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Praise Over All

May 2024
1min read

Congratulations upon your beautiful April/May issue, with special commendation for the George Inness reproductions and the nostalgic retrospectives on early advertising and cable cars.

Greatly as I enjoyed Mr. Yardley’s speculations on literary influences upon the daily life of Americans, I fear he was born too late to have experienced the bouleversement that shook us in the teens and early twenties, when the staid Victorian era came to its rather abrupt end, a change in which both Sherwood Anderson and H. L. Mencken played a large part. I am sorry that the recollection of that sweeping wind, which altered the American atmosphere, seems to have faded to such a degree.

Delicious, too, was another glimpse of Gluyas Williams with Robert Benchley’s very perceptive piece on times of trouble and the derby-hatted bystander. Too bad that you did not top it off with the famous and deeply moving lines of W. H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” on the same theme:

About suffering they were never wrong The Old Masters: how well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there must always be Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating On a pond at the edge of the wood …

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