University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

The "play-girl" in fiction,   pp. 217-223 PDF (2.6 MB)


Page 217


VERY man of genius has his lyric youth-the golden
days when he follows a gleaming path through his
vision, out to an ecstasy of achievement. A man is very
intimate to all the world in these days although he may
not write or sing of actual people, for people in the
golden years of a man's genius are just pictures on
            whi1"c are udrpeu fears and joys, i ea s ani lpienU
impulses, great tragedies and winged hopes. In his lyric youth the
painter and poet, the sculptor and maker of music lives in sunlit mists
by day, clinging to the stars by night-knights follow the Holy Grail,
Siegfried's ears are attuned to the sound of bird notes, Tristan dies
for love listening to the "Liebestod," Bobby Burns on the heather-
covered hills chants of simple delight and romance, Columbus sets red
sails to the wind.
   These lyric days keep our art vital, our hearth-stones bright. Be-
cause of them cathedral spires cut through blue skies, because of them
youth goes singing to the trenches looking at death with shining eyes.
The same mood makes a young man eager to design and build a beau-
tiful bridge, the same mood discovers the value of the purple ray, the
same mood enamels a dancing figure thousands of years ago through
the hand of a Chinese craftsman or carves an altar in a little chapel in
a Rhine valley.
   Few men possess this lyric youth for long. It does not mate with
maturity, experience blinds it, materialism shackles it, but life cannot
overwhelm the man who has once felt the wings of beauty brush his
soul.
Some men find all their interest in art, all their capacity for creative
expression limited to these early days: others find their productivity
divided into two chapters-the first lighted with divine fire, the
second made vivid and rich by the wisdom accumulated through ob-
servation and experience. Much permanent, valuable literature has
been written in this second mood. Few poems have ever been accom-
plished outside the lyric time and a vast amount of the music that
overwhelms the imagination; but many men who are thoughtful,
sympathetic students of human nature have written their most stirring
stories, the stories that have appealed to the greatest number of human
beings, tales that have enriched the lives of many, from observation
and experience gained through middle age.
    There is still another division of the work of the wonder makers;
 the men who carry into their mature art the intimacy with youth, the
 sympathy with romance, the understanding of life's exultations that
 had birth in the day of their lyric youth. In this group belongs Robert
                                                              217
THE "PLAY-GIRL" IN FICTION: DISCUSSED
BY ROBERT W. CHAMBERS.
I


Go up to Top of Page