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Inquiries and Opinions   By: (1852-1929)

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In "Inquiries and Opinions," Brander Matthews offers a captivating exploration of various subjects, providing readers with a thought-provoking and comprehensive compilation of his essays. With an inviting and engaging writing style, Matthews successfully tackles a broad range of topics, from literature and theater to society and politics.

One aspect of the book that stands out is the author's immense knowledge in different fields. Matthews effortlessly delves into literary analysis, sharing insightful perspectives on classic works while also shedding light on lesser-known but equally valuable pieces of literature. His discerning eye showcases his deep appreciation for the written word, making each essay a delight to read for both scholars and casual readers alike.

Another admirable quality of "Inquiries and Opinions" is Matthews' ability to tackle socio-political issues with finesse. Through his essays, he fearlessly explores controversial topics, challenging the reader's preconceived notions, and inviting them to engage in critical thinking. His elegant diplomacy in presenting various perspectives showcases his dedication to fostering dialogue and understanding.

One of the strengths of this collection is its relevance to contemporary society. Despite its publication date, Matthews' observations and arguments remain pertinent and thought-provoking. His ability to intertwine historical context with timeless human experiences creates a reading experience that feels both familiar and enlightening.

While the book is primarily composed of previously published essays, its overall organization demonstrates Matthews' expertise as an editor. With carefully curated sections that flow seamlessly, readers are taken on a coherent journey through his diverse range of topics. This thoughtful structure allows readers to easily navigate and revisit specific essays while also encouraging them to explore the entire book.

However, "Inquiries and Opinions" is not without its flaws. At times, Matthews' writing can feel somewhat dense, requiring readers to invest time and effort to fully grasp the depth of his arguments. This may deter some readers seeking a more casual or lighthearted read. Additionally, although the essays span various subjects, there are moments where the transitions between topics feel abrupt, leaving the reader craving a smoother navigation from one essay to the next.

Despite these minor shortcomings, "Inquiries and Opinions" is a remarkable collection of essays that showcases Brander Matthews as a masterful writer and thinker. His unwavering commitment to intellectual exploration, paired with his ability to craft beautiful prose, makes this book a valuable addition to anyone's library. Whether you are a lover of literature, a fan of thought-provoking discussions, or simply seeking intellectual stimulation, "Inquiries and Opinions" is an excellent choice that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

First Page:


Copyright, 1907, by BRANDER MATTHEWS

Published September, 1907




I Literature in the New Century 1

II The Supreme Leaders 27

III An Apology for Technic 49

IV Old Friends with New Faces 73

V Invention and Imagination 95

VI Poe and the Detective story 111

VII Mark Twain 137

VIII A Note on Maupassant 167

IX The Modern Novel and the Modern Play 179

X The Literary Merit of our Latter day Drama 205

XI Ibsen the Playwright 227

XII The Art of the Stage manager 281


[This paper was read on September 24th, 1904, in the section of Belles lettres of the International Congress of the Arts and Sciences, held at St. Louis.]

There is no disguising the difficulty of any attempt to survey the whole field of literature as it is disclosed before us now at the opening of a new century; and there is no denying the danger of any effort to declare the outlook in the actual present and the prospect in the immediate future... Continue reading book >>

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