The Contributors' Column

COUNT HERMANN KEYSERLING (‘A Philosopher’s View of the War’), distinguished throughout Europe as a philosopher, is a member of a noble Russian family, with estates in Estland, one of the Baltic provinces.

The writer of the letters printed under the title, ‘Radical’s Progress,’ still suffers from wounds received in the Boer War. These, together with injuries which he afterwards sustained in line of duty as an officer in the merchant marine, rendered him physically unfit for active military service, for which he volunteered at the outset of the present war. From the Boer War he had also brought numerous decorations for gallantry in the field, the ribbons of which are worn on the coat over the heart. In later years he discarded these, disposing of the medals in a manner which he deemed appropriate.

In the Atlantic for May, 1910, appeared a paper by the author of these letters, entitled ‘The Man on the Bridge,’in which he described certain practices in the navigation of transatlantic passenger ships. These practices were sweepingly denied, and many newspapers attacked the Atlantic for ‘joining the muckrakers.’ in the Atlantic for August, 1910, the author replied to these attacks. When the Titanic sank, in April, 1912, ‘The Man on the Bridge,’which read like a prophecy of that fearful catastrophe, was remembered and widely reprinted.

V. H. FRIEDLAENDER (‘The Discoverer’) is a new contributor from over the water.

Ever since the publication of EDWARD GARNETT’S ‘ Some Remarkson American and English Fiction’ in the Atlantic for December, 1914, American novelists and novelwriting have been the subject of vigorous discussion. At the Atlantic’s request, Mr. Garnett enlarges more fully on the standards which he believes that critics of fiction should always hold before them, and against the background of those standards measures two of the most generally praised American novels of the year. Mr. Garnett is a son of the late Sir Richard Garnett, the distinguished director of the British Museum.

SIDNEY MERRIMAN (‘The Haunted House’), a writer new to the Atlantic, sends this verse from Baltimore.

THOMAS WHITNEY SURETTE, who contributes to this issue of the Atlantic the first of several articles dealing with various aspects of music and life, was at one time a lecturer on music, first at the Brooklyn Institute, and subsequently at Teachers College, Columbia. Of late years he has been staff lecturer on music at Oxford University. At the beginning of the war, however, he returned to live in his old home at Concord, Massachusetts, spending his time in lecturing and giving much time and thought to a revolutionary reorganization of the musical education in the Boston Public Schools. His theories of musical training, of church, community, and public music, will be discussed at length in these articles.

JOHN KOREN (‘Constructive Temperance Reform’) is known wherever the liquor question is seriously studied. Repeatedly employed by the United States Government in investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, Mr. Koren is the author of the Report of the Committee of Fifty, and has recently been appointed by the President the United States member of the International Prison Commission. Since Mr. Koren’s articles have been written in the interests of temperance, rather than of prohibition, they have been a mark for uncontrolled assaults by those who resolutely confuse the two. One prohibition paper, with that mixture of pert smugness and gross misstatement which are the despair of real reform, asks, under the knowing title, ‘The Atlantic Monthly and the Booze Business,’ whether the liquor organization ‘has bought a controlling interest in the magazine or has it contracted for the space in its literary columns? ’

It is a melancholy fact that causes which, like the suppression of intemperance, call forth the sincerest and most earnest efforts that good men are capable of, are often tainted by the reckless misstatements and dirty innuendo of a baser element.

GEORGE MALCOLM STRATTON (‘Girls, Boys, and Story-Telling ’), formerly Professor of Psychology at Johns Hopkins, now occupies a similar chair in the University of California. ‘Girls, Boys and Story-Telling’ gains special interest if considered in connection with Mr. George’s recent ‘Notes on the Intelligence of Women.’ Professor Stratton wishes us to state that certain statistical details of this, and of a second article soon to appear, seem hardly to have a place in the Atlantic, but will be printed elsewhere, and so will eventually be placed at the disposal of any interested reader.

E. NELSON FELL (‘Loans and Discounts’) is an American who has lived for six years in the remote regions of the Russian Steppes, directing the operations of a London mining company which, in 1903, purchased some copper and coal mines and erected smelting works near the River Ishim. The mines described in the story are two hundred miles or more north of Lake Balkash, in the heart of the Kirghiz Steppes, a region bounded, roughly speaking, by Russia on the west, by the Trans-Siberian Railway on the north, and on the south by Turkestan, and touching on the southeast the Empire of China. The mines employed a small army of Kirghiz carriers, miners, and laborers, and of Russian mechanics, engineers, superintendents, and accountants.

WILFRID WILSON GIBSON (‘The Poet’) stands high among the younger British poets. The poet to whom this graceful sonnet refers is, as the reader will readily surmise, the late Rupert Brooke. HENRY J. FLETCHER (‘Our Divided Country’) is Professor of Law in the University of Minnesota.

E. BRUCE MITFORD (‘China, Japan, and the Hundred Days’) is a British authority on the East, and author of a book on Japan.

The Postscript to ‘Black Sheep’ concludes the letters of JEAN KENYON MACKENZIE, who, as a young woman, took part for several years in the missionary work of the Presbyterian Church in the German colony of Kamerun. The letters, which have been appearing in the Atlantic, will shortly appear in book form.

LAURA SPENCER PORTOR (‘Guests’) is an editor of The Woman’s Home Companion and the author of many Atlantic contributions, the most discussed of which was “The Wished-For Child” (February, 1913), and the most recent, “Spendthrifts” (October, 1915), a story taken from the author’s personal experience.

HENRY OSBORN TAYLOR (‘The Pathos of America’), the distinguished author of The Mediœval Mind and other important works, is an unwearied investigator of the philosophy of history.

JOHN DEWEY (‘On Understanding the Mind of Germany’) has for a decade and more been Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He has written many books on philosophical subjects and has recently published an important contribution to the educational thought of the day, Schools of Tomorrow, written in collaboration with his daughter. Professor Dewey contributes the present article at the editor’s request, by way of contrast and comparison with ‘The True Germany,’ by Kuno Francke (October, 1915).

ALFRED OLLIVANT (‘The Cost’), an English writer whose name is familiar to Americans chiefly through his famous dog story, Bob, Son of Battle, contributes this little paper as a tribute to two young Englishmen who last year gave their lives for their country. Of the two, Rupert Brooke is already a familiar and beautiful figure to lovers of poetry through his collected works, published in this country by John Lane Company.

The other figure in Mr. Ollivant’s sketch is Ronald Poulton, a brilliant young Oxonian who, during his college years, showed promise in scholarship and genius in athletics. Heir to the vast business of Huntley and Palmer, known wherever housewives are, Poulton seemed marked for a conspicuous commercial career. His Quaker inheritance cut him off from any natural sympathy with war, and he entered the ranks only from a sense of grim duty. It seems appropriate to reprint from the Spectator a sonnet which our author contributed to its columns at the time of Poulton’s death.

R. W. P. P.

(Killed in the Trenches.)

[“ He was probably the greatest Rugby three-quarter-back of all time.”— The Times.]

RONALD is dead; and we shall watch no more
His swerving swallow-flight adown the field
Amid eluded enemies who yield
Room for his swooping passage to the roar
Of multitudes enraptured who acclaim
Their country’s captain slipping towards his goal,
Instant of foot, deliberate of soul —
“ All’s well with England: Poulton ’son his game.”
Aye, all is well: our orchards smiling fair;
Our Oxford not a wilderness that weeps;
Our boys tumultuously merry where
Amongst old elms his comrade spirit keeps
Vigil of love. All’s well. And over there,
Amid his peers, a happy warrior sleeps.

ANNA MURRAY VAIL (‘In French Hospitals’), who had been living in France some years when the war broke out, has spent many months working as a traveling agent of the French Wounded Emergency Fund.

EDMUND KEMPER BROADUS (‘At the End of the Line in War Time’) is an American professor in the Canadian University of Alberta at Edmonton. The editor of the Atlantic happened to be in Edmonton last summer and found the little city stirred as never before in its history. At that time, he was told, not without just pride, that out of a total population, including women and children, of well under 60,000, 9200 men had already enlisted. Edmonton was the Banner City of the world-empire and felt all which that distinction means.

To the EDITOR, Atlantic Monthly :

When a hoary old sinner, buried a score of times, keeps resurrecting with irritating frequency, one’s patience needs be heroic. Your contributor of the article ‘Notes on the Intelligence of Woman,’ Mr. W. L. George, says: ‘They [i.e. men] have gone further, and I seem to remember that in the Middle Ages an œcumenical council denied her a soul. I forget the result, but it never occurred to the Council to discuss whether man had a soul, possibly because its members were all men.’

It is a tortuous path through which this foolish bit of fable is traced to its fons et origo. It is neither an oecumenical nor a mediæval council to which it attaches itself finally; but a local council of Mâcon in the year 585, quite a time before mediævalism. Mr. George will have to stretch his memory over nearly another thousand years.

Now the fact is, that the Council of Mâcon never discussed anybody’s soul, either man’s or woman’s. Christianity is based on the fact that everybody has a soul, even an unborn child in the womb; and the astonishing presumption of this fable that any body of Christian bishops in any age ever entertained the remotest idea of discussing such a question should be sufficient ground to discredit it in the mind of any reflecting creature and to give him pause. But there is a remote filament, which presumably serves to attach this silly stigma to the Council of Mâcon. It is a passage from the ‘Historia Francorum’ of St. Gregory of Tours. Here is the slender thread upon which the folly hangs: —

‘In this Council there was one of the bishops who declared that a woman could not be called homo. But when the other bishops had reasoned with him, he held his peace, for they showed him that the sacred text of the Old Testament laid down that in the beginning when God created man it was said: “Male and female He created them, and He called their name Adam,” which means man of the earth, thus applying the same term to woman and man alike, for He designated each of them equally Homo. And also the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Son of Man precisely because He is the Son of a Virgin, in other words, the son of a woman. To whom, when He was on the point of turning water into wine, He said: “What is it to me and to thee, woman ? ” and so on. And with many other testimonies also this dispute was cleared up and settled.’

The only scrap of evidence we have that there was any dispute at Mâcon as to the application of the term homo to woman (a purely philological question) is this passage from St. Gregory of Tours. There is no reference to any such discussion in the official decrees of the Council, as they are found in Hardouin, Labbe, Mansi, or in any other collection. Yet it is from this passage of St. Gregory that the fabrication pends, if it have any remotest relation to anything at all.

It is so easy to call a crooked spirit from the vasty deep, but not so easy to bottle it up again. Some service to truth may be achieved if this silly but sinister ghost may be exorcised forever from the cultured circle of the readers of the Atlantic Monthly.


We print this just letter with pleasure, merely remarking that Mr. George presumably did not mean to have his “aside” so seriously regarded. He spoke jestingly and with his mind fixed on the charmed circle of woman’s intelligence.