Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview

22
THE YOUNGER GENERATION

I HAVE known six younger generations. I have looked forward, I have looked around, I have looked back. I may add that I have looked back only professionally, in the endeavour to understand the young men whom I teach. Personally, I have looked back very little. When I was a child, I wanted to be a man. When I was a young man, I wanted to be a mature man. And after I had descended into the vale of years, I did not, as apparently many do, look back with longing to the days of my youth. It is always the new experience I am seeking; I am wasting no time in the vain endeavour to recapture the irrecoverable past.

It does not disturb me that the body grows old. But when does one himself grow old? I think I can state accurately the exact moment when a person passes into old age. It is the moment when in solitude one's thoughts regularly turn more to the past than to the present or future. In the matchless Shakespearean phrase, the stealing steps of age overtake our slowing bodies; but they can never catch up with an alert mind.

When I was a little boy in the grammar school, the seniors looked to me like demi-gods; no truly great man today can seem to me quite so wonderful as those giants. They were fourteen years old. As a child, playing in the streets, I looked with envy on the college undergraduates. They were dressed in those days like a modern stage caricature of a professor. They wore frock coats, tall hats, and whiskers, yet they were in the heyday of their youth.

-154-

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Autobiography, with Letters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgement vi
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • I - Early Childhood 3
  • 2 - Early Education 12
  • 3 - Boyhood Experiences 23
  • 4 - Interlude on Cats 28
  • 5 - Rufus H. Phelps 38
  • 6 - Three Blessings 41
  • 7- First Diary 48
  • 8 - Reflexions on Animals 58
  • 9 - Early Friendships, Mark Twain, And Billiards 61
  • 10 - Astronomy 73
  • II - Moody and Sankey 80
  • 12 - Chinese Schoolmates 83
  • 13 - My Aunt 87
  • 14 - Experiences at Grammar School 91
  • 15 - The Hartford Public High School 100
  • 16 - Walking, Working, Frogs, Love 104
  • 17 - Going to the Theatre 111
  • 18 - Clyde Fitch 122
  • 19 - Looking Forward to College 126
  • 20 - The Robber 129
  • 21 - College Days at Yale 132
  • 22 - The Younger Generation 154
  • 23 - Interlude: Hic Et Ubique 163
  • 24 - William Graham Sumner 195
  • 25 - Henry Drummond and Schopenhauer 199
  • 26 - Browning 207
  • 27 - Beginning Teaching 211
  • 28 - Graduate Studies and Sport 217
  • 29 - Bicycling in Europe 225
  • 30- Life at Harvard 245
  • 31 - Teaching at Yale 279
  • 32 - My First Book 316
  • 33 - Professors 328
  • 34 - George Santayana 332
  • 35 - Thomas Sergeant Perry 350
  • 36 - Playing Games 354
  • 37 - Journey to Europe 376
  • 38 - Thomas Hardy 389
  • 39- Roosevelt and Riley 405
  • 40 - Events in 1902 Sickness, Maeterlinck, Wister, Whittier 412
  • 41 - 1903 421
  • 42 - First Sabbatical Year (1903-1904) 427
  • 43 - The City of Munich 1904 439
  • 44 - Literary Pilgrimage in Italy 446
  • 45 - Events in the Theatre 460
  • 46 - William De Morgan 468
  • 47 - Queer Sounds and Sights 473
  • 48 - Various Notes 477
  • 49 - First Journey to California Thirteen Thousand Miles in the West 489
  • 50 - W. D. Howells 502
  • 51 - Mahaffy and Japan 505
  • 52 - Journey to the South 508
  • 53 - Second Sabbatical 514
  • 54 - Journey to Russia 1911 522
  • 55 - Gerhart Hauptmann 529
  • 56 - The Riviera 1912 534
  • 57 - The Fano Club 542
  • 58 - Henry James 550
  • 59 - J. M. Barrie 565
  • 60 - Singing Birds 584
  • 61 - Dorothy Canfield 588
  • 62 - Conversations with Paul Heyse 595
  • 63 - France in 1913 599
  • 64 - Some Events in 1914 602
  • 65 - William Howard Taft 608
  • 66 - Some Events in 1915-16 617
  • 67 - Journey to the Hawaiian Islands 624
  • 68 - Vachel Lindsay 629
  • 69 - America in the War 633
  • 70 - Alfred Noyes and Others 649
  • 71 - Mea Ornamenta 656
  • 72 - John Galsworthy 667
  • 73 - Second Journey to California 685
  • 74 - Some Poets and Novelists 688
  • 75 - A Journey to Andover (1919) 699
  • 76 - Events in 1920 and 1921 704
  • 77 - British Dialect and American Voices 711
  • 78 - St. John Ervine 716
  • 79 - 'As I like It' 737
  • 80 - A Visible Church in an Invisible Town 742
  • 81 - Mrs. Wharton; Conrad; Benavente 751
  • 82 - An American in England 757
  • 83 - Edna Ferber 771
  • 84 - The Conversation Club in Augusta (1925-38) 777
  • 85 - Notes of Travel and Other Notes 783
  • 86 - Gene Tunney 792
  • 87 - Journey to Europe in 1928 800
  • 88 - Anthony Hope 813
  • 89 - George Moore 818
  • 90 - Æ. 828
  • 91 - Captain Liddell Hart and General J.G.Harbord 836
  • 92 - Events in 1929-30 841
  • 93 - Edison 846
  • 94 - Nathan Straus and the Grand Duchess 849
  • 95 - Henry Ford 857
  • 96 - Journey to Athens 862
  • 97 - The Pope 881
  • 98 - Munich in 1932 882
  • 99 - An American in Paris 886
  • 100 - Pirandello, Bernstein, Daudet 891
  • 101 - Helen Wills Moody 896
  • 102 - Literary and Celestial Events 903
  • 103- Emeritus 908
  • 104 - Other Events in 1933 A Literary Feast 910
  • 105 - Various Notes in 1934-5 916
  • 106- Emma Eames and Music 922
  • 107 - England in 1935 930
  • 108 - Radio 939
  • 109 - City or Country 941
  • 110 - Informality 947
  • III - Reflexions in the Nineteen-Thirties 954
  • Index 973
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