Life and Lillian Gish (1932)

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206 Life and Lillian Gish wanting in sex-appeal, why all the marriage proposals? Why so much poetry? Just one young man wrote eleven little volumes of poetry — pretty good poetry, if there is such a thing, even if not entirely sane (what poetry is?) — and it was printed by hand with the utmost care and beauty. Also, she was being discovered by the "intelligentsia," whatever that word means. If, as appears, it has to do with intelligence, it would seem to apply to the great masses who had hailed her as an artist and raved over her, almost from the beginning. Never mind — she was now definitely recognized as an Artist — taken up by the elect, who in the long run, have something to say about Art, and affix the official stamp. And having discovered her, they proceeded to burn incense and chant orisons to her as their special saint and deesse, just as the others had been doing for a good ten years and more. As early as 1921, Edward Wagenknecht, a young don of the Chicago University, met her, and straightway hailed her as the "artist's artist." Further he declared: "Words, especially prose, seem horribly wooden in discussing her. . . . Hers is a personality which can be adequately described only in terms of music, or poetry, which is a form of music. In her presence one wants instinctively to talk blank verse." There was a great deal more to it which I should like to quote, for it was sincere, and trimly phrased. Mr. Wagenknecht has since written a whole chapbook on the subject of Miss Gish, a distinguished performance."" My impression is that he was the advance guard of her later "discoverers." * "Lillian Gish, An Interpretation": Number Seven, University of Washington Chapbooks. Edited by Glenn Hughes (1927).