Art Against Stereotype

England with its baby rivers and little towns, each with its abbey or its cathedral, with voices—one voice perhaps, echoing through the transept—the criterion of suitability and convenience: and Italy with its equal shores—contriving an epicureanism from which the grossness has been extracted: and Greece with its goats and its gourds, the nest of modified illusions: and France, the “chrysalis of the nocturnal butterfly,” in whose products, mystery of construction diverts one from what was originally one’s object—substance at the core: and the East with its snails, its emotional shorthand and jade cockroaches, its rock crystal and its imperturbability, all of museum quality: and America where there is the little old ramshackle victoria in the south, where cigars are smoked on the street in the north; where there are no proofreaders, no silkworms, no digressions; the wild man’s land; grass-less, links-less, language-less country in which letters are written not in Spanish not in Greek, not in Latin, not in shorthand but in plain American which cats and dogs can read! the letter “a” in psalm and calm when pronounced with the sound of “a” in candle, is very noticeable but why should continents of misapprehension have to be accounted for by the fact? Does it follow that because there are poisonous toadstools which resemble mushrooms, both are dangerous? In the case of mettlesomeness which may be mistaken for appetite, of heat which may appear to be haste, no con- clusions may be drawn. To have misapprehended the matter, is to have confessed that one has not looked far enough. The sublimated wisdom of China, Egyptian discernment, the cataclysmic torrent of emotion compressed in the verbs of the Hebrew language, the books of the man who is able to say, “I envy nobody but him and him only, who catches more

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