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Title:  Views and Reviews,
        First and Second Series
Author: Havelock Ellis
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0300741h.html
Language: English
Date first posted:  April 2003
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Views and Reviews,

First and Second Series


Havelock Ellis

A Selection of Uncollected Articles

Boston and New York


IN these volumes are brought together a collection of essays, reviews, and some minor writings, covering a period of forty-eight years, from 1884 to 1932. They are not to be regarded as merely the sweepings of a literary workshop, for they are carefully selected from a larger mass of writings as having some kind of interest, either in relation to the time when they were written or in relation to to-day. They are so various in character that they could not easily be classified, and the order in which they here appear is chronological. What they have in common is that it has never proved possible to fit any of them into my books, so that, for the most part, they have been reprinted for the first time.

They are reprinted as they were originally printed. A few slight and unimportant omissions have been made, but not a word has been added, nor has a word been changed (except by the correction of misprints), even when details are obviously far out of date. It is indeed because a document "dates" that it becomes interesting. I feel, for my own part, the less desire to make any changes since, so far as substance and spirit are concerned, I still find myself nearly always at one even with the earliest of the writings included in these series.



FIRST SERIES 1884-1920




FIRST SERIES 1884-1920

Hawkes Point, Carbis Bay, 1897.


This article appeared in TO-DAY for October, 1884, as by H. Havelock Ellis. TO-DAY was then edited by H. H. Champion, Labour and Socialist leader, and in it Bernard Shaw's early novel, AN UNSOCIAL SOCIALIST, was then coming out as a serial. My paper here appears as originally printed, except that I have restored a phrase concerning "the charming naivete of a modern Isaiah," which Champion—whether out of consideration for Bebel or for Isaiah I now knotv not—had deleted.

AUGUST BEBEL, whom it is unnecessary to introduce to the readers of To-day, has lately written a book in which he endeavours to set forth the position which women will occupy when society shall have been "socialised." Die Frau in der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft deals a little with the past, a very little with the future, much with the present. Beginning with a brief historical sketch, Bebel treats of the sexual instinct, of marriage as it at present exists, of the numerical proportion of the sexes, of prostitution as a necessary element in the present system, of the industrial position of women and their intellectual capacity as compared with men, of their legal position, and of their relation to politics. There are also some chapters of a purely Socialist character, with one on over-population. It will be seen, therefore, that this book, succeeds in covering, however imperfectly, a very large field. In so far as it is a record of historical facts it shows to some extent the influence of that method which a German writer generally adopts when he comes in contact with facts, probably to escape from those tendencies which most easily beset him in thought. That is to say, he plunges them all into his book together, in a fit of fine careless rapture, trusting, apparently, that by some process of natural selection, the fittest will ultimately somehow float up to the surface. At the same time Bebel fails to adopt this method quite stringently; perhaps he is scarcely at home as a recorder of scientific facts. An English critic has, however, little right to judge hypercritically a work on this subject, for we in England have produced scarcely any contributions of value to the scientific literature of woman. It may be that that charming prudery which has distinguished our nation during this century, but perhaps not before, and which has proved so delightful and so strange to French visitors, from Madame de Stael and De Stendhal down to Taine and Max O'Rell, has stood in the way of any frank and precise treatment of this subject. Certainly, even so grave an historian as W. E. H. Lecky, who at the end of his History of European Morals has inserted a chapter on the position of women, cannot speak of some of the most important questions that affect women without a wearisome and almost offensive iteration of apologies. And in the English translation of so learned a work as Max Duncker's History of Antiquity—published in six large volumes at I am not certain how many guineas—it has been found advisable to omit passages which, it is assumed, are unsuited for the modest English student of civilisation. A similarly uncalled for process of excision was adopted in the editing of Buckle's Commonplace Book. Bebel's book may be found of value because it presents in a clear and outspoken, if rather rough and extreme form, what are, I conceive, certain distinct tendencies of modern feeling in regard to women; and an English translation would deserve a welcome.

The old question that moved men's minds was of religion. Now that "for the first time in the world," as Mill said, "men and women are really companions" there comes before us, with the larger issues of social reorganisation, a new and definite question, the "woman question" with all the economical, social and ethical problems that centre round that question. If we have not yet settled the religious question, we are at least on the way to its settlement; we have caught a glimpse of new ideals and the old crusade of mere destructive energy has been rendered unnecessary. It is true that, like a whale's teeth that have no longer any useful function to perform, a few enthusiasts still survive to raise the outworn warcries and tilt courageously against the corpses and ghosts of faith. But putting these aside, as well as those ardent young people who have not yet emerged from their Sturm und Drang period, and for whom orthodoxy is still a very real foe, there are no longer any signs worth heeding to show that the religious question is still attracting the energy which it formerly absorbed. There are other problems now which slowly but very surely approach us, and round the woman question in its largest sense one of the next great fights will centre. Bebel's fundamental assertion seems to be that the woman question can only be solved in the solution of the larger social question.

Now there are at present, as he tells us in his Introduction, two schools of thought regarding this question. According to the first there is no woman question; nature has called woman to be a mother and a wife and has made the home her peculiar sphere. For the champions on this side, the argument is a very simple one, and they appear to be little troubled when told that millions of women are not in a position to follow this so-called command of nature and bear children and look after households, and that other millions, to whom this avocation has been vouchsafed, have dragged wearily through lives that have been as the lives of slaves. But there is another school that cannot shut its eyes and ears to these facts. It admits the inferior position of women when the general development of the race is considered, and that it is necessary to improve the condition of those who, not having reached the haven of marriage, are thrown upon their own resources. Those who belong to this school desire that all occupations for which woman's strength and capacity are adapted should be thrown open to her, so that she may enter into competition with man; that she should be permitted to follow art, science, medicine. A small minority also demand political rights. But Bebel points out that not only would this agitation, if successful, simply serve to make competition rage more fiercely and so lower the income of both sexes, but that it is partial, being, indeed, chiefly carried on by women of the higher classes, who only perceive the special needs of the women among whom they live. The dominion of one sex over another, the material dependence of the vast majority of women, and their consequent slavery either through our present marriage system or prostitution, would remain unchanged.

Into these two classes Bebel finds Germany divided on the woman question, and it is possible that even in England—the Paradise of women as it was called three hundred years ago—there are not wanting representatives of these views. It is in opposition to both schools that Bebel sets forth the individualist—or, as he prefers to call it, Socialist—proposition that "a Woman has the same right to develop her mental and physical capacities that a man has." This is not possible—and here we touch the central point of Bebel's book—in the present condition of society. "The full and complete solution of the woman question—by which must be understood not merely equality in the face of the law, but economic freedom and independence, and, so far as possible, equality in mental culture—is, under the present social and political arrangements, as impossible as the solution of the labour question."

Bebel endeavours to trace this out through several chapters of his book. Marriage and prostitution are the obverse and reverse of the sexual relations as at present constituted. And while marriage on the one hand oppresses the unmarried woman, it equally oppresses the married woman, prostitution affecting both. The married woman, Bebel considers, is regarded as, above all, a mere object of enjoyment; she is economically dependent; she is made to be a mother and an educator, the most difficult of all positions, when she has not been in the slightest degree prepared for so important a function, and is often placed under physically abnormal conditions. Alexandre Dumas says in Les Femmes qui tuent that a distinguished Roman Catholic priest told him that, out of one hundred women who married, eighty came to him afterwards and said that they regretted it. And this is scarcely strange.

It is even less necessary, Bebel proceeds, to point out the position of the ordinary unmarried woman under present conditions. She is shut out from what is considered a woman's career and other careers are only to a limited extent open to her. It is worthy of remark that Bebel is not afraid to deal frankly with the question of chastity as it affects women. He quotes the opinions of various medical authorities in Germany as to the effects of celibacy on women and repeats approvingly the words of Luther: "A woman can no more dispense with a husband than with eating, drinking, sleeping, or other natural necessities. Nor can a man dispense with a wife. The sexual instinct is as deeply rooted in nature as eating and drinking." He would have those words carved over the doors of every Protestant Church.

Therefore both the women who marry and the women who do not marry are, under the present conditions of society, almost equally oppressed. The existing system, says Bebel, is neither "sacred" nor "moral." And against it he sets his own ideal. Marriage, he asserts, should be a private contract, not effected through the medium of any functionary. It should be "the contract of two persons of different sex who are attracted by mutual love and regard, and who together, according to the admirable saying of Kant, form the complete human being."

Further, argues Bebel, a necessary element in the present system is prostitution. It is the reverse of the medal. "Nothing shows more strikingly the dependence of women on men than the fundamental difference in the judgment regarding the satisfaction of the same natural impulse in the two sexes." He points out how prostitution with its one-sided way of regarding men and women, giving rights to one sex which it denies to the other, is in reality as fundamental a part of the existing state of society as the Church and standing armies. "Remove prostitution," as St. Augustine said, "and you render all life turbid with lust." There is, however, nothing that is fresh in Bebel's way of dealing with this subject. Poverty and the crushing of the natural life under existing conditions are, he repeats, the great causes of prostitution, and these can only be altered by a fundamental change in the social order.

The historical sketch at the beginning of the book is necessarily too brief and fragmentary to be of much value. Bebel, who is, however, always prejudiced when he has to speak of Christianity, points out how even the Church, which is generally said to have done so much for women, could scarcely attain even to a sense of the spiritual equality of the sexes. At the Council of Macon in the sixth century the question as to whether women have souls was discussed and only affirmed by a small majority. He also shows how the minnesingers of the feudal ages, who sang so extravagantly of women, were the representatives of an unreal and unnatural ideal, and he calls Luther the classical interpreter of the healthy sensuality of the Middle Ages. A very short and unimportant chapter is devoted to women in the future. Towards the end of the book several chapters are interpolated that are quite unconnected with the general scheme, being a general exposition of that time when society shall be socialised. With the charming naivete of a modern Isaiah, Bebel sings of the coming days when there will be no immorality; children will not be unruly; the seeking after coarse pleasures which is called forth by the unrest of domestic life will be ended; there will be no demoralising books; no appeals to sensual desire. All these and many other evils will be avoided without compulsion and without tyranny. "The social atmosphere will make them impossible." Furthermore there shall be a central cooking establishment; a central washing establishment on a mechanico-chemical system; a central clothing manufactory; central heating and central lighting; central hot and cold baths. There shall be no more maid servants, and vegetarianism (it is not quite clearly explained why) shall be done away with.

At this point of jubilant exaltation it may be well to leave the general consideration of Die Frau in der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft, and to touch briefly on two or three of the points which are intimately connected with the whole question and which must necessarily be more or less considered by everyone who undertakes to discuss the social functions of women. Whoever asserts the equality of the sexes has to face the arguments of those who bring forward what they consider the "scientific" aspects of the case. One hears, for instance, allusions of a more or less vague character to a supposed difference in the brain-development of man and woman. Although our knowledge of cerebral organisation is at present too imperfect for very precise conclusions, Bebel brings forward a few of the facts relative to the size of the brain in the two sexes, as that men of most highly developed intellect have sometimes had brains not greater in weight than the average woman's brain, and that among savages, when men and women are placed under more equable conditions, the difference between the male and female brain is comparatively slight. As Vogt pointed out, the male European excels the female in cranial development more than the negro excels the negress. Bebel fails, however, to point out, as he might have done, that notwithstanding the absolute difference there is no such clearly defined relative difference. According to at least one series of investigations there is even a slight advantage on the side of women. It is a remarkable fact that not only is there less difference between the brains of a negro and negress and those of a civilised man and woman, but that the difference varies in civilised countries in a very significant way. The difference is greatest in Germany, least in France. Germany, it is scarcely necessary to say, is undoubtedly the country in which women are treated with least regard; it is the country which, it has been said, supplies half the world with prostitutes; and as regards the education of women it is behind every country in Europe, except Poland.

In France, on the other hand, women have played a larger part and possessed more influence than anywhere else. When we try to think of the names of great European women we think above all of French women. The inference is that if women were placed under conditions equally favourable to development they would in a few generations be at no point behind men. Bebel insists on this because it is related to the underlying and fundamental assertion of scientific Socialism. The individual is dependent firstly on the material conditions of his life, then on his social and economical circumstances, which again are influenced by climate and the fertility and physical conformation of the earth. It is this assertion which gives Karl Marx his scientific strength, and it is allied to the teaching of Buckle and to some extent, it is claimed, of Darwin. It is thus that, as the Socialists of Bebel's school urge, Darwinism leads to Socialism.

The element of truth in this fundamental assertion of scientific Socialism is intimately connected with the question of education. The general importance of education in relation to the position of women has long been recognised. But it may be doubted whether the great significance which it possesses in regard to the relations of the sexes has yet been adequately realised. A recent scientific writer has asserted that "man has advanced less in knowledge as to the proper mode of viewing the true principles that should regulate the ethical feelings existing between the sexes than in any other branch of knowledge." And such knowledge is not only rendered more difficult of attainment, it is made incapable of finding a practical outlet, so long as artificial barriers are placed between the sexes. Bebel therefore rightly insists on the education of the sexes together, and brings forward some of the evidence as to the satisfactory character of its results, from an intellectual and moral standpoint, which comes from America. He easily disposes of the arguments, of a still weaker nature, which are brought forward against the admission of women as medical students with men, and in Paris, as well as in Sweden, students of both sexes sit side by side in the medical schools with no ill results. Bebel refers to the healthy tone of feeling which existed in Greece when boys and girls were not carefully hidden from each other, and the physical conformation and special functions of the organs of one sex were not made a secret to the other sex; each could possess a delight in the other's beauty, and sensual feeling was not as with us artificially over-excited.

The position of women in Greece, putting aside the old Homeric pictures, was in many ways a degraded one, but though in England we may have little in general to learn concerning the physical education of boys, in this respect at all events they have something to teach us and it is worthy of remark that in Sparta, where women had a better physical education than elsewhere, they also possessed greater honour and influence. It is possible that modern feeling in regard to the body will again develop a directness and simplicity somewhat akin to the Greek feeling. "All the superficial objections to the public activity of women," says Bebel, "would be impossible if the relations of the sexes were natural and not a relation of antagonism, of master and slave, involving separation even from childhood. It is an antagonism which we owe to Christianity which keeps them apart and maintains them in ignorance of each other, hindering free intercourse and mutual trust. It will be one of the first and weightiest tasks of society, when founded on a reasonable basis, to heal this division of the sexes and to restore to nature her violated rights, a violation which begins even in the school." Though here, as ever, a little unjust when Christianity is concerned, Bebel sees how the exaggerated influence of Christianity has tended to overthrow the balance of healthy feeling, to distort and render morbid a whole field of human life.

There are two ideals of the union of the sexes, one or other of which has always had its adherents. They may be conveniently called the Greek and the Christian ideal. The one demands the most complete freedom for the sensuous and passionate elements; it seeks after a sunny openness, the spontaneous play of impulse. The other ideal, which has been closely though not necessarily connected with Christian feeling, finds its satisfaction in the exclusive union of two individuals, for ever seeking new inner mysteries of joy, new bonds of union. Among modern poets Schiller and Mrs. Browning have sung the one ideal, while Goethe represents the other. Everyone according to his temperament is attached to the one or the other of these ideals, but whichever it may be that we are approaching one thing at least may be demanded: there must be no artificial hindrances in the way of human development; there must be complete freedom for man's deepest instincts to have free play. It is scarcely probable that either the Greek or the Christian ideal is sufficiently large to engage by itself all the complex emotional activities of modern men and women.

Bebel appears in this matter to tend towards the Christian ideal. I doubt, however, whether he clearly realises the ethical bearings of the questions he decides so courageously. The most striking point about all sexual questions is precisely the deep way in which they enter into such problems; and it is impossible to ignore the wide relations of any fundamental change to the moral feelings. From failing to insist sufficiently on the larger bearings of the marriage question it seems that Bebel's assertions, though true, are sometimes too partial. It is true that, as he maintains, "the satisfaction of the sexual desires is a thing that concerns the individual alone." But it must be remembered that it is also a thing that concerns the race, that is bound up with the advance of human life; since it may be physiologically demonstrated that it is not possible for one-half of the race to be oppressed and undeveloped and the other not be dragged down too. The sexual relations of the individual, therefore, concern not only the individual himself in all his relations, but they concern more than the individual. And the chief ethical demand on the sexual relations to-day is that these larger bearings should be recognised; that the sexual relations should be finally rescued from the degradation into which they have fallen; that they should be treated with a full consciousness of their wide human bearings for the individual and for the race. "The power of a woman's body," it has been said, "is no more bodily than the power of music is a power of atmospherical vibrations." And when a man touches a woman he arouses that which is best or worst in her; it is not her body that he touches, it is her whole mental and emotional nature. When two human beings come near to each other, and one is little more than an ignorant and capricious child, it is scarcely surprising that the results should seldom be quite satisfactory. That is why the sexual relations cannot possibly be a matter of indifference. And that is why all social progress is hindered while these relations also are not recognised in their wider bearings on life.

An English writer, James Hinton, who in writings as yet unpublished has dealt more boldly and more earnestly with the questions of the sexual relations than any other recent English writer I know, considered that when the question of women was settled the whole social question would be settled. It would not be possible, he said, for women to be placed in a true and natural position without a correlated change in the whole social life. Bebel, as we have seen, asserts that the woman question cannot be settled except as an item of a general socialisation. Whichever solution we may be inclined to adopt we may be assured that the first thing necessary is to assert the equal freedom and independence of women with men. For it has been the fate of woman to suffer from those who wished to do her honour. Till the reign of George III women were burnt alive for all treasons, because, as Blackstone explained, it would be indelicate to expose their bodies. "One cannot avoid a smile," Buckle remarks, "at that sense of decency which burns a woman alive in order to avoid stripping her naked." But to those who have studied the history of woman through the past and who have seen how often women have been impaled on an ideal created for the most part by men, that explanation of Blackstone's has a certain pathos and significance.

Once upon a time, a monkish chronicle tells us, an eloquent and beautiful English girl appeared in Bohemia, declaring that the Holy Ghost was revealed in her for the deliverance of women, and was eventually, as usual, decently burnt. That was six hundred years ago now, and though we do not know what "message" it was that that girl had to deliver, the same spirit that found a voice in her still speaks to-day; in literature and in life it is ever finding more adequate expression. In America, Walt Whitman, who has so magnificently set forth his modern ideal "Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power," has deeply realised the equality of men and women and the purity and dignity of the sexual relations. In England, struggling to regain its old position as the Paradise of women (and where the Towards Democracy of an enthusiastic friend and disciple of Whitman is too little known), greater progress has been made on the whole regarding women, says the American editor of a very interesting volume of essays on The Woman Question in Europe just published, than anywhere else in Europe. The ideal womanhood in England is ceasing to be, as it was once defined, "a sort of sentimental priesthood." And while in Germany Bebel has been exercising his vigorous and outspoken polemics, one of the foremost of European poets, Henrik Ibsen, has in the compass of a short play, Nora, thrown into a perfectly artistic form the whole (or almost the whole) question of the independence of women as it is presented to us to-day. There cannot be, Ibsen teaches us (although, as a true artist, he always anxiously disclaims any attempt to teach), a truly intimate and helpful relation except between a man and a woman who are equally developed, equally independent. He has wrought out Nora with a keenness of insight into the most subtle recesses of the soul that is almost marvellous, and in Ghosts, a work of still greater genius and audacity, which there is reason to hope may soon be translated, he has again illustrated his fresh and profound way of dealing with the almost untouched ethical problems of the modern world. He has realised that the day of mere external revolutions has passed, that the only revolution now possible is the most fundamental of all, the revolution of the human spirit. If it is true that there is still much progress to be made in all that concerns the most intimate and vital of human relationships, if even so original and bold an investigator as Mr. F. Galton becomes timid when he approaches that central problem of what he calls "eugenics," the question of the breeding of men and women, we may still trace, faintly but distinctly, the tendencies of thought and life. For it is now gradually beginning to be recognised that the new ideal of human life is only possible through the union of the old Hellenic and Christian ideals with a third which is the outcome of to-day and is bound up with the attainment of equal freedom, equal independence and equal culture for men and women. It is towards that ideal that our modern life, not without pain and seeming failure, is slowly but surely moving.


The "Present" here means some forty-six years past. The paper was first sent to the FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW, accepted by the then editor, T. H. S. Escott, and almost immediately returned without explanation; the editor himself disappeared from the REVIEW soon after. The article was published in TIME in December, 1885. I never reprinted it as it soon ceased to express accurately my opinion; especially I felt I had placed Symonds too high and Pater too low, though with the low estimate many to-day will be content. The paper is here reprinted exactly as it appeared in TIME.

THERE is something so uncertain and so various in the methods and results of criticism, that a review of its present position would be best begun by asking: What is criticism? Such a question, however, would probably be considered a profitless and scholastic exercise, and the critic of criticism has to content himself with admitting that at present it is not quite certain what criticism is. Yet we are not entirely without definitions of criticism. A distinguished English critic and a distinguished French critic have each given us a definition of criticism. According to Matthew Arnold's well-known formula, criticism is "a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world." Taine says: "The critic is the naturalist of the soul. He accepts its various forms; he condemns none and describes all." Neither of these definitions, one notes, can be said to err on the side of undue modesty, and Mr. Arnold's labours under the disadvantage of not being founded on any definite conception. It is clearly formulated for the benefit of that English middle class among whom he desires to be an evangelist. Taine's definition is that of a critic who is a philosopher first, and a critic afterwards. A clear and distinct scientific conception underlies it. He is the naturalist of the soul as it appears in literature and art; it is there that he finds his documents sig-nificatifs. For the individual as an individual, as a distinct personality with its own character and idiosyncrasy, he cares little. He is not satisfied unless he can refer the qualities of the individual back into his environment. The vitality and fruitfulness of this method have been attested by its results. Taine has had an influence which has reached throughout Europe. The naturalistic school has adopted his aesthetics; Zola prefaced to an early novel a characteristic utterance of the master: "Le vice et la virtu sont des produits comme le vitriol et comnie le sucre." In Italy his influence has been great; in Denmark he has, in great measure through the influence of his disciple, the well-known critic, Georg Brandes, profoundly awakened intellectual life. It is true, indeed, that, as one of the best of the young French critics has said of him, he represents that religion of science which is peculiar to the second half of the nineteenth century. But notwithstanding that perfect honesty and devotion to principle which has enabled him to face unshrinkingly the disapprobation which the Origines de la France Contemporaine has aroused, he has himself exhibited, in the most startling manner, the imperfection of his own definition of criticism. The critic describes, he tells us; he does not condemn. But it would be difficult to find a more severe condemnation of the French Revolution than the Origines. The naturalist of the soul cannot avoid a moral judgment; he is dealing with the very stuff of morals. The fact is, that a purely objective method of criticism, founded on general principles, cannot be reached even by a Taine. So long as we ignore the individuality of the critic, the personal equation of criticism will never come out right. Perhaps every critic ought to prefix a criticism of himself to his writings. We need to know his mental history, all the influences he has come under; we need details of his parents, of the peculiarities of his race as exhibited in his brothers and sisters; we must have clearly stated his prejudices, his partialities, his limitations. When that is done, we possess the terms of our personal equation; we can attain a true critical appreciation; and the critic's merit is great in proportion as the deductions we have to make are small.

How completely, for instance, we might by this method justify the idiosyncrasies of Matthew Arnold's judgments! Even so imperfect and partial a self-criticism as Renan's delightful volume of Souvenirs forms an introduction to Renan's work of the very highest value. Till this is done we are not in a position to define criticism, or to measure the success of the critic's work which is, practically, to find out what is really essential and significant in the artistic product before him, and to subordinate, or classify, that product in accordance with the largest number of its most significant characteristics, with most sureness and with least caprice. When Ruskin spoke of The Mill on the Floss as "a study of cutaneous disease" he illustrated admirably the nature of a false subordination in criticism. The more one attempts to justify this judgment by evidence, the more untenable it becomes. When Mr. J. A. Symonds spoke once of Walt Whitman as "more truly Greek than any other man of modern times," the classification was to most people perhaps as little obvious as the other, but we have only to bring forward the evidence, to reveal the caracteres essentiels of Whitman, and we find that it is justified.

While Taine, with an imperfect conception of criticism, has been influencing continental thought, Matthew Arnold, with an equally imperfect conception, has had a wide influence on English thought. If his definition of criticism is quite untenable from a scientific point of view, he is yet one of the earliest and most popular of the modern English critical school, and he is largely responsible for its merits and its defects. English criticism is fairly catholic, fairly sympathetic, but a little too literary and too superficial; perhaps a little too bourgeois. If it is scarcely serious enough, it is inquisitive, appreciative, even subtle. Matthew Arnold's aim has been to fly from flower to flower, gathering sweets from each, never staying, so that he may bring to his middle-class countrymen the honey he has collected—"the best that is known and thought in the world." These flowers are, for the most part, exotics; in Essays in Criticism, his best and most popular critical volume, not one essay is concerned with an English writer. And that brings us at once to one of the defects of Mr. Arnold's critical work. He is a moralist. Macaulay asserts grandiloquently that English literature is supreme. "I dare say this is so," observes Mr. Arnold wearily, "only, remembering Spinoza's maxim, that the two great banes of humanity are self-conceit, and the laziness that comes from self-conceit," I think it may do us good to say that it is not so. That is scarcely the true critical temper. Mr. Arnold is constantly oppressed by his own contentious and rather awkward formula that "conduct is three-fourths of life." His delight in moralising is, indeed, one of his most marked psychological features. And everyone knows with what peculiar unction Mr. Arnold quotes the amiable platitudes of a certain Bishop Wilson. How characteristic is this passage for instance: "What an antidote to the perilous Methodist doctrine of instantaneous sanctification is this saying of Bishop Wilson: 'He who fancies that his mind may effectually be changed in a short time deceives himself!'"

The curious limitations of Matthew Arnold's power, as revealed in occasional calm and arbitrary failures of judgment—the note of provincialism, as he would himself call it—are so obvious, and to many people, so irritating, that they have frequently aroused ample discussion, and need not be alluded to here. Nor is it necessary to speak of his habit of inventing a catchword, and then repeating it in varying tones and inflexions of voice, as if endeavouring to impress some new meaning on the word, a trick which has been caught by some of those whom Mr. Arnold has influenced. Professor Seeley, for example, not long ago undertook to tell us that Goethe is a serious writer—a serious writer. Sainte-Beuve, from whom many of Matthew Arnold's best qualities derive, was singularly free from such peculiarities of method. In the preceding critical generation he was, as his English disciple said, "the prince of critics." One wishes sometimes that Mr. Arnold possessed something of Sainte-Beuve's freedom from prejudice. There is, however, another and more fundamental weakness in his critical work, a weakness which is, I think, connected with that impression of superficiality which he often gives. The literary qualities of style are not so widely diffused in England that we can well afford to quarrel with them when, as in Matthew Arnold's prose, we find them so exquisitely, so charmingly developed. It would be hard to overrate the marvellous qualities of this style—its delicacy, its lucidity, its irony, its vital and organic music—but it remains true that an intense preoccupation with style is almost invariably detrimental to the finest criticism. The critic's business is not to say beautiful things. It is his business to take hold of his subject with the largest and firmest grasp, to express from it its most characteristic essence. But it is part of Matthew Arnold's method, if method it may be called, "to approach truth on one side after another, not to strive or cry, nor to persist in pressing forward, on any one side, with violence and self-will." One of his best-known essays, that on Heine, is an admirable instance of what can and cannot be obtained by this method. At the time it was written Carlyle was accepted as an authority on German literature, and Carlyle is said to have referred to Heine as "that pig." Here, as usually Mr. Arnold was on the side of true criticism. He shows a delicate appreciation of the obvious aspects of things—especially the more un-English aspects—a sure sense of the artistic perfection of Heine's verse, though not of his prose, an adequate delight in his wit, a total failure to understand his humour, the usual irresistible tendency to moralise which prompts him to sum up by saying that Heine produced nothing but "a half result." But Heine is peculiarly difficult to criticise. How many books and essays have been written about him, and how little true criticism they contain! Perhaps, indeed, the time has not yet come for a really wide and deep appreciation of his marvellous individuality. At present the only fairly complete critical account of Heine that I know of in England is contained in a careful and rather dull paper which appeared in the Contemporary a few years ago, and which was written by a Mr. Charles Grant. Let us, then, look at Mr. Arnold's article on "Keats" in Ward's English Poets. Who has not heard of Keats' "natural magic?" Here, in the shortest compass, Mr. Arnold displays all the charm of his most exquisite literary style. And yet his unhappy tendency to moralise, his resolve "not to persist in pressing forward," but to enjoy merely the superficial aspect of things, make it impossible to say that these pages, delightful as they are, bear on them the stamp of true critical insight.

After all, we must never forget all that we owe to Matthew Arnold. M. Bourget says of Renan that he is "l'homme superieur." Matthew Arnold is the English "homme superieur," though not in quite the same sense. It is the superiority voulu of a pedagogue. If, however, he appears to possess the hereditary instincts of a schoolmaster, and in a stern yet half-encouraging manner deals out reproofs to Ruskin, Stopford Brooke, and others who have not yet learnt what measure is, what style is, what urbanity is, still it is true that the reproofs were called for, and Matthew Arnold himself seldom forgets what those things are. One would prefer, when charitably disposed, that one's contemporaries should fall into his hands rather than, let us say, be reached by Swinburne's reckless sledge-hammer. It is no mean distinction to have been one of the foremost poets of an age, one of its chief prose writers, and its most typical critic. This may console Mr. Arnold when he sometimes finds arrayed against him the weapons which he has himself forged. When a writer has become popular and influential it is profitable, Mr. Arnold would himself tell us, to meditate on his defects. The influence which Matthew Arnold has exercised on recent English critical work may be seen both in its better qualities and in its lack of thoroughness, its tendency to degenerate into the mere literature of style. Not long ago Mr. F. W. H Myers published two volumes of essays which were largely of a critical character. These well-written essays were received with all the applause which they deserved, an applause which was unanimous, and seems to indicate that they may fairly be accepted, both in their merits and defects, as an example of the popular conception of criticism. The influence of Matthew Arnold's method may, I think, be well traced in the essay on Renan.

Mr. Myers is concerned not to get to the heart of his subject, but to give us charming and interesting passages, stimulating and profitable suggestions—"the best that is known and thought in the world." There are luminous points of criticism here and there, but they are not frequent. It is a pleasant essay, it is not criticism. It might be said that Mr. Myers is writing of a foreign author, not, like M. Bourget, of a native writer, with whom he could suppose his readers to be well acquainted, or, like Georg Brandes, who writes avowedly for all Europe. Let us turn, then, to his essay on "Rossetti and the Religion of Beauty." I have read this essay several times since it first appeared in the Cornhill; there is something so charming about it that it is by no means difficult to read; but I must confess that every time I reach the end of it no definite impression remains on my mind. It is witty sometimes; it is carefully written; I frequently feel that Mr. Myers is about to touch the heart of his subject; but he goes round and round, and never seems to get any nearer. He beats the bush with admirable dexterity, and the reader looks on expectantly, but nothing appears. There are certain flames in literature—Heine, Rossetti, Whitman—into which the critical moth in England loves to dash, and Mr. Myers, like the rest, appears to singe his wings with great satisfaction.

Another English critic, Mr. Theodore Watts, has dealt with Rossetti much more successfully. Notwithstanding his fine sense for artistic form, his keen faculty for mere literary analysis, Mr. Watts sees clearly the nature of the critic's ultimate task. He is fully aware that the critic is concerned with criticism, not with the mere production of literature. In an article called, with some failure of good taste, "The Truth about Rossetti," which appeared in the Nineteenth Century about two years ago, he has produced a criticism of Rossetti which is likely to be final for some years to come. If we regard the present state of English criticism, it is difficult to praise such work too highly for its grasp of a very wonderful individuality, for its keen perception of the relations of that individuality to imaginative art generally. The accurate criticism of a great, and hitherto unappreciated personality (with which, also, the critic has come closely in contact), is a peculiarly difficult task. Swinburne's criticism of Rossetti was a lyrical rhapsody. Mr. William Sharp, with all his talent, with his devoted and laborious enthusiasm, has written a volume of some four hundred pages about Rossetti, which contains perhaps some dozen lines of genuine criticism. And when the enthusiasm and the laboriousness are both wanting, the result may be even more disastrous, as anyone may have observed who happened to witness a pathetic attempt at the criticism of Rossetti by the late Principal Shairp. Such criticism as that of Mr. Watts becomes, therefore, very precious, and it is a matter for regret that he has not more strenuously devoted himself to criticism of such serious and enduring quality.

I have alluded to another writer who has been singularly fortunate or unfortunate in attracting the attention of critics. It would be difficult even to name the critics who have attempted to gauge the depth or shallowness of Whitman's genius, for the most part, not even excepting an interesting attempt of Professor Dowden's, in a somewhat ineffectual manner. Strange to say, it is in the prophet's own country, and from a writer who is not pre-eminently a critic, that the most adequate appreciation of Whitman has so far proceeded. In an essay, entitled too fancifully The Flight of the Eagle, John Burroughs shows very remarkable precision of judgment, and power of synthetic criticism. His range of criticism, though narrow, is true within its own limits. Narrowness of range marks some of our best critics. Mr. Pater, if he has nothing else in common with Burroughs, is a true critic within an almost equally narrow range, and with a similar synthetic method. Mr. Burroughs' range is that of large, virile, catholic, sweet-blooded things; he is half on the side of Emerson, but altogether on the side of Rabelais, of Shakespeare, of Whitman. Mr. Pater is not, indeed, on the side of "Zoroaster and the saints;" but there is no room in his heart for the things that Mr. Burroughs loves. For him there is nothing so good in the world as the soft, spiritual aroma—telling, as nothing else tells, of the very quintessence of the Renaissance itself—that exhales from Delia Robbia ware, or the long-lost impossible Platonism of Mirandola, or certain subtle and evanescent aspects of Botticelli's art. To find how the flavour of these things may be most exquisitely tasted, there is nothing so well worth seeking as that. Even in Marius the "new Cyrenaicism" in reality rules to the end. Joachim du Bellay is too fragile to bear the touch of analytic criticism, but certainly it would be impossible to do more for him than Mr. Pater has done by his synthetic method. For Mr. Pater the objects with which aesthetic criticism deals are "the receptacles of so many powers or forces" which he wishes to seize in the most complete manner; they are, as it were, plants from each of which he wishes to extract its own peculiar alkaloid or volatile oil. For him "the picture, the landscapes, the engaging personality in life or in a book, La Gioconda, the hills of Carrara, Pico of Mirandola, are valuable for their virtues, as we say in speaking of a herb, a wine, a gem; for the property each has of affecting one with a special unique impression of pleasure." This was an ingenious and almost scientific theory of criticism, and had not Mr. Pater seemed to swoon by the way over the subtle perfumes he had evoked, he might, one thinks, have gone far.

If, however, the area which Mr. Pater occupies with his herbs, and gems, and wines is small, however choice, that is but saying that he is not a critic of the first order, and that critics of the first order are rare. With so definite, and apparently fruitful a method, one might have thought that all things were possible for Mr. Pater. But a fairly catholic critic like Sainte-Beuve—for with all his cynical caution Sainte-Beuve was catholic—rarely has a definite method, a method to which he adheres. However it may be in the future, the critic, in his largest development, hitherto has been a highly-evolved and complex personality, whose judgments have proceeded from the almost spontaneous reaction of his own nature with the things with which he has come in contact; and so long as that is the case, the main point is to ascertain the exact weight and quality of the factor which the critic himself brings. In that way, while we shall still be nothing less than infinitely removed from the realisation of so primitive a conception of the critic's function as Matthew Arnold's—"to see the thing as in itself it really is"—can we only at present truly attain a sound criticism. Mr. J. A. Symonds, among English critics, possesses, I think unquestionably, the most marked catholicity. He has not, like Mr. Pater, the advantage or disadvantage of a definite method. He lives and moves in "the free atmosphere of art, which is nature permeated by emotion." This allows him at once a large scope, both for analytic criticism and for mere description. Description, it is scarcely necessary to say, is not always criticism; and Mr. Symonds, especially in some volumes of magazine essays—the litter of his workshop—gathered together and published—it is not, from a critical point of view, quite easy to say why—is by no means sparing in this respect. His power of fluent description, his wealth of exact analogy from all domains of art, are sometimes almost oppressive. He can tell you how a particular poem is like a particular picture, or a particular picture like a particular fugue of Bach's. But a capacity for profuse and minute analogy, however rich and poetic—and Mr. Symonds' analogies often are rich and poetic; for instance, "the beautiful Greek life, as of leopards, and tiger-lilies, and eagles "—is not necessarily a surer guide in paths of criticism than in paths of philosophy. In his more solid and mature work Mr. Symonds has freed himself from these defects of his manner. In the chief subject with which he has dwelt—the Italian Renaissance—his method of uniting description with analytic criticism is seen at its best. Notwithstanding the emotional extravagance to which he is sometimes (though not at his best) inclined, Mr. Symonds' deepest quality is his keen and restless intellectual energy. This profoundly inquisitive temper of mind may be seen in his sonnets, with their subtle and searching dialectical power. To this wide-ranging intellectual force is united a certain calm breadth and sanity which marks all Mr. Symonds' best work. Taine, whose eager, inquisitive, intellectual force is greater still, fails to give any impression of underlying sanity and calm. One can always see the restless passion that throbs beneath the iron mail of his logic. Mr. Symonds, also, is free from the limitations of the specialist critic. His account of Shelley in the "Men of Letters" series is, on the whole, the best that has yet appeared; in Ward's English Poets he has written a short criticism of Byron which sums up admirably whatever makes Byron great and significant. It is rare to find a critic who is equally receptive to these two so diverse artistic individualities. Taine, with all his ostentation of scientific apparatus, has his well-marked proclivities. When one thinks of Taine one thinks of the things that are most exuberant, elemental, bitter, that burst forth from the lowest depth of the human consciousness—of Rubens, of Shakespeare, of Swift. We see his insatiable passion for all that is fiercest and most concentrated in the elemental manifestations of human hatred and revenge in his Revolution. Mr. Symonds, with a much less definite method, has less definite prejudices. But he also takes peculiar delight in a certain order of individuality. Like Taine, he is attracted by the manifestations of elemental passion; his intellectual energy is satisfied by the bold, strong, unemotional imagination of the Italian novellieri, or the same imagination with its profound moral and emotional reverberations in the Elizabethan dramatists.. Perhaps, however, it is the natural rather than the fiendish aspects of passion to which he is attracted, the aspects that are lovely and yet masculine. That wonderful Kermesse of Rubens in the Louvre is the perfect embodiment of all that most fascinates Taine. Mr. Symonds prefers Tintoretto's Bacchus and Ariadne. It is the broad, masculine, sympathetic personalities that he seems most to care about: Pontano, with his large, healthy sensuality, his tremulous tenderness for sorrow and childhood in the seventeenth century; Whitman, with his vast tolerance, his audacity in the presence of all things natural and human, in the nineteenth. What Mr. Symonds tells us more explicitly of his philosophy of life harmonises with this bias. The motto of the Studies of the Greek Poets is Goethe's famous saying:—

"Im Ganzen, Guten, Schoenen
Resolut zu leben."

And in the suggestive and characteristic essay at the end of the first series—"The Genius of Greek Art"—he declares that there is but one way to make the Hellenic tradition vital—to be natural. Science, he adds, will place the future man on a higher pinnacle than even the Greek; for it has given us the final discovery that there is no antagonism, but rather a most intimate connection between the elements of our being. It is largely because Mr. Symonds is so resolute to live in this conception of the whole, that his work is so sound and so stimulating, and that he represents to-day whatever is best in English criticism.

It is doubtful whether Mr. Symonds possesses the dangerous gift of a keen intuition. A piercing and apparently instantaneous insight into the heart of his subject, sometimes uncertain, as in Coleridge, sometimes certain, as in Heine, frequently marks the discursive and catholic critic. Carlyle had a faculty as uncertain as Coleridge's, as keen as Heine's, for cutting into the core of a thing. It is possible that one of his main claims to remembrance will be found to lie in the portraits he has given us of his contemporaries. From this point of view the Reminiscences are peculiarly valuable. Carlyle was Aristophanic, it may be, and his portraits have sometimes even a faint gleam of the Greek's lyric loveliness on them; but for criticism of the piercing, heliocentric sort there is often nothing to be compared to them, although, wherever prejudice or partiality comes in, it is always liable to go hopelessly astray. In criticism of this kind Swinburne is now, without any rival, the chief English representative. More purely literary than Carlyle, his intuitions are also, on the whole, accompanied and held in check by a more exact knowledge. At the best they are keen, vital, audacious, springing from a free and genuine insight. But Swinburne also is not reliable where his sympathies or antipathies are too strongly called forth. He is better worth listening to when he speaks of Ford and the Elizabethan dramatists generally, than when he speaks of Hugo or De Musset. For all that is keen and intense his perception is vivid; he criticises admirably what is great in the Brontes; his failure to appreciate George Eliot is almost complete. Swinburne has also another difficulty to contend with. Sometimes his prose style is a very flame of power and splendour. At other times it is singularly awkward, and clanks behind him in an altogether hopeless and helpless fashion. What way of describing things can be more stale, flat, and unprofitable than this discovered without much search—"the great company of witnesses, by right of articulate genius, and might of intelligent appeal against all tenets and all theories of sophists, and of saints which tend directly or indirectly to pamper or to stimulate, to fortify or to excuse, the tyrannous instinct or appetite," etc.? One scarcely recognises there the swift hand of the poet.

If a brief review of English criticism in its higher aspects reveals the fact that our critics are but a feeble folk—with exceptions, indeed, that are brilliant, though, even then, for the most part, erratic—it is still worth while to make that review. It is well to call them before us, and, for our own private guidance, try to define to ourselves what it is and what it is not that they have to give us; where we may follow them, and where we should forbear. Criticism is a complex development of psychological science, and if it is to reach any large and strong growth, it must be apprehended seriously in all its manifestations.


This review of Edward Carpenter's TOWARDS DEMOCRACY was published, unsigned, in PAPERS FOR THE TIMES of February, 1886. Carpenter himself was interested, and seemed even a little surprised, to find himself here ranked among the mystics.

THE form of literary expression which has found its chief exponent in Walt Whitman has received an important adherent in Mr. Edward Carpenter, whose Towards Democracy, published two years ago, has just been re-published with many additions. Whether, as some enthusiasts loudly assert, this new form of art is to supersede the stricter metrical forms—a very unlikely result—or not, it has fully established its right to exist as a flexible and harmonious vehicle for imaginative conceptions which scarcely admit of adequate expression in the more orthodox forms. It is not, however, really correct to speak of this as a new form; it is one of the first in which the human imagination found voice, and it formed the medium for the relatively ancient Hebrew psalms and prophecies:—

"Come on, therefore: let us enjoy the good things that are present, and let us speedily use the creatures like as in youth.

"Let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments, and let no flower of the spring pass by us. Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered.

"Let none of us go without his part of our voluptuousness; let us leave tokens of our joyful-ness in every place. For this is our portion and our lot is this."

One might almost mistake these words of The Wisdom of Solomon for a passage from Leaves of Grass, and many parts of Isaiah and Ezekiel reach a much higher rhythmical level.

Let us, however, turn from the form to the substance of Mr. Carpenter's book. It must be said at once that the democracy towards which we are advancing, according to Mr. Carpenter (as it is needless to tell those who are acquainted with the admirable little tracts he has published from time to time, such as Desirable Mansions and England's Ideal), is far from having much resemblance to that huge beast whose advent Renan, Scherer and Maine contemplate with doleful emotions. "A black and horned Ethiopian," indeed, he calls it, but the freedom and equality he announces is that of the soul, "for which the heroes and lovers of all ages have laid down their lives," and of which political freedom and institutions are only the outward but necessary shadows. Democracy, he finely says, is that "which first expresses itself in the flower of the eye or the appearance of the skin."

"I conceive a millennium on earth—a millennium not of riches, nor of mechanical facilities, nor of intellectual facilities, nor absolutely of immunity from disease, nor absolutely of immunity from pain; but a time when men and women all over the earth shall ascend and enter into relation with their bodies—shall attain freedom and joy."

It need scarcely be said that Mr. Carpenter is keenly sensitive to the contrast between such a millennium and the England of to-day. It is, indeed, as frequently happens, through his perception of the wrongness of our modern life that he rises to a perception of a coming righteousness; the optimism springs out of pessimism.

"O England, do I not know thee?—as in a nightmare strangled, tied and bound. Thy poverty, when through thy filthy courts, from tangles of matted hair, gaunt women with venomous faces look upon me;

"When I turn from this and consider throughout the length and breadth of the land, not less but more hateful, the insane greed of wealth—of which poverty and its evils are but the necessary obverse and counterpart;

"When I see deadly respectability sitting at its dinner-table, quaffing its wine, and discussing the rise and fall of stocks;

"When I see the struggle, the fear, the envy, the profound infidelity (so profound that it is almost unconscious of itself) in which the moneyed classes live;

"When I see avenues of young girls and women, with sideway flopping heads, debarred from work, debarred from natural sexuality, weary to death with nothing to do (and this thy triumph, O deadly respectability discussing stocks!);

"When I look for help from the guides and see only a dead waste of aimless, abject, close-shaven, shabby, simpering, flat, pompous, pecked, punctilious faces;

"O England, whither—strangled, tied and bound—whither, whither art thou come?"

But from the contemplation of the England of to-day we are gradually led up to a vision of the higher Democracy, and the poem ends in a paean of joy that grows almost delirious:—

"Radiant health!

"O kisses of sun and wind, tall fir trees and moss-covered rocks! O boundless joy of Nature on the mountain tops, coming back at last to you!

"See! the Divine Mother goes forth with her babe (all creation circles round). God dwells once more in a woman's womb, friend goes with friend, flesh cleaves to flesh, the path that rounds the Universe.

"O every day sweet and delicious food! Kisses to the lips of sweet smelling fruit and bread, milk and green herbs. Strong, well-knit muscles, quick healing, glossy skin, body for kisses all over!

"Radiant health! to breathe, O joy! to sleep, ah! never enough to be expressed!

"For the taste of fruit ripening warm in the sun, for the distant sight of the deep liquid sea; for the touch of the air on my face, or creeping over my unclothed body, for the rustling sound of it in the trees, and the sight of thin tall stems springing so lightly from the earth.

"Joy, joy, and thanks for ever!"

Like Walt Whitman, Mr. Carpenter has a profound sense of the mystery and significance of the body: he cannot see any salvation for man till he is able to enter into pure and frank relation with his own body, the latest and best gift of nature, so long concealed; it is by his body, he insists, that man ascends and knows himself and he cannot treat it too reverently. "The body is the root of the soul."

"Recurved and close lie the little feet and hands, close as in the attitude of sleep folds the head, the little lips are not yet parted;

"The living mother-flesh folds round in darkness, the mother's life is an unspoken prayer, her body a temple of the Holy One.

"I am amazed and troubled, my child, she whispers—at the thought of you; I hardly dare to speak of it, you are so sacred;

"When I feel you leap I do not know myself any more—I am filled with wonder and joy—Ah! if any injury should happen to you!

"I will keep my body pure, very pure; the sweet air will I breathe and pure water drink; I will stay out in the open, hours together, that my flesh may become pure and fragrant for your sake;

"Holy thoughts will I think; I will brood in the thought of mother-love. I will fill myself with beauty: trees and running brooks shall be my companions;

"And I will pray that I may become transparent—that the sun may shine and the moon, my beloved, upon you.

"Even before you are born."

Our first thought on opening this volume for the first time is that we have come across a weak imitation of Leaves of Grass; but on growing familiar with Towards Democracy we find that we have here a distinct individuality, with, indeed, points of contact with Whitman, and using the same mode of expression, but a new and genuine voice nevertheless, not a mere echo. Even the form is not quite the same; it is flowing and eloquent rather than with the massive Aveight of Whitman's interrupted elephantine steps. There is a strenuous vitality in Whitman; his voice is like a trumpet; he radiates life and energy from a vast centre of vital heat; he is the expression of an immense dilatation of the individual personality. But in this volume the bounds of personality are, as it were, loosened; and we have instead the soothing voice of an almost impersonal return to joy. Mr. Carpenter on the whole does not strive nor cry; he lifts up, rather, a tender voice of love and healing. It is the note of Consolation rather than the stimulating "barbaric yawp" that we hear.

"As long as you harbour motives, so long are you giving hostages to the enemy—while you are a slave (to this and that) you can only obey. It is not you who are acting at all.

"Brush it all aside.

"Pass disembodied out of yourself. Leave the husk, leave the long, long prepared and perfected envelope.

"Enter into the life which is eternal. Pass through the gate of indifference into the palace of mastery, through the door of love into the house of deliciousness.

"Give away all that you have, become poor and without possessions—and behold! you shall become lord and sovereign of all things." For this messenger of the new Democracy is a mystic; it is the bold and gentle spirit of St. Francis that we hear anew; and the modern man, too, as he looks at the horse and the cat, and the ant on the grass by the barn door asks: "Do you not know your mother and your sister and your brother are among them?" The human heart still cries out for consolation and the old oracles with ever new voices still utter their responses.

We have been looking rather at the democratic and religious aspects of Towards Democracy than at its artistic or poetic aspects. There are, however, many passages full of poetic charm, of large and gracious imagery, of tender and delicate observation of nature. Of the shorter poems which form the larger part of the book, "York Minster," "In the Drawing Room," "After Long Ages," are among the best. "High in my Chamber," and passages in "After Long Ages," reveal Mr. Carpenter's command of his form; there is a swift and sustained melody in them which is unlike anything that Whitman has done. "Squinancy Wort" is a brightly expressed fancy. "Have Faith" is a brief and pregnant compendium of mystical philosophy, such as found in Eckart one of its chief exponents; and like Eckart, Mr. Carpenter asserts the perilous doctrine that "whoever dwells among thoughts dwells in the region of delusion and disease." "On an Atlantic Steamship" is a true and vivid fragment of observation. This book—with its revolt against the overweighted civilisation of our lives, with its frank reverence for the human body, with the clinging tenderness of its view of religious emotion—must not be accepted, however startling its thesis may sometimes appear, as an isolated fact. On the one hand it represents in a modern dress one of the most ancient modes of human thought and feeling. On the other hand it is allied to some of the most characteristic features of the modern world. In America Emerson long since upheld in his own lofty and austere fashion a like conception of life and the soul. Walt Whitman has sought to represent such an ideal in action in the living world. Thoreau, the finest flower of the school of Antisthenes, felt an irresistible impulse to reduce life to its lowest terms, and he did so with a practical wisdom which saved him from approaching the tub of Diogenes. "Our life," he has well said, "is but the soul made known by its fruits the body. The whole duty of men may be expressed in one line: make to yourself a perfect body." In England, from many various and indeed opposite directions, the same cry is raised in the presence of the heavy burden of modern civilisation. Mr. William Morris, who has identified himself with the cause of Socialism, is never weary of proclaiming that for life's sake we have lost the reasons for living. Dr. Richardson, a vigorous opponent of Socialism, tells us the same thing, that health of body and mind is the only standard of wealth, that the extreme wealth of the rich and the extreme poverty of the poor ultimately reduce richest and poorest to the same level—leaving them alike in physical and mental weakness, in selfish indifference to the suffering of others. And now Mr. Carpenter would have us consider whether men do well "to condemn themselves to pick oakum of the strands of real life for ever." Probably his chief distinguishing characteristic is that element of mystic religion to which reference has more than once been already made, and which is most distinctly marked in his latest work. The mystic element in Whitman is kept in check by his strong sense of external reality and multiplicity. Tired of the hopeless wretchedness of life, the mystic finds a door of deliverance within his own heart. It is idle to rebel, as some would have us do, against this impulse towards freedom and joy, although it has led to superstition, to unbridled licence, to long arrests of human progress. We are compelled to regard it—after the sexual passion which is the very life of the race itself—as man's strongest and most persistent instinct. So long as it is saved from fanaticism by a strenuous devotion to science, by a perpetual reference to the moral structure of society, it will always remain an integral portion of the whole man in his finest developments.


Published in the PIONEER for October, 1889, and signed H.E. At this period Paul Bourget had not yet become the champion of an anti-modern reactionism, but it would seem that I detected in his work the germs of later developments which for me were of little significance, and I read nothing of his after 1889. But at that time he was still, above all, the author of the ESSAIS DE PSYCHOLOGIE CONTEMPORAINE, a work, though in late editions he has toned down some of its utterances, memorable and almost epoch-marking.

OF the younger generation of French writers Paul Bourget—successively poet, critic, novelist—is the most prominent and perhaps the most interesting. Even in England his name at all events is well known; it would not be safe to assume that his books are also well known; and yet they are marked by certain qualities which make them worth the study of anyone who desires to know the best that young France has to give, and also to understand a very important phase of the modern spirit.

Bourget first appeared as a poet; he has at intervals published several volumes of poems. In poetry he has been described as un lakiste Parisien, an expression which at all events indicates his peculiar complexity; but his poetic work also reveals influences from Baudelaire, from Shelley, from Poe (whose love of mystery appeals strongly to the imagination of modern France), and from less known poets.

These poems, especially, perhaps, the volume called Aveux, clearly indicate Bourget's dominant tendency from the first to restless and unceasing self-analysis; they are full of the struggle between life and the ideal, of the immense thirst for life and the irresistible tendency towards the dreams of the ideal, the sense of the sterility of passion and the impotence of life—that pessimism, in short, which was very far from being the exclusive property of young Bourget. "This Satan," he wrote in his first volume, "takes my passions and kills them, and then exposes the mangled limbs of my ideal body—just as a surgeon does with a hospital corpse—and yet, as I see him do it, I feel a strange fascination, rather than anger."

This is youthful, undoubtedly; Bourget's poems are chiefly interesting because they help us to understand the man's personality. As a poet there is a certain ineffectual effort about him; even as a novelist, he fails to leave a feeling of complete satisfaction. It is as a critic—in the volumes of the Essais de Psychologic Contemporaine—that Bourget reaches his full development. He has ceased to talk openly of his "membres dechires" and to lament the sterility of life; his restless and sensitive spirit has at last found adequate occupation in, as he explains it, indicating the examples which "the distinguished writers of to-day offer to the imagination of the young people who seek to know themselves through books." So that in his sympathetic and searching examination of these writers, Bourget's Satan is still really analysing, in a more heightened form, the elements of his own nature: this gives a peculiar meaning and personal impress to his work.

In these two volumes, in which there is not a page without some keen critical insight, some fine suggestion for thought, Bourget deals, then, with the psychological physiognomy of certain leading literary figures, chiefly belonging to modern France, and with the psychological atmosphere which has made them possible—Renan, Baudelaire, Taine, Flaubert, Beyle, Tourgueneff, Dumas, Le-conte de Lisle, the De Goncourts, Amiel. His aim is thus explained in the Preface: "The reader will not find in these pages what may properly be termed criticism. Methods of art are only analysed in so far as they are signs, the personality of the authors is hardly indicated, there is not, I believe, a single anecdote. I have desired neither to discuss talent nor to paint character. My ambition has been to record some notes capable of serving the historian of the moral life during the second half of the nineteenth century in France." Each figure is treated with reference to the current influence which it represents; thus in writing of Taine, Bourget deals with the slowly penetrating spirit of science; Dumas, the dramatic moralist, serves to introduce a subtle discussion of some of the modern problems connected with love; Flaubert, and that style of imperishable marble in which he slowly carved his great creations, is a text for some singularly keen observations on the profound significance of style. The essay on Renan is probably the finest; Renan is peculiarly amenable to Bourget's delicate feminine methods of analysis; the characteristics of Renan's spirit and manner are set down with insurpassable felicity. On the other hand the account of Taine is probably the least satisfactory; Taine's virile (perhaps extravagantly virile) methods, his strong, direct positive grip of things, does not easily lend itself to the sinuous sympathetic methods of Bourget's analysis.

There are at least two points, on which Bourget especially insists, which help to explain his attitude and also much in that contemporary "moral life" which he has set himself to analyse. The first of these (introduced in the essay on Baudelaire) is the theory of decadence. Bourget uses this word as it is generally used (but, as Gautier pointed out, rather unfortunately) to express the literary methods of a society which has reached its limits of expansion and maturity—"the state of society," in his own words, "which produces too large a number of individuals who are unsuited to the labours of the common life. A society should be like an organism. Like an organism, in fact, it may be resolved into a federation of smaller organisms, which may themselves be resolved into a federation of cells. The individual is the social cell. In order that the organism should perform its functions with energy it is necessary that the organisms composing it should perform their functions with energy, but with a subordinated energy, and in order that these lesser organisms should themselves perform their functions with energy, it is necessary that the cells comprising them should perform their functions with energy, but with a subordinated energy. If the energy of the cells becomes independent, the lesser organisms will likewise cease to subordinate their energy to the total energy and the anarchy which is established constitutes the decadence of the whole. The social organism does not escape this law and enters into decadence as soon as the individual life becomes exaggerated beneath the influence of acquired well-being, and of heredity. A similar law governs the development and decadence of that other organism which we call language. A style of decadence is one in which the unity of the book is decomposed to give place to the independence of the page, in which the page is decomposed to give place to the independence of the phrase, and the phrase to give place to the independence of the word." A decadent style, in short, is an anarchistic style in which everything is sacrificed to the development of the individual parts.

Apuleius, Petronius, St. Augustine, Tertullian, are examples of this decadence in ancient literature; Gautier and Baudelaire in French literature; Poe and especially Whitman (in so far as he can be said to have a style) in America; in English literature Sir Thomas Browne is probably the most conspicuous instance; later De Quincey, and, in part of their work, Coleridge and Rossetti. The second point (discussed in relation to Renan) is indicated by the word dilettantism. Like decadence this is not a fortunate word; it has been identified in our minds with those defects of frivolity and superficiality into which the dilettante spirit most easily falls, just as the style of decadence sometimes tends to represent what Baudelaire called "la phosphorescence de la pourriture." At the best it is marked by its universality of sympathy and by its striving after wholeness. The typical dilettante is Goethe. "Dilettantism is much less a doctrine," Bourget remarks, "than a disposition of the mind, at once very intelligent and very emotional, which inclines us in turn towards the various forms of life, and leads us to lend ourselves to all these forms without giving ourselves to any. It is quite certain that the ways of tasting happiness are very varied—according to epochs, climates, age, temperaments, according to days even, or hours. Usually a man makes his choice and disapproves of the choice of others, hardly understands it even. Sympathy is not sufficient; a refined scepticism is necessary, and the art of transforming this scepticism into an instrument of enjoyment. Dilettantism becomes then a delicate science of intellectual and emotional metamorphosis...It seems that humanity experiences a deep repugnance to dilettantism, doubtless because humanity understands instinctively that it lives by affirmations, and would die of uncertainty. Among the famous dilettantes » whose fame it has tolerated while marking it with visible disfavour, we may range that adorable Alcibiades who delighted to play such various parts, and that mysterious Caesar who embodied in himself so many persons. Dilettantism was the favourite condition of the great analysts of the Renaissance, of which Leonardo da Vinci with his universal aptitudes, the incomplete complexity of his work, his strange dream of beauty, remains the enigmatic and delightful type. Montaigne also, and his pupil Shakespeare, have practised this curious art of exploiting their intellectual uncertainties for the profit of the caprices of their imaginations. But the creative sap still flows charged with energy in the veins of these children of a century of action. Only at a later period in the life of a race, when extreme civilisation has little by little abolished the faculty of creation, to substitute that of comprehension, does dilettantism reveal all that poetry of which the most modern of the ancients, Virgil, had a presentiment, if he really let fall that saying which tradition has transmitted to us: 'One grows tired of everything, except of comprehending.'" Bourget refers to the disfavour with which the dilettante spirit has always been received. This disfavour is not without reason; it is true that just as the "decadent" style exhibits the most ardent and elaborate search for perfection, so the dilettante spirit is the realisation of those aspirations for which we are always striving, but from its very perfection, its breadth and universality, it has no to-morrow. It is the style of Raphael; when we have reached it there can be no further progress on those lines: a fresh start has to be made. These are two of the problems which Bourget develops in these fascinating Essais, finding, as he tells us, sometimes an answer of sorrow, sometimes one of faith and hope, most often the former, for his temperament is strongly tinged with pessimism; and for him the two great forces of the modern world, Science and Democracy, have dried up the old sources of the moral life, and furnished none that are fresh.

Bourget's novels are by no means the least interesting part of his work. In novel-writing his style is very simple, very delicate and precise: except for its almost scientific exactness it has nothing of the naturalistic school's burden of elaborate detail. His method, as we should expect, is above all psychological and very sincere. The range of characterisation is not wide; there is usually a man of fairly simple nature, and a background formed of several almost characterless persons. The chief personage is always a woman. In his treatment of these women—Noemie, Claire, Therese—lies the strength of Bourget's novels. When he turns to them he is at once at home; his own essentially feminine nature enables him to unravel with perfect insight and sympathy the complex and unharmonised natures with which he has endowed them.

Let us take Cruelle Enigme which Taine is said to have declared to be the best novel produced during recent years. The central figure is Therese de Sauve, a young married woman of twenty-five, whose face has the serene and gracious beauty, the mysterious smile, of Luini's Madonnas. Her husband is described as a coarse and sensual man who has failed to gain any influence over her heart, and who now leaves her to herself. She has had two lovers since her marriage, but in each case has been speedily disillusioned. She now meets and loves Hubert Liauran, three years younger than herself, who has spent all his life at home with his mother and grandmother. Of course he yields her all the fresh devotion of his young heart. He satisfies the purest and sweetest instincts of Therese's nature, and she yields him, not indeed, complete sincerity, but tender and almost maternal love. In response to the usual craving of lovers to be alone together in a foreign land, she crosses the Channel to Folkestone, where Hubert joins her for a couple of days, and they afterwards find a place of meeting in Paris. But there is another side to Therese's nature; there is a craving for strong sensuous impressions, an instinctive fascination in the presence of great sensual vitality. She is staying at Trouville, away from her husband and Hubert, and there meets a man who is noted for his power over women. He is merely a fine animal, but Therese yields to him almost at once; in a few days, however, realising what she has done, she suddenly leaves Trouville and returns to Paris. After a time a rumour reaches Hubert; he will not believe it, but he repeats it to Therese, who still loves him and will not conceal what she has done. He rushes wildly away; for weeks he broods alone; at length he meets Therese to bid her a last farewell over the ruins of his dearest illusions; at the moment, however, of touching her hands, the old passion returns and he falls into her arms. But it is not the same love; he no longer has any right to reproach her.

This—crudely and briefly stated—is the story of the cruel enigma, if it is an enigma, which Bourget presents to us. One scarcely thinks of calling the story a work of art, it is told with such simplicity, such sincerity; the interest, which is always sustained, appears as much that attaching to a psychological "case" as to a novel; at every turn we find traces of a singularly fine and delicate observation. Bourget writes with full consciousness that the great novelists of his country—men like Beyle, Balzac, Flaubert—have never hesitated to analyse, keenly and boldly, all the mysteries of passion; he is aware that his own task is a modest one. But how unlike the average English novel!

To realise this let us for a moment compare Cruelle Enigme with a typical English novel which appeared at the same time, and was received with great applause, a novel which deals with a situation superficially the same as that of Bourget's, but with an entirely different set of characters and from an entirely different standpoint. Colonel Enderby's Wife, written by a lady who calls herself "Lucas Malet," is a careful and powerfully told story of an unhappy marriage. Colonel Enderby comes of a race of commonplace country gentlemen of the type of the homme moyen sensuel, but he is, we are told, a "doubtfully successful exception to this general type," a true and simple-hearted man. Jessie, his young wife, is described as a faun-like survival from the old world; she has no human passion; she cannot love; she shrinks from the presence of pain and disease. When the Colonel discovers that he is suffering from heart-disease, which demands constant care and rest, if his life is to be preserved, he realises that he will be an object of dislike and contempt to his wife, and resolves, knowing all that it means, to lead his ordinary life and satisfy all the caprices of Jessie, who is indifferent and seems to be flirting with other men. This narrative is marked in the telling by a certain horror of being ridiculous, by an ostentation of cynical materialism—this is a curious characteristic of the English novel in general as compared to the French—combined with a profound sense of what conventionality demands. Lucas Malet has an artistic conscience, but one feels that it is raised on a conventionally moral, not, as with the French novelist, on a psychological basis; she calls the novel "a moral dissecting-room." It is evident that Therese's relation to Hubert is regarded as scarcely less than ideal; M. de Sauve is practically non-existent; even Hubert, though he has been brought up religiously, has only a passing compunction at Therese's adultery. Again, Jessie's failure to love her husband is not, like Therese's failure to be true to Hubert, due to passion; it is described as due to the absence of passion. Jessie excites comment in her circle because she dances frequently with a young neighbour, but he dances well—that is all; for the rest she thinks him a bore. The ordinary English novelist would find it hard to paint Jessie as passionate without taking from her even that charm that she has; Therese never fails in womanliness; she is always lovable. We are not likely to see in England, at present, any successful union of the French and English novel, because our great English novelists have not touched the facts of life with the same frankness and boldness, and their conception of normal life is unduly restricted. Cruelle Enigme could not be written in England with Bourget's moderation and simplicity; it would be felt to be a little "outrageous," and the recent English novelists who have been touched by French influence constantly offend by their crude and vulgar extravagance. Few of them possess even the degree of artistic earnestness and consistency which marks the best work of Mr. George Moore, such as much of the Mummer's Wife. But Mr. Moore can scarcely be called English at all, except in the occasional exaggerations of his work. English novels are still for the most part what at one time French novels were, romantic; they are feebly struggling after a new ideal. We need, as it has been well said, a synthesis of naturalism and romanticism; we need to reconstitute the complete man, instead of studying him in separate pieces; to put a living soul in the clothed body. It is because they have to some extent done this that the great Russian novelists—Dostoieffsky, Tourgueneff and Tolstoi—are so significant; and Bourget, with his more limited means, seems to be striving towards the same ideal.


This article appeared in THE LANCET for August 13th, 1892, and was followed up next week by a vigorous plea on the same lines from Charles Roberts, F.R.C.S., who at that period was actively promoting the study of anthropology. He pointed out that botany in its pure form had already disappeared from the medical curriculum and might well be followed by much anatomical, physiological, and especially microscopical work, to make room for the more directly human and practical study of anthropology, which, in addition to the claim I had made for it, would be of high value in public health work. But, so far, our arguments have been in vain.

VIRCHOW, who adds to his other claims to fame that of being the first of living anthropologists, has recently confessed that his attention was directed to the science of anthropology by the difficulties he encountered in the study of the insane. Charcot, again, frequently impresses on his pupils the importance of studying the healthy nude, and of an acquaintance with anthropometric canons, as an aid to the diagnosis of abnormal conditions. These utterances of two of the most honoured of our teachers in very different fields suggest that there is a defect in our medical courses, as they exist at present in England, which demands, at the least, some consideration. As evidence of the close relationship between anthropology and medical practice, it is enough to mention that in spite of the difficulties we at present place in the way, with a few exceptions (in which zoology alone led up to anthropology), the chief anthropologists of the last half century have been medical men—in not a few cases very distinguished in the profession; at the least, they have started as students of medicine. It is sufficient to mention in France Broca, Topinard, Lacassagne, Manouvrier, Collignon, and Letour-neau; in Germany, around and below Virchow, Ranke, Schaeffhausen, Ploss, Bartels and many others; in Italy, Mantegazza, Lombroso, Sergi; in our own country, Galton, Beddoe, Sir Wm. Turner, Flower, and Garson, while to a somewhat earlier period belong the great names of Prichard and Thurnam. While every medical man would find a slight acquaintance with anthropology some help in practice, there are certain branches of practice in which some knowledge of anthropology is of especial assistance; for example, practice abroad and asylum practice. No country sends out so large a body of medical men into all parts of the world, but the amount of scientific work done among the races of our great empire by these men is so small that it is scarcely perceptible. French medical men have done far more for their few colonies, and the medico-legal and anthropological studies which have come from the Lyons school, under the inspiring influence of Lacassagne, are especially worthy of honour.

What is true generally of the English medical man abroad is equally true of the English alienist at home, and must be so, since the study of anthropology is largely the study of the manifestations of the brain and nervous systems. In the practical treatment of the insane England stands before every other country; in the scientific study of the insane no leading country is so backward. Elsewhere the exact study of madness is making rapid progress; it is beginning to be recognised that the great truth that knowledge means measurement (scire est mensurare) fully applies to the brain and nervous system. But in this country the rule-of-thumb method still reigns nearly everywhere. In the hands of a master in psychiatry the rule-of-thumb method more often than not leads to perfectly reliable conclusions as to the mental status and condition of the subject before him, but it has two obvious disadvantages: it can only be trusted in the hands of a master; while even a master's mere impressions, however trustworthy, add nothing to the common stock of scientific knowledge. In actual practice, with our present knowledge of neurology, it is becoming a great advantage to the alienist to be able to demonstrate that his subject is twisted in anatomical structure and perverted in physiological action; while, so far as science is concerned, in the end it is only accurate observation that counts.

All that can be said as to the state of psychiatry generally in England applies in even a stronger degree to that special branch of it which deals with the criminal. During a period of nearly twenty years no contribution to criminal anthropology of any value appeared in this country, and although of late there may be said to have been some revival of the science among us, it is still in an infantile stage. Of this a striking proof is furnished by the non-appearance of English representatives at the International Congresses of Criminal Anthropology which have been attended by delegates from all parts of the world. Maudsley and others have, indeed, preached concerning the desirability of an exact study of criminals; but while in Italy Lombroso, Marro, Ottolenghi and Rossi have alone examined according to modern scientific methods over 3,000 criminals, English alienists have been content to leave the first tentative practical efforts to a prison chaplain. It would, however, be unjust to put this down merely to apathy. It is largely due to ignorance. My own extensive correspondence with prison surgeons (as well as with medical officers of asylums) has shown that they often possess genuine scientific interest in the phenomena presented to them, but that they do not know how to observe rightly and record the facts that come before them, and would gladly receive hints that would enable them to bring forward results of value to scientific medicine. It should be part of the business of medical education to give these hints.

We are often told that the medical student of to-day is overburdened with study; and, although it must be remembered that the period of his studies is now being enlarged, there is no doubt truth in this statement. It becomes the more necessary, on the one hand, to place in a period antecedent to medical studies proper the preliminary scientific courses; and, on the other hand, to cut away without remorse those branches of knowledge which have ceased to possess any close connection with modern medicine. In certain directions it is probable that the studies of medical students might with advantage be abbreviated or rendered optional. The study of botany, however valuable and fascinating, no longer possesses any special advantage as a preparation for medical practice, now that the physician is very clearly differentiated from the herbalist and "medical botanist." An exact knowledge of the pharmacopoeia also, which once embraced almost the largest part of the doctor's work, may now safely be left to the medical antiquarian. If it is necessary to make room for anthropology by the omission or contraction of other preliminary courses, it is not difficult to put one's finger on studies which for the student of medicine have come to possess a value which is merely traditional.

The point at which anthropology comes into medical study is very clear. Human anatomy and comparative anatomy both lead directly up to it. The study of human anatomy we cannot afford to contract. The comparative anatomy course, however, might well be arranged so as to afford a general view of the province of anthropology, while passing lightly over those earlier stages of animal life which have less concern for the medical man. With these lectures should be associated a brief course of practical demonstrations. We can scarcely expect at present that individual medical schools should be at the expense of fitting up laboratories of physical anthropology. This point would be much simplified if the excellent suggestion of Sir Andrew Clark was adopted—namely, that there should be a common centre for the teaching of the non-medical branches of medical education. In the meanwhile there are existing centres which by arrangement might no doubt be utilised. There is Gallon's Anthropometric Laboratory in active operation; there is the Anthropological Institute, which might become a centre of work; and, above all, there is the Museum of the College of Surgeons, so rich in objects of anthropological interest, and which has not seldom been presided over by eminent anthropologists.

The time seems to have come when some small preliminary step in the direction here indicated should at length be taken. In Paris the anthropological Musee Broca, with its active laboratory and the Anthropological School, has long formed part, as it were, of the medical schools. It is not necessary for the medical man of to-day to know much of the lower animal forms; still less necessary is it that he should have any thorough knowledge of plants. But it is increasingly necessary that he should understand the science of man.


This appeared in the ATLANTIC MONTHLY for March, 1893.

MANY books have been written about genius. Usually they have been constructed by heaping up anecdotes of more or less dubious authenticity; or else by bringing to the front those unhappy subjects of genius who, like Tasso and Rousseau and Cowper, have been the victims of insanity. Within the last few months, under the inspiring influence of Lombroso, a new step has been taken, and an attempt made to measure accurately the physical capacities of genius. A dozen or more Italian scientists and artists obligingly lent themselves to minute ophthalmoscopic and other investigations, without startling results; and later on, no doubt, the man of genius, like the criminal and the lunatic, will be systematically examined and measured.

Little attention has, however, been given to the interesting study of the elements that go to the making of genius, to what we may call its etiology, and which must be sought for mainly before birth. How did the shiftless Stratford tradesman come to be Shakespeare's father, and Micawber the father of Dickens? To what extent can the facts of the parentage of genius be reduced to law? That this question has not yet been seriously considered is due in part, no doubt, to its complexity, in part to the extreme difficulty of obtaining reliable and precise information; insurmountable, indeed, in the case of an individual who lived several centuries ago. Even in fairly recent times, the most elementary facts regarding the mothers of many men of genius are quite unknown; and in estimating the race to which men of genius belong, it is not unusual to disregard the mother, although, it is scarcely necessary to say, modern investigations in heredity lead us to regard the mother's contribution of tendencies as of absolutely equal value with the father's. It is only by the patient collection of facts that we can hope to throw light on the causes that determine genius, and I propose to bring forward a portion of the results of investigations I have lately made into this subject. I select a small but interesting group of facts bearing upon a single aspect of the matter: the ancestry of some of the chief English poets and imaginative writers of recent years, with reference to the question of race.*

[* The information on which this article is founded has in most cases been obtained from the writers in question. I am indebted to them for the readiness with which they have answered my questions. Only in the case of Browning, among the English writers brought forward, have I been unable to add to the information already made public.]

Let us, first of all, take the five English poets whose supremacy during the last quarter of a century is universally acknowledged, Tennyson, Browning, Swinburne, Rossetti, and Morris. What is to be learned from an inquiry into the races, or combinations of races, that have gone to the making of these men?

Tennyson was one of the most English of English poets. He came of a family long established in the most Scandinavian county, and that contains the fairest-featured people to be found south of the Humber; and the name itself (Tonnesen) remains to-day purely Scandinavian.

"The Tennysons," writes Lord Tennyson, "come from a Danish part of England, and I have no doubt that you and others are right in giving them a Danish origin. An ancestor of my mother's, a M. Fauvel, or de Fauvel, one of the exiles at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, is French." He adds, "I have myself never made a study of my ancestry, but those who have tell me that through my great-grandmother, and through Jane Pitts, a still remoter grandmother, I am doubly descended from Plantagenets (Lionel, Duke of Clarence, and John of Lancaster), and this through branches of the Barons d'Eyncourt." These remoter interminglings are, however, of slight interest. Taken altogether, we see a predominantly Scandinavian stock of Tennysons mingling with the Fytches, Lincolnshire people, also, but with the foreign Huguenot strain.

Swinburne's ancestry, from the point of view of race, has, with some important differences, a general resemblance to Tennyson's. That is to say, the foundation is Scandinavian, but in this case the more emphatic and turbulent Scandinavian of the north country, modified by distinct foreign Celtic and other influences. As Swinburne himself clearly expresses it, "The original root, of course, is purely Scandinavian, modified (possibly) by repeated exile in the cause of the Stuarts, and consequent French alliances." His great-grandfather, for instance, married a wife from the family of the Auvergnat Princes of Polignac. It is to this alliance that there is allusion in the "Summer in Auvergne," in the second series of Poems and Ballads, when the poet gazes on the ruin

"Of the old wild princes' lair
Whose blood in mine hath share.

Dead all their sins and days;
Yet in this red crime's rays
Some fiery memory stays
That scars their land."

With William Morris we reach a totally different district of England, and a new combination. He belongs to the Welsh border; and a border country, it may be noted in passing, is as favourable to the production of genius as it is to the production of crime. Both on the father's and the mother's side he belongs to Worcestershire, the home of a varied and well-compounded race, perhaps predominantly Saxon,* though Mr. Morris is predominantly Welsh. The paternal grandmother, however, came from the Anglo-Danish county of Nottingham. "My father's father was Welsh, I believe," Mr. Morris writes, "and my mother's mother, also. My name is very common all along the border. The name," he adds, "is undoubtedly Cymric." It is certainly remarkable that the poet who, of all English poets of the century, has most closely identified himself with the Scandinavian traditions of the race should have, apparently, so little blood relationship with the north.

[* Dr. Beddoe says that the physical type in East Worcestershire "seems to be a cross between the Saxon and the Iberian."]

It is equally remarkable that Rossetti, a poet whose imagination has appeared to many critics distinctly and intimately English in character, should be English only on the side of one grandparent; the English blood, that is, being numerically equivalent only to twenty-five per cent. Gabriele Rossetti, the father, came of a family which throughout the eighteenth century, at all events, had lived on the Abruzzi coast, at Vasto. When an exile in London, Rossetti married the daughter of Gaetano Polidori, a Tuscan, who had married Anna Maria Pierce, who seems to have been of unmixed English blood, and who belongs to a family some of whose members attained to a certain amount of distinction. Her mother's name is believed to have been Arrow. It is worthy of note that the name Rossetti seems to indicate a fair and ruddy northern race. Gabriele Rossetti used to say that the original name of his race was Delia Guardia (families of that name still live at Vasto), but that, ruddy hair and complexion having been brought into the family, the generation of Delia Guardia children on whom it became impressed came to be known as the Rossetti, a name which stuck to that branch of the race, and became its actual surname. Two of Gabriele's brothers (to say nothing of himself) were counted as local celebrities. His mother's surname was Pietrocola.*

[* For much of the information given above I am indebted to Mr. W. M. Rossetti.]

In Browning's case we are able to go back a considerable distance, and to ascertain his component races with fair precision. The Brownings belonged to Dorset, and the poet's great-grandfather, Thomas Browning, was, as his name shows, of West Saxon stock, modified considerably, no doubt, by the old dark British blood which is plentiful in that neighbourhood. Thomas Browning married a Morris. This union produced a Robert Browning, who came up to London, entered the Bank of England, and played a successful though not brilliant part in the world. He married Margaret Tittle, a Creole, born in the West Indies. The poet himself, it may be added, was in early life of "olive" complexion, and liable to be mistaken for an Italian. In after life he became lighter. Robert Browning, the poet's father, was a versatile and talented man, though not so able an official as his father. He was a good draughtsman and a clever verse-writer. He married Sarianna Wiedemann, of Dundee. This was an entirely new departure, and united the dark southern stock to the fair northern race; for Sarianna Wiedemann's father was a German, said to belong to Hamburg, and her mother was Scotch. Browning's ancestry is very significant. If the Browning race had consciously conspired to make a cumulative series of trials in the effects of crossbreeding, they could not have chosen a more crucial series of experiments, and the final result certainly could not have been more successful. Browning himself was true to the instincts of his race when he carried the experiments one step farther, though on quite different lines, and married the chief English woman poet of his time.

When we turn from these five poets to contemporary writers whose claim to very high rank is not universally conceded, it is no longer easy to choose, and one is liable to the charge of admitting only those cases which seem to support a theory. I will bring forward a small but very varied group, containing the best-known living English imaginative writers (beyond those already mentioned) of whose ancestry I have detailed knowledge. There is, however, no reason to suppose that the addition of other names of equal rank would alter the character of the results. The list includes Mr. Coventry Patmore, Mr. Austin Dobson, the Hon. Roden Noel, Miss Olive Schreiner, Mr. Walter Pater, Mr. Baring Gould, and Mr. Thomas Hardy. It will be observed that there are here several writers of prose, but these are in their best work essentially poets. The most questionable figure is Mr. Thomas Hardy, whose poetic and yet delicately realistic work serves as a transition from the work of writers like the authors of Mehalah and The Story of an African Farm to that of essentially prosaic writers, like the authors of All Sorts and Conditions of Men and A Mummer's Wife. Mr. Coventry Patmore is English on the father's side, Scotch on the mother's, and one of his great-greatgrandfathers (Beckmann, the painter) was Prussian. Mr. Austin Dobson belongs to a Devonshire family on his mother's side, and his father was born in France, of a French mother. Mr. Roden Noel, who (as Lord Tennyson was also supposed to be) is descended from the Plantagenets, and who claims the Sidneys and Shakespeare's Earl of Southampton among his ancestors, inherits on both sides very various strains, recent and remote. These include an Irish (purely Celtic) element, Scotch Douglases, and Dutch Bentincks. Miss Schreiner is German, English, and Jewish. On her mother's side she belongs to an English family of Lyndalls, and on her father's to a Wurtemberg family in the neighbourhood of Stuttgart. The German paternal element (associated with dark brown hair and grey-blue eyes) by no means necessarily involves a marked Teutonic strain. Wurtemberg is the home of a brachycephalic race (very carefully studied from the anthropological standpoint by Von Holder), which is much more closely related to the typical Celts than to the typical Teutons; and Swabia, unlike the genuinely Teutonic regions of northern and eastern Germany, which have produced few or no poets, has always been a land of song, the birthplace of Schiller and Victor von Scheffel, and the richest nest of singing birds that Germany has to show. The maternal Lyndalls came from Scandinavian parts of England, and the name is Scandinavian. But the physical characteristics of the Lyndalls are not Scandinavian; they have very dark hair, and large dark eyes which impress strangers as Jewish. It is somewhat remarkable that this strongly marked element which has been so persistent is rather remote, and was introduced in the person of a Jewess, who was a great-great-grandmother to Miss Schreiner.

Mr. Pater, as the name indicates, comes of a family that on the father's side was originally French. Mr. Pater believes that the family is that to which the painter, J. B. Pater, belonged; not, however, descended from the painter, who had no children. The Paters certainly came from the same neighbourhood; that is, from Flanders, somewhere near Valenciennes. They were lace-makers and Catholics, and Mr. Pater's great-greatgrandfather settled in the very Anglo-Danish neighbourhood of Norwich. The family then took root in Buckinghamshire, where one branch of it, still Catholic, possesses considerable property. Watteau also belonged to Valenciennes, and it is curious to observe how faithfully Mr. Pater, with his subtle and delicate art, has preserved the instincts of his Belgic race.

Mr. Baring Gould's interesting account of his ancestry I will give in his own words: "My family have held property in Devon for three hundred years and more, and have intermarried almost wholly in the Devon families, till the heiress married Charles Baring, son of John Baring of Exeter, son of Dr. Franz Baring of Bremen. But Charles Baring's mother was an Exeter woman. The Barings were pure Saxons. Before that, among the Goulds, the hair was dark and the eyes were hazel, judging from their pictures; after that, fair hair and blue eyes. My mother was a Bond, a Cornish family; my grandmother, a Sabine, and partly Irish; that is, in seventeenth century in Ireland, after that settled in Herts." One traces here very clearly the influence of race and its effects on one of the most singularly brilliant and versatile writers of our time. Mr. Thomas Hardy belongs to a Dorset family, which has not, apparently, encouraged foreign alliances, although the Hardys at a remote period are believed to have been a French family who emigrated from Jersey. Of Mr. Hardy's four grandparents, all belonged to Dorset except one, who came from Berkshire. His paternal great-grandmother, Mr. Hardy believes, was Irish. On the paternal side, also, a black-haired ancestor left very distinct traces, while on the mother's side the race was fairer, and closer to the ordinary Wessex-Saxon type.

From the examination of these two groups of imaginative writers, chosen without reference to the question of heredity, the interesting fact emerges that, of the twelve persons cited, not one can be said to be of pure English race, while only four or five are even predominantly English. A more extended investigation would bring out the same result still more clearly. England is at the present time rich in poets. A general knowledge of a considerable number of them enables me to say that very few indeed are of even fairly pure English blood; the majority are, largely, or predominantly, of Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, or Cornish race, as a single glance, without any inquiry, is often enough to reveal.

If we turn to the rich and varied genius of France, we shall find similar results brought out in a way that is even more remarkable. In France, we meet with very various and distinct races, and we see the interaction of these races, as well as the commingling of remote foreign elements, from the negro blood which it is still easy to trace in the face of Alexandre Dumas, in certain aspects, to the Iroquois blood in Flaubert. French genius, from the point of view of race, is a large and attractive subject; but as I am dealing with it elsewhere, I will leave it untouched here. However, it is worthy of notice that the two imaginative French writers of this century who have attained widest fame, and have exercised the most revolutionary influence on literature, Victor Hugo and Zola, are both marked examples of the influence of cross-breeding. Hugo belonged, on the father's side, to the tall, fair, powerful Germanic race of Lorraine, where his ancestors cultivated the soil in the Vosges; on the mother's side, he belonged to the Breton race of the opposite end of France, a race with widely different physical and spiritual characteristics. Zola is the son of a distinguished Italian mathematician, born at Venice; his mother came from the central Beauce country of France: he has Italian, French, and Greek blood in his veins. The only living imaginative writer besides Zola who is exerting international revolutionary influence on literary art is Ibsen, another example of complex racial intermixture. His great-grandmother was Scotch, his paternal Scandinavian stock has received repeated infusions of German blood, and his mother was of German extraction.

In many of these complex combinations, we come upon the result not only of accretion of power due to cross-breeding, but of the fascination exerted by a startlingly new and unfamiliar personality. Ronsard, that brilliant child of the French Renaissance, whose name has scarcely yet lost its charm, though so few know his work, came of Hungarian or Bulgarian stock allied with the noblest families of France. St. Thomas, the one saint who for three hundred years charmed the cautious and sturdy English race, was the son of a French father, possibly also of a French mother. Pushkin, whose personality was as delightful to his contemporaries as his poetry, bore one of the proudest of Russian names, and in his veins ran the blood of an Abyssinian negro. A whole nation would never have gone joyfully to destruction under a leader they had themselves chosen, if that leader had not been Napoleon—the result of the mixture of two very distinct races, the Tuscan and the Corsican—who carried about him the charm of the unknown. Boulanger, who for a short time exerted an attraction that seemed so unaccountable, was the son of a Scotch lady, whom he was said to resemble, and to whom, doubtless, more than to his father, the Breton notary at Rennes, he owed his power of fascination.

The evidence I have brought forward as to the frequency of racial mingling in men of imaginative genius has been confined to a few particular groups; it could easily be increased, and I have made no use of the materials in my possession concerning Spanish, Italian, and Russian poets. It is clear that the proportion of mixed and foreign blood in the groups dealt with is much greater than would be found in a similar group of average persons. Anyone may test this by writing down at random the names of a like number of his acquaintance of average ability, and then investigating their race. In England, in such a group of seven ordinary persons, it is rare to find more than one of decidedly mixed race. But in the groups we have been considering the proportion of such individuals varies, at a moderate estimate, from fifty to seventy-five per cent., and the mingling is usually most distinct in the men of most distinguished genius.

I believe that if we take other groups of somewhat similar character, eminent painters, for example, we shall find the proportion smaller, though still marked. Among notable scientific men we should find the proportion of those with mixed blood lower still. Mr. Galton, who made a long list of contemporary British scientific men of ability, remarks that, "on an analysis of the scientific status of the men on my list, it appeared to me that their ability is higher, in proportion to their numbers, among those of pure race." The Border men come out exceedingly well, but the Anglo-Welsh and the Anglo-Irish would on the whole rank last. While we have found that among twelve eminent British imaginative writers no less than ten show more or less marked traces of foreign blood, and not one can be said to be pure English, Mr. Galton found that out of every ten distinguished British scientific men five were pure English, and only one had foreign blood. Among successful politicians, again, mixture of race appears to be still less common. It is worth while, however, in this connection, to quote an utterance of the most distinguished of living English politicians. "Now, you must know that I am a Scotchman," said Mr. Gladstone to an interviewer, "pure Scotch. In fact, no family can be purer than ours, which never mixed with extraneous blood except once in the seventeenth century." As a matter of fact, Mr. Gladstone unites, on his father's side, the Saxon Lowlander of the south of Scotland with, on his mother's side, the typical Highlander of the north, two utterly distinct races, although by accident confined within the same country. We always have to guard against these fallacies, but as a rule, no doubt, politicians of ability are of comparatively pure race. It has generally been believed by those who have concerned themselves with the philosophy of art that poetry is the highest and most complex form of human expression, and the result indicated by the evidence before us seems in accordance with that conclusion.

Looking at the matter somewhat broadly, and omitting minor variations, it may be said that two vigorous but somewhat widely divergent races (or groups of races) now occupy Europe and the lands that have been peopled from Europe. The one race is tall, fair, and usually long-headed; the other, short, dark, and usually broadheaded. Since the dawn of European history, at least, and with special vigour about a thousand years ago, the tall, fair, energetic race has been shed as a seminal principle from the north-east of Europe over a great part of the continent held by a darker and perhaps more civilised race. The physical characteristics of Europe have been very favourable to the spread and fusion of these fine races, and the outcome has been the strongest and most variously gifted breed of men that the world has seen. Wherever the races have remained comparatively pure we seldom find any high or energetic civilisation, and never any fine flowering of genius. Sweden, where the tall, fair, long-headed race exists in its purest form, has produced no imaginative genius. Auvergne, where the dark, broad-headed race may be found in great purity, has, in like manner, produced a vigorous but an undistinguished breed of men. Corsica and the Pyrenees-Orientales, where a fairly unmixed race of dark, long-headed men live, have, unlike Sicily or Gard, produced no poets. Wherever, on the other hand, we find a land where two unlike races, each of fine quality, have become intermingled and are in process of fusion, there we find a breed of men who have left their mark on the world, and have given birth to great poets and artists. Such are the men of Sicily, a race compounded of the most various elements from east and south and north, which has produced, and is to-day producing, so large a share of the genius of the Italian peninsula. Such are the fair and tall but broad-headed men of Lorraine, a cross between Celt and Teuton. Such are the Lowland Scotch, on the borderland between Gael and Saxon. Such well-tempered breeds have been yielded by Normandy and Tuscany and Swabia. We know little of the physical anthropology of the ancient Greek, but it is certain that one of his most characteristic types was the tall, fair man we know in the north; and the geographical and geological characteristics of Greece present in perfection the conditions which enable varying races to settle and develop in the closest proximity to one another.

Great Britain and Ireland were placed, by a happy chance, broadside on to the invasion of the fair race. The elongated islands thus presented the maximum of opportunity for intercourse between the two races. Even at the present time the process of fusion is still going on. The comparatively fair race extends along the east coasts of both islands, and the comparatively dark race along the west coasts. The islands form, therefore, a well-arranged pair of compact electric batteries for explosive fusion of the two elements. Both races are necessary for the production of imaginative genius, at all events, for it is a mistake to suppose that high imaginative genius is a characteristic of the unmixed dark races. In Dr. Beddoe's map of the British Isles, showing what he terms the index of nigrescence, one solitary islet of the dark race only may be seen in England, east of the Welsh border, and apparently at one time joined to it. This islet is in Warwickshire; that is, in the county of Shakespeare. Milton's family belonged to a neighbouring county, and Milton himself, we know, had Welsh blood in his veins. Out of the play of these two races has come all that is finest in English imaginative genius.

It need scarcely be said that this cross-breeding is not the only factor in the causation of genius. If that were so, genius would be much more common than it is, while it would be the rule, instead of a rare exception, to find it shared by brothers and sisters. There are other influences that tend to produce genius, and various conditions that promote its development. I have here simply tried to indicate one of the factors in the determination of imaginative genius.


I am uncertain of the exact date of this OPEN LETTER, though I believe it was 1896. It presents my impressions while completing the preparatory work for A STUDY OF BRITISH GENIUS, and I sent it to the editor of the NEW REVIEW, who returned it. Then I put it aside, and it has only been printed, many years later, as an appendix to Dr. Isaac Goldberg's book, HAVELOCK ELLIS, though it is now also issued by Mr. Joseph Ishill at his Oriole Press, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, U.S.A.


DURING recent years I have spent many silent hours in your company. These hours have passed more or less pleasantly. It is because I can only look back upon them with mingled satisfaction that I venture to address you now.

Let me explain, in the first place, that I sought your society as a student of that rare and marvellous human variation which we vaguely call "genius;" I desire to collect, so far as this may be possible, the material which will enable me to state some fairly definite conclusions concerning the complex nature and causes of genius. You will observe that I may thus be described as your ideal reader. I come to you, not to pass away my idle moments, nor because I look up to this religious leader or follow that politician or am the devotee of any musician or painter or poet; I come to you with the challenge to produce your finest revelation concerning a certain unique personality in whatsoever manner that personality may have been manifested. For you all profess that you are striving to set forth such unique personalities, and I have sought from you in vain the greatest revelation of all, "The Life of an Average Man." You undertake to tell me of these unique lives, and with my head full of questions I take up my pencil to note down or underline your answers.—I have often flung away that idle, superfluous pencil.

This is why I venture to approach you collectively now. I have long listened to you in respectful silence. The years have rendered my respect somewhat critical, and I trust you will pardon the remarks with which I now break my silence.

You do not, I have said, tell me a fair portion of the things I desire to know. That fact I shall try to drive home later. I wish first to point out that you do tell me a great many things that I have no desire to know. You will tell me the lives of the men your hero knew; you will tell me his common-place remarks concerning the common-place people he met, and the towns he sojourned in; you are seldom tired of telling me in fullest detail of the honours that were showered on his declining years. But all this is not biography. And there is a more subtle error of commission into which you frequently fall headlong. You assume the function of the historian. Now a biographer is not a historian. It is quite true that men make history. But we cannot study the individual man in the same way as we study the product of many men's activity. The method which is best fitted for investigating the Reformation is not best fitted for studying Luther's portrait; the adequate biographer of Laud will scarcely be the adequate historian of the English Revolution. The better equipped a writer may be for the one task, the more badly equipped he will be for the other. The whole tone and touch must be different, and much practice in the one medium will no more give skill in the other than practice on the organ will make a man an accomplished pianist. But it is by practice on the organ of history that the most conspicuous among you have usually come to the piano of biography. And you often forget that you are not at the organ still. Some of you are now engaged on the Dictionary of National Biography. It is a useful and fascinating task; when complete there will be no such delightful work of its size in the language. But, in any volume of it, I can turn from "biography" to "biography" which contains not one line of genuine biography to the page; instead you have given us slices of mis-placed history. Clearly you have seldom asked yourselves: WHAT IS BIOGRAPHY? You have simply assumed that it is the part a man plays in the history of civilisation. But that is to stultify both biography and history. In history we can never see truly from the standpoint of a single actor, and biography is thus made mere bad history. Undoubtedly any great man bears with him the mat eriaux pour servir in the making of the history of civilisation—whether in his deeds or his discoveries or his art-products—but the cataloguing of these is something beside the purpose of biography, just as the description of the face of the earth is beside the astronomer's purpose, however intimately the earth may hang to the sun. True, it is not impossible to trace the life and soul of an artist in his work. But this is only done by a special keen precision of touch such as Leynardi has expended on the dissection of the Divina Commedia, and not by the methods of the commentator who tells me all about every person or place Dante has mentioned for no better reason than because Dante has mentioned it. To write history, whether of a nation or of civilisation, is to write a complex whole in which the products of many men's activities have fermented together to yield something which is as far from the minds and lives of the men who made it as Christianity is from the mind and life of Jesus. To describe the products of a single man's activity, whenever it is worth doing at all, is to write prolegomena to history. To describe the birth and growth of a great man as he was in his real nature, physical and psychical—as a grape-cluster on the tree of life and not as a drop of alcohol in the vat of civilisation—that is biography.

I have it against you, then, that you who are charged with this high task are perpetually seeking to merge it in a lower or at all events a different task. But I would content myself if, after all, you really enabled me to gain a picture of the man. I would gird up my loins, fling to right and to left the extraneous matter that you pile up around me and make straight for the vital facts. But they are not there! Many and many a voluminous so-called "biography" I can compress into a couple of pages, and likely enough even these pages will reveal less than the vivid laconic portraits that Carlyle set down as by lightning flash of the men he but passingly met. Thus the authorised and only life of Young, not published until many years after his death, so far as really salient and pregnant facts are concerned can be compressed into six lines; the one supremely illuminative fact in it is the reproduction of his portrait. Now here is one of the most brilliant and versatile heroes of science that this country ever produced, a man who ranks with Harvey and Newton and Darwin, and the best that you can do is to lose to us for ever the chance of knowing the manner of man that he was in body and spirit: there remains only the image of the beautiful childlike face, with the sweet mouth and the large eager eyes, as Lawrence painted it. In every man of genius a new strange force is brought into the world. The biographer is the biologist of this new life. I come to you to learn the origins of this tremendous energy, the forces that gave it impetus and that drove it into one channel rather than into another. I will gladly recognise that nowadays you generally tell me of the hero's ancestors; formerly you told me nothing of the mothers of great men, seldom even the name, and that is one of the most hopeless lacunae in the right understanding of genius. How gladly would I know more definitely the race and nature of the mother of that saint who for so many centuries won the love of Englishmen and whose shrine is furrowed deep by the knees of Chaucer's pilgrims! And yet while race and family are certainly an enormous factor in the making of every man, I would wish to point out to you that they are not omnipotent—for then the hero's brothers and sisters would always be heroes too—so that you need not trouble yourselves or us with the trivial details of the lives of these ancestors. But it would be well if you could tell us something of the stars that shone in the making of the individual life. We desire to know the influences, physical and moral, which surrounded the period of his conception, the welfare of his pre-natal life, whether he was born naturally and in due season. All the facts were once known in the area of the hero's family circle; some at least among you could have told them to us and so have made many things plain which now remain obscure. Rarely indeed have you done so, rarely even have you recognised that such questions are a part of knowledge. Yet the fate of all of us is in large measure sealed at the moment we leave the womb. Next in importance comes the curve of life that has its summit at puberty and ends with the completion of adolescence; whatever else there is to make is made then. The machine has been created; during these years it is wound up to perform its work in the world. What follows after counts for something but always for less. You cannot tell us too much real biography—the description of life—concerning these youthful years. Even the detailed account of the games and amusements devised by the young hero, such as Nietzsche's sister and biographer has written down for us, are welcome when obtainable; for the after-life of the man is often little more than the same games played more tragically on a larger field. After the age of twenty your task becomes easier and more obvious; after thirty, if so far you have fulfilled that task, what is there further left to tell? The rest is but the liberation of a mighty spring, the slow running down of energy. The man recedes to give place to his deeds, whether such deeds be the assault of great fortresses or the escalade of mighty sentences. There is the same heroic effort and achievement, whether on the walls of Jerusalem when Godfrey scaled them or on Flaubert's sofa at Rouen.

But, as I have already tried to point out, mere chatter about the deeds is not what we come for to you the biographers. If the deeds are real they will speak for themselves in history or verse or other shape that men will not let die. When I want to see Velasquez's pictures I go not to you but to Madrid. But if you could only tell me how he came to paint them! When you are dealing with the adult hero in the midst of his work the one great service you can do, and that which is your most proper function, is to tell us, not about this work, but about the conditions under which it was achieved. If you have so far done your task we know the nature of the force; now we need to know by what channels it was manifested. I have it against you here that—save incidentally, partially, often hypocritically—you seldom attempt this part of your task. You find it so much easier to ramble on about the work and its reception than to describe the man's method of doing it, and what hindered or helped him in the doing. Often enough you like to represent him as doing it in a coat of mail impervious to the shafts of human weaknesses. You are well content when you have taken some real man—let us say, old Abraham Lincoln, a real man if ever there was one—and in the course of a ponderous authorised biography bleached and starched and ironed him into a tailor's dummy. You seem to me like the proverbial valet for whom his master is no hero. The hero on the battlefield may be a coward to his dentist; the man who has faced a revolution of socialistic thought may be too timid to walk down Lisson Grove.*

[* I had a real man in mind—a distinguished thinker.]

These things do not attenuate heroism; they are part of it. You cannot have force in two places at the same time; and you must know a man's weakness before you truly know his strength. It is often in the "weaknesses"—as the valet-moralist counts weakness—that the source of the hero's strength lies, the weakness which, as Hinton used to put it, was the path of least resistance through which the aboriginal energy of Nature passed into the man. The recital of the weaknesses in detail you can spare if you see good reason—and there is good reason why a biography should not be a chronique scandaleuse—but if you refuse to note them you are false to any intelligible conception of a biographer's function, and you have produced a lie which is as immoral as every untrue picture of life necessarily is. Michael Angelo's Platonic affection for men went to the chiselling of his sculpture, Victor Hugo's hollow domestic life was not unconnected with his ideals of celestial purity, literature is full of the unavowed confessions of opium-eaters and wine-bibbers, and so all along. It corrupts the tree of life at the core to deny such associations, to point only to the leaves and flowers that men call "moral," to ignore the roots which—through your hypocrisy, it may well be—they call dirty and "immoral." Nothing shall induce you to admit that your Achilles had a vulnerable heel?—And yet, if you rightly consider the matter, without that heel Achilles would have been no hero at all. I have referred once or twice to the "biographer's function." Sometimes I wonder how many of you have ever considered what a biographer's function is. With what equipment have you usually come to your task? Even the question I feel you may regard as an insult. Yet, consider. The novelist only attains skill in his work after failure, perhaps a long series of failures like Balzac or Zola, rarely indeed at a bound. The novelists whose force has developed in a night have perished in a night. In the matter of biographies we possess what we should possess in the matter of novels if few novelists produced more than the early bungles of their prentice hands. And yet a novelist has undertaken the incomparably easier task of recording the lives of the simple puppets of his own brain. Remember, again, that biography does not stand alone as a branch of research. Beside biography, the life of an individual, we have ethnography, the life of a community. To the making of a great ethnographer—an Adolf Bastian, let us say—there are needed preliminary training in biology and psychology, an immense knowledge of literature, laborious research during journeys among remote savage peoples, perpetual attention to petty details. But should a biographer willingly admit that the life of a community is better worth serious study than the life of its greatest man? Go to the British Museum or the Anthropological Institute and look at those admirable series of photographs in which Mr. Portman has reproduced every step in the processes of life among the Andamanese, for instance in the fashioning of a bow and arrow; or see, if you can, the delightful photographs in which Mr. Ini Thurn has caught the beautiful brown-skinned Indians of Guiana in every stage of their work and especially their play. Is not the fashioning of a lyric to pierce the hearts of men for ever as well worth study as the making of an arrow? The child of genius gathering shells on the shores of eternity as interesting as the games of savages? Yet few have thought it worth while to inquire how Burns achieved his songs or Newton his theories. It was enough to utter the blessed word "Inspiration!" and lean comfortably back. Not so have the physiologists solved the mystery of physical respiration.

Biography, then, is strictly analogous to ethnography, the one being the picture of the life of a race, the other the intimate picture of the life of a a man. Now both the one and the other are branches of applied psychology, a strict method of scientific research. There was a time not so long ago when psychology was not a strict method of research and when any arm-chair philosopher sat down to write the history of the general soul as light-heartedly as the biographer still sits down to write the history of the individual soul. So far as pure psychology at least is concerned, those days are past. With the establishment by Wundt some twenty years ago of the first psychological laboratory, psychology for the first time became a science; and in Germany and the United States—the two countries to which we now look for light on this new science—the work of men like Munster-berg, Preyer, Stanley Hall, Jastrow, and Scripture has taught us how to obtain by exact methods a true insight into the processes of the average human mind. No man now ventures to call himself a psychologist unless he is familiar with the methods and results of these workers. A few psychologists in Italy and France have pushed such methods into the investigation of exceptional men, and like Ottolenghi have examined the visual field of certain complacent men of genius, or like Binet have traced out with remarkably interesting results the ways in which certain dramatists—Dumas, Goncourt, Sardou, Meilhac and especially De Curel—conceive and write their plays. But how often does any such attempt, on however imperfect material, to bring us near to the heart and brain of a great creative personality form part of what the biographer presumes to call "Life "? How many biographers so much as know that they are—may the real students forgive me!—psychologists, and that the rules of their art have in large part been laid down?

I am quite sure, my dear sirs, that you will instinctively feel that this is stuff and nonsense. You have your duty to the public who pay you handsomely for doing it speedily, for the public has an uneasy feeling that the great man's fame will turn sour if not consumed off-hand. And then you have your duty towards your hero's personal friends and relations who will only help you on condition that you produce a figure that is smooth, decorous, conventional, bien coiffe, above all, closely cut off below the bust, such a figure as we may gaze at without a blush in the hairdresser's window. And at bottom, you may admit at last, you distrust both yourself and your audience, and will not publicly dare to take any bull by the horns.

Well, there is no doubt truth in this; I must needs believe there is, since you so solemnly and constantly repeat it between the lines of your books. Yet, after all, there are a few men whose fame has not died in a night, and who remain alive after their friends and relations have turned to dust. It is in the case of such men that I question the wisdom of sacrificing the interests of the world to the interests of a fleeting generation. Is it not worth while to wait five years, or even fifty years, or for the matter of that five hundred years, and at the end to possess the everlastingly inspiring record of a master spirit? Is it not worth while to be accounted a fool for a century, like the man who wrote according to his means the best of biographies, and to become immortal at last? It is the man who is a valet at soul who shudders at the possibility of possessing Boswell's Life of Jesus, or Eckermann's Conversations with Homer or Froude's edition of Shakespeare's Reminiscences and who creates an atmosphere which renders such achievements immensely difficult. At the same time this atmosphere renders possible a kind of hero so rare in the world, the Hero as Biographer. That is the final point on which I bring this letter to a conclusion. The writing of a biography is no facile task; it is the strenuous achievement of a lifetime, only to be accomplished in the face of endless obstacles and unspeakable prejudice. I beg you to consider it. Then the ideal reader of coming centuries will not sigh so wearily as I sigh when he hears that Mr. So-and-So is being engaged on a biography of our eminent poet, novelist, or philosopher, This, That, or The Other; that every endeavour will be made to bring out this biography while the sense of the loss we have sustained is still so strongly felt; and that it is confidently expected that the large first edition will be bought up before publication.—Not so was any great book born into the world.



After living during the greater part of seven years at Carbis Bay in Cornwall—a county which I had previously never visited—I resolved to set down my impressions of the people among whom I had settled. The result was the following essay, published in the NEW CENTURY REVIEW for April and May, 1897.

THE river Tarnar divides from the rest of Great Britain an ancient land, small in extent but strong in its individuality. The first impression which Cornwall makes on the traveller who enters it by rail is that of a semi-French country; he passes stations with names of totally foreign complexion, St. Germans, Menheniot, Doublebois; and when he reaches his destination the names of the streets confirm this suggestion—thus, Street-an-Pol indicates a French rather than an English method of denomination. The language the people speak also scarcely sounds English to the stranger. I know a lady who immediately after arriving in Cornwall was addressed by a Cornishwoman in words that were unintelligible, but in tones that sounded so French that before realising where she was she spoke in French, The inflection of the Cornish voice is very characteristic; it rises in a musical wave to a climax reached about the antepenultimate syllable. To the dweller in Cornwall who returns after an absence amid the level harshness of English voices, this soft inflection breaks as gratefully as the ripple of the Cornish summer sea on the rocks. In certain details the Cornish pronunciation is nearer to the French than the English; in Cornwall they avoid the English u (ew) sound, and they like to transform the English e; thus my own name, pronounced "Hellis" by the genteel Cornish person anxious to ape "up-along" folk, is "Alis" to the true old-school Cornishman, as it is to the Frenchman. In the general physical and mental characteristics of the race, as will be seen later on, there is much to remind the dweller in Cornwall that he is not very far from France.

There is good reason for the presence of this pervading impression. The Cornish, with the Welsh on one side of them and the Bretons on the other, constitute altogether a compact group of peoples, intimately related to each other, distantly related to the Irish and the Highlanders outside the group. On the whole, as we should expect, the Cornish seem more closely related to the Bretons than are the Welsh.

"By Tre, Ros, Pol, Lan, Ker and Pen,
You may know most Cornishmen,"

the saying runs. The evidence of language is not altogether conclusive, but we may find all these prefixes among the people and places of Brittany, where, indeed, we even find a region called Cor-nouaille. In Wales the names have deviated from the primitive shape to a much greater extent. The most marked resemblance in names between the Cornish and the Welsh is the prevalence among both alike of Richardses and Williamses and Thomases, and so on. The very numerous Cornish saints indicate the relationships of the people; the saints of the Lizard district belong to Brittany, those of North Cornwall to Wales, while West Cornwall was converted by the Irish, with whom the Cornish have a distinct, though more remote, affinity. In many details of custom, also, the Cornish who preserve ancient ways recall their various Keltic neighbours. Again, the Cornish-man is distinguished from the English by the spade which he uses everywhere, and for all purposes, and cannot be persuaded to abandon. The common Anglo-Saxon spade is well known; it is a short, powerful implement with a large oblong blade, and a cross-piece at the end of the handle, not an elegant instrument, but well adapted to obtain a maximum output of energy from arms and back and legs. The Cornish spade—also found in Wales and Ireland—is often as long as its owner, with a slender, slightly curved handle and a small heart-shaped blade; it is a graceful instrument, adapted to the shallow soil of Cornwall, adapted also to the lithe, slow, free movements of Cornish-men, who possess a characteristic which has been lovingly described by a child of the land as a "divine laziness." Such are a few of many traits which bring the Cornish much nearer to the Welsh and the Bretons, even to the Irish, than to the Anglo-Saxon English.

For the sake of convenience I have called the Cornish Kelts. There is no doubt whatever that the language was purely Keltic, but the modern ethnologist is inclined to demur when the race is called Keltic. He points out that there were people in Cornwall before the so-called Kelts came, and that there is no reason to suppose they were annihilated by the Kelts, while it is very certain there have been immigrations of other races since. There is no doubt about this; it is indeed because the Cornish are a race well compacted of various elements that they have been able to show such vigour and versatility in spite of the small home they occupy in the world. But while it cannot be said that the Cornish are pure Kelts, it must be remembered that the Kelts form a considerable element in the race, leaving more distinct traces here than in any other part of England. There is, therefore, little impropriety in continuing to speak of the Cornish as Kelts, provided we duly understand the limited sense in which the word must here be used.

The dweller in Cornwall comes in time to perceive the constant recurrence of various types of man. Of these, two at least are well marked, very common, and probably of great antiquity and significance. The man of the first type is slender, lithe, graceful, usually rather short; the face is smooth and delicately outlined, without bony prominences, the eyebrows finely pencilled. The character is on the whole charming, volatile, vivacious, but not always reliable, and while quickwitted, rarely capable of notable achievement or strenuous endeavour. It is a distinctly feminine type. The other type is large and solid, often with much crispy hair on the face and shaggy eyebrows. The arches over the eyes are well marked and the jaws massive; the bones generally are developed in these persons, though they would scarcely be described as raw-boned; in its extreme form a face of this type has a rugged prognathous character which seems to belong to a lower race. The women are solid and vigorous in appearance, with fully-developed breasts and hips, in marked contrast with the first type, but resembling the women met with in Central and Western France. Indeed, the people of this type generally recall a certain French type, grave, self-possessed, deliberate in movement, capable and reliable in character.

I mention these two types because they seem to me to represent the two oldest races of Cornwall, or, indeed, of England. The first corresponds to the British Neolithic man—as described by Garson and other cautious investigators of recent date—who held sway in England before the so-called Kelts arrived, and who probably belonged to the so-called Iberian race; in pictures of Spanish women of the best period, indeed, and in some parts of modern Spain we may still see the same type. The second corresponds to the more powerful, and also, as his remains show, more cultured and aesthetic Kelt, who came from France and Belgium, driving the Neolithic man into the fortified hill-dwellings which abound in West Cornwall as well as in some other parts of Southern England. Here the Neolithic people may have dwelt until they adopted the language and higher civilisation of the sturdier Kelts, or perhaps until they were reconciled in the face of common foes. When craniologists assert that Cornish heads sometimes show French affinities, sometimes Spanish, we must put this fact down, not, as is sometimes done, to recent accidental crossing, but to the survival of two aboriginal elements in the population. When these types of individual are well combined, the results are often very attractive. We then meet with what is practically a third type: large, dignified, handsome people, distinguished from the Anglo-Saxon not only by their prominent noses and well-formed chins, but also by their unaffected grace and refinement of manner. In many a little out-of-the-world Cornish farm I have met the men of this type, and admired the distinction of their appearance and bearing, their natural, instinctive courtesy, their kindly hospitality. It was surely of such men that Queen Elizabeth thought when she asserted that all Cornishmen are courtiers.

I do not wish to insist too strongly on these types which blend into one another, and may even be found in the same family. The Anglo-Saxon stranger, who has yet had no time to distinguish them, and who comes, let us say, from a typically English county like Lancashire, still finds much that is unfamiliar in the people he meets. They strike him as rather a dark race, lithe in movement, after the manner of sailors and fishermen, and their hands and feet are small. Their hair has a tendency to curl, and their complexions, even those of the men, are often incomparable. This last character is due to the extremely moist climate of Cornwall, swept on both sides by the sea-laden winds of the Atlantic. In the same way the traveller southwards through Provencal France, when at length he reaches the Mediterranean, is impressed by the fresh, fair cheeks of the Marseillaises; and I have never anywhere in the world so fully realised the loveliness of a fair complexion as in the faces of Englishwomen newly arrived among the dry, harsh skins one sees in rainless Australia. More than by this, however, the stranger accustomed to the heavy, awkward ways of the Anglo-Saxon clodhopper will be struck by the bright, independent intelligence and the facility of speech which he finds here. The work, as one finds later, may be ill done, it will certainly be done with deliberation, but the worker is quick-witted, and, rightly or wrongly, he retains a certain superiority over his work. No disguise can cover the rusticity of the English rustic; on Cornish roads one may often meet a carman whose clear-cut face, bushy moustache, and general bearing might easily add distinction to Pall Mall.

A very marked trait of the Cornish is their independence. Far more innately than the inhabitants of any other part of England, these people are democrats. They may not hold more advanced political views, but they have a more instinctive dignity and self-respect, a more natural and matter-of-course sense of equality. It may be seen in little matters; the use of the obsequious "Sir" (a matter of inflection, be it noted, for we have the contemptuous "Sir" of Dr. Johnson, the American's non-committal "Sir," the Frenchman's purely courteous "Monsieur ") as well as the touching of caps, so widespread in England generally, are not prevalent in Cornwall. The Cornish-man, if possible, always addresses you by your name. Democracy in the Anglo-Saxon is often a mere blustering revolt against servility. He asserts his equality with the mere snobbish assertiveness of the man who has no sense of equality in his soul. The Cornishman's sense of equality is so deep-rooted that nothing can perturb his friendly courtesy to social superiors, and when the shocked middle-class Anglo-Saxon stiffly draws back, the Cornishman puts it down to the eccentric pride of "up-along" folk. It is noteworthy that the conception of democracy as a spiritual grace, not to be found by much seeking, has throughout inspired a distinguished Cornish-man of to-day, Edward Carpenter, in writing his Towards Democracy. This democratic instinct is a very ancient trait in the Cornish character. The American who visits England is impressed by the persistence of the feudal spirit. That spirit, undoubtedly, with the servile dependence and swaggering revolt from dependence which it engenders, is the great enemy of democracy. But feudalism with difficulty penetrated into Cornwall, never took root there, and faded away at an early period. The temper of the race, while not opposed to voluntary communistic co-operation, as we may still see among the fishermen, is distinctly averse to the subordination and unquestioning obedience of patriarchal feudalism.

The special characters of the race are often vividly shown in its women. I am not aware that they have ever played a large part in the world, whether in life or art. But they are memorable enough for their own qualities. Many years ago, as a student in a large London hospital, I had under my care a young girl who came from labour of the lowest and least skilled order. Yet there was an instinctive grace and charm in all her ways and speech which distinguished her utterly from the rough women of her class. I was puzzled then over that delightful anomaly. In after years, recalling her name and her appearance, I knew that she was Cornish, and I am puzzled no longer.

I have since seen the same ways, the same soft, winning speech equally unimpaired by hard work and rude living. The Cornish woman possesses an adroitness and self-possession, a modulated readiness of speech, far removed from the awkward heartiness of the Anglo-Saxon woman, the emotional inexpressiveness of the Lancashire lass whose eyes wander around as she seeks for words, perhaps completing her unfinished sentence by a snap of the fingers. The Cornish woman—at all events while she is young and not submerged by the drudgery of life—exhibits a certain delightful volatility and effervescence. In this respect she has some affinity with the bewitching and distracting heroines of Thomas Hardy's novels—for instance, the little schoolmistress of Under the Greenwood Tree—doubtless because the Wessex folk of the same south coast are akin to the Cornish. The Cornish girl is inconsistent without hypocrisy; she is not ashamed of work, but she is very fond of jaunts, and on such occasions she dresses herself, it would perhaps be rash to say with more zeal than the Anglo-Saxon maiden, but usually with more success. She is an assiduous chapel-goer, equally assiduous in flirtation when chapel is over. The pretty Sunday-school teacher and leader of the local Band of Hope cheerfully confesses as she drinks off the glass of claret you offer her that she is but a poor teetotaler. The Cornish woman will sometimes have a baby before she is legally married; it is only an old custom of the country, though less deeply rooted than the corresponding custom in Wales. After she has married, her man perhaps leaves her to go to America or the Cape, and disappears; in a few years she may marry again. One sometimes wonders how far the volatile and mercurial element in the Cornish woman, the delightful inconsistency of the race generally, may not be associated with the climate of this land of sunshine and shower, with its perpetual rainbows hovering over the waters, and its heady Atlantic winds from the west. These mighty winds that rise up at night to howl, and whistle, and roar, have much to answer for in the physical conformation of the land; they have swept the soil until the rocks are bare, they have made the life of the woods impossible for all but the smallest and hardiest trees, they have piled up the sea-sand into dunes that have buried churches. The wind in Cornwall is a more powerful factor in life than elsewhere. Sudden changes in the wind here strangely stimulate and exhaust the nervous system, both in the natives and in strangers. The people themselves, realising this, regard the wind as a cause of disease; the wind has got into his head (they say), or his throat, or his belly, as the case may be.

Vivacious and intelligent as the Cornish people are, they seem to be, for the most part, inapt for strenuous intellectual effort. Cornwall has no famous thinkers to set against the Abelard, the Descartes, and many another only less famous, produced by an allied soil and allied race in Brittany. Sir Humphry Davy was scarcely a philosopher, but his name is the chief that comes into the mind. With his impressive personality, his eloquence, his brilliant and many-sided versatility, Davy is typical of the Cornish spirit at its finest, just as his contemporary, Dalton—rough, simple, unaffected, untiringly patient and plodding—represents the northern Anglo-Saxon. One other name Cornwall has to show in the highest sphere of science: Adams, the astronomer and mathematician, who is for ever associated with the stupendous feat of discovering Neptune. In general literature, on the other hand, especially what used to be called belles lettres, the Cornish show very well. George Borrow was only half a Cornishman, but the whole temper of the man and his work—the brave and cheerful adventurousness, the happy insight into varied and morbid moods, even the unconscious incongruity of the religious element—are very Cornish indeed. Trelawney was a true Cornishman in every sense, and his Adventures constitute the ideal history of the typical Cornishman. "Peter Pindar," again, represents the Cornish adventurer in literature under his least amiable aspects, while Praed shows him under pleasanter aspects. Among greater men Keats is sometimes mentioned in connection with Cornwall; it is not, indeed, definitely known whether the father of Keats came from Cornwall or Devonshire, but if not of Cornish he was evidently of allied race. The genius of the Bronte family is always associated with the eccentric Irish father; it must be added that the genius was not made manifest until the Irish was blended with Cornish stock. In our own day it seems to me that the characteristics of the Cornish spirit are well exemplified in a young poet and critic who is of purely Cornish race, Mr. Arthur Symons. Mention must also be made of the group of novelists—such as Mr. Quiller-Couch, Mr. Lowry, and Mr. Pearce—who have devoted themselves with delicate artistic fidelity to the delineation of their land and its people.


The Cornishman possesses various artistic aptitudes, but on the whole they are not of the plastic order. A certain amount of taste in trivial detail, a love of colour, may be noted, but no great painters come from Cornwall as from East Anglia and other more Scandinavian parts of Great Britain. Reynolds, indeed, belonged to Plymouth, just over the border, but Opie, the portrait painter, and Bone, the miniaturist, seem to be the only Cornish artists to be found until recent times. Brittany is similarly bare of great painters. Nor is there much to say for Cornish architecture. Now and again one meets with an old house that has its charm of fitness, but on the whole they are far less common than the old farmhouses of the North with their grave simplicity and harmony; nor is there anything to compare with the cheerful felicity which the art of domestic architecture reached in West Surrey and Hampshire. The cause of this lack lies doubtless in material. In the absence of stone, wood, and tiles, the Cornish have had to wrestle with the problems offered by so rebellious a substance as granite. There are not even many notable churches in this land of saints; Launceston church-tower is an exception. St. Buryan's, in its austere simplicity, impresses the traveller as he circles around it in his progress through the Land's End district. The noblest and most satisfying fragment of ecclesiastical architecture in Cornwall is, without doubt, the tower of Probus church, near Truro. The church itself is insignificant, but the tower, built in Elizabethan days though reminiscent of an earlier period of art, is admirable at every point. One vainly seeks to know how so insignificant a village acquired so stately a possession. I have many times spent weeks beneath its shadow, and from afar or near I have never failed to thrill with pleasure as I caught sight of its large and gracious proportions, its fitness of detail, the soft grey tones of its delicately diapered walls.

An aptitude for music and singing is the most characteristic artistic faculty of the Cornish, and there is even some reason for supposing that the greatest of English composers, Purcell, belonged to Cornwall. We must certainly connect this aptitude with the beautifully modulated speech of the people, the unconscious tendency to soften and broaden ordinary English, and their gift of eloquence; for like the Welsh and the Irish—though to a less extent than these latter—the Cornish are speakers and preachers. Certain parts of the county, like Zennor, have an ancient reputation for beauty of voice; the fame of Incledon lives to our own time, and various noted singers of to-day are of Cornish race. This musical endowment is radical in the race. Up to the seventeenth century miracle-plays remained very popular in Cornwall, as various open amphitheatres on the hillsides remain to testify. The Cornish Mysteries are held to differ from those of other parts chiefly by their superiority in form, in accuracy of rhythm and rhyme, and in adaptability for lyrical expression; so strong, indeed, is the musical element that they are usually, it has been said, the libretti of religious operas, while instead of closing with a Te Deum, as is customary in English and French Mysteries, they end by directing the minstrels to "pipe diligently that we may go to dance." Musical antiquaries hold that the modern carol—which is really a choral song somewhat less serious than a hymn, and accompanied by a dance—is a relic of the choruses sung between the acts of miracle-plays. In most English towns the carol has degenerated into some vulgar modern jingle, some "'Ark! the 'erald angels sing," hastily yelled by small ragamuffins anxious for a copper. In Cornwall it remains a more serious matter. The young men of the village, for some time before Christinas, practise together the traditional part-songs, which are very quaint and delightful to listen to. When Christmas Eve conies they go round singing from house to house, and the poorest Cornish householder gladly pays his shilling—a considerable sum here—in return for this little concert outside his door.

The Cornish love of music, and also of dancing, appears in various old rites and customs that have not yet died out. Furry day, which is celebrated at Helston, in the Lizard district, during the first week of May, is perhaps the most remarkable of these festivals. On this day the inhabitants of the town, including the Mayor and "best families," dance along the open streets and in and out of a large number of the houses, all knocking at the door as they dance in. The dance is a sort of polka, and the accompanying town-band plays a very lively traditional air, which, it is said, may also be found in Brittany and Wales. For two hours this dance continues without intermission beneath the warm sun which is not unknown to a Cornish May. Watching the perspiring actors in this quaint survival from the antique world, I can well believe the statement I overheard one young lady among them make, that it was the hardest day's work she had ever done. It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that this now meaningless celebration is kept up from any sense of duty. It is the buoyant nervous excitability of the race which makes the people of Helston cling to a festival which is unparalleled in any English town.

The volatility of the Cornish, however exuberantly effervescent, rarely passes into the rowdyism and horseplay which are still so painfully common among the true-born English. Even the Cornish Mysteries, it appears, are singularly free from the coarse buffoonery which usually characterised those clerical productions. When Cornish lads to-day ramble abroad you will not find them engaged in creating the maximum of noisy mischief. And when you lie in your bed in the West End of London, and are awakened in the early hours of Sunday morning by ugly voices howling discordantly the noisiest music-hall song to the cackling accompaniment of reckless laughter, you may be fairly sure that these people were not born in Cornwall. This is one of the characters which bring the Cornish near to the French; it may merely indicate difference in nervous texture, but it adds to the amenity of life.

The genius of the race—its volatility and its power of speech—is well-fitted for the actor's profession. The tendency may be seen among village lads, who will sometimes organise a nigger-minstrel company, in elaborate costume, to go from house to house performing variety entertainment. Foote, a famous actor of old time, once called "the English Aristophanes," belonged to Cornwall, and the greatest English actor of our own day, Sir Henry Irving, though not actually born in Cornwall, belongs to the county, both by race (on the maternal side) and by the fact that he spent his early youth there.

It would be a mistake to imagine that the favourite avocations and amusements of the Cornish are all effeminate. No one who is acquainted with Cornish wrestling will rush to that conclusion. Nowadays, indeed, wrestling in Cornwall is dying out, and I have not often had an opportunity of witnessing it, but it is by no means extinct. I know a village, far removed from railway stations and the currents of modern life, where it may be well studied. Behind the chief inn in the village is a large field. Here, on a certain day every year, several hundred people assemble and seat themselves on chairs and benches, forming a large ring left free for the wrestlers, who strive the whole day long in round after round to throw one another according to the rules of the art. They are practically naked above the waist, for the strong loose canvas jacket is easily lifted over the shoulders. It is a graceful and vigorous performance, not without a certain solemnity befitting a survival from the early world. No one is hurt, however decisive the falls, for there is nothing of the reckless barbarity of football, so dear to the hearts of the northern English countrymen. There are no women present, though a few may be seen flitting in the background and gazing on furtively. Beer is passed round from time to time to the onlookers, who sedately discuss the performance with the air of connoisseurs, applaud the victors, and quietly disperse in the evening.

The stranger in Cornwall is quickly impressed by something wild and primitive in the land and the people. To a large extent this is a correct impression. The general contours of the country—huge fantastic rocks lashed by angry winter seas, gorse-covered moorlands with but rare luxuriant valleys—are savage and uncivilised. The prehistoric remains—the frequent monoliths, the "quoits" as cromlechs are here called, the mysterious circles of stones—confirm the impression and recall the grander relics of primitive rite and sepulture in Brittany, while the quaint wayside crosses scattered so profusely along western Cornish roads recall the simple piety of early days. The people themselves also often retain a certain element of savagery, as apt when irritated to break out in bursts of violent anger as their shallow soil to reveal the hard rock underneath, or their sudden gales to lash the sea into white fury. They have a primitive instinct for religion, though perhaps to a less extent than the Welsh or the Bretons; they were ardent Catholics in days of old, they never took kindly to a State Church as invented by Henry VIII, but when Wesley came among them and made a spiritual faith once more possible they became ardent Methodists. They have also been devoted wreckers, fervent smugglers. Even now it is possible to point to men who in their early days, it is said, lured vessels to destruction on the rocks. They carried their smuggling audacity so far as in one case at least to use a church for storing the smuggled spirits, carefully removing them on Saturday nights in preparation for the religious rites of the Sunday. Doubtless these things have died out, and nowadays the Cornish display their fervour in rescuing life at such times as the fierce winter gales turn the dangerous coasts around the Lizard and Land's End into seething cauldrons of death, in which the lifeboat cannot live and the rocket cannot pierce the wind to bring rescue to the sailors who drop one by one from the rigging to their death, within a few yards of land. The man who would once have been a wrecker is perhaps the man who now spends days and nights in searching for dead bodies along the coasts. To live on the Cornish coast breeds a certain familiarity with death, and also that terror of the devouring sea which is deeply rooted in the people, and a little surprising to the careless summer pleasure-seekers who bathe all day long in these clear sparkling waters and cool mysterious caves. But the natives see it differently, and in many districts there are few women who have not lost one of their men—a son, a father, a husband, sometimes drowned beneath their eyes. The life of the people, and perhaps their racial instincts, are primitive also in their attachment to superstitions. All sorts of pagan survivals may be found in Cornwall: holy wells are numerous; every district has its population of ghosts, and many are the natives who have seen or heard them. Witchcraft was of old strongly rooted in Cornwall, especially in particular spots, such as St. Ives. It is not yet extinct, and the witch-doctor still mutters her spells for the benefit of those who seek her advice. I know of a respectable citizen of a Cornish town who found his orthodox doctor's remedies too slow, and went off to a famous witch-doctor who uttered her spells over him; he was perfectly satisfied with the results. This man made no secret of the course he had adopted, apparently regarding his preference for the powers of darkness over the powers of potions as justified by more speedy results. There must certainly be a far larger number of persons who resort to these same powers in secret. While the Cornish are truly primitive in the sense that they still retain traditions, habits, arid customs now unknown to the rest of England, it must be added that they have little of the profound conservatism of the Welsh, which has kept the old Keltic tongue alive and vigorous within a few hundred miles of London, just as they lack also the intense moral fervour of the Breton. In the Cornish rustic there is even a certain eagerness for novelty; you may see his whole body astir with delight at some new spectacle at which the Anglo-Saxon would only gape in wonderment. What seems to us the primitiveness of the Cornish is largely, it appears to me, an organic character of the race which civilisation can scarcely be expected to efface, a radical matter of temperament. The Anglo-Saxon character comports a certain exterior awkwardness, a more or less genial ruffianism, beneath which you find on cutting into it—though this may not be easy to effect—a reliable depth of juicy beefiness. When you scratch the gentle surface of the Cornish soul you may, perchance, strike on some unexpected resonant resistance, even with ugly sparks of fire, just as when you penetrate the shallow soil of Cornish land you strike on hard metalliferous strata. I do not wish to insinuate that either of these tempers is of higher quality. The one is not quite so smooth as it looks, the other not quite so rough. In the world of character it is not so easy, as it is in the world of zoology, to assert that the creature which carries its skeleton inside is more highly organised than that which carries it outside. But the ready responsiveness of the Cornish temperament, its unexpected recoils and resistances, its apparent contradictions, are fascinating, and constitute a character which appeals to us as primitive.

In a last analysis, perhaps the most distinctive and interesting element in the Cornish character is its adventurousness. Here the restless, nervous energy in the race, and the underlying sturdiness—Cornish gales and Cornish granite—are combined and displayed in splendid achievement. It is a mistake to imagine that the Anglo-Saxon race is adventurous in a conspicuous degree. The Englishman is an excellent colonist, no doubt, solid and tenacious, but not quick to "trek" on into the unknown until well convinced that his present state is intolerable. The Scotch, the Irish, and the Cornish have been the chief pioneers, leading forlorn hopes to 'outposts which the more stolid English have afterwards held and maintained. The names of great travellers, adventurers, and pioneers are enough to indicate that we English, in the narrow sense of the word, do not greatly predominate among them, and the same fact is clear to anyone who has ever lived in any outpost of English-speaking civilisation. The Cornish seaports—Fowey, Falmouth, St. Ives, Padstow—have sent out numberless sailors and adventurers in Elizabethan days and after. During the last half-century these have been joined by the men who are cast adrift through the decay of Cornish mining. Cornishmen are found to-day in all parts of the world—in America, Australia, and Africa. South Africa is especially the resort of the Cornish, and the Cornishman at home pronounces with far more familiarity the name of Johannesburg than that of London, a remote city, mentioned, perhaps, with some condescension, and not bulking so largely in the Cornishman's eyes as Plymouth, the great seaport of emigration, which lies almost within his own boundaries. The Cornish often settle abroad, but they return more frequently than do the Anglo-Saxon English, who, if less keen to go, are also less keen to return. In every part of Cornwall you find men who have wandered through the world, and have come back, with or without a small competency, to end their days in their own land. The joy of adventure is dearer to the Cornish heart than the accumulation of wealth. It is this adventurousness which has given the Cornish the felicity of playing so large a part in the history of English civilisation. The Welsh have never reconciled themselves to conquest, the Irish have never even recognised their conquest, the Cornish have riot seldom put themselves at the head of their conquerors. There are many Cornish families, like the Killigrews and the Godolphins, who have attained distinguished preeminence in every department of practical affairs, statesmanship, diplomacy, divinity, law. Great soldiers and sailors Cornwall has produced in abundance. Sir Richard Grenville—whose exploits were celebrated by his like-minded kinsman, Sir Walter Raleigh, and in a later day by Tennyson—is one of the first among English heroes; the same exuberantly heroic family yielded Sir Bevill Grenville, "the Cornish Bayard." Sir John Eliot, the revolutionary patriot and orator, was also a Cornishman When times changed, Cornwall sent out missionary adventurers like Henry Martyn, and explorers like Richard Lander, while in still later days the daring of the Cornish has been chiefly shown in the creation of new ideals in literature and morals. The long list of Cornish worthies is little more than a series of pioneers into the physical and spiritual worlds.


Published in 1899 in the UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE AND FREE REVIEW, edited and published by Dr. de Villiers who had taken the FREE REVIEW over from the (now) Right Hon. J. M. Robertson, and in the previous year had published the first volume of my STUDIES IN THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SEX. De Villiers, the son of a German judge, was an extraordinary man who, it ultimately appeared, lived a life of mystification passing over into criminality, though by no means an ordinary criminal. Finally, to avoid arrest, he sought refuge in a concealed room of his house in Cambridge, and there committed suicide with the aid of poison he had long carried about in a ring he wore.

THERE is no form of literature so fascinating and so instructive to the student of human nature as autobiography. The confessions left by Augustine, Bunyan, Cellini, Casanova, Rousseau, can never lose either their interest or their psychological value. Novels become unintelligible, histories need to be re-written, but the intimate record of the soul's experiences is always new.

La Possession de la Mere Jeanne des Anges, Superieure des Religieuses Ursulines de Loudun (known in the world as Mlle de Belcier) cannot be said to stand in the first rank of great autobiographies. Yet it is singularly interesting and instructive. There is perhaps no other document in existence—not even the Life of Saint Theresa—which shows how large and tragic a part in human affairs may be played by hysteria. Since hysteria, in its myriad forms, is just as prevalent in the nineteenth as in the seventeenth century, and plays an equally prominent part in life, it may not be out of place to call the reader's attention to the existence of this autobiography, discovered a few years ago in the Communal Library at Tours, and admirably edited, under the superintendence of Charcot, by Drs. Legue and Gilles de la Tourette. Mile de Belcier was born in the Chateau of Cozes, in Saintonge, on February 2nd, 1602, being the daughter of a great seigneur, Messire Louis Belcier, Baron of Cozes. She was a puny child, ill-developed physically, of bizarre temper, and at the age of ten was sent to be educated at a convent where her aunt was prioress. But here her conduct was so unbearable, and her tastes so ill-regulated, that when she had reached the age of fifteen her aunt sent her home in despair. At home neither good advice nor severe punishment were spared on the rebellious daughter, and growing weary of both at last she resolved to take the veil. The lack of vocation appeared absolute, but no doubt the parents welcomed this caprice as a solution of their difficulties, and sent their daughter to the Ursulines, who had just established a house at Poitiers. Here the young novice showed somewhat excessive zeal. She was, for instance, attracted to diseased persons, and liked to dress the most repulsive wounds. During her noviciate she lost six of her brothers and sisters, one of them being killed by the English at Rhe, and her parents tried to induce her to return to their desolate home, but in vain, the final vows being pronounced in 1623.

At the same time, however, the religious community in which she lived began to perceive many defects in Jeanne de Belcier's character. She was fantastic, vain, dissembling. But all remonstrances remained without effect; they only served to make Soeur Jeanne think of leaving the convent, and as the convent was poor, and Soeur Jeanne was rich, the sisters endeavoured to reconcile themselves to her caprices. When it was proposed to establish a new Ursuline house at Loudun she succeeded in being nominated one of the eight founders. At Loudun, Sceur Jeanne surprised all her companions; she was submissive, even humble; wholly pre-occupied with the idea of being made superior of the convent. Before long she was successful, and at the age of twenty-five she found herself at the head of a convent of constantly growing importance. Having thus achieved the object of her ambition, she quickly fell into her old habits, threw off all restraint, and gave a free rein to her whims. Her pride and intolerance made the lives of the sisters unbearable, while she spent whole days in the convent parlour enjoying the scandal of the town. No one at Loudun was so well informed as Soeur Jeanne. At that time a priest named Urbain Grandier—the history of whose tragic fate has been recorded in full detail—chiefly occupied the scandal-mongers of Loudun. Proud, handsome, sensual—and giving free rein to his sensuality—he was yet a man of marked intellectual ability, and gifted with persuasive eloquence. Such a man especially fascinates and subdues the imagination of women. Jeanne, with her passionate and unwholesome curiosity, could not fail to experience the magic charm of Grandier, and she resolved to find some opportunity of entering into relationship with him.

Jeanne herself was not without powers of seduction. She was small, indeed, and her shoulders were deformed—though she showed skill in disguising this deformity—but her face was beautiful, her eyes bright, and she was proud of her beauty. Moreover, the charm of her conversation was notable. She set herself to obtain Grandier as spiritual director of her convent. The reply was a direct refusal, and Jeanne had little difficulty in placing the responsibility for this reply with Madeline de Bron, Grandier's favourite mistress. Jeanne's next step was to obtain as spiritual director a priest who was violently hostile to Grandier. We may note that, notwithstanding her pre-occupation with Grandier's personality, Jeanne had never seen him.

A few months later she fell into a state of severe anaemia, and showed signs of nervous affection, aggravated by the reading of many mystical books. She was now subject to nocturnal hallucinations, and seemed to see Grandier approaching her, radiant with a fascinating beauty, overwhelming her with caresses and amorous proposals. She finally confided these visions of the night to her companions, being careful to add that she had courageously resisted the solicitations of the tempter. To overwhelm the tempter with more certain defeat, several of the nuns, with Jeanne at their head, prayed and fasted, and administered to themselves corporal discipline. The result was that in a few days several nuns experienced similar visions. Then the honest but superstitious spiritual director—whose hostility to Grandier has already been mentioned—began to suspect the influence of Satan, and to talk of demoniacal possession. All the enemies of Grandier were apprised of what was going on among the Ursuline nuns, and it began to be noised abroad that Grandier had bewitched them. Exorcism was attempted; wild terror ruled in the convent, and this nervous excitement brought on a violent convulsive attack. Hitherto Jeanne had shown little more than a marked congenital predisposition to hysteria. Now the seal of the demon was definitely set upon her. Great was the consternation of the community at so visible an eruption of Satan, and the nuns who witnessed the scene were one by one swept into the same whirlpool of erotic delirium and convulsion. The convulsions soon ceased after the Archbishop of Bordeaux had wisely put a stop to the exorcisms, but now Jeanne suffered much from haemorrhages and anemia, which naturally aggravated her hallucinations. At night she and the other sisters might be seen, like bacchantes, possessed by erotic mania, rushing through the alleys of the convent garden, haunted by the image of Grandier whom they had never seen.

Then a relation of Jeanne's, Laubardemont, a man described as the genius of evil and a creature of Richelieu's, whose ear he possessed, arrived upon the scene. He witnessed the turbulent manifestations at the convent; he learnt that Grandier had opposed certain schemes of Richelieu which Laubardemont had been appointed to execute. In a few weeks, by Richelieu's orders, Grandier was in prison. The exorcisms were re-established, and, of course, the demoniacal manifestations were re-doubled, Jeanne standing out prominently by the obscenity of her language and conduct, when under the evil spirit's influence. It was in vain that Grandier proved his absolute innocence; the precise testimony of Satan himself, through the mouths of Jeanne and her companions, could not be gainsaid. At five o'clock on the morning of August 18th, 1634, the commission, presided over by Laubardemont, condemned the unhappy priest to be burnt alive on that same day. He was first conducted to the torture chamber where two monks, the Reverend Fathers Tranquille and Lactance, themselves hammered in the wedges to break the legs of the victim—who behaved throughout with admirable courage and resignation—and then accompanied him to the stake in the market-place, where they forbade the execution of the merciful rule of first strangling the victim, and themselves lighted the fire. It is a sad satisfaction, for the honour of humanity, to learn that these two reverend fathers, together with several magistrates, surgeons, and others concerned in this affair, died insane.

Jeanne's hysterical condition was, however, radically established, and the death of Grandier merely served to change its manifestations which she has herself fully recorded. At one stage it was again resolved to apply exorcism, and the choice of the exorciser brings another element, of almost ludicrous pathos, into the narrative. Surin, the Jesuit father selected, was about the same age as Soeur Jeanne, now thirty-two, and was himself also profoundly hysterical, suffering from continual severe headache, together with many of the same nervous symptoms which Jeanne displayed, including the temptations of the same demon of impurity, Isacaaron. Thus was Satan appointed to cast out Satan.

Father Surin left Jeanne no rest day nor night. He made her appear before him completely naked, and with the object of chastising Isacaaron, ordered her to flagellate herself. These orders Jeanne duly executed, feeling nothing of the flagellation, and scarcely knowing what was said or done, except that a confused memory remained with her that she had undressed and dressed herself.

This Jesuit father was no ordinary victim of hysteria. He was a mystic whose literary works—especially his Spiritual Guide to Perfection and his Triumph of Divine Love—have been devoutly reprinted even in the present century. The contact of two such persons, both of unusual ability, both wrought up to the highest pitch of nervous exaltation, could not fail to be without result: a period of miracles began.

Father Surin, however, won no credit for the inauguration of this new era. The only immediate result of his spiritual attentions was a distinct further injury both to his own health and Jeanne's, and he was speedily superseded by another Jesuit. Then it was that, apparently suffering from severe pleurisy, for which she was repeatedly bled, she seemed at the point of death. Extreme unction was administered, and while the bystanders were awaiting her last moments, the dying woman suddenly sat up, her face radiantly beautiful, and exclaimed that she was cured. She had had a vision in which St. Joseph appeared to her bearing a balm of exquisite odour. He would not himself apply it to her side "on account of his well-known modesty," but Jeanne's guardian-angel, having, we are told, no such scruples, rubbed the balm on to the affected part, producing immediate relief, In proof of this, five large and deliciously perfumed spots were found on Jeanne's shift. (It may not be out of place to mention that Jeanne was specially skilful in the manufacture of ointments, and spent considerable time in preparing them.) The shift was cut in half horizontally by the Ursulines a few days later, the lower and less sacred portion being thrown away, and the upper half, having first been suspended by a thread near the five odoriferous spots to keep that portion out of the water, carefully washed and preserved, to play a large part in Jeanne's subsequent career.

That career lasted for twenty-seven years longer, but gradually changed its character. Jeanne is now no longer the mere victim of Satan; she is something of a saint, and she travels triumphantly through France, bearing pity and healing with her. She exhibits the holy shift to the reverent eyes of the King and Cardinal Richelieu, and even the Queen (Anne of Austria) vainly implores from her the gift of one of those sacred grease-spots.* Wherever she goes thousands come forth to meet her, and everywhere miracles are effected. Jeanne, in addition, now bore about on her body another proof of the miraculous interference of heaven. Father Surin, after two years' absence from Loudun, had returned, and had succeeded in expelling from Jeanne, Behemoth, one of the devils who possessed her. As a proof of his submission, Behemoth was commanded to write the names of Jesus, Mary, and others on Jeanne's hand. This suggestion, as sometimes happens in the hysterical, was successful, and for a long period these names were constantly renewed, to the admiration of the devout and the confusion of the sceptical.

[* Soeur Jeanne gives a full account of the interview with the great cardinal. He was in bed suffering with hemorrhoids and also from a tumour in the arm. "On seeing the fragment of shift on which was the unction," she writes, "he was touched with respect and expressed great sentiments of piety, for before taking it in his hands, though he was ill, he uncovered his head, smelled it and kissed it twice, saying: 'That smells perfectly good.' He made it touch a reliquary which he had at the head of the bed, and while he was holding the shift with respect and admiration, I narrated to him how I had been cured by the power of St. Joseph and the application of the unction." But no beneficial effect was produced either on the haemorrhoids or on the tumour.]

All these events, and many others which are full of instruction, alike for the student of human nature, of history, and of the phenomena of hysteria, are recorded in detail by Jeanne herself, with a full sense of the importance of the manifestations in which she had played the chief part, but simply and sincerely, honestly attempting to distinguish what seemed to her to be her own share in events, and what was attributable to the influence of bad or good spirits. As time wore on, her hallucinations became changed in character; she dreamed of union with Christ. The carnal temptations still appeared from time to time, and she vainly sought to subdue them "by rolling on thorns and hot coals, without relief." She was re-elected prioress, and in later years her rule was very severe. She became paralysed and died on January 29th, 1665. A few months later, Father Surin, overwhelmed by physical infirmities, committed suicide. It was rumoured that Jeanne died in the odour of sanctity. The sisters deposited her head in a superb reliquary, and for more than a century this little head, that had been the seat of such intense nervous activity and had enacted so many tragedies and comedies in the world, received the veneration of the devout who travelled to Loudun. After that the Ursu-lines of Loudun fell upon days of misfortune and disrepute, and were finally suppressed by the Bishop of Poitiers, a few years before the Revolution. Then the relics, head and shift alike, disappeared, and the most careful researches of recent days have been fruitless to ascertain either their present resting-place or their fate. Even Jeanne's history has been forgotten, passionately as it once moved the emotions of men and moulded their fates, only to be reconstructed by the erudite from forgotten treatises and mouldy manuscripts. As reconstructed, it is a pathetic record, and a symbol of those unwholesome mists of the brain by which, now as much as ever, men seek to shut out themselves and others from the eternal sunshine.


This paper consists of critical reflections on THE DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY suggested by the careful study of that DICTIONARY which I made in preparation for my STUDY or BRITISH GENIUS, published in 1901. The present paper was published in the ARGOSY for November, 1900.

THE issue of the sixty-third and concluding volume of the Dictionary of National Biography brings to an end a literary task of imposing magnitude. The extent of the work may be estimated from the fact that two supplementary volumes have been necessary in order to gather in those great Englishmen who have had time to die in the long interval which has elapsed in the progress from A to Z. With these additional volumes the Dictionary will be brought down to the close of the nineteenth century and will cover altogether about fifteen hundred years. It may be indeed that there is a tendency to overestimate the magnitude of this great work—so happily begun under the inspiration of Mr. Leslie Stephen and now so happily completed under the direction of Mr. Sidney Lee—and to regard it as a unique literary achievement. This it can scarcely claim to be. Not to refer to the endless task, perhaps too often mentioned as a supreme monument of erudition—the Bollandists' Acta Sanctorum—one may remark that the Dictionnaire Encyclopedique des Sciences Medicates is a vaster and more wide-ranging work; while, confining ourselves to our own country, the series of translations of religious texts edited by Professor Max Mueller, though somewhat smaller in extent, is of more original conception and epoch-making importance, and the English Dictionary now being edited by Professor Murray represents a greater amount of labour and minute erudition. At the same time the Dictionary of National Biography is a sufficiently great literary monument to be able to dispense with extravagant laudation; a very necessary and laborious piece of work has here been accomplished, and we now possess an adequate and interesting summary of the achievements, in every field, of the sons and daughters of Great Britain.

This Dictionary, indeed, for the first time enables us to form any reliable estimate of the special qualities of the English genius, and the precise contribution which the men and women of Great Britain have made to civilisation. Its worth can only be realised by one who has investigated it from this point of view. As I have selected the Dictionary as a convenient basis for a psychological study of the greatest English men and women, and with this object have read most of the longer articles with careful scrutiny, I am probably in a better position than most to appreciate the strong points and the weak points of this great undertaking.

I do not purpose to summarise here the results of this study of the genius of Great Britain. I estimate the number of really eminent persons included in the Dictionary—eminent that is by virtue of a high degree of inborn ability and not through the accident of birth—as about eight hundred. Very few of these are women; to every hundred eminent men there are only about four eminent women. As regards distribution throughout the United Kingdom (eliminating individuals of mixed ancestry) it is found that 74 per cent, are English, nearly 16 per cent. Scotch, 5 per cent. Irish, over 3 per cent. Welsh, and 2 per cent. Cornish. As regards the social class from which they spring (so far as the evidence allows us to determine this) we find that even when we leave out of account the large number who are sons of peers, no fewer than 21 per cent, still clearly belong to the small number of people who can be said to be of "good family," and in reality the proportion is still larger. The professional classes (often merging into the previous higher social class) claim over 41 per cent., a very large proportion, but here we are able to determine its full strength; a very extraordinary fact about the contribution of the professional classes is that, although lawyers, doctors, engineers, military and naval officers, etc., are included under this head, no fewer than half of the eminent persons furnished by these classes are the children of clergymen and ministers, who have thus exerted with marvellous effect the privilege, accorded to them at the Reformation, of adding to the genius of the country. Only 15 per cent, belong to the trading or commercial classes, though these range from bankers and manufacturers to publicans, and 6 per cent, to the farmer and yeoman class. The craftsman and artisan classes (closely allied to the trading class, but involving a real manual training, and including weavers, smiths, millers, saddlers, etc.) are, however, responsible for 15 per cent. The unskilled workers—the great mass of the population—have furnished scarcely 2 per cent, of our eminent and ruling men. Nothing could show more clearly than these figures the peculiarly oligarchic basis on which English civilisation has been built up. It may be of interest to present these rough figures; to analyse adequately all the results which emerge from a study of the Dictionary would require far more space than I can here dispose of. I merely refer to them here to show how valuable and instructive this great work becomes when intelligently used.

At the same time the value and charm of these volumes for most readers lie on the surface; we have here a series of often fascinatingly interesting narratives, sometimes embodying new research, and usually accompanied by an estimate of the subject's special achievement, on the whole written by men who are admirably competent to form a sane judgment of their subjects. The first editor of the Dictionary, Mr. Leslie Stephen, himself possesses a special aptitude for such narratives—unbiased, shrewd yet sympathetic, intent on placing a man in true relation to his times and to the history of ideas. It is true that these special qualities, clearly dominating the early volumes, were accompanied by their defects. I do not propose to discuss the minor defects of the Dictionary; there are many minute errors and discrepancies which, it is easy to say, could have been avoided by more careful editing, but it must be admitted—even by a writer who is himself an editor—that even an editor is human, and that it is human to err. I refer to a certain general indifference to accurately precise biographical detail, a tendency to slur over definite yet often very significant facts because they have no obvious bearing on the more abstract interest of the subject. In a great many cases it is thus difficult to disentangle the family history, even when the facts are really known; too often the antiquated custom is perpetuated of ignoring the female element in a family. Again, we are often not told whether a man ever had children or even whether he was married. We have a right to expect the statement of so interesting and significant a fact; yet in not less than 10 per cent, of the long biographies (i.e., those extending over three pages) the point is not so much as mentioned, and we are left in the dark as to whether the writer was himself ignorant, whether he knew the facts so well that he forgot to mention them, or whether he thought them too trivial to mention at all. We are thus driven back for information on so important a point to more original sources of information.

There is another general charge to be brought against the national biographers. They have frequently failed to realise where biography ends and history begins. Even if no names were appended to the articles we should know that, in many cases, the writers were historians masquerading in the disguise of biographers, and not always disposed to take their parts very seriously. Over and over again we are compelled to trudge through the same round of historical events until we are inclined to think that the work should really be called the Dictionary of National History. Yet history and biography are two quite different processes and demand quite different methods. Properly considered, great personalities constitute only one of the elements in the complex web which it is the historian's task to disentangle. It may be his business to find such personalities, but, when found, their further study belongs to the biographer, who is not concerned with the general course of history. Certainly it is an advantage for the historian to possess some skill and insight as regards the personal factors in history, just as it is an advantagefor a physiologist to be acquainted with physics. But the tasks of historian and biographer remain different and involve different methods. In the history of the seventeenth century, for instance, the historian comes upon Cromwell, and he has learnt to recognise the exact weight of this personal factor in seventeenth-century affairs. But it is not his business to ascertain why it was Cromwell, and no other, who played this special part in those affairs; he is not called upon to investigate the intimate facts which made Cromwell what he was, the special qualities of his Welsh and English ancestry, or the precise influence on his character of the morbid mental affection from which he suffered in early life. These intimate and private facts the historian must largely take for granted, just as the biographer must take for granted the general course of public affairs on which these facts had so important a bearing. Such distinctions are fairly elementary, but one may well doubt whether our national biographers have always realised them; otherwise they would not so often have deluged us with the same stream of history, to the neglect of their own business, nor devoted so disproportionate a space to insignificant persons around whom some eddy of history has chanced to whirl.

So far I have spoken of the Dictionary largely as it began and developed under the influence of Mr. Leslie Stephen. It must not be forgotten, however, that about half of the work has been carried out under the editorial influence of Mr. Sidney Lee. It is evident that Mr. Lee is an editor whose mental qualities are very unlike those of Mr. Stephen. He is not a philosophic thinker; he is clearly not mainly preoccupied with ideas and their currents, nor much concerned to sum up a personality in a happy formula. But, on the other hand, he possesses certain qualities which Mr. Stephen has never been able to acquire. His precision of statement is admirable (though I cannot add that the latter part of the Dictionary is peculiarly free from errors and misprints), and he has a laudable passion for facts; both these qualities are of the first importance in a dictionary, where one may or may not desire to find views and opinions, but certainly desires to find the greatest amount of reliable and significant facts in the smallest amount of space. I would point to Mr. Lee's article on Sterne as a masterpiece in these respects; every essential fact is concisely stated, there is nothing superfluous, with the result that in those few pages we have a more vivid picture, and even a larger amount of biographical material, than may be found in lives of Sterne occupying several volumes. There are even indications that Mr. Lee would gladly have introduced greater method into the Dictionary; his article on Shakespeare is unique in the work by the adoption of marginal titles for each paragraph. Any uniformity of method and order in the contents of the articles it was, however, clearly impracticable to adopt at so late a stage.

Yet this question of method is fundamental, and a lack of method is the most serious charge which a student of biography can bring against this Dictionary. The method, so far as it has any, is essentially antiquated; the scientific modes of thought developed during a century have been ignored; and the founders of the Dictionary, for all that their methods show to the contrary, might have been the contemporaries of Johnson.

Why drag in, it may be asked, any question of "scientific methods "? What has science to do with biography? The answer must be that it has everything to do with it. The very word "biography" itself indicates that we have left the vague and romantic regions of history to enter the circle of the biological sciences. Biography is, or should be, at least as much of a science as ethnography; it is a description of the life of an individual just as ethnography is the description of the life of the race. It is a science in which, when we approach it seriously, both anthropology and psychology are found to have their concern; and though the data with which the national biographers had usually to be content could not satisfy a scientific mind, the recognition of scientific methods would greatly have aided their work.

It may be said, and with truth, that when the Dictionary was planned, such methods, as applied in these fields, were less developed and less widely known than they are now beginning to be, and that the tendency to greater precision in the later volumes represents the only attempt that remained possible to gain recognition for scientific methods.

It may well be; yet one may point out that every serious student would have been immensely aided in using this Dictionary if, at the outset, it had been planned with some regard to its unquestionable relationship to the human biological sciences. It can only rarely happen that the student who consults an article in a biographical dictionary desires an undigested mass of confused facts, through which he must painfully work his way in order to find the one definite fact he needs. There are a very large number of personal facts he may desire to see stated on the best available authority, and the ideal dictionary of biography—in so far as it deals with persons of undoubted genius or talent—would present all such primary personal facts in so clear and methodical a manner and in so invariable an order, that they could be discovered at a glance. When the writer of a biographical article is allowed to stir up all his facts into a stodgy mass, it is difficult, even for himself, to discover what he has put in and what he has left out, and this lack of method is an inevitable source of perplexity and inconvenience to the readers who consult his work. Let us take, for instance, the personal appearance of a great man. It is of considerable significance, from various points of view, to know the exact manner of man that an eminent personage appeared in the flesh to his contemporaries; few things, indeed, are more interesting to know. It is never, however, quite easy to find any personal description in these articles, and when found it is usually excessively brief; in 50 per cent, of the cases, as regards the most eminent persons, it is not found at all. It may be said that in many cases nothing is known of a great man's personal appearance. But a remarkable point about the national biographers is that the less is known the more carefully they often record it, and that when much is known they often record nothing. In a considerable proportion of the articles written by intimate personal friends there is not a single word to indicate that the writer had ever seen his subject in the flesh, or had any conception as to what he was like. So extraordinary a failure would have been rendered impossible even by the simplest attention to method. Moreover, it is not only important to know, definitely and reliably, the available personal facts; but to know also, with equal definiteness, what facts are not available. The untrained literary man cannot do this without a pang; it is never pleasant to state mere bald negative facts. It is evident, however, as one realises after spending much time over this Dictionary, that in order to attain the highest possible degree of serviceable-ness, the articles, so far at least as all persons of eminent genius are concerned, should be largely made up of sections and paragraphs, each with its definite heading, the order in which these follow being invariable, decided by the editors at the outset after the most careful consideration. Doubtless an omnivorous schoolgirl, for whom all facts are new and equally important, may prefer this Dictionary as it is; but for more serious students so unmethodical a method leads, and must lead, to much weariness and labour. Excellent as the articles generally are in their antiquated and purely literary way, they do not enable the reader to put his finger, at a glance, on the fact he is searching for, and—still more unfortunately—when the fact is absent they do not enable him to decide whether it is unknown or whether the biographer has simply overlooked it. The dates of birth and death are always treated in this Dictionary with methodical and scrupulous care; when we have a work which shall treat in order with the like scrupulous method every essential fact in an eminent life we shall possess an ideal dictionary of national biography.

It may seem both a thankless and an unthankful task to criticise the methods of a series of volumes so fascinating in their interest, a work on which so much skill and research have been expended, the only work of the kind which most of us can ever hope to see. In its admirable achievement, however, the Dictionary reveals the possibility of still higher achievement, and itself helps to inspire the ideal which will mould the work of its successors in a future generation. In the meantime we shall certainly return again and again to a work which is not only one of the noblest monuments of English literary activity in the nineteenth century but an unfailing source of instruction and delight.


I have on three occasions written of Nietzsche. The first was in the SAVOY during 1896, and my essay, reprinted in the following year in AFFIRMATIONS, was probably the first comprehensive study of Nietzsche in English; in 1917 I wrote, by editorial invitation, the article on Nietzsche for Hastings' ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS. Between these two came the shortest and slightest of the three, in the Paris WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for April 30th, 1903, here reprinted.

THE nearly simultaneous publication of an English translation of Morgenröthe (The Dawn of Day) and a study in German by Dr. Möbius on the pathological aspects of Nietzsche, suggests many reflections concerning the variegated progress of Nietzsche's fame. The young professor of philology in the University of Bale, who was compelled by ill-health at the beginning of his career to retire on a pension, spent nearly the whole remaining period of his active life in wandering among the health resorts of the Tyrol and North Italy, and in writing books, which attracted no attention, and gradually became stranger and more extravagant as the characteristic exaltation of general paralysis permeated his brain. At last, in 1888, Nietzsche was "discovered;" Brandes, the most alert and the most catholic of European critics, chanced to meet with the now considerable series of books which had thus appeared and recognised that a new and powerful personality had come into literature. Almost at this moment, after a period of unusually intense literary activity—a final flaring-up of the dying intellect—Nietzsche's mind was extinguished. At the beginning of January, 1889, Brandes received a brief and enigmatic note, written in a large handwriting on lines ruled in pencil, unstamped, wrongly addressed, and signed "The Crucified One." On the day on which this was probably posted Nietzsche was found helpless in the streets of Turin. From that moment he never regained complete consciousness of himself or of his surroundings. His intelligence had fallen to the level of a little child's, and so remained till his death more than ten years later.

During recent years several of Nietzsche's books have been translated into English, but with an enthusiasm which was, to say the least, injudicious. The English publishers exclusively brought forward the latest, the most extravagant, the most insane portions of his work, and it is not surprising that, except among those extravagant persons to whom extravagance naturally appeals, Nietzsche has until lately found few English readers. Now at length one of the sanest and most truly characteristic of his books has appeared in a translation which, if it fails to render the strength and beauty of the original, is at all events careful and correct, and at last, even in England, Nietzsche is beginning to find appreciators and admirers.

The tragic irony of Nietzsche's fate has, however, brought it about that, at the moment when he has at last gained serious recognition in England, Dr. Mobius, an alienist of recognised position in Germany, has for the first time ascertained and published all the facts in Nietzsche's life, as well as in his work, which demonstrate his insanity and its slow and insidious development, facts which cannot always be clearly traced in the otherwise admirable biography which Nietzsche's sister is publishing. Dr. Mobius, it should be said, is not one of those who are bent on proving at all costs the universal insanity of genius; he is a sympathetic student of genius for its own sake, and not for the sake of enlarging the frontiers of psychiatry. Until the period when he wrote Zarathustra, Dr. Mobius very reasonably concludes, Nietzsche must be regarded as sane. Dr. Mobius has, however, succeeded in showing—what could not be gathered from the biography—that on both sides he probably inherited a slight but definite strain of nervous disease. Every acute reader, even of his earliest works, must indeed feel that here is a writer too abnormally sensitive to enable one to count him with any probability among the general mass of healthy, well-balanced humanity. But with Zarathustra, the malady of general paralysis that had already taken possession of him, showed its first marked eruption. The pace at which this work was written, and the writer's mental exaltation at the time, alone indicate the morbid nature of the activity at work. And with this new stage of acute mental disorder emerge all those ideas which the disciple of Nietzsche most easily assimilates—the doctrine of the privileged "over-man," the statement of "immoralism," the violent assertion of the evils of sympathy, the command, "Be hard," which is only rightly understood when we recognise it as a counsel of perfection addressed to the teacher's own over-sensitive brain. At the same time, as Dr. Mobius already recognises, even in Zarathustra and the other works written during the last four years of his intellectual activity, it can by no means be said that the genius has departed. On the contrary, it is in many respects heightened. Excessive, fantastic, perverse, obscure, this later work often is, but in force and splendour of diction, in imaginative vision, in what he might himself have termed halcyonic wit, it often surpasses his earlier, more sane, and balanced work. It is not strange that in the face of so irritating a mystery the critical mind has often been torn in two, on the one hand taken captive by the accomplished artist in psychological analysis, on the other hand, relentlessly stiffening itself against the acceptance of sheer insanity.

The doctrine of the insanity of genius, notwithstanding many thorough-going champions, may be said to be finally discredited. It suffices to select any hundred men of genius at random to find that while certainly one or another has been insane, that is also the case among the general population taken at random. Still the proportion remains extremely small. Moreover, when we investigate the individuals who make up the small proportion we find that the manifestations of their genius are not even parallel with the manifestations of their insanity; when they displayed most genius they were sane. The exceptions are extremely few, far fewer than is commonly supposed. They do, however, occur. In Christopher Smart, the poet, whose one masterpiece was written in an asylum, we see quite clearly how the ferment of mania, on this occasion, mingled happily with his small genius and raised it to a height of vague imaginative splendour—however perilously close to the abyss of incoherence—which, without that ferment, he never attained, and never could attain. In Rousseau, again, we see how beneficially insanity may stimulate genius. During all his life Rousseau was mentally morbid, during his later years he was unquestionably insane, the victim of delusions of persecution. The insane belief that he lived in the midst of enemies who were perpetually plotting his ruin, wrought his tortured brain to that pitch of heroic self-defence which alone could enable him to write the intricate self-revelation of the Confessions. In recent times there has probably been no more remarkable instance of the same combination than we see in Nietzsche. His insanity distorted the equipoise of his fine and subtle intellect, but at the same time he owed to the torturing sting of that malady a poignant sensibility, a penetrating impulse to reach the core of things, and an imaginative atmosphere, which, without it, he could never have reached. In Nietzsche are thus realised many of the traditional sayings concerning genius, which are usually so far astray. Here the madness of genius is a real and definite fact; here there is indeed a consuming flame which flares up fatally and irresistibly until one of the finest brains of the century was reduced to little better than a heap of ashes in the healthy body of a child.

When we understand the rare combination that took place in Nietzsche, we may see our way to a sound critical estimate of his work, and at the same time realise why it is that such an estimate has been so difficult to reach. To accept him as a great teacher of morals, to reject him as the victim of insanity, have been fairly obvious alternatives which alike reveal a lack of critical discernment. We see a man who was in touch with the finest culture of his time at nearly every point—it cannot be said at quite every point, for the plastic arts never existed for Nietzsche—and who seeks to probe to the bottom the most essential questions of life. Slowly the acuteness of that search is intensified by the development of a disease which has its seat in the searching intellect itself. More The Genius of Nietzsche and more the man becomes absorbed in an intellectual struggle with his malady, and the thoughts and images he fashions become, more and more, merely the weapons of his personal warfare. For this reason they cannot be of much use to the average citizen, but the spectacle of that heroic struggle, and even much that resulted from it up till the last, still remains helpful and stimulating. The progress of the struggle is recorded, mostly as pensées strung together at random, in Nietzsche's works. These pensées are not of equal value, they are frequently conflicting, sometimes obscure, even outrageous. There are many pearls here, as Dr. Möbius truly remarks, but they are not all pearls. It may be added that as we gaze at them we realise how the most beautiful things in the world may sometimes grow around a point of disease.


This essay on Frederick van Eeden was published in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW of May 28th, 1903. Since it was written, Van Eeden has pursued his physical and spiritual Odyssey in the Old World and the New, through various phases, the last of which known to the world led him into the Catholic Church.

TWELVE years ago, when Kennan's book on Siberia was attracting wide attention, a young Dutchman appeared before the public of Europe as the writer of an open letter to the Czar of Russia on the treatment of political prisoners. It was a somewhat insulting letter written with a certain ironic eloquence; as the writer himself acknowledged, he was made of that sonorous kind of metal which cannot help vibrating, like a bell, under the stress of outside impulses, however futile the sound given forth may be. The writer of this letter was a young doctor and literary man, called Frederick van Eeden. Although little over thirty years of age, Dr. van Eeden had attained a wide reputation—in his own specialty one may even say throughout Europe—as an authority on the curative applications of hypnotism, which he had studied in their headquarters at Paris and Nancy and was actively applying at Amsterdam in association with Dr. van Renthergem. In his own country he was chiefly known as the author of three or four comedies which had been successful on the stage, and as one of the founders of De Nieuwe Gids. For this review—still existing though he is no longer connected with its direction—Van Eeden wrote a number of essays which show a very wide interest in European literature, and are now collected in three volumes of Studies. He has also published several volumes of poems. The first of Van Eeden's books which can, however, be said to possess any real significance as the revelation of a new personality is Little Johannes, which appeared in 1885. There is a certain superficial fairy-tale element in this book, and for the English translation it seemed on this account proper to invite Mr. Andrew Lang to write an introduction. The introduction was written, but Mr. Lang wisely confined himself to the topic of fairy tales in general and said not a word regarding the book to which his essay was prefixed. Little Johannes is anything but a fairy tale. It is true that it begins with a wonderfully sympathetic account of the life and surroundings of a child who wanders into Elfin-land, and this machinery of the story is more or less maintained to the end. But very soon we realise that the device has been adopted merely in order to show human life at a new and belittling angle; we are presented with successive visions of the most vital problems of the human world, concerning which the author shows himself as a sceptic refusing to accept the most sacred words current among men and briefly sketching a kind of pantheistic philosophy of his own.

A few years later appeared the book by which Van Eeden has so far attained his chief reputation in Holland, Johannes Viator. It is the most complete expression he has reached of his vision of the world, of his gospel of life. This book, however, will shortly appear in an English translation, and it would be out of place to attempt to anticipate the judgment which the English reader may pronounce upon it. Another and still more recent book, Van de Koele Meren des Doods—now widely known to English and American readers as The Deeps of Deliverance—must not be passed over, for it is in this novel that we may best observe Van Eeden's methods as an artist.

It is the story of the whole life of a young girl of somewhat morbid temperament, born with a refined but rather sensuous nature, who by her very innocence and ignorance is led into a marriage which is no marriage, and so, by equally natural and imperceptible steps, falls into the hands of a lover, and ultimately, under the degrading influence of morphia, to still lower moral depths, finally recovering her balance, and leading the few remaining years of her life in peaceful retirement among the poor country folk of her native place.

In sympathetic insight, in delicate perception of character, this picture of a sensitive, loving, degraded, fine-souled woman—a more common type than we are perhaps always willing to admit—could scarcely be surpassed. It suffices to place Van Eeden in all but the first rank of contemporary novelists. One cannot fail to see that the seven years of therapeutical hypnotism in the Amsterdam clinique have not been without advantage for the novelist; it is such women as Hedwig that the doctor whose specialty is nervous disease most easily learns to understand and to feel pity for. It may indeed be gathered from a remark made in the course of the novel that the author founded his story on a real case. But all the clinical documents in the world will be of no artistic use to the doctor who is not an artist.

As a novelist, Van Eeden may be said to represent that modern reaction against naturalism which is yet willing to profit by the lesson that naturalism has taught. The methods of Zola belong to the past, but they have at least served to make it possible for all who come after to give easy and simple expression to the most veracious presentation of life. The methods of naturalism sought to lay bare to the coldest vision the minutest details of life, not indeed as such methods were practised by Zola—for Zola was too much devoted at heart to the romanticism he struggled against, ever to be able to lay bare anything—but at all events in the hands of the greater artists with whom he was more or less associated. Those hard and minute details no longer seem to us very precious. But we never cease to be drawn towards a truly intimate vision of life. In such a book as this of Van Eeden's we see how the expression of crude, precise, physical details may fall away as without significance, while yet the novelist sets forth every vital fact that seems to him truly significant, with a quiet simplicity and courage that is never really offensive, though it must take away the breath of our average English novelists who know how to be impossibly romantic, and know indeed also how to be offensive, but cannot be simple and veracious in face of the deepest facts of life. It may even be said that so great a master as Tolstoy is at this point at some disadvantage; he grasps firmly the great spiritual facts; he throws in at times crude touches of physical realism; the modern direct naturalistic vision of life he is too old to acquire.

A man of Van Eeden's temperament is, however, hardly content with an artistic medium of expression, however veracious. We learn this easily from the strong element of mysticism that emerges in the course of Hedwig's history, objectively as it is introduced. Like Tolstoy he has written little pamphlets on the meaning of existence; like Tolstoy, also, he believes in a more or less communistic life, and in 1899 founded a community on this basis at Bussun, called, after Thoreau's book, Walden. He believes in the collective possession of the land, and has founded a society, now numbering some three thousand persons, for the realisation of this project; while he has lately started a weekly paper for the furtherance of the same object, and is at present engaged on a book which will set forth his views on social questions.

It may seem an injustice to this modest and comparatively young Dutchman to compare him with the great Russian whose pen is so far mightier and more skilful than his own, the most famous of living authors. It is unjust not merely because Van Eeden is still young, but also because he is by no means a disciple of Tolstoy; as an artist he represents more modern methods, while as a social reformer his views are not marked by the impossible extravagance of Tolstoy's. He is, moreover, distinctly and essentially a Dutchman, with that special mixture of realism and idealism, of humanity and mysticism, which marks the traditions of his race. But, both alike, they are at once artists and teachers and both as artists and teachers they have something to say. The combination is not perhaps altogether happy; it may certainly be of use to a teacher to be an artist; it is less certainly of use to an artist to be a teacher. But however that may be, the combination is in its finest manifestations sufficiently rare. Van Eeden is one of the few living writers who is still worth listening to, whatever we may think of his art or of his message.


This essay on Browning appeared in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for August 21th, 1903.

TO the philosophic spectator of literary criticism—if such there be—the spectacle presented by Browning's critics must be puzzling. They are all clearly anxious, even eager, to admire Browning, they are all certain that there is something to admire; but as to what that something is, the most various opinions prevail. If one attempts to sum up the estimates of critics it would, on the whole, appear that Browning is an artist and poet of the very first order, who has discovered new forms of poetic art and opened up new horizons of poetic energy; that he is, in addition, a writer who merits our admiration on account of his extraordinary erudition and scholarship; that, moreover, we have to recognise in him a psychologist of the highest order; that, further, he was a philosophic, or, at all events, theological moralist, with a new message to humanity; that he was, finally, one of the supreme amateurs of the world, in the higher sense of that much-abused word.

Everyone who is anxious, and even eager, to admire Browning and to place him justly—as indeed we all are—cannot fail to find here an amply satisfying conception. A man who combined the varying qualities of a Shakespeare, a Herbert Spencer, a St. Paul, and a Leonardo must certainly be regarded as a unique personality. Yet even on this calm acclivity to which the critics of Browning have so skilfully conducted us, it is inevitable that, however sympathetic we may remain, certain reflections should arise. It may not be altogether useless to give expression to these reflections in order.

For the moment, indeed, we may put aside the first point, in regarding Browning as poet and artist. We may assume, as a working hypothesis, that he was, even essentially, a poet and artist, while for the present not attempting to determine the precise quality or degree of his poetic art.

First, then, there is that erudition and scholarship to which the critic of Browning never fails to direct our admiring attention. It can scarcely be claimed that erudition is more than a subsidiary aid to the psychologist, the moralist, or even the amateur, and, indeed, it is in connection with Browning as poet that this vision of immense learning is evoked. Here, it must first be pointed out that, in reality, every poet—every poet, that is, who goes beyond the simple swallow-flights of personal lyric song—is learned. Learning is a necessary part of a poet's stock-in-trade, of his raw material. Homer, when we rightly understand his relation to his time, appears as a very learned poet; Shakespeare was appallingly learned. Keats was learned. The truly notable point about the learning of Browning is not its existence, nor even its extent, still less its accuracy—he was in no proper sense a scholar, and never professed to be—but the fact that it was united with an extremely retentive memory. Homer and Shakespeare and Keats do not impress us by their learning; to repeat a famous simile, in their learning they were like workers in the diamond mines of Golconda: they only sought for jewels; Browning's absorbant memory was like a sponge that sucked up diamonds and mud alike, and with the native energy of his temperament, he squeezed them out alike. His learning was thus more conspicuous; we need not too hastily conclude that it was greater or more admirable.

The point may be easily yielded; but Browning's position as a great psychologist remains unaffected by any considerations as to the precise quantity and quality of his learning. It is claimed that Browning's special distinction is the invention of the dramatic lyric, and the distinctive character of this literary species lies in its psychological insight, its casuistical skill, its ability to present in all ramifications the mental attitude of a person quite other than the dramatic lyrist himself. "Bishop Blougrom's Apology" is commonly regarded as one of the most accomplished examples of this species. It so happens that we can go behind Bishop Blougrom; Browning stated definitely that in Blougrom he had in mind Cardinal Wiseman, and that, moreover, he was not moved by any hostile motive; he was really writing an "apology" for Cardinal Wiseman.

In the absence of any intimate personal knowledge of Wiseman—an absence of knowledge which it is fairly certain that Browning shared—we must fall back on the biography of Wiseman, which presents us with a completely intelligible and, so far as can be judged, veracious portrait of a man whose sincerity was beyond question, and who bears scarcely any resemblance to Blougrom. Browning's psychological defence of Wiseman has, therefore, no real relation to the man he is defending; it is even without that kind of value which belongs to a felicitious caricature. As a psychological analysis it breaks down altogether; its value must be estimated on an artistic basis. It is not difficult to see why the claim of Browning the psychologist cannot be maintained. As Mr. Chesterton, the latest and one of the most discriminating of his critics, quite truly observes, Browning was not an "intellectual." He had not that sensitive, supple, receptive temperament—such as Renan possessed in so high a degree—which enables a man to put aside for the time his own convictions and his own point of view, to shift his standpoint, to enter imaginatively into another man's skin. Browning's defective psychological insight is reflected in his defective critical insight. The attraction he felt for insignificant personalities in art has always been noted, but it is usual to slur over the fact that, in many cases certainly, Browning himself by no means regarded them as insignificant. His critical estimates were, even in his own day, already passing out of date. In two of the happiest and most effective of his poems it is easy to read between the lines that he regarded Andrea del Sarto as a painter who narrowly escaped reaching the highest summits of art, and Fra Lippo Lippi as the painter of mere feminine prettiness. Browning's dramatic lyric is really a distorted personal lyric, and the distinction involves an important difference. We are not really being led into the intimate recesses of another man's soul, we are simply being told how one Robert Browning—a sturdy, conventional English gentleman, endowed with an extraordinarily vigorous mind, and very pronounced views on morality and religion—would feel if by some mysterious fate he had himself become a scamp, a coward, or a humbug. Browning evidently delighted in inventing difficult exercises of this kind, and was justified, for they constituted a gymnastics peculiarly suited to his athletic mind. But they have no very close connection with psychology and not much with casuistry.

The critic of Browning becomes indifferent alike to his erudition and his psychology when he turns to Browning the moralist and theologian. The profound sincerity of Browning's moral and theological convictions cannot be questioned. They were all the more fundamental, and not the less genuine, because they were temperamental. Indeed, one may almost say they were inherited. Little as Browning had in common with his father, the thorough-going eighteenth-century optimism which his father had imbibed from Pope, and the nineteenth-century Liberal Nonconformity which he had added to it, were accepted intact by his son, whose native energy of character merely made the optimism more aggressive—so aggressive, indeed, that it sometimes almost persuades us of the beauty of pessimism—and the Liberal Nonconformity more comprehensive, as his restless mental fertility played around them. But in essentials they never moved very far from the starting point. "Merely man, and nothing more"—but for Browning a "man" was a sturdy, conventional, British, Liberal Nonconformist, middle-class gentleman. Thus Browning represented admirably one aspect of the religious thought of his time, just as Tennyson, with his more gracious, but perhaps less radical, Broad Church Anglicanism, represented another. But let us turn to one of the great masters—to Shakespeare. Here also we find, as well as a great poet, a moralist grappling with the problems of life and of death. But we always find Shakespeare above or below the plane on which the definitely circumscribed groups of believers are fixed. It is a curious fact, all the more notable since it is clearly not due to any trimming caution, that Shakespeare never offends the most sensitive free-thinker, the most devout Catholic. It can scarcely be said of Browning. Whether we are able to enter the little chapel at Camberwell, or whether we only listen outside, we cannot fail to feel the stimulating magnetism of this strident preacher's voice, with its unfailing theological optimism. But it is not thus that we approach Goethe or Shakespeare.

But, after all, what have scholarship, psychology, theology, to do with literature? It is with Browning the poet and artist that the critic is finally and centrally concerned. That Browning possessed the fundamental temperament of the poet, and that he strenuously strove to be an artist, may fairly be taken as facts that are beyond argument. It is when an attempt is made to define his precise position and to estimate its significance that the difficulty comes in. Mr. Chesterton has truly said that the general characteristic of Browning's form at its point of greatest originality is its dexterous use of the grotesque, more especially as used to express sublime emotion, and that the underlying source and meaning of this grotesqueness is energy. In other words, Browning is the poet of energy artistically expressing itself in the grotesque. This seems admirable. Then Mr. Chesterton goes on bravely to argue that grotesque energy is a form of art which has been reached at the highest moments of human inspiration. But here we pause, and, once again, we begin to reflect. Certainly, energy is very fundamental in Browning; it was ingrained in the nervous texture of the man, in his loud voice, his emphatic gestures: "I was ever a fighter." And the man is reflected in his work. He cannot easily talk without shouting, or walk without running; if the humour should take him to dance it could surely be nothing less athletic than a bolero. He presents in a supreme degree the quality which Coleridge termed Nimiety, the quality of Too-muchness, and certainly a man of this temperament is naturally attracted to the grotesque. The man of exuberant energy craves to come in touch with the material aspect of things; he wants to handle strange, rough, unfamiliar shapes. The grotesque, one may point out, always gives the impression of unconquered material, of matter not yet subdued by spirit, it must always be unfamiliar. This last characteristic was clearly realised by Browning himself, and he describes those strange and quaintly-shaped sea creatures "which only the fisher looks grave at." To the man who truly knows them they are not grotesque. Many persons can probably remember when as children they first heard a violin; the player may have been a master; but the impression produced by the unfamiliar sound of the instrument was exquisitely grotesque.

When we really understand a grotesque thing, when it has become luminous to intelligence, it is no more grotesque than is any ordinary "two-legged bird without feathers" to his fellow men. It will be seen that we have struck on the reason why it is that to exalt unduly the poetry of the grotesque reveals a certain mental confusion, a certain defect of critical insight. The searching inquisitive artist is interested in the grotesque; Leonardo, as his note-books show, was eagerly interested in the grotesque, but there is nothing grotesque in the art of Leonardo; he treated the grotesque as crude material of art, and in passing through his searching brain it ceased to be grotesque. The poet of energy, however, delights in exercising his energy in the manipulation of the crude material of art; he loves to pile up the raw strange chunks, with all the sharp points sticking out, into fantastic edifices. He strives to embody the maximum amount of natural material in his art. No doubt there was a real organic reason why Browning adopted this method: it was the method that suited him best. Mr. Chesterton observes that Browning was a poet who stuttered. There is real insight in this remark. A person who stutters is expending an immense amount of articulatory energy, but he has forgotten the less obvious but equally essential necessity for harmonious breathing. His failure is strictly analogous to that of the young violinist who puts so much energy into his bow-hand that he forgets his string-hand. Browning's poetry is a stutter, an idealised stutter, in its perpetual emphasis, its strenuous combative energy, possessing so Titanic a quality as to induce even the critic who has acutely pointed out this characteristic to place Browning in the front rank of the world's poets and artists.

Yet let us turn to the great artists, whose mastery is universally acknowledged; whatever the form of their art may have been the grotesque has fallen away to an altogether subordinate place; there are no heavy chunks of unworked material, no sharp points sticking out; even energy is no more visible, being absorbed in securing the perfect adjustment of each part to the whole; string-hand and bow-hand are working together in absolute harmony. "I was ever a fighter"—that saying was never heard from the lips of any supreme artist. Look at some fragment of sculpture by a Greek, or by Rodin, and it seems as light as foam and almost as translucent; listen to some piece of music by Mozart, its felicity is divine, but there is nothing in it; stand in the room that holds the Meninas of Velasquez, and you seem to see a vision that has come miraculously, effortlessly, which in another moment may cease to be. Or take the art we are here immediately concerned with, and on whatever scale of magnitude you please: Shakespeare or Verlaine; we no longer hear the strenuous, insistent voice of the stutterer, we seem only conscious of a breath, on which the meaning aerially floats. It is idle to argue that Hudibras may be placed beside the Canterbury Tales, and the Alchemist beside Lear. Browning belongs to the same circle in the Paradise of Art as Butler and Ben Jonson; as an artist his ambitions were greater than Butler's, his achievements scarcely less; as a personality and a poet he is not unworthy to be named with Ben Jonson. We do him an injustice by comparing him to Chaucer or Shakespeare; with the divine masters he can never be, but his place in our literature remains a noble and assured place.


This article was published in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for September 17th, 1903. Since then the notable name of Henry Handel Richardson is to be added to the foremost writers of Australian fiction.

THE prevailing aspect of the Australian bush is commonly said to be of monotony and melancholy. That is the aspect emphasised by Marcus Clarke in an impressive passage which has often been quoted, and not seldom imitated. In the interesting Preface to a collection of short Australian stories reprinted from the Sydney Bulletin, the most natively characteristic of Australian journals, Mr. A. G. Stephens protests, not without reason, against the prevalence of this belief in the melancholy of the bush; it is, he says, a misconception fostered by Englishmen; yet in the typical Australian stories to which his remarks are prefixed, there are few descriptions of the bush which fail to confirm the impression Mr. Stephens states to be false. It is not difficult to see why those who attempt to describe the bush usually fall back so easily on the epithets "weird" and "melancholy." A land in which the predominant tree, the eucalyptus, has the fantastic habit of shedding its bark in great sheets, and where man has rendered these trees over vast areas still more uncanny by ring-barking them to death, a land in which the cries of birds and other living things are for the most part shrill or mournful, and where the appearance of the animals as well as of the trees is peculiar and primitive to an extent unknown elsewhere, is a land that may well seem hideous and melancholy to those who arrive in it as exiles from home, or even to its own children in the impatient eagerness of youth. And yet the Australian bush is full of exquisite beauty. One who comes to it, not as an unwilling exile, but content to live for six months at a time without approaching within twenty miles of the little townships which are themselves only about the size of small English villages learns to see its gracious beauty better than its sadness. The gently undulating hills bathed in eternal sunshine and peace, the exhilarating air, the loveliness of spring when the wattle—the Australian acacia—flings its trailing golden blossoms over the land, the strange exotic products of this primitive continent, all these things have a life-long charm for one to whom they have once revealed their beauty.

Just as the Australian novelist delights to describe the melancholy aspects of the scenery of his native land, so also he insists on the melancholy aspects of the life of its inhabitants. Of all themes none seems to attract him so much as the lugubrious deaths of lost wanderers in the parched deserts of the interior. His appetite for tragedy, for robbery, rape, murder, almost equals that of the early Elizabethan dramatists. It is a crude and youthful taste, doubtless, but the love of strong sensation which frequently marks the beginnings of art is not necessarily morbid and may only be a sign of young and vigorous life. Even when he is dealing with those inhabitants of the land, the bushmen, drovers, shepherds and so forth—whose occupations are necessarily peaceful and who can seldom be brought into contact with tragedy—the Australian story-teller delights to dwell on their uncouth roughness, and revels in the effort to suggest to the reader the unspeakable character of their language. For one who knows the true average Australian of the bush, the sons of the settlers who went out to the land in the great immigration movements of the middle of the nineteenth century, it requires an effort to pass from the Australian bush-inhabitants of fiction to those of real life. When I recall the quiet Australian farmer who, as he once acknowledged to me in a sudden moment of expansion, would often at sunrise ascend the hill, near which he was born and around which his own children were growing up, to become lost for an hour at a time in the beauty around him, and when I think of the innumerable traits of humanity and refinement one meets with throughout the bush, I realise that the semi-imbecile swagsman and the drunken swearing drover are not the most important products of Australia, and may even be ignored altogether.

Among the younger writers of Australian fiction,—leaving out of account those who have more or less severed themselves from Australia and chosen to write mainly for an English public—Lawson has attracted attention, and deservedly, for while he makes no claim to distinction and his ideals of artistic perfection are humble, he is yet an accom-, plished writer who knows how to present the real condition of bush life in a sympathetic and human fashion. The special charm of Lawson's work lies in its unambitious simplicity and veracity. Dorrington, a young writer of English birth who is, however, exclusively connected with Australia, has published a volume of short stories, Castro's Last Sacrament, which makes a higher challenge. Dorrington is a conscious artist and knows that a writer can be great and tragic within small space. A competent critic has stated that his book contains the most brilliant stories that have yet been produced in Australia. Brilliant they certainly are, and they would be finer still if in his effort to attain tragic intensity Dorrington had not often fallen into mere violence. In every kind of art, violence is the mark of weakness rather than of strength; it is the strained effort of the man who wants to be stronger than he can be; strength, indeed, the violent man may have but he is living on his capital, and always near the end of it. The consciousness of this strain frequently spoils the reader's enjoyment in Dorrington's certainly remarkable stories.

There is another form of fiction that we may reasonably expect from a new country: the novel of the young and ambitious woman who dreams of the large world beyond the loneliness and pettiness of her own narrow life. A novel of this kind, My Brilliant Career, was produced a year or two ago by a young writer who calls herself "Miles Franklin." It is a vivid and sincere book, certainly the true reflection of a passionate young nature, impatient of the inevitable limitations of the life around her. Such a book has its psychological interest, the interest that belongs to the confessions of a Marie Baschkirtseff of the bush; but something more than emotion is needed to make fine literature; and here we miss any genuine instinct of art or any mature power of thought, and are left at the end only with a painful sense of crudity. Miles Franklin is ardently devoted to Australia, but to a remote ideal Australia, and in the eagerness of her own embittered and egoistic mood she tramples under foot the things that really make Australia. One feels that My Brilliant Career was inspired by the same impulse as another youthful book written from the recesses of another continent, Olive Schreiner's Story of an African Farm, but in intellectual force and artistic perception the two writers cannot be compared.

In a little volume of short stories that has been published recently, the Bush Studies of Barbara Baynton, we seem to find a writer who, though with something of the artistic crudity of Miles Franklin, yet reveals a genuine native force, a more than merely emotional or temperamental energy, that one is less sure of in the other young Australian writers of fiction. The distinction of Barbara Baynton's work is not simply that it is objective—a characteristic indicated by the title of the book—but that it reveals an intensity of vision which is of the real stuff of art and more than redeems the writer's sins in the minor matters of literary style. In Barbara Baynton, as in Miles Franklin, there is the same unsympathetic attitude towards the life of the bush, the same haughty and bitter impatience with the stupidities and platitudes of a commonplace environment. But Barbara Baynton has, notwithstanding, the essential artist's eye for the picturesque aspects of this environment. When the plain young woman with the muddy complexion in "Billy Skywonkie," one of the best of these stories, begins her long and miserable journey to the lonely bush station where she has accepted the post of, as she believes, housekeeper to the boss, and the train drags its way through the hot shelterless barren land, "She closed her eyes from the monotony of the dead plain. Suddenly the engine cleared its throat in shrill welcome to two iron tanks, hoisted twenty feet and blazing like evil eyes from a vanished face. Beside them it squatted on its hunkers, placed a blackened thumb on its pipe and hissed through its closed teeth like a snared wild cat, while gulping yards of water." And in "Scrammy 'And," doubtless the most powerful of these studies—which tells with the minute concentrated energy of this writer how an old shepherd who had been left alone in his hut with his dog is murdered for his money—we perpetually find the same vivid, if sometimes rather confused, vision of the life of the bush. The murderer seeks to unpen the sheep in order to distract the dog from the defence of his master; "but the hurdles of the yard faced the hut and the way those thousand eyes reflected the rising moon was disconcerting. The whole of the night seemed pregnant with eyes." A writer who visualises so intensely, almost instinctively, the scenes she paints, certainly has the makings of a fine artist.

It is always interesting to study the literature of a young race, the offshoot of an old race living under the influences of an absolutely new environment. The interest of such work is often out of all relation to its absolute literary quality, because every time, whether in Spanish South America or English Australia, we see the outcome of a new combination of influences and ideals, a combination which has never exactly come about before. Even the fact that in every such young literature we can always trace the influences of ancient Europe, even something of the corruptions and refinements of the most civilised modernity, by no means destroys the interest, but even adds to it. We recall the figures of those Goths whom Sidonius tells us of, the greasy, good-natured giants who lolled on the silken cushions of Gaulish and Roman palaces, filled with the intoxicating wines of Italy. In a land like Australia where a predominantly northern and British race, brought into closer contact with the sunshine, has become accustomed to find the extremes of luxury and hardship almost side by side, and is more naturally apt than in the home of its fathers to worship the ideals of physical culture, a young nation runs the risk of becoming rotten before it is ripe. That is a risk which the Australians may happily escape, as for the most part their ancient Gothic relations escaped it, and the beginnings of their national literature will one day, we may be sure, be a subject of reverent study.


This sketch of the earlier stage of the philosophy of Jules de Gaultier appeared in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for October 1st, 1903. I have presented some later stages in THE DANCE OF LIFE.

TO the philosophic critic of literature Flaubert is irresistibly attractive. His genius is at once so profound and so impersonal, so deliberately disinterested in the face of all the ideas and emotions which commonly move mankind, that the thoughtful explorer is impelled to let his plummet down into these limpid depths to see if he cannot find bottom and map out a philosophic chart. This happened to M. Jules de Gaultier at what appears to have been the outset of his career, and twelve years ago he published a notable pamphlet entitled Le Bovarysme. In every man, whether in fiction or in real life, there are, as this critic assumed, two main aspects, one physiological, the other psychological. In the first aspect a man is born with a nature, fixed by heredity, which has imparted to him certain aptitudes, and deprived him of other aptitudes. In the other aspect he has been brought into an environment, he has been submitted to an education, he has acquired ideas, which may possibly have no relation whatever to the natural impulses and aptitudes he possesses by heredity. Hence the possibility of conflict between the more or less artificial psychological man and the hereditary physiological man. And hence the ability we all possess to conceive ourselves other than we are. All the comedy of the world, and its tragedy, rest on this ability. The power of conceiving ourselves other than we are, M. Jules de Gaultier found illustrated in all Flaubert's chief characters, and after the heroine in whom it is most tragically represented he called it, perhaps not very happily, "le Bovarysme."

But after the publication of this pamphlet its author became acquainted with the works of Nietzsche, just then beginning to become known in France. He at once perceived that Nietzsche's later doctrines, more especially in Beyond Good and Evil, had a very distinct bearing on that conception of Bovaryism which he had founded on Flaubert's novels and that, indeed, they enlarged it so greatly as to transform it altogether. As it originally stood, Bovaryism indicated that an unhappy fiction had placed man in opposition to the tendencies of his own real nature and rendered him comic or tragic accordingly; he suffered for accepting a fiction rather than the truth of his own nature. But Nietzsche had applied his relentlessly dissolving analysis to this very question of "truth" and "fiction" in life, and he had shown that we are justified in regarding life as more final and ultimate than even truth, which is its servant and not its master; and that fiction may be truth in so far as it truly serves life. In a subtle and thoughtful philosophic study, De Kant à Nietzsche, M. de Gaultier discussed this question of the nature of truth and fiction, in reference to life and morals, arguing against the sterilising influence of Kant's later attitude, and emphasising the fruit-fulness of Nietzsche's conception.

Having realised the narrow and imperfect character of his early view of Bovaryism, and the immensely increased range and significance which it possessed when fertilised by Nietzschian ideas, M. de Gaultier's next task was to re-write and enlarge his early study of Le Bovarysme, which accordingly reappeared last year among the publications of the Mercure de France. Here Bovaryism, no longer regarded as simply the method whereby a great artist showed the course of human failure in life, assumed its full development as the universal process by which men not only fall but also rise, by fashioning themselves to the model of their conceptions, the process indeed by which whole communities and civilisations evolve the conceptions which are life-giving, and when they no longer subserve life replace them by others. Bovaryism thus became an original view of the whole process of evolution.

Now M. de Gaultier has published another book, La Fiction Universelle, in which the same conception is pushed still further and admirably exemplified. No radically new modification has been introduced—though the author has availed himself of some of the ideas and illustrations in M. Remy de Gourmont's remarkable book, La Culture des Idées—but on the whole it may be said to present M. de Gaultier's conception in its most attractive as well as its most developed form. Unlike the earlier books, it is not mainly made up of philosophical or psychological analysis. The author now uses his conception as a method of applied critical study, and he presents a good example of his method in the study of the Gon-courts regarded as symbols of the Bovaryism of culture. The limitations of the art of the Gon-courts, and the achievement possible within these limitations, could not be more clearly set forth. The author represents the Goncourts as becoming artists not, as has sometimes been the case, from exuberance of life, but from defective vitality, from inaptitude for life, and turning to art as to religion, with the ascetic renunciation of intellectual saints. The poverty of their initial gift, apparently most marked in Edmond, was in large measure compensated by the religious ardour with which the idea of art moved them; heroic Bovaryism here found its justification, and the Goncourts moulded themselves into the artists they were not made, though only at the cost of perpetual suffering. They were indeed aided by two secrets—the emotion produced by their own experiences as men of letters, and the discovery of the pathological element as an influence in life—but on the whole the sense of life was never revealed to them, their Bovaryism could never attain the specific characters of humanity. They remained strictly spectators of the world, passing through life as travellers in a strange country, for whom every smallest detail is new and noteworthy. Even the siege of Paris seemed to them nothing but matter for art, just as, M. de Gaultier observes, some skilful craftsmen of Islam, when enrolled for the holy war, might see nothing in the slashed flesh of the dying but suggestions for the arabesque of a carpet.

In a study of Ibsen, entitled Dramatic Transubstantiation, the author makes an altogether different application of his method. In all arts, he remarks, the artist's world is separated from the real world by the fact of transubstantiation. That is to say, that whether the artist is using words, pigments, marble, sounds, the material of his medium is not the material of that which he embodies; he always represents one substance, whether spiritual or material, through the medium of another substance. But in theatrical representation the material which the dramatist places on the stage is the very material of the real world which he is embodying; he is like a landscape painter compelled to use twigs and leaves instead of pigments; the substance remains the same. Here is the problem of the great dramatist, and M. de Gaultier considers that at no point has Ibsen shown himself so supreme a master of his art as in his solution of this problem, a problem, he points out, which is by no means solved by putting a thesis into a play after the manner of the younger Dumas. "I do not know what he is thinking of," says one of Ibsen's characters, "but he seems to be thinking of something different from what he is saying." This is what we see throughout all Ibsen's plays. On a higher plane, above the actual intrigue which is brought before our eyes, Ibsen represents the play of forces which are of vastly greater significance than the mere creatures of flesh and blood on the boards below. It is thus that he attains the transubstantiation of great art. M. de Gaultier seeks to interpret some of the symbolism he finds in Ibsen's plays. This symbolism, as we know, is vague, and M. de Gaultier is far too subtle a thinker to fall into the credulous mistake of supposing that he is rendering Ibsen's exact thought. But he realises that in every consummate artist's work there are threads that go out into an infinite that is beyond even the artist himself, threads which we may follow up in accordance with the measure of our insight, and the skill of our intellectual grip.

M. de Gaultier applies his philosophic method of criticism in a quite different and still more interesting way in a subsequent study of the poet Jean Lahor and the modern Buddhist renaissance. Again he shows how the fictions of Bovaryism may work out for good. Between the ultimate ideals of the East and the West there is a radical antagonism; the Eastern ideal is that of renunciation and nirvana, the Western that of combat and ever more exuberant life. Yet from time to time, notably by the adoption of Christianity, and more recently by the revived interest in Buddhism, we European Barbarians have ardently adopted the Eastern ideals. Nietzsche in his later days thought that this Eastern influence was altogether damnable. But M. de Gaultier points out that this has not been so. The extreme violence of the Western spirit would lead to self-destruction if maintained; the ideal of renunciation which we adopted with Christianity has not been attained, but it has served to temper, in a very necessary manner, our native Western violence; it has fortified rather than enfeebled it. It has acted like those narcotics which in large doses are indeed poisons, but in moderation are beneficial sedatives. In the same way the Eastern hatred of sex and glorification of chastity really aided to re-people the Western world. Rome died for lack of men. But any moralist who at Rome had preached in a straightforward and logical manner the necessity of marriage and large families would have been unheard. The Christian monks came, and by preaching to men to trample sex under foot they really turned its energy into the channel of marriage, and indirectly and unintentionally re-peopled the failing Western world. M. de Gaultier delights to point out how throughout life we are led by roads that seem to lead in one direction to ends that lie in a totally opposed direction. Our Bovaryisms are fictions, but they are fictions that Life uses to lead us to goals we never desired to attain. M. de Gaultier might have taken as his motto the words with which Goethe summed up the experiences of Wilhelm Meister: "You seem to me like Saul, the son of Kish, who went forth to seek his father's asses and found a kingdom."

It is unnecessary to follow M. de Gaultier further. Enough has probably been said to show that he is a thinker whose books cannot fail to be fascinating to those who interest themselves in the philosophic criticism of life and of art. We are easily prone to direct our attention so closely to the technical details of our own little field of study that we fall into spiritual provincialism, and, like children absorbed by the search for treasure among the rocks, we do not see that the rising sea is fatally cutting us off from the great earth. We owe a debt of gratitude to writers like Jules de Gaultier who, whatever the intrinsic value of their philosophic conceptions may be, show us the tracks that run from our own small district to the larger world, and in so doing render more vital and profound even our possession of that small district.


This article was suggested by the writings of Lean Bazalgette, who died two years ago, regretted by many and best known outside France as a pioneer in making known Whitman to French readers, a work to which he devoted much of his life, and was inspired to undertake—as he told me and as I am pleased to recall—by an essay in my NEW SPIRIT. The article appeared in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for October 22nd, 1903. To-day one reads it with a surprised smile. Neither inside nor outside France is the Frenchman individually or France collectively regarded as in urgent need of the gospel of strenuousness which Bazalgette was preaching thirty years ago. Indeed some nowadays think that the Frenchman has taken almost too seriously Bazalgette's injunction to "enlarge his country's activities."

OF recent years various able writers in France have proclaimed very emphatically the decadence of the so-called Latin nations and the inferiority of the French compared with the Anglo-Saxons. Among these writers M. Leon Bazalgette occupies a distinguished position both on account of the clearness and decision of his attitude and the very faithful manner in which he deals with his fellow-countrymen. M. Bazalgette first proved his right to an opinion on this question in a volume of essays, L'Esprit Nouveau, published some years ago, in which he discussed in a highly intelligent and sympathetic manner various modern questions of art and life. Two years ago followed the book, A quoi tient l'Infériorité Française, with which his name is most closely identified. Now in Le Problème de l'Avenir Latin he presents us with the most definite and comprehensive statement of his views on the past, present, and future of the Latin peoples generally, but more especially of France. One cannot pay a better compliment to his book than to say that it evokes reflections on the most fundamental questions concerning the precise nature of the genius of France.

M. Bazalgette's statement of the historical evolution of France is not difficult to summarise. He is well aware that there is no Latin race, and that we are only dealing with civilisations, but on this basis he distinguishes a Latin and a Germanic world, the former including all those territories which were reduced by Rome to provinces (the special case of Great Britain being reserved), by the latter those barbarous countries which refused to submit to Roman dominion; the first group still remain Roman in religion, the second group showed its hereditary resistance to Rome by becoming Protestant. Racially, M. Bazalgette regards Gaul as substantially identical with the Germanic lands at the outset; its ultimate dissimilarity from the German nations he attributes solely to Latin domination. The fall of Imperial Rome made no difference to this domination, for Roman Christianity flowed into the channels of the Empire, and Latin influence persisted. France made two great but unsuccessful efforts, however, to obtain that individuality which the German peoples found it more easy to preserve: the first at the Reformation, the second at the Revolution. The German nations, preserving more of the primitive strength and being nearer to Nature, have succeeded; France and other Latin nations, having been morally castrated in childhood, have remained inferior. These statements M. Bazal-gette regards as unquestionable facts.

We must be allowed, however, to point out that these facts of M. Bazalgette's are by no means so unquestionable as he seems to believe. We cannot admit that the Romans found in Gaul a people who were identical with the Germans. Caesar remarks that the manners and customs of the Gauls differed widely from those of the Germans, and it is clear from his narrative that in matters of war the Gaulish tribes situated nearest to German territory, and, therefore, most nearly related to them, were the most powerful, so that we are not entitled to assume that Roman influence rendered the Gauls weak in resistance. The rapidity of the Roman conquest shows that the difference existed at the outset, and Strabo's picture of the Gauls brings before us a people not notably and essentially different from the modern French. Nor can we agree that the Reformation in France represented a recrudescence of the crushed Germanic spirit. It is true that Calvin sprang from the people occupying that district which Caesar found most warlike, and which we may regard as most Teutonic, but the great Protestant district of France has always been in the south-west, the region which is least Germanic. Nor, again, can we regard the Revolution as a Germanic upheaval; among the complex movements which led up to that crisis Roman ideals and examples played a large part as well as the more Germanic influences of Rousseauism, and men of the South were as active as men of the North.

Even, however, if we could accept M. Bazal-gette's facts it would still be necessary to demur to his interpretations. It would ill become an Anglo-Saxon to speak ill of individualism, but it has to be recognised that, precious as individualism is, it is still not a quality to be sought at all costs, nor is it by any means the only constituent of high civilisation. There is no country in Europe in which racial and temperamental characteristics vary so widely as in France. France is, indeed, the microcosm of all Europe. Moreover, the mobility and the vivacity of the race have attracted attention from the first. It may not unfairly be said that so far from lacking in individuality, there is no country in which human individuality has been carried so far as in France. In the absence of those cohering elements of Roman civilisation which, to M. Bazalgette's regret, Gaul adopted so eagerly and clung to so persistently, France has always tended to suffer from the divergent individuality of its various parts. It was so before the Romans came; again, in the darkness of the ninth century, described by Salvianus, before the Church had re-established Roman influence, the same tendency to strife and dissolution is found; and, without desiring to look on the Revolution as a mere manifestation of "the red fool fury of the Seine," it is still permissible to find in it an illustration of the violence of French individuality unrestrained by the Latin spirit. It is very difficult, indeed, to see how a great and coherent civilisation could have developed from elements so highly individual, so sensitively unstable, if it had not been for the restraining influence of those Latin traditions of order and form, of fine convention, of clear reasonableness, which have served to limit—however unfortunate we may think this limiting influence to be in special cases—the splendid and various genius of France. On this matter the greatest rulers who have moulded France, the Germanic Charlemagne and the Italian Napoleon, were at one. The finest manifestations of life, indeed, always develop under restraint; we have but to look at the capsules of flower-buds or the fronds of ferns. Nature can only form her most exquisite children under the pressure of the hard and firm womb, and by destroying the ensheathing capsule we would also destroy the fruit. It is not otherwise in the world of the spirit.

While, however, we cannot accept M. Bazalgette as either historian or philosopher without much questioning, as a moralist he is more acceptable, and it is, perhaps, as a moralist that he chiefly desires to be accepted. His polemic against Latinisation, then, becomes the appeal of the preacher of righteousness to his fellow-countrymen to make to themselves stronger bodies and more energetic minds, to work more strenuously for the enlargement of their country's activities, and to learn all that may be learnt from the example of other countries. How well able M. Bazalgette is, notwithstanding the impossibly heroic nature of some of his remedies for the evils of France, to reflect wisely on the character and fate of nations, we may observe in the concluding chapter, entitled "Optimisme," in which he clearly recognises that every nation, like every individual, has a life-history and can never hope to be always young or always vigorous. In one of the best pages in his book he recognises how, with all the defects that he finds in her, France still to-day possesses the prestige of "the great field of idealism in the world," of a consummate knowledge in the art of living, that she is the world's playground of art, a "monde-femme" with the seduction of all the things that are apart from the brutalities of rough virility, yet with the charm of extreme maturity, of long culture and tradition, with the haunting perfume of the past. These things—with others of at least equally serious import which might well have been added—are of the very essence of civilisation, and we scarcely need to waste vain lamentations over a Latinisation which has helped to achieve them.


This essay was published in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for January 15th, 1904.

An intelligent critic of Mr. George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman—without doubt the author's most notable and mature book—entitled his article "The New St. Bernard." There was a certain felicity in this emphasis of the resemblance between Mr. Shaw's attitude and that of the great saint with whom he is so closely connected. The famous Christian ascetics of mediaeval times, and very notably St. Bernard, delighted to disrobe beauty of its garment of illusion; with cold hands and ironical smile they undertook the task of analysing its skin-deep fascination, and presented, for the salutary contemplation of those affected by the lust of the eyes, the vision of what seemed to them the real Woman, deprived of her skin. In the same spirit Mr Shaw—developing certain utterances in Nietzsche's Zarathustra—has sought to analyse the fascination of women as an illusion of which the reality is the future mother's search of a husband for her child; and hell for Mr. Shaw is a place where people talk about beauty and the ideal, While, however, it may be admitted that there is a very real affinity between Mr. Shaw's point of view in this matter and that of the old ascetics—who, it may be remarked, were often men of keen analytic intelligence and a passionately ironic view of life—it seems doubtful whether on the whole he is most accurately classified among the saints. It is probable that he is more fittingly placed among the prophets, an allied but still distinct species. The prophet, as we may study him in his numerous manifestations during several thousand years, is usually something of an artist and something of a scientist, but he is altogether a moralist. He foresees the future, it is true—and so far the vulgar definition of the prophet is correct—but he does not necessarily foresee it accurately. The prophet is so profoundly convinced that his fellow-countrymen are on the morally wrong road that he foretells for them a goal of damnation unless they repent; whether he has foretold the truth depends considerably on the accuracy of his diagnosis of the present; but whether this diagnosis is right or wrong in no way interferes with his nature and function as a prophet. The prophet is a moralist, and a passionate and revolutionary moralist; for as Renan remarked in his Histoire du Peuple d'Israël, even the old Hebrew prophets were the sort of people whom we nowadays call Socialists and Anarchists.

It has always been a great—one may even say a fatal—difficulty in the prophet's path that he is bound to be an artist. He is bound to be an artist because it is essential that he should have hearers, and not be merely vox clamantis in deserto. He must have listeners, and to secure them he must be charming, witty, epigrammatic, he must insinuate his anathemas against society into a stream of beautiful eloquence. Only on this condition will he be heard. But the unhappy prophet soon discovers that it is the artist who is heard, not the moralist. Jeremiah realised this with bitterness several thousand years ago: "And now am I become unto them," he complained, "as one that hath a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument." Another prophet in a later age, St. Jerome, was wont to lament the eloquent style by which he merely charmed his readers when he sought to transfix them with the arrows of his indignation. Of Mr. Shaw it is commonly said that he is an Irishman, and therewith his hearers excuse themselves for greeting the moralist with a smile. There are not, however, so many Irishmen as is commonly supposed, and without knowing anything concerning his ancestry, one may suspect that on examination Mr. Shaw might turn out to be not so very much more Irish than another and greater "Irishman," Swift. One would be by no means surprised to find behind Mr. Shaw a long array of stolid, Puritanical, God-fearing Englishmen. It may or may not be so, but in any case, we may be sure, the prophet's reception would be the same. Mr. Shaw pines to be dragged to the stake, but the public only hears the pleasant voice and the well-played instrument. "Bravo! Encore!" That is always the prophet's tragedy.

It is not alone the conflict between the artist and the moralist that brings the prophet to disaster. There is an inevitable conflict between the scientist and the moralist which also leads the prophet astray. He is bound to be in some degree a scientist, whether he would have it so or whether he would not. It is of the very essence of his function as prophet that he should possess a keen and penetrative vision into his own time, the man of science's power of analysing its conditions. His moral remedies must rest on a preliminary diagnosis which has revealed evils where to other men are no evils. To this extent the prophet is necessarily a scientist. But a dominant impulse to moralise will not work in harness with the scientific instinct, which is solely concerned with striving to see things as they are and not in hastening to declare what they ought to be. We have here therefore a contradiction at the prophet's central core. He is certainly anxious to see things as they really are, but the prophetic impulse leads him to strike at them and buffet them and cast them down from their pedestals, and in so doing it is impossible for him to see them as they really are. "We read the satires of our fathers' contemporaries," Mr. Shaw remarks, "and we think how much better we are;" he would have us read his satire of us and realise how bad we are. If, however, we look into the matter from a point of view other than the moralist's, we may realise that, in the one case and in the other, satire tells us very little. Those of us who have had occasion to look into, let us say, the private records and documents of the much-abused eighteenth century have learnt to discern a life very different from that which alone becomes visible in satires. There is not the slightest reason for supposing that the satires on ourselves are any more reliable than those on our fathers. The ordinary life of mankind with its everyday virtues and everyday vices is too commonplace for the purposes of literature; it is inevitably exalted, and more often degraded, in the most accomplished hands. Moliere was an artist-moralist of the highest order and his pictures of the "Precieuses" and of "Tartuffe" are counted immortal. But Moliere gives us no hint that the "Precieuses" whom he ridicules were engaged on a reforming task of the first importance, and modern investigation shows that "Tartuffe" belonged to a brotherhood which was really of unblameable rectitude. Such discriminative considerations do not, however, appeal to the prophet, and for the good of our souls he lashes us unmercifully with the scorpions of his wrath. Mr. Shaw never fails to point the finger of scorn at the rotten morality of England, but one perceives that it is always the moralist that is speaking and not the careful critic who has weighed England in the balance with other lands and decided at what precise points it is that she falls short. This leads to a certain kind of undesigned insincerity.

The scene of Man and Superman is partly laid in Spain. It is evident from many little indications that Mr. Shaw has visited Spain, at all events Granada, of all Spanish cities, be it noted, the most Anglicised. The Spanish people have been called by one who knows them well, the best people in the world, and here, one might suppose, the moralist has at last found rest and peace, but to suppose any such thing would involve ignorance of the prophet's nature. One searches Mr. Shaw's I pages in vain for any perception of the special I qualities of Spain. He describes truthfully enough the little boys at Granada who—taught by English tourists—hold out their hands automatically for coppers, but he has not met the more typical Spanish beggar, who, when you give him a penny, insists that you shall accept from him a farthing in return. We speedily realise that if Mr. Shaw should ever feel it his duty to shake from off his feet the dust of this doomed English land and settle in Spain, he would soon begin to pine for the country he had left. He would never be able to forget that, with all her shortcomings, England is still the sacred home of Fabianism, of vegetarianism, of anti-vivisectionism, of anti-vaccinationism, of who knows how many other of those "isms" so dear to the prophet's soul, and even by the waters of Seville he would hang up his harp and weep.

The moralist in the prophet must not only have a people to preach at, he must have a doctrine to preach, and here again his morality comes into conflict with his science. For many years past Mr. Shaw has zealously preached a great many social doctrines which, with growth of years and a deeper insight into the nature of man and the structure of society, have more and more seemed to him merely to touch the surface of life, and in his latest book he has plainly declared that these doctrines of his youth are little better than illusions. Now, he declares, he has no illusions on the subject of "education, progress, and so forth;" the "mere transfiguration of institutions" is but a change "from Tweedledum to Tweedledee." In this matter Mr. Shaw is true to the universal tradition of the prophet, who always tends to exhibit a growing discontent with those changes which merely touch the surface of life and an ever more passionate desire to get to the roots of it; and on these questions Mr. Shaw says many wise and profound things which we should do well to lay to heart. But in the sweeping away of illusions the prophet can never go to the bitter end, for if there were no illusions left, he would find himself in an atmosphere of quietism in which no prophet could live. However relentless his scientific realism may be, the prophet, to be a prophet, must always remain an idealist at heart.

Mr. Shaw has flung away many illusions but only in order to entrench himself more firmly on one remaining illusion, the "Superman." It is a vision that, from the time of Isaiah and earlier, has always floated before the prophet's eyes and has always proved irresistibly attractive to him: the supreme future man, the Messiah who will build up a new Earth, and whose path it is our business to make straight. There has never been a prophet who was not inflamed by that vision.

Let us be cautious, however, how we use the word "illusion" here. Mr. Shaw will have it that love—and a fortiori the virtues ascribed to human institutions—are illusions, while the "Superman" is a piece of solid reality. When the doctrine is so stated, it is necessary to point out that this verity will not resist critical analysis any better than the others, and that it is by no means difficult to flay the "Superman" even before he is born. It is enough to say in passing that, granting to Mr. Shaw that "our only hope is in evolution," the line of evolution has never been straight; in the natural course of things the successor of man would spring from a form lower than man; but as we have checked the lower forms of life at every point, we have effectually killed the "Superman." If he were to dig again into that Nietzschian mine whence he extracted the "Superman," Mr. Shaw might find another doctrine very much to the present point, the doctrine, that is to say, of the justification of "illusions" in so far as they are vitally woven into the texture of life and have aided in upholding humanity on its course. Love is such an "illusion," the most solid reality in all the world, and without love, hard indeed will be the struggle "to replace the man by the Superman."

It is so common for Mr. Shaw's critics to treat him as a superior bufibon that the reader may possibly be puzzled, or even shocked, when asked to place him among the prophets. But we have here no paradox. This confusion between prophet and buffoon has always been made, and for the excellent reason that underneath it there is a real fusion. No one can question the tremendous earnestness of the old Hebrew prophets, yet many of their doings hardly bear repetition to modern ears. None of our latter-day prophets has been more simple-minded and zealous than Carlyle, yet in Carlyle's writings there is no species of literary buffoonery which you will not find exemplified. In the Middle Ages indeed we may say that there was no refuge anywhere for the prophet except under the jester's cap and bells, which served him as a protection against the wild beasts he bearded in princes' courts. One way or another our Daniels have frequently had to make their homes in lions' dens, and the jester's cap has been found to exert a useful hypnotic influence on the beasts.

A prophet is not an entirely satisfactory person to the artist or to the scientist or even to the moralist. He is, as Mr. Shaw observes, "a most intensely refractory person." He is a medium through which we are forced to see the world at a new and extreme angle, and we rebel at this refraction of our comfortable every-day vision. But even in our rebellion our hold of the world becomes more vital. It is no accident that the most vitally and tenaciously alive people that ever appeared on the earth has produced the most prophets.

England is poor in prophets and we need to cherish them whenever they appear among us.


This was published in the WEEKLY CRITICAL REVIEW for February 19th, 1904.

ALTHOUGH prophets are nowadays rare among us, Mr. Bernard Shaw is not absolutely alone. We have others, and among them not one is better worth listening to than Mr. H. G. Wells. As we have seen, a prophet may be defined as a person who is something of a scientist and something of an artist and altogether a moralist. In science, while Mr. Shaw has occupied himself with political economy, Mr. Wells has had the advantage of a training in physical and biological work; as in art, just as Mr. Shaw has amused himself with writing plays, Mr. Wells has developed a singularly original kind of fiction, and thereby attained a wide reputation, not only in England, but also in France, being indeed the only Englishman so far assigned a place in the "Célébrités d'Aujourd'hui" series. As a moralist, Mr. Shaw is more brilliant and accomplished, for from the outset he has clearly held before him this most conspicuous part of the prophet's duty. Mr.

Wells has here been somewhat shy and reticent; though he has frequently put a certain amount of morality into his fiction he has usually been anxious that it should only be visible to those who know how to find it; even a prophet must live, he seems to have said to himself; it is only within the last few years, in the maturity of his power and reputation, that he has boldly stepped into the public arena conspicuously enfolded in the prophet's mantle. With these points of resemblance in the two men there are yet very marked differences, founded on essential divergences of temperament. If the analogy of the bull-fight were not too irreverent for the occasion, it might be said that Mr. Shaw performs his prophetic functions in the spirit of the banderillero; he approaches the stolid British bull with graceful bravado, not anxious to conceal from us the tremendous personal risks he is running, he brandishes his darts before the creature's eyes, and having adroitly planted them in its hide he retires, well satisfied that he has goaded it to fury and precipitated its final destruction. Mr. Wells, on the other hand, it is evident, emulates the methods of the matador; there is no airy aggressiveness here (unless, indeed, when he takes the animal before him to stand for the British schoolmaster), his manner is simple, seemingly placable, he holds his weapon behind his back, and he seeks to make the stroke of it direct, downright, decisive. Then let the New Republic be proclaimed forthwith! It is thus that Mr. Wells comes before us in his recent and extremely able book, Mankind in the Making.

It scarcely seems to me that this "New Republic" of Mr. Wells's is quite a happy term. He uses it in no genuinely political sense, while its literary associations, from Plato to Mr. Mallock, do not greatly help him. The "New Republic" of Mr. Wells has no relation to any existing party or faction. The New Republican has absorbed the modern conception of evolution, and the only social and political movements in which he is interested are those that "make for sound births and sound growth." His creed is thus expressed: "We are here to get better births and a better result from the births we get; each one of us is going to set himself immediately to that, using whatever power he finds to his hand." We live in a land, as Mr. Wells puts it, into which there may be said to be a spout discharging a baby every eight seconds. All our statesmen, philanthropists, public men, parties and institutions are engaged in a struggle to deal with the stream of babies which no man can stop. "Our success or failure with that unending stream of babies is the measure of our civilisation."

The problem with which Mr. Wells seeks to deal—whether or not we care to adopt the "New Republican" label—is certainly of the first importance. To those few of us who reached this same standpoint many years back, and are trying to work towards the elucidation of the problem, it is a genuine satisfaction to find this question brought into the market-place so vigorously, so sanely, so intelligently. If a few critical comments have occurred to me as I followed Mr. Wells in his discussion of this tremendous problem, I set them down with no ungracious wish to minimise the value of his services in the cause he has undertaken to preach, which is, after all, the cause of all of us. To survey life and to reorganise it, on so broad and sweeping a scale as Mr. Wells attempts, necessarily brings him into a great many fields which have been appropriated by specialists. Mr. Wells quite realises the dangers he thus runs, but it can by no means be said that he has altogether escaped them. In this way he sometimes seems to be led into unnecessary confusions and contradictions. One may observe this in the discussion of heredity which is inevitably a main part of his theme. Mr. Francis Gallon has proposed that we should seek to improve the human race as we improve our horses and dogs, by careful breeding, in order to develop their best qualities. Mr. Wells argues, quite soundly in my opinion, that this will not work out, that we do not know what qualities we want to breed, nor how we are to get them. But Mr. Wells rushes to the other extreme when, without exactly proposing it, he suggests that there may be nothing unreasonable in mating people of insane family with "dull, stagnant, respectable people," in the hope that the mixture will turn out just right. We do certainly know, that as a rule mad people are most decidedly not examples of "genius out of hand," but, on the contrary, people who have got into a monotonous rut that they cannot lift themselves out of; they are far more dull and stagnant than the respectable people, and the suggested mixture is scarcely hopeful. Again, Mr. Wells argues that, before we can make progress with this question of breeding desirable qualities, we require to be able to weed out those human qualities which are "preeminently undesirable," and then he proceeds to cast contempt on the study of criminology. But criminals represent exactly those stocks in the community which possess most of the pre-eminently undesirable qualities, and if we wish to weed such qualities out we cannot study criminology too carefully. It is certainly true that many foolish things have been said in the name of criminal anthropology, but so sagacious a thinker as Mr. Wells can have no difficulty in realising that it is unnecessary to pour away the baby with the bath. Another more fundamental criticism occurs as we read Mr. Wells's pages, and one that more closely touches his prophetic mission. He appears before us as the apostle of Evolution; he states briefly, as a self-evident proposition, that "man will rise to be overman;" the New Republican is always to bear that in mind. But while such a belief is certainly an aid to an inspiring gospel of life, it can by no means be admitted that it is self-evident. On the contrary, from an evolutionary point of view, there is not the slightest reason to suppose that man will ever rise to be overman. Evolution never proceeds far in a straight line, and while it is undoubtedly true that intelligence is a factor in evolution, it is by no means true that a very high degree of intelligence is specially likely to lead to the evolution of its possessor, it may even hinder it. Many species of ants are highly intelligent and "civilised"—in some respects more so than various human peoples—yet we do not hear of the "super-ant," nor is it likely that we shall. As regards man it might be plausibly maintained that the typical Man reached his fullest and finest all-round development, as the highest zoological species, in the Stone Age some ten thousand years ago, that the Superman really began to arise with the discovery of writing, the growth of tradition and the multiplication of inventions some six or eight thousand years ago, and that we have now reached, not the beginning of the Superman but the beginning of the end of him. All we know of the "evolution" of man in historical times is that each nation in turn has had its rise and its fall, breaking like a wave on the sands of time, but no man can say that the tide itself is clearly rising; as likely as not it is at the turn, for there are not many new nations left. We only know that there is movement, a little constant oscillation, that for all we know may be backwards and forwards in equal measure. No man can definitely say that France has produced finer persons than Greece, or England than Rome. We have all had a good conceit of ourselves; each of us in turn has believed that "we are the people." It is a belief that has helped us to make the best of ourselves.

And here we are led to the only remaining criticism of the New Republic that I have to offer. One feels throughout Mr. Wells's prophesyings a certain note of what I may perhaps venture to call without offence, parochialism. The evolution of man, if it means anything, must affect the whole species, and not a single section. Mr. Wells confines himself exclusively to the English-speaking lands, and through a great part of his book he is very much occupied with tinkering at some of our cherished English institutions. The preacher who set out by proclaiming salvation for mankind invites us to contribute to the fund for the new organ. Not only is Mr. Wells's "mankind" thus narrowly limited, he even objects to the study of other nations. Ancient languages he taboos altogether; a knowledge of modern languages he regards as "a rather irksome necessity, of little or no educational value." He rightly insists that the pressing business of education is "to widen the range of intercourse," yet he fails to see that the possession of a key to the unfamiliar thoughts and feelings of an unknown people is the one effectual method by which such an end can be attained. It is vain to say that of most good books there are more or less good translations. The educational value of a language lies less in the statements contained in its literature than in its own untranslatable atmosphere, which brings us into a new sphere of influences and places us at a fresh point of view. The contradiction in Mr. Wells's attitude is still further emphasised by the fact that he very rightly insists on the importance of a thorough knowledge of the English language and literature. Yet it may safely be said that, putting aside a very few exceptional men of genius, there have been no great masters of English who were without insight and knowledge as regards at least one or two foreign languages, while the people whose ill-treatment of English arouses Mr. Wells's indignation will rarely indeed be found to know any language but their own. It could scarcely be otherwise, for the man who can never look at his own language from the outside and estimate by comparison its exact structure and force is unlikely ever to become a master of it. Mr. Wells carries his insularity so far that he will not even admit any decency or virtue to the lower human races; the savage, he says, is simply a creature who smells and rots and starves. Mr. Wells is scornful of his "untravelled" fellow-prophets in the eighteenth century, who held up the savage for imitation. But our travelled modern prophet has been a little unfortunate in his experiences, nor was the eighteenth century by any means untravelled. It was, indeed, the opening up of the Pacific at that time and the quaint accurate narratives of Cook, Bougainville and the other great navigators that enabled Rousseau and Diderot to use the Polynesian for the purposes of edification as effectively as Tacitus used the German.

If, however, Mr. Wells is sometimes led into unwarrantable extremes of statement, it is generally easy to see that he is so led by his moralising purpose, and that he is legitimately exercising the prophetic function. How admirable a moralist he is may be clearly seen in the chapter entitled "The Cultivation of the Imagination." Here he deals with the question of the methods by which the boy or girl should be initiated into the knowledge of all that makes manhood and womanhood. It is a delicate question, but it could not well be discussed in a more sane, wholesame, frank, and yet reticent manner. In such a discussion Mr. Wells is at his best; he enables us to realise that we are perhaps advancing beyond "that age of nasty sentiment, sham delicacy, and giggles," as he calls the Victorian era; it is here that he shows how significant a prophet he is of the twentieth century.


This paper on problems of food and drink was written at the request of the editor of THE DAILY GRAPHIC, and published on October 2nd, 1905.

THE question of diet is one of those questions which are so fundamental that we seldom realise their importance or devote much time to their serious discussion. The instinct of nutrition thus resembles the only other great instinct whose roots are equally deep within us, the instinct of reproduction. We need not, however, fall back on the familiar German witticism that what a man eats a man is ("Man ist was er ist") in order to realise the pervading influence of diet on our activities or on our happiness.

Yet there is a certain rightness in the general indifference to doctrinal statements in the matter of diet. There are no general rules that will hold good for all men. One man's meat, according to the ancient saying, is another man's poison. Indeed, the people who preach the rightness of special methods of diet usually do so on altogether non-dietary grounds. Such and such a diet, they tell us, is good, not because it suits us, but because it conforms to that of man's ape-like ancestors, or because it is what we may conceive to have been the food of Paradise, or because it is what we may, for humanitarian or other reasons, guess that the coming and perfected man of the future will eat. No doubt, within certain limits, it will happen that what we persuade ourselves is good will actually tend to suit us; but all these are considerations which, from the strict point of view of diet, we ought to waive aside.

It must, indeed, always be remembered that there are certain facts of our nature with which all our theories and habits must be made to fit. It is the proud pre-eminence of man to be more nearly omnivorous than any other animal. No other animal is prepared to eat such a variety of things in such a variety of shapes, and to benefit so greatly by the variety. But all these things must be digested in ways that are not easily modifiable. Each special constituent of our diet—albuminous, starchy, or fatty—has its own special processes to go through with special glandular organs that are adapted to it, so that there is a large field of physiological chemistry now devoted to the study of digestion, the results so far attained in this field being well and fully set forth by the late Dr. Lockhart Gillespie in his Natural History of Digestion.

In this way it comes about that, for everybody, it is not advisable to take much liquid with solid food, since thus the digestive fluids are unduly diluted (for this reason much thin soup is objectionable), that bread must be masticated with much greater care than meat, since it requires saliva for its digestive transformations (it is interesting to observe how the dog, realising this in practice, will painfully chew bread, though he calmly swallows large lumps of meat or bone), that a certain amount of rest, both for muscle and brain, is always desirable immediately after a meal, or otherwise the blood stream is diverted from the main task before it at the stomach.

When, however, these and other general verities are accepted, as they must be, it remains true that diet is very largely a matter for individual experience and judgment. The digestive system is complex and extensive, it exhibits all sorts of individual variations, it is subject to the influence of habit, and anyone who carefully observes himself will find that at some point or other his experience differs from what he has always been taught to expect. In matters of detail, therefore, it is impossible to lay down rules of diet for the world at large. Whatever may be said in favour of a universal fashion in clothing—and probably it is not much—there is nothing to be said in favour of a universal fashion in diet.

One of the main points on which marked differences of opinion have been expressed is concerning the rival merits of what may be called the old English and the Continental order of meals. The first, the diminuendo system, involves a very hearty breakfast, a substantial dinner soon after midday, a tea meal, and a light supper. The Continental, the crescendo system, begins with coffee and roll, followed by a moderately substantial meal at or before midday, and ends with a more or less elaborate dinner. It is argued in favour of the English system that the heartiest meal should be eaten in the morning, when the energies are most fresh and vigorous, and if we wish to devote ourselves entirely to eating that argument is doubtless sound. But it is precisely because the energies are freshest in the morning that it may be thought well to reserve them as much as possible for work, leaving the chief meal to the time of day when our nervous energies are no longer distracted by mental work, and many of us find that this is the order of meals which best suits us, though it is not always practicable to follow it in England. The English method of eating needs very robust digestive powers, and many of us, especially if we work with our heads and cannot always live much in the open air, greatly prefer the Continental method. I should myself be inclined to say that the best meals are to be found in Paris (I do not say all France), in some parts of Italy, and in Spain (where the cookery must not be judged by hotels which cater for the foreigner). English meals are too often dull, heavy, monotonous, unattractive, and, with all their seeming simplicity, very expensive. I write these lines during a ramble in Suffolk, and my fare has usually been eggs and bacon for breakfast, bread and cheese and ale for lunch, cold meat for dinner, and, under the influence of the outdoor life, the bright air, the charm of ancient inns, such fare becomes delicious. But I am well aware that in many European countries I can live, not only far more luxuriously, but far more wholesomely, for half the sum I pay here. It is a mistake to suppose that simplicity is of necessity either cheap or easy. Our old English living is the ideal for ploughboys, but in proportion as our work and our method of life strain our nerves rather than our muscles, we may wisely attempt to fashion our modes of diet somewhat more after the best Continental models, though by no means blindly or indiscriminately. Good cooking must always need a little money, a considerable amount of skill, and a very large amount of intelligence. It is not a matter of which anyone need disdain to have some knowledge.

A word as to the question of drinks. Nowadays alcohol and tea are alike fiercely assailed. But in this matter we must exercise discrimination and steer clear of the faddist. In a hot country there is no more delicious drink than water; but in a land where earth and air are too often soaked with water, of a very inferior quality, it seems less delightful. A little light French or Rhine wine, taken only with meals, is one of the best of drinks. It is important to remember that alcohol is not, as was formerly supposed, strictly a stimulant. Even if it were, stimulants of all kinds are a mistake, and, as Fere has recently shown in his fascinating work, Travail et Plaisir, stimulation of every kind, whatever sense it is applied to, produces a sudden rise in capacity for work which is always more than compensated by a rapid fall. Alcohol, however, is really a sedative and a narcotic, and its value is that it agreeably lulls an over-worked or excited brain, and thus indirectly, and to some extent even directly, aids digestion. Good light wines are not, however, always easy to obtain in England at a reasonable price, and probably the best substitute, especially in summer, is lager beer. This, as made in Germany, is not only very slightly alcoholic, but has been found to contain a valuable digestive ferment, so that it may be drunk with advantage by many who find English bottled beers almost a poison. Spirits are better avoided, except with some special object (when other drugs would act as well), and the recent craze for whisky—of which, as now manufactured, we know little or nothing—is somewhat foolish. Coffee, in England, is usually taken after dinner but not after lunch. It would be better to reverse that custom, if black coffee is only to be taken once a day, for we need our mental activity in the afternoon more than at night. Tea is undoubtedly greatly abused among us in England, and there is little to be said in favour of a tea meal, for three good meals a day are amply adequate. There is, however, much to be said for the habit of taking tea alone in the course of the afternoon, but it should be pure China tea, made very weak (as so little is required it is not really more expensive than Indian tea), and drunk with a slice of lemon in the Russian fashion. There is no more refreshing beverage, and it is perfectly harmless in any amount. Moreover, if little is to be drunk at meals, an opportunity is thus afforded for absorbing the fluid which is needed to purify the body, and which always has an exhilarating influence on the nervous activities. Sir Lauder Brunton has truly pointed out that in England women especially—unlike their French sisters, who better understand the art of living—usually drink far too little.

It will be seen that the general drift of these remarks is in favour of some approximation to the best Continental methods of eating and drinking—not, indeed, from the ploughboy's point of view, but certainly for people who exercise their nervous systems and are too often conscious of the process of digestion. But in the end it must again be emphasised that in this matter variety is excellent. We must be shy of the faddists—though, like the new sect of the chewers, their practices often embody a counsel of perfection which we may do well to bear in mind—and even if we hold to a very strict and narrow regime, an occasional orgy is desirable, if only on moral grounds. Our diet ought to be the outcome of our own individual experience and observation and skill and taste. Our final ideal may well be simplicity, but in the art of eating, as in other arts, there is nothing in the world so hard to attain as simplicity.


This review of Forel's comprehensive work, DIE SEXUELLE FRAGE, afterwards translated into English, appeared in the JOURNAL OF MENTAL SCIENCE in 1906.

PROFESSOR FOREL has always taken a catholic view of the alienist's functions. Throughout his career he has occupied himself with the most various psychic phenomena, from the aptitudes of ants to the mysterious workings of the subliminal consciousness. Nor has he at any time shirked the responsibility of the physician to declare fearlessly the claim of medicine to be heard in the reasonable ordering of social institutions. Now, in old age, having come to the conclusion that every man ought to set forth his beliefs in regard to so vitally important a problem as that of sex, he has written this book, which he describes on the title-page as "a biological, psychological, hygienic, and sociological study for cultured people," and dedicated it to his wife. It is without doubt the most comprehensive, and, taking into account its many-sidedness, perhaps the ablest work which has yet appeared on the sex question. This seems to have been understood in Germany, for, although the book can scarcely appeal to any but very serious readers, 25,000 copies have already been sold, and this fifth edition appears within a few months of the original issue.

The author is undoubtedly well equipped for the gigantic task which he has set himself. A doctor of philosophy and of law, as well as of medicine, he is able to take a very wide view of the problem he approaches, while even on the medical side his interest in human life generally saves him from approaching questions of sex too exclusively from the basis of his asylum experience; and his sound and able discussion of pathological sexuality occupies a duly subordinated place. There are certainly serious disadvantages in Professor Forel's ambitious scheme, and it cannot be said that he has escaped the defects of his methods. The various aspects of the sex problem are now highly specialized, and it is impossible even for the most versatile person to be at home in all these specialities. Thus the author disclaims all competence in the field of ethnology, and in the chapter devoted to the evolution of the forms of marriage he avowedly follows Westermarck. He could not choose a better guide; but, as Dr. Westermarck would be the first to admit, the History of Marriage was written some years ago, and needs to be considerably re-written in the light of many important contributions to knowledge which have appeared since. In any case, a mere summary of another man's work is somewhat out of place in a book like Die Sexuelle Frage, which relies so much on its author's vigorous intellectual independence. Dr. Forel shows his independence in his attitude towards other writers on the same subject. He explains at the outset that he makes no reference to the work of others in this field, but is only concerned to set forth his own results. This attitude, however, he is unable to maintain, and it thus happens that while some authors receive an exaggerated amount of attention in his pages, others of at least equal importance are not so much as mentioned.

It is certainly in the independent personality of the author, and in his wide and mature outlook on life, that the value and interest of the book mainly lie. While it is scientific intone and temper, it can scarcely be said to bring forward any really novel contribution to scientific knowledge. The sociological section seems the most fundamental part of the book, and the author puts forward many striking and courageous suggestions in matters of social reform, more especially with reference to the influence which the growing sense of the importance of heredity and of the future of the race should exert on actual practice. Thus he does not hesitate to suggest that when a wife is sterile it should be possible for the husband, without the dissolution of the marriage, to form another recognized relationship; and he likewise argues that a healthy woman should be free to become a mother, even outside marriage, should she so desire. He wishes to confer on women many rights and privileges which they do not now possess; the wife should be recognized as supreme as the man, her right to the children should always be regarded as stronger than the father's, and the children should take the mother's name. The author is an uncompromising champion of neo-Malthusian methods, though by no means opposed to large families where the parents are able to breed and bring up healthy children. He is a fierce antagonist of alcohol, from its influence on heredity, and he denounces the money basis of sexual relationships, not only in prostitution but in marriage, as a potent cause of the deterioration of the race. Many of his proposals, it will be seen, are likely to arouse not merely doubt, but very decided dissent. It is, however, impossible not to recognize that the book is the work of a vigorously intellectual, courageous, and practical physician who desires reforms which are by no means always so rash and hasty as a bald statement of them may suggest. He looks forward to no Utopia, and expects that in the future, as in the present, human passion and human meanness will still continue to be manifested. He believes, nevertheless, that a day will come when much that now flourishes almost unquestioned will be looked back upon in the same spirit as we look back on the burning of witches, the doings of the Inquisition, and the instruments of torture preserved in our museums. In so far as we have aided to bring about that time our children's children will weave a wreath in our honour, "though they will wonder how it is they sprang from such a barbarous stock, and have to count so many drunkards, criminals, and blockheads among their ancestors."


This article, suggested by the trial of Harry Thaw for murder, a famous case of that day, appeared in the DAILY DISPATCH for February 20th, 1907.

IT is seldom that we see the defects of our judicial methods so vividly illustrated as by the trial of Harry Thaw for the murder of Stanford White, now proceeding in New York. The illustration is all the more effective because of the extraordinary contrast between the conspicuous position which this forensic drama occupies in the eyes of the whole English-speaking world, and the unimportant bearing of the issue on the interests of that world.

Even as a drama it lacks interest; there are no leading facts in dispute, no fascinating mystery to be probed, no spotless victim whose wrongs can be redressed. The simple question merely is whether a highly excitable and neurotic man, who has adopted an anti-social method of avenging a private grievance, should, on the one hand, be executed or, at least, imprisoned; or, on the other, be placed in a lunatic asylum, or, at least, a sanatorium. It makes very little difference to New York or the world which alternative is adopted, But observe how this simple problem is met. In the first place, the murderer himself, his friends, his legal advisers, and the uninvited public generally are allowed to discuss and decide—quite independently of the prisoner's real mental condition—which of these alternatives they desire to accept. The facts being indisputable, they naturally choose the plea of insanity; if they had not done so we should have heard nothing of any insanity, however real its existence.

Then a jury must be brought together, and this, even in one of the largest cities in the world, is a long and difficult matter, for both sides have to be pleased, and to have read about the case, or casually expressed an opinion on it, is a disqualification for the jury box. A whole day is needed to select two jurors, who may perhaps, be dismissed the day after as ineligible. A due amount of public time and money having thus been expended, the expert witnesses must be brought forward to prove the insanity.

In the legal sense "insanity," being based on the science of a century ago, involves a very complete degree of mental disintegration, and expert witnesses for the defence in cases of this kind are usually expected to assert, and are sometimes badgered into asserting, that the prisoner at the time of the offence was unable to know the nature and quality of his deed.

One, at least, of these ex-parte experts in the present case seems to have illustrated in a lamentably clear manner the weakness such evidence may reveal when a medical witness who, if left to himself, might probably have formed a sensible opinion, is forced, in the hands of a clever counsel well primed with methods of medical diagnosis, to confess ignorance of the technical details of his own profession, and to contradict his own chief statements.

The evidence in the case has, however, to be pushed beyond this more or less scientific aspect, and the past history of the parties concerned is diligently raked up and brought, clearly or dimly, into the glare of day, while the young girl who was the motive of the deed is forced to confess, into the ears of the whole world, the vulgar details of her own seduction.

At this point the judge intervenes to introduce a new aspect into the case, and excludes ladies from the court, much to their indignation, for as the whole case revolves round a woman they imagined—and not unreasonably—that it concerned women at least as much as men. But two hundred reporters (including lady reporters) are still left in court, and these amply vindicate the rights of the excluded public. The newspapers of America are filled with details of a nature, we are told, unprecedented even in American journalism.

Having secured the details they craved, the public thereupon proceeds to trample on those who have ministered to its needs. The Postmaster-General who, in the United States, is the supreme censor of all literature, against whom there is no appeal, is set in motion; mass meetings are called even in remote parts of the country; the clergy in the pulpits are requisitioned, not to warn their flocks of the dangers of entering the paths of sin, but to denounce the awful iniquity of too explicitly referring to those paths in print. And so it is, that by the co-operation of all persons and parties concerned or unconcerned in the question, a colossal, many-headed, and world-wide scandal is manufactured out of the simple and unimportant problem: Shall Harry Thaw be placed in a prison or a sanatorium?

If the Thaw trial had been invented by a clever advocate for the reform of judicial procedure it could scarcely have brought together in a more felicitous manner the glaring incongruities of our judicial system from a modern standpoint. The reductio ad absurdum is all the more convincing because it is quite free from the element of "miscarriage of justice" which always appeals so powerfully to popular sympathy; the question of procedure is supreme.

It must be borne in mind that, however American the details of the case may be, the American system of administering justice is substantially the English system, magnified in its various proportions by an enterprising, progressive, and emotional people. It is this magnification which makes the trial so instructive to us in England. The old English communities who devised our system found it adequate to their simple needs; they were not worried by technical and psychological problems, nor battered by waves of emotion proceeding from millions of their fellow-creatures. But the system that answered their needs is scarcely adequate to the conditions of a more complex civilisation, and the old machine creaks ominously when subjected to strains it was never meant to bear.

When a man chooses to avenge his real or fancied grievances by shooting his enemy at sight he is clearly acting in a lawless and anti-social manner. Whether we decide that he is sane or insane—and the dividing line is often difficult to draw—he is not fit to be at large. In such a case, under modern conditions, the ancient dilemma, "Guilty, or Not Guilty?" has no such thrilling and tragic import as it once possessed.

We are slowly reaching the conclusion that fundamentally there is but a slight difference between criminals and the insane; that our prisons and our asylums must alike become places in which certain abnormal people are confined in their own interests and those of society; not for punishment, but for treatment. Thus from the modern standpoint the alternative of prison or asylum, of "Guilty" or "Not Guilty," is becoming if not exactly an alternative of tweedledum and tweedledee, at all events, a matter which need not arouse the passionate interest of the multitude.

It by no means follows that the expert will have to be abolished. On the contrary, the very fact that the barriers between the great classes of "criminals" and "lunatics" are falling away makes it all the more essential to determine the precise psychological characteristics of each individual, and the treatment to which he should be subjected. This cannot be done by allowing experts to become the tools of contending parties. The function of the expert must be made subordinate to the judicial function. Doctors proverbially differ, but if we had a body of approved experts (at present anyone may pose as an expert) reporting directly to the judge or judges (for there should be more than one judge in serious criminal cases), or acting as assessors under their direction, we should have a solid, accurate, and powerful instrument on the side of justice and humanity, and the dignity and credit of our law courts would be placed on a higher level.

The practical realisation of modern conditions in these matters will have an indirect bearing on that question of publicity which has aroused so much feeling in regard to the Thaw trial. The freedom of the Press is a precious possession, and any attack on that freedom is jealously and rightly resented. But there is ceasing to be any good reason why the problem whether a high strung and morbid man is to be placed in a prison or an asylum need arouse the curiosity of millions as to every detail of his life. Such unwholesome and unreasonable curiosity is merely the outcome of our theatrical and antiquated forensic methods, and will die out as they are reformed.

To sum up: If our judicial methods are to be brought into line with modern knowledge and modern social standards, we need to strengthen the judicial, and reduce the forensic element in our courts. Counsel will probably tend to be diminished in number, and judges to be increased. The jury, in cases where something more than common sense and common knowledge of the world are demanded, will tend to play a more subordinate part, and experts, carefully chosen and removed from the position of partisans, will play a larger part. There is no reason why our law courts should be made cheap substitutes for the theatre and the circus, or even the prize ring.

The entertainment they may thus supply is unsatisfactory at best, and a little too dearly bought. The public energy and public emotion here expended will be free to be transferred to other problems now beginning to shape themselves to the twentieth century, problems of infinitely greater concern to the present and coming generations, and quite as fascinating as those presented in the law courts.

Whatever scandal it may have caused, the Thaw trial will not be without its uses if it helps us further along the road of judicial reform.


This letter was addressed to Miss Mary Gawthorpe on September 18th, 1912, but I doubt if it has been printed.

DEAR MADAM, I AM in receipt of your letter appealing for sympathy on behalf of Mrs. —— and Miss ——. As one who has for over twenty-five years been an avowed advocate not only of woman's suffrage but of the complete social equality of men and women, I hold strong views regarding the attempt to arouse public sympathy on behalf of Mrs. —— and Miss —— and thus to identify what I regard as a noble cause with vulgar criminality. It may well be that these ladies are persons of more than average high personal character. But the general public is not concerned with their private character but with their public actions. Law makes some rough attempt to distinguish the responsible offender from the irresponsible offender. But it is far too crude an instrument to distinguish motives. Why should it? An act does not become less criminal, less anti-social, less dangerous because the motives behind it happened to be good. Apart from such general considerations, there are more specific reasons why any clear-headed person—whether or not resenting the attempt of Mrs. —— and Miss —— to drag a good cause into the mud—should refuse to sign the proposed petition.

In the first place, random incendiarism is not a political crime, and has never been so regarded, any more than burglary, even when the burglar claims to be politically an anarchist. To rank such crimes among political offences would be disastrous, for there would no longer be any general sympathy with political offenders and it would soon become impossible to claim any special privilege even for legitimate political offenders.

In the second place, it is difficult to see how any objection can be raised to the severity of the sentence. If the prisoners were so densely ignorant, so feeble-minded, that their sanity were questionable there would be good ground for a revision of the sentence. But to claim that the prisoners are educated, sane, intelligent, and responsible, is surely to assert by implication that they are fit subjects for the heaviest sentence that may lawfully be imposed.

There remains the question of forcible feeding. Here you have a very strong point. Forcible feeding, there can be no doubt, is thoroughly objectionable and attended by serious risks. But to whom ought the petition against forcible feeding be addressed? Certainly not to the officials, for they are already as much opposed to forcible feeding as you or I, but to Mrs. —— and Miss ——.

Yours faithfully,



This protest against the view that the reasonable care of the future child merely belongs to the sphere of Utopian "ideas" was published in THE NEW AGE for April 11th, 1908. The movement I championed is now, a quarter of a century later, justified by the fact that the importance of such problems has become generally recognised, and even to a considerable extent embodied in practice. In Soviet Russia, and now in Spain, the "illegitimate" child has been abolished, institutions, often more or less under state or municipal control, are set up in various countries of the New World and the Old to aid the prospective as well as the actual mother! while the increasing recognition of contraception and sterilisation places in the hands of the intelligent population a practical instrument of selective breeding. I would like now to add that my paper on "Eugenics and St. Valentine," here mentioned and later included in THE TASK OF SOCIAL HYGIENE, encouraged Sir Francis Gallon, as he told me, to push on his eugenic proposals, and that it was at my suggestion that he agreed to the popular edition of his INQUIRIES in Everyman's Library.

IN his "Open Letter" (New Age, March 7th) Mr. Eden Phillpotts asks why we should not have a state Department for the Unborn. The Department, he suggests, would be entirely devoted to the interests of the next generation; it would have nothing to say concerning marriage, but as soon as men and women set about becoming mothers and fathers they would have to reckon with this Department. They would repair here as they repair to a life insurance office; they would find the best scientific and sociological knowledge of the time; their personal and hereditary qualities would be investigated, and they would be informed whether the child of their union would be likely to raise the level of Man—if not help on the Superman—or whether in deliberately bringing a child into the world they might not be committing as grave a crime as if they had deliberately put a child out of the world.

Mr. Phillpotts brings forward this scheme merely as an "idea," the irresponsible suggestion of an artist in fiction, at the best as a new plank for a Utopian platform resting on the air. I hoped that someone would come forward to protest. As no better qualified person has done so, I trust I may be allowed to point out that selective control in the breeding of the future generaton is a proposal which, far from resting on the air, definitely lies on our horizon. It slowly began to take shape throughout the nineteenth century, and during the few years of the present century the pace of our progress towards it has been considerably accelerated.

In modern times—for it is needless to go back to the imaginary Republic of Plato or the real Republic of Sparta—the question of controlling the future generation, or even of socially safeguarding the young of the present generation, never presents itself until industrial conditions of life predominate over agricultural conditions. In States that are fundamentally agricultural the production of children occurs automatically, almost involuntarily, without question or anxious comment. There is always food for another mouth, and another "hand" is always welcome; children are "sent by God." It is true that often, as in Russia and Austria-Hungary to-day, they die off with almost the same facility as they are born; but since the conditions that kill them are to superficial observation natural conditions, there is no obvious call for active interference.

All this is altered when agricultural life gives place to industrial life, and a factory system takes away men and women alike into its service, but ignores entirely the question of the production of new men and women. Home life is then reduced to its barest and sordidest minimum; reproduction, still left to chance, is now carried out under actively unfavourable influences; and children, abandoned at birth to the bottle administered by the hand of strangers, either die with greater rapidity even than in less prosperous agricultural communities (compare the high infantile mortality of England with the low infantile mortality of Ireland), or else grow up stunted, defective, nervously unstable.

That is a state of things which soon begins to attract attention, because, unlike earlier conditions, it is quite obviously unnatural. It was the origin of a series of more or less inadequate measures, beginning during the Victorian period, and still continuing, which were once described as "humanitarian," because they were looked upon as a sort of charity to outcasts, and not as necessary measures of social hygiene carried out by a community in its own interests. Thus, it is that we acquired our farcical factory legislation, which, in order to salve wounded humanitarian feelings, ordained, for instance, that women shall rest for four weeks after confinement and yet provided not a penny for their support during that period of enforced rest, the result being that employer and employee every day tacitly conspire to break the law and deteriorate the new generation, while the State sanctimoniously winks. In Germany this matter of rest after confinement is covered by the general compulsory insurance scheme. In France a private company has even set a superb example to the State; and at the famous Creuzot works the expectant mother not only rests during the latter half of pregnancy, but has her salary raised; she suckles her infant, and must produce a medical certificate of fitness before returning to work. The results are said to be admirable as regards both mother and infant.

The question of suckling is of primary importance from several points of view, not least because the mortality of bottle-fed infants is usually double that of breast-fed infants, which is why the enterprising town of Leipzig has lately resolved to subsidize those of its mothers who suckle their babies. In England an evil state of things has sometimes been favoured by the well-meant efforts of local authorities to facilitate the supply of cow's milk. The young English working man, it has been said, nowadays often only marries a part of a woman, the other part being in a chemist's shop window in the shape of a glass feeding-bottle; she not only fails to suckle her child, but she is becoming unable to do so. Thus it is that we have to-day in England an immense infantile mortality, which shows no real tendency to decrease although our general mortality is decreasing, and although half of it is admitted by the best authorities to be easily preventible. It is a problem we are beginning to grow alive to, as is shown by the recent National Conference on Infant Mortality, as well as by the excellent Schools for Mothers now springing up among us, mainly suggested by the "Consultations de Nourissons" founded by Budin in Paris in 1892.

It is not enough, however, to realize the risks of the child after birth; the problem is soon pushed farther back, and we understand that it is just as necessary to watch over the child before birth, for while it is still in its mother's womb its fate may be determined. Here we in England have as yet done nothing. We may say in the words of Bouchacourt that among us "the dregs of the human species—the blind, the deaf-mute, the degenerate, the imbecile, the epileptic—are better protected than pregnant women." It is from France that the finest inspirations and initiations come. To Budin, who lately died, and Pinard who are among the chief pioneers of human progress in our time, we owe not only a more systematic care for the infant, but the inception of the new movement for the care of the unborn child and a precise knowledge of the reasons which make that necessary. Masses of data have now come into existence showing that it is only by resting during the later months of pregnancy that a woman can produce a fully-developed child, and that without such rest confinement tends to occur prematurely, such prematurity being the chief cause of the enormous infantile mortality. In England, it is stated by Ballantyne, the greatest British authority, that 20 to over 40 per cent, of all children born are premature, the estimate varying according to the standard of maturity adopted. In France there is now an active demand for the State recognition of this need of rest during the last three months or, at the very least, four weeks, of pregnancy, and during the past twenty years also a number of excellently managed municipal Asiles have been established in which pregnant women—married and unmarried on a footing of complete equality—may secure this necessary rest, while movements are also on foot to furnish advice to pregnant women at home and to relieve them in their household work. One little spot in France—Villiers-le-Duc—has acquired an almost classic fame. In this village of the Cote d'Or any woman may claim support during pregnancy, as well as the gratuitous services of doctor and midwife, the result being that both infant and maternal mortality have been almost abolished. In England we are too "practical" for so thorough a recognition as this of the fact that prevention is better than cure. Yet Villiers-le-Duc has been a source of inspiration even for England, for here it was that Mr. Broad-bent, the Mayor of Huddersfield, came and resolved to establish what has since become generally known as the Huddersfield system, the basis of the Notification of Births Act which came into force this year. That Act, with all its imperfections and its merely permissive character, is yet I the most important event which has happened in this country for a long time past. It represents the recognition of the fact that the infant, even from the moment of birth, must be the object of the State's care, and that recognition cannot fail to be very fruitful in consequences.

The care for the child, however, the recognition of the infant, the demand of rest for the pregnant and suckling woman—these are steps which, so far from covering all the ground, only seem to lead us slowly but surely back to the yet more fundamental question of conception. A wise care for the welfare of the products of conception leads to care in the causation of conception. That, indeed, is a step that began to be taken a very long time back, and it is idle now for American Presidents or English Bishops to discuss whether it is good or bad. It will be time to discuss the wisdom of increasing our diminished output of babies when we have learnt how to deal with those we have. It is quite certain that the limitation of offspring—voluntary or involuntary—has always been bound up with all human progress; indeed, one may say with all zoological progress. The higher the organism the lower the offspring.

But to be on a sound basis, human or zoological, the progeny diminished in quantity must be increased in quality. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening with our own diminished output of babies. On the contrary, the quality has diminished as much as the quantity. That was inevitable, for the decrease has not been caused by any deliberate selection of the best parents or the best conditions for parenthood, but has rather been effected by the restraint of the better elements in the community.

It has thus happened that along a number of lines—in England, in France, in Germany—attention is being more and more directed to that great central problem of human race-building: How can we compensate the inevitably diminished quantity of babies by raising their quality? Mr. Philipotts is by no means alone in asking why it is that, though even savages carefully weed their gardens, we not only tolerate our weeds, but even put them under glass.

In 1883 Francis Galton—who, as befits one who devoted himself to the interests of future generations, is still alive and active among us, the sole survivor of the intellectual giants of his time—put forward a book entitled Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development, in which, summarising his own earlier investigations, he dealt with "various topics more or less connected with that of the cultivation of the race, or, as we might call it, with 'eugenic' questions—that is, with questions bearing on what is termed in Greek, eugenes, good in stock, hereditarily endowed with noble qualities."*

[* This book has lately been reprinted in the invaluable "Everyman's Library."]

For some years eugenics was generally regarded less as a subject of supreme social importance than as a butt for witticism; at the best it seemed an amiable scientific fad. That is no longer the case. To-day Galton's work is the recognised starting-point of a new movement in favour of Nalional Eugenics; elaborale scienlific invesligations are being carried on in order to enlarge our defective knowledge of the laws of heredity; ihe University of London officially recognises ihe subject of eugenics, and ihe versalile Professor Karl Pearson is at the head of a laboratory for exploring that great field of Biometrics which is definitely based on ihe life-work of Galton. During ihe past few weeks, also, the Eugenics Education Sociely has been established wilh ihe double object of increasing popular knowledge and interest in this field and of promoting the ends which make for the better breeding of the race.

At the same time there has been of recent years a real change of attitude towards this question on the part of the general public. As Dr. Clouston, the distinguished Edinburgh alienist, lately remarked, nowadays people not only ask medical advice about marriage and procreation, but they even follow it, and many physicians can bear similar testimony. When any reasonable exposition of eugenic principles is now put forward it is received not with amusement, but with serious and sympathetic attention.* We are all agreed now that it is necessary, as Mr. Phillpotts puts it, to "turn off the bad blood at the meter," and the only question is as to how that may best be effected. Greater technical knowledge is, for one thing, needed, but also a higher general standard of individual responsibility, for it is idle yet, and altogether premature, to clamour for compulsion. In educating the community, as by helping on the existing movements for the realisation of eugenic ideals, all may assist to bring us nearer to that conscious care for the race which Mr. Gallon believes will be the religion of the future.

[* I recall, for instance, the comments aroused in the Press by an article of my own on "Eugenics and St. Valentine," published in the Nineteenth Century two years ago.]

What I have here sought to show is that Mr. Phillpotts' scheme is not an idea in the air which may be discussed in a merely academical fashion. It is the inevitable outcome of a movement which, on the social as well as on the scientific side, has been slowly prepared during a hundred years. It is not indeed the immediately next step. We have first to grapple more closely with the problem of the neglected infant and the ignorant and overworked pregnant and suckling woman, for it is idle to spend care on good breeding if the results of our care are to be flung to destruction at or before birth. But when that problem is solved, the eugenical problem is immediately upon us. We may help its progress; we cannot stop it, though we may hinder it. We hinder it when we fritter away so much time and energy in chattering about the education of children and about what religion they shall be taught. Let them be taught the religion of the Bantu or the Eskimo, of New Guinea or of Central Brazil, whatever it is we may be reasonably sure they will be usually sickened of it for life. Education has been put at the beginning, when it ought to liave been put at the end. It matters comparatively little what sort of education we give children; the primary matter is what sort of children we have got to educate. That is the most fundamental of questions. It lies deeper even than the great question of Socialism versus Individualism, and indeed touches a foundation that is common to both. The best organised social system is only a house of cards if it cannot be constructed with sound individuals, and no individualism worth the name is possible unless a sound social organisation permits the breeding of individuals who count. On this plane Socialism and Individualism move in the same circle.


This essay appeared in the NEW STATESMAN for May 30th 1914. As will be seen, I felt that the novelist's work was losing its original fine quality; from that date I ceased to take an interest in it, however fit it may have been for the international popular audience it was gaining. The literary disparagement of Blasco Ibanez has indeed been widespread and carried much too far, since it has led to a neglect of his early work. Moreover, whatever may be said of him as an artist, he remains a splendid representative of the Spanish spirit, and so fearless a champion of the Revolution he was not destined to see, that he was compelled to spend the last years of his life outside his own country. Now that his ideals have been realised, his memory will doubtless receive, in Spain at all events, the honour due to him.

IT is only recently that the novels, even the name, of Blasco Ibanez became known to English readers. A few years ago the list was long of his translated books in more than half a dozen languages, not one of them in English. Now that The Cathedral, Sonnica, The Blood of the Arena, have been published in England and America, and that other translations are announced, it can no longer be said that the best known and the most typically Spanish novelist of to-day is only unknown to English readers.

Even the reader of these translations, however.—well as they are executed—may easily receive an inadequate idea of the scope and nature of this novelist's work. An author's latest works, usually the first to be translated, are not always the finest examples of his quality. Moreover, every novelist who is marked by vital exuberance must be considered to some extent in the mass before he can be appreciated. Blasco Ibanez has published nearly twenty volumes in twenty years, and it is necessary to take a survey of many of these to gain a fair notion of his quality and position. He began as a regional novelist with stories of the tragic and laborious life of the Valencian peasantry among whom he had lived from childhood. Arroz y Tartana, Entre Naranjos, Canas y Barro, Flor de Maya, La Barraca—none of them published in English—belong to this group. These books are vivid and pungent; they spring naturally out of the writer's experience; they describe persons evidently studied from life and they bring before us in detail a peculiar picture of rural life. They perhaps remain the best books Blasco Ibanez has written. The vision is narrower than in any of his later books, but its depths and the richness of the sympathy behind it gives them universal interest. One may refer, for instance, to La Barraca, published in 1898. This is not only, as it has been called, the finest masterpiece among Spanish regional novels. The struggle of man with the soil, the devotion of the peasant to that soil, the tragic contest between the tenant and the landlord, have never, probably, been so vehemently and poignantly presented in any literature. As a contrast to the monotonous intensity of La Barraca may be placed Canas y Barro, published four years later, a picture of life in the malarious rice-fields of the Valencian Lake Albufera, and of the varied types to be found among the workers in this region.

By 1903 Blasco Ibanez had established his fame as a novelist and at the same time exhausted his personal impressions of Valencia. He now sought to give expression to his spirit of social revolt by studying special aspects of life in Spain generally. We thus have what are termed the "novels of rebellion," including La Catedral, La Bodega and La Horda, all fighting books, manuals of revolutionary propaganda rather than serene works of art.

La Catedral, in which a struggle between the renovating spirit of modern anarchism and the decaying spirit of conservatism is played out in the cloisters of Toledo Cathedral, is the most translated of all the novelist's books and the first to appear in English, but it is perhaps the least satisfactory. That at all events is its author's opinion; it is too heavy, he confided to a friend, and there is too much doctrine. It is difficult to dispute this verdict. La Bodega, a book of similar method, may be regarded as a better example of this group; it presents a vivid picture of the wine industry at Jerez and the invasion into this sphere of the modern labour spirit; the Anarchist Salvoechea is here introduced under a pseudonym as a kind of modern Christ. In El Intruso, which has as its background the iron mines and manu-facturies of Bilbao, another and more modern phase of Spanish religion is brought forward and the power of the Jesuit set forth. Finally, La Horda, the last novel of this group, deals with the parish life of the slums of Madrid.

The later novels of Blasco Ibanez, beginning with La Maja Desnuda in 1906, are freer and more varied in character; they are more deliberately analytical and psychological than the books of the first period, more artistically impartial than those of the second class. The novelist has become more agile and more self-conscious, to some of us, perhaps, less interesting. In most of these books the author chooses a special panorama and a definite theme which he analyses disinterestedly and indeed often admirably. Thus we have Sangre y Arena in which bull-fighting is presented as a problem in the national life of Spain. Again, we have Los Muertos Mandan (shortly to be published as The Tyranny of the Ancestors), in which, on the background of the lovely Balearic Islands, is presented the great question of tradition, the iron rule of the dead over the living. It is doubtless one of the most vivid and masterly of the novelist's works. Recently Blasco Ibanez, a great traveller, has been visiting South America and studying the new aspects of life there presented. They form the subject of his most recent books.


The man behind these books is no ordinary man of letters. He is a personality, and that fact it is which imparts so much more interest to his work than its purely literary qualities—though these are not negligible—would warrant. The abounding vitality and energy of the books is, we feel, a reflection of the aboundingly vital and energetic person behind them.

Vicente Blasco Ibanez was born in Valencia in 1867 of parents who kept a modest provision-shop. More remotely the family sprang from Aragon, and it is certainly the bold, obstinate, firm-fibred Celtiberian stock of that region which we feel predominantly in this man's work. The young Vicente was a turbulent youth, intelligent but rebellious to discipline, and more fond of sport than of books. He began life as a law student and speedily acquired a profound distaste for law and for lawyers, whom he regards as among the chief agents of social evil. At seventeen he finally abandoned the law, and ran away to Madrid, to become a journalist. A year later he wrote a revolutionary sonnet against the Government and for this offence was sent to prison for six months. Such treatment was not calculated to exert a soothing influence on a youth of Vicente's temper. The next years were full of agitation, of republican propaganda, and of conflicts with law and authority. In 1890, having been condemned to prison for speeches and agitation against the Conservative Government of the day, Blasco thought it best to flee to Paris, about which he wrote a book. A few years later he again fled, hurriedly, in a fisherman's boat, to Italy, on account of a collision between the people and the police in the agitation over the Cuban war. On his too reckless return he was seized by the police, handcuffed, and taken to Barcelona, then under martial law, and condemned by the Council of War to a convict prison. The tribunal neglected, however, to deprive him of civil rights, and in a few months—to the astonishment of all Spain—the city of Valencia, which he had done so much to transform into a great revolutionary centre, liberated him from prison by sending him to Parliament as their deputy. As a counterblast to this anti-clerical declaration, the clergy resolved on a demonstration at Valencia by choosing that port for the embarcation of a national pilgrimage to Rome. The pilgrims duly arrived at the quays under the superintendence of ten bishops, but Blasco Ibanez and a few faithful followers were prepared, and to the horror of the faithful he ordered the ten prelates to be flung into the sea, whence they were speedily and safely rescued in small boats which the revolutionary leader (this is a characteristically Spanish trait) had humanely placed in readiness. Such at least is the recorded story.

At this time Blasco Ibanez was approaching the age of thirty and was yet scarcely known as a novelist. As a youth he had indeed published a story of wild adventure, which he afterwards bought up and destroyed. He reached the novel indirectly, through journalism. As a deputy he desired to spread his ideas through Spain, and therefore founded a newspaper, El Pueblo, into which he threw so much energy that it rapidly acquired wide influence. A feuilleton was, however, indispensable, and as there was no capital wherewith to pay a novelist, the editor resolved to write his own feuilleton. It was in this way that all the earlier novels—the group of vivid pictures of Valencian life based on early personal impressions—first appeared, attracting little attention even when published separately until the French discovered and translated La Barraca under the title of Terres Maudites. Soon afterwards Blasco Ibanez had become a famous novelist whose reputation was growing world-wide. He was henceforth content to devote his energies exclusively to the work of novel-writing.

How immense this man's energies are may be sufficiently divined even from this brief sketch of his early life. We may see him characteristically in the full-length portrait (exhibited in London a few years ago) by another famous Valencian, Sorolla, whose work, in a different medium, has so much of the same quality as his friend the novelist's. Here we see Blasco Ibanez in the full vigour of maturity. He stands facing the spectator with a cigarette between his fingers, a grizzled, solid figure with high receding domed forehead, slight beard and moustache, a strong, sagacious man, assured of his power, who is taking your measure, calmly, critically, self-confidently, with a jovial, humorous smile. He is, you perceive, a man planted firmly on the earth, with a close grip of the material things of life, a man of great appetites to match his great energies. We may miss here any delicate sense of the spiritual refinements of life or the subtleties of the soul. But we are unmistakably aware of a man with a very vivid sense of humanity, with a powerful aptitude for human adventure, human passion, human justice, even human idealism. That is Blasco Ibanez.


Blasco Ibanez has sometimes been called the Spanish Zola. It is certain that the French novelist has influenced the later development of the Spanish novelist and that in general methods of approaching their art there are points of resemblance between the two writers. Yet the differences are fundamental. Zola was a man of the study who made novel-writing his life-work from the outset; for every book he patiently accumulated immense masses of notes (in which, as he himself admitted, he sometimes lost himself), and in a business-like and methodical manner he wove those notes into books of uniform and often impressive pattern, which becomes the more impressive because it was inspired by a novel doctrine of scientific realism. Nothing of this in the Spanish writer. However revolutionary his social and political outlook may be, he is not revolutionary in methods of art; he has scarcely even mastered the traditional methods; the habits of journalism have taken strong hold of him and his more severe Spanish critics deplore the frequent looseness and inaccuracy of his style. There are passages of splendid lyrical rhapsody, and there are often the marks of a fine and bold artist in the construction of a story or the presentation of a character, but in the accomplished use of the beautiful Castilian tongue Blasco Ibanez is surpassed by many a young Spanish writer of to-day. Nor has he any of Zola's methodical fervour of laborious documentation. In his early novels he adopted the happy method of drawing on his own vivid early memories of Valencian life and character. More recently his method has been to soak hmiself, swiftly and completely but for the most part very briefly, in the life he proposes to depict. A week may suffice for this, and the novel itself may be written in a couple of months. Thus for writing Sangre y Arena it sufficed him to visit Seville in the company of a famous matador, and the preparation for Los Muertos Mandan was a boating expedition round the Balearic coast, in the course of which he was overtaken by a storm, and forced to shelter on an islet where he remained for fourteen hours without food and soaked to the skin. Nor are the notes for his books written down; he relies exclusively on his prodigious memory and his intense power of visualizing everything that impresses him. His robust and impatient temperament enables him to work at very high pressure, oblivious of every attempt to interrupt him, even for eighteen hours at a stretch, sometimes singing as he writes, for he is a passionate melomaniac whose idols are Beethoven and Wagner. It is clear that a worker with such methods has little need of sleep; he is, however, a great eater, and feels, indeed, Zamacois tells us, a great contempt for people who cannot eat well; but when he is approaching the end of a novel all such physical needs are disregarded; he writes on feverishly, almost in a state of somnambulism, even, if need be, for thirty hours, until the book is completed, when it is perhaps sent to the printers unread, to be corrected in proof.

Such is the figure behind these powerful and impetuous books which have made so much noise in the world. It is the figure of a typical representative of the Spanish spirit, which has sometimes shown itself more refined and distinguished, but is ever of very firm fibre, of well-tempered individuality. And these books are not merely faint reflections of the man who has so carelessly flung them at the world; they are the most interesting documents we can easily find to throw light on the social and industrial questions which are stirring Spain to-day.


The following review of Edward Carpenter's book of this name appeared in the OCCULT REVIEW in 1914.

IN a previous book, The Intermediate Sex, Mr. Edward Carpenter set forth the claim for recognition of persons of homosexual and bisexual constitution, as entitled to a fitting place and sphere of usefulness in the general scheme of society. It cannot be said that such a plea is without justification, for careful investigation in various countries has shown that nearly everywhere homosexual persons constitute over 1 per cent, of the population, and bisexual persons at least 4 per cent.; so that in our own country alone the number of persons of this type probably run into millions. Moreover, they are found in all social and intellectual classes, not only in the lowest, but also in the highest.

In the present volume Mr. Carpenter takes up a special aspect of the same subject, and deals with it in detail, which was not possible in the more comprehensive earlier book. He seeks to investigate the part played in religion and in warfare by the "Intermediate" types of "Primitive" days.

A verbal criticism intrudes itself, indeed, as the author himself admits, at the outset. The vague term "Intermediate," while it may fairly be applied to many sexual inverts, will not satisfactorily cover them all, for not all male inverts approximate to the feminine type, nor all female inverts to the masculine; some even, Carpenter himself remarks, might be termed "super-virile" and "ultra-feminine." The generally accepted term "homosexual," although not altogether unobjectionable, seems more definite, accurate, and comprehensive than "intermediate." In a similar manner it may be said that the term "primitive" cannot be applied to any races'known to history, or even to ethnography, and least of all to the Greeks and Japanese, who are dealt with at length in the present volume.

Such criticism, which is fairly obvious, cannot, however, affect the substance of the book. It falls into two parts: "The Intermediate in the Service of Religion" and "The Intermediate as Warrior." The subject of the second part may be regarded as the more familiar. It is fairly well known that military comradeship on a homosexual basis existed among the Greeks, and was regarded as a stimulus to warlike prowess. That similar attachments existed among the Japanese Samurai warriors is less well known. Both these manifestations of military comradeship are here luminously discussed. An interesting chapter is devoted to Dorian comradeship in relation to the status of women. It has frequently been asserted that Greek paiderastia was connected, whether as cause or effect, with the inferior status of women in Greece. There is no question that during a considerable period the position of women in Greece was by no means high. But Carpenter well shows that there was no parallelism between the high estimation of "manly love" and the low estimation of women. Thus it was in Sparta that paiderastia was most practised and esteemed, and it was in Sparta that women enjoyed most power and freedom, and were least shut apart from the men by custom.

It is in the first part of this book, however—the discussion of homosexuality in the service of religion—that most readers will find novelty. Elie Reclus, indeed, in his sympathetic and penetrating study of savage life, Primitive Folk, had realized this function of abnormal sexuality in early culture, and it has been further developed by later writers (notably Horneffer in his work on priesthood, not referred to in the book before us), but the connection still seems to most people somewhat of a paradox. It is frequently regarded as, at most, a piece of superstition. Edward Carpenter argues, however, that there really is an organic connection between the homosexual temperament and unusual psychic or divinatory powers, and that this connection is exaggerated in popular view by the fact that ideas of sorcery and witchcraft become especially associated with the ceremonials of an old religion which is being superseded by a new religion. There are four ways in which the homosexual man or woman tends to become a force in primitive culture: (1) not being a complete man or a complete woman, the invert is impelled to create a new sphere of activity; (2) being different from others, and sometimes an object of contempt, sometimes of admiration, his mind is turned in on himself, and he is forced to think; (3) frequently combining masculine and feminine qualities, he would sometimes be greatly superior in ability to the rest of the tribe; (4) the blending of the masculine and feminine temperaments would sometimes produce persons whose perceptions were so subtle, complex, and rapid that they would be diviners and prophets in a very real sense, and acquire a strange reputation for sanctity and divinity. These four processes seem to run into each other, but the general outcome is that in primitive culture "variations of sex-temperament from the normal have not been negligible freaks, but have played an important part in the evolution and expansion of human society."

These are some of the topics discussed by the light of the most recent literature in Mr. Edward Carpenter's volume. It is a valuable contribution to the solution of an interesting problem.


This epitome of Freud's important essay "Zur Geschichte der Psychoanalytischen Bewegung," JAHRBUCH DER PSYCHOANALYSE, 1914, appeared in the JOURNAL OF MENTAL SCIENCE for January, 1915. Freud's essay later appeared in the English translation of his COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. I.

IN the psycho-analytic movement history has been made rapidly, and amid the various revolutionary currents it must be difficult even for the prime leader himself to know exactly where the movement stands. In this characteristic and interesting paper he seeks to show where he himself stands. He imparts an autobiographical value to the narrative by carrying it back to the days of his early medical life in Paris. He had become a doctor unwillingly, but was anxious to benefit neurotic patients, and thought that this could be done by the exclusively physical method of electro-therapy. He records how, at one of Charcot's evening receptions, he heard the honoured master narrating to Brouardel the serious sufferings of a young wife with an impotent husband; Brouardel seemed to express doubts as to the causation of the troubles, and Charcot broke in with vivacity: "Mais dans des cas pareils c'est toujours la chose genitale, toujours—toujours—toujours." Freud felt surprised, and at the same wondered that if this was Charcot's opinion he could yet occupy himself exclusively with anatomical considerations. But Freud at the time, he tells us, was, in the aetiology of neurosis, "as innocent and ignorant as any hopeful academic"; and when a little later he began practice in Vienna, and Chrobak, a propos of exactly such a case as Charcot had narrated, told him that, though it could not be given, the best prescription was: "Rx penis normalis dosim repetatur," he was shocked at the Professor's cynicism.

The doctrine of suppression and resistance was one of the first elements of psycho-analysis to become clear to Freud, and he regarded it as an original discovery until he found it set forth by Schopenhauer; "it is the foundation stone on which the edifice of psycho-analysis rests." That theory, he declares, is an attempt to make intelligible two manifestations always found when we seek to trace neurotic symptoms to their source: the fact of transference and that of resistance. "All investigation which recognises these two facts and makes them the point of departure is psychoanalysis, even when it leads to other results than mine." He strongly objects, at the same time, to suppression and resistance being termed "assumptions of psycho-analysis;" they are results.

The doctrine of infantile sexuality was a somewhat later acquisition. It had turned out that the events to which the symptoms of the hysterical were traced back were imaginary scenes in many cases. It soon became clear that these scenes had been imagined in order to conceal the auto-erotic activity of early childhood, and behind these imaginations the sexual life of the child became revealed in all its extent. Herewith inborn constitution came into its rights; predisposition and experience were woven into one inseparable aetiologic unity, each element being ineffective without the other, and the child's sexual constitution provoking events of an equally special kind. Freud can understand that other views of the sexual impulse in relation to childhood may be put forward, like those of the C. G. Jung school, but regards them as capricious, formed with too great a regard for considerations that lie outside the subject, and so remaining inadequate.

Freud states that he found out the symbolism of dreams for himself ("I have always held fast to the custom of studying things before I looked into books"), and only afterwards found out that Schemer had in some degree preceded him, while later he extended his view under the influence of "the at first so estimable, and afterwards wholly abandoned, Stekel." He adds: "The most peculiar and significant fragment of my dream-theory is the reduction of the dream-representation to inner conflict, a kind of intimate insincerity," and this idea he has also found in the writings of J. Popper. As is known, Freud attaches immense importance to his doctrine of dream interpretation, and he remarks that he is accustomed to measure the competence of a psychological investigator by his relation to this problem.

At first Freud failed to realise what the attitude of the world would be towards his doctrines; he thought they were merely contributions to science, like any others. By the atmosphere of cold emptiness speedily raised around him he was soon made to feel that medical communications introducing sexuality as an aetiological factor were not as other medical communications. He found that he had become one of those who, in the poet's words, "disturb the world's sleep."

A considerable part of this lengthy paper is a criticism of Jung and of Adler, too full of matter to be easily condensed. He is not inclined to rate highly Jung's conception of the "complex," as involving no psychological theory in itself nor yet capable of natural insertion into the psychoanalytic theory. Moreover, no word has been so much abused, and it is frequently employed when it would be more correct to use "suppression" or "resistance."

Of Adler, Freud speaks with respect as "a significant investigator, more especially endowed for speculation," whose studies of the psychic bearing of organic defect are valuable, and whom he had placed in a position of high responsibility in the psycho-analytic movement. But that theory was never meant to be "a complete theory of the human psychic life," but only to enlarge or correct what experience had otherwise gained. Adler goes far beyond this and attempts to apply to the whole character and behaviour of mankind the key intended for its neurotic and psychotic perversions. Freud admits that "Adler's efforts for a place in the sun" have had their good results, but his "individual psychology" is now outside and even hostile to psycho-analysis. Freud proceeds to criticise forcibly the extreme emphasis which Adler places on "masculine protest" and on the impulse of aggression. "He leaves no place for love. One may wonder that so sad a view of the world has found any recognition; but we must remember that humanity, oppressed by the yoke of its sexual needs, will accept anything if only it is offered with the bait of a 'conquest over sexuality'." Freud is, however, much more favourable to Adler than to Jung. Adler's doctrine he regards as, indeed, radically false, but he possesses significance and coherence. Jung's modifications of psycho-analysis, on the other hand, are confused and obscure; he has changed the handle of the psycho-analytic instrument and also put in a new blade, so that it is no longer entitled to bear the same mark.

Freud observes of his paper that it will cause glee to many to find the psycho-analysts rending each other. But similar differences and difficulties, he points out, occur in all scientific movement. "Perhaps they are usually more carefully concealed; psycho-analysis, which has destroyed so many conventional ideals, is in this matter also more sincere."


This article appeared in THE NATION, August 5th, 1916.

THE prevailing German political conception of the State as unrestricted Power is well known in England. Now indeed that the writings of Treitschke, the most eloquent and influential exponent of that Prussian ideal, are so extensively translated we have no excuse for not knowing it. But the mingled protests and enthusiasm which we hear of as aroused in Germany by Professor F. W. Forster's article in the Pacifist journal, Die Friedens-Warte, on "Bismarck's Work in the Light of the Criticism of Greater Germany," may usefully remind us that Treitschke's ideal by no means reigns undisputed. In this remarkable article Forster dismisses Treitschke—"the Bard of Prussianism"—with contempt; the "childish Ranke," also, for all his fine feelings, was sunk deep in the worship of Power; the abstract political philosophy of Hegel has no meaning for us to-day; and the empty and rhetorical Addresses of Fichte to the German Nation which young people rave about—for the most part without reading them, he remarks—belong to the most worthless part of Fichte's work. After thus clearing the field, Forster recalls to his countrymen a nobler German than them all, Constantin Frantz.

It is quite likely that the name of Constantin Frantz, who died in 1891, is unfamiliar to the average German of to-day, although it is not many years since Stamm wrote a highly appreciative monograph on his life and works. Half a century ago, however, Frantz stood forth con-spicuously as the opponent of Bismarck's policy and the first champion, in F. List's words, of a German world-policy. Yet he had himself been for many years a Prussian bureaucrat, in the service of the Foreign Ministry, and closely associated with Bismarck until the lines of Bismarckian and Prussian policy became clear, when Frantz resigned his official position with its promise of future promotion and gave himself to literary work and propaganda; the action was characteristic of the devotion to principle and the high-minded conception of duty which his life seems throughout to display. He was born (in 1817) near Halberstadt, the son of a Saxon pastor and a mother who was of noble French Huguenot origin. Frantz himself always remained definitely Christian in his outlook and in early life was affected by the mystico-philosophic influence of Schelling. He was of Saxon appearance (as his portrait shows) and of Saxon temperament, for he admits that after living in Brandenburg for nearly thirty years he never felt at home there, though still regarding himself as "a good Prussian." He travelled much over Europe in the service of the State, and was thereby, no doubt, encouraged in his conception of a Greater Germany consisting of loosely-affiliated free States, German and Slav, to be in close association with England but excluding Russia. A warm friendship existed between Frantz and Richard Wagner, who regarded his friend's views as representing "the politics of the future." In Austria Frantz's ideas have always been cherished. He himself believed to the last that he was sowing the seeds of the future and regarded the German Empire of 1871 as merely a transitional phase. His new disciple, Professor Forster, we may regard as a very different type of man. Born in Berlin (in 1869) he is a genuine Brandenburg Prussian of the vigorous and stubborn old stock, more apt to mould than to be moulded, more remarkable for fearless and upright strength of character than for intellectual subtlety or assthetic delicacy. When one observes how often he has felt called upon to tilt at so-called "advanced" ideas in his career as an educationalist (in the course of which he has unsparingly attacked the present writer among others) one might be tempted to set him down as a merely conservative and reactionary person. That would be unjust. If that had been the case it is unlikely either that he would have been subjected to the protests of his professional colleagues at Munich, or received the enthusiastic applause of his students; it may be added that it was characteristic of the man to write his now famous article under his own name and to justify it publicly in Munich. He has achieved his opinion slowly and his intellectual career has been throughout progressive. While his standpoint is now definitely religious and Christian, he was, we are told, brought up irreligiously; he became a Socialist, and of so militant a kind that he was at one time sent to prison; then he studied social questions in England and America, and finally directed his energies into those moral and educational lines along which his reputation has been made. He has written a number of books which have won hearty approval not only in Germany but abroad; several have been translated into English. Perhaps his best known work is the comprehensive treatise on moral instruction, entitled Jugendlehre, which in less than ten years has gone through more than forty editions and been translated into ten languages. Forster here adopts an ethical rather than religious basis, not because he regards religion as unessential but because the disputes which religion arouses render the neutral foundation inevitable. It is in this field of popular education that the Munich Pro-fessor has trained the vigorous and combative mind he is now turning on to the problem of his country's political crisis, though still in the spirit of the teacher who is mainly concerned in directing the ideals of the younger generation, Forster sees indeed that the evil he combats has been too deeply rooted to be destroyed by mere political proposals. The younger generation must first be liberated from the magic webs of false romanticism woven round the German Empire by an older generation in the name of a "Real-politik" which is alien to all the most real facts and needs of the world to-day. That the younger generation will respond to this appeal Forster has no doubt. With all the rough vigour of his invective he castigates the desolating national Ego-worship, the empty, dreary insistence of Germany on its own worth and magnificence, the fantastic nonsense of Pan-German propaganda, and declares that all who can observe German youth know how profoundly it is revolting against this false and narrow Nationalism. In the cultivation of worthier, and, as he would have us believe, more genuinely German ideals, young Germany must throw aside Fichte and Hegel and Treitschke and turn to Frantz.

When we turn to Frantz we note that, while he was in the beginning sympathetically associated with Bismarck, as the policy of the great founder of the Empire more clearly developed all his writings became ever more concentrated on the penetrating criticism of Bismarck's work. They had something in common; Frantz was really as little of a democrat as Bismarck; they were both prepared to admit a sort of Socialism; neither had any love for bureaucracy; and, above all, both desired to end that separatist particularism of the small States which had for so long been the bane of Germany. But here they parted company; in method and in spirit they were alike opposed. Bismarck was a mighty opportunist—always swayed (as Lamprecht has insisted) by a comprehensive vision of the circumstances of the moment—and the opportunities he sought were not, after the English manner, for compromise, but for the swift and simple decisions of blood and iron. Frantz was not merely a man of wide political training but something of a philosopher and even a man of science, who believed that States had their natural physiology and needed the harmonious conditions for freedom and development. He refused to start, in the Hegelian manner, with abstract ideas of what a State ought to be; we must regard a State as a natural product, investigate what it is, and so attain "a natural doctrine of the State." The German question can thus only be solved in harmony with the collective policy of Europe, and it should be the aim of Germany, not to become to Europe a huge militarism with an antagonising Prussian point, but, rather, an organisational centre of crystallisation which by its own internal free and healthy development might become a guardian of the interests of Europe. Bismarck, however, had sought, and apparently achieved, the defeat of lesser particularisms by the establishment of a greater particularism, crushing all the rest, the supreme dominance of Prussia. For Frantz that policy was not merely the abandonment of Germany's greater mission in the world, it meant entering a path that could only end in catastrophe. And Forster comes forward to tell us that to-day we may all see that Frantz was absolutely right.

The leading idea of Frantz throughout is that the political constitution which alone suits the needs of Germany is a federation of States, the free political association of a group of independent and related peoples; this conception would exclude centralisation except for definite purposes of organisation and exclude also the mechanical unity produced by the power of a single dominating national State. Such a federation would thus be altogether unlike the present Prussianised German Empire. It would be much more on the lines of the old Holy Roman Empire as it existed in the time of the Hohenstaufen Frederick II in the thirteenth century. Forster, in following Frantz on this point, remarks that it is very undesirable that a German Emperor should also be King of Prussia, and recalls that the Abbe de St. Pierre, in putting forth his famous project for the United States of Europe, specially referred to the old Germanic Empire as the anticipation of such a Federation of States.

Such a political conception is put forward as in conformity with those special functions which Germany is best able to exercise in the world, that is to say her power of organisation and her supposed international aptitudes. In both these respects, however imperfectly, by holding together a federation of independent nationalities in free association, the old German Empire, as Frantz often declared, was the pioneer of a great political ideal, performing a service to the whole of Christendom, and at the same time attaining its own finest development. He points out that even Prussia in those early days was working in the same spirit, for Prussia was originally merely a German colonisation process for holding back the hordes of the East and assimilating the Western Slavs, adding their White Eagle to its own Black Eagle to constitute a national emblem. The new German Empire is in no sense a revival of that old Empire, for it drops altogether the latter's super-national function and it perverts organisational activity to egoistic nationalism. It is based on the later and totally different political ideal of Renaissance Sovereignty with its Machiavellian recognition of the right of the State to exercise its might for its own sole ends, a right which, as Gierke has ably shown, medieval political theory had altogether rejected. It is on the later Machiavellian basis that a single nationality in the group is entitled to dominate the rest and to menace the outside world.

It will be seen that Frantz, followed by his disciple Forster, moves on a somewhat conservative plane. He rejects a political ideal which, however it may seem to flourish to-day in Germany is by no means modern, in favour of a yet more ancient ideal, though of a much nobler order: the "synthesis of organisation and independence," a federalism of free States, dimly outlined by Kant and still earlier sketched in the real practice of the Holy Roman Empire. Of the democratic political ideal on an individualistic basis, which we regard as more genuinely modern, he has nothing to say, though there may be room for its development within the frame-work of Frantz's free federation. Of the Government Bund set up by the Congress of Vienna Forster has only to say that it was "lacking in inspiration and will," not that it was undemocratic. It is perhaps possible to maintain that the question of a democratic constitution in Germany is still Utopian. But there can be no doubt that the question of the function and mutual relation of States, as illustrated by the policy of Prussia and the present condition of the German Empire, is very actual indeed.

If there is any one outcome of the war of which we can speak with confidence it is that, whatever the precise results may be, they cannot fail to bring the German Empire and Austro-Hungary into a yet closer relationship than existed before the war. The very policy of the Allies unites the interests of the two Central Empires, and renders some degree of association inevitable. But we cannot imagine a Prussianised Austria and, as we know, the first decisive act of a would-be Prussianised Austria has produced a crash to shake the world. In the German Empire itself, even in Prussia, Prussianisation has not succeeded in working assimilatively either on Poles or Danes or Alsatians. When Austria conies into the question we cannot fail to see the importance of a political conception which, as Frantz developed it, was specially designed to conciliate the Western and Southern Slavs, in direct opposition to the Great German Empire. Germans to-day, indeed, have to reckon with, as they seem more or less clearly to begin to realise, the failure of "Real-Politik" and the bankruptcy of Bismarckian policy. In neutral countries one may sometimes detect a kind of sympathy with Germany faced by such a multitude of hostile nations and races, the finest peoples from Europe and America and Asia arid Africa and Australia. And in Germany itself, before the war as well as since, the question has often been asked, Why are we Germans not loved? and seldom any answer found but one, so pathetic in its instinctive self-esteem: "Envy and jealousy." Another answer is becoming clearer to-day. It is beginning to be seen that the policy of offensive Egoism, the morality of Blood and Iron, is hardly more lovable in a State than it is in an individual. It was Bismarck who, more than any other statesman, made that policy the active and effective policy of Germany in the world. But Bismarck was far too sagacious, he was far too closely in touch with general European diplomacy, not to safeguard and qualify his own policy; he could be ruthless, but he was not reckless. We know that Bismarck was no enthusiast for the risks of colonisation; that he was not in favour of a great German fleet; that he would never have permitted the invasion of Belgium; that in any national crisis he would have taken pains to ensure the benevolent neutrality of England. Bismarck himself was thus strong enough to avoid the precipice to which, as the insight of Frantz clearly discerned, his policy led. In the hands of his weaker and more reckless successors, it is another matter, for that brutal frankness of the German temperament which Treitschke half deplored and altogether admired hardly consorts with weakness and recklessness. All the world now, even including Germans themselves, is beginning to estimate at its true worth the Real-Politik of the State as Power.

The nineteenth century was largely dominated by the political ideal of Nationalism. The world grovelled in the dust before the sacred rights of a Nation to the free development of its latently aggressive desires. Nobody ever saw a Frankenstein in the noble-hearted heroes who led an oppressed nationality to self-conscious might. There are few worshippers of unrestricted Nationalism left now; with the example of Prussia before us, in the face of the Great War of to-day, one searches in vain for any homage to that disgraced political ideal. Men's eyes are to-day directed towards another ideal, or, as some of us may think, another illusion. They see the hope of human progress not in the blind and senseless greed of Nationalities, mutually destructive, but in the harmonious developments of a co-ordinated Inter-Nationalism. It is no longer the claims of Nationalism which men feel called upon to strengthen; they feel more impelled to create a Super-Nationalism which shall hold Nationalism in due check. And now we see that it is not only among ourselves that these new and greater ideals are germinating. The Germans, who have been of late the deadliest foes to Inter-Nationalism, now also begin to follow in the same direction, though in their own way and by their own methods.


This review of Professor H. J. Figure's HUMAN GEOGRAPHY IN WESTERN EUROPE appeared in the NATION, April 27th, 1918.

THE human problems of Western Europe have to-day sprung into new life. Few of us have felt any passionate interest in the course of man's history, and most had no clear idea of the special significance of Europe even in the present. The immense upheaval we witness to-day has suggested to them that they have been asleep. They dimly begin to feel that they inhabit one of the storm centres of the world, for thousands of years the perpetual stage of evolutions and revolutions, of expansions and catastrophes, of declinations and ascensions. It is the moment when the men of science whose lives have been spent in deciphering the ancient records of these movements are called upon to throw what illumination they can upon the problems, new and yet old, of Western Europe.

Professor Fleure is one of the men of science among us best equipped to respond to this invitation, which has come to him through Professor Patrick Geddes and Mr. Victor Branford, editors of "The Making of the Future Series." His brilliant and elaborate studies of the populations of Western Europe, especially the lengthy investigation of the nature and distribution of Welsh types published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute two years ago, are well known to all interested in such matters. Receptively in touch with the most up-to-date researches of others, he has displayed fine skill in analysing and grouping human types, in showing their relationship to the ancient populations of our islands, and in indicating the probable lines of their migration and the varying reasons for their distribution and development. It may be said indeed that he was predestined to success in such investigations. A native of the Channel Islands, and, as his name seems to indicate, of the ancient Anglicised Norman people long settled there, he studied in various parts of Europe, especially in Germany and Switzerland, reaching the study of Man, as have some other notable anthropologists, by the great natural highroad of Zoology. It is clear that Professor Fleure is singularly well prepared by birth and training, as well as by his later studies of the complex problem presented by Wales, to deal adequately with the great subject he has here undertaken; even the special fascination which the migrational paths of peoples and cultures possess for him may be said to be predetermined; and this equipment is accompanied by those personal qualities without which all equipment is useless. We are throughout conscious in his writings of a high degree of intelligence, sensitive and versatile, of a sane balance, of a fine power of sympathetic appreciation, even rarer.

There are various angles at which the spiritual life of a people or group of peoples may be studied. Buckle, sixty years ago, enumerated these as Climate, Food, Soil, and the General Aspect of Nature in its psychic influences, dismissing superciliously in a footnote the element of Heredity, which nowadays, in its social as well as racial aspects, seems to many the most important of all. Climate, which Buckle placed first, has found diligent exponents of late, especially since its probable changes in even recent times have come to be recognised, and this aspect has lately found a capable exponent in Ellsworth Huntington. Professor Fleure selects Soil, and is primarily concerned to view European peoples from the geographical angle, but not exclusively, nor can he fail to take into account climate, since climate and soil mutually interact on each other, though we should not accept the common confusion of meteorology with geography. To study a population from a special angle is arbitrary and incomplete, but it is an entirely legitimate and scientific method. It clarifies and unifies vision, rendering possible a coherent picture in a small space. The geographical angle lends itself, it is true, to the solemn enunciation of vague formulas which are rather futile; Professor Fleure, always quick in perception, apologises for such formulations as "trite but useful," and elsewhere admits that these external physical circumstances by no means serve completely to determine human fate and character. It is, indeed, because he takes the geographical angle lightly, and sees, even asserts, the importance of the others, that his exposition is so helpful.

It is no disparagement to an admirable little book to have to say that it fails in some respects to fulfil the high expectations which its author's qualities and equipment raise. For this the author may doubtless throw much of the responsibility on the editors, the publisher, and the difficult conditions of the time. The task of compressing a study of all the peoples of the West, great and little, even when considered mainly under a single aspect, within two hundred and fifty small pages involves a sketchy and sometimes bald treatment; this condensed method might have been supported by footnotes on matters of detail, but there is only a single footnote in the whole volume, though that (on the historical importance of salt) is so instructive that the reader would have been thankful for many such notes. The diagrammatic maps, also, are few, rough, and unsatisfactory. A still more serious defect is the complete absence of precise references; the value of such a book as this for all serious readers is largely that it serves as an introduction to what for most is a new subject; it attracts attention to an important field and serves as a sign-post to the roads that lead there. In other words, the reader needs at the end of the volume, or of each chapter, a brief critical bibliography, of which we here find no trace beyond a few vague references in the Preface. This defect, which would have cost so little to repair, is, frankly speaking, inexcusable, and when left to himself, Professor Fleure, as his other writings show, is guilty of no such negligence. Let us hope that (as the Preface seems to hint) this little book is a fore-taste of a larger and more comprehensive work in which the author's great gifts and fine equipment will have free scope.

It would be ungracious to insist on the defects of a book which is so illuminative and at the present time so helpful. Professor Fleure calls it in the sub-title, "A Study in Appreciation." Rightly understood, it is perhaps needless to remark, "appreciation" is not indiscriminate eulogy but critical valuation in which the emphasis is on the sympathetic side. At the present time we tend to arrange the peoples of Europe into two groups, according as they are fighting or likely to fight on our side, and fighting or likely to fight on the opposite side, the one group being all white and the other group all black; which side we are fighting on makes no difference as the colours can be reversed at will. Now Professor Fleure is aware of the Great War and alludes to it profitably more than once. But he is also aware that the characteristics of nations are not dependent on the shifting chances of local opinion, but are determined by factors rooted in the far past. Against the caprices of opinion, to which he never alludes, he sets forth his "appreciation" of the parts played in the world by the different peoples of Western Europe, parts necessarily determined for them by the circumstances of the world acting on their own hereditary traits. Herein—if a reviewer may be permitted to say so whose own estimates happen in every case to coincide—the author reveals a fine discrimination and a soundly balanced judgment. France comes first, because, by her geographical position and psychic characteristics, she is the "Way of Light age after age," with "a position of natural leadership in the spiritual life of Western Europe." The Iberian Peninsula, perhaps to the surprise of those who take a narrow and temporary view of European culture, comes next, transcending in achievements, as Professor Fleure acknowledges, merely physical circumstances, the first of European lands to expand in the modern world and with a yet unexhausted reservoir of energy, so that, as the author, following others, remarks, even the backwardness of Spain in the present age of centralisation and industrialism may be an advantage to that country and the world in the next stage of evolution. Italy comes next, and here we may note as characteristic the author's carefully balanced attitude towards Italian Imperialism, as "ambitions perhaps justifiable, perhaps dangerous, but at least easily understandable in a period that has been obsessed by aggressive expansionism;" but he thinks that circumstances, geographical and industrial, under the conditions of the immediate future, will give increased importance to Italy who may influentially help to inaugurate a new era of co-operation, and we "must hope that her thinkers may guide her away from the allurements of expansionism." Germany occupies geographically a peculiar and exposed "corridor position" in Europe, and this fact, with its tendency to favour migratory movements, the everlasting difficulty in drawing a definite frontier line, and the inevitable militarism, makes it necessary for the author to give a vague title to the entirely fair and dispassionate chapter mainly devoted to Germany; he points out that the Elbe is really the great German river and seeks to explain how it has come about that Leipzig and Magdeburg, either of which might have been the great Germanic capital, with immense benefit to the world and to Germany herself, have unfortunately had to yield the first place to Berlin; he further remarks on the fact that much that is rightly applauded and respected in Germany has really been elaborated by the comparatively free small nations on her borders. Bohemia, Switzerland, Holland, Flanders, Wallony, and Luxemburg are briefly considered in well-packed sections. A separate section is also given to Alsace and Lorraine. As we know, half a century ago the most conspicuous representatives of English opinion, men such as Carlyle and Kingsley, were jubilant at the prospect of the return of these provinces to Germany; to-day their successors look forward with equal joy to the reversion of the same provinces to France; if these hopes are fulfilled, another shifting of British judgment will be due half a century hence. Professor Fleure makes no reference, however, to the weathercock of public opinion; he is concerned only with fundamental facts, and the essential fact here is that these "woefully placed" provinces, while more closely linked with the Latin than the Germanic civilisation, yet occupy a genuinely intermediate position, tolerant partakers of both civilisations, with the special function, which in earlier centuries they exercised beneficially, of mediating between France and Germany and especially of adapting the waves of civilisation from the French side to the needs and aptitudes of the German side; it is impossible to read the history of German literature without perpetually coming on to Strassburg as the great centre of diffusion of spiritual life. The chapter devoted to Britain is placed last, and here Professor Fleure is reticent in characterisation; but he lucidly sets forth the factors which influenced the development of this group of islands off the French coast, at the extreme western corner of Europe, the last goal of ancient pathways from the north and from the Mediterranean and from the Great European plain, and he points out how conditions which once made Britain backward, and later placed her at the centre, now make it necessary for her to combine with Eastern neighbours and to pay more attention than before to international co-operation. It need scarcely be added that the author views favourably a League of Nations, though he points out that it is not always clear what a "nation" should be, and that the most favourably constituted nations are not those in which a single racial element prevails (he considers that Switzerland has perhaps suffered from this cause), but those in which the elements are mixed, and so apt for a many-sided activity in the world.

In the immediate past, nationalism has been the prevailing ideal, with what results we know. There is still a place for nationalism, even for that of the small nations. But in so far as nationalism means the rule of suspicion and hatred, of mutual antagonism, of perpetual aggression, it has ceased either to fulfil our needs or to correspond to our knowledge. Europe, we are beginning to learn, is a complex living organism, made of the same stuff throughout and on the same plan, yet everywhere with subtle differences in the composition. It has thus come about that each national group acts as an organ with its own special functions, itself dependent on the whole and yet imparting valuable elements on which that whole is dependant. What happens when that great central fact of the European situation fails to be recognised we see to-day. The health and sanity of Europe can only be reached by that road of intelligent and large-hearted "appreciation" along which Professor Fleure offers to guide us. There are few who by reading and meditating this little book will fail to become better qualified to fulfil their duties as "good Europeans."


This is a review of the English translation by Constance and Julian Grande of G. F. Nicolai's THE BIOLOGY OF WAR. It appeared in the DAILY HERALD for April 5th, 1919.

PRUSSIA, we have often been told, is the European home of militaristic nationalism. We are not so often told, though it is equally true, that Prussia, and indeed Germany in general, is also the home of internationalism. Even in the Great War Germany has produced, in larger numbers than any other country, men of acknowledged eminence who have been willing to face degradation, poverty, imprisonment, and exile out of their devotion to the cause. Among this noble band a high place belongs to the author of the present book.

Dr. Nicolai is a physician, a leading heart specialist, who once successfully treated the ex-Empress, and he was also Professor of Physiology in the University of Berlin. But he has always been opposed to Prussian militarism, and when the war broke out he publicly protested against the violation of Belgium. Thereupon he was deprived of his professorship and sent to the fortress of Gra'udenz, his property being confiscated, and his wife left penniless. She, it may be remarked, proved a worthy comrade, for when the rich Junker family to which she belongs offered to provide her with a comfortable home if she would forsake her husband, she replied that she would sooner be a charwoman or a street-cleaner. It was in the fortress that this work was written. Dr. Nicolai was so stirred by the famous patriotic manifesto of the Ninety-Three German Intellectuals (many of them speedily recanted, however) that he resolved to deal exhaustively with the subject of war. It was out of the question for such a book to be published in Germany, but it was luckily possible to convey it to Switzerland, where it was duly issued at Zurich, and widely read. The result was that the author was promptly condemned to five months' imprisonment in a common gaol, and subsequent internment. Finally, by the help of friends, he escaped in an aeroplane to Denmark. Now, it is said, though in the prime of life, and possessed of a vigorous constitution, he looks an aged and broken man.

The Biology of War is written in the characteristically German extensive, deep, and thorough way, so that, though vigorous and pungent, it is a serious piece of reading. Throughout it is addressed to the German public, and there are no attacks on enemy countries, the references to England, for instance, being friendly and appreciative. This, however, is not to be taken, the author points out, as an admission that Germany is a sinner above all sinners, but is the result of a belief that it is the duty of every citizen to attack evil first in his own country.

Dr. Nicolai begins at the beginning with war among animals, and decides that it has no existence. Animals would, indeed, have nothing to gain by war, and the only creatures which wage war, properly so called, are the ants and the bees. They possess property, and that brings us to what the author justly regards as the chief root of the matter. Among men, also, it was not until property began to grow valuable that war seems to have arisen, perhaps about ten thousand years ago, that is to say, in comparatively recent times, more than 100,000 years after the invention of tools. The author, like others before him, easily shows that war has nothing to do with Darwinian natural selection. Man is naturally one of the most timid and defenceless of creatures, and it was not until he attained a certain degree of civilisation that war developed. The same is true of cannibalism and of slavery, which is intimately associated with war. Relics of slavery still exist in the exploitation of the worker. War and slavery are one, based on the inordinate lust for property, that is to say, on robbery. This is the main root of war. There are other factors; thus the author scarcely allows for the expansive force of over-population, and says nothing of the effect of birth-control in checking the exploitation of the workers, and removing a stimulus to war.

Dr. Nicolai is not what is called a pacifist. He recognises that in the past war has had a real social function, and in the classic world it was only by slavery that leisure could be found for the necessary progress of civilisation. It will always be man's part to struggle, but war has become merely mischievous, and "cat-fights with cannon" are paltry beside the vast tasks that face mankind. Here war is worse than useless, for the victors in war only enter the road to ruin.

It is impossible in a short space even to mention all the topics here discussed and often put in a new light. The book suffers, indeed, from the fact that it is specially aimed at German readers, and from the conditions under which it was written. When we recall that the author was ruined, in prison, with few books at hand and no friends to consult, we realise that The Biology of War is a marvellous intellectual feat. We admire the high spirit and courage of the man as much as his learning, his memory, his vigorous ability to think. For men are still, unfortunately, only to a limited extent thinking animals. Frederick, whom we term the Great, the author remarks, really deserved that title when he declared: "If my soldiers began to think, not one would remain in the ranks."


This review of RELIGION AND SEX: STUDIES IN THE PATHOLOGY or RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT, by Chapman Cohen, appeared in the OBSERVER in 1919.

THE religious impulse and the sexual impulse are among the primary instincts of human life and civilisation. If, indeed, we add to them the impulse of hunger we cover almost the whole field of Man's evolution. We have, that is to say, the economic factor which is the impelling force of so many human activities; we have the procreative factor which is the source of the family; and we have that factor of awe, admiration, and reverence for the phenomena of Nature which began to mould Man's ideas at the outset, and later inspired so much of his art, which now has itself assumed for many the ancient function of religion. Even science, which in recent times has so largely re-moulded human thoughts and activities, may be an outgrowth of that magic which in earlier times was the inseparable companion of religion. Such at least is the opinion of Sir James Frazer and Professor Mc-Dougall, though Dr. Marett is inclined to doubt it. It is, however, his deepest primary impulses which Man is most unwilling to investigate. He shuns them, he veils them, he declares that they are too sacred, if not indeed too disgusting, to talk about, he refuses even to name them. He lays what is anthropologically termed a taboo upon them. Thus the early Hebrews had to invent another name for their god as his real name was too awful to pronounce, and we do much the same with various important parts of our own bodies, speaking, for instance, of the "stomach" when what we really mean is not the stomach at all. It is not two centuries since men first ventured to begin analysing the economic factors of life; a century ago it was an offence to question the orthodox religion, and even yet a man may be sent to prison for "blasphemy" if he speaks too disrespectfully of that religion; while the scientific study of sex is only of yesterday, and even to-day it is uncertain whether the most calmly psychological investigation of that subject may not be construed as "obscenity" and call for a prosecution.

When two of these great elemental impulses overlap—as is specially apt to happen with religion and sex—the taboo is still more rigidly imposed. Swift described the blending of the two kinds of emotions as observed in his day (among Dissenters, naturally, since he was himself a Churchman), and with so much clear precision that his publisher mutilated the statement. During the last century various distinguished physicians have remarked on the same tendency, usually as found in hysterical and insane persons. It is only of recent years (passing over an appendix on the erotic factor in religion in Studies in the Psychology of Sex) that Mr. Theodore Schroeder of New York has written a number of lengthy studies on this subject, which he has named "Erotogenesis." Now at length Mr. Chapman Cohen decides that the time has come for a comprehensive popular statement in volume form of the outlines of the relationship between religion and sex.

Mr. Cohen sets himself at the Rationalist, or, as he would prefer to say, scientific standpoint, and finds the explanation of all religious phenomena in "the workings of natural forces imperfectly understood." He admits that our knowledge needs to be increased, and he wisely refrains from discussing the origins of religion. He is less concerned with the normal functions of religion, with what he terms its physiology, than with its pathology. He emphatically disclaims at the outset any belief that religion has its origin in perverted sexuality. He simply wishes to deal with certain conditions of the expression of the religious idea, and also with the study of normal frames of mind like "conversion," which are, he believes, misinterpreted, and diverted into religious channels. These normal and abnormal processes, he claims, will explain many of the manifestations of religion, but they will not, even all of them combined, suffice to explain religion.

With this conclusion, indeed, as regards many of the topics of this book, most people are already agreed. About the eroto-religious manifestations in lunatic asylums, the ecstasies of some mediaeval saints, the religious epidemics of the Middle Ages, and the witch-mania of a rather later age, there is now little question. On some other points, it is possible, Mr. Cohen's conclusions may need some qualification. Thus while, as he rightly points out in the most valuable chapter of his book, the process of conversion, so commonly taking place at puberty or adolescence, is really a normal process, correlated with the sexual development of that age, and the sign of a new mental and emotional readjustment to wider conceptions of life, only thrown into conventional religious channels by the force of tradition and imitation, he scarcely conceives the process widely enough. He regards it as "the entry of the individual into the life of the race," the craving for communion with one's fellows and for service to the State. It is often, and perhaps normally, something much more than that. It is the satisfaction of a craving for harmonious union not merely with mankind but with the laws of the Universe which are apt to seem so cold and cruel to the young who think and feel; it is the process by which the Self ceases to experience any hostile or alien emotions towards the Not-self. Such a process is emotional and it is merely an accident that it is perverted into traditional channels or associated with any intellectual beliefs. Mysticism, though the term is so often misused, has a similar biological kernel which Mr. Cohen overlooks. It is really the most complete form of "conversion," not, as our author would have it, a magical method of discovering objective truth, but simply an interior emotional process by which joy and harmony are attained in a new personal vision of the Universe; all the rest is mere accidental accretion.

Mr. Cohen, we see, though he is politely respectful to opponents (except to the late Professor William James), is rather too fearful of yielding ground to the dreaded representatives of "super-naturalism." The result is that while he is obviously out of sympathy with the ancient religious attitude he is not altogether in touch with the modern scientific attitude. On the one hand, he brings forward a little sketch of St. Theresa's life in which he solemnly states that "she died at the early age of thirty-three," an age when, it is scarcely necessary to say, the second and practically fruitful half of that supreme woman saint's life had not even begun. On the other hand he ignores some of the chief modern scientific students of religion, and sometimes singularly overlooks those whom he quotes just when they would be most to his point. Thus he quotes both Frazer and Westermarck, but when these distinguished investigators would have helped him to clarify his attempt to deal with ancient religious prostitution he quotes neither, preferring to cultivate an old-fashioned taste for mere curiosities. He never appeals to Preuss or Marett or McDougall or even Freud. Most astonishing of all, he never once mentions the name of Theodore Schroeder who during recent years has published in various scientific journals over a dozen substantial studies of this very subject of sex and religion, containing valuable observations and documents. This omission is the more remarkable since Schroeder happens also to be the most valiant living champion, from the legal side, of that "Freethought" with which Mr. Cohen identifies himself.

Mr. Cohen's strength lies in his resolve to apply native common sense and intelligence to some of the deepest and most vital problems of human life. It is just because they are deep and vital that these problems become overlaid by dead superstitions belonging to the past. Even those who think it is daring to disturb such survivals may well be grateful to Mr. Cohen for enabling them to face these naked and living realities which, rightly seen, must always be more beautiful and more satisfying than the survivals of a dead past.


This review of Albert Mordell's book, THE EROTIC MOTIVE IN LITERATURE, was published in the NATION for August 9th, 1919.

"THE less Shakespeare he!" So exclaimed Browning in defiance of Wordsworth's statement that Shakespeare had in his sonnets "unlocked his heart." Men of genius, with a modesty that is reinforced by vanity, have often shown a similar excess of indignation at the idea that any of their caste should be thought to have revealed their hearts, or even been shown to possess any hearts to reveal. The camp-followers and self-appointed body-guards of individual persons of genius are liable to be thrown into a state of fury when this is achieved, or even attempted, for their own particular deity. Some of us can still remember the outburst of shocked hero-worship with which Sir James Crichton-Browne received Froude's life of Carlyle, or, more recently, Miss May Sinclair's elaborate defence of Charlotte Bronte's prim respectability against the penetrating insight of Angus Mackay and one or two others. We know now that Carlyle was justified of the biographer he had himself chosen, and Miss May Sinclair's arguments were scarcely published before the keen and sympathetic intuition oc Angus Mackay was at length made clear by the discovery of Charlotte Bronte's letters to M. Heger.

The world in general, which needs all the spiritual nourishment that genius can give, has not been greatly troubled by the outcries of such perverse champions of genius. It has always received the revelation of the heart of the man of genius as it receives the revelation of his art, with a shudder at first and then with everlasting thankfulness. How should it be otherwise? The tasks of life are hard for the best of us—the harder, indeed, the better we are—and we must needs be endlessly grateful to those, our more splendid fellow-men, who aid us in the achievement of these tasks, or console us for our failure to achieve them. It is inevitable, and it is natural, that we should desire to know what were the secret experiences that gave these, as it seems, privileged persons the power to help us, for in learning those secrets that power over us becomes more potent, since our sympathy is henceforth more intimate. Thus it is that we no longer find profit in treating Shakespeare, after the manner of August von Schlegel, as a demi-god; he has become for us a human being whose experiences we seek, however tentatively, to divine, and Brandes, following the clues of various English pioneers, has taken the place of Schlegel as the typical Shakespearian commentator. With men long since dead these attempts can seldom be more than tentative, and when, as happens by a rare chance, they are made by those who were in a position to achieve triumphant success our gratitude is often long in purifying itself from a tinge of contempt for those to whom we owe so much. Boswell seemed somewhat of a hero-worshipping simpleton before his consummate art was recognised, and the exquisite art of Eckermann has never been recognised even yet.

It is not therefore surprising that a strong taint of disgust still clings to the most recent, the most daring, and certainly the most hazardous, group of attempts to unlock the heart of genius. There has, indeed, from the first, in the eyes of most people, been something unpleasant in the theories of psycho-analysis, even when applied to the ordinary population, and it is natural they should seem still more offensive when applied to genius. Thus, though Freud and his immediate disciples have made numerous psycho-analytic studies of genius, there have been few attempts in English. Some interest therefore attaches to Mr. Albert Mordell's recent book, The Erotic Motive in Literature.

There is much in Mr. Mordell's book which is likely to confirm the worst opinions of the opponents of psycho-analysis. Even the sympathetic critic of Freud has to admit that he is apt to confuse a possibility with a probability, and that, when the particular fact really is clear, he will often generalise it unduly. In his followers these tendencies sometimes become habits, which it can scarcely be said Mr. Mordell has always escaped, even though he tells us that he has maintained a double guard over himself, so as not to cross the danger line. Pascal, A'Kempis, and Bunyan, he tells us, were neurotics, who, "no doubt" by repressed love, were rendered religious maniacs. Every sufferer in literature, he declares comprehensively on the next page—Werther, Anna Karenina, Hedda Gabler, and the rest—is a partly or fully developed case of neurosis, with, at least, emotional disturbance due to sex causes. Such random and unsupported statements, familiar as they now are in psycho-analytic writings, must not, however, induce us to throw Mr. Mordell's book aside. There is more in it than those scraps of routine doctrine from the school. Mr. Mordell's scholarship, which is considerable, was not got up to prove a psycho-pathological thesis. He was a sympathetic, penetrating, and original student of literature long before he ever heard of Freud. Indeed, he regards psycho-analysis itself as much older than Freud. In Swift, in Johnson, in Sainte-Beuve, in Lamb, in Taine, he finds that profound insight into human nature of which psychoanalysis is merely a modern and specialised form. In some writers, indeed, Freud's ideas and methods are even definitely anticipated. Hazlitt, especially in his essay on dreams, "gave almost complete expression to the views of Freud;" Bagehot really initiated the psycho-analytic study of Shakespeare; and, before Freud, Georg Brandes went far in developing the same methods.

It is, we see, in the sane and broad sense that, on the whole, Mr. Mordell understands psychoanalysis. He realises that, in a sense, literature is more real and eternal than life itself; the man of genius speaks out of an inmost soul of humanity that in life is buried and unseen. The world he builds up is the very opposite of that in which he was constrained to dwell. The day-dream is the beginning of literary creation, and, as we know, the day-dream is moulded by plastic forces which reside in the unconscious sphere, so that what has been repressed from the artist's life, or never been able to enter life, becomes transformed and emerges in radiant images of immortal beauty. Psycho-analysis thus becomes, as Mr. Mordell sees it, the justification of genius. It enables us to see through the discredited doctrine that genius is merely a form of degeneracy or insanity. There are, without the possibility of doubt, elements of neurosis commonly present in genius; the process of genius is with difficulty conceivable without them; literature is, indeed, "largely a record of the anxieties and hysterias of humanity." They are simply another aspect of what to the psychoanalyst are the repressions dating from an infantile age. It is in the ennobling transmutation of these that genius consists; and the great thinker tells how they may be avoided, and the great humanitarian shows how they may be conquered, and the great artist liberates us by converting them into loveliness. Mr. Mordell finds that men of genius have nothing to lose by this method of study; on the contrary, we are enabled to appreciate their work better, and by gaining a more sympathetic insight into their minds we may acquire a higher esteem for their personal characters; he especially mentions Byron and Poe.

As the title of his book indicates, and as we should expect in an adherent of Freud's main doctrines, Mr. Mordell deals largely with the nature of the individual author's love-life as influential in conditioning the nature of his work. Thus we have chapters on "The Infantile Love Life and its Sublimations," and "Sexual Symbolism in Literature." But his wide knowledge of literary history and the broad conception of psycho-analysis which he has adopted enable him to select for detailed study only such examples as fairly lend themselves to his method. Thus, when discussing Renan, in connection with the thesis that a writer puts himself into his work far more than he knows, the author effectively points out how Renan's Life of Jesus is really a life of Renan himself, and that, when it is compared with Renan's autobiography, a close resemblance is found between his own qualities and those which he attributes to the Jesus of his creation. Not, indeed, as Mr. Mordell is well aware, that an author puts only the best of himself into his work; it is not only his imperfectly realised aspirations towards an impossible best which he thus unconsciously embodies, but also the more possible worst which, with equal unconsciousness, he struggles by expressing it to overcome. Even the Devil is simply the symbolisation of our Unconscious, the struggling emergence of hidden primitive desires, the eruption of forbidden thoughts. It is because he has his home in dreams that he has so mightily interested mankind. The fascination of the villain everywhere in literature, indeed, is due to the recognition in him of "a long-forgotten brother." Raskolnikoff, Julian Sorel, George Aurispa, as Mr. Mordell truly observes, were drawn out of their creators' own natures. "I too might have been this," was the thought behind the minds of Dostoieffsky, of Stendhal, of D'Annunzio. If it were not so the artists' creations would largely lose their—in the Aristotelian sense—cathartic virtue over us.

Cowper, Keats, Shelley, Browning, Whitman, Poe, Lafcadio Hearn, and other famous artists are reviewed by the author in the psycho-analytic spirit, from one point or another. Sometimes the dominating emotional attraction of the mother is shown as in Cowper, or sublimated infantilism as in Whitman, or transformed eroticism as in Wordsworth, or sexual symbolism as in Browning, or unfulfilled desire as in Keats, or the perpetual haunting presence of death as in Poe who had loved so many women who had died young. As these attempts to analyse genius are brought before us, sometimes, it may be, with a shock of surprise, we yet learn to feel a deeper pity and sympathy. The poets who have survived, we realise, have been the most personal poets. Every truly great man of letters, novelist as well as poet, even by virtue of his art, must wear his heart on his sleeve. There is no great book in the world of which it cannot be said, as Whitman said of his: "Whoso touches this book touches a man."

Psycho-analysis helps to make clear how the man of genius, even in the supreme achievements of his art, is yet moulding that art out of the stuff of all our souls. It is the plastic force which is greater, and not the substance moulded which is necessarily either superior or different. In enabling us to see that, we realise, also, why it is that genius makes so intimate an appeal to us, why it enlarges and liberates us, why it purifies us from secret stains, why it imparts to us new powers. It is in our own souls that its dramas are played out. If the great poets of the world had not unlocked their own hearts they could not unlock ours. If they had not gloriously revealed our own suppressed desires, the Bibles of humanity would have no message of salvation.


Published in the MEDICAL REVIEW OF REVIEWS for October, 1919.

IT is just thirty years ago since, in a rather youthful book entitled The Criminal, I made an attempt to present to English-speaking readers the main ideas of the then new and unknown Italian school of criminal anthropology. Lombroso, as we know, was the ardent and inspiring man of pioneering genius who created that school. With a mind soaked in the conceptions of Darwinian evolution, familiar also with exact anthropometry, and trained in the latest methods of studying the insane, which he had himself helped to initiate, he approached the criminal as no investigator ever had, or ever could have, before. A dull, neglected, rather disagreeable subject at once flashed, as at a magician's touch, into vivid life. The study of the criminal became fascinating; it suggested all sorts of attractive problems; it opened out the horizon in many directions. When I first heard of this new conception I could not rest until I had mastered all that the Italians had done in this matter, and worked it into a connected whole to enable English readers to share my own enjoyment.

This is a long time ago now. In those days it was not alone intellectual enjoyment that Lom-broso aroused, but also furious controversy. T had not put myself forward as a partisan of his doctrines, and indeed I was scarcely entitled by adequate practical knowledge to take any decisive part on one side or the other. (I should not nowadays indeed venture to discuss at all a subject of which I had so little first-hand knowledge.) I simply desired to present for what it might be worth, a novel subject which had been so interesting and stimulating to myself. Dr. Mercier in his recent book, Crime and Criminals, states that I am "the only devoted upholder" of the cult of Lombroso, at all events in England; he brings forward no proof of this statement, nor am I able to supply that deficiency. Lombroso founded a vigorous school of investigators, but I have never formed part of it. I was merely an outsider who enjoyed the spectacle. I realised the genuine vein of genius in the man, I saw that he had revealed a new and immensely fruitful field of study; but I was careful to point out that a discoverer is by no means necessarily the best surveyor of the land he reveals, and Columbus, as we know, mistook Cuba for Japan.

How fruitful a region Lombroso had revealed, even if, as many think, he was as wrong about it as Columbus was about Cuba, we cannot now fail to recognise. A new era of investigation in these and allied studies begins with Lombroso. He may be said to be the first criminologist in the modern sense. A great stream of special studies, inspired by Lombroso's ideas, began to pour forth, and periodicals were founded for their reception. While these studies had their original inspiration from Lombroso, they were often undertaken by workers who were opposed, even bitterly hostile, to Lombroso. Reputations have been made by writers whose whole stock-in-trade has been the ideas of the Italian school which they have sought to overthrow; they followed the lines of work established by Lombroso. This opposition, while it has sometimes been unreasonably acrimonious, has been fully justified because it has made for the furtherance of research and the progress of knowledge. By the vigorous opponents whom he called into existence Lombroso advanced criminology at least as much as by the work of his more immediate disciples. Even if we believe that there never was any value in any of Lombroso's methods and ideas, it still remains true that the vast field he thereby ploughed up has enabled a whole army of excellent workers, who were not open to the charge of being daring pioneers, to sow and to reap abundantly.

The immense stimulus which Lombroso imparted to criminology has, however, long since been spent; he has passed into the serene atmosphere of history and, except by a few ancient survivors of his own epoch, his merits and his demerits are now discriminated with calmness. The last belated sign of his influence was furnished by the notable study of the English convict issued by Dr. Goring in 1913. Goring followed the laborious anthropometrical method of approaching the study of criminals, and he went even beyond Lombroso in emphasising the hereditary character of criminality, for Lombroso took no such narrow view of the causation of crime, but at the same time he ferociously attacked and misrepresented Lombroso. The criminological outlook of to-day, while embodying much that Lombroso fought for, has discarded most of his favourite ideas, and no longer attaches much value to the anthropological side of criminal study, dropping indeed altogether the term "criminal anthropology."

The chief new stimulus to the study of the criminal in recent years has come, as we might expect, from an entirely different quarter. Lombroso was especially interested in the objective physical stigmata of the criminal whom he approached from a combined psychiatric and biological starting point. He was not greatly concerned with investigating the psychic mechanism of crime. The new psychological stimulus has largely come from Freud, whose penetrative conceptions have extended to so many fields of study. It is not to be understood that Freud himself has realised this application of his method; in the wide-ranging schematic exposition of the applications of psycho-analysis which he published in Scientia in 1913 he made no reference at all to criminology. Nor is it to be supposed that those criminologists who have found these applications illuminating and helpful have been strict and devoted Freudians; this, with one or two exceptions, is distinctly not the case. It is notably not so with Dr. William Healy, director of the Psychopathic Institute of the Chicago Juvenile Court, who has most fruitfully applied to the investigation and treatment of young criminals suggestions derived from Freud. He rejects even the term "psychoanalysis," which at first in (1915) he had accepted only with hesitation, and prefers to speak of "mental analysis," partly because his method is not, with technical strictness, that of psychoanalysis, and partly because he has no wish to identify himself with a school. He is not concerned with the general tendencies and characteristics of Freud's body of doctrines; he cannot agree that sex is at the root of all repressed psychic manifestations, since there are other causes of emotional disturbance which strike deeply into the mental organism, and he scoffs at sexual symbolisms. But while "not concerned with general theories," his interest in psycho-analysis was aroused by the "common-sense explanations and therapeutic results it has given us." The main explanation in question is that to understand all human behaviour we must seek the mental and environmental experiences of early life, retracing the steps which progressively formed the whole character. The Freudian method was thus found to constitute a clue of the utmost value for students of social misconduct. Nor was it so difficult to apply as Freud and others had experienced in psycho-neurotic conditions, and the therapeutic effects of the application of the method were found to prove "in some instances nothing short of brilliant."

A great part of the interest of Healy's extensive work, The Individual Delinquent (published in 1915), is due to the application of mental analysis. This important work is, however, at the same time a landmark in the progress of criminology. It is not a comprehensive and concise treatise on criminology, and critics have sometimes found it badly organised, ill-written, incomplete and lacking in precision. Yet it is full of interest, of instruction, of inspiration, the work of an investigator of enormous experience and remarkable success among juvenile offenders. It sets forth the great variety of types found among such offenders, and it throws real and fresh light on the hidden and often complex motives of their criminality. The attraction of the book lies in the fact that we are here brought into the presence of the criminal problem on its dynamic side. We watch a skilful, enthusiastic, and energetic investigator in his manipulation of a thousand young offenders, working out the varied genesis and evolution of their criminal tendencies and often successfully dissipating those tendencies. Criminology had never before seemed so much alive or so complex; never before had it so clearly appeared as a problem to be dealt with, not, as was once thought, by punishment, but by skill.

The influence of Freud upon criminology, while clear in the earlier work, is more fully and precisely shown in Healy's subsequent special study of Mental Conflicts and Misconduct. Freud and other psycho-analysists had emphasised the importance of inner conflicts in producing various morbid changes, psychic and physical, in the behaviour of the organism, and had shown what beneficial results might be attained by the harmonious resolution of such conflicts. Healy applied these results to the field of criminology, and found that "the study of mental conflicts is a scientific method of approaching certain problems of misconduct, and that in this method lies the possibility of rendering great human service." Among two thousand offenders investigated, in seven per cent, the misconduct was definitely traceable to inner conflict, while the real proportion was probably much larger. The conflict usually dated from childhood, rarely or never later than early adolescence, and the resulting misconduct assumed all sorts of forms, and all degrees of gravity, from general troublesomeness to sadistic cruelty and injury by violence. The heredity of these offenders was not as a rule heavily charged with defects, and in their intelligence, as well as in their general moral and emotional character, they were decidedly higher and more refined than the average of criminals. It was largely indeed in their moral sensitiveness that the conflict arose, and their resulting offences were often, as it were, outside their own natures, and committed in spite of themselves. That is why the study and treatment of such cases is so fruitful. For when the mechanism of inner conflict resulting in external misconduct is carefully explored and finally understood, and the subject appropriately treated, the outcome on so good a soil is in at least some of the cases detailed by Healy "immensely favourable." It is easy to see that a new light is brought into the criminological field by such investigations as these, and how greatly the possibilities, not only of moral reconstruction generally, but of the practical and effective treatment of criminals, are hereby furthered. It is not surprising that under these new inspirations large horizons have seemed to some to be opening out, not only for the benefit of criminals, but for the whole of society. Thus Mr. Theodore Schroeder (in a lengthy article in the Medico-Legal Journal for April, 1917), approaching the subject not as a physician but as a lawyer, declared that we now possess a general social psychological method which, while it may best be begun and worked out in connexion with the prison, is fitted for universal application. First must come classification. On the basis of a physical examination all curable physical evils must be discovered and relieved at the outset. Then the subject is to be turned over to the psychological laboratory; if there are any defects which may be regarded as congenital, removed for special training, and if he is morbidly inefficient, sent to some suitable institution. Among those now remaining in the prison will be found the important group of recidivists who are physically and mentally little below the average level. These require careful study, for they are symptomatic of general psycho-social disorder, and demand a sympathetic understanding. In dealing with them, "the newly conceived need for reforming the convict and restoring him to society replaces in our interest the older idea of punishment." The secret of the social inadequacy of these criminals is largely to be found in their emotional attitudes, and therefore the importance of a psycho-analytic department in every prison laboratory. If sexual taboos and ignorances are found influential in determining the emotional imperatives which lead to antisocial conduct, it becomes necessary "to establish a technique for the conscious reconditioning of the desires, so as to make them progressively more mature." Beyond this is the possibility of a higher synthesis in unifying the measures for the improvement of all our educational systems, so that we may advance to the discovery of the factors in social psychology which determine the criminal mind. Further, a technique should be developed for class instruction, aiming to discover and eliminate emotional conflicts, and to adapt the desires to more mature aims. This involves a new sort of sex education, dealing with emotions rather than with physical factors, a kind of hygiene needed at least as much outside as inside prisons. As, indeed, we approach the treatment of criminals with a larger vision, we shall find ourselves anxious to help them, not alone for their own sakes, but in a still higher degree as symptomatic products of unhealthy and infantile stages in our psycho-social development as a whole. In learning how to deal with the criminal we are learning how to deal with society. It is well to select the criminal in the first place simply because the so-called normal psyche can best be studied in its exaggerations. The criminal should in this way be studied with the desire to find out what is immature or inefficient in the human factor of his larger environment. Thus it is that criminology leads on to social psychology.

This conception is, however, that of a sanguine enthusiast, and still lies far in the future. We shall not find it set forth in Dr. Charles Mercier's Crime and Criminals, the most recent English book on criminology, though, it may be added, the title of criminologist is one which Dr. Mercier disclaims, or rather one should say disdains. He brushes aside all the anatomists, psychologists, anthropometricians, and statisticians who have occupied themselves with crime or with criminals, and plants himself on what he considers to be the quite different ground of "common sense." From this foundation Dr. Mercier discusses various criminological problems with much incisive energy and not a little self-confident dogmatism. He adopts what used once to be considered the typically English insular manner, which relies on native vigour of thought, and ignores the foreigner, or, when he is too conspicuous to be ignored, heaves half a brick at him. Naturally Dr. Mercier is thus led into misrepresentation not only of others, but also of himself. With a courageous air he puts forward as original inspirations various excellent views which have long been familiar, and often set forth by the despised criminologist. This innocent consciousness of novelty adds to the interest, and sometimes to the amusement, of Dr. Mercier's book. But he would himself be the last to claim that it is a methodical and comprehensive treatise on criminology.

For such a treatise we have to-day not far to look. Dr. Maurice Parmelee, Professor of Sociology in the University of Missouri, has, almost at the same time as Dr. Mercier's book appeared, put forward a text-book of Criminology, which in its width of range and in its adequacy to the present state of knowledge could not well be improved. Dr. Parmelee cannot, indeed, compete with Dr. Mercier in vigour of style or aptitude for picturesque vituperation. But he possesses all the qualifications which Dr. Mercier disdains: a wide knowledge of the literature of his subject, personal experience of various aspects of it in several countries, a sensitive receptivity combined with a definite and broad outlook of his own, together with a singularly fair and judicial mind which seldom fails to take into consideration both sides of a question. It is in these qualities rather than in any novelty of ideas that Professor Parme-lee's work has its main value. To the English critic of the older school his attitude may well seem too radical; he probes too deeply for the comfort of those people who are content to live on the surface. Yet however, they may have been moulded in passing through his mind, Parmalee's ideas are in the main those which are now becoming generally accepted among criminolo-gists. If it were not so this volume would scarcely be a reliable text-book of the subject.

In accordance with the best general opinion among criminologists, and avoiding the extremists at each end who regard either heredity or economics as the sole sufficing cause, Parmelee believes that the factors of crime are in part internal and in part external. There is no specific instinct of crime; the motives of crime are ordinary human motives, although marked by abnormal strength, or more often by abnormal weakness of their inhibiting or controlling impulses. There is, therefore, no hard and fast line between criminals and the ordinary population. Classification still remains desirable, because it is useful in planning the treatment of criminals, but is still difficult because there are gradations between the different types. Parmelee proposes five classes or types into which it seems to him that criminals tend to fall: (1) the criminal ament or feeble-minded criminal; (2) the psychopathic criminal; (3) the professional criminal; (4) the occasional criminal, with the two sub-groups of (a) accidental criminal and (b) criminal by passion; (5) the evolutive criminal with the sub-group of the political criminal. The majority of criminals—it may even be 80 per cent.—belong to the professional and occasional groups, but the first group is the most significant, because it includes those criminals formerly called "born criminals" or "instinctive criminals," around whom so many battles have been fought in the past. No doubt it is best to describe them under some such heading as Dr. Parmelee sets up. They probably constitute only about 5 to 10 per cent, (though so high an authority as Goddard makes it at least 50 per cent.) of criminals, but even that is a proportion from ten to twenty times higher than among the general population, and this group is that to which belong those typical monsters of crime which most impress the popular imagination. At the other end, with the "evolutive" criminals, we are among the highest intellectual and moral individuals whom it is possible to class as criminals. Their motives are not, like those of the common criminal, anti-social, but social. They are protesting against an ill-adjusted condition of society and working towards a better society. They should, Professor Parmelee argues, be brought before a special tribunal. The maladjustment of society and the failure of rigid institutions to keep pace with democratic development is regarded as a source even of common crime. Such mal-adjustment is apt to be caused by a too rapid growth of the population, leading to an intensified struggle for existence and general evil social conditions, and Professor Parmelee urges "the supreme importance for the prevention of crime of the intelligent use of birth-control measures." In the section on Criminal Jurisprudence and Penology he discusses all the details of the administration of justice, and indicates the probable line of future reform, insisting, like most recent crimiuologists, on individualisation of treatment. He believes in a reasonable combination of the good points of the English and French systems. It is probable that juries will for most purposes ultimately be abolished, as the conditions under which they performed a valuable function are now passing away, while judges will receive a more special training for their tasks; the partisan medico-legal witness is doomed, and, even with trained and impartial experts, there should be a medico-legal court of appeal. A public defender also seems called for as well as a public prosecutor. We cannot expect, however, that the best methods of administering justice, the most humanitarian treatment of the criminal, or the most favourable social conditions, will ever entirely do away with crime. Even eugenic measures (about which Parmelee is scarcely hopeful at all) can at most remove some factors only of criminality. Goddard, who speaks with authority as the Research Director of the Vineland Training School, considers that, since at least two-thirds of mental defectives have inherited their defects, feeblemindedness as related to crime might be exterminated if we set our minds to the task. But Raymond Pearl, from the scientific biometrical side, has lately stated his belief that the difficulties are considerable and that many years would be needed for the task. It is not, however, only along the line of heredity that we may look for progress, but also along that of social environment. The problem of crime is one of expansion as well as of repression. The roots of criminality go deep into the structure of society, and in working for social freedom and equality, for the wholesome enlargement of society, we are also indirectly working for the abolition of crime. Human spontaneity is still limited far more than is desirable or necessary for social welfare. The special tasks of decreasing crime are thus finally merged in the larger task of increasing the scope of the normal life, or, as Parmelee would term it, that spontaneous expression of human nature on the widest basis in which civilization consists.


Havelock Ellis, 1932


This paper was published in the NATION, 17th April 1920.

IN Athens, as elsewhere in Europe, the war has left its mark. Everything is dear—the Athenians complacently declare that theirs is the dearest city in Europe—and the exchange, which had been rather artificially kept up, has at last dropped rapidly. In Athens, also, as elsewhere, a new rich class has come to the front, anxiously engaged, the Greeks say, in manicuring its coarse hands and invading the most select resorts of Athenian society. The delay in demobilising the army has caused scarcity of labour; it is cheaper to import potatoes from Holland than to grow them at home; the balance of imports and exports is heavily on the wrong side. At the same time, trains and trams are even more overcrowded than in London, and it is difficult to find a place to live in, so that hotels, however expensive, are crowded by Greeks.

With all this, Greece is gathering in the profits of her junction, however late, with the Allies. Maps are hung up outside the booksellers' shops, to be eagerly examined by intelligent people of all classes, anxious to know where those Greeks live who have now been restored to a fatherland which had never heard of them. The followers of the astute Venezelos in the Greek Parliament can triumphantly retort on his carping critics, and the portrait of Löyd-Tzorgz occupies an honoured place beside the new map. When I left Athens at the end of March, preparations were being made for a great celebration of the New Greece, with a brilliant illumination of the badly lighted streets, and salvos of artillery and public prayer. It only awaited the return of Venezelos from London. So it was really the same drama that was being staged in other countries more familiar to us. Only here the tragedy of the world seemed to be enacted, in a more playful manner, around more trivial incidents: Parliament was chiefly occupied when I was there over the introduction of a Bill to raise the price of newspapers from a penny to three halfpence. Moreover, as compared with Italy and still more with France, where conditions are now so hard, life is easy; there are no abnormal restrictions, and in spite of high prices most kinds of food are plentiful. Then there was, too, the background. The solemnity of the ancient traditions heightened the gaiety of their modern successors, and to the Northerner the surprise of the radiancy of southern Nature, in the long intervals between gales as fierce as those of London, combined in the total impression. Here amid the flowers and birds in the leafy walks of the Palace Garden one could realise, two months ahead, the rural delights of England, and on the rocky slopes of ancient heights, amid the wild oats and barley in ear, bloomed rich crimson poppies one could never expect to see in the harvest-fields at home. In this version and on this stage the tragedy of the world could be witnessed with a lighter heart than in the more sombre northern theatre. So that on being landed by an almost miraculous Fate at the Piraeus, I heaved a deep sigh of satisfaction.

It has been usual, even from ancient times, to speak evil of the Greek. The European business man (the Greeks often speak distantly of "Europe" as a place outside Greece) can seldom say too much evil of the Greek, though he is sometimes careful to place his stigma on the Greek of the Levant. Those who have had dealings with both Greeks and Turks always conclude in favour of the Turks. The captains of the ships that frequent the Mediterranean declare that nowhere do they encounter so much trouble and theft as at the Piraeus. It may be so. Yet all kinds of people go to make up a nation, and during a month in Greece I encountered no kind or degree of dishonesty worth serious complaint; cabmen and boatmen are, indeed, shamelessly extortionate—but that is the case everywhere—and so are hotel-keepers, but they may be said to have entered the respectable class of profiteers. The Greeks are no doubt commercially-minded, but they are not usually rapacious. Indeed, in all classes and occupations they are singularly free from any impulse to push themselves forward or to attract attention. They are not effusive or officious or obsequious; they regard themselves as democrats, they incline to avoid saying "Thank you," and scarcely seem to have any equivalent for the common "Sorry" of our London traffic. The Greek is by no means offensive, and he sees no need to apologise where clearly no offence was intended. That attitude seems characteristic of the Greek, and is certainly grateful to the tourist, though, since his special needs are ignored, the foreigner cannot easily make his way without a little knowledge of Greek. Not that there are many tourists in Athens. I only came across a single authentic specimen with a guidebook, and there was one painter at work, a Frenchman; miscellaneous parties from ships that call at the Piraeus spend a few hours strolling through the streets, and there are English families settled in Athens for business or work; but the Museums are mostly deserted save by a few straggling Greeks. The Greek has an easy and instinctive impulse of equality, a temperamental dislike of excess. Whatever poverty there may be in Athens, one misses its wretchedness, and whatever wealth the war may have brought, one fails to see its ostentation. At a quarter to eight the members come cheerfully trooping down the steps of the House of Parliament for dinner, mostly leaving on foot. It is the trains and the trams that are overcrowded; other vehicles are few; and one can enjoy the pleasure, rare in a capital city, of strolling along in the middle of the road, provided one preserves an eye for rare motor-cars, for these in Athens are recklessly and unskilfully driven, though the foot-passenger may console himself that they prove chiefly dangerous to themselves. Diligent exploration of the Athenian restaurants, again, reveals a singular general uniformity, although with slight individual shades of difference, and the prices marked on the "Catalogue of Foods" vary within the narrowest limits. I had more than once visited the most fashionable restaurant in Athens before any suspicion of its select character crossed my mind. In all things the Athenian avoids excess or ostentation; he is cheerful, temperate, moderate, reasonable. His supreme and instinctive virtue is sophrosyne.

It is for this reason, no doubt, that the Greeks, however amiable, are not an interesting people. Anyone who has been accustomed to watch the people of France or Spain, each so absorbingly interesting in its own way, or even the amusing populace of Italy, can find little of interest in Greece, however attractive we may consider its charming children, its ingenuous boys, its beautiful-browed girls, the dignified independence of its old peasant men and women. The reason is simple. Whatever opinion we may hold as to the continuity in Greece of the ancient Greek spirit, it is certain that in form the ancient traditions have been broken and lost, so that the Greek people have in manner and customs become crystallised afresh on a modern pattern, related to the ancient, yet different, precisely as Athens itself has slowly shifted northward and eastward during the past two thousand years to a less-encumbered site, and has grown up anew, a little French in character, a little German—a miniature Munich surrounded by a wide, ragged border of ruins and hovels.

The great waves of invasion that have swept over Greece have left the sedimentary traces of their passing, notably those of the Slavs and the Turks, not to mention the powerful but less coloured permeation by the Albanians. So that to-day, by innumerable little traits, we are reminded, now of Moscow, now of Constantinople. The Greeks drink coffee in the Turkish way and tea in the Russian way, and that fact is symbolic of a large part of their life. As might be expected, it is the Turkish element that is most obvious, and the delightful old Bazaar beside the Stoa of Hadrian is genuinely Oriental in form and spirit. It is certainly well to remember that the influences that have swept over this region have largely moved in a circle. Some scholars tell us that we can best form an idea of the life of ancient Athens from Cairo or Tunis. When the Turks, enriched by Byzantine culture, overran the land, Greece was merely Islamised by an influence that had already been doubly Hellenised, so that, however it may be with the old spirit, the old forms have been perpetuated.

Yet, however ancient its sophrosynic temperament, or however lacking in aboriginal interest—one may accept either alternative, or perhaps both—Athens as a modern city still has its own character. I should be inclined to say that this lay, most obviously, in a widespread taste for the little refinements of life. I have quoted the Athenian humorous complaint concerning the new profiteers who manicure their rough hands and resort to the fashionable pastry-cook shops. It is significant in its revelation of the Greek ideal. (How ancient this ideal of refinement, Athenaeus bears witness.) It has nothing to do with a sense for art. There is little art among the Athenians: they have quite a pretty taste in imitating classic architecture, and that seems all; there is no sculpture of any account, and no painting or music; while one would be puzzled to name any Greek writer in his own language who has attained European fame as poet or novelist. So that, unlike their ancient predecessors, the modern Greeks have no occasion in the exercise of a wise moderation to administer hemlock to a too prominent philosopher or to leave an outstanding sculptor languishing in prison. And if one goes, as one always should, to the Market, to learn the natural and spontaneous feeling for art of a people, I know no Market in Europe so sordid, ugly, loathsome, as that of Athens, while the mirrors and bad pictures with which even in poor quarters the walls of butchers' shops are unhappily adorned scarcely redeem the Market. Nor, again, is this taste for refinement due to any obvious predominance of women. On the contrary, even with a mobilised army, women are singularly little in evidence in the public places of Athens—an Oriental trait not to be accounted for by the well-known greater relative birthrate of males in Greece than in any other country.

Yet hairdressers abound in all quarters, as well as large flourishing shops of perfumers, with their allies the chemists; flower-shops are numerous and elaborately arranged, while flower-sellers come round the restaurant tables and not in vain. Boot-blacking establishments and boot-black boys are everywhere, for the Athenian is attentive to his feet; he will draw out his handkerchief after a shower and pause on the pavement to apply it to his boots; at the doors of restaurants and hotels a small boy is placed with a feather-brush to perform the same duties; and there are a prodigious number of shoe-shops displaying fashionable footwear all over them, inside and out. The modern Athenian shop, it may be noted, is admirably designed, a spacious, square, lofty, panelled hall, little encumbered by counters, and with its wares attractively exposed up the walls. I specially noted the well-equipped and intelligently served cosmopolitan book-shops—one would be glad to see their like in London—where the volume one asks for, even though it can scarcely be often in demand, is in a few moments brought trippingly forward by a smiling youth or girl. This widespread Athenian taste for the refinements of life seems to be typified in the rows of elegant little pepper trees planted along the streets wherever there is room for them, to make a delicate pattern against the sky.

It is the sky, after all, which is the supreme refinement of Attica, and, whatever else may or may not be classic, its most indubitably ancient possession. We have been taught for a century past that the classic Greek has disappeared from Attica. The doctrine is perhaps overdone; there are certainly many varied types here, and it is difficult not to believe that Greek blood and Greek influence still persist; many an old peasant with his almost frizzly hair and the special curves of his wrinkles seems to bring ancient busts vividly to life. However that may be, there can be no dispute about the atmosphere. There are no nightingales now on Kolonus; Plato might be puzzled to find the grove of Akademe; there is little temptation to lie on the banks of Ilissus, and the vase-painters who sketched the Fount of Kallirrhoë would scarcely recognise the dirty pool where washerwomen pursue their labours. But this rugged and arid land, sprinkled strangely with gay flowers, is still bathed as of old in a singularly lovely atmosphere. It is not one of deep or violent colour. There is always a little moisture in this maritime air, and the light, however clear to our Northern eyes, is tender and soft, luminous by day and by night, delicately tinctured at sunset or dawn, a radiant garment that is but rarely obscured. When, after sunrise, we approach the Piraeus from the sea, and the two tall black factory chimneys in the foreground weave a delicate garland of smoke for the distant city—violet-wreathed, they would call it of old—our first impression is of this lovely atmosphere. It may well be the last that remains with us.


This review of Professor Bury's book, THE IDEA OF PROGRESS: AN INQUIRY INTO ITS ORIGIN AND GROWTH, appeared in the NATION, 22nd May 1920. I may mention that the germ of my observations here on the idea of Progress can be found in the Preface, written before the war, to THE TASK of SOCIAL HYGIENE (1912).

PROFESSOR BURY, as we know, is the distinguished historian of Greece and the later Roman Empire, the editor of Gibbon, and the organiser of the forthcoming Cambridge Ancient History. He has also occupied himself with the history of thought, especially in what may be termed its rationalistic aspects, and his little History of Free Thought is a widely known popular handbook. It would not be easy to find anyone better equipped to set forth the history of the idea of Progress.

The idea of Progress, it is true, is an idea which the serious thinker—unless he has committed himself to the construction of a philosophic system of human perfectibility—only uses with precaution and many qualifications. But the multitude are not serious thinkers, and the idea of Progress involves a doctrine so comfortable to the average man, it lends itself so well to moods of self-complacency, and it apparently involves so little mental effort to understand, that it has become the most generally useful tool in the cheap rhetorician's bag, equally applicable to all audiences. When circumstances arise which render it less easy than usual to apply this convenient tool, the rhetorician and his audience are alike a little disconcerted, and fumble around awkwardly for something that they vaguely miss. Such circumstances have, as we know, arisen lately. So Professor Bury could not have chosen a better moment to put forth his book, which is all the more welcome since it is the first serious attempt in English to deal with its subject.

Progress, as we scarcely realise, is an entirely modern idea, scarcely two centuries old, though when it had once been grasped it rapidly gained favour and had its great flourishing time during the nineteenth century. The ancients knew nothing of it. Seneca alone—and it is a significant fact that he was one of the most ostentatiously rhetorical of classic authors—set forth his faith in a great future of constantly growing knowledge and endless discovery. Indeed, his conception of Progress was somewhat more comprehensive than that of most of its modern apostles, for he added: "Are you surprised to be told that human knowledge has not completed its task? Why, human wickedness has not yet fully developed!" But for the most part the idea of Progress was not only unknown to the classic world, it was opposed to its whole spirit. There was indeed no lack of progressive men or of the progressive spirit; mankind has never made such marvellous, manifold, and sudden progress in a single century as the Greeks of the Periclean Age witnessed. But the Greeks themselves distinguished the development of mere material and social improvement from their deeper religious and philosophic conception of the nature of the world as gradually receding from an original "Golden Age" of divine simplicity. So far from progress, there was, therefore, regress in the quality of the world. This conception furnished an inevitable prejudice in favour of social conservatism—often enough overcome in actual practice—but it helped the Ancient World to attain its serene and unequalled insight into the essential facts of life and saved it from the antics of arrogant self-complacency.

With the conquest of Christianity there was a total change in the spiritual atmosphere. Yet it remained even more unfavourable for the idea of Progress. There was still a primitive Golden Age of simplicity from which Man had fallen, and the road of any advance towards a great future on earth was effectually barred by setting up a great future in another world, only to be won by the efforts of the individual soul in detaching himself from this present base world and disinteresting himself of its concerns, present or future; there might also be a millennium on earth, but that would not be brought about by Man, but only by Divine fiat. The idea of Progress could not possibly arise if the world was in the last stages of degeneration and ready to be destroyed at any moment. The idea of an intervening Providence, which came in to support this conception, was also scarcely compatible with any idea of Progress, and the further subsidiary principle of ecclesiastical authority was actively hostile to it. This principle of authority, extended to the classic authors whose superiority to those of mediaeval times could not fail to be recognised, not only stood in the way of any idea of Progress, but impeded Progress itself. There was indeed Roger Bacon, but, as Professor Bury makes clear, it is a mistake to associate that wonderful Franciscan friar with the idea of Progress, for, though he boldly asserted the claims of direct experiment in science, he retained the fundamental ideas of his time.

The Renaissance, so great an age of Progress, the age of a thinker like Leonardo da Vinci, whose vision penetrated to the farthest distance ever granted to men, effected nothing for the idea of Progress. It was indeed more unfavourable than even Christianity to any such idea, for it was based on a new veneration for the ancients as the great founts of Art and Knowledge.

It was, however, the spirit introduced by the Renaissance which was destined in the end to prepare the way for the idea of Progress. Authority—the authority of the past—had become the chief obstacle to the emergence of such an idea. But to enter fully into the spirit of the ancients, as the Renaissance men were at last able to do, was to reject the principle of authority and to turn to Nature. The last stage of the Renaissance, which may be said to end in the early part of the seventeenth century, was thus decisive for the history of the idea of Progress.

Bodin and Le Roy prepared the way by introducing more rational conceptions of universal history, thereby casting aside the lingering belief in a primitive Golden Age and discrediting the notion of the gradual deterioration of the world. Francis Bacon also came forward with his magnificent message of augmented knowledge in a Great Renovation. But it was Descartes who, more than any other man, made possible the idea of Progress.

Professor Bury points out that this idea is peculiarly French. Not only in it full-blown shape but even in its early germ it grew up on French soil. There is no more essential expression of the French spirit than Cartesianism. It was out of the spirit of Descartes, the most transforming influence on thought the seventeenth century produced, and out of Cartesianism, which was "equivalent to a Declaration of the Independence of Man," that the theory of Progress was developed. Cautious though he was about the particular applications of his principles, Descartes cleared out of the way the whole intellectual edifice of the past with his two fundamental axioms: the supremacy of reason and the invariability of natural law. He believed, moreover, that the advance of knowledge involved moral advance, and he had at first proposed to call his Discourse on Method "the Project of a Universal Science which can elevate our Nature to its highest degree of Perfection." The absolute authority of tradition was now overthrown; it began to occur to many that the "ancients," after all, belonged to the childhood of the race, and that it is to the moderns that the title "ancient" more properly belongs. The earlier Cartesians hesitated to push the doctrine of Progress to an extreme. The wise Fontenelle, who developed it admirably on the intellectual side, not only admitted that there might be breaks in the advance of knowledge, but refused to extend the idea of Progress to morals, since the heart of Man does not change with the fashions of his mind. But the younger Cartesians were more adventurous. The Abbé de Saint-Pierre, above all, with his exuberant and extravagantly sanguine temperament, throwing out the seeds of new projects, sometimes fruitful, sometimes sterile and absurd, on every side, definitely carried the idea of Progress from the scientific sphere into morals and society, so becoming a leader in the great revolutionary movement of the eighteenth century. He it was who first loudly proclaimed the new creed of Man's indefinite progress in all directions. After that there was little more to do than to elaborate and intensify that creed. This was mainly done by the French encyclopaedists—though Diderot saw too many of the aspects of Nature to be unduly carried away by the new doctrine—and the distinguished thinkers more or less associated with them, such as Condorcet, Holbach, and Helvétius. Then, in the nineteenth century, the idea of Progress received a new and powerful impetus by being incorporated into Anarchism by Godwin and his disciple Shelley, "the poet of perfectibility," and into Socialism by Saint-Simon, Robert Owen, and Marx.

Finally came Comte, who, in laying the foundations of sociology, sought to make the idea of Progress its regulative principle, and Herbert Spencer, the philosopher of evolution, who adopted the theory of the transmissibility of acquired characters and postulated an ever-increasing harmony between Man and his environment, so developing the idea of Progress to its last limits; it was largely his wide influence which spread abroad the comfortable though not altogether legitimate notion that Evolution and Progress are one.

In his broad and admirable presentation of this important chapter in the history of human ideals, Professor Bury throughout holds the balance even. He presents the idea of Progress with sympathy, almost with enthusiasm, but at the same time he preserves an attitude of genial scepticism. Faith in Progress, he states, is like any other faith—faith in Providence or faith in personal immortality. You are free to accept it or to reject it, but you cannot cither prove it or disprove it. His own personal attitude may nevertheless be divined. He refers in one place, rather vaguely, to Mr. Balfour's Inaugural Address at Glasgow in 1891 as never having been answered, and in that slight but cogent discussion of Progress, it may be recalled, Mr. Balfour not only pointed out that the best efforts of Man have not been inspired by any faith in a millennium, but definitely disavowed belief in any such future, only admitting improvement in the human environment, and that by constant effort and not by inevitable fate. It is true that Professor Bury dedicates his History to the memory of Saint-Pierre, Condorcet, Comte, Spencer, "and other optimists mentioned in this volume." But should this message reach the abode of those august Shades they will be well advised not to look beyond the Dedication. For if Saint-Pierre, for instance, still impulsively sanguine, should eagerly turn to the chapter which bears his name, he will find it set down among the flowers scattered over his memory that he was unphilosophical, superficial, narrow, almost naïf, and a little vulgar. There is perhaps a touch of irony in this use of the word "optimist," more than once occurring in the volume, for Professor Bury cannot fail to be aware that it is scarcely legitimate. A man is an optimist or a pessimist not by his opinions concerning the fate of the world in some indefinitely remote future, but by his estimate of the value of life here and now. No view regarding the ultimate future is incompatible with optimism, and when Whitman declared that "There will never be any more perfection than there is now," he would have been surprised to learn that he was a pessimist. If the great spirits of antiquity were all pessimists, the name becomes a title of honour; and though there may be some grounds for regarding Christianity as a pessimistic religion, Christians have never accepted the appellation. It is, indeed, a little futile to apply the label of pessimism to everyone who had the misfortune to be born before the eighteenth century, however glorious we may reckon that century to be.

Professor Bury's book is, as he is careful to point out, "a purely historical inquiry," and involves no judgment on the general validity of the idea of Progress. In unrolling the historical picture he is compelled to glide without a qualm from one to another of the most disparate aspects of the idea. It is evident that, valuable as it is, such a book as this needs to be supplemented by another, setting forth an analysis of the idea of Progress. Progress in the lump, rolling in all directions at once, with the varying impetus which generations of totally unlike people—Materialists and Idealists, Christians and Agnostics, Individualists and Socialists—have imparted to it, is an impossible monster. It may well be said that the acceptance of the idea of it is "an act of faith." Even the pedestrian metaphor involved in the very name of "Progress" suggests a more rational conception. We cannot "walk forward" anywhere without discrimination; we must needs leave much that we cherish behind; we must needs reject many excellent paths when we choose one. If we break up the idea of Progress, we may find it consist of components with widely varying degrees of validity. Elie Faure, a critic of penetrating though often disorderly insight, writing on civilisation in a book La Danse sur le Feu et l'eau, which is of even more recent appearance than Professor Bury's, recognises three main possible forms of progress—aesthetic, moral, and scientific—of which the last is alone undeniable without any act of faith. It is, at the same time, he points out, the only one which is limited to the construction of a tool, a tool certainly that may be used to great ends, yet still worth no more than the men who use it. Instead of the word "Progress" Faure would prefer the more precise expression, "the realisation of a new equilibrium," which allows for varying differences in the quality of the ages, the nineteenth century being, in Faure's opinion, "without doubt one of the least civilised in History."

Although Professor Bury insists on the preoccupation of the French with the idea of Progress, he makes no mention of Remy de Gourmont's pregnant conception of "the law of intellectual constancy"—accepted as probable by so distinguished a thinker as Jules de Gaultier—according to which every species is provided with only a limited and constant power, the nature of its achievements being conditioned by the environmental level on which it happens to be placed. That view is supported by the recent tendency of anthropologists to recognise that what we regard as the modern species of Man really existed at a vastly remote epoch, with just the same physical conformation and the same brain capacity as he possesses to-day. So also it is with a civilisation or, as Faure would call it, the style of a people. A civilisation is not indefinitely modifiable, and when it is unable to struggle with hostile conditions it gives place to another more apt, but springing, not from itself, though some of its achievements may be handed on, but from an originally lower human level. The conditions of the present age favour the contact of civilisations, but it is not clear that the result is a new style; it may only be a chaotic confusion of styles.

Putting aside these considerations, and returning to the historical standpoint, it is plausible to hold with Professor Bury that "the animating and controlling idea of western civilisation," during the latest small period of the world's history culminating in the Great War, has been the idea of Progress. Whether it will continue to be so we cannot tell. Professor Bury suggests that the idea of Progress, adopted in a certain not very advanced stage of civilisation, itself involves its own supersession, when a new idea will usurp its place in the direction of humanity. What idea the Protean and infinitely rich spirit of Man may thus put forth, he wisely neglects to indicate.


This review of Dr. Lothrop Stoddard's THE RISING TIDE OF COLOUR, published in New York, appeared in the NATION, llth July 1920.

THE expansion of the White race during the period between the discovery of America and the Russo-Japanese War is the leading fact in the recorded history of Man. At first mainly confined to a small corner of the continental earth mass, this race now occupies four-tenths of the entire habitable land-area of the globe, while nearly nine-tenths of the whole area are under its political control; almost one-third of the human beings on earth to-day are Whites; they have become the most numerous branch of the human species. Such a situation—impossible even to conceive five hundred years ago—has, so far as we know, never occurred before.

Had the wisdom of the White race been equal to its strength and to its extravagant procreative activity, this situation, however extraordinary, would still not have involved any crucial race problem for the world. It would have been a problem for individual peoples here and there, a problem of which they would no doubt sometimes have died, as now happens, while yet the main change of balance might have been effected without great upheavals or permanent friction. But the White race has not been conspicuous for wisdom in the sphere of world politics; its civilisation has been too materialistic—"one-sided, abnormal, unhealthy," in the words of Dr. Stoddard—and hence it is that in this twentieth century the world is faced by what the author of this book calls the "Crisis of the Ages."

Dr. Stoddard is an American, a graduate of Harvard, and a citizen of New York, and like many Americans, aware that they have to attract the attention of a vast hustling audience absorbed in its own activities over an enormous area, he is inclined to address it through a megaphone, in the strong, simple, emphatic language that instrument demands. His message has thus to be a little discounted, but even when that allowance is made, it remains a message it concerns us to hear, and it is delivered with force and knowledge. It is well to remember that his conclusions are, after all, fundamentally in harmony with those of sober and judicial observers in Europe; it is enough to mention Professor Demangeon's recent book, Le Déclin de l'Europe. Dr. Stoddard makes no claim to be a man of science, and on that account, for the Introduction to his book, he calls on Mr. Madison Grant, who is closely in touch with biology, geography, and anthropology, but here makes some rather disputable statements. The author of the book regards himself simply as a student of world politics. In that capacity he has already published some notable writings on the wider aspects of the Great War as well as a purely historical study of The French Revolution in San Domingo, which he regards as a prologue to the mighty drama of our own day, the first real shock between the ideals of White supremacy and race equality. His weakness, as has already been hinted, is a tendency to over-statement, a tendency which will unduly imperil the success of his thesis in the judgment of many. Is is thus that he lays so much stress on the Nordic peoples of Europe that he would seem at times to regard them as the only valuable element in Europe. That would be a shallow and even false view. The Nordic peoples, or fair long-heads, are widely regarded as simply an early off-shoot of the Mediterranean peoples, the dark long-heads, while the third remaining element in Europe, the Alpine roundheads, is so closely associated and blended with the other two, that we need not view with too much alarm any forecasts of the fate of the unmixed Nordics, who are likely at all events to survive in combinations which, on the Mendelian principles our author accepts, will preserve their qualities intact. In the same way Dr. Stoddard makes here and there considerable play with the bogey of Bolshevism. That also may be premature, for we do not yet know whether the Bolshevist impulse will survive, and we do not know whether if it survives it will be altogether transmuted or continue in its original form; nor do we know, in the last case, whether it will mean regress or a new and fruitful progress. To describe it as "the arch enemy of civilisation and the race" is, at the present stage, merely the vanity of ignorance.

Dr. Stoddard's strength lies, however, in a department where most of us are weak. He has a close grip of world politics; his outlook is wide; he has a detailed knowledge of racial problems and racial propaganda all over the world. He is one of the first to realise comprehensively the fateful bearing of the Great War on the larger problems of the world. He became convinced more than ten years ago that it is upon the quality of human life that all else depends, and that the keynote of twentieth-century world-politics would be the relation between the primary human races, White and Coloured, so that he comes before us well prepared to analyse the various aspects of that relation, "whose importance for the future of mankind," he declares, "far transcends the questions which engross its attention to-day."

The war, and still more the "peace," have been potent in stirring these problems into acute activity, but it would be a mistake to suppose that either the one or the other generated them. They were bound to arise sooner or later and were becoming active years before the war. There had indeed for a long time been a slow educational process at work among the Coloured races of the world, a process in part imitative of the White world and in part critical, but in both aspects leading to an unrest which was further stimulated by the White world's attitude of haughty and domineering superiority. The reality of that superiority was, however sullenly, still accepted even as recently as 1904. Then it was that the Russo-Japanese War effected a complete revolution in the Coloured mind, primarily in Asia and secondarily everywhere. Its momentous character, Dr. Stoddard believes, is not even now fully appreciated. Before that war ideas of revolt had been seething half-unconsciously in millions of Coloured minds. But henceforth those ideas were clarified and dramatised; a new joy and hope thrilled through Coloured veins, and the legend of White invincibility lay henceforth, a shattered idol, in the dust. Yet it was still possible, and even imperative, to feel high respect for White power and White civilisation. But then, ten years later, came the Great War, and the work of destruction was completed. The White race was exhibited before the whole world engaged in a fratricidal conflict of the most ruthless and inhuman kind that could be conceived, and the lesson was not lost on the Coloured spectators. It was the less likely to be lost since they were themselves in part forced to take a hand in it by their maddened and blinded White masters. They were trained and encouraged to conquer and destroy the White man by his own methods; they were brought wholesale over to Europe into the closest contact with White civilisation, and shown its hollowness and its shams. No wonder that the seeds have all been sown which are now germinating, and promising a sad harvest for the White man to be the reaper of, or rather, our author suggests, to be the reaped.

The Coloured world has missed nothing of the spectacle, but has followed it all with the most intelligent interest. A large part of this volume is given up to detailed exposition of the racial situation to-day among the four great main divisions of the Coloured population of the world—Yellow, Brown, Red, and Black. These four chapters are full of instruction regarding the present attitude and aspirations of the peoples in question as witnessed by their most conspicuous spokesmen. Everywhere we see the same Renascence, the outcome of the pregnant events of the past fifteen years, in energetic reaction against White domination. It is the Yellow race, led by Japan, already master of all the scientific secrets of the West, and the Brown race of the Nearer East, in which ferments the forceful and ever-expanding leaven of Islam, that are the protagonists of this Renascence. The Black peoples, however restless and discontented, are comparatively inoffensive and in any case easy to placate, while the American Indians are a small and diminishing race. But the Yellow and Brown peoples are not only by far the most capable, they are also by far the most numerous. They already outnumber the Whites by nearly two to one, and at the present time they are expanding at a more rapid rate. This result has been largely brought, about by White domination, putting down local wars, combating epidemic disease, and improving the food supply. "That this profound Asiatic renaissance will eventually result in the substantial elimination of White political control from Anatolia to the Philippines is as natural as it is inevitable."

Looking at the matter, as Dr. Stoddard looks at it, from the White and more especially the Nordic standpoint, which is that of England even more than of America, the danger that menaces our position in the immediate future, and our very existence in the more remote future, is threefold: the peril of arms, the peril of markets, and the peril of migrations. The Coloured military peril, the author thinks, is often exaggerated, though he is careful to add that exact forecast is impossible. The Japanese have become the approved match of a Western power alike on land and sea, and though the Chinese are pacific they have had their bellicose moments and might easily again, especially under the leadership of Japan, which would then become by far the mightiest military power in the world. The industrial menace to the White world, already foreseen by Pearson thirty years ago, is a more certain danger, likely to act partly by the development of the world's natural resources, destroying the White man's chief present source of prosperity, and partly by a deliberate resolve of the exasperated Coloured peoples to boycott White industrial activities. Most potent of all these dangers, however, is migration. For a long time past the Coloured world has been pressing on the domain held, but by no means always utilised, by the White world, which is frequently even constitutionally incapable of utilising them. Natural expansion and human justice imperatively demand such migrations. The White barriers built to hold them back are completely artificial. The White labourer can nowhere, absolutely nowhere—Dr. Stoddard is here even more than usually emphatic—compete with the Coloured labourer. The more we approach to Democracy, to the supremacy of Labour, to the Directorate of the Proletariat, the more inevitable we are rendering the Dictatorship of the Coloured man and his right to settle where he will. Yet "such migrations upset standards, sterilise better stocks, increase low types, and compromise national futures more than war, revolutions, or native deterioration." The author brings forward the examples of Natal, Mauritius, and Hawaii, new outposts of Asia, which indicate the directions in which the rising tide of Colour is flowing.

Dr. Stoddard possesses, however, all the temperamental optimism and self-confidence of the White Nordic man, whose champion he remains throughout. He refuses even to consider whether it is reasonable to expect that a race which has only risen to prominence during the past four centuries—a minute fragment of the world's history—should henceforth remain predominant for ever; he seems unable even to conceive that the impartial whirligig of time may quite easily dispense with the White man, and bring younger, fresher races to the top. He is content to concern himself mainly with the measures which may contribute to the maintenance of White supremacy, if not for ever, at all events a little longer. Since, by the prejudice of colour, we must mostly be on his side in this matter, we may profitably meditate on the reasonable considerations he brings forward.

There are three points in Dr. Stoddard's "irreducible minimum" of immediate action: (1) The "wretched Versailles business" must be thoroughly revised, before the dragon's teeth it has sown all over Europe and Asia have had time to take root and produce a crop of cataclysms which will assuredly seal the White man's doom; (2) an amicable understanding must be arrived at between the White world and renascent Asia—we abandoning our tacit assumption of permanent domination over Asia, and the Asiatics forgoing their dream of occupying White lands and penetrating Africa and Latin America—for, in the absence of such agreement, the world will drift into a gigantic race-war; (3) migrations of lower types, even within the White world, such as those which have worked havoc in the United States, must be rigorously curtailed.

These steps, the author believes, if taken in time, will give our wounds a chance to heal, and permit the operation of larger measures which must necessarily be gradual. They will allow time for the biological revelations of modern times to penetrate the popular consciousness and transfuse our materialism with a new idealism. Slowly we may expect that the supreme importance of heredity, and the immensely greater weight that belongs to quality over quantity in the production of stock, will generate a true race-consciousness, bridge political gulfs, remedy social abuses, and purify the impulses of race mixture. It will also allow time—though on this point the author is less emphatic than his sense of the immense dangers of excessive fertility would lead us to expect—for the extension of birth-control. The old checks on the increase of population have largely fallen away; that is why we see to-day the excessive fertility which threatens to drown the whole world in blood. "The real enemy of the dove of peace," as Dr. Stoddard puts it, "is not the eagle of pride or the vulture of greed, but the stork." The new interest which to-day Japan and China and India are taking in birth-control is the most significant movement of our time. We are about to witness, not merely in Europe, but in Asia, a fateful race between the brute instinct of unchecked procreation and the reasoned and deliberate impulse of birth-control, and on the issue of that race the existence of our civilisation will depend.

Dr. Stoddard is sanguine. Yet, in spite of his enthusiasm for the White race and his willingness to fight in the last ditch for its defence, he admits a doubt. Everything has to be paid for, and the White world has not been conspicuous for reasonableness, or justice, or humanity. We have failed to adapt ourselves to the radically new conditions which modern science has produced. The mysteries of heredity are being revealed to us, but we are still content to tinker at the environment; we remain simply euthenists instead of eugenists. Our whole urban and industrial life is avowedly dysgenic. The diminishing value of our racial stocks is reflected in the folly of our statesmen, heedless that the crisis we approach is of their own creation, reckless that if they make possible another White civil war our whole civilisation will collapse by the sheer weight of its own imbecility. We may find such consolation as we can in the likelihood that the White world will last our time. For, as they said of old time in a clumsy metaphor that was yet a true intuition of the facts of heredity, when the fathers eat sour grapes it is their children's teeth that are set on edge.


This review of WARFARE IN THE HUMAN BODY, by Morley Roberts, appeared in the NATION of 20th November 1920.

MR. MORLEY ROBERTS has long been known as a novelist. He has experimented in more than one field of fiction, aided therein by an adventurous life on land and sea, at one time before the mast, in various parts of the world. It is less well known that Mr. Morley Roberts is also a patient and laborious student of biological and especially pathological problems, and in no amateurish spirit, but combining a wide vision with accurate and precise knowledge of details. If any testimony is needed to the claim that Mr. Roberts must be taken seriously in the field he has so daringly entered, it is furnished in the Introduction to this book by the distinguished Conservator of the Museum of the College of Surgeons, who, in the course of it, mentions his surprise when he discovered that "Morley Roberts, the erudite writer on medical and allied problems, was the same Morley Roberts who is known in Bohemia as an artist of noted skill with pen and brush."

In seeking to explain this remarkable phenomenon, Professor Keith invokes the example of Pasteur who, after gaining reputation in chemistry, turned with the scientific skill thus acquired to a totally different science, and revolutionised our conception of disease. But, as Professor Keith realises, the example scarcely illustrates the case of Mr. Roberts. The "Bohemia" in which it is claimed Mr. Roberts was trained, is not a recognised school of scientific research. We may perhaps think, rather, of Samuel Butler who, on the foundation of a general literary and scholarly culture, devoted himself to difficult biological problems, with results which, though in his own time regarded with a disdain which he himself provoked, are now seen to be in the line of much recognised scientific thought. In some respects also he closely resembles the accomplished and versatile editor of the international journal, Scientia, Eugenio Rignano, who, disclaiming competence in any special science, has insisted, like Mr. Roberts, on the fertilising effects of bringing the ideas gained in one field of science into contact with another, as is set forth in his highly suggestive Essays in Scientific Synthesis, not long since issued in an English dress. Even within the sphere of the various medical and allied sciences the illuminating results of what Rignano calls "unifying vision" in bringing two or three sciences together, have sometimes been seen, as in Sir J. Bland Sutton's attractive little book in the Contemporary Science Series on Evolution and Disease (to which Mr. Roberts does justice) and in Dr. Woods Hutchinson's fascinating Studies in Comparative Pathology; while before and beyond these we have the inspiring example of Virchow, one of the greatest Masters of Medicine, who brought so many fields of knowledge within the vast range of his vision.

The special formative influence on Mr. Roberts's scientific work has doubtless been the personal experiences which have brought him into many-sided contact with human society in various parts of the world. His primary guiding idea, as he makes clear, is the existence of an analogy between society and the physical organism. We know society, Mr. Roberts argues, in some respects much better than we know the human body, and applying by analogy what we know of society to the body we may further scientific knowledge. The idea is not, of course, original (it is found, for instance, in Woods Hutchinson, whose explanation of cancer was along the same path as Mr. Roberts's), but it is doubtless just now "in the air," and we may see it, for instance, in the newly published work, Symbiosis: A Socio-Physiological Study of Evolution, by Mr. Reinheimer, a scientific writer who resembles Mr. Roberts in freedom from professional scientific prepossessions, although he has behind him a medical education, but, unlike Mr. Roberts, emphasises the complicated reciprocity of symbiosis rather than its latent hostility. Mr.

Roberts seems still a little obsessed by the atmosphere of the late war which, having Prussianised our military ideas, seems now seeking to do the same for our scientific ideas. At the end of his book he inserts an admittedly rather unrelated address which he delivered to officers in 1915 for their instruction in the conduct of war. Here, we may note, he begins by describing with a prophet's inspiration, "the splendid natural activity of a military life," as he had observed it in Essex, but then, following an opposed course to that other prophet inspired beyond his own will, Balaam the son of Beor, he swiftly turns round to tell these unfortunate officers that they are just "grist for the military mill," and finally declares that an army is nothing but "an organised crowd in action," and that a crowd is beastly, reptilian, savage, mad, devilish. All very true, no doubt, but scarcely helpful to Mr. Roberts's scientific argument.

In this connection Mr. Roberts brings forward a rather unnecessary defence of analogy. It is well recognised that analogy is a most valuable and indeed inevitable mode of progressing in thought. But one or two points of resemblance do not constitute a good analogy when they are counterbalanced by strong points of dissemblance. The analogy of society and an organism only becomes sound when we have in view some organism very low in the scale of life, for the higher organisms have this crucial point of dissemblance from society The Novelist turned Biologist in that their units have become structurally and not merely functionally modified. It is much the same with the attempt to find biological analogies with war (not quite happily embodied in the title of the book), which certainly Mr. Roberts never found in the Lectures on Pathology of Dr. H. G. Sutton—that man of little recognised genius who first inspired Mr. Roberts to enter this field—for the lesson which it seemed to Sutton pathology taught is that of harmony and love, and he was indeed almost a mystic. (A characteristic sentence may here be quoted from Button's Lectures: "I often feel that I would like to take the students and with them sit upon the earth naked, to know, to feel, to get our senses into Nature's widespread operations, to enable us to be a unity with the One.") Symbiosis—the relationship of mutual aid between two groups of cell colonies or organisms—may, Mr. Roberts argues, alike in society and in the human body, become a self-protection against mutual encroachment, an "armed neutrality," a "subdued hostility." In generalising this idea he refers to the already recognised view that the bones are constructed on the mechanical principles of the thrust given and received that are employed in architecture. The body is built after the same rules as a cathedral. Mr. Roberts regards this as a kind of warfare, and uncritically adopts the saying: "Gothic architecture is a fight." But the essence of war is violence. In reality Mr. Roberts knows this quite well, and when he proceeds to describe the beautifully adjusted balance of opposing forces in these examples of man's and Nature's art, the exact mutual adjustment and harmony of thrusts (for even disease, in Mr. Roberts's view, is not destructive violence, but often a beneficial process of repair), he is describing something that in no way corresponds to war. It is only when this harmonious and adjusted opposition breaks down and ends in confused violence that we have what may be analogous to war. To describe a beautifully calculated and harmonious balance of forces as itself a warfare is thus the exact opposite of the truth.

To bring forward these preliminary critical considerations is not, even in the smallest degree, to discount the value of Mr. Roberts's work. For as soon as he comes to the details of his inquiry he is always careful, precise, and cautious, never seeking to state as certain what he recognises as merely a tentative explanation. This method is admirably illustrated by the chapter in which he seeks to explain the cause of cancer, starting from a consideration of the skin inflammation caused by X-rays, and seeking for light, as he puts it, "not only in the lesser laboratory, but in the great laboratory of life all round us." The phenomena of zoological and political symbiosis are closely alike. We are all potental criminals at the mercy of excitation and inhibition. "All growth may be analysed into excitation and inhibition." "Malignancy," or invasiveness, is characteristic of all growing tissue, and growth is ruled by the endocrine organs, so that it is not absurd to put cancers into related sub-classes with giantism and similar diseases connected with excess or defect of internal secretions. When we proceed to examine the precise mechanism of cancer, we find it consists in the mutual relations of epithelium and connective tissue. It is in their mutual influence and its excesses and defects, in the symbiosis between the two tissues, that Mr. Roberts finds the real explanation of sarcoma and epithelioma; irritation, infection, and the other alleged causes being real factors in the matter, but merely secondary. "Anything that throws the organism out of gear is a possible factor of malignancy, and that is the reason why, with the increase of wealth, a new and highly varied environment, which tends to produce variation, makes for the increase of such disease," though, one may comment, Mr. Roberts will find plenty of cancer among people living the simplest lives of routine in the most peaceful rural districts, and there is much to be said for those who lay stress in this connection on the isolation of a physiologically decadent organ in an organism generally robust and well nourished. Malignancy is a failure of developmental machinery. But whether or not this is a final explanation of cancer, and Mr. Roberts modestly disclaims anything but a provisional result, we feel that a highly difficult and debated question has been put on a broad and rational foundation and illuminated from several sides. The discussion well illustrates Mr. Roberts's argument that "the divisions between physiology, pathology, and biology are responsible in a very large measure for the slowness with which they all advance."

The next essay, on Repair in Evolution (followed up by a subsequent essay, on Heredity and Environment), furnishes a yet more wide-reaching suggestion, the more notable because of its temerity in questioning a widely accepted belief. But, as Mr. Roberts truly remarks: "Every Bible is first a book of revelation and then a refuge for reaction."

Darwin held that evolution is mainly due to small fortuitous variations which are transmitted when favourable and eliminated when unfavourable. This doctrine Mr. Roberts here queries. What, he asks, do we mean by "disadvantageous" or injurious? If we believe, what has often been stated, that growth takes place in reaction to stress, just in the same way as in engineering and architecture, we may have to realise that "the function of disease in evolution is of much greater importance than that of mere elimination." If we realise the processes found in every kind of human constructive effort, we may come to see that all great variational developments result, not from the happy-go-lucky aggregation of small advantageous variations, or from discontinuous variations, Mendelian or not, but from repair in response to partial failure, a reaction, that is to say, to some actual or threatened breakdown, analogous to the buttress by which the architect meets the outward thrust of his walls which might otherwise threaten to fall. "Variation in the structure of living organisms follows exactly the same principle." The mammal, with all its complexity, may be regarded as the result of infinite ages of functioned failure or disease, met by processes of reaction and repair. The variation itself may be a failure of normal function, but if the few that recover become a new species, a mended race, it is no longer disease, and may even prove truly advantageous. In illustration the example of the heart is happily invoked, "a perfect museum of extraordinary failures and dislocations, compensated for by an extraordinary complication of patched-up tissues, moulded and remoulded on the general lines of mechanical construction, breakdown, and repair." We learn to see that "by failure itself may come eventual perfection." We cannot here invoke random spontaneous variations. It seems obvious that there has been a series of caused variations due to increased and varying stresses, just as happens in an aneurism. Probably the human heart is even now being remoulded, perhaps chiefly while still in the womb, responding with plastic embryonic tissues to new stresses. The stomach has developed similarly, and Mr. Roberts suggests that dilatation of the stomach, which today is a disordered condition, may eventually become balanced with the rest of the organism, and even prove a permanently advantageous modification. Every variation, he feels fortified to maintain, is definitely caused; it is not accidental or spontaneous. Every organism is a complex of definite reactions to definite stresses. "Life is built up by stopping leaks." This argument obviously assumes that such reactions are hereditary, and Mr. Roberts believes that organisms do tend to repeat themselves, invoking as regulators in this field the action of the internal secretions, which we know, in fact, to have so profoundly regulative an action: "In this way a bridge may perhaps be built between the orthodox Weismannian and the Lamarckian."

In subsequent essays, sweeping away mere verbal attempts at explanation, and in his characteristic way enlarging the basis of generalisation, Mr. Roberts deals with the alleged "inhibitory" action of the vagus nerve on the heart, and with the theory of "immunity," which he seeks to reduce to the general fact that "living protoplasm develops machinery to deal with the assault it undergoes." Mr. Roberts seems less happily inspired in a subsequent excursion into the sphere of anthropology, on the place of cannibalism in human evolution. Accepting, as is now widely done, the validity of Remy de Gourmont's law of Intellectual Constancy (but making no reference to that famous thinker), and proceeding to inquire how it was that man so early acquired his high intellectual level, he hazards the supposition that it was the pursuit by war of his fellows for the purpose of food, and the peculiar dietetic value of that food, producing a more rapid development of cerebral and mental characteristics than has been possible since the practice was discontinued. He reasserts, and with more emphasis than ever, the old-fashioned views as to the primitive origin alike of war and of cannibalism, without even troubling to discuss the investigations and discussions of writers like Holsti, J. C. Wheeler, and W. J. Perry on war, and of Westermarck on cannibalism. It cannot even be said that he pauses to consider whether the alleged results of cannibalistic diet are in fact seen among peoples adopting it. The objection to the view he puts forward is not, as Mr. Roberts seems to think, that it is shocking to some people—for that is no matter—but that it fails to take account of a vast number of relevant facts and considerations. The place of the imagination in science, which Mr. Roberts invokes, is undisputed, but even anthropology is not a completely free field for imagination to disport in, and, if it were, others besides Mr. Roberts would be able to dance in it, and to quite different tunes.

Yet while these essays may differ in value—and it would seem that it is in those of pathological subject that Mr. Roberts has his "unifying vision" most under control—they are nearly all well worthy the attention of thoughtful readers who will not be repulsed by the technical terms that are sometimes inevitable. There is, however, something more to be said about them. They will bring to some readers a sense of fresh air, of joyous exhilaration, such as is too rarely experienced by contact with the subjects here discussed. The tendency of science is ever more and more towards specialisation. The worker must shut himself in to the contemplation of problems that every day become smaller relatively to the whole vast field, and every day leave him with less spare time to cast a glance over that vast field. The giants of old days could work in large and fruitful ways, which even for them would be impossible in our time. Leonardo da Vinci—all whose training for science was in art, yet a supreme master of science—by virtue of his courageous and single-eyed devotion to Nature wherever she might lead, by virtue also of his calm and piercing vision into the actual facts of the world, could pass from one sphere of observation to another, laying the foundations of a dozen sciences as he went. There will never be another Leonardo. But still, now and again, some humble disciple appears in the school of which he was the glorious master. When we chance to come across one, let us be glad.


Dr. Alphonse Maeder of Zurich published in 1918 his book on healing and development in the psychic life: HEILUNG UND ENTWICKLUNG. My review of it, here reprinted, appeared in the JOURNAL OF MENTAL SCIENCE for July 1921.

DR. MAEDER is a notable representative of the Swiss school of psycho-analysis. In these lectures, on the significance of psychoanalysis for modern life, delivered during the war to students at Geneva and at Lausanne, and now published in German and in French, he brings forward an interesting exposition of the special doctrines of that school in their wider relations. The author regards these relations as very wide. The old world, he feels, has been overthrown by the insanity of the warring nations. Now, he declares, is the time for psycho-analysis to come in. It has proved its power to heal the individual; it must now prove its power to heal the nations, explaining to them that salvation is not to be attained by destroying each other, but in the free development of the individuality of each nation, in harmony with the whole. "The idea of regeneration—self-healing in the psychic life—governs this work." One fears, however, that that is an idea hardly fashionable as yet among the belligerent nations.

For Dr. Maeder the psycho-analytic movement is a reaction against the prevailing spirit of the nineteenth century. He regards that age as one of mere intellectualism and mechanism, an age of materialism in science and impressionism in art, an age which found its appropriate climax in the Great War. But already the reaction was being prepared. William James and Bergson are here regarded as, above all, the pioneers of the new movement. Then came Freud, the bearer of regeneration, and now all our problems are in course of solution. "Out of apparent chaos," to quote the concluding sentence of the work, "a brighter and fairer vision of the cosmos will arise; for tragic and suffering mankind there will again be an age of faith." It may be a little disconcerting to some to be told that in connection with psychoanalysis "mention must also be made of Christian science, spiritism, metaphysical investigation, theosophy, and anthroposophy."

In an interesting passage Dr. Maeder describes his own conversion to the religious significance of psycho-analysis. It came through the Freudian analysis of his own dreams. He found that some dreams were attempts at the solution, in the form of imagery, of unconscious conflicts, and he found in a succession of cases that the actual course of events confirmed, or rather embodied, the solutions attempted in the dreams. He came to regard dreams as precursors of life, directing the changes of unconscious constellations. He saw that dreams have a ideological function, and then he realised that this function belongs to the whole unconscious life, of which dreams are merely one manifestation. This discovery made a profound impression upon him. His Positivism and his mechanistic conception of life were shattered. He realised the existence of a deeper meaning in life. He found that he had but to look within in order to find there that living force of which Jesus had spoken—"the Way, the Truth, and the Life." A new strength and trust developed within him. Through psychoanalysis he had been brought into immediate contact with what religion and philosophy had, indeed, taught, but life not rendered accessible.

In the first lecture a sketch is given of the development of psycho-analysis as it appears from the standpoint of the Swiss school. The great pioneering part played by Freud is fully recognised, but his work is considered to be limited by the fact that it is mainly analytic, while his recognition of psycho-sexuality, which liberated science from ancient prejudices, was exaggerated into pan-sexualism. Alfred Adler, an original mind, but of different type and less breadth than Freud, provided a valuable complement to his work. Then the Swiss school, initiated by Professor Bleuler, came on the scene, and of this Jung soon became the leader. The Swiss school brought experimental methods, with the so-called association experiments, to bear on Freud's results, and made them measurable; they turned their attention to certain psychoses and renewed psychiatry, so that an asylum patient, instead of being merely an object of pity and scientific curiosity, became a human being who could be understood and approached—no longer a chaos, but a labyrinth to which the Ariadne clue had been found; they replaced Freud's narrow conception of psycho-sexuality by that of affectivity, and formulated a bio-psychological conception of libido embracing the whole normal and pathological life, especially psychic development; with the Swiss school psychoanalysis became also psycho-synthesis, and Claparède extended it to education and Flournoy to the study of religious and mystical problems. All this, Dr. Maeder declares, we owe to the Swiss school. "Not only from our mountains and lakes, but from the minds and hearts of our people, a stream of regenerating force is flowing forth, of which humanity is in greater need than ever before."

Throughout these lectures much attention is given to an elaborate comparison between the course of psycho-analysis and Dante's course through the Divine Comedy. That is, indeed, their leading idea. By the process of psycho-analysis the soul is led through Hell and Purgatory to Paradise, just as Dante was led in his great poem. Therein we see also the great importance of Uebertragung, of the temporary transference of the patient's affection to the physician, which Dr. Maeder regards as essential. The physician occupies the place of Virgil in the Divine Comedy; he is the guide. But his part is only temporary, and in the later stages it is taken by that divine Beatrice who has her place in the depths of the patient's own soul.

It will be seen that this little book is not for everyone; but for those who regard psychoanalysis as a new religion it will almost serve as a breviary.


This letter to the NATION (30th July 1921) was occasioned by the introduction of my name in a discussion concerning the qualities required in men of science. One disputant, "S," argued that there is no place in science for the "amateur" that is to say, one without the necessary discipline or the necessary knowledge to know what he is talking about. "M2.," on the other hand, argued that inspiration is needed in science, and was prepared to assert that poets are the best biologists. He referred to my work as illustrating his argument. Hence the following letter, in which I pointed out that I could not find myself on his side more than on his opponent's, and that if science is poetry it can only be so provided poetry is a discipline. I might add here that even Bergson, who is regarded as the apostle of intuition, has never said that intuition sufficed for scientific discovery, holding that it must be preceded by a long preparatory discipline of work.


I HAVE no wish to intervene in the controversy between "M2." and "S." But since my name has been introduced to illustrate one side of the argument, I may perhaps be allowed to say that, on referring to "S.'s" article, I do not find my place more on that side than on the other. In the deep sense, every true man of science is an amateur—that is to say, a lover; men of such high scientific rank as Darwin and Galton were doubtless amateurs even in the superficial sense. Yet they showed all the traits on which "S." insists: accuracy, pertinency, freedom from prejudice, a mastery of existing knowledge. If we turn to one of the supreme types of science, Kepler was marked by a combination of the wildest imagination with a critical accuracy never before known; without either he could not have done his work. The first quality, men are born with or without, and by itself it is useless; the second may be cultivated, and will suffice for an honest journeyman in science. On the humble level at which I am held to witness to inspiration, I would point out that when I ventured to attempt to bring order into a certain field of the facts of life I, first of all, entered the conventional portal of a medical school, and spent some twenty years of patient and plodding training, in laboratories and hospital wards, and in acquiring the knowledge already garnered in many languages. I have seldom thought of science as an inspiration, though such it may be; I have often thought of science as a discipline. Half a century ago, James Hinton, anticipating some more distinguished men of science, brought forward the reasons why we may conclude that "Science is Poetry." He knew that poetry is not only an inspiration; it is also a discipline.—Yours, &c.



This revieiv of Professor J. B. Baillie's STUDIES IN HUMAN NATURE was published in the NATION, 12th November 1921.

REASON has in modern times fallen on evil days among the philosophers. In classic times the supreme place of intellect was not so much argued as assumed. It seems to have held that place more or less securely until the seventeenth century. Then Hobbes appeared with his keen, independent way of looking at things. Reason, which lay, as he understood it, in the estimation of consequences, he certainly regarded as a human trait, but remarkably rare, right reason at all events; it mightily prevailed in its wrong forms, so that "the privilege of Absurdity" was exclusively human and carried to its extreme, he maintained, precisely by the philosophers. Spinoza it was, however, who, with greater insight and precision, dealt the first really nasty blow at Reason by holding that it is Appetite, or impulse, and not Reason, that is the essence of Man; Reason became for Spinoza (though what he took with one hand he gave back with the other) the instrument of the passions. That was not the general opinion; Spinoza was a highly intellectual person, and such persons are apt to belittle the intellect; that is the way in which the repressed emotional impulses subconsciously wreak vengeance on their master. It was not until we reach the nineteenth century that Spinoza's point of view became common, the very century in which Hegel is by some acclaimed as the climax of pure intel-lectualism. The reaction seems to have started among religious thinkers revolting against the triumphant Rationalism of the eighteenth century; Schleiermacher was here a significant figure. But it passed over into a broader stream of thought, and neither Schopenhauer nor Nietzsche was inclined to make Reason supreme. Meanwhile, the same view was seemingly favoured by the theory of evolution. Bergson, indeed, as we know, even boldly took over the word "evolution" for a system which heroically attempted to put Reason in its proper place, and a humble place it turned out to be. Professor McDougall, in his Social Psychology, the most influential book of its kind published in recent years, only mentions Reason to remark that "the intellectualist doctrine is radically false." Mr. F. H. Bradley, who has been not less influential for a more select public, has declared that the notion that "mere intellect is the highest side of our nature" is only "a superstition." It would all be very puzzling to the ancient world which had accepted as a matter of course the statement of Menander, substantially the belief of his great contemporary, Aristotle: "Our Mind is God."

The blind worship of Reason is itself unreasonable. There was therefore all justification for the attempt to analyse the reasoning impulse, and to find out its natural relation to the other impulses. In so doing, we were not depreciating the intellectual function, we were merely enabling it the better to do its proper work, carrying out a process in which we might even consider human progress largely to consist, De Emendatione Intellectus. But it so happened that this criticism of Intellect was pursued with a recklessness which tended rather to overthrow than to strengthen the place of reason in life. It was too much, for many of those who had at first most warmly welcomed the broadening of the old arid intellectualist doctrine as full of fertilising possibilities for thought, and they begun to protest with the preacher: "We prayed for rain, but, O Lord! this is ridiculous." Thus, just before the Great War, Mr. Graham Wallas, by no means the fanatical champion of any purely intellectualist theory, remarked, with what may now seem prophetic insight, that the enormous disaster of an internecine war was made more possible by representing thought as the mere servant of the lower passions; for, he added, "if Reason has slain its thousands, instinct has slain its tens of thousands." We may doubt, Fichte notwithstanding, whether philosophers have much direct influence in the making of wars. But there can be no doubt that the makers of wars are attracted to the philosophies which put them in the right. We cannot, therefore, be surprised that the generation which made the Great War devotes itself zealously to the exaltation of Unreason. Its practitioners are thus enabled to walk hand in hand with its theoricians.

These considerations seem to be in place when one is asked to consider the case of Mr. J. B. Baillie, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Aberdeen and Chairman of the Jute Board. Professor Baillie produced the standard English version of Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, and fifteen years ago he published a book entitled The Idealistic Construction of Experience. It is a book which, if one might venture to form an opinion by merely looking into it, seems to belong to the old order of thought and to be not incompatible with devotion to the arduous task of translating and expounding Hegel, for Professor Baillie is here shocked at those who would eliminate the term "Absolute" from philosophy; he him-seld uses it a dozen times in a page, and he is convinced that for those who accept "Absolute Spirit," in the sense that he accepts it, "there can be only one philosophy." He is assured of "the certainty of the work of Reason at every stage," Morality and Religion, indeed, not being "Reason as such," but still rational "developments of Reason with characteristic distinctions of their own," and he definitely recognises "the common claim for Reason as the highest experience of the knowing consciousness."

Meanwhile, the Great War has come, and, to some extent, gone, leaving many people—including, as it now appears, Professor Baillie himself—with the conviction that it is not so much Reason as Unreason which possesses the "common claim" to direct high human affairs. During the war, we learn from Who's Who, the Professor was actively engaged in various fields from Textiles to Aerated Waters, which all seem the unlikeliest in which to look for a strayed moral philosopher. He came through triumphantly, however, and even before the publication of the present important piece of propaganda a grateful Government hastened to bestow upon him the right (which he here refrains from availing himself of) to place after his name the letters O.B.E.—an honour of a kind to which not Diogenes nor even Plato had ever aspired.

Whether, and to what extent, this book was written before the war, is not indeed clear. But we may accept the implications of its Preface that it has mainly been written since. On emerging from that world and returning to the sphere of calm reflection, Professor Baillie seems to have found that he had to readjust his idealistic construction of experience. We need not too hastily assume that his work in the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty had aroused a suspicion of intelligence. It may be that the initiation into the war-world of primitive passions subconsciously aroused a powerful answering chord of sympathy, not consciously, for the few allusions here to the war are in the conventional tone of deprecation. But, however it was, Professor Baillie felt called upon to revise, if not to reverse, his whole conception of the world, and to come forth—though he would not himself consider this the most judicious way of putting it—to justify the ways of Unreason to men.

There is no indication of this on the threshold. He seems to begin in the way, according to the legend, Fray Luis de Leon began after returning to his professorial chair at Salamanca from the prison of the Inquisition: "As we were saying yesterday—" But, it soon becomes clear, the things Professor Baillie has to say are far from being the things he said "yesterday." Hegel, to whom he had devoted so large a slice of his life, is here only introduced to be tossed contemptuously aside. The "Absolute Spirit" which stood colossally astride his previous book has shrunk to microscopic dimensions, and if mentioned at all, it is with cool disdain. "Common Sense" now takes the place of the "Absolute" and is appealed to as the supreme tribunal, though less so as the argument grows complicated, for perhaps, after all, Common Sense might prove a disguise of Reason. It appears, however, to be Common Sense which condemns the Intellect, for the Intellect, after all, is only one function among many in man's complex individuality, and scarcely the highest—a function, moreover, which is influenced by all sorts of factors. That, the author declares, it is the object of his book to show, and he sarcastically refers to the "almost magical significance" which some ascribe to Intellect. For as to "the certainty of Reason," we are now told that "the Spirit of the World must have something else to do than to be reasonable;" and perhaps (here, the author admits, he has the war in mind, and it is the most instructive personal touch in the book) "dramatic completeness," rather than Reason, is the chief human quality. Reason, indeed, may have its uses, though but "little more than the mailed champion of the passions," or, if more, merely "a species of spiritual machinery which, if wound up, and set going according to certain laws, will turn out a certain product," in the sphere of Science leading us to trace goodness to "the guileful instinct of self-preservation which equally, though with unequal success, guides the wasp to its victim and the saint to the Holy Grail." It would even appear that the human intellect is less fitted for its task than almost any other function of the human mind. The whole "intellectualistic prejudice" is, he thinks, the fatal legacy of Greek ideals. As to the belief that "there can only be one philosophy," he seems even to have forgotten that he ever cherished it; casting his early dogmatism to the winds he avows himself a philosophical sceptic, though he is careful to hedge this avowal with the congenial explanation that scepticism can be legitimately directed only against the Intellect. There is room for any number of varying philosophies, nor is it necessary to have any philosophy at all; "disagreement in fact is part of the interest of the undertaking," for Common Sense prefers this "apparent discordance of healthy natural sanity." Nor is the intellect, even then, in the narrow sense here understood, allowed any credit for philosophies; they are "the products of the artistic imagination" and "designed to satisfy the aesthetic sense." If Nietzsche had not already appropriated the title, Professor Baillie might have called these "Studies in Human Nature," "Human, All-too-Human," and taken as the motto of the whole book the Shakespearean saying he prefixes to one chapter: "Thought's the Slave of Life." He might add, from the same play, the dictum of that arch-anti-intellectualist, Falstaff: "Instinct is a great matter."

It is a remarkable fact, illustrated by even greater philosophers than Falstaff, that the disparagement of the intellect has an exhilarating effect. Even when we have put aside early masters of thought like Hobbes and Spinoza and Hume, still attractive, and legitimately so, and bear in mind Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and Bergson and James, we cannot recall any quadrille of modern intellectualist philosophers who have made so wide and intimate an appeal. Professor Baillie, with whatever long an interval, is in the tradition. For one reader of his Idealistic Construction, the Studies in Human Nature will probably have, and certainly deserve, a hundred readers. Even those who feel least sympathy with the author's endless "intellectual" ingenuity in seeking out tender spots in the anatomy of Intellect and mischievously sticking pins into them, cannot fail to enjoy that ingenuity, as well as the versatile subtlety with which he seeks to guard his own position, so that when, for instance, he finds it perilously near to Pragmatism, he calmly assumes an air of strict impartiality and makes a show of knocking over Pragmatism and Anti-Pragmatism together. (Needless to say, they both, and especially the first, resume the upright position directly he has passed.) There is, however, a more solid satisfaction than this to be found in the book. Throughout there are passages, often admirably written, however fragmentary or perhaps inconsistent, which will appeal as deeply true, or stimulate reflection, or challenge fruitful contradiction. No thoughtful reader need regret the time he has spent over the book, whether or not he responds to the call of its anti-intellectualist leit-motiv. At the end, indeed, Professor Baillie a little relents. Some readers may have come unkindly to suspect that his attitude towards Reason was largely one of personal pique; Reason had refused to be prostituted to his ends, to prove the things he wanted proved, and in this book he was "paying her out." But after so often asserting, and oftener implying, that Reason is only one way of "knowing," and one of the most unsatisfactory ways, he finally permits it a certain equality with the other ways. We no longer seem to hear him cry on every page: "Ecrasez l'infâme!" In an excellent chapter on "Science and the Humanities," he justifies the ancient and sound view that Science itself is one of the Humanities; he admits, what he had seemed so long to forget, that "without consistent rationality, which Science alone can claim to secure," Man may yet find himself again "among the waste places of the world alongside the ape and the tiger." Now at length Professor Baillie begins to realise that "the main avenues of approach to supreme self-fulfilment and to supreme reality"—by the intellect in the attainment of "truth," by the life of feeling in the attainment of "beauty," by the will in "goodness"—must be harmoniously associated; "for unless art gives grace and refinement to the human character, it has failed of its complete purpose: unless science makes the whole life intelligent and tolerant, it has not succeeded in its aim: unless the one adds sweetness and the other adds light to the spirit of goodness, neither has fully justified its existence." One begins to perceive that what the author had really been engaged in doing through the greater part of this book was, as St. Paul would have put it, crucifying the old man. It was a necessary crucifixion, for if we cannot accept the indignities put upon Reason in this book, still less can we accept the "Reason" itself which had been put up for worship in the previous book.

The outcome seems to be that while it is necessary to criticise and to amend, to enlarge and to deepen, the old conceptions of the Intellect, there is not therein any ground for putting down Reason from its lofty place. We may attempt to regard "intellect" as merely one item in "mind," but when we have extracted all that pertains to intellect there is little left that is worth calling "mind." We may all have to go through a period of self-purgation and cast off our youthfully crude and dogmatic attempt at the idealistic construction of experience. Yet, after all, only by virtue of rationality Man is not still "alongside the ape and the tiger." It is by a sound intuition—Professor Baillie admits the appeal of intuition—that Barbusse in his recent plea for the Clarté group against the disorder of the world, invokes, above all, "la Raison," and that Professor Stewart Paton, in his presidential address to the American Eugenics Association, declares that the supreme open question of to-day is whether Man is really entitled to be called "Homo Sapiens," whether the events we are witnessing "mark the end or the beginning of the period of rational thought," the recognition that "intelligence must become a more dominant factor in the control of human behaviour." It is certainly true that intelligence is rooted in instinct—it is admitted even by McDougall—and that very fact should commend it to those who glorify the place of instinct, for it thereby partakes of the motor power which belongs to the instinctive life—is, as they say, "conative." But it is more than that; in Man it has developed on to a plane above; its parity with other instincts; reason is able, in McDougall's words, to "direct pre-existing tendencies towards their appropriate objects." To admit that is to admit everything. Reason becomes the chauffeur of the human car, and we hold the chauffeur responsible for the car's "tendencies "; we can, if need be, charge him with manslaughter or murder. Reason is unfitted, we are told, for its task. Maybe, but there is nothing to take its place. Moreover, with all its inefficiency, it has carried us far, and this progressive movement of humanity, even the existence of consciousness itself, has been (as Varendonck has of late ingeniously argued in a special field) a continuous process of the liberation of thought from helpless servitude to the feelings, far from complete as that liberation remains. Our modern psychologists often ostentatiously wash their hands of anatomy and pathology. But if we want to understand a thing we must look at it from all sides. Ever since Hughlings Jackson, it is agreed that the intellectual aptitudes go first in disease—they are the latest and highest products of evolution; the instincts which are primitive and tougher subsist. Professor Berry has of late luminously shown in detail why this is. The surface of the brain is arranged in horizontal, superimposed layers; the lower, or granular, layer, is shared by man with mammals generally, and is well developed even in imbeciles; it was the original outer surface. But over it, in Man, there is now an upper, or super-granular, layer. This is the last to be evolved, the last to begin to develop, the last to mature—and the first to go. It is highly delicate and unstable, and it varies measurably in depth in different individuals who, while all normal, are not all of the same intellectual calibre. We realise how false is the notion that intellect is merely one among several primitive instincts, placed vertically side by side, and one of the least important because it has not the toughness of the others to withstand ill-treatment. The Philosophic Jester makes his ribald jokes at the expense of Reason's instability. But Reason is unstable because it so so delicate, so exquisite, the final divine flower of life towards which all Nature has been moving ever since the world began. If, on the philosophic plane, we choose to play the part of Disease, well, we shall be in the fashion of the day. Yet perhaps, after all, the Greeks were not entirely in the wrong, and some day—who knows?—we may again become respectful of Reason.


This is a review, in the NATION of 24th December 1921, of THE NEW WORLD OF ISLAM, by Lothrop Stoddard, Ph.D.

SOME thirty-five years ago, Canon Isaac Taylor, a scholarly ecclesiastic of unusually vigorous and independent mind, startled and shocked not only the English Church but the public generally. He pointed out the increasing success of Moslem missionary effort, especially in Africa, and he stated, further, that this was not to be regretted, since Islam appealed to peoples not amenable to the often unsatisfactory methods of Christian missions, and were thus, at all events, lifted out of savagery on to a higher plane of civilisation. That controversy is forgotten to-day, but it might have been made the text for this instructive and timely book on The New World of Islam. Dr. Lothrop Stoddard, though he may never have heard of him, has in effect elaborated and enlarged and brought up to date what the militant Canon had so clearly seen and so courageously stated in 1887. His statement of the question, far more informed and far more thorough, will not produce the same disturbing effect in an already disturbed world grown accustomed to being startled and shocked. Yet there was never a time when we were in more need of the illumination which this book holds, nor indeed among all the subjects that concern us in the world is there any on which our preconceived notions so greatly need correction.

Dr. Stoddard is now well known as the author of the remarkable book on The Rising Tide of Colour, which has aroused world-wide attention. As was here pointed out at the time, in that book he sometimes showed a tendency to a rather sensational over-emphasis which might discount the value of his message for judicial readers. That tendency is completely absent from the present work; the author evidently feels that he has the ear of the world and that there is no need to beat the big drum. He is, moreover, much more cautious in his conclusions; he sees that we cannot assume that the forces moving in the world to-day will not be modified to-morrow, and he realises the great part which birth-control is likely to take in beneficently replacing the wars, plagues, pestilence, and famines which from of old have held the population of the East in check. He refers with high commendation to the able pioneer book on The Population Problem of India, by P. K. Wattal—a native official of the Indian Finance Department, well known already to those interested in the latest developments of Indian thought—as a sign that the East is beginning to awake to a realisation of fundamental questions; and he has himself (so it is lately reported from New York) become associated with that young but vigorous American Birth-Control Movement which is already extending its influence as far as Japan, where it is needed so badly.

It would seem that Dr. Stoddard is not personally acquainted with any part of the vast Islamic world. That is a disadvantage, but it has its compensations. It has stimulated him to acquire a wide knowledge of the highly various literature of the subject, especially in its most recent aspects, and it has clearly aided him in attaining a broad, comprehensive, and well-proportioned view of the whole problem. At special points, indeed, some critics may question his judgments; it is possible, for instance, that while he fully recognises the great work of Lord Cromer in Egypt, he is less than just to Lord Kitchener. But it is evident throughout, and perhaps even here, that he is without prejudice. He writes as the citizen of a country which has only the slightest direct concern with Islam (in the Philippines) and is thus easily able to take an impartial and not unfriendly attitude towards that great Moslem Dominion frequently termed the British Empire. So impartial is he, indeed, that as we read his pages we do not know whether to wonder more at the wisdom and insight of Englishmen or the imbecility and blindness of English governments, ostentatiously paving roads to Hell with good resolutions, or prettily camouflaging crooked policies with fair figures like (the later) Lord Milner, and Sir Percy Cox, and Colonel Lawrence. Such reflections are, however, those of the patriotic Englishman and not of Dr. Stoddard, who does not love British Government enough to stay to chastise it by the way.

The task that he has set himself is indeed of sufficient magnitude, as a glance at the map appended to this volume, showing the Islamic regions of the Old World green, is enough to indicate to the most ignorant reader. Islam unmixed still forms a great solid core, stretching right across the centre of the map from Morocco to Turkestan—nearly a third part of our Old World—while in a more mixed form it extends over more than the half of it. It is true that Moslem dominion no longer covers southern Europe, where it once reached towards Vienna, but on the other hand it is ever extending southwards, covering more and more of Africa. Moreover, in this great region are included peoples who, at one time or another, have shown qualities of the highest intelligence and valour in the van of civilisation. But these facts we commonly regard as of no practical and actual importance, merely of interest to the historian; we identify the Moslem almost exclusively with the Turk, and we repeat over and over again that he is effete and degenerate, a "sick man," fading away—and the quicker the better—before our own immense superiority. It is rather a strange view to hold, for if the Moslem is such a poor creature one wonders what is to become of our British Empire, which so largely consists of Moslems; but we are content to say these things, like parrots. Perhaps, after all, they are as plausible as the things the Moslems themselves said when they watched the decay of Christendom and saw the exhausted Greek Empire totter to its grave, not foreseeing that there would be a Reformation, which by its reactions would reinvigorate the whole of Christendom.

The significant and indeed immensely pregnant fact to-day is the Reformation of Islam. Dr. Stoddard briefly notes its likeness to the Protestant Reformation. But there is really a resemblance even in details, which serves to show afresh how much human nature there is in Man, however opposed the banners he fights under and however unlike the clothes he wears. The evolution of Christianity and that of Islam have, indeed, at an interval of some six centuries, run a remarkably parallel course. Islam may indeed be said to have reached an earlier flowering-time in the Saracenic period, for the genius of the Arabs was young and vigorous, receptive of classic traditions, and gifted with a grace of toleration which Christianity has only acquired, slowly and painfully, in recent times. But even after three centuries Islam already began to lose its pristine force, while, later on, the rise to predominance of the Turk introduced a hard, narrow, ferocious spirit into the centre of Islam. But the decay was long-drawn-out, with occasional bursts of splendour, and it was, indeed, not until the early eighteenth century that the latest of these, the Mogul Empire of India, at length faded away. In Islam generally the Dark Ages prevailed for at least as long a period as in Christendom, though it would appear that the course of Islam has been somewhat more rapid than that of Christianity, and, just as its first period began to end earlier, so its Reformation also began to appear earlier. As in Christendom, it took the form of small austere sects, corresponding to Lollards and Hussites, prompted to restore the purity of the primitive faith. Of these the Wahabis were among the earliest and the most influential. The founder, Abd-el-Wahab, appeared at the beginning of the eighteenth century—at the period, that is, when the Moslem world had sunk to its lowest depths of religious indifference, ignorance, superstition, and vice. He emerged from the old Arab centre in the desert, where something of the ancient purity still persisted, and on a pilgrimage to Medina his horror and indignation were aroused by the degradation of the Turkish apostates and usurpers, as he regarded them—just as Luther, on his pilgrimage to Rome, revolted at the spectacle of the degeneracy of the Papal Court. Wahabism speedily became a great force in the Islamic world. It was a movement strictly analogous to the Puritan movement of Protestantism, with the same devotion to the primitive faith, the same strict morality, even the same iconoclastic attitude towards art. Like Puritanism, also, Wahabism captured for a time a considerable degree of temporal power. That, by an energetic military effort, the Turks succeeded in crushing early in the nineteenth century; but as a spiritual influence Wahabism still lived on. It inspired the Bab movement of Persia; fairly well known in England, it was felt in India, and it prepared the way for that veiled but powerful Sennussi fraternity of North Africa which is to-day the spiritual heart of Islam. The check to Wahabi temporal power was not an unmixed evil from an Islamic point of view, for it enabled the discovery to be made that the ancient traditions were not so exclusively narrow and rigid as the Wahabis supposed; they were also enlightened and liberal. And it is these better traditions, more akin to those of the modern Western World, which, on the whole, prevail in the Islamic Reformation, powerfully stimulated in recent years by the war, and still more by the peace and the Secret Treaties and the Entente squabbles which have revealed so complete a disregard for pledged promises and Moslem susceptibilities.

It is with the exposition of the various aspects of this great Revival in various countries—India, Egypt, Persia, the former Ottoman Empire—that Dr. Stoddard is mainly concerned. The different movements involved are complex and sometimes apparently conflicting—religious, political, national, racial, international—some still aiming at the restoration of the primitive faith, and others proposing to incorporate more or less of the latest results of Occidental civilisation. This seeming discrepancy has led some to assume that the Islamic Reformation is too heterogeneous to prove effective. Dr. Stoddard gives good reason for believing that this cannot be taken for granted. Indeed, the manifold nature of the movement itself testifies to its vitality, and Christian Protestantism likewise exhibited a similar richness of conflicting tendency, at once religious and secular, sometimes returning on the beliefs of primitive days and sometimes stretching forward towards Rationalism.

It is well to indicate the points of resemblance between the course of Islam and that of Christianity, but we must also observe points of difference even more significant. Christianity and Islam are to-day the only great missionary religions of the world, but their methods are far apart. After its early triumphs on the decaying soil of the classic world there were very few peoples left who were naturally attracted to Christianity. The Sermon on the Mount, which embodies the essence of Christian morals, is a little alien to ordinary human practice, and the central doctrine of Christian theology, the Trinity, introduced into the Creed (if memory serves) by Gregory Thaumaturgus, is scarcely congenial to human intelligence, so that, as a Jesuit theologian has lately pointed out, it may be said to bear indelibly sealed on it the mark of its supernal origin, for the Divine Mind alone could have devised a doctrine so incomprehensively mysterious. In our own Northern Europe, as we know, conversion, or pseudo-conversion, to the new religion was, for the most part, effected in a scarcely religious manner. The genuine missionaries we frequently slaughtered. Christianity was most commended to us when it chanced to be associated with a higher civilisation or a stronger race, and for the rest those who were not baptized with the sword were baptized with the sceptre. The result has been that in our own corner of the world the real religion of Jesus has never existed. "There has only been one Christian and he died on the Cross;" that famous saying of Nietzsche's is perhaps extreme. We ought to be willing to allow, hypothetically, that there may have been half a dozen Christians—people, that is to say, who, on the one hand, lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount and, on the other hand, were able to comprehend the metaphysical doctrine of the Trinity. Yet it is possible to doubt whether even a reader of the Nation has so much as heard of one of them.

When we turn to Islam, how different the picture! However secular may have been the early propaganda of Islam, that method has long been unnecessary. Islam as easily dispenses with missionary societies as it has always dispensed with regular priests. It is a religion that is viable by its own nature, and so is in no need of any adjuvant force. It is, certainly, a religion that allows of the extreme of austere asceticism and the heights of mystic exaltation; but on its ordinary levels it is a religion that can be lived. It is not a religion that one nominally subscribes to once or twice in a lifetime and so is done with it. That, indeed, is why we regard the Moslem with so much contempt. We are proud to know that we profess a religion so abstruse and so ideal that no one could reasonably be expected to understand it or to practise it. But the dogmas of Islam are few and simple, and its morality, while above that of the heathen world, is not so lofty as to be unpractical, commending itself easily to those who have not yet reached it. Prayer, ablutions, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage—such are the religious observances; but Mohammed emphasises the fact that knowledge is of more value than prayer, that wisdom is better than fasting, and that all religious observances put together are fruitless without Common Sense. Now, the "heathen in his blindness," whom good Bishop Heber taught us to despise, may be too blind to see the intelligibility of the Trinity or the practicability of the Sermon on the Mount, but he is not so blind that he cannot see the virtue of a religion of Common Sense. That is why Islam has spread or scattered itself over nearly the whole of Asia, whilst Christianity has remained almost unknown there. That is why still to-day Islam is spreading, even under the flags of Christian lands, so surely and quietly over Africa that in the opinion of some that Continent will soon become a totally Islamic region, save for its white fringe.

There is another significant point in which Islam differs from the dominant faith of the White race. Christianity has rarely been (what at the outset it promised to be) a democratic religion. In Islam the faithful are really, as they call themselves, brethren. That is the secret of the success of the Moslems in India, where they are not, as in Africa, so plainly the bearers of a higher ideal; they could scarcely have secured their seventy millions or more of adherents there if it had not been for the anti-democratic caste-system of the indigenous Hindu faith. Dr. Stoddard points out that "Nationalism" for the Moslem has not the same meaning as for us; it is of far more flexible application within the Islamic world: a Moslem can feel himself a "national" citizen of any Islamic country, and cherishes a fraternal feeling for all. We may listen to a rhetorical appeal for our Christian "brothers" among the Armenians or the Copts, but the appeal fails to stir us. The Moslem throbs with sympathy and indignation for his brethren afar, and his feelings lead to action. That is why General Gouraud is so powerful a propagandist not only for Bolshevism but for Islam; that is why the reckless insincerity of Britain's dealings in the Near East has stirred the Moplahs of far Malabar as they have never been stirred before.

We are still only at the threshold of Dr. Stoddard's book, which is full of instruction specially needed by British citizens. We have taken upon us the charge of the peoples of half the world, and the most troublesome half. The problems thus thrown upon us are so numerous, so difficult, and so complicated that if we all had a fair eight-hours' working-day to devote to them exclusively, we might still make mistakes. If we are so worried by rents, and taxes, and high prices, and the fear of unemployment, and the latest murder, that we cannot devote to these high matters all the time and thought they demand, but are content to delegate them to a Government which lives by playing the tricks long since exposed in La Fontaine's "Fables"—a political treatise of Bolshevist tendency which it would be in the interests of European Governments to suppress—then it would be better to find some other nation, with more time on its hands, to whom we might transfer this grave charge of ordering the affairs of the peoples of the world. It might even be better—though this may seem a far-fetched suggestion—to allow them to have a voice in their own affairs.


This paper was published in the American journal, PHYSICAL CULTURE, February 1922.

IT is well known that there is in modern times an increased tendency to sterility in marriage. Among primitive peoples, living a natural life, as yet unspoilt by contact with the so-called higher races, sterility is rare. So, also, it seems to have been in Europe until recent times. The evergrowing influence of "civilisation" and the increase in urbanisation (for sterility is more frequent in towns than in the country) have made the difference. It is true that even in civilised countries—in some of the remote "Celtic" parts of Great Britain, in Australia, and possibly in America—it is not so rare for couples to make sure of the absence of sterility by postponing the wedding ceremony until pregnancy has become manifest. To those couples who attach supreme importance to parenthood in marriage, that may possibly seem a wise precaution; though many think that it is running another risk to carry the "noviciate of marriage"* so far before the partners are safely under the lock and key of legal marriage.

[* I am referring to a chapter on "A Noviciate for Marriage" in The New Horizon in Love and Life, by Mrs. Havelock Ellis.]

Yet, in spite of all, sterility is growing more frequent, and this, certainly, quite apart from the spread of birth-control, for that does not normally mean childlessness. Except under peculiarly bad economic conditions or on account of the defective health of one or other of the partners, those who exercise birth-control have not usually the slightest wish to be childless. So that the increase of birth-control will by no means account for the increase of sterility. That, indeed, is further indicated by the remarkable fact that it has sometimes been found that the total number of children produced in a series of families limited by birth-control has been scarcely less than that produced in a series of "unlimited" families. So that we have to recognise that the increase of sterility is a natural accompaniment of civilisation, compensated—indeed more than compensated—by the greater care of life which civilisation involves. Nature thus walks along the same lines as human birth-control, although that fact by no means makes birth-control unnecessary, for the action of Nature is blind and needs to be guided and corrected by the deliberate action of Man.

We are not here concerned, however, to discuss the causes of this increasing sterility, which indeed are many, some inborn, some acquired by the stress of life, some due to disease. We have to accept the fact, and to recognise that it is generally incurable. There do not seem to be important differences in different countries. All the authorities in various lands speak in much the same sense. The exact proportion of sterile marriages varies indeed widely in the estimation of different authorities. In England, Giles, a high authority, accepts the estimate of Simpson that the proportion of unfruitful marriages is from 10.9 per cent, in village communities to 16.3 per cent, in families of the aristocracy. All the authorities insist that this sterility is often due to the husband, a few finding it more often due to the wife; Barney of Boston finds that the responsibility is exactly divided between husbands and wives. In the female, however, sterility is more often due to natural causes, and in the male to one of numerous diseased conditions.

Now when a married couple, after three or four years of wedded life—for we must allow that interval for a possible pregnancy to occur—find, to their grievous disappointment, that the union is unfruitful, what is the best course for them to take? There are, at least, four different courses open to them. But before we consider them in turn, it may be well at the outset to refer briefly to the moral aspect of the problem—not that there is necessarily any infraction of even the most conventional moral code involved in its solution, but because it is definitely a moral question, and we ought to know on what moral ground we stand.

We stand, I take it, in the modern world, on ground that was largely prepared by Christianity, whatever our individual religious opinions may happen to be, and our morality is, in its essential principles, a continuation and expansion of that of Jesus. The principle we are here concerned with was stated in the narrative of a simple incident related in all three of the Synoptic Gospels, and most clearly in Mark's, which is, no doubt, the earliest. We are here told that as Jesus on a Sabbath was passing through a corn-field, his disciples, who were hungry, plucked and ate the ears of corn. Pharisees who saw them thus breaking the sanctity of the Sabbath were horrified, and called the attention of Jesus to what his disciples were doing. But Jesus justified his disciples, and settled the question by a remarkable saying: "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath." Therein Jesus established our great modern principle, that social institutions, even the most useful of them and the most sacred, must be made flexible to the demands, not of caprice, but of real human needs. Now, for us to-day—as perhaps James Hinton was the first to emphasise—the social institution that most nearly corresponds in sacredness to the Hebrew Sabbath is marriage. We are therefore, to-day, called upon to hear the voice of Jesus saying to us: "Marriage was made for man and not man for the marriage." There are, we know, even today, good ecclesiastical Pharisees of many Churches—sometimes of the Freethinking and Rationalist faith, often as inflexible as any—who do not accept the principle laid down by Jesus. We can afford to disregard them. We are in the great tradition. Even six centuries before the birth of Christianity there were wise men who knew, as Lao-Tze knew, that living things, whether men or trees, are tender and flexible, that dead things are hard and rigid, and knew that this was a fundamental principle of life. There is yet another preliminary consideration before we come to the solutions of the problem of the childless marriage, and that is, that in a large number of cases the problem need never have been created. It could have been avoided by taking very simple precautions, and even without waiting to ascertain that pregnancy has occurred before making the marriage legal. No doubt there are couples for whom the question of children is not one of capital importance; for these childlessness will never constitute a "problem." But those—and they are the majority—who consider that to have children is an essential part of marriage, are without excuse if before they put themselves under the binding contract of marriage, they have not taken medical advice to ascertain whether they are capable of having children. Such advice cannot always give complete certainty, and there are, moreover, couples who, though infertile with each other, are each fertile with some other partner. But it gives a reasonable probability. A woman who, without question, marries a man who in a previous marriage has proved childless, cannot be surprised if this second marriage should also prove childless. The majority of marriages in which childlessness may fairly he called a "problem" would be eliminated if this precaution were taken. They would not all be eliminated, and it is for those that remain that the following solutions may be put forward.

(1) To accept the Situation.—There are many for whom this solution is the best. Most people, certainly most women, feel at moments, or at some period in their lives, a desire for children. But there are many for whom this feeling never becomes a permanent obsession. They realise that there are also other things in life. They recognise that the world is not perishing for lack of children, but that, on the contrary, the population is increasing at a tremendously rapid rate. Perhaps they perceive that the work they have chosen in life is so absorbing, or of such a nature, that they would hardly be justified in undertaking the work of parenthood, which is in itself, if adequately performed, almost a profession. It may be that they have reason for thinking that they do not possess the special gifts needed for dealing with children, and perhaps they have grounds for thinking that their own hereditary constitution is so unsatisfactory, that to have children would be scarcely less than criminal. They may also be aware that, even if they possess the instincts of parenthood, these instincts may be in a large degree sublimated. The maternal instinct may be directed to social ends. Instead of being the physical mother of children who are unlikely to be of any notable benefit to the world and may possibly be a curse, a woman may expend the energies thus liberated in far-reaching activities which are of unquestionable and inestimable benefit to the world.

In this connection reference may be made to the problem of childlessness which exists for many women in Europe, owing to the deficiency of men from the fatality of the Great War. That problem is not, indeed, quite so extensive or so serious as some imagine. It is merely temporary; every year the boys who were too young to fight during the war are becoming men eligible for marriage, and it will not be long before the proportions of the sexes are again brought towards equality. But in so far as the problem still exists, the solution is mainly the same as this first solution for the problem of childless marriage. It is absurd to speak, as some insist in doing, of unmarried women as "superfluous women." If we come to that, one may point out (as I think it has already been pointed out by others) that there are far more truly superfluous women, childless or not, among the married than among the unmarried. The production of children is not so urgent a matter to-day as it was in those legendary days when Noah emerged from the door of the ark on to an empty world. In fact, the urgency is now the other way, and the next flood to overwhelm and ruin the earth is far more likely to be of babies than of waters. The only children the earth needs now are those who are worth something to it, and for the production of children who are really worth while there are wanted parents who are fitted both by their natural hereditary qualities and their special training for the noble task of creating the future race. But there are many other necessary and worthy tasks in the world, and the unmarried should not be at a loss to find them. The Great War brought to many women varied work of kinds they had never been allowed to touch before, and they were enabled to prove how well they could perform such work. To some extent they have been enabled to retain the work they thus captured. In this way they have become experienced women, with a knowledge of the world and economic independence. Women who are thus qualified for the duties of life, even though shut out, by circumstances or their own desire, from motherhood, are not necessarily deprived of intimate friends of the opposite sex. That is a matter which they are quite able, and quite entitled, to deal with themselves without consulting the world. It is only necessary to add that the fact that a large number of women, as well as a large number of men, may be excluded from marriage—more, strictly speaking, from parenthood, but marriage and parenthood are not yet so clearly distinguished as they ought to be—is by no means a matter for regret from the standpoint of society and the race. Not all men and not all women make fit partners in marriage, still less fit parents, It is highly desirable that there should be selection, absorbing those who are best fitted for these ends, arid leaving others who are less fitted for these ends to pursue other ends for which they may be better fitted.

(2) To seek Divorce.—This is a legitimate solution of the problem for those couples who regard children as of the first importance in their union. But, even apart from the difficulty under most legal systems of obtaining divorce honestly on such grounds, such a solution is not to be regarded with enthusiasm. It is, indeed, quite possible to be in favour of the most complete facility of divorce and yet to be strongly opposed to the resort to that facility. That, at all events, is my own attitude. It often happens that the second marriage which follows a divorce proves even more unhappy than the first marriage; the man or woman who was inapt for one marriage was really inapt for all marriages. The law should, no doubt, make the entry to the married state more difficult than it is at present and the exit more easy, not seeking to join together those whom a deep inner lack of harmony has already put asunder. But for the individual to entertain the thought of divorce should be no such easy matter. It is at the best an abject confession of failure in the most vital of all personal matters, and even at the worst there must surely be bonds of union between the partners which it is hardly possible to treat as of no account simply because there do not happen to be children. Married people who wish to be divorced because they have no children, probably, if the full truth were known, wish to be divorced because they feel that they are incompatible. So that for them the problem of childlessness is really only a part of a larger problem.

(3) To adopt a Child.—This is the solution of childlessness which most readily presents itself, and with sound judgment it works admirably. The marriage is not broken, but perhaps even strengthened, and a real child is provided for whom the wife can be a mother in all but the physical sense. There is even an element of social service involved, for the reasonable prospect of a happy future is bestowed upon a child who might otherwise have been neglected and proved a burden to itself and to the community. To many women, even women with a full and intellectual life, the adopted child has proved an unspeakable blessing and a constant source of happiness. They may even come to speak and feel as though this child were in every sense their very own, and while there is a certain artificiality in such a tie, the satisfaction derived from it remains.

There are obvious precautions to be taken if child-adoption is to prove successful. Not only must the child be taken when quite young, but the transfer must be absolute and complete. The chief question in adopting a child must be of heredity. No doubt there are people who try to persuade themselves that the bringing up is everything, and that parentage and ancestry may be disregarded. They may learn to repent their mistake bitterly. Undoubtedly the bringing up counts for much, as is shown by the good records of orphanages (such as Dr. Barnardo's Homes in England) which adopt abandoned or neglected children. But it is not everything, and latent traits, for which not the child itself but its ancestors are responsible, may assert themselves even in the most happily favourable environment. A child should never be adopted until all the ascertainable facts of its history are carefully considered with the aid of some sagacious and experienced physician.

(4) To have a Child by a Union outside Marriage.—This is the most difficult of all the solutions of childless marriage, and could only be satisfactorily attempted under exceptional circumstances. It is difficult, partly because it requires the consent of three persons, each of whom may have to pass through a period of mental struggle before reaching a decision, and partly because all three persons will be acting in a way which, they cannot fail to be aware, a large portion of the social group they belong to would disapprove, should they ever come to know of it. The conditions for its satisfactory achievement so rarely come together that it is scarcely a profitable solution to discuss. One may admire the spirit and the trust of those who thus take the matter into their own hands, and unless we ourselves feel that we should have the courage and the devotion to do likewise, we are not entitled to offer anything else but our admiration. That is to say, that we are not entitled to recommend such a course beforehand; those who propose to themselves such a solution must themselves measure the extent of the possible difficulties and their own strength to meet them. No one else can presume to do this for them.

It is true that there are two modifications of this solution, each of which reduces the number of persons actively concerned. One of these is for the wife to take the matter into her own hands without the knowledge of her husband. That is a possibility altogether to be rejected. The wife who thus proposes to leave the husband out of an arrangement which so intimately concerns him, has already estranged herself from him; she is, as it were, living in adultery with her husband, and it would be better for the union to be brought to an end. The least she can do, if it is she rather than he who feels the need of a child, is to make him understand the position. If he refuses this solution, he may not be a great lover but he is within his rights; if he comes to feel as she feels, then he will have shown a resolute spirit of trust and devotion which should bind him for ever to a noble-hearted wife; only a mean-spirited wife could feel that such brave trust and devotion was that of a jelly-fish.

The other modification is that by which the wife is impregnated without intercourse by an absent man, whether a known man or an unknown man, medically selected. This solution has of late been enthusiastically advocated by Mrs. Marion Pidding-ton of Sydney, Australia. The idea seems to have been due to a suggestion of Dr. Marie Slopes concerning "motherhood under properly protected conditions," and was intended primarily for the women left unmarried by the deficiency of men after the war, though Mrs. Piddington considers her idea one of permanent eugenic benefit to society. She would have State Institutes established where childless women would come to be impregnated from men whom they would not see but who would be carefully selected and registered and guaranteed to be of sound eugenic quality. Mrs. Piddington believes that "the child-hungry woman who insists on an enlightened procreation will be a tower of strength in the process of race-improvement." Whether any of these State Institutes have yet been established I have not heard. But they can scarcely be viewed with much enthusiasm. Apart from the fact that this kind of impregnation is often troublesome to secure and frequently a failure, it offers many obvious disadvantages and few attractions. Any difficulties set up on behalf of the proposed father, indeed, need not be taken very seriously. It costs a man so little to become a father that his claim to the possession of the child ensuing on his action—of whatever nature the action—is small. But for a woman, to whom the cost is so much greater, the matter is different. It certainly seems that a wholesomely natural woman would prefer to be indebted for her child to direct intercourse with a man she at least knows and esteems, and not to a syringe.

We have thus, however briefly, surveyed the whole problem of childless marriage. As we have seen, it is a problem which need seldom arise, for we may reasonably expect of those who, as they legitimately may, attach supreme importance to children as the issue of marriage, that they should beforehand take the simple precaution of ascertaining that there is a fair probability that children may be expected. If they have not the knowledge, or the sense, to settle this point beforehand, they are scarcely equipped to enter on so risky and so serious a compact as that of matrimony, and we may be inclined to say of them as Mrs. Carlyle said to a girl who wrote to announce her approaching marriage, that they seem to be "in the act of taking a flying leap into infinite space." But for those who, whether or not by their own ignorance and carelessness, find themselves faced by this problem, there are definite solutions which have all been found to possess some degree of value, and have sometimes proved completely adequate; which solution is most likely to prove the best under the particular circumstances, it must be left to those concerned to decide for themselves.


This review of Professor Carr-Saunders's important tvork, THE POPULATION PROBLEM: A STUDY IN HUMAN EVOLUTION, appeared in the NATION AND ATHENAEUM, 10th June 1922.

WE have long been wearied by the opposing propagandists of the "population question:" those who denounce the awful terrors of race suicide, and those who proclaim the saving virtues of birth-control. The question, we know, is vitally important, and we may be impelled to take our place on the one side or the other, yet one may be sometimes tempted to exclaim: "A plague o' both your houses!" One may long for the still small voice that neither strives nor cries. This seems to have been Mr. Carr-Saunders's experience, and as he is on the Executive Committee of the Eugenics Education Society, and often called upon to investigate propagandist literature, it is not surprising that on the present occasion he has enjoyed banishing it altogether. Dr. Saleeby and Mr. G. K. Chesterton, Theodore Roosevelt and Dr. Drysdale, with all the rest on either side, there is no admission for them at Mr. Carr-Saunders's door; they are not so much as permitted to enter the back-premises where the extensive Bibliography is stabled. The scheme of the book was elaborated during five years of active war service, and, one divines, whenever he came upon the writings of one of these propagandists, Mr. Carr-Saunders drew a notebook from his pocket and entered: "N.B.—Must be careful not to mention — in my great work." The result is refreshing.

Mr. Carr-Saunders has sought to rise above controversy to a height at which mere propaganda is impertinent. He is concerned with the main problems, in their large biological, anthropological and economic aspects; the minor problems, he perceives, can only be comprehended when seen in their evolutionary and historical setting. He desires to view the problem as a whole.

It is refreshing, and would have been more so if Mr. Carr-Saunders were a better writer. He writes, indeed, simply and quietly and honestly, but sometimes rather vaguely; like a character in one of Tchehov's plays, he has a way of ending a sentence "and so on," and is apt to be careless; he persistently writes the adjectival "oestrous" when he means "oestrus" and refers to a "Neo-malthusian League" which has no existence. There is often a feeling of limpness; the sentences are not always well-jointed; sometimes the writer has not said what he intended to say. These defects are correlated with admirable qualities of calmness and sobriety: an instinctive repulsion for alarmist outbursts, a tendency to discount the importance of sensational and spectacular phenomena (like wars and famines) which appeal to the susceptible crowd. But we would sometimes like to feel the splendid presentative power of a Buckle or a Westermarck, able to propel a great stream of fact and argument in calm yet swift and orderly movements. The Population Problem will never become a classic, like An Essay on Population, although it is the most important book in this field since Malthus. Mr. Carr-Saunders depreciates Malthus. Yet the Essay was so well and lucidly written, the gracious and humane personality of its writer was so well transmuted into the texture of it, that, however much the theory may be modified, the book still lives. Those who read this book will find their profit therein. But one fears that not many will read who are not already interested. It will not attract as a certain little bronze of Rodin's or many a picture by Degas attracts, in spite of the repulsiveness or indifference of the subject, because it is so beautiful. Yet that is what it ought to do.

Mr. Carr-Saunders promised to lift us above the sphere of propaganda and the name of Malthus has already slipped in. It is because Malthus, notwithstanding the countless progeny of propagandists he engendered, was not one himself. But in his aversion to the noisy bands who, from the days of Godwin to the present, have so ardently attacked or defended that famous theory, Mr. Carr-Saunders has dealt rather too harshly with Malthus, although he acclaims the law of diminishing returns which arose out of the Malthusian controversy. He insists that the Malthusian theory has collapsed and that nobody who counts now holds it. He might have remembered that Cannan, the economist he follows, in attacking Malthus, though showing that Malthus attempted to find precision where no precision is, yet reached the conclusion that the theory of population is, after all, in substance a very obvious generalisation which scarcely admits of discussion, while the Encyclopedia Britannica, the vade mecum for all who desire to pursue the narrow road of orthodoxy, lays down the same dogma in almost the same words. Even the most revolutionary among us find ourselves counted, after a few years have passed, as dealers in truisms, with a nimbus of respectability nailed over our heads, whether we wanted it or not.

It is Cannan whom Mr. Carr-Saunders follows in accepting the theory of the optimum or, as Cannan called it, "the point of maximum return." That is to say, that there is at any one time, in any given area, a certain density of population which will be the most desirable from the point of view of return per head of population. This assumes that the average income of the population—without considering the significant point of its distribution—is the sole test of desirability, and that an amount of population below this point of maximum production is undesirable. "So long as skill increases, other things being equal, so long will the desirable density increase." He fails to point out, as Marshall and other economists have done, that this beautiful mechanism for the increase of wealth brings no necessary benefit to those who have no share in that wealth. Any other view is "pessimistic." The barbaric notion of the virtue of size still persists; we have learnt from the Greeks to overcome it in the sphere of art, but megalomania still rules in demography. True, Mr. Carr-Saunders is careful to insert the conditional clause "other things being equal," but, he well knows, other things will not be equal; he himself insists that most diseases are comparatively modern, associated with increased density of population, and he recognises the importance of the law of diminishing returns. If we grant the large assumption that other things are equal, the optimum doctrine may furnish a convenient working hypothesis, and it is only fair to point out that in the end, after its work is done, Mr. Carr-Saunders is prepared to toss it aside. He suddenly turns round to remark that, so far, increasing numbers have been taken as a normal feature in human society, whereas, in fact, throughout history numbers have on the whole been stationary. "It may be," he pregnantly observes, "that we are nearing a time when numbers will be again normally stationary, for though increase may remain economically desirable, it may cease to be so from a wider point of view of human welfare, when, that is to say, facts other than income per head are taken into account."

There is, therefore, no occasion to criticise the optimum theory. It has served Mr. Carr-Saunders as a useful clue through his most instructive and helpful book, and that should be enough. He is not inclined to accept the view that over-population is per se a cause of the world's social evils. But that disinclination accentuates his conviction that nevertheless—in order that the optimum population, however we judge it, may be attained or maintained—it is supremely important to regulate numbers. After half a dozen introductory chapters, he discusses at length this question of quantity, as it has been dealt with in historical times by civilised and uncivilised peoples and, finally, nine chapters are devoted to the question of quality. In a review of The History of Human Marriage, it was here recently pointed out that Dr. Westermarck had strangely neglected to deal with the regulation of the family, with eugenics and birth-control. By a remarkable coincidence that omission has been immediately and adequately repaired by Mr. Carr-Saunders, and we need the less regret it since he works in a scarcely less scientific and scholarly spirit than Dr. Westermarck.

In his laudable desire to be thorough, Mr. Carr-Saunders begins the study of human methods of dealing with the population problem with the beginning of Man. As we have no direct knowledge of prehistoric times he assumes that we may regard existing hunting and fishing races as roughly corresponding to the peoples of Palaeolithic times, and agricultural races as corresponding to the peoples of Neolithic times, though he would not himself over-estimate the validity of this assimilation. He proceeds methodically to present in detail the ascertainable facts concerning the peoples of lower culture throughout the world. So large and comprehensive a collection of the facts has never before been made, and even if this book was nothing more than a treasury of ethnographic information, it would still be extremely useful.

The ways in which the population is regulated among uncivilised peoples are, mainly, by pre-pubertal intercourse (this seems an unimportant factor), postponement of marriage, abstention from intercourse, prolonged lactation, birth-control in the modern sense (sometimes by merely superstitious methods), abortion, infanticide, ignorance, hardship, disease, war, famine. The size of the family is also taken into consideration, and the common opinion confirmed that the average number of children is smaller than in civilisation. A distinction is made between voluntary methods of restricting the population and those methods by which it is involuntarily brought about (here termed primary factors and incidental factors), but it is found that everywhere, before the introduction of outside influences, there have been active methods of limiting increase, the commonest being infanticide. Disease scarcely appears to be among the chief methods of keeping down overpopulation, for savages are proverbially healthy, until brought in contact with the diseases and the habits of civilisation; and since it would appear probable that a large proportion of the most dangerous diseases arose in historic times, it may be assumed that prehistoric man was equally healthy. It is ignorance and hardship that more frequently destroy children. The influences of war in keeping down primitive populations is overestimated, though it varies in different continents. In America it is considerable, not in Africa; Africa, indeed, seems to be, when untouched by civilisation, the most humane of the continents, and infanticide also is rare there. An African battle is often not more dangerous than a game of football with us; a very slight casualty will suffice to end it. The savage seeks to make out that he is a terrible bloodthirsty person, but in practice he is no such thing; it is exactly the reverse of the policy of the civilised man, who ostentatiously proclaims that he is the meek follower of a Prince of Peace.

Some of the evidence is here brought forward which shows how often uncivilised peoples put life on a communistic basis; they generally live within definitely limited areas, but the territory, and everything upon it, belongs to the whole tribe; there must be space for every family to settle and cultivate its own patch according to its own needs. Every man is, in a sense, his brother's keeper, and it is inconceivable that anyone should be allowed to starve. It is obvious how such a system involves a constant concern for the restriction of the population. Prolonged abstention from intercourse, abortion, infanticide—in the absence of knowledge of any better methods to achieve the same end—so far from being inhuman or inhumane become the conditions under which ta human and humane life can be lived. The exercise of these customs may be adjusted solely by natural selection without any conscious skill; but it is probable that a semi-conscious element tends to come in sooner or later. In any case the method is effective. Civilisation and Christianity arrive, with their sacred text, "Increase and multiply and the Devil take the hindmost," completely opposed to the fundamental principles of savagery. There is seldom, however, any struggle between the two conceptions. Mere contact with civilisation, and the evils it brings, is enough to kill off the uncivilised and so to make their restrictive methods only an old tale of the past. The exceptions are few. The Eskimos possess peculiarly limited means of subsistence, and some who read in these pages how in the past the Eskimos (a specially humane people) have had to restrict their numbers, may have read on the same day in their Times how severely the "surplus" Eskimos of Greenland now suffer. Few other peoples in contact with our civilisation suffer from a "surplus." That is why the natural conditions of life under which Man through untold ages has evolved are so little known, left for slow unravelment by patient ethnographers.

When we reach historical times, and the emergence of civilisations, the matter becomes more complicated. Mr. Carr-Saunders endeavours to carry on his analysis in the same manner, but his course becomes zigzag, and at times, perhaps inevitably, rather laboured and languid. But beneath the surface he still retains firm hold of the main thread, and from time to time points of profound interest are reached. It is made clear that throughout the historical stages, just as much as in earlier stages, influences holding in check Man's excessive fecundity are always at work, though not always the same influences. In earlier civilisations, notably that of Greece and Rome, abortion and infanticide played a conspicuous part; later, diseases became more effective in the same direction; migrations, to which many people still look hopefully, have never achieved much, and the part of war has been greatly over-estimated; it has chiefly operated through the plagues and famines which follow in its wake; even famine effects less than we commonly suppose, being checked by the growth of social co-operation and skill, and it is six centuries since the last famine in England.

It has been indicated that as Mr. Carr-Saunders approaches the end of his task, he shows that he is well able to take a wider outlook on human welfare than the economic. Although economic pressure alone, with only semi-conscious efforts, may suffice to adjust the maximum density of population desirable, it does not follow, he sees, that it would not be better to attain a completely conscious adjustment, and then we may have to take into consideration some other criterion than the purely economic.

It is scarcely necessary to say that Mr. Carr-Saunders is fully alive to the question of quality in population. Differences in quality are a matter of germinal variation, and while recognising the importance of such differences Mr. Carr-Saunders attaches less importance to them than is usual among eugenists. Like many other recent thinkers, he realises that human progress is mainly a progress, not in germinal structure, but in tradition, but he differs from many in realising the immense plastic force of tradition. Modern Man was evolved in the late Palaaolithic period, some fifteen or twenty thousand years ago, let us say; before that time he was making tremendous strides both structurally and intellectually; he has made scarcely any since. But he has built up an immense body of tradition and is doing so still, with even greater activity. As Mr. Carr-Saunders sees it, this means that germinal changes, while not unimportant, have long been a minor factor in human history. He attaches much more importance to the action of the environment, stimulatory or inhibitive, upon tradition. It is so, and not by germinal improvements or decay, that he would chiefly explain the rise and fall of civilisations, as of Greece and Rome. It is so, also, that he refuses to attach much importance to "differential fertility," that is, the greater increase to-day among the lower social classes as compared with the upper social classes. Many eugenists have ostentatiously and energetically cried out against "differential fertility." It is characteristic of our author's quiet and dogged manner of procedure that he knocks these fellow-eugenists out of the way, almost as though he saw them not, without one word of sympathy for their delusional activities. It is likely, he remarks, that a fall in the birth-rate of necessity begins in "the so-called upper classes" (the present reviewer has frequently made the same remark); where else, indeed, could we expect it to begin? But while this matters a little, Mr. Carr-Saunders refuses to believe that it matters much; the germinal deficiencies of "the so-called lower classes" are far too slight. It is the defects of daily life among the poor, the narrowness and poverty of their environment, their inferior traditions, which suffice to explain the main part of the difference. Moreover, Mr. Carr-Saunders dares to question some of the qualities which lead to rise in the social ladder. The instincts of self-assertion, acquisition, and emulation which bring "success" may have been desirable in the far past; we cannot assert that they are desirable to-day; "we might view a diminution in average strength of some of the qualities which mark the successful at least with equanimity." There are many to-day who will cry: "Hear! hear!"

It will be seen that Mr. Carr-Saunders has written a book which—if disputable at points and not indeed put forward as a final statement of questions still under investigation—is indispensable to all who take any interest in the fundamental problems of human welfare. We are apt to be careful and troubled about many things in our social state to-day, and well we may be; but behind them, and intermingled with them, there remains the one thing centrally needful for mankind: the regulation of human life itself. During the long past of the race this has been achieved by automatic or at most semi-conscious methods. Such methods are no longer tolerable; it is being brought home to us that they cost too much. Now, for the first time in the long history of Man, it is possible to look the problem in the face, and for the first time we hold the possible solution in our hands; "it has now come within the power of mankind, after a due consideration of the position, deliberately to decide what the best solution may be."


This Note appeared in the REVIEW OF REVIEWS for October 1922, being written at the editor's request in comment on an article by Mr. (now Sir) Norman Angell, who had argued that journalism must be raised to become a chartered profession, and that Labour must capture the Press, since it is useless to capture the Government, while leaving the forces that make and unmake governments in the hands of Capitalists.

I AM in general agreement with Mr. Norman Angell's indictment of the Contemporary Press—it is indeed constantly present in the minds of all independently thinking persons—though I may not be sanguine about the remedy. The item in the treatment which I have myself most often thought about with hope is the elevation of journalism to the status of a highly educated and highly trained profession, with a recognised code of honour, any fall from which involves degradation. That seems practicable, and certainly desirable, for journalism, when misdirected, is at least as potent for danger to our lamentably innocent public as law or medicine. As for the expansion of the Labour Press, one would gladly see it brought about, though since Labour still largely, like Capitalism, represents a class, we cannot expect that expansion to solve the whole problem, however excellent it may be to exchange one set of prejudices for another set of prejudices. At present, certainly, the prospect is remote. It is the bright, attractive, illustrated papers of the Harmsworth type that Labour mostly reads, and the real Labour Press is still the Capitalist Press. It is the same at the cinema; the People's Picture Palaces are all in the hands of the Capitalist, with the usual consequences.

One feels the wisdom that guides Mr. Norman Angell's discussion. He is wise enough to see that his sermon is more likely to satisfy the preacher than to convert those preached at. He is well aware that a nation which four years ago rushed to the polls in overwhelming millions to vote for Hanging the Kaiser and Making the German Pay (with ample leisure since to enjoy the results) probably has the Press it deserves. It is a change of heart that is needed, and hearts are not created anew by the million. "Wisdom," says Rickert, "is something that cannot be learnt and cannot be taught."


This paper was written as a contribution to a volume of tributes to the memory of Kropotkin, entitled PETER KROPOTKIN: THE REBEL, THINKER, AND HUMANITARIAN, compiled, edited, and privately printed by Joseph Ishill, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1923.

FROM time to time there appear upon the earth men who stand aside from the streams of common tradition and, in their thought or in their lives, or in both, refuse to recognise external authority or external rule, believing that human life can only be harmoniously and happily lived when its order is autonomous and comes from within. Of such men in recent years the most conspicuous and the most distinguished, after Tolstoy, was probably Peter Kropotkin.

He was himself far too modest to magnify his own place in this great succession, but he loved to recall the names of these splendid figures in the past who had thus rejected the authority of the herd. He went far back for the first—about as far back as he well could go—and invoked the name of Lao-tze, the first and greatest mystic. Then he came down to Aristippus and to the Cynics, to Zeno and those of the Stoics who advocated a free community and were in some respects remarkably near the libertarian thinkers of recent days. Later are to be noted some of the Hussites and some of the early Anabaptists. Kropotkin fails to mention Leonardo da Vinci, who, by his complete rejection of all authority but that of Nature and his unqualified contempt for the herd, was on the intellectual side the supreme representative of the type. But he could not fail to recognise Rabelais, who remains, even by his conception of the Abbey of Thelema alone, the most brilliant and far-reaching among early exponents of this philosophy. He mentions—no doubt to the surprise of some—the name of Fénelon, and he could not fail to admit the free and flaming genius of Diderot. Then there was Godwin, who first formulated this philosophy in a coherent modern political and economic shape, and later the gracious and charming figure of Guyau, whom Kropotkin always regarded as the founder of a new morality. Kropotkin himself takes his high place in this noble band, not so much by power or brilliance in any one direction, as by a fine combination of qualities, for he was at once an aristocrat and a martyr, a philosophic thinker and a revolutionist, eminent not only by his high accomplishments in science, but by his willingness to share the lot of the lowliest, and throughout all conspicuous by the nobility of his personal character. Through this possession of a beautifully many-sided nature he became not indeed one of the greatest of the long line of such men but one of the most typical.

The men of this type are often called Anarchists, and it was so that Kropotkin called himself. Invented by Proudhon in 1840, and since so often employed, it is yet not a happy name. It suggests a disorganised rebellion against all government, and it is not surprising that to the vulgar mind "anarchist" often means "criminal," and still less surprising that the common criminal is often pleased to dub himself "anarchist." But the people called Anarchists, outside criminal circles, are not in favour of disorganisation nor of the rejection of government. What they seek to maintain is organisation from within rather than from without, and self-government rather than government by others. "Do what you will," was the inscription Rabelais set up over the Abbey of Thelema, but he proceeded at once to point out that people who are well born and well bred will to do that only which it is good to do.

In the wide sense Anarchists represent a stream of opinion which has never failed to exist. There have always been Statists, on the one hand, Kropotkin was accustomed to assert, and Anarchists on the other. The Statists rely on established and more or less rigid institutions maintained by a strong minority dominating the majority; Anarchists reject the State, together with Capitalism, oppression, and war, to which it inevitably leads. But there are, as we know, two groups of Anarchists, the Individualist Anarchists, and the Communist Anarchists who believe in the concerted organisation of society, initiated by revolution. The supreme figures in history who are claimed as Anarchists may probably all be said to belong to the Individualist group. Obviously, however, along that line there is little chance of a speedy remoulding of society, therefore sanguine and optimistic spirits tend to be drawn towards Communist anarchism, which promises a splendid cure for the world's ills. It was in this direction that Kropotkin was drawn. He expected a revolution to occur about the end of the nineteenth century, to begin in one of the great countries of Europe, and to overspread the world. The society thus formed would, he said, be an organised interwoven network. He overlooked the fact that that is just what the much-denounced State is, and that after kicking the State out of the front door he would be letting it in at the back door. For the mob remains the mob, whether or not it labels itself "State," and an oppressed majority has ever proved even more dangerous than an oppressing minority. Kropotkin's psychology was a little too simple. He asserted that some human beings are "venomous beasts," and must be destroyed by other human beings whom he regarded as pure-souled altruists. But he scarcely seems to have realised that the majority of human beings are neither the one nor the other, but have in them both a streak of the "venomous beast" and another of the pure-souled altruist. The great revolution that Kropotkin foresaw duly arrived, although a few years later than he expected. It is a revolution of which the exact character and the far-reverberating influences, which can scarcely fail to be immense, we may not yet attempt to estimate. Kropotkin hastened to Russia to take part in it, and there, in the heart of Russia, in the midst of the Revolution he had spent his life in preparing, but in which he now felt an alien and which showed itself completely indifferent to him, he at length died.

We must not, therefore, count Kropotkin a failure. On the contrary, he was an immense success. It is true that the pure-hearted enthusiasts of this noble type are apt to overestimate the power of their faith to remove mountains; they do not always recognise, as Diderot, one of the greatest of them, had the genius to see and to acknowledge, that their creed is "diablement idéal." It matters little. They have let the light of their inspiration and their courage so shine before men that it can never be extinguished, but remains an ever-burning flame, to keep alive in each one of us some spark of that higher life by which Mankind alone truly lives.


This review of DIE PHILOSOPHIE DER GEGENWART IN SELBSTDARSTELLUNGEN, edited by Dr. Raymund Schmidt, and CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PHILOSOPHY, edited by Professor J. A. Muirhead, appeared in the WEEKLY WESTMINSTER for 23rd February 1924.

PHILOSOPHY may be defined as the adventure of the soul in the universe. It thus differs from science, which is the analysis of the material of the universe. The philosopher must not pause to put the dust under his feet beneath the miscroscope and ascertain what his road is made of. Some attempts are now being made to make philosophy scientific; it thereby ceases to be philosophy. The philosopher's eyes are fixed on a heaven ahead. Unlike Saul, the son of Kish, who set out to seek his father's asses and found a kingdom, he sets forth to find a kingdom. If, in the end, he finds nothing but objects which suspiciously resemble those the son of Kish went out to seek, that really matters little. It is the quest that matters. In the discipline and the joy of a great adventure the philosopher's true reward lies. What he brings home may seem to the public in general—and his fellow-philosophers in particular—only an empty or questionable formula.

To the philosopher himself it must always be more than that. It is the symbols of his spiritual adventure. The aspirations, the struggles, the failures, the sudden ecstasies at a new turn in the road—all the things that have depressed and exalted his life are here recalled. It need not surprise us that he should seem to see the Son of Man Himself riding on the humble beast he has found in the wilderness.

That is why there are two aspects in which a philosopher's activity may be viewed. There is the final product he offers as "truth," a constant subject of dispute because it never seems truth to anyone else, to anyone at least who thinks for himself, and there is the record of a great adventure. That story is rarely told, but it is always of permanent delight and value. Rousseau has proved the most influental philosopher, in the wide sense, of our modern world, but he only wrote one immortal book, and that an autobiography. Mill's Autobiography—one of the few records of the kind in English—will be read long after his Logic is forgotten, for its philosophic value is independent of the value of its author's thought.

Some such considerations as these have induced Dr. Raymund Schmidt (who has been associated in the work of one of the greatest of living German philosophers, Hans Vaihinger), with the help of an enthusiastic and sympathetic publisher, to secure the autobiographical life-confessions of nearly thirty of the most prominent German philosophers of to-day together with a few non-Germans (notably Croce), academic and anti-academic, of various schools of thought. Some of the narratives extend to over fifty pages; they fill, so far, four volumes, and include admirably produced portraits of each writer. The narratives, being personal, differ widely, but they are all strictly biographical, setting forth, dispassionately, the points of departure, the aims sought, the struggles and difficulties and mistakes on the road. The writers often reveal the embarrassment of confession, but they realise that their task is of more than personal interest, and they show their modesty by not proclaiming their achievements. They seem to remember that it was a great German who said that it was not "Truth" that matters, but the search for truth, and they remember also, for several of them repeat it, the saying of another great German that "the kind of philosophy a man chooses depends on the kind of man he is." That is the spirit that moves all through these fascinating and instructive volumes.

Professor Muirhead has lately been stirred by Dr. Schmidt's example to attempt the same service for British philosophy. But the reader who turns to this volume in the hope of receiving a similar illuminating vision will be disappointed. Even the editor's Preface he will find incoherent. Dr. Muirhead begins well, by declaring that philosophy is the outcome of a man, but goes on lamely to say that he will here merely present statements of philosophers' opinions and that any biographical elements are secondary and gratuitous. No wonder his contributors are at sea. Biographical data are scarce or absent, usually placed apart in small type, though there is no consistency even about that. These biographical data are the most valuable part of the volume and would furnish forth a twopenny pamphlet well worth the money; the rest of the volume largely consists of what the writers have already said, as well or better, in their own works. Portraits, precious and indeed essential in such a scheme, there are none. Most of the writers declare with dignified modesty that they would not dream of talking about themselves. So they do what is less modest and less dignified: they cry aloud the infallibility of their speculative nostrums. Each believes he has been given a tub to mount, and he tries to outshout his fellow tub-thumpers in the brief space allotted to him. Indeed, the scene staged by Dr. Muirhead resembles nothing so much as the Marble Arch on Sunday afternoon. It all seems very discouraging.

But if the too hasty reader will consent to pick up the volume he has flung away, he may still find something of interest. There is one narrative, at all events, which, though written with a failing hand, conforms to the scheme which should have been clearly set up; it happens to be by the eldest writer, now no more—Bernard Bosanquet. The youngest contributor, Mr. Broad, is equally to the point for half a dozen pages, when he suddenly snuffs himself out and turns to abstract discussion; but he knows how to write, and we must hope he will some day more fully set forth his spiritual adventures. Dean Inge is ever pungent or poignant, stimulating, if not always convincing. Mr. Bertrand Russell, though not so autobiographical as we might wish, cannot fail to be attractively personal and undogmatic. Other contributors to this volume might be named, if space permitted, for one reason or another.

Yet the final impression still remains that Professor Muirhead has not risen to the height of his great theme: the Casanovas of the spirit, the Don Jüans of the universe, the record, as Dean Inge prefers to phrase it, of the quest of the Holy Grail. If he wishes to equal his skilful German rival he must realise, before he issues his Second Series, that an editor is an autocrat, and he must hold the reins firmly, making it very clear that what he offers is a confession-box, not a tub, and if thereby he thins the ranks of British philosophers that will be all to the good, for here they are overcrowded. Meanwhile, perhaps, someone may be lappily inspired to dump on English soil a selection of the admirable narratives which, under Dr. Schmidt's editorship, have been made in Germany.


This note was my contribution to the CONTACT COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY WRITERS, published in 1925. My impression of Conrad is confirmed by a remark which Mr. Mégroz has recently reported that Conrad once said to him: THE MIRROR OF THE SEA was the book of his own he liked best of all, and ALMAYER'S FOLLY, the only one he wrote "light-heartedly."

IT was, I know, the common experience of others when they met Conrad, but one must always realise things for oneself, so that it came to me with a shock of surprise that a man who had been for so many years exclusively an artist had yet remained so typical a sailor. Far more than his portraits had suggested, here was the English sea-captain, with the open face and the genial approach and the rolling gait—not the correct and distinguished-looking commander of the big liner of to-day, rather the burly and jovial sailor whom I vaguely recalled from childish days in remote parts of the world. But over this characteristic English figure there was a definitely foreign complexion, and—doubly incongruous in this English sailor and this great master of English speech—a pronounced foreign accent. The first remark he made completed at once the surprising revelation of a personality I had somehow conceived so differently. "I recognised you in the distance," he said, "from the bust in Jo Davidson's studio." That the vision of a sculptor's bust of a stranger (not the work, moreover, of an artist who would desire to be complimented on a superficially "good likeness "), casually seen years before, could have left so vivid a mark on memory, seemed to me extraordinary, and seems so still. What happened later than the first moment of this meeting with Conrad I scarcely now recall, and it could add little to the impression of that moment.

When one meets a man to whose spirit one has come near in his work, either of two things may happen. There may be obscuration; something we find unexpectedly opaque or distorting in the veil of flesh which renders the vision of spirit less directly clear than it was before. There may, on the other hand—and this even with an equal degree of unexpectedness—be illumination; we may see in the flesh, not the darkening veil but the enlightening explanation of what we had learnt to know in the spirit. My vision of Conrad was rather of the latter kind, not in the sense that, even though unexpected, it was really new, but in the sense that it confirmed my own intuition of the essential and radical qualities of a great writer who wrote too much, and often in fields for which his genius had not fitted him.

Whenever an artist dies who has attained, during his lifetime, even slowly, the undiscerning praise of the crowd, his fame goes out into the desert for many years. The artist must pay for the applause of fools, often pay heavily. (So that there is nothing the true artist should pray for more devoutly than to be saved from such fame.) We may see that at the present day both in England and France. Half a century ago Tennyson was worshipped by the crowd, and worshipped for quite the wrong things, for what was merely transient and feeble in his work; there was the inevitable reaction, and still even to-day he encounters a routine of supercilious neglect. Swinburne was more generally admired for the right things. But he, too, must pay for the enthusiasm of the crowd, and to a later crowd seems unreadable. In France it is just the same. Anatole France in his lifetime received the homage of the whole world as the supreme representative of the French spirit, and so became nationally recognised as its almost official representative. The result has been that a later generation is not even sufficiently interested to discuss him. The recognition of the rather commonplace and limited character of the substance of his picture of the world has concealed from the immediately following generation the high distinction which belongs to him who can stamp "l'esprit de tout le monde" with the seal of fine art. Or, to turn to another art, there is the example of Rodin. Before his work in his lifetime the mob grovelled in undiscerning reverence. They failed to see that along the road on which Rodin had set out, sculpture could not pass, and that the "Gate of Hell" which was to be his life-work was from the outset doomed to impossibility. So a later generation is pleased to view Rodin slightingly, as negligible. They, in their turn, have failed to see that here a mighty genius was breaking up the dead and rigid conventions of the past and feeling out for the new forms into which the living spirit of sculpture might pass. He was rendering it possible for the men who immediately followed, like Bourdelle and Maillol and Despiau, to form new vital conventions, and the fact that he himself had been pushing his art beyond its legitimate functions need not diminish our gratitude for the great new inspirations he brought. Similarly it has become fashionable to look back with amusement at the Cubists, who once absorbed so much attention, and to fail to realise that the phase they represented, however passing, was yet the phase of a task that had become necessary to deepen a stream of painting run too shallow.

It need not, therefore, be surprising if we seem to see the fame of Conrad following, with his death, a similar course. He had written a few short books at the impulse of genius, out of inner compulsion. And then he became a professional author and his genius degenerated into talent, a quite superior sort of talent, and he wrote many books, long books, for the many to read, not from inner but from outer compulsion. I am sure that he was himself vaguely, perhaps acutely, aware of the difference. There was also, I think, a real significance in his blind detestation of Dostoevski, not to be accounted for by simply saying that Dostoevski was a Russian. When Conrad abandoned his own proper field he became a Slav, and of a sort that had to compete in art with Dostoevski; that is very clearly seen in Under Western Eyes. But in this field it was talent trying to compete with genius, and—whatever differences of temperament and ideal there were—the obscure realisation of that competition alone explained Conrad's unreasoning hatred. He said once that if he had not written in English he could not have written at all. By a perhaps unique twist of Nature, genius came to him in his acquired English rather than in his inborn Slav quality. It thus happened that I found the vision of the man confirming and assuring the intuition born of the spectacle of his work. The quality of English sailor, doubled by a marvellous aptitude for experiencing and registering visual impressions, bestowed on Conrad the power to transform into art the life of the seaman as it has never been done before, as it can scarcely be done again. That amply suffices to confer immortality on his best work, whatever may happen to the rest.


This review of McDougall's OUTLINE OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY ivas contributed to the FORUM of February 1926. I am sorry to have to add that both Professor McDjugall and Professor Freud were not altogether pleased with the way I had discussed them, and both wrote to me in friendly protest.

AT the present day it may fairly be said that there is no science so fascinating, alike to the student and the man in the street, as psychology. "A science," Professor McDougall is to-day able to say of psychology, "which is destined to be recognised as fundamental to all the human sciences." It has taken a long time to reach that enviable position. Man began scientific study as far as possible from himself. He seems to have taken himself for granted, and he started his science, in the infancy of the world, at the stars. It was obviously an elevating way to begin science, as well as practically useful. Since then, during thousands of years, man has been slowly bringing the world into the sphere of science, and in so doing slowly drawing near to himself. But the tradition of the early age still remained. In approaching the study of minds it has been Man's tendency to regard them in the abstract, much as though they were stars. Even a century ago it may be said that psychology was almost, or quite, a metaphysical study—that is to say, a study more remote from exact science than astronomy.

Only within the last fifty years has the advance of science, in any genuine sense of the word, at last reached the human mind. Anthropology, the study of external man in an exact manner, began at the end of the eighteenth century; psychology, the study of internal man, cannot be dated so precisely, but it was only after the middle of the nineteenth century had been passed that its data and its problems began to be presented in any clear and unprejudiced fashion. Even then the man of science was sometimes shocked at his own daring in laying cool hands on so intimate and sacred a subject ("besides which, it is rude," the public growled), nor can it be said that yet we have come nearer than to a presentation of the matter. There is still room for a diversity of conclusions, and there is no general agreement to be found even when we turn to those students of this vast and obscure region most qualified to conclude.

Among those students there is none to-day better qualified to pronounce an opinion, and perhaps none whose opinions are more influential, than Professor William McDougall, formerly of Cambridge and Oxford Universities and now of Harvard. We are not called upon to accept his conclusions as the final utterance of truth in these matters, and he is careful to tell us that he does not himself so put them forward. In the Outline of Psychology—of which the new volume he now presents, he remarks, should be regarded as Part II—he states that, however dogmatically he may write, "I know that my conclusions are only working hypotheses, which may be far more wrong than right." That is fortunate, for even one who admires the breadth and sanity of Dr. McDougall's outlook, and sympathises with the general drift of his main conclusions, must be allowed to criticise the occasional looseness of statement at some places in his copious writings and to differ from him decisively in many points of detail. But, however critical one is disposed to be, it is necessary to recognise here an investigator who represents whatever is best and most open-minded in academic psychology, and one rarely qualified to reach a sound judgment on the problems of the mind viewed in the widest sense. Beginning with a training in medicine, which is really indispensable for a real grasp of the problems of abnormal psychology, and early distinguishing himself in the field of physiological psychology,—which is almost of equal value in approaching other aspects,—actively exercised in the study of the peculiar psychic phenomena presented by the mental victims of the Great War, and throughout deliberately desiring to occupy, above all, the standpoint of the student of human nature and to cherish a faith in "common sense "—there could be no better preparation. Nearly twenty years ago Dr. McDougall, in his Introduction to Social Psychology, put forward an almost revolutionary little book which, in its insistence on the fundamental place of the instincts in psychology, has had a far-reaching influence. The opinion may perhaps be hazarded that, of all the books he has published since, none is of greater value than the latest, Outline of Abnormal Psychology.

Its value is not, like that of the earlier book, in its originality. Indeed, Professor McDougall here almost ostentatiously disclaims originality. His object, he says, is to bring together in an eclectic way what seems to him soundest in the teaching of various schools, and especially in the teaching of Freud who, he boldly declares, "has done more for the advancement of psychology than any student since Aristotle." He desires, above all, to be a mediator between Freud and a still largely hostile world.

This is an aim with which the present writer (though not associated with academic psychology) can sympathise, because it is an aim of his own, towards which, in a more humble fashion, he has long been working. Indeed, I might perhaps say that it is an aim which has been mine ever since the publication of Freud's first book with Breuer, ten years before Professor McDougall began to interest himself in psycho-analysis; and the summary of the conclusions of that first book in the second volume of my Studies in the Psychology of Sex may possibly have been the first sympathetic account of Freud's doctrines—then far from their later development—which appeared in English.

It led to a friendly relationship with Freud by letter, which has continued ever since. He has never regarded me as a disciple, and I have always exercised towards him a critical discrimination which would be out of place in the adherents of a sect. For it has been the unfortunate fact that at an early period Freud became the head of a sect, on the model of those religious sects to which the Jewish mind has a ready tendency to lend itself, as the whole Christian world exists to bear evidence. It is, doubtless, a noble and precious aptitude which we are not called upon to question. But it fails to lend itself to scientific ends. The results in the Freudian school were painful to all concerned and unedifying to the world. An intimate narrative of some of the associated episodes has lately been written by Dr. Stekel, with all his profuse and complacent candour, and it is a distressing narrative. Almost from the first all those adherents of Freud who, following the example of the master, displayed original vigour and personal initiative in development were, one by one, compelled to leave the sect, when they were not actually kicked out. Those that to-day in Austria and Germany remain faithful and humble followers of Freud are likely to continue so, for—since the lamented death of Karl Abraham, whose rare abilities marked him clearly out as the personal successor to Freud in the leadership of a school—they will never be pioneers; the chief of them, indeed, have not even had a medical training, and would be unfitted to strike out any paths for themselves; they are just admirable and enthusiastic workers, who may be trusted to follow strictly Freudian lines, and sometimes perhaps reduce them to absurdity. For no man has ever had more reason than Freud to pray to be delivered from his friends. No man was ever less fitted to be the head of a sect. He is far too genuine a man of science, far too much an artist—like all the greatest men of science—to be pegged down in a chapel and tied to a creed. He is in perpetual vital movement. His standpoint to-day is not where it was yesterday, and to-morrow it will not be where it is to-day. He has always been rather indifferent to what previous workers have found, and thereby perhaps an undue degree of originality has sometimes been attached to his discoveries; but he might well say, with Hobbes: "If I had read as much as other people I should know as little as other people." It is by his freedom from tradition, and his indifference to it—however, in some aspects, that may be a disadvantage—that he has acquired his pioneering freshness of vision, that childlike quality by which alone the Kingdom of Science, like the Kingdom of Heaven, may be entered. It is by that freedom that he is perpetually enabled to move on from point to point, without ever lingering on the lower height once it is conquered. The Freudians, we may be sure, will soon pass away. But Freud will not pass away. Like the hero of Ibsen's Enemy of the People, he testifies to the great truth that the strong man is the man who stands alone. And when Dr. McDougall declares that the figure of Freud joins hands across the ages with Aristotle, that is not altogether to be dismissed as a rhetorical gesture. One who has studied Freud's work, in an often critical spirit, during thirty years, may be allowed to agree that it is not easy to overrate the importance of Freud. And that importance will remain even if all the doctrines specially associated with Freud's name should pass away or become—as indeed they constantly are becoming even in his own hands—transformed into other shapes.

The value and significance of this very substantial Outline (there are nearly 600 pages of it) is that a distinguished and influential professor of psychology (although he disclaims any merely academic attitude) here makes the most imposing effort which has yet been made to do what others of us have been seeking to do on a smaller scale: to introduce the work of Freud, in shapes that may be acceptable, into the current of the world's psychological thought. Even the most devoted Freudian, in his most ecstatic moments, can scarcely have supposed that the world's psychology could ever be accommodated in the Freudian chapel. The movement must be in the opposite direction. It is the world's psychology which must take in Freud. Here we see the most vigorous and hopeful effort yet made to introduce the conceptions of Freud into the vital movement of the world's thought.

As he himself seems to recognise, Dr. McDougall is helped to perform the important function he here undertakes, not only by his training but by certain coincidences of attitude and disposition. He shares Freud's view of the fundamental dynamic function of the instincts, and, like Freud, one may add, his natural tendency is to disregard what other workers have done. We see that, indeed, in the delay which took place in his recognition of Freud's existence, and even yet, notwithstanding the attention he claims to have given to psychoanalytic literature, one notes certain extraordinary omissions, so that there is, for instance, only one passing reference to the castration-complex which Freudians rate so highly. And we see it again in his meek acceptance of the assumption that before 1900 dreaming was regarded as merely "a chaotic rumbling of the brain-cells, of no interest to science." A ludicrous notion, when we recall all the attempts to study dreaming, both from the point of view of science and of psychological medicine, before that time! That Freud has put them into the shade we may all admit. But on one point Dr. McDougall owns to a disqualification to which he perhaps attaches undue importance. He regrets that (except as regard his dreams) he has never been psycho-analysed. But Freud himself is in the like case. The objection, therefore, can hardly be fatal. It may also be remarked that the instructive results of analysis are usually but small for persons of a critical and introspective temperament—as we may assume psychologists to be—and such persons are apt to prove rebellious to analysis.

It must not be supposed that this book of Dr. McDougall's is all concerned with Freud and the Freudians. It discusses the attitude of other psycho-analysts—especially and sympathetically Jung—and it extends still further to all the great divisions of abnormal psychology, to the questions of psychological types, to the chief forms of insanity, to double personality, thereby bringing in Dr. Morton Prince, Dr. Healy, and other eminent psychological analysts. But it is Freud who chiefly dominates the book, and it is clear that Dr. McDougall intends that it should be so.

To go over the whole field here presented to us, whether with a view to exposition or to criticism, would be out of place, even if space permitted. It must suffice to say that every reader who is at all interested in the fascinating problems involved will find it an absorbing task to follow this discussion, whether or not he always agrees with Dr. McDougall's conclusions. The present writer, I may add, is much more often than not disposed to agree.

To certain tendencies of Dr. McDougall's mind it is, indeed, possible to be rebellious. He still seems to have a prejudice against the intellect. But the intellect is merely the elaborate manifestation of the instinct to reason, which in its simple forms is one of the most fundamental of the instincts, and one of the most important, for the time has surely now gone by when prejudiced observation refused to see reason in the actions of animals—an elementary reason, it may be, yet how elementary the action of reason often is even in human beings! And he still has a little phobia with regard to the use of the word "mechanism"; he prefers "process." But, as the dictionary shows, "mechanism" merely means "an arrangement to apply power to a useful purpose," and process "a series of motions." Both words are harmless. Freud, whose standpoint as regards impulses Dr. McDougall tells us is his own, often talks of the mental apparatus; in speaking, for instance, of such a process as sublimation, the mechanical analogy can hardly be avoided, for it lies in the word itself; and provided we remember—as we can scarcely fail to when we are concerned with the psychic organism—that we are using an "as if," this verbal phobia seems useless.

But there is no need to dwell on small points for possible criticism. It is enough here to welcome the courage and skill which Professor McDougall has displayed in this notable book. He has opened the doors of academic psychology just wide enough to admit some of the most fruitful conceptions of our time.


The late Léon Bazalgette brought together in L'EUROPE, the magazine he was then editing, a number of international tributes to Romain Rolland, and invited me to take part as a representative of England. Hence this note in L'EUROPE for 15th February 1926.

"WHAT are you fighting for?" someone asked a Parisian workman at the barri-cades in 1848. "Pour la solidarité humaine, monsieur!" It is the glory of France that she has always been able to produce men who were able to fight, and even to die, for "la solidarité humaine." That is the France that is a radiant figure among the nations, the France which the English poet acclaimed as "this poet among the nations."

There is another France. France is not only the land to which we owe the conception of the League of Nations and the Federation of Europe. Every country has a double aspect, and represents the union—often the conflict—of opposites. France is, for the rest of the world, not only the representative of human solidarity, but also of devastating militarism. It is true that there are always those to be found who are prepared with infinite ingenuity to explain away French militarism, and would have the world believe that the wolf's skin covers a lamb. There are, however, Frenchmen themselves who proclaim, even to-day, their own narrow nationalism, their religious fanaticism, their intolerant inability to comprehend the temperament of other nations or even of their own fellow-countrymen. It may seem at times that France is dominated by this element in her temperament. When we approach Germany it is Goethe, with his truly international outlook, whom we see before Bismarck, and even in England Shakespeare is more than the rival of Nelson, but in France there is none to rank with Napoleon. If that is so, we owe all the greater honour to those Frenchmen who dare to champion, beyond nationalism, the greater claims of human solidarity. Romain Rolland has in recent years stood before the world as such a champion, and the representative of the most glorious aspect of France. This fragile and sensitive figure, with a strength greater than that of steel, has upheld the cause of human solidarity amid the spiteful calumnies of his own people and often the indifference of the world, which had formerly recognised with enthusiasm his delicate and sympathetic qualities as an artist. It is as the champion of human solidarity that we honour him. It is admirable to be a good Frenchman, and it is admirable to be a good German, but France and Germany are so held together by the everlasting bonds of proximity, and even of blood, that the very name of France is German, and he who is only a good Frenchman or a good German remains incomplete. It is only by being a good European that either Frenchman or German can attain to complete human development. It is towards that aim that Romain Rolland's action has ever been directed.


This review of the first five volumes of the series of EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FRENCH ROMANCES, in English translation, edited by Mr. Vyvyan Holland, appeared in the BIBLIOPHILE'S ALMANACK for 1927.

THE coming of the twentieth century was marked by a revived interest in the eighteenth, and that interest has been heightened and generalised by the influences springing from the Great War. To some of us of an older generation, who had already learnt in the nineteenth century to appreciate the qualities of the eighteenth, this awakening of the younger generation cannot fail to be welcome. It is to-day pleasant to find that even the publishing world is recognising the new orientation of taste.

Among the signs of such recognition the series of Eighteenth-Century French Romances, as it is called by Messrs. Chapman & Hall who publish it, edited by Mr. Vyvyan Holland, and printed at the Curwen Press, occupies, as we should expect from the names of its producers, a notable and attractive place. Certainly we may be allowed to feel surprise at the choice of a title for the Series.

Romances! If there is any statement we may make about the eighteenth century without fear of serious contradiction, it is that that century usually restrained the common human impulse to romance, and if there is any fact about it that is fairly clear, it is that it is anti-romantic. No doubt in so exuberantly rich a century there were exceptions, and splendid exceptions; it is enough to remember that Rousseau produced the supreme romance which was to dominate and guide the romantic literature of the generation that followed. In general, even the fantastic fiction of the eighteenth century was not romantic but of the Eastern magical type which its own pioneering activity, through Galland, discovered and often blended with the fairy-tale form which France had introduced through Perrault in the previous century, but both used not for romantic ends but as a deliberately transparent veil for realism. The typical fiction of the century was realistic, whether robust and virile in England as it culminated in Fielding, or delicate and in the finest sense feminine in France as it was initiated by Marivaux, to reach its climax with increased vitality at the end in Laclos and in Stendhal, the last belated representative of the eighteenth century, neglected by Hugolatrous France, though from the first appreciated in some at least of his aspects by more conservative England. All the books of this series are in the true spirit of the eighteenth century, but scarcely one of them can properly be called a romance, while the name is obviously and flagrantly unfitted for Le Neveu de Rameau, the brilliant fantasia of a many-sided philosopher.

When we have overcome the shock of the general title and proceed to examine the shape in which the volumes themselves are produced, there seems little occasion for anything but satisfaction. The series is addressed to the lover of books rather than to the general reader, but by their form and light weight the volumes are fitted for the reader as well as the collector of books. Type and paper and binding alike witness to the good taste by which the producers have been guided, and special note should be made of the harmony which has been achieved between the French eighteenth-century contents of the volumes and the shape in which they are put forth. This congruence of form and substance is far too rarely achieved in book production, if ever attempted. One notes numerous typographical defects in the first volume of the series, but not in those that follow.

When we turn to the substance of these volumes, we find them fully worthy of the form they assume. The selection, so far, shows a fine judgment on the editor's part, and he has been fortunate in securing such translators. Where all are admirable it is unfair to signalise any, but two of the volumes offered special difficulties, and one may be forgiven for noting the skill with which Mr. Eric Sutton has caught the tone of Crébillon and the high spirit with which Mrs. Jackson has happily faced the (at all events for an English translator) embarrassing Diderot, though she must sometimes have felt as the Empress Catherine felt after an interview with that wonderful man. It was a happy thought to open the series with a delightful story, so typical and so little known, as La Poupee; and all the others, each in its own way, are well deserving of their place. Perhaps Angola, in spite of its long-maintained reputation, is to-day the least interesting, because it is the least attractively personal in style and the most conventional, but it is so representative of its age that its selection cannot well be criticised. The editor has been as fortunate in the distinguished list of introducers as in his translators. But it is always difficult for an editor to tell how an introducer, eminent as he may be, will acquit himself in the special post to which he has been assigned. There is considerable variation to be noted here. Mr. Shane Leslie, perhaps because he had no guiding example to follow, has not been felicitous; he spends much of his space in a summary of the story—quite unnecessary, as the reader already has the story before him—and he says not one word about the author and the circumstances of the authorship, though that is what the reader chiefly needs to know. The failure to tell Bibiena's tragic story is no doubt what every foreigner expects from "British hypocrisy," but it is unpardonable; and, moreover, Bibiena's fate has a psychological bearing on his novel. Incidentally, Mr. Leslie makes statements that are either incorrect or questionable, though it is a redeeming point that he recalls Beardsley's Under the Hill, probably the most exquisite English story in the eighteenth-century manner, a story that would perhaps be still more in that manner if we possessed it as it was written. Mr. Compton Mackenzie writes with swift, easy vivacity, but if we were to follow him with a deliberation he scarcely invites, we might find much to question in his treatment both of the great figure of Diderot and the very various eighteenth century. Mr. Hugh Walpole shows hearty and deserved appreciation of Boufflers, and says all that is necessary of that excellent story-teller. Mr. Augustus John, working in an unfamiliar medium, is competent, through he is content to be slight. By far the most masterly essay in these volumes is Mr. Aldous Huxley's. Crébillon has been so persistently and so ignorantly dismissed—like a still greater writer of his century, Laclos—as "licentious" or "frivolous," that it is an immense satisfaction to find him at last recognised as artist, psychologist, and moralist, the first in his own difficult field. Mr. Huxley's essay is a fine piece of criticism, and does adequately what one, at least, of his readers has often dreamed of attempting to do.

If the remaining volumes of the series—of which twelve are planned—reach the same level, this will be a memorable collection with a place by itself. One may hope that the editor will see fit to introduce more of Crébillon—not indeed Le Sopha, with which his name is too often associated, for it is far from being among his best achievements, but at all events Le Hasard au coin du Feu, and possibly, if not too long, the Lettres de la Marquise de M—— as an example of the amorous stories by correspondence of that age. There is more also of Diderot to set beside, or but little below, Le Neveu de Rameau (even when we have put aside the doubtless too alarming Bijoux Indiscrets), such as Rêve de D'Alembert and the episode of Mme de la Pommeraye.


This review of the translation by Mr. Montgomery Belgian of Ramon Fernandez's MESSAGES appeared in the New York NATION for 8th June 1927.

THE criticism of critics is to-day an occupation actively pursued. The reason is that there are now so many critics. And there are so many critics because criticism has become the business not only of the few who regard it as a lifelong vocation, but of the many who find it the best preparation for their life's vocation, all the ardent young spirits who, in order to find their own place in the world, feel the need to scrutinise searchingly the significant figures imposed on them as leaders.

The volume of Etudes, in which Jacques Rivière appeared before the world at the age of twenty-six, is a typical example of this sort. Rivière was not primarily interested in literature; he had set himself to explore the world in general and his own soul in particular (his lately published intimate correspondence with Alain-Fournier, to whom he dedicated the Etudes, reveals his aims), but he realised at the outset that to situate himself in the world he must grapple with those figures of his time in literature and painting and music which he instinctively felt to be significant; and his instinct proved right, for all now recognise that significance, even though Rivière himself, when twelve years later—shortly before his early death two years ago—he republished the book, was keenly conscious of its critical inadequacy.

I mention Rivière, because it is from him that M. Fernandez claims to proceed. This does not mean that in any narrow sense he is a disciple. In an introductory "In Memoriam" of Rivière (omitted in the translation and rightly, for it comes in rather awkwardly), the author of Messages makes clear that the special value of Rivière for those who knew him was as a medium in which each could freely develop his own personality. It would, therefore, be idle to discuss the relation to Rivière of M. Fernandez. He has his own strongly marked personality.

It may not be unreasonable to find, to some extent, the clue to that personality in heredity and upbringing. M. Fernandez was born in Mexico and belongs to a distinguished family, his father at one time Mexican Minister to France; his mother is Southern French, and he was himself taken as a child to France, where he has ever since chiefly lived. We may thus understand his large international outlook, and in part—not entirely, for it is mainly temperamental—the influence exerted on him by writers of English origin. Of the ten figures dealt with in this volume, five have written in English (Meredith, Newman, Pater, Conrad, and T. S. Eliot); of the others, one is German (Freud) and another (Maritain) possesses, as probably M. Fernandez would admit, little significance outside France. There remain Stendhal, Balzac, and Proust.

As Etudes was Riviere's first book, so Messages is the first book of M. Fernandez, produced at a less youthful age, and the work of a more mature thinker, indeed one who, from the outset, we may be sure, bore the impress of more decisive individuality than the supple and sensitive Rivière, wave-like and diverse; we should expect to find in the man of Spanish race a "convinced individualist," as M. Fernandez describes himself, while the Spanish flavour we detect in Riviere's native Gascony is but a faint infusion. The title of this book must be read in the favourite English sense; the men here discussed have come to the author with a "message."

That may suggest, and I think rightly, that M. Fernandez is fundamentally a moralist, a moralist who appears before us wearing the mask—certainly an excellent mask—of the critic. Naturally, that is not the way he would himself put it. In the admirable introductory essay of the volume, no doubt the most recently written as well as the most notable, M. Fernandez sets forth his own conception of his task as being that of a philosophic critic, that is, as he understands it, a critic who is not content to discuss a work of art for its own sake, technical or historical, but to seek out its "spiritual dynamism," and to ascertain what place it is entitled to occupy in the human universe. There is much of subtle and suggestive value, throughout the volume, of a "philosophic" or, one might say, philosophically psychological character, especially concerning the relation of an author's work to his "personality," which it is not possible to deal with in a summary review. But the author's ultimate interests are always less with thought than with activity in the world, and the "spiritual dynamist" is what in common English we call a "moralist." He frequently, we note, uses the word "spiritual "—a word which some English critics consider meaningless—but he is careful to explain that he means by it "the internal unification of concrete experience." We may compare M. Fernandez with the great English critic of the Victorian Age of fifty years ago, with Matthew Arnold and his Essays in Criticism. There was a vital difference, for Arnold was a master of prose, which M. Fernandez at present can scarcely claim to be; but Arnold also set forth "messages," which to him came chiefly from France, as those of M. Fernandez chiefly from England; and equally with the Frenchman, Arnold would have repelled the idea of being a moralist, though that "joyful sense of creative activity" which for him was the essence of criticism is not far from the "spiritual dynamism" of M. Fernandez. A radical impulse to seek out the motive forces of living is apt to make a searching and ruthless critic, and such M. Fernandez often proves himself to be. His essay on the method of Balzac is in this respect characteristic, though it is not of his best. It is partly based on the youthful aprioristic method of starting with arbitrary definitions and classifying in accordance with those definitions. Here there is much fine-spun distinction between the "novel" and the "narrative." It is a method of criticism I can sympathise with, for I recall how in youth I used to maintain precisely the same thesis and even to cite the same work, Madame Bovary, as the type of the novel. Such academic exercise is good in youth, but now seems to me supremely indifferent. As one grows older one realises that to appreciate a work of art the critic must put himself in the situation out of which that work sprang, reproducing to himself the artist's vision of it (that is what the academic critic shrinks from, to fall back into mechanical classification), so that when we have grasped the world the artist has created we may judge how far he has succeeded and how far his success has for ourselves any human value. We cast aside rigid artificial categories, which is why, as Croce has truly observed, criticism is so much more difficult than is commonly supposed. Here M. Fernandez so cruelly analyses the method of Balzac that we begin to ask ourselves how he accounts to himself for Balzac's fame in the world, until at the last moment he reveals the fine critic he is and concisely sums up what remains significant in the genius of Balzac.

Even more characteristic, and not less searching, is the attitude of M. Fernandez towards Proust. There is on the surface an apparent contradiction in his feelings about Proust: on the one hand an immense admiration; on the other, a severe critic, eager to deny that he is a "Proustian." But the ambiguity scarcely exists for anyone who has entered into the spirit of M. Fernandez. We are here brought to the core of his problem, the problem, as he himself expresses it, of "the spiritual experience of the nineteenth century" and the question of what it furnishes "to assure to human life a better return." The human organism has, even anatomically, a sensory aspect and a motor aspect. On the sensory it reflects the images of the external world, and Proust (I am not here following M. Fernandez) stands out as the revealer, in an exquisite degree never before attained, of such sensory images. So keen an attentiveness, so absolute a passivity, could not exist without compensatory defect on the motor side; that is the price to be paid. We do not need to read about Proust's life, or to listen to what Parisian literary scandal (truthfully or not) adds, to accept the necessity of that price. M. Fernandez, too, accepts it; but he accepts it with a struggle. His own tendency is so emphatically to the motor side, he is so instinctively a champion of "spiritual dynamism," that Proust at the same moment casts on him a fascinating spell and arouses a fierce revolt. The whole of his essay on Proust is the criticism, acute and just, of Proust's "insufficiency," but we would like to see it more clearly emphasised that that defect was the foundation of Proust's fine quality. M. Fernandez relegates to a footnote the suggestion that there was in Proust "a premature fixation of sensibility, an arrest of development." There he is on the right track, and he might more precisely have implicated the invasion of that nervous affliction of asthma at the age of nine which hampered Proust's normal development and furnished the stimulus to his superb abnormal development. But this essay, significant as it is, must not be taken as our author's last word on Proust. In the introduction, "Proust's title of glory" is fully recognised, and since the present volume was published M. Fernandez has become editor of the Cahiers Marcel Proust which are to bring together with reverent care even the most minute Proustiana.

But we may best understand M. Fernandez's attitude to Proust when we turn to the essay he entitles "The Message of Meredith," whom he reasonably regards as the exact opposite of Proust. It was, I believe, his first published essay, and it lays bare his essential sympathy with those who express the motor side of life and its "spiritual dynamism." Among English readers just at present Meredith is scarcely a prophet; either he is too far or too near, and so proves irritating, while a tendency to romantic rodomontade (I speak for myself and the memory of an attempt made, at the suggestion of a fine critic, to read Harry Richmond some thirty years ago) is apt to alienate; for if it is true, as M. Fernandez asserts, that "Meredith decapitated romanticism," he left to it a considerable body. Still, it is good for the English reader to have Meredith so clearly and freshly set forth, even with an excess of enthusiasm, and to realise that in his constant endeavour to harmonise living activity with intellectual activity, to establish the creative interaction of life and thought, he still has a "message" for the world.

It may seem piquant to the English reader to find Newman placed side by side with Meredith. Whether Meredith would have been amused or indignant at the juxtaposition is uncertain; Newman would doubtless have been painfully hurt. But M. Fernandez gives good grounds for his faith. His admiration is here clearly limited; he does not share the beliefs of "this almost mediaeval priest," but he finds in him something "even uniquely modern." Here are more subtle points to bring out than when Meredith was discussed, but equally germane to the author's conception. Newman appears as an individualist, opposing a narrow and myopic rationalism by a deeper conception of complex elements of personality demanding harmonious persuasion; here is invoked that "Illative Sense" which Newman set forth in the Grammar of Assent and regarded as something corresponding to taste in the fine arts, "a personal gift or acquisition" rather than a logical process, a sense which to follow is, as M. Fernandez admits, "a perilous path," but all that he has to say about it remains suggestive.

Regarded as a book, Messages seems to have been put together by simply collecting the author's literary essays, long and short, which thus often remain out of proportion alike in length and substance. The short essays come at the end, and the last is devoted to Mr. T. S. Eliot, whom, it is pleasant to note, M, Fernandez recognises as "one of the most profound of contemporary critics." He neglects to add that Mr. Eliot is a critic who knows how to write; clear expression means clear thought, though not necessarily deep thought, and there are moments when M. Fernandez may possibly be deep but is certainly not clear. But at least he is always vigorous and sincere, a subtle thinker, and robust, if not always delicate, in esthetic appreciation. Among the literary movements of to-day he is well fitted to be a leader and guide.

He has found an admirable translator in Mr. Belgion, to whose insight and prompt action we owe the English version so soon after the publication last year of the original. The translation scrupulously follows the original, save where it rather betters it, silently amending slight oversights. Useful footnotes have also been added to explain references that English readers might find obscure. I would myself demur to a few small statements in these notes: Thibaudet is possibly the best of French academic critics, but would be flattered to hear that he is "an essayist in the manner of Montaigne "; the paradoxical Maurras is not adequately described as "an avowed atheist" if it is not added that he is also a champion of the Catholic Church; Brémond's name is connected with a futile discussion of "pure poetry," but nothing said of his main life-work, the History of the Religious Sentiment in France. These are trifles. The main point is that we here see adequately presented to the English reader a book which concerns all those who experience the impulse of essential criticism, "a disinterested endeavour "—again to revert to an old formula of Matthew Arnold's—"to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world."


This review of Professor Lévy-Bruhl's L'AME PRIMITIVE, as translated by Lilian A. Clare, under the title, THE "SOUL" OF THE PRIMITIVE, appeared in the New York BOOK LEAGUE MONTHLY, during, I believe, 1928.

LUCIEN LEVY-BRUHL is a professor at the Paris Sorbonne, esteemed in France and with a wide reputation abroad. His general philosophic attitude is Positivist—though he would not endorse all the doctrines of Auguste Comte—and severely rationalistic. His main subject of investigation is the "primitive soul," and his method that of the library student. I am sometimes inclined to regard him as the successor of my old friend, Professor Letourneau, whose radiant and amiable countenance I still recall in his study in the Boulevard Saint-Michel, lined with books from floor to ceiling, wherein he spent the last quarter of the nineteenth century in weaving a long series of works describing the sociological evolution of mankind as an aspiring course from the bestial to something like the angelic. Letourneau had been inspired by the scientific evolutionists of England; he turned to sociological ethnography in the Darwinian spirit, and he assumed that the savage of to-day was identical with the primitive man. Letourneau's activities were useful in their time, but his method was too simple, too facile, too cheerfully optimistic. Lêvy-Bruhl, who would certainly associate himself with the criticisms which may now fairly be directed against Letourneau, is also an evolutionist, but of Comtist rather than Darwinian complexion; he seeks to sift his facts with more precise care, but he remains—and that is a significant point I wish to emphasise—a man of the study.

The doctrine which we specially associate with Lévy-Bruhl—the doctrine to which he chiefly owes his international fame—is that of the "pre-logical" nature of thought in "primitive" man. This "prelogical" quality of the savage's thinking (for Lévy-Bruhl cannot come near to "primitive" thought save by assuming that the modern savage illustrates it) is demonstrated by its acceptance of contradictions and inconsistencies, as well as by a general tendency to be influenced by what Lêvy-Bruhl vaguely but disapprovingly terms "mystic" ideas.

With this thread as a clue, and well equipped by an earlier training in metaphysics, Lévy-Bruhl links together and groups with much subtlety a large number of the various and complicated beliefs of those modern savages whom he considers entitled to represent the "primitive soul." The present volume, L'Ame Primitive, published in Paris two years ago, is the latest of a series, beginning in 1913, which he has devoted to this task. Lilian Clare, his devoted and skilful translator, now presents it in English. It cannot fail to be read with interest and profit by all those who are interested in the fascinating problems offered by the consideration of the "soul," whatever meaning we may be disposed to attach to that word. Lévy-Bruhl insists on the variety and vagueness of the meanings which the untutored savage assigns to the "soul." But have we, in civilisation to-day, attained a crystalline precision in its definition?

There at once we are brought to the central idea which is Lêvy-Bruhl's guiding clue through this labyrinth: the "prelogical" mind. In philosophy it has sometimes been found quite possible to choose a guiding principle which is itself of very fragile texture, and to find that it leads to all sorts of interesting and valuable truths. To mention two philosophers of the first calibre: Schopenhauer's "Will" and Plato's "Ideas," though fictions of the imagination, were fully justified. But in sociological science such a process is more dubious, and we are entitled to inquire into the precise nature and significance of this conception of the "prelogical" mind.

One notes at the outset that "prelogical" implies a certain kind of evolutionary progression, or else Lévy-Bruhl would have chosen the more neutral term "alogical." A "prelogical" stage assumes a succeeding "logical" stage. There, at once, we are filled with doubts. For mind did not begin in the zoological series with Man. Other animals, even when very remote from Man, have mental activities. Moreover, their minds are not "prelogical" but sometimes very logical indeed. "My cat," Unamuno remarks, "never laughs or cries; he is always reasoning." Nothing indeed can exceed the logical justice and precision of the domestic cat's mind, with every purposive act measured and adjusted to the end to be achieved. But we see the same logical activity in creatures far more removed from Man than the cat. Fabre, with his ineradicable prejudice against Darwinism, refused to admit the facts which show that what we call "instinct" may vary accordingly as the situation to be dealt with varies, and is thus simply reason, for reason one might fairly regard as an instinct that varies with circumstances. But Kingston, the latest scientific investigator of spiders and ants, who in his just published book, Problems of Instinct and Intelligence, subscribes to the view that "instinct" is frozen intelligence, while agreeing that spiders are for the most part blind machines, finds it impossible to deny that in some of his experiments ants "well knew what they were doing and the reason why they did it." That is to say, they do not entirely live in a "prelogical" world, and we may even believe that they are as remote from "mystical" vagaries as the most devout of Lêvy-Bruhl's disciples could desire. But if the animal predecessors of primitive Man can scarcely be considered "prelogical" in the Lêvy-Bruhlian sense, still more doubtful is it whether his modern successors can, in the same sense, be considered "logical." Lévy-Bruhl's conception is that Man's mind has been progressing from a luxuriant imaginative "primitive" stage, which was full of contradictions, towards a stage in which reason rules and inconsistencies are not tolerated: a culminating phase of scientific "positivism." It is obvious that, in reality, we of to-day live in no such phase. A narrowly "positivistic" scientific conception of the world, refusing to admit anything unproved by science, or anything apparently inconsistent with its proofs, is possessed by but a small minority. Even among those who most genuinely accept the claims of science and of reason, there are many who do not admit that science and reason cover the whole of life, while there are some—far from considering themselves reactionaries—who vigorously repel any claim of science to decide on the essential things of life. Lêvy-Bruhl holds that the true doctrine lies with those who, like himself, uphold the most austere demands of Reason, and that all the others are belated survivors from a primitive state that is past. But is not this faith in "Reason" completely arbitrary?

Since beginning to read Lévy-Bruhl's book, I have chanced to come across a remark much to the present point by a distinguished French critic of to-day who is discussing the work of exactly such another ascetically positivist adherent to the faith in Reason. "It is in the name of Reason," M. Jaloux well observes, "that St. Thomas and the disciples of the Summa accept the truth of the Church's teaching, and it is in the name of Reason that many others refuse to believe in God. I think that the reasonable thing is to avoid having too much confidence in Reason. Sometimes it seems to me the most captious and elastic of all the forms of imagination." The point could not be more clearly and concisely put, and it is needless to say more.

It may now be clear, however, why it is that Levy-Bruhl's doctrine of the "prelogical" mind has found little or no acceptance among the actual investigators of the methods of thought and behaviour among savages to-day. Lévy-Bruhl is felt to be a man of dogma and a man of the study; his speculations—however ingenious, suggestive, and helpful—cannot give us a true picture of the real ordinary savage. We might similarly suppose a savage philosopher studying the civilised mind by reading our newspapers crammed with murders and outrages and all those "amazing" occurrences by which journalism lives. He would find it hard to believe that in civilisation, just as in his own savagery, there are masses of people who live peaceful, harmless, and uneventful lives. Nor does the average uncivilised man, any more than the civilised, take his own beliefs in too solemnly literal a manner. The Mohammedan in the desert who believes that the air is full of djinns, and that it is dangerous even to throw away a date stone, lives no less cheerful a life than the Christian who believes that an everlasting lake of fire and brimstone awaits him if he happens to tell a lie. Consistency cannot always be found in civilisation, even among the ideas of the individual, and still less when we compare the ideas of different individuals. Lêvy-Bruhl regards it as characteristic of "primitive" men that their ideas of the human spirit and its persistence after death are "vague, confused, and often contradictory." But so are those of civilised men, and a question on this point addressed to the first half-dozen civilised persons at random would produce answers by no means falling short of the savage's in these respects, and perhaps excelling them. Lévy-Bruhl makes much of a distinction—which, he believes, had previously "escaped nearly all observers "—between the conception of the soul held by the "prelogical" savage and that held by the civilised Christian missionary. To the white man, he says, it is a question of dualism (a perishable corporeal substance united to an imperishable spiritual substance); to the savage it is a question of duality; that is, all beings are homogeneous, nothing being purely material and nothing purely spiritual, all possessing in varying degrees the properties the civilised man ascribes to spirit alone. But an opinion not far from this "prelogical" view has been held by many men of eminent intellect in civilisation. Thus Milton rejected the "common opinion" that man is "made up and framed of two distinct and different natures as of soul and body," and held that "the whole of man is soul and the soul man," at once individual, animated, sensitive, and rational; it is a belief that some men of positive science have favoured in more recent times, and it is hard to see why such "duality" should be more "prelogical" than "dualism."

Several chapters of this book are concerned with the savage's conception of the individual and the group. In savage sociological theory the group comes first and the individual almost nowhere. The group is the real unit and the individual only an element of the unit. In practice as well as in theory it is undoubtedly true that individuality is largely subordinated in savage life. Yet hardly to the extent that Lévy-Bruhl assumes, for the most competent observers of actual savage life (like Dr. Malinowski) find no lack of individual temperaments and a considerable aptitude to reach individual gratification, even in opposition to the will of the group. A high degree of individual development and individual freedom is rare in savage life. But it is also rare in civilised life. There is a perpetual struggle on the part of the finer elements in civilisation to attain freedom for individuality, and there has yet been no civilisation in which the highest manifestations of individuality have escaped persecution, exile, even death, or, at least, during life, complete neglect.

But the reason for the oppression of individuality is the immense value of solidarity. The savage instinctively devises fantastic reasons for cultivating solidarity, but even if the reasons are unreasonable fictions, their motives are reasonable and the end attained socially desirable. Lévy-Bruhl wisely refrains from grappling with Vaihinger on this point, for if he did his conception of the "prelogical" would dissolve in his hands. It seems indeed to argue some audacity on the part of the publishers of the present volume to present to the American public so disparaging a conception of the uniform social group, convicting Main Street of savagery, to say nothing of those aspirations of human solidarity which have often appealed so strongly to the revolutionary idealist.

One is tempted, indeed, to reverse Lévy-Bruhl's theory of mental progression in humanity, and to place at the beginning the simple logical consistent positivistic attitude which he places at the end. The lower animals are certainly more primitive than Man, and it is among them that we can trace more clearly the simple consistent logical attitude, the complete freedom from "mystical" ideas. The savage is the pioneer of humanity in introducing a more complex vision of the problems of life and society, though for a large part he is doing so unconsciously and fantastically. Civilised man to-day can use fictions, and know that he is doing so, and that it is wise to do so; he can be inconsistent and realise that such an attitude is required, since even our human virtues are contradictory, and either for man or woman to be at once just and generous, modest and brave, means holding opposites in balance. And he can be thus illogical, because to-day he realises, when not bound by the fetters of dogma, that the world itself is illogical, even though it holds in it a thread of reason which it is worth their while for living creatures to seek out and use. Physicists to-day are able to maintain two contradictory theories of the substance of the world and to believe that both are right. The quantum theory explains some phenomena that the wave theory cannot explain, and the wave theory explains some phenomena that the quantum theory cannot explain. And the two theories are irreconcilable. So that Professor Eddington has been led to suggest that perhaps, after all, Nature is irrational. It may be a contradictory Universe, with which we can only live in harmony by being ourselves contradictory.


This review of Robert Briffault's, THE MOTHERS: A STUDY OF THE ORIGINS OF SENTIMENTS AND INSTITUTIONS, was published in the New York BIRTH CONTROL REVIEW for September 1928.

THIS huge work, covering in its three volumes nearly 2500 pages, and representing an enormous amount of labour, was published a year ago. It has attracted wide attention, but that attention has by no means always been favourable. It has secured high praise from a few, but more often it has been received coolly or with hostile criticism. It was first called to my notice, immediately on publication, by Mr. Austen Harrison, formerly the editor of the English Review and himself the author of books on women's questions; he wrote to me of The Mothers with enthusiasm. But when I later came to read reviews of the book I found that by most of the critics it was belittled. Now, after an interval, it seems worth while to investigate the cause of this attitude and to inquire how far it was justified.

The author of The Mothers, so far as one can learn, is a physician who comes from New Zealand (though the name indicates a French origin); he is not known in connection with medicine, but is the author of several non-medical books, and it is clear that he is a person of intensely active mind who has moved much about the world, was in the trenches during the war, and has acquired wide interests. He is now settled in London, and states in a brief pathetic passage of the Preface, which wins the reader's sympathy, that the present work has been "completed amid great suffering. The flight that began with still youthful buoyancy has been brought to a conclusion on broken wings," adding that he has "worked single-handed and been spared no drudgery."

Under all these circumstances it could not but be a pleasure to congratulate Dr. Briffault without qualification on bringing to a conclusion a great and memorable enterprise. His main thesis is that the part played by woman at the early stages of human culture has been under-estimated, because, since we live under a long-established patriarchal order, only to-day undergoing modification, we find it hard to understand how there could ever have been a time when the influence of woman in the community, based on descent in the female line, was equal to, or greater than, that of man, so that what may be called a matriarchal order prevailed. This was rendered possible by the great fact of maternity at a period when paternity was uncertain and even unknown (conception being attributed to other causes), and to all the various industries, sentiments, and activities, of the first importance for early man, which radiated from maternity (and among its irradiations Briffault, with many other writers, counts love), while, before war had developed or the idea of property passed beyond its elementary phase, there was no occasion for the dominance of man. So that "the social characters of the human mind are, one and all, traceable to the operations of instincts that are related to the functions of the female and not to those of the male." With a settled agricultural life, the development of war, of property, and the initiation of a family life in which the husband founded the home and brought the wife into it, an almost revolutionary change occurred in the social order.

That is a thesis which is not new and has often been vigorously opposed at various points as contrary to many established facts. But, while it is impossible to speak with certainty regarding the social life of early man, there may yet be much in the argument which contains possible and even probable truth, often overlooked and needing to be brought forward in order to modify the common tendency to set up a patriarchal order as almost a law of nature. It has usually been associated with Bachofen, who wrote nearly a century ago, with much erudition, though without the benefit of the more critical information which has since been accumulated, and in an atmosphere of mysticism which served to discredit with most later investigators the primitive gynecocracy, or rule of woman, which he believed he had discerned; there are still many who more or less follow the views put forward by Bachofen, while other authorities of at least equal or greater weight, admitting the frequent existence of descent in the maternal line, deny the conclusions that have been drawn from it. There was, therefore, ample room for an investigator who, recognising the pioneering insight of Bachofen, would discard his romantic extravagance, and seek to give force to the argument he presented in a more moderate form and in the light of later information.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Briffault, in taking up this task not only with enthusiasm and industry, but a notable equipment of acute intelligence and varied outlook, should have been seriously handicapped by defects of literary temperament. I say "literary temperament," because I know nothing whatever of his personal temperament. It is the writer alone whom I am able to take into consideration.

Dr. Briffault, it is clear from his previous books as well as from The Mothers, is a writer who is temperamentally attracted to the paradoxical. This is not the same as being heterodox, for a thinker may wander from the orthodox path without putting himself into violent opposition to it, and even without knowing that he is wandering. But to be paradoxical involves a deliberate and violent challenge to what is regarded as orthodox. A previous work, Psyche's Lamp, Dr. Briffault himself described as a challenge to the most fundamental of all notions, that of individuality, which he considered a mere abstraction, and he there preluded his later attack on the patriarchal social order by abolishing the conflict with what he called the "patriarchal universe." Dr. Briffault likes to feel that he is standing alone against the world. He puts forward this thesis as his own discovery, without explaining that, though not in precisely the same form, there are a number of distinguished workers in this field who, in one form or another, have argued along similar lines to his own. Indeed, of some of the most notable of them he speaks disparagingly, and even his solitary tribute to Bachofen is relegated to a footnote.

As regards the protagonists on both sides, one may add, it seems characteristic that Dr. Briffault never attempts to estimate the relative weight of their opinions. He quotes a vast number of authors—between two and three thousand—but he seems unable to see the trees for the wood. There are a dozen or so workers in this field in recent times to whose judicial opinion much weight must be attached, even if they are not accepted, but there is no sign that Dr. Briffault distinguishes them in the jungle, even when they favour his own views; he is liable to treat any of them with a supercilious air of easy authority, or, if he distinguishes, that is only to be known by the frequency with which he attacks them.

This literary temperament may be described as hyperaesthetic. Dr. Briffault is intensely alive and sensitive to the ideas that strike him. But he responds to them excessively. So that while he is perpetually putting forth views that, though they may not be new, have been freshly realised by himself, and may well contain overlooked elements of truth, he tends to put them forth extravagantly—frequently with the aim of contradicting somebody else—and so, in the eyes of the judicious, he is apt to prejudice a point that was well worth making. To take a simple and obvious example, he insists, more than otice, on the opposition between the sexual impulse and the mating impulse, and is even hereby carried to the wild assertion (which he elsewhere contradicts) that in savage matings there is no sexual selection. If he had been content to say they were distinct, we should agree that here is a distinction we must always recognise. But it is not enough for Dr. Briffault to point out, as he rightly does, that the two impulses are distinct; such a mild statement he fails to find sufficiently extreme, and twenty pages farther on he asserts that there is "direct contrast and antagonism."

These hyperaesthetic reactions are specially notable in Dr. Briffault's attitude towards fellow-workers, and they are the more pronounced the more eminent the worker who calls them out. Professor Westermarck, perhaps the most distinguished authority in this field, and a worker who possesses in the highest degree those qualities of judicial caution and moderation in which Dr.

Briffault is not conspicuous, is repeatedly called out for pedagogic castigation, and never with the smallest recognition of the great qualities which have assured for Westermarck's history of marriage its high reputation. The criticisms, it is possible, may often be justified, but I may note that I tried to verify one of them, where Dr. Briffault reprovingly states that Westermarck gives "an incorrect reference to H. H. Ellis." But on looking the point up, the reference is found to be perfectly correct; the incorrection is Briffault's. In another place, where an absurd argument is attributed to another cautious and distinguished authority, Dr. Moll, the absurdity is found due to an extravagant twist which has been given to Moll's statement.

It may be simplest for me to illustrate these traits of Dr. Briffault's mind by his method of treating a statement of my own. Many years ago I pointed out that the primitive rule of exogamy—or marriage outside the immediate group—may have its biological basis (though not its complete explanation, for there the active human intelligence came into inventive play) in the fact that the mating impulse is felt more strongly towards comparative strangers than towards those who have been brought up in the same household, or have been companions from childhood. This is not, as Dr. Briffault thinks, a "theory," but a statement of fact which most people can confirm out of their own early experiences. It is not specially a phenomenon of civilisation, for it rests on an instinctive basis which is independent of culture. It is a common experience in all isolated communities that when a young woman from outside is introduced she has, without the exercise of any coquetry, all the young men at her feet. In disputing this fact, Dr. Briffault fails to see that he thereby deprives his own conception of primitive society of its biological basis, and leaves it in the air, for his view is that, in the first stages of human life, women always chose as their sexual partners men who were strangers and whom they refused to live with, preferring to live with their children among their own blood relations. That the immature instincts of children tend to have what is, not quite correctly, termed an "incestuous" direction, is, thanks to the Freudians, now well recognised; it is equally well recognised that, with the attainment of adolescence and the normal susceptibility to the stronger attractions of the less familiar mating object, there is a sharp reaction against the immature and childish tendencies, and a horror of incest arises. All this is, to an impartial observer, simple, natural, and universal. It represents the general rule, to which there are, of course, endless exceptions, early "fixations," more or less pathological, which are never overcome. To bring them forward, as Dr. Briffault does, to invalidate the general rule, is idle and scarcely intelligent, though, in order to strengthen his opposition to my representation of this rule, he states that I had put it forward as "indispensable;" needless to say, I have never said anything so absurd. Impelled by the same motive, he makes the equally baseless assertion that I had been referring "exclusively to the operation of the sexual instincts of the male." On the contrary, this instinct is probably even more marked in the female, and numberless women, when urged by a suitor they have known from childhood, have felt, and often said, "I am very fond of you, but I don't want to marry you—I know you so well!" In other words, they feel that such a union would have a kind of "incestuous" character. Dr. Briffault, however, might seem to belong to that class of controversalists who hold that we should reply not to what our adversary actually said, but to what he ought to have said if we are to triumph over him.

That supposition would be unjust, for it is probable that Dr. Briffault is simply carried away by his special temperament to excesses which he had not deliberately planned. But we may now realise why it is that his achievement in producing this memorable work has not been received with all the applause which it may seem to merit. He has unfairly disparaged the fellow-workers before whom, in the first place, his book naturally comes for judgment, and—unkiudest cut of all—he has even contrived to alienate in some measure the very sex which he has come forth to champion. His aim is the justification of the primitive place of women in society, at a period when culture was not the outcome of masculine activity but mainly an achievement of women. "Social organisation itself was the expression of feminine functions. Those social sentiments without which no aggregate of individuals can constitute a society were the immediate derivatives of the feelings which bind the mother and her offspring, and consisted originally of these, and of these alone. Upon them the superstructure of humanity, and the powers and possibilities of its development, ultimately rest." But in the establishment of the patriarchal system and the civilisation bound up with it—for neither of which he feels unqualified admiration and both which he seems to think likely to disintegrate in their present form—Dr. Briffault can assign but a small part to woman, while he magnifies the part women have played in primitive magic, and makes no attempt to conceal the facts, which are indeed undisputed, concerning the licentiousness of women among various uncivilised peoples. It was no doubt inevitable that such a champion should arouse horror in the breasts of many feminists, who still cherish the ideals of prim feminine respectability which are said to have prevailed in England during the Victorian Age.

When we have thus disposed of Dr. Briffault's critics by accounting for their existence, and at the same time put aside his own theories concerning the sexual order of a Palaeolithic Age from which no documents for proof or disproof exist, it is possible to speak of this work with genuine admiration. Every page of it may be read with enjoyment, and there are few readers who will not derive knowledge or suggestion from some of them, provided they approach them with an alert critical sense. This author possesses wide-ranging interests, supported by an immense and indiscriminate familiarity with their literature (which he generally quotes with marvellous accuracy), and combined with an athletic intelligence which moves easily in this wilderness of quotations, constantly throwing out new ideas or reviving old ideas, illustrating them from a fresh angle or attaching to them an unexpected importance. Moreover, this book is the work of a brilliant writer, one may even say a literary artist, and if his ideas are at times obscure, and he sometimes contradicts himself, there is no obscurity in his expression. Every chapter may be read with ease as well as with pleasure.

It is characteristic of the author's intellectual grasp that his eagerness to penetrate to the origins of society does not preclude an insight into the present. "We live," he remarks in his final chapter, "in a patriarchal society in which patriarchal principles have ceased to be valid." We cannot, even if it were desirable, return to any earlier order, but we can mould the future. Men can unlearn the patriarchal theory, and women—mothers in the spirit even when not in the flesh—can learn that "all racial ideas that are worth while are ultimately identical with their own elemental instincts;" in throwing off their economic dependence they are rescuing from the like thraldom the deep realities of which they were the first "mothers." Both sexes alike, putting aside all efforts to impose their own ideals on the opposite sex and substituting mutual co-operation for sex antagonism, can work together for the future evolution of society. They can so organise marriage that it ceases to be an "institution" for the State to regulate, and assumes new forms which the State cannot institute, though it is its duty to register them. "It is towards new forms of marriage that existing conditions point. Individual men and women differ profoundly in their fitness for one form or other of sexual association; what is in a given instance desirable is quite unsuitable in others." This final chapter may be read with profit even by those who are least inclined to assume a primitive rule of women.

When from this final standpoint we survey The Mothers, we cannot fail to recognise that, notwithstanding all the criticism his work has been subjected to, Dr. Briffault may view with satisfaction the outcome of his labour and thought. He has produced a book which no investigator in these fields can henceforth afford to neglect.


Published in the SATURDAY REVIEW for 6th April 1929, in review of Dr. G. V. Hamilton's memorable work, A RESEARCH IN MARRIAGE.

THE sex life of ordinary men and women has been the last subject in the world for the cool, investigating hands of science to touch. Strange, perhaps, that the inquisitive thirst for knowledge should neglect precisely that subject which so many people regard as of the first importance in their personal lives. It might appear to an outsider a proof of the exalted idealism of an extraordinary species of beings who went to endless trouble to analyse the composition of the stars and were completely indifferent to the analysis of the conditions needed to secure their own personal welfare. But the motives of this neglect were not so lofty as the outsider might imagine. There was more of terror than of heroism in the attitude. Men had so surrounded the most intimate part of their bodies with hideous bogies and taboos that they were frightened at the spectre they had themselves evoked, and it was merely the refuge of cowardice that they sought in stellar space.

So not until about half a century ago was there any systematic attempt to investigate the psychology of sex-love, and then it was confined to the most morbid and outrageous forms of that psychology (as embodied in Krafft-Ebing's Psycho-pathia Sexualis), as though by an instinctive desire to indicate that we were here concerned with phenomena in which ordinary humanity had no part. In my own Studies were embodied the first attempts to present the sex histories of "normal" people, and at the same time to indicate that there is no line of demarcation between "normal" and "abnormal." Meanwhile, the far-reaching speculations of Freud have, on the one hand, almost revolutionised some departments of sex investigations, while, on the other hand, various methodical inquiries have been set up for the acquisition of knowledge on special points; notable among these are the results of the questionnaires issued from New York by Dr. Katharine Davis.

But now it is possible to chronicle an investigation, again in America, which is an advance on all that has gone before in this field. The investigator, Dr. G. V. Hamilton, is not unknown. Ten years ago he was the pioneer in exploring the sex life of the higher apes under conditions which were an attempt to approximate to the natural conditions, a field in which many have since followed him. Now, turning to another, and to ourselves specially interesting, branch of the Primates, he has inaugurated a yet more fruitful series of observations. The distinguishing mark of his investigation is its more rigidly systematic and comprehensive character. In this way, however it may fall short, it becomes a more nearly scientific attempt to reach the facts than any that went before. We can never be sure that individuals' histories are typical, while questionnaires cannot be adequately controlled and need to be very limited in scope. Dr. Hamilton secured 100 married men and 100 married women (not necessarily husbands and wives to each other), of good social standing, some of them persons of note, and all presumably normal. An extremely lengthy series of sometimes very intimate questions was carefully prepared, covering all the main aspects of the sex life. These were submitted to the long-suffering victims of this inquisition under Dr. Hamilton's personal supervision. When the answers were finally obtained (though all the questions were not answered by all the subjects), these answers were elaborately summarised and analysed by Dr. Hamiltons' assistants, and the results appear as percentages. The whole investigation has now been published in New York, and, though highly condensed, it fills a substantial volume of nearly six hundred pages.

The obvious criticism of these results is that the subjects are too few, the more so as for many questions the answers are defective or ambiguous. When we come to the minute shades of sexual feeling or practice, and to the correlations between them which Dr. Hamilton's assistants have worked out with so much skill, lucidity, and patience, we are especially uncertain as to the validity of the results. We should feel more confidence if the subjects could have been increased to the number of a thousand. But this criticism is silenced at the outset by the frankness with which Dr. Hamilton himself acknowledges its force. He repeatedly states throughout that he is not claiming to put forward any final conclusions. It is the right attitude, and in adopting it the author creates beforehand an atmosphere favourable to the acceptance of his results.

Dr. Hamilton is, indeed—as we may clearly recognise—an absolutely ideal investigator at the stage of development which "sexology" has to-day reached. The pioneering days are past. There are no more continents to discover here, and the methods of the adventurous pioneer can no longer be profitably adopted. It is the highly trained surveyor of the new land that we now require. No one in this field of methodical scientific survey seems to be so well equipped to-day as Dr. Hamilton. This equipment does not consist merely of his training in comparative and morbid psychology. That would not suffice. Indeed, no scientific discipline is in itself enough. For the investigator in this field a particular disposition is needed which no training can yield, an attitude, that is to say, of humane sympathy and insight, of freedom from conventional prejudice, of instinctive caution in drawing conclusions. These are qualities that can scarcely be acquired without the right innate disposition. Dr. Hamilton's temper of mind is well revealed by his attitude towards Freud, always a test of the investigator in this field. It is at once appreciative and critical; he realises the magnitude of Freud's achievement and is willing to follow up Freud's stimulating suggestions, but he retains his own freedom and independence. He shows to how considerable an extent hidden psycho-dynamic mechanisms may be discovered, quite independently of psychoanalysis, by what he terms "non-mystical methods of research." It may be noted here, in passing, that this is a questionable use of the much abused word "mysticism," and Freud would certainly protest at being described as a "non-scientific student of human nature," as he claims to be a man of science, neither more nor less.

These unfortunate qualifications might well have been omitted without injury to Dr. Hamilton's position. It is possible, indeed, that he himself would now admit this, for even in the brief period since his investigation was completed he has declared that it has had the result of causing him to move more closely to the Freudian outlook.

It is impossible to summarise this Research, for the volume is itself a summary, and contains 468 tables, besides other figures and correlations. The results are at innumerable points of value and often of novelty; even when not new they bring out points with a new precision. Thus the significance, even for later life, of opportunities of obtaining early information on matters of sex is clearly revealed. Only 5 per cent, men and 38 per cent, women could definitely report that they had no occasion in childhood to experience curiosity concerning the conformation of the opposite sex; and the importance of this early sex knowledge is well indicated by the finding that 80 per cent, of those women who knew before the age of six where children came from, show adequate sexual capacity in their married life, but only 42 per cent, of those who never knew till after the age of twelve; while those who, as children, met with encouragement to their questions, have a much more satisfactory sex life after marriage than those whose parents were embarrassed or stiff in face of their children's questions. It appears that 31 per cent, of the women, although of the well-to-do and educated class, had received no preparation whatever for the appearance of menstruation. Altogether Dr. Hamilton considers that not 5 per cent, of his subjects have entirely escaped damage from some injurious but preventable influence of early life. It is to be remembered that they are men and women of more than average intelligence and attainments, more or less importantly occupied in the world. They correspond to our own upper middle-class people—the section most socially influential—and if, as we may assume, conditions are in this respect much the same among us, many things in English life may become clearer to us.

What is the proportion of married people who really obtain satisfaction in marriage? Hamilton finds that 63 husbands and 47 wives consider their marriage successful or fairly successful. He has a very definite impression that the wives in his group—and I believe the impression would have remained had he gone beyond his group—have been more seriously disappointed in their marriages than the men; 39 husbands have no cause for dissatisfaction, but only 25 wives; 11 wives find "everything unsatisfactory," but only 2 husbands. Hamilton was rather surprised to find that a man is more likely to be happy in marriage with a woman who is sexually inadequate than a woman is with a sexually inadequate husband. It is interesting, in view of the strict prohibition in the United States of the publication of the methods of birth-control, that as many as 92 per cent, of the men and 87 per cent, of the women use contraceptives—probably as large a proportion as in England, where we have no such prohibition. Dr. Hamilton believes that the strange latter-day opposition to birth-control—for as Carr-Saunders and others have shown, the limitation of offspring by one method or another has always been accepted in earlier stages of civilisation—is the greatest obstacle in the way of solving one of the major problems of married life, and he finds that as many as 21 of 81 women in his group—over 25 per cent.—have had one or more abortions performed.

Dr. Hamilton's subjects are men and women mostly under forty years of age, all living in New York City, and some of them persons of considerable achievement in the world. They are, therefore, full of significant instruction for us as being among the finer representatives of the new adult generation, for we may reasonably suppose that they enable us to realise the direction in which the world is to-day moving. (I may remark that in England my own observations, though I cannot present results so comprehensive and precise as Dr. Hamilton's, harmonise with his at all main points.) In view of the common opinion concerning the prevalence of sexual licence to-day, it is instructive to observe that 41 per cent, of the husbands and 53 per cent, of the wives had never had any sexual relationship before marriage; and 46 per cent, of the men and 61 per cent, of the women never except with the future partner in marriage. Dr. Hamilton's analysis, moreover, enables him to separate the younger from the elder of his subjects. He is thus able to ascertain that men of the younger generation are more "conventional" as regards pre-marital sexual intercourse—that is to say are more chaste—than men of the older generation. But not so the women. "Our men are becoming more virtuous and our women less so." The result is that among persons bom in 1891, or later, the percentage of both men and women who have not had sexual intercourse before marriage is about the same. James Hinton, who, more than half a century ago, was the passionate though sometimes wrong-headed pioneer of sexual reform, used to be filled with wrath at the spectacle of the contrast between the undue licence and undue restraint—unequally shared by the sexes—which marked the society of his time. His spirit might have been soothed if he had known how true a pioneer he was of a swiftly approaching future.

Dr. Hamilton's results will doubtless seem shocking to many readers; but, though sometimes even himself a little surprised, he wisely remains an optimist. "The educated younger men and women," he writes, "with their serious-minded but frankly experimental attitude towards sex, refuse to be superstitiously moralistic; but they also refuse to be either obscenely furtive or inexpediently defiant and disorderly. They are trying to be sane and broad-minded." That may be said to be the final moral of a memorable research which is as instructive in its facts as it is reasonable and humane in its outlook.


These pages were written as an Introduction to the English translation of Pierre d'Exideuil's LE COUPLE HUMAIN DANS L'OEUVRE DE THOMAS HARDY, published in 1930. They were there printed with the omission of two or three sentences, which are here included.

IT is common to speak of Thomas Hardy as a "pessimist." It is not a description he himself accepted. One may well go farther and say that for anyone who is concerned with the spectacle of life the term "pessimism" is as much out of place as the term "optimism." The person who believes that everything in the world is for the best can only have known one hemisphere of it, and only have felt half of what it offers; he is a maimed and defective being who has never in any complete sense lived. And the person who believes that everything in the world is for the worst is similarly one-sided in his vision, and semi-ignorant in his experiences. No one, indeed, who has really caught a glimpse of the infinitely varied universe of experience in which we live, can apply to it such demoded metaphysical terms as "optimism" and "pessimism." It is true, as a distinguished French critic has lately remarked:

"Humanity does not give birth in joy, and even the novelists most optimistic in their philosophy, like André Gide, have yet written bitter things. The great masterpieces of fiction reach us effaced by time and commentaries, but think of the corrosive acid that poisoned on their first appearance Les Liaisons Dangereuses or Le Rouge et Le Noir. Nothing more atrociously desperate than The Mill on the Floss, or Le Cousin Pons, or The Possessed." Jaloux is here refuting the charge of "pessimism" brought against the novels of Julien Green, but he might have been speaking of Hardy or even of Shakespeare. For Shakespeare no more becomes a pessimist by virtue of Lear than an optimist by virtue of Midsummer Night's Dream. The artist lifts us into a region where these metaphysical distinctions are meaningless, and we may well feel sorry for the simple folk who can turn from the radiant exhilaration of Hardy's art and mutter "Pessimist!"

It is another matter to say that life is a tragedy and a comedy, and, often enough, both together. There is an inescapable logic of sequences in it, and there is a wild absurdity; there is anguish and there is joy; there is, in the end, the serene contemplation of a whole in which all the varied elements fall into place. That is how those who approach life naturally—that is to say, unobsessed by philosophical dogmas—inevitably feel, whether or not they happen to be artists: as a tragedy, and also at times a farce, a source of delight, sometimes of horror, even, sometimes of irony—in short, as Dante phrased it, a "divine comedy." Life has indeed always been so for the natural man, from whatever Adam and Eve you choose to trace him.

It was so that life was for Hardy. He interested himself a little in philosophy, and more in art? as the years went on he interested himself in fiction as an art, his own in particular, and even wrote suggestively about it. But, whether or not he was a great artist, he was not a philosopher. He was a natural and simple man as free from the pretentiousness of "high art" as from any other pretence, so modest and human as to feel hurt by the clamour of fools around his Jude the Obscure. Hardy was not a child of culture nor even, one sometimes thinks, a well-trained workman in literature. He had never been subjected to any discipline, scarcely, so far as one can see, even in architecture; his education was mainly the outcome of a random, inquisitive, miscellaneous reading, and the love-letters he wrote in youth to the dictation of unschooled peasant girls (like Richardson and like Restif de la Bretonne) may well have been an important part of it. His stories lapse at times into extravagance or absurdity. His style, exquisite at moments, is often (though this may be justified by his belief that "a living style lies in not having too much style—being, in fact, a little careless") weak, feeble, careless. It is genius that carries him through. And of its possession he seemed mostly unconscious.

His modest, quiet, smiling simplicity was the dominant impression the man made, at all events in earlier days, when one met him. I only knew him slightly—a few meetings, an occasional letter—and my most vivid memory dates from a long afternoon spent alone with him as far away as some forty years, before he had become famous. (I had, not long before, in the Westminster Review for April 1883, published an article on his novels which was one of the earliest serious appreciations of his work and my own earliest long essay.) Yet even so brief a meeting may suffice to furnish a key to a writer's work, and to reveal the quality of the atmosphere in which that work moves.

The tragi-comedy of life, its joy and its pain, most often have their poignant edge at the point of sex. That is especially so when we are concerned with a highly sensitive, alert, rather abnormal child of nature, with the temperament of genius. Such we in part know, in part divine, that Hardy was, though always reticent about any autobiographical traits in his novels. Every reader of Mrs. Hardy's Early Life of Thomas Hardy has noted the statement that "a clue to much in his character and action throughout his life is afforded by his lateness of development in virility, while mentally precocious. He himself said humorously in later times that he was a child till he was sixteen, a youth till he was five-and-twenty, and a young man till he was nearly fifty." The statement may be vague, but it indicates an element of abnormality such as we are apt to find in genius; some such element is indeed an inevitable concomitant of the special sensitiveness and new vision of genius—the new vision of things seen at an angle slightly, yet significantly, different from that at which the average man is placed. For genius feels the things we all feel, but feels them with a virginal freshness of sensation, a new pungency or a new poignancy, even the simplest things, the rustling of the wind in the trees or over the heather, which become, since Hardy has revealed them to us, an experience we had never before known.

It is in the problems of the relations of men and women that, as we might expect, these qualities of Hardy's special genius reach their full expression. That cannot fail to have been observed by all those who have discussed his work in fiction. But I doubt if it has ever been so thoroughly and so frankly discussed as in Le Couple Humain dans l'Oeuvre de Thomas Hardy, by M. Pierre d'Exideuil, recently published in Paris and here presented to the English reader. Nothing of this critic's work had come to my notice before I read Le Couple Humain, and I do not quite understand by what path he reached Hardy. However that may have been, it is clear that M. d'Exideuil has gained a fairly complete mastery of his subject and a considerable acquaintance with the numerous writings of earlier critics in the same field. He is the first writer to investigate Hardy's art in relation to the sexual theme at its centre. It is worth noting that this task falls to a fellow-countryman of Stendahl and of Proust, and so many other fine analysts of love. The English critic still always remains rather shy and awkward, a little Puritanical, in front of the problems of sex. There lingers in him a mediaeval feeling that to deal simply and seriously with sex is unwholesome. He seems to feel an impulse either to moralise or to display an ostentatious playfulness, which sadly often becomes coarse and crude. Throughout the whole history of French literature, even from the days of Montaigne and Petit Johan de Saintré, it has been natural for the Frenchman to deal seriously with a group of problems which certainly, for nearly all of us, are at one time or another the most serious we encounter in life. (I may note parenthetically that Hardy's characters are largely of the distinctly Celtic type of Western England and that Hardy himself, who felt in close touch with the great French novelists, liked to recall that he was remotely of French blood.) M. d'Exideuil is dealing with a foreign writer, but he is following a track marked out by his own countrymen.

He follows it worthily, no doubt, but we are not bound to accept all the arguments set forth in this book. At some points, indeed, one or another may unintentionally mislead the reader.

It is the business of the analytic critic to trace out the underlying tendencies, the more or less unconscious ideas, held beneath and within the work of art he is discussing. In so doing he may easily give the impression that the artist himself deliberately built up his work on the foundation of these tendencies, and intentionally used the ideas as the framework of his structure. That is not so; and certainly not so for an artist as spontaneous and wayward as Hardy, who used ideas and theories, by afterthought, as illustrations or decorations of his stories, not as their framework. The artist, we must never forget, is simply a man who looks at life through the medium of a personal temperament, and is able to describe what it looks like as seen by him. But the artist himself may not know what it looks like from outside. As Hardy once wrote to me: "They [novelists] are much in the position of the man inside the hobbyhorse at a Christmas masque, and have no consciousness of the absurdity of its trot, at times, in the spectators' eyes." It was not, indeed, any absurdity in my vision of his work that he was criticising but rather an appreciativeness which, he modestly said, "seems in many cases to create the beauties it thinks it perceives." The critic of literature, however, is in the same position as the grammarian of language. The grammarian patiently observes language and finds that certain rules hold good, in general, for its use. But the rules he evolves from observation of the common uses of language are not present to the minds of those who invented and spoke the language; they come after, not before, its creation. And similarly, the rules the critic finds in the novelist's art, however justly they may define the general methods of that art, were not present to the artist's mind; they come after, not before, the creation of that art. We must bear that in mind when M. d'Exideuil so lucidly expounds to us what he finds in Hardy's novels.

All those who have ever taken a real interest in Hardy's work will enjoy this intimate study of what cannot but be regarded as one of the most significant aspects of that work. But even those readers who take no special interest in Hardy's novels may yet find much that is profitable here. For here we are concerned with the central situations of life, stated in terms of fictional creation but none the less situations which most of us have had to deal with. The men whom Hardy brings before us have sometimes been criticised as rather pale and featureless in character. Many years ago I remarked that men of the Wilhelm Meister and Daniel Deronda class were his favourite heroes. He wrote in reply: "I think you are only saying in another way that these men are the modern man—the type to which the great mass of educated modern men of ordinary capacity are assimilating more or less." Evidently it was not on the same plane that he saw women. The problems of love he presents, therefore, are largely those of the conflict between the modern man and a mate who retains the incalculable impulses of a more elemental nature. Hardy's statement of these situations is all the more instructive by virtue of his concentration on this primitive feature of human character. In old days Hardy's vision of the primitive and elemental, as manifested in women, was resented by many; feminists were wont to compare Hardy's women, to their disadvantage, with Meredith's. From the ethical standpoint that preference for Meredith's women was then justifiable. To-day, perhaps, when we no longer need to rebel against Victorianism, and are able with him "to see beauty in ugliness," we may view the psychological traits of Hardy's women without prejudice, and even recognise in them an element of permanent veracity.


In 1930 the Eugenics Society set up a Committee for Legalising Eugenic Sterilisation, and this Committee issued a pamphlet, which was very widely circulated, entitled EUGENIC STERILISATION, at the same time drafting a Bill to introduce into Parliament with the object of "legalising" voluntary sterilisation, under certain conditions, both among the general public and mental defectives, without prejudicing the question whether such operations are or are not already lawful. Such a Bill seemed to me both absolutely unnecessary and thoroughly mischievous, not only having no chance whatever of passing, but being calculated to prejudice the very cause it was intended to further. My CRITICISM was summarised in the EUGENICS REVIEW for January 1931, and eventually the scope of the proposed Bill was limited to the voluntary sterilisation of mental defectives under control, a limitation which seemed to me to render the Bill less mischievous, even if still undesirable. The Bill was duly introduced into the House of Commons, and at once turned down by a large majority amid an eloquent shower of fallacious arguments against sterilisation in general. This is precisely what I had anticipated, and, as also I had expected, the newspapers in their glib comments at once assumed that at present "sterilisation is illegal."

I am pleased to be able to add that the Eugenics Society is now trying to make clear that voluntary sterilisation, for any desirable end, is already within the reach of those who can afford the surgical fee, and that the Society's efforts in this matter are simply directed to bring this trifling but important operation within the reach of those who cannot afford to pay for it.

THE substitution in recent years of new methods of sterilisation for the ancient method of castration has proved a reform with far-reaching effects. The simple method of ligaturing sperm-ducts or ovi-ducts (together with other methods, some of which may onlybetemporary in their sterilising effects) has changed the whole aspect of the question of sterilisation, to such a degree, indeed, that it has not always been understood even by scientific men, who have sometimes imagined all sorts of doubts and difficulties, as the result of their imperfect knowledge. The old operation of castration was definitely a mutilation, and, as we now know, it not only abolished the procreative powers but it deprived the whole organism of hormonic secretions which are essential for virility in the wide sense, or for femininity. Sterilisation, as now practised, involves the removal of no organ, essential or unessential; it not only in no degree destroys sexual potency or sexual desire, but has no hormonic influence, while it is (in the common form of vasectomy) so trifling a proceeding that it has sometimes been carried out without interference with the subject's daily work. It thus has a wide range of usefulness both in health and disease. On the one hand, it may be employed as a contraceptive by those who already have a sufficiently large family, or have decided, on whatever grounds, that they cannot have any family at all; on the other hand, it is a main eugenic instrument for persons of defective heredity, and though it can never be said with certainty that congenitally defective parents will produce con-genitally defective offspring, yet, in view of the risks, it is better to err on the side of care than on the side of carelessness, whether or not those who thus restrain the procreative impulse, during our present rapidly rising tide of world-population, will be reckoned to-morrow (as with our narrow notions of patriotism they will not be reckoned to-day) benefactors of humanity.

Thus, while the old castration was regarded, not unnaturally, as punishment and humiliation, the new sterilisation has no such implications, but is a course of action neither dishonourable nor degrading to the person who chooses it, while it is usually of benefit to the society to which he belongs. But there is still a tendency in the muddled public mind to confuse the new method with the old. Those, therefore, who are engaged in establishing the new order, whether by their operative activities or by their writings, deserve all the encouragement and help which can be given them. This is the feeling which seems to have animated the Committee. Unfortunately, they have been ill advised in the retrograde steps they have taken to manifest their sympathy. It scarcely appears that they have had any due consultation with the workers who, for years past, have been engaged with this matter.

One might have supposed that a Committee appointed to deal with sterilisation by a Society which was originally established as a Eugenics Education Society would have considered the opinion of those numerous members of the Society who believe that the differential birth-rate represents a possible menace for the future community, and that they would have proposed measures to bring sterilisation and other methods of contraception within practical reach of those social strata which are to-day so urgently in need of eugenic education. Nothing of the sort! They have preferred to rake up antiquated legal objections on a mediaeval and earlier foundation, or such as have been actually suggested as possible by lawyers. They seem to overlook that it is a part of the business of lawyers, on the one hand, to raise legal objections to a proposed course of action, and, on the other hand, to raise counter-objections to those objections; if it were not so, forensic activities could not be exercised. But it is a piece of supererogatory wickedness to exercise forensic ingenuity when there is no question of bringing a case into court. Our best course, obviously, is to wait for that improbable event. If it comes about, then there is not the faintest doubt that the cause of voluntary sterilisation will receive adequate support, moral and material, as well as legal, and the Committee might have been expected to organise such support.

As for the horrifying spectre of a maim, with which so much play has been made, it is without bearing on the matter. Mayhem, a word so ancient that its origin is unknown, belongs to a primitive state of society totally unlike our own. "The loss of those members which may be useful to a man in fighting alone amounts to mayhem by the common law," Blackstone stated; while as regards statute law, the Committee can only refer to an Act, some seventy years old, relating to "assaulting and wounding," ridiculous to apply to voluntary sterilisation, and enacted long before modern sterilisation was heard of. The Committee admits, indeed, that the only legal opinion on which it relies, Lord Riddell's, is "based on legislation now obsolete." The Committee further admits that "public benefit" is already recognised by law, and even the most ancient among us are now beginning to realise (what the younger generations do not doubt) that the sterilisation of those unfit for procreation, and of those unwilling to take on the responsibilities of parenthood, is undoubtedly a matter of "public benefit."

The idea that the physician's part is limited to the treatment of disease belongs to an ideology now out of date and is not in accord with the views and the practices now tending to prevail, which recognise the health of the community as well as the health of the individual as coming under care. "If the physician limits himself to the treatment of disease," Goldberg has lately well said (Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, Nov. 1930), "he is leaving undone a large and splendid part of his work for the welfare of the community." It is far more praiseworthy to prevent disease and to act as medical adviser in the education of the whole people. In their ex parte statement the Committee refrain from indicating that surgeons have for long past been carrying on sterilisation not only on persons in health, but also in hospitals, in States of the U.S.A. which have no sterilisation laws, as well as elsewhere; and if there is, notably, a sterilisation law in California, that is because sterilisation is there compulsory and consequently needs to be legalised. Voluntary sterilisation is in no such need. Even the assumption that such a need exists is mischievous, for it will spread abroad the notion that sterilisation at present cannot be safely carried out. In the unlikely event that a bill for "legalising" it is enacted, the result may be equally mischievous; for we have to remember that it must pass the scrutiny of opposing antiquated prejudices, on one side those based on scientific notions of the past, on the other those of popular ignorance. So that the only Act likely to emerge would be one so hedged about with timorous precautions as to be unworkable, especially in a land where individualism is still to some extent cherished and bureaucracy abhorred. As has happened in some American States, sterilisation, by being legalised, is itself sterilised out of existence.

When we review the plea of the Committee for legalising voluntary sterilisation (the plea on the compulsory side is almost negligible) one cannot help remarking how sympathetically its members would be rallied to a movement for legalising voluntary decapillation. The two movements would be closely allied. From the Committee's standpoint, in fact, it is decapillation that is more urgently in need of legislation, in view of the frequency of the operation and the lack of skill with which it is often carried out, without any specific statutory authorisation. The legal position of decapillation is, as the Committee would say, ambiguous, and to an even greater degree than that of sterilisation; it is compulsory in some circumstances, it is a punishable offence in others, while the classic case of Samson under the scissors of Delilah definitely brings in the problem of mayhem. It is painful to think of the emotions which must be experienced by any member of the Committee when he approaches a hairdresser's chair without having secured and paid for a legal permit at the Decapillation Office he has not yet been able to set up. It would be an evidently congenial task for the Committee to work for the national control of bobbing, shingling, and cropping. Many persons, both inside and outside the Eugenics Society, consider that the Committee would be more innocently employed than it is at present if it would agree to reconstitute itself as the Committee for Legalising Decapillation.


This paper was written at the request of the editor, Dr. Raymund Schmidt, for the FORUM PHILOSOPHICUM, ire comment on a paper by Professor Del-Negro, "Antinomien des Sexual-problems," which appeared in the same number, May 1931. As will be seen, I could not altogether accept Del-Negro's view that the sex problem presents antinomies for which there is no synthesis; but I agree with his final conclusion that "the essential thing in life is not the balance of happiness, but the greatest possible heightening of personality."

THE phenomena of sex have furnished a problem which Man has found puzzling ever since he began to reflect impersonally on his own life. That was, no doubt, due to the special nature of these phenomena, with their alternations of quiescence and explosiveness. Sex, on the one hand, was seen to be essential to the construction of society, and yet, on the other hand, it was constantly threatening destruction to society. It is not surprising that the earliest work of European literary art which has come down to us (whatever economic or other significance we may now read into the Iliad) is on the surface the poetic embodiment of a philosophic reflection on the troublesome problem of sex. On the plane of practice here was something which was always liable to upset good order, and on the plane of thought it was always seeming incompatible with that spiritual atmosphere which Man has always been trying to secure for the operations of the intellect.

So that when Professor Del-Negro came forward with his dysteleology of sex we have to admit at the outset that he is following a venerable and legitimate tradition. As he views the problem, what we have here is an antinomy, the clash of two opposing and apparently incompatible elements, the biological element of sexuality and the social element of culture, although both of them have to be regarded as necessary, since otherwise we merely have either licence or asceticism. Professor Del-Negro is troubled because he is unable to find a synthesis of this antinomy. In his trouble he finally wanders off the philosophical track and talks about "compromises." The compromises he enumerates may be excellent on ethical or practical grounds (as the present writer, being English, and therefore holding the practical principle of compromise in honour, will not attempt to deny). But they have really nothing whatever to do with his philosophical problem. They do not touch his "antinomy." The "compromise" of two opponents merely attenuates them; it cannot remove the antinomy, if antinomy there is. Professor Del-Negro has not solved the problem he has devised; for, as I hope may appear in the sequel, the difficulty here is an arbitrary invention.

To make that clear, I may be allowed to refer briefly to my own experiences in studying the phenomena of sex. When in early life my attention was drawn—as the attention of all of us is drawn—to the contemplation of that subject, one thing above all impressed me: Sex was submerged in morals and metaphysics. I wanted a clear, precise, and calm presentation of the facts, and all I could find were theories or precepts, with no solid facts to support either. The moral superstructure was, it is true, the larger, the loftier, the most top-heavy. But there were also metaphysical theories, of which Schopenhauer's was at that time doubtless the most brilliant and the most conspicuous, though there were others more wildly fantastic. I would have none of them, either the moralities or the metaphysics. Later it may be quite right to make theories and moralities, I said to myself, but first of all we must have the solid foundation on which to build: let us find out the facts! That has been the aim inspiring all my work in this field. I am well aware that the facts have not all been found out; that is a process which goes on every day. But at all events we can now say that it is going on, and going on in a cool and clear atmosphere which in earlier years could never be found for workers in this field. The way is opened for moralities and theories of a sounder kind than once prevailed.

But although I have never actively and directly sought for a philosophy of sex, no one whose vision is fairly wide can avoid becoming aware of philosophical implications in all human affairs. I have never sought for a "philosophy of sex," though such has been attributed to me. But I have found a philosophic picture of the world gradually being woven before my eyes, and in that picture, it subsequently appeared, sex had its place. I should say that, for me, a "philosophic" vision of the world simply means that further step beyond the sciences which I am impelled to take in order to make the separate activities I find in myself, and the separate aspects I see in Nature, into a coherent whole, and so to build for what I may call my "soul" a harmonious home in what I may call the "Universe."

It is not necessary to expound that vision here, but I have to refer to one aspect of it which was especially made clear to me during the Great War. War and conflict, I found people saying on both sides in that struggle—and saying with an air of unchallengeable philosophic dogmatism—are the law of life, from which there is no escape, and so the struggle was natural and right.

Now all the explorations that I had ever been able to make along the lines of science or the lines of art, led, as I could not fail to admit, to what must be called conflict, meaning by that term, the opposition of contrary forces. But I had never found them lead to war. There is no war between the diastole of the heart and its opposing systole; it would be absurd to call a war that conflict between anabolism and katabolism which constitutes the whole process of life from its outset. War, I found, was a highly specialised and purely human activity, not even to be traced in human history at the beginning, in its early forms probably being a beneficial and socialising activity with no seriously harmful results, but in its later overgrown and degenerate forms altogether pernicious and anti-social. Conflict, on the other hand, is beneficial and socialising, and even a law of all life. I had, therefore, to make very clear to myself the confusion that is involved by muddling up Conflict with War. Certainly war is one of the many possible forms of conflict, but conflict is by no means always war. War is not a form of conflict which is found normally in science or in art. The element of violence, which essentially characterises it, also serves to mark it off as a definite species.

At this period, during the war, I wrote an essay on "The Philosophy of Conflict," to try to clear up this confusion into which both militarists and pacifists were at that time falling, the militarists praising war because they confound it with conflict, the pacifists condemning conflict because they confound it with war. I tried to point out that, as defined by so great an authority as Clausewitz, "War is an act of violence for the purpose of compelling the adversary to fulfil our will," or, still earlier, by the classical definition set forth by Cicero, and promulgated by Grolius, war is "conflict by methods of violence." certatio per vim. In other words, conflict is the genus of which war is merely a species. We may condemn war, as a method of conflict by violence, while maintaining inviolable the supremacy of conflict, constituted by the balance or the struggle of opposing forces, not merely as beneficial, but even as an indestructible element of our universe, entering alike in the physical world and in organic life, and essential to the maintenance of both.

"The conflict of forces," I wrote, "and the struggle of opposing wills are of the essence of our universe and alone hold it together. It is with the notions of effort and resistance that we have formed our picture of the universe and that Darwin made intelligible the manner in which we ourselves came to be. It is on the like basis that our spiritual world rests. We create art on the same plane and with the same materials as the world is created, and it is precisely in the most fundamental arts—in architecture and in dancing—that we find conflict and resistance most definitely embodied. Every pose of the dancer is the achievement of movement in which the maximum of conflicting muscular action is held in the most fluidly harmonious balance. Every soaring arch of the architect is maintained by an analogous balance of opposing thrusts, without which harmoniously maintained struggle, his art, like the creator of the world's art, would collapse in ruins. For, in the creation of the forms of art, we see, as in the evolution of the forms of animal and vegetable life, there is no room for violence; conflict and resistance go hand in hand with harmony and balance."*

[* This essay was reprinted in The Philosophy of Conflict and Other Essays in War-time, 1919.]

It was war-time, and I had in mind no problem of sex but the absurd misapprehension of militarists and pacifists, each clinging to a half-truth, which, taken by itself, was not a truth at all, but false and misleading. I soon realised, however, that the great principle I had made clear to myself, which covered the facts of nature and of life, could not fail also to cover the phenomena of sex. Indeed, since this law of opposing forces in the building up of the world becomes especially clear in the building up of life, and the more intense the higher we proceed in the development of life, it could not fail to apply to sex, and clearly did so apply. Here in these central phenomena of life we find in the most emphatic forms that conflict of balanced forces which is implicit in all life. At the outset we may obscure it. Those phenomena of courtship with which the sex life begins, not merely in our own species but in many of the humblest genera of the zoological series from which we spring, reveals it at once in a typical shape which symbolises the whole sex-world. Courtship is an art created out of the opposing play of balanced but oscillatory forces: a tempered and balanced conflict between the energy of the male and the resistant opposing energy of the female. If the energy were not tempered and balanced and there were violence so that one of the two opposing forces were destroyed, there would be failure, since the ends of sex demand the equal activity of both forces. But the failure would be the same if there were no conflict, because, under natural and normal conditions, without the agitation of conflict, and the winding up of accumulated force which conflict ensures, there would not be achieved those dynamic phenomena of tumescence and detumescence which are, ultimately, the essence of the process of sex.

When, as among domesticated animals and often among civilised human beings, the conflict of courtship is attenuated, the process of sex cannot attain full vigour, and when the process of sex fails to reach this full vigour, the whole vitality of the creature in all its manifestations, is diminished. That is so, not only on the physical plane but also on what we call the spiritual plane. It is equally so when we take a broader and higher view and look at the whole complex of sex phenomena as compared with other phenomena. If, for instance, we compare sexuality with asceticism—the phenomena of sex indulgence with those of sex abstinence—we see the same conflict of balanced forces. We cannot well have a rich human nature without some sexuality; we cannot have a fortified and self-controlled nature without some asceticism; the whole art and discipline of the emotional life lies in preserving that harmonious conflict. And if we rise still higher, and view the whole emotional life in opposition to the whole intellectual life, the necessity for the same conflict still remains. Where the finest life is, sex and culture are perfectly balanced. To desire freedom from their conflict is to desire annihilation. Conflict is implicit in the perpetual anabolism and katabolism which make up the metabolism of life. There is no "antinomy" here; it may rather be said that we are in the presence of a "nomy," that nomos which is the principle of the whole universe as we know it, and it is even specially and beautifully made concrete to us in the phenomena of sex.

I am far from claiming that this mode of viewing the phenomena—though I arrived at it for myself and along my own path—is a new or original mode. Indeed the very fact that I may claim it to have a basis in the objects of knowledge prevents it from being a purely subjective attitude, even though it may correspond to an attitude which is congenial to my own temper of mind, as one to whom all violence is antipathetic but who feels by a sort of natural instinct, and has found by experience, that conflict is implicit in the whole of life. As regards the general principle, I have but to take up at random a book only published a week or two ago (Richard Rothschild's Paradoxy) and I read: "Conflict characterises all art, and the deepest conflicts are those in which two aspects of the same thing merge." I could not desire a better statement in a single sentence, and I would merely add that conflict characterises not only all art but the whole of our known universe. If I desire evidence as regards the matter specially before us, I have but to turn to a philosopher invoked by Professor Del-Negro, Count Keyserling. It is more in place for me to invoke Keyserling here, for though his doctrine is put into a statement entirely independent of my conception, it is completely in accordance with mine and entirely at variance with Dr. Del-Negro's. Indeed, I regard Keyserling's essay on "The Correct Statement of the Marriage Problem," in his Book of Marriage—although at some points I disagree—as being, on the whole, the best statement of this core of the sex problem which I have met with. So far from seeing any "antinomy" in marriage, the contradiction in marriage, as Keyserling sees it, is a harmony: "Taken in concert," as he puts it, "contradictions act contra-puntally "; that is to say, the added force harmonises with the original theme. Or, as he more definitely expresses it, "marriage corresponds to an elliptical field of force," that is, with two foci and an interpolar tension, and is "essentially a state of tension." That is, expressed in another way, precisely the situation which I see. Indeed, to turn to the architectural image of life, which more specially appeals to me, we really have the elliptical arch with its two foci. And if we may thus view the single central core of sex in the marriage of man and woman, we may equally see the same tension when we rise to a higher viewpoint, and take the whole of sexuality into our vision in its opposition to culture, or whatever we may find as the force which balances sexuality. "The whole of life," as Keyserling says, "is a state of tension." There is no "antinomy" here to be solved or removed, and the question of a "compromise" cannot arise. To destroy the tension would be to destroy life. Rather is it our business to maintain the tension at its highest pitch. That tension is life itself. To quote Keyserling's profound and significant aphorism: "One can only play on tightened strings."

Again and again Professor Del-Negro appeals to Nietzsche. I fear that this persistent recurrence must indicate an evil conscience. Nietzsche, we know, was not consistent; he did not desire to be consistent. But there are many points at which his attitude is clear, and one of the clearest is his profound repugnance to that doctrine of the antinomy beloved by Professor Del-Negro. Nietzsche regarded the passion for finding antinomies and antitheses as a metaphysical superstition, due to a lack of insight. He is at the farthest extreme from Professor Del-Negro, and regards the notion of contradiction as one to be eradicated. He is absolutely sceptical of all antitheses. "My desire," he declared, "is to show the absolute homogeneity of all phenomena," the differentiations being merely matters of perspective. It is Del-Negro's courage that we must commend, rather than his discernment, when he appeals to Nietzsche.

Towards the end, Dr. Del-Negro seems to grow weary of his antinomious craving for a synthesis, and pursues a theatrical or histrionic image by calling sex a tragedy. He does not seem to perceive that his earlier idea of the antinomy demanding a synthesis, if it is to be translated into theatrical terms, demands a comedy, not a tragedy, for a comedy admits of a synthesis, but not a tragedy, unless we view it from the superhuman standpoint of Fate.

"The greatest thing by far," said Aristotle, "is to be a master of metaphor." It is quite a long time since Aristotle made that wise and profound observation, but so far he seems to have made it in vain. Indeed we might agree with Nietzsche that most of our solemn "truths," even to-day, are merely a throng of metaphors, which have lost their living force. The youthful Berkeley had, long ago, made an observation in his Commonplace Book to much the same effect, when still in his teens. The vivifying influence of Vaihinger on thought largely lay in helping us to realise how to treat the als ab of the metaphor as a living force, and to understand rightly its significance. Professor Del-Negro, in abandoning his favourite Hegelian formula of the antithesis and suddenly gliding into the conception of the world sub specie theatri, as a solution of the problem of sex, seems to have been merely adopting an outworn counter of conventional phraseology (I would say the same of Keyserling, who also introduces the histrionic word "tragic" in connection with sex); he seems unable to realise that he is here entering a totally different world of concepts, and one that is not really suitable to his purpose. I repeat he would have been better advised, if he insists on the theatrical image, to say "comic," rather than tragic, for the conception of comedy can be made accordant with the conception of an antithesis demanding harmonious solution, but not that of tragedy.

No question need be raised as to the validity of the theatrical metaphor in philosophy. All philosophies, it has been argued, must be based on metaphors. It is many years since Alexander Fraser showed how true that thesis is, showing how Hegel was obsessed by the elementary notions of electricity then lately discovered, and so on; while I have myself pointed out the pyro-technical imagery which pervades Bergson's philosophy. Shaftesbury was impressed with the theatrical vision of life, which suited his own constitution, inapt for an actively real life. Jules de Gaultier has elaborated in fascinating shapes the conception of the world as an aesthetic spectacle; and Müller-Freienfels (in his Geheimnisse der Seele) develops the histrionic view of life. It is a fruitful metaphor. But it seems only to correspond with the more superficial phenomena of sex, for, as Nietzsche remarked, the dramatic self-consciousness of theatricalism renders impossible the effort after perfection, and scarcely at all with the formula of the antinomy. I think that Professor Del-Negro would have been more happily inspired if he had insisted on the heroic, rather than on the tragic, attitude in the sphere of sex. The tragic protagonist of the stage is doomed to failure and destruction. But the protagonist of the sexual struggle is triumphantly carrying on the life of the world, and handing on—heroically if you will—to the generation that follows him the immortal torch of life he has himself received.

To sum up in a word: I find for myself no illumination in the idea of sex as an antithesis or as a stage tragedy. It is a conflict—that is to say, a meeting of opposites—but a conflict that involves a play of forces in harmonious balance. To guide that conflict skilfully to its highest manifestations is an art. All our activities are really of the nature of arts. The art of sex, in its widest and loftiest relationships, is in the most emphatic degree an art because it penetrates to the biological core of all life. Like all forms of art, it involves a discipline, a discipline which may be as painful as that of the dancer or as complicated as that of the architect, and the achievement of which may involve heroism, with the high tension that heroism demands, and with its satisfaction and its joy.

It must not be supposed that in setting forth my own conception of the philosophy of sex, I have desired to overthrow that of Professor Del-Negro. On the contrary, I welcome his statement.

It is not easy to set up one's own argument unless one has in view another argument against which to measure it. We must be grateful to Professor Del-Negro for his attractive and stimulating essay.



IN a recent "Interpretation of Christian History," Lewis Browne's Since Calvary, the plight of the modern masses over religion is lucidly set forth. A movement of which the war was the symbol, and even largely the motive force, has split the crowd into two sections: on the one hand those who are still anxious to clutch something of the old faith and have become fanatical obscurantists, "Fundamentalists," as they are called in America if Protestants, and "Reactionaries" if Catholic; on the other hand those who, contentedly or discontentedly, drift at random, feeling themselves at most mere "crumbs of stellar dust." So that on the one side religion to-day among the masses is degraded; on the other side it has no existence at all.

That is a situation which cannot fail to interest those who meditate on the deeper problems of the time. Mr. Gerald Heard, widely known since his Ascent of Humanity as one of the original thinkers of our day, here attempts to deal with it. He is not content with the facile economic solutions which satisfied the last generation; he seeks an interpretation, where many of us will be willing to accompany him, in psychology. The result is a volume full of suggestion, even if, as the author acknowledges, he is putting forward "a very tentative hypothesis."

Criticism may, indeed, arise over an assumption made in the opening chapter: "The Problem: Conflict." As Mr. Heard views it, that is indeed the problem: "Conflict," and, as he says, its "cure." But he never defines what he means by "conflict." It becomes for him an indefinable obsession from which, at all costs, escape must be found. Yet it is not difficult to define "conflict," and when defined and faced it need not seem a bogey. Speaking as one who has elsewhere put forth a "Philosophy of Conflict," I would say that—taken in its central sense, which is not only psychological but widely biological—conflict is the meeting of two opposed forces. In its normal forms such conflict is balanced, because with the destruction of one of the forces the conflict would fall; in its abnormal forms the balance ceases to be harmonious and we have all sorts of violent and destructive phenomena varying with the medium: disease, insanity, revolution, war, etc. We must concentrate our attention on its normal forms to realise that all life is essentially a conflict of opposing forces; metabolism, as the physiologist may say, is the conflict between anabolism and katabolism; the heart, similarly, is alive by the perpetual conflict between its diastole and its systole. All growth takes place under resistance, and without it there would be no life. The movement of life in a spiral, which Mr. Heard has elsewhere emphasised, is due to resistance, a conflict between opposing forces. This is not only true of life in Nature but also of life in art. "One can only play on tightened strings." This is beautifully shown in the fundamental arts of dancing and building, where the conflict is maintained, here by the opposing tension of muscles and there by the opposing thrusts of piers. Without that conflict the dancer would fall and the building collapse. Conflict is life and beauty and joy. Mr. Heard incautiously calls for its "cure." The "cure" of conflict is death.

Although he occupies an independent position in relation to the psycho-analysts, Mr. Heard seems to have been misled by them into concentrating his attention on the abnormal forms of conflict. Mr. Heard's main problem is, however, in the normal field, and when we survey the phenomena of conflict here we find the ordinary frequency curve, with the commonplace easy-going mass in the middle and at one end a minority in whom the elements of conflict are weak and unbalanced, so that they succumb to insanity, suicide, crime, or what not; while at the other end is another minority in whom those elements are strong yet well-balanced, so that they rise to heights of character, talent, or genius. Conflict, as Mr. Heard recognises, is often strong among savages. The people described with so much insight and skill by Margaret Mead in Growing up in New Guinea live under a state of repression and perpetual puritanic regulation, which must mean endless conflicts. What marks civilisation is the higher quality and strength of the hereditary elements involved, not the presence of conflict. Even if a work of human art, such as a cathedral, could become conscious and vocal, it would tell us of stresses which, as in recent years at St. Paul's, might sometimes be acutely painful.

Yet it remains legitimate to seek origins for the various forms of conflict essential to life. One such primitive conflict here discussed is between the family and the group, at first in the form of father-right and mother-right, and Mr. Heard argues that these two formative influences of civilisation were early in conflict. He believes that in this he is going against some anthropologists, notably Dr. Malinowski, but there seems a little misunderstanding here. In what he regards as the first full account of his position, Malinowski states that over-emphasis on the family is as erroneous as over-emphasis on the group, since they are complementary and work side by side; and that mother-right and father-right, though not stages of culture, may each at some period stand out more conspicuously than the other. There is no absolute "veto" here on Mr. Heard's view, which, indeed, resolves itself ultimately into the conflict, always manifest or latent, between the individual and society.

"I know a man," so I lately read, "whose face becomes the face of an assassin at the very mention of the word 'community.'" The gentleman in question was certainly not Mr. Heard, and it is to be hoped that they may never meet. This book is written to glorify "community," in which word the "social substance of religion" may be summed up. We must not here think of the churches we know. Mr. Heard will have none of them: "When we hear the word Gospel, hackneyed, dreadly contemptible, we can hear all the tragedy of Man "; and he scarcely refers more than once to Jesus, whom he dismisses as "inenarrable," although he admits an element of value in Christianity and is perhaps himself more of a Christian than he knows. Popular religion, indeed, is to him merely a drug, and not even opium, but mescal, which he regards as much more poisonous, "that maddening drug to induce an intoxicated and desperate ecstasy," which seems to indicate that Mr. Hoard's experiences of Echinocactus Williamsii have been much less happy than were mine thirty years ago. At the same time, and at the other extreme, he rejects, as a morbid deviation, that mysticism which many would regard as the core of religion with its affirmation: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." That is too individualistic for Mr. Heard. At the same time he admires George Fox and regards Quakerism as the nearest approach yet made to the communistic "Charitism" he himself proclaims as the religion of the future, though he believes that Quakerism failed, largely, it seems, by admitting marriage and the family, for Mr. Heard seeks to depreciate all the manifestations of sex. Yet Fox was a genuine mystic; when the call came he shunned men and went into the orchards and the fields; the community that grew around him was later and secondary. It is usually so with the men of religion; and the community which grows around the mystic's ideal debases it. I know people who have eagerly entered a community, saying, with William Morris, "Fellowship is Heaven," and have come out of it saying, "Fellowship is Hell." Mr. Heard's religion of the future, however, not only suppresses all individuality but only begins with the group. It thus resembles the Bolshevik religion of Leninism, but otherwise is the reverse of it, a sort of inverted Leninism, for that is the religion of hate, and the gospel of "Charisma" will be the religion of love, of universal reconciliation.

It would require much space to follow Mr. Heard over all the ground covered by his fertile invention. Enough has been said to indicate that this challenging and stimulating book, however questionable, cannot be neglected by those who are concerned with the problems of the human spirit to-day.


This article was written early in 1932 for an American journal, but found by the editor to be "too strong." So it is published here for the first time, in order that the reader may be able to judge for himself how far its strength is above proof.

SEVERAL letters have reached me from unknown correspondents with regard to a sentence of eighteen months' imprisonment with hard labour lately passed on a young man at the Leeds Assizes. The report of the trial is not so clear as it might be, though the newspapers describe it in the largest type as "amazing," and the judge seems never to have heard of such a case before. The charge, which was of "indecency," set forth that this youth, Augustine Hull by name, had for six months past dressed as a woman and during that period been courted by another young workman whom he agreed to marry, though before the wedding day he disappeared, thus inflicting on the would-be bridegroom what the judge denounced as "a cruel wrong."

My correspondents, shocked at the sentence, wrote to me because they knew that this anomaly was not so amazing as the judge and the journalists supposed, and that I have written of it at length.

It is an anomaly which in Germany is called Transvestism or cross-dressing, but which I term Eonism, because much more than cross-dressing is involved, and the mental disposition may exist without even the wish for any change of dress. The name Eonism indicates an origin from the Chevalier d'Eon, who was the most noted representative of this anomaly more than a century ago, and played a conspicuous part in European history and diplomacy as the trusted agent of kings and statesmen. His actual sex was at the time disputed, but he was really a man who preferred to live as a woman, and so in old age died in London. These people are frequently, like the Chevalier d'Eon, of high character and distinguished ability and normal in other respects, often devoted husbands and affectionate fathers. But they would rather be mothers than fathers, they feel like women, they share the tastes of women, and most of them, not all, delight to indulge, when they can do so without detection, in the refinements of the feminine toilette. At the present time I know one such who, for considerable periods, both in America and in England, has lived as a woman, with a woman friend who was in the secret, leading an entirely decorous and honourable life; dressed as a man, he appears normal, robust, and masculine; but as a woman he never betrays his sex, and is indeed said to be more like a woman, more "ladylike" in his ways, than the average woman.

Augustine Hull is evidently a more radical example of this anomaly. He is a simple workman, a colliery haulage hand, belonging to a very poor family. But from early childhood he felt like a girl, he played with girls' toys, and, as he grew older, was accustomed to do all the feminine tasks of housework. He takes girls' parts at theatricals; it gratifies him to wear women's clothes and he feels at home in them. More than that: even in male costume he looks like a girl, is slight and feminine in build, and with a feminine voice. So much is he like a girl that at the age of seventeen, when returning from church one Sunday morning in ordinary male attire, he was arrested by the police, taken to the station and stripped, because he was supposed to be a girl masquerading as a man.

To all well-instructed people the case is simple. It was evidently so to the two medical witnesses who were called, one a psycho-analyst and the other the prison surgeon. But their evidence went for nothing. The judge pronounced his sentence of eighteen months' hard labour, and when the case was carried to the Court of Appeal, the judge of that court dismissed the appeal in a few brief remarks which concluded with the statement that he "did not consider the sentence a day too much."

In Germany and some other countries of the continent of Europe a more reasonable attitude towards the eonist tends on the whole to prevail. It is beginning to be acknowledged that a genuine taste for cross-dressing, whether in a man or in a woman, provided that it leads to no public disturbance of order, is not properly a matter for police interference. There is a tendency for the police to view it with tacit acceptance, and medico-legal experts have even argued that police permits should be issued in these cases, valid during good behaviour. It is stated that the two countries in which the harshest and most antiquated attitude towards the eonist still prevails are England and the United States. That is my reason for bringing forward the matter here.

Four centuries ago, in the city of Basel, a cock was solemnly tried and publicly burnt alive in the market-place for the unnatural crime of laying an egg. To-day we know that there was here nothing unnatural. Sex depends on the balance of the hormone-producing glands, and that balance sometimes results in states that are naturally inter-sexual. We now understand this when cocks and hens are concerned. We shall some day understand it a little better where our own fellow-creatures are concerned. Until then it might be as well to avoid treating them in the spirit in which our ancestors treated the cock that laid an egg.


This article appeared in the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE MAGAZINE for 28th February 1932.

SOME of us who know and love Spain have long looked forward to the constitutional changes which would at length bring its people into line with the other nations of our civilisation. No country can afford to live indefinitely on the treasures of however splendid a past. Moreover, a country which has once made magnificent contributions to human civilisation, and continues to retain the same racial constitution (unlike, for instance, Greece, where the population has been profoundly modified), may reasonably be expected to retain reserves of force. So that, as Professor Fleure remarked some years ago, even the backwardness of Spain, with the unemployed energies it implies, may ultimately prove an advantage, and with the re-establishment of favourable conditions Spain again make precious contributions, even if in different form, to the sum of human achievement. How Spain would succeed in bringing about these conditions was not clear to us, whether by reforming the Monarchy or by sweeping it away. We know to-day. We could hardly have known beforehand that the good sense of King and people alike would enable the Spanish Revolution to take place so completely, and yet so peacefully, that it was possible to describe the first act of this great political drama as "a sort of picnic."

It has lost that character since, as we might expect if we remember the usual course of revolutions, as well illustrated by Russia. Many years before that Revolution I was accustomed to associate Russia and Spain: both mainly agricultural, both so held captive by the traditions of the past that to enter either country was to be taken back to mediaeval times, both with an uneducated mass-population, yet both, one felt, beyond any of the other chief countries of Europe, holding great reserves of force. Rut there one came upon a contrast: even though their mood might be the same, and the Nichevo of Russia answer to the Manana of Spain, the strength of Russia was that of an enormous child with no past but a vast future; the strength of Spain could only be that of renewed maturity. It is to these longer traditions and more varied political experiences of Spain that we may doubtless attribute the more nonchalant attitude of Spain towards revolution. Spain is not young enough to cherish the magnificent expectations of Russia.

Yet it is precisely in its age that the possibilities of clash lie, for in Spain every movement of germinating life has to break through a peculiarly hard shell of ancient tradition. There is, in Spain, as many have pointed out, always the ancient Don Quixote, chivalrous and high-spirited indeed, but moulded on the pattern of a past that is dead, and unable to accept or even to perceive the facts of the living present; and there is the more modern Sancho Panza, a realist, quite alive to the novelties of the modern world, and willing to accommodate himself to them. Theoretically, and in practice during normal times, these two great figures are harmoniously complementary to each other. But in a revolution there cannot well fail soon to be a clash. Spain has been the last great Catholic country of Europe; the Church has held unquestioned and almost unbroken sway not only in its own house but in the affairs of the country; it has been free to educate—so far as it chose to educate at all—the whole nation in its own mediaeval code, and to suppress all others. But even though devout crowds flock to the churches, everyone who is acquainted with the Spanish people knows how, not only among the men of distinguished intellect, but among the masses, there has long been a profound though usually quiet scepticism, the spirit of Sancho Panza reacting against the ancient and outworn Quixotry.

That clash has been the great peril of the young Republic of Spain. The Spanish are naturally tolerant, as an individualistic people is prone to be. It is part of the humanity of the Spanish temper. Of all great national writers, Cervantes is the most unfailingly humane, even towards such enemies of his land as the English; and it is a typical Spanish trait that one of the first acts of a Republican Government is to order a supply of high-power pumps to replace the barbarous method of using fire-arms to disperse disorderly mobs. Even in far ancient days there was a remarkable degree of tolerance in Spain, and the first leaders of the Revolution, with Zamora, himself a liberal Catholic, at the head, proposed to establish toleration for all Spaniards alike. But it is the proud boast of the Church that it never changes. So it comes about that the Revolution in its course opened the way to reaction, for intolerance breeds counter-intolerance. Hence the burning of churches and monasteries by the mob, whom at first none sought to hold back. The Church thus reaped what it had sown. Now a middle course seems to be in course of establishment. The Jesuits—though intellectually a vigorous and active element in Spain—are to be expelled, as they have been before, even in Spain, and less humanely than on the present occasion; education is taken out of the hands of the Church and becomes everywhere the care of the State. Church property is put under State control, and all religious creeds are to be tolerated.

If we put aside this vexed question of the Church, which cannot fail to be a source of trouble in a land where Catholicism has been so deeply rooted, the great reforms now being effected must meet with unqualified applause. If some of them may still seem premature, others are long overdue.

Of such is certainly a large measure of Home Rule for Catalonia. Local patriotism is strong in Spain and various regions may be inclined to desire some degree of self-government. But the case of Catalonia has always been special. The Catalans are a people of different race and different temper who live at a quicker pace than the true Spaniards and exert a greater activity. It is easy to understand their impatient resentment of the antique bonds with which the central authority of Madrid had sought to constrain them. One who is a lover of Catalonia as well as of Spain can only view with satisfaction the end of a long and mischievous friction. Harmony between Barcelona and Madrid will be as helpful for Spain as for Catalonia.

That is a local question. The changes now taking place in Spain are, for a large part, such as concern the whole civilised world, for they represent a sudden attempt to realise ideals which society elsewhere is slowly seeking, and has only here and there achieved. If that must be admitted, those of us who live in more slowly moving countries may, at all events, claim that our slow progress is sounder and more thorough, not accompanied by the dangerous friction which always marks speed.

However that may be, looked at all round, Spain seems to many to-day, as someone has expressed it, the one bright spot in Europe. It is too early to be optimistic. But many great reforms which other countries are only slowly reaching have been established by the decisions of a Cortes which, on the surface at all events, has been almost unanimous, though it has not been representative of every section of the population by the partial abstention of Conservatives and Monarchists from the elections. The new Constitution takes large ground in subordinating the entire wealth of the country to "the interest of national economy," not thereby meaning confiscation without compensation, but assuming the right to expropriate private property, to nationalise public services, and to direct industries into the lines of national interest. All this is what modern States are to-day tentatively trying to do; but here for the first time the right to socialisation has been definitively affirmed in the terms of the Constitution.

On the more domestic side of life the changes effected have been of a real revolutionary character. The legal distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children has been abolished; divorce has been made easy for either party; women enjoy the same legal status as men, and are equally entitled to the vote. Already there is a woman in the Government, and one or two women in the Cortes.

This change in the status of women is significant. Women have always been influential in Spain, and there have been many remarkable personalities among them, from the throne downward. But in legal restraints, in formal subjection to their husbands, and in social conventions, their position has remained mediaeval to a degree scarcely known in other civilised lands.

This liberation of women may well prove a significant and influential factor in the new life of Spain. To me it has seemed that in energy and character Spanish women are often superior to their men. To bring their fine qualities into direct contact with public life seems to promise the introduction of an invigorating element. What it may mean has been brought home to me by contact through correspondence with a young Spanish woman who—though far indeed from being an average sample of her race and sex—appears as a marvellous representative of Spanish womanhood. She was born a few months after the outbreak of the Great War, and is now a qualified lawyer—the youngest lawyer in Spain—nor is that, by any means, the only fact that makes her significant. She is to-day, at the age of seventeen, the author of eight or nine books of from seventy to over three hundred pages, all published during less than two years. Here are some of the titles: The Eugenic Problem (this is the earliest, and a revised and enlarged edition has now been published), The Sexual Revolution, Sexual Education, The Sexual Problem Treated by a Spanish Woman, The Sexual Rebellion of Youth, The Limitation of Offspring. A formidable series of books, it will be seen, even judged by the titles, for anyone to write, but when we remember that they have been written by a girl, only just seventeen years of age, living alone with her mother in a suburb of Madrid, we are carried far beyond the limits of ordinary experience.

It is not merely the number and the titles of the books but their quality which is astonishing. We find in them little or nothing of the exalted verbal eloquence to which the beautiful Spanish tongue so easily lends itself. The style of these books is simple, clear, and vigorous, with a firm grasp of the arguments—though we feel the presence of an attractive personality behind—and with an extraordinary breadth of culture, an intimate knowledge of what is being thought and done in the world, especially in England and the United States, about the subjects she is treating. Nor are this girl's activities confined to study and writing. Since she was fourteen (shortly after entering the University) she has been a Socialist, and for some time past an active worker for the party, going from town to town to organise groups, and delivering lectures. She has lately been giving in Madrid a series of lectures on the subject of Jesus, introducing ideas of the modern kind not likely to be acceptable by the Catholic Church, to which she is entirely hostile, although she recognises the right of private judgment; and these lectures, as I have seen by long newspaper reports, have been crowded, even the stairways leading to the hall where they were delivered.

Hildegart, the only name this wonderful girl desires to be known by in public or in private, received the name at birth from her mother and her aunt (who had lived much in Germany). It is evident that she has been carefully reared, and her mother, to whom she owes much, seems only less remarkable than herself. Hildegart possesses various accomplishments outside the work to which she is specially devoting herself; she has a mastery of several languages, including Latin, is drawn to music, and now that her legal training is ended, she is studying medicine and philosophy until the legal age to practise publicly as a lawyer. She remains simple and natural, and in her photograph appears still with the dark, girlish, corkscrew curls, a mature face indeed, but reposefully strong and sweet. One thinks of Valera's description of the typical Spanish woman, "angelic but robust."

A land which can still produce even one woman of the spirit and fibre of Hildegart is full of promise for the world.


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