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[261] The self-conscious, self-defending side of the new poetic impulse may soon pass, as it did in the case of Wordsworth and of Victor Hugo. Whatever happens, we have already had fresh and exquisite revelations of natural beauty, and, in volumes like North of Boston and A Spoon River Anthology, judgments of life that run very deep.

American fiction seems just now, on the contrary, to be marking time and not to be getting noticeably forward. Few names unknown ten years ago have won wide recognition in the domain of the novel. The short story has made little technical advance since the first successes of “0. Henry,” though the talent of many observers has dealt with new material offered by the racial characteristics of European immigrants and by new phases of commerce and industry. The enormous commercial demand of the five-cent weeklies for short stories of a few easily recognized patterns has resulted too often in a substitution of stencil-plate generalized types instead of delicately and powerfully imagined individual characters. Short stories have been assembled, like Ford cars, with amazing mechanical expertness, but with little artistic advance in design. The same temporary arrest of progress has

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