They are delicate and ery
susceptible to untoward impressions
from foreign substances, hut on the
other hand are easily cleaned and hold
their color very well. Gray Dareg?
cashmere, cloths and taffeta skir.s are
displacing the black and old waists that
have served their time, yet appear 'o
freshen up and renew their youth when
worn with soft-toned skirt. It is a color
that blends well with every shade, a
veritible peacemaker in the chromatic
brawls that have disgraced our sprit?
and early summer toilettes. Waists of
chiffon, in white, cream, pink, blue or
'ilac, combine admirably with it A late
wrinkle is the gray feathpr loa to tike
the place so long held by the black. A
substantial recommendation it has is
that it does not crock. The grajs, how
ever, are not to be worn by ever) body
with advantage or even impunity. They
make sid wrecks of some complexions,
although the gayety of the fashionable
trimmings to a certain extent offsets
their pallor.
Trimmings on skirts and bodices are
growing more and more elaborate, and
by the fall the plain skirt will rank with
the dodo as a recently but thoroughly
extinct species.
Very smart and fetching are tbe little
neckties of net, mull and silk. Linens
trimmed with lace applique are much
worn, even with wool gown, and with a
happy effect.
All the latest waists are of lac, but
to be up to date they must be draped
over chiffon, which produces a soft be
coming result The bolero still reigns,
the latest being the bolero back.
The fascinating absorbing game of
golf is responsible for a school of dress
ing all its own, and many of the sum
mer's outing toilettes, if not directly tne
work of golf, are at least under golf in
fluence. In this, as in all things. 1
council common sensj- 1-sbt f
material for the fierce heat; tweeds, flan
nels and serges for autumn.
Linnen frocks are much atlectec 1 for
miss.'s and children as well as tne
elders. One linen costume I saw, '" '
med with black cluny lace, was erj
smart The latest sleeve pattern i
over the sea is out in only on; p.
two plaits at the elbow, and titling
a glove. , --h
Here's a gown for a matron W
etruck me as both handsom" and
correct taste. A black net, rather coa
mesh. over a white taffeta silk , ett.c
bands or cut jet and ateel,acoinbtio