A Book of Modern Essays

By Bruce Welker McCullough; Edwin Berry Burgum | Go to book overview

SUMMER*

MAURICE HEWLETT

(Here is an essay in marked contrast to those that have preceded. It is not sophisticated and ironical like Philip Guedalla's, nor sophisticated and æsthetic like Vernon Lee's, nor learned and mystical like Mrs. Meynell's. Instead, its tone is romantic and whimsical. Before his recent death, its author was, in fact, one of the few English men of letters who were writing romances with a picturesque historical setting. His novels were laid in the Middle Ages, in the Renaissance, in Italy of the eighteenth century, in Scandinavia, in England, and in Scotland. But whatever might be their setting, like certain recent mural paintings of an archaic flavor, they were all picturesque with woodlands and green meadows and twittering birds; they were populated by good-natured heroes and damsels bewitchingly perverse.

These qualities of his novels are carried over into Hewlett's essays. With a good-natured perversity (quite unlike the close logical development in most of the essays that precede), he chooses summer for his subject, and then tells us it is not his favorite season. But, characteristically, there is much about the season he does like, and when he happens to recall a disagreeable feature, he forthwith digresses into an appreciative description of its agreeable counterpart in some other season. So too, he begins his essay in the country regions of the south of England, but he rambles amiably into Scotland and into Scandinavia, and to the seashore, which his father disliked and visited annually. This

____________________
*
From Last Essays Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924.

-153-

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A Book of Modern Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • "Highbrow" and "Lowbrow" 1
  • What is a Puritan? 17
  • Portrait of a Family 45
  • The Norwegian Migration to America 63
  • The West and American Ideals 79
  • The Once Open Road 101
  • Sentimental America 113
  • Louisiana: (Madame de la Louisiane) 127
  • Fez 141
  • The Rhythm of Life 147
  • Summer 153
  • On an Unknown Country 161
  • Ideals and Day-Dreams 169
  • Castles in Spain 187
  • Science and the Faith of the Modern 201
  • On Friendship 219
  • A Relic 225
  • The Cheerful Breakfast Table 235
  • Conversation 249
  • Trivia 259
  • On Jargon 265
  • Names Practical and Poetic 285
  • The American Language 297
  • What the American Rhodes Scholar Gets from Oxford 321
  • Literary Taste 339
  • Dickens 347
  • The Vicar of Wakefield 365
  • Don Quixote 373
  • The Novel Démeublé 389
  • The Politics of Martha and of Mary 397
  • Autumn Tints in Chivalry 419
  • Index of Authors 431
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