Kathleenby Christopher Morley
We have a kindness for Mr. Morley. It is the way Macaulay begins when he is most dangerous; but there are no more Macaulays. We mean simply to confess that we belong to the brisk and lusty majority for whom to read Morley is to praise him. This admission will displease the author. We have reason to believe that he desires, like young Pope, to kiss the critic's rod-nay, that he expects the American Oxonian to purvey him a good academic Dennis-Rymer critique, and to make it stiff.
The present reviewer was retained for just that. He erred, however, in reading the last four droppings from Morley's pen before he reviewed them. They give him reason to suspect-in spite of the hero-and-valet relationship that naturally subsists between a living author and a student of literature-that he and his colleagues may be settling themselves some fifty years hence to the task of criticizing Morley sub specie immortalitatis. So why anticipate? Let the dead future do the criticism, and let us, while we may, Morleyize.
We like Mr. Morley, in the first place, because he seems to us the neatest example extant of one of our pet beliefs: that Oxford is about the finest place in the world to turn out Simon-pure, bred-in-the-bone Americans. What is there like the ambrosial leisure of an Oxford brekker party to train one to catch in silhouette the fleeting romantic minutes at a New York railroad lunch counter? Who does not see the mellow afterglow of Oxford port in Morley's charming justice to our native cider and to the small beers which we have loved long since and lost awhile? Who, in short, does not glimpse the informing purpose of Oxonian sweetness and light in his sweet and luminous sketches of anfractuous Manhattan?
We like Mr. Morley, and hail him as a Rhodes Scholar absolute, because he holds the balance so justly between the contending claims of gooseberry tart and doughnuts, anchovy toast and wheat-cakes-with-syrup; because he talks of "jewellery" and "odours" and "tins of preserved prunes" whenever he grows most poignantly American in his themes; because, with the well known swank of the honours man, he affects the three-hours-for-lunch vice when circumstantial evidence convicts him of the bolted sandwich. We like him because he rags professors of English, and sends them scuttling to the dictionary to discover the real etymology of superstitious, the meaning of node and cortex, demiurge, pyrophil, and hesychastic.
-The American Oxonian, Vol. 9
- Kessinger Publishing Company
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.39(d)
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My name is also Kathleen!
This book is already fantastic! Lates