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Ivory Apes and Peacocks   By: (1857-1921)

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IVORY APES AND PEACOCKS

[Illustration: DOSTOÏEVSKY, BY VALLOTON]

IVORY APES AND PEACOCKS

JOSEPH CONRAD, WALT WHITMAN, JULES LAFORGUE, DOSTOÏEVSKY AND TOLSTOY, SCHOENBERG, WEDEKIND, MOUSSORGSKY, CÉZANNE, VERMEER, MATISSE, VAN GOGH, GAUGUIN, ITALIAN FUTURISTS, VARIOUS LATTER DAY POETS, PAINTERS, COMPOSERS AND DRAMATISTS

BY JAMES HUNEKER

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1917

COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER, 1915

To JOHN QUINN

"Every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes, and peacocks." II Chronicles 9. 21.

CONTENTS

PAGE I. THE GENIUS OF JOSEPH CONRAD 1

II. A VISIT TO WALT WHITMAN 22

III. THE BUFFOON OF THE NEW ETERNITIES: JULES LAFORGUE 32

IV. DOSTOÏEVSKY AND TOLSTOY, AND THE YOUNGER CHOIR OF RUSSIAN WRITERS 52

V. I. ARNOLD SCHOENBERG 89 II. MUSIC OF TO DAY AND TO MORROW 104

VI. FRANK WEDEKIND 121

VII. THE MAGIC VERMEER 141

VIII. RICHARD STRAUSS AT STUTTGART 153

IX. MAX LIEBERMANN AND SOME PHASES OF MODERN GERMAN ART 173

X. A MUSICAL PRIMITIVE: MODESTE MOUSSORGSKY 190

XI. NEW PLAYS BY HAUPTMANN, SUDERMANN, AND SCHNITZLER 203

XII. KUBIN, MUNCH, AND GAUGUIN: MASTERS OF HALLUCINATION 222

XIII. THE CULT OF THE NUANCE: LAFCADIO HEARN 240

XIV. I. THE MELANCHOLY OF MASTERPIECES 249 II. THE ITALIAN FUTURIST PAINTERS 262

XV. IN THE WORKSHOP OF ZOLA 275

XVI. A STUDY OF DE MAUPASSANT 288

XVII. PUVIS DE CHAVANNES 301

XVIII. THREE DISAGREEABLE GIRLS 311

IVORY APES AND PEACOCKS

I

THE GENIUS OF JOSEPH CONRAD

I

In these piping days when fiction plays the handmaid or prophet to various propaganda; when the majority of writers are trying to prove something, or acting as venders of some new fangled social nostrums; when the insistent drums of the Great God Réclame are bruising human tympani, the figure of Joseph Conrad stands solitary among English novelists as the very ideal of a pure and disinterested artist. Amid the clamour of the market place a book of his is a sea shell which pressed to the ear echoes the far away murmur of the sea; always the sea, either as rigid as a mirror under hard, blue skies or shuddering symphonically up some exotic beach. Conrad is a painter doubled by a psychologist; he is the psychologist of the sea and that is his chief claim to originality, his Peak of Darien. He knows and records its every pulse beat. His genius has the rich, salty tang of an Elizabethan adventurer and the spaciousness of those times. Imagine a Polish sailor who read Flaubert and the English Bible, who bared his head under equatorial few large stars and related his doings in rhythmic, sonorous, coloured prose; imagine a man from a landlocked country who "midway in his mortal life" began writing for the first time and in an alien tongue, and, added to an almost abnormal power of description, possessed the art of laying bare the human soul, not after the meticulous manner of the modern Paul Prys of psychology, but following the larger method of Flaubert, who believed that actions should translate character imagine these paradoxes and you have partly imagined Joseph Conrad, who has so finely said that "imagination, and not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life... Continue reading book >>




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