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Fearing, Kenneth (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXIII, Number III (December 1923)

K. F.
Fog bound,   pp. [unnumbered]-12


Page 11

WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
And as Anatole France has it:
impertinent to suffer martyrdom
opinions."
"It is very
for one's
And we shall be discriminating in whom we
martyr ourselves for.
3.
But we console our se ves with the knowl-
edge that one whose appreciation of newer art
forms is explosively defensive can have only a
very pale love for even the old; they are the lit-
erarily shrineless, and they shall never know
splendor, neither from Homer nor Whitman.
4.
American universities, as an additional bit-
ter consolation, if the first were not enough, have
not the slightest influence upon the moulding of
American literature or life. It is a just reward for
their essential unvirility.
It was not so in Russia, and France, and
-Germany, where universities made themselves
noticeable on every score. The Czar began and
ended his raids upon the revolutionary forces
among university students. Imagine an Ameri-
can Oxford, as an eternal champion of lost causes!
Our most enduring achievements embrace, on the
one hand a snake dance that successfully block-
ades traffic, and on the other a Phi Beta Kappa
key.
That the least dirty collared column-a-week
back in New York carries more weight in casting
the future of American letters than the average
hosts of professorial dignitaries, their Great
American Novels (infinitely unpublished), and
mighty dramas (undramatized) buried in old
trunks, and with their official ignorance of a
"Laus Veneris" or a "Cynara"-consoles.
5.
So true is it that universities and university
teachers have nothing but the sincerest contempt
of present day American writers that even those
professors who, rare gems, make a vital bid for
recognition in the activity of national literature,
find themselves quite seriously handicapped by
the stigma attached to their profession. They
find themselves ignored, caricatured, ridiculed.
One has only to consider the cases of Professor
Sherman of Illinois, Professor Leonard of Wis-
consin, or Professor Herrick of Chicago.
To quote from a University professor, whose
name we do not know:
"American universities don't lead thought-
they follow it."  (Perhaps this is an optimistic
exaggeration.)
"In Europe institutions of learning may be-
indeed, they frequently are-hotbeds of radical-
ism; in America our colleges are merely feather-
beds for conservatism to die in respectably."
6.
The Lit wonders if there is any art work be-
ing done in the university independent of our
publications or the class room. We herewith
inaugurate a somewhat modest move toward the
introduction to our pages of sketches and draw-
ings, mainly illustrative and a propos. But if
there is on the campus anything in the way of
individual effort, executed for no particular pur-
pose, displayed to no one in particular-to bring
out a Wisconsin Beardsley, of course, is our secret
ambition.  Artists, bring your miscellaneous
sketches around and let us look them over. Say
this Friday, 4:30 o'clock, third floor of the Union
building.
7.
When the religions and the philosophies and
the sad little witicisms that go to cover up the
sadness of experience have lain their heads to-
gether, and sleep, there remains nothing save
music, and perhaps one word out of the many
they spoke. It is a wise word, properly ambigu-
ous, and properly disdainful of masking itself
behind sacerdotal pomp or austerity. It has even
permitted itself to be used as the title for a popu-
lar song 'Tomorrow."
A high born word.
8.
No one who witnessed the outbreaks at the
Strand Theatre recently, during the run of
"Flaming Youth," can entertain doubts concern-
ing the essential level-headedness and clear-
sightedness of the American people. To us, when
we rose to our feet with the rest of the crowd at
the close of a performance, and heard the pro-
duction boo'd from half a thousand throats, came
a warm and humble respect for 'the masses."
They were not an apathetic automatom whose
thinking it would be impossible to underestimate.
They had intellects of their own.
To those who did not witness "Flaming
Youth," and were at a loss to account for the dis-
turbances that attended its showing, it might be
well to interject a brief summary of the film.
The heroine is a young girl who reads modern
novels. She also makes a critical survey of the
matrimonial alliances in her set of friends, and
discovers that not one of them has been anything
but a sordid failure.
Then the hero enters, who is all that cou d be
asked in the way of personal integrity and a
classic stolidity of feature. In fact, he has loved
December, 1923


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