even here it is a matter of tedium mainly. The insistence on uncouth themes merely becomes boresome. I still maintain that it does not corrupt unless stories about murder and theft drive people to commit murder and theft, And, far from vice being aided, virtue was never so well served as in the novels of the moderns, where sex becomes a platitude, immorality simply dull, and all unmentionable things so trite as to produce yawning and heaviness of the eyelids.
If a prognostication had to be made--as the heading of of this column invites--about the immediate future direction of contemporary literature, I should not be loath to declare that twin schools of realism and protest have passed their climax. The signs of the literary zodiac point again to romanticism, and one of the strongest omens is the new interest in folk song of all sorts, gathered from mountain and plain, forest and sea. We should not bother too much about the famous "lost generation" of younger writers who have fed deep on despair and show the effect of their diet. So long as folk songs are gathered and studied--still better, if they are also sung--there will be one core of health in the unhealthiness of the times. It was not literary censorship, nor yet literary criticism, that put an end to eighteenth century smartness; it was Percy Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, which now has a number of twentieth century descendants.