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Max Beerbohm as a literary critic. Norby, Beverly Joan 1967

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MAX BEERBOHM AS A LITERARY CRITIC by BEVERLY JOAN NORBY B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1949 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of E n g l i s h We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the re q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1967 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a nd S t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d b y t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r b y h.i>s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t o f E N G L I S H  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r 8, C a n a d a D a t e October, 1967 ABSTRACT The purpose of t h i s t h e s i s has been t o define Max Beerbohm's c r i t i c a l l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s , to evaluate h i s con-t r i b u t i o n t o a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c i s m and thereby t o determine h i s place i n the c r i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n . The methods of i n v e s t i -g a t i o n have been: t o study the formative i n f l u e n c e s on the development of h i s c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s and t o evaluate the r e s u l t s of t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n i n Max's essays and dramatic c r i t i c i s m s . From t h i s study i t i s evident t h a t as a man and as an a r t i s t Max was "formed" during the E i g h t e e n - n i n e t i e s . By nature he was an i n t e l l e c t u a l dandy who always p r e f e r r e d s t r o n g , narrow c r e a t i v e p e r s o n a l i t i e s l i k e h i m s e l f . He was detached, f a s t i d i o u s , w i t t y , and humane, and he was noted f o r h i s wisdom and sound common sense, even as a very young man. Under the i n f l u e n c e of the Ae s t h e t i c Movement at Oxford, Max turned t o Walter Pater f o r ideas on i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c c r i t i c i s m , but he p r e f e r r e d Oscar Wilde f o r s t y l e . He f e l t t h at p e r s o n a l i t y was the paramount t h i n g i n a r t and tha t an exact, w i t t y and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e was i t s f i n e s t expression. His e a r l y s t y l e was mannered, s a t i r i c a l and s u p e r f i c i a l . However, Max never belonged t o the "precious s c h o o l " of w r i t e r s , because he was not s a t i s f i e d w i t h l e s s than a perf e c t s y n t h e s i s of matter and manner t o produce a u n i f i e d e f f e c t of sheer d e l i g h t . To t h i s end he employed l i t e r a r y p r i n -c i p l e s he had der i v e d from n e o c l a s s i c a l " r u l e s " and a e s t h e t i c concepts. When Max became drama c r i t i c f o r the Saturday Review, he used h i s l i t e r a r y standards to form the b a s i s of h i s dramatic c r i t i c i s m s . Although these standards r e l a t e d a l -most e x c l u s i v e l y t o matters of form and s t y l e , Max saw t h e i r wider a p p l i c a t i o n , because they s a t i s f i e d h i s requirements f o r what a work of a r t should be. A c c o r d i n g l y , they have been examined under four main headings: the i l l u s i o n of l i f e , an exact and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e , form and the u n i f i e d e f f e c t , e t h i c s and a e s t h e t i c s . As a drama c r i t i c , Max welcomed the r i s e of modern r e a l i s m because i t had r e s t o r e d t o the t h e a t r e the i l l u s i o n of a c t u a l l i f e . However, he d i d not favour r e a l i s m f o r realism's sake or f o r the sake of s o c i a l reforms. He b e l i e v e d that a r t must appeal to the emotions, not t o the i n t e l l e c t , and that the impact of the play may arouse e i t h e r joy or sorrow, but i t must be a e s t h e t i c a l l y s a t i s f y i n g . Max always t r i e d t o be f a i r and f l e x i b l e i n h i s c r i t i c i s m s but h i s extreme f a s t i d i o u s n e s s and h i s innate sense of detachment imposed s e r i o u s l i m i t a t i o n s . For i n s t a n c e , he was too r e a c t i o n a r y to appreciate r a d i c a l experiments i n form. Nor could he admire plays i n which the ideas were more important than the emotional c o n f l i c t s of f l e s h and blood chara c t e r s . I n e v i t a b l y , he f a i l e d t o appreciate Shaw i v because Max was a nineteenth-century man attempting t o apply a e s t h e t i c i d e a l s and n e o c l a s s i c a l p r i n c i p l e s t o the e x p e r i -mental plays of a p r o g r e s s i v e , a n a l y t i c a l dramatic genius of the tw e n t i e t h century. Max's value as a c r i t i c comes from h i s important i n s i g h t s i n matters of. form and s t y l e . In h i s essay on W h i s t l e r he revealed the a r t i s t i n a new l i g h t as the author of an e x q u i s i t e l i t e r a r y s t y l e . His essay on Ly t t o n Strachey i s a l s o valuable f o r the c a r e f u l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n Max made between the s a t i r i s t and the mocker which v i n d i c a t e d Strachey from the charge of malice. However, the f a c t that h i s i n t e r e s t s were narrow and e s s e n t i a l l y pertained t o s m a l l , minor works of a r t , l i m i t s h i s s i g n i f i c a n c e as a c r i t i c . Max was an " e x q u i s i t e " c r i t i c of the dying i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c t r a d i t i o n , whose c r i t i c a l t a l e n t s were best s u i t e d t o minor a r t i s t s w i t h whom he had some a f f i n i t y i n temperament and s t y l e . Consequently, h i s place i s out of the mainstream of the c r i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n . TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I. FORMATIVE INFLUENCES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAX BEERBOHM'S CRITICAL LITERARY PRINCIPLES 1 I I . THE ILLUSION OF L I F E — A DEFINITION AND EVALUA-TION OF ITS INFLUENCE ON MAX'S CRITICAL OPINIONS 30 I I I . AN EXACT AND BEAUTIFUL STYLE—A DEFINITION AND EVALUATION OF ITS INFLUENCE ON MAX'S CRITICAL OPINIONS 67 IV. FORM AND THE UNIFIED EFFECT--A DEFINITION AND EVALUATION OF ITS INFLUENCE ON MAX'S CRITICAL OPINIONS 105 V. ETHICS AND AESTHETICS—DEFINED AND EVALUATED FOR THEIR INFLUENCE ON MAX'S CRITICAL OPINIONS 132 VI. AN EVALUATION OF MAX BEERBOHM AS A CRITIC. HIS "PLACE" IN THE CRITICAL TRADITION . . . . 145 1. Max on c r i t i c i s m 145 2. Max on Max as c r i t i c 149 3- C r i t i c s on Max r . 152 BIBLIOGRAPHY I 6 5 CHAPTER I FORMATIVE INFLUENCES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAX BEERBOHM'S CRITICAL LITERARY PRINCIPLES Max Beerbohm patterned h i s l i f e , as he shaped h i s a r t , according t o a n e o c l a s s i c a l sense of form and decorum. His p e r f e c t manners and f a s t i d i o u s n e s s , h i s conservatism and pre-ference f o r the past, h i s s o p h i s t i c a t e d detachment, love of a r t i f i c e , s c e p t i c i s m and subtle w i t were q u a l i t i e s he u n i t e d to produce the e f f e c t of p o l i s h e d elegance. Temperamentally Max was a dandy, although he was by no means a s u p e r f i c i a l one. He was, r a t h e r , a w e l l - d i s c i p l i n e d man who a p p l i e d the p r i n c i p l e s of p r o p o r t i o n and r e s t r a i n t t o h i s unique s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n . He was a man of high i n t e l l e c t , but low v i t a l i t y . He knew h i s t a l e n t s were s m a l l , and he made them e x q u i s i t e . He used them w e l l and d i s c r e e t l y , winning f o r himself the r e p u t a t i o n of a p e t i t maitre not only f o r h i s a r t , but a l s o f o r h i s manner of l i v i n g . Max needed no d i s c i p l i n e t o acquire a sense of beauty and the s p i r i t of c o u r t l i n e s s . These were part of h i s f a m i l y i n h e r i t a n c e . His ancestors were of German, Dutch and L i t h u a n -i a n e x t r a c t i o n . His grandfather, Ernest Henry Beerbohm, was accustomed to e n t e r t a i n i n g Russian and P r u s s i a n r o y a l t y at h i s small estate at Memel. His f a t h e r , J u l i u s Ewald Beerbohm, as a t a l l , handsome young dandy went to l i v e i n P a r i s , where h i s = 2- = b e a u t i f u l manners and " d i v i n e humour" won him a r e p u t a t i o n as "Monsieur Su-perbe Homme. Mr. Beerbohm a l s o possessed an enormous v i t a l i t y and an i n s a t i a b l e l o v e of l e a r n i n g . Max's f a t h e r was not s c h o l a r l y , yet he astonished many by the acuteness of h i s memory and the extent of h i s c u l t u r e . During h i s l i f e t i m e he mastered seven European languages. He a l s o became a s u c c e s s f u l businessman i n London where he moved, and e s t a b l i s h e d a trade paper, Beerbohm*s Evening Corn Trade L i s t . Once e s t a b l i s h e d , Mr. Beerbohm married and, on the death of h i s f i r s t w i f e , he remarried, thereby r a i s i n g two f a m i l i e s . Max, the youngest, was born when h i s f a t h e r was s i x t y - o n e . Between the two f a m i l i e s of c h i l d r e n there was a marked d i f f e r e n c e . Those of the f i r s t marriage tended to the grand-i o s e , those of the second were contemplative. Max belonged to the l a t t e r s t r a i n , i n h e r i t i n g h i s parents' humour and b e a u t i f u l manners, but not t h e i r boundless energy. I t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Max that he admired h i s f a t h e r ' s p o l i s h e d manners, c u l t i v a t e d w i t and tendency to dandyism more than h i s a s t o n i s h i n g v i t a l i t y . He once s a i d of h i s f a t h e r that he had b e a u t i f u l manners but was not a remarkable man. To Max there was not s p e c i a l merit i n having great v i t a l i t y unless i t was a s s o c i a t e d w i t h genius, p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h l i t e r -ary genius; and then i t d i d not need to be on a grand s c a l e . What Max valued was the v i t a l i t y of a c r e a t i v e imagination, and t h i s he held above any other form of p h y s i c a l or mental energy. Grandiose schemes, i n f a c t bigness of any k i n d e i t h e r over-whelmed or simply offended him. Generally, Max p r e f e r r e d the s m a l l p e r f e c t i o n , something e x q u i s i t e and under c o n t r o l . For i n s t a n c e , he i n f i n i t e l y p r e f e r r e d a s m a l l house to a l a r g e one, however b e a u t i f u l . He even p r e f e r r e d a small Rembrandt drawing to a l a r g e Rembrandt p a i n t i n g . As a c h i l d Max was the joy of h i s mother. He was a l s o adored and catered t o by the other members of the f a m i l y , e s p e c i a l l y by h i s s i s t e r s . The v a s t d i f f e r e n c e i n ages be-tween h i s brothers and himself n e c e s s a r i l y made him t u r n t o the company of h i s s i s t e r s or t o some quiet p l a y alone. I n h e r e n t l y Max enjoyed s o l i t u d e . He d i d not seem to r e q u i r e the company of c h i l d r e n h i s own age. He often amused himself by drawing c a r i c a t u r e s . I t i s possible, that h i s own sense of detachment and the l a r g e l y feminine environment f o s t e r e d Max's tendencies to f a s t i d i o u s n e s s and dandyism, and h i s acute d i s l i k e of aggressiveness and v u l g a r i t y . However, Max was not so remote from masculine i n f l u e n c e that he missed the impact of the p e r s o n a l i t i e s of h i s two famous h a l f - b r o t h e r s . Both Herbert and J u l i u s had i n h e r i t e d t h e i r f a t h e r ' s remarkable v i t a l i t y and h i s penchant f o r grandiose schemes. Herbert chose the stage name Beerbohm-Tree and became the most famous actor-manager of the 1 0 9 0 's. J u l i u s pursued b i z a r r e f i n a n c i a l schemes, and wrote a success-f u l t r a v e l book Wanderings i n Patagonia. Max i d e a l i z e d them both, but a n a t u r a l a f f i n i t y f o r J u l i u s l e d him to consider 3 Herbert a hero but J u l i u s a god. For J u l i u s looked l i k e an o l d er e d i t i o n of Max. He r a d i a t e d charm, s o p h i s t i c a t i o n and elegance. Nothing h u r r i e d or perturbed him. He was the epitome of " s t y l e " to h i s small b r o t h e r . Although Max d i d not share h i s brother's r e c k l e s s enthusiasm f o r gambling and adventure, h i s image of deportment made him look to J u l i u s as to an i d e a l s e l f . Herbert, on the other hand, was almost the a n t i t h e s i s of Max, yet Max's admiration f o r him was s i n c e r e . They d i d not f u l l y a ppreciate each other's t a l e n t s because of t h e i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d i f f e r e n c e s , but Herbert took as much i n t e r e s t i n Max's small career as Max d i d i n Herbert's b i g one. Herbert l i k e d b i g t h i n g s ; Max l i k e d s m a ll t h i n g s . Herbert, to Max's wonder and g r i e f , was a L i b e r a l ; Max was a Conservative. Max's n a t u r a l f a s t i d i o u s n e s s and r e s t r a i n t made him wary of flamboyance because i t i n e v i t a b l y l e d to v u l g a r i t y . Herbert was gregarious; Max was e x c e l l e n t company, but always a l o o f . S t i l l the d e l i g h t of Max's Charterhouse days were the h o l i d a y s , because h i s heart remained w i t h Herbert at the Haymarket Theatre. There h i s l i v e l y i magination was able to absorb a l l the mystery and romance i t d e s i r e d . He saw Herbert p l a y i n The Red Lamp seventeen times w i t h undim-i n i s h e d enthusiasm. However, i n l a t e r years, when Max's c r i t i c a l f a c u l t i e s had matured under the i n f l u e n c e of modern r e a l i s m , he scorned plays which were w r i t t e n around a c t o r -managers, plays which catered t o popular t a s t e s , and which presented l a v i s h l y b e a u t i f u l sets f o r no s p e c i a l dramatic purpose. Yet Herbert d i d not h e s i t a t e to woo the p u b l i c , and he b u i l t Her Majesty's Theatre on the proceeds of T r i l b y . As mature a r t i s t s , Herbert and Max f e l t the s t r a i n of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . As br o t h e r s , e s p e c i a l l y when Max was young, they d e l i g h t e d i n each other's wit and humour. Since Herbert was already famous, i t added much to Max's p r e s t i g e . 5 -at Charterhouse and l a t e r at Oxford that he was permitted to i n v i t e h i s f r i e n d s t o the Haymarket and l a t e r to take them backstage to meet Herbert and h i s i l l u s t r i o u s f r i e n d s . Herbert's f r i e n d s loved Max's impish w i t , but o c c a s i o n a l l y one m o r t i f i e d him by laughing at h i s unusual smallness i n comparison w i t h the t a l l , m a j estic Herbert. Many f a c t o r s i n f l u e n c e d Max's preference f o r , or de-fense of the small p e r f e c t i o n , but c h i e f among them were h i s a r t i s t i c t a l e n t s . E a r l y success both as an e s s a y i s t and c a r i c a t u r i s t gave him confidence i n the unique q u a l i t y of h i s work. Common sense encouraged him t o aim w i t h i n h i s l i m i t a -t i o n s f o r the highest p e r f e c t i o n of which he was capable. This aim a p p l i e d to h i s essays r a t h e r than to h i s drawings, because he drew n a t u r a l l y , w i t h ease and f o r pleasure, while he wrote w i t h an acute sense of the agony of the e s s a y i s t ' s a r t . However, Max enjoyed the considerable assets of h i s own n a t u r a l genius, a good c l a s s i c a l education, and the s t i m u l a t -i n g i n f l u e n c e of i n t e l l i g e n t , a r t i s t i c , contemporary books and f r i e n d s . I t was Mr. W i l k i n s o n , Max's f i r s t s c h ool master, who taught him the l o v e of L a t i n which enabled him to w r i t e E n g l i s h w e l l . At the same time Mrs. W i l k i n s o n gave him the only lessons i n drawing that he ever had. At Charterhouse he continued to enjoy L a t i n prose, L a t i n verse and drawing c a r i -c a t u r e s . ^ Out of the study of L a t i n grew h i s h a b i t of w r i t i n g egomet i n s t e a d of " f o r myself." He a l s o developed a f a c i l i t y f o r c o i n i n g compounds such as 'animatophonograph' (sound f i l m ) and ' m u l t i - s c i e n c e ' to s a t i s f y h i s need f o r the p r e c i s e word to express h i s meaning. s 6 -From h i s e a r l i e s t school days the pa t t e r n f o r h i s fu t u r e development was c l e a r l y marked. Even as a boy he was somewhat of a dandy. He was modest, good-humoured and very s o c i a b l e . However, he p r e f e r r e d s o l i t a r y p u r s u i t s , such as reading Miss Braddon's l a t e s t book, to organized games and the convention of monitoring. Max's v i t a l i t y l a y i n h i s c r e a t i v e imagination. P h y s i c a l l y he was l a n g u i d . He d i s l i k e d any form of exe r c i s e and l i k e d n e i t h e r to order others nor to be ordered. "At sch o o l , " Max explained, "my character remained i n a s t a t e of undevelopment.... In some res p e c t s , I was always too young, 5 i n others, too o l d , f o r a p e r f e c t r e l i s h of the convention." The most important t h i n g t h a t Max learned at Charter-house was t o understand h i s f e l l o w - c r e a t u r e s . ^ This knack gave him the b a s i s f o r h i s s a t i r i c a l work. During h i s Charter-house days he l i k e d to c a r i c a t u r e men of a u t h o r i t y or outstand-i n g achievement. At home he v i s i t e d the House of Commons to observe the great statesmen, e s p e c i a l l y Gladstone. At school the subjects of h i s exacting s c r u t i n y were the dons. Yet Max seldom gave offense because he was not e s s e n t i a l l y m a l i c i o u s . With few exceptions, he c a r i c a t u r e d best what he lov e d b e s t . His mockery was g e n e r a l l y mixed w i t h sentiment. What h i s drawings mainly revealed was h i s c a p a c i t y f o r acute observa-t i o n and h i s a b i l i t y t o amuse himself and others by h i s s u b t l e i n s i g h t s . Max could capture the one weak point i n an other-wise strong character, but he viewed himself and others with l i g h t i r o n i c detachment. He had no serious axe t o g r i n d . Although he s a i d that h i s d e l i g h t i n having been at Charterhouse was f a r greater than h i s d e l i g h t i n being there, - 7 -those few years s t i m u l a t e d Max's i n t e r e s t i n l i t e r a t u r e and i n l i t e r a r y s t y l e . He claimed t h a t he enjoyed no w r i t e r e a r l -i e r than Thackeray. I t seemed to him there were many l i v e authors worth reading and worth aping, " i f only f o r the sake 7 of l e a r n i n g what to a v o i d . " He b e l i e v e d that L a t i n prose and L a t i n verse were e s s e n t i a l to the making of a decent E n g l i s h prose s t y l e , but h i s aim was higher. P u r p o s e f u l l y he chose models from among the best modern w r i t e r s , e x q u i s i t e s t y l i s t s such as Oscar Wilde, W h i s t l e r , George Meredith and M a e t e r l i n c k . Out of t h i s e a r l y p u r s u i t of good s t y l e came Max's f i r s t notable p u b l i c a t i o n . I t was a L a t i n fragment w r i t t e n i n e l e g i a c s and e l a b o r a t e l y annotated. In a very s c h o l a r l y f a s h i o n , the author c a r e f u l l y e x p l i c a t e d p o i n t s of " B a l z a c i a n i n s i g n i f i c a n c e . " The poem, Carmen Becceriense, was w r i t t e n at Charterhouse, and, on the advice of a don, p r i v a t e l y p r i n t e d . I t marked Max's debut as a s a t i r i s t . When Max went up to Merton Co l l e g e , V i c t o r i a n s e r i o u s -ness was out of f a s h i o n . He was d e l i g h t e d to f i n d t h a t a l l the nonsense that had been knocked out of him at Charterhouse was now t o be r e s t o r e d t o him. He immediately responded to the freedom of Oxford and the atmosphere which was p a r t antique monastery of l e a r n i n g and p a r t a r i s t o c r a t i c playground. C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , Max found a house on Merton S t r e e t o which was " s c a r c e l y bigger than a Punch and Judy Show."^ His room, blue-papered, was hung w i t h P e l l e g r i n i c a r i c a t u r e s from V a n i t y F a i r and w i t h some c a r i c a t u r e s of h i s own. This was the p a t t e r n of decor f o r a l l h i s f u t u r e residences, because i t e x a c t l y s u i t e d h i s t a s t e and temperament, which were already formed. - 8 -As at Charterhouse, Max continued to observe h i s surroundings with detachment. He avoided games and belonged to only one College S o c i e t y , the Essay S o c i e t y , which met once a week to d i s c u s s "calm l i t t l e m i l d essays" w r i t t e n on vast themes.1*"1 O c c a s i o n a l l y he attended the Debating S o c i e t y of h i s C o l l e g e , where he once proposed the motion 'That t h i s House views w i t h pleasure the i n c r e a s i n g u n p o p u l a r i t y of the Drama'. His only club was the s e l e c t G r i d i r o n Club, which met f o r luncheon and dinner. Although a l l who knew Max l i k e d him, he was f a s t i d i o u s i n the choice of h i s f r i e n d s . Outside Merton College he was almost unknown, except f o r h i s c a r i c a t u r e s which were d i s p l a y -ed from time to time i n a l o c a l shop window. However, when W i l l Rothenstein, the b r i l l i a n t P a r i s l i t h o g r a p h e r , was asked to do a s e r i e s of Oxford C a r i c a t u r e s , he was so impressed w i t h Max's b r i l l i a n c e that he made him one of h i s s u b j e c t s . They were cl o s e i n age, yet W i l l found Max's calm assurance and q u i e t , f i n i s h e d manner unusually mature. 1 1 He observed th a t Max seemed to keep to hi m s e l f , yet he missed nothing 12 t h a t was going on around him. He heard Max declare t h a t he had read nothing - only The Four Georges, Lear's Book of Nonsense, and, l a t e r , Oscar Wilde's I n t e n t i o n s , but "unusual wisdom and sound judgment [were ] d i s g u i s e d under the h a r l e q u i n 13 cloak of h i s w i t . " "He was d e l i g h t f u l l y a p p r e c i a t i v e of anything he was t o l d , s e i z i n g the i n n e r meaning of any rough observation of men and of t h i n g s , which at once acquired p o i n t 14 and p o l i s h i n contact w i t h h i s understanding mind." Max was convinced that he could l e a r n more from h i s observation of men than from books. He p r e f e r r e d the c r e a t i v e - 9 -i n n e r l i f e of the imagination t o an a c t i v e l i f e i n s o c i e t y , but he r e q u i r e d the i n s i g h t s gained from observing the drama of a c t u a l l i f e t o n o u r i s h h i s thought. During the h o l i d a y s , h i s f a v o u r i t e source of "raw l i f e " became the law c o u r t s , where he always t r i e d t o answer one question about the defend-ant: What s o r t of person i s t h i s ? During the term, Max seldom went to l e c t u r e s . The only ones he seemed to enjoy were those given by Dr. W i l l i a m 15 Walter Merry on Aristophanes. ' The weekly essays he was r e q u i r e d to produce f o r h i s t u t o r were remarkable l a r g e l y f o r t h e i r i l l u s t r a t i o n s . I n one drawing, e n t i t l e d 'The Long Vacation', Max was suspended between two p i l l a r s mounted w i t h busts of A r i s t o t l e and P l a t o . Beneath h i s dangling f e e t l a y a pack of cards, a c i g a r e t t e case, and a champagne b o t t l e l a b e l l e d ' P l e a s u r e ' . 1 ^ Outragious as h i s drawings were, Max had caught the Regency s p i r i t of dandyism at Oxford. The young aesthetes loved t o shock or s u r p r i s e . I t was the p r e v a i l i n g mood among undergraduates t o t r e a t l i g h t things s e r i o u s l y and s e r i o u s matters l i g h t l y . Max's t u t o r i a l essays were always g r a c e f u l l y w r i t t e n , although they revealed no apparent i n t e r e s t i n philosophy or ancient h i s t o r y , the subjects of h i s study. His approach was purely a e s t h e t i c . P l a t o ' s merit l a y i n h i s b e a u t i f u l s t y l e . Herodotus's f l a w i n c o n s t r u c t i n g what were otherwise d e l i g h t f u l l y f a n t a s t i c adventures was that he destroyed the atmosphere of marvel when he openly doubted t h e i r t r u t h . 1 7 To achieve an exact and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e i n l i t e r a t u r e and deportment became the absolute aim f o r Max and f o r a l l - 10 -young Oxonians who came under the s p e l l of the A e s t h e t i c Move-ment. I n 1873| Walter Pater published the Conclusion;; to h i s Studies i n the H i s t o r y of the Renaissance, making Oxford the source of the A e s t h e t i c Movement. I n 1890 i t was s t i l l the centre, and Max found there an atmosphere e x a c t l y s u i t e d t o h i s temperament; one that r e f i n e d h i s sense of beauty while c a t e r i n g to h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l dandyism. Above a l l , a e s t h e t i c -ism gave expression to the many f a c e t s of h i s s t y l e and an approach to l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m . As a young freshman at Merton, Max had amused h i s t u t o r by h i s wish to attend Walter Pater's l e c t u r e s . Beauty of expression had been h i s aim, but he was e a r l y d i s i l l u s i o n e d both by Pater's unromantic appearance and h i s tendency to render E n g l i s h as a dead language. S t i l l t h a t d i d not hinder him from absorbing the b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s of A e s t h e t i c i s m . Pater's b e l i e f that a work of a r t should be judged by beauty alone d i r e c t l y appealed t o him. And so f a r as A r t f o r A r t ' s sake i m p l i e d the autonomy of a r t and the a r t i s t , the r e j e c t i o n of a d i d a c t i c aim, and the r e f u s a l to subject a r t to moral or 19 s o c i a l judgments, Max was i n accord. He a l s o f o l l o w e d Pater i n t a k i n g F l a u b e r t ' s view of s t y l e which r e q u i r e d 'the unique word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, essay or song, a b s o l u t e l y proper to the s i n g l e 20 mental p r e s e n t a t i o n or v i s i o n w i t h i n . ' u For Max, too, a r t had to express something other than i t s e l f . There had to be a connection between form and substance. What Max appreciated most i n Pater was h i s concept of i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c c r i t i c i s m . I n the Preface to The Renaissance, Pa t e r s t a t e d that the f i r s t duty of the c r i t i c was t o look f o r - l i -the p l e asurable sensations unique i n each work of a r t , and 21 to determine e x a c t l y what t h a t unique impression was. I t was not important f o r the c r i t i c to possess a c o r r e c t a b s t r a c t d e f i n i t i o n of beauty, "but a c e r t a i n k i n d of temperament, the power of being deeply moved by the presence of b e a u t i f u l 22 o b j e c t s . " A f t e r t h i s , the c r i t i c was allowed to support h i s f e e l i n g .by a n a l y s i s or to f i n d i t s causes i n h i s t o r y . As a r e s u l t of Pater's i n f l u e n c e , Max became one of the " H o r n e r i s t s " of l i t e r a t u r e * whose "pleasure [ l a y ] ' i n determining the exact q u a l i t y of pleasure' d e r i v e d by them •23 from t h i s - o r that work? J and who, i n c i d e n t a l l y , helped t h e i r f e l l o w - c r e a t u r e s towards a s i m i l a r pleasure. Max l i k e d best those c r i t i c s w i t h strong, narrow, c r e a t i v e p e r s o n a l i t i e s , the i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c or temperamental c r i t i c s , because they were capable of unique i n s i g h t s . He a l s o p r e f e r r e d the same q u a l i t i e s of p e r s o n a l i t y i n l i t e r a r y a r t i s t s because they were capable of c r e a t i n g s t r i k i n g l y o r i g i n a l s t y l e s , and to Max, s t y l e was the man. As long as Pater expressed h i s concept of beauty i n r e l a t i o n t o s t y l e , Max was a t t e n t i v e . However, when Pater began to emphasize the importance of abandoning one's s e l f to a l i f e of experience, Max l o s t i n t e r e s t . Pater's concept of the moment's experience, "that merging of one's s o u l i n 2.L. b r i g h t waters," seemed to him t o be too arduous f o r a 25 " r i g i d , complex c i v i l i z a t i o n to g a i n . " A l s o , to be l i t e r a l l y " H o r n e r i s t s " of l i t e r a t u r e - The temperamental c r i t i c i s a Jack Horner who d e l i g h t s i n being the s o l i t a r y consumer of a p e r f e c t l i t e r a r y " p i e . " I t i s p r i m a r i l y to please himself t h a t he p u l l s out h i s i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c plums. - 12 -at the focus of a l l experience made him r e a l i z e one would have to have the sphere of i n f l u e n c e and the resources of the P r i n c e of Wales. Max was aware that a l i f e f i l l e d w i t h experience l e f t no time f o r thought, "the highest energy of man." And i t was to thought t h a t h i s l i f e was dedicated. A c t i o n i n e v i t a b l y warred against the pleasures of i n t e l l e c t , which, f o r him, must i n v o l v e the pleasures of imagination. To Max, i t was only "the t h i n g s [he ] had not done, the faces or places he had not seen," t h a t charmed him. I t was mystery t h a t made things superb. Therefore the problem f o r him was how he could best a v o i d "'sensations,' ' p u l s a t i o n s , ' and ' e x q u i s i t e mom-27 ents' that were not purely i n t e l l e c t u a l . " He refused to attempt to combine both kinds, as Pater thought p o s s i b l e . He p r e f e r r e d i n s t e a d to make himself "master of some small area of p h y s i c a l l i f e , a l i f e of q u i e t , monotonous, s i m p l i c i t y , exempt from a l l outer disturbance where he could s h i e l d h i s body from the world t h a t h i s mind might range over i t , unhurt 20 and u n f e t t e r e d . " These words, w r i t t e n when he was twenty-f o u r , proved p r o p h e t i c , and though they seem to c o n t r a d i c t h i s conservative i n c l i n a t i o n s , Max^s romantic tendencies were always subject t o c l a s s i c a l c o n t r o l because h i s aim was per-f e c t i o n . Although Pater was the f a t h e r of the Oxford A e s t h e t i c Movement, i t was Oscar Wilde who was i t s l e a d i n g s p i r i t i n the 1890's. Oscar was the i d e a l of Max's undergraduate days. For sense of beauty, w i t and s t y l e Max thought him almost be-yond reproach. Consequently, h i s misgivings about Wilde's cha r a c t e r which he d i d not h e s i t a t e t o c a r i c a t u r e i n i t s - 13 -grossest aspects, d i d not quench h i s enthusiasm f o r l e a r n i n g from him new concepts of s t y l e , and as the E n g l i s h approach to French i d e a l s of decadence. For, l i k e Wilde and others who embraced a r t f o r a r t ' s sake, Max agreed w i t h Gautier's i d e a t h a t p e r f e c t i o n of form i s v i r t u e , but only i n the broadest sense. P e r f e c t i o n of form and s t y l e that achieved the d e s i r e d a e s t h e t i c e f f e c t was Max's aim i n l i t e r a t u r e . However, he could not accept the more extreme i d e a that the sound and colour of words should take precedence over the meaning, nor could he completely separate a r t from m o r a l i t y . Max's a e s t h e t i c i s m was of the i n t e l l e c t u a l k i n d . The sensuous atmosphere of e v i l found i n French works l i k e Huysman's A Rebours appealed only to h i s s a t i r i c sense. I n l a t e r years he parodied di a b o l i s m i n h i s study of Enoch Soames, the C a t h o l i c d i a b o l i s t . At the same time he mocked the use of i n t e n s e l y personal symbolism and strange t w i s t s of grammar i n the manner of Mallarme, whose i n f l u e n c e appeared i n Enoch's poem "To A Young Woman", i n the l i n e s : Nor not strange forms and epicene L i e b l e e d i n g i n the dust,.... ' What Max admired most i n E n g l i s h Decadence was i t s i n t e l l e c t u a l dandyism. He saw i n a r t i f i c e and the c u l t of the mot j u s t e a manner th a t was a way of p r e s e r v i n g beauty and elegance i n a r t and i n s o c i e t y . He a l s o enjoyed p i t t i n g the p o l i s h e d , s e l e c t i v e 'unnatural' against n a t u r a l i s m , which f o r him meant great gobbets of unselected, u n c o n t r o l l e d v u l g a r i t y . A r t i f i c e even made an amusing weapon agai n s t V i c t o r i a n prudery, as Max discovered from the outraged r e -a c t i o n to h i s s a t i r i c a l essay i n defense of cosmetics. - 14 -However, i n the c u l t of the mot j u s t e Max found much more than a weapon; he found a means to a more exact and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e . As Arthur Symons expressed i t i n The Decadent Movement  i n L i t e r a t u r e (1893), i t was an attempt 'to f i x the l a s t f i n e shade, the quintessence of t h i n g s ' t h a t was the i d e a l of decadence. The danger l a y i n the nearness of f i n e shades to v e r b a l p r e c i o s i t y ; and Max, who loved the e x o t i c , the elabor-ate or Byzantine s t y l e i n l i t e r a t u r e , showed the marks of p r e c i o s i t y i n h i s e a r l y essay s t y l e . There were s e v e r a l l a t e n t dangers which Max perceived i n E n g l i s h Decadence. The French p u r s u i t of beauty i n thi n g s e v i l encouraged Wilde and h i s f r i e n d s t o indulge i n s p i r i t u a l and moral p e r v e r s i t y . They d e l i b e r a t e l y severed Pater's con-cept of the moment's experience from i t s moral connections, and f r e e l y indulged t h e i r s e n s u a l i t y . Max, who was f a r from perverse, h e l d a l o o f . He was too conservative, too f a s t i d i o u s and too s e n s i b l e not to r e a l i z e that the c u l t i v a t i o n of the senses without moral r e s t r a i n t i n e v i t a b l y l e d to d e p r a v i t y . He ehose not t o seek the 'soul of goodness' i n t h i n g s e v i l . A c t u a l l y , the E n g l i s h Decadents of the 1090's had only skimmed the e x o t i c surface of French i d e a s . The moral i d e a l i s m and transcendental aspects of the greater French symbolist movement were not made c l e a r t o them u n t i l Arthur Symon's study i n 1099. Even so, Max appreciated symbolism mainly as i t r e l a t e d t o s t y l e . For him, the best a r t was s u b t l y evoked, not d i r e c t l y s t a t e d . He l i k e d symbolism f o r i t s suggestive q u a l i t i e s . C e r t a i n l y Max was not a man to w r e s t l e w i t h great - 15 -transcendental i d e a s . He b e l i e v e d t h a t the mysteries of l i f e were unfathomable, and because of t h i s , any t r u t h about l i f e must be shrouded i n the mystery of i t s i n c o n c l u s i v e n e s s . I n t r u t h , there was no answer. Therefore what he came to value i n Baudelaire was not the t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t but the p e r f e c t i o n -i s t and craftsman who c o n t r i v e d h i s e f f e c t s " i n the contrast between the c l a s s i c a l , impeccable, f i n a l surface and the romantic i n t e r i o r , between h i s imperturbable aloofness and 30 h i s matter." Baudelaire had accomplished Max's goal - to gain f u l l c o n t r o l of h i s m a t e r i a l i n order to achieve h i s de s i r e d e f f e c t s . He became a passionate observer of the human p r e d i c a -ment l i k e Wilde, and other p h y s i c a l l y i n d o l e n t a r t i s t s . How-ever, i t was the i n t i m a t e study of p e r s o n a l i t i e s , and p a r t i c u -l a r l y grotesque p e r s o n a l i t i e s that appealed to him. His s a t i r i c temperament l e d him to i n s i g h t s which pointed up the weaknesses r a t h e r than the strengths i n human behaviour; and so acute were h i s i n s i g h t s t h a t h i s s t y l e revealed q u a l i t i e s i n the i n d i v i d u a l that made him a u n i v e r s a l type. I n Poor  Romeo I, Romeo Coates represented "A l i v e l y example of dandy-ism u n r e s t r a i n e d by t a s t e , . . . " ^ x Max made him a parody of the f o i b l e s of dandies such as Beau Brummell and King George IV. Max was able to w r i t e the s a t i r i c epitaph to E n g l i s h Decadence and to the A e s t h e t i c Movement as a whole because he d i d not take a e s t h e t i c i s m or himself too s e r i o u s l y . I n s p i t e of h i s strong a r t i s t i c and sentimental attachments, he sustained a mood of l i g h t , s o p h i s t i c a t e d i r o n y which was - 16 -i n keeping w i t h the tone of i n t e l l e c t u a l dandyism set by Wilde and the Oxford Aesthetes. I t combined the Regency's emphasis on s a r t o r i a l elegance and hedonism w i t h a neo-c l a s s i c a l passion f o r 'deportment', and added the character-i s t i c w it of the N i n e t i e s which was best expressed i n the shocking epigrams and parodies by Oscar Wilde. "Nothing succeeds l i k e excess", s a i d Oscar, and Max caught the mood. In a l e t t e r t o Reggie Turner he wrote, " I f I were not a f r a i d my people might keep i t out of the newspapers, I should commit s u i c i d e tomorrow." In the midst of the general trend toward mass uniform-i t y , dandyism provided a l a s t refuge f o r the p u r s u i t of i n d i v i d u a l i t y and the l e i s u r e l y enjoyment of the a r i s t o c r a t i c way of l i f e . V u l g a r i t y became a s s o c i a t e d i n the minds of Aesthetes w i t h mass education, machinery, speed, the r i s e of Labour; everything, i n f a c t , that was c a l l e d modern. The new a r c h i t e c t u r e offended the Aesthete's sense of beauty. Max f e l t the s t r a i n so a c u t e l y t h a t , i n the Wildean manner, he p u l l e d down the b l i n d s of h i s compartment to avoid seeing the u g l i n e s s of the C r y s t a l P a l a c e . Dandies d e l i b e r a t e l y emphasized the i d e a l s of beauty and c o r r e c t conduct i n p r o t e s t against the general u g l i n e s s and l a c k of good manners i n modern s o c i e t y . Correctness be-came a concern i n everything they d i d , even t o the l i g h t i n g of a c i g a r e t t e . I n h i s sketch of "Harlequin" Max s u b t l y and poignantly captured the dandy's pose i n the midst of an a l i e n world. Harlequin was a f r a i d because he had seen the thunder clouds and was aware of what they presaged. A l l that he knew - 17 -and loved best was threatened w i t h d e s t r u c t i o n . Yet Harlequin danced on, never swerving from h i s r i g h t posture."^ 2 I t was only i n the past t h a t Max could f i n d the b e a u t i f u l l i f e . There was beauty i n past ages because of t h e i r remoteness from the s t r e s s of common l i f e . They were complete and t r a n q u i l . The past was l i k e a work of a r t to Max because i t was f r e e from a l l i r r e l e v a n c i e s ; and he longed 33 f o r a more 'formal' world than the one he was born i n t o . He d e s i r e d a world i n which deportment, good manners and even the grand manner were s t i l l accepted as s o c i a l i d e a l s . Oscar Wilde taught Max to c u l t i v a t e moods of 'pastness' as he c u l t i v a t e d h i s dress. As a r e s u l t he had h i s E l i z a b e t h -an, h i s C a r o l i n e , Georgian and E a r l y V i c t o r i a n moods. He enjoyed the romantic Nineteenth Century moods too. He f e l t he belonged to the Nineteenth Century r a t h e r than to the Twentieth because then s o c i e t y seemed so s t a b l e and secure. He thought the T h i r t i e s 'that' most amusing of a l l p e r i o d s . * He admired the F i f t i e s and S i x t i e s because Pre-Raphaelite A e s t h e t i c i s m f l o u r i s h e d then, with i t s c u l t of beauty and i t s l o a t h i n g of machinery. He d e l i g h t e d i n the Second Empire i n France, p a r t l y because h i s f a t h e r had been there during that time. He loved the Seventies when the Graces s t i l l abounded, and the romantic aura of a e s t h e t i c i s m i n the E i g h t i e s and N i n e t i e s . Whenever he s a t i r i z e d these p e r i o d s , the s a t i r e s were mixed w i t h sentiment. For Max, the j e w e l l e d f a c e t s of dandyism provided the happiest escape from modernism. One of the b r i g h t e s t of these f a c e t s was the theory of the mask. Just as the dandy c u l t i v a t e d - 18 -h i s c l o thes and manner to accord w i t h h i s i d e a l of the ' c o r r e c t ' and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e , so he c u l t i v a t e d an i d e a l p e r s o n a l i t y , or mask, i n which t o appear before the world. I n f a c t , to the aesthete of the N i n e t i e s , the mask was b e t t e r than the man. I t represented h i s personal i d e a l of what, t a k i n g i n t o con-s i d e r a t i o n h i s l i m i t t a t i o n s , he could a s p i r e to be.-^ I f he r e t a i n e d the mask and c o n s i s t e n t l y acted i n character w i t h i t , he might a c t u a l l y become the p e r s o n a l i t y he presented to the outer world, as was the case i n The Happy Hypocrite. Max's mask was i n s p i r e d by Wilde and The P i c t u r e of  Dorian Grey, but i t was designed a f t e r the p a t t e r n of h i s brother J u l i u s . I t was a dandy's mask which conveyed a p e r s o n a l i t y of calm, cool elegance, and so p e r f e c t l y d i d he wear i t , t hat even Oscar found him enigmatic. Indeed, Max's composure was so mature f o r h i s years t h a t Oscar decided the gods must have bestowed on him the g i f t of perpetual o l d age. Once of a common f r i e n d he enquired, " T e l l me, i^hen you are alone w i t h Max, does he take o f f h i s face and r e v e a l h i s mask?" 3 6 At the same time that the mask amused and impressed others, i t protected h i s n a t u r a l reserve. Temperamentally he was h y p e r s e n s i t i v e to the point of withdrawal from a l l the coarser aspects of l i f e . "Raw" l i f e was something he chose to observe, not to endure, and even then he c a r e f u l l y s e l e c t e d h i s observation p o i n t s . Max d i d not f e e l c a l l e d upon t o r i g h t the wrongs of mankind. He was too i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and too s c e p t i c a l to appreciate the b e n e f i t s of a bourgeois democracy, or any - 19 -Utopian notions about an i d e a l S o c i a l i s t S t a t e . Reformers of any ki n d annoyed him because a l l they r e a l l y could o f f e r were opinions and p r e j u d i c e s , not s o l u t i o n s ; and he b e l i e v e d , l i k e M a e t e r l i n c k , that any dogmatic message about l i f e simply betrayed the ignorance of the bearer. A d e l i c a t e and Tory temperament precluded Max from conversation w i t h r a d i c a l s . What he d e s i r e d was a k i n d of Tory anarchism i n which he was able to preserve and to ex-press h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y . His idea of Utopia was to l e t every-one fgo about doing j u s t as he pleased' but to leave un a l t e r e d the t h i n g s t o which he had grown accustomed.-^ 7 I n t h i s Max a l s o expressed the a t t i t u d e of Oscar Wilde and other hedonists of the N i n e t i e s . As a Decadent and an i n t e l l e c t u a l dandy, Wilde had made an impact on Max, but i t was Oscar's genius f o r c r y s t a l l i z i n g a b r i l l i a n t w i t i n b e a u t i f u l s t y l e which gave Max the model f o r e v o l v i n g h i s own p a r t i c u l a r genius. He admired the beauty of Wilde's language because i t made even h i s most s i n i s t e r works s p l e n d i d . To Max, Oscar was the best s t y l i s t s ince Ruskin, f o r both were capable of c r e a t i n g s p e c t a c u l a r passages of prose which glowed w i t h ornament and pulsed w i t h colour and musical c a d e n c e . ^ I n 1893, when Max wrote an a r t i c l e p r a i s i n g Wilde f o r the Anglo-American Times, Oscar responded to the compliment w i t h p r a i s e . He encouraged Max to w r i t e , saying that he had a s t y l e l i k e a s i l v e r dagger. The same year Max wrote "The Incomparable Beauty of Modern Dress" f o r The S p i r i t Lamp, an undergraduate j o u r n a l e d i t e d by A l f r e d Douglas. I t was a s a t i r i c a l fantasy about - 20 -foppery, d e l i b e r a t e l y w r i t t e n i n a s t y l e of extreme p r e c i o s i t y . But Max'x sense of fun, h i s sharp i n t e l l i g e n c e and p r e c i s e , v i v i d sense of language produced a work that was f r e s h and o r i g i n a l . At twenty-one Max was already a mature, i f not a f i n i s h e d , s t y l i s t . A f t e r the Summer Term i n 1093, W i l l Rothenstein i n t r o -duced Max to a group of a r t i s t s and w r i t e r s who became known as The Yellow Book school of Decadents. I t was the i n t e n t i o n of John Lane, the p u b l i s h e r at the Bodley Head, to e s t a b l i s h a l i t e r a r y q u a r t e r l y which was recognizably avant garde, or a r t f o r a r t ' s sake, but which s t r e s s e d above a l l , a r t i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e . Henry Harland, the l i t e r a r y e d i t o r , and Aubrey Beardsley, the a r t e d i t o r , i n v i t e d Max to c o n t r i b u t e to the f i r s t i s s u e because of h i s b r i l l i a n t g i f t s f o r parody and c a r i c a t u r e . In h i s f i r s t essay f o r The Yellow Book, Max posed as the champion of A r t i f i c e . With s u b t l e irony,: he managed to shock V i c t o r i a n prudery by h i s pretense of fa v o u r i n g the use of cosmetics, while he was a c t u a l l y defending the A e s t h e t i c r e a c t i o n against Naturalism. At the same time, he pin-pointed the weaknesses of the A e s t h e t i c Movement by making "A Defense of Cosmetics" so p e r f e c t a parody of Wilde and a burlesque of Walter Pater that Punch maligned him as one of the Decadents. He was a l s o quoted approvingly i n The Green Carnation, a play by Robert Hichens which s a t i r i z e d Oscar Wilde and h i s c i r c l e of Aesthetes. F i n a l l y , the c r i t i c s were so incensed t h a t Max f e l t o b l i g e d to w r i t e a l e t t e r to the E d i t o r unmasking h i s burlesque on the 'precious' school of w r i t e r s . I t was a s t y l e - 21 -which he mimicked very w e l l , because of h i s strong a r t i s t i c and sentimental attachments. S e l f - i r o n y was a l s o a means of l i b e r a t i n g h i s a b i l i t y to assume the very weaknesses he chose to expose. During 1894, Max a l s o c o n t r i b u t e d two other essays to The Y e l l o w Book. "A Note on George the Fourth" was a s a t i r i c attempt to r e f u t e Thackeray's negative approach to the monarch. Max p r a i s e d the Regent's l i f e as a work of a r t , because i t was so t o t a l l y dedicated to the p u r s u i t of pleasure. Again Max succeeded i n assuming the f o i b l e s of a pe r i o d he l o v e d , the Regency s p i r i t of dandyism, w i t h i t s p r e s i d i n g s p i r i t , George the Fourth. I n 1880 Max focused h i s s a t i r e on the A e s t h e t i c Movement, w i t h Oscar Wilde as i t s archetype. Beauty e x i s t e d long before 1880, Max admitted, but she needed Oscar 39 Wilde to manage her debut. In 1896 The Yellow Book c o l l a p s e d w i t h the a r r e s t of Oscar Wilde. The stigma of Wilde's homosexuality destroyed i t i n s p i t e of the f a c t that Wilde had never been a c o n t r i -butor. Max's l a s t essay f o r the q u a r t e r l y was Poor Romeo 1 His next c o n t r i b u t i o n was to The Savoy which began i n 1&96 and e s t a b l i s h e d an even higher aim of l i t e r a r y excellence than i t s predecessor. For t h i s Max wrote A Good P r i n c e , a maste r f u l hoax which only revealed at the end that the only good p r i n c e was an i n f a n t . Among the a r t i s t s and w r i t e r s of The Yellow Book School, Aubrey Beardsley made the most profound impression on Max. In Beardsley and i n the w r i t e r and c r i t i c Arthur Symons, Max caught a deeper and more s i g n i f i c a n t meaning of - 22 -the f i n - d e - s i e c l e mood of decadence. From the s i n i s t e r beauty of Beardsley's i l l u s t r a t i o n s rose an aura of decadence which hovered over the j o u r n a l and dominated the a r t i s t i c atmosphere i n s p i t e of c o n t r i b u t i o n s from such f i r m l y non-decadent w r i t e r s as Henry James, Arnold Bennett and Edmund Gosse. Again, w i t h The Savoy, e d i t e d by A r t h u r Symons, Beardsley helped to e s t a b l i s h the atmosphere of decadence not only w i t h h i s designs but a l s o with h i s poems and a h i g h l y Byzantine prose fragment Under the H i l l . Aubrey Beardsley was a recognized a r t i s t and the f i r s t to appreciate Max's remarkable t a l e n t f o r c a r i c a t u r e . Max, i n t u r n , was amazed at the scope of Beardsley's knowledge. Although they were the same age, Beardsley seemed to have read and seen everything of importance i n l i t e r a t u r e and a r t . In many res p e c t s they were a l i k e . Both were accomp-l i s h e d i n drawing and w r i t i n g . Both l o v e d to make outrageous statements w i t h c l a s s i c composure. Yet both formed t h e i r a r t i s t i c judgments on the b a s i s of s o l i d common sense. With Wilde they shared the b e l i e f t h a t a r t was the product of 40 passionate observation, not of a c t u a l experience. I n only one respect d i d they sharply d i f f e r , and t h a t was the d i v i d -i n g l i n e between the decadents and the moral aesthetes. Beardsley f o l l o w e d Wilde's contention that a r t never expressed anything but i t s e l f . ^ " L i f e , t o him, was a form of a r t . Max contended that a r t had to express something other than i t s e l f ; i t had t o express l i f e , and l i f e was not a r t because ' i t had no formal curves and harmonies.'^ 2 Assuming the c l a s s i c i s t ' s viewpoint, Max objected to a r t f o r a r t ' s sake as he objected to r e a l i s m f o r r e a l i s m ' s sake because he b e l i e v e d both a r t - 23 -and r e a l i s m should serve l i f e . ^ He a l s o could not separate a r t from e t h i c s as Beardsley d i d , and t h a t was why Beardsley p r e f e r r e d t o create decadent a r t whereas Max chose to parody i t . Beardsley f o l l o w e d i n the Whistler-Wilde t r a d i t i o n which placed a r t outside the pale of m o r a l i t y . Max f o l l o w e d the Ruskin-Pater t r a d i t i o n which appreciated the moral e f f e c t s of a r t quite apart from the purpose. At the end of the summer of 1894, Max l e f t Oxford f o r the l a s t time. He l e f t without the d i s t i n c t i o n of a degree because he was absorbed w i t h The Yellow Book, and w i t h h i s new-won r e p u t a t i o n . A small p r i v a t e income now gave him the freedom to make h i s career as a f r e e - l a n c e w r i t e r and c a r i c a -t u r i s t . Between 1&95 and 1898 when he 'went on the s t r e e t s of jo u r n a l i s m ' as dramatic c r i t i c f o r the Saturday Review, Max's a r t i s t i c output reached a s m a l l , s t y l i s h peak. In 1896 h i s f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n of c a r i c a t u r e s was published i n book form, C a r i c a t u r e s of Twenty-five Gentlemen. The tone was r e a l i s t i c and s a t i r i c . He a l s o wrote f o r v a r i o u s j o u r n a l s while c o n t r i -b u t i n g a weekly commentary f o r the D a i l y M a i l on subjects of h i s own choosing. As i n h i s c a r i c a t u r e s , Max's s t y l e was elaborate and s a t i r i c , always g i b i n g popular heroes and i n s t i t u t i o n s . He a l s o c o n t r i b u t e d a r t i c l e s to the Saturday Review. For the Christmas Supplement of 1896 he wrote parodies on George Meredith, H. G. W e l l s , Richard Le G a l l i e n n e , A l i c e Meynell and Marie C o r e l l i . His a b i l i t y to mimic the authors' s t y l e s , e s p e c i a l l y Meredith's, was a s t o n i s h i n g . Max's parod-- 24 -i e s were i n keeping w i t h h i s approach to a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c i s m ; only, i n s t e a d of i n t e r p r e t i n g and extending the beauties of a w r i t e r * s s t y l e , he s u b t l y d i s t o r t e d the beauties i n order to c a r i c a t u r e the weaknesses. In the essays and f a n t a s i e s he p a i n s t a k i n g l y created, Max's aim was not to i n s t r u c t but i n s t e a d to r e v e a l through the character of a small or l a r g e f a i l u r e some of the a b s u r d i t i e s of human nature, and through t h a t r e v e l a t i o n to convey the e f f e c t of amused a e s t h e t i c d e l i g h t . The s u b t l y i r o n i c tone he g e n e r a l l y e s t a b l i s h e d was t h a t of h i s own unique p e r s o n a l i t y . With the p u b l i c a t i o n of The Works of Max Beerbohm (1896) by the Bodley Head, and "The Happy Hypocrite" i n The  Yellow Book, Max's l i t e r a r y career was made. "The Happy Hypocrite"was a s o p h i s t i c a t e d f a i r y s t o r y i n the manner of Oscar Wilde, which p l a y f u l l y mocked a popular theory of the ' N i n e t i e s ' of l i v i n g up to one's i d e a l s e l f or 'mask', as w e l l as the gay and s e l f - i n d u l g e n t dandyism of the Regency p e r i o d . I n The Works, Max evoked the past and p r a i s e d dandy-ism, a l l forms of a r t i f i c e and f r i v o l i t y , i n h i s most 'Byzantine' manner*. The seven essays abounded i n strange word i n v e n t i o n s such as ' s i l l y pop' and 'manywhere', and i n the e x t r a o r d i n a r y use of otherwise ordinary words. However, i t was h i s s e l f - i r o n y , and c o n t r o l l e d , s o p h i s t i c a t e d l i g h t n e s s of touch which helped to make them e f f e c t i v e . Max's Byzantine * Max i n i t i a l l y defined 'Byzantine' as ''elaborate i n g e n u i t i e s of form and s t y l e . " He used i t to s i g n i f y an e x o t i c , ornate, or a h i g h l y f i n i s h e d s t y l e . A l l nuances of meaning apply i n t h i s context. - 25 -q u a l i t i e s were held i n r e s t r a i n t by h i s respect f o r the c l a s s i c a l r u l e s of p r o p o r t i o n , c l a r i t y , u n i t y and s a n i t y . In time he was able to add s i m p l i c i t y , because h i s d e s i r e f o r the p e r f e c t s t y l e was greater than h i s love f o r an e x o t i c one. Max was now a l i t e r a r y p e r s o n a l i t y to be reckoned w i t h , and i t was Edmund Gosse who opened the door f o r h i s entry i n t o the i n n e r temple of men of l e t t e r s . At twenty-f o u r Max began t o meet such important a r t i s t s as W h i s t l e r and Henry James. He a l s o found himself a s o c i a l success, w i t h weekend i n v i t a t i o n s to the great country houses. His f i n a n c i a l rewards however, lagged f a r behind h i s l i t e r a r y and s o c i a l triumphs. Therefore, much as he d i s l i k e d the n o t i o n of being a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the authors of f a c i l e j o u r n a l -ism, and dreaded the thought of weekly deadlines, he was g l a d that Shaw's retirement brought the opportunity to w r i t e drama c r i t i c i s m s f o r the Saturday Review; and he stepped s p r i g h t l y i n f o r the money. In h i s f i r s t 'assignment* f o r the Saturday Review, Max announced t h a t he took no i n t e l l e c t u a l or emotional pleasure i n drama and that the only c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s he possessed were l i t e r a r y . Any others he would have to 'vamp up' as he went a l o n g . ^ A c t u a l l y , h i s Saturday Review a r t i c l e s r e v e a l that h i s c r i t i c i s m s were g e n e r a l l y biased i n favour of the l i t e r a r y standards he set f o r h i s own develop-ment as a s t y l i s t . These were: that a work of a r t must be rooted somewhere i n a c t u a l l i f e i f i t i s t o give the i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y ; that the language must be expressed p r e c i s e l y and b e a u t i f u l l y ; that the s t r u c t u r e must be u n i f i e d t o s u s t a i n - 26 -the mood and produce the d e s i r e d impact; that a r t must never serve a d i d a c t i c purpose, although i t may have a moral pur-pose that i s not over t . These p r i n c i p l e s w i l l be discussed f u l l y and separately i n the f o l l o w i n g chapters. I t i s important to note t h a t Max's l i t e r a r y standards had already been e s t a b l i s h e d before 1$9$, when he assumed the o f f i c i a l r o l e of drama c r i t i c , and that they remained unchanged i n 1910 when he resigned h i s post, married Florence Kahn, an American a c t r e s s , and r e t i r e d to p a r t i a l s e c l u s i o n i n Rappallo. There he continued to w r i t e and to be a source of d e l i g h t to l i t e r a r y t r a v e l l e r s and e x i l e s . Notable among h i s l a t e r p u b l i c a t i o n s were a nove l , Z u l e i k a Dobson (1911); two books of parodies, A Christmas Garland ( 1 9 1 2 ) and Seven Men (1919); a book of essays, And Even Now (1920); a s e l e c t i o n of drama c r i t i c i s m s e n t i t l e d Around Theatres (1924); A V a r i e t y of  Things (1928) and Main l y on the A i r (1946). Max's c r i t i c a l l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s were predominantly c l a s s i c a l and t h e r e f o r e , c o n s e r v a t i v e . As lo n g as he a p p l i e d them to h i s c r i t i c i s m of such e x q u i s i t e s t y l i s t s as W h i s t l e r , Wilde and Henry James, they served him very w e l l . However, when he t r i e d to apply them to c r i t i c i s m of such l a r g e -s c a l e d genius as that of George Bernard Shaw, the l i m i t s of hi s c r i t i c a l a b i l i t i e s were re v e a l e d . As i n h i s a r t and manner of l i v i n g , Max again showed himself to be a p e t i t m a i t r e . CHAPTER I SOURCE REFERENCES 1. Maud Tree, "Memories", Herbert Beerbohm Tree, c o l l e c t e d by Max Beerbohm, London, Hutchinson and Co., 1920, p. 3 9 . 2. David C e c i l , Max, London, Constable, 1 9 6 4 , p. 103. 3 . Max Beerbohm, "From a Brother's Standpoint", Herbert Beerbohm Tree, c o l l e c t e d by Max Beerbohm, p. 1 9 1 . 4 . Max Beerbohm, "Old Carthusian Memories", Mainly  on the A i r , New York, A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1950 [ copyright 194-6 ] p. 154. 5 . Max Beerbohm, "Going Back to School", Works and  More, London, John Lane The Bodley Head, 1 952 [copyright Work's 1096, More 10991 , p. 220. 6 . Beerbohm, "Old Carthusian Memories", Mainly on  the A i r , p. 1 5 4 . 7. Max Beerbohm, "Note P r e f a c i n g 'A Christmas Garland'", And Even Now and A Christmas Garland, New York, E. P. Dutton and Co., I960 rcopyright And Even Now 1920, A Christmas Garland 1912], p. 101. 0 . C e c i l , Max, pp. 4 3 - 4 4 . 9 . W i l l i a m Rothenstein, Men and Memories, London, Faber and Faber L t d . , 1931, v o l . 1, p. 144. 10. Max Beerbohm, "The House of Commons Manner", Yet Again, London, W i l l i a m Heinemann L t d . , 1951 [copyright 1^23J| P. 1 7 3 . 11. Rothenstein, op. c i t . , p. 144. 12. I b i d . , p. 146. 1 3 . Loc. c i t . 1 4 . Rothenstein, op. c i t . , p. 144. 15. J . G. Riewald, S i r Max Beerbohm, The Hague, Martinus N i j h o f f , 1953, p.~S\ - 28 -16. C e c i l , Max, p. 76. 17. Loc. c i t . I S . S. C. Roberts, The Incomparable Max, London, Heinemann, 1962, p. x i i i . 19. W i l l i a m York T i n d a l l , Forces i n Modern B r i t i s h  L i t e r a t u r e 1835-1956. New York, Random House, 1956, p. 5. 20. Walter Pater, A p p r e c i a t i o n s , London, Macmillan and Co., Pocket E d i t i o n , 1924 [cop y r i g h t 1889], p. 27. 21. Graham Hough, The Last Romantics, London, Gerald Duckworth and Co., 1949, p. x. 22. I b i d . , p. 158. 23. Max Beerbohm, "The C r i t i c as P a r i a h " , Around  Theatres, London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1953 [copyright 1924], p. 292. 24. Beerbohm, "Diminuendo", Works and More, p. 118. 25. I b i d . , p. 120. 26. Loc. c i t . 27. I b i d . , p. 121. 28. Loc. c i t . 29. Max Beerbohm, "Enoch Soames", Seven Men, New York, Random House, 1961 [copyright 1920], p. 12. 30. T i n d a l l , Forces i n Modern B r i t i s h L i t e r a t u r e 1885- 1956, pp. 248-249. 31. Beerbohm, "Poor RomeD", Works and More, p. 113. 32. Beerbohm, "Harlequin", Yet Again, p. 291. 33. Beerbohm, "Playgoing", Mainly on the A i r , p. 57. 34. Beerbohm, "The Corsican Brothers", Around Theatres, p. 525. 35. C e c i l , Max, p. 61. 36. I b i d . , p. 73. 37. Beerbohm, "Servants", And Even Now and A Christmas  Garland, p. 106. - 29 -38. C. F. Harrold and W. D. Templeman, eds., E n g l i s h  Prose of the V i c t o r i a n Era, New York, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1962, p. 1,648. 3 9 . Beerbohm, "1880", Works and More, p. 3 9 . 40. Harold N. H i l l e b r a n d , "Max Beerbohm", JEGP, v o l . 1 9 ( A p r i l 1920), pp. 2 6 0-261. 41. The Works of Oscar Wilde, London, C o l l i n s , n.d., v o l . 3, p. 2 3 2 . 4 2 . Beerbohm, "An A e s t h e t i c Book", Around Theatres, p. 275. 43. J . M. Kennedy, E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e 1880-1905, London, Stephen Swift and Co., 1912, p. 119. 44. Beerbohm, "Why I Ought Not To Have Become A Dramatic C r i t i c " , Around Theatres, pp. 1-2. CHAPTER I I THE ILLUSION OF LIFE As an i n t e l l e c t u a l young drama c r i t i c , Max a l i g n e d h i m s e l f w i t h the "advanced" c r i t i c s of h i s time i n supporting the strong current trend t o modern r e a l i s t i c comedy and tragedy. He saw i n the modern emphasis on ideas and a c t u a l l i f e the b a s i s f o r s i g n i f i c a n t n a t i v e drama, not only f o r the N i n e t i e s , but a l s o f o r the f u t u r e . However, he took l i t t l e pleasure i n the m a j o r i t y of those plays he was r e q u i r e d to review between 1898 and 1910, because there were so few E n g l i s h playwrights who were g i f t e d enough t o have any o r i g i n a l i d e a s , and t o express those ideas through f o r c e f u l , dramatic a r t . Facts and i d e a s , however s t i m u l a t i n g they might be i n modern drama, a c t u a l l y counted f o r very l i t t l e i n a play which lacked the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . I t was not enough f o r the dramatist t o make Max t h i n k i f he could not make him " f e e l . " Max wanted t o be amused, e x c i t e d , u p l i f t e d . 1 I t was the romantic atmosphere of marvel, or r e a l i t y made more r e a l by the s u b t l e , evocative power of suggestion working on h i s imagination, that he d e s i r e d more than absolute t r u t h 2 t o l i f e . Simply, he wanted t o be "bowled over." However, the a r t i s t i c q u a l i t i e s which achieved the e f f e c t of bowling Max over were not simple t o acquire. - 31 -E s s e n t i a l l y , they had t o be innate w i t h i n the a r t i s t . The f i r s t q u a l i t y the a r t i s t r e q u i r e d was a d e f i n i t e and unique p e r s o n a l i t y t o express i n h i s a r t . On t h i s depended the o r i g i n a l i t y of h i s ideas as w e l l as the o r i g i n a l i t y of h i s s t y l e . Henry James was such an a r t i s t . Although he was nowhere evident as a guide t o the understanding of h i s c h a r a c t e r s , he was everywhere evident i n the unique personal-i t y of h i s s t y l e . Max noted t h i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n one l i n e of James' play The High B i d : " I mean, to whom do you b e a u t i f u l l y belong?" "There," s a i d Max, . . . i s q u i n t e s -sence of Mr. James;" and the sound of those words sent "innumerable l i t t l e v i b r a t i o n s through the heart of every 3 good Jac o b i t e i n the audience." A c t u a l l y , the quintessence f o r Max was the q u a l i t y of the man revealed through h i s work. I t was the r e v e l a t i o n of a man of r e s t r a i n e d yet deep moral s e n s i b i l i t y , "whose outlook on the world seemed . . . f i n e and touching and i n s p i r i n g ' * ^ because i t was f u l l of reverence f o r noble t h i n g s , f o r a l l t hat was b e a u t i f u l , honourable and s e n s i t i v e l y i n t e l l i g e n t , and of h o r r o r f o r ignoble t h i n g s , f o r a l l t hat was corrupt or v u l g a r . As w e l l as a unique p e r s o n a l i t y , the a r t i s t needed c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y . Without c r e a t i v e power, a r t i s t i c t e c h -niques had l i t t l e v alue. Alone, they could not produce the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . Max b e l i e v e d that a r t i s t s were i n c l i n e d to depend on t e c h n i c a l v i r t u o s i t y t o the extent that they lacked c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y . The reason why modern a r t i s t s - 32 -l i k e Arthur Wing Pinero were so a r t i s t i c was that they were 5 not overwhelmed w i t h a surplus of emotions and ideas. Those w i t h the greatest c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y were, of course, w r i t e r s of genius, l i k e Shakespeare. Max loved the " c a r e l e s s exuber-ance," the headlong impatience," the "divinely-overdone poetry," the'toad magic" of h i s y o u t h f u l work. He p r a i s e d A Midsummer Night's Dream as a "debauch of u n c o n t r o l l e d fancy"; but then, he added, "true l o v e r s of Shakespeare must needs p r e f e r the debauch." I t seems incongruous that Max should p r a i s e the crea-t i v e power i n Ouida as e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y as he p r a i s e d i t i n George Meredith and i n Shakespeare. However, he d i d so, not because he thought they ranked as equals i n genius, but because these a r t i s t s possessed the k i n d of v i t a l i t y Max most admired—a l a v i s h f l o w , a v e r i t a b l e cascade of w i t and poetry i n t h e i r s t y l e s . There seemed to be no end t o the ideas and emotions they were able t o express and no end to t h e i r ways and means of expression. Such sheer exuberance t h r i l l e d him. A t h i r d q u a l i t y Max f e l t an a r t i s t must have was a sense of l i f e . He b e l i e v e d t h a t a r t must be somewhere 7 rooted i n l i f e ; t hat the a r t i s t must l e a r n t o accept l i f e as i t was presented t o h i s experience or imagination, w i t h -out using h i s b r a i n to t w i s t i t i n t o the patterns of a purpose; and f i n a l l y that he must not only observe the surface of t h i n g s but be able t o penetrate t o the permanent, elemental passions of humanity, and by i n t e r p r e t i n g them, o get some meaning out of l i f e . - 33 -He was impressed w i t h Henry Arthur Jones' p l a y , The  Lackey's C a r n i v a l (1900) because the dramatist chose t o make servants the theme f o r h i s play. To probe the problems of servants from the servants' point of view was new t o drama and Max p r a i s e d the e f f o r t , i n s p i t e of some a r t i s t i c f l a w s , because Jones succeeded i n r e a l i z i n g i n a d e l i g h t f u l work of a r t , something t h a t was p a i n f u l i n l i f e . " ^ Gerhart Hauptmann, the German dramatist, convinced Max that he was a tr u e c r e a t o r of l i f e . He loved raw l i f e and so he was able t o create l i v i n g human characters. Every character i n The Thieves' Comedy was r e a l , l i f e - s i z e d , and f u l l - b l o o d e d . ^ This was a l s o t r u e f o r Herman Heijermans, the Dutch dramatist who portrayed humble f i s h e r f o l k as they 12 were, and "not as every f o o l knew them not t o be." The f o u r t h q u a l i t y Max thought necessary t o the a r t i s t was a sense of beauty. L i k e the French, Max was f a i t h f u l t o the c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n i n which "beauty of subject and 13 beauty of treatment were s t i l l h e l d t o be e s s e n t i a l . " In Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D ' U r b e r v i l l e s Max admired what he c a l l e d a melodramatic n o v e l , because i t was made b e a u t i f u l by Hardy's temperament. He softened and ennobled the melo-drama u n t i l i t seemed l i k e sublime tragedy, by r e v e a l i n g i t through a haze of poetry. 1^" Max a l s o found beauty i n Lytton Strachey's prose s t y l e . Strachey possessed what Max con-s i d e r e d two v i t a l assets t o good s t y l e : a good grounding i n L a t i n and a keen n a t u r a l i n s t i n c t f o r w r i t i n g . The beauty of h i s s t y l e came from a p e r f e c t merging of the c l a s s i c a l - 34 -and n a t u r a l elements so that h i s s t y l e was i n f i n i t e l y f l e x i b l e , 15 and i n accord w i t h every v a r i a t i o n of h i s theme. y These f o u r q u a l i t i e s which produced an i l l u s i o n of l i f e f o r Max were e x c e l l e n t standards f o r any form of l i t e r a -t u r e , e s p e c i a l l y f o r h i s own ends as a l i t e r a r y s t y l i s t ; but they presented c e r t a i n problems f o r Max the c r i t i c , be-cause they were exacting and personal. As an i m p r e s s i o n i s t , Max b e l i e v e d t h a t the highest k i n d of c r i t i c i s m was "to t r a n s l a t e through one's own temperament and i n t e l l e c t , the f i n e work of another man, t o cast new l i g h t on i t s beauties, t o r e v e a l t h i n g s hidden i n i t , t o i l l u s t r a t e and t o extend i t s meanings." 1^ Such a h i g h l y personal approach t o c r i t i c i s m demanded some temperamental a f f i n i t y between a r t i s t and c r i t i c . I f the p e r s o n a l i t y of the a r t i s t or h i s a r t i s t i c purpose were a n t i t h e t i c a l t o Max's i d e a l s , Max's c r i t i c a l judgment was immediately, and sometimes unduly, biased. He met such problems i n the outstanding r e a l i s t i c dramatists of the Edwardian era. As Max defined r e a l i s m , the word had broad connotations. He saw i t as the motivating f a c t o r behind the Pre-Raphaelites, the I m p r e s s i o n i s t s , and the major B r i t i s h n o v e l i s t s . In the Saturday Review, he once expressed t h i s viewpoint. "From George E l i o t t o Meredith and Hardy, a l l n o v e l i s t s are t r y i n g 17 t o get nearer t o a c t u a l l i f e , deeper i n t o i t . " Hardy saw a c t u a l l i f e i n p e s s i m i s t i c terms because he sensed nature's i n d i f f e r e n c e t o man. Meredith viewed the world more o p t i m i s t i c a l l y because he b e l i e v e d man's happiness l a y i n h i s submission t o nature. Their d i s c o v e r i e s were d i f f e r e n t but t h e i r methods were the same. Both were r e a l -i s t s and both were c o n s t a n t l y i n q u i s i t i v e about l i f e . They "had t h e i r ears at the same key-hole, though they . . . over-1$ heard d i f f e r e n t t h i n g s . " Max thought that the r e a l i s t i c novel was the only k i n d of novel a l i v e , and that t h i s was j u s t as tru e of the drama. He saw r e a l i s m as the motivating f a c t o r behind M a e t e r l i n c k , j u s t as much as i t was f o r Ibsen. Though M a e t e r l i n c k , l i k e the Pre-Raphaelites, wore a "romantic h a l o , " i t was s t i l l the emotions of men and women as they were th a t he was seek-no ing t o d e s c r i b e . Obviously, Max d i d not see r e a l i s m i n the s t r i c t sense of a photographic i m i t a t i o n of the human scene. Realism t o him meant t r u t h t o l i f e and t r u t h t o l i f e was achieved only when the a r t i s t t r u l y "envisioned h i s man" from w i t h i n , c r e a t i n g a f l e s h and blood character w i t h a l i f e of h i s own. For Max then the greatest value of modern r e a l i s m was that i t made a r t i s t s i n c r e a s i n g l y aware of the importance of r e a l i z i n g the inward " v i s i o n " as w e l l as the outward circumstances, f o r both served l i f e . As an i n t e l l e c t u a l aesthete, Max appreciated t r u t h to l i f e conceived w i t h p o e t i c beauty, such as he found i n the work of Meredith and Ma e t e r l i n c k . I t was not i n Max's nature t o r e l i s h the grim, intense i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m of Ibsen's p l a y s . Nor d i d he f i n d any pleasure i n the even grimmer plays of the n a t u r a l i s t s . Naturalism i n any genre offended Max, because i t - 36 - U; aimed at pe r f e c t t r u t h t o l i f e at the expense of a r t . He r e a l i z e d that l i f e was i n i m i t a b l e , except through l i m i t i n g conventions. That "the more c l o s e l y i t was aped, the more 20 f u t i l e and unrea l was i t s copy." I t was not by the accumu-l a t i o n of d e t a i l , but by a b s t r a c t i n g from i t that a work of ar t i n s p i r e d us wit h some i l l u s i o n . Consequently, r e a l i s t i c plays d i d not r e q u i r e an overt p r e s e n t a t i o n of s u i c i d e . The du l l n e s s of peasant minds d i d not n e c e s s i t a t e d u l l n e s s being d r i l l e d i n t o us. This was r e a l i t y at the expense of r e a l i s m and i t destroyed the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . What Max looked f o r was t r u t h by suggestion. When suggestion worked upon the reader's imagination or on the imagination of the audience, 21 i n t h i s a r t f u l interchange the sense of r e a l i t y was born. In Maxim Gorky's p l a y , The Lower Depths, Max found h i s worst example of n a t u r a l i s t i c drama. He described the play as a h o r r o r , not because of the h o r r i b l e subject-matter, but because of the i n a r t i s t i c handling of the sub j e c t . I t seemed t o Max that even i f Gorky's characters had been c l o s e l y observed from l i f e , they were no more l i f e - l i k e than 22 the wax f i g u r e s i n Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors. His " s l i c e of l i f e " was a c t u a l l y chunks and gobbets chucked at the audience, "ungraced by any beauty or n o b i l i t y of treatment, or ungraced by an i d e a , and so meaning nothing, 23 l e a d i n g nowhither, merely a f f r o n t i n g us. . . ." E s s e n t i a l l y Max had no understanding o f , or sympathy f o r the brooding Russian s o u l . He missed the poetry and humanity i n Gorky's play because of h i s deep-rooted p r e j u d i c e - 37 -against Russian w r i t e r s and what seemed t o him t o be t h e i r l a c k of a r t i s t i c d i s c i p l i n e . For Max, who b e l i e v e d i n the c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n of tragedy, the a r t i s t was expected t o evoke through a r t a sense of p i t y and awe and thereby render a e s t h e t i c a l l y d e l i g h t f u l i n a r t what was a c t u a l l y t r a g i c i n l i f e . Max was never " i l l u d e d " by Maxim Gorky, but n e i t h e r d i d he sense an i l l u s i o n of l i f e i n the modern r e a l i s t i c plays of Arthur Wing Pinero. Although i t i s from Pinero's The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893) th a t the r i s e of modern B r i t i s h drama i s g e n e r a l l y dated, Max was a strong d i s -s e nting v o i c e i n the midst of widespread c r i t i c a l p r a i s e . While many p r a i s e d Pinero's g i f t s f o r p o r t r a i t u r e , h i s i n c i s i v e dialogue and s u b t l e t y of thought, Max c a l l e d The  Second Mrs. Tanqueray a f a i l u r e because i t lacked i n t e l l e c t u a l r e a l i t y and s i n c e r i t y . To him i t was "only a pastiche of Ibsen g r a f t e d on an ordin a r y commercial melodrama of co-25 in c i d e n c e , . . . " Max f e l t Pinero had no o r i g i n a l ideas of h i s own t o express, but was merely an adapter of the d i s c o v e r i e s of other a r t i s t s such as Ibsen, Thackeray and 26 Tom Robertson. He admitted t h a t the demands f o r modern i n t e l l e c t u a l tragedy were d i f f i c u l t t o meet, because the dramatist must d e l i g h t i n watching and p o r t r a y i n g l i f e ; but i t was not enough t o be, l i k e P i n e r o , merely a c l e v e r t e c h n i c i a n . A c t u a l l y Pinero was the f i r s t of the modern r e a l i s t s t o i n i t i a t e u n i t y of mood i n h i s play s . Under the i n f l u e n c e - 38 -of Ibsen, he had dropped such a r t i f i c i a l i t i e s as long s o l i l o q u i e s from h i s s t y l e , and at the same time he j o i n e d a comparative naturalness of sentiment t o n a t u r a l i s t i c dialogue. Max respected Pinero's a r t i s t r y i n c o n s t r u c t i n g h i s p l a y s , but he d i s l i k e d the playwright's s t y l e . For him, i t was g e n e r a l l y d u l l and heavy, and any attempt he made to be " l i t e r a r y " only ended i n s t i l t e d dialogue. Gf course Max welcomed l i t e r a r y graces i n a r t i f i c i a l comedy and i n romance, but he i n s i s t e d t h a t " i n modern r e a l i s m the only proper ' s t y l e ' i s t h a t which catches the manner of modern human 27 beings i n c o n v e r s a t i o n . " Max's c r i t i c i s m of Pinero was harsh, but i t was no harsher than Shaw's, who looked down on him as one of the pseudo-Ibsenites. However, f i f t y years l a t e r , when Pinero and h i s plays had taken on the romantic aura of "pastness," Max softened h i s c r i t i c i s m enough t o admit that although Pinero was not outstanding i n any one t h i n g , he was g e n e r a l l y competent. S t i l l , he d i d not revoke h i s judgment that Pinero t r e a t e d h i s craftsmanship as an end i n i t s e l f , r a t h e r than a means f o r expressing h i s ideas; and that he had no personal f o r c e , no unique p e r s o n a l i t y t o express i n h i s a r t , a l a c k which was r e f l e c t e d i n h i s plodding l i t e r a r y s t y l e . Henry Arthur Jones was a much b e t t e r dramatist from Max's point of view. Here was a dramatist who could " i l l u d e " him. Jones was an o r i g i n a t o r of ideas f o r drama such as the servants theme i n The Lackey's C a r n i v a l . The play had many - 39 -t e c h n i c a l f l a w s , but Max p r a i s e d Jones' s e n s i t i v e i n t e r p r e -t a t i o n of a character new t o modern drama, Thomas Tarboy, a man who was ho p e l e s s l y trapped by the accident of b i r t h i n t o a l i f e of s e r v i t u d e . Max found so few dramatists w i t h any ideas of t h e i r own that he r a t e d Jones as h i g h l y as Oscar Wilde i n being "the only dramatist of any i n t e l l e c t u a l f o r c e , the only dramatist w i t h i d e a s . " L i k e h i s contemporary, P i n e r o , Jones had a strong t h e a t r i c a l sense; but he a l s o possessed a strong sense f o r a c t u a l l i f e , and a v i t a l s a t i r i c s t y l e . As a w r i t e r of " s e r i o u s , i n t e l l e c t u a l and s a t i r i c a l comedies of 29 manners," 7 Max ranked him among the best dramatists of h i s time. In f a c t , he r a t e d him too h i g h l y , probably because he so g r e a t l y admired the q u a l i t i e s of humanity, o r i g i n a l i t y , s a t i r i c w i t and v i t a l i t y which Jones expressed i n h i s s t y l e . The importance t o Max of the q u a l i t y of the man as revealed i n h i s work was never more evident than i n h i s c r i t i c i s m s of Henrik Ibsen. The Norwegian playwright had made a powerful impact on w r i t e r s and c r i t i c s of the N i n e t i e s , e s p e c i a l l y on W i l l i a m Archer, c r i t i c and Ibsen t r a n s l a t o r , and on George Bernard Shaw. He was the great dramatic f o r c e which f i n a l l y k i l l e d the t a s t e f o r conventional comedy and melodrama. A f t e r him no w r i t e r of r e a l i s m dared t o w r i t e n a t u r a l i s t i c dialogue expressing a r t i f i c i a l sentiments. Art became dedicated t o ideas and t o moral purpose. Max, however, was never an " I b s e n i t e . " Although he 30 was f u l l y aware of Ibsen's " v o l c a n i c " genius, he sensed a harsh inhumanity i n the man which unduly biased h i s opinions of Ibsen's motives as an a r t i s t . In f a c t , Max described him as the " p e r f e c t " a r t i s t ; one who would not s a c r i f i c e one 31 " i n t e l l e c t u a l germ" f o r the sake of f r i e n d s h i p . He saw that Ibsen's s t r e n g t h , l i k e S w i f t ' s , l a y i n h i s i n t e l l e c t and h i s n a t u r a l g i f t f o r l i t e r a t u r e , but that h i s weakness, l i k e S w i f t ' s , l a y i n h i s harshness, a defect which l i m i t e d the power of h i s genius. He considered Ibsen a T i t a n of l i t e r a t u r e , but not an Olympian, because he saw him as "an ardent and tender l o v e r of id e a s " who could not abide man-32 k i n d . He thought Ibsen "cared l e s s f o r ideas as ideas 33 than as a scourge f o r h i s f e l l o w - c r e a t u r e s . . . . "-^ For t h i s reason Max was convinced that Shaw and the other I b s e n i t e s had misunderstood a most important point about t h e i r "master" when they b e l i e v e d that i t was Ibsen's s i n c e r e d e s i r e t o reform s o c i a l e v i l s . A c t u a l l y , he mistook h i s blindness f o r t h e i r s . He missed Ibsen's intense moral concern f o r h i s f e l l o w man whom the dramatist urged t o assume moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and t o make e t h i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n s between t r u t h and conventional h y p o c r i s y , because Max could not see through the w a l l of h i s personal d i s l i k e . Max r e a l i z e d that Ibsen was p r i m a r i l y an a r t i s t , who took an a r t i s t ' s joy i n reproducing human character as he observed i t . But he a l s o f e l t t hat the dramatist took pleasure i n the havoc h i s ideas s t i r r e d up; tha t he misled women i n t o t h i n k i n g he cared f o r t h e i r emancipation. Max was c e r t a i n he had never been concerned f o r the "new woman." - 41 -I b s e n once o p e n l y a d m i t t e d t h a t he had n e v e r h a d any s u c h p u r p o s e , b u t , as a n a r t i s t , h a d m e r e l y p o r t r a y e d c e r t a i n t e n d e n c i e s . I t was n o t l i b e r t y t h e n , w h i c h I b s e n l o v e d , but t h e f i g h t f o r i t . He seemed, i n some r e s p e c t s , t o be an a m o r a l m o r a l i s t whose " i n h u m a n i t y " n e c e s s a r i l y p e r m e a t e d h i s a r t , and a t t i m e s d e s t r o y e d t h e i l l u s i o n o f l i f e f o r M a x , who b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e a r t i s t must l o v e " r a w l i f e " b e f o r e he c o u l d hope t o c r e a t e l i v i n g human c h a r a c t e r s w h i c h e n d u r e d . The d a n g e r f o r t h e a r t i s t o f i d e a s who d i d n o t c r e a t e c h a r a c t e r s f o r t h e i r own s a k e , was t h a t when t h e i d e a s became s t a l e , t h e c h a r a c t e r s who l i v e d m a i n l y as m o u t h p i e c e s , a l s o d i e d . I n h i s c r i t i c i s m o f The L a d y f r o m t h e S e a , Max d e s c r i b e d E l l i d a , t h e L a d y , as b e i n g t h e u s u a l I b s e n i s t 3 5 h e r o i n e , t h e p r o p o u n d e r o f t h e r e g u l a r I b s e n i s t i d e a s , but because t h e i d e a s had become q u a i n t and t e d i o u s , so h a d s h e . H o w e v e r , h a d she been c o n c e i v e d as a g e n u i n e l y human c r e a t u r e , she m i g h t have s u r v i v e d t h e s t a l e i d e a s she e x p r e s s e d . U l t i -m a t e l y Max p r e d i c t e d i m m o r t a l i t y f o r I b s e n as a s t r a n g e and d o m i n a t i n g p e r s o n a l i t y , but n o t f o r h i s a r t . C e r t a i n l y Max t h o u g h t I b s e n was c a p a b l e o f c r e a t i n g l i v e human c h a r a c t e r s . He c a l l e d Rosmersholm a m a s t e r p i e c e i n w h i c h a l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s were m e t i c u l o u s l y t h o u g h t o u t , 3 7 and a l l were f u l l and v i t a l . He m a r v e l l e d a t t h e v e i l o f p o e t r y t h a t I b s e n h a d woven a r o u n d R o s m e r s h o l m ; t h e a i r o f m y s t e r y t h a t s u r r o u n d e d R e b e c c a , making h e r a h a u n t i n g c h a r a c t e r , a p o e t i c , t r a g i c f i g u r e ; t h e s e n s e o f f o r e b o d i n g - 42 -suggested i n the symbolic coming of white horses. Here was a r t evoked, not ideas propounded, and out of the u n i t y of poetry and idea came the dramatic e f f e c t , at once t r a g i c and b e a u t i f u l . Even so, f o r t h i s sense of beauty Max was more g r a t e f u l t o the s t y l e of a c t i n g than t o the dramatist. I t seemed t o Max t h a t Ibsen was not a dramatist who appealed t o the sense of beauty. He f e l t t hat a l l the dramatist r e q u i r e d of h i s audience was i n t e n s i t y and i n t e l l e c t -u a lism. As an aesthete, Max responded best t o the evocative q u a l i t i e s i n Ibsen's a r t , the mystery and poetry which s t i r r e d h i s imagination and awoke the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . As a moral man, Max detested Ibsen's apparent hatred of mankind, and even of h i m s e l f . As a c l a s s i c i s t , Max could never appreciate the a r t and r e a l i s m , even of a genius, when he thought they d i d not serve l i f e . In Max's o p i n i o n , Ibsen created r e a l -i s t i c dramas f o r the sake of the ideas alone. Max was unduly p r e j u d i c e d against Ibsen's c h a r a c t e r s , because he could never accept them simply f o r themselves. He was always i n f l u e n c e d by the a t t i t u d e he b e l i e v e d Ibsen took towards them. In an almost savage s a t i r i c a ttack d i r e c t l y on the s t u p i d i t y of audiences, and i n c i d e n t a l l y , on Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Max suggested that s i n c e Ibsen hated Hedda and meant us t o laugh at her, and s i n c e she remained as a l i v e l y s a t i r e on a phase of h i s t o r y that had 38 passed, she ought t o be played w i t h a sense of humour. Obviously Max knew that Ibsen could create characters - 43 -who were s u f f i c i e n t l y a l i v e and i n d i v i d u a l t o d e l i v e r an impact a l l on t h e i r own, re g a r d l e s s of what Ibsen thought of them. That he should a l l o w h i s pr e j u d i c e s t o ov e r r i d e h i s a r t i s t i c judgments suggests that he was so extremely s e n s i t i v e t o " p e r s o n a l i t y " i n the a r t i s t , t h a t he responded t o Ibsen as he would t o any S t y l i s t ; and f o r Max, Ibsen's grim r e a l i s m not only dominated the tone of h i s p l a y s , but a l s o most of the ch a r a c t e r s . As an i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c c r i t i c , Max could not be success-f u l i n h i s impressions of Ibsen's p l a y s , because he was a n t i -t h e t i c a l t o him i n temperament. A l s o , there were other f a c t o r s which d i s t u r b e d him. F i r s t of a l l , he d i s l i k e d t r a n s -l a t i o n s ; e s p e c i a l l y W i l l i a m Archer's too l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n s of Ibsen's p l a y s . In capturing the o r i g i n a l phrase, Archer missed the general tone. Secondly, Max f e l t t hat E n g l i s h audiences could never f u l l y appreciate Ibsen's characters because, i n s p i t e of the u n i v e r s a l i t y of the themes, the characters were Norwegians i n Norway. However, when these c r i t i c i s m s are weighed i n the balance of h i s favourable c r i t i c i s m s of other f o r e i g n dramatists such as M a e t e r l i n c k , Hauptmann and Heijermans, i t i s obvious that i t was not the t r a n s l a t i o n s , or the n a t i o n a l i t y of Ibsen's characters that destroyed the i l l u s i o n of l i f e f o r Max, but the grim hard i n t e l l e c t u a l r e a l i s m of the dramatist which c h i l l e d h i s a e s t h e t i c s e n s i b i l i t i e s and paralyzed h i s c r i t i c a l judgments. I t was not i n the genius of Ibsen, but i n the E n g l i s h - 44 -masters of f i c t i o n , l i k e Joseph Conrad, that Max placed h i s hopes f o r E n g l i s h drama. He blamed the c r i t i c s f o r encourag-ing s t u p i d , a r t i f i c i a l drama because they placed such high value on t i g h t , a r t i f i c i a l t h e a t r i c a l techniques. Instead of encouraging a l i t e r a r y genius l i k e Conrad, they merely reminded him tha t he had much t o l e a r n i n t e c h n i c a l construc-t i o n . But, s a i d Max, "Here i s the s o r t of man that i s needed—a man w i t h a wide knowledge of many kinds of l i f e , and a passionate i m a g i n a t i o n — a n e s s e n t i a l l y dramatic 39 imagination, . . . . n ^ 7 Here was a romantic r e a l i s t who, l i k e Henry James, loved t o r e v e a l the f i n e consciences of h i s c h a r a c t e r s , and through t h a t study, t o i n d i c a t e a moral. In One Day More, Max f e l t the impact of a t e r r i b l e and haunting tragedy. I t was a tragedy of wasted l i v e s , presented w i t h a r t i s t i c s i m p l i c i t y and moral s e n s i t i v i t y , i n v i v i d l y expressive language. I t was the pathos of l i f e made noble through a r t . He f e l t both the emotional impact of p a i n , and the a e s t h e t i c d e l i g h t . What Max wanted from a r t was "some k i n d of emotion." Problem plays w r i t t e n f o r some moral or s o c i a l purpose, only appealed t o him t o the extent that the ideas were em-bodied i n l i v e creatures of f l e s h and blood, and c a r r i e d an emotional impact. Mouthpieces, he could not abide. I f the ideas were a l l that mattered t o the pla y w r i g h t , he was not a t r u e c r e a t o r . His ideas belonged i n s o c i a l t r a c t s . That was where Max would have put the e a r l y plays of George - 45 -Bernard Shaw. That Shaw was a genius, Max never denied. However, h i s admiration f o r that genius was marred, not only by Shaw's use of a r t f o r d i d a c t i c purposes, but a l s o by Max's disagree-ment w i t h almost any view Shaw he l d about a n y t h i n g . ^ Nothing could have r e p e l l e d Max more than the statement Shaw c o n t r i -buted to a symposium on the Problem Play (1895), that only i n the Problem Play was there any r e a l drama, because l i t e r a r y greatness was not the only c r i t e r i o n f o r a r t . There was a l s o s o c i a l u t i l i t y . I t d i d not matter t o Shaw that Ibsen's A DoI'l's House would i n time l o s e i t s impact as dramatic a r t , because i t would have done i t s work i n the world, and t h a t was enough f o r the highest genius. In h i s re.view of Shaw's n o v e l , Cashel Byron's Profes-s i o n , Max was almost as candid as Shaw. He s a i d that he r e a l i z e d Shaw wanted t o impress c e r t a i n t h e o r i e s on h i s readers, and that the purpose of h i s a r t was to convert others t o h i s point of view. However, the t r u e c r e a t o r d e s i r e d mainly "to i l l u d e . . . w i t h a sense of a c t u a l or imaginative r e a l i t y , " ^ " 1 and t o achieve that aim he was w i l l i n g t o suppress hi m s e l f and h i s t h e o r i e s , because they k i l l e d the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . Shaw, who t w i s t e d l i f e i n t o patterns of a purpose, was a c r i t i c , not a c r e a t o r . A t r u e c r e a t o r had a sense f o r a c t u a l l i f e , which meant he was able t o evoke h i s characters from w i t h i n . Shaw's ch a r a c t e r s , f a r more than Ibsen's c h a r a c t e r s , who could be - 46 -warmly human and a l i v e , bore only surface c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . With few exceptions, h i s characters were mere containers f o r Shavian ideas. Max thought the f a i l u r e of h i s e a r l y p l a y s , such as Widowers' Houses and Mrs. Warren's P r o f e s s i o n , was not only t h a t Shaw lacked Ibsen's g i f t f o r d e a l i n g s e r i o u s l y w i t h the great i s s u e s of l i f e but a l s o t h a t Mrs. Warren's  P r o f e s s i o n f a i l e d , because Shaw was a comedian t r y i n g t o be t r a g i c , and he could not, because he was incapable of c r e a t -i n g a f l e s h and blood character. I t was only when Shaw d i d not attempt to be s e r i o u s , that h i s characters were q u i t e d e l i g h t f u l and q u i t e r e a l . J "Quite" r e a l , because b a s i c a l l y a l l Shaw's characters were h i m s e l f . ^ He i n f e c t e d them w i t h h i s own v i t a l i t y . In Max's view, Shaw saw the world as a "clean-cut phantasmagoria," i n which every phantom was h i s own unrecog-n i z e d s e l f . When he described what he had seen, "himself 4 5 was the one person i l l u d e d . " However, Shaw made i t p o s s i b l e to enjoy h i s preaching because of the process he took t o a r r i v e at h i s conclusions. He was a s e r i o u s man who could not help being f r i v o l o u s , but the combination was so exception-a l , t hat he amused Max as no one e l s e did.^" 6 Shaw had a genius f o r p a r a d o x i c a l w i t ; but he was a l s o a mass of contra-d i c t i o n s , and t h e r e f o r e he was never to be taken s e r i o u s l y . When Max read Man and Superman, before he had seen i t performed, he compared Shaw's "new dialogues" t o P l a t o ' s , t o Shaw's disadvantage. P l a t o at l e a s t invented characters of f l e s h and blood and set them against r e a l i s t i c backgrounds. Shaw was always t r y i n g t o prove h i s t h e s i s , w i t h the r e s u l t that h i s characters were merest diagrams. He had no sense f o r l i f e and t h e r e f o r e he had no sense f o r a r t . Max b e l i e v e d Shaw chose popular forms of a r t such as the melodrama and f a r c e merely t o get people t o l i s t e n t o him. As a piece of b r i l l i a n t , w i t t y d i a l e c t i c , he thought Man and Superman Shaw's masterpiece, but as a work of a r t i t was a p e r f e c t o r a l debate, not drama. Max c a l l e d i t the most complete expression of the most d i s t i n c t p e r s o n a l i t y i n current l i t e r a t u r e . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that Max, l i k e other i n t e l l i g e n t r eviewers, at the t u r n of the century, thought Shaw's plays were not drama; nor i s i t strange that he should f i n d the heavy element of d i s c u s s i o n which s p o i l e d the plays as recognized plays was at the same time t h e i r g r e a t e s t a t t r a c t i o n . Shaw's plays were good i n an u n f a m i l i a r way. Unl i k e Max, Shaw f e l t c a l l e d upon t o remedy s o c i a l wrongs. He b e l i e v e d that S o c i a l i s m h e l d the answer t o s o c i e t y ' s problems, but he d i d not make h i s plays a v e r b a l b a t t l e f i e l d of good s o c i a l i s t s against bad c a p i t a l i s t s . His plays were " p r i m a r i l y about the s t r u g g l e between human i d v i t a l i t y and the a r t i f i c i a l system of m o r a l i t y ; " and he adapted the o l d V i c t o r i a n melodrama to h i s purposes because the conventional e t h i c s i n v o l v e d w i t h melodrama were a l s o the accepted e t h i c s of modern s o c i e t y . The i l l u s i o n s of melodrama were p r e c i s e l y those which men f e l l v i c t i m t o i n - 48 -" r e a l " l i f e . Hence Shaw's plays became i n v e r t e d melodramas because they were used t o r e v e a l the t r u t h of these i l l u s i o n s . At the same time, h i s v i t a l c h a r a c t e r s , the ones who were f r e e s t from i l l u s i o n s , were used t o educate those who were s t i l l v i c t i m s of i l l u s i o n . As G.K. Chesterton s a i d , Shaw's plays were a c t u a l l y expanded paradoxes. In exposing the r e a l i t y of i l l u s i o n , Shaw was making h i s plays not only sounding boards f o r h i s id e a s , but a l s o t r u e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of l i f e . The reason Max d i d not appreciate h i s i n t e r p r e t e r s was that he saw i n Shaw's " v i t a l " c h a r a c t e r s , not men and women who were f r e e from i l l u s i o n , but the machine-like mind of Shaw, "a marvellous piece of c o n s t r u c t i o n - - e f f i c i e n t , r i g i d , u n a s s a i l a b l e , l i k e 50 s t e e l g i r d e r s . " For Max, Shaw's v i t a l i t y was purely i n t e l l e c t u a l because he had no sense of beauty, and no r e a l sense f o r l i f e . Although he bore no ma l i c e , he was b a s i c -a l l y inhuman, having "no p i t y f o r the poor . . . no f e e l i n g 51 f o r f a t h e r , country, woman. . . . "^ Of course he was vigoro u s , w i t t y , o r i g i n a l , b r i l l i a n t l y e n t e r t a i n i n g , but he was g e n e r a l l y too i n s e n s i t i v e t o be able t o i l l u d e Max. However, i n h i s review of John B u l l ' s Other I s l a n d Max revoked h i s opi n i o n that Shaw could not create l i v e c h a r a c t e r s . In Broadbent, Shaw had created an Englishman, " j u s t as he i s . " Max c a l l e d the " p o r t r a i t , " f u l l - l e n g t h 52 and minutely f i n i s h e d . He s a i d that i t was Shaw's master-piece of observation and s a t i r e . He e s p e c i a l l y appreciated the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Broadbent because he, too, loved t o - 4 9 -s a t i r i z e the E n g l i s h . A l s o , Max l i k e d the play because Shaw's method was more orthodox than u s u a l . I t was a recog-n i z e d type of d i s c u s s i o n which emanated from the c o n f l i c t between persons. Most of the fun came from "a s l i g h t exaggeration on the th i n g s that the character a c t u a l l y would 53 say." Shaw was an expert at w r i t i n g " v e r b a l duels i n which the a c e r b i t y and the i n t e r e s t d e r i v e d not from the questions discussed but from s i t u a t i o n and ch a r a c t e r . " ^ ^ This became evident t o Max i n the production of Major Barbara. In h i s review he g r a c e f u l l y but completely recanted h i s b e l i e f that Shaw could not draw l i f e or w r i t e a play. He admitted he had not had enough t h e a t r i c a l imagination t o see the 55 p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of Shaw's plays i n p r i n t . ^ To deny th a t Shaw was a dramatist because he chose t o get drama out of contrasted types of character and thought, without a c t i o n , and without appeal t o the emotions, seemed t o him now t o be 56 both unjust and absurd. Nevertheless, i t was j u s t because Shaw d i d not attempt t o appeal t o h i s emotions that Max missed the i l l u s i o n of l i f e i n most of h i s p l a y s . P r e c i s e l y what had d e l i g h t e d Max most i n Major Barbara was the sense of s p i r i t u a l beauty Shaw revealed i n h i s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Barbara. S p i r i t u a l beauty was not something he had 57 sensed i n Shaw before. Max's dilemma about Shaw was r a t h e r poignantly expressed at the end of h i s review of The Doctor's Dilemma. - 50 -He s a i d , "Why have I been carping a l l t h i s w h i l e about the c e n t r a l f i g u r e , i n s t e a d of expressing the joy that the whole b r i l l i a n t p lay gave me, and t r y i n g to communicate that joy 58 t o you? I e v i d e n t l y haven't yet l e a r n t my business." The dilemma f o r Max was that i n s p i t e of h i s joy i n the l i v e l i -ness of Shaw's c h a r a c t e r s , and i n the b r i l l i a n t shower of wit,., and f u n , he was not equipped, e i t h e r temperamentally or a r t i s t i c a l l y , t o judge t h i s new a n a l y t i c a l type of drama. The new c r i t i c necessary t o the new drama was the a n a l y t i c a l c r i t i c l i k e Shaw h i m s e l f , not an i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c c r i t i c l i k e Max. Max measured a work of a r t by the i d e a l s of a e s t h e t i c -ism and by the t i m e - t e s t e d r u l e s of the a n c i e n t s . When Shaw f r e e l y mixed h i s genres, and made h i s ideas more important than h i s c h a r a c t e r s , Max's sense of form and decorum was j a r r i n g l y a f f e c t e d . When he showed no i n t e r e s t i n express-ing the expected emotions of l i v e human beings i n c o n f l i c t , and when f u r t h e r , he evinced no s e n s i t i v i t y and l i t t l e sense of beauty, Max's r e f i n e d a e s t h e t i c s e n s i b i l i t i e s were offended. I t deeply d i s t u r b e d him that Shaw could be so g i f t e d , as g i f t e d perhaps as V o l t a i r e , and yet be so t o t a l l y i n s e n s i t i v e , both as a human being and as an a r t i s t . As he s a i d i n a l e t t e r to Henry Arthur Jones, " I never read any-t h i n g of h i s without wishing that he had never been born 59 and hoping that he w i l l l i v e t o a very r i p e o l d Age I" Max's ambivalence about The Doctor's Dilemma arose - 51 -over a question of a r t i s t i c s e n s i t i v i t y . He b e l i e v e d t h a t Shaw had erred i n showing the a r t of Louis Dubedat on stage and then i n expecting the audience t o accept i t as the work of a genius. He compared Henry James' Roderick Hudson t o Louis Dubedat, t o e x p l a i n h i s point that i t was p o s s i b l e t o b e l i e v e i n the a r t i s t i c genius of Roderick Hudson because James had the g i f t of imagining and d e s c r i b i n g works of a r t so t h a t h i s readers were i n f e c t e d w i t h h i s own en t h u s i a s m . ^ Had he i l l u s t r a t e d the a r t , he would have k i l l e d the i l l u s i o n of the r e a l i t y of th a t genius because masterpieces of any ki n d had t o be l e f t t o the imagination of the audience i n order t o be made r e a l . To Max, Shaw was an i c o n o c l a s t who seemed t o be a r t i s t i c a l l y i n s e n s i t i v e t o anything that d i d not f i t i n t o h i s scheme of t h i n g s , and serve h i s d i d a c t i c purpose. How-ever, Shaw d i d possess an uner r i n g sense of t h e a t r e ; i t was part of h i s genius. I t t h e r e f o r e seems u n l i k e l y that he would have destroyed a t h e a t r i c a l i l l u s i o n unless he intended t o . Shaw loved wherever p o s s i b l e , t o remove the v e i l s of i l l u s i o n . His primary purpose i n The Doctor's  Dilemma was to remove the v e i l s of i l l u s i o n surrounding the p r a c t i c e of p r i v a t e medicine. A secondary purpose could w e l l have been t o remove the v e i l from an i l l u s i o n of genius. Obviously, the i l l u s i o n s surrounding the p r a c t i c e of medicine had t o be s t r i p p e d away before the eyes of the characters and the audience; but the i l l u s i o n of a r t i s t i c - 52 -genius could not have been removed from the minds of the characters because i t would have weakened the e f f e c t of h i s a t t a c k on doctors who destroy l i f e r a t h e r than preserve i t . The f i n a l d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t could only be i m p l i e d through the a c t u a l d i s p l a y of the p a i n t i n g s becoming the crowning paradox that the genius who was a c t u a l l y "murdered" was not only a scoundrel, but a l s o a f r a u d . I f t h i s were not so, Shaw was duped by h i s own t h e a t r i c a l devices. That Max d i d not come t o a s i m i l a r c onclusion was due i n part t o h i s u n f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h Shaw's t h e a t r i c a l i n v e r -s i o n s , and s u b s t a n t i a l l y t o the type of c r i t i c he was. F i r s t impressions meant more to Max than a d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s of the playwright's ideas. He responded best to the s u b t l e refinements of an e x q u i s i t e a r t i s t l i k e Henry James. The house of paradoxes that Shaw b u i l t , although f i l l e d w i t h s u r p r i s e and d e l i g h t , s t i l l made Max uneasy. From h i s point of view there was no a r t i s t i c u n i t y and t h e r e f o r e there could be no u n i f i e d e f f e c t . "But" was the most f a m i l i a r word i n Max's c r i t i c i s m s of Shaw. He could never be wholly bowled over. Shaw's hab i t of mixing s e r i o u s and f r i v o l o u s elements i n h i s plays was a l s o j a r r i n g t o Max because i t destroyed the sense of r e a l i t y . From a c l a s s i c a l standpoint, a s e r i o u s parody or a tragi-comedy of the r e a l was unthinkable. Max t h e r e f o r e thought The P h i l a n d e r e r should be two p l a y s ; one t h a t could be a s e r i o u s study of p h i l a n d e r i n g , and the other - 53 -a " b l i t h e s a t i r e on the f o i b l e s of the e a r l y ' N i n e t i e s . " As i t was, Shaw had created Leonard C h a r t e r i s as "a r e a l person i n f a n t a s t i c surroundings." This destroyed the sense of the character's r e a l i t y and made h i s inherent unpleasantness seem t o be "a mere wanton i n t r u s i o n of unpleasantness f o r i t s own sake." C e r t a i n l y C h a r t e r i s would not, i n r e a l l i f e , have s a i d t o a woman he d e s i r e d t o please that she must marry someone e l s e and t h a t he would then come and p h i l a n d e r w i t h her. Max s a i d he would l i k e l y have thought i t "but a c e r t a i n grace and f a s t i d i o u s n e s s i n speech are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the C h a r t e r i s t y p e . " ^ In January, 1908, Max seemed f i n a l l y t o have re s o l v e d h i s i n ner c o n f l i c t s about Shaw. In a review of Arms and the Man he wrote, "si n c e the time when Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant were published, I have come t o see t h a t much of t h i s seeming fantasy and f l i p p a n c y was a mere s t r i v i n g a f t e r sober r e a l i t y , and that the reason why i t appeared f a n t a s t i c was that i t d i d not conform w i t h c e r t a i n conventions of the t h e a t r e which the m a j o r i t y of playgoers took as a necessary 65 part of t r u t h t o l i f e . " However, four months l a t e r he reviewed G e t t i n g Married, Shaw's f i r s t d i s q u i s i t o r y p l a y , and i t was evident that no r e c o n c i l i a t i o n was now p o s s i b l e . Shaw's new play dramatized the i d e a s , not the c h a r a c t e r s . By making h i s characters say t h i n g s they would never say i n r e a l l i f e , he was a c t u a l l y dramatizing the t r u t h of t h e i r l i f e s i t u a t i o n s . When Hotchkiss b o l d l y con-- 54 -fessed that he was a snob, he was not saying something he would a c t u a l l y say i n r e a l l i f e , but h i s statement revealed the a c t u a l t r u t h of h i s s i t u a t i o n , the r e a l i t y that he would not have been aware of, and c e r t a i n l y would not have expressed under any normal circumstances. For Shaw, the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the f a r c i c a l characters was best s u i t e d t o h i s a r t i f i c i a l manner of expressing the hidden t r u t h . Max could only suggest that the proper place f o r G e t t i n g Married was the l i b r a r y . He agreed w i t h the c r i t i c A.B. Walkley that the play was somewhat l i k e P l a t o ' s Symposium, except that P l a t o ' s characters were s u p e r i o r i n being creatures of f l e s h and blood. Shaw's characters were only f a i n t l y v i s i b l e t o the mind's eye; however, w i t h c a r e f u l r e a d i n g , i t was p o s s i b l e t o i n v e s t them w i t h more of a sense of r e a l i t y , and at the same time'to appreciate the "host of 66 valuable i d e a s " they contained. Max recognized the resemblance between Shaw's young men and women and those of the old-fashioned commercial drama. However, those creatures were p r e t t y figments where-as Shaw's were merely ugly ones. I t seemed to Max that i n v e n t i o n should r e s u l t i n something b e t t e r than l i f e , not i n something worse. At one time the newness of Shaw's characters compensated f o r the u g l i n e s s , but now, "these a l t e r n a t e l y impudent and whining young men, and these i n v a r i a b l y p r i g g i s h and he c t o r i n g young women, a l l of them as d e s t i t u t e of hearts as they are of manners, and a l l of - 55 -them endowed w i t h an equal measure of c h i l l y s e n s u a l i t y , " 6 ^ had f i n a l l y k i l l e d i n Max the joy he had once taken i n the f o r c e and b r i l l i a n c y of t h e i r p r e s e n t a t i o n . They were obviously creatures of a j o u r n a l i s t i c , not a l i t e r a r y imagination. In M i s a l l i a n c e , Max was f u r t h e r d i s t u r b e d by the t o t a l l a c k of s e n s i t i v i t y Shaw evidenced i n reproducing a parody of an a c t u a l tragedy i n which an i l l e g i t i m a t e son had shot h i s f a t h e r . Max knew that Shaw was f r e e from malice, but he d i d not r e a l l y t h i n k he was humane; and without human-i t y , without beauty, without u n i t y of form, without sentiment, i t was no longer p o s s i b l e f o r Max t o enjoy Shaw's a r t . F a m i l i a r i t y had f i n a l l y l e f t only a disagreeable sensation. Max's disagreement w i t h Shaw's p r i n c i p l e s even entered i n t o h i s c r i t i c i s m s of other dramatists of ideas whom Shaw, as the leader of the i n t e l l e c t u a l s c h o o l , had i n f l u e n c e d . In October, 1905, he reviewed The Return of the P r o d i g a l , a play by St. John Hankin. He p r a i s e d the author f o r c r e a t -ing a d e l i g h t f u l comedy which d i d not "set out t o prove any-t h i n g , or t o prove anything." y Unlike Shaw, Hankin d i d not choose t o harangue h i s audience, but r a t h e r t o communicate w i t h good-natured amusement h i s o r i g i n a l and acute observa-t i o n s of the world around him. Here the arguments were not allowed t o d i s t o r t the i l l u s i o n of t r u t h t o l i f e . In November, 1905, Max reviewed The Voysey Inheritance by Harley G r a n v i l l e - B a r k e r . Again, he p r a i s e d the author - 56 -f o r " l e t t i n g h i s mind range a c t i v e l y over the a c t u a l world," and not a l l o w i n g it> t o dwel l on the th e a t r e world which r e f l e c t e d nothing. He admired the o r i g i n a l i t y of the play's theme on the frau d u l e n t s o l i c i t o r , and the c a r e f u l r e v e l a t i o n of the s o l i c i t o r from w i t h i n , l a y i n g bare the whole of the man. He a l s o remarked on the d i s t i n c t i n d i v i d u a l i t y of each of the c h a r a c t e r s , and the sharp and s u b t l e i r o n y Barker employed i n h i s p o r t r a y a l s . In f a c t , the only s e r i o u s flaw Max found i n the play was i n the heroine, who was obviously patterned a f t e r the s u p e r f i c i a l and unsentimental young women drawn by Shaw. He f e l t she ought t o have been s u p p l i e d w i t h moral passion as w e l l as passion f o r her l o v e r . As i t was, there was nothing i n her so u l but a b s t r a c t e t h i c s which made her as undramatic as she was i n s u f f e r a b l e . Max reminded Barker that sentiment was not incompatible w i t h r e a l l i f e , and that i t could be a very potent t h i n g i n the hand of even the c l e v e r e s t dramatist. In a contemporary play such as t h i s , i t was the c o n f l i c t of f l e s h and blood characters which produced the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . In December, 1905, Max recanted h i s opinions of Shavian drama, but t h i s was not h i s f i n a l p o s i t i o n . I t i s evident from h i s continuing ambivalence toward Shaw tha t the change was a change of mind r a t h e r than a change of heart. At the end of h i s career as a drama c r i t i c he was s t i l l recommending that w r i t e r s s t r i v e to portray l i f e as i t was and not as i t s u i t e d some d i d a c t i c purpose. - 57 -Galsworthy, l i k e Shaw, used h i s a r t t o convey a "message," and he a l s o seemed at times t o be l a c k i n g i n humanity, but Max recognized i n him the q u a l i t i e s of a t r u e c r e a t o r : the a b i l i t y t o observe the surface of t h i n g s , an i n t u i t i v e sympathy w i t h the s o u l of t h i n g s , and the a r t i s t i c sense of s e l e c t i v i t y necessary t o create a u n i f i e d work of 71 a r t . I t was these elements which created the i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y f o r Max r a t h e r than the "photographic r e a l i s m " which Galsworthy had c l e v e r l y conceived i n tone and s e t t i n g , to g i v e the e f f e c t of a c t u a l experience. In Max's c r i t i c i s m of The Madras House by Mr. G r a n v i l l e -Barker, r e s t s the c l e a r e s t summary of h i s f i n a l p o s i t i o n on Shaw. Both The Madras House and M i s a l l i a n c e were debates, w i t h a dramatic d i f f e r e n c e . Barker's debate had u n i t y , not only i n the theme but a l s o i n the manner of p r e s e n t a t i o n . The characters were tr u e s t u d i e s created by an observant and sympathetic man. Further, they were a l l necessary t o the development of the theme. In c o n t r a s t , Shaw c o n s t a n t l y changed h i s manner i n M i s a l l i a n c e . His i n t r o d u c t i o n of an acrobat on an aeroplane had no relevance t o the theme, and i t seemed t o Max that the characters were "mostly comic i n order t o compensate us f o r 72 the s e r i o u s views" they were made t o express. However, s a i d Max, i t was not p o s s i b l e t o take clowns s e r i o u s l y . What Shaw needed t o do, i f he could, was t o "observe men and women a c c u r a t e l y i n s t e a d of i n v e n t i n g i n some dark corner - 58 -of h i s s o u l men and women w i t h whom not a l l the concentrated 73 f o r c e s of h i s i n t e l l e c t could make him sympathise." I t was time f o r Barker t o exchange r o l e s and become a strong i n f l u -ence upon Shaw. The s a l i e n t point about Max on Shaw was tha t Max was a nineteenth century man attempting to apply a e s t h e t i c i d e a l s and c l a s s i c a l p r i n c i p l e s t o the experimental plays of a pr o g r e s s i v e , a n a l y t i c a l dramatic genius of the Twentieth * Century. When Shaw's ideas were made t o perform l i k e charac-t e r s , Max f e l t no emotion f o r them as " l i v e " characters because they had no l i f e of t h e i r own. Max was too r e a c t i o n -ary t o appreciate pioneer work i n new forms of a r t , e s p e c i a l l y i f i t was not i n keeping w i t h h i s temperament and h i s concepts of what a work of a r t should be. He abhorred change, and could best appreciate t h i n g s w i t h an aura of "pastness" about them. He could appreciate Shaw's i n t e l l e c t and p a r a d o x i c a l wi t because he him s e l f possessed these q u a l i t i e s , although to a l e s s e r degree; but Shaw was not a s t y l i s t as Max defined one. He was merely an immortal " p e r s o n a l i t y " and "the most b r i l l i a n t and remarkable j o u r n a l i s t i n London." For Max the i l l u s i o n of l i f e depended t o a great extent on what was f a m i l i a r t o him. He could not be "bowled over" by what was not only strange but a l s o a n t i t h e t i c a l t o h i s conservative thoughts and d e l i c a t e f e e l i n g s . Max was th e r e f o r e not capable of being i l l u d e d by the extravagant changes Shaw had wrought i n h i s d i s c u s s i o n p l a y s , which he - 59 -claimed were created w i t h " o p e r a t i c dialogue" on the b a s i s of musical compositions. Shaw's "music," as f a r as Max was 7 5 concerned, was t h a t of a n a i l being pounded i n t o a board. Perhaps i t was Shaw and Harley G r a n v i l l e - B a r k e r who l e d Max t o conclude that i t was more amusing t o grapple with ideas i n books than i n the t h e a t r e . I t seemed t o him t h a t drama ought to cause the excitement of p i t y and awe, t e r r o r or l a u g h t e r . The t h e a t r e s u r e l y was meant f o r t h r i l l s l i k e the appearance of the Ghost at E l s i n o r e . Romance and fantasy a l s o o f f e r e d Max a pleasant escape from the u g l i n e s s and hard i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m he had come t o a s s o c i a t e w i t h the modern world. He loved the s t o r i e s and the characters of romance which d i d not "date" or grow s t a l e , because they were not confined t o one p e r i o d or t o one place. Max wanted t r u t h t o l i f e i d e a l i z e d , made b e a u t i f u l . He wanted to be amused and e d i f i e d , not depressed and brow-beaten f o r h i s inadequacies as a c i t i z e n and a p a t r i o t . He could never r e c o n c i l e h i m s e l f t o modern notions of a r t which seemed to i n s i s t t h a t a r t must reform as w e l l as e n t e r t a i n . I t s t r u c k Max t h a t democracy and s o c i a l i s m had broken down the b a r r i e r s which had guarded and e x a l t e d excellence u n t i l e x c e l lence i n anything was no longer a c r i t e r i o n . He r e a l i z e d now i f he d e s i r e d t o hear p o l i t i c s discussed i n t e l -l i g e n t l y he would be b e t t e r o f f i n the t h e a t r e than i n parliament; and the grand manner which had been the mark of great statesmen l i k e D i s r a e l i and Gladstone, e x i s t e d now only - 60 -i n the o l d melodrama. Max was not t h r i l l e d by a r t which served i t s d i d a c t i c purpose i n the world and thereby nobly perished; he wanted the works of genius t o l a s t s o l e l y on t h e i r merits as a r t . Romantic f i g u r e s , l i k e those Dumas and Rostand created, meant more t o him than Ibsen's c r e a t i o n s , f o r a l l t h i s power-f u l and t e r r i f y i n g r e a l i s m because the romantic characters were created s o l e l y f o r t h e i r own sake. Their only purpose was t o g i v e pleasure. Max thought Ibsen's characters were already out of date i n the 1890's, whereas Cyrano de Bergerac was s t i l l v i t a l l y a l i v e . I t seemed t o Max that the romantic play which su r v i v e d the t e s t of time was that which contained one c e n t r a l f i g u r e to which a l l e l s e was subordinated. Cyrano was such a f i g u r e ; and so was the Count of Monte C r i s t o . They remained a l i v e f o r him not only because of t h e i r b a s i s i n r e a l i t y , but a l s o because the authors, i n t a k i n g t h e i r f a n t a s t i c characters s e r i o u s l y , t r u l y envisaged them. Max b e l i e v e d that nothing was impossible i n a fantasy that was founded on s o l i d r e a l i t y , or that was made u n e r r i n g l y l o g i c a l and r e a l i s t i c from the improbable premise to the f a n t a s t i c c o n c l u s i o n , because then the meaning and the i l l u s i o n were sustained. Even so frank a fantasy as The P r i s o n e r of  Zenda gave Max the i l l u s i o n of l i f e because of the manner of Anthony Hope's p r e s e n t a t i o n . Mr. Hope was able t o persuade h i s audience that l i f e would be so much more d e l i g h t f u l i f - 61 -such things could a c t u a l l y happen, and thereby he made h i s play a d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m of l i f e . Where the characters and s i t u a t i o n s were wholly a r t i -f i c i a l the v i t a l i t y of the play depended upon the s t y l e . Oscar Wilde's a r t i f i c i a l s i t u a t i o n s and a r t i f i c i a l dialogue gave Max the i l l u s i o n of l i f e , not so much because l i f e was woven i n t o the f a r c e of The Importance of Being Ernest, but because of the magnificence of the a b s u r d i t y which l a y i n the s t y l e . The v i t a l i t y was i n the language and manner of p l a y i n g , not i n the t r u t h to l i f e . "Throughout the dialogue was the horse-play of a d i s t i n g u i s h e d i n t e l l e c t and a d i s -t i n g u i s h e d imagination--a horse-play among words and i d e a s , 77 conducted w i t h p o e t i c d i g n i t y . " Fantasy and w i t t y comedy d e l i g h t e d Max more than most plays of modern r e a l i s m because he was not expected to take them s e r i o u s l y , and because they appealed to h i s love of the e x o t i c . In The Admirable C r i c h t o n , James B a r r i e portrayed impossible people doing impossible t h i n g s . C e r t a i n l y there was a s e r i o u s element i n the f a n t a s y , the point t h a t s e r v i l -i t y was the r e s u l t of circumstances r a t h e r than weakness of c h a r a c t e r , but h a p p i l y f o r Max, the emphasis was on the fabulous elements, and the sheer fun of make-believe. He a l s o loved the I r i s h playwrights J.M. Synge and W.B. Yeats, whose plays possessed the pleasurable q u a l i t y 78 of "something simple and q u i t e strange." He admired the simple, seemingly a r t l e s s manner i n which they c a r r i e d a - 62 -dramatic idea t o i t s dramatic e f f e c t . He was charmed by t h e i r p o e t i c and evocative use of symbolism, and the beauty of t h e i r language. For him, the I r i s h were an e x o t i c people. Max f e l t any hope f o r the f u t u r e of po e t i c drama depended on the I r i s h t h e a t r e , and e s p e c i a l l y on Yeats. One other " e x o t i c " Max loved was the n o v e l i s t Ouida; not f o r that q u a l i t y of strangeness which the I r i s h possessed, but f o r her love of beauty which she di s p l a y e d i n s p l e n d i d d e s c r i p t i o n s of e x o t i c p l a c e s , palaces and je w e l s . Her characters were the merest a b s t r a c t i o n s , but they could always " i l l u d e " Max. She so p a s s i o n a t e l y b e l i e v e d i n them that he 79 was able t o b e l i e v e i n them t o o . ' 7 She captured f o r Max, although i n a much cruder manner than George Meredith or Ma e t e r l i n c k , the mystery, the romance, the beauty and the pathos of l i f e , i n her own i n i m i t a b l e s t y l e . She d e l i g h t e d him because, i n n a t e l y , Max d i d not want l i f e s t r i p p e d t o the bare bones of a l l romantic i l l u s i o n . He wanted l i f e c l o t hed by a unique, c r e a t i v e imagination which had as much sense f o r beauty and form as i t had f o r l i f e . CHAPTER I I SOURCE REFERENCES 1. Max Beerbohm, " C o n f e s s i o n a l , " Saturday Review, London February 19, 1910, p. 233, c i t e d i n J.G. Riewald, Sir"Max  Beerbohm, The Hague, Martinus N i j h o f f , 1953, p. 150. 2. Max Beerbohm, "Plays Repeated," Around Theatres, London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1953 [copyright 1924], p. 92. 3. Max Beerbohm, "Mr. Henry James' P l a y , " Around Theatres, p. 541-4. I b i d . , p. 544. 5. Beerbohm, "The Tempest," Around Theatres, p. 295. 6. Loc. c i t . 7. Beerbohm, "The Campden Wonder," Around Theatres, p. 446. 8. Beerbohm, "A cursory Conspectus of G.B.S.," Around Theatres, p. 172. 9. Beerbohm, "Melpomene," Around Theatres, p. 98. 10. Beerbohm, "The Lackey's C a r n i v a l , " Around Theatres, p. 109. 11. Beerbohm, "The Thieves' Comedy," Around Theatres, p. 368. 12. Beerbohm, "A 'Dreary' P l a y , " Around Theatres, p. 252. 13. Beerbohm, "An Aside," Around Theatres, p. 29. 14- Beerbohm, "Tess," Around Theatres, p. 68. 15. Beerbohm, "Lytton Stracheyrp" Mainly on the A i r , p. 210. 16. Beerbohm, "Melpomene," Around Theatres," p. 95-17. Beerbohm, "Comparisons," Around Theatres, p. 26. 18. IlDid. , p. 26. 19. Loc. c i t . 20. Max Beerbohm, "Madame Tussaud's," Works and More, London, John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1952 [copyright Works, 1896, More, 1099], p. 152. 21. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's Roderick Hudson," Around  Theatres, p. 445* 22. Beerbohm, "The Lower Depths," Around Theatres, p. 304. 23. I b i d . , p. 303. 24. Harold Hobson, V e r d i c t at Midnight, p. 29. 25. Beerbohm, "Melpomene," Around Theatres, p. 96. 26. Beerbohm, "Mr. Pinero Progresses," Around Theatres, p. 163. 27. I b i d . , p. 166. 28. J.G. Riewald, S i r Max Beerbohm, p. 185. 29. I b i d . , p. 151. 30. Beerbohm, "Ibsen," Around Theatres, p. 434-31. I b i d . , p. 433. 32. I b i d . , p. 434-33• Loc. c i t . 34. I b i d . , p. 435-35. Beerbohm, "An A c t r e s s , and a P l a y , " Around Theatres p. 200. 36. Op. c i t . , pp. 435-436. 37. Beerbohm, "A Memorable Performance," Around  Theatres, p. 498. 38. Beerbohm, "An Hypeorisy i n Playgoing," Around  Theatres, p. 280. 3.9. Beerbohm, "Mr. Conrad's P l a y , " Around Theatres, p. 385. - 65 -40. S.N. Behrman, P o r t r a i t of Max, New York, Random House, I960, p. 22. 41. Beerbohm, "A Conspectus of G.B.S.," Around  Theatres, p. 172. 42. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw Crescent," Around Theatres, p. 120. 43. Loc. c i t . 44. Beerbohm, "A Conspectus of G.B.S.," Around  Theatres, p. 173* 45. I b i d . , p. 172. 46. I b i d . , p. 174. 47. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's New Dialogues," Around  Theatres, p. 268. 48. E r i c Bentley, Bernard Shaw, New York, New D i r e c -t i o n s Books, James L a u g h l i n , 1957, p. 105. 49. I b i d . , p. 108. 50. A.S. Frere-Reeves, " V i l l i n o Chiaro. A V i s i t t o Max," Saturday Review, London, December 25, 1926, p. 797. 51. Katherine Lyon Mix. "Max on Shaw," The Shaw Review, v o l . 6, No. 3 (September 1963), p. 104. 52. Beerbohm, "Shaw at h i s Best," Around Theatres, p. 357. 53. I b i d . , p. 355. 54. Bentley, Bernard Shaw, p. 110. $.5. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's P o s i t i o n , " Around Theatres, p. 413. 56. I b i d . , p. 414. 57. I b i d . , p. 412. 58. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's Roderick Hudson," Around  Theatres, p. 446. 59. Doris Jones, The L i f e and L e t t e r s of Henry Arthur  Jones, London, V i c t o r Gollancz L t d . , 1930, p. 137. - 66 -60. Op. c i t . , p. 444. 61. Beerbohm, "The P h i l a n d e r e r , " Around Theatres, p. 451. 62. Loc. c i t . 63• Loc. c i t . 64. Loc. c i t . 65. Beerbohm, "Arms and the Man," Around Theatres, p. 492. 66. Beerbohm, "Getting M a r r i e d , " Around Theatres, p. 512. 67. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's 'Debate'," Around Theatres, p. 562. 68. Loc. c i t . 69. Beerbohm, "The Return of the P r o d i g a l , " Around  Theatres, p. 394. 70. Beerbohm, "The Voysey I n h e r i t a n c e , " Around Theatres, p. 401. 71. Beerbohm, " J u s t i c e , " Around Theatres, p. 566. 72. Beerbohm, "The Madras House," Around Theatres, p. 570. 73• Loc. c i t . 74. Mix, "Max on Shaw," p. 100. 75. I b i d . , p. 104. 76. Beerbohm, "Playgoing," Mainly on the A i r , New Tork, A l f r e d K. Knopf, 1958, p. 65. 77. Beerbohm, "The Importance of Being Ernest," Around Theatres, p. 190. 78. Beerbohm, " I r i s h Plays and P l a y e r s , " Around  Theatres, p. 315. 79. Beerbohm, "Ouida," Works and More, p. 193. CHAPTER I I I AN EXACT AND BEAUTIFUL STYLE The a r t i s t i c q u a l i t i e s which Max considered e s s e n t i a l t o create the i l l u s i o n of l i f e were a l s o those which were e s s e n t i a l to the making of a true s t y l e . To create an exact and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e , the a r t i s t r e q u i r e d a d e f i n i t e and un-mistakable p e r s o n a l i t y , the c r e a t i v e power and the t e c h n i c a l s k i l l s to express h i s ' s e l f through h i s p a r t i c u l a r v i s i o n of l i f e , completely, p e r f e c t l y and w i t h apparently e f f o r t l e s s ease. He a l s o r e q u i r e d a sense of inward harmony to express h i s perceptions b e a u t i f u l l y . To Max, the paramount t h i n g i n any a r t was p e r s o n a l i t y , and because the essay allowed f o r the most p e r f e c t expression of p e r s o n a l i t y , he r a t e d the e s s a y i s t higher than the romancer. I n the essay, he f e l t the l e v e l of a r t i s t i c achievement de-pended on how p r e c i s e l y and how d e l i g h t f u l l y the e s s a y i s t ' s words t r a n s c r i b e d h i s thoughts and how f l u e n t l y h i s cadences caught the tone of h i s emotions. "Himself was the t h i n g to be obtruded and s t y l e was the only means to that end." 1 In f a c t s t y l e was everything because the manner was the man. Consequently, the s t y l i s t had t o reproduce not only h i s per-ception of t r u t h or h i s p a r t i c u l a r emotions, but a l s o the 2 ' i n f i n i t e l y v a r i a b l e pauses' of h i s own v o i c e . I t was the c l e a r v o c a l cadence that conveyed the personal q u a l i t y which - 69 -i n d i v i d u a l i z e d the s t y l e . True s t y l e was i n every respect a 'personal' matter. I t was "not a mere spy-hole to t h i n g s i n general, but a spy-hole to t h i n g s as they were r e f l e c t e d i n the s o u l of the 3 w r i t e r . " For t h i s reason the modern s t y l i s t faced a more complex task then d i d h i s counterpart i n the Eighteenth Century. The techniques t h a t were r e q u i r e d t o express a l l the f i n e shades of h i s thought and meaning i n a f r e s h , c o l l o q u i a l manner d i r e c t e d him as f a r as p o s s i b l e from natur-a l conversation. P a r a d o x i c a l l y , the method f o r reproducing a c o l l o q u i a l manner was almost i t s opposite. I n novels and s t o r i e s , of course, the w r i t e r could not obtrude himself i f he intended to make h i s characters' person-a l i t i e s r e a l and i n d i v i d u a l . However, the a r t i s t ' s p e r s o n a l i t y s t i l l r evealed i t s e l f i n d i r e c t l y through the recurrence of themes and the m o t i v a t i o n of the c h a r a c t e r s . In Henry James, Max found 'heart and manners', q u a l i t i e s which he considered to be the very essence of i n d i v i d u a l i t y . I t was the 'passion of conscience' which motivated most of Henry James' characters and t h e r e f o r e i n d i r e c t l y expressed the author's own moral f e r v o u r ^ I n Joseph Conrad's novels, a deep personal concern f o r the i s o l a t i o n of man and the i d e a of f i d e l i t y became r e -current themes. However, the characters i n Conrad's and James's novels had l i v e s of t h e i r own because the authors were able to p r o j e c t t h e i r characters from themselves. L i k e the n o v e l i s t , the dramatist a l s o had to p r o j e c t h i s characters from himself, a l l o w i n g h i s p e r s o n a l i t y to - 70 -i n f i l t r a t e h i s themes and to motivate h i s characters s u b t l y and i n d i r e c t l y . The s t y l e of the dramatist was not the per-f e c t expression of the w r i t e r ' s s e l f , but the p e r f e c t expres-5 s i o n of va r i o u s s e l v e s . The d i f f e r e n c e between the n o v e l i s t ' s s t y l e and th a t of the dramatist was p r i n c i p a l l y i n the matter of dialogue. L i t e r a r y characters could speak i n a l i t e r a r y manner without d e s t r o y i n g the i l l u s i o n of t h e i r r e a l i t y . The words of the dramatist had to be e a s i e r , more c o l l o q u i a l and f a m i l i a r than the words of the n o v e l i s t or s t o r y t e l l e r . Even i n p o e t i c drama, there needed to be "a t i n c t u r e of o r a l s t y l e throughout the speeches";^* but i n plays of modern r e a l i s m , the characters had to seem to be speaking i n the manner of human beings, and to do t h i s the dramatist had to s e l e c t , compress and sharpen h i s dialogues to f r e e them from the i r r e l e v a n c y that comprised most a c t u a l t a l k . Furthermore, the characters had to speak b e a u t i f u l l y . For the dramatist as f o r the n o v e l i s t , l i t e r a r y s t y l e was the expression of the w r i t e r ' s various selves i n an exact and b e a u t i f u l manner. P e r s o n a l i t y was paramount, but c r e a t i v e power was a l s o e s s e n t i a l to the a r t i s t w i t h t r u e s t y l e . The q u a l i t y of that power l a y i n h i s a b i l i t y t o 'envisage h i s man', p a r t i c u l a r l y i f the character were a creature of romance or of parody; and i n h i s t a l e n t f o r evoking person, place or scene out of a 7 f u l l s t o r e of l o v e and knowledge of h i s s u b j e c t . Max c a l l e d t h i s t r u e v i s i o n because the c r e a t i v e i n s p i r a t i o n sprang.from w i t h i n the a r t i s t . I t was n e i t h e r faked from without i n the manner of most popular, p r o f e s s i o n a l n o v e l i s t s and dramatists, nor produced i n the manner of a c r i t i c a l r a t h e r than a c r e a t i v e i n t e l l i g e n c e . - 71 -Max thought that George Moore possessed a c r i t i c a l r a t h e r than a c r e a t i v e genius because that ' v i t a l magic* which rendered l o v e and knowledge i n t o a r t , and which gave such v i t a l i t y to h i s c r i t i c i s m s , was l a c k i n g i n h i s n o v e l s . He regarded Moore's novels as experiments "made w i t h admir-able s k i l l and p a t i e n c e " , but f o r a l l h i s t e c h n i c a l and s c i e n t i f i c knowledge, h i s novels "somehow f a i l e d of that f i n a l r e s u l t f o r which they were made: the c r e a t i o n of authentic 8 l i f e . " Moore*s h a b i t of r e w r i t i n g h i s e a r l i e r novels a f t e r they had been published seemed to Max t o be the d e a d l i e s t c r i t i c i s m they could have, f o r i f the characters d i d not l i v e u n a l t e r a b l y f o r the author, f o r whom could they l i v e ? I n h i s essay on Moore i n M a i n l y on the A i r , he expressed the opinion t h a t once a novel had been published, the characters were beyond the w r i t e r ' s power. Their i n d i v i d u a l i t y and the events of t h e i r l i v e s were "as u n a l t e r a b l e ... as the charact-9 er and career of the l a t e Queen V i c t o r i a . " C e r t a i n l y there was some j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r Max's con-t e n t i o n that Moore's novels were experiments. Temperamentally Moore was e a s i l y e x c i t e d by new ideas and new a r t forms. In Esther Waters (1894) the theme was experimental i n the sense that servants had never before been t r e a t e d s e r i o u s l y as the p r i n c i p a l characters of an E n g l i s h n o v e l . A l s o , the s t y l e was experimental because'Moore h a b i t u a l l y experimented w i t h a v a r i e t y of s t y l e s from the rough n a t u r a l i s m of Zola to the r e f i n e d a e s t h e t i c i s m of Walter P a t e r . S t y l e was always more important to him than subject matter. In f a c t , a r t i n t e r e s t e d George Moore more than l i f e . That i s why he chose the extreme - 72 -p o s i t i o n on a r t f o r a r t f s sake. I n Modern P a i n t i n g (1893) he agreed w i t h W h i s t l e r ' s viewpoint on the unimportance of subject and m o r a l i t y . He b e l i e v e d that since l i t e r a t u r e was already separated from s o c i e t y , s t y l e could be separated from substance. A c t u a l l y , i t was Moore's i n t e r e s t i n p e r f e c t i n g h i s form and s t y l e which prompted him t o r e w r i t e h i s novels, and i t i s on p o i n t s of s t y l e that most of h i s changes were made. Even so, he was not above s a c r i f i c i n g the l o g i c a l develop-ment of h i s n a r r a t i v e , i f the r e s u l t showed an improvement i n the q u a l i t y and flow of the s t y l e . Several passages he deleted i n Esther Waters caused the reader some confusion. For i n s t a n c e , i n shortening the account of the servant's b a l l , he l e f t out the reason f o r the q u a r r e l between Esther and W I T 1 0 W i l l i a m . When Moore wrote Esther Waters h i s purpose was to render a servant's l o t i n purely n a t u r a l i s t i c terms. He wanted to make Esther's r e a c t i o n s a b s o l u t e l y p l a u s i b l e as he f e l t those of Tess i n Hardy's Tess of the D ' U r b e r v i l l e s had not been. However, by adhering so s t r i c t l y to plaus-i b i l i t y , Moore deprived h i s novel of the emotional power and t r a g i c beauty of Hardy's masterpiece. I t was t h i s l o s s which made c r e a t i v e c r i t i c s such as Katherine M a n s f i e l d and V i r g i n i a Woolf consider Esther Waters a f i n e piece of c r a f t -manship, but not a great novel, because i t lacked the breath of l i f e . The f a c t that Moore accomplished what he set out to do makes Esther Waters a remarkable achievement. One cannot - 73 -blame the author f o r f a i l i n g to accomplish what he d i d not in t e n d , but the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t even h i s f i n e s t purely-c r e a t i v e work showed an absence of emotional power suggests th a t perhaps Moore d i d , a f t e r a l l , l a c k that ' v i t a l magic' which was necessary to p r o j e c t from himself characters that were not only wholly r e a l i s t i c but a l s o wholly a l i v e . A l s o , h i s tendency to s a c r i f i c e sense to s t y l e , as evidenced by h i s c a r e l e s s d e l e t i o n s , does seem to f i t Max's p r i n c i p l e that a w r i t e r who does not love l i f e f o r i t s own sake can-not, i n any r e a l sense, create i t . The extent to which l i t e r a r y s t y l e could be made exact and b e a u t i f u l depended upon the degree of the a r t i s t ' s c r e a t i v e power, and h i s use of i t as an amateur or as a pro-f e s s i o n a l w r i t e r . Whereas the e x q u i s i t e w r i t e r expressed himself best as an amateur w r i t e r , Max f e l t the great w r i t e r of genius responded best to ' p r o f e s s i o n a l i s m * . This d i s t i n c -t i o n w i l l l a t e r be ex p l a i n e d . An e x q u i s i t e w r i t e r , l i k e Walter Pater, was a great man i n a small way. A w r i t e r of genius l i k e Balzac was a great man i n a great way. The e x q u i s i t e w r i t e r was one who wrote s o l e l y f o r h i s own pleas u r e . Having no deadlines to meet, he l i n g e r e d over h i s work, t a k i n g w i t h slow, d e l i b e r a t e steps, the way to perfection." 1" 1 Lacking the "cheap ready-made knowledge of 'how to do t h i n g s ' " that hack w r i t e r s employ, he had t o f i n d h i s own way, even f o r the e a s i e s t and most 12 obvious t h i n g s . Consequently, h i s work achieved an aura of d i s t i n c t i o n , a unique personal f l a v o u r and s i g n i f i c a n c e — a n d beauty, because i t was f i n e l y and d e l i c a t e l y made. Max thought the most e x q u i s i t e work of h i s time was - 74 -done by Walter P a t e r . ^ He a t t r i b u t e d the p e c u l i a r value and beauty of Pater's w r i t i n g to the f a c t that he was an amateur, and had always to grope i n 'the recesses of h i s consciousness' to f i n d words to express the simplest thought.' Because he searched and was not rushed, h i s w r i t i n g gave an exact and v i v i d presentment of h i s p e r s o n a l i t y and a q u a l i t y of beauty that was unique. Pater's s e l f was 'a s e n s i t i v e , f a s t i d i o u s , ever-15 ruminating s e l f . ' The quietism, 'the l i n g e r i n g and exquis-i t e melancholy' of h i s s t y l e was genuine i n t h a t i t came from w i t h i n the a r t i s t . 1 ^ Max admired the d i s t i n c t i n d i v i d u a l i t y of Pater's p e r s o n a l i t y as revealed i n h i s a r t , and of course, h i s sense f o r beauty, but he could not love Pater's s t y l e because i t l a c k e d a sense f o r l i f e as Max noted i n the Satur- day Review (1903), " L i f e was too harsh, chaotic an a f f a i r f o r 17 the t i m i d and exacting soul of P a t e r . " He p r e f e r r e d t o look at l i f e through v e i l s of a r t . His sense of escapism was j u s t t h a t s o r t t h a t Max s t u d i o u s l y avoided, because he r e a l -i z e d t h a t w r i t e r s who d i d not p a s s i o n a t e l y observe l i f e could not express i t , and a r t without l i f e was dead a r t , no matter how e x q u i s i t e l y i t was rendered. The f a c t t h a t Max s i n g l e d out Pater's as the most e x q u i s i t e work of h i s time i s understandable i n terms of i t s Byzantine q u a l i t i e s . Max loved elaborate i n g e n u i t i e s of form and s t y l e , and these abounded i n Pater's w r i t i n g . He was a master of gorgeous c o n c e i t s and j e w e l l e d phrases. As f a t h e r of the Oxford A e s t h e t i c Movement, Pater was a l s o the l e a d i n g a u t h o r i t y on the c u l t of the mot j u s t e . For Max, as f o r other i n t e l l e c t u a l aesthetes of the ' E i g h t i e s and ' N i n e t i e s , - 75 -he was the master of f i n e shades and the very model of a e s t h e t i c i s m . Max f e l t t h a t work done by the e x q u i s i t e w r i t e r who was a l s o an amateur could be t r i v i a l , but i t would never be v u l g a r i n the sense of being p u r e l y commercial. This was not true of the p r o f e s s i o n a l w r i t e r , unless he was a genius. For a genius d i d not have to invent to keep up w i t h a con-stant output; h i s resources were i n e x h a u s t i b l e . He was not i n danger of that • f a t a l Fluency' t h a t p r o f e s s i o n a l i s m i n -curred, u n t i l the w r i t e r was at l e n g t h robbed of the power 18 to express anything from h i m s e l f . P r o f e s s i o n a l i s m which k i l l e d the e x q u i s i t e t a l e n t was of r e a l s e r v i c e to a genius of Balzac's s t a t u r e . Since he was so p o w e r f u l l y h i m s e l f , even h i s h a s t i e s t work was recog-n i z a b l y h i s own. His l a c k of l e i s u r e never s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d the q u a l i t y of h i s work because, as a great a r t i s t , he poss-19 essed a constant f l o w of c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y . Had he been f r e e from h i s burden of debts, Max b e l i e v e d he would not have tr o u b l e d to w r i t e more c a r e f u l l y ; he -simply would have w r i t t e n l e s s . Much as Max was awed by great genius, i t overwhelmed him and made him uneasy. He i n n a t e l y d i s l i k e d g i g a n t i c i t y . He was a l s o too f a s t i d i o u s to overlook unevenness i n any work of a r t , and works of genius were p a r t i c u l a r l y d i s t u r b i n g be-cause at the same time that he marvelled at the b r i l l i a n c e , he saw the flaws i n even sharper c o n t r a s t . Balzac's devour-i n g passion f o r l i f e , h i s i n e x h a u s t i b l e knowledge of f a c t s , h i s g i f t f o r c a r e f u l l y s e t t i n g the stage f o r character and drama, these q u a l i t i e s were favourably contrasted w i t h the - 76 -more tiresome aspects of h i s genius, such as h i s joy i n d i g r e s s i o n . Although Balzac's genius was such t h a t i n the end, he never l o s t c o n t r o l , the problem f o r Max l a y i n get-t i n g t o th a t end. I n an amusing t r i b u t e t o Balzac, he wrote: For Balzac I have an i n t e n s e c u l t . . . . I deem him next t o Shakespeare, the greatest c r e a t -i v e genius the world has ever known....No ecstasy of p r a i s e has seemed to me more than hi s due. Several times, even, I have t r i e d to read one or another of h i s books. But I have never been able to wade f u r t h e r than the second chapter....My whole being, as I have protested, bows down to him. Only, I can't read him. 20 Max loved best the s t y l e of an e x q u i s i t e t a l e n t because i t was d e l i c a t e , formal and b e a u t i f u l . W r i t e r s of genius were c a r e l e s s of t h e i r strength; i t was the e x q u i s i t e w r i t e r who laboured to p e r f e c t h i s s t y l e to become a master of prose. He learned through i n f i n i t e pains how to use "that very 21 b e a u t i f u l medium, the E n g l i s h language." A f t e r c r e a t i v e power, i t was the t e c h n i c a l s k i l l s which enabled the s t y l i s t to express h i s v i s i o n of l i f e , completely, p e r f e c t l y and w i t h apparently e f f o r t l e s s ease. 22 For good w r i t i n g was "a t h i n g of i n f i n i t e f o r m a l i t y . " Yet the f o r m a l i t y could never r e v e a l i t s e l f , or the w r i t i n g would become l i f e l e s s . The tru e s t y l i s t needed to present " h i s ideas i n the f i n e s t , s t r i c t e s t form, p a r i n g , w h i t t l i n g , p o l i s h -23 i n g , " but h i s s k i l l had t o be concealed from a l l but the perceptive few, under a general e f f e c t of pleasure. W h i s t l e r achieved t h i s . His sentences rang w i t h a " c l e a r v o c a l o r cadence" created without v i s i b l e p a i ns. Good E n g l i s h , i n Max's op i n i o n , was f a r more d i f f i c u l t to w r i t e than good French. The French language, which was - 77 -based on L a t i n and kept f r e e from c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e s since the time of R i c h e l i e u , had gained over E n g l i s h i n l u c i d i t y and euphony. Yet the E n g l i s h language, being p a r t L a t i n and part Saxon, was f o r the true s t y l i s t an even f i n e r medium 25 than the French. ' The d i f f i c u l t i e s which had to be surmount-ed a c t u a l l y enriched the te x t u r e of the w r i t i n g . The E n g l i s h language was a l s o superior i n i t s powers of suggestion. Max f e l t i t contained mystery. An E n g l i s h poet could be s i n u l t a n e o u s l y expressive and suggestive. Shakespeare, above a l l poets, gave h i s phrases wonderful shadows by charging them w i t h "a dim s i g n i f i c a n c e beyond 26 t h e i r meaning and w i t h r e v e r b e r a t i o n s beyond t h e i r sound." In Hamlet the q u a l i t y of the theme was such th a t the shadows were more r e a l and more r e v e a l i n g than the phrases c a s t i n g 27 them. ' To Max these overtones not only made the pla y immortal; they a l s o made i t i n t e l l i g i b l e . For ins t a n c e , any depth of understanding of Hamlet's s o l i l o q u y "To be or not to be" depends more on what the speech suggests than on what i s a c t u a l l y s a i d . Max c a l l e d L a t i n the bony s t r u c t u r e of the E n g l i s h language and Saxon i t s f l e s h and blood. Of the two he f e l t . : t h a t L a t i n was the more important element, f o r without a good grounding i n L a t i n the w r i t e r ' s s t y l e tended to be d i f f u s e and sloppy. D. H. Lawrence impressed Max as a poor model f o r prose i n s p i t e of h i s n a t u r a l genius because he lac k e d c l a s s i -c a l d i s c i p l i n e i n h i s s t y l e . On the other hand, Max d i d not favour a L a t i n element so strong that the s t y l e became a r i d . I t was the mean of the extremes that he aimed a t ; a manner - 78 -th a t was c l a s s i c a l and at the same time so f l e x i b l e that i t n a t u r a l l y accorded to every v a r i a t i o n of the w r i t e r ' s theme. He b e l i e v e d L y t t o n Strachey was an example of the 'mean'. Elegance and f l e x i b i l i t y appealed to Max's c l a s s i c a l sense of s t y l e , but i t was not enough to s a t i s f y h i s l o v e of the Byzantine. He loved the e x o t i c and the h i g h l y f i n i s h e d manner i n l i t e r a t u r e . The j e w e l l e d phrases and strange con-c e i t s d e l i g h t e d him as they had d e l i g h t e d other aesthetes of the ' N i n e t i e s . U n l i k e some aesthetes, however, Max d i d not love words merely f o r themselves, but mainly as they added beauty and s i g n i f i c a n c e to the o v e r - a l l s t y l e . I n f a c t , i t was h i s d e s i r e f o r s t y l i s t i c p e r f e c t i o n which l e d him t o impose c l a s s i c a l r e s t r a i n t . A l s o , he was aware of the dangers of v e r b a l p r e c i o s i t y . W r i t e r s who lapsed i n t o p r e c i o s i t y f a i l e d to create the i l l u s i o n of l i f e because a r t mattered more to them than l i f e , and manner more than matter. Walter Pater's preference f o r a r t gave h i s prose the aura of a splen d i d f u n e r a l . Robert Louis Stevenson f a i l e d to give an i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y t o such novels as Treasure I s l a n d and The Master of B a l l a n t r a e be-cause h i s elaborate t e c h n i c a l graces and charming i n g e n u i t i e s d i s t r a c t e d the reader from the s t o r y to the s t y l e . Max enjoyed the h i g h l y mannered s t y l e i n i t s proper context. Stevenson's / g i f t s f o r w i t t y and r i o t o u s f antasy were best expressed i n The New Arabian Nights and The Dynamiters. I n fantasy and romance h i s Byzantine manner became an i n t e g r a l part of the fun and heightened the humour. I n the end, the important t h i n g was not whether the - 79 -vocabulary was ornate or simple but how w e l l the words con-veyed the author's meaning, and how s u c c e s s f u l l y they c o n t r i -buted to the o v e r - a l l s t y l e . The object f o r every w r i t e r was to f i n d the r i g h t words and the r i g h t cadence to express h i s 28 meaning, whether h i s aim was d i g n i t y or r i d i c u l e . Max f e l t The Gentle A r t of Making Enemies revealed W h i s t l e r ' s p e c u l i a r genius f o r t u r n i n g slang i n t o an urbane, i f e c c e n t r i c , s t y l e . 29 His s t y l e was 'of the maddest motley,' comprising American-isms, Cockneyisms, and P a r i s i a n argot which were "so d e f t l y cut and f i t t e d to the f i g u r e , and worn wi t h such an a i r , as 30 to become a very gracious harmony." As an aesthete, Max b e l i e v e d that the q u a l i t y of beauty was not only e s s e n t i a l to the making of a tr u e l i t e r a r y s t y l e , but a l s o i t s f i n a l g o a l . I t was not vigour or sharpness but beauty of expression which d i s t i n g u i s h e d l i t e r a t u r e from j o u r n a l i s m . He thought the w r i t e r must express h i s meaning so t h a t nobody could miss i t or f o r g e t i t , and f u r t h e r , that h i s meaning must be expressed i n such a manner as to awaken i n him "a pious joy i n those harmonies of words and cadences 31 which could be found i f they were sought f o r . " I t was a sense of inward harmony which was the key t o b e a u t i f u l style.. The beauty manifested i n Max's s t y l e i s best defined as a h i g h l y c i v i l i z e d sense of order, refinement and e x q u i s i t e -ness. However, he was able to appreciate the sense f o r beauty i n w r i t e r s q u i t e u n l i k e h i m s e l f . Ouida's sense of beauty was n e i t h e r e x q u i s i t e nor r e f i n e d , but i t was the r e s u l t of true v i s i o n . From a wealth of love and knowledge of a l l kinds of beauty i n a r t and nature she was able to convey her sense of - 80 -32 beauty to others. Max f e l t i f three conditions were f u l f i l l e d , that of exactness, beauty and apparently e f f o r t l e s s ease, prose might 33 a t t a i n to the dignity of poetry. I t s rhythms might become as magical as the rhythms of poetry. They might even become more magical because they were subtler and more exceptional. His long apprenticeship i n the perfecting of his craft gave Max a sound basis for appreciating the work of other l i t e r a r y s t y l i s t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y those who approached the art of writing with the same sense of love and dedication. His c r i t i c a l p o s ition was frequently narrow, but even so, the insights he shed on matters of sty l e were o r i g i n a l , penetrat-ing and j u s t . These insights w i l l be discussed i n the follow-ing studies of l i t e r a r y s t y l i s t s i n the essay, the novel and the play. Max's appreciation of the work of Lytton Strachey had encouraged the younger writer at a time when many considered his four essays on Eminent Vic t o r i a n s (1918) a "f l i p p a n t and irreverent attack on the great and noble dead." He was delighted both with the subject and the 'graceful, c i v i l i z e d 35 and i r o n i c a l manner' i n which i t was treated. y At the same time he was delighted to discover such an exquisite l i t e r a r y a r t i s t i n the midst of the grimness and ugliness of the war. He f e l t an immediate a f f i n i t y f o r Strachey, not only f o r his fli p p a n t and irreverent manner, but also because he "represent-ed a further advance i n a movement of which Max had been an originator."^6 j u s t a s ^ e a n c i other i n t e l l e c t u a l aesthetes of the 'Nineties had shocked t h e i r elders by making fun of - £1 -the eminent V i c t o r i a n s , so Strachey was now shocking h i s f a t h e r ' s generation. I n Strachey Max found, i n many ways',: h i s younger s e l f . Here was an a r t i s t who was " i n t e n s e l y concerned w i t h the r a m i f i c a t i o n s of human character, and g r e a t l y amused by them." He was an i n d i v i d u a l i s t w i t h an independent mind and a c r i t i c -a l i r o n i c temperament. His mockery was " l i g h t and lambent, 38 a r a t h e r i r r e s p o n s i b l e t h i n g . " He chose to mock the t h i n g he loved and t h e r e f o r e malice was not the b a s i s f o r h i s mock-ery. He was f a s t i d i o u s , and an e s c a p i s t i n the sense that he p r e f e r r e d the past w i t h i t s freedom from i r r e l e v a n c i e s and i t s q u a l i t y of being complete and s e t t l e d . In h i s essay, "Lytton Strachey," i n Mainly on the A i r Max c a l l e d Strachey an eighteenth century man because he was more at home i n an age of w i t and reason than i n the a f t e r -math of the I n d u s t r i a l R evolution, and because he was as much at ease i n French as i n E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e and l i f e . His n a t u r a l a f f i n i t y f o r the eighteenth century however, managed to s p o i l Strachey's book E l i z a b e t h and Essex (1928). Max f e l t he was not that s o r t of 'robustious, slapdash w r i t e r ' who might have convinced him that he "was i n close touch w i t h the souls of those beings whose a c t i o n s and motives were... as mysterious as those of w i l d animals i n an impenetrable 39 j u n g l e . " As a biographer, Strachey impressed Max w i t h h i s g i f t f o r c o n s t r u c t i o n and h i s s p l e n d i d g i f t f o r n a r r a t i v e . He was an a r t i s t who possessed true v i s i o n . He could not only see the t h i n g he had to t e l l , and the people concerned i n i t , but - 82 -he saw them outwardly and inwardly, i n such a way that the 40 reader was able to share h i s v i s i o n . Only i n h i s p o r t r a i t of Dr. Arnold d i d Max f e e l Strachey had f a i l e d . The study was not p e n e t r a t i n g but was composed i n a v e i n of sheer mockery. I t was the only work of h i s t h a t Max l a b e l l e d d e f i n i t e l y u n f a i r . As a c r i t i c , Strachey again proved remarkedly a b l e . I n h i s b i o g r a p h i c a l work, Max found an element of c r i t i c i s m which was both i m p l i c i t and e x p l i c i t . He thought that Strachey was the best k i n d of c r i t i c , h e l p f u l l y i n t e r p r e t i v e , an a l -most c r e a t i v e c r i t i c who was passive before he became a c t i v e . "With an i n t e l l e c t of s t e e l y q u a l i t y there was combined i n him a deep s e n s i b i l i t y and r e c e p t i v i t y . He had f e l t before 41 he thought." Max b e l i e v e d that h i s c r i t i c a l essays on Racine and Pope had done much to reawaken an a p p r e c i a t i o n of t h e i r m e r i t s . However, what he admired most of a l l i n Strachey was that he was "a d e l i c a t e l y e f f u l g e n t master, a p e r f e c t master, 42 of E n g l i s h prose." He found i n him the two q u a l i t i e s e s s e n t i a l to anyone who would w r i t e w e l l i n "that very b e a u t i f u l medium, the E n g l i s h language," a s o l i d grounding i n L a t i n and a keen n a t u r a l i n s t i n c t f o r expressing himself i n w r i t i n g . ^ Max b e l i e v e d that Strachey*s p e r f e c t knowledge of the L a t i n and Saxon elements i n the language added n o b i l i t y to h i s already f l e x i b l e s t y l e . His manner was c l a s s i c a l but at the same time i t was e n t i r e l y n a t u r a l . He was not above c l i c h e s or above us i n g a pedestrian s t y l e when the m a t e r i a l warranted i t . His manner always accorded w i t h h i s themes - 83 -When he wrote of Lord Palmerston Max noted that h i s s t y l e r e f l e c t e d , the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the man, being sharp, b r i s k , s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d and l i v e l y . When he portrayed the e x o t i c Mr, D i s r a e l i , h i s s t y l e became a c c o r d i n g l y , d e l i g h t f u l l y Byzantine. Obviously here was a born w r i t e r , a taker of i n f i n i t e pains and, above a l l , a w r i t e r of b e a u t i f u l prose. I n h i s c r i t i c i s m of L y t t o n Strachey 1s work, Max p r a i s e d the l i t e r a r y q u a l i t i e s even when he disagreed w i t h the i d e a s . Although he q u a r r e l l e d with Strachey*s p o r t r a i t of Dr. Arnold, he considered each of the four essays i n Eminent V i c t o r i a n s 44 a p e r f e c t work of a r t . For him, the l i t e r a r y q u a l i t y of a work of a r t was more important than a c o n t r o v e r s i a l i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n of f a c t s , because i t was not on the permanence of the ideas t h a t a work l a s t e d , but on i t s merits as l i t e r a t u r e . Max's stand against the popular conception of Strachey as a "debunker" of eminent r e p u t a t i o n s was w e l l taken. He admired Strachey's independence of mind and judgment. He a l s o recognized the merits of h i s concern f o r the many f a c e t s of human character; and because he knew that Strachey t r i e d to r e v e a l the t r u t h about h i s sub j e c t s as he perceived i t , Max overlooked h i s imperfect sympathies w i t h such V i c t o r i a n t r a i t s as great s t r e n g t h of character, keen p r a c t i c a l sense and e f f i c i e n c y . He a l s o forgave him, because he r e a l i z e d that Strachey d i d not possess the malice of the true s a t i r -i s t . For the tru e s a t i r i s t , l i f e S w i f t , was fundamentally grim and s o l e l y concerned w i t h l a s h i n g out at the hypocris -i e s of h i s own age. Strachey, on the other hand, made no reference to current events because he was s o l e l y concerned - 84 -w i t h the V i c t o r i a n s . Those who were of the opinion that Strachey chose to a t t a c k the V i c t o r i a n s because he held them r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the modern c o n d i t i o n seem unreasonable i n the l i g h t of Max's 45 i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . For Max, there was great appeal i n V i c t o r -i a n times p r i o r to the age of u n i f o r m i t y , w i t h i t s machinery, science and a p p l i e d s c i e n c e . In those days, before standard-i z a t i o n and mass production, " l i f e was f u l l of s a l i e n t v a r i e t y , of i d i o s y n c r a s y , of oddity, of character, character untram-46 melled." He b e l i e v e d that t h i s was what p a r t i c u l a r l y appealed to L y t t o n Strachey. I n the study of character Strachey was capable of being both tender and profound. Max commended him f o r r e s t o r i n g Queen V i c t o r i a to p u b l i c admiration. His judgment i n her case was eminently f a i r . He presented her f a u l t s which were lessened i n the l i g h t of her v i r t u e s . S t i l l , i t was the cumulative e f f e c t of h i s s t y l e which t h r i l l e d Max. He thought General Gordon's s t o r y was narrated w i t h " s u b t l e s t s t r e n g t h , o s c i l l a t i n g s t e a d i l y between Downing S t r e e t and 47 the Soudan." Each place was described v i v i d l y , a l t e r n a t e -l y , repeatedly and w i t h powerful e f f e c t . This was the im-pact t h a t bowled him over. I t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Max t h a t he d i d not d w e l l on Strachey's purpose to improve biography by making i t once more a t r u t h f u l a r t . Yet Max's c r i t i c a l a p p r e c i a t i o n of the man as revealed through h i s s t y l e provided him w i t h an apprec-i a t i o n of the subject matter which seems more j u s t than the judgment of those who b e l i e v e d that Strachey's underlying - 85 -malice i n f l u e n c e d h i s s e l e c t i o n of the f a c t s , that he pre-f e r r e d to expose ra t h e r than to por t r a y h i s s u b j e c t . Max found L y t t o n Strachey a man younger than himself, w i t h a mind e x a c t l y to h i s t a s t e . Both possessed the c l a s s -i c a l s p i r i t of elegance, detachment and u r b a n i t y . Both had command of the c l a s s i c a l v i r t u e s of c l a r i t y , elegance and w i t . Because of t h e i r a r t i s t i c and temperamental a f f i n i t i e s , Max's c r i t i c a l impressions of Strachey's a r t were keenly perceptive i n matters of s t y l e , and fundamentally sound. I n h i s i n i t i a l essay on "Whist l e r ' s Writing" i n Yet Again, Max was once more a perceptive c r i t i c . Here the a f f i n i t y between the two a r t i s t s was two-fold. Both were e x q u i s i t e s t y l i s t s who were masters of small l i t e r a r y works. Both were g i f t e d a r t i s t s i n two mediums, a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . These s i m i l a r i t i e s gave Max r a r e and p e n e t r a t i n g i n s i g h t i n -to the true value of W h i s t l e r ' s w r i t i n g t a l e n t , showing that he was not l e s s an a r t i s t i n h i s w r i t i n g , but r a t h e r that he had chosen to make p a i n t i n g h i s major i n t e r e s t . I n Max's study of W h i s t l e r ' s w r i t i n g i n r e l a t i o n to h i s p a i n t i n g , he c l e a r l y showed that W h i s t l e r was a c t u a l l y an amateur i n both h i s a r t s , and that h i s very l a c k of pro-f e s s i o n a l i s m enabled him to acquire that p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t y of e x q u i s i t e n e s s and freshness t h a t l e n t d i s t i n c t i o n to a l l h i s work. "His very ignorance and t e n t a t i v e n e s s . . . f o r c e d him to search i n h i s own so u l f o r the best way of expressing i d h i s soul's meaning." Out of t h i s search, he was able to create a work which had a more personal and f r e s h e r q u a l i t y and a l s o a more p e r f e c t ' f i n i s h ' than even a p r o f e s s i o n a l - 86 -a r t i s t of genius was able to produce. Max's c r i t i c a l a p p r e c i a t i o n was most s e n s i t i v e i n r e l a t i n g the w r i t e r "as shown by himself to the s t y l e by 49 which himself was shown." A v a i n man, W h i s t l e r showed reverence and a ca r e s s i n g sense of beauty i n h i s p a i n t i n g . I t was only i n h i s w r i t i n g that h i s v a n i t y and harshness emerged. Yet i n h i s s t y l e Max found the same reverent care f o r words th a t W h i s t l e r had used i n s e l e c t i n g h i s c o l o u r -tones, and the same sense of beauty touching h i s phrases th a t had enhanced h i s forms. The f a s t i d i o u s n e s s and dandy-ism which had marked h i s p a i n t i n g a l s o came f o r t h i n h i s w r i t i n g . "His meaning was ever f e r o c i o u s ; but h i s method, how d e l i c a t e and t e n d e r i l " ^ ^ J u s t as Max was able t o perceive the q u a l i t y of Eminent V i c t o r i a n s as a work of a r t , quite apart from h i s disagreement w i t h some of Strachey's ideas, so he was able to appreciate the f i n e s t y l i s t i c q u a l i t i e s of W h i s t l e r ' s The Gentle A r t of Making Enemies, apart from the i r a s c i b l e nature of the w r i t e r . Max t r i e d to be true to the a e s t h e t i c p o s i t i o n of never judging a work of a r t on the basis of i t s purpose or i t s moral v a l u e s . I f the a r t i s t was able to r e -v e a l h i s unique p e r s o n a l i t y e x a c t l y and b e a u t i f u l l y through h i s s t y l e , that was'enough f o r Max. However, what made i t p o s s i b l e f o r Max to have regard f o r the p e r s o n a l i t y of W h i s t l e r , who was i n some respects every b i t as harsh as Ibsen, was h i s w i t and dandyism. Max admired a strong narrow p e r s o n a l i t y when i t was expressed through a unique and per-f e c t s t y l e . He c a l l e d W h i s t l e r an immortal w r i t e r as long - 87 -as there were "a few people i n t e r e s t e d i n the s u b t l e r ram-51 i f i c a t i o n s of E n g l i s h prose as an a r t - f o r m . " As a s t y l i s t , W h i s t l e r never f a l t e r e d . Every sentence rang w i t h a c l e a r v o c a l cadence, and to Max i t was j u s t that v o c a l q u a l i t y which met the c h i e f t e s t of good w r i t i n g . W h i s t l e r was r a r e i n being a good t a l k e r who could w r i t e as w e l l as he t a l k e d . In The Gentle A r t of Making Enemies, h i s v o i c e , h i s f a c e , h i s gestures were revealed to the extent that the reader could both see W h i s t l e r and know him. "He p r o j e c t e d through p r i n t e d words the clean-cut image and c l e a r -r i n g i n g echo of h i m s e l f . He was a born w r i t e r , a c h i e v i n g 52 p e r f e c t i o n through pains which must have been i n f i n i t e , " because they were not e a s i l y t r a c e a b l e . L i k e Pope, Max r e a l i z e d t h a t true ease i n w r i t i n g comes from a r t , not chance. Out of the sure knowledge of himself Max was able t o recognize that an e x q u i s i t e t a l e n t l i k e W h i s t l e r ' s was at i t s best when p l a y i n g around a small theme. On a l a r g e s c a l e i t was i n c l i n e d to s t r a y from the bonds of s t r u c t u r a l u n i t y and to destroy the a e s t h e t i c e f f e c t . W h i s t l e r p a r t i c u l a r l y e x c e l l e d i n h i s l e t t e r s , which as c o n t r o v e r s i a l essays were of t e n i n bad t a s t e , but as l i t e r a t u r e were p e r f e c t works of a r t . I n h i s s u b t l e and t h o u g h t f u l study of W h i s t l e r ' s w r i t i n g , Max demonstrated i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c c r i t i c i s m at i t s best. His i n s i g h t s had the p e r f e c t c l a r i t y of a c r i t i c who was temperamentally and a r t i s t i c a l l y sympathetic to h i s sub-j e c t . I t was a study i n depth, to the p o i n t where Max no longer discussed W h i s t l e r ' s s t y l e i n p r i n c i p l e , but i n - 88 -p r a c t i c e . F i n a l l y he d i d t r a n s l a t e through h i s own tempera-ment and i n t e l l e c t the s t y l e of another man, and the r e v e l a -t i o n of that man through h i s s t y l e . I n p e r f e c t mimicry of W h i s t l e r ' s w r i t i n g , Max wrote: "The v o i c e drawls s l o w l y , quickening to a k i n d of snap at the end of every sentence, and sometimes r i s i n g to a sudden screech of laughter; and, a l l the w h i l e , the f i n e f i e r c e eyes of the t a l k e r are f l a s h -i n g out at you and h i s long nervous f i n g e r s are t r a c i n g 53 extravagant arabesques i n the a i r . " Although Max was not a poet, he needed no b e t t e r q u a l i f i c a t i o n s f o r h i s impres-sions of W h i s t l e r than h i s g i f t f o r p e r f e c t mimicry. For as Oscar Wilde had expressed i n The C r i t i c as A r t i s t , the a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c d i d not analyze or t e l l the h i s t o r y of a work of a r t , but on the b a s i s of h i s impression, and by e x p l o i t i n g h i s p e r s o n a l i t y , he created a new and often b e t t e r work of a r t . Mimicry or parody of the s t y l e s of other a r t i s t s was a v a l u a b l e aspect of Max's c r i t i c i s m . Although the method was c r e a t i v e and i n d i r e c t , and i t revealed the a r t i s t i c flaws as i n a d i s t o r t i n g m i r r o r , the nearer he was i n temperament to the a r t i s t , the b e t t e r he mimicked the s t y l e and the more d i s c e r n i n g were h i s judgments. This was p a r t i c u l a r l y t r u e of Henry James, whom Max mimicked, parodied and c a r i c a t u r e d throughout h i s c r e a t i v e l i f e . Yet he loved James both f o r h i s f i n e character and f o r the e x q u i s i t e beauty of h i s prose. More than anyone e l s e , James met Max's exacting standards f o r a r t and l i t e r a t u r e , and t h i s made Max a confirmed J a c o b i t e . James was an i n t e l l e c t u a l aesthete of the highest order. Every page he wrote he i n v e s t e d w i t h a e s t h e t i c q u a l i t y . - 09 -Max admired not only h i s l o v e f o r h i s a r t and h i s passionate d e d i c a t i o n to i t s p e r f e c t i o n , but a l s o the f a c t that i n the face of grave disappointments he y i e l d e d nothing f o r the sake of p l e a s i n g h i s readers. Such d e d i c a t i o n brought i t s rewards i n the q u a l i t y of elegance and beauty i n h i s s t y l e . Max thought Meredith deserved f i r s t p l ace f o r poetry and p h i l -54 osophy, but he gave Henry James f i r s t place f o r beauty. Here was an a r t i s t who loved beauty i n th i n g s of the soul as much as i n sensual t h i n g s . He had what Max c a l l e d a 'passion-ate eye' f o r what was f i n e i n s c u l p t u r e , p a i n t i n g and a r c h i -t e c t u r e , and a l s o f o r what was f i n e i n nature. This was 55 p a r t i c u l a r l y evident i n h i s e a r l y and middle w r i t i n g p e r i o d s . ' Max tended to i d e n t i f y himself w i t h James' e a r l y and middle periods because i t was then that he saw him as 'that p e r f e c t master of a small method; an e x q u i s i t e a r t i s t who d i d not deal w i t h l i f e on a l a r g e s c a l e , w i t h raw humanity or p r i m i t i v e emotions, but w i t h people who were g e n e r a l l y h i g h l y 56 c i v i l i z e d , s e n s i t i v e and r e s t r a i n e d ' . His f i n e s t u d i e s of the l i t e r a r y conscience, such as The Death of the L i o n , e s p e c i a l l y impressed Max as being drawn i n love and analyzed w i t h cunning. James' method was s u b t l e , i r o n i c and b e a u t i f u l . He kept the emotional c r i s i s ' o f f s t a g e ' . What i n t e r e s t e d him was t o study the e f f e c t s of i t s aftermath. I t was the passion of conscience, "a s o r t of l y r i c a l conscience, ... r a i s e d to the p i t c h of ecstasy" t h a t preoccupied James and revealed h i s 50 reverence f o r a l l t h a t was noble and r e f i n e d . Max f e l t the charge that he lac k e d human f e e l i n g was u n j u s t i f i e d . There - 90 -were a l l s o r t s of human f e e l i n g s , and they were not a l l summed 59 up i n Antony and Cleopatra. In h i s l a t e r work, Max recognized that James was more than an e x q u i s i t e a r t i s t ; he was an o r i g i n a l genius of the highest q u a l i t y who b e t t e r than anyone el s e had succeeded i n reproducing i n words the a c t u a l t e x t u r e of human experience. Then, he thought of James l e s s as a n o v e l i s t than as an evocative w r i t e r who possessed to an e x t r a o r d i n a r y degree the power to convey not only the v i s u a l aspects but a l s o the inmost f e e l i n g of the person, place or scene. By using a method that was e n t i r e l y new and e n t i r e l y h i s own, he was able to convey h i s meaning on s e v e r a l planes at once. I t was a method that was much more h i g h l y organized than was custom-ary i n the n o v e l , one that was i n t e n s e l y dramatic and i n t e n s e -l y v i s u a l . I t was the amazing process of r e v e a l i n g through a f i n e c e n t r a l i n t e l l i g e n c e the people and events that a f f e c t e d h i s l i f e as he grew to understand them. I t was a process t h a t convinced Max t h a t James "was not t r y i n g to compete 60 w i t h the methods of other n o v e l i s t s , but w i t h l i f e i t s e l f . " As an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of l i f e , Max thought James' l a s t novels were h i s greatest achievement. He p a r t i c u l a r l y admired The Wings of a Dove and The Golden Bowl. He considered the Pagoda passage i n The Golden Bowl a unique piece of evocative w r i t i n g ; s t i l l he missed the e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y s e n s i t i v e v i s u a l impressions which had been the mark of h i s e a r l i e r s t y l e . These had g r a d u a l l y been replaced by s u b t l e r i n s i g h t s i n t o 61 the human s o u l . Max a l s o p r e f e r r e d the e a r l y s t y l e f o r i t s sustained elegance, c l a r i t y and i n s i g h t . I n the l a t e r manner - 91 -He found " c r a w l i n g broken-backed i n a r t i c u l a t e sentences that 62 had to be helped along by the reader." I t was a f a u l t that made Max f e e l t h a t h i s great g i f t f o r evocative w r i t i n g was a dubious one. S t i l l James' flaws were i n c i d e n t s i n h i s novels; i t was only i n h i s prefaces that they were able to mar the whole. Max f e l t t h a t reading The Golden Bowl and The Wings of the  Dove was " l i k e t a k i n g a long walk u p h i l l , panting and p e r s p i r -i n g and almost of a mind to t u r n back, u n t i l , when you looked back and down, the country was m a g i c a l l y expanded beneath your gaze, as you never saw i t yet; so t h a t you t o i l e d on g l a d l y up the heights, f o r the l a r g e r prospects w a i t i n g f o r 6 ^ you." I t r e q u i r e d i n t e n s i v e t r a i n i n g , but Max thought i t was worth the e f f o r t . He t r u s t e d James to have f o l l o w e d the l o g i c a l development of h i s own p a r t i c u l a r g i f t s , because he was so p a s s i o n a t e l y devoted to h i s a r t . I t was h i s love f o r the Jacobean manner and h i s natur-a l a f f i n i t y f o r elaborate i n g e n u i t i e s of form and s t y l e which enabled him to parody James so b r i l l i a n t l y . J u s t as h i s l o v e f o r the ornate and the e x o t i c had enabled him to parody the precious school of w r i t i n g , so h i s parodies of Henry James h i t t h e i r mark w i t h such deadly accuracy t h a t , i n one sense, he ' k i l l e d ' the t h i n g he l o v e d . Max parodied and c a r i c a t u r e d James w i t h a mixed sense of i r o n y and awe. There were never i n h i s drawings the un-m e r c i f u l s t i n g s he aimed a t Oscar Wilde. I t was James' tendency to excessive exasion to the p o i n t of ambiguity that Max loved to parody. In The Mote i n the Middle Distance he - 92 -focused on the f a s t i d i o u s care James took i n avoiding the d i r e c t approach to any p o i n t , even when i t i n v o l v e d the simple naming of an o b j e c t . For h i s parody, Max made the object a Christmas s t o c k i n g . He a l s o loved to r a v e l a long circumlocutory Jacobean sentence and to mock the grand man-ner by c a r e f u l l y i n s e r t i n g c l i c h e s . In the caption to h i s c a r i c a t u r e of "Mr. Henry James R e v i s i t i n g America," James i s supposed to think: So that i n f i n e , l e t , without f u r t h e r beating about the bush, me make to my-s e l f amazed acknowledgment t h a t , but f o r the c e r t i f i c a t e of b i r t h which I have - so q u i t e i n d u b i t a b l y - on me, I m i g h t . . . . f i n d hard to swallow, or even take by subconscious i n j e c t i o n , the great idea t h a t I am - oh, ever so i n d i g e n o u s l y I - one of them... 64 For a l l Max's admiration of James as an i n t e r p r e t e r of l i f e , he d i d once complain that h i s characters were gh o s t l y i n the sense t h a t they seemed incapable of e a t i n g or d r i n k i n g . ^ To some extent t h i s i s t r u e . Since James came to focus h i s a r t on the study of f i n e consciences, he r e l a t -ed only as much of the p h y s i c a l l i v e s of h i s characters as was necessary to the development of the inward drama. He a l s o focused on characters who were i n t u i t i v e l y perceptive and s e n s i t i v e l y aware of one another to an abnormal degree. His i n t e n t i o n was to r e a l i z e each character out of the sum of the impressions he made on the other c h a r a c t e r s . I n t h i s way James gave the major characters a heightened s i g n i f i c a n c e which transcended t h e i r o rdinary, n a t u r a l s t a t e s . In e f f e c t a l l the characters i n James' l a t e r f i c t i o n were the possessors of s u b t l e s e n s i b i l i t i e s because the s t y l e - 93 -66 imposed the n e c e s s i t y of t h e i r being so. To the extent that h i s characters were narrowed to conform to the t e c h -n i c a l problem he had chosen t o s o l v e , they were deprived of f l e s h and blood r e a l i t y . However, the f a c t that Max consider-ed James T l a s t novels to be h i s greatest i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of l i f e suggests t h a t whatever breadth of l i f e was l a c k i n g i n hi s c h a r a c t e r s , i t was there i n depth, i n the s t y l e by which they were rendered. Max had one f a v o u r i t e l i n e of James' i n which he i n t u i t i v e l y recognized a key to the understanding of the a r t i s t . I t was "Be generous and d e l i c a t e and pursue the 67 p r i z e . " Max d i d not t h i n k James always l i v e d up to i t i n h i s l i f e , f o r nobody could, but i n h i s a r t he d i d . I n h i s work was h i s i d e a l s e l f , h i s mask. Max loved t h i s phrase because i t r e f l e c t e d h i s own i d e a l s of a r t i s t i c p e r f e c t i o n . L i k e James, he too possessed an acute l i t e r a r y conscience. Max revered James so h i g h l y as an a r t i s t t h a t he r e -f e r r e d t o him as the great Jacobean, and to himself as a J a c o b i t e . I t was James who put the high f i n i s h upon the l i g h t e r , more i r r e s p o n s i b l e a e s t h e t i c i s m Max had l e a r n e d from Oscar Wilde. However, h i s a f f i n i t y f o r James was deeper than a r t i s t i c reverence. Both were detached, passionate observers of l i f e . Both t r i e d to be people "on whom nothing i s l o s t . " They were c l a s s i c i s t s i n t h e i r concept of a balanced, u n i -f i e d form, and aesthetes i n t h e i r p u r s u i t of a rhythmic, b e a u t i f u l s t y l e . There were i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c i n t h e i r c r i t i c -ism and i n t h e i r c r e a t i v e work. His n a t u r a l a f f i n i t y f o r James made him r e a l i z e that - 94 -much of the d i f f i c u l t y i n James' s t y l e was due t o an extreme f a s t i d i o u s n e s s . He appreciated t h i s problem f o r James as few c r i t i c s could. In an essay he wrote on Daudet, James remarked on the French A r t i s t ' s d e l i g h t f u l l y f r e e s p i r i t . ^ Max knew that f o r James, who moved so s l o w l y and c a r e f u l l y from oblique point t o s u b t l e i n s i g h t and who by nature must always wonder i f indeed t h i s or that point would do, t h a t the s i g h t of such a f r e e s p i r i t would s t r i k e a note i n him because i t was something he could never be. James possessed the grand manner both i n h i s l i f e and i n h i s s t y l e . In some r e s p e c t s , however, Max p r e f e r r e d the a r t i s t t o the man. He impressed Max w i t h h i s enormous vocabulary and d e l i g h t f u l l i t e r a r y t a l k . Here was w i t , humour, i r o n y and i n s i g h t , but one had to wait f o r i t . A l s o , James never smiled. He was s u f f i c i e n t l y a p p a l l e d by l i f e t h a t he tended to take a t r a g i c view of everybody. This tendency t o remote solemnity coupled w i t h h i s p u n c t i l i o u s 69 sense of honour r a t h e r overwhelmed Max. I t was h i s sense of awe f o r the great man which made him p r e f e r James' books to h i s company. In h i s books he was the mask of p e r f e c t i o n . That i s why Max found, " a f t e r reading t h i s one and that one" that he f e l t l i k e t u r n i n g once more t o the novels and 70 s t o r i e s of Henry James. In Max's c r i t i c i s m of James, i t i s p o s s i b l e t o come t o some reasonable conclusions w i t h regard t o h i s scope and value as a l i t e r a r y c r i t i c . I t i s p o s s i b l e , i n s p i t e of the f a c t t h a t Max d i d not make anything l i k e a complete c r i t i c a l study of the a r t i s t , because what he focused on was what character-i s t i c a l l y i n t e r e s t e d him: the man as revealed through h i s - 95 -s t y l e . Otherwise, he made no reference to James' important c o n t r i b u t i o n to the e l e v a t i o n and development of the novel i n an h i s t o r i c a l sense. Nothing i s noted about James' own c r i t i c i s m , e i t h e r of l i t e r a t u r e or the drama. Yet James a l s o took the i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c approach to dramatic c r i t i c i s m , and h i s assessments of the stage of the 'Seventies and ' E i g h t i e s , of Ibsen, Pinero and Edmond Rostand are almost i d e n t i c a l t o 71 Max's judgments i n the Saturday Review a decade l a t e r . Since James' t a l e n t s were broad as w e l l as b r i l l i a n t , and since Max's a p p r e c i a t i o n was focused almost e x c l u s i v e l y on h i s s t y l e , and p a r t i c u l a r l y on the a e s t h e t i c s of h i s s t y l e , i t i s evident t h a t h i s scope as a c r i t i c was narrow. However, w i t h i n the l i m i t s he s e t , he served a u s e f u l purpose. No one had a f i n e r a p p r e c i a t i o n of James' e a r l y s t y l e , f o r i t s a e s t h e t i c q u a l i t i e s , i t s f l e x i b i l i t y and c l a s s i c a l c o n t r o l . Max r e g r e t t e d the gradual l e s s e n i n g of the e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y s e n s i t i v e v i s u a l impressions i n h i s l a t e r s t y l e because of t h e i r a e s t h e t i c v a l u e . The more James dramatized the inmost thoughts of h i s characters the l e s s he expressed h i s r e f i n e d sense of the beauties i n a r t and nature; and i t was the beauty of h i s prose which more than anything e l s e elevated i t to the d i g n i t y of poetry. I n James' l a t e r s t y l e , h i s genius f o r evocative w r i t -i n g seemed a dubious g i f t to Max because genius always was a dubious g i f t when i t ran to excess. Unevenness was one of i t s marks. However, Max p r e f e r r e d James's e a r l i e r , more e x q u i s i t e s t y l e not only because i t was a e s t h e t i c a l l y f i n e r and more p e r f e c t l y c o n t r o l l e d but a l s o because he admired the moral a e s t h e t i c i s m of James as revealed i n h i s elegant, - 96 -r e s t r a i n e d and b e a u t i f u l manner more than the s e n s i t i v e psy-c h o l o g i c a l i n s i g h t s found i n h i s l a t e r work. The value that Max placed upon l i t e r a r y s t y l e was never more pronounced than i n h i s c r i t i c a l a p p r e c i a t i o n s of l i t e r a r y men who had ventured i n t o drama. In h i s c r i t i c i s m of Henry James' pl a y The High B i d , almost the whole was taken up w i t h h i s glowing response to the Jacobean manner. His d i r e c t reference to the p l a y i t s e l f was b r i e f , f o r as Max explained, very l i t t l e of a l l that he loved of James' mind 7 2 could be t r a n s l a t e d i n t o the sphere of drama. Even so, t h a t l i t t l e revealed how thoroughly Max had absorbed the Jamesian s p i r i t . His admiration f o r the l e a d i n g a c t o r who had captured the essence of James' manner was at the same time a rapture of p r a i s e f o r the author. I n the actor's expression of the l i n e 'To whom do you - b e a u t i f u l l y belong?', i n h i s eyes, h i s smile, "the groping hesitancy before the adverb was found, i n the s i n k i n g tone of the verb, there was a whole world of good f e e l i n g , good manners, and humour. I t was love seeing the fun of the t h i n g . I t was i r o n y k n e e l i n g i n awe. 7 3 I t was an authentic p a r t of the soul of Mr. James." Max excused the t r i t e n e s s of the p l o t on the grounds tha t i t was j u s t the s o r t of t h i n g that a t r u e man of l e t t e r s would choose f o r h i s t h e a t r i c a l debut, t h i n k i n g that i t would be more e a s i l y understood. He admitted that James' characters were p u p p e t - l i k e , yet they'moved w i t h a l i v e l y grace and d i s -t i n c t i o n , a b r i g h t r e a l i t y of surface, so t h a t you h a l f f o r -got they were u n r e a l . " ^ I t was James' s t y l e that c a r r i e d - 97 -the p l a y , the manner and the mind that James' expressed through h i s characters that held f o r Max an ' i n a l i e n a b l e 75 m a g i c ' Therefore, as long as there were actors who were able to convey th a t remarkable manner, Max longed to see more of James' short s t o r i e s adapted to the stage. Fortun-a t e l y , The High B i d was not the only s t o r y that seemed to have been conceived as a play, and though l i t t l e of h i s great a r t could be brought i n t o the t h e a t r e , even that l i t t l e was something unique. I t was never important to Max that James' plays were un s u c c e s s f u l , because he considered the novel s u p e r i o r t o drama. He f e l t the l o o s e r nature of the novel allowed f o r greater scope and greater refinements than the p l a y . Not even i n l a t e r years, d i d Max r e f l e c t upon the valuable con-t r i b u t i o n James' knowledge of dramatic techniques made to h i s l a t e r n o vels. As an aesthete, he would have placed a higher value on James' knowledge of the techniques of p a i n t -i n g . However, while he was a drama c r i t i c , what he consider-ed above a l l was the desperate need of the theatre f o r f i r s t -r a t e l i t e r a r y men w i t h e s s e n t i a l l y dramatic imaginations. Such a man was Henry James. Among p r o f e s s i o n a l dramatists who possessed a l i t e r a r y q u a l i t y i n t h e i r s t y l e s , Max admired Edmond Rostand and A l f r e d Sutro. Max thought Rostand's l i t e r a r y i n s t i n c t was almost as f i n e as h i s i n s t i n c t f o r the techniques of the t h e a t r e . For t h i s reason he found he could read Cyrano de Bergerac w i t h 77 almost the same degree of pleasure as when he saw i t played. The Byzantine q u a l i t i e s of the playwright's s t y l e appealed - 98 -to Max not only because they were b e a u t i f u l but a l s o because they 'played' w e l l . The p l a y e r ' s l i n e s were'loaded and en-crusted w i t h elaborate phrases and curious c o n c e i t s , ' yet the r h e t o r i c never detracted from the speeches. Max was p l e a s a n t l y s u r p r i s e d to f i n d that not one l i n e was amiss i n 78 the t h e a t r e . The elaborate manner was p e r f e c t l y s u i t e d to the p l a y , because "Cyrano" i t s e l f was stagey. A l f r e d Sutro appealed to Max as the most ' l i t e r a r y ' of the modern playwrights since Oscar Wilde. He had "a f i n e sense of words,...a d e l i c a t e ear f o r cadences," and the inward harmony which gave expression to the grace and humour 79 i n h i s s t y l e . U n l i k e l i t e r a r y men who te m p o r a r i l y ventured i n t o p l a y w r i t i n g , Mr. Sutro's characters d i d not u n i n t e n t i o n -a l l y t a l k l i k e books. His characters t a l k e d i n the n a t u r a l manner one expected from the l e i s u r e d c l a s s e s . Not, of course, as they a c t u a l l y t a l k e d , because Max was convinced the major-i t y t a l k e d l i t t l e b e t t e r than costermongers. Mr. Sutro was obliged to create a dialogue that was apparently n a t u r a l , t o be able to preserve the l i t e r a r y c l a s s i c i s m of h i s s t y l e . He was able to do t h i s because those barbarians i n speech, as Max described them, u s u a l l y had p r e t t y manners and p l e a s -i n g appearances, so that the audience could i n v e s t them w i t h 80 other graces. Max loved the l i t e r a r y s t y l e best i n f a n t a s t i c comed-i e s of w i t and i n f a r c e s . I n f a r c e e x p e c i a l l y , there was greater scope f o r the w r i t e r ' s t a l e n t s . Sutro's s a t i r i c f a r c e on the wise, all-knowing h o m i l i s t d e l i g h t e d Max, not only f o r i t s l i t e r a r y q u a l i t i e s , but a l s o because he despised the man - 99 -w i t h the ready a d v i c e . I n Mollentrave on Women, Sutro was able to give f u l l r e i n to h i s l i t e r a r y t a l e n t s . Since h i s f a r c i c a l c haracters d i d not need to t a l k i n a n a t u r a l , c o l l o q u i a l manner. The fun was a c t u a l l y increased when the characters d i d t a l k l i k e books. There was grace and charm i n the dialogue because Sutro knew the E n g l i s h language t h o r -oughly, and he knew how to use i t b e a u t i f u l l y . I n f a c t , Max was so enamoured of Sutro's l i t e r a r y s t y l e that he erred i n o v e r r a t i n g h i s a b i l i t i e s as a dramatist. For Max, t h i s was always the secret of an exact and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e , that the a r t i s t must love h i s medium, the E n g l i s h language, and that he must l e a r n to use i t b e a u t i -f u l l y to express e x a c t l y h i s own unique v i s i o n of l i f e . When he a p p l i e d h i s t e s t s f o r good s t y l e to the a r t i s t s of h i s time, he found few who met h i s high l i t e r a r y standards; but f o r those who d i d , h i s c r i t i c i s m s a t t a i n e d the value of true i n s i g h t . Max's c r i t i c a l a p p r a i s a l s of W h i s t l e r and Lytton Strachey were p a r t i c u l a r l y s u c c e s s f u l . He showed W h i s t l e r i n a new l i g h t as the author of an e x q u i s i t e l i t e r a r y s t y l e ; and h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n of Strachey was va l u a b l e i n the s e n s i -t i v e and i n t e l l i g e n t a n a l y s i s of h i s s t y l e , and i n the care-f u l d i s c r i m i n a t i o n Max made between the s a t i r i s t and the mocker which v i n d i c a t e d Strachey from the charge of malice. Sometimes h i s admiration f o r a w r i t e r ' s s t y l e l e d him to overestimate the true q u a l i t y of h i s t a l e n t s . His love f o r the overflowing exuberance of George Meredith's s t y l e , f o r the w i t , poetry, beauty and p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n s i g h t , pre-- 100 -j u d i c e d h i s judgment to the p o i n t where he r a t e d him second only to Shakespeare as an a l l - a r o u n d c r e a t o r . Yet converse-l y , h i s d i s l i k e of the f a c i l e j o u r n a l i s t i c s t y l e of K i p l i n g made him b l i n d to a l l aspects of h i s genius. I t was almost i n e v i t a b l e that a strong narrow person-a l i t y w i t h f a s t i d i o u s l i t e r a r y t a s t e s would be subjedt to some grave e r r o r s of judgment. However, when Max a p p l i e d h i s c r i t i c a l i n t e l l i g e n c e to the works of l i t e r a r y p e r s o n a l i t i e s s i m i l a r to h i m s e l f , h i s i n s i g h t s were f r e s h and v a l i d . Gener-a l l y , Max took the mean i n h i s c r i t i c i s m s as he d i d innthe p e r f e c t i n g of h i s s t y l e , seeking a wise, j u s t and b e a u t i f u l balance, and not without humour. CHAPTER I I I SOURCE REFERENCES 1. David C e c i l , Max, London, Constable and Co., 1964, p. 146. 2. Loc. c i t . 3. Loc. c i t . 4. Max Beerbohm, "Mr. Henry James 1 P l a y , " Around ' Theatres, London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1953 [ c o p y r i g h t 1924], p. 544. 5. Beerbohm, "Mr. Pinero's L i t e r a r y S t y l e , " Around  Theatres, p. 288. 6. Loc. c i t . 7. Harold N. H i l l e b r a n d , "Max Beerbohm," JEGP, v o l . 19 ( A p r i l 1920), p. 263. 8. Max Beerbohm, "George Moore," Mainly on the A i r , New York, A l f r e d K. Knopf, 1958, p. 85.• 9. Loc. c i t . 10. ,'George Moore, Esther Waters, Ed. L i o n e l Stevenson, Boston, Houghton M i f f l i n Co., 1963, p. 336. 11. Beerbohm, "Badness of Amateur A c t i n g , " Around  Theatres, p. 239. 12. Loc. c i t . 13. Loc. c i t . 14. Loc. c i t . 15. Beerbohm, "An A e s t h e t i c Book" Around Theatres, p. 274. 16. I b i d . , p. 275. 17. I b i d . , p. 274. - 102 -18. Beerbohm, "Badness of Amateur A c t i n g , " Around  Theatres, p. 238. 19. I b i d . , p. 240. 20. H i l l e b r a n d , "Max Beerbohm," pp. 259-260. 21. Beerbohm, "Lytton Strachey," Mainly on the A i r , p. 206. 22. Beerbohm, "Mr. Pinero's L i t e r a r y S t y l e , " Around  Theatres, p. 287. - • 23. Beerbohm, "Ouida," Works and More, p. 191. 24. Beerbohm, " W h i s t l e r ' s W r i t i n g , " Yet Again, W i l l i a m Heinemann L t d . , 1951 [ copyright 1923], p . 114. 25. Beerbohm, "Lytton Strachey," Mainly on the A i r , p. 207. 26. Beerbohm, "Hamlet, P r i n c e s s of Denmark," Around Theatres, p. 35. -27. I b i d . , p. 36. 28. Beerbohm, " W h i s t l e r ' s W r i t i n g , " Yet Again, p. 116. 29. Loc. c i t . 30. Loc. c i t . 31. S i r Sidney Roberts, "Max Beerbohm," EDH, v o l . 30 (I960), p. 119. - - • •• 32. Beerbohm, "Ouida," Works and More, p. 195. 33. J . G. Riewald, S i r Max Beerbohm, The Hague, Martinus N i j h o f f , 1953, p. 174. 34. C e c i l , Max, p. 349. 35. Loc. c i t . 36. Loc. c i t . 37. Beerbohm, "Lytton Strachey," M a i n l y on the A i r , p. 198. 38. I b i d . , p. 199. 39. I b i d . , p. 201. 40. I b i d . , p. 204. - 103 -41. I b i d . , p. 205. 42. I b i d . , p. 194. 43. I b i d . . p. 206. 44. I b i d . , p. 194. 45. W i l l i a m York T i n d a l l , Forces i n Modern B r i t i s h  L i t e r a t u r e 1885-1956. New York, Random House, £956, p. 108. 46. Op. c i t . . p. 200. 47. I b i d . . p. 205. 48. Beerbohm, "Whist l e r ' s W r i t i n g , " Yet Again, p. 111. 49. I b i d . , p. 111. 50. Loc. c i t . 51. I b i d . , p. 109. 52. I b i d . , p. 116. 53. I b i d . , pp. 115-116. 54. C e c i l , Max, p. 214. 55. Beerbohm, "Mr. Henry James' P l a y , " Around Theatres. P. 543. . ~ ~ — 56. I b i d . , p. 544. 57. I b i d . , p. 543. 50. I b i d . , p. 544. 59. Loc. c i t . 60. I b i d . , p. 542. 61. I b i d . , p. 543. 62. C e c i l , Max, p. 213. 63. Op. c i t . . p. 543. 64. S.N. Behrman, P o r t r a i t of Max, New York, Random House, I960, p. 245. — ~~ ~~ 65. C e c i l , Max, p. 213. 66. Walter A l l e n , The E n g l i s h Novel, London, Penguin Books, 1958, p. 277. - 104 -67. Behrman, P o r t r a i t of Max, p. 300. 68. I b i d . , p. 249. 69. C e c i l , Max, p. 215. 70. Op. c i t . , p. 249. 71. Henry James, The Scenic A r t , ed. A l l a n Wade, New Brunswick, Rutgers U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1948, pp. 93, 288, 246, 302-303. 72. Beerbohm, "Mr. Henry James' P l a y , " Around Theatres, p. 544. 73. I b i d . , p. 541. 74. I b i d . , p. 545-75. Loc. c i t . 76. Loc. c i t . 77. Beerbohm, "Cyrano de Bergerac," Around Theatres, P. 5. , • • • • 78. Loc. c i t . 79. Beerbohm, "The F a s c i n a t i n g Mr. Vanderveldt,'" Around Theatres, p. 422. 80. I b i d . , p. 423. CHAPTER IV FORM AND THE UNIFIED EFFECT A master of s t y l e , as Max defined him, was i n e v i t a b l y a master of form. He possessed the imaginative power t o con-ceive o r i g i n a l p l o t i d e a s , and a sense of u n i t y that g e n e r a l l y was based on n e o - c l a s s i c a l p r i n c i p l e s . I t was the u n i f i e d form, whether i t meant u n i t y of s t o r y or u n i t y of i d e a , that was e s s e n t i a l t o achieve the e f f e c t of a r e a l and s a t i s f y i n g emotional impact. For Max, there could be no a e s t h e t i c pleasure without a u n i f i e d e f f e c t , and t h e r e f o r e he learned to submit h i s romantic d e l i g h t i n the Byzantine t o n e o - c l a s s i c a l r e s t r a i n t . He a l s o reasoned t h a t form should be b u i l t on b a s i c a l l y neo-c l a s s i c a l p r i n c i p l e s of u n i t y , c l a r i t y , s i m p l i c i t y , elegance and r e s t r a i n t because they endured, w h i l e popular formulas came and went. The form of essay he p r e f e r r e d was based on a n e o - c l a s s i c a l p a t t e r n : the f i r s t part s t a t i n g the problem, the second developing i t , the t h i r d r e l a t i n g t o the o r i g i n a l problem. Unity of e f f e c t was the aim; the end was a r t i s t i c p e r f e c t i o n . Max disagreed w i t h j o u r n a l i s t s who thought the f i r s t sentence was the most important one. He d i d not object to g r i p p i n g leads. I t was the problem of maintaining them that concerned him. I f the le a d was not sustained, the reader - 106 -was l e t down. I t seemed to him that good poets and good w r i t e r s of prose, whether i n long or short works, had always made quiet beginnings and quiet endings. They knew the reader had to be " l i f t e d - g e n t l y out of h i m s e l f , and borne up and up, and along, and i n due course be set down g e n t l y , t o remember h i s adventure.""*" L i k e Horace, Max b e l i e v e d that a w r i t e r should know how he was going t o end before he began. In h i s own essays, he so p e r f e c t l y r e l a t e d the parts t o the whole t h a t he would not permit e x t r a c t s of one of h i s essays to be i n c l u d e d i n an anthology. In d e c l i n i n g such a request, he explained: My essays have many f a u l t s , but they have the v i r t u e of being very c l o s e l y w r i t t e n . Every paragraph i n any one of them depends on every other paragraph, and every sentence on every other sentence. This i s what gives them the modest q u a l i t y of l i f e , of movement . . . don't m u t i l a t e a l i v e b i r d . 2 There was nothing a r t i f i c i a l i n the use of l i t e r a r y form; Max f e l t no w r i t e r should despise i t because nature 3 h e r s e l f was an "unashamed f o r m a l i s t . " He advised every w r i t e r t o t h i n k out c a r e f u l l y what shape h i s n o v e l , biography, essay or play was going to take before he began t o w r i t e . He a l s o urged the w r i t e r t o t r e a t the beginning, the middle and the end as Equals i n importance. There could be no f i n a l impact without a form that was balanced and u n i f i e d . In Max's opinion no a r t i s t had a f i n e r , s t r i c t e r sense of the l i t e r a r y form than Henry James. James' concept of the novel as a " f i c t i v e p i c t u r e " l e d him t o r e l a t e the parts t o - 107 -one another and t o the whole as the p a i n t e r would r e l a t e volumes, masses and colour values. His use of a Commanding Centre a l s o gave him a powerful u n i f y i n g element. In an attempt t o render the l a s t drop of value from every scene, he set up "a f i n e c e n t r a l i n t e l l i g e n c e i n terms of which everything i n i t might be u n i f i e d and upon which everything might be made t o depend."^" This c e n t r a l i n t e l l i g e n c e made a compositional centre f o r a r t such as l i f e never saw. I t presided over everything e l s e , and compelled the s t o r y t o be nothing but the s t o r y of what that i n t e l l i g e n c e f e l t 5 about what happened. Max thought James' unique method of gathering "scraps of r e v e l a t i o n g r a d u a l l y . . . i n t o one la r g e and luminous whole" was so a s t o n i s h i n g a f e a t of t e c h n i c a l v i r t u o s i t y that the method had t o die w i t h him, sin c e only he could handle i t . At the same time i t seemed to him that i f i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y were the sol e aim of f i c t i o n , James' "form" would be 7 the only r i g h t one. I t allowed f o r no s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . James expressed no opinions about h i s c h a r a c t e r s , nor d i d he expound any ph i l o s o p h i e s or morals. However, Max r e a l i z e d t h a t i t was not the f i n a l and i n e v i t a b l e form be-cause i n 1909 he saw that i t was going out of f a s h i o n . Obviously, what he d i d not see was the i n e v i t a b l e i n f l u e n c e of James' new method on Twentieth Century n o v e l i s t s . During h i s twelve years as drama c r i t i c f o r the Saturday Review, Max was vexed w i t h the problems he encoun-- 108 -t e r e d i n the dramatic form. In part these problems arose from the s c a r c i t y of good dramatists who were able t o con-ceive a dramatic idea i n a s u i t a b l e form. In p a r t , they were i n c u r r e d by h i s own l i m i t a t i o n s as a c r i t i c . A r t i s t i c a l l y and temperamentally Max was unable t o cope w i t h the l i c e n s e that genius took w i t h t r a d i t i o n a l concepts of f o r m , e s p e c i a l l y when the a r t i s t ' s aim was not an a e s t h e t i c one. Max emphasized that good form, the u n i f i e d form, was the essence of good drama, and drama, by h i s d e f i n i t i o n , was l i f e seen through conventions of formal beauty. He f e l t the p r i n c i p a l reason f o r the me d i o c r i t y i n modern drama was that l i t e r a r y men w i t h dramatic imaginations would not waste t h e i r time l e a r n i n g the "thousand-and-one m e t i c u l o s i t i e s of r e s t r i c -t i o n and i m p o s i t i o n which had g r a d u a l l y adhered t o the a r t of w r i t i n g p l a y s . " For t h i s reason Max was w i l l i n g to over-look the t e c h n i c a l lapses of any l i t e r a r y a r t i s t who ventured i n t o drama, i n the hope of encouraging him t o f u r t h e r e f f o r t s to i n f u s e l i f e and meaning i n t o the l e a s t l i v e l y of the a r t s . Any a r t i s t who had mastered the l i t e r a r y form would have no d i f f i c u l t y mastering the dramatic form. Max be-l i e v e d t h a t Joseph Conrad was j u s t the s o r t of man that the E n g l i s h t h e a t r e needed. Here was a l i t e r a r y man w i t h a wide knowledge of l i f e , w i t h acute v i s i o n , deep human sympathy 9 and an e s s e n t i a l l y dramatic imagination. When he f i r s t read Conrad's play One Day More i n i t s o r i g i n a l form as a short - 109 -s t o r y , he f e l t t h a t i t had already been conceived i n a dramatic form because the a c t i o n of the s t o r y was l a i d i n one continuous scene and was f a r more " e x t e r n a l " than was usual f o r the author. The only concession the author had t o make t o the dramatic p r e s e n t a t i o n was t o s h i f t h i s emphasis i n the s t o r y from two pro t a g o n i s t s to one t o sharpen the c o n f l i c t of characters and t o i n t e n s i f y the dramatic e f f e c t . Conrad's s t o r y of a g i r l who was p a t h e t i c a l l y aware of the passing of her youth and the u t t e r emptiness of her l i f e was made i n t o a t e r r i b l e and haunting tragedy because of the f i n e humanity and streng t h he i n f u s e d i n t o h i s t r a g i c theme, and because of the dramatic i n t e n s i t y and the beauty of h i s expression. Conrad's t r a g i c v i s i o n of her l o n e l y i s o l a t i o n was so b e a u t i f u l l y conceived that Max not only f e l t the emotional impact but a l s o the a e s t h e t i c pleasure. To him the only f a c t o r t h a t made the play i n f e r i o r t o the short s t o r y was that the dramatic form was i n f e r i o r t o the 1 .. 10 l i t e r a r y . Max r e a l i z e d that a necessary part of the e f f e c t of ease and d e l i g h t i n a work of a r t came from p a i n s t a k i n g c o n s t r u c t i o n . This d i d not mean an a r t i f i c i a l p l o t such as "a l o v e - s t o r y , s p l i t n e a t l y up i n t o f o u r b r i e f a c t s , w i t h no h i n t t h a t the characters l i v e d i n a world where other t h i n g s besides t h i s l o v e - s t o r y were going o n . " x x He f e l t t h i s t i g h t technique and standard formula had become the greatest detriments t o good drama at the t u r n of the century. - 110 -What Max admired was the l o o s e r and simpler construc-t i o n found i n C o n t i n e n t a l drama, i n which the u n i t y l a y not i n the p l o t but i n the dramatic i d e a * I n Hermann Heijerman's play on humble f i s h e r f o l k , there was almost no l o v e - i n t e r e s t no one character predominated, and there was p r a c t i c a l l y no s t o r y . With absolute s i m p l i c i t y the play represented an 12 ordin a r y episode i n a small f i s h i n g v i l l a g e . Hauptmann's The Thieves' Comedy was another n a t u r a l l y evolved p l o t . The play had no r e a l l y c o n c l u s i v e ending nor a r e a l beginning. 13 The characters revealed themselves n a t u r a l l y . This con-s t r u c t i o n r e q u i r e d t e c h n i c a l s k i l l , but i t was l e s s demandin than the unnatural p l o t which comprised n a s e r i e s of sharp climaxes o c c u r r i n g at r e g u l a r i n t e r v a l s , and wi t h a s l i c k s o l u t i o n t o f i n i s h up w i t h . " " ^ I t i s obvious that Max's r e a c t i o n against the w e l l -made play was not c o n s i s t e n t w i t h h i s n e o c l a s s i c a l p r i n c i p l e of form and the u n i f i e d e f f e c t . However, i t was not the well-made play that he objected t o , but the unfortunate circumstances surrounding i t . G i f t e d playwrights had found that the l o o s e r form of the n a t u r a l i s t i c method allowed g r e a t e r freedom f o r the a r t i s t i c expression of t r u t h t o l i f e For i n s t a n c e , Gerhart Hauptmann had discovered t h a t u n i t y of a c t i o n was not e s s e n t i a l t o create u n i t y of impression and he proved h i s point i n The Weavers (1892) which had n e i t h e r p l o t nor i n d i v i d u a l i z e d c h a r a c t e r s . Max was "bowled over" by The Thieves' Comedy (1093) i n s p i t e of i t s p l o t l e s s - I l l -ness because of the w i t , the r e f i n e d and s u b t l e a r t i s t r y of the s t y l e and the u n i t y t h a t Hauptmann had i n t r i c a t e l y woven i n t o the dramatic i d e a . I t was a perceptive s a t i r e on honesty and j u s t i c e . A l s o , Hauptmann had none of the clumsiness of language which marred the work of some n a t u r a l i s t s . He was temperamentally romantic and p o e t i c and an a r t i s t who was h i g h l y conscious of s t y l e . I t i s apparent i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , as i n other s , t h a t the admiration Max f e l t f o r the looseness and s i m p l i c i t y of the Co n t i n e n t a l form was governed by h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n of the dramatist's s t y l e . Although he encouraged any movement towards l o o s e r form i n modern drama, Max saw the inherent danger. Loose-ness of form was one t h i n g ; formlessness was another. Obviously there had t o be some k i n d of a r t i s t i c u n i t y , 1 5 e i t h e r of s t o r y or of idea. In Hermann Heijerman's play The Good Hope, the playwright had chosen a g h a s t l y theme but at the same time he had an idea which he expressed very b e a u t i f u l l y through a coherent s t o r y . Consequently he evoked through a r t a sense of p i t y and awe. In c o n t r a s t , i n Maxim Gorky's play The Lower Depths, the author had chosen an eq u a l l y g h a s t l y theme but, i n Max's o p i n i o n , there was no i d e a , and t h e r e f o r e the play lacked meaning. I t had no u n i t y , nothing but b a l d , unseemly h o r r o r . x ^ A c t u a l l y , had Max understood Gorky's method he s t i l l would not have appreciated the Russian's r e l i a n c e on atmosphere and d i s s o c i a t e d dialogue - 112 -t o achieve h i s a r t i s t i c ends. Apart from the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , the playwright's aim had been to create an atmosphere or mood which was both poignant and p o e t i c . He had intended h i s sympathetic study of the down-trodden t o leave a b i t t e r s w e e t t a s t e , w i t h none of the c l e a n s i n g c a t h a r s i s of c l a s s i c tragedy. However, i t seemed t o Max there was n e i t h e r humanity nor a r t but mere g u t t e r r e a l i s m . Max b e l i e v e d that i t was g e n e r a l l y out of a dramatic idea that a dramatic e f f e c t was produced, and i t could be done simply and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d l y . He thought the I r i s h , e s p e c i a l l y Yeats and J.M. Synge, were more n a t u r a l l y g i f t e d i n t h i s than the E n g l i s h because they took time t o brood over an idea u n t i l they could t r a n s l a t e i t i n t o some symbolic form, i n which the symbolism became not only the source of mystery but a l s o the source of the play's u n i t y . x ? C o n t i n e n t a l dramatists such as M a e t e r l i n c k and Ibsen were a l s o g i f t e d i n the use of symbolic e f f e c t s . The q u a l i t y of mystery i n Ibsen's p l a y , Rosmersholm, impressed Max. He loved the s u b t l y c o n t r o l l e d p l o t i n which Ibsen used Rosmer as the f o c a l point u n i t i n g the two elements of the p l a y , the o l d and the new order. L i t t l e by l i t t l e the tragedy was unfolded t o i n d i c a t e w i t h growing clearness the appointed 18 end. M y s t e r i o u s l y the c h i l d r e n never c r i e d , the elders never laughed, and the coming of death was symbolized by white horses. Through symbolism Ibsen i n t e n s i f i e d and u n i f i e d the mood of h i s tragedy. - 113 -In M a e t e r l i n c k ' s plays there was not only symbolism wi t h i t s double s i g n i f i c a n c e , but a l s o the symbolic s i g n i f i -cance of the s i l e n c e s . I t was not h i s i n t e n t i o n t o depict p h y s i c a l or p s y c h o l o g i c a l action- but the "anguish of the u n i n t e l l i g i b l e . " Much of M a e t e r l i n c k ' s a c t i o n occurred i n "The Beyond," i n the p a r t i a l l i f t i n g of the v e i l from the mystery of the universe. For t h i s reason doors and windows were important i n h i s s e t t i n g s and i n h i s symbolism. Doors separated the p h y s i c a l from the p s y c h i c a l , and windows seemed to f u n c t i o n as the eyes of the s o u l of the drama. S t r u c t u r a l l y , h i s dramas lacked both p l o t and character. In f a c t h i s people were l i k e somnambulists t r y i n g t o penetrate the mysteries of l i f e and death i n the dream-like atmosphere tha t pervaded a l l h i s p l a y s . However, the plays were not without u n i t y . Under the i n f l u e n c e of Richard Wagner, Maet e r l i n c k had learned the value of s t y l i z a t i o n through s y n t h e s i s . I t was a modern v e r s i o n of the e a r l y Greek idea of u n i t y through a s y n t h e s i s of a l l the a r t s i n order t o b r i n g out the s p i r i t u a l meaning of the drama. In modern s y n t h e s i s , s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n was paid t o the use of the p l a s t i c a r t s , t o c o l o u r , l i g h t and shade as produced by l i g h t i n g and the grouping and posing of human beings. L i g h t played an important r o l e i n M a e t e r l i n c k ' s p l a y s . He, l i k e Wagner, recognized "the dynamic q u a l i t y of l i g h t and colours which change and d i s s o l v e i n accompaniment to the s p i r i t u a l a c t i o n . " - 114 -In Debussy's musical v e r s i o n of M a e t e r l i n c k ' s P e l l e a s  and Melisande, a s y n t h e s i s of the separate a r t s was f i n e l y balanced. When P e l l e a s and Melisande were watching the ship s a i l out to sea the dialogue had o r c h e s t r a l accompaniment, but the r e a l impact of the scene came from the communion of the souls of the l o v e r s i n the f i n a l s i l e n c e . Aided by Debussy's music, Maet e r l i n c k was able t o create a new t h e a t r e of peace and beauty, without t e a r s . I n i t i a l l y , one might wonder what appeal Maeterlinck could have had f o r Max. The answer l i e s i n the p o e t i c beauty and mystery that permeated the atmosphere of the p l a y s , and i n the suggestive q u a l i t i e s of the symbolism. I t was a con-centrated appeal to the imagination through the senses, t o -ward an end which expressed the inner man or the inner s p i r i t of the drama, t r u t h f u l l y and b e a u t i f u l l y . To Max the import-ance of M a e t e r l i n c k ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the t h e a t r e was that he once again made i t a place t o " f e e l . " His ardent support of the B e l g i a n dramatist's d e i n t e l l e c t u a l i z a t i o n of dramatic a r t opened the way f o r Max's f i n a l d e c l a r a t i o n that ideas were f o r books not f o r the stage. As i n other forms of a r t , Max b e l i e v e d that the u n i t y of a play depended on the inner resources of the a r t i s t , untrammelled by such outward r e s t r i c t i o n s as a borrowed p l o t . At the same time he r e a l i z e d that i n the act of c r e a t i n g no a r t i s t was ever o r i g i n a l . P l o t s were s t o l e n simply f o r the sake of expediency, not because there was any l a c k of t a l e n t . - 115 -Yet i t seemed t o him a paradox and a tragedy of great l i t e r a -t u r e t h a t a genius of Shakespeare's c a l i b r e should have only one p l o t , The Tempest, th a t was not a proven t h e f t , and that play was the only one t h a t s a t i s f i e d the modern standard of a r t because i t was more a r t i s t i c a l l y compact than any other of h i s p l a y s . I t seemed i r o n i e t o Max that there could never be "a great w r i t e r expressing the f u l l vigour of h i s greatness i n 20 h i s own way, and w i t h e x q u i s i t e care." He f e l t t h a t i t was only when Shakespeare was past the peak of h i s c r e a t i v e power th a t he was able t o create a work as c o n s c i o u s l y a r t i s t i c as The Tempest. Max c a l l e d i t the most modern of h i s plays because most modern a r t i s t s lacked a surplus of c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y , and now Shakespeare, no longer overwhelmed w i t h c a r e l e s s , headlong c r e a t i v e exuberance, had time to attend t o the formal u n i t i e s of time, place and a c t i o n . Of course the weakness of Max's c r i t i c a l p o s i t i o n on Shakespeare i s comparable t o h i s narrow a p p r e c i a t i o n of Shaw. As a nineteenth-century aesthete, Max had no tempera-mental a f f i n i t y f o r what he considered t o be those strange and somewhat savage creatures of the s i x t e e n t h and, perhaps, of the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r i e s . A l s o , Shakespeare's passionate c r e a t i v e exuberance was a n t i t h e t i c a l to Max's e x q u i s i t e l y c o n t r o l l e d fancy. A r t i s t s of great genius were simply beyond the comprehension of a minor a r t i s t whose love of s t y l i s t i c p e r f e c t i o n l e d him t o p r e f e r the essay above a l l other a r t forms. - 116 -As a matter of form Max thought that every play should end i n an a n t i - c l i m a x , and that g e n e r a l l y speaking, a f i n a l act should be devoted t o i t . I t seemed t o him tha t tragedy, e s p e c i a l l y , should end g r a d u a l l y and i n c o n c l u s i v e l y because i t l e f t the imagination f r e e . Even as i t was not p o s s i b l e t o be e x c i t e d about matters that were not yet expla i n e d , so i t was impossible t o appreciate the pinnacle 21 i n a play i f no time was allowed f o r r e f l e c t i n g upon i t . Max f e l t every play should d e c l i n e from the climax g r a d u a l l y , j u s t as i t should r i s e g r a d u a l l y t o that p o i n t . An a n t i -climax that was awkwardly and improbably worked out by the dramatist was the reason why the f o u r t h act so ofte n s p o i l e d 22 the p l a y . On the question of the mixing of genres, Max leaned toward the c l a s s i c a l p o s i t i o n because he b e l i e v e d the a r t i s t must always aim at u n i t y of e f f e c t . Without u n i t y there could not be any r e a l e f f e c t , and t o achieve i t , he f e l t there must be u n i t y of method. For i n s t a n c e , he thought Shakespeare's f o o l s were out of place i n h i s t r a g e d i e s . They may have provided a convenient t r a n s i t i o n a l device be-tween b a t t l e s , but at the same time they shattered the u n i t y 23 of mood. v Max a l s o disapproved of the use of funny characters i n a play which was mainly a d i s c u s s i o n of a se r i o u s theme. When serious elements and f r i v o l o u s elements were combined the u n i t y of the play was destroyed. However, a play d i d not need t o be wholly s e r i o u s or wholly f r i v o l o u s - 1 1 7 -throughout. "But e i t h e r the seriousness had t o be e v i d e n t l y the main t h i n g , w i t h f r i v o l i t y as a mere r e l i e f , or the seriousness had t o be a mere make-weight to the f r i v o l i t y . " Because Shaw f a i l e d t o u n i f y h i s method, Max thought The P h i l a n d e r e r was an a r t i s t i c f a i l u r e . Ibsen's i n f l u e n c e seemed t o Max t o be the cause of Shaw's formal problems i n h i s e a r l i e s t p l a y s . Because the form of Mrs. Warren's P r o f e s s i o n was i n h e r e n t l y s e r i o u s , Max found the f r i v o l o u s moments j a r r i n g . He was r e l i e v e d when Shaw stopped t r y i n g t o d e a l w i t h the great problems i n l i f e i n h i s comedies because he f e l t t hat the " f r i v o l o u s " method was the a r t i s t i c one f o r Shaw. He a l s o noted t h a t l a t e r plays such as Caesar and Cleopatra were "presented on a l a r g e , loose s c a l e which was about as f a r as anything could be from the s t r a i t , s t r i c t form of h i s e a r l y p l a y s . 25 . . ." 7 The value of the l o o s e r form was that i t allowed f o r g r e a t e r scope and f l e x i b i l i t y so that Shaw could give f u l l expression t o h i s d e l i g h t f u l l y i r r e s p o n s i b l e humour without destroying the formal u n i t y . Of a l l Shaw's p l a y s , Major Barbara came c l o s e s t t o h i s i d e a l s of u n i t y . Here the author proved he could not only observe the " r u l e s " but he could a l s o appeal t o the emotions. Of the play's second act Max s a i d i t was as cun-ning and c l o s e l y - k n i t a piece of craftsmanship as any con-v e n t i o n a l playwright could achieve, and f u r t h e r , i t contained a cumulative appeal t o the emotions which no other l i v i n g - 113 playwright had touched. For Max form was as necessary to a r t as i t was t o l i f e . He t o t a l l y r e j e c t e d Shaw's d i s q u i s i t o r y plays because the method was u n f a m i l i a r and he d i d not appreciate the value of i t s uniqueness. Since Shaw's dialogue was no longer bound t o the main s i t u a t i o n s and events, but i n s t e a d , pre-dominated over them, i t seemed t o Max that the plays had no s t r u c t u r e . However, the a c t i o n had not been done away w i t h ; there was s t i l l the i n t e r a c t i o n between theme and p l o t , only now the ideas were made more dramatic than the events. The p l o t was put i n the background so that the inner a c t i o n could be s u f f i c i e n t l y v o c a l i z e d . Even so, t o Max the d i s q u i s i t o r y plays were mere debates that lacked any s o r t of recognizable u n i t y . To stand the t e s t of t h e a t r e Max f e l t a debate must be t r e a t e d as an art-form. " I t must have some c e n t r a l p o i n t , and i t must be pr o g r e s s i v e ; i t must be about something, and 27 l e a d t o something." To him M i s a l l i a n c e was a hodgepodge of Shavian ideas that never progressed but merely sprawled. Drama c r i t i c A.B. Walkley had noted some a f f i n i t y between G e t t i n g M a r r i e d , the f i r s t of Shaw's purely d i s q u i s i -t o r y p l a y s , and P l a t o ' s Symposium. Max agreed, but only t o the extent that they both would come o f f b e t t e r i n the study than on the stage. Of the two he favoured a "run" of the Symposium because there was nothing a r i d about P l a t o , h i s persons being always creatures of f l e s h and blood, both 28 presentable and a c t a b l e . However, P l a t o ' s dialogue could - 119.-not be dashed through at the pace of spoken dialogue; i t needed to be savoured and r e f l e c t e d upon at l e i s u r e ; and t h i s was a l s o t r u e of Shaw's "dialogue." Max was c e r t a i n t h a t Shaw's o r i g i n a l i n t e n t i o n was not t o be f r i v o l o u s but t o make h i s play a p h i l o s o p h i c d i s c u s s i o n of a s e r i o u s theme, because the fun seemed to be " f o i s t e d i n " 29 t o keep the audience from being bored. I t seemed to him that the f a u l t l a y w i t h the characters who were the shallow-est f i g u r e s of f u n , and f a r beneath Shaw's usual comic l e v e l . He could only account f o r them on the b a s i s that Shaw made them funny f o r f e a r of d i s a p p o i n t i n g h i s audience. Of course i t was not the fun that Max objected t o , but the i n c o n g r u i t y of the handling. A s e r i o u s d i s c u s s i o n could be made d e l i g h t -f u l l y amusing so long as the fun arose from the ideas ex-pressed. Humour sprang from the contrast between the remarks and t h e i r sober p r e s e n t a t i o n . I f the persons were merely f a r c i c a l , no one could take t h e i r opinions s e r i o u s l y . A l -though amusement could e a s i l y be taken under the guise of i n s t r u c t i o n , the audience could not be expected to take 30 i n s t r u c t i o n under the guise of amusement. When Max compared the Symposium to G e t t i n g Married he d i d not a c t u a l l y consider Shaw's i n t e n t i o n t o be the same as P l a t o ' s . What str u c k him was that Shaw had s a c r i f i c e d t r u e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and any recognizable formal u n i t y i n order to present a s e r i o u s debate on the s o c i a l problems of marriage or the n e c e s s i t y of reforming the divorce laws. - 120 -In other words, he recognized the p h i l o s o p h i c value i n Shaw's ideas but not the dramatic value. In f a c t , i t was not the play that belonged i n the study but the Preface. G e t t i n g Married had i t s P l a t o n i c f e a t u r e s , but they were s u p e r f i c i a l . Both were dialogues, but the Symposium had no underlying p l o t ; the dinner party was an episode, a framework f o r the d i s c u s s i o n on l o v e . Furthermore P l a t o ' s motive was d i f f e r e n t from Shaw's. P l a t o arranged the d i s c u s s i o n so that i t culminated i n the r e v e l a t i o n of Socrates' greatness of character as w e l l as the sublime wisdom of h i s philosophy. I t was the whole man that P l a t o wished to make known, because Socrates represented t o him human nature at i t s h i g h e s t , the true philosopher i n l o v e . The d i s c u s s i o n i n v o l v e d a p r a i s e of love with each speaker rep r e s e n t i n g an aspect of love from the most basic p h y s i c a l l e v e l t o the highest s p i r i t u a l l e v e l where the p h y s i c a l aspects of love were not e l i m i n a t e d but transcended. I t was a p h i l o s o p h i c a l i d e a , not a dramatic one, because the d i s c u s s i o n was d i r e c t e d toward the p u r s u i t of the i d e a l s t a t e of man, not toward the r e s o l u t i o n of a common s o c i a l problem which could only be met through compromise. Shaw's idea was dramatic not p h i l o s o p h i c a l . His aim was t o show the e f f e c t s of the "marriage problem" on E n g l i s h s o c i e t y and h i s s o l u t i o n was a r e a l i s t i c compromise. He assessed the problems concerning marriage and no marriage, and judged that marriage was the l e s s e r e v i l . The hope l a y - 1 2 1 -not i n an i d e a l s i t u a t i o n but i n a more r e a l i s t i c one which would e f f e c t a change i n the divorce laws. His use of a " P l a t o n i c arrangement" f i r s t between Reginald, Leo and Hotchkiss and f i n a l l y between Mrs. George, George and Hotchk i s s , was not comparable t o Socrates' i d e a l love r e l a t i o n s h i p between man and man, except p a r a d o x i c a l l y . Also p a r a d o x i c a l was the homosexual connotation i n the name of the confirmed s p i n s t e r Lesbia Grantham. I t was as i f Shaw were sayi n g , "This i s the B r i t i s h answer t o the Greek i d e a l of homosexual love-sublimate.'" Mrs. George's t r a n c e l i k e speech as the answer t o the search f o r an i d e a l r e l a t i o n s h i p arose not from the heights of i n t e l l e c t u a l wisdom but from the deepest yearnings of the human heart. Greater than the p h y s i c a l need was the need f o r a t r u l y u n s e l f i s h r e l a t i o n s h i p , a love based on c h a r i t y r a t h e r than passion. I t was Shaw's masterpiece of paradox that he a r r i v e d at a s p i r i t u a l or " P l a t o n i c " r e s o l u t i o n not through the r e f i n e d masculine mind of a t r u l y wise and c e l i b a t e p hilosopher, but through the medium of a woman i n a t r a n c e , moreover a promiscuous woman who f e l t that the best way to understand humanity was t o l o s e one's s e l f -c o n t r o l I As "Incognita Appassionata," Mrs. George could only achieve the i d e a l love r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the Bishop because t h e i r meeting was meant t o be arranged i n heaven not on earth. I t was Shaw's u l t i m a t e i r o n y that i n her love l e t t e r s t o the Bishop the high l e v e l of her s p i r i t u a l passion was somewhat undermined by the f a c t she could not s p e l l . - 122 -I t took courage f o r Max t o condemn t h i s p l a y , as he admitted i n h i s reivew of i t , because Shaw had made pe r f e c t f o o l s of the c r i t i c s over Man and Superman to the point where they were now i n c l i n e d t o accept h i s plays at h i s own e v a l u a t i o n . However, t h i s time Shaw had exceeded a l l pre-vious impertinences i n s e t t i n g G e t t i n g Married on a plane w i t h Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. I t made h i s comments on h i s play even more f r i v o l o u s than the characters i n i t . Shaw was noted f o r making statements about h i s work to provoke i n t e r e s t r a t h e r than to e n l i g h t e n h i s readers, and consequently Max ignored h i s c l a i m t o a musical form. To Max, as t o most other c r i t i c s , i t was Shaw at h i s most brash and b r i t t l e . Also Shaw d i d not help h i s case i n h i s note on a point of t e c h n i c a l i n t e r e s t when he s t a t e d that "the customary d i v i s i o n i n t o a c t s and scenes had been d i s -used, and a r e t u r n made to u n i t y of time and place as 31 observed i n ancient Greek drama." The f e a t u r e s t h a t bore some connection w i t h the o l d Greek comedy were s u p e r f i c i a l . Shaw, l i k e the A t t i c comedians, de a l t w i t h the grotesque and absurd s i d e of t h i n g s . His characters were a l s o f a r c i c a l , and he, l i k e Aristophanes, worked out beneath the laughter h i s more s e r i o u s motive. However, the form was Shavian comedy, not ancient Greek comedy, which r e l i e d on a s a t i r i c a l chorus t o address the audience d i r e c t l y on burning p o l i t i c a l questions of the day. I t was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Shaw's d i s q u i s i t o r y play t h a t - 123 -no character predominated over a l l the others. There was no longer a protagonist because the characters were not revealed through the ideas but were made subservient to them. Shaw dramatized the various viewpoints on marriage t o i l l u s -t r a t e the t r u t h of h i s idea t h a t E n g l i s h divorce laws must be changed. Because he wished t o make h i s s e r i o u s argument more p a l a t a b l e through w i t and humour, he dispensed w i t h long and t h o u g h t f u l arguments t o express h i s meaning through r e p e t i t i o n and quick repartee. Any meaning that might be missed i n repartee was picked up through r e p e t i t i o n and through the v a r i a t i o n s on the main ideas. Shaw had d e l i b e r a t e l y made h i s characters two-dimensional and f a r c i c a l i n order t o dramatize h i s ideas. Each character was made t o represent a p a r t i c u l a r point of view. U n l i k e " l i v e " characters there was no r e a l growth i n p e r s o n a l i t y , no dynamic change i n t h e i r outlooks on l i f e . E d i t h and C e c i l almost d i d not marry, and then, f i n a l l y they d i d . Normally t h e i r s i t u a t i o n would have been the centre of the play's a c t i o n . Yet i n G e t t i n g Married i t was used merely as a v e h i c l e t o arouse the r e s t of the character-types t o express t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r view-points on the s o c i a l problems which had evolved from the E n g l i s h m a r i t a l system. However, Shaw d i d not intend t o w r i t e a s o c i a l pamph-l e t but a problem play made comic through f a r c e and paradox. His f a r c i c a l characters were not true to l i f e not only be-cause they lacked depth and roundness, but a l s o because they - 124 -t o l d the absolute t r u t h about themselves. When Mrs. George i n v i t e d Hotchkiss t o form a P l a t o n i c a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h her and her husband, she a l s o t o l d him he was not t o marry 32 another woman u n t i l George grew t i r e d of him. Much of the humour of these s i t u a t i o n s arose from the t r u t h . I t was the shock of s u r p r i s e t h a t brought the d e l i g h t . However, Max was a p e r f e c t i o n i s t who could not be an o r i g i n a t o r of new forms such as the d i s q u i s i t o r y method, nor could he appreciate an a r t i s t who was, because he b e l i e v e d that the best r u l e s f o r a u n i f i e d form were those t h a t had met the t e s t of time. Max had a p r e t e r i t e frame of mind r a t h e r than a progressive one, and h i s own proven mastery of the essay form d i d not help t o broaden h i s view toward Shaw's r a d i c a l i n n o vations. Nor d i d he ever change. Many years l a t e r , when Shaw's d i s c u s s i o n drama was considered a pioneer e f f o r t toward the e v o l u t i o n of the t h e a t r e of the absurd, Max s t i l l p r e f e r r e d the formal values of the eighteenth century i n a nineteenth century s e t t i n g . For Max the n e o - c l a s s i c a l form provided the necessary detached, s e r i o u s and elegant manner t o make a humorous matter a l l the more r i d i c u l o u s . Undiluted humour was de-p r e s s i n g . A background of seriousness was always needed f o r c o n t r a s t because i n c o n g r u i t y was the mainspring of l a u g h t e r . "The more sombre the background the b r i g h t l i e r s k i p s the 33 j e s t . " ^ Max considered Oscar Wilde's The Importance of  Being Earnest the best of f a r c e s because of the humorous con-t r a s t between the s t y l e and the matter. However, of a l l forms - 12$ -of humour he l i k e d f a r c e l e a s t s i n c e , g e n e r a l l y speaking, i t l a cked both w i t and humour. Max admired the comedy of manners, and i t occurred t o him that Shaw could have created an e x c e l l e n t one i n Man  and Superman i f he had only l e f t out the L i f e Force, Ann W h i t e f i e l d and John Tanner as prototypes of woman and manI Max a l s o favoured the modern fantasy. For i n s t a n c e , when The Admirable C r i c h t o n was produced Max thought t h a t as one of the b r i g h t e s t departures from the n a t u r a l i s t i c method, i t was the best t h i n g that had happened t o the B r i t i s h stage si n c e he had known i t . On the question of modernizing Greek drama Max took P l a t o ' s stand that "nothing man has pro j e c t e d from h i m s e l f i s r e a l l y i n t e l l i g i b l e except at i t s own date, and from i t s proper point of view." When G i l b e r t Murray chose t o modernize Andromache Max objected on the grounds that the only t h i n g immortal about Greek legends was the form i n which they were o r i g i n a l l y presented. As he explained i n an a r t i c l e f o r the Saturday Review (1901): Every age has i t s own b e l i e f s or tendencies, formulable i n contemporary a r t . Presented t o p o s t e r i t y i n t h e i r o r i g i n a l a r t - f o r m , these b e l i e f s or tendencies are (through the imagination which that a r t-form s t i r s ) as potent, or ne a r l y potent, as ever they were. Aeschylus i s a f o r c e h a r d l y l e s s a c c e s s i b l e (to those who can understand Greek; than Ibsen. Shakespeare i s as near to us as Mr. Henry Arthur Jones. But t o present Aeschylean t h i n g s w e l l i n modern E n g l i s h form i s a task not more hopeless than would be the w r i t i n g of a good modern E n g l i s h play i n E l i z a b e t h a n blank verse or i n Greek rhythms f o r three a c t o r s and a chorus. 35 - 126 -Max made one exception t o t h i s r u l e i n the comedies of Aristophanes. U n l i k e the t r a g i c Greek d r a m a t i s t s , Aristophanes was w e l l s u i t e d t o the modern t h e a t r e . Since he was the most i n t i m a t e of s a t i r i s t s , he could have h i s place indoors. A l s o , because he was so completely contem-poraneous, h i s dialogue s u r v i v e d best when given through the current s l a n g . On the subject of M i l t o n ' s use of Greek models f o r h i s tragedy Samson Agonistes, Max showed h i s d i r e c t a f f i n i t y w i t h eighteenth century concepts of c l a s s i c a l form and decorum. In essence h i s o b j e c t i o n t o "Agonising Samson" was the same as Samuel Johnson's, f o r Johnson s a i d that the play met A r i s t o t l e ' s c o n d i t i o n s f o r a beginning and an end, but t h a t i t had no middle because nothing occurred between these 37 a c t s t h a t e i t h e r hastened or delayed the death of Samson. For Max, even an i d e a l performance of the play would be d u l l because he sensed no dramatic q u a l i t y i n i t . He saw only that M i l t o n was more i n t e n t on s e r v i n g . l a r g e p o r t i o n s of moral p l a t i t u d e s than on p r o v i d i n g dramatic t h r i l l s . H e missed some s o r t of c o n f l i c t i n Samson and i n the f i n a l scene between Samson and D e l i l a . For him there was no experience of tragedy without a powerful c o n f l i c t of emotions. Max f e l t t hat Samson's t o t a l submission t o God was e d i f y i n g , c o r r e c t , and even admirable, but i t was not t r a g i c or dramatic. The problem f o r him as f o r many c r i t i c s was that M i l t o n had arranged everything f o r pathos and nothing f o r a c t i o n . His play was a c t u a l l y a s p i r i t u a l tragedy i n which he expected the pleasure t o come from watching the disease of passion run i t s course i n Samson and thereby the audience would be purged of p i t y and f e a r . This was such an unorthodox view of the A r i s t o t e l i a n p r i n c i p l e that i t was a l s o questioned i n the Seventeenth Century. I t made tragedy u a matter of m o r a l i t y and e d i f i c a t i o n r a t h e r than p r i m a r i l y of profound 39 a e s t h e t i c experience." In h i s drama M i l t o n had t r i e d to r e c o n c i l e Greek and C h r i s t i a n elements; but s i n c e the play revolved about the C h r i s t i a n concept of s i n , the consequent ravages of the human h e a f t , and the need of repentance and r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h God, i t was i n e v i t a b l e t h a t many c r i t i c s , l i k e Max, would f i n d the play u n t r a g i c . Samson could not s a t i s f y Max's d e s i r e f o r the t r a d i t i o n a l hero of high tragedy, nor d i d the play as a whole give him any a e s t h e t i c pleasure. L i k e those who focused on the Greek or Hebrew elements i n the tragedy, he missed the essence of M i l t o n . Samson Agonistes was not a Greek tragedy, i t was a M i l t o n i c tragedy drawing upon outside m a t e r i a l s and f i t t i n g them i n t o h i s ideas f o r form and metre. For a l l i t s u n c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y , the play was b a s i c a l l y i n the h e r o i c t r a d i t i o n . In general Max p r e f e r r e d the n e o - c l a s s i c a l r u l e s t o the e x c e p t i o n a l cases. Modern e x p e r i m e n t a l i s t s i n form oft e n roused h i s c u r i o s i t y ; o c c a s i o n a l l y they s t i r r e d h i s i n t e r e s t , but r a r e l y d i d they gain h i s approval. In l a t e r years h i s d i s l i k e of modern techniques such as the stream-of-- 128 - - : consciousness method, l e d him t o s o f t e n h i s adverse judgments of e a r l i e r craftsmen l i k e Arthur Wing Pinero. Enveloped i n an aura of pastness, i t seemed t o Max that Pinero "not only gave you the good wine but a good goblet t o dr i n k f r o m . " ^ I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that i t was not a dramatist of the l o o s e , simple form of C o n t i n e n t a l drama, nor one of the expression-i s t i c school of sy n t h e s i s that he r e c a l l e d , but a playwright who a p p l i e d the n a t u r a l i s t i c method w i t h i n the framework of a b a s i c a l l y well-made play. I n e v i t a b l y , what he looked f o r i n other w r i t e r s were q u a l i t i e s which were somewhere rooted i n the " r u l e s " of n e o - c l a s s i c i s m . The w r i t e r he p r a i s e d was the master of the u n i f i e d method which made a u n i f i e d impact upon the reader's mind, h i s heart and h i s sense of design. CHAPTER IV SOURCE REFERENCES 1. Max Beerbohm, "Lytton Strachey," Mainly on the A i r , New York, A l f r e d K. Knopf, 1950, pp. 202-203. 2. David C e c i l , Max, London, Constable and Co., 1964, p. 395. 3« Op. c i t . , p. 202. 4. Henry James, The Art of the Novel, New York, Charles S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1937 [copyright 1934], p. x v i i i . 5. Loc. c i t . 6. Max Beerbohm, "Mr. Henry James' P l a y , " Around  Theatres, London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1953 [copyright 1924], p. 542. 7. Loc. c i t . 8. Beerbohm, "Grierson's Way," Around Theatres, p. 20. 9. Beerbohm, "Mr. Conrad's P l a y , " Around Theatres, p. 3^5. 10. I b i d . , p. 3^7. 11. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw At His Best," Around Theatres, pp. 353-354. 12. Beerbohm, "A 'Dreary' P l a y , " Around Theatres, p. 252. 13. Beerbohm, "The Thieves' Comedy," Around Theatres, p. 367. 14. Op. c i t . 15. Beerbohm, "The Lower Depths," Around Theatres, p. 303. 16. I b i d . , p. 304. 17. Beerbohm, " I r i s h Plays and P l a y e r s , " Around  Theatres, p. 317. - 130 -18. Beerbohm, "A Memorable Performance," Around  Theatres, p. 499. 19. Donald C. S t u a r t , The Development of Dramatic A r t , New York, Dover P u b l i c a t i o n s , I960, p. 634. 20. Beerbohm, "The Tempest," Around Theatres, p. 296. 21. Beerbohm, "Last A c t s , " Around Theatres, p. 103. 22. I b i d . , p. 104. 23. J.G. Riewald, S i r Max Beerbohm, The Hague, Martinus N i j h o f f , 1953, p. 165. 24. Beerbohm, "The P h i l a n d e r e r , " Around Theatres, p. 450. 25. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw Crescent," Around Theatres, pp. 120-121. 26. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's P o s i t i o n , " Around Theatres, p. 413. 27. Beerbohm, "Mr. Shaw's 'Debate'," Around Theatres, p. 563. 28. Beerbohm, "Getting Married," Around Theatres, p. 508. 29. I b i d . , p. 510. 30. I b i d . , p. 512. 31. Shaw, The Doctor's Dilemma, Ge t t i n g M a r r i e d , and  The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet, p. 180. 32. I b i d . , p. 327. 33. Beerbohm, "A Conspectus of G.B.S.," Around  Theatres, p. 174. 34. Graham Hough, The Last Romantics, London, Gerald Duckworth and Co., L t d . , 1949, p. 159. 35. Beerbohm, "By-Gones Up t o Date," Around Theatres, p. 129. 36. Beerbohm, "'The Frogs' at Oxford," Around  Theatres^ pp. 539-540. 37. John M i l t o n , Paradise Regained, The Minor Poems  and Samson Agonistes, e d . , M e r r i t t Y. Hughes, New York, The Odyssey Press, 1937, p. 435. - 131 -38. Beerbohm, "Agonising Samson," Around Theatres, p. 527. 39. Op. c i t . , p. 440. 40. Alan Dent, "Max i s E i g h t y , " The Saturday Review G a l l e r y (New York 1959), p. 336. CHAPTER V ETHICS AND AESTHETICS More than anything e l s e , Max's concept of the i l l u s i o n of l i f e governed h i s moral and a e s t h e t i c v a l u e s . Whatever threatened i n d i v i d u a l i t y or hindered the f r e e expression of c r e a t i v e v i t a l i t y , whatever f o s t e r e d hypocrisy or v u l g a r i t y , became subjects f o r parody and c a r i c a t u r e or t a r g e t s f o r h i s d i r e c t c r i t i c a l contempt. A r t i s t s who chose to e d i f y r a t h e r than to d e l i g h t des-troyed the i l l u s i o n of l i f e because they allowed t h e i r pur-pose to overwhelm t h e i r a r t , and where there was no u n i t y there was no i l l u s i o n of l i f e . I t seemed to Max t h a t moral concerns could be subjects f o r a r t only as long as the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n was a e s t h e t i c a l l y s a t i s f y i n g . As an aesthete he b e l i e v e d that i t was not the w r i t e r ' s business t o c o r r e c t or c a s t i g a t e . Moral f e r v o u r was acceptable, but i t must be handled w i t h a r t i s t i c r e s t r a i n t . He was f i r m l y against a l l propagandists, pamphleteers and g r i n d e r s of axes who chose to make a p o l i t i c a l or s o c i a l p l a t f o r m of t h e i r a r t . He was a l s o s t r o n g l y opposed to censorship and to c r i t i c s who judged a work of a r t w i t h i n narrow l i m i t s of m o r a l i t y . Max b e l i e v e d t h a t w r i t e r s should be allowed un-l i m i t e d freedom i n t h e i r choice of subject matter. The important t h i n g was not the subject but how i t was handled. - 133 -An ugly theme re q u i r e d s e r i o u s and s k i l l f u l treatment. Even horror, when i t was used to p o i n t to some c r i t i c i s m of l i f e , could purge through p i t y and awe. 1 But John M a s e f i e l d ' s p l a y , The Campden Wonder, was horror f o r horror's sake. I t was morbid whereas l i f e as a whole was not, though l i f e 2 abounded i n tragedy. I t seemed to Max that horror or v i o l e n c e conveyed the greatest emotional impact when i t was played o f f s t a g e . When the power of suggestion was allowed to work on the minds of the audience, the e f f e c t was greater than the dramatist could hope to achieve by enacting the crime onstage. Max objected to Oscar Wilde's Salome, i n s p i t e of the f a c t that he found i t t e c h n i c a l l y b e a u t i f u l , because the play was too h o r r i b l e f o r stage p r e s e n t a t i o n . He thought the act of c a r r y i n g John the B a p t i s t ' s severed head on stage was a s k i n g the audience to s u f f e r something beyond the r i g h t f u l t r a g i c t h r i l l i n 3 qualms of p h y s i c a l d i s g u s t . Max considered the greatest themes to be the common-place ones. Abnormally strange themes had not enough r e l a -t i o n to l i f e to be good themes f o r a r t . Max f e l t t hat a unique i n c i d e n t , however f a c t u a l , d i d not give the sense of being rooted i n l i f e . Consequently, the theme of The Campden  Wonder struck him as being too curious to meet the r e q u i r e -ments of t r a g i c a r t . I t i n v o l v e d a man's determination t o avenge himself on h i s brother by sending h i s brother, h i s mother and himself to the gallows f o r a crime none of them had committed. Obviously the man, John Perry, was mentally deranged, and Max thought a l u n a t i c should not be used f o r the p i v o t of a tragedy because we, u n l i k e the Greeks, d i d not - 134 -b e l i e v e i n " m a l e f i c i e n t d e i t i e s . " ^ " I n modern tragedy there had t o be human r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Perhaps M a s e f i e l d d i d not i n t e n d h i s play to be i n t e r -preted by the t r a d i t i o n a l standards of tragedy, but Max's point was s t i l l a reasonable one. This cannot be s a i d f o r h i s b i a s against the Russian p s y c h o l o g i c a l n o v e l i s t s and d r a m a t i s t s . Max b e l i e v e d i t was h i s respect f o r s a n i t y and moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y which i n f l u e n c e d h i s c r i t i c i s m s , but obviously t h i s was not so. For i n s t a n c e , Dostoievsky, whom the Bloomsbury 'mental underworld' had e x a l t e d , impressed him as a man of genius who "gave b e a u t i f u l l y poignant ex-5 p r e s s i o n to h i s s p i n e l e s s n e s s . " He a l s o thought t h a t "except f o r Turgenev and, at times, Tolstoy, too much of what Russian n o v e l i s t s wrote was touched w i t h lunacy."^ In h i s parody of Dostoievsky and Gorky i n K o l n i y a t s c h , the t i t l e suggested Colney Hatch, once London's most famous l u n a t i c asylum. Max's d i s l i k e and misunderstanding of Russian 'writers of genius was the r e s u l t of b a s i c temperamental and a r t i s t i c d i f f e r e n c e s . Max had no sympathy f o r the brooding, i n t r o -s p e c t i v e aspects of the Russian nature. He thought the Russian approach to grave p s y c h o l o g i c a l problems and the problems of man's r e l a t i o n to the universe was both f u t i l e and unhealthy. I t seemed to him that modern Russian a r t i s t s were more i n t e r e s t e d i n sordidness than i n a r t , because there was no evidence that they a p p r e c i a t e d a c l a s s i c a l sense of u n i t y or the value of a r t i s t i c r e s t r a i n t . C l e a r l y the pro-blem f o r Max was that once again he had overstepped h i s l i m i t s as a c r i t i c i n attempting to cope w i t h the demands of - 135 -l a r g e s c a l e genius. Max p r e f e r r e d t o make l i f e l i v e a b l e r a t h e r than e p i c a l . In h i s o p i n i o n good sense about t r i v i a l i t i e s was b e t t e r than 7 nonsense about things that mattered. He considered utopian-ism to be one of the milder forms of lunacy. He was not only s u s p i c i o u s of 'big* ideas but he f e l t the e f f o r t to f o r c e men i n t o 'the s t r a i t j a c k e t of a panacea' had caused u n t o l d 8-misery and s u f f e r i n g to the human race. Max p r e f e r r e d the a t t a i n a b l e , the comprehensible and the small i n s c a l e . He was i n c l i n e d to view any document f o r i d e a l s o c i a l i z e d l i v i n g as a warrant f o r the a r r e s t of i n d i v i d u a l i t y . That was one reason why he could never app r e c i a t e H. G. W e l l s . " I have no great i n t e l l e c t , " Max once s a i d . "What I have i s i n t u i t i o n and a sense of humour, sense of fun and 9 sense of beauty." Apart from h i s usual s e l f - e f f a c i n g manner, there was a l s o a f a i r degree of t r u t h i n h i s statement. Many times he admitted t h a t to observe humanity was a f a r greater and more e n t e r t a i n i n g experience f o r him than to read about i t i n the best and r a r e s t of books. Possessed of a h i g h l y s e n s i t i v e c r e a t i v e imagination and a strong s a t i r i c a l sense, he p r e f e r r e d t o t u r n to l i f e i t s e l f f o r h i s raw m a t e r i a l s . The pleasures of s c h o l a r s h i p were f o r e i g n to h i s i n t e r e s t s . I n f a c t , Max looked upon scholars as very d u l l people who sometimes devoted a great deal of labour to f u t i l e p u r s u i t s . He could never understand why c e r t a i n of them should dedicate years of research to e s t a b l i s h ' p r o o f t h a t Bacon wrote Shakespeare's Works. He d i d not care about authepfs t h e o r i e s or t h e o r i e s about authors. He p r e f e r r e d the ' l i g h t touch.' - 136 -That was p r i m a r i l y why he chose Lord David C e c i l to under-take h i s biography r a t h e r than Dr. J . G. Riewald, who had so c a r e f u l l y and i n t e l l i g e n t l y analyzed h i s work. The important t h i n g to Max was t h a t a r t must have an emotional impact; the broader h i s t o r i c a l and l i t e r a r y i n f e r -ences that could be drawn from i t d i d not concern him. He could not appreciate the s c h o l a r ' s tr u e value because he was never q u i t e able to determine the d i f f e r e n c e between s c h o l a r -ship and pedantry. In a parody of a s c h o l a r l y footnote to h i s L a t i n poem Carmen Becceriense he wrote: "The question i s , however, t r i v i a l - indeed i t s very t r i v i a l i t y i s the best excuse I can o f f e r f o r the space I have devoted t o i t s d i s -10 cus s i o n . " C e r t a i n l y Max had a p o i n t about pedantry, as he had about other forms of humbug. He had l i t t l e patience w i t h c r i t i c s who raved about plays t h a t were performed i n a l a n -guage they could not understand. Unable himself to be moved by the performances of Eleanora Duse, he marvelled that seemingly s u i t a b l e gestures and a well-modulated v o i c e were a l l t hat the c r i t i c s and the audience r e q u i r e d to go i n t o raptures:;of p r a i s e . Of even so romantic a f i g u r e as Duse Max d e s i r e d more than b e a u t i f u l word sounds; he wanted to grasp t h e i r meaning. Yet t r a n s l a t i o n was not the answer, because the v i t a l i t y of language depended on form and s t y l e , on the o r i g i n a l order and rhythm of the words, as w e l l as on the meaning. Max was against anything which endangered a sense of l i f e and the a e s t h e t i c sense. He thought theatres should be - 137 -open i n the morning because i t was our most r e c e p t i v e time. He a l s o appreciated the advantage of the theatre over the cinema. Each performance was f r e s h and i n d i v i d u a l because the audience and a r t i s t s reacted upon one another with ever 11 new e f f e c t . He was against machine l i k e n e s s e s because they destroyed the sense of l i f e . However, i t seemed to him t h a t , a e s t h e t i c a l l y , the keenest t h e a t r i c a l enjoyments came from plays whose power or 12 beauty took the audience by s u r p r i s e , not, as W i l l i a m Archer claimed, w i t h f a m i l i a r p l a y s . To Max, p l o t and s i t u a t i o n , character, idea and d i c t i o n were f a r more e f f e c t i v e when they were new than when they were f a m i l i a r . There i s some merit i n h i s p o i n t t h a t the i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n to a t r u l y f i n e play was one of s e l f - f o r g e t f u l r a p t u r e , and since the t r u e s t k i n d of a e s t h e t i c emotion l a y i n being simply "bowled over," t h i s r e a c t i o n was never again equalled or surpassed. The second experience of the play brought a c l o s e r a p p r e c i a t i o n and d i s c r i m i n a t i o n of the d e t a i l s which was a l s o a e s t h e t i c a l l y p l e a s u r a b l e , but not to the same degree. At the t h i r d s i g h t and ever a f t e r the p r i n c i p a l i n t e r e s t centred on the i n d i v i d -u a l performances because the f i n e n e s s of the p l a y was taken f o r granted. Again there was pleasure i n the experience but there was a l s o an inherent danger which threatened to destroy the a e s t h e t i c e f f e c t of the play as a whole, because repeated r o l e s and repeated plays tended to become mechanical. When a play such as Macbeth was so w e l l known f o r the i n d i v i d u a l p a r t s t h a t Lady Macbeth became a v e h i c l e f o r t h i s or that a c t r e s s ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , Max f e l t i t was time to shelve the - 138 -p l a y f o r t h i r t y years, u n t i l i t could once again make an impact p u r e l y on i t s merits as a drama. He a l s o b e l i e v e d that mimes, no matter how e x c e l l e n t , were only important t o the extent t h a t t h e i r p a r t s c o n t r i b u t e d to the e f f e c t of the pla y as a whole. The p l a y was the t h i n g , and i t had to be created f o r i t s own sake to be e f f e c t i v e . I t could be w r i t t e n around a p a r t i c u l a r character such as Cyrano de Bergerac, but not around a p a r t i c u l a r a c t o r , or actor-manager, because, when the p l a y was commissioned to s u i t the l e a d i n g a c t o r , i t ceased to be a l i v i n g work of a r t . The a r t i s t , unable to e n v i s i o n h i s man from w i t h i n , was f o r c e d to assume the r o l e of an adapter. Consequently, the play lacked the i l l u s i o n of l i f e and f a i l e d to be a e s t h e t i c -a l l y s a t i s f y i n g . Max thought that the plays produced during h i s term as theatr e c r i t i c were b e t t e r than those produced f o r the pre-vious generation because the development of modern r e a l i s m had r e l e a s e d drama from i t s commitment to glamour. Now that people were no longer expected to accept anything, no matter 13 how s i l l y , there was hope f o r the drama's f u t u r e . However, the f a c t t h a t there were so many t e n t h r a t e productions staged, he blamed on those who made box o f f i c e appeal the f i r s t c o n s i d e r a t i o n . On t h i s p o i n t actor-managers l i k e h i s h a l f brother Herbert Beerbohm-Tree were p a r t i c u l a r l y g u i l t y . Max favoured the rep e r t o r y theatres because they put good theat r e f i r s t . Here the best modern work was produced because they dared to launch both f o r e i g n and B r i t i s h plays of modern r e a l i s m . - 139 -On account of i t s v i t a l i t y and progressiveness, Max p r e f e r r e d the r e p e r t o r y t h e a t r e , to the Shakespearean and the N a t i o n a l t h e a t r e s . He thought a small theatre f o r the production of short p l a y s was more d e s i r a b l e than a n a t i o n a l theatre because theatre-goers were given a l l they needed of Shakespeare and other theatre c l a s s i c s . He a l s o encouraged any e f f o r t to spark new l i f e on the stage, whether i t was by the r e a l i s t i c plays of Heijermans and Henry Arthur Jones, or the modern music h a l l sketch. He favoured the r e f i n e d comed-i e s of w i t of Oscar Wilde, the f a n t a s t i c and s a t i r i c comedies of S i r James B a r r i e and the symbolic dramas of J . M. Synge and Yeats. I t was not t h e i r 'newness' that d e l i g h t e d him but the f a c t they met h i s standards f o r a work of a r t . Among other t h i n g s , they were o r i g i n a l , v i t a l and a e s t h e t i c a l l y s a t i s f y -i n g . Any form of a r t which d i d not appeal to h i s sense of beauty or h i s sense f o r l i f e he considered an a r t i s t i c f a i l -u re. With c o n v i c t i o n he wrote, " I f a b u t t e r f l y i s not b e a u t i -f u l , i t has no r i g h t to e x i s t . I f a f a r c e i s unpleasantly 14 invented, i t has no r i g h t to e x i s t . " He i n c l u d e d d i a l e c t verse i n t h i s category because he found i t grotesque, and modern p o e t i c dramas i n Shakespearean blank verse since only mediocre t a l e n t s l i k e Stephen P h i l l i p s cared to invent them. A l s o , he b e l i e v e d Shakespearean blank verse belonged to the Eli z a b e t h a n e r a. Max scorned the p u b l i c but he d i d not scorn the p u b l i c ' s love f o r the s t u p i d i n music h a l l entertainment. He b e l i e v e d every human creature was a mixture of s t u p i d i t y and c l e v e r -- 140 -15 ness, and that both q u a l i t i e s r e q u i r e d n u t r i t i o n . I t seemed to him that p a r t of the charm of the old-fashioned music h a l l was th a t i t evoked a sense of the past, of a more l e i s u r e l y and romantic e ra. I t had a l i f e a l l i t s own, and where there was l i f e Max could f i n d room i n h i s heart f o r monotony, v u l g a r -i t y and sentiment. They belonged i n the music h a l l and i n t h e i r proper place they charmed him. Generally speaking, Max scorned the p u b l i c because they represented mass u n i f o r m i t y and he was a confirmed i n d i v i d -u a l i s t . I n h i s opinion there were only two elements i n the p u b l i c ' s humour, d e l i g h t i n the s u f f e r i n g of others and con-16 tempt f o r the u n f a m i l i a r . For p u b l i c amusement the comic had only to focus h i s m a t e r i a l on popular t o p i c s that i n -volved some form of v i o l e n c e . Consequently, Max could never t o l e r a t e the 'comic man' e i t h e r i n l i t e r a t u r e or i n s o c i e t y . L i k e Shaw, he l e v e l l e d many s a t i r i c blows at the E n g l i s h -man's self-esteem. He was convinced that the Englishman was born i n a r t i s t i c , w i t h l i t t l e or no sense of beauty. However, on more than purely a e s t h e t i c grounds he pleaded f o r a r e t u r n to the old-fashioned system of education which b e l i e v e d that 'manners makyth man.' He f e l t the passing of L a t i n i n the schools had an adverse a f f e c t on the p r e c i s e use of E n g l i s h , and w i t h the b l u n t i n g of p r e c i s i o n i n the language came mud-17 diness i n p o l i t i c a l p o l i c y , i n m o r a l i t y and i n conduct. Vague thoughts and ambiguous expressions a l s o had harm-f u l a f f e c t s upon modern j o u r n a l i s m . Max thought modern j o u r n a l i s t s lacked v i t a l i t y . They merely r e f l e c t e d the absence of the power of concentration i n the average modern mind. He a l s o observed the t r i c k s of e d i t o r i a l w r i t e r s who, having nothing to say, made up f o r the l a c k by pouring f o r t h the longest and most emphatic words "on the simplest subjects so as to give the impression of a weighty and j u d i c i o u s 18 mind." The a e s t h e t i c s of f i n e p r i n t i n g d e l i g h t e d Max but he d i d not admire a book i n which the p r i n t i n g tended t o over-shadow the work i t s e l f . The pseudo-mediaevalism used by W i l l i a m M o r r i s i n p r i n t i n g the Kelmscott e d i t i o n s exasper-ated him. He i n s i s t e d t h a t the p r i n t i n g prevented the reader from being i n d i r e c t touch w i t h the author's meaning, and the r e f o r e deprived the books of t h e i r very l i f e . He a l s o blamed t y p o g r a p h i c a l "monkey t r i c k s " f o r marring a great many books. The ty p o g r a p h i c a l expert cared nothing about w r i t e r or reader. He cared only about a handsome page or d i g n i f i e d block of type. As a r e s u l t a l l the words were jammed one again s t another w i t h as l i t t l e space as p o s s i b l e between the l i n e s , s i g n i f y i n g to Max another mark of modern 'progress.' Max resented the modern world. A l l i t s i n f l u e n c e s seemed bent on s h a t t e r i n g i n d i v i d u a l i t y and beauty. He f e l t the l a c k of modern ' p e r s o n a l i t i e s ' , the sense of elusiveness and complexity that he had admired i n such e x t r a o r d i n a r y nineteenth century f i g u r e s as Byron, D i s r a e l i and R o s s e t t i . He a l s o missed the great statesmen that used to command respect i n Parliament. Now the House of Commons manner was debased to mere ' dufferdorn'. In twentieth-century London there was nothing to d e l i g h t - 142 -h i s eye e i t h e r i n modern a r c h i t e c t u r e or i n s c u l p t u r e . What he saw he considered both gross and vu l g a r . And w i t h the ev e r - i n c r e a s i n g emphasis on speed and progress the modern world had l o s t i t s capacity f o r l e i s u r e . Most of a l l he missed c i v i l i z a t i o n i n the V i c t o r i a n sense when the ground was a l l f i r m under f o o t , when c h i l d r e n knew t h e i r place and the graces were not yet outmoded. That was why he f i n a l l y 'escaped* to R a p a l l o , to a place where c i v i l i z a t i o n was s t i l l the servant of man and not h i s master, and where there yet remained an atmosphere of peace and beauty. CHAPTER V SOURCE REFERENCES 1. Max Beerbohm, "A 'Dreary' P l a y , " Around Theatres, London, Rupert Hart-Davis,[1953 [copyright 1924], p. 250. 2. Beerbohm, "The Campden Wonder," Around Theatres, p. 447. 3. Beerbohm, "Salome," Around Theatres, p. 377. 4. Op. c i t . , p. 448. 5. Max Beerbohm, "From Bloomsbury to Bayswater," Mainly on the A i r , New York, A l f r e d K. Knopf, 1958, p. 144. 6. S. N. Behrman, P o r t r a i t of Max , New York, Random House, I960, p. 282. 7. I b i d . , p. 203. 8. Loc. c i t . 9. David C e c i l , Max, London, Constable and Co., 1964, p. 486. 10. Max Beerbohm, Max i n Verse, ed. J . G. Riewald, B r a t t l e b o r o , Vermont, The Stephen Greene Press, 1963, p. 3. 11. Beerbohm, "Advertisements," Mainly on the A i r , p. 64 • 12. Beerbohm, "Plays Repeated," Around Theatres, p. 92. 13. Max Beerbohm, "The Humour of the P u b l i c , " Yet Again, London, W i l l i a m Heinemann L t d . , 1951 [copyright 1923], p. 254. 14. C e c i l , Max, p. 251. 15. Beerbohm, "The Older and B e t t e r Music H a l l , " Around  Theatres, p. 299. . . . 16. Beerbohm, "The Humour of the P u b l i c , " Yet Again, p.250. 17. Behrman, P o r t r a i t of Max, pp. 118-119. - 144 18. Wilbur Cross, "The Humour of Max Beerbohm," The  Yale Review , (January 1924), p. 220. 19. Max Beerbohm, unpublished l e t t e r t o Edmund Gosse dated November 3, 192$, U n i v e r s i t y of Leeds, England. CHAPTER VI AN EVALUATION OF MAX BEERBOHM AS A CRITIC: HIS "PLACE" IN THE CRITICAL TRADITION I. Max on C r i t i c i s m During h i s twelve years as drama c r i t i c f o r the Saturday  Review, Max recognized i n the wide-spread and i n c r e a s i n g power of the Press the cause of decay i n modern c r i t i c i s m . He was gl a d that the time had passed when an a r t i s t could be "snuffed out by an a r t i c l e . " But through the employment of ignorant and s t u p i d w r i t e r s , bad c r i t i c i s m had become so general that now i t was only through h i s i m i t a t o r s that an a r t i s t could be made t o s u f f e r . 1 Max's i d e a l of a good c r i t i c f i t t e d i n t o the general concept of a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c i s m . P e r s o n a l l y , he favoured a str o n g , narrow and c r e a t i v e p e r s o n a l i t y because he f e l t i t was more important f o r a c r i t i c t o be i n t e r e s t i n g than t o be always and a b s o l u t e l y j u s t . One oath roared by W.E. Henley gave him greater joy than the sounder and more con-s i s t e n t judgments of W i l l i a m Archer. For though men l i k e Henley and George Moore were so narrow they were almost i n v a r i a b l y wrong, o c c a s i o n a l l y they were b r i l l i a n t l y r i g h t , 2 and they were always i n t e r e s t i n g . He a l s o admired a l i g h t n e s s of touch i n c r i t i c i s m . Humour was an asset t o the c r i t i c because i t made h i s opinions - 146 -l e s s a r i d and because the o r i g i n a l i t y of the c r i t i c i s m de-pended l e s s on what was s a i d than on the way i t was s a i d . Since everything had been s a i d many times before, the impor-3 tant t h i n g was to say i t i n a new way. Only the i n d i v i d u a l -i t y of the c r i t i c ' s s t y l e could make h i s point of view seem f r e s h and unique. To Max, s t y l e was j u s t as important t o the a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c as i t was to the a r t i s t . I t was the l e s s e r c r e a t i o n only because the c r i t i c had t o be wound up from the outside. Consequently he could not be so c r e a t i v e l y a c r e a t o r as the a r t i s t whose work was h i s theme.^ S t y l e a l s o i m p l i e d a sense of form. Max thought c r i t i c i s m which focused on one or two p o i n t s of i n t e r e s t was more valuable than t h a t which t r i e d to w r e s t l e w i t h the whole subject. A narrow viewpoint expressed w i t h a r t i s t i c u n i t y c a r r i e d g reater impact and allowed f o r deeper i n s i g h t s than one could hope to encounter i n a broad and general c r i t i c a l statement. He b e l i e v e d that the best k i n d of c r i t i c was the h e l p -f u l l y i n t e r p r e t i v e , almost c r e a t i v e c r i t i c who had f e l t be-f o r e he thought. I t was the emotions that were the important t h i n g i n a r t . Max f e l t c r i t i c s should not c u l t i v a t e t h e i r minds at the expense of t h e i r emotions. A c r i t i c could not read too much but he could remember too much of h i s reading, and i n s t e a d of saying t h i n g s i n h i s own way he might f i n d h i mself expressing someone e l s e ' s manner and opinions. As i n a r t , so i n c r i t i c i s m , when a c r i t i c chose the handiest - 147 -ready-made mould f o r h i s o p i n i o n s , c r i t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e 5 became impoverished. I t was evident t o Max that the f i n e s t c r i t i c i s m was always p a s s i v e , not a c t i v e , because mastery came only through s e l f - s u r r e n d e r . 6 He b e l i e v e d that a c r i t i c who j u s t l y ad-mired a l l kinds of t h i n g s simultaneously, was incapable of surrendering h i m s e l f t o any one of them, and t h e r e f o r e , though he might be very admirable he could never r e a l l y matter. F i n a l l y , Max advocated a f i r m rock f o r the c r i t i c ' s i deas. He f e l t t h a t s o l i d l y e s t a b l i s h e d c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s were the best insurance against c r i t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s . He blamed h i s "lamentable v i c i s s i t u d e s " over George Bernard 7 Shaw on the l a c k of such a rock. There were few contemporary c r i t i c s whom Max admired. Among drama c r i t i c s there were only two: A.B. Walkley and W i l l i a m Archer. Of the two he p r e f e r r e d A.B. Walkley, and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , i t was Walkley's manner he admired. Archer d e a l t so c l o s e l y and c o n s c i e n t i o u s l y w i t h h i s subject that the i n t e r e s t i n h i s c r i t i c a l a r t i c l e s faded w i t h the i n t e r e s t i n the book or play. Mr. Walkley, on the other hand, took the e s s a y i s t ' s approach. He was not a more astute c r i t i c than Mr. Archer but he wore b e t t e r because he expressed the opinions of a s t r o n g , narrow c r e a t i v e person-a l i t y . While he informed h i s reader, he a l s o e n t e r t a i n e d him. Max l i k e d W i l l i a m Archer best during h i s e a r l y days as an ardent I b s e n i t e . In those days h i s obvious p r e j u d i c e made him l e s s j u s t but f a r more readable. In l a t e r years when Mr. Archer became dedicated t o the cause of f i n d i n g "the s o u l of goodness i n t h i n g s a r t i s t i c a l l y e v i l , " Max s t i l l considered him a good c r i t i c but he wished he were more amusing and o c c a s i o n a l l y even more i l l u m i n a t i n g . That was why i t came almost as a r e l i e f t o him when Archer c a l l e d Mrs. Warren's P r o f e s s i o n a masterpiece. Max a t t r i b u t e d t h i s faux pas t o the modern no t i o n that unpleasant m a t e r i a l made a good play. To f i n d that Mr. Archer too could go wrong pleased him because i t seemed t o make the man more human. This was never h i s problem w i t h A.B. Walkley. Max admired the humour that always pervaded the soundest of h i s judgments, that made a fantasy of common-sense and softened 9 the dry l i g h t of h i s c r i t i c i s m . His aim was not simply to e x p l a i n the merits or demerits of t h i s or that work but t o r e v e a l h i m s e l f , to show that he was very c l e v e r and amusing. A c t u a l l y Walkley's p e r s o n a l i t y was not quite narrow enough f o r Max. He was too s c i e n t i f i c i n h i s method and at times too obviously e r u d i t e . S t i l l he had s t y l e and an e s s a y i s t ' s sense of form. He knew how t o construct a theory or i n d i c a t e a moral w i t h c l a s s i c a l c o n t r o l . In these respects he met Max's standards f o r the a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c . L y t t o n Strachey impressed Max as having the q u a l i t i e s e s s e n t i a l to good l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m . "With an i n t e l l e c t of s t e e l y q u a l i t y there was combined i n him a deep s e n s i b i l i t y - 149 -and r e c e p t i v i t y . He had f e l t before he t h o u g h t . " 1 0 L i k e Max, he had the s a t i r i c temperament and h i s c r i t i c i s m was more often i m p l i c i t than e x p l i c i t , w i t h o c c a s i o n a l s h a f t s of s t r i k i n g l y o r i g i n a l i n s i g h t . C r i t i c s l i k e George Moore mattered because they were capable of s e l f - s u r r e n d e r . Whenever Moore "discovered" an a r t i s t that a r t i s t seemed greater t o him than any other. He worshipped him e x c l u s i v e l y , s h u t t i n g out a l l other a r t i s t i c concerns. His surrender t o t h i s one master was so complete that he was able t o possess the very essence of h i s subject. That was why Max f e l t no one but Ruskin had w r i t t e n more v i v i d l y and more l o v i n g l y and p e r c e p t i v e l y about the a r t of p a i n t i n g , and no one had w r i t t e n more i n s p i r i n g l y or with more i n f e c t i o u s enthusiasm about w r i t e r s whom he loved and understood or more amusingly against those whom he d i d not understand and d e s p i s e d . 1 1 I I . Max on Max as C r i t i c Max numbered him s e l f among the c r i t i c s who were a e s t h e t i c , temperamental and i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c , not the s c i e n -t i f i c or academic k i n d . He p r e f e r r e d modern i n t e r p r e t i v e or temperamental c r i t i c i s m t o the older academic method be-cause he b e l i e v e d i t was l i v i n g c r i t i c i s m . The c r i t i c was no longer allowed t o f e e l s u p e r i o r t o the c r e a t i v e a r t i s t . His duty was not t o d i c t a t e but t o understand and suggest. The important development was th a t now the c r i t i c was f r e e t o be a c t i v e l y himself and Max f e l t t h a t i t was not only - 150 -pleasant t o be t h a t , but i t was always worth wh i l e t o watch someone l i k e George Moore being j u s t t h a t . Owing t o h i s congenial a i r of detachment, Max was able t o evaluate h i s own c o n t r i b u t i o n t o c r i t i c i s m w i t h a f a i r degree of accuracy. He saw h i s l i m i t a t i o n s not i n the a e s t h e t i c method of c r i t i c i s m but i n that very detachment which allowed f o r s e l f - c r i t i c i s m . He had not the c a p a c i t y f o r t h a t s e l f - s u r r e n d e r i n g love which would have y i e l d e d t o him the very essence of h i s s u b j e c t . At best he i l l u m i n a t e d p o i n t s of c r i t i c a l i n t e r e s t and gave pleasure t o h i s readers. I n e v i t a b l y , he was one of the c r i t i c s who d i d not matter. Max admitted i n h i s E p i s t l e Dedicatory to Edward Gordon C r a i g , i n Around Theatres, that he had g e n e r a l l y made the play he was t o review rta peg to hang some general d i s -q u i s i t i o n on," and that i n h i s "seldom-sinking and alas-never-soaring way" he had always p r e f e r r e d Mr. Tomkins as a theme to Shakespeare, because he f e l t more at home w i t h him and 12 wrote b e t t e r about him. He b e l i e v e d that h i s c r i t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s stemmed from a l a c k of basic dramatic p r i n -c i p l e s which he had f e l t he must "vamp up" at the beginning of h i s c r i t i c a l career. In f a c t , i t was j u s t f o r the reason . that he d i d possess such f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d l i t e r a r y p r i n -c i p l e s t h a t Shaw became a problem t o him, because only a r t that had been created according t o time-tested r u l e s gave Max a e s t h e t i c s a t i s f a c t i o n . He was never happy w i t h formal experiments that f r e e l y allowed the mixing of genres. Nor could he admire plays i n which the ideas were more important than the emotional c o n f l i c t of f l e s h and blood c h a r a c t e r s . Obviously, Max's c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s were never broad enough or f l e x i b l e enough to apply t o any a r t i s t of outstanding genius, l e a s t of a l l to a genius of the Twentieth Century. A l s o , Max was more c r i t i c a l l y c o n s i s t e n t than he imagined when he admitted that he had completely changed h i s 13 opinions on many s u b j e c t s . J As the drama of ideas became i n c r e a s i n g l y motivated by the need f o r s o c i a l reforms, Max turned more and more toward romance u n t i l , at the end of h i s career as drama c r i t i c , he decided that ideas were f o r books. What he had looked f o r i n r e a l i s m was t r u t h t o l i f e , not an avenue f o r s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l concerns. I t was not h i s opinion t h a t changed but the d i r e c t i o n r e a l i s t i c drama took. S i m i l a r l y h i s opinions on l i t e r a r y and dramatic p e r s o n a l i t i e s d i d not change so much as they softened. For example, he came t o regret deeply the a c t u a l l y m a l i c i o u s a t t a c k s he had made on Rudyard K i p l i n g , although he never a l t e r e d h i s i n i t i a l o pinions. K i p l i n g had represented every t h i n g he detested i n a r t when he wrote the vulgar d i a l e c t of exceedingly v u l g a r people i n a p a t r i o t i c v e i n . However, what had prompted him to abuse was that he saw K i p l i n g as a man of genius who was d e l i b e r a t e l y debasing h i s g i f t . Max was an a r t i s t before he became a c r i t i c , and at heart he remained an a r t i s t . What he brought t o c r i t i c i s m were the p r i n c i p l e s he had deriv e d from n e o - c l a s s i c a l " r u l e s and a e s t h e t i c concepts and s u c c e s s f u l l y a p p l i e d to h i s own c r e a t i v e work. His p o s i t i o n was already e s t a b l i s h e d on - 152 -c r i t i c a l l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s when he took the post of drama c r i t i c . What the major p o r t i o n of h i s c r i t i c i s m amounted to was a m i l d l y s a t i r i c a l defense of a p o s i t i o n he had a l -ready taken as an a r t i s t . He c o n t r i b u t e d nothing new t o the development of modern c r i t i c i s m . His point of view was narrow because h i s i n t e r e s t s were narrow. They were p r i m a r i l y an e s s a y i s t ' s concern f o r form and s t y l e . His scope was narrow because h i s s a t i r i c a l temperament was b e t t e r s u i t e d t o minor a r t i s t s than t o major ones. Max's f a s t i d i o u s reserve and innate detachment made i t impossible f o r him t o enter s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y i n t o such a complete and s e l f - s u r r e n d e r i n g love as Shakespeare revealed i n h i s sonnets. 1^" He was devoid of passion. His emotions were d e l i c a t e and a e s t h e t i c . In p u t t i n g the emotions f i r s t i n h i s c r i t i c i s m he was not d e c l a r i n g himself t o be an emotional man, but a c r i t i c of the dying a e s t h e t i c t r a d i t i o n . He was i n no way sympathetic t o the new a n a l y t i c a l and s c i e n t i f i c approach to c r i t i c i s m and to a r t . Max was funda-mentally a nineteenth-century man, and i n p a r t i c u l a r , an i n t e l l e c t u a l aesthete of the N i n e t i e s . I I I . C r i t i c s on Max Few of Max's contemporaries took him s e r i o u s l y as a c r i t i c . They saw him much as he saw h i m s e l f , as a b r i l l i a n t l y w i t t y and urbane e s s a y i s t and par o d i s t who would never have gone on the s t r e e t s of j o u r n a l i s m had i t been merely a matter of choice. They found humanity, acute i n s i g h t and much - 153 -d e l i g h t f u l entertainment i n h i s c r i t i c a l reviews, but these v i r t u e s e x i s t e d i n a l l h i s w r i t i n g s . Generally h i s contem-p o r a r i e s were more a t t r a c t e d t o the s u b t l e w i t and humour i n h i s reviews than t o i t s c r i t i c a l values. This was due p a r t l y t o the f a c t t h a t h i s c r i t i c a l viewpoint was the accepted a e s t h e t i c p o s i t i o n of the N i n e t i e s and t h e r e f o r e nothing new, and p a r t l y t o the f a c t that he was an e s s a y i s t w i t h the e s s a y i s t ' s d e s i r e t o r e v e a l h i m s e l f r a t h e r than t o d i v e r t the flow of c r i t i c a l or l i t e r a r y c u r r e n t s . As Holbrook Jackson noted i n h i s book The Eighteen-Nineties (1913), Max's subjects were i n t e r e s t i n g because he was i n t e r e s t i n g . In more recent years some authors and c r i t i c s have found beneath the l i g h t urbane e x t e r i o r , c r i t i c a l values which are f i r m enough and c o n s i s t e n t enough t o weave a pa t t e r n through h i s c r i t i c a l w r i t i n g s . A l l agree th a t they are l i m i t e d i n scope and l a c k i n g i n o r i g i n a l i t y , but when these p r i n c i p l e s are a p p l i e d through Max's unique p e r s o n a l i t y , the c r i t i c a l i n s i g h t s that r e s u l t are f r e s h and i n d i v i d u a l . They r e v e a l o l d ideas i n a new way, or they i l l u m i n a t e some small but unusual point of l i t e r a r y i n t e r e s t that had formerly escaped n o t i c e . Mr. John Shand, i n The Nineteenth Century and A f t e r , admired the v i r t u e of Max's u n r u f f l e d temperament, the f a c t that he never l o u d l y p r a i s e d or blamed and that h i s reviews were always f r e s h no matter how d u l l the play had been, because they were not reviews i n any d i r e c t or formal sense - 154 -but essays. Max wrote an entertainment of h i s own, but Mr. Shand f e l t t hat he oft e n gave a b e t t e r n o t i o n of the play than the r u n - o f - t h e - m i l l c r i t i c who s t r i c t l y reported on 15 the p l o t and a c t i n g . ^ He a l s o noted Max's remarkable prophetic sense. In 1901, when Shaw was f o r t y - f i v e , Max considered him s t i l l a young w r i t e r who would have t o pass h i s 58th b i r t h d a y before c r i t i c s could f a i r l y assess h i s t h e a t r i c a l powers. I f Shaw's current r a t e of progress continued Max f e l t he would i n e v i t -ably achieve i m m o r t a l i t y . Obviously there was a l s o a strong connection between Max's s a t i r i c and h i s prophetic sense because i n 1905 he p r e d i c t e d a knickerbocker costuming of Hamlet i n 1924. In 1925 S i r Barry Jackson produced i t , but not q u i t e as Max envisioned i t . Ophelia d i d not make her entrance by s p r i n g -i n g o f f a b i c y c l e . His point was th a t when Shakespearean tragedy i s t r a n s p l a n t e d from i t s own s e t t i n g and i t s own time, the a e s t h e t i c sense of tragedy i s destroyed and a macabre form of comedy r e s u l t s . So f a r he has been r i g h t . Samuel Behrman considered the animating s p i r i t of Max's c r i t i c i s m t o be a c u l t i v a t e d common sense. His i n t e g -r i t y never allowed him to l i k e what he should l i k e when i t 16 happened that he d i d not l i k e i t . Edmund Wilson a l s o remarked on Max's courage and d i r e c t n e s s i n r e g i s t e r i n g un-popular opinions. He encountered i n Max's Saturday Review a r t i c l e s the mind th a t gave the base t o the whole of h i s w r i t i n g . I t was a very f l e x i b l e mind, very f r e e from - 155 -p r e j u d i c e , confident and capable of r e v i s i n g former opinions. However, Mr. Wilson surmised that h i s c r i t i c a l f a c u l t y was happiest and most at home i n h i s parodies, and of course, t h i s i s t r u e . Max was a c a r i c a t u r i s t by b i r t h , a w r i t e r by choice and a drama c r i t i c by a c c i d e n t . That i s why h i s opinions were mainly based upon c r i t i c a l l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s . I t i s h i s parodies, not h i s reviews, that c a r r y the t r u e mark of h i s genius. Max's d i r e c t n e s s i n r e g i s t e r i n g unpopular opinions was more a matter of p r o t e s t than courage. In an age of s t e a d i l y i n c r e a s i n g mass u n i f o r m i t y , he stood shoulder t o shoulder not only w i t h the Graces but a l s o w i t h the standards of i n t e g r i t y and i n d i v i d u a l i t y that had been the mark of great V i c t o r i a n p e r s o n a l i t i e s . He loathed the humbug he found among c r i t i c s who pretended to admire what they could not understand. He despised the low standards of j o u r n a l i s m which allowed the wide-spread i n f l u e n c e of u n c u l t i v a t e d minds that showed l i t t l e evidence of having learned t o read or w r i t e . Max's mind was not a very f l e x i b l e one because the range of h i s " l i k e s " was narrow. I t was l i m i t e d by the conservative and f a s t i d i o u s aspects of h i s nature, by h i s exacting standards f o r c o r r e c t form and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e . However, he was c e r t a i n l y not i n f l e x i b l e . He was w i l l i n g to admit i n a l e t t e r t o Henry Arthur Jones (1090) that he had overstated h i s case fa v o u r i n g observation over experience, and t h a t he had merely meant to suggest t h a t f i n e works of a r t had sometimes been the r e s u l t of the a r t i s t ' s i n c a p a c i t y f o r r e a l i z i n g i n l i f e the phase of l i f e w i t h which he was A T IS d e a l i n g . Also he made a very genuine e f f o r t t o be s c r u p u l o u s l y f a i r w i t h authors he d i d not wholly approve of. He was as f a i r w i t h Shaw as h i s f a s t i d i o u s n e s s would al l o w . He was generous w i t h John Galsworthy i n the sense that he could show warm a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r h i s plays J u s t i c e and S t r i f e , and, i n s p i t e of the f a c t he thought Galsworthy had debased h i s a r t t o the s e r v i c e of s o c i a l reform, he valued the o r i g i n a l -i t y of the author's ideas and h i s e x t r a o r d i n a r y sense f o r a c t u a l l i f e . Max gave the impression of being very f l e x i b l e and very f r e e from p r e j u d i c e because he was too detached and too urbane to permit h i m s e l f t o become r u f f l e d or t o take him-s e l f , or anything e l s e , too s e r i o u s l y . But though he wore h i s mask of calm, cool elegance b e t t e r perhaps than any other p e r s o n a l i t y of the ' N i n e t i e s , he was subject t o the weak-nesses of h i s v i r t u e s i n being "strong and narrow." Even so, i t seemed to P h y l l i s H a r t n o l l that " f o r a l l the enchanting l i g h t n e s s of h i s c r i t i c a l pen, i t ran always 19 t o s i n c e r i t y and o f t e n t o wisdom." 7 His years of c r i t i c i s m on the Saturday Review brought d i s t i n c t i o n t o t h e a t r i c a l j o u r n a l i s m . P h y l l i s Bottome thought t h a t every s i n c e r e and grow-ing w r i t e r must have found i n Max, the c r i t i c , the kindest and c l e a r e s t of guides, because he despised humbug, worshipped - 157 -2 0 t r u t h and "never b a g a t e l l i z e d the emotions." In her opinion he became a great dramatic c r i t i c because he threw l i g h t r a t h e r than heat upon the emotions. I t seems probable that Max's unemotional detachment was the very reason he could never become a great c r i t i c . But c e r t a i n l y a young w r i t e r l i k e L y tton Strachey must have been g r a t e f u l * f o r Max's support at a time when he was g e n e r a l l y c r i t i c i z e d as a mere i c o n o c l a s t . Even Shaw, i n the e a r l y stages of h i s t h e a t r i c a l career, must have welcomed Max's s i n c e r e p r o t e s t t o t h e a t r e managers on h i s b e h a l f , because i n i t i a l l y he was considered too i n t e l l e c t u a l t o be a good r i s k at the b o x - o f f i c e . As a c r i t i c , i t seemed t o Dr. J.G. Riewald that Max g e n e r a l l y d i d not r i s e above the s t a t u s of an a c u t e l y s e n s i -t i v e and independent, though s l i g h t l y conservative and even 21 r e a c t i o n a r y , i n t e r p r e t e r of the signs of the times. He considered Max's f a i l u r e t o see the f u l l i m p l i c a t i o n s of i n t e l l e c t u a l drama to be the cause of h i s i n a b i l i t y t o appraise the genius of Shaw. His f a i l u r e t o be progressive i n the matter of r e a l i s m , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the photographic sense, Dr. Riewald a t t r i b u t e d t o the f a c t that i t was already f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d when he began to w r i t e f o r the Saturday  Review. The reason that Max became more progressive i n the matter of the romantic r e a c t i o n t o the n a t u r a l i s t i c method was that the r e a c t i o n was j u s t then coming i n t o i t s own i n plays by Yeats, Synge and S i r James B a r r i e . Broadly speaking, these statements are t r u e . Max - 158 -became i n c r e a s i n g l y conservative as he became i n c r e a s i n g l y aware t h a t modern r e a l i s m was not s e r v i n g a r t so much as s o c i a l reform. The a r t i s t had become the preacher. That was why he f i n a l l y longed f o r a r e t u r n to the t h e a t r e of pure entertainment. I t seems however, that i t was not so much that Max f a i l e d t o see the f u l l i m p l i c a t i o n s of i n t e l l e c t u a l drama but that he d i d not l i k e what he saw. The v i t a l i t y he looked f o r i n drama was not t o be found i n Shaw's d i s q u i s i t o r y plays but i n the drama of f l e s h and blood characters whose emotions were at the root of the c o n f l i c t . I t was the impact upon h i s emotions, not h i s i n t e l l e c t , that gave him the i l l u s i o n of l i f e . Louis Kronenberger i n h i s essay The P e r f e c t T r i f l e r acknowledged that i n the p e r s p e c t i v e of h a l f a century Max gave a sounder estimate of the E n g l i s h t h e a t r e of h i s time than h i s more knowledgeable and responsive colleagues A.B. Walkley and W i l l i a m Archer. He noted that h i s temperament had l e d Max i n t o e r r o r s and inadequacies, c i t i n g as examples that he had underrated Gorky and overrated M a e t e r l i n c k . He a l s o thought there was no gusto i n h i s c r i t i c i s m , but he found much u n p r o f e s s i o n a l shrewdness, some p r o f e s s i o n a l observation, m i l d w i t and what he c a l l e d a mixed b l e s s i n g 22 i n an e s s a y i s t ' s emphasis on form. I t d i d not seem to Mr. Kronenberger that Max was an outstandingly good c r i t i c , or so superb a j o u r n a l i s t and e l e c t r i c a l a p e r s o n a l i t y as Shaw. Unl i k e Shaw, he d i d not h o l d up where h i s subject matter d i d not, but "he wrote the -159 -s o r t of a n t i s e p t i c c r i t i c i s m t h a t , by not succumbing to the 23 moment's emotionalism, had more than the moment's value." ^ This c r i t i c i s m of Max i s i n i t s e l f a mixed b l e s s i n g . The general e v a l u a t i o n i s e x c e l l e n t . Of course i t i s t r u e that Max overrated M a e t e r l i n c k , as d i d a l l the E n g l i s h aesthetes of the 'Nineties who f i r s t experienced the sug-g e s t i v e power of h i s symbolism and the po e t i c mystery of the s i l e n c e s i n t h i s new French s y m b o l i s t , s t a t i c drama. I t i s a l s o t r u e that h i s e s s a y i s t ' s emphasis on form l i m i t e d the breadth and weight of h i s c r i t i c a l reviews. However, there are some po i n t s t h a t must be reconsidered. For i n s t a n c e , i t i s t r u e that there was no gusto i n Max's s t y l e ; but he was never an ent h u s i a s t . I t i s not true that the sustained i n t e r e s t i n Max's c r i t i c a l a r t i c l e s depended upon h i s subject matter and not h i s p e r s o n a l i t y . For one t h i n g , an essay i s an expression of the w r i t e r ' s p e r s o n a l i t y and the m a j o r i t y of h i s reviews were conceived as c r i t i c a l essays. The f a c t that Around Theatres was r e p r i n t e d i n 1930 suggests that the i n t e r e s t was i n Max. Who now t a l k s of Dan Leno or Coquelin? Yet these are even now d e l i g h t f u l l y readable essays. Who has other than a s c h o l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n Arthur Wing Pinero or Henry Arthur Jones? Yet even where the i n t e r e s t i n the subject matter has d i e d , the p e r s o n a l i t y of Max remains as f r e s h and amusing as ever. Contained i n these reviews are penetrating s i d e l i g h t s on matters of form and s t y l e that w i l l have value as long as there are readers who appreciate the wise and w i t t y p e r s o n a l i t y Max revealed through h i s - 160 -f l e x i b l e and b e a u t i f u l s t y l e . Max wrote h i g h l y c i v i l i z e d r a t h e r than a n t i s e p t i c c r i t i c i s m . Admittedly, he was l a c k i n g i n fo r c e of passion, but that was a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of i n t e l l e c t u a l dandyism. Dis p l a y s of emotion were not i n keeping w i t h the i d e a l s of deportment. His detachment was innate but i t was a l s o a necessary backdrop t o h i s w i t and humour. In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , i t i s not p o s s i b l e t o place Max i n the mainstream of the E n g l i s h c r i t i c a l l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n . In the f i r s t place he n e i t h e r changed nor sub-s t a n t i a l l y added to the c r i t i c a l currents of a e s t h e t i c i s m of h i s time. Ruskin had put f o r t h h i s challenge f o r s o c i a l i d e a l i s m and the importance of t r u t h t o nature. W h i s t l e r had declared that the a r t i s t was su p e r i o r t o nature and that h i s s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y was to hi m s e l f . Pater made the French concept of a r t f o r a r t ' s sake an E n g l i s h one when he refused to separate e t h i c s from a e s t h e t i c s or form from matter, but made t h e i r p e r f e c t u n i t y h i s aim. Max looked to Walter Pater f o r h i s d e f i n i t i o n of the a e s t h e t i c c r i t i c and an i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c method of c r i t i c i s m . L i k e Pater he was more a t t r a c t e d t o works w i t h a marked i n d i v i d u a l f l a v o u r than t o the main streams of l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n . He a l s o b e l i e v e d a work of a r t must be viewed w i t h c r i t i c a l detachment, and i t was Pater's i n f l u e n c e that l e d him to express wishes, leanings and preferences r a t h e r than c r i t i c a l judgments. L i k e P a t e r , Max found i n the t e n t a t i v e and in f o r m a l q u a l i t y of the essay the means of embodying c r i t i c i s m i n a r t i s t i c form. P e r f e c t u n i t y was as much Max's i d e a l as Pater's. But Max was never i n t e r e s t e d i n the great t h e o r i e s of a r t and l i t e r a t u r e that had absorbed Pater and Ruskin and R o s s e t t i . He was never i n v o l v e d i n that major preoccupation of the l a t e r Nineteenth Century, the attempt t o f i n d a con-n e c t i o n between a r t and r e l i g i o u s experience. He shared the f i n - d e - s i e c l e concern f o r loosening the bonds between the a r t i s t and s o c i e t y , but not i n the manner of a pioneer or i c o n o c l a s t , but as a Tory a n a r c h i s t , a res p e c t e r of the r i g h t s of a c i v i l i z e d a r t i s t and gentleman. Pater's l i t e r a r y s t u d i e s have been c r i t i c i z e d f o r being u n s u b s t a n t i a l , f o r doing l i t t l e more than t o convey an atmosphere and to help i l l u m i n a t e c e r t a i n p o i n t s that may have escaped the reader's n o t i c e . Max's c r i t i c a l reviews have r a i s e d a s i m i l a r complaint. The case was f o r more vigorous and d e c i s i v e c r i t i c i s m l i k e t hat of Samuel Johnson who served the recognized t r a d i t i o n , or l i k e the c r i t i c i s m of Dryden, Coleridge and T.S. E l i o t who c l e a r e d 25 the way f o r contemporary c r e a t i v e work. Nevertheless, Pater marks an important change i n the a e s t h e t i c t r a d i t i o n he i n h e r i t e d from Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites. That major d i f f e r e n c e was the severance of a r t from s o c i a l i d e a l i s m . He merits a place i n the mainstream of t r a d i t i o n -a l c r i t i c i s m whereas Max does not. In the E i g h t e e n - n i n e t i e s i t was Arthur Symons r a t h e r than Max who c a r r i e d on Pater's work of examining the a e s t h e t i c presuppositions of a r t . His Symbolist Movement - 162 - 1'----i n L i t e r a t u r e (1899) defined, described and made a v a i l a b l e i n England French concepts of poetry which are s t i l l i n f l u e n t i a l . In comparison, Max's c o n t r i b u t i o n to the c r i t i c a l l i t e r a t u r e of the 'Nineties was s l i g h t . Even so, i t was v a l i d . By v i r t u e of h i s detachment Max d i d not succumb t o the moment's emotionalism, but l e f t a legacy of i l l u m i n a t i n g c r i t i c a l i n s i g h t s that have indeed had more than the moment's value. CHAPTER VI SOURCE REFERENCES 1. Max Beerbohm, "Aubrey Beardsley," A V a r i e t y of  Things, London, W i l l i a m Heinemann L t d . , 1953, P» 159. 2. Max Beerbohm, "Wm. Archer and A.B. 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