From The Cosmopolitan: “In the World of Art and Letters”
THE very newest thing in literature which aims at being light is “The Yellow
Book” (Lane and Matthews). I do not pretend to understand the literary
aims of “The Yellow Book,” if it has any in particular. To some extent it is an adver-
tisement, or manifesto, of several ingenious young men. The decorations are by Mr.
Beardsley, so are some of the designs. What do they aim at? Clearly they desire
épater le bourgeois: it is an ambition that may lead far, in the wrong direction. For
the letter-press, Mr. Henry James contributes an amusing tale of a literary lion who
died of luncheon parties; Mr. Saintsbury has a piece of humor, à son devis, on the
historical and sentimental associations of wines; Mr. Gosse and Mr. Davidson con-
tribute very agreeable verses; and some of the young men try desperately hard to be
clever and startling. But we know every move in the game of startling the steady citizen,
and oh, I cannot say how weary I am of cheap literary audacities at
second hand. Mr. Pennell‘s design of Puy en Velay has much pleasingly fantastic
perspective; but Sir Frederick Leighton‘s little study in chalk is in odd company.
The whole serial, which is to appear quarterly, is a kind of book of beauty, the other
way about, and nobody knows the end thereof.
Lang, Andrew. “In the World of Art and Letters.” Review of The Yellow Book, vol. 1, The Cosmopolitan vol. 17, no. 3, July 1894, p. 373. Yellow Nineties 2.0. Edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/YB1_review_cosmopolitan_july_1894/