The 7 Lively Arts

The 7 Lively Arts

The 7 Lively Arts

The 7 Lively Arts

Excerpt

Small good, it seems to me, can come from pretending that The 7 Lively Arts was a youthful indiscretion. Before it was published I had enjoyed the privileges and fulfilled the duties of the adult citizen: I had voted for President (twice) and served in the Army (once) and paid taxes. Professionally, also, I had reached the years of discretion. I had rather precociously been an editorial writer on Collier's and, during the time the book was written, served not so precociously in various capacities on The Dial -- and neither my connection with these magazines nor my departure from them had anything to do with their ultimate disappearance. Whatever critical faculties I have were, I should suppose, pretty well developed by that time: I was a practising book reviewer and dramatic critic. The faults in The 7 Lively Arts are, I am afraid, as permanent a part of my makeup as the abiding enthusiasm I have for the arts and entertainments I celebrated in this book. I knew what I was doing -- but quite obviously I didn't know how to make my intentions clear to my readers.

For in the two areas of chief importance to me, the book was taken to signify almost the exact opposite of what I had meant. In one case, the misunderstanding was a nuisance, in the other intensely satisfactory.

The four words, "the seven lively arts" were first put together as a single phrase -- as far as I know -- on a late winter evening in 1922 at the corner of 54th street and Broadway.

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