Life and Letters of Stuart P. Sherman

Life and Letters of Stuart P. Sherman

Life and Letters of Stuart P. Sherman

Life and Letters of Stuart P. Sherman

Excerpt

To the public at large Stuart Sherman is known as an active critic who during the greater part of his writing career defended conservative standards in literature and manners alongside of Mr. Paul Elmer More and Professor Irving Babbitt, and in opposition to the hosts led by Mr. Mencken, and then, in his later years, with a surprising and somewhat disconcerting suddenness deserted his friends and gave much comfort to his former antagonists without actually entering into an alliance with them. Those who approved of the change looked upon it as an honest conversion; the others imputed it to a craving for popularity. What neither side seemed to be aware of was that the latest manifestations of Sherman's mind and character were discernible from the beginning to those who had the opportunity of exchanging ideas with him intimately, and might even be traced in his writings by anyone who would follow him with attention. One may not find in him the consistency of an outlook early arrived at and rigorously maintained, but there is another kind of consistency which results when a man works to bring to fruition the vital powers with which nature has endowed him. A hostile critic would call it yielding to temperament; it might nevertheless lead to a richer realization of the possibilities of life. At any rate, the emotional conflicts and the intellectual hesitations which appear in Sherman's career make a study of his life peculiarly interesting, and indeed essential to an understanding of his critical development.

It may be too early to attempt an estimate of Sherman's definite place in American criticism, but there can be little question of his importance among contemporary critics and of the value of his work in a consideration of the literary currents of our time. His position is essentially a median one, between the conservative and the radical wings; more nearly central, perhaps, than that of any of his contemporaries. This was a result of his background, his training, and his tempera-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.