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and Meaning 







Jylisinforming a iSation 

by Willard Huntington Wright 

New York B. W. Huebsch MCMXVII 





I Colonizing America i 

II The Novel 24 

III The Drama 52 

IV Poetry 68 

V British Painting 85 

VI Non-British Painting 102 

VII Music 122 

VIII Science 148 

IX Inventions, Photography, ^Esthetics . 160 

X Philosophy 174 

XI Religion 195 

XII Two Hundred Omissions 218 



The intellectual colonization of America by Eng- 
land has been going on for generations. Taking 
advantage of her position of authority — a posi- 
tion built on centuries of aesthetic tradition — Eng- 
land has let pass few opportunities to ridicule 
and disparage our activities in all lines of creative 
effort, and to impress upon us her own assumed 
cultural superiority. Americans, lacking that 
sense of security which long-established institu- 
tions would give them, have been influenced by 
the insular judgments of England, and, in an ef- 
fort to pose as au courant of the achievements of 
the older world, have adopted in large degree the 
viewpoint of Great Britain. The result has been 
that for decades the superstition of England's pre- 
eminence in the world of art and letters has 
spread and gained power in this country. Our 
native snobbery, both social and intellectual, has 
kept the fires of this superstition well supplied 


with fuel ; and in our slavish imitation of England 
— the only country in Europe of which we have 
any intimate knowledge — we have de-American- 
ized ourselves to such an extent that there has 
grown up in us a typical British contempt for our 
own native achievements. 

One of the cardinal factors in this Briticization 
of our intellectual outlook is the common language 
of England and America. Of all the civilized 
nations of the world, we are most deficient as 
linguists. Because of our inability to speak 
fluently any language save our own, a great bar- 
rier exists between us and the Continental coun- 
tries. But no such barrier exists between America 
and England; and consequently there is a con- 
stant exchange of ideas, beliefs, and opinions. 
English literature is at our command; English 
criticism is familiar to us; and English standards 
are disseminated among us without the impedi- 
ment of translation. Add to this lingual rap- 
prochement the traditional authority of Great 
Britain, together with the social aspirations of 
moneyed Americans, and you will have both the 
material and the psychological foundation on 
which the great edifice of English culture has 
been reared in this country. 

The English themselves have made constant 
and liberal use of these conditions. An old and 


disquieting jealousy, which is tinctured not a lit- 
tle by resentment, has resulted in an open con- 
tempt for all things American. And it is not un- 
natural that this attitude should manifest itself 
in a condescending patronage which is far from 
being good-natured. Our literature is derided; 
our artists are ridiculed; and in nearly every field 
of our intellectual endeavor England has found 
grounds for disparagement. It is necessary only 
to look through British newspapers and critical 
journals to discover the contemptuous and not 
infrequently venomous tone which characterizes 
the discussion of American culture. 

At the same time, England grasps every op- 
portunity for foisting her own artists and artisans 
on this country. She it is who sets the standard 
which at once demolishes our individual expres- 
sion and glorifies the efforts of Englishmen. Our 
publishers, falling in line with this campaign, im- 
port all manner of English authors, eulogize them 
with the aid of biased English critics, and neglect 
better writers of America simply because they have 
displeased those gentlemen in London who sit in 
judgment upon our creative accomplishments. 
Our magazines, edited for the most part by timid 
nobodies whose one claim to intellectual distinc- 
tion is that they assiduously play the parrot to 
British opinion, fill their publications with the 


work of English mediocrities and ignore the more 
deserving contributions of their fellow-country- 

Even our educational institutions disseminate 
the English superstition and neglect the great 
men of ^\merica; for nowhere in the United States 
will you find the spirit of narrow snobbery so 
highly developed as in our colleges and universi- 
ties. Recently an inferior British poet came here, 
and, for no other reason apparently save that he 
was English, he was made a professor in one of 
our large universities! Certainly his talents did 
not warrant this appointment, for there are at least 
a score of American poets who are undeniably 
superior to this young Englishman. Nor has he 
shown any evidences of scholarship which would 
justify the honor paid him. But an Englishman, 
if he seek favors, needs little more than proof of 
his nationality, whereas an American must give 
evidence of his worth. 

England has shown the same ruthlessness and 
unscrupulousness in her intellectual colonization 
of America as in her territorial colonizations; and 
she has also exhibited the same persistent shrewd- 
ness. What is more, this cultural extension pol- 
icy has paid her lavishly. English authors, to 
take but one example, regard the United States as 
their chief source of income. If it were the high- 


est English culture — that is, the genuinely signifi- 
cant scholarship of the few great modem British 
creators — which was forced upon America, there 
would be no cause for complaint. But the gov- 
erning influences in English criticism are aggres- 
sively middle-class and chauvinistic, with the re- 
sult that it is the British bourgeois who has stifled 
our individual expression, and misinformed us on 
the subject of European culture. 

No better instance of this fact can be pointed 
to than the utterly false impression which Amer- 
ica has of French attainments. French genius 
has always been depreciated and traduced by the 
British; and no more subtle and disgraceful cam- 
paign of derogation has been launched in modern 
times than the consistent method pursued by the 
English in misinterpreting French ideals and ac- 
complishments to Americans. To England is due 
largely, if not entirely, the uncomplimentary opin- 
ion that Americans have of France — an opinion 
at once distorted and indecent. To the average 
American a French novel is regarded merely as a 
salacious record of adulteries. French periodi- 
cals are looked upon as collections of prurient an- 
ecdotes and licentious pictures. And the average 
French painting is conceived as a realistic presen- 
tation of feminine nakedness. So deeply rooted 
are these conceptions that the very word "French" 


has become, in the American's vocabulary, an ad- 
jective signifying all manner of sexual abnormali- 
ties, and when applied to a play, a story, or an 
illustration, it is synonymous with "dirty" and 
"immoral." This country has yet to understand 
the true fineness of French life and character, or 
to appreciate the glories of French art and litera- 
ture ; and the reason for our distorted ideas is that 
French culture, in coming to America, has been 
filtered through the nasty minds of middle-class 
English critics. 

But it is not our biased judgment of the Con- 
tinental nations that is the most serious result 
of English misrepresentation; in time we will come 
to realize how deceived we were in accepting Eng- 
land's insinuations that France is indecent, Ger- 
many stupid, Italy decadent, and Russia barbar- 
ous. The great harm done by England's 
contemptuous critics is in belittling American 
achievement. Too long has bourgeois British cul- 
ture been forced upon the United States; and we 
have been too gullible in our acceptance of it with- 
out question. English critics and English periodi- 
cals have consistently attempted to discourage the 
growth of any national individualism in America, 
by ridiculing or ignoring our best aesthetic efforts 
and by imposing upon us their own insular criteria. 
To such an extent have they succeeded that an 


American author often must go to England before 
he will be accepted by his own countrymen. Thus 
purified by contact with English culture, he finds 
a way into our appreciation. 

But on the other hand, almost any English 
author — even one that England herself has little 
use for — can acquire fame by visiting this coun- 
try. Upon his arrival he is interviewed by the 
newspapers; his picture appears in the "supple- 
ments"; his opinions emblazon the headlines and 
are discussed in editorials; and our publishers 
scramble for the distinction of bringing out his 
wares. In this the publishers, primarily com- 
mercial, reveal their business acumen, for they are 
not unaware of the fact that the "literary" sections 
of our newspapers are devoted largely to British 
authors and British letters. So firmly has the 
English superstition taken hold of our publishers 
that many of them print their books with English 
spelling. The reason for this un-American prac- 
tice, so they explain, is that the books may be 
ready for an English edition without resetting. 
The English, however, do not use American spell- 
ing at all, though, as a rule, the American editions 
of English books are much larger than the English 
edition of American books. But the English do 
not like our spelling; therefore we gladly arrange 
matters to their complete satisfaction. 


The evidences of the American's enforced be- 
lief in English superiority are almost numberless. 
Apartment houses and suburban sub-divisions are 
named after English hotels and localities. The 
belief extends even to the manufacturers of cer- 
tain brands of cigarettes which, for sale purposes, 
are advertised as English, although it would be 
difficult to find a box of them abroad. The 
American actor, in order to gain distinction, apes 
the dress, customs, intonation and accent of Eng- 
lishmen. His great ambition is to be mistaken 
for a Londoner. This pose, however, is not all 
snobbery : it is the outcome of an earnest desire to 
appear superior ; and so long has England insisted 
upon her superiority that many Americans have 
come to adopt it as a cultural fetish. 

Hitherto this exalted intellectual guidance has 
been charitably given us: never before, as now, 
has a large fortune been spent to make America 
pay handsomely for the adoption of England's 
provincialism. I refer to the Encyclopedia Brit- 
annica which, by a colossal campaign of flamboy- 
ant advertising, has been scattered broadcast over 
every state in the union. 

No more vicious and dangerous educational in- 
fluence on America can readily be conceived than 
the articles in this encyclopsedia. They distort 
the truth and disseminate false standards. Amer- 


ica is now far enough behind the rest of the civ- 
ilized world in its knowledge of art, without hav- 
ing added to that ignorance the erroneous impres- 
sions created by this partial and disproportioned 
English work; for, in its treatment of the world's 
progress, it possesses neither universality of out- 
look nor freedom from prejudice in its judgments 
— the two primary requisites for any work which 
lays claim to educational merit. Taken as a 
whole, the Britannica's divisions on culture are 
little more than a brief for British art and science 
— a brief fraught with the rankest injustice to- 
ward the achievements of other nations, and es- 
pecially toward those of America. 

The distinguishing feature of the Encyclopdidia 
Britannica is its petty national prejudice. This 
prejudice appears constantly and in many dis- 
guises through the Encyclopaedia's pages. It 
manifests itself in the most wanton carelessness 
in dealing with historical facts; in glaring inad- 
equacies when discussing the accomplishments of 
nations other than England; in a host of inex- 
cusable omissions of great men who do not happen 
to be blessed with English nationality; in venom 
and denunciation of viewpoints which do not hap- 
pen to coincide with "English ways of thinking"; 
and especially in neglect of American endeavor. 
Furthermore, the Britannica shows unmistakable 


signs of haste or carelessness in preparation. In- 
formation is not always brought up to date. 
Common proper names are inexcusably misspelled. 
Old errors remain uncorrected. Inaccuracies 
abound. Important subjects are ignored. And 
only in the field of English activity does there 
seem to be even an attempt at completeness. 

The 'Encyclopedia Britannica^ if accepted un- 
questioningly throughout this country as an 
authoritative source of knowledge, would retard 
our intellectual development fully twenty years; 
for so one-sided is its information, so distorted arc 
its opinions, so far removed is it from being an 
international and impartial reference work, that 
not only does it give inadequate advice on vital 
topics, but it positively creates false impressions. 
Second- and third-rate Englishmen are given 
space and praise much greater than that accorded 
truly great men of other nations; and the eulogis- 
tic attention paid English endeavor in general is 
out of all proportion to its deserts. In the fol- 
lowing chapters I shall show specifically how Brit- 
ish culture is glorified and exaggerated, and with 
what injustice the culture of other countries is 
treated. And I shall also show the utter failure 
of this Encyclopaedia to fulfill its claim of being 
a "universal" and "objective" reference library. 
To the contrary, it will be seen that the Britannica 


is a narrow, parochial, opinionated work of dubi- 
ous scholarship and striking unreliability. 

With the somewhat obscure history of the birth 
of the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia 
Bntannica^ or with the part played in that his- 
tory by Cambridge University and the London 
Times, I am not concerned. Nor shall I review 
the unethical record of the two issues of the En- 
cyclopgedia. To those interested in this side of 
the question I suggest that they read the follow- 
ing contributions in Reedy's Mirror: The Same 
Old Slippery Trick (March 24, 1916). The 
Encyclopedia Britannica Swindle (April 7, 
1916). The Encyclopedia Britannica Fake 
(April 14, 1916) ; and also the article in the 
March 18 (1916) Bellman, Once More the 
Same Old Game. 

Such matters might be within the range of for- 
giveness if the contents of the Britannica were 
what were claimed for them. But that which 
does concern me is the palpable discrepancies be- 
tween the statements contained in the advertising, 
and the truth as revealed by a perusal of the arti- 
cles and biographies contained in the work itself. 
The statements insisted that the Britannica was 
a supreme, unbiased, and international reference 
library — an impartial and objective review of the 
world; and it was on these statements, repeated 


constantly, that Americans bought the work. The 
truth is that the Encyclopedia Britannica, in its 
main departments of culture, is characterized by 
misstatements, inexcusable omissions, rabid and 
patriotic prejudices, personal animosities, blatant 
errors of fact, scholastic ignorance, gross neglect 
of non-British culture, an astounding egotism, and 
an undisguised contempt for American progress. 

Rarely has this country witnessed such inde- 
fensible methods in advertising as those adopted 
by the Britannica's exploiters. The "copy" has 
fairly screamed with extravagant and fabulous ex- 
aggerations. The vocabulary of hyperbole has 
been practically exhausted in setting forth the du- 
bious merits of this reference work. The ethics 
and decencies of ordinary honest commerce have 
been thrown to the wind. The statements made 
day after day were apparently concocted irrespec- 
tive of any consideration save that of making a 
sale ; for there is an abundance of evidence to show 
that the Encyclopsedia was not what was claimed 
for it. 

With the true facts regarding this encyclo- 
psedia it is difficult to reconcile the encomiums of 
many eminent Americans who, by writing eulogis- 
tic letters to the Britannica's editor concerning the 
exalted merits of his enterprise, revealed either 
their unfamiliarity with the books in question or 


their ignorance of what constituted an educational 
reference work. These letters were duly photo- 
graphed and reproduced in the advertisements, 
and they now make interesting, if disconcerting, 
reading for the non-British student who put his 
faith in them and bought the Britannica. There 
is no need here to quote from these letters; for a 
subsequent inspection of the work thus recom- 
mended must have sufficiently mortified those of 
the enthusiastic correspondents who were educated 
and had consciences ; and the others would be un- 
moved by any revelations of mine. 

Mention, however, should be made of the re- 
marks of the American Ambassador to Great Brit- 
ain at the banquet given in London to celebrate 
the Encyclopedia's birth. This gentleman, in an 
amazing burst of unrestrained laudation, said he 
believed that "it is the general judgment of the 
scholars and the investigators of the world that 
the one book to which they can go for the most 
complete, comprehensive, thorough, and absolutely 
precise statements of fact upon every subject of 
human interest is the Encyclopcsdia Britannica^ 
This is certainly an astonishing bit of eulog}'. 
Its dogmatic positiveness and its assumption of 
infallibility caused one critic (who is also a great 
scholar) to write : "With all due respect for our 
illustrious fellow-countryman, the utterance is a 


most superlative absurdity, unless it was intended 
to be an exercise of that playful and elusive 
American humor which the apperceptions of our 
English cousins so often fail to seize, much less 
appreciate." But there were other remarks of 
similar looseness at the banquet, and the dinner 
evidently was a greater success than the books 
under discussion. 

Even the English critics themselves could not 
accept the Britannica as a source for "the most 
comprehensive, thorough and absolutely precise 
statements on every subject of human interest." 
Many legitimate objections began appearing. 
There is space here to quote only a few. The 
London Nation complains that "the particularly 
interesting history of the French Socialist move- 
ment is hardly even sketched." And again it 
says: "The naval question is handled on the 
basis of the assumption which prevailed during 
our recent scare; the challenge of our Dread- 
nought building is hardly mentioned; the menace 
of M. Delcasse's policy of encirclement is ignored, 
and both in the article on Germany and in the 
articles on Europe, Mr. McKenna's panic figures 
and charges of accelerated building are treated as 
the last word of historical fact." The same pub- 
lication, criticising the article on Europe, says: 
"There is nothing but a dry and summarized gen- 


eral history, ending with a paragraph or two on 
the Anglo-German struggle with the moral that 
'Might is Right.' It is history of Europe which 
denies the idea of Europe." 

Again, we find evidence of a more direct char- 
acter, which competently refutes the amazing an- 
nouncement of our voluble Ambassador to Great 
Britain. In a letter to the London Times, an 
indignant representative of Thomas Carlyle's 
family objects to the inaccurate and biased man- 
ner in which Carlyle is treated in the Encyclo- 
paedia. "The article,*' he says, "was evidently 
written many years ago, before the comparatively 
recent publication of new and authentic material, 
and nothing has been done to bring it up to date. 
. . . As far as I know, none of the original errors 
have been corrected, and many others of a worse 
nature have been added. The list of authorities 
on Carlyle's life affords evidence of ignorance or 

"Evidently," comments a shrewd critic who is 
not impressed either by the Ambassador's pane- 
gyric or the photographed letters, "the great 
man's family, and the public in general, have a 
reasonable cause of offense, and they may also 
conclude that if the Encyclopedia Britannica can 
blunder when handling such an approachable and 
easy British subject as Carlyle, it can be reason- 


ably expected to do worse on other matters which 
are not only absolutely foreign, but intensely dis- 
tasteful to the uninformed and prejudiced scribes 
to whom they seem to be so frequently, if not 
systematically, assigned." 

The expectation embodied in the above com- 
ment is more fully realized perhaps than the 
writer of those words imagined; and the purpose 
of this book is to reveal the blundering and mis- 
leading information which would appear to be 
the distinguishing quality of the Britannica's 
articles on culture. Moreover, as I have said, 
and as I shall show later, few subjects are as "in- 
tensely distasteful" to the "uninformed and 
prejudiced" British critics as is American achieve- 
ment. One finds it difficult to understand how 
any body of foreigners would dare offer America 
the brazen insult which is implied in the prodigal 
distribution of these books throughout the coun- 
try; for in their unconquerable arrogance, their 
unveiled contempt for this nation — the outgrowth 
of generations of assumed superiority — they sur- 
pass even the London critical articles dealing 
with our contemporary literary efforts. 

Several of our more courageous and pro-Amer- 
ican scholars have called attention to the inade- 
quacies and insularities in the Britannica^ but 
their voices have not been sufficiently far-reaching 


to counteract either the mass or the unsavory 
character of the advertising by which this un- 
worthy and anti-American encyclopaedia was 
foisted upon the United States. Conspicuous 
among those publications which protested was 
the Twentieth Century Magazine. That period- 
ical, to refer to but one of its several criticisms, 
pointed out that the article on Democracy is "con- 
fined to the alleged democracies of Greece and 
their distinguished, if some time dead, advocates. 
Walt Whitman, Mazzini, Abraham Lincoln, 
Edward Carpenter, Lyof Tolstoi, Switzerland, 
New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Iceland, Ore- 
gon are unknown quantities to this anonymous 

It is also noted that the author of the articles 
on Sociology "is not very familiar with the Amer- 
ican sociologists, still less with the German, and 
not at all with the French." The article is "a 
curious evidence of editorial insulation," and the 
one on Economics "betrays freshened British 
capitalistic insularity." In this latter article, 
which was substituted for Professor Ingram's 
masterly and superb history of political economy 
in the Britannica's Ninth Edition, "instead of a 
catholic, scientific survey of economic thought, we 
have a 'fair trade' pamphlet, which actually in- 
cludes reference to Mr. Chamberlain," although 


the names of Henry George, Karl Marx, Fried- 
rich Engels, John A. Hobson, and William Smart 
are omitted. 

The Eleventh Edition, concludes the Twentieth 
Century, after recording many other specimens of 
ignorance and inefficiency, "is not only insular; 
it betrays its class-conscious limitation in being 
woefully defective in that prophetic instinct which 
guided Robertson Smith in his choice of con- 
tributors to the Ninth Edition, and the con- 
tributors themselves in their treatment of rapidly 
changing subjects." Robertson Smith, let it be 
noted, stood for fairness, progressiveness, and 
modernity; whereas the Britannica's present edi- 
tor is inflexibly reactionary, provincial, and un- 
just to an almost incredible degree. 

The foregoing quotations are not isolated ob- 
jections: there were others of similar nature. 
And these few specimens are put down here 
merely to show that there appeared sufficient evi- 
dence, both in England and America, to establish 
the purely imaginary nature of the Britannica's 
claims of completeness and inerrancy, and to re- 
veal the absurdity of the American Ambassador's 
amazing pronouncement. Had the sale of the 
Encyclopedia Britannica been confined to that 
nation whose culture it so persistently and dog- 
matically glorifies at the expense of the culture 


of other nations, its parochial egotism would not 
be America's concern. But since this reference 
work has become an American institution and has 
forced its provincial mediocrity into over 100,000 
American homes, schools and offices, the astonish- 
ing truth concerning its insulting ineptitude has 
become of vital importance to this country. Its 
menace to American educational progress can no 
longer be ignored. 

England's cultural campaign in the United 
States during past decades has been sufficiently 
insidious and pernicious to work havoc with our 
creative effort, and to retard us in the growth of 
that self-confidence and self -appreciation which 
alone make the highest achievement possible. 
But never before has there been so concentrated 
and virulently inimical a medium for British in- 
fluence as the present edition of the Encycloptzdia 
Britannica. These books, taken in conjunction 
with the methods by which they have been foisted 
upon us, constitute one of the most subtle and 
malign dangers to our national enlightenment 
and development which it has yet been our mis- 
fortune to possess; for they bid fair to remain, 
in large measure, the source of America's informa- 
tion for many years to come. 

The regrettable part of England's intellectual 
intrigues in the United States is the subservient 


and docile acquiescence of Americans themselves. 
Either they are impervious to England's sneers 
and deaf to her insults, or else their snobbery is 
stronger than their self-respect. I have learned 
from Britishers themselves, during an extended 
residence in London, that not a little of their con- 
tempt for Americans is due to our inordinate 
capacity for taking insults. Year after year 
English animus grows; and to-day it is the un- 
common thing to find an English publication 
which, in discussing the United States and its cul- 
ture, does not contain some affront to our in- 

It is quite true, as the English insist, that we 
are painfully ignorant of Europe ; but it must not 
be forgotten that the chief source of that ignor- 
ance is England herself. And the Encyclopedia 
Britannica^ if accepted as authoritative, will go 
far toward emphasizing and extending that ignor- 
ance. Furthermore, it will lessen even the 
meagre esteem in which we now hold our own 
accomplishments and potentialities; for, as the 
following pages will show, the Britannica has per- 
sistently discriminated against all American en- 
deavor, not only in the brevity of the articles and 
biographies relating to this country and in the 
omissions of many of our leading artists and 
scientists, but in the bibliographies as well. And 


it must be remembered that broad and unpreju- 
diced bibliographies are essential to any worthy 
encyclopaedia: they are the key to the entire tone 
of the work. The conspicuous absence of many 
high American authorities, and the inclusion of 
numerous reactionary and often dubious English 
authorities, sum up the Britannic a! s attitude. 

However, as I have said, America, if the prin- 
cipal, is not the only country discriminated 
against. France has fallen a victim to the En- 
cyclopaedia's suburban patriotism, and scant jus- 
tice is done her true greatness. Russia, perhaps 
even more than France, is culturally neglected; 
and modern Italy's aesthetic achievements are 
given slight consideration. Germany's science 
and her older culture fare much better at the 
hands of the Britannica^s editors than do the ef- 
forts of several other nations; but Germany, too, 
suffers from neglect in the field of modern en- 

Even Ireland does not escape English preju- 
dice. In fact, it can be only on grounds of 
national, political, and personal animosity that 
one can account for the grossly biased manner in 
which Ireland, her history and her culture, is dealt 
with. To take but one example, regard the 
Britannica's treatment of what has come to be 
known as the Irish Literary Revival. Among 


those conspicuous, and in one or two instances 
world-renowned, figures who do not receive bio- 
graphies are J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, Lionel 
Johnson, Douglas Hyde, and William Larminie. 
(Although Lionel Johnson's name appears in the 
article on English literature, it does not appear 
in the Index — a careless omission which, in vic- 
timizing an Irishman and not an Englishman, is 
perfectly in keeping with the deliberate omissions 
of the Britannzca.) 

Furthermore, there are many famous Irish 
writers whose names are not so much as men- 
tioned in the entire Encyclopaedia — for instance, 
Standish O'Grady, James H. Cousins, John Tod- 
hunter, Katherine Tynan, T. W. RoUeston, Nora 
Hopper, Jane Barlow, Emily Lawless, "A. E." 
(George W. Russell), John Eglinton, Charles 
Kickam, Dora Sigerson Shorter, Shan Bullock, 
and Seumas MacManus. Modern Irish liter- 
ature is treated with a brevity and an injustice 
which are nothing short of contemptible; and 
what little there is concerning the new Irish re- 
naissance is scattered here and there in the arti- 
cles on English literature! Elsewhere I have 
indicated other signs of petty anti-Irish bias, 
especially in the niggardly and stupid treatment 
accorded George Moore, 

Although such flagrant inadequacies in the case 


of European art would form a sufficient basis for 
protest, the really serious grounds for our indigna- 
tion are those which have to do with the Britan- 
nica's neglect of America. That is why I have 
laid such emphasis on this phase of the Encyclo- 
psedia. It is absolutely necessary that this coun- 
try throw off the yoke of England's intellectual 
despotism before it can have a free field for an 
individual and national cultural evolution. 
America has already accomplished much. She 
has contributed many great figures to the world's 
progress. And she is teeming with tremendous 
and splendid possibilities. To-day she stands in 
need of no other nation's paternal guidance. In 
view of her great powers, of her fine intellectual 
strength, of her wide imagination, of her already 
brilliant past, and of her boundless and exalted 
future, such a work as the Encyclopdsdia BritaU' 
nka should be resented by every American to 
whom the welfare of his country is of foremost 
concern, and in whom there exists one atom of 
national pride. 


Let us inspect first the manner in which the 
world's great modern novelists and story-tellers 
are treated in the Encyclopedia Brztannica. No 
better department could be selected for the pur- 
pose; for literature is the most universal and 
popular art. The world's great figures in fiction 
are far more widely known than those in painting 
or music ; and since it is largely through literature 
that a nation absorbs its cultural ideas, especial 
interest attaches to the way that writers are inter- 
preted and criticised in an encyclopaedia. 

It is disappointing, therefore, to discover the 
distorted and unjust viewpoint of the Brztannica. 
An aggressive insular spirit is shown in both the 
general literary articles and in the biographies. 
The importance of English writers is constantly 
exaggerated at the expense of foreign authors. 
The number of biographies of British writers in- 
cluded in the Encyclopaedia far overweighs the 
biographical material accorded the writers of 

other nations. And superlatives of the most 



sweeping kind are commonly used in describing 
the genius of these British authors, whereas in the 
majority of cases outside of England, criticism, 
when offered at all, is cool and circumscribed and 
not seldom adverse. There are few British writ- 
ers of any note whatever who are not taken into 
account; but many authors of very considerable 
importance belonging to France, Germany, Italy, 
Russia, and the United States are omitted en- 

In the Encyclopsedia's department of literature, 
as in other departments of the arts, the pious 
middle-class culture of England is carefully and 
consistently forced to the front. English pro- 
vincialism and patriotism not only dominate the 
criticism of this department, but dictate the 
amount of space which is allotted the different 
nations. The result is that one seeking in this 
encyclopedia adequate and unprejudiced informa- 
tion concerning literature will fail completely in 
his quest. No mention whatever is made of many 
of the world's great novelists (provided, of course, 
they do not happen to be British) ; and the in- 
formation given concerning the foreign authors 
who are included is, on the whole, meagre and 
biased. If, as is natural, one should judge the 
relative importance of the world's novelists by 
the space devoted to them, one could not escape 


the impression that the literary genius of the 
world resides almost exclusively in British writers. 

This prejudiced and disproportionate treatment 
of literature would not be so regrettable if the 
Britannica's criticisms were cosmopolitan in char- 
acter, or if its standard of judgment was a purely 
literary one. But the criteria of the Encyclo- 
paedia's editors are, in the main, moral and puri- 
tanical. Authors are judged not so much by their 
literary and artistic merits as by their bourgeois 
virtue, their respectability and inoffensiveness. 
Consequently it is not even the truly great writers 
of Great Britain who are recommended the most 
highly, but those middle-class literary idols who 
teach moral lessons and whose purpose it is to 
uplift mankind. The Presbyterian complex, so 
evident throughout the Encyclopsedia's critiques, 
finds in literature a fertile field for operation. 

Because of the limitations of space, I shall con- 
fine myself in this chapter to modern literature. 
I have, however, inspected the manner in which 
the older literature is set forth in the Encyclo' 
padia Britannica; and there, as elsewhere, is dis- 
cernible the same provincialism, the same theolog- 
ical point of view, the same flamboyant exag- 
geration of English writers, the same neglect of 
foreign genius. As a reference book the Britaw 
nica is chauvinistic, distorted, inadequate, dispro- 


portioned, and woefully behind the times. De- 
spite the fact that the Eleventh Edition is sup- 
posed to have been brought up to date, few recent 
writers are included, and those few are largely 
second-rate writers of Great Britain. 

Let us first regard the gross discrepancies in 
space between the biographies of English authors 
and those of the authors of other nations. To 
begin with, the number of biographies of English 
writers is nearly as many as is given all the writ- 
ers of France and Germany combined. Sir 
Walter Scott is given no less than thirteen col- 
umns, whereas Balzac has only seven columns, 
Victor Hugo only a little over four columns, and 
Turgueniev only a little over one column. Sam- 
uel Richardson is given nearly four columns, 
whereas Flaubert has only two columns, Dos- 
toievsky less than two columns, and Daudet only 
a column and a third I Mrs. Oliphant is given 
over a column, more space than is allotted to Ana- 
tole France, Coppee, or the Goncourts. George 
Meredith is given six columns, more space than is 
accorded Flaubert, de Maupassant and Zola put 
together I Bulwer-Lytton has two columns, more 
space than is given Dostoievsky. Dickens is 
given two and a half times as much space as Vic- 
tor Hugo; and George Eliot, Trollope, and Stev- 
enson each has considerably more space than de 


Maupassant, and nearly twice as much space as 
Flaubert. Anthony Hope has almost an equal 
amount of space with Turgueniev, nearly twice 
as much as Gorky, and more than William Dean 
Howells. Kipling, Barrie, Mrs. Gaskell, Mrs. 
Humphry Ward, and Felicia Hemans are each 
accorded more space than either Zola or Mark 
Twain. . . . Many more similar examples of in- 
justice could be given, but enough have been set 
down to indicate the manner in which British 
authors are accorded an importance far beyond 
their deserts. 

Of Jane Austen, to whom is given more space 
than to either Daudet or Turgueniev, we read 
that "it is generally agreed by the best critics that 
Miss Austen has never been approached in her 
own domain." What, one wonders, of Balzac's 
stories of provincial life? Did he, after all, not 
even approach Miss Austen*? Mrs. Gaskell's 
Cr an ford "is unanimously accepted as a classic" ; 
and she is given an equal amount of space with 
Dostoievsky and Flaubert I 

George Eliot's biography draws three and a 
half columns, twice as much space as Stendhal's, 
and half again as much as de Maupassant's. In 
it we encounter the following astonishing speci- 
men of criticism: No right estimate of her as 


an artist or a philosopher "can be formed without 
a steady recollection of her infinite capacity for 
mental suffering, and her need of human sup- 
port." Just what these conditions have to do 
with an aesthetic or philosophic judgment of her 
is not made clear; but the critic finally brings him- 
self to add that "one has only to compare Romola 
or Daniel Deronda with the compositions of any 
author except herself to realize the greatness of 
her designs and the astonishing gifts brought to 
their final accomplishment." 

The evangelical motif enters more strongly in 
the biography of George Macdonald, who draws 
about equal space with Gorky, Huysmans, and 
Barres. Here we learn that Macdonald's "moral 
enthusiasm exercised great influence upon thought- 
ful minds." Ainsworth, the author of those 
shoddy historical melodramas, Jack Sheppard and 
Guy Fawkes, is also given a biography equal in 
length to that of Gorky, Huysmans, and Barres; 
and we are told that he wrote tales which, despite 
all their shortcomings, were "invariably instruc- 
tive, clean and manly." Mrs. Ewing, too, 
profited by her pious proclivities, for her biogra- 
phy takes up almost as much space as that of the 
"moral" Macdonald and the "manly" Ainsworth. 
Her stories are "sound and wholesome in mat- 


ter," and besides, her best tales "have never been 
surpassed in the style of literature to which they 

Respectability and moral refinement were 
qualities also possessed by G. P. R. James, whose 
biography is equal in length to that of William 
Dean Howells. In it there is quite a long com- 
parison of James with Dumas, though it is 
frankly admitted that as an artist James was in- 
ferior. His plots were poor, his descriptions were 
weak, and his dialogue was bad. Therefore "his 
very best books fall far below Les Trois Mous- 
quetairesT But, it is added, "James never re- 
sorted to illegitimate methods to attract readers, 
and deserves such credit as may be due to a pur- 
veyor of amusement who never caters to the less 
creditable tastes of his guests." In other words, 
say what you will about James's technique, he 
was, at any rate, an upright and impeccable 
gentleman I 

Even Mrs. Sarah Norton's lofty moral nature 
is rewarded with biographical space greater than 
that of Huysmans or Gorky. Mrs. Norton, we 
learn, "was not a mere writer of elegant trifles, 
but was one of the priestesses of the 'reforming' 
spirit." One of her books was "a most eloquent 
and rousing condemnation of child labor"; and 
her poems were "written with charming tender- 


ness and grace." Great, indeed, are the rewards 
of virtue, if not in life, at least in the Encyclo- 
padia Britannica. 

On the other hand, several English authors are 
condemned for their lack of nicety and respec- 
tability. Trollope, for instance, lacked that ele- 
gance and delicacy of sentiment so dear to the En- 
cyclopaedia editor's heart. "He is," we read, 
"sometimes absolutely vulgar — that is to say, he 
does not deal with low life, but shows, though 
always robust and pure in morality, a certain 
coarseness of taste." 

Turning from the vulgar but pure Trollope to 
Charles Reade, we find more of this same kind of 
criticism: "His view of human life, especially 
of the life of women, is almost brutal . . . and 
he cannot, with all his skill as a story-teller, be 
numbered among the great artists who warm the 
heart and help to improve the conduct." (Here 
we have the Britannica's true attitude toward 
literature. That art, in order to be great, must 
warm the heart, improve the conduct, and show 
one the way to righteousness.) Nor is Ouida to 
be numbered among the great uplifters. In her 
derogatory half-column biography we are in- 
formed that "on grounds of morality of taste 
Ouida's novels may be condemned" as they are 
"frequently unwholesome." 


Two typical examples of the manner in which 
truly great English writers, representative of the 
best English culture, are neglected in favor of 
those writers who epitomize England's provincial 
piety, are to be found in the biographies of George 
Moore and Joseph Conrad, neither of whom is 
concerned with improving the readers' conduct or 
even with warming their hearts. These two nov- 
elists, the greatest modem authors which England 
has produced, are dismissed peremptorily. Con- 
rad's biography draws but eighteen lines, about 
one-third of the space given to Marie Corelli ; and 
the only praise accorded him is for his vigorous 
style and brilliant descriptions. In this super- 
ficial criticism we have an example of ineptitude, 
if not of downright stupidity, rarely equaled even 
by newspaper reviewers. Not half of Conrad's 
books are mentioned, the last one to be recorded 
being dated 1906, nearly eleven years ago! Yet 
this is the Encyclopedia which is supposed to have 
been brought up to date and to be adequate for 
purposes of reference I 

In the case of George Moore there is less excuse 
for such gross injustice (save that he is Irish), 
for Moore has long been recognized as one of the 
great moderns. Yet his biography draws less 
space than that of Jane Porter, Gilbert Parker, 
Maurice Hewlett, Rider Haggard, or H. G. 


Wells; half of the space given to Anthony Hope; 
and only a fourth of the space given to Mrs. Gas- 
kell and to Mrs. Humphry Ward! A Mum- 
trier's Wife^ we learn, has "decidedly repulsive 
elements"; and the entire criticism of Esther 
Waters^ admittedly one of the greatest of modern 
English novels, is that it is "a strong story with 
an anti-gambling motive." It would seem almost 
incredible that even the tin-pot evangelism of the 
Encyclopedia Britannica would be stretched to 
such a length, — but there you have the criticism 
of Esther Waters set down word for word. The 
impelling art of this novel means nothing to the 
Encyclopedia's critic: he cannot see the book's 
significance; nor does he recognize its admitted 
importance to modem literature. To him it is 
an anti-gambling tract I And because, perhaps, 
he can find no uplift theme in A Mummer's Wife, 
that book is repulsive to him. Such is the culture 
America is being fed on — at a price. 

Thomas Hardy, another one of England's im- 
portant modems, is condemned for his attitude 
toward women: his is a "man's point of view" 
and "more French than English." (We wonder 
if this accounts for the fact that the sentimental 
James M. Barrie is accorded more space and 
greater praise.) Samuel Butler is another in- 
tellectual English writer who has apparently been 


sacrificed on the altar of Presbyterian respectabil- 
ity. He is given less than a column, a little more 
than half the space given the patriotic, tub- 
thumping Kipling, and less than half the space 
given Felicia Hemans. Nor is there any criticism 
of his work. The Way of all Flesh is merely 
mentioned in the list of his books. Gissing, an- 
other highly enlightened English writer, is ac- 
corded less space than Jane Porter, only about 
half the space given Anthony Hope, and less 
space than is drawn by Marie Corelli ! There is 
almost no criticism of his work — a mere record of 

Mrs. M. E. Braddon, however, author of The 
Trail of the Serpent and Lady Audlefs Secret^ 
is criticised in flattering terms. The biography 
speaks of her "large and appreciative public," and 
apology is made for her by the statement that her 
works give "the great body of readers of fiction 
exactly what they require." But why an apology 
is necessary one is unable to say since Aurora 
Floyd is "a novel with a strong affinity to Ma- 
dame Bovary." Mrs. Braddon and Flaubert I 
Truly a staggering alliance I 

Mrs. Henry Wood, the author of East Lynne, 
is given more space than Conrad ; and her Johnny 
Ludlow tales are "the most artistic" of her works. 
But the "artistic" Mrs. Wood has no preference 


over Julia Kavanagh. This latter lady, we dis- 
cover, draws equal space with Marcel Prevost; 
and she "handles her French themes with fidelity 
and skill." Judging from this praise and the 
fact that Prevost gets no praise but is accused of 
having written an "exaggerated" and "revolting" 
book, we can only conclude that the English 
authoress handles her French themes better than 
does Prevost. 

George Meredith is accorded almost as much 
biographical space as Balzac; and in the article 
there appears such qualifying words as "seer," 
"greatness," and "master." The impression 
given is that he was greater than Balzac. In 
Jane Porter's biography, which is longer than 
that of Huysmans, we read of her "picturesque 
power of narration." Even of Samuel Warren, 
to whom three-fourths of a column is allotted 
(more space than is given to Bret Harte, Lafcadio 
Hearn, or Gorky), it is said that the interest in 
Ten Thousand a Year "is made to run with a 
powerful current." 

Power also is discovered in the works of Lucas 
Malet. The Wages of Sin was "a powerful 
story" which "attracted great attention" ; and her 
next book "had an even greater success." Joseph 
Henry Shorthouse, who is given more space than 
Frank Norris and Stephen Crane combined, pes- 


sessed "high earnestness of purpose, a luxuriant 
style and a genuinely spiritual quality." Though 
lacking dramatic facility and a workmanlike con- 
duct of narrative, "he had almost every other 
quality of the bom novelist." After this remark 
it is obviously necessary to revise our aesthetic 
judgment in regard to the religious author of John 
Ingle sunt. 

Grant Allen, alas I lacked the benevolent qual- 
ities of the "spiritual" Mr. Shorthouse, and — as 
a result, no doubt — he is given less space, and his 
work and vogue are spoken of disparagingly. 
One of his books was a succes de scandale "on ac- 
count of its treatment of the sexual problem." 
Mr. Allen apparently neither "warmed the heart" 
nor "improved the conduct" of his audience. On 
the other hand, Mrs. Oliphant, in a long bio- 
graphy, is praised for her "sympathetic touch"; 
and we learn furthermore that she was long and 
"honorably" connected with the firm of Black- 
wood. Maurice Hewlett has nearly a half- 
column biography full of praise. Conan Doyle, 
also, is spoken of highly. Kipling's biography, 
longer than Mark Twain's, Bourget's, Daudet's, 
or Gogol's, also contains praise. In H. G. Wells's 
biography, which is longer than that of George 
Moore, "his very high place" as a novelist is 
spoken of; and Anthony Hope draws abundant 


praise in a biography almost as long as that of 
Turgueniev I 

In the treatment of Mrs. Humphry Ward, 
however, we have the key to the literary attitude 
of the Encyclopaedia. Here is an author who 
epitomizes that middle-class respectability which 
forms the Britannica^s editors' standard of artistic 
judgment, and who represents that virtuous sub- 
urban culture which colors the Encyclopaedia's 
art departments. It is not surprising therefore 
that, of all recent novelists, she should be given 
the place of honor. Her biography extends to 
a column and two-thirds, much longer than the 
biography of Turgueniev, Zola, Daudet, Mark 
Twain, or Henry James; and over twice the 
length of William Dean Howells's biography. 
Even more space is devoted to her than is given 
to the biography of Poe I 

Nor in this disproportionate amount of space 
alone is Mrs. Ward's superiority indicated. The 
article contains the most fulsome praise, and we 
are told that her "eminence among latter-day 
women novelists arises from her high conception 
of the art of fiction and her strong grasp on intel- 
lectual and social problems, her descriptive power 
. . . and her command of a broad and vigorous 
prose style." (The same enthusiastic gentleman 
who wrote Mrs. Ward's biography also wrote the 


biography of Oscar Wilde. The latter is giveiv 
much less space, and the article on him is a petty, 
contemptible attack written from the standpoint 
of a self-conscious puritan.) 

Thackeray is given equal space with Balzac, 
and in the course of his biography it is said that 
some have wanted to compare him with Dickens 
but that such a comparison would be unprofitable. 
"It is better to recognize simply that the two 
novelists stood, each in his own way, distinctly 
above even their most distinguished contempor- 
aries." (Both Balzac and Victor Hugo were 
their contemporaries, and to say that Thackeray 
stood "distinctly above" them is to butcher French 
genius to make an English holiday.) 

In Dickens's biography, which is nearly half 
again as long as that of Balzac and nearly two 
and a half times as long as that of Hugo, we en- 
counter such words and phrases as "masterpieces" 
and "wonderful books." No books of his sur- 
passed the early chapters of Great Expectations in 
"perfection of technique or in the mastery of all 
the resources of the novelist's art." Here, as in 
many other places, patriotic license has obviously 
been permitted to run wild. Where, outside of 
provincial England, will you find another critic, 
no matter how appreciative of Dickens's talent, 
who will agree that he possessed "perfection of 


technique" and a "mastery of all the resources of 
the novelist's art'"? But, as if this perfervid 
rhetoric were not sufficiently extreme, Swinburne 
is quoted as saying that to have created Abel 
Magwitch alone is to be a god indeed among the 
creators of deathless men. (This means that 
Dickens was a god beside the mere mundane cre- 
ator of Lucien de Rubempre, Goriot, and Eugenie 
Grander. ) And, again, on top of this unreasoned 
enthusiasm, it is added that in "intensity and 
range of creative genius he can hardly be said to 
have any modern rival." 

Let us turn to Balzac who was not, according 
to this encyclopsedia, even Dickens's rival in in- 
tensity and range of creative genius. Here we 
find derogatory criticism which indeed bears out 
the contention of Dickens's biographer that the 
author of David Copperfield was superior to the 
author of Lost Illusions. Balzac, we read, "is 
never quite real." His style "lacks force and 
adequacy to his own purpose." And then we are 
given this final bit of insular criticism: "It is 
idle to claim for Balzac an absolute supremacy 
in the novel, while it may be questioned whether 
any single book of his, or any scene of a book, or 
even any single character or situation, is among 
the very greatest books, scenes, characters, situ- 
ations in literature." Alas, poor Balzac! — the 


inferior of both Dickens and Thackeray — the 
writer who, if the judgment of the Encyclopedia 
Britannica is to be accepted, created no book, 
scene, character or situation which is among the 
greatest I Thus are the world's true geniuses dis- 
paraged for the benefit of moral English culture. 

De Vigny receives adverse criticism. He is 
compared unfavorably to Sir Walter Scott, and is 
attacked for his "pessimistic" philosophy. De 
Musset "had genius, though not genius of that 
strongest kind which its possessor can always keep 
in check" — after the elegant and repressed man- 
ner of English writers, no doubt. De Musset's 
own character worked "against his success as a 
writer," and his break with George Sand "brought 
out the weakest side of his moral character." 
(Again the church-bell motif.) Gautier, that 
sensuous and un-English Frenchman, wrote a book 
called Mademoiselle de Maupin which was "un- 
fitted by its subject, and in parts by its treatment, 
for general perusal." 

Dumas pere is praised, largely we infer, be- 
cause his work was sanctioned by Englishmen: 
"The three musketeers are as famous in England 
as in France. Thackeray could read about Athos 
from sunrise to sunset with the utmost content- 
ment of mind, and Robert Louis Stevenson and 
Andrew Lang have paid tribute to the band." 


Pierre Loti, however, in a short biography, hardly 
meets with British approval. "Many of his best 
books are long sobs of remorseful memory, so per- 
sonal, so intimate, that an English reader is 
amazed to find such depth of feeling compatible 
with the power of minutely and publicly record- 
ing what is felt." Loti, like de Musset, lacked 
that prudish restraint which is so admirable a vir- 
tue in English writers. Daudet, in a short and 
very inadequate biography, is written down as an 
imitator of Dickens; and in Anatole France's 
biography, which is shorter than Marryat's or 
Mrs. Oliphant's, no adequate indication of his 
genius is given. 

2^1a is treated with greater unfairness than per- 
haps any other French author. Zola has always 
been disliked in England, and his English pub- 
lisher was jailed by the guardians of British 
morals. But it is somewhat astonishing to find to 
what lengths this insular prejudice has gone in 
the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Zola's biography, 
which is shorter than Mrs. Humphry Ward's, is 
written by a former Accountant General of the 
English army, and contains adverse comment be- 
cause he did not idealize "the nobler elements in 
human nature," although, it is said, "his later 
books show improvement." Such scant treat- 
ment of Zola reveals the unfairness of extreme 


prejudice, for no matter what the nationality, re- 
ligion, or taste of the critic, he must, in all fair- 
ness, admit that Zola is a more important and 
influential figure in modern letters than Mrs. 
Humphry Ward. 

In the biography of George Sand we learn that 
*'as a thinker, George Eliot is vastly [sic] su- 
perior; her knowledge is more profound, and her 
psychological analysis subtler and more scien- 
tific." Almost nothing is said of Constant's writ- 
ings; and in the mere half-column sketch of Huys- 
mans there are only a few biographical facts with 
a list of his books. Of Stendhal there is prac- 
tically no criticism; and Coppee "exhibits all the 
defects of his qualities." Rene Bazin draws only 
seventeen lines — a bare record of facts; and 
Edouard Rod is given a third of a column with no 

Despite the praise given Victor Hugo, his 
biography, from a critical standpoint, is prac- 
tically worthless. In it there is no sense of crit- 
ical proportion : it is a mere panegyric which defi- 
nitely states that Hugo was greater than Balzac. 
This astonishing and incompetent praise is ac- 
counted for when we discover that it was written 
by Swinburne who, as is generally admitted, was 
a better poet than critic. In fact, turning to 
Swinburne's biography, we find the following 


valuation of Swinburne as critic: "The very 
qualities which gave his poetr}^ its unique charm 
and character were antipathetic to his success as 
a critic. He had very little capacity for cool and 
reasoned judgment, and his criticism is often a 
tangled thicket of prejudices and predilections. 
. . . Not one of his studies is satisfactory as a 
whole; the faculty for the sustained exercise of 
the judgment was denied him, and even his best 
appreciations are disfigured by error in taste and 

Here we have the Encyclopsedia's own con- 
demnation of some of its material — a personal 
and frank confession of its own gross inadequacy 
and bias I And Swinburne, let it be noted, con- 
tributes no less than ten articles on some of the 
most important literary men in history! If the 
Encyclopedia Britannica was as nai'f and honest 
about revealing the incapacity of all of its critics 
as it is in the case of Swinburne, there would be 
no need for me to call attention to those other 
tangled thickets of prejudices and predilections 
which have enmeshed so many of the gentlemen 
who write for it. 

But the inadequacy of the Britannica as a ref- 
erence book on modern French letters can best be 
judged by the fact that there appears no bio- 
graphical mention whatever of Romain Rolland, 


Pierre de Coulevain, Tinayre, Rene Boylesve, 
Jean and Jerome Tharaud, Henry Bordeaux, or 
Pierre Mille. Rolland is the most gifted and 
conspicuous figure of the new school of writers in 
France to-day, and the chief representative of a 
new phase of French literature. Pierre de Coule- 
vain stands at the head of the women novelists 
in modern France; and her books are widely 
known in both England and America. Madame 
Tinayre's art, to quote an eminent English critic, 
"reflects the dawn of the new French spirit." 
Boylesve stands for the classic revival in French 
letters, and ranks in the forefront of contempor- 
ary European writers. The Tharauds became 
famous as novelists as far back as 1902, and hold 
a high place among the writers of Young France. 
Bordeaux's novels have long been familiar in 
translation even to American readers; and Pierre 
Mille holds very much the same place in France 
that Kipling does in England. Yet not only does 
not one of these noteworthy authors have a 
biography, but their names do not appear 
throughout the entire Encyclopaedia I 

In the article on French Literature the literary 
renaissance of Young France is not mentioned. 
There apparently has been no effort at making the 
account modern or up-to-date in either its critical 
or historical side; and if you desire information 


on the recent activities in French letters — activ- 
ities of vital importance and including several of 
the greatest names in contemporary literature — 
you need not seek it in the Britannica^ that "su- 
preme" book of knowledge; for apparently only 
modern English achievement is judged worthy of 

Modern Russian literature suffers even more 
from neglect. Dostoievsky has less than two 
columns, less space than Charles Reade, George 
Borrow, Mrs. Gaskell, or Charles Kingsley. 
Gogol has a column and a quarter, far less space 
than that given Felicia Hemans, James M. Barrie, 
of Mrs. Humphry Ward. Gorky is allotted little 
over half a column, one-third of the space given 
Kipling, and equal space with Ouida and Gilbert 
Parker. Tolstoi, however, seems to have in- 
flamed the British imagination. His sentimental 
philosophy, his socialistic godliness, his capacity 
to "warm the heart" and "improve the conduct" 
has resulted in a biography which runs to nearly 
sixteen columns! 

The most inept and inadequate biography in 
the whole Russian literature department, how- 
ever, is that of Turgueniev. Turgueniev, almost 
universally conceded to be the greatest, and cer- 
tainly the most artistic, of the Russian writers, is 
accorded little over a column, less space than is 


devoted to the biography of Thomas Love Pea- 
cock, Kipling, or Thomas Hardy; and only a half 
or a third of the space given to a dozen other in- 
ferior English writers. And in this brief bio- 
graphy we encounter the following valuation: 
"Undoubtedly Turgueniev may be considered one 
of the great novelists, worthy to be ranked with 
Thackeray, Dickens and George Eliot; with the 
genius of the last of these he has many affinities." 
It will amuse, rather than amaze, the students of 
Slavonic literature to learn that Turgueniev was 
the George Eliot of Russia. 

But those thousands of people who have 
bought the Encyclopcsdia Britannica^ believing it 
to be an adequate literary reference work, should 
perhaps be thankful that Turgueniev is mentioned 
at all, for many other important modern Russians 
are without biographies. For instance, there is 
no biographical mention of Andreiev, Garshin, 
Kuprin, Tchernyshevsky, Grigorovich, Artzybash- 
eff, Korolenko, Veressayeff, NekrasofF, or Tchek- 
hoff. And yet the work of nearly all these Rus- 
sian writers had actually appeared in English 
translation before the Eleventh Edition of the 
Encyclopadia Britannica went to press! 

Italian fiction also suffers from neglect at the 
hands of the Britannica' s critics. Giulio Barrili 
receives only thirteen lines; Farina, only nine 


lines; and Giovanni Verga, only twelve. Fogaz- 
zaro draws twenty-six lines; and in the biography 
we leam that his "deeply religious spirit" ani- 
mates his literary productions, and that he con- 
tributed to modem Italian literature "wholesome 
elements of which it would otherwise be nearly 
destitute." He also was "Wordsworthian" in 
his simplicity and pathos. Amicis and Serao 
draw twenty-nine lines and half a column re- 
spectively; but there are no biographies of Emilio 
de Marchi, the prominent historical novelist; En- 
rico Butti, one of the foremost respresentatives of 
the psychological novel in modem Italy; and 
Grazia Deledda. 

The neglect of modem German writers in the 
Encyclopedia Britannica is more glaring than that 
of any other European nation, not excluding Rus- 
sia. So little information can one get from this 
encyclopaedia concerning the really important 
German authors that it would hardly repay one 
to go to the Bntannica. Eckstein — five of whose 
novels were issued in English before 1890 — is de- 
nied a biography. So is Meinhold; so is Luise 
Miihlbach; so is Wachenroder ; — all well known 
in England long before the Britannica went to 
press. Even Gabriele Reuter, whose far-reach- 
ing success came as long ago as 1895, i^ with- 
out a biography. And — what is less excusable — 


Max Kretzer, the first of Germany's naturalistic 
novelists, has no biographical mention in this 
great English encyclopaedia I 

But the omission of even these important 
names do not represent the Britannica' s greatest 
injustice to Germany's literature; for one will 
seek in vain for biographies of Wilhelm von 
Polenz and Ompteda, two of the foremost Ger- 
man novelists, whose work marked a distinct step 
in the development of their nation's letters. 
Furthermore, Clara Viebig, Gustav Frenssen, and 
Thomas Mann, who are among the truly great 
figures in modern imaginative literature, are with- 
out biographies. These writers have carried the 
German novel to extraordinary heights. Mann's 
Buddenbrooks (1901) represents the culmination 
of the naturalistic novel in Germany ; and Viebig 
and Frenssen are of scarcely less importance. 
There are few modern English novelists as de- 
serving as these three Germans ; and yet numerous 
comparatively insignificant English writers are 
given long critical biographies in the Brztannica 
while Viebig, Frenssen and Mann receive no 
biographies whatever! Such unjust discrimina- 
tion against non-British authors would hardly be 
compatible with even the narrowest scholarship. 

And there are other important and eminent 
German novelists who are far more deserving of 


space in an international encyclopedia than many 
of the Englishmen who receive biographies in the 
Britannica — for instance, Heinz Tovote, Her- 
mann Hesse, Ricarda Huch, Helene Bohlau, and 
Eduard von Keyserling — not one of whom is 
given biographical consideration! 

When we come to the American literary di- 
vision of the Britannica^ however, prejudice and 
neglect reach their highest point. Never have I 
seen a better example of the contemptuous atti- 
tude of England toward American literature than 
in the Encyclopaedia's treatment of the novelists 
of the United States. William Dean Howells, in 
a three-quarters-of-a-column biography, gets scant 
praise and is criticised with not a little condescen- 
sion. F. Marion Crawford, in an even shorter 
biography, receives only lukewarm and apologetic 
praise, Frank Norris is accorded only twenty 
lines, less space than is given the English hack, 
G. A. Henty I McTeague is "a story of the San 
Francisco slums" ; and The Octopus and The Pit 
are "powerful stories." This is the extent of the 
criticism. Stephen Crane is given twelve lines; 
Bret Harte, half a column with little criticism; 
Charles Brockden Brown and Lafcadio Heam, 
two-thirds of a column each ; H. C. Bunner, twen- 
ty-one lines; and Thomas Nelson Page less than 
half a column. 


What there is in Mark Twain's biography is 
written by Brander Matthews and is fair as far as 
it goes. The one recent American novelist who 
is given adequate praise is Henry James; and this 
may be accounted for by the fact of James's 
adoption of England as his home. The only 
other adequate biography of an American author 
is that of Nathaniel Hawthorne. But the few 
biographies of other United States writers who 
are included in the Encyclopaedia are very brief 
and insufficient. 

In the omissions of American writers, British 
prejudice has overstepped all bounds of common 
justice. In the following list of names only one 
(Churchill's) is even mentioned in the entire 'En- 
cyclopedia: Edith Wharton, David Graham 
Phillips, Gertrude Atherton, Winston Churchill, 
Owen Wister, Ambrose Bierce, Theodore Dreiser, 
Margaret Deland, Jack London, Robert Grant, 
Ellen Glasgow, Booth Tarkington, Alice Brown 
and Robert Herrick. And yet there is abundant 
space in the Britannica, not only for critical men- 
tion, but for detailed biographies^ of such English 
writers as Hall Caine, Rider Haggard, Maurice 
Hewlett, Stanley Weyman, Flora Annie Steel, 
Edna Lyall^ Elizabeth Charles, Annie Keary, 
Eliza Linton, Mrs. Henry Wood, Pett Ridge, W. 


C. Russell, and still others of less consequence than 
many of the American authors omitted. 

If the "Encyclopdidia Britannica was a work 
whose sale was confined to England, there could 
be little complaint of the neglect of the writers of 
other nationalities. But unjust pandering to Brit- 
ish prejudice and a narrow contempt for Ameri- 
can culture scarcely become an encyclopaedia 
whose chief profits are derived from the United 
States. So inadequate is the treatment of Amer- 
ican fiction that almost any modern text-book on 
our literature is of more value; for, as I have 
shown, all manner of inferior and little-known 
English authors are given eulogistic biographies, 
while many of the foremost American authors re- 
ceive no mention whatever. 

As a reference book on modem fiction, the 
Encyclopedia Britannica is hopelessly inadequate 
and behind the times, filled with long eulogies of 
bourgeois English authors, lacking all sense of 
proportion, containing many glaring omissions, 
and compiled and written in a spirit of insular 
prejudice. And this is the kind of culture that 
America is exhorted, not merely to accept, but to 
pay a large price for. 



Particular importance attaches to the manner 
in which the modern drama is treated in the En- 
cyclopedia Britannica^ for to-day there exists a 
deep and intimate interest in this branch of litera- 
ture — an interest which is greater and more far- 
reaching than during any other period of modem 
times. Especially is this true in the United 
States. During the past fifteen years study in 
the history, art and technique of the stage has 
spread into almost every quarter of the country. 
The printed play has come back into favor; and 
there is scarcely a publisher of any note on whose 
lists do not appear many works of dramatic litera- 
ture. Dramatic and stage societies have been 
formed everywhere, and there is an increasing de- 
mand for productions of the better-class plays. 
Perhaps no other one branch of letters holds so 
conspicuous a place in our culture. 

The drama itself during the last quarter of a 
century has taken enormous strides. After a 
period of stagnant mediocrity, a new vitality has 



been fused into this art. In Germany, France, 
England, and Russia many significant drama- 
tists have sprung into existence. The literature 
of the stage has taken a new lease on life, and in 
its ranks are numbered many of the finest creative 
minds of our day. Furthermore, a school of capa- 
ble and serious critics has developed to meet the 
demands of the new work; and already there is 
a large and increasing library of books dealing 
with the subject from almost every angle. 

Therefore, because of this renaissance and the 
widespread interest attaching to it, we should ex- 
pect to find in the Encydop^zdia Britannica — 
that "supreme book of knowledge," that "com- 
plete library" of information — a full and com- 
prehensive treatment of the modern drama. The 
claims made in the advertising of the Britannica 
would lead one immediately to assume that so 
important and universally absorbing a subject 
would be set forth adequately. The drama has 
played, and will continue to play, a large part in 
our modem intellectual life; and, in an educa- 
tional work of the alleged scope and completeness 
of this encyclopaedia, it should be accorded care- 
ful and liberal consideration. 

But in this department, as in others equally im- 
portant, the Encyclopisdia Britannica fails inex- 
cusably. I have carefully inspected its dramatic 


information, and its inadequacy left me with a 
feeling which fell little short of amazement. Not 
only is the modern drama given scant considera- 
tion, but those comparatively few articles which 
deal with it are so inept and desultory that no cor- 
rect idea of the development of modern dramatic 
literature can be obtained. As in the Encyclo- 
paedia's other departments of modern aesthetic cul- 
ture, the work of Great Britain is accorded an 
abnormally large amount of space, while the work 
of other nations is — if mentioned at all — dis- 
missed with comparatively few words. The Brit- 
ish drama, like the British novel, is exaggerated, 
both through implication and direct statement, 
out of all proportion to its inherent significance. 
Many of the truly great and important dramatists 
of foreign countries are omitted entirely in order 
to make way for minor and inconsequent English- 
men; and the few towering figures from abroad 
who are given space draw only a few lines of 
biographical mention, whereas second-rate British 
writers are accorded long and ninutely specific 

Furthermore, the Encyclopaedia reveals the fact 
that in a great many instances it has not been 
brought up to date. As a result, even when an 
alien dramatist has found his way into the ex- 
clusive British circle whose activities dominate 


the assthetic departments of the Britannica, one 
does not have a complete record of his work. This 
failure to revise adequately old material and to 
make the information as recent as the physical ex- 
igencies of book-making would permit, results no 
doubt in the fact that even the more recent and 
important English dramatists have suffered the 
fate of omission along with their less favored con- 
freres from other countries. Consequently, the 
dramatic material is not only biased but is in- 
adequate from the British standpoint as well. 

As a reference book on the modern drama, either 
for students or the casual reader, the Encyclo- 
p(zdia Britannica is practically worthless. Its in- 
formation is old and prejudiced, besides being 
flagrantly incomplete. I could name a dozen 
books on the modern drama which do not pretend 
to possess the comprehensiveness and authenticity 
claimed by the Britannica^ and yet are far more 
adequate, both in extent and modernity of sub- 
ject-matter, and of vastly superior educational 
value. The limited information which has actu- 
ally found its way into this encyclopedia is marked 
by incompetency, prejudice, and carelessness; and 
its large number of indefensible omissions renders 
it almost useless as a reference work on modern 
dramatic literature. 

In the general article on the Drama we have 


a key to the entire treatment of the subject 
throughout the Encyclopaedia's twenty-seven vol- 
umes. The English drama is given forty-one col- 
umns. The French drama is given fifteen col- 
umns ; the German drama, nine ; the Scandinavian 
drama one; and the Russian drama, one-third of 
a column ! The American drama is not even given 
a separate division but is included under the Eng- 
lish drama, and occupies less than one column! 
The Irish drama also is without a separate division, 
and receives only twelve lines of exposition! In 
the division on the Scandinavian drama, Strind- 
berg's name is not mentioned; and the reader is 
supplied with the antiquated, early- Victorian in- 
formation that Ibsen's Ghosts is "repellent." In 
the brief passage on the Russian drama almost 
no idea is given of its subject; in fact, no drama- 
tist born later than 1808 is mentioned! When 
we consider the wealth of the modem Russian 
drama and its influence on the theater of other 
nations, even of England, we can only marvel at 
such utter inadequacy and neglect. 

In the sub-headings of "recent" drama under 
Drama^ "Recent English Drama" is given over 
twelve columns, while "Recent French Drama" is 
given but a little over three. There is no sub- 
division for recent German drama, but mention is 
made of it in a short paragraph under "English 


Drama" with the heading: "Influences of For- 
eign Drama I" 

Regard this distribution of space for a moment. 
The obvious implication is that the more modem 
English drama is four times as important as the 
French; and yet for years the entire inspiration of 
the English stage came from France, and certain 
English ''dramatists" made their reputations by 
adapting French plays. And what of the more 
modern German drama*? It is of importance, evi- 
dently, only as it had an influence on the English 
drama. Could self-complacent insularity go fur- 
ther? Even in its capacity as a mere contribu- 
tion to British genius, the recent German drama, 
it seems, is of little moment; and Sudermann 
counts for naught. In the entire article on Dra?na 
his name is not so much as mentioned I Such is 
the transcendent and superlative culture of the 
Encyclopedia Britannica! 

Turning to the biographies, we find that British 
dramatists, when mentioned at all, are treated 
with cordial liberality. T. W. Robertson is given 
nearly three-fourths of a column with the com- 
ment that "his work is notable for its masterly 
stage-craft, wholesome and generous humor, bright 
and unstrained dialogue, and high dramatic sense 
of human character in its theatrical aspects." H. 
J. Byron is given over half a column. W. S. 


Gilbert draws no less than a column and three- 
fourths. G. R. Sims gets twenty-two lines. 
Sydney Grundy is accorded half a column. James 
M. Barrie is given a column and a half, and 
George Bernard Shaw an equal amount of space. 
Pinero is given two-thirds of a column; and 
Henry Arthur Jones half a column. Jones, how- 
ever, might have had more space had the Ency- 
clopaedia's editor gone to the simple trouble of ex- 
tending that playwright's biography beyond 
1904; but on this date it ends, with the result 
that there appears no mention of The Heroic 
Stubbs^ The Hypocrites, The Evangelist, Dolly 
Reforms Himself, or The Knife — all of which 
were produced before this supreme, up-to-date 
and informative encyclopaedia went to press. 

Oscar Wilde, a man who revolutionized the 
English drama and who was unquestionably one 
of the important figures in modern English letters, 
is given a little over a column, less space than 
Shaw, Barrie, or Gilbert. In much of his writing 
there was, we learn, "an undertone of rather nasty 
suggestion"; and after leaving prison "he was 
necessarily an outcast from decent circles." 
Also, "it is still impossible to take a purely objec- 
tive view of Oscar Wilde's work," — that is to say, 
literary judgment cannot be passed without re- 
course to morality! 


Here is an actual confession by the editor him- 
self (for he contributed the article on Wilde) of 
the accusation I have made against the Britannica. 
A great artist, according to this encyclopedia's 
criterion, is a respectable artist, one who preaches 
and practises an inoffensive suburbanism. But 
when the day comes — if it ever does — when the 
editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, along with 
other less prudish and less delicate critics, can re- 
gard Wilde's work apart from personal prejudice, 
perhaps Wilde will be given the consideration he 
deserves — a consideration far greater, we hope, 
than that accorded Barrie and Gilbert. 

Greater inadequacy than that revealed in 
Wilde's biography is to be found in the fact that 
Synge has no biography whatever in the Britan- 
nica! Nor has Hankin. Nor Granville Barker. 
Nor Lady Gregory. Nor Galsworthy. The bio- 
graphical omission of such important names as 
these can hardly be due to the editor^s opinion 
that they are not deserving of mention, for lesser 
English dramatic names of the preceding genera- 
tion are given liberal space. The fact that these 
writers do not appear can be attributed only to the 
fact that the Encyclopedia Britannica has not been 
properly brought up to date — a fact substantiated 
by an abundance of evidence throughout the entire 
work. Of what possible value to one interested 


in the modem drama is a reference library which 
contains no biographical mention of such sig- 
nificant figures as these? 

The French drama suffers even more from in- 
completeness and scantiness of material. Becque 
draws just eleven lines, exactly half the space 
given to the British playwright whose reputation 
largely depends on that piece of sentimental clap- 
trap, Lights (?' London. Hervieu draws half a 
column of biography, in which his two important 
dramas, Modestie and Connais-Toi (both out be- 
fore the Britannic a went to press), are not men- 
tioned. Curel is given sixteen lines; Lavedan, 
fourteen lines, in which not all of even his best 
work is noted; Maurice Donnay, twenty lines, 
with no mention of La Patronne ( 1908) ; Lemai- 
tre, a third of a column; Rostand, half a column, 
less space than is accorded the cheap, slap-stick 
humorist from Manchester, H. J. Byron; Capus, 
a third of a column; Porto-Riche, thirteen lines; 
and Brieux twenty-six lines. In Brieux's very 
brief biography there is no record of La Frangaise 
(1807), Simone (1908), or Suzette (1909). 
Henri Bernstein does not have even a biographical 

Maeterlinck's biography runs only to a column 
and a third, and the last work of his to be men- 
tioned is dated 1903, since which time the article 


has apparently not been revised I Therefore, if 
you depend for information on this biography in 
the Encyclopedia Britannica, you will find no 
record of Sceur Beatrice, Ariane et Barbe-Bleu, 
UOiseau Bleu, or Maria Magdalene. 

The modern Italian drama also receives very 
brief and inadequate treatment. Of the modern 
Italian dramatists only two of importance have 
biographies — Pietro Cossa and Paolo Ferrari. 
Cossa is given twenty-four lines, and Ferrari only 
seven lines! The two eminent comedy writers, 
Gherardi del Testa and Ferdinando Martini, have 
no biographies. Nor has either Giuseppe Gia- 
cosa or Gerolamo Rovetta, the leaders of the new 
school, any biographical mention. And in d'An- 
nunzio's biography only seventeen lines are de- 
voted to his dramas. What sort of an idea of 
the modem Italian drama can one get from an 
encyclopaedia which contains such indefensible 
omissions and such scant accounts of prominent 
writers? And why should the writer who is as 
commonly known by the name of Stecchetti as 
Samuel Clemens is by the name of Mark Twain 
be listed under "Guerrini" without even a cross 
reference under the only name by which the ma- 
jority of readers know him*? Joseph Conrad 
might almost as well be listed under "Korzeniow- 
ski." There are few enough non-British writers 


included in the Britannica without deliberately or 
ignorantly hiding those who have been lucky 
enough to be admitted. 

Crossing over into Germany and Austria one 
maj^ look in vain for any indication of the wealth 
of dramatic material and the great number of im- 
portant dramatic figures which have come from 
these two countries. Of all the recent German 
and Austrian dramatists of note, only two are so 
much as given biographical mention, and these 
two — Sudermann and Hauptmann — are treated 
with a brevity and inadequacy which, to my 
knowledge, are without a parallel in any modern 
reference work on the subject. Hauptmann and 
Sudermann receive just twenty-five lines each, 
less space than is given to Sydney Grundy, Pinero, 
Henry Arthur Jones, T. W. Robertson, H. J. 
Byron; and less than a third of the space given 
to Shaw and W. S. Gilbert ! Even Sims is given 
nearly as much space ! 

In these comparisons alone is discernible a 
chauvinism of almost incredible narrowness. 
But the biographies themselves emphasize this 
patriotic prejudice even more than does the brev- 
ity of space. In Sudermann's biography, which 
apparently ends in 1905, no mention whatever is 
made of such important works as Das Blumen- 
hoot^ Rosen, Strandkinder^ and Das Hoke Lied 


{The Song of Songs) ^ all of which appeared be- 
fore the Britannic a was printed. 

And what of Hauptmann, perhaps the greatest 
and most important figure in dramatic literature 
of this and the last generation? After a brief 
record of the facts in Hauptmann's life we read : 
"Of Hauptmann's subsequent work mention may- 
be made of" — and then the names of a few of his 
plays are set down. In the phrase, "mention may 
be made of," is summed up the critic's narrow 
viewpoint. And in that list it was thought un- 
necessary to mention Schluck und Jau, Michael 
Kramer, Der Arme Heinrich, Elga, Die Jungfern 
votn Bischofsberg^ Kaiser Karls Geisel, and Gri- 
selda! Since all of these appeared in ample time 
to be included, it would, I believe, have occurred 
to an unprejudiced critic that mention might have 
been made of them. In fact, all the circumstan- 
tial evidence points to the supposition that had 
Hauptmann been an Englishman, not only would 
they have been mentioned, but they would have 
been praised as well. As it is, there is no criticism 
of Hauptmann's work and no indication of his 
greatness, despite the fact that he is almost uni- 
versally conceded to be a more important figure 
than any of the modern English playwrights who 
are given greater space and favorably criticised. 

With such insufficient and glaringly prejudiced 


treatment of giants like Sudermann and Haupt- 
mann, it is not at all surprising that not one other 
figure in German and Austrian recent dramatic 
literature should have a biography. For in- 
stance, there is no biography of Schnitzler, Arno 
Holz, Max Halbe, Ludwig Fulda, O. E. Hartle- 
ben, Max Dreyer, Ernst Hardt, Hirschfeld, Ernst 
Rosmer, Karl Schdnherr, Hermann Bahr, Thoma, 
Beer-Hoffmann, Johannes Schlaf, or Wedekindl 
Although every one of these names should be in- 
cluded in some informative manner in an encyclo- 
paedia as large as the Brilannica, and one which 
makes so lavish a claim for its educational com- 
pleteness, the omission of several of them may be 
excused on the grounds that, in the haste of the 
Encyclopaedia's editors to commercialize their cul- 
tural wares, they did not have sufficient time to 
take cognizance of the more recent of these dra- 
matists. Since the editors have overlooked men 
like Galsworthy from their own country, we can 
at least acquit them of the charge of snobbish 
patriotism in several of the present instances of 
wanton oversight. 

In the cases of Schnitzler, Hartleben and 
Wedekind, however, no excuse can be offered. 
The work of these men, though recent, had gained 
for itself so important a place in the modern 
world before the Britannica went to press, that to 


ignore them biographically was an act of either 
wanton carelessness or extreme ignorance. The 
former would appear to furnish the explanation, 
for under Drama there is evidence that the editors 
knew of Schnitzler's and Wedekind's existence. 
But, since the Vberbrettl movement is given only- 
seven lines, it would, under the circumstances, 
hardly be worth one's while to consult the Ency- 
clopczdia Britannica for information on the mod- 
em drama in Germany and Austria. 

Even so, one would learn more of the drama in 
those countries than one could possibly learn of 
the drama of the United States. To be sure, no 
great significance attaches to our stage literature, 
but since this encyclopaedia is being foisted upon 
us and we are asked to buy it in preference to all 
others, it would have been well within the prov- 
ince of its editors to give the hundred of thou- 
sands of American readers a little enlightenment 
concerning their own drama. 

The English, of course, have no interest in our 
institutions — save only our banks — and consist- 
ently refuse to attribute either competency or im- 
portance to our writers. They would prefer that 
we accept their provincial and mediocre culture 
and ignore entirely our own aesthetic struggles 
toward an individual expression. But all Amer- 
icans do not find intellectual contentment in this 


paternal and protecting British attitude; and 
those who are interested in our native drama and 
who have paid money for the Britannica on the 
strength of its exorbitant and unsustainable 
claims, have just cause for complaint in the scanty 
and contemptuous way in which American letters 
are treated. 

As I have already noted, the American drama is 
embodied in the article on the English Drama, 
and is given less space than a column. Under 
American Literature there is nothing concerning 
the American stage and its writers; nor is there 
a single biography in the entire Encyclopaedia of 
an American dramatist! James A. Heme re- 
ceives eight lines — a note so meagre that for pur- 
poses of reference it might almost as well have 
been omitted entirely. And Augustin Daly, the 
most conspicuous figure in our theatrical history, 
is dismissed with twenty lines, about half the 
space given H. J. Byron! If you desire any in- 
formation concerning the development of the 
American theater, or wish to know any details 
about David Belasco, Bronson Howard, Charles 
Hoyt, Steele MacKaye, Augustus Thomas, Clyde 
Fitch, or Charles Klein, you will have to go to a 
source other than the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

By way of explaining this neglect of all Amer- 
ican culture I will quote from a recent advertise- 


ment of the Britannica. "We Americans," it 
says, in a most intimate and condescending man- 
ner, "have had a deep sense of self-sufficiency. 
We haven't had time or inclination to know how 
the rest of the world lived. But now we must 
know." And let it be said for the Encyclopedia 
Britannica that it has done all in its power to dis- 
courage us in this self-sufficiency. 



In the field of poetry the Encyclopedia Bntan- 
nica comes nearer being a competent reference 
library than in the field of painting, fiction, or 
drama. This fact, however, is not due to a spirit 
of fairness on the part of the Encyclopsedia*s edi- 
tors so much as to the actual superiority of Eng- 
lish poetry. In this field England has led the 
world. It is the one branch of culture in which 
modern England stands highest. France sur- 
passes her in painting and in fiction, and Germany 
in music and the drama. But Great Britain is 
without a rival in poetry. Therefore, despite the 
fact that the Encyclopaedia is just as biased in 
dealing with this subject as it is in dealing with 
other cultural subjects, England's pre-eminence 
tends to reduce in this instance that insular prej- 
udice which distorts the Britannica's treatment of 
arts and letters. 

But even granting this superiority, the En- 
cyclopaedia is neglectful of the poets of other 

nations; and while it comes nearer the truth in 



setting forth the glories of English prosody, it 
fails here as elsewhere in being an international 
reference book of any marked value. There is 
considerable and unnecessary exaggeration of the 
merits of British poets, even of second- and third- 
rate British poets. Evangelical criticism pre- 
dominates, and respectability is the measure of 
merit. Furthermore, the true value of poetry in 
France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United 
States is minimized, and many writers of these 
countries who unquestionably should have a place 
in an encyclopaedia as large as the Brilannica, are 
omitted. Especially is this true in the case of the 
United States, which stands second only to Great 
Britain in the quantity and quality of its modern 

Let us first review briefly the complete and 
eulogistic manner in which English poets are dealt 
with. Then let us compare, while making all 
allowances for alien inferiority, this treatment of 
British poetry with the Encyclopaedia's treatment 
of the poetry of other nations. To begin with, 
I find but very few British poets of even minor 
importance who are not given a biography more 
than equal to their deserts. Coventry Patmore 
receives a biography of a column and a half. 
Sydney Dobell's runs to nearly a column. Wil- 
fred Scawen Blunt is accorded half a column; 


John Davidson, over a column of high praise; 
Henley, more than an entire page; Stephen 
Phillips, three-fourths of a column; Henry Clar- 
ence Kendall, eighteen lines; Roden Noel, twenty- 
eight lines; Alexander Smith, twenty-five lines; 
Lawrence Binyon, nineteen lines ; Laurence Hous- 
man, twenty- three lines; Ebenezer Jones, twenty- 
four lines; Richard Le Gallienne, twenty lines; 
Henry Newbolt, fifteen lines; and Arthur Wil- 
liam Edgar O'Shaughnessy, twenty-nine lines. 
These names, together with the amount of space 
devoted to them, will give an indication of the 
thoroughness and liberality accorded British 

But these by no means complete the list. 
Robert Bridges receives half a column, in which 
we learn that "his work has had great influence 
in a select circle, by its restraint, purity, precision, 
and delicacy yet strength of expression." And 
in his higher flights "he is always noble and some- 
times sublime. . . . Spirituality informs his in- 
spiration." Here we have an excellent example 
of the Encyclopaedia's combination of the uplift 
and hyperbole. More of the same moral encom- 
ium is to be found in the biography of Christina 
Rossetti, which is a column in length. Her 
"sanctity" and "religious faith" are highly 
praised; and the article ends with the words: 


"All that we really need to know about her, save 
that she was a great saint, is that she was a great 
poet." Ah, yes I Saintliness — that cardinal re- 
quisite in British aesthetics. 

An example of how the Britannica^s provincial 
Puritanism of judgment works against a poet is 
to be found in the nearly-two-page biography of 
Swinburne, wherein we read that "it is impossible 
to acquit his poetry of the charge of animalism 
which wars against the higher issues of the spirit." 
No, Swinburne was not a pious uplifter; he did 
not use his art as a medium for evangelical ex- 
hortation. Consequently his work does not com- 
ply with the Britannica's parochial standard. 
And although Swinburne was contemporary with 
Francis Thompson, it is said in the latter's two- 
thirds-of-a-column biography that "for glory of 
inspiration and natural magnificence of utterance 
he is unique among the poets of his time." 
Watts-Dunton also, in his three-fourths-of-a- 
column biography, is praised lavishly and set 
down as a "unique figure in the world of letters." 

William Watson receives over a column of 
biography, and is eulogized for his classic tradi- 
tions in an age of prosodic lawlessness. The 
sentimental and inoffensive Austin Dobson ap- 
parently is a high favorite with the editors of the 
Encyclopsedia, for he is given a column and three- 


fourths — more space than is given John David- 
son, Francis Thompson, William Watson, Watts- 
Dunton, or Oscar Wilde — an allowance out of all 
proportion to his importance. 

In closing this brief record of the Encyclopedia 
Britannica' s prodigal generosity to British poets, 
it might be well to mention that Thomas Chatter- 
ton receives a biography of five and a half 
columns — a space considerably longer than that 
given to Heine. Since Thomas Chatterton died 
at the age of eighteen and Heinrich Heine did not 
die until he was fifty-nine, I leave it to statistic- 
ians to figure out how much more space than 
Heine Chatterton would have received had he 
lived to the age of the German poet. 

On turning to the French poets and bearing in 
mind the long biographies accorded British poets, 
one cannot help feeling amazed at the scant treat- 
ment which the former receive. Baudelaire, for 
instance, is given less space than Christina Ros- 
setti, William Watson, Henley, Coventry Pat- 
more, John Davidson, or Austin Dobson. Ca- 
tulle Mendes receives considerably less space than 
Stephen Phillips. Verlaine is given equal space 
with Watts-Dunton, and less than half the space 
given to Austin Dobson ! Stephane Mallarme re- 
ceives only half the space given to John David- 
son, Christina Rossetti, or William Watson. 


Jean Moreas receives only half the space given to 
Sydney Dobell or Christina Rossetti. Viele- 
Griffin draws a shorter biography than Kendall, 
the Australian poet; and Regnier and Bouchor 
arc dismissed in fewer words than is the Scotch 
poet, Alexander Smith. Furthermore, these biog- 
raphies are rarely critical, being in the majority 
of instances a cursory record of incomplete data. 
Here attention should be called to the fact that 
only in the cases of the very inconsequent British 
poets is criticism omitted : if the poet is even fairly 
well known there is a discussion of his work and 
an indication of the place he is supposed to hold 
in his particular field. But with foreign writers — 
even the very prominent ones — little or nothing 
concerning them is vouchsafed save historical 
facts, and these, as a general rule, fall far short 
of completeness. The impression given is that 
obscure Englishmen are more important than emi- 
nent Frenchmen, Germans, or Americans. Evi- 
dently the editors are of the opinion that if one 
is cognizant of British culture one can easily dis- 
pense with all other culture as inferior and un- 
necessary. Otherwise how, except on the ground 
of deliberate falsification, can one explain the lib- 
eral treatment accorded English poets as com- 
pared with the meagre treatment given French 


Since the important French poets mentioned re- 
ceive such niggardly and grudging treatment, it is 
not to be wondered at that many other lesser poets 
— yet poets who are of sufficient importance to be 
included in an encyclopsedia — should receive no 
biographical mention. If you wish information 
concerning Adolphe Rette, Rene de Ghil, Stuart 
Merrill, Emmanuel Signoret, Jehan Rictus, Al- 
bert Samain, Paul Fort, who is the leading bal- 
ladist of young France, Herold, Quillard, or 
Francis Jammes, you will have to go to a source 
even more "supreme" than the Encyclop(zdia 
Britannica. These poets were famous in 1900, and 
even in America there had appeared at that time 
critical considerations of their work. Again, one 
ought to find, in so "complete" a "library" as the 
Britannica, information concerning the principal 
poets of the Belgian Renaissance. But of the 
eight leading modern poets of Belgium only three 
have biographies — Lemonnier, Maeterlinck, and 
Verhaeren. There are no biographies of Eek- 
houd, Rodenbach, Elskamp, Severin and Cam- 

Turning to Italy we find even grosser injustice 
and an even more woeful inadequacy in the treat- 
ment accorded her modern poets. To be sure, 
there are biographies of Carducci, Ferrari, Mar- 
radi, Mazzoni, and Arturo Graf. But Alfredo 


Baccelli, Domenico Gnoli, Giovanni Pascoli, 
Mario Rapisardi, Chiarini, Panzacchi and Annie 
Vivanti are omitted. There should be biographies 
of these writers in an international encyclopffidia 
one-fourth the size of the Britannica. Baccelli 
and Rapisardi are perhaps the two most important 
epic poets of modern Italy. Gnoli is one of the 
leaders of the classical school. Chiarini is not 
only a leading poet but is one of the first critics 
of Italy as well. Panzacchi, the romantic, is sec- 
ond only to the very greatest Italian poets of mod- 
ern times, and as far back as 1898 British critics 
were praising him and regretting that he was not 
better known in England. Annie Vivanti, born 
in London, is a poet known and esteemed all over 
Italy. (It may be noted here that Vivanti wrote 
a vehement denunciation and repudiation of Eng- 
land in Ave Albion.) 

But these names represent only part of the in- 
justice and neglect accorded modem Italian poetry 
by the Britannica. There is not even so much as 
a mention in the entire twenty-nine volumes of the 
names of Alinda Bonacchi, the most widely known 
woman poet in Italy; Capuano, who, besides be- 
ing a notable poet, is also a novelist, dramatist 
and critic of distinction; Funcini (Tanfucio 
Neri), a household word in Tuscany and one held 
in high esteem all over Italy; "Countess Lara" 


(Eveline Cattermole), whose Vers? gave her a 
foremost place among the poets of her day ; Pitteri, 
who was famous as long ago as 1890; and Nenci- 
oni, not only a fine poet but one of Italy's great 
critics. Nencioni has earned the reputation of 
being the Sainte-Beuve of Italy, and it was he 
who introduced Browning, Tennyson and Swin- 
burne to his countrymen. Then there are such 
poets as Fontana, Bicci and Arnaboldi, who should 
at least be mentioned in connection with modem 
Italian literature, but whose names do not appear 
in "this complete library of information." 

But France, Belgium, and Italy, nevertheless, 
have great cause for feeling honored when com- 
parison is made between the way the Encyclo' 
p<zdia Britannica deals with their modern poetry 
and the way it deals with modern German and 
Austrian poetry. Of all the important recent 
lyricists of Germany and Austria only one is given 
a biography, and that biography is so brief and 
inadequate as to be practically worthless for pur- 
poses of enlightenment. The one favored poet is 
Detlev von Liliencron. Liliencron is perhaps the 
most commanding lyrical figure in all recent Ger- 
man literature, and he receives just twenty-seven 
lines, or about one-fifth of the space given to Aus- 
tin Dobson! But there are no biographies of 
Richard Dehmel, Carl Busse, Stefan George, J. H. 


Mackay, Rainer Maria Rilke, Gustav Falke, 
Ernst von Wolzogen, Kark Henckell, Dormann, 
Otto Julius Bierbaum, and Hugo von Hofmann- 

There can be no excuse for many of these omis- 
sions. Several of these names are of international 
eminence. Their works have not been confined 
to Germany, but have appeared in English trans- 
lation. They stand in the foremost rank of mod- 
ern literature, and both in England and America 
there are critical books which accord them exten- 
sive consideration. Without a knowledge of 
them no one — not even a Britisher — can lay claim 
to an understanding of modern letters. Yet the 
Encyclopedia Britannica denies them space and 
still poses as an adequate reference work. 

One may hope to find some adequate treatment 
of the German lyric to recent years with its "re- 
markable variety of new tones and pregnant 
ideas," in the article on German Literature. But 
that hope will straightway be blasted when one 
turns to the article in question. The entire new 
renaissance in German poetry is dismissed in a 
brief paragraph of thirty-one lines I It would 
have been better to omit it altogether, for such a 
cursory and inadequate survey of a significant sub- 
ject can result only in disseminating a most un- 
just and distorted impression. And the bibli- 


ography at the end of this article on modern Ger- 
man literature reveals nothing so much as the lack 
of knowledge on the part of the critic who com- 
piled it. Not only is the Britannica deficient in 
its information, but it does not reveal the best 
sources from which this omitted information might 
be gained. 

An even more absurdly inadequate treatment is 
accorded the poets of modern Sweden. Despite 
the fact that Swedish literature is little known to 
Americans, the poetry of that country ranks very 
high — higher (according to some eminent critics) 
than the poetry of France or Germany. But the 
Britannica makes no effort to disturb our ignor- 
ance ; and so the great lyric poetry of Sweden since 
1870 is barely touched upon. However, Mr. Ed- 
mund Gosse, a copious contributor to the En- 
cyclopaedia, has let the cat out of the bag. In one 
of his books he has pronounced Eroding, Levertin 
and Heidenstam "three very great lyrical artists," 
and has called Snoilsky a poet of "unquestioned 
force and fire." Turning to the Britannica we 
find that Snoilsky is dismissed with half the space 
given Sydney Dobell and a third of the space given 
Patmore. Levertin receives only a third of a col- 
umn; and Eroding is denied any biography what- 
ever. He is thrown in with a batch of minor 
writers under Sweden. Heidenstam, the new 


Nobel prize-winner, a poet who, according to 
Charles Wharton Stork, "stands head and shoul- 
ders above any now writing in England," receives 
only eight lines in the general notice I And Karl- 
feldt, another important lyrist, who is the Sec- 
retary of the Swedish Academy, is considered un- 
worthy of even a word in the "supreme" En- 
cyclop(zdia Britannica. 

It would seem that unfair and scant treatment 
of a country's poetry could go no further. But if 
you will seek for information concerning American 
poetry you will find a deficiency which is even 
greater than that which marks the treatment of 
modern Swedish poetry. 

Here again it might be in place to call atten- 
tion to the hyperbolical claims on which the En- 
cydopczdia Britannica has been sold in America. 
In the flamboyant and unsubstantiable advertis- 
ing of this reference work you will no doubt re- 
call the claim: "It will tell you more about 
everything than you can get from any other 
source." And perhaps you will also remember 
the statement: "The Britannica is a complete 
library of knowledge on every subject appealing 
to intelligent persons." It may be, of course, that 
the editors believe that the subject of American 
literature does not, or at least should not, appeal 
to any but ignorant persons, and that, in fact, only 


middle-class English culture can possibly interest 
the intelligent. But unless such a belief can be 
proved to be correct, the American buyers of this 
Encyclopaedia have a grave and legitimate com- 
plaint against the editors for the manner in which 
the books were foisted upon them. The Encyclo- 
padia Britannica^ as I have pointed out, is not a 
complete library of knowledge on the subject of 
literature; and in the following pages I shall show 
that its gross inadequacy extends to many other 
very important fields of endeavor. Moreover, its 
incompleteness is most glaringly obvious in the 
field of American aesthetic effort — a field which, 
under the circumstances, should be the last to be 

On the subject of American poetry it is deficient 
almost to the extreme of worthlessness. In the 
article, American Literature^ written by George 
E. Woodberry, we discover that truly British spirit 
and viewpoint which regards nothing as worth 
while unless it is old or eminently respectable and 
accepted. The result is that, in the paragraph on 
our poetry, such men as Aldrich, Stedman, Rich- 
ard Watson Gilder, Julia Ward Howe, H. H. 
Brownell and Henry Van Dyke are mentioned; 
but very few others. As a supreme surrender to 
modernity the names of Walt Whitman, Eugene 
Field, James Whitcomb Riley and Joaquin Miller 


are included. The great wealth of American 
poetry, which is second only to that of England, 
is not even suggested. 

Turning to the biography of Edgar Allan Poe, 
we find that this writer receives only a column 
and a half, less space than is given Austin Dobson, 
Coventry Patmore, or W. E. Henley I And the 
biography itself is so inept that it is an affront to 
American taste and an insult to American intel- 
ligence. One is immediately interested in learn- 
ing what critic the Encyclopaedia's editors chose 
to represent this American who has long since be- 
come a world figure in literature. Turning to the 
index we discover that one David Hannay is the 
authority — a gentleman who was formerly the 
British Vice-Consul at Barcelona. Mr. Hannay 
(apparently he holds no academic degree of any 
kind) lays claim to fame chiefly, it seems, as the 
author of Short History of the Royal Navy; but 
in just what way his research in naval matters 
qualifies him to write on Poe is not indicated. 
This is not, however, the only intimation we had 
that in the minds of the Encyclopedia's editors 
there exists some esoteric and recondite relation- 
ship between art and British sea-power. In the 
Britannica's criticism of J. M. W. Turner's paint- 
ings, that artist's work is said to be "like the Brit- 
ish fleet among the navies of the world." In the 


present instance, however, we can only trust that 
the other articles in this encyclopaedia, by Mr. 
Hannay — to-wit: Admiral Venn and Pirate and 
Piracy — are more competent than his critique on 

Walt Whitman gets scarcely better treatment. 
His biography is no longer than Poe's and con- 
tains little criticism and no suggestion of his true 
place in American letters. This is all the more 
astonishing when we recall the high tribute paid 
Whitman by eminent English critics. Surely the 
Brilannica's editors are not ignorant of Whitman's 
place in modern letters or of the generous man- 
ner in which he had been received abroad. What- 
ever one's opinion of him, he was a towering figure 
in our literature — a pioneer who had more in- 
fluence on our later writers than any other Ameri- 
can. And yet his biography in this great British 
cultural work is shorter than that of Mrs. Hum- 
phry Ward I 

With such obviously inadequate and contemptu- 
ous treatment as that accorded Poe and Whitman, 
it is not surprising that all other American poets 
should be treated peremptorily or neglected en- 
tirely. There are very short biographical notes 
on Stedman, Louise Chandler Moulton, Sill, Gil- 
der, Eugene Field, Sidney Lanier and Riley — but 
they are scant records of facts and most insufR- 


cient when compared to the biographies of second- 
rate poets of England. 

But let us be grateful that the Encyclopedia 
Britannica was generous enough to record them at 
all; for one can look in vain through its entire 
twenty-nine volumes, no matter under what head- 
ing, for even a mention of Emily Dickinson, John 
Bannister Tabb, Florence Earle Coates, Edwin 
Markham, Lizette Woodworth Reese, Clinton 
Scollard, Louise Imogen Guiney, Richard Hovey, 
Madison Cawein, Edwin Arlington Robinson, 
George Sylvester Viereck, Ridgeley Torrence, 
Arthur Upson, Santayana, and many others who 
hold an important place in our literature. And 
the names of William Vaughn Moody, Percy 
MacKaye and Bliss Carman are merely mentioned 
casually, the first two under Drama and the last 
under Canadian Literature. 

The palpable injustice in the complete omission 
of many of the above American names is rendered 
all the more glaring by the fact that the Encyclo- 
pczdia Britannica pays high tribute to such minor 
British poets and versifiers as W. H. Davies, 
Sturge Moore, Locker Lampson, C. M. Doughty, 
Walter de la Mare, Alfred Noyes, Herbert 
Trench, Ernest Dowson, Mrs. Meynell, A. E. 
Housman and Owen Seaman. 

This is the culture disseminated by the Encyclo- 


padia Britannica^ which "is a complete library of 
knowledge on every subject appealing to intel- 
ligent persons," and which "will tell you more 
about everything than you can get from any other 
source!" This is the "supreme book of knowl- 
edge" which Americans are asked to buy in prefer- 
ence to all others. What pettier insult could one 
nation offer to another*? 


If one hopes to find in the Eleventh Edition of the 
Encyclopedia Britannica an unprejudiced critical 
and biographical survey of the world's painters, 
he will be sorely disappointed. Not only is the 
Encyclopaedia not comprehensive and up-to-date, 
but the manner in which British art and artists 
are constantly forced to the front rank is so grossly 
biased that a false impression of aesthetic history 
and art values is almost an inevitable result, un- 
less one is already equipped with a wide under- 
standing of the subject. If one were to form an 
opinion of art on the Britannica^s articles, the 
opinion would be that English painting leads the 
modem world in both amount and quality. The 
Encyclopaedia raises English academicians to the 
ranks of exalted greatness, and at the same time 
tends to tear down the pedestals whereon rest the 
truly towering geniuses of alien nationality. 

So consistently does British bourgeois prejudice 
and complacency characterize the material on 
painting contained in this Encyclopaedia, that any 



attempt to get from it an aesthetic point of view 
which would be judicious and universal, would 
fail utterly. Certain French, German, and Amer- 
ican artists of admitted importance are considered 
unworthy of space, or, if indeed deserving of men- 
tion, are unworthy of the amount of space, or the 
praise, which is conferred on a large number of 
lesser English painters. Both by implication and 
direct statement the editors have belittled the 
aesthetic endeavor of foreign nations, and have ex- 
aggerated, to an almost unbelievable degree, the 
art of their own country. The manner in which 
the subject of painting is dealt with reveals the 
full-blown flower of British insularity, and apo- 
theosizes the narrow, aggressive culture of British 
middle-class respectability. In the world's art 
from 1700 on, comparatively little merit is recog- 
nized beyond the English Channel. 

The number of English painters whose biog- 
raphies appear in the Britannica would, I be- 
lieve, astonish even certain English art critics; 
and the large amount of space devoted to them — 
even to inconsequent and obscure academicians — 
when compared with the brief notices given to 
greater painters of other nations, leaves the un- 
British searcher with a feeling of bewilderment. 
But not only with the large number of English 
painters mentioned or even with the obviousl}'- dis- 


proportionate amount of space devoted to them 
does the Encyclopedia's chauvinistic campaign 
for England's sesthetic supremacy cease. The 
criticisms which accompany these biographies are 
as a rule generously favorable ; and, in many cases, 
the praise reaches a degree of extravagance which 
borders on the absurd. 

Did this optimism of outlook, this hot desire 
to ferret out greatness where only mediocrity 
exists, this ambition to drag the obscure and inept 
into the glare of prominence, extend to all paint- 
ers, regardless of nationality, one might forgive 
the superlative eulogies heaped upon British art, 
and attribute them to that mellow spirit of senti- 
mental tolerance which sees good in everything. 
But, alas I such impartiality does not exist. It 
would seem that the moment the biographers of 
the Britannica put foot on foreign ground, their 
spirit of generosity deserts them. And if space 
is any indication of importance, it must be noted 
that English painters are, in the editors' estima- 
tion, of considerably more importance than paint- 
ers from abroad. 

Of William Etty, to whom three-fourths of a 
page is devoted, we are told that "in feeling and 
skill as a colorist he has few equals.'* The im- 
plication here that Etty, as a colorist, has never 
been surpassed scarcely needs refutation. It is 


unfortunate, however, that Mr. Etty is not with 
us at present to read this exorbitant testimony to 
his greatness, for it would astonish him, no doubt, 
as much as it would those other few unnamed 
painters who are regarded as his equals in color 
sensibilite. J. S. Cotman, we discover, was "a re- 
markable painter both in oil and water-color." 
This criticism is characteristic, for, even when 
there are no specific qualities to praise in an Eng- 
lish painter's work, we find this type of vague 

No points, though, it would seem, are over- 
looked. Regard the manner in which J. D. Hard- 
ing's questionable gifts are recorded. "Harding," 
you will find, "was noted for facility, sureness of 
hand, nicety of touch, and the various qualities 
which go to make up an elegant, highly-trained 
and accomplished sketcher from nature, and com- 
poser of picturesque landscape material; he was 
particularly skillful in the treatment of foliage." 
Turning from Mr. Harding, the "elegant" and 
"accomplished" depicter of foliage, to Birket Fos- 
ter, we find that his work "is memorable for its 
delicacy and minute finish, and for its daintiness 
and pleasantness of sentiment." Dainty and 
pleasant sentiment is not without weight with the 
art critics of this encyclopaedia. In one form or 


another it is mentioned very often in connection 
with British painters. 

Landseer offers an excellent example of the 
middle-class attitude which the Britannica takes 
toward art. To judge from the page-and-a-half 
biography of this indifferent portraitist of ani- 
mals one would imagine that Landseer was a 
great painter, for we are told that his Fighting 
Dogs Getting Wind is ''perfectly drawn, solidly 
and minutely finished, and carefully composed." 
Of what possible educational value is an art arti- 
cle which would thus criticise a Landseer pic- 

An English painter who, were we to accept the 
Encyclopaedia's valuation, combines the qualities 
of several great painters is Charles Holroyd. "In 
all his work," we learn, "Holroyd displays an im- 
pressive sincerity, with a fine sense of composition, 
and of style, allied to independent and modern 
thinking." Truly a giant! It would be diffi- 
cult to recall any other painter in history "all" of 
whose work displayed a "fine sense of composi- 
tion." Not even could this be said of Michel- 
angelo. But when it comes to composition, Arthur 
Melville apparently soars above his fellows. Be- 
sides, "several striking portraits in oil," he did a 
picture called The Return From the Crucifixion^ 


which, so we are told, is a "powerful, colossal com- 
position." To have achieved only a "powerful" 
composition should have been a sufficiently re- 
markable feat for a painter of Mr. Melville's 
standing; for only of a very few masters in the 
world's history can it be said that their composi- 
tions were both powerful and colossal. El Greco, 
Giotto, Giorgione, Veronese, Titian, Michelangelo 
and Rubens rarely soared to such heights. 

But Melville, it appears, had a contemporary 
who, if anything, was greater than he — to-wit: 
W. Q. Orchardson, to whose glories nearly a page 
is devoted. "By the time he was twenty," says 
his biographer, "Orchardson had mastered the es- 
sentials of his art." In short, at twenty he had 
accomplished what few painters accomplished in 
a lifetime. A truly staggering feat I We are not 
therefore surprised to learn that "as a portrait 
painter Orchardson must be placed in the first 
class." Does this not imply that he ranked with 
Titian, Velazquez, Rubens and Rembrandt? 
What sort of an idea of the relative values in art 
will the uninformed person get from such loose 
and ill-considered rhetoric, especially when the 
critic goes on to say that Master Baby is "a mas- 
terpiece of design, color and broad execution'"? 
There is much more eulogy of a similar careless 
variety, but enough has been quoted here to show 


that the world must entirely revise its opinions 
of art if the Encyclopedia Britannica' s statements 
are to be accepted. 

Even the pictures of Paul Wilson Steer are 
criticised favorably: "His figure subjects and 
landscapes show great originality and technical 
skill." And John Pettie was "in his best days a 
colorist of a high order and a brilliant executant." 
George Reid, the Scottish artist, is accorded over 
half a column with detailed criticism and praise. 
Frederick Walker is given no less than an entire 
column which ends with a paragraph of fulsome 
eulogy. Even E. A. Waterlow painted land- 
scapes which were "admirable" and "handled with 
grace and distinction" — more gaudy generaliza- 
tions. When the Encyclopaedia's critics can find 
no specific point to praise in the work of their coun- 
trymen, grace, distinction, elegance and sentiment 
are turned into aesthetic virtues. 

Turning to Hogarth, we find no less than three 
and one-half pages devoted to him, more space 
than is given to Rubens's biography, and three 
times the space accorded Veronese! It was once 
thought that Hogarth was only an "ingenious 
humorist," but "time has reversed that unjust 
sentence." We then read that Hogarth's com- 
position leaves "little or nothing to be desired." 
If such were the case, he would unquestionably 


rank with Rubens, Michelangelo and Titian; for, 
if indeed his composition leaves little or nothing 
to be desired, he is as great as, or even greater 
than, the masters of all time. But even with this 
eulogy the Encyclopaedia's critic does not rest con- 
tent. As a humorist and a satirist upon canvas, 
"he has never been equalled." If we regard 
Hogarth as an "author" rather than artist, "his 
place is with the great masters of literature — with 
the Thackerays and Fieldings, the Cervantes and 
Molieres." (Note that of these four "great mas- 
ters" two are English.) 

Mastery in one form or another, if the Britari' 
nica is to be believed, was common among Eng- 
lish painters. The pictures of Richard Wilson 
are "skilled and learned compositions . . . the 
work of a painter who was thoroughly master of 
his materials." In this latter respect Mr. Wilson 
perhaps stands alone among the painters of the 
world; and yet, through some conspiracy of silence 
no doubt, the leading critics of other nations rarely 
mention him when speaking of those artists who 
thoroughly mastered their materials. In regard 
to Raeburn, the Encyclopaedia is less fulsome, de- 
spite the fact that over a page is allotted him. We 
are distinctly given to understand that he had his 
faults. Velazquez, however, constantly reminded 
Wilkie of Raeburn; yet, after all, Raeburn was 


not quite so great as Velazquez. This is frankly- 

It was left to Reynolds to equal if not to sur- 
pass Velazquez as well as Rubens and Rembrandt. 
In a two-page glorification of this English painter 
we come upon the following panegyric: "There 
can be no question of placing him by the side of 
the greatest Venetians or of the triumvirate of the 
seventeenth century, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velaz- 
quez." If by placing him beside these giants is 
meant that he in any wise approached their stature, 
there can be, and has been, outside of England, 
a very great question of putting him in such com- 
pany. In fact, his right to such a place has been 
very definitely denied him. But the unprejudiced 
opinion of the world matters not to the patriots 
who edited the Encyclopedia Britannica. That 
"supreme" English reference work goes on to say 
that in portraits, such as Mrs. Siddons as the 
Tragic Muse., Reynolds "holds the field. . . . No 
portrait painter has been more happy in his poses 
for single figures." Then, as if such enthusiasm 
were not enough, we are told that "nature had 
singled out Sir Joshua to endow him with certain 
gifts in which he has hardly an equal." 

Nature, it seems, in her singling out process, 
was particularly partial to Englishmen, for among 
those other painters who just barely equalled 


Reynolds's transcendent genius was Gainsborough. 
Says the Britannka: "Gainsborough and Rey- 
nolds rank side by side. ... It is difficult to say 
which stands the higher of the two." Con- 
sequently hereafter we must place Gainsborough, 
too, along with Michelangelo, Rubens, Rem- 
brandt and Velazquez ! Such a complete revision 
of aesthetic judgment will, no doubt, be difficult 
at first, but, by living with the Encyclopedia Brit- 
annica and absorbing its British culture, we may 
in time be able to bracket Michelangelo, Rey- 
nolds, Rubens, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Ho- 
garth and Velazquez without the slightest hesita- 

It is difficult to conceive how, in an encyclo- 
paedia with lofty educational pretences, extrav- 
agance of statement could attain so high a point 
as that reached in the biographies of Reynolds and 
Gainsborough. So obviously indefensible are 
these valuations that I would hesitate to accuse 
the Britannica! s editors of deliberate falsification 
— that is, of purposely distorting aesthetic values 
for the benefit of English artists. Their total 
lack of discretion indicates an honest, if blind, be- 
lief in British aesthetic supremacy. But this fact 
does not lessen the danger of such judgments to 
the American public. As a nation we are ignor- 
ant of painting and therefore are apt to accept 


statements of this kind which have the impact of 
seeming authority behind them. 

The same insular and extravagant point of view 
is discoverable in the article on Turner. To this 
painter nearly five pages are devoted — a space out 
of all proportion to the biographies of the other 
painters of the world. Titian has only three and 
one-half pages; Rubens has only a little over three 
pages ; and El Greco has less than two-thirds of a 
page ! Of course, it is not altogether fair to base 
a judgment on space alone; but such startling dis- 
crepancies are the rule and not the exception. 

In the case of Turner the discrepancy is not 
only of space, however. In diction, as well, all 
relative values are thrown to the winds. In the 
criticism of Turner we find English patriotism at 
its high-water mark. We read that "the range 
of his powers was so vast that he covered the whole 
field of nature and united in his own person the 
classical and naturalistic schools." Even this pal- 
pable overstatement could be forgiven, since it 
has a basis of truth, if a little further we did not 
discover that Turner's Crossing the Brook in the 
London National Academy is "probably the most 
perfect landscape in the world." In this final and 
irrevocable judgment is manifest the supreme in- 
sular egotism which characterizes nearly all the 
art articles in the Encyclopcsdia Britannica, This 


criticism, to take merely one example, means that 
Crossing the Brook is more perfect than Rubens's 
Landscape with Chateau de Stein! But the En- 
cyclopaedia's summary of Turner's genius sur- 
passes in flamboyant chauvinism anything which 
I have yet seen in print. It is said that, despite 
any exception we may take to his pictures, "there 
will still remain a body of work which for ex- 
tent, variety, truth and artistic taste is like the 
British fleet among the navies of the world." 
Here patriotic fervor has entirely swallowed all 

Over a page is devoted to Constable, in which 
we are informed that his "vivid tones and fresh 
color are grafted upon the formulae of Claude and 
Rubens." This type of criticism is not rare. One 
frequently finds second-rate English artists com- 
pared not unfavorably with the great artists of 
other nations; and it would seem that the English 
painters add a little touch of their own, the impu- 
tation being that they not seldom improve upon 
their models. Thus Constable adds "vivid tones 
and fresh colors" to Rubens's formula. Another 
instance of this kind is to be found in the case of 
Alfred Stevens, the British sculptor, not the Bel- 
gian painter. (The latter, by the way, though 
more important and better-known, receives less 
space than the Englishman.)^ The vigorous 


strength of his groups "recalls the style of Mi- 
chelangelo, but Stevens's work throughout is orig- 
inal and has a character of its own." I do not 
deny that Stevens imitated Michelangelo, but, 
where English artists are concerned, these rela- 
tionships are indicated in deceptive phraseology. 
In the case of French artists, whose biographies are 
sometimes written by unbiased critics, the truth is 
not hidden in dictional suavities. Imitation is not 
made a virtue. 

Let us now turn to Watts. Over two pages 
are accorded him, one page being devoted largely 
to eulogy, a passage of which reads : *Tt was the 
rare combination of supreme handicraft with a 
great imaginative intellect which secured to Watts 
his undisputed place in the public estimation of 
his day." Furthermore, we hear of "the grandeur 
and dignity of his style, the ease and purposeful- 
ness of his brushwork, the richness and harmoni- 
ousness of his coloring." But those "to whom his 
exceptional artistic attainment is a sealed book 
have gathered courage or consolation from the 
grave moral purpose and deep human sympathy 
of his teaching." Here we have a perfect exam- 
ple of the parochial moral uplift which permeates 
the Britannica's art criticism. The great Presby- 
terian complex is found constantly in the judg- 
ments of this encyclopaedia. 


So important a consideration to the Britannica^s 
critico-moralists is this puritan motif that the fact 
is actually set down that Millais was devoted to 
his family I One wonders how much influence 
this domestic devotion had on the critic who spends 
a page and a half to tell us of Millais, for not 
only is this space far in excess of Millais' im- 
portance, but the statement is made that he was 
"one of the greatest painters of his time," and 
that "he could paint what he saw with a force 
which has seldom been excelled." Unfortu- 
nately the few who excelled him are not men- 
tioned. Perhaps he stood second only to Turner, 
that super-dreadnought. Surely he was not ex- 
celled by Renoir, or Courbet, or Pissarro, or 
Monet, or Manet, or Cezanne; for these latter 
are given very little space (the greatest of them 
having no biography whatever in the Encyclo- 
paedia !); and there is no evidence to show that 
they are considered of more than minor im- 

Perhaps it was Rossetti, a fellow Pre-Raphael- 
ite, who excelled Millais in painting what he saw. 
Rossetti's The Song of Solomon^ as regards bril- 
liance, finish and the splendor of its lighting, 
"occupies a great place in the highest grade of 
modem art of all the world." Even Holman 
Hunt, one of the lesser Pre-Raphaelites, is given 


over a full page,, and is spoken of in glowing 
terms. "Perhaps no painter of the nineteenth 
century," we read, "produced so great an im- 
pression by a few pictures" as did Hunt ; and dur- 
ing the course of the eulogy the critic speaks of 
Hunt's "greatness." Can it be that the naif 
gentleman who wrote Hunt's biography has never 
heard of Courbet, or Manet, or of the Impression- 
ists, or Cezanne? After so sweeping and un- 
reasoned a statement as the one concerning the 
great impression made by Hunt's pictures, such an 
extreme conclusion is almost inevitable. Or is 
this critic's patriotic vanity such that he considers 
an impression made in England as representative 
of the world? Even to intimate that the impres- 
sion made by Hunt's pictures was comparable to 
that made by L' Enterrement a Ornans or Le 
Dejeuner sur FHerbe^ or that the Pre-Raphaelites 
possessed even half the importance of Courbet and 
Manet, is to carry undeserved laudation to pre- 
posterous lengths. 

Here as elsewhere, superlatives are used in such 
a way in describing unimportant English painters 
that no adequate adjectives are left for the truly 
great men of other nationality. It would be dif- 
ficult to find a better example of undeserving 
eulogy as applied to an inconsequent British 
painter than that furnished by Brangwyn, whose 


compositions, we are astonished to learn, have "a 
nobly impressive and universal character." Such 
a statement might justly sum up the greatness of 
a Michelangelo statue; but here it is attached to 
the works of a man who at best is no more than 
a capable and clever illustrator. 

The foregoing examples by no means include 
all the instances of how English painters, as a re- 
sult of the liberal space allotted them and the 
lavish encomiums heaped upon them by the Eri' 
cyclopedia Britannica's editors, are unduly ex- 
panded into great and important figures. A 
score of other names could be mentioned. From 
beginning to end, English art is emphasized and 
lauded until it is out of all proportion to the rest 
of the world. 

Turn to the article on Painting and look at the 
sub-title, "Recent Schools." Under "British" 
you will find twelve columns, with inset headings. 
Under "French" you will find only seven 
columns, without insets. Practically all the ad- 
vances made in modern art have come out of 
France; and practically all important modern 
painters have been Frenchmen. England has 
contributed little or nothing to modem painting. 
And yet, recent British schools are given nearly 
twice the space that is devoted to recent French 
schools I Again regard the article, Sculpture^ 


Even a greater and more astonishing dispropor- 
tionment exists here. Modern British sculpture is 
given no less than thirteen and a half columns, 
while modern French sculpture, of vastly greater 
aesthetic importance, is given only seven and a 
half columns I 



If the same kind of panegyrics which characterize 
the biographies of the British painters in the 
Encyclopedia Britannica were used in dealing 
with the painters of all nationalities, there could 
be made no charge of either unconscious or delib- 
erate injustice. But once we leave Great Brit- 
ain's shores, prodigal laudation ceases. As if 
worn out by the effort of proving that English- 
men are pre-eminent among the world's painters, 
the editors devote comparatively little space to 
those non-British artists who, we have always 
believed and been taught, were the trul)^ signifi- 
cant men in painting. Therefore, if the Britan- 
nica's implications are to be believed, England 
alone, among all modern countries, is the home of 
genius. And it would be difficult for one not 
well informed to escape the impression that not 
only Turner, but English painting in general, is 
"like the British fleet among the navies of the 



A comparison, for instance, between English 
and French painters, as they are presented in this 
encyclopsedia, would leave the neophyte with the 
conviction that France was considerably inferior 
in regard to graphic ability, as inferior, in fact — 
if we may read the minds of the Britannkd' s 
editors — as the French fleet is to the British fleet. 
In its ignorant and un-English way the world for 
years has been laboring under the superstition that 
the glories of modem painting had been largely 
the property of France. But such a notion is now 

For instance, we had always believed that 
Chardin was one of the greatest of still-life 
painters. We had thought him to be of exceed- 
ing importance, a man with tremendous influence, 
deserving of no little consideration. But when 
we turn to his biography in the Encyclopczdia 
Britannka we are, to say the least, astonished at 
the extent of our over-valuation. He is dismissed 
with six lines I And the only critical comment 
concerning him is: "He became famous for his 
still-life pictures and domestic interiors." And 
yet Thomas Stothard, an English painter who for 
twenty-five years was Chardin's contemporary, is 
given over a column; James Northcote, another 
English contemporary of Chardin's, is given half 
a column ; and many other British painters, whose 


names are little known outside of England, have 
long biographies and favorable criticisms. 

Watteau, one of the greatest of French 
painters, has a biography of only a page and a 
quarter; Largilliere, half a column; Rigaud, less 
than half a column; Lancret, a third of a column; 
and Boucher has only fifteen lines — a mere 
note with no criticism. (Jonathan Boucher, an 
English divine, whose name follows that of 
Boucher, is accorded three times the space!) La 
Tour and Nattier have half a column each. 
Greuze, another one of France's great eighteenth- 
century painters, is given only a column and a 
half with unfavorable comment. Greuze's bril- 
liant reputation seemed to have been due, "not to 
his requirements as a painter" but to the subjects 
of his pictures; and he is then adversely accused 
of possessing that very quality which in an Eng- 
lish painter, as we have seen, is a mark of supreme 
glory — namely, ''bourgeois morality." Half a 
column only is required to comment on Horace 
Vernet and to tell us that his most representative 
picture "begins and ends nowhere, and the com- 
position is all to pieces; but it has good qualities 
of faithful and exact representation." 

Fragonard, another French painter whom we 
had always thought possessed of at least a minor 


greatness, is accorded no more than a column, less 
than half the space given to B. R. Hay don, the 
eighteenth-century English historical painter, and 
only one-third of the space devoted to David 
Wilkie, the Scotch painter. Fragonard's "scenes 
of love and voluptuousness," comments that art 
critic of the London Daily Mail, who has been 
chosen to represent this French painter in the En- 
cyclopsedia, "are only made acceptable by the 
tender beauty of his color and the virtuosity of his 
facile brushwork." Alas I that Fragonard did not 
possess the "grave moral purpose" of Watts! 
Had his work been less voluptuous he might have 
been given more than a fourth of the space de- 
voted to that moral Englishman, for surely 
Fragonard was the greater painter. 

Gericault, one of the very important innovators 
of French realism, is given half a column, about 
an equal amount of space with such English 
painters as W. E. Frost, T. S. Cooper, Thomas 
Creswick, Francis Danby and David Scott; only 
about half the amount of space given to John Gil- 
bert, C. L. Eastlake, and William Mulready ; and 
only one-third of the space given to David Cox. 
One or two such disparities in space m.ight be 
overlooked, but when to almost any kind of an 
English painter is imputed an importance equal 


to, if not greater than, truly significant painters 
from France, bias, whether conscious or uncon- 
scious, has been established. 

Again regard Poussin. This artist, the most 
representative painter of his epoch and a man 
who marked a distinct step in the evolution of 
graphic art, is given less than half a page, about 
equal to the space devoted to W. P. Frith, J. W. 
Gordon, Samuel Cousins, John Crome, William 
Strang, and Thornhill; and only half the space 
given to Holman Hunt, and only one-third the 
space given to Millais I There is almost no criti- 
cism of Poussin's art; merely a statement of the 
type of work he did; and of Gericault there is no 
criticism whatever. Herein lies another means 
by which, through implication, a greater relative 
significance is conferred on English art. Gen- 
erally British painters — even minor ones — are 
criticised favorably, from one standpoint or an- 
other; but only now and then is a Frenchman 
given specific complimentary criticism. And 
often a Frenchman is condemned for the very 
quality which is lauded in a British artist. 

Of David it is written: "His style is severely 
academic, his color lacking in richness and 
warmth, his execution hard and uninteresting in 
its very perfection," and more in the same dero- 
gatory strain. Although this criticism may be 


strictly accurate, the same qualities in certain 
English painters of far less importance than 
David are made the basis for praise. The se- 
verely academic style in the case of Harding, for 
instance, becomes an "elegant, highly-trained" 
characteristic. And perfection of execution 
makes Birket Foster's work "memorable for its 
delicacy and minute finish," and becomes, in Paul 
Wilson Steer's pictures, "great technical skill." 

Ingres, truly one of the giants of his day, is 
given little or no criticism and his biography 
draws only a little over half the space which is 
given to Watts (with his "grave, moral pur- 
pose"), and only a trifle more space than is given 
Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite who was "devoted to 
his family." In Guerin's short biography we 
read of his "strained and pompous dignity." 
Girodet's biography contains very adverse crit- 
icism: his style "harmonized ill" with his sub- 
jects, and his work was full of "incongruity" even 
to the point sometimes of being "ludicrous." 
Gros, exasperated by criticism, "sought refuge in 
the grosser pleasures of life." Flandrin also is 
tagged with a moral criticism. 

Coming down to the more modem painters we 
find even less consideration given them by the 
Britannica's editors. Delacroix, who ushered in 
a new age of painting and brought composition 


back to art after a period of stagnation and 
quiescence, is nailed to France as follows: "As 
a colorist and a romantic painter he now ranks 
among the greatest of French artists." Certainly 
not among the greatest English painters, for Con- 
stable is given more space than Delacroix; and 
Turner, the other precursor of the new era, is "like 
the British fleet among the navies of the world." 

Courbet, the father of modern painting and the 
artist who revolutionized aesthetics, is given half 
a column, equal space with those contemporaries 
of his from across the Channel, Francis Grant, 
Thomas Creswick and George Harvey. Perhaps 
this neglect of the great Frenchman is explained 
by the following early-Victorian complaint: 
"Sometimes, it must be owned, his realism is 
rather coarse and brutal." And we learn that 
"he died of a disease of the liver aggravated by 
intemperance." Courbet, unable to benefit by 
the pious and elegant esthetiqiie of the Encyclo- 
padia Britannica, was never deeply impressed by 
the artistic value of "daintiness and pleasantness 
of sentiment," and as a result, perhaps, he is not 
held in as high esteem as is Birket Foster, who 
possessed those delicate and pleasing qualities. 

The palpable, insular injustice dealt Courbet 
in point of space finds another victim in Daumier 
whose biography is almost as brief as that of Cour- 


bet. Most of it, however, is devoted to Dau- 
mier's caricature. Although this type of work 
was but a phase of his development, the article 
says that, despite his caricatures, "he found time 
for flight in the higher sphere of painting." Not 
only does this create a false impression of Dau- 
mier's tremendous importance to modern paint- 
ing, but it gives the erroneous idea that his 
principal metier was caricature. The entire 
criticism of his truly great work is summed up in 
the sentence: "As a painter, Daumier, one of the 
pioneers of naturalism, was before his time." 
Likewise, the half-page biography of Manet is, 
from the standpoint of space, inadequate, and 
from the critical standpoint, incompetent. To 
say that he is "regarded as the most important 
master of Impressionism" is a false statement. 
Manet, strictly speaking, was not an Impressionist 
at all ; and the high place that he holds in modern 
art is not even touched upon. 

Such biographies as the foregoing are suf- 
ficiently inept to disqualify the Encyclopaedia as 
a source for accurate aesthetic information; but 
when Renoir, who is indeed recognized as the 
great master of Impressionism, is dismissed with 
one-fifth of a page, the height of injustice has 
been reached. Renoir, even in academic circles, 
is admittedly one of the great painters of all time. 


Not only did he sum up the Impressionists, close 
up an experimental cycle, and introduce com- 
positional form into the realistic painting of his 
day, but by his colossal vision and technical 
mastery he placed himself in the very front rank 
of all modern painters, if not of ancient painters 
as well. Yet he is accorded just twenty -seven 
lines and dismissed with this remark: ''Though 
he is perhaps the most unequal of the great Im- 
pressionists, his finest works rank among the 
masterpieces of the modern French school." 
Critical incompetency could scarcely go further. 
We can only excuse such inadequacy and ignor- 
ance on the ground that the Encyclopaedia's Eng- 
lish critic has seen none of Renoir's greatest work; 
and color is lent this theory when we note that in 
the given list of his paintings no mention is made 
of his truly masterful canvases. 

Turning to the other lesser moderns in French 
painting but those who surpass the contemporan- 
eous British painters who are given liberal biog- 
raphies, we find them very decidedly neglected 
as to both space and comment. Such painters as 
Cazin, Harpignies, Ziem, Cormon, Besnard, Cot- 
tct and Bonnot are dismissed with brief mention, 
whereas sometimes twice and three times the at- 
tention is paid to English painters like Alfred 
East, Harry Furniss (a caricaturist and illustra- 


tor), Francis Lathrop, E. J. Poynter, and W. B. 
Richmond. Even Meissonier and Puvis de Cha- 
vannes draw only three- fourths of a page. 
Pissarro and Monet, surely important painters in 
the modern evolution, are given short shrift. A 
few brief facts concerning Pissarro extend to 
twenty lines; and Monet gets a quarter of a page 
without any criticism save that "he became a plein 
air painter." Examples of this kind of incompe- 
tent and insufficient comment could be multiplied. 
The most astonishing omission, however, in the 
entire art division of the Encyclopedia Britannica 
is that of Cezanne. Here is a painter who, 
whether one appreciates his work or not, has ad- 
mittedly had more influence than any man of 
modern times. Not only in France has his tre- 
mendous power been felt, but in practically every 
other civilized country. Yet the name of this 
great Frenchman is not even given biographical 
mention in the great English Encyclopsedia with 
its twenty-nine volumes, its 30,000 pages, its 
500,000 references, and its 44,000,000 words. 
Deliberately to omit Cezanne's biography, in view 
of his importance and (in the opinion of many) 
his genuine greatness, is an act of almost unbe- 
lievable narrow-mindedness. To omit his biog- 
raphy unconsciously is an act of almost unbeliev- 
able ignorance. Especially is this true when we 


find biographies of such British contemporaries of 
Cezanne as Edward John Gregory, James 
Guthrie, Luke Fildes, H. W. B. Davis, John 
Buxton Knight, George Reid, and J. W. Water- 
house. Nor can the editors offer the excuse that 
Cezanne was not known when the Encyclopaedia 
was compiled. Not only was he known, but 
books and criticisms had appeared on him in more 
than one language, and his greatness had been 
recognized. True, he had not reached England; 
but is it not the duty of the editor of an "inter- 
national" encyclopsedia to be aware of what 
is going on outside of his own narrow prov- 

Any encyclopaedia, no matter what the na- 
tionality, prejudices or tastes of its editors, which 
omits Cezanne has forfeited its claim to universal 
educational value. But when in addition there 
is no biographical mention of such conspicuous 
French painters as Maurice Denis, Vollatton, Lu- 
cien Simon, Vuillard, Louis Le Grand, Toulouse- 
Lautrec, Steinlen, Jean Paul Laurens, Redon, 
Rene Menard, Gauguin, and Carriere, although 
a score of lesser painters of British birth are in- 
cluded, petty national prejudice, whether through 
conscious intent or lack of information, has been 
carried to an extreme; and the editors of such a 
biased work have something to answer for to those 


readers who are not English, and who do not 
therefore believe that British middle-class culture 
should be exaggerated and glorified at the expense 
of the genuine intellectual culture of other 

Modern German painting fares even worse 
than French painting in the pages of the Britau' 
nica; and while it does not hold the high place 
that French painting does, it is certainly deserv- 
ing of far more liberal treatment than that which 
is accorded it. The comparatively few biog- 
raphies of German artists are inadequate; but it 
is not in them that we find the greatest neglect of 
German achievements in this branch of aesthetics : 
it is in the long list of conspicuous painters who 
are omitted entirely. The BritanniccC s meagre 
information on German art is particularly regret- 
table from the standpoint of American readers; 
for the subject is little known in this country, and 
as a nation we are woefully ignorant of the wealth 
of nineteenth-century German painting. The 
causes for this ignorance need not be gone into 
here. Suffice it to say that the Encyclopedia 
Britannica^ far from fulfilling its function as a 
truly educational work, is calculated to perpetuate 
and cement our lack of knowledge in this field. 
It would appear that England also is unac- 
quainted with the merits of German graphic ex- 


pression; for the lapses in the Britannica would 
seem even too great to be accounted for on the 
grounds of British chauvinism. And they are 
too obvious to have been deliberate. 

Among the important German painters of 
modern times who have failed to be given biog- 
raphies are Wilhelm Leibl, the greatest German 
painter since Holbein; Charles Schuch, one of 
Germany's foremost still-life artists; Triibner, 
who ranks directly in line with Leibl ; Karl Spitz- 
weg, the forerunner and classic exponent of Ger- 
man genre painting as well as the leading artist 
in that field ; Heinrich von Ziigel, one of the fore- 
most animal painters of modern times; and Lud- 
wig Knaus who, though inferior, is a painter of 
world-wide fame. Furthermore, there are no 
biographies of Franz Kriiger, Miiller, Von 
Marees, Habermann, and Louis Corinth. When 
we recall the extensive list of inferior British 
painters who are not only given biographies but 
praised, we wonder on just what grounds the 
Britannica was advertised and sold as an "inter- 
national dictionary of biography." 

It might be well to note here that Van Gogh, 
the great Hollander, does not appear once in the 
entire Encyclopaedia: there is not so much as a 
passing reference to him I Nor has Zorn or Hod- 
ler a biography. And Sorolla draws just twenty 


lines in his biography, and Zuloaga less than half 
a column. 

Despite, however, the curtailed and inferior 
consideration given Continental art, it does not 
suffer from prejudicial neglect nearly so much as 
does American art. This is not wholly surprising 
in view of the contempt in which England holds 
the cultural achievements of this country — a con- 
tempt which is constantly being encountered in 
British critical journals. But in the case of an 
encyclopaedia whose stated aim is to review im- 
partially the world's activities, this contempt 
should be suppressed temporarily at least, espe- 
cially as it is from America that the Encyclopedia 
Britannica is reaping its monetary harvest. 
There is, though, no indication that England's 
contemptuous attitude toward our art has even 
been diminished. Our artists are either disposed 
of with cursory mention or ignored completely; 
and whenever it is possible for England to claim 
any credit for the accomplishments of our artists, 
the opportunity is immediately grasped. 

It is true, of course, that the United States does 
not rank sesthetically with certain of the older na- 
tions of Europe, but, considering America's youth, 
she has contributed many important names to the 
history of painting, and among her artists there 
are many who greatly surpass the inconsequent 


English academicians who are accorded generous 

The editors of the Encyclopaedia may contend 
that the work was compiled for England and that 
therefore they were justified in placing emphasis 
on a horde of obscure English painters and in neg- 
lecting significant French and German artists. 
But they can offer no such excuse in regard to 
America. The recent Eleventh Edition of the 
Encyclop(2dza Britannica was printed with the 
very definite purpose of selling in the United 
States; and the fact that they have sold many 
thousand copies of it here precludes any reason 
why American artists should be neglected or dis- 
posed of in a brief and perfunctory fashion. An 
American desiring adequate information concern- 
ing the painters or sculptors of his own country 
will seek through the Encyclopczdia Britannica in 
vain. If he is entirely ignorant of sesthetic condi- 
tions in America and depends on the Encyclo- 
paedia for his knowledge, he will be led to inac- 
curate conclusions. The ideas of relative values 
established in his mind will be the reverse of the 
truth, for he cannot fail but be affected by the 
meagre and indifferent biographies of his native 
painters, as compared with the lengthy and metic- 
ulous concern with which British painters are 


And yet this is the encyclopsedia which has been 
foisted upon the American people by means of a 
P. T. Barnum advertising campaign almost un- 
precedented in book histor)^ And this also is the 
encyclopaedia which, in that campaign, called 
itself "a history of all nations, an international 
dictionary of biography, an exhaustive gazetteer 
of the world, a hand-book to all the arts"; and 
which announced that "every artist or sculptor 
of note of any period, and of any land is the sub- 
ject of an interesting biography." This last 
statement is true only in the case of Great Britain. 
It is, as we have seen, not true of France or Ger- 
many; and especially is it not true of America. 
Not only are many American artists and sculptors 
of note omitted entirely, but many of those who 
have been awarded mention are the victims of 
English insular prejudice. 

Looking up Benjamin West, who, by historians 
and critics has always been regarded as an Amer- 
ican artist, we find him designated as an "Eng- 
lish" painter. The designation is indeed aston- 
ishing, since not only does the world know him 
as an American, but West himself thought that 
he was an American. Perhaps the Encyclopedia 
Britannica, by some obscure process of logic, con- 
siders nationality from the standpoint of one's 
sentimental adoption. This being the case. 


Richard Le Gallienne would be an "American" 
poet. But when we turn to Le Gallienne's biog- 
raphy we discover that, after all, he is "English." 
Apparently the rule does not work with English- 
men. It is true that West went to London and 
lived there; but he was born in the United States, 
gained a reputation for painting here, and did not 
go to England until he was twenty-five. It is 
noteworthy that West, the "English" painter, is 
accorded considerable space. 

Whistler, who also chose England in preference 
to America, is given nearly a page and a half with 
not unfavorable criticism. We cannot refrain 
from wondering what would have been Whistler's 
fate at the hands of the Encyclopsedia's editors 
had he remained in his native country. Sargent, 
surely a painter of considerable importance and 
one who is regarded in many enlightened quarters 
as a great artist, is dismissed with less than half a 
column! Even this comparatively long biogra- 
phy for an American painter may be accounted 
for by the following comment: "Though of the 
French school, and American by birth, it is as a 
British artist that he won fame." Again, Abbey 
receives high praise and quite a long biography, 
comparatively speaking. Once more we wonder 
if this painter's adoption of England as his home 
does not account for his liberal treatment. 


Albert F. Bellows, too, gets fourteen lines, in 
which it is noted that "he painted much in Eng- 

Compare the following record with the amounts 
of space accorded British second-rate painters: 
William Chase, sixteen lines; Vedder, a third of 
a column; de Forest Brush, fifteen lines; T. W. 
Dewing, twelve lines; A. H. Wyant, ten lines; 
A. P. Ryder, eight lines; Tryon, fifteen lines; 
John W. Alexander, sixteen lines; Gari Melchers, 
eighteen lines; Childe Hassam, fifteen lines; 
Blashiield, ten lines; J. Francis Murphy, fifteen 
lines ; Blakelock, eight lines. Among these names 
are painters of a high and important order — 
painters who stand in the foremost rank of Amer- 
ican art, and who unquestionably are greater than 
a score of English painters who receive very 
special critical biographies, some of which extend 
over columns. And yet — apparently for no other 
discernible reason than that they are Americans — 
they are given the briefest mention with no spe- 
cific criticism. Only the barest biographical de- 
tails are set down. 

But if many of the American painters who have 
made our art history are dismissed peremptorily 
in biographies which, I assure you, are not "in- 
teresting," and which obviously are far from ade- 
quate or even fair when compared with the con- 


sideration given lesser English painters, what 
answer have the editors of the Britannica to offer 
their American customers when many of our note- 
worthy and important artists are omitted alto- 
gether? On what grounds is a biography of J. 
Alden Weir omitted entirely? For what reason 
does the name of Robert Henri not appear? 
Henri is one of the very important figures in 
modern American painting. 

Furthermore, inspection reveals the fact that 
among those American "painters of note" who, so 
far as biographical mention in the Encyclopedia 
Britannica is concerned, do not exist, are Mary 
Cassatt, George Bellows, Twachtman, C. W. 
Hawthorne, Glackens, Jerome Meyers, George 
Luks, Sergeant Kendall, Paul Dougherty, Allen 
Talcott, Thomas Doughty, Richard Miller and 
Charles L. Elliott. 

I could add more American painters to the 
list of those who are omitted and who are of equal 
importance with certain British painters who are 
included; but enough have been mentioned to 
prove the gross inadequacy of the Encyclop^zdia 
Britannica as an educational record of American 

Outside of certain glaring omissions, what we 
read in the Encyclopaedia concerning the painters 
of France and Germany may be fair, from a 


purely impartial standard, if taken alone : in some 
instances, I believe, judicial critics of these other 
nations have performed the service. But when 
these unprejudiced accounts are interspersed with 
the patriotic and enthusiastic glorifications of 
British art, the only conclusion which the unin- 
formed man can draw from the combination is 
that the chief beauties of modern painting have 
sprung from England — a conclusion which illy 
accords both with the facts and with the judg- 
ment of the world's impartial critics. But in the 
case of American art, not even the strictly impar- 
tial treatment occasionally accorded French and 
German painters is to be found, with the result 
that, for the most part, our art suffers more than 
that of any other nation when compared, in the 
pages of the Britannica^ with British art. 



There is one field of culture — namely, music — 
in which Great Britain has played so small and 
negligible a part that it would seem impossible, 
even for the passionately patriotic editors of the 
Encyclopedia Britannica^ to find any basis on 
which an impressive monument to England could 
be erected. Great Britain, admittedly, possesses 
but slight musical significance when compared 
with other nations. The organisms of her en- 
vironment, the temper of her intellect, her very 
intellectual fibre, are opposed to the creation of 
musical composition. 

This art in England, save during the Eliz- 
abethan era, has been largely a by-product. No 
great musical genius has come out of Great Brit- 
ain; and in modem times she has not produced 
even a great second-rate composer. So evident is 
England's deficiency in this field, that any one 
insisting upon it runs the risk of being set down a 
platitudinarian. Even British critics of the bet- 
ter class have not been backward in admitting the 


MUSIC 123 

musical poverty of their nation; and many good 
histories of music have come out of England: 
indeed, one of the very best encyclopsedias on this 
subject was written by Sir George Grove. 

To attempt to place England on an equal foot- 
ing with other nations in the realm of music is to 
alter obvious facts. Name all the truly great 
composers since 1700, and not one of them will 
be an Englishman. In fact, it is possible to write 
an extensive history of music from that date to 
the present time without once referring to Great 
Britain. England, as the world knows, is not a 
musical nation. Her temperament is not suited 
to subtle complexities of plastic harmonic expres- 
sion. Her modern composers are without im- 
portance; and for every one of her foremost 
musical creators there can be named a dozen from 
other nations who are equally inspired, and yet 
who hold no place in the world's musical evolu- 
tion because of contemporary fellow-countrymen 
who overshadow them. 

As I have said, it would seem impossible, even 
for so narrowly provincial and chauvinistic a 
work as the Encyclopedia Britannica, to find any 
plausible basis for the glorification of English 
musical genius. But where others fail to achieve 
the impossible, the Britannica succeeds. In the 
present instance, however, the task has been dif- 


ficult, for there is a certain limit to the undeserved 
praise which even a blatant partisan can confer 
on English composers; and there is such a paucity 
of conspicuous names in the British musical field 
that an encyclopaedia editor finds it difficult to 
gather enough of them together to make an ex- 
tensive patriotic showing. He can, however, 
omit or neglect truly significant names of other 
nations while giving undue prominence to second- 
and third-rate English composers. 

And this is exactly the method followed by the 
editors of the Britannica. But the disproportion- 
ments are so obvious, the omissions so glaring, and 
the biographies and articles so distorted, both as 
to space and comment, that almost any one with 
a knowledge of music will be immediately struck 
by their absurdity and injustice. Modern mu- 
sical culture, as set forth in this encyclopaedia, is 
more biased than any other branch of culture. In 
this field the limits of the Britannica^s insularity 
would seem to have been reached. 

I have yet to see even a short history of modern 
music which is not more informative and com- 
plete, and from which a far better idea of musical 
evolution could not be gained. And I know of 
no recent book of composers, no matter how brief, 
which does not give more comprehensive informa- 
tion concerning musical writers than does that 

MUSIC 125 

"supreme book of knowledge," the Encyclopedia 
Britannica. So deficient is it in its data, and so 
many great and significant modern composers are 
denied biographical mention in it, that one is led 
to the conclusion that little or no effort was made 
to bring it up-to-date. 

It would be impossible in this short chapter to 
set down anywhere near all the inadequacies, 
omissions and disproportions which inform the 
Britannica's treatment of music. Therefore I 
shall confine myself largely to modern music, 
since this subject is of foremost, vital concern at 
present ; and I shall merely indicate the more glar- 
ing instances of incompleteness and neglect. 
Furthermore, I shall make only enough com- 
parisons between the way in which British music 
is treated and the way in which the music of other 
nations is treated, to indicate the partisanship 
which underlies the outlook of this self-styled "in- 
ternational" and "universal" reference work. 

Let us first regard the general article Music. 
In that division of the article entitled, Recent 
Music — that is, music during the last sixty or 
seventy-five years — we find the following aston- 
ishing division of space : recent German music re- 
ceives just eleven lines; recent French music, 
thirty-eight lines, or less than half a column; re- 
cent Italian music, nineteen lines; recent Russian 


music, thirteen lines; and recent British music, 
nearly four columns^ or two full pages I 

Regard these figures a moment. That period 
of German musical composition which embraced 
such men as Humperdinck, Richard Strauss, 
Karl Goldmark, Hugo Wolf, Gustav Mahler, 
Bruch, Reinecke, and von Biilow, is allotted only 
eleven lines, and only two of the above names are 
even mentioned I And yet modern British music, 
which is of vastly lesser importance, is given 
thirty-five times as much space as modem German 
music, and ten times as much space as modem 
French music I In these figures we have an ex- 
ample of prejudice and discrimination which it 
would be hard to match in any other book or 
music in existence. It is unnecessary to criticise 
such bias: the figures themselves are more elo- 
quently condemning than any comment could 
possibly be. And it is to this article on recent 
music, with its almost unbelievable distortions of 
relative importance, that thousands of Americans 
will apply for information. Furthermore, in the 
article Opera there is no discussion of modern 
realistic developments, and the names of Puccini 
and Charpentier are not even included ! 

In the biographies of English composers is to be 
encountered the same sort of prejudice and exag- 
geration. Stemdale Bennett, the inferior British 

MUSIC 127 

Mendelssohn, is given nearly a column, and in the 
criticism of him we read: "The principal charm 
of Bennett's compositions (not to mention his ab- 
solute mastery of the musical form) consists in 
the tenderness of their conception, rising oc- 
casionally to sweetest musical intensity." Turn- 
ing from Bennett, the absolute master of form, to 
William Thomas Best, the English organist, we 
find nearly a half-column biography of fulsome 
praise, in which Best is written down as an "all- 
round musician." Henry Bishop receives two- 
thirds of a column. "His melodies are clear, 
flowing, appropriate and often charming; and his 
harmony is always pure, simple and sweet." 

Alfred Cellier is accorded nearly half a column, 
in which we are told that his music was "invar- 
iably distinguished by elegance and refinement." 
Frederick Cowen also wrote music which was "re- 
fined"; and in his three-fourths-of-a-column 
biography it is stated that "he succeeds wonder- 
fully in finding graceful expression for the poet- 
ical idea." John Field infused "elegance" into 
his music. His biography is over half a column 
in length, and we learn that his nocturnes "remain 
all but unrivaled for their tenderness and dream- 
iness of conception, combined with a continuous 
flow of beautiful melody." 

Edward Elgar receives no less than two-thirds 


of a column, in which are such phrases as "fine 
work," "important compositions," and "stirring 
melody." Furthermore, his first orchestral sym- 
phony was "a work of marked power and beauty, 
developing the symphonic form with the original- 
ity of a real master of his art." The world out- 
side of England will be somewhat astonished to 
know that Elgar took part in the development of 
the symphonic form and that he was a real master 
of music. John Hatton, in a two-thirds-of-a- 
column biography, is praised, but not without 
reservation. He might, says the article, have 
gained a place of higher distinction among Eng- 
lish composers "had it not been for his irresistible 
animal spirits and a want of artistic reverence." 
He was, no doubt, without the "elegance" and 
"refinement" which seem to characterize so many 
English composers. 

But Charles Parry evidently had no shortcom- 
ings to detract from his colossal and heaven- 
kissing genius. He is given a biography of 
nearly a column, and it is packed with praise. In 
some of his compositions to sacred words "are 
revealed the highest qualities of music." He has 
"skill in piling up climax after climax, and com- 
mand of every choral resource." But this is not 
all. In some of his works "he shows himself 
master of the orchestra"; and his "exquisite" 

MUSIC 129 

chamber music and part-songs "maintain the high 
standard of his greater works." Not even here 
does his genius expire. Agamemnon "is among 
the most impressive compositions of the kind." 
Furthermore, The Frogs is a "striking example of 
humor in music." All this would seem to be 
enough glory for any man, but Parry has not only 
piled Pelion on Ossa but has scaled Olympus. 
Outside his creative music, "his work for music 
was of the greatest importance" ; his Arl of Music 
is a "splendid monument of musical literature." 
. . . There is even more of this kind of eulogy 
— too much of it to quote here ; but, once you read 
it, you cannot help feeling that the famous tri- 
umvirate, Brahms, Bach and Beethoven, has now 
become the quartet, Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, 
and Parry. 

The vein of William Shield's melody "was 
conceived in the purest and most delicate taste" ; 
and his biography is half a column in length. 
Groring Thomas is accorded two-thirds of a 
column; and it is stated that not only does his 
music reveal "a great talent for dramatic com- 
position and a real gift of refined and beautiful 
melody," but that he was "personally the most 
admirable of men." Michael Costa, on the other 
hand, was evidently not personally admirable, 
for in his half-column biography we read: "He 


was the great conductor of his day, but both his 
musical and his human sympathies were some- 
what limited." (Costa was a Spaniard by birth.) 
Samuel Wesley, Jr.'s, anthems are "masterly in 
design, fine in inspiration and expression, and 
noble in character." His biography runs to half 
a column. Even Wesley, Sr., has a third of a 
column biography. 

The most amazing biography from the stand- 
point of length, however, is that of Sir Arthur 
Sullivan. It runs to three and a third columns 
(being much longer than Haydn's!) and is full 
of high praise of a narrowly provincial character. 
Thomas Attwood receives a half-column biog- 
raphy; Balfe, the composer of The Bohemian 
Girl^ receives nearly a column; Julius Benedict, 
two-thirds of a column; William Jackson, nearly 
two-thirds of a column; Mackenzie, over three- 
fourths of a column; John Stainer, two-thirds of 
a column; Charles Stanford, nearly a column; 
Macfarren, over half a column; Henry Hugo 
Pierson, half a column; John Hullah, consider- 
ably over half a column; William Crotch, over 
half a column; Joseph Barnby, nearly half a 
column; John Braham, two-thirds of a column. 
And many others of no greater importance receive 
liberal biographies — for instance, Frederic Clay, 
John Barnett, George Elvey, John Goss, Mac- 

MUSIC ;i3i 

Cunn, James Turle, and William Vincent Wal- 

Bearing all this in mind, we will now glance at 
the biographies of modern German composers in 
the 'Encyclopczdia Britannic a. Johann Strauss, 
perhaps the greatest of all waltz writers, is given 
only half a column, less space than that given to 
John Field or William Crotch ; and the only crit- 
icism of his music is contained in the sentence: 
*'In Paris he associated himself with Musard, 
whose quadrilles became not much less popular 
than his own waltzes; but his greatest successes 
were achieved in London." Hummel, the most 
brilliant virtuoso of his day, whose concertos and 
masses are still popular, receives less space than 
John Hatton. 

But what of Brahms, one of the three great 
composers of the world? Incredible as it may 
seem, he is given a biography even shorter than 
that of Sir Arthur Sullivan I And Robert Franz, 
perhaps the greatest lyrical writer since Schubert, 
receives considerably less space than William 
Jackson. Richard Strauss is allotted only a 
column and two-thirds, about equal space with 
Charles Burney, the musical historian, and Wil- 
liam Byrd; and in it we are given little idea of his 
greatness. In fact, the critic definitely says that 
it remains to be seen for what Strauss's name will 


live I When one thinks of the tremendous in- 
fluence which Strauss has had, and of the way in 
which he has altered the musical conceptions of 
the world, one can only wonder, astounded, why, 
in an encyclopaedia as lengthy as the Britannka^ 
he should be dismissed with so inadequate and 
inept a biography. 

After such injustice in the case of Strauss, it 
does not astonish one to find that Max Bruch, one 
of the most noteworthy figures in modern German 
music, and Reinecke, an important composer and 
long a professor at the Leipsic Conservatory, 
should receive only thirty lines each. But the 
neglect of Strauss hardly prepared us for the brief 
and incomplete record which passes for Humper- 
dinck's biography — a biography shorter than that 
of Cramer, William Hawes, Henry Lazarus, the 
English clarinettist, and Henry Smart! 

Mendelssohn, the great English idol, receives a 
biography out of all proportion to his importance 
— a biography twice as long as that of Brahms, 
and considerably longer than either Schumann's 
or Schubert's ! And it is full of effulgent praise 
and more than intimates that Mendelssohn's 
counterpoint was like Bach's, that his sonata-form 
resembled Beethoven's, and that he invented a 
new style no less original than Schubert's! Re- 
membering the parochial criterion by which the 

MUSIC 133 

Encyclopsedia's editors judge art, we may per- 
haps account for this amazing partiality to Men- 
delssohn by the following ludicrous quotation 
from his biography : "His earnestness as a Chris- 
tian needs no stronger testimony than that af- 
forded by his own delineation of the character of 
St. Paul; but it is not too much to say that his 
heart and life were pure as those of a little child." 

Although Hugo Wolf's biography is a column 
and a half in length, Konradin Kreutzer gets only 
eighteen lines; Nicolai, who wrote The Merry 
Wives of Windsor, only ten lines; Suppe, only 
fifteen; Nessler, only twelve; Franz Abt, only 
ten; Henselt, only twenty-six; Heller, only 
twenty-two; Lortzing, only twenty; and Thal- 
berg, only twenty-eight. In order to realize how 
much prejudice, either conscious or unconscious, 
entered into these biographies, compare the 
amounts of space with those given to the English 
composers above mentioned. Even Raff receives 
a shorter biography than Mackenzie; and von 
Billow's and Goldmark's biographies are briefer 
than Cowen's. 

But where the Encyclop<2dia Britannica shows 
its utter inadequacy as a guide to modern music is 
in the long list of omission. For instance, there 
is no biography of Marschner, whose Hans Heil- 
ing still survives in Germany; of Friedrich Sil- 


cher, who wrote most of the famous German 
"folk-songs"; of Gustav Mahler, one of the truly- 
important symphonists of modern; of the 
Scharwenka brothers; or of Georg Alfred Schu- 
mann — all sufficiently important to have a place 
in an encyclopaedia like the Britannica. 

But — what is even more inexcusable — Max 
Reger, one of the most famous German composers 
of the day, has no biography. Nor has Eugen 
d' Albert, renowned for both his chamber music 
and operas. (D' Albert repudiated his English 
antecedents and settled in Germany.) Kreisler 
also is omitted, although Kubelik, five years 
Kreisler's junior, draws a biography. In view 
of the obvious contempt which the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica has for America, it may be noted in 
this connection that Kreisler's first great success 
was achieved in America, whereas Kubelik made 
his success in London before coming to this coun- 

Among the German and Austrian composers 
who are without biographical mention in the 
Britannica, are several of the most significant 
musical creators of modem times — men who are 
world figures and whose music is known on every 
concert stage in the civilized world. On what 
possible grounds are Mahler, Reger and Eugen 
d' Albert denied biographies in an encyclopsedia 

MUSIC 135 

which dares advertise itself as a "complete 
library of knowledge" and as an "international 
dictionary of biography'"? And how is it pos- 
sible for one to get any adequate idea of the 
wealth or importance of modern German music 
from so biased and incomplete a source*? Would 
the Encyclopsedia's editors dare state that such a 
subject would not appeal to "intelligent" per- 
sons'? And how will the Encyclopedia's editors 
explain away the omission of Hanslick, the most 
influential musical critic that ever lived, when 
liberal biographies are given to several English 

Despite the incomplete and unjust treatment 
accorded German and Austrian music in the 
Encyclopedia Britannica^ modern French music 
receives scarcely better consideration. Chopin is 
given space only equal to that of Purcell. Ber- 
lioz and Gounod, who are allotted longer biog- 
raphies than any other modern French com- 
posers, receive, nevertheless, considerably less 
space than Sir Arthur Sullivan. Saint-Saens and 
Debussy receive less than half the space given to 
Sullivan, while Auber and Cesar Franck are given 
only about equal space with Samuel Arnold, 
Balfe, Sterndale Bennett, and Charles Stanford! 
Massenet has less space than William Thomas 
Best or Joseph Bamby, and three-fourths of it is 


taken up with a list of his works. The remainder 
of the biographies are proportionately brief. 
There is not one of them of such length that you 
cannot find several longer biographies of much 
less important English composers. 

Furthermore, one finds unexplainable errors 
and omissions in them. For instance, although 
Ernest Reyer died January 15, 1909, there is no 
mention of it in his biography; but there is, how- 
ever, the statement that his Quarante Ans de 
Musique "was published in 1909." This care- 
less oversight in not noting Reyer's death while 
at the same time recording a still later biographi- 
cal fact is without any excuse, especially as the 
death of Dudley Buck, who died much later than 
Reyer, is included. Furthermore, the biography 
omits stating that Reyer became Inspector Gen- 
eral of the Paris Conservatoire in 1908. Nor is 
his full name given, nor the fact recorded that 
his correct name was Rey. 

Again, although Theodore Dubois relinquished 
his Directorship of the Conservatory in 1905, his 
biography in the Britannica merely mentions that 
he began his Directorship in 1896, showing that 
apparently no effort was made to complete the 
material. Still again, although Faure was made 
Director of the Conservatory in 1905, the fact is 
not set down in his biography. And once more, 

MUSIC 137 

although d'Indy visited America in 1905 and 
conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the 
fact is omitted from his biography. . . . These 
are only a few of the many indications to be found 
throughout the Britannzca that this encyclopaedia 
is untrustworthy and that its editors have not, as 
they claim, taken pains to bring it up to date. 

Among the important French composers who 
should have biographies, but who are omitted 
from the 'Encyclopedia Britannica^ are Guilmant, 
perhaps the greatest modem organist and an im- 
portant classico-modern composer; Charpentier, 
who with Puccini, stands at the head of the mod- 
em realistic opera, and whose Louise is to-day in 
every standard operatic repertoire ; and Ravel, the 
elaborate harmonist of the moderns. 

Even greater inadequacy — an inadequacy 
which could not be reconciled with an encyclo- 
paedia one-fourth the size of the Britannica — 
exists in the treatment of modern Russian music. 
So brief, so inept, so negligent is the material on 
this subject that, as a reference book, the Britari' 
nica is practically worthless. The most char- 
itable way of explaining this woeful deficiency is 
to attribute it to wanton carelessness. Anton 
Rubinstein, for instance, is given a biography 
about equal with Balfe and Charles Stanford; 
while his brother Nikolaus, one of the greatest 


pianists and music teachers of his day, and the 
founder of the Conservatorium of Music at Mos- 
cow, has no biography whatever! Glinka, one 
of the greatest of Russian composers and the 
founder of a new school of music, is dismissed 
with a biography no longer than those of John 
Braham, the English singer, John Hatton, the 
Liverpool genius with the "irresistible animal 
spirits," and William Jackson; and shorter than 
that of Charles Dibdin, the British song-writer I 

Tschaikowsky receives less than two columns, 
a little over half the space given to Sullivan. 
The criticism of his work is brief and inadequate, 
and in it there is no mention of his liberal use of 
folk-songs which form the basis of so many of 
his important compositions, such as the second 
movement of his Fourth and the first movement 
of his First Symphonies. Borodin, another of 
the important musical leaders of modern Russia, 
has a biography which is no longer than that of 
Frederic Clay, the English light-opera writer 
and whist expert; and which is considerably 
shorter than the biography of Alfred Cellier. 
Balakirev, the leader of the "New Russian" 
school, has even a shorter biography, shorter in 
fact than the biography of Henry Hugo Pierson, 
the weak English oratorio writer. 

The biography of Moussorgsky — a composer 

MUSIC 139 

whose importance needs no indication here — is 
only fifteen lines in length, shorter even than Wil- 
liam Hawes's, Henry Lazarus's, George Elvey's, 
or Henry Smart's! And yet Moussorgsky was 
"one of the finest creative composers in the ranks 
of the modem Russian school." Rimsky-Korsa- 
kov, another of the famous modern Russians, 
whose work has long been familiar both in Eng- 
land and America, draws less space than Michael 
Costa, the English conductor of Spanish origin, 
or than Joseph Barnby, the English composer- 
conductor of Sweet and Low fame. 

Glazunov is given a biography only equal in 
length to that of John Goss, the unimportant 
English writer of church music. And although 
the biography tells us that he became Professor of 
the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1900, it fails 
to mention that he was made Director in 1908 — 
a bit of inexcusable carelessness which, though 
of no great importance, reveals the slip-shod in- 
completeness of the Britannica's Eleventh Edi- 
tion. Furthermore, many important works of 
Glazunov are not noted at all. 

Here ends the Encyclopedia's record of modern 
Russian composers! Cesar Cui, one of the very 
important modem Russians, has no biography 
whatever in this great English cultural work, al- 
though we find liberal accounts of such British 


composers as Turle, Walmisley, Potter, Richards 
(whose one bid to fame is having written God 
Bless the Prince of Wales) and George Alexander 
Lee, the song-writer whose great popular success 
was Come Where the Aspens Quiver. Nor will 
you find any biographical information of Arensky, 
another of the leading Russian composers of the 
new school ; nor of Taneiev or Grechaninov — ^both 
of whom have acquired national and international 
fame. Even Scriabine, a significant Russian com- 
poser who has exploited new theories of scales 
and harmonies of far-reaching influence, is not con- 
sidered of sufficient importance to be given a place 
(along with insignificant Englishmen like Lacy 
and Smart) in the Encyclopczdia Britannica, 

The most astonishing omission, however, is that 
of Rachmaninov. Next to omitting Cesar Cui, 
the complete ignoring of so important and uni- 
versally accepted a composer as Rachmaninov, 
whose symphonic poem. The Island of the Dead^ 
is one of the greatest Russian works since Tschai- 
kowsky, is the most indefensible of all. On what 
possible grounds can the Encyclopaedia Britannica 
defend its extravagant claims to completeness 
when the name of so significant and well-known 
a composer as Rachmaninov does not appear in 
the entire twenty-nine volumes'? 

In the list of the important modern Italian 

MUSIC .141 

musicians included in the Britannka one will seek 
in vain for information of Busoni, who has not 
only written much fine instrumental music, but 
who is held by many to be the greatest living vir- 
tuoso of the piano; or of Wolf- Ferrari, one of the 
important leaders of the new Italian school. And 
though Tosti, whose name is also omitted, is of 
slight significance, he is of far greater popular 
importance than several English song-writers who 
are accorded biographies. 

Even Puccini, who has revolutionized the mod- 
em opera and who stands at the head of living 
operatic composers, is given only eleven lines of 
biography, less space than is given to George Alex- 
ander Lee or John Barnett, and only equal space 
with Lacy, the Irish actor with musical inclina- 
tions, and Walmisley, the anthem writer and 
organist at Trinity College. It is needless to say 
that no biography of eleven lines, even if written 
in shorthand, would be adequate as a source of in- 
formation for such a composer as Puccini. The 
fact that he visited America in 1907 is not even 
mentioned, and although at that time he selected 
his theme for The Girl of the Golden West and 
began work on it in 1908, you will have to go to 
some other work more "supreme" than the En- 
cyclopczdia Britannica for this knowledge. 

Leoncavallo's biography is of the same brevity 


as Puccini's; and the last work of his that is men- 
tioned is dated 1904. His opera, Songe d'Une 
Nu^t d'Etc, his symphonic poem, Serafihi, and his 
ballet, La Vita d'Una Marionetta — though all 
completed before 1908 — are not recorded in this 
revised and up-to-date libran,- of culture. Mas- 
cagni, apparently, is something of a favorite with 
the editors of the Britannica^ for his biography 
runs to twenty-three lines, nearly as long as that 
of the English operatic composer, William \'in- 
cent Wallace, and of Alfred Cellier, the infra- 
Stillivan. But even with this great partiality 
shown him there is no record of his return from 
America to Italy in 1903 or of the honor of Com- 
mander of the Crown of Italy which was con- 
ferred upon him. 

Of important Northern composers there are not 
many, but the Britannica has succeeded in mini- 
mizing even their small importance. Gade has 
a biography only as long as Pierson's; and 
Kjerulf, who did so much for Norwegian music, is 
given less space than William Hawes, with no 
critical indication of his importance. Even Grieg 
receives but a little more space than Charles Stan- 
ford or Stemdale Bennett! Nordraak, who was 
Grieg's chief co-worker in the development of a 
national school of music, has no biography what- 
ever. Nor has Sinding, whose fine orchestral and 

MUSIC 143 

chamber music is heard everywhere. Not even 
Sibelius, whose very notable compositions brought 
Finland into musical prominence, is considered 
worthy of biographical mention. 

But the most astonishing omission is that of 
Buxtehude, one of the great and important figures 
in the early development of music. Not only was 
he the greatest organist of his age, but he was a 
great teacher as well. He made Liibeck famous 
for its music, and established the "Abendmusiken" 
which Bach walked fifty miles to hear. To the 
Britannicd's editor, however, he is of less im- 
portance than Henry Smart, the English or- 
ganist I 

In Dvorak's biography we learn that English 
sympathy was entirely won by the Stabat Mater; 
but no special mention is made of his famous 
E-minor (American) Symphony. Smetana, the 
first great Bohemian musician, receives less space 
than Henry Bishop, who is remembered princi- 
pally as the composer of Home, Szveet Home. 

But when we pass over into Poland we find in- 
adequacy and omissions of even graver character. 
Moszkowski receives just eight lines of biography, 
the same amount that is given to God-Bless-ike' 
Prince-of -Wales Richards. Paderewski is ac- 
corded equal space with the English pianist, Cipri- 
ani Potter; and no mention is made of his famous 


$10,000 fund for the best American compositions. 
This is a characteristic omission, however, for, as 
I have pointed out before, a composer's activities 
in America are apparently considered too trivial to 
mention, whereas, if it is at all possible to connect 
England, even in a remote and far-fetched way, 
with the genius of the world, it is done. Josef 
Hofmann, the other noted Polish pianist, is too 
insignificant to be given even passing mention in 
the Britannica. But such an inclusion could 
hardly be expected of a reference work which 
contains no biography of Leschetizky, the greatest 
and most famous piano teacher the world has ever 

We come now to the most prejudiced and in- 
excusably inadequate musical section in the whole 
Britannica — namely, to American composers. 
Again we find that narrow patronage, that provin- 
cial condescension and that contemptuous neglect 
which so conspicuously characterize the Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica's treatment of all American in- 
stitutions and culture. We have already beheld 
how this neglect and contempt have worked 
against our painters, our novelists, our poets and 
our dramatists; we have seen what rank injustice 
has been dealt our artists and writers; we have 
reviewed the record of omissions contained in 
this Encyclopaedia's account of our intellectual 

MUSIC 14? 

activities. But in no other instance has British 
scorn allowed itself so extreme and indefensible 
an expression as in the peremptory manner in 
which our musical composers are dismissed. The 
negligence with which American musical com- 
positions and composers are reviewed is greater 
than in the case of any other nation. 

As I have said before, if the Encyclopedia 
Britannica had been compiled to sell only in 
suburban England, we would have no complaint 
against the petty contempt shown our artists ; but 
when an encyclopaedia is put together largely for 
the purpose of American distribution, the sweep- 
ing neglect of our native creative effort resolves 
itself into an insult which every American should 
hotly resent. And especially should such neglect 
be resented when the advertising campaign with 
which the Britannica was foisted upon the public 
claimed for that work an exalted supremacy as a 
library of international education, and definitely 
stated that it contained an adequate discussion of 
every subject which would appeal to intelligent 
persons. As I write this the Britannica adver- 
tises itself as containing "an exhaustive account 
of all human achievement." But I think I have 
shown with pretty fair conclusiveness that it does 
not contain anywhere near an exhaustive account 
of American achievement ; and yet I doubt if even 


an Englishman would deny that we were "hu- 

Let us see how "exhaustive" the Britannica is 
in its record of American musical achievement. 
To begin with, there are just thirty-seven lines in 
the article on American composers; and for our 
other information we must depend on the bio- 
graphies. But what do we find? Dudley Buck 
is given an incomplete biography of fourteen lines; 
and MacDowell draws thirty lines of inadequate 
data. Gottschalk, the most celebrated of Ameri- 
can piano virtuosi, who toured Europe with great 
success and wrote much music which survives even 
to-day, is surely of enough historical importance 
to be given a biography; but his name does not so 
much as appear in the Britani2ica. John Knowles 
Paine has no biography; nor has William Mason; 
nor Arthur Foote; nor Chadwick; nor Edgar Still- 
man Kelly; nor Ethelbert Nevin; nor Charles 
Loeffler; nor Mrs. Beach; nor Henry K. Hadley; 
nor Cadman; nor Horatio Parker; nor Frederick 

To be sure, these composers do not rank among 
the great world figures; but they do stand for the 
highest achievement in American music, and it is 
quite probable that many "intelligent" Americans 
would be interested in knowing about them. In 
fact, from the standpoint of intelligent interest. 

MUSIC 147 

they are of far more importance than many lesser 
English composers who are given biographies. 
And although Sousa has had the greatest popular 
success of any composer since Johann Strauss, you 
will hunt the Britannica through in vain for even 
so much as a mention of him. And while I do not 
demand the inclusion of Victor Herbert, never- 
theless if Alfred Cellier is given a place, Herbert, 
who is Cellier's superior in the same field, should 
not be discriminated against simply because he is 
not an Englishman. 

It will be seen that there is practically no record 
whatever of the makers of American music; and 
while, to the world at large, our musical accom- 
plishments may not be of vital importance, yet to 
Americans themselves — even "intelligent" Amer- 
icans (if the English will admit that such an 
adjective may occasionally be applied to us) — 
they are not only of importance but of signifi- 
cance. It is not as if second-rate and greatly in- 
ferior composers of Great Britain were omitted 
also; but when Ethelbert Nevin is given no bio- 
graphy while many lesser British composers are not 
only given biographies but praised as well, Amer- 
icans have a complaint which the Britannica^ s ex- 
ploiters (who chummily advertise themselves as 
"we Americans") will find it difficult to meet. 



In the field of medicine and biology the Encyclo' 
padia Britannica reveals so narrow and obvious 
a partisanship that there has already been no lit- 
tle resentment on the part of American scientists. 
This country is surpassed by none in biological 
chemistry; and our fame in surgery and medical 
experimentation is world-wide. Among the 
ranks of our scientists stand men of such great 
importance and high achievement that no ad- 
equate history of biology or medicine could be 
written without giving vital consideration to 
them. Yet the Britannica fails almost com- 
pletely in revealing their significance. Many of 
our great experimenters — men who have made 
important original contributions to science and 
who have pushed forward the boundaries of hu- 
man knowledge — receive no mention whatever; 
and many of our surgeons and physicians whose 
researches have marked epochs in the history of 
medicine meet with a similar fate. On the other 

hand you will find scores of biographies of com- 



paratively little known and unimportant English 
scientists, some of whom have contributed noth- 
ing to medical and biological advancement. 

It is not my intention to go into any great de- 
tail in this matter. I shall not attempt to make 
a complete list of the glaring omissions of our 
scientists or to set down anywhere near all of the 
lesser British scientists who are discussed liberally 
and con amore in the Britannica. Such a record 
were unnecessary. But I shall indicate a suffi- 
cient number of discrepancies between the treat- 
ment of American scientists and the treatment of 
English scientists, to reveal the utter inadequacy 
of the Britannica as a guide to the history and 
development of our science. If America did not 
stand so high in this field the Encyclopedia's edi- 
tors would have some basis on which to explain 
away their wanton discrimination against our 
scientific activities. But when, as I say, America 
stands foremost among the nations of the world 
in biological chemistry and also holds high rank 
in surgery and medicine, there can be no excuse 
for such wilful neglect, especially as minor British 
scientists are accorded liberal space and generous 

First we shall set down those three earlier path- 
finders in American medicine whose names do not 
so much as appear in the Britannica^ s Index: — 


John Morgan, who in 1765, published his Dis- 
course Upon the Institution of Medical Schools 
in America, thus becoming the father of medical 
education in the United States; William Shippen, 
Jr., who aided John Morgan in founding our first 
medical school, the medical department of the 
University of Pennsylvania, and gave the first 
public lectures in obstetrics in this country, and 
who may be regarded as the father of American 
obstetrics; and Thomas Cadwalader, the first 
Philadelphian (at this time Philadelphia was the 
medical center of America) to teach anatomy by 
dissections, and the author of one of the best 
pamphlets on lead poisoning. 

Among the somewhat later important American 
medical scientists who are denied any mention in 
the Britannica are: John Conrad Otto, the first 
who described hemophilia (an abnormal tendency 
to bleeding) ; James Jackson, author of one of 
the first accounts of alcoholic neuritis ; James Jack- 
son, Jr., who left his mark in physical diagnosis; 
Elisha North, who as early as 1811 advocated 
the use of the clinical thermometer in his original 
description of cerebrospinal meningitis (the first 
book on the subject) ; John Ware, who wrote one 
of the chief accounts of delirium tremens; Jacob 
Bigelow, one of the very great names in American 
medicine, whose essay. On Self-Limited Diseases, 


according to Holmes, "did more than any other 
work or essay in our language to rescue the prac- 
tice of medicine from the slavery to the drugging 
system which was a part of the inheritance of the 
profession"; W. W. Gerhard, who distinguished 
between typhoid and typhus; Daniel Drake, 
known as the greatest physician of the West, who 
as the result of thirty years of labor wrote the 
masterpiece. Diseases of the Interior Valley of 
North America; Caspar Wistar, who wrote the 
first American treatise on anatomy; and William 
Edmonds Horner, who discovered the tensor tarsi 
muscle, known as Horner's muscle. . . . Not 
only are these men not accorded biographies in 
the "universal" and "complete" Encyclopcsdia 
Britannica, but their names do not appear I 

The father of American surgery was Philip 
Syng Physick, who invented the tonsillotome and 
introduced various surgical operations; but you 
must look elsewhere than in the Britannica for so 
much as a mention of him. And although the his- 
tory of American surgery is especially glorious 
and includes such great names as: the Warrens; 
Wright Post; J. C. Nott, who excised the coccyx 
and was the first who suggested the mosquito 
theory of yellow fever; Henry J. Bigelow, the 
first to describe the Y-ligament; Samuel David 
Gross, one of the chief surgeons of the nineteenth 


century; Nicholas Senn, one of the masters of 
modern surgery; Harvey Gushing, perhaps the 
greatest brain surgeon in the world to-day; 
George Crile, whose revolutionary work in surgi- 
cal shock was made long before the Britannka 
went to press; and William S. Halsted, among the 
greatest surgeons of the world, — as I have said, al- 
though America has produced these important 
men, the Encyclopdsdia Britannica ignores the fact 
entirely, and does not so much as record one of 
their names ! 

Were all the rest of American medical scientists 
given liberal consideration in the Britannica, it 
would not compensate for the above omissions. 
But these omissions are by no means all : they are 
merely the beginning. The chief names in mod- 
ern operative gynecology are American. But of 
the nine men who are the leaders in this field, only 
one (Emmet) has a biography, and only one 
(McDowell) receives casual mention. Marion 
Sims who invented his speculum and introduced 
the operation for vesicovaginal fistula, Nathan 
Bozeman, J. C. Nott (previously mentioned), 
Theodore Gaillard Thomas, Robert Battey, E. 
C. Dudley, and Howard A. Kelly do not exist for 
the Britannica. 

Furthermore, of the four chief pioneers in an- 
aesthesia — the practical discovery and use of which 


was an American achievement — only two are 
mentioned. The other two — C. W. Long, of 
Georgia, and the chemist, Charles T. Jackson — 
are apparently unknown to the British editors of 
this encyclopsedia. And although in the history 
of pediatrics there is no more memorable name 
than that of Joseph O'Dwyer, of Ohio, whose 
work in intubation has saved countless numbers 
of infants, you will fail to find any reference to 
him in this ^'unbiased" English reference work. 

One must not imagine that even here ends the 
Britannica^s almost unbelievable injustice to 
American scientists. John J. Abel is not men- 
tioned either, yet Professor Abel is among the 
greatest pharmacologists of the world. His re- 
searches in animal tissues and fluids have definitely 
set forward the science of medicine; and it was 
Abel who, besides his great work with the artifi- 
cial kidney, first discovered the uses of epinephrin. 
R. G. Harrison, one of the greatest biologists of 
history, whose researches in the growth of tissue 
were epoch-making, and on whose investigations 
other scientists also have made international repu- 
tations, is omitted entirely from the Britannica. 
S. J. Meltzer, the physiologist, who has been the 
head of the department of physiology and phar- 
macology at Rockefeller Institute since 1906, is 
not in the Britannica. T. H. Morgan, the zo- 


ologist, whose many books on the subject have 
long been standard works, is without a biography. 
E. B. Wilson, one of the great pathfinders in 
zoology and a man who stands in the front rank 
of that science, is also without a biography. And 
Abraham Jacobi, who is the father of pediatrics in 
America, is not mentioned. 

The list of wanton omissions is not yet com- 
plete! C. S. Minot, the great American embry- 
ologist, is ignored. Theobald Smith, the pathol- 
ogist, is also thought unworthy of note. And 
among those renowned American scientists who, 
though mentioned, failed to impress the Encyclo- 
paedia's English editor sufficiently to be given 
biographies are : John Kerasley Mitchell, who was 
the first to describe certain neurological conditions, 
and was one of the advocates of the germ theory 
of disease before bacteriology; William Beau- 
mont, the first to study digestion in situ; Jacques 
Loeb, whose works on heliotropism, morphology, 
psychology, etc., have placed him among the 
world's foremost imaginative researchers; H. S. 
Jennings, another great American biologist; W. 
H. Welch, one of the greatest of modem patho- 
logists and bacteriologists; and Simon Flexner, 
whose work is too well known to the world to 
need any description here. These men unques- 
tionably deserve biographies in any encyclo- 


paedia which makes even a slight pretence of com- 
pleteness, and to have omitted them from the 
Britannica was an indefensible oversight — or 

The editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica 
cannot explain away these amazing omissions on 
the ground that the men mentioned are not of 
sufficient importance to have come within the 
range of their consideration; for, when we look 
down the list of British medical scientists who are 
given biographies, we can find at least a score of 
far less important ones. For instance, Elizabeth 
G. Anderson, whose claim to glory lies in her ad- 
vocacy of admitting women into the medical pro- 
fession, is given considerably over half a column. 
Gilbert Blane, the introducer of lime-juice into 
the English navy, also has a biography. So has 
Richard Brocklesby, an eighteenth-century army 
physician; and Andrew Clark, a fashionable Lon- 
don practitioner; and T. B. Curling; and John 
EUiotson, the English mesmerist; and Joseph 
Fayrer, known chiefly for his studies in the poison- 
ous snakes of India; and J. C. Forster; and James 
Clark, an army surgeon and physician in ordinary 
to Queen Victoria; and P. G. Hewett, another 
surgeon to Queen Victoria; and many others of 
no more prominence or importance. 

In order to realize the astounding lengths of in- 


justice to which the Britannica has gone in its 
petty neglect of America, compare these English 
names which are given detailed biographical con- 
sideration, with the American names which are 
left out. The editors of this encyclopaedia must 
either plead guilty to the most flagrant kind of 
prejudicial discrimination against this country, or 
else confess to an abysmal ignorance of the his- 
tory and achievements of modern science. 

It might be well to note here that Luther Bur- 
bank's name is mentioned only once in the Britan- 
nica^ under Santa Rosa, the comment being that 
Santa Rosa was his home. Not to have given 
Burbank a biography containing an account of his 
important work is nothing short of preposterous. 
Is it possible that Americans are not supposed to 
be interested in this great scientist? And are we 
to assume that Marianne North, the English nat- 
uralist and flower painter — who is given a de- 
tailed biography — is of more importance than 
Burbank? The list of English naturalists and 
botanists who receive biographies in the Britannica 
includes such names as William Alton, Charles 
Alston, James Anderson, W. J. Broderip, and 
Robert Fortune ; and yet there is no biography or 
even discussion of Luther Burbank, the Ameri- 

Thus far in this chapter I have called attention 


only to the neglect of American scientists. It 
must not be implied, however, that America alone 
suffers from the Britannica's insular prejudice. 
No nation, save England, is treated with that 
justice and comprehensiveness upon which the 
Encyclopaedia's advertising has so constantly in- 
sisted. For instance, although Jonathan Hutch- 
inson, the English authority on syphilis, receives 
(and rightly so) nearly half a column biography, 
Ehrlich, the world's truly great figure in that 
field, is not considered of sufficient importance 
to be given biographical mention. It is true that 
Ehrlich's salvarsan did not become known until 
1910, but he had done much immortal work be- 
fore then. Even Metchnikoff, surely one of the 
world's greatest modern scientists, has no biog- 
raphy! And although British biologists of even 
minor importance receive biographical considera- 
tion, Lyonet, the Hollander, who did the first 
structural work after Swammerdam, is without a 

Nor are there biographies of Franz Leydig, 
through whose extensive investigations all struct- 
ural studies upon insects assumed a new aspect; 
Rudolph Leuckart, another conspicuous figure in 
zoological progress; Meckel, who stands at the 
beginning of the school of comparative anatomy 
in Germany; Rathke, who made a significant ad- 


vance in comparative anatomy; Ramon y Cajal, 
whose histological research is of world-wide re- 
nown; Kowalevsky, whose work in embryology 
had enormous influence on all subsequent investi- 
gations; Wilhelm His, whose embryological in- 
vestigations, especially in the development of the 
nervous system and the origin of nerve fibres, are 
of very marked importance; Dujardin, the dis- 
coverer of sarcode; Lacaze-Duthiers, one of 
France's foremost zoological researchers; and 
Pouchet, who created a sensation with his experi- 
mentations in spontaneous generation. 

Even suppose the Britannica's editor should 
argue that the foregoing biologists are not of the 
very highest significance and therefore are not 
deserving of separate biographies, how then can 
he explain the fact that such British biologists as 
Alfred Newton, William Yarrell, John G. Wood, 
G. J. Allman, F. T. Buckland, and T. S. Cobbold, 
are given individual biographies with a detailed 
discussion of their work? What becomes of that 
universality of outlook on which he so prides him- 
self? Or does he consider Great Britain as the 

As I have said, the foregoing notes do not aim 
at being exhaustive. To set down, even from an 
American point of view, a complete record of the 
inadequacies which are to be found in the Britan- 


nica's account of modern science would require 
much more space than I can devote to it here. I 
have tried merely to indicate, by a few names and 
a few comparisons, the insular nature of this En- 
cyclopaedia's expositions, and thereby to call at- 
tention to the very obvious fact that the Britau' 
nica is not "an international dictionary of bio- 
graphy," but a prejudiced work in which English 
endeavor, through undue emphasis and exaggera- 
tion, is given the first consideration. Should this 
Encyclopaedia be depended upon for information, 
one would get but the meagrest idea of the splen- 
did advances which America has made in modem 
science. And, although I have here touched only 
on medicine and biology, the same narrow and 
provincial British viewpoint can be found in the 
B ri tannic a' s treatment of the other sciences as 



In the matter of American inventions the Encyclo' 
padia Britannica would appear to have said as lit- 
tle as possible, and to have minimized our im- 
portance in that field as much as it dared. And 
yet American inventors, to quote H. Addington 
Bruce, "have not simply astonished mankind; 
they have enhanced the prestige, power, and pros- 
perity of their country." The Britannica^s edi- 
tors apparently do not agree with this; and when 
we think of the wonderful romance of American 
inventions, and the possibilities in the subject for 
full and interesting writing, and then read the 
brief, and not infrequently disdainful, accounts 
that are presented, we are conscious at once not 
only of an inadequacy in the matter of facts, but 
of a niggardliness of spirit. 

Let us regard the Encyclopaedia's treatment of 
steam navigation. Under Steamboat we read: 
"The first practical steamboat was the tug 'Char- 
lotte Dundas,' built by William Symington 

(Scotch), and tried in the Forth and Clyde Canal 



in 1802. . . . The trial was successful, but steam 
towing was abandoned for fear of injuring the 
banks of the canal. Ten years later Henry Bell 
built the 'Comet,' with side-paddle wheels, which 
ran as a passenger steamer on the Clyde; but an 
earlier inventor to follow up Symington's success 
was the American, Robert Fulton. . . ." 

This practically sums up the history of that 
notable achievement. Note the method of presen- 
tation, with the mention of Fulton as a kind of 
afterthought. While the data may technically 
come within the truth, the impression given is a 
false one, or at least a British one. Even Eng- 
lish authorities admit that Fulton established de- 
finitely the value of the steamboat as a medium 
for passenger and freight traffic; but here the 
credit, through implication, is given to Symington 
and Bell. And yet, if Symington is to be given 
so much credit for pioneer work, why are not Wil- 
liam Henry, of Pennsylvania, John Stevens, of 
New Jersey, Nathan Read, of Massachusetts, and 
John Fitch, of Connecticut, mentioned also? 
Surely each of these other Americans was im- 
portant in the development of the idea of steam 
as motive power in water. 

Eli Whitney receives a biography of only two- 
thirds of a column; Morse, less than a column; 
and Elias Howe, only a little over half a column. 


Even Thomas Edison receives only thirty-three 
lines of biography — a mere statement of facts. 
Such a biography is an obvious injustice; and the 
American buyers of the Encyclopedia Britannica 
have just cause for complaining against such in- 
adequacy. Edison admittedly is a towering fig- 
ure in modern science, and an encyclopaedia the 
size of the Britannica should have a full and in- 
teresting account of his life, especially since ob- 
scure English scientists are accorded far more 
liberal biographies. 

Alexander Graham Bell, however, receives the 
scantiest biography of all. It runs to just fifteen 
lines I And the name of Daniel Drawbaugh is 
not mentioned. He and Bell filed their papers 
for a telephone on the same day; and it was only 
after eight years' litigation that the Supreme 
Court decided in Bell's favor — four judges favor- 
ing him and three favoring Drawbaugh. No 
reference is made of this interesting fact. Would 
the omission have occurred had Drawbaugh been 
an Englishman instead of a Pennsylvanian, or 
had not Bell been a native Scotchman*? 

The name of Charles Tellier, the Frenchman, 
does not appear in the Britannica. Not even 
under Refrigerating and Ice Making is he men- 
tioned. And yet back in 1868 he began experi- 
ments which culminated in the refrigerating 


plant as used on ocean vessels to-day. Tellier, 
more than any other man, can be called the in- 
ventor of cold storage, one of the most important 
of modern discoveries, for it has revolutionized 
the food question and had far-reaching effects on 
commerce. Again we are prompted to ask if his 
name would have been omitted from the Britan- 
nica had he been an Englishman . 

Another unaccountable omission occurs in the 
case of Rudolph Diesel. Diesel, the inventor of 
the Diesel engine, is comparable only to Watts in 
the development of power; but he is not consid- 
ered of sufficient importance by the editors of the 
Encyclopedia Britannzca to be given a biography. 
And under Oil Engine we read: "Mr. Diesel has 
produced a very interesting engine which departs 
considerably from other types." Then follows a 
brief technical description of it. This is the en- 
tire consideration given to Diesel, with his "in- 
teresting" engine, despite the fact that the Brit- 
ish Government sent to Germany for him in order 
to investigate his invention! 

Few names in the history of modem invention 
stand as high as Wilbur and Orville Wright. To 
them can be attributed the birth of the airplane. 
In 1908, to use the words of an eminent author- 
ity, "the Wrights brought out their biplanes and 
practically taught the world to fly." The story 


of how these two brothers developed aviation is, 
according to the same critic, "one of the most in- 
spiring chronicles of the age." The Britannzcd!s 
editors, if we are to judge their viewpoint by the 
treatment accorded the Wright brothers in this 
encyclopaedia, held no such opinion. Not only 
is neither of these men given a biography, but 
under Flight and Flying — the only place in the 
whole twenty-nine volumes where their names ap- 
pear — they are accorded much less consideration 
than they deserv^e. Sir Hiram S. Maxim's flying 
adventures receive more space. 

A subject which unfortunately is too little 
known in this country and yet one in the develop- 
ment of which America has played a very im- 
portant part, is pictorial photography. A double 
interest therefore attaches to the manner in which 
this subject is treated in the Britannica. Since 
the writer of the article was thoroughly familiar 
with the true conditions, an adequate record might 
have been looked for. But no such record was 
forthcoming. In the discussion of photography 
in this Encyclopsedia the same bias is displayed as 
in other departments — the same petty insularity, 
the same discrimination against America, the 
same suppression of vital truth, and the same ex- 
aggerated glorification of England. In this in- 


stance, however, there is documentary proof show- 
ing deliberate misrepresentation, and therefore 
we need not attribute the shortcomings to chau- 
vinistic stupidity, as we have so charitably done in 
similar causes. 

In the article on Pictorial Photography in this 
aggressibly British reference work we find the 
following: "It is interesting to note that as a 
distinct movement pictorial photography is es- 
sentially of British origin, and this is shown by 
the manner in which organized photographic 
bodies in Vienna, Brussels, Paris, St. Petersburg, 
Florence, and other European cities, as well as in 
Philadelphia, Chicago, etc., following the exam- 
ple of London, held exhibitions on exactly similar 
lines to those of the London Photographic Salon, 
and invited known British exhibitors to contrib- 
ute." Then it is noted that the interchange of 
works between British and foreign exhibitors led, 
in the year 1900, "to a very remarkable cult call- 
ing itself 'The New American School,' which had 
a powerful influence on contemporaries in Great 

The foregoing brief and inadequate statements 
contain all the credit that is given America in 
this field. New York, where much of the fore- 
most and important work was done, is not men- 
tioned; and the name of Alfred Stieglitz, who is 


undeniably the towering figure in American pho- 
tography as well as one of the foremost figures in 
the world's photography, is omitted entirely. 
Furthermore, slight indication is given of the 
"powerful influence" which America has had; and 
the significant part she has played in photography, 
together with the names of the American leaders, 
is completely ignored, although there is quite a 
lengthy discussion concerning English photo- 
graphic history, including credit to those who par- 
ticipated in it. 

For instance, the American, Steichen, a world 
figure in photography and, of a type, perhaps the 
greatest who ever lived, is not mentioned. Nor 
arc Gertrude Kasebier and Frank Eugene, both of 
whom especially the former, has had an enormous 
international influence in pictorial photography. 
And although there is a history of the formation 
of the "Linked Ring" in London, no credit is 
given to Stieglitz whose work, during twenty- 
five years in Germany and Vienna, was one of the 
prime influences in the crystallization of this 
brotherhood. Nor is there so much as a passing 
reference to Camera Work (published in New 
York) which stands at the head of photographic 

As I have said, there exists documentary evi- 
dence which proves the deliberate unfairness of 


this article. It is therefore not necessary to ac- 
cept my judgment on the importance of Stieglitz 
and the work done in America. A. Horsley 
Hinton, who is responsible for the prejudiced 
article in the Encyclopsedia, was the editor of The 
Amateur Photographer, a London publication; 
and in that magazine, as long ago as 1904, we 
have, in Mr. Hinton's own words, a refutation of 
what he wrote for the Britannica. In the May 
19 (1904) issue he writes: "We believe every 
one who is interested in the advance of photog- 
raphy generally, will learn with pleasure that 
Mr. Alfred Stieglitz, whose life-long and wholly 
disinterested devotion to pictorial photography 
should secure him a unique position, will be pres- 
ent at the opening of the next Exhibition of the 
Photographic Salon in London. Mr. Stieglitz 
was zealous in all good photographic causes long 
before the Salon, and indeed long before pictorial 
photography was discussed — with Dr. Vogel in 
Germany, for instance, twenty-five years ago." 

Elsewhere in this same magazine we read: 
"American photography is going to be the ruling 
note throughout the world unless others bestir 
themselves; indeed, the Photo-Secession (Ameri- 
can) pictures have already captured the highest 
places in the esteem of the civilized world. 
Hardly an exhibition of first importance is any- 


where held without a striking collection of Amer- 
ican work, brought together and sent by Mr. Al- 
fred Stieglitz. For the last two or three years in 
the European exhibitions these collections have 
secured the premier awards, or distinctions." And 
again we find high praise of Steichen, "than whom 
America possesses no more brilliant genius among 
her sons who have taken up photography." 

These quotations — and many similar ones ap- 
peared over a decade ago in Mr. Hinton's maga- 
zine — ^give evidence that Mr. Hinton was not 
unaware of the extreme importance of American 
photographic work or of the eminent men who 
took part in it; and yet in writing his article for 
the Britannica he has apparently carefully for- 
gotten what he himself had previously written. 

But this is not the only evidence we have of 
deliberate injustice in the Encyclopsedia's dis- 
graceful neglect of our efforts in this line. In 
1913, in the same English magazine, we find not 
only an indirect confession of the Britannica's 
bias, but also the personal reason for that bias. 
Speaking of Stieglitz's connection with that phase 
of photographic history to which Mr. Hinton was 
most intimately connected, this publication says: 
'*At that era, and for long afterwards, Stieglitz 
was, in fact, a thorn in our sides, 'Who's Boss 
of the Show^' inquires a poster, now placarded 


in London. Had that question been asked of 
the (London) Salon, an irritated whisper of 
honesty would have replied 'Stieglitz.' And 
... we didn't like it. We couldn't do without 
him ; but these torrential doctrines of his were, to 
be candid, a nuisance. . . . He is an influence; 
an influence for which, even if photography were 
not concerned, we should be grateful, but which, 
as it is, we photographers can never perhaps justly 
estimate." After this frank admission the maga- 
zine adds: "Stieglitz — too big a man to need 
any 'defense' — -has been considerably misunder- 
stood and misrepresented, and, in so far as this is 
so, photographers and photography itself are the 

What better direct evidence could one desire 
than this naif confession? Yes, Stieglitz, who, 
according to Mr. Hinton's own former publica- 
tion, was a thorn in that critic's side, has indeed 
been "misrepresented"; but nowhere has he been 
neglected with so little excuse as in Mr. Hinton's 
own article in the Britannica. And though — 
again according to this magazine — Stieglitz is 
"too big a man to need any 'defense,' " I cannot 
resist defending him here; for the whole petty, 
personal and degrading affair is characteristic of 
the Encyclopedia Britannica's contemptible treat- 
ment of America and Americans. 


Such flagrant political intriguing, such an ob- 
vious attempt to use the Encyclopffidia to destroy 
America's high place in the world of modem 
achievement, can only arouse disgust in the un- 
prejudiced reader. The great light-bearer in the 
photographic field, Camera Work, if generally 
known and appreciated, would have put Hr. Hin- 
ton's own inferior magazine out of existence as a 
power; and his omitting to mention it in his arti- 
cle and even in his bibliography, is a flagrant ex- 
ample of the Britantiica's refusal to tell the whole 
truth whenever that truth would harm England 
or benefit America. 

In view of the wide and growing interest in 
aesthetics and of the immense progress which has 
been made recently in aesthetic research, one would 
expect to find an adequate and comprehensive 
treatment of that subject in a work like the Britan- 
nica. But here again one will be disappointed. 
The article on aesthetics reveals a parti pris which 
illy becomes a work which should be, as it claims 
to be, objective and purely informative. The 
author of the article is critical and not seldom 
argumentative; and, as a result, full justice is not 
done the theories and research of many eminent 
modern aestheticians. Twenty-two lines are all 
that are occupied in setting forth the aesthetic 


writers in Germany since Goethe and Schiller, and 
in this brief paragraph, many of the most signifi- 
cant contributors to the subject are not even given 
passing mention. And, incredible as it may 
seem, that division of the article which deals with 
the German writers is shorter than the division 
dealing with English writers! 

One might forgive scantiness of material in this 
general article if it were possible to find the lead- 
ing modern esthetic theories set forth in the 
biographies of the men who conceived them. But 
— what is even more astonishing in the Encyclo- 
paedia's treatment of aesthetics — there are no bi- 
ographies of many of the scientists whose names 
and discoveries are familiar to any one even 
superficially interested in the subject. Several of 
these men, whose contributions have marked a new 
epoch in psychological and aesthetic research, are 
not even mentioned in the text of the Encyclo- 
paedia; and the only indication we have that they 
lived and worked is in an occasional foot-note. 
Their names do not so much as appear in the 
Index ! 

Kiilpe, one of the foremost psychologists and 
aestheticians, has no biography, and he is merely 
mentioned in a foot-note as being an advocate of 
the principle of association. Lipps, who laid the 
foundation of the new philosophy of aesthetics and 


formulated the hypothesis of Einfiihlung, has no 
biography. His name appears once — under 
/Esthetics — and his theory is actually disputed by 
the critic who wrote the article. Groos, another 
important aesthetic leader, is also without a bi- 
ography; and his name is not in the Britannica's 
Index. Nor is Hildebrand, whose solutions to 
the problem of form are of grave importance, 
thought worthy of mention. 

There is no excuse for such inadequacy, es- 
pecially as England possesses in Vernon Lee a 
most capable interpreter of sesthetics — a writer 
thoroughly familiar with the subject, and one 
whose articles and books along this line of re- 
search have long been conspicuous for their bril- 
liancy and thoroughness. 

Furthermore, in this article we have another 
example of the Britannica's contempt for Ameri- 
can achievement. This country has made impor- 
tant contributions to sesthetics; and only an Eng- 
lishman could have written a modern exposition 
of the subject without referring to the researches 
of William James and Hugo Miinsterberg. The 
Lange-James hypothesis has had an important in- 
fluence on aesthetic theory; and Miinsterberg's ob- 
servations on sesthetic preference, form-perception 
and projection of feelings, play a vital role in the 
history of modem aesthetic science; but you will 


look in vain for any mention of these Ameri- 
cans' work. Miinsterberg's Principles of Art 
Education is not even included in the bibliog- 



One going to the Encyclopdidia Britannica for 
critical information concerning philosophy will 
encounter the very essence of that spirit which is 
merely reflected in the other departments of the 
Encyclopaedia's culture. In this field the Eng- 
lish editors and contributors of the Britannica are 
dealing with the sources of thought, and as a re- 
sult British prejudice finds a direct outlet. 

To be sure, it is difBcult for a critic possessing 
the mental characteristics and the ethical and re- 
ligious predispositions of his nation, to reveal the 
entire field of philosophy without bias. He has 
certain temperamental affinities which will draw 
him toward his own country's philosophical sys- 
tems, and certain antipathies which will turn him 
against contrary systems of other nations. But 
in the higher realms of criticism it is possible to 
find that intellectual detachment which can re- 
view impersonally the development of thought, 
no matter what tangential directions it may take. 
There have been several adequate histories of phi- 



losophy written by British critics, proving that 
it is not necessary for an Englishman to regard 
the evolution of thinking only through distorted 
and prejudiced eyes. 

The Encyclopczdia Britannica^ however, evi- 
dently holds to no such just ideal in its exposi- 
tion of philosophical research. Only in a very 
few of the biographies do we find evidences of 
an attempt to set forth this difficult subject with 
impartiality. As in its other departments, the 
Encyclopaedia places undue stress on British 
thinkers : it accords them space out of all propor- 
tion to their relative importance, and includes 
obscure and inconsequent British moralists while 
omitting biographies of far more important 
thinkers of other nations. 

This obvious discrepancy in space might be 
overlooked did the actual material of the biog- 
raphies indicate the comparative importance of 
the thinkers dealt with. But when British critics 
consider the entire history of thought from the 
postulates of their own writers, and emphasize 
only those philosophers of foreign nationality 
who appeal to "English ways of thinking," then 
it is impossible to gain any adequate idea of the 
philosophical teachings of the world as a whole. 
And this is precisely the method pursued by the 
Britannica in dealing with the history and de- 


velopment of modern thought. In nearly every 
instance, and in every important instance, it has 
been an English didactician who has interpreted 
for this Encyclopaedia the teachings of the world's 
leading philosophers; and there are few biogra- 
phies which do not reveal British prejudice. 

The modem English critical mind, being in the 
main both insular and middle-class, is dominated 
by a suburban moral instinct. And even among 
the few more scholarly critics there is a residue 
of Puritanism which tinctures the syllogisms and 
dictates the deductions. In bringing their minds 
to bear on creative works these critics are filled 
with a sense of moral disquietude. At bottom 
they are Churchmen. They mistake the tastes 
and antipathies which have been bred in them by 
a narrow religious and ethical culture, for pure 
critical criteria. They regard the great men of 
other nations through the miasma of their tribal 

This rigid and self-satisfied provincialism of 
outlook, as applied to philosophers in the Ency- 
clopedia Britannica, is not, I am inclined to be- 
lieve, the result of a deliberate attempt to exag- 
gerate the importance of British thinkers and to 
underrate the importance of non-British thinkers. 
To the contrary, it is, I believe, the result of an 
unconscious ethical prejudice coupled with a blind 


and self -contented patriotism. But whatever the 
cause, the result is the same. Consequently, any- 
one who wishes an unbiased exposition of philo- 
sophical history must go to a source less insular, 
and less distorted than the Britannica. Only a 
British moralist, or one encrusted with British 
morality, will be wholly satisfied with the manner 
in which philosophy is here treated; and since 
there are a great many Americans who have not, 
as yet, succumbed to English bourgeois theology 
and who do not believe, for instance, that Isaac 
Newton is of greater philosophic importance than 
Kant, this Encyclopaedia will be of far 
more value to an Englishman than to an Ameri- 

The first distortion which will impress one who 
seeks information in the Britannica is to be found 
in the treatment of English empirical philos- 
ophers — that is, of John Locke, Isaac Newton, 
George Berkeley, Shaftesbury, Francis Hutch- 
eson, Joseph Butler, Mandeville, Hume, Adam 
Smith and David Hartley. Locke receives fif- 
teen columns of detailed exposition, with inset 
headings. "He was," we are told, "typically 
English in his reverence for facts" and "a signal 
example in the Anglo-Saxon world of the love of 
attainable truth for the sake of truth and good- 
ness." Then we are given the quotation: "If 


Locke made few discoveries, Socrates made none." 
Furthermore, he was "memorable in the record 
of human progress." 

Isaac Newton receives no less than nineteen col- 
umns filled with specific and unstinted praise; 
and in the three-and-a-half column biography of 
George Berkeley we learn that Berkeley's "new 
conception marks a distinct stage of progress in 
human thought" ; that "he once for all lifted the 
problem of metaphysics to a higher level," and, 
with Hume, "determined the form into which 
later metaphysical questions have been thrown." 
Shaftesbury, whose main philosophical import- 
ance was due to his ethical and moral speculations 
in refutation of Hobbes' egoism, is represented 
by a biography of four and a half columns I 

Hume receives over fourteen columns, with 
inset headings ; Adam Smith, nearly nine columns, 
five and a half of which are devoted to a detailed 
consideration of his Wealth of Nations. Hutch- 
eson, the ethical moralist who drew the analogy 
between beauty and virtue — the doctrinaire of the 
moral sense and the benevolent feelings — is given 
no less than five columns; while Joseph Butler, 
the philosophic divine who, we are told, is a 
"typical instance of the English philosophical 
mind" and whose two basic premises were the ex- 
istence of a theological god and the limitation of 


human knowledge, is given six and a half 
columns I 

On the other hand, Mandeville receives only a 
column and two- thirds. To begin with, he was 
of French parentage, and his philosophy (accord- 
ing to the Britannica) "has always been stigma- 
tized as false, cynical and degrading." He did 
not believe in the higher Presbyterian virtues, and 
read hypocrisy into the vaunted goodness of the 
English. Although in a history of modern phi- 
losophy he is deserving of nearly equal space with 
Butler, in the Britannica he is given only a little 
over one-fifth of the space I Even David Hart- 
ley, the English physician who supplemented 
Hume's theory of knowledge, is given nearly as 
much consideration as the "degrading" Mande- 
ville. And Joseph Priestley, who merely popu- 
larized these theories, is given no less than two 

Let us turn now to what has been called the 
"philosophy of the enlightenment" in France and 
Germany, and we shall see the exquisite workings 
of British moral prejudice in all its purity. Vol- 
taire, we learn, "was one of the most astonishing, 
if not exactly one of the more admirable, figures 
of letters." He had "cleverness," but not 
"genius"; and his great fault was an "inveterate 
superficiality." Again: "Not the most elabor- 


ate work of Voltaire is of much value for matter." 
(The biography, a derogatory and condescending 
one, is written by the eminent moralist, George 

Condillac, who is given far less space than 
either Berkeley or Shaftesbury, only half of the 
space given Hutcheson, and only a little over one- 
third of the space given Joseph Butler, is set down 
as important for "having established systemat- 
ically in France the principles of Locke." But 
his "genius was not of the highest order" ; and in 
his analysis of the mind "he missed out the active 
and spiritual side of human experience." James 
Mill did not like him, and his method of imag- 
inative reconstruction "was by no means suited 
to English ways of thinking." This latter short- 
coming no doubt accounts for the meagre and un- 
complimentary treatment Condillac receives in 
the great British reference work which is devoted 
so earnestly to "English ways of thinking." 

Helvetius, whose theory of equality is closely 
related to Condillac's doctrine of psychic pas- 
sivity, is given even shorter shrift, receiving only 
a column and a third; and it is noted that "there 
is no doubt that his thinking was unsystematic." 
Diderot, however, fares much better, receiving 
five columns of biography. But then, more and 
more "did Diderot turn for the hope of the race 


to virtue; in other words, to such a regulation of 
conduct and motive as shall make us tender, piti- 
ful, simple, contented," — an attitude eminently 
fitted to "English ways of thinking" I And Di- 
derot's one great literary passion, we learn, was 
Richardson, the English novelist. 

La Mettrie, the atheist, who held no brief for 
the pious virtues or for the theological soul so be- 
loved by the British, receives just half a column 
of biography in which the facts of his doctrine 
are set down more in sorrow than in anger. Von 
Holbach, the German-Parisian prophet of earthly 
happiness, who denied the existence of a deity and 
believed that the soul became extinct at physical 
death, receives only a little more space than La 
Mettrie — less than a column. But then, the up- 
rightness of Von Holbach's character "won the 
friendship of many to whom his philosophy was 

Montesquieu, however, is given five columns 
with liberal praise — both space and eulogy being 
beyond his deserts. Perhaps an explanation of 
such generosity lies in this sentence which we 
quote from his biography: "It is not only that 
he is an Anglo-maniac, but that he is rather Eng- 
lish than French in style and thought." 

Rousseau, on the other hand, possessed no such 
exalted qualities; and the biography of this great 


Frenchman is shorter than Adam Smith's and only 
a little longer than that of the English divine, 
Joseph Butler I The Britannica informs us that 
Rousseau's moral character was weak and that he 
did not stand very high as a man. Furthermore, 
he was not a philosopher; the essence of his re- 
ligion was sentimentalism ; and during the last ten 
or fifteen years of his life he was not sane. If 
you wish to see how unjust and biased is this 
moral denunciation of Rousseau, turn to any un- 
prejudiced history of philosophy, and compare the 
serious and lengthy consideration given him, with 
the consideration given the English moral think- 
ers who prove such great favorites with the Bri- 
tannica's editors. 

The German "philosophers of the enlighten- 
ment" are given even less consideration. Chris- 
tian Wolff, whose philosophy admittedly held 
almost undisputed sway in Germany till eclipsed 
by Kantianism, receives only a column-and-a-half 
biography, only half the space given to Samuel 
Clarke, the English theological writer, and equal 
space with John Norris, the English philosophical 
divine, and with Arthur Collier, the English High 
Church theologian. Even Anthony Collins, the 
English deist, receives nearly as long a biography. 
Moses Mendelssohn draws only two and a half 
columns; Crusius, only half a column; Lambert, 


only a little over three-fourths of a column ; Rei- 
marus, only a column and a third, in which he is 
considered from the standpoint of the English 
deists; and Edelmann and Tetens have no biog- 
raphies whatever I 

Kant, as I have noted, receives less biographical 
space than Isaac Newton, and only about a fifth 
more space than does either John Locke or Hume. 
It is unnecessary to indicate here the prejudice 
shown by these comparisons. Every one is cog- 
nizant of Kant's tremendous importance in the 
history of thought, and knows what relative con- 
sideration should be given him in a work like the 
Britannica. Hamann, "the wise man of the 
North," who was the foremost of Kant's oppo- 
nents, receives only a column-and-a-quarter biog- 
raphy, in which he is denounced. His writings, 
to one not acquainted with the man, must be 
"entirely unintelligible and, from their peculiar, 
pietistic tone and scriptural jargon, probably of- 
fensive." And he expressed himself in "uncouth, 
barbarous fashion." Herder, however, another 
and lesser opponent of Kantianism, receives four 
and a half columns. Jacobi receives three ; Rein- 
hold, half a column; Maimon, two-thirds of a 
column; and Schiller, four and a half columns. 
Compare these allotments of space with: Thomas 
Hill Green, the English neo-Kantian, two and 


two-thirds columns; Richard Price, a column and 
three-fourths; Martineau, the English philosophic 
divine, five columns; Ralph Cudworth, two col- 
umns ; and Joseph Butler, six and a half columns I 
In the treatment of German philosophic ro- 
manticism the Encyclop(zdia Britannica is curi- 
ously prejudiced. The particular philosophers of 
this school — especially the ones with specula- 
tive systems — who had a deep and wide influence 
on English thought, are treated with adequate 
liberality. But the later idealistic thinkers, who 
substituted criticism for speculation, receive scant 
attention, and in several instances are omitted en- 
tirely. For English readers such a dispropor- 
tioned and purely national attitude may be ade- 
quate, since England's intellectualism is, in the 
main, insular. But, it must be remembered, the 
Britannica has assumed the character of an Amer- 
ican institution ; and, to date, this country has not 
quite reached that state of British complacency 
where it chooses to ignore all information save 
that which is narrowly relative to English culture. 
Some of us are still un-British enough to want an 
encyclopaedia of universal information. The 
Britannica is not such a reference work, and the 
manner in which it deals with the romantic 
philosophers furnishes ample substantiation of 
this fact. 


Fichte, for instance, whose philosophy em- 
bodies a moral idealism eminently acceptable to 
"English ways of thinking," receives seven col- 
umns of biography. Schelling, whose ideas were 
tainted with mythical mysticism, but who was not 
an evolutionist in the modern sense of the word, 
receives five columns. Hegel, who was, in a 
sense, the great English philosophical idol and 
whose doctrines had a greater influence in Great 
Britain than those of any other thinker, is given 
no less than fifteen columns, twice the space that 
is given to Rousseau, and five-sixths of the space 
that is given to Kant! Even Schleiermacher is 
given almost equal space with Rousseau, and his 
philosophy is interpreted as an effort "to reconcile 
science and philosophy with religion and theology, 
and the modern world with the Christian church." 
Also, the focus of his thought, culture and life, 
we are told, "was religion and theology." 

Schopenhauer is one of the few foreign philos- 
ophers who receive adequate treatment in the 
Encyclopcsdia Britannica. But Bostrom, in 
whose works the romantic school attained its sys- 
tematic culmination, receives just twenty-four 
lines, less space than is devoted to Abraham 
Tucker, the English moralist, or to Garth Wilkin- 
son, the English Swedenborgian ; and about the 
same amount of space as is given to John Morel 1, 


the English Congregational ist minister who 
turned philosopher. And Frederick Christian 
Sibbern receives no biography whatever I 

Kierkegaard, whose influence in the North has 
been profound, receives only half a column, equal 
space with Andrew Baxter, the feeble Scottish 
metaphysician; and only half the space given to 
Thomas Brown, another Scotch "philosopher." 
Fries who, with Herbart, was the forerunner of 
modern psychology' and one of the leading repre- 
sentatives of the critical philosophy, is given just 
one column ; but Beneke, a follower of Fries, who 
approached more closely to the English school, 
is allotted twice the amount of space that Fries 

The four men who marked the dissolution of 
the Hegelian school — Krause, Weisse, I. H. 
Fichte and Feuerbach — receive as the sum total 
of all their biographies less space than is given to 
the English divin*?, James Martineau, or to 
Francis Hutcheson. (In combating Hegelian- 
ism these four thinkers invaded the precincts of 
British admiration.) In the one-column biog- 
raphy of Krause we are told that the spirit of his 
thought is difficult to follow and that his term- 
inology is artificial. Weisse receives only twen- 
ty-three lines; and I. H. Fichte, the son of J. G. 
Fichte, receives only two-thirds of a column. 


Feuerbach, who marked the transition between 
romanticism and positivism and who accordingly 
holds an important position in the evolution of 
modem thought, is accorded a biography of a 
column and a half, shorter than that of Richard 
Price. Feuerbach, however, unlike Price, was an 
anti-theological philosopher, and is severely crit- 
icised for his spiritual shortcomings. 

Let us glance quickly at the important phi- 
losophers of positivism as represented in the En- 
cyclo-p(zdia Britannica. At the end of the seven- 
teenth and at the beginning of the nineteenth 
centuries the principal French philosophers repre- 
sentative of schools were de Maistre, Maine de 
Biran, Ampere, Saint-Simon and Victor Cousin. 
De Maistre, the most important philosopher of 
the principle of authority, is given a biography of 
a column and a third, is highly praised for his 
ecclesiasticism, and is permitted to be ranked with 
Hobbes. Maine de Biran receives a little over 
a column ; Ampere, less than a column ; and Saint- 
Simon, two and a third columns. 

Victor Cousin is given the astonishing amount 
of space of eleven columns; but just why he 
should have been treated in this extravagant man- 
ner is not clear, for we are told that his search for 
principles was not profound and that he "left no 
distinctive, permanent principles of philosophy." 


Nor does it seem possible that he should draw 
nearly as much space as Rousseau and Montes- 
quieu combined simply because he left behind 
interesting analyses and expositions of the work 
of Locke and the Scottish philosophers. Even 
Comte is given only four and a half columns 

The English philosophers of the nineteenth 
century before John Stuart Mill are awarded 
space far in excess of their importance, compara- 
tively speaking. For instance, James Mill re- 
ceives two columns of biography; Coleridge, who 
**did much to deepen and liberalize Christian 
thought in England," five and three-fourths col- 
umns; Carlyle, nine and two-thirds columns; 
William Hamilton, two and three-fourths col- 
umns; Henry Mansel, a disciple of Hamilton's, 
two-thirds of a column ; Whewell, over a column ; 
and Bentham, over three and a half columns. 

Bentham's doctrines "have become so far part 
of the common thought of the time, that there is 
hardly an educated man who does not accept as 
too clear for argument truths which were invis- 
ible till Bentham pointed them out. . . . The 
services rendered by Bentham to the world would 
not, however, be exhausted even by the practical 
adoption of every one of his recommendations. 
There are no limits to the good results of his intro- 


duction of a true method of reasoning into the 
moral and political sciences." John Stuart Mill, 
whose philosophy is "generally spoken of as being 
typically English," receives nine and a half 
columns; Charles Darwin, seven columns; and 
Herbert Spencer, over five. 

Positivism in Germany is represented by Diihr- 
ing In a biography which is only three-fourths of 
a column in length — an article which is merely an 
attack, both personal and general. "His pa- 
triotism," we learn, "is fervent, but narrow and 
exclusive." (Diihring idolized Frederick the 
Great.) Ardigo, the important Italian positivist, 
receives no mention whatever in the Encyclo- 
paedia, although in almost any adequate history 
of modern philosophy, even a brief one, you will 
find a discussion of his work. 

With the exception of Lotze, the philosophers 
of the new idealism receive scant treatment in the 
Britannica. Hartmann and Fechner are ac- 
corded only one column each; and Wilhelm 
Wundt, whose eesthetic and psychological re- 
searches outstrip even his significant philosophical 
work, is accorded only half a column I Francis 
Herbert Bradley has no biography — a curious 
oversight, since he is English; and Fouillee re- 
ceives only a little over half a column. 

The most inadequate and prejudiced treatment 


in the Britannica of any modern philosopher is to 
be found in the biography of Nietzsche, which is 
briefer than Mrs. Humphry Ward's I Not only 
is Nietzsche accorded less space than is given to 
such British philosophical writers as Dugald 
Stewart, Henry Sidgwick, Richard Price, John 
Norris, Thomas Hill Green, James Frederick 
Ferrier, Adam Ferguson, Ralph Cudworth, An- 
thony Collins, Arthur Collier, Samuel Clarke and 
Alexander Bain — an absurd and stupid piece of 
narrow provincial prejudice — but the biography 
itself is superficial and inaccurate. The sup- 
posed doctrine of Nietzsche is here used to expose 
the personal opinions of the tutor of Corpus 
Christi College who was assigned the task of in- 
terpreting Nietzsche to the readers of the Bri- 
tannica. It would be impossible to gather any 
clear or adequate idea of Nietzsche and his work 
from this biased and moral source. Here middle- 
class British insularity reaches its high-water 

Other important modern thinkers, however, are 
given but little better treatment. Lange receives 
only three-fourths of a column ; Paulsen, less than 
half a column; Ernst Mach, only seventeen lines; 
Eucken, only twenty-eight lines, with a list of his 
works; and Renouvier, two-thirds of a column. 
J. C. Maxwell, though, the Cambridge professor, 


gets two columns — twice the space given 
Nietzsche I 

In the biography of WilHam James we discern 
once more the contempt which England has for 
this country. Here is a man whose importance 
is unquestioned even in Europe, and who stands 
out as one of the significant figures in modern 
thought; yet the Encyclopedia Britannica^ that 
"supreme book of knowledge," gives him a biog- 
raphy of just twenty-eight lines I And it is 
Americans who are furnishing the profits for this 
English reference work! 

Perhaps the British editors of this encyclopaedia 
think that we should feel greatly complimented 
at having William James admitted at all when 
so many other important modems of Germany 
and France and America are excluded. But so 
long as unimportant English philosophical writers 
are given biographies, we have a right to expect, 
in a work which calls itself an "international dic- 
tionary of biography," the adequate inclusion of 
the more deserving philosophers of other nations. 

But what do we actually find^ You may hunt 
the Encyclopedia Britannica through, yet you 
will not see the names of John Dewey and Stan- 
ley Hall mentioned! John Dewey, an Amer- 
ican, is perhaps the world's leading authority on 
the philosophy of education; but the British edi- 


tors of the Encyclopsedia do not consider him 
worth noting, even in a casual way. Further- 
more, Stanley Hall, another American, who 
stands in the front rank of tlie world's genetic 
psychologists, is not so much as mentioned. And 
yet Hall's great work, Adolescence^ appeared five 
years before the Britannica went to press! Nor 
has Josiah Royce a biography, despite the fact 
that he was one of the leaders in the philosophical 
thought of America, and was even made an LL.D. 
by Aberdeen University in 1900. These omis- 
sions furnish excellent examples of the kind of 
broad and universal culture which is supposed to 
be embodied in the Britannica. 

But these are by no means all the omissions of 
the world's important modem thinkers. Incred- 
ible as it may seem, there is no biography of Her- 
mann Cohen, who elaborated the rationalistic 
elements in Kant's philosophy; of Alois Riehl, 
the positivist neo-Kantian; of Windelband and 
Rickert, whose contributions to the theory of 
eternal values in criticism are of decided sig- 
nificance to-day; of Freud, a man who has revo- 
lutionized modern psychology and philosophic 
determinism; of Amiel Boutroux, the modem 
French philosopher of discontinuity; of Henri 
Bergson, whose influence and popularity need no 
exposition here; of Guyau, one of the most ef- 


fective critics of English utilitarianism and evo- 
lutionism; or of Jung. 

When we add Roberto Ardigo, Weininger, 
Edelmann, Tetans, and Sibbern to this list of 
philosophic and psychologic writers who are not 
considered of sufficient importance to receive 
biographical mention in the Encyclopedia Britan- 
nica^ we have, at a glance, the prejudicial inade- 
quacy and incompleteness of this "great" English 
reference work. Nor can any excuse be offered 
that the works of these men appeared after the 
Britannica was printed. At the time it went to 
press even the most modem of these writers held 
a position of sufficient significance or note to have 
been included. 

In closing, and by way of contrast, let me set 
down some of the modern British philosophical 
writers who are given liberal biographies: Rob- 
ert Adamson, the Scottish critical historian of 
philosophy; Alexander Bain; Edward and John 
Caird, Scottish philosophic divines; Harry Cald- 
erwood, whose work was based on the contention 
that fate implies knowledge and on the doctrine 
of divine sanction; David George Ritchie, an un- 
important Scotch thinker; Henry Sidgwick, an 
orthodox religionist and one of the founders of 
the Society for Psychical Research; James H. 
Stirling, an expounder of Hegel and Kant; Wil- 


liam Wallace, an interpreter of Hegel ; and Garth 
Wilkinson, the Swedenborgian homeopath. 

Such is the brief record of the manner in which 
the world's modem philosophers are treated in the 
'Encyclopizdia Britannica. From this work hun- 
dreds of thousands of Americans are garnering 
their educational ideas. 



Throughout several of the foregoing chapters 
I have laid considerable emphasis on the narrow 
parochial attitude of the Bntanmca's editors and 
on the constant intrusion of England's middle- 
class Presbyterianism into nearly every branch of 
aesthetics. The Britanmca, far from being the 
objective and unbiased work it claims to be, as- 
sumes a personal and prejudiced attitude, and the 
culture of the world is colored and tinctured by 
that viewpoint. It would appear self-obvious to 
say that the subject of religion in any encyclo- 
psedia whose aim is to be universal, should be 
limited to the articles on religious matters. But 
in the Encyclopedia Britannica this is not the 
case. As I have shown, those great artists and 
thinkers who do not fall within the range of 
bourgeois England's suburban morality, are neg- 
lected, disparaged, or omitted entirely. 

Not only patriotic prejudice, but evangelical 
prejudice as well, characterizes this encyclo- 
psedia's treatment of the world's great achieve- 



merits; and nowhere does this latter bias exhibit 
itself more unmistakably than in the articles re- 
lating to Catholicism. The trickery, the mani- 
fest ignorance, the contemptuous arrogance, the 
inaccuracies, the venom, and the half-truths which 
are encountered in the discussion of the Catholic 
Church and its history almost pass the bounds of 
credibility. The wanton prejudice exhibited in 
this department of the Britannzca cannot fail to 
iind resentment even in non-Catholics, like my- 
self; and for scholars, either in or out of the 
Church, this encyclopasdia, as a source of infor- 
mation, is not only worthless but grossly mis- 

The true facts relating to the inclusion of this 
encyclopaedia's article on Catholicism, as showing 
the arrogant and unscholarly attitude of the edi- 
tors, are as interesting to those outside of the 
Church as to Catholics themselves. And it is for 
the reason that these articles are typical of a great 
many of the Encyclopsedia's discussions of cul- 
ture in general that I call attention both to the 
misinformation contained in them and to the 
amazing refusal of the Britannica^s editors to cor- 
rect the errors when called to their attention at a 
time when correction was possible. The treat- 
ment of the Catholic Church by the Britannica 
is quite in keeping with its treatment of other im- 


portant subjects, and it emphasizes, perhaps bet- 
ter than any other topic, not only the Encyclo- 
psedia's petty bias and incompleteness, but the 
indefensible and mendacious advertising by which 
this set of books was foisted upon the American 
public. And it also gives direct and irrefutable 
substantiation to my accusation that the spirit of 
the EncydopcEdia Britannica is closely allied to 
the provincial religious doctrines of the British 
bourgeoisie; and that therefore it is a work of the 
most questionable value. 

Over five years ago T. J. Campbell, S. J., in 
The Catholic Mind, wrote an article entitled The 
Truth About the Encyclopedia Britannica — an 
article which, from the standpoint of an author- 
ity, exposed the utter unreliability of this En- 
cyclopaedia's discussion of Catholicism. The 
article is too long to quote here, but enough of it 
will be given to reveal the inadequacy of the 
Britannica as a source of accurate information. 
"The Encyclopedia Britannica,'' the article be- 
gins, "has taken an unfair advantage of the 
public. By issuing all its volumes simultan- 
eously it prevented any protests against misstate- 
ments until the whole harm was done. Hence- 
forth prudent people will be less eager to put 
faith in prospectuses and promises. The volumes 
were delivered in two installments a couple of 


months apart. The article Catholic Churchy in 
which the animus of the Encyclopaedia might have 
been detected, should naturally have been in the 
first set. It was adroitly relegated to the end 
of the second set, under the caption Roman Cath- 
olic Church. 

"It had been intimated to us that the Encyclo- 
paedia's account of the Jesuits was particularly 
offensive. That is our excuse for considering it 
first. Turning to it we found that the same old 
battered scarecrow had been set up. The article 
covers ten and a half large, double-columned, 
closely-printed pages, and requires more than an 
hour in its perusal. After reading it two or three 
times we closed the book with amazement, not 
at the calumnies with which the article teems and 
to which custom has made us callous, but at the 
lack of good judgment, of accurate scholarship, 
of common information, and business tact which 
it reveals in those who are responsible for its 

"It ought to be supposed that the subscribers 
to this costly encyclopaedia had a right to expect 
in the discussion of all the questions presented an 
absolute or quasi-absolute freedom from partisan 
bias, a sincere and genuine presentation of all the 
results of the most modem research, a positive 
exclusion of all second-hand and discredited mat- 


ter, and a scrupulous adherence to historical truth. 
In the article in question all these essential con- 
ditions are woefully lacking. 

"Encyclopsedias of any pretence take especial 
pride in the perfection and completeness of their 
bibliographies. It is a stamp of scholarship and 
a guarantee of the thoroughness and reliability of 
the article, which is supposed to be an extract 
and a digest of all that has been said or written on 
the subject. The bibliography annexed to the 
article on the Jesuits, is not only deplorably 
meagre, but hopelessly antiquated. Thus, for in- 
stance, only three works of the present century 
are quoted; one of them apparently for no reason 
whatever, viz.: The History of the Jesuits of 
North America, in three volumes, by Thomas 
Hughes, S. J., for, as far as we are able to see, 
the Encyclopaedia article makes no mention of 
their being with Lord Baltimore in Maryland, or 
of the preceding troubles of the Jesuits in Eng- 
land, which were considered important enough 
for a monumental work, but evidently not for a 
compiler of the Encyclopaedia. Again, the nine 
words, 'laboring amongst the Hurons and Iro- 
quois of North America,' form the sum total of 
all the information vouchsafed us about the great 
missions of the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies, though we are referred to the seventy-three 


volumes of Thwaites' edition of the Jesuits Re- 
lations. Had the author or editor even glanced 
at these books he might have seen that besides the 
Huron and Iroquois missions, which were very 
brief in point of time and very restricted in their 
territorial limitations, the Jesuit missions with the 
Algonquins extended from Newfoundland to 
Alaska, and are still continued; he would have 
found that most of the ethnological, religious, 
linguistic and geographical knowledge we have of 
aboriginal North America comes from those Jesuit 
Relations; and possibly without much research 
the sluggish reader would have met with a certain 
inconspicuous Marquette; but as Englishmen, up 
to the Civil War, are said to have imagined that 
the Mississippi was the dividing line between the 
North and South, the value of the epoch-making 
discover)^ of the great river never entered this 
slow foreigner's mind. Nor is there any refer- 
ence to the gigantic labors of the Jesuits in Mex- 
ico; but perhaps Mexico is not considered to be 
in North America. 

"Nor is there in this bibliography any mention 
of the Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu, nor 
of the Monumenta Padagogica, nor is there any 
allusion to the great and learned works of Duhr, 
Tacchi-Venturi, Fouqueray, and Kroes, which 
have just been published and are mines of in- 


formation on the history of the Society in Spain, 
Germany, Italy and France; and although we are 
told of the Historia S octet atis Jesu by Orlandini, 
which bears the very remote imprint of 1620, is 
very difficult to obtain, and covers a very re- 
stricted period, there is apparently no knowledge 
of the classic work of Jouvency, nor is Sacchini 
cited, nor Polanco. The Bibliotheque des ecri' 
vains de la Compagnie de Jesus^ by De Backer, 
not 'Backer,' as the Encyclopaedia has it, is listed; 
but it is simply shocking to find that there was no 
knowledge of Sommervogel, who is the continu- 
ator of De Backer, and who has left us a most 
scholarly and splendid work which is brought 
down to our own times, and for which De Back- 
er's, notable though it be, was only a preparation. 
In brief, the bibliography is absolutely worthless, 
not only for a scholar, but even for the average 

"On the other hand it is quite in keeping with 
the character of the writers who were chosen for 
the article. The New York Evening Post in- 
forms us that before 1880, when a search for a 
suitable scribe for the Jesuit article was instituted, 
some one started on a hunt for Cardinal Newman, 
but the great man had no time. Then he thought 
of Manning, who, of course, declined, and finally 
knowing no other 'Jesuit' he gave the work to 


Littledale. Littledale, as everyone knows, was 
an Anglican minister, notorious not only for his 
antagonism to the Jesuits, but also to the Cath- 
olic Church. He gladly addressed himself to the 
task, and forthwith informed the world that 'the 
Jesuits controlled the policy of Spain'; that 'it 
was a matter of common knowledge that they 
kindled the Franco-Prussian war of 1870'; that 
'Pope Julius II dispensed the Father General 
from his vow of poverty,' though that warrior 
Pope expired eight years before Ignatius sought 
the solitude of Manresa, and had as yet no idea 
of a Society of Jesus; again, that 'the Jesuits 
from the beginning never obeyed the Pope' ; that 
'in their moral teaching they can attenuate and 
even defend any kind of sin' ; and, finally, not to 
be too prolix in this list of absurdities, that, prior 
to the Vatican Council, 'they had filled up all the 
sees of Latin Christendom with bishops of their 
own selection.' 

"It is true that only the last mentioned charge 
appears in the present edition, and it is a fortu- 
nate concession for Littledale's suffering victims; 
for if 'there are no great intellects among the 
Jesuits,' and if they are only a set of 'respectable 
mediocrities,' as this 'revised' article tells us, they 
can point with pride to this feat which makes a 
dozen Franco-Prussian wars pale into insig- 


nificance alongside it. We doubt, however, if the 
700 prelates who sat in the Vatican Council 
would accept that explanation of their promotion 
in the prelacy; and we feel certain that Cardinal 
Manning, who was one of the great figures in that 
assembly, would resent it, at least if it be true, 
as the Encyclopaedia assures us, that he consid- 
ered the suppression of the Society in 1773 ^^ ^^ 
the work of God, and was sure that another 1773 
was coming. 

"The wonder is that a writer who can be guilty 
of such absurdities should, after twenty years, be 
summoned from the dead as a witness to anything 
at all. But on the other hand it is not surprising 
when we see that the Rev. Ethelred Taunton, 
who is also dead and buried, should be made his 
yoke-fellow in ploughing over this old field, to 
sow again these poisonous weeds. There are 
many post-mortems in the Encyclopaedia. Had 
the careless editors of the Encyclopaedia consulted 
Usher's Reconstruction of the English Churchy 
they would have found Taunton described as an 
author 'who makes considerable parade of the 
amount of his research, but has not gone very far 
and has added little, if anything, to what we 
knew before. As a whole, his book on The His- 
tory of the Jesuits in England is uncritical and 


"Such is the authority the Encyclopsedia ap- 
peals to for information. That is bad enough, 
but in the list of authors Taunton is actually de- 
scribed as a 'Jesuit.' Possibly it is one of the 
punishments the Almighty has meted out to him 
for his misuse of the pen while on earth. But 
he never did half the harm to the Jesuits by his 
ill-natured assaults as he has to the Encyclopaedia 
in being mistaken for an 'S. J.'; for although 
there are some people who will believe anything 
an encyclopsedia tells them, there are others who 
are not so meek and who will be moved to inquire 
how, if the editor of this publication is so lament- 
ably ignorant of the personality and antecedents 
of his contributors, he can vouch for the reliabil- 
ity of what newspaper men very properly call the 
stuff that comes into the office. We are not told 
who revised the writings of those two dead men, 
one of whom departed this life twenty, the other 
four years ago; and we have to be satisfied with 
a posthumous and prejudiced and partly anon- 
ymous account of a great Order, about which 
many important books have been written since 
the demise of the original calumniators, and with 
which apparently the unknown reviser is unac- 

"It may interest the public to know that many 
of these errors were pointed out to the managers 


of the Encyclopsedia at their New York office 
when the matter was still in page proof and could 
have been corrected. Evidently it was not 
thought worth while to pay any attention to the 

"It is true that in the minds of some of their 
enemies, especially in certain parts of the habit- 
able globe, Catholics have no right to resent any- 
thing that is said of their practices and beliefs, 
no matter how false or grotesque such statements 
may be; and, consequently, we are not surprised 
at the assumption by the Encyclopcsdza Britannica 
of its usual contemptuous attitude. Thus, for 
instance, on turning to the articles Casuistry and 
Roman Catholic Church we find them signed 
'St. C Naturally and supernaturally to be 
under the guidance of a Saint C. or a Saint D. 
always inspires confidence in a Catholic; but this 
'St. C turns out to be only the Viscount St. 
Cyres, a scion of the noble house of Sir Stafford 
Northcote, the one time leader of the House of 
Commons, who died in 1887. In the Viscount's 
ancestral tree we notice that Sir Henry Stafford 
Northcote, first Baronet, has appended to his 
name the title 'Prov. Master of Devonshire Free- 
masons.' What 'Prov.' means we do not know, 
but we are satisfied with the remaining part of 
the description. The Viscount was educated at 


Eton, and Merton College, Oxford. He is a lay- 
man and a clubman, and as far as we know is 
not suspected of being a Catholic. A search in 
the 'Who's Who?' failed to reveal anything on 
that point, though a glance at the articles over 
his name will dispense us from any worry about 
his religious status. 

"We naturally ask why he should have been 
chosen to enlighten the world on Catholic topics? 
'Because,' says the editor of the Encyclopedia 
Britannica^ 'the Viscount St. Cyres has probably 
more knowledge of the development of theology 
in the Roman Catholic Church than any other 
person in that Church.' 

"The Church was unaware that it had at its 
disposal such a source of information. It will 
be news to many, but we are inclined to ask how 
the Viscount acquired that marvelous knowledge. 
It would require a life-long absorption in the 
study of divinity quite incompatible with the 
social duties of one of his station. Furthermore, 
we should like to know whence comes the com- 
petency of the editor to decide on the ability of 
the Viscount, and to pass judgment on the cor- 
rectness of his contribution? That also supposes 
an adequate knowledge of all that the dogmatic, 
moral and mystic theologians ever wrote, a life- 
long training in the language and methods of the 


science, and a special intellectual aptitude to com- 
prehend the sublime speculations of the Church's 

"It will not be unkind to deny him such quali- 
fications, especially now, for did he not tell his 
friends at the London banquet: 'During all 
these (seven) years I have been busy in the black- 
smith's shop (of the editor's room) and I do not 
hear the noise that is made by the hammers all 
around me' — nor, it might be added, does he hear 
what is going on outside the Britannica's forge. 

"Meantime, we bespeak the attention of all the 
Catholic theologians in every part of the world 
to the preposterous invitation to come to hear the 
last word about 'the development of theology' in 
the Catholic Church from a scholar whose claim 
to theological distinction is that 'he has written 
about Fenelon and Pascal.' The Britannica 
shows scant respect to Catholic scholarship and 
Catholic intelligence." 

Father Campbell then devotes several pages to 
a specific indictment of the misstatements and the 
glaring errors to be found in several of the articles 
relating to the Catholic Church. He quotes eight 
instances of St. Cyres' inaccurate and personal 
accusations, and also many passages from the arti- 
cles on Papacy^ Celibacy and St. Catherine of 
Siena — passages which show the low and biased 


standard of scholarship by which they were writ- 
ten. The injustice contained in them is obvious 
even to a superficial student of history. At the 
close of these quotations he accuses the Britannica 
of being neither up-to-date, fair, nor well-in- 
formed. "It repeats old calumnies that have 
been a thousand times refuted, and it persistently 
selects the Church's enemies who hold her up to 
ridicule and contempt. We are sorry for those 
who have been lavish in their praises of a book 
which is so defective, so prejudiced, so misleading 
and so insulting." 

It seems that while the Britannica's contribu- 
tions to the general misinformation of the world 
were being discussed, the editor wrote to one of 
his subscribers saying that the Catholics were very 
much vexed because the article on the Jesuits was 
not "sufficiently eulogistic." 

"He is evidently unaware," Father Campbell 
goes on to comment, "that the Society of Jesus 
is sufficiently known both in the Church and the 
world not to need a monument in the graveyard 
of the Encyclopizdia Britannica. Not the hum- 
blest Brother in the Order expected anything but 
calumny and abuse when he saw appended to 
the article the initials of the well-known assassins 
of the Society's reputation. Not one was sur- 
prised, much less displeased, at the absence of 


eulogy, sufficient or otherwise; but, on the con- 
trary, they were all amazed to find the loudly 
trumpeted commercial enterprise, which had been 
so persistently clamorous of its possession of the 
most recent results of research in every depart- 
ment of learning, endeavoring to palm off on the 
public such shopworn travesties of historical and 
religious truth. The editor is mistaken if he 
thinks they pouted. Old and scarred veterans are 
averse to being patted on the back by their 

"It is not, however, the ill-judged gibe that 
compels us to revert to the Society, as much as 
the suspicion that the editor of the 'Encyclopedia 
Britannica seems to fancy that we had nothing 
to say beyond calling attention to his dilapidated 
bibliography, which he labels with the very of- 
fensive title of 'the bibliography of Jesuitism^ — • 
a term which is as incorrect as it is insulting — 
or that we merely objected to the employment of 
two dead and discredited witnesses to tell the 
world what kind of an organization the Society is. 

"It may be, moreover, that we misjudged a cer- 
tain portion of the reading public in treating the 
subject so lightly, and as the Encyclopaedia is con- 
tinually reiterating the assertion that it has no 
'bias' and that its statement of facts is purely 'ob- 
jective/ a few concrete examples of the opposite 


kind of treatment — the one commonly employed 
— may not be out of place. 

*'We are told, for instance, that 'the Jesuits had 
their share, direct or indirect, in the embroiling 
of States, in concocting conspiracies and in kind- 
ling wars. They were responsible by their 
theoretical teachings in theological schools for 
not a few assassinations' (340). 'They power- 
fully aided the revolution which placed the Duke 
of Braganza on the throne of Portugal, and their 
services were rewarded with the practical control 
of ecclesiastical and almost civil affairs in that 
kingdom for nearly one hundred years' (344). 
'Their war against the Jansenists did not cease 
till the very walls of Port Royal were demolished 
in 1710, even to the very abbey church itself, and 
the bodies of the dead taken with every mark of 
insult from their graves and literally flung to the 
dogs to devour' (345). Tn Japan the Jesuits 
died with their converts bravely as martyrs to 
the Faith, yet it is impossible to acquit them of 
a large share of the causes of that overthrow' 
(345). Tt was about the same time that the 
grave scandal of the Chinese and Malabar rites 
began to attract attention in Europe and to make 
thinking men ask seriously whether the Jesuit 
missionaries in those parts taught anything which 
could fairly be called Christianity at all' 


(348). 'The political schemings of Parsons in 
England was an object lesson to the rest of Eu- 
rope of a restless ambition and a lust of domina- 
tion which were to find many imitators' (348). 
'The General of the Order drove away six thou- 
sand exiled Jesuit priests from the coast of Italy, 
and made them pass several months of suffering 
on crowded vessels at sea to increase public sym- 
pathy, but the actual result was blame for the 
cruelty with which he had enhanced their mis- 
fortunes' (346). 'Clement XIV, who suppressed 
them, is said to have died of poison, but Tanucci 
and two others entirely acquit the Jesuits.' 
'They are accountable in no small degree in 
France, as in England, for alienating the minds 
of men from the religion for which they professed 
to work' (345). 

"Very little of this can be characterized as 
'eulogistic,' especially as interwoven in the story 
are malignant insinuations, incomplete and dis- 
torted statements, suppressions of truth, gross 
errors of fact, and a continual injection of per- 
sonal venom which makes the argument not an 
'unbiased and objective presentment' of the case, 
but the plea of a prejudiced prosecuting and 
persecuting attorney endeavoring by false testi- 
mony to convict before the bar of public opinion 
an alleged culprit, whose destruction he is trying 


to accomplish with an uncanny sort of delight." 
After having adduced a long list of instances 
which "reveal the rancor and ignorance of many 
of the writers hired by the Encyclopaedia," the 
article then points out "the fundamental untruth- 
fulness'* on which the Britannica is built. In a 
letter written by the Encyclopedia's editor ap- 
pears the following specious explanation: "Ex- 
treme care was taken by the editors, and especially 
by the editor responsible for the theological side 
of the work, that every subject, either directly or 
indirectly concerned with religion, should as far 
as possible be objective and not subjective in their 
presentation. The majority of the articles on the 
various Churches and their beliefs were written 
by members within the several communions, and, 
if not so written, were submitted to those most 
competent to judge, for criticism and, if need be, 

Father Campbell in his answer to this letter 
says: "Without animadverting on the peculiar 
use of the English language by the learned Eng- 
lish editor who tells us that 'every subject' should 
be 'objective' in their presentation, we do not 
hesitate to challenge absolutely the assertion that 
*the majority of the articles on the various 
Churches were written by members within the sev- 
eral communions, and if not so written were sub- 


mitted to those most competent to judge, for 
criticism and, if need be, for correction.' Such a 
pretence is simply amazing, and thoroughly per- 
plexed, we asked: What are we supposed to 
understand when we are informed that 'the ma-. 
jority of the articles on the various Churches and 
their beliefs were written by members within the 
several communions'^ 

"Was the article on The Roman Catholic 
Church written by a Catholic"? Was the indi- 
vidual who accumulated and put into print all 
those vile aspersions on the Popes, the saints, the 
sacraments, the doctrines of the Church, a Cath- 
olic? Were the other articles on Casuistry^ Celi- 
bacy, St. Catherine of Siena, and Mary, the 
mother of Jesus, written by a Catholic? The 
supposition is simply inconceivable, and it calls 
for more than the unlimited assurance of the En- 
cyclopczdia Britannica to compel us to accept it. 

"But 'they were submitted to the most compe- 
tent judge for criticism and, if need be, correc- 
tion.' Were they submitted to any judge at all, 
or to any man of sense, before they were sent off 
to be printed and scattered throughout the Eng- 
lish speaking world*? Is it permissible to imagine 
for a moment that any Catholic could have read 
some of those pages and not have been filled with 
horror at the multiplied and studied insults to 


everything he holds most sacred in his religion? 
Or did 'the editor responsible for the theological 
side of the work' reserve for himself the right to 
reject or accept whatever recommended itself to 
his superior judgment*?" 

The article then points out that "far from 
being just to Catholics, the Britamiica pointedly 
and persistently discriminated against them." 
The article on the Episcopalians was assigned to' 
the Rev. Dr. D. D. Addison, Rector of All Saints, 
Brookline, Mass. ; that on Methodists to the Rev. 
Dr. J. M. Buckley, Editor of the Christian Ad- 
vocate, New York; that on the Baptists to the 
Rev. Newton Herbert Marshall, Baptist Church, 
Hampstead, England; that on the Jews to Israel 
Abrahams, formerly President of the Jewish His- 
torical Society and now Reader on Talmudic and 
Rabbinic Literature in Cambridge, and so on for 
the Presbyterians, Unitarians, Lutherans, etc. 
But in the case of the Catholic Church not only its 
history but its theology was given to a critic who 
was neither a theologian, nor a cleric, nor even 
a Catholic, and who, as Father Campbell notes, 
is not known outside of his little London coterie. 

The Britannica's editor also apologized for his 
encyclopaedia by stating that "Father Braun, 
S. J., has assisted us in our article on Vestments, 
and that Father Delehaye, S. J., has contributed, 


among other articles, those on The Bollandists 
and Canonization. Abbe Boudinhon and Mgr. 
Duchesne, and Luchaire and Ludwig von Pastor 
and Dr. Kraus have also contributed, and Abbot 
Butler, O. S. B., has written on the Augustinians, 
Benedictines, Carthusians, Cistercians, Domin- 
icans and Franciscans" ; and, finally : "The new 
Britannica has had the honor of having as a con- 
tributor His Eminence James Cardinal Gibbons, 
Archbishop of Baltimore, who has written of the 
Roman Catholic Church in America." 

"But, after all," answers Father Campbell, "it 
was not a very generous concession to let Father 
Joseph Braun, S. J., Staatsexamen ah Religions- 
oberlehren fur Gymnasien^ University of Bonn, 
assist the editors in the very safe article on Vest- 
ments^ nor to let the Bollandists write a column 
on their publication, which has been going on for 
three or four hundred years. The list of those 
who wrote on the Papacy is no doubt respectable 
in ability if not in number, but we note that the 
editor is careful to say that the writers of that 
article were 'principally' Roman Catholics. 

"Again we are moved to ask why should a 
Benedictine, distinguished though he be, have as- 
signed to him the history of the Augustinians, 
Franciscans, Dominicans, etc.? Were there no 
men in those great and learned orders to tell what 


they must have known better than even the eru- 
dite Benedictine? Nor will it avail to tell us 
that His Eminence of Baltimore wrote The His- 
tory of the Roman Catholic Church in the United 
States^ when that article comprises only a column 
of statistics, preceded by two paragraphs, one on 
the early missions, and the other on the settlement 
of Lord Baltimore. No one more than the illus- 
trious and learned churchman would have re- 
sented calling such a mere compilation of figures 
a History of the Catholic Church in the United 
States, and no one would be more shocked than he 
by the propinquity of his restricted article to the 
prolix and shameless one to which it is annexed." 

Here in brief is an account of the "impartial" 
manner in which Catholicism is recorded and de- 
scribed in that "supreme" book of knowledge, the 
'Encyclopczdia Britannica. And I set down this 
record here not because it is exceptional but, to 
the contrary, because it is representative of the 
way in which the world's culture (outside of Eng- 
land), and especially the culture of America, is 

The intellectual prejudice and contempt of 
England for America is even greater if anything 
than England's religious prejudice and contempt 
for Catholicism; and this fact should be borne in 
mind when you consult the Britannica for knowl- 


edge. It will not give you even scholarly or ob- 
jective information: it will advise you, by con- 
stant insinuation and intimation, as well as by 
direct statement, that English culture and achieve- 
ment represent the transcendent glories of the 
world, and that the great men and great accom- 
plishments of other nations are of minor im- 
portance. No more fatal intellectual danger to 
America can be readily conceived than this dis- 
torted, insular, incomplete, and aggressively Brit- 
ish reference work. 



The following list contains two hundred of 
the many hundreds of writers, painters, musicians 
and scientists who are denied biographies in the 
Britannica. There is not a name here which 
should not be in an encyclopaedia which claims 
for itself the completeness which the Britannica 
claims. Many of the names stand in the fore- 
front of modern culture. Their omission is noth- 
ing short of preposterous, and can be accounted 
for only on the grounds of ignorance or prejudice. 
In either case, they render the encyclopaedia in- 
adequate as an up-to-date and comprehensive ref- 
erence work. 

It will be noted that not one of these names is 
English, and that America has suffered from neg- 
lect in a most outrageous fashion. After reading 
the flamboyant statements made in the Encyclo- 
pedia Britannica's advertising, glance down this 
list. Then decide for yourself whether or not the 
statements are accurate. 

Objection may be raised to some of the foUow- 


ing names on the ground that they are not of suf- 
ficient importance to be included in an encyclo- 
paedia, and that their omission cannot be held to 
the discredit of the Britannica. In answer let me 
state that for every name listed here as being de- 
nied a biography, there are one or two, and, in 
the majority of cases, many. Englishmen in the 
same field who are admittedly inferior and yet 
who are given detailed and generally laudatory 


"A. E." (George W. Rus- 
Hermann Bahr 
Henri Bernstein 
Otto Julius Bierbaum 
Ambrose Bierce 
Helene Bohlau 
Henry Bordeaux 
Rene Boylesve 
Enrico Butti 
Bliss Carman 
Winston Churchill 
Pierre de Coulevain 
Richard Dehmel 
Margaret Deland 
Grazia Deledda 
Theodore Dreiser 


Clyde Fitch 

Paul Fort 

Gustav Frenssen 


Fucini (Tanfucio Neri) 


Stefan George 

Rene de Ghil 


Ellen Glasgow 

Remy de Gourmont 

Robert Grant 

Lady Gregory 





Hugo von Hofmannsthal 

Arno Holz 

Richard Hovey 


Bronson Howard 

Ricarda Huch 

James Huneker 

Douglas Hyde 

Lionel Johnson 


Charles Klein 



Percy MacKaye 

Emilio de Marchi 

Ferdinando Martini 

Stuart Merrill 

William Vaughn Moody 


Standish O'Grady 



Giovanni Pascoli 

David Graham Phillips 

Wilhelm von Polenz 


Edwin Arlington Robinson 

Romain Rolland 

T. W. Rolleston 


Albert Samain 

George Santayana 

Johannes Schlaf 





John Bannister Tabb 


Gherardi del Testa 

Jerome and Jean Tharaud 

Ludwig Thoma 

Augustus Thomas 


Katherine Tynan 


Clara Viebig 

Annie Vivanti 



Edith Wharton 

Owen Wister 

Ernst von Wolzogen 


George Bellows 
Mary Cassatt 
Louis Corinth 
Maurice Denis 

C. W. Hawthorne 

Robert Henri 


Sergeant Kendall 

Ludwig Knaus 


Jean Paul Laurens 



Von Marees 


Rene Menard 




Charles Shuch 

Van Gogh 

Lucien Simon 









Mrs. Beach 



John Knowles Paine 


Horatio Parker 



Frederick Converse 



Max Reger 

Arthur Foote 

Nikolaus Rubinstein 


Scharwenka brothers 


Georg Alfred Schumann 

Henry K. Hadley 


Josef Hofmann 


Edgar Stillman Kelly 

Friedrich Silcher 





Gustav Mahler 



V^illiam Beaumont 

Simon Flexner 

John Shaw Billings 

W. W. Gerhard 

Luther Burbank 

Samuel David Gross 

George W. Crile 

William S. Halsted 

Harvey Cushing 

Wilhelm His 

Rudolph Diesel 

Abraham Jacobi 

Daniel Drake 

Rudolph Leuckart 


Franz Leydig 


Jacques Loeb 

Ramon y Cajal 

Percival Lowell 

Nicholas Senn 

Lyonet (Lyonnet) 

Marion Sims 

S. J. Meltzer 

Theobald Smith 


W. H. Welch 

T. H. Morgan 

Orville Wright 

Joseph O'Dwyer 

Wilbur Wright 








Hermann Cohen 

Josiah Royce 

John Dewey 

Alois Riehl 







G. Stanley Hall 






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