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From Book Reviews: Review of The Yellow Book

The Yellow Book. Vol. 1. April, 1894.
(Copeland & Day.)

The varied opinions held by the English
papers in regard to this new and most
original quarterly make amusing reading.
“If the New Art is represented by the cover
of this wonderful volume,” says the Times,
“it is scarcely calculated to attract by its
intrinsic beauty or merit.” And yet a leader-
writer in the Daily News finds the cover
“artistically jaundiced”; while “Logroller”
in the Star describes it as bright and smart.—
The National Observer asserts that the Yellow
is “not beautiful as a piece of book-
making,” and objects to the type as too
small and to the paper as too smooth, though
the same journal in a previous issue thought
the type “of a highly artistic character,” and
the paper “such as a princess might be
proud to use for private correspondence”;
and the Daily Chronicle says the Yellow Book
“is beautifully printed in old-faced type …
and altogether poses a new and much higher
standard for the form of periodical lit-
erature.”— The Pall Mall Gazette remarks that
Mr. Henry James‘s opening story, “The
Death of the Lion,” is very difficult to
read,” and the Birmingham Gazette fancies
it is “chiefly valuable for the sake of the
name of its author”; whereas the West-
minster Gazette
says that “it is very near
Mr. James’s best—there is satire, humor,
and epigram enough in its fifty pages for
half a dozen ordinary stories.” The National
calls it “a wholesome, stinging
criticism on the pseudo-literates of modern
society,” the St. James’s Budget declares that
it alone “renders the Yellow Book worth
buying,” and the Daily News made it the
subject of a leading article, observing that
“it raises problems,” and describing it as “a
diverting apologue.”—The Times says that
Mr. Le Gallienne‘s ‘Tree Worship’ is “sin-
gularly repulsive,” whilst the Birmingham
Daily Post
avers that it is “almost startlingly
strong, and in some passages there is a fierce
passion that thrills.”—”Logroller” in the
Star characterizes Miss Ella D’Arcy‘s ‘Ir-
remediable’ as a “tragic hint of much
power,” and the same writer admires Mr.
William Watson’s sonnets as “full of his own
incommunicable dignity and solemn gla-
mour.” The Times calls them “stately and
sonorous “; the Pall Mall Gazette alludes to
the “fine classic flavor of their diction.”—
The Referee, describing Mr. John Davidson‘s
‘London’ as a “perfect little poem,” adds,
“Many a poet has climbed Parnassus to less
purpose than Mr. Davidson has climbed
Primrose Hill.”—And though the Birming
ham Gazette
dismisses Mr. George Saints-
bury’s ‘Sentimental Cellar’ as “pompous
and empty,” the National Observer thinks it
“a clever fantasia on wine and women.”—
The St. James’s Gazette falls foul of Mr.
Arthur Symons for the “peculiar kind of
gutter immorality” he “celebrates in song”;
but the Times describes Mr. Symons as
“graceful and melodious.”—The Globe avers
that Mr. Henry Harland‘s ‘Mercedes’ is
” weak”; “Logroller” says it is one of
the most touching and delicately wrought
idylls of child-life I have ever read.”—The
Pall Mall Gazette condemns Mr. Gosse‘s
poems as “prattling mediocrity”; the Glas-
gow Herald
praises them as “among the
best in the book .”—According to the Daily
George Egerton‘s ‘Lost Master-
piece’ is “a nothingness of words”; accord-
ing to the Birmingham Gazette it is a “most
clever, graceful, and cultivate piece of
writing”; and the Queen pronounces it “a
clever impressionist record of moods.”—The
Globe finds Mr. Crackanthorpe’s ‘Modern
Melodrama’ “very Crackanthorpian …
and full of actuality.”—The Westminister
admires Dr. Garnett’s translations
of Tansillo, and the “learned and discerning
comment” by which they are accompanied.—
The St. James’s Budget describes the ‘Fool’s
Hour,’ by John Oliver Hobbes and George
Moore, as “a work of the keenest wit”; and
here there has been no difference amongst
the critics.—The St. James’s Budget objects
to “the ill-drawn and morbidly conceived
drawings of Mr. Aubrey Beardsley as
“particularly offensive”; Public Opinion
hails them as “an unqualified success.”—
The National Observer speaks of the style of
Sir Frederic Leighton‘s studies as “formal,
academic, and frigid”: the Chronicle says
they are “noble and doubly welcome.”—The
National Observer, again, admires Mr. Pennell‘s
and Mr. Furse’s contributions, while
the Chronicle praises Mr. Rothenstein‘s
‘Portrait of a Lady.’

MLA citation:

“The Initial Number of the ‘Yellow Book.'” Review of The Yellow Book, vol. 1, April 1894, The Dial June 1894, pp. 335-36. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.