Floyd Dell: Essays from

Floyd Dell: Essays from "the Friday Literary Review," 1909-13

by R. Craig Sautter, Floyd Dell

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like the contents of a time capsule, these essays offer intriguing glimpses of the American literary and social scenes at the time that Dell wrote for the Friday Literary Review. Working first under Francis Hackett and later as chief editor, Dell helped make this literary supplement to the Chicago Evening Post one of the world's best. The FLR's stated aim was simply ``to make books interesting,'' but Dell's reviews frequently display his sympathies with socialism, feminism and artistic innovation. He recounts the achievements of Marx, repudiates charges against Emma Goldman and defends the unconventional verse of Pound. Although Dell was committed to reform, he points out flaws of his literary heroes, such as Dreiser and Shaw, and praises the sincerity of, for example, G.K. Chesterton, with whom he frequently disagrees. Literary judgments are perceptive and succinct, as in the assertion that O. Henry stories deal not ``with human life'' but ``with human incident.'' Dell's critique of a volume of Chesterton essays applies equally well to this collection of his own reviews. When lifted from the newspaper page and bound in a book, he wrote, the essays lose ``their old controversial air.'' Although Sautter's introduction is thorough and exuberant, this collection lacks a lively sense of engagement and will interest mainly literary historians. (Aug.)

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December Press
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