Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

at new sentence rhythms, word‘coinage, and telling 
inversions give more hilarity than pain. But this soft 
place next to Marianne Moore! 
The final seal has been stamped by the announcement 
that the 1921 Dial Award has been bestowed upon Sher 
wood Anderson. It was stated that „the award will go to a 
young American writer, one of our contributors, in 
recognition of his service to American letters ... to 
be given annually to one who has already accomplished 
a service, yet has not completed his work . . . intended 
for encouragement and opportunity 4 * for leisure, I infer. 
It went to a man forty-five years old and by no means 
in a seriously impecunious position. Inasmuch as the 
royalties from six books and frequent payments from 
several magazines eager for his work have, of late 
years, enabled him to support a family, devote all his 
time to writing, and take a summer’s trip to Europe. 
An established writer, in short. The approach to arti 
culateness of this author I have traced in detail in an 
essay now floating around somewhere in America. Let 
me extract a few points without supporting them again. 
1. The impulse which produced Windy Mac Phersons 
Son and Marching Men was thin. Anderson, inBrentano’s 
trade paper, spring of 1921, declares they were written 
from an emulative desire worked up by reading other 
novels. 2. I agree with his preface statement to Mid 
American Chants that he can do nothing as yet „but 
mutter and feel our way toward the promise of song“. 
3. The key-sentence to Winesburg, Ohio is „One 
shudders at the meaninglessness of life while at the 
same instant and if the people of the town are his 
people, one loves life so intensely that tears come into 
the eyes". This translates into „I have nothing to 
oppose to the meaninglessness of life but a sentimental 
attachment for my fellow townsmen". 4. Anderson has 
no control of diction, not even the elementary man 
agement of sentence mechanics that syntax can give. 
There are many examples. Witness one from Poor White. 
„Standing on a high cliff and with a grove of trees 
at his back, the stars seemed to have all gathered in 
the eastern sky". 5. Anderson’s formula for writing is 
a psychological, not an esthetic one. Vide Brentano’s 
trade paper, spring of 1921. 6. He correctly regrets

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