Thomas Eakins, Painter and Moralist

Some half century ago the grand exhibition of Thomas Eakins’s paintings at the Metropolitan Museum in November, 1917, gave America its first opportunity to take the measure of his art. Though William C. Brownell in an earlier report in Scribner’s Magazine had opened the way, this belated showing of his …

The Scholar as Activist

No one could write an adequate account of American letters during the first thirty years of this century without discussing the work and influence of Joel Elias Spingarn. Yet it is only now, a whole generation after his death in 1939, that the first preliminary estimate of his achievements has …

A Universal Man

William Morris is about the last Victorian figure, one would think, who could appeal to the present age; for the fashionable oppish and poppish forms of non-art today bear as much resemblance to the exuberant creativity of Morris’s designs as the noise of a premeditated fart bears to a trumpet …

Emerson Behind Barbed Wire

Almost sixty years ago, in 1909 in fact, the first volume of a ten-volume edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Journals was published; and the final volume came out in 1914. In 1883, the twelve-volume collected edition of Emerson’s works had been published, with an introductory memoir by James Elliot Cabot, …

The Premonitions of Leonardo da Vinci

In the mind of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), one of the greatest intellects of a great age, a multitude of practical inventions accompanied his ideal projections. He and other contemporary artist-engineers demonstrated, as early as the sixteenth century, how many of the technical achievements of our own time had already …

Larger than Life

The life of John James Audubon was full of ambiguities, contradictions, frustrations, alienations. with such attributes, his biography could easily meet the fashionable specifications of our own period. But he was also a man of heroic mold, and heroes for the moment are not fashionable. What is worse for his …

The American Way of Death

As so often happens, when the minds of many people have been silently brooding over the same subject, there has recently been an outbreak of books, articles, and legislative investigations, all devoted to assessing the mechanical defects, the bodily hazards, and the mounting social disadvantages of the motor car. The …

Revaluations I: Howard’s Garden City

The appearance of Garden Cities of To-morrow in an American paperback brings to an almost hilarious climax this book’s astonishing career. At least it produces hilarity—not unmixed with obvious Schadenfreude—in a few people like Osborn. Clarence Stein, and myself, who staked our reputations on persistently advocating the ideas first put …

On The Dial

The Time of the Dial has more than one ingratiating virtue, not always found in the recent output of academic theses. For one thing, Professor Wasserstrom singles out an important episode in American letters; and with such corroboration as his Miscellany offers, he brings forth an original but highly contentious …