I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 59

Casanovas Heinfahrt
box 4/10
3 0 I. un in ene enenenchiche eenen
Dec 14,19211
The Nation

of us mailed his weekly letter to The Nation in the train mail
box at the Union Station here on Sunday night and that it
arrived safely in New York on Tuesday afternoon at four
o’clock, after only one visit to Brocklyn en route—if we may
Casanova Passes
trust the post-office stamp upon it. Again, a manuscript mailed
by you in New York to us has safely arrived here after being
Casanova’s Hamecoming. By Arthur Schnitzler. Issued by sub¬
ouly thirteen days on the road—during which period it, too,
scription. (Thomas Seltzer.) 810.
seems to have visited only one other city, Richmond, Virginia.
Tis, curiously, true of each separate age that it creates
Does not this denote progress? Moreover, the Baltimore Sun
4 an individual wholly characteristic of his time; and no epoch
this week printed a triumphant news story to the effect that it
was more faithfully served than the eighteenth century in
now takes only twenty-four hours for a letter to go the forty
Casanova. He was, in every aspect, the eighteenth century—in
miles from Washington to Baltimore. As we write, a friend
his rascality, at once magnificent and trivial; his shallow, pre¬
from Boston tells us that his father receives letters at his
tentious learning; his gabbling metaphysics shrewdly turned to
office which take only twenty-four hours to reach him from his
practical use; and, notably, in the sterile ardor of his passion.
home eleven miles out in the suburbs.
His memoirs, only now, and to a limlited degree, accessible in
Now we submit that on this showing any talk of the necessity
English, for a very long while have been the European founda¬
of foreign, and particularly a Chinese post oflice, on our soil
tion of all reflections and studies in the wide range of years he
is absurd. No second-hand foreign post office for us.
The temper of imaginative English letters, however, has been
perzistently indifferent to that period: Mr. Compton Mackenzie
Washington Correspondents of Dhe Nation
surveyed the English scene at Bath; Mr. Cabell has gazed on it
Washington, D. C., December 1
both in England and France; and Mrs. Wharton, in“ The Valley
of Decision,?' indicated a great deal—drawn largely from
Casanova. But an indication is not a record, a hint is but at
Beauty and the Artist
best an admission of subservience; and that is helpless in the
face, the patched and painted face, of an age of perverse frank¬
To rnE Eprron or THE NarioN:
uess. The reason is clear:
Sin: Does not the able reviewer of Mr. Sherwood Anderson’s
It is impossible within the sobriety, the stupidity, really, of
(The Triumph of the Egg,' in T’e Nation for November 23,
English taste to manage any transcription of the spirit of the
take a little for granted? His account of Mr. Anderson’s temn¬
seventeen hundreds. Europe, and particularly Arthur Schnitz¬
peramental and artistic background seeins to rest upon the fol¬
ler, is under no such heavy responsibility to the ubiquitous and
lowing statements or implications: that beauty and certain other
perennially young person; consequently“ Casanova’s Homecom¬
desirable things are not to be found in cur comman life; that
ing,' translated in a limited edition and innocent of the name
accordingly only commonplace peopie who exist at low levels of
of its publisher, has a certain unique value.
sensibility can find happiness in this life, or even endure it with
To anyone at all familiar with the implications of the word
equanimity; that souls of a certain fineness, on the contrary,
cicisbeo, who knows something of the Society of Arcadians, to
are necessarily depressed and disillusioned by the fatal lack of
whom the Gozzis and Cimarosa and Lancret are not wholly
beauty, and—if very fine—apparently are driven toward suleide
strange, Schnitzler’s novel of a great Italian adventurer in petto
or madness. Are these facts, or the reviewer’s assumptions?
will be both signifiernt and entertaining. It is an exceptionally
To my way of thinking, your reviewer has given superfluous
happy subject for its author, since it offers him, at its zenith,
support to an artistic and philosophic claim of which we have
a scene to the tattered ends of which in the present he has been
already heard far too much. I mean the grandiloquent and
long addressed.
cheeky claim of “pessimism'' to be the other name for truth.
Mantua, a country place, and, at the end, Venice, are the for¬
So far from it being the last proof of a fine soul’s exquisiteness
mal settings threugh which Casanova, over fifty, fading but
that it can find beauty in the life about it, I should have sup¬
not faded, passes; but, appropriately, he is mostly scen in a
posed that the discovery of beauty was the first service of an
garden, an Italian garden without flowers, a walled space with
artist. Lest 1 there touch upon matters of which I know
an emerald sod, cypress and cedars, and a stained marble
nothing, I will merely affirm, in contradiction of the rriewer,
that I have in my acquaintance a number of sensitive and fine¬
There, in a net of intrigue, of gambling and a duel, he waits
souled people who do, in fact, find in the common life about
for the summons to return to the city of his birth. The intrigue
them, and disclose in the conduct of their own human relation¬
is successful, the duel an extravaganza finished with a thrust
ships, abundant beauty; and who can and do take delight in
o4 lithe steel, and Casanova posts rapidly to the coast. The
such beauty, with an enjoyment, I boldly aver, not a whit less
figures about him are as inevitable as their surroundings: the
aesthetic or sophisticated than the despondency of Mr. Anderson.
complacent woman of the inn; the bucolic Friend with his sly
What is to be done with these people?
wife; the fat abbate; the spiteful marchese and the dragoon,
Your reviewer says: There are levels of insensibility that are
yeung and handsome, in his house; and, specially, the lovely
literally unimaginable to Mr. Andersen and his kind.' That
blue-stocking, Marcolina, educated by a professor of mathe¬
is true, indeed; yet how reassuring it would be to see the two¬
maties, and scornful in her learned support of the sage of
halved truth stated sometimes like this: "There are levels of
sensibility that are literally unimeginable to—artists of such¬
The table for gambling is set, in the cool of evening, on the
and-such a temperament. For that also, I take it, is true, and
lawn, illuminated by the light falling from a door; the gold
as things go nowadays even more important.
slips and glitters—it was Casanova who asserted that gambling
Ne York, November 22
debts should not be paid in ringing coin—and the Chevalier,
an appropriated title, follows in his thoughts the seductive
body of Marcolina. Casanova discourses on a Gracious Supreme
Alright to the Point
Council, the Cabala, his forthcoming polemic against atheists,
To Tnn Eprron or THE NArIoN:
his adventures of heart and wit and impudence; he is publicly
Sin: I received a copy of your paper and would state that it
impressive and privately by turn sanguine and weary; two
is alright for people who are accustomed to thinking forwards.
states of mind reflected by the two suits, one a show of em¬
Your paper is an honor to your country.
broidered gray satin, Spanish lace, and cherry silk, and the
Toronto, November 29
L. KNicHr
other shabby and travel-worn, to which he is reduced.