LIGHTENING LITERATURE

Less than half a century ago Anthony Trollope had published over fifty books, and when he died ten years later his record was in the neighborhood of sixty-five. Every morning he would get up at five o'clock to write his accustomed 2500 words before breakfast, for if he let a day go by without at least 5000 he considered that he was shirking his duty. His Pegasus was something in the nature of a plow-horse, who finally arrived at the goal of literary success by plugging away, until hard work made up for lack of speed.

Anthony Trollope might be called the father of all modern novelists, for most men have, either consciously or other-wise, set themselves a goal of writing, and have not been satisfied until they have published a certain amount of work. Magazines have sprung into being to take care of the popular demand for stories. Newspapers have more than doubled their volume in the last decade, and the magazine section and "serial", aided by the supposedly true "feature" sensation story on the front page, have helped supply the public with reading matter.

This has often been called the age of literacy. Everyone reads. Even tooth-brushes are wrapped in sheets of printed paper, giving directions for their use, and telling why the brand in question is better than that furnished by any other manufacturer. Groceries come enclosed with recipes for cooking them. Advertising is carried on in every conceivable place, and the only force which causes a ray of hope is the "movies", and they after all, only convert a story of words into a story of action, without improving on the literary tone.

The popular demand has given rise to a whole colony of "Grub Street" authors, who grind out back work day by day to satisfy their readers. The hopeful author says: "If I can write 5,000 words a day, at $2.00 a thousand, I will earn enough to keep me alive till something better turns up".

But however high a place man may reach in the literary world by means of his back writings they can not make his position permanent. Maupassant, who wrote for seven years before he published a single word and submitted his work only to his master Flaubert for criticism, is pointed out as ideal, but he would have a poor time of it today. This is the age when everyone must cultivate "self-expression" through the mail if possible, --and everyone prefers to cultivate it out loud. And the worst of it is that, even in advocating attence, there must be more words, and more work for the "printer's devil".