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From The Academy: “From Crowded Shelves”

The Yellow Book: January. (John Lane.)

This fantastic quarterly does not grow in
strength or beauty. It lacks a policy, a
central idea, and has become merely an
agglomeration of pictures and stories, all of
which might appear with equal propriety
elsewhere; whereas once—once things were
not so; once The Yellow Book was a fighter
in a definite, meritorious cause, and con-
tributors were proud to believe that their
work was unlikely to be accepted by Mr.
Harland ‘s fellow editors. These remarks,
it is true, have been applicable to more
than one of the recent issues of The Yellow
, but they fit the present January
volume with peculiar ease; for not only is
there this striking want of a controlling
scheme, bu thte level of excellence of both
literature and art is very low. With the
exception of Mr. Henry James‘s stydy of
George Sand’s bewildering temperament
and Dr. Garnett’s experiement in grotesque
(which, however, is not in his best manner:
not equal to “The Demon Pope,” for ex-
ample, or “THe Poet of Panopolis”), there
is nothing of the first class; and certain
pieces, such as “The Unka,” and “Natalie,”
and “A Little Holiday,” have hardly enough
merit upon which to base any defence of
their inclusion. As for the pictures, they
are too poor to be noticed seriously
at all, with the exception of Mr. Walton’s
portrait of Miss Evelyn Sharp. Mr.
Henry James is pre-eminently the critic
in whose hands may be left the final word
as to the suitability of making public the
whole story of the relations of George Sand
and Alfred de Musset. Mr. James has
already written of both the actors in this
tragi-comedy; he knows their work thorugh
and through; he is master of subtle
analysis; he understands tolerance. From
so closely reasoned an article is it difficult
to quote, but these sentences may be ex-
tracted: “The matter with them [George
Sand and Musset], to the perception of the
stupified spectator, is that they entertained
for each other every feeling in life but the
feeling of respect.” . . . “To feel as Mme.
Sand felt, however, one had to be, like
Mme. Sand, a man; which poor Musset
was far from being.” For the rest, there
are poems, by Mr. William Watson, Mr.
Stephen Pillips, and Mr. Bernard Miall;
a story, deft but wanting, we think, in
sincerity, by Mr. Harland; a fairy tale, in
the manner of Wymps, by Miss Evelyn
Sharp; and sombre study of a death-bed
by Mr. John Buchan. The first of Mr.
Le Gallienne‘s prose fancies reads like a
travesty of himself.

MLA citation:

“From Crowded Shelves.” Review of The Yellow Book, vol. 12, January 1897, Academy, 6 February 1897, p. BR3. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.