Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

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10 
blurred with indistinctness in the recollection of them. 
They scarcely ruffle the surface. The similarity of one 
personality to another is significant, their divergences 
unimportant. 
The age has been at the mercy of the small tal 
ents and the war has scarcely sifted them into big or 
little ones. What is worse, it has even placed false 
stress on the mysticism of Peguy and Claudel, or 
shifted attention to thé raucous insincere „modernism“ 
of Jean Cocteau. This last gentleman, a Maecenas of 
the arts, an idol of the boulevards, a rastoquere, whose 
poetry has the taste of bran and leaves a perfect blank 
in the brain, — this person has been presented by 
indiscriminate American interpreters as the last word... of 
Paris. 
In the turbulent „advance guard“ of letters there 
is, however, something to be reckoned with. One meets 
an unexpected sincerity, a desperate willingness to go 
to any lengths of violence in opposing the old regime. 
The young men who operated „Littérature" for two 
years, Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, André Breton 
are certainly youthful as individuals and as a group 
or „movement“ (in this nation of groups) and what 
they have done has not altogether assumed permanent 
value. But one takes much hope from their quick in 
telligence, their sensibility, their vigorous and fun-loving 
disposition. They are inventive to an extreme degree 
and are utterly without blague or snobbery. They are 
bent frankly on unbounded adventures and experiments 
with modern phenomena. They have been stimulated 
by Rimbaud and Lautréamont, who demonstrated, for 
instance, that although nature had always been painted 
as a static landscape in literature it could be render 
ed in subjective motion or in any’ of a thousand states. 
The Apollinaire strain is in these writers. One of 
the last things that Guillaume Apollinaire wrote con 
cerned the field which was left to the poets of this age. 
Apollinaire, arch-intransigeant and forerunner of almost 
everything of importance, I fear, that will take place 
in the literature of the next generation, urged the poets 
of this time to be at least as daring as the mechanical 
wizards who exploited the airplane, wireless telegraphy, 
chemistry, the submarine, the cinema, the phonograph,
	        

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