Puslapio vaizdai


By Edwin E. Slosson, Ph.D. and June E. Downey, Ph.D.

"Plots and Personality" (The Century Co., $1.75), by Dr. Slosson, author of "Creative Chemistry" and other books, and Dr. June E. Downey, author of "Will-Temperament and Its Testing," etc., undertakes to suggest an answer to this question. Their method has been and is being tried out in colleges, and the idea seems to be as fruitful as it is exciting, as important as its genesis was simple. The book is challenging, calculated to stimulate the writer, whether of professional or aspirant class, to keenest interest; its suggestions promise to be of immeasurable value to him. It is unique; there is nothing at all like it, and it is probably the very queerest book its publishers ever brought out. Dr. Slosson explains in the first chapter how the idea for the book started, though no short extract can convey its character.

OR seventeen years I was hired to read the "London Times" every day. The "Times" presents an unpromising exterior. The front page, instead of the shrieking head-lines of an American paper, designed to give the impression that this is the first day of the Apocalypse, is one gray mass of minor advertisements. But running down the middle of the page is a column of more general interest although it is headed "Personal." I have often found myself fascinated by these Personal advertisements when I should have been digging out facts about foreign affairs in the pages. beyond.

Here was a part of the paper where the authors paid for permission to print instead of being paid to write. They wrote what they pleased, not what the editor wanted them to write. They were intensely earnest for

the most part, often in dire distress. This section of the paper is with good reason called the "agony column," for here is real tragedy intermingled with comedy and commercialism. These advertisements are human documents of the first order, all put in tabloid form as is now the fashion. . . . I found these germ stories more interesting than the diluted fiction of the magazines.

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It seemed then that I had hit upon a new form of psycho-analysis comparable to dream interpre

tation, reverie, associationtime, and the like. Here also was a test of the creative imagination which might do for this faculty what the new intelligence test developed out of the Binet-Simon method did for determining alertness, accuracy, memory, judgment, etc. Possibly, it appeared to me, the scheme might be used not merely for testing the native power of imagination but also for developing and training it. might serve as a form of vocational guidance and nip in the bud the aspirations of the young people who wanted to write fiction but lacked the fundamental qualification for it; that is, the ability to seize upon a hint of a plot and expand it into a thrilling and convincing novel. If these thousands of ambitious but incapable writers could be headed in some other direction the lot of the literary editor would be alleviated.



The best person that I knew of to try out the possibilities of such a plan was Dr. June Downey of the University of Wyoming, who had for years been making a study of the psychology of esthetics, especially of literary composition. I sent her a set of clippings from the "Times" and she used them in her classes at the University of Chicago as well as Wyoming with remarkable results. Some of these were published in the "Independent" of 1921 in an article entitled

"Have You Any Imagination?" and this together with an article by me in the "Independent" of March 6, 1920, on "A Game of Personalities" aroused such an interest not only among teachers of composition and psychology but also among literary aspirants and other persons who for various reasons found the idea stimulating that it seemed worth while to get out a book that would contain a wide selection of the Personals and other suggestive clippings with directions how to use them for testing and developing the creative imagi


To this book Professor Downey has contributed some chapters giving in untechnical language the results of her researches on plot-making and

character-construction and I some chapters on the fictional faculty and its use based upon my long experience as literary editor. In this partnership volume we have not attempted to eliminate all divergence of view or even an occasional contradiction, but that need not worry the reader any more than it does us for we have initialed our own sections. The object of the book is not to impose our ideas upon the reader but to stimulate him to germinate ideas of his own. For that reason we have put at the end a lot of "Times" Personals as well as head-lines from American newspapers. If the reader gets as much fun out of them as we have we shall be well paid for our trouble in preparing the book.


By T. Morris Longstreth

Impossible to convey in a little space the delightfulness of "The Laurentians" (The Century Co., $3.50), by T. Morris Longstreth, author of "The Catskills” and “The Adirondacks"'—or the delights of this nearby Canadian mountain region, so wild and so unspoiled; and the wonderful real people in it. It needs more space for its beauty -for the soul-refreshing cleanness and greatness of its outdoors, the charm and humor of its encounters-to sink in. So we will give only a bit of the opening chapter which serves to "place" the book, its reason, its locale, its plan.

HERE are those who travel carefully, with

porters, with guide-books

and account-books and insurance papers. They proceed from place to place without fatigue, are prudent as to companions and long-sighted in regard to their three meals a day, their eight hours' sleep. Events lie orderly down their calendar, and their conclusions are as predictable as an astronomer's eclipses. Where the hotels are not starred they do not go.

I have no quarrel with such, being myself not the first to eschew comfort; but they, I am afraid, will be thrown into a simmer of aggravation at this book. For it is a record of things that should not be allowed to happen to the accurate tourist. It is an account, as truthful as I can remember and as frank as I dare say, of a roving commission tendered by me to myself over a country lying just beyond my imagination.

This country's boundaries are the St. Lawrence River on the south, the Ottawa on the west, and the Saguenay toward the east, with an arrangement of mystery and mountains, called the Height of Land for northern limit. Within these self-set borders I was to be free-free to roam or ruminate, to fly or float or foot it as I chose, to parley with natives or meditate about them in

cautious silence. This book is the echo of that meditation. Its narrative of meals missed and unpremeditated friendships made, of new territories seen and happy sufferings muddled through, will doubtless seem but one long process of unnecessary pain to those who live by itineraries alone, for during those months in my haphazard Eden I knew about as much of the morrow as a fortune-teller; and cared less, having no one, not even myself, to deceive.

Of course, even in Eden, one must obey the laws, such as the law of gravitation and the rules for taking trout. And, even in Eden, happiness is enhanced by the gentle practice of one's vocation; not to the degree of that hopeless disease busyness, but to the extent of clothing naked time with what truths and beauty become it easily.

The first truth learned was this:

Three hours' progress north from Montreal discloses an unobstructed out-path to the Pole. Further, three days' search in Canada's finest library had not disclosed a single book describing this great wonderland of the Laurentian Mountains. So it seemed an alluring thing to stick a note-book in my hip-pocket and a duffle bag on my back and explore this terra non confirma. I


took care not to travel with the note-book in hand. I had no desire to tabulate all the places that a tourist should accomplish in order to say that he has done the thing with a clear conscience; neither did I desire that the natives should feel honor-bound to perjure themselves for advertisement's sake. What I wanted was the double elation of nibbling at new lands and then numbing my hearers with tales of exploit in them. rest easy; I more than nibbled, and I shall less than numb. Sincerity is the soul of truth. If I have journeyed skiphazardly, seen superficially, and reported but a part, yet I have not committed Munchausen herein. There was too much of true delight, too much delicious mishap, to require the spice of unveracity: But enough of prologue.

Canada had always been to me, the suburban-born, the epitome of all promised

lands. From the first time that I had looked on her map of sparsely named territories stretching north into the invisible, and particularly from the time that I had first stood on the walls of Quebec and stared into the blue passes of the distant Laurentians, Canada had beckoned. In those exquisitely erratic moments when every man stands on his Darien I had imagined Hudson's Bay my exploring ground. During the more prosaic residue of time, Canada remained an inexhaustible feeding-ground for my imagination. Finally, when the stubborn dream stood in the doorway of possibility and beckoned to me as dreams will, I recalled that vision of the blue Laurentians from Quebec. It seemed luck enough to penetrate those passes. When I looked up the subject and found that, geologically, the Laurentian formation covered two million square miles, it seemed more than enough. I determined to limit my wanderings to the Province of Quebec. But this turned out to be unnecessarily spacious, being somewhat larger than the combined area of the British Isles, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, and Belgium.

ducing their Laurentians to tourist size. They offered me the Ottawa-St. Lawrence-SaguenayHeight of Land enclosure in which to do my roaming, together with the maps of those parts of the region which had been surveyed.

These maps stated the proposition from which I was to prove my pleasure. For practical purposes it seemed best to devote myself to a triangle whose base was nearly parallel to the St. Lawrence from Ottawa to Tadousac at the mouth of the Saguenay, roughly four hundred miles long. The eastern limit of the triangle, the Saguenay, extended up that river and across Lake St. John into the wilderness. toward Mistassini, say three hundred miles, to be intersected by the western side of the triangle running north-eastward up the valley of the Gatineau and across the Transcontinental at Parent Station and on toward Mistassini, another three hundred miles. This area of say 45,000 miles, trifling as it was as compared with the total of explorability, seemed sufficiently generous for one summer. The next thing needed was a tentative route, if only for the pleasure of abandoning it.



In dismay I wrote to Ottawa, asking the kind officials of the Geological Survey for help in re

It had been much easier for Cæsar to divide Gaul into three parts than to conquer it; and I, too, found dividing easier than connecting. My triangle fell apart with great facility, with an obvious western third (which comprised the country between the Ottawa and the waters of the St. Maurice), with the watershed of that great river, for the middle and with the Laurentide, Lake St. John, and Saguenay waters for final third. But to join these scattered objectives into a practicable procession of places was a Baedekerlike job which made me giddy with map-gazing. Here lay a magnanimous land before me. Why should I reduce it to an ignoble system of stationstops? I had a few hundred days, and a few hundred dollars. I had also a great desire to put Montreal to the south of me. To do this logically I must take the train north. So I did.

And now I was on the train tearing through fields glad with May.


By Camille Flammarion

The second volume of Flammarion's famous trilogy on the subject of the survival of the soul after death has been translated from the French by Latrobe Carroll and published under the title "At the Moment of Death" (The Century Co., $3.00). The first volume, "Death and Its Mystery," was published April, 1921. In the present volume, M. Flammarion first inquires whether, in "Death and Its Mystery," it was fully proved that the soul exists; he recapitulates and strengthens his arguments from the former book, and proceeds to present, and to weigh the significance of, the startling phenomena which frequently occur at the moment of death. In the paragraphs below, he maintains that the soul alone has these strange powers, and he demonstrates how illogical is the attribution to the "material molecules" of the brain of the faculty of foreseeing what does not yet exist.

N view of the power of the human mind, one might, then, maintain that the transcendental facts that are the objects of our metaphysical investigations, might be due in part to faculties of the mind as yet unknown. Let us consider the objection closely, without a single preconceived idea.

The question presents itself with clarity: can the facts observed be attributed to known or unknown faculties of a cerebral mechanism as powerful as we choose to assume? Let us analyze.

On June 27, 1894, at about nine o'clock in the morning, Dr. Gallet, then a student of medicine in Lyons, was studying in his room, in company with a fellow-student, Dr. Varay, for the first examination for the degree of doctor, and was very much absorbed in his work, when he was irresistibly distracted from it by a sentence that obsessed him, the repetition, in his inner consciousness, of the words, "Monsieur Casimir Perier was elected President of the Republic by four hundred and fifty-one votes."

The student wrote this sentence upon a sheet of paper which he handed to his companion, complaining of the obsession. Varay read it, shrugged. his shoulders, and when his friend insisted that he believed it to be a real premonition, asked him, harshly enough, to let him work undisturbed.

After lunch the two comrades met two other students, Monsieur Bouchet, now a physician in Haute-Savoie, and Monsieur Deborne, now pharmacist at Thonon, and the three companions laughed at such a prophecy, since the official candidates for the presidency were Messieurs Brisson and Dupuy.

That day the election was held at Versailles, at two o'clock.

Presently, while the students from Lyons were refreshing themselves upon the terrace of a café, newsboys passed, and shouted:

"Monsieur Casimir Perier elected President of

the republic by four hundred and fifty-one votes!" It would be ill-advised for the most hardened skeptics to contest this fact of exact premonition, five hours before the actual event, since it was confirmed by the triple attestation of three wit

nesses. ...

If it were a question of an arithmetical calculation, one might say that there is nothing marvelous in its being exact, just as in the calculation of the number of grains of wheat contained in a liter, but we are here concerned with a spontaneous inner voice. And the figures!

The question that arises is whether we may attribute this divination of the future to the brain, to physiological cerebral faculties, or are not impelled to seek, in Man or elsewhere, the functioning of a psychic element differing from the material organism?

Does not this question answer itself?

It is purely hypothetical to attribute to a grouping of material molecules, to chemical or mechanical action, to a swirling of atoms of any sort, the faculty of seeing that which does not yet exist, that which will happen in several hours, several days, several weeks, or several years.


The hypothesis rests upon no scientific basis. Furthermore, it is absurd in itself. By virtue of wishing to set a practical science, we slip into aberration, we cease to reason logically.

The only quibble, in the case of the premonition that we have just related, would be the supposition of a chance coincidence, (1) as to the unlookedfor name; (2) as to the number. Strictly speaking, although the chances are a million to one against this, it is, perhaps, not absolutely impossible.

The brain comes into play, yes, but it is only the tool. A locomotive would not run without the engineer. The electric apparatus is not the telegraph operator. The telephone is not the person speaking over it. The dark-room is not the photograph.

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By Harry A. Franck

Of all the travel books of Harry A. Franck, none, perhaps, deserves so richly the word enchanting as does "Four Months Afoot in Spain" (The Century Co., $3.00). It is sun-drenched and happy, full of vigor and fine health and open-minded readiness for the alluring accidents of each day, of fine disregard for those less pleasing. It is in the very mood of "serendipity" in its definition as a state of being in which beautiful things may happen. The spell of old Spain is most palpably present to the reader. Down among the people, on the high-roads and the mountain trails, with bullfighters and muleteers, cobblers and shepherds, tramping (the whole journey was accomplished on three hundred and thirty-three dollars), Mr. Franck, with a perfect command of Spanish and a considerable knowledge of Spanish history and literature, had an experience of Spain which is unique and the account of which holds rare pleasure for its readers. A few paragraphs follow.

RAVELERS who arraign Ronda for lack of creature comforts can never have been assigned the quarters a peseta won me for the night in the "Parador de Vista Hermosa." The room was a house in itself, peculiarly clean and homelike, and furnished not only with the necessities of bed, chairs and taper-lighted effigy of the Virgin, but with table, washstand, and even a bar of soap, the first I had seen in the land except that in my own knapsack. When the sun had fallen powerless behind the sierra, I drew the green shade and found before my window a little rejaed balcony hanging so directly over the Tajo that the butt of a cigarette fell whirling down, down to the very bottom of the gorge. I dragged a chair out into the dusk and sat smoking beneath the starsprinkled sky long past a pedestrian's bedtime, the unbroken music of the Guadalvin far below ascending to mingle with the murmur of the strolling city.

To the north of Ronda begins a highway that goes down through a country as arid and rockstrewn as the anti-Lebanon. Here, too, is much of the Arab's contempt for roads. Donkeys bearing singing men tripped by along hard-beaten paths just far enough off the public way to be no part of it. Now and again donkey and trail wandered away independently over the thirsty hills, perhaps to return an hour beyond, more often to be swallowed up in the unknown. The untraveled carretera lay inches deep in fine white dust. Far and near the landscape was touched only with a few slight patches of viridity. The solitary tree under which I tossed through an hour of siesta cast the stringy, wavering shade of a beanpole.

Sharp-eyed with appetite, I came near, nevertheless, to passing unseen early in the afternoon a village hidden in plain sight along the flank of a reddish, barren hill. In this, too, Andalusia

resembles Asia Minor; her hamlets are so often of the same colored or colorless rock as the hills on which they are built as frequently to escape the eye. I forded a bone-dry brook and climbed into the tumbled pueblo. Toward the end of the principal lack of a street one of the crumbling hovelfronts was scrawled in faded red with the Spaniard's innocent indistinction between the second and twenty-second letters of the alphabet:


Once admitted to the sleepy interior, I regaled myself on bread, cheese and “bino" and scrambled back to the highway. It wandered more and more erratically, slinking often around hills that a bit of exertion would have surmounted. I recalled the independence of the donkeys and, picking up a path at an elbow of the route, struck off across the rugged country.

The venta into which I straggled at last was the replica of an Arabic khan as ancient as the days of Tarik. It consisted of a covered barnyard court surrounded by a vast corridor, with rock arches and pillars, beneath which mules, borricos, and a horse or two were munching. One archway near the entrance was given over to human occupation. The posadero grumbled at me a word of greeting; his wife snarled interminably over her pots and jars in preparing me a meager supper. Now and again as I ate, an arriero arrived and led his animal through the dining-room to the stable. I steeled myself to endure a rough and stony night.

When I had sipped the last of my wine, however, the hostess . . . mounted three stone steps in the depth of the archway and lighted me into a room that was strikingly in contrast with the dungeon-like inn proper. The chamber was neatly, even daintily, furnished . . . the bed veiled with lace curtains.

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