Huneker, James Gibbons
James Gibbons Huneker 1857-1921
American journalist, essayist, biographer, critic, autobiographer, and novelist.
Huneker was an influential critic and journalist who is credited with introducing American readers to many leading European writers, thinkers, artists, and composers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A contributor to a variety of periodicals, he later collected his writings in such volumes as Iconoclasts: A Book of Dramatists (1905), which includes studies of Henrik Ibsen, Bernard Shaw, and Maurice Maeterlinck, and Unicorns (1917), which contains essays on such writers as James Joyce, George Sand, Mikhail Artzybashev, and J. K. Huysmans. Although Huneker has been criticized for lacking a coherent critical perspective, his writings are considered representative of the impressionism that characterized much of American literary journalism at the turn of the century, and, in assessing Huneker's role in the development of American criticism, Alfred Kazin has noted that "almost singled-handed he brought the new currents in European art and thought to America and made them fashionable."
Huneker was born to a middle-class family in Philadelphia. He attended a private academy and later studied piano with the hope of pursuing a career as a concert pianist. In 1878 Huneker traveled for the first time to Paris, where he continued his musical training and began writing occasional pieces for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. Following his return from Europe, he taught piano in Philadelphia and contributed articles to the music journal Etude. In 1886 Huneker moved to New York and began writing book reviews and other critiques for the Musical Courier. He remained with that periodical until 1902, contributing a regular column on the arts under the name "Raconteur." During the early 1890s he also wrote music and drama reviews for the New York Recorder. In the ensuing decades Huneker was associated with numerous periodicals, most notably the New York Sun, Metropolitan Magazine, Puck, and the New York Times, to which he contributed as a foreign correspondent and feature writer. He died in 1921.
Huneker's works are characterized by a cosmopolitan approach, anecdotal style, and enthusiasm for the subjects he undertook, most notably new developments in European art and literature of the fin-de-siècle period. His early reviews and essays focus on music and musicians, including the highly regarded study Chopin: The Man and His Music (1901). Such works as Iconoclasts, Egoists: A Book of Supermen (1909), and Ivory Apes and Peacocks (1915) comprise collections of his journalistic writings that cover an extensive range of arts and artists. He was among the first American critics to champion the dramas of Henrik Ibsen, Bernard Shaw, and August Strindberg, and Unicorns contains his early appreciation of James Joyce, whom he called "indubitably a fresh talent." Huneker's commentaries are often subjective and impressionistic, lacking a formal aesthetic. He praised individualism and focused his examinations on the artist's personality and on the social milieu in which the artist worked. His greatest enthusiasm was for French culture, and he wrote appreciations of Charles Baudelaire, Theophile Gautier, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse, among numerous others. Huneker's favorites among contemporary American writers included Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Dean Howells. In addition to his critical works, Huneker also wrote a novel, Painted Veils (1920), and the two-volume autobiography Steeplejack (1920).
During his lifetime Huneker was considered the preeminent literary journalist in the United States. His personal acquaintance with leading artists, composers, and writers of the period and his cosmopolitan aesthetic sensibility brought Huneker significant influence as a taste-maker in American criticism. While the informal and unsystematic style of his reviews fell out of favor with critics who advocated the social and academic critical movements that developed in the mid-twentieth century, Huneker has nevertheless been praised by such notable critics as H. L. Mencken, who described him as "one of the most charming fellows ever heard of, and the best critic of the American first line."
Mezzotints in Modern Music (essays) 1899
Chopin: The Man and His Music (biography) 1900
Melomaniacs (essays) 1902
Overtones: A Book of Temperaments (essays) 1904
Iconoclasts: A Book of Dramatists (essays) 1905
Visionaries (essays) 1905
Egoists: A Book of Supermen (essays) 1909
Promenades of an Impressionist (essays) 1910
Franz Liszt (biography) 1911
Old Fogy: His Musical Opinions and Grotesques (essays) 1913
The Pathos of Distance: A Book of a Thousand and One Moments (essays and reminiscences) 1913
The Development of Piano Music from the Days of the Clavichord and Harpsichord to the Present Time (nonfiction) 1915
Ivory Apes and Peacocks (essays) 1915
New Cosmopolis: A Book of Images (essays) 1915
The Philharmonic Society of New York and Its Seventy-Fifth Anniversary: A Retrospect (nonfiction) 1917
Unicorns (essays) 1917
Bedouins (essays) 1920
Painted Veils (novel) 1920
Steeplejack 2 vols. (autobiography) 1920
Variations (essays) 1921
Letters of James Gibbons...
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SOURCE: "James Huneker: Individualist," in The Forum, New York, Vol. XLI, No. 6, June, 1909, pp. 600-05.
[In the following essay, Marsh considers the distinctive, idiosyncratic style of Huneker's literary criticism.]
With a frankness that is altogether praiseworthy, James Huneker has affixed to his books labels which have the rare virtue of telling something about what they contain. The import of such titles as Melomaniscs; Visionaries; Iconoclasts; and now Egoists, is not cryptic. However much they may include, they will commonly be taken as barring out those manifestations of human life and thought which are reputed safe and sane. To the average man they will suggest something of morbidity; and if the average man will look further than the titles, he shall not be cheated of his expectation. It would not be easy to sum up under a single rubric all the men and subjects with which Mr. Huneker's books have dealt; their range is too wide for that. Yet they own to something in common, which marks them as having to do with a special set of phenomena. The men whose names are most frequently on the author's lips are those whom the world reckons madmen, either "sick souls," creatures of unhealthy sensibility, or the radicals, the free, independent thinkers who defy old formulas, break cherished idols and found new religions. Here, then, is one critic's specialty—since criticism must be a...
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SOURCE: "James Huneker: Super-Critic," in Current Literature, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1, July, 1909, pp. 57-9.
[The following essay addresses Huneker's preeminence as a literary critic.]
Brilliancy, it seems, begets brilliancy. The scintillant genius of James Huneker provokes pyrotechnics on the part of his critics. Critic of Supermen and Super-critic, his epigrammatic flashes dazzle the elect and the curious. Fitly enough, Mr. Huneker's latest book of essays [Egoists] is dedicated to George Brandes. What George Brandes is to the Old World James Huneker is to the New. Huneker's figure stands out in even bolder relief in America than that of Brandes in Europe. In the tiny lane of American criticism, to quote Percival Pollard, there is not even the semblance of a crowd. We can easily count our critics on our fingers; and, unless we are arrantly optimistic in our own interpretation of the word critic, we need no more than a single hand. On the hand of criticism, Mr. Pollard himself, at his best, may be compared to the little finger, Mr. Paul Elmer More, eminently sane and respectable, to the thumb, but James Huneker is the forefinger pointing the way to the new. But always pointing to Europe. Infinitely versatile Mr. Pollard calls him, and essentially cosmopolitan; but American merely incidentally. "A critic who happens also to be an American, a critic who sees, moreover, only Europe." Were it not, he...
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SOURCE: "An American Speaks," in The Bookman, New York, Vol. XLIX, No. 294, March, 1916, pp. 189-90.
[In the following essay, Sherren's appraisal of Huneker's Ivory Apes and Peacocks is influenced by Great Britain's conflict with Germany during World War I.]
Not a ripple from the European war disturbs the surface of the essays gathered together by Mr. James Huneker, the accomplished American litterateur, who does so much to inform public taste in the United States.
Unreflecting readers of Ivory Apes and Peacocks might easily jump to the conclusion that he lived in a vacuum, and by some fourth dimensional trick passed from his library to concert halls and art galleries, alike unconscious of peoples half choked by squalid conditions in peace times, and massed into heroic union in the time of Armageddon.
His essays were evidently written before the struggle of titanic forces convulsed the world—certainly before the German pirate sank the Lusitania, for the memory of that crime would have imposed certain restrictions which are not here observed, and altered a point of view, which now displays a marvel of ante-war detachment. I refer to Mr. Huneker's essays on "Frank Wedekind," "Max Liebemann and Some Phases of Modern German Art," and similar intellectual absorptions.
There are, however, many brilliant pages in Ivory Apes and...
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SOURCE: "James Huneker," in A Book of Prefaces, Alfred A. Knopf, 1917, pp. 151-94.
[Mencken was one of the most influential figures in American literature from the First World War until the early years of the Great Depression. His strongly individualistic, irreverent outlook on life and his vigorous, invective-charged writing style helped establish the iconoclastic spirit of the Jazz Age and significantly shaped the direction of American literature. In the following essay, Mencken praises Huneker's enthusiasm for the arts as well as his exuberant essays on authors and composers.]
Edgar Allan Poe, I am fond of believing, earned as a critic a good deal of the excess of praise that he gets as a romancer and a poet, and another over-estimated American dithyrambist, Sidney Lanier, wrote the best textbook of prosody in English [The Science of English Verse]; but in general the critical writing done in the United States has been of a low order, and most American writers of any genuine distinction, like most American painters and musicians, have had to wait for understanding until it appeared abroad. The case of Emerson is typical. At thirty, he was known in New England as a heretical young clergyman and no more, and his fame threatened to halt at the tea-tables of the Boston Brahmins. It remained for Landor and Carlyle, in a strange land, to discern his higher potentialities,...
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SOURCE: "James Gibbons Huneker," in Journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Vol. XX, 1921, pp. 221-28.
[In the following essay, Clarke delineates Huneker's Gaelic background and interest in Irish writers.]
No loss to literature, above all to American literature in recent years compares to the void left by the passing away of James Gibbons Huneker on February 10, 1921 in New York. To our ordinary mind contemplating the world of art and letters, it is the passing of the poet, the dramatist, the master story-teller, the historian, the painter, the sculptor, the singer, the actor, the musical composer, which covers the artistic personalities whose death makes men pause and lament that a fount of light and beauty to the world has disappeared. The death of James Gibbons Huneker proved that in literature there was another stamp of greatness whose effulgence fairly dazzled and delighted every man and woman capable, however poorly, of measuring it, namely, that of the critic and essayist of the seven arts—a critic and essayist who wrote with authority. Critics are the commonplace, for it is the badge of the writing tribe to be critical and to write about it: essayists are plentiful. But we measure upward in these matters until we reach an altitude of learning, knowledge, discrimination and judgment in both the critic and the essayist where greatness begins. It is characteristic of our time that...
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SOURCE: "The Playboy of Criticism," in The North American Review, Vol. CCXIII, No. 785, April, 1921, pp. 556-60.
[In the following essay, Gilman stresses Huneker's role in introducing new artistic movements to the American public.]
"And now when the Great Moon had come, Steeplejack touched the tip of the spire, where instead of a cross he found a vane which swung as the wind listeth; thereat he marvelled and rejoiced. 'Behold!' he cried, 'thou glowing symbol of the New Man. A weathercock and a mighty twirling. This then shall be the sign set in the sky for Immoralists: A cool brain and a wicked heart. Nothing is true. All is permitted, for all is necessary.'—Thus Spake Steeplejack."
Such is the motto chosen by James Huneker to introduce his Autobiography, the last of that remarkable series of books which are now all that remains of him—save those of his writings which may be found in the newspaper files of the last quarter-century. For Steeplejack is dead, and an important chapter in the history of letters in America is closed. Mr. Huneker, in a quite definite and literal sense, began and ended a significant period in the aesthetic life of this country. He had scarcely a precursor; he was unique while he lived; and he has no successor.
Mr. Huneker's pilgrimage among the Seven Arts which he loved to patronize and expound began in the Philadelphia of 1860; it ended...
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SOURCE: "Huneker," in Literary Criticism in America: A Preliminary Survey, 1927. Reprint by Russell & Russell, 1967, pp. 206-44.
[In the following essay, De Mille profiles Huneker as a gifted literary critic who introduced many important European authors to North American readers.]
Every now and then some criticaster, of the sort who believe that authors can be ranked and graded like pupils in a class in elementary arithmetic, sets out to answer the question, Who is the great American critic? The answers to this question have been various and surprising. Lowell has been most often mentioned, but one also hears the names of Poe, Stedman, and even Margaret Fuller. No one, however, has as yet nominated for the honor James Huneker. Indeed, of all the major American critics, Huneker has been most persistently ignored. The qualities of the man are so obvious that this demands some attempt at explanation. This neglect is no doubt partly due to his lifelong connection with the daily papers—a connection that invites the academic epithet—journalistic. More of it is owing to Huneker's critical isolation. Most critics, the reader has probably noticed, speak not only for themselves, but for some group of creative writers, or some general movement of literary thought. They are party leaders, and the party helps them to fame. But Huneker belonged to no movement, advocated no reform,...
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SOURCE: "The Passing of James Huneker," in The Nation, New York, Vol. CXXIX, No. 3364, December 25, 1929, p. 780.
[Hicks was an American literary critic whose famous study The Great Tradition: An Interpretation of American Literature since the Civil War (1933) established him as the foremost advocate of Marxist critical thought in Depression-era America. Throughout the 1930s he argued for a more socially engaged brand of literature but after 1939 sharply denounced communist ideology and adopted a less ideological posture in critical matters. In the following essay, Hicks disputes the reasoning behind Huneker's impressionistic criticism while praising the author for the gusto of his opinions.]
Reading Huneker's essays today, one feels creeping over one the revolting suspicion that James Huneker, that great iconoclast, godfather of Mencken and all the Menckenites, was nothing but a sort of Hamilton Wright Mabie with a perverse streak of naughtiness and with somewhat better luck in choosing the objects of his enthusiasm. His own heresies seem tame, and the heresies of his chosen supermen take on in his presentation an equal mildness. The enfant terrible of the last generation disappears, and in his place we behold a garrulous, gossipy, erudite gentleman with a taste for Pilsner and a gentle fondness for wild men.
This is, of course, ridiculous, and one banishes the suspicion...
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SOURCE: "James Huneker," in Sketches in Criticism, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1932, pp. 230-35.
[An American critic and biographer, Brooks is noted chiefly for his studies of such writers as Mark Twain, Henry James, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and for his influential commentary on the history of American literature. In the following essay, Brooks remembers Huneker as a prototypical American writer attracted to European culture.]
Do you remember the roses in the Luxembourg Gardens, those roses, at once so opulent and so perfect, that blossom against the grey stone of the old balustrades? But one does not forget them: it is as if in some unique fashion they fulfilled the destiny of all the roses. What one perhaps does forget is the sacrifice they represent. Who can estimate the care lavished upon the organisms that bear those blossoms, which are indeed the fruit of a ruthless and incessant pruning? They have scarcely known what it is to sprawl in the sunshine; every stalk, every tendril has submitted to the most rigorous of disciplines. It is a Spartan life, in short, which those plants have led; all their energy has been canalized to a single end. But what a sumptuous end! A good part of our delight in it springs from our having witnessed there the perfect fulfillment of an intention.
That is the French way, with roses and with artists. Our American way is different. We believe, before...
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SOURCE: "Huneker's Criticism of French Literature," in The French Review, Vol. XIV, No. 24, December, 1940, pp. 130-37.
[In the following essay, Fay focuses on Huneker's reviews of works by such French authors as Gustave Flaubert.]
Several years ago I attempted a study of American criticism of French literature. I wanted to discover which American critics had written most copiously and most discerningly about the literature of France. I began by excluding from my study, perhaps a little arbitrarily, those writers who appeared to me to be book reviewers or literary historians, rather than critics. And I excluded also those critics whose work, since they were still alive, remained unfinished.
It soon became apparent that almost all the criticism of the kind I had in mind was written between 1865 and the present time. Criticism is one of those literary forms which invariably develop last. First comes the creative impulse, to be followed later by the urge to analyze. Therefore it is not surprising that American writers produced but little criticism of any kind during the Colonial Period. From 1815 to 1865 there were, of course, good critics. But they did not seem much interested in French literature. Emerson's essay on Montaigne, in Representative Men, and Lowell's essay on Rousseau, in Among My Books, are among the few exceptions to the rule.
After the Civil...
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SOURCE: "The Intelligentsia," in Intellectual America: Ideas on the March, 1941. Reprint by The Macmillan Company, 1948, pp. 399-536.
[An American educator, historian, and literary critic, Cargill edited critical editions of the works of such major American authors as Henry James, Frank Norris, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Wolfe. In the following excerpt, Cargill examines the novel Painted Veils in order to understand the crisis of faith Huneker experienced late in his life.]
One purveyor of European ideas to Americans in this period was both a cosmopolitan and a man of taste. This was James Gibbons Huneker, the Philadelphia Irishman of whom H. L. Mencken has written so well, not in A Book of Prefaces, but in the Introduction to the Essays which he selected and edited for Scribner's in 1929. As any one knows who has read Steeplejack (1918) or Painted Veils (1920), Huneker at the end of his critical and creative life was horribly oppressed by a sense of personal failure. In the autobiography the self-condemnation is complete and abysmal:
… I love painting and sculpture: I may only look, but never own either pictures or marbles. I would fain be a pianist, a composer of music: I am neither. Nor a poet. Nor a novelist, actor, playwright. I have written of many things from architecture to zoology without grasping their inner...
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SOURCE: "James Gibbons Huneker," in American Literary Criticism: 1900-1950, Hendricks House, Inc., 1951, pp. 60-3.
[An American critic and educator, Glicksberg has written widely on American literature. In the following essay, he criticizes Huneker for not developing a theory of aesthetics upon which to base opinions.]
Born in Philadelphia on January 31, 1860, Huneker was fortunate in having parents who were sincerely devoted to the arts of music and painting. His early passionate interest in literature precluded the thought of preparing him, as his mother wished, for the priesthood. He studied law for some years at the Law Academy in Philadelphia, but he was not destined for that profession. Unable to shake off his deep passion for the arts, particularly music, he went to Paris, where he studied music at the Sorbonne. There he discovered that he lacked the fundamental talent to become a professional musician. In the meantime, he had developed an appreciation of the beauty and importance of impressionistic art. After returning to the United States, he continued his musical studies and taught the piano for a period often years at the National Conservatory in New York City. But it was in journalism that he found his true vocation. From 1891 to 1895 he acted as music and dramatic critic for the New York Recorder; from 1895 to 1897 he served as music and dramatic critic on the staff of the Morning...
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SOURCE: "James Huneker's Criticism of American Literature," in American Literature, Vol. 29, No. 1, March, 1957, pp. 64-78.
[In the following essay, Schwab surveys Huneker's critical writings on American authors, including Walt Whitman, Henry James, and Theodore Dreiser.]
American critics and literary historians have generally accepted the notion that James Gibbons Huneker was largely indifferent to the literature of his own country. He was, to be sure, primarily interested in writers whose ideas and methods were of world-wide significance or whose temperaments appealed to him; many of these happened to be European. To maintain, however, that he was oblivious to the literary scene at home and to the talents of American authors is to perpetuate an injustice that disturbed Huneker and has long deserved correction.
Since he reprinted in his numerous collections a total of only six essays on American writers of belles lettres, one article on the American novel, and a few passages dealing with American literature, one must examine the New York newspapers and magazines in which much of his writing is buried to learn the full extent of Huneker's interest in that literature. Especially revealing are the files of the Musical Courier from February, 1889, to October, 1902, during which period he wrote a weekly column of miscellaneous criticism headed "The Raconteur." The newspapers on which...
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SOURCE: "Aesthete in America: The Short Stories of James Gibbons Huneker," in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. II, No. 4, Summer, 1965, pp. 358-66.
[In the following essay, Rottenberg assesses the short stories by Huneker collected in the volumes Melomaniacs, Visionaries, and Bedouins.]
In 1964 Painted Veils, The only novel which Huneker ever wrote, appeared in a paperback reprint as a "classic of American realism," the sign of a belated revival, perhaps; but the short stories, collected in Melomaniacs (1902) and Visionaries (1905), as well as a few in Bedouins (1920), have never been reissued and remain virtually forgotten and unread. Mencken, who thought Huneker unequalled as a critic of music and literature, might have said deservedly so—"I can see no great talent for fiction qua fiction in these two volumes of exotic tales," (a judgment with which Huneker, with his proverbial modesty and good humor, agreed, although he could not forbear calling these books his favorites, precisely "because they were despised and rejected.") But there were other verdicts, among them those of Frank Norris, who praised them, asserting that Huneker had achieved "originality without grossness," and Benjamin De Casseres, an extravagant admirer of Huneker in everything, who compared him to Baudelaire, Laforgue, Poe, and D'Aurevilly. Neither Mencken's indifference nor De Casseres'...
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SOURCE: "In Praise of Huneker," in The University of Windsor Review, Vol. IX, No. 1, Fall, 1973, pp. 100-12.
[In the following essay, Frank commends Huneker for his devotion to the arts and intuition about significant artists.]
For the first two decades of this century, James Huneker was probably America's most prolific critic of the European and American creative scene. Although his early training was in music, Huneker's interests ranged over all the arts and led to his becoming a critic for New York's major magazines and newspapers and, between 1899 and 1921, to his publishing the remarkable total of sixteen volumes—one novel, two collections of short stories, biographies of Liszt and Chopin, and eleven collections of critical essays. His judgments won praise from many, including William Butler Yeats, Bernard Berenson, and Bernard Shaw, and one admirer, Edmund Wilson, acknowledged Huneker's influence on his own work. At the height of Huneker's fame, his friend, H. L. Mencken, published a laudatory article, "James Huneker." Responding to this praise, Huneker wrote to Mencken: "As for the 'J.H.' (James Huneker) it is despairingly exaggerated—why, warum, pourquoi, perche? A newspaperman in a hell of a hurry writing journalese is not to be dumped in a seat of the mighty so easily." [Letters of James Huneker, 1922]
This self evaluation was to prove prophetic, and today...
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SOURCE: "Huneker and Other Lost Arts," in The Antioch Review, Vol. 39, No. 4, Fall, 1981, pp. 402-21.
[In the following essay, Karlen contemplates Huneker's drift into obscurity following his death and expresses the need to resurrect Huneker's reputation.]
If you could resurrect a few writers of the past for one evening's conversation, which ones would you choose? A fascinating game, and not a new one. More than a half century ago, James Gibbons Huneker wrote of "the whimsical notion of Charles Lamb that he would rather see Sir Thomas Browne than Shakespeare.… I have often wondered if the most resounding names in history are the best beloved."
I have a few favorites of my own. I'd rather talk with Kuprin than Tolstoi, with John Aubrey than John Milton. And if I had to pick a few American writers, Huneker himself would be among them. On a scale of literary greatness he must be ranked below Hawthorne or Hemingway, but I'd rather have him come alive for one night, to sit with him at Luchow's as he piled up a dozen or so empty beer steins, outdrinking and outtalking Mencken, George Jean Nathan, the Ashcan artists, and his other grateful, dazzled proteges. He went for hours, whole nights—according to witnesses the most brilliant conversation they ever heard—on the art and lives of Chopin, Schoenberg, Artsybashev, Schnitzler, Goya, Laforgue, Lincoln, Brillat-Savarin, and Picasso, on sex...
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SOURCE: "A Riot of Obscene Wit," in Columbia Library Columns, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, May, 1982, pp. 19-28.
[In the following essay, Cohen discusses the merit and notoriety of Painted Veils.]
"The other day Huneker came into my office with the ms. of his novel," wrote H. L. Mencken in 1919 about Pointed Veils, the holograph manuscript of which is now in the Solton and Julia Engel Collection. "The thing turned out to be superb—the best thing he has ever done. But absolutely unprintable. It is not merely ordinarily improper; it is a riot of obscene wit." The novel was the work of James Gibbons Huneker, the well-known journalist and critic who at age sixty-two had written his first full-length work of fiction. "The old boy has put into it every illicit epigram that he has thought of in 40 years," Mencken went on, "and some of them are almost perfect. I yelled over it."
Huneker had actually submitted the novel to him hoping it might be serialized in Smart Set, the sophisticated literary journal Mencken edited with George Jean Nathan. However, Mencken exhibited an essentially prudish nature when he found the work too full of "lascivious frills and thrills" for his journal and turned it down with the prediction that the "pornographic novel will never be published." This was 1919, after all, the very year James Branch Cabell's Jurgen was barred from bookshops by the New...
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SOURCE: "James Huneker & America's Musical Coming of Age," in The New Criterion, Vol. V, No. 10, June, 1987, pp. 4-14.
[In the following essay, Lipman details Huneker's writings about music.]
Imagine a small child, said by some to be musically precocious, sitting at a Steinway grand piano more than forty years ago, vainly attempting to show interest in practicing some small pieces of Chopin. The California sun was shining outside, the day was short, and the practice hours were long. The demands of a doting mother and of a piano teacher of the old Russian school were strict even when not severe, and to the child the prospect of a lifetime of practice just possibly someday making perfect seemed dull indeed.
But wait. As the child stared sadly at the music before him, he found something more in those assorted yellow-bound volumes published by G. Schirmer than mere notes, the uninvited causes of his labors; there were words, too, enchanting descriptions of the Polish composer's music. Indeed, the greatness and romance the child could hardly find emerging from his own exertions he found in the words the kind publisher had provided:
During the last half of the nineteenth century two men became rulers of musical emotion, Richard Wagner and Frederic-Francois Chopin. The music of the Pole is the most ravishing in the musical art. Wagner and Chopin; the...
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Byrne, Norman T. "James Gibbons Huneker." Scribner's Magazine LXXI, No. 3 (March 1922): 300-03.
Profiles Huneker, concluding that his "chief value lies … not in his works, which with the exception of the study of Chopin will probably be forgotten comparatively soon, but in his having, in the freshness of his method, paraded before the American public his ideas on an art of which they were all but totally ignorant."
DeCasseres, Benjamin. James Gibbons Huneker. New York: Joseph Lawren, 1925, 62 p.
Laudatory, impressionistic survey of Huneker's works, with a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
___. "Foreword." In Intimate Letters of James Gibbons Huneker, edited by Josephine Huneker, n.p. New York: Liveright Publishing Corp., 1936.
Appreciative commentary noting: "No matter what or whom [Huneker] was writing about he was writing about Huneker. He saw all genius as one of the facets of himself."
Gilman, Lawrence. "The Book of the Month: Huneker's Letters." North American Review CCXVI, No. 805 (December 1922): 843-48.
Favorable review of Letters of James Gibbons Huneker, calling Huneker's correspondence "buoyant, brave, delightful."
Hind, C. Lewis. "James Gibbons Huneker." In his More Authors and I, pp. 159-64. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1922.
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