Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

One of the first illusions to be rejected upon con 
tact with European letters in the flesh is that the 
present generation consists of exthausted and disenchant 
ed young men. Nothing could have been more 
unfounded. There is far more danger, I am told, of 
the present American generation exhausting itself in 
attempting to dent the stupidity of its art-patrons, its 
censors, its inarticulate loosebrained prophets. 
They are not exhausted, these young men who have 
survived 1914—1918. Witness the excellent morale of 
the writers of the avant-garde in France who, in iso 
lation from the rest of their countrymen, have com 
pletely forgotten the war. Talented, extravagant, 
intolerant, fun-loving, these young writers whether of 
Dada affiliations or not have broken with the direct 
line of French literature. The fifty or sixty crowned 
poets of the pre-war era from Mallarmé to Paul Fort, 
all of whom de Gourmont treats with such encyclo 
paedic precision, and some of whom Amy Lowell 
introduced belatedly and inaccurately to the American 
public, — these have all been immolated. There is a 
brisk inclination to forget the silver age of twenty 
years or so preceding the war which was dominated 
by such sterile traditions as those of de Regnier, 
Barrés, Moréas, Anatole France, de Gourmont. 
In the main line from the tendencies of yesterday 
falls the group dominated by André Gide and associa 
ted with the Nouvelle Revue Française. In its most 
characteristic contributors, André Salmon, Jean Girau 
doux, Paul Morand, there is a certain penchant for 
mockery, a certain cleverness at the comedy of manners. 
But in none of these writers has there been a clean 
break with the artistic conceptions of the foregoing era. 
Inasmuch as the majority of French writers are still 
reiterating the a little frozen beauties of the Symbo 
lists or the vers-libre universitaire of Laforgue there 
is very little to hope for. One meets with a great 
many names in the throng of reviews and books pub 
lished and commented upon every day. They are

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