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That Reviewer "Cuss"
by [?]

This which I have written is history, as many excellent of mind know, and should be put into a book: for it reveals how close we came to having in this country a Literary Doings that could be read for pleasure. I continued to learn the business.

Sometimes reviewers are poets also. I know fifteen. Sometimes they are Irishmen. Sometimes both. I knew one who was one of those Celtic Poets. His name had all the colour of the late Irish literary movement. That is, after he became a man of letters; before that it was Bill Somethingorother. He was an earnest person, without humour (strange for an Irishman!), eloquent, very pronounced in his opinions; and he had never read anything at all (outside of Columbia University) before he was called to the literary profession. Later he went into politics, and became something at Washington. Some reviewers, again, are lexicographers. I know about a dozen of these, ranging in age from twenty-seven years to seventy. When they had finished writing the dictionary, they joined the army of the unemployed, and became reviewers. I am acquainted with one reviewer who has been everything, almost, under the sun–a husband, a father, and a householder; he has been successively a socialist, an aesthete, a Churchman, and a Roman Catholic. He is an eager student of the universe, a prodigiously energetic journalist, a lively and a humorous writer, a person of marked talent. He will be thirty shortly.

Sometimes reviews are charmingly written by veteran literary men, such as, for instance, Mr. Le Gallienne, and Mr. Huneker. Dr. Perry mentions among reviewers a group of seasoned bookmen, including Mr. Paul Elmer More and Professor Frank Mather, Jr. Mr. Boynton is another sound workman. On the other hand, by some papers, books are economically given out for review to reporters. And again (for the same reason), to editorial writers and to various editors. In America, you know, practically everybody connected with a newspaper is an editor. The man who sits all day in his shirt sleeves smoking a corncob pipe, clipping up with large scissors vast piles of newspapers, is exchange editor. There was a paper for which I worked from morn till dewy eve, reviewing hooks, where we used to say that we had an elevator editor and a scrub editor, and a nice charwoman she was.

Reviewers of course frequently differ widely in their conceptions of a book. I said one time of a book of Lady Gregory’s that it was a highly amusing affair; and I gave numerous excerpts in support of my statement. I had enjoyed the book greatly. It was delightful, I thought. It was then a bit of a jolt to me to read a lengthy article by another reviewer of the same book, who set forth that Lady Gregory was an extremely serious person, with never a smile, and who gave copious evidence of this point in quotations. Each of us made out a perfectly good case.

Now suppose you read in the New York This, a daily paper, that Such-and-Such a book was the best thing of its kind since Adam. And suppose you found the same opinion to be that of the New York Weekly That and of the New York Weekly Other. Notwithstanding that the New York Something-Else declared that this was the rottenest hook that ever came from the press, you would be inclined to accept the conclusion of the majority of critics, would you not? Well, I’ll tell you this: the man who “does” the fiction week by week for the New York This and for The That and for The Other, is one and the same industrious person. I know him well. He has a large family to support (which is continually out of shoes) and his wife just presented him with a new set of twins the other day. He is now trying to add the job on The Something-Else to his list.