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thirty names would sound essentially foreign to a British ear? Absolutely none but the two names Lanier and Thoreau. And it should not be forgotten that the Laniers, though obviously of French origin, became thoroughly Anglicized by a long residence in England many generations before the birth of Sidney Lanier.

In view of these facts, is it any wonder that Andrew Lang made so bold as to regard our literature as a sort of colonial branch of English literature, belonging in the same category as the writings of Canada and Australia ? Is it any wonder that Mr. John Macy, at the beginning of his Spirit of American Literature, dogmatically declares American literature to be "a branch of English literature, as truly as are English books written in Scotland or South Africa"?

In an article in Harper's for March, 1913, Professor Thomas R. Lounsbury calls attention to the prediction once made that the language of America would one day be markedly different from that of Britain. This prophecy seems now; in the light of actual history, as absurd as it must have seemed natural and plausible when it was made.

Several years ago on a transatlantic liner, the writer chanced to overhear an animated colloquy between a cocksure Englishman and a bumptious German-American. The Englishman, it appeared, had been trying to prove that America was indebted to the mother country for practically everything, from government to dinner-jackets. And the German-American was insistent that we owed practically nothing to England-- not even our language. “We don't speak English,” he declared; "we speak United States.” “But, I say,” replied the Englishman with quiet sarcasm, “your blooming United States, in spite of all its faults-its beastly burr and old-maid ‘ants' and 'toons' and dooties'-is a jolly close imitation of English."

In the foregoing argument Percy certainly had the better of Hans. English, as our national vernacular, has come to stay. No thinking person doubts that now. And the past has indeed given us reason to wonder whether our literature may not be as permanently English as is our language. Yet the present is fraught with many new signs-many signs which make us persist in the query: Is our literature still English?

With a million foreigners entering our country annually (less than one-sixth of whom are natives of English-speaking territory); with fourteen per cent of our total population foreignborn; with an additional twenty-one per cent born of foreign parents; and with an overwhelming majority of our people partially or wholly Continental in descent, we have abundant reason to look for the outcropping of strikingly un-English traits in our literature.

Attention has been called to the dearth of non-British names among American authors, both Colonial and nineteenth-century. For the sake of comparison, it might be well to look at a few familiar contemporary American literary names—such names as Van Dyke, Repplier, Bynner, Guiterman, Cawein, Roosevelt, Oppenheim, Dreiser, Kauffman, Neihardt, Knoblauch, Santayana, Schauffler, Viereck, Benét, Hagedorn, and Untermeyer. Obviously, if there is anything in a surname, we Amercans are no longer dependent solely upon Anglo-Saxons for our literature.

But we must get at more vital matters. We must see whether or not our literature itself is actually undergoing marked changes which tend to brand it as increasingly un-English. To reach any definite conclusions in this matter, we shall find it necessary to consider two things: subject-matter, and method of treatment.

Of course, it is very easy to point out that we have always had authors who have shown certain un-English characteristics, both in matter and in manner. For example, it is perfectly evident that such themes as the Indians of J. Fenimore Cooper and William Gilmore Simms, the prairies of Francis Parkman, the quaint Dutch-American characters of Washington Irving, and the fiery anti-slavery tirades of John G. Whittier could never have derived their inspiration from the British Isles. And to a close student, a subtle analyst, it is equally evident that the bald, bare moralizing which Longfellow, Whittier, and Lowell frequently indulged in would differentiate each of them sharply from any English Victorian poet. But, certainly, Indians and prairies are as typically Canadian as they are American, and the moralizing bent of our nineteenth-century New England bards Bay be traced directly to ancestors of pure English stock. More

over, even when Washington Irving is dealing with DutchAmericans, he is so patently Anglo-Saxon in his viewpoint that he might as well be an Englishman patronizingly interpreting the life and customs of Holland. Truly, the Anglophobe who surveys American literary history of the seventeenth, eighteeth, and nineteenth centuries finds scant cause for rejoicing.

Turning, now, from the past to the present, we must bear in mind that we are not concerned with the questions: Is our literature improving? or, Is our literature becoming more distinctively American? We are simply concerned with the query: Is our literature still English.

To the person who would answer this last-mentioned question affirmatively let me suggest a brief survey of backgrounds. Let me suggest a glance at the cosmopolitan East Side characters of the late Myra Kelly, the Jews of James Oppenheim, the Italians of T. A. Daly, the Pennsylvania Germans of Georg Schock and Helen R. Martin, the Louisiana French of George W. Cable, and the Michigan Dutch of Arnold Mulder. Here, surely, we have half a dozen backgrounds which are as un-English as they can be.

When we pass from subject matter to technique, we are treading on dangerous ground; for we are raising a number of rather difficult questions. Can English literature be classed as a definite entity, sharply distinguished from the various kinds of Continental literature? Taking such catalogue as a criterion, can we find a sharp line of cleavage between English and Amercan literature? If there is such thing as a distinctively Continental technique, is that technique followed more by non-English American writers than by American writers of prevailingly English stock? Is a tendency to follow Continental methods necessarily resultant from the fact that the Continental elements in our population are becoming relatively stronger and stronger numerically?

It would be folly to declare that any of these questions can be answered with absolute finality; but one can, at least, bring forth certain facts which bear closely upon the questions.

In the first place, it is fairly safe to assert that there has been, in the history of the English literature, one period which may

be regarded as more typically English than any other. Assuredly, that period was not the Elizabethan period, with its strikingly un-English, almost Celtic exhilaration, volubility, lack of reticence. Nor was it the Jacobean period, with its strange, abnormal contrast to somber Puritanism and rollicking libertinism. Nor was it the Classical period, with its thoroughly un-English grossness, soullessness, artificiality, hatred of democracy, and contempt for nature. Nor, yet, was it the Romantic period, with its well-nigh Oriental delight in the wild, the remote, the improbable, the gaudy. It must, therefore, by the process of elimination, have been the Victorian period, that period during which the liberty-loving Anglo-Saxon race made its greatest developments along the lines of democracy.

How, then, may the Victorian period be characterized? What traits may be safely set down as typically Victorian? In attempting an answer, we shall do well to consider the poetry of that arch-Victorian, Tennyson, whom minor contemporaries followed to a remarkable degree, and with whom even Browning and the Pre-Raphaelites had much in common. Undeniably Tennyson---together with a clear majority of his fellow-Victorians-evinced such marked qualities as a correctness of form, a spirit of scientific accuracy, a tendency toward religious and philosophic questioning, a willingness for gradual change (change which broadens down “from precedent to precedent"), a distaste for things ugly or repulsive, a provincially English mental attitude, and a comparative indifference to the remote past. Add to these qualities the things which the three leading Victorian novelists, Dickens, Thackeray, and George Eliot, possessed in common: a thoroughly subjective point of view (in contradistinction to Continental objectivism); an accompanying tendency to intersperse one's story with philosophic moralizing and general “'editorial comment”; and, finally in contrast to relentless Continental naturalism), a bent for tingeing all realism with the idealistic. And here you have the quintessence of Victorianism. Here you have certain definite strata which run through the English literature of all time, underlying the surface differences of Elizabethanism, Classicism, Romanticism, twentieth-century-ism, and so forth. Here you have a tolerably

correct differentiation of the literature of Britain from that of the Continent.

A comparison of English and American literature is now in order. At this point we encounter plenty of difficulties; for American literature is so heterogeneous, so sectional, so lacking in traits that are peculiarly national, that it defies a comprehensive definition. Nevertheless, our writers from New England to the Pacific coast, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the lakes, show a few common tendencies so marked that we have a certain criterion, after all. Take, for instance, the New England stories of Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, the Southern stories of Thomas Nelson Page, the New York stories of Edith Wharton, and the Western stories of Hamlin Garland and Owen Wister. Their striking objectivism will become entirely obvious, if we compare them with Victorian fiction, or if we compare them with the fiction of such present-day English writers as Mrs. Ward, Hewlett, De Morgan, Locke, and even Bennett. To be specific, note the difference between Mrs. Wharton's impartial, reportorial, objective way of telling a tale, and the impertinent comment which Thomas Hardy makes about the Immortals at the end of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Take the gloomy, over-sexed plays of Eugene Walter, of the late Clyde Fitch, and of numerous lesser American dramatists, and if you would find an English parallel to them, you will be almost obliged to turn to the problem plays of Sir Arthur Pinero,—who, by the way, is not a Briton at all, but the son of a Portuguese Jew. Take the challenge" poetry of Louis Untermeyer, the whimsical poetry of Nicholas Vachel Lindsay and John Hall Wheelock, and the futurist poetry of Ezra Pound and all his ilk; and where shall you find anything approaching an English counterpart? Where, indeed? Perhaps in the buried annals of Pre-Raphaelitism; possibly, to a small degree, in Masefield, Yeats, and D. H. Lawrence; certainly not in such characteristic twentieth-century English poets as Kipling, Watson, Noyes, Binyon, Newbolt, Drinkwater, or Davies.

This brings us back to our third question: Is Continental technique followed more by non-English American writers than by American writers of prevailingly English stock? This, I should say, is a wellnigh futile question. Doubtless it is true

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