John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary

By Granville Hicks; John Stuart | Go to book overview

VI
PROFESSION: POET

IT TOOK John Reed a surprisingly long time to discover that paying magazines get what they pay for. He could not learn from the experience of others; he had to find out for himself. What he had wanted on his arrival in New York in the spring of 1911 was success, in terms of both money and recognition, and he wanted it so badly that some of his friends were worried. But he wanted it on his own terms. His integrity was not a matter of articulate-principles; it was, rather, a deep-rooted stubbornness, an almost physiological necessity to be himself. When he had learned to fashion salable commodities, and the lust to see his name in print had been gratified, he began to wonder if this was all he wanted; and what people called his vanity was strong enough to tell him that it wasn't. There was no satisfaction in winning applause for conforming to the standards of others, he once more discovered; the only recognition that counted was recognition for what he really was. Two years of experimentation were necessary to convince him, but in the end he was convinced.

Even after he had learned his lesson, he did not abandon the idea of the sort of success that the Dutch Treat Club appreciated. He adopted the simple and familiar compromise of doing two kinds of writing: the kind the editors liked and the kind he liked. He knew the dangers of such a division of purpose: he had once written a story called "Success" about a young man who, beginning with a consecrated determination to write an epic in his spare time, ended by rejoicing in the adaptation of lines from his masterpiece to the purposes of a pink pill adver-

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John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • I- Boyhood in Portland 1
  • II- Release 16
  • III- "Pain of Growing, Ecstasy of Unfolding" 24
  • IV- To See the World 51
  • V- Proud New York 64
  • VI- Profession: Poet 91
  • VII- The Romantic Revolution 109
  • VIII- Between Wars 136
  • IX- This is Not Our War 148
  • X- Manhattan Revisited 170
  • XI- Eastern Front 183
  • XII- Breathing Spell 204
  • XIII- Almost Thirty 228
  • XIV- Passage to Russia 249
  • XV- The World Shakes 268
  • XVI- Revolutionary and Poet 282
  • XVII- America, 1918 303
  • XVII- Spokesman of the Soviets 321
  • XIX- Discipline 342
  • XX- Revolutionary's Return 365
  • XXI- By the Kremlin Wall 387
  • Acknowledgments 403
  • Appendix A- Notes 407
  • Appendix B- Bibliography 425
  • Index 437
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