by Joachim Gruber





Arts/Literature - Postscript to Yesterday
Isadora Duncan - William James



Copyright, 1947, by Lloyd R. Morris
All rights reserved under International and
Pan-American Copyright Conventions

Published in New York by Random House, Inc.,
and simultaneously in Toronto, Canada,
by Random House of Canada, Ltd., 1947

Designed by Meyer Wagman

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The story of the American mind and heart during the past fifty years, told with ironic wit and deep nostalgia; a book to make you enjoy the past and understand the present; a cavalcade of America that both recreates and interprets the most extraordinary era of our history.

In 1896, Americans serenely faced the future. They were moving along the highroad of progress, and moving fast. Just beyond the horizon lay the promised land. They differed chiefly about the best means of reaching what was so obviously attainable. Under the circumstances to be a pessimist was to be a queer fish.

In 1946 their mood was very different. During the interval, their physical and social environment had been completely transformed. They had advanced, as no other nation in history, toward power, wealth, and material possessions. In the common view, these were what made existence more secure and more satisfying. But few Americans considered life as secure and satisfying as it had been fifty years earlier. Confidence and faith had evaporated. Skepticism was commonplace. Pessimism. was no longer eccentric. The weather had shifted from fair to overcast, and the American dream had taken on the quality of a mirage.

The parallel developments of unexampled progress and deepening disillusion are the subject of this book. It surveys the radical changes that have occurred in our lifethe revolution ,in customs, manners, and moralsin terms of the journalists, writers, philosophers, and religious and social leaders who have shaped our contemporary culture and helped make the moral weather in which we are living today.

Lloyd Morris, teacher, critic, and man of letters, is best known for his biography of Hawthorne (The Rebellious Puritan); his collaboration with John van Druten in The Damask Cheek; and his autobiography, Threshold in the Sun, which both the New Yorker and the New York Times compared to that American classic, The Education of Henry Adams. By the publication of Postscript to Yesterday he takes his place as one of the foremost social historians of this generation. (Electronic Information Network entry on Lloyd R. Morris, 1893 - 1954)


from Samuel Dickson, Isadora Duncan (1878-1927)

ISADORA DUNCAN's love affairs were numerous and she embarked on every one as if it were destined to be perfect and permanent. She was less promiscuous than psychically virginal. Men failed her with tedious unanimity. She asked nothing of them - except perfection.

from Anarchy Archives, An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism, Goldman Archive

Short, stocky, exceedingly plain, EMMA GOLDMAN looked like a strong-minded, respectable housewife. She was strong-minded, no housewife, and anything but respectable. Her Prim white shirtwaist and black skirt disguised a proletarian Aspasia whose tempestuous love affairs, whatever their private Passion, were always public demonstrations of a theory. Emma Goldman loved theories with an indiscriminate ardor. The violence of her affection for ideas was equaled only by the violence of her antipathy to capitalists and reformers. As she was convinced that every attractive idea ought to be adopted, her life-except for intervals spent in prison-held few vacant moments. In the phrase of the day, she "believed in experience". So her path was littered with abandoned lovers and discarded philosophies. To all of them she had been faithful, in her fashion. Each had seemed irresistible-for a while.

from Allan R. May, Dutch Schultz: Beer Baron of the Bronx

DUTCH SCHULTZ performed a traditionally approved economic function. By effecting the consolidation of independent units, he eliminated waste, promoted efficiency and replaced the disorder of an obsolete individualism with rigorous discipline.... He cheerfully recognized the "right of the inefficient to die" and made himself its willing instrument. Death solved the problem of competition.

from Guinan, Silent Ladies & Gents

Like Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, MISS TEXAS GUINAN wished to redeem her world from the cardinal sin of dullness. Like Mrs. Fish, she was singularly free of illusions and possessed a notable talent for imaginative insult. Seated in the center of her nightly bedlam, her diamonds blazing and her gown shining with sequins, armed with a clapper and police whistle to ward off any intolerable momentary silence, she, would welcome patrons with a-, loud, cheerful, full-throated "Hello, sucker! ". . . . Life, as she saw it from her table, had the look of madness and she took a malicious pleasure in abusing it, making it more wacky, stepping up its frenzy.... By nature, she was a small-town woman, inclined to simple decencies.

Table of Contents

PREFACE ..... xi

INTRODUCTION: The Look of Life ..... xv

Part One:


CHAPTER I: The Lady Vanishes
 1. An Old Lady and a New Day ..... 3
 2. Pleasures and Palaces: Newport, Stanford White ..... 7
 3. The Restlessness of the Elect: Astor, Stuyvesant Fish ..... 11
 4. Career in the Drawing Room Marburg, de Wolfe, Whitman, Gardener ..... 21
 5. Lady Into Fox: Belmont, Roosevelt, Harriman, Duer Miller ..... 26
 CHAPTFR 11: The Woman Takes Over ..... 32
 i . The Volcano of Unrest: Gen Feder, Women's Clubs ..... 31
 2. Deputy for Conscience: J. Addams (Hull House), Lilian Wald (Henry St.) .....35
 3. Rebels: Mary Harris Jones, Anne Diggs, Mary Laase, Emma Goldman ..... 42
 4  Anonymous Transformers: National Women's Trade Union League .....47
 5. The Dictators and the Folkways:Carrie Nation, Margaret Sanger ..... 52
 6. Puritan Crusader: Isadora Duncan ..... 56
CHAPTFR III: The Fingers in the Pie  ..... 64
1. Old Plot, New Trappings: J.P. Morgan, J. Fish, W.H. Vanderbilt, Dutch Schultz, Al Capone, Texas Guinann ..... 64
2. The Manners of Nornialcy: Larry Fay - the Big Butlter and Egg Man, Trade Associations ..... 68
3. "Decay's Effacing Finger": Arnold Rothstein, Dixie Davis, Dutch Schultz  ..... 74
4. The Day Before Tomorrow: Metropolitan Opera, "Cafe Society" ..... 83

Part Two:


CHAPTER IV: The Melancholy of the Masters ..... 89
1. The Return of the Native: Henry James ..... 89
2. The Morals of Mammon: Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) ..... 96
3. The Will to Believe: William Dean Howells ..... 102
CHAPTER V: The Scepticism of the Young .....107
 1. A Gospel of Doubt: Stephen Crane ..... 107
2. The Frightened Optimist: O'Henry .....110
3. A Lost Leader: Jack London .....115
4. Puzzled Iconoclast: Theodore Dreiser ..... 121
5. Mirage: Willa Cather ..... 130
CHAPTIER VI: Seven Pillars of Wisdom .....134
 1. The Nalional Gadfly: Sinclair Lewis ..... 134
 2. Babbitt Strikes Out: Sherwood Anderson ..... 145
 3 .The Great Liquidation: Scott Fitzgerald ..... 148
 4. Salvage: Ernest Hemingway ..... 154
 5. Sphinx in the South: William Faulkner ..... 157
 6. Thunder on the Left: James T. Fawell 162
 7. Fiery Gospel: John Steinbeck 166
CHAPTER V11: Across the Footlights ..... 172
1. ManMilliner, Plus: Clyde Fitch ..... 172
2. "All Man's Blundering Unhappiness": E, O'Neill ..... 177
3. The Imp in Doctor Pangloss: George S. Kaufman  ..... 184
4. A "New Realism": S. Howard, G. Kelly, M. Anderson ..... 189
5. Protest and Prophecy: Clifford Odet  ..... 199
6. Gay, but Wistful: Philip Barry, S.N. Behrman, John van Druden  ..... 204

Part Three:


CHAPTER VIII: The Uses of News  ..... 217
1. Tribune of the People: Joseph Pulitzer & The World ..... 217
2. Problem in the Yellow: William Randolph Hearst & The Examiner  ..... 227
3. Bluestocking in Babylon: Adolph S. Ochs & The New York Times ..... 246
4. The Conscience of Main Streets: William A. White  ...... 252
5. Savior of the SimpleMinded: Joseph M. Patterson & The Daily News ..... 259
CHAPTER IX: "Raising the Tone of Democracy" ...... 267
1. Grand Lama of the Matrons ..... 267
2. The Mirror of the Muckrakers ..... 278
3. Evangelists and Entertainers ..... 310

Part Four:


CiiAiPTER X: All Life is an Experiment ...... 321
1. Yankee Socrates: William James ..... 321
2. The Great Dissenter ..... 339
3. Savonarola in Silk ..... 356
4. A Pragmatist Looks at Tomorrow ..... 368
CHAPTER Xl: The Mourners Go About the Streets ..... 378
 1. The Pensive Trinity ..... 378
 2. The Horizons of Despair ..... 401
CHAPTER XII: The Mysticism of the Middie Classes ..... 422
 1. The Unity of Good ..... 422
 2. Hope for a Miracle ..... 431


At the End of an Era ...... 444

Bibliography ..... 451
Index  ...... 467

Version: 12. March 2005
Kontakt: Joachim.Gruber