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A Mirror for Editors

ISSUE:  Summer 1934

One of our more dignified monthly magazines contained not long ago a rehash of newspaper stories about the sinking of the Titanic. It was a competent “rewrite” job, dramatic and compact of “human interest” ; it was done by a reporter who knew something of ships, engineering and nautical terms, and who understood how primary passions had stamped the stereotypes of news; and as a means of killing time it served its purpose almost as well as detective fiction. Yet the thing had happened more than a score of years earlier. There was no anniversary to commemorate, no recent similar disaster at sea, no international conference on the peril of icebergs, and no suggestion as to how such accidents might be averted in future. What was the occasion for this evocation of memories of Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, John Jacob Astor, Major Archibald Butt, and the others? In some puzzlement one turned to an editorial explanation in the back of the magazine.

The human appetite for shockers [said the editors] is not affected by depressions or flights of capital. The demand for detective fiction continues and newspaper stories of disasters sell thousands of extras even though the world be on the verge of bankruptcy. In the September number there appeared in a survivor’s story of the Johnstown Flood.

That the Magazine touched a popular chord was proven by the flood of letters that followed its appearance. A second shocker now follows.

I have ventured to italicize an enacting clause of this quotation, and I have deleted the name of the magazine because it ought not to be singled out either for praise or discredit.

Only in the candor of its editorial averment does it differ from its fellows, and only this prompted me to select the article on the Titanic as illustrating a characteristic predominant in current periodical publications. The magazine which printed it had a distinguished tradition, and it had no greater predilection for that sort of grandstand play than its competitors. If it were an exception there would be no occasion for calling attention to the matter. What has happened to it and to the others of its kind that they ape the methods and emulate the sensationalism of the daily press?


In its beginnings periodical journalism in the United States, confronted by a national life just taking root, and animated by the liveliest interest in social innovations, impetuous ambitions, and novel political theories, registered excitedly a period of transition and growth. Weekly and monthly magazines sprang up everywhere, too often in stony ground. They abandoned to the daily press for the most part the tirades of factional strife, and devoted themselves to more philosophical disquisitions, touching the fields of history, science, and the arts. Few of them survived, but they served an important role in public education when books were scarce and libraries were rare. Often pompous, didactic, or bombastic, they yet advanced a social cause.

In the interest of a livelihood, successors of these earlier journals limited their encyclopaedic range and sought subjects of more immediate interest. There were even periodicals devoted solely to fashions. Others, of a more general nature, dealt with cookery, dancing, good deportment in speech, rebuses, the problems of the lovelorn, and advice to the socially incompetent. The cross-word puzzle, Dorothy Dix, and Emily Post had their predecessors in the magazines of the middle nineteenth century.

As the controversy over emancipation deepened, however, and the conflict over secession loomed, magazines north and south entered the political lists, and competed in forensic bitterness. It was not until the wounds of that struggle began to heal, and its passions to subside, that they could return with equanimity and an appearance of poise to the fields of literature, morals, and the social sciences. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century there was a flowering from stalks which had grown rank and not infrequently in disorder. There came a time when the contents of the American monthly magazine were chosen at leisure from a stream of volunteered contributions, according to standards since fallen into disfavor.

In this efficient day it must seem a bit haphazard to depend on casual material in editing any publication. Yet a certain principle of selection gave unity to the product of those informal editors. In the non-fiction arena, articles were accepted which had something to say and said it gracefully, which had the allusiveness born of wide reading, which exhibited good manners, background, and style, and which put subjects into a perspective. Not the special article but the essay was in favor; and whatever the faults of the magazines, they did at least encourage the efforts of the Whit-tiers, the Lowells, the Pages, the James Lane Aliens, and the Agnes Reppliers. Merely to have traveled widely in a library, as Thoreau would have put it, was no demerit. The atmosphere of the armchair was not sniffed at, and there was no aroma of discredit in discussing one’s political precedents or forebears.

The editors of that elder day, it must be said, were unbusinesslike not only in their selection of materials, but in being content sometimes to run on a deficit, and in paying their contributors an “honorarium” after publication. It was James Russell Lowell, an industrious contributor, who boasted once, if I remember aright, that he had earned in a single year more than four hundred dollars by the use of his pen alone. The elder Oliver Wendell Holmes, indefatigable at his desk and popular with a huge audience, depended mainly for subsistence on the practice of medicine. The legend persisted that writing was not a paying occupation, that its rewards were registered elsewhere than in the pocket-nerve, and that to hope to make a lot of money at it was not quite good form. And indeed magazines did not enjoy the range of circulation or the revenue from advertising which would have enabled them to pay lavishly even for the offerings of popular writers.

Meanwhile newspapers were enjoying constantly increasing revenues, thanks to enlarged audiences. It must be said at once that they owed their popularity in a measure to hints which they had gleaned from the magazines. Back in the third decade of the century, when the penny Sun and then the Herald were challenging the six-cent newspapers in New York City, both of them imitated the penny shockers of London, which prospered by agitating the bosoms of English slaveys and housemaids. They circulated on this side of the water, too. The elder James Gordon Bennett, founder of the Herald, was quite clear-headed about what he was doing. He said that the primary purpose of a newspaper was not to inform or to instruct, but to amuse and startle. That function of the daily press which lies in illuminating our unseen environment, and bringing to our doorsteps the happenings of distant lands, the doings of distant people, seemed less important to him than gripping emotional interest.

Now news, Bennett plainly perceived, could be selected and written with reference to emotional content. Violence, mystery, conflict, suspense, love: why, all these were exemplified in the daily lives of his readers. And the ancient folk stories of princess and peasant, Jack and the beanstalk, Bluebeard, had their faint counterparts. The newspaper could be made a vehicle of “escape” literature, and was made that long before the term came into use, just as Bennett was the first yellow journalist, long before the phrase was devised. Moreover, he boasted that as a Washington correspondent he had been first to give to dispatches from the capital a “light and amusing character.” He set the pattern of entertainment which William Randolph Hearst subsequently took over and developed.

During the last decade of the century Hearst entered the New York field to compete with Joseph Pulitzer, who had bought the World from Jay Gould, after making a success of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Pulitzer employed much the same stereotypes of news as Bennett, Hearst, and the others, but he took his business much more seriously. He was not satisfied with mere news, but relied also upon his editorial page as a circulation builder. He could write an editorial, or could direct its preparation, which would have in itself high emotional and intellectual excitation. He was an incorrigible crusader, for he manifested as few owner-editors had done before or have done since that the daily press should act as the censor of government and of elected officials, as well as an unsparing critic of institutions.

Where Bennett had delighted in the invasion of privacy and the publication of personal intimacies, Pulitzer rejoiced in forays against governmental skullduggeries and in exposing Wall Street piracies. He brought to its perfection the technique of muckraking. In the presentation of day-today news his papers were violently sensational, and he abetted Hearst in fomenting the Spanish-American War (for already it had been perceived that war is the best-selling story of all); but Pulitzer had courage and intelligence of a high order, and now that his World is dead a son named for him carries on in that honorable tradition with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In the same decade which witnessed the advent of Pulitzer and Hearst in New York, Adolph S. Ochs bought the New York Times. Like the others, he had enjoyed preliminary successes elsewhere; unlike the others, he defined news simply as “information.” On that basis, of course, a wine list or a multiplication table is news, and Ochs never learned much more about it. A superb business administrator, he left to subordinates the development of his property into the greatest newspaper of its time. The subordinates saw to it that the news patterns which other papers employed with profit were utilized, and despite its sober dress the journal became essentially as sensational as the others. Meanwhile the owner was preoccupied with the organization of his staff and with the supervision of an editorial page dedicated to the status quo. So little disposed was the paper to muddy the waters that, although Ochs, by his own confession, knew of the Teapot Dome situation long before a Senate “smelling” committee turned it up, the New York Times made no investigation.

In the character of mountebank, clown, and entertainer, the other newspapers might reap such profits as they pleased; Ochs held rigorously aloof. The others for generations had been borrowing boldly from the magazines in the fiction field, but he would have nothing of it. Short stories and serials were favorite circulation-getters with most of his competitors, not only on Sundays but occasionally in the daily issues. Ochs regarded them as irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial in the making of a newspaper, and he appeared to be quite right.

It remained for the New York Herald Tribune either to rationalize the printing of fiction in a newspaper, or to identify it as news; and in this, by a curious indirection, the daily press took another leaf from the magazines. A generation earlier the Saturday Evening Post, consecrated like the New York Times to the preservation of the established order and the defense of a society founded on capital, had begun the publication of made-to-order fiction, on the theory that its central thesis could be rendered more palatable and savory in that form. Thus Peter B. Kyne is said to have tailored according to the central editorial policy its earlier fiction dealing with industrial relations; later Charles Francis Coe was to write its fiction about crime and racketeering. Now, if a series of special articles could be rigged out in the habiliments of a novel, why not make a clean breast of it and say that news might be written as fiction, or that fiction might tell news not available for routine publication?

To keep the record straight, let me say at once that the publication of a new novel by Sinclair Lewis is news of a certain sort, and that the publication of a novel by Willa Cather or Julia Peterkin is news of another category. Even when “Other People’s Money,” by Louis D. Brandeis, written back in 1913 long before he ascended to the Supreme Court of the United States, was reprinted twenty years later, it was an item of news. But the Herald Tribune, in announcing the forthcoming serialization in its pages of a novel by a popular author, said that it would illuminate collegiate life and the problem of boys and girls now coming to maturity in a world which seemingly offered them no place. It said, moreover, that a great deal of the news never got into the newspapers, and could be presented only in the guise of fiction.

This is a confession which ought to be good for the newspaper soul. For it is incontrovertible that the accepted patterns of news exclude much which is new, socially important, and of vital interest. Editor and Publisher, an organ of the trade more thoughtful and outspoken than most newspapers, said editorially:

The arrest of a youthful gunman gives the intelligent reader a flash, as does the spectacle of a group of high school graduates loafing on a street corner; neither suggests the range of the problem nor a method of attacking it. . . . Fiction written by a stylist who was also a journalist and humanitarian has many times in the past three hundred years bent stiff necks, commanded attention of the pleasure seeker, and changed the history of nations.

The Herald Tribune experiment is of extraordinary interest to newspapermen, for the public demand for interpretative news has been whetted immensely by the bewildering succession of events since the depression began. . . .

Sources of political and economic news are usually under control of interests which prefer not to discuss intermediate steps but to hand the public a fait accompli, with an unspoken challenge to unscramble the egg if you can. Reporters know and relate many circumstances not subject to immediate proof and their intelligence enables them to make shrewd guesses, but the customs of the craft and the laws of the land prohibit such use of the printed word. . . .

Possibly a skillful fictioneer can put between covers the untold story of the 1929 panic; the behind-the-scenes banking drama of 1932; the true story of American agriculture, revealing without propaganda why farmers cannot prosper on the richest land in the world; tell us how and why Hitler arose to threaten all of Europe with a new battle for hegemony. Some Charles Dickens, Daniel Defoe or Frank Nor-ris may even spring from obscurity to fame in newspaper columns with a believable novel woven around the mystery of money—a story that craves to be written intelligently and in human terms. All these subjects have been “exhausted” in the news, but only a few of us know the answers. And even we will buy books.

This trade organ, edited by Marlen Pew, seems to me to merit quotation at length because what it has to say is much more penetrating than any of the announcements or advertisements offered by the newspaper. The Herald Tribune preferred to stress the statement that the addition of the fiction to its columns made it “the biggest week-end entertainment ten cents ever bought.” One can purchase a lot of week-end entertainment, of a sort, for a nickel.


While the newspapers were perfecting their arts of salesmanship and showmanship, and rolling up enormous circulations, on which to base higher and higher advertising rates, the monthly magazines were struggling along, for the most part, with very limited patronage. Some of the periodicals addressed to women, and edited on the theory that their place was in the home, had achieved blanket circulations.

In the strict sense these were not general magazines but class publications. The weeklies were the first of general appeal to reach huge audiences, and they achieved it by adapting to their purposes the practices of the daily press.

What was it, they asked themselves, that made these broadsheets, spat in haste from multiple presses, salable in millions? The magazine editor saw the obvious thing, their contemporaneity. They were hot from the anvil. They dealt with living facts. Appearing periodically, and with a longer press run, owing to the use of better paper and in many instances illustrations, the magazine could not hope to keep close to the heel of the news, but at least it could deal with contemporary affairs. The editor could throw away erudite essays, which had nothing but sparkle and philosophy and an acquaintance with the best that had been thought and done in the world to recommend them, and he could replace them with muscular articles dealing with current events. Many current events were long drawn out, and would lend themselves to his purpose; others might indicate a trend, and if he dealt with the present why not deal with the future, too? His only pressing need, as he saw it, was to divorce himself from the past. Mere perspective and background should no longer share his bed and board. He could be as up and coming as the newspaper editor.

A less obvious fact about the newspaper dawned a little later upon the magazine editor. The newspaper was made inside the office. Although its material was largely incalculable and unforeseeable, it yet placed men at strategic points for the gathering of that material, trained its men in the selection of facts and in a formula of presentation, and rigorously excluded such grist as was not suited to its mill. It was as competent to handle the sinking of the Titanic as a national election or a murder trial. It could assemble thousands of words palpitant with life-blood on nearly any happening, at nearly any moment. True, this gave to the product, despite the immense variety of forms into which the human heart and the caprices of nature threw human activities, a certain sameness day after day. Ringing the changes thus on a limited set of primitive emotions was bound to prove in the long run flat and stale, but it did not prove unprofitable. Apparently the fourteen-year-old mind, to which the newspaper obviously catered, never quite tired of that sort of thing. Its appetite for sewers of scandal, the vicarious thrills of sport, the glorification of the gangster, free publicity about motion picture stars and chorus girls, forced publicity about divorcees, dubious stocks, “the next war” and what not, could never be blunted. The magazine editor, if he perceived the dead level of the newspaper, either thought that he could escape it or that he too could profit from it.

All this was long before Technocracy crashed the gate of the news. The extended space given to technological dis-employment and the statistics of Machine Age development in the columns of the daily press was one of the more noteworthy of modern American journalistic phenomena. It is true that the discussion had for many readers somewhat the same interest as a cross-word puzzle or a detective mystery; it was a game, in which one guessed whether the machine was really the villain, or the capitalist; and in which, if one were mentally energetic, he pitted his wits against the contriver of the puzzle—that is to say, the Technocrat. It does not need to be labored, I suppose, that the acrostic, rebus, detective story, and mystery yarn share a common ground of psychological interest. But Technocracy had more than these elemental factors to recommend it to newspaper and magazine attention. The world was groaning amid the worst financial and industrial panic of its experience, was bewildered by its predicament, and was willing to listen to any diagnosis. Thus it was that Technocracy paved the way for newspaper attention on an elaborate scale to the innovations of the New Deal under Franklin D. Roosevelt, with its striking and engrossing departures in the legislative and governmental fields.

The weekly magazines, as I say, began to adapt themselves to newspaper practices long before these things happened, at a time when the better monthly magazines were at what seems to me the apex of their career. Looking askance at their rowdy weekly neighbors, they continued studiously and tranquilly to offer the best this country could produce, and on occasion some of the best Europe could produce, in the way of fiction and poetry and essays. They were satisfied to muddle along with small returns from subscribers and advertisers, in the virtuous consciousness, if not the smug assurance, of higher things; and they continued to pursue this unenlightened course until a Lochinvar came out of the West bearing a lance still moist with the sweat and blood of the great Common People.

S. S. McClure had been peddling household utensils in the Middle West before he established in New York the McClure Syndicate, the first newspaper organization of its kind in the United States. This was just half a century before another newspaper syndicate made available to millions of readers “The Life of Our Lord,” for which the descendants of Charles Dickens had been paid at the rate of fifteen dollars a word. Certainly no magazine could compete with such agencies, and the fact is noted here as illustrating one phase of the activity in which McClure was a pioneer. But he pioneered another field with results equally arresting. This was the monthly magazine field.

McClure’s was established in 1893, and at once it gave evidence that its editor, whose contact with middle-class life in the midwest had taught him what newspaper readers wanted in the way of “feature” articles, knew also how to reach an audience untouched by the more toplofty monthlies of that day. He knew, that is to say, how to touch the imagination and the emotion of clerks, shop-keepers, farmers, mechanics, their wives and their children, with lively and proper fiction, “success” stories about the great and the near great, and vigorous special articles of current interest. Within three years he had overtopped the combined circulations of the three most pontifical elder monthlies. Then, as he rode the crest of this wave, the revolt of William Jennings Bryan’s followers in the midwest, the country he knew most intimately, plunged him into muckraking.

It must not be supposed that McClure’s was the first of the magazine muckrakers. The epic figures of our post-bellum industrial and transportation expansion, Morgan, Gould, Fiske, and their fellows, had been assailed by weekly magazines in lampoons and special articles, and so had political offenders large and small. Harper’s Weekly had attacked Tammany with Nast’s. cartoons and had caused the downfall of the Tweed Ring; it had exposed the Credit Mo-bilier, and was an unafraid force. Collier’s, even then vigilant in social causes, was yet to compel the passage of a Pure Food and Drugs Act. The Nation had thundered against the vulgarities of the Big Rich, but in that day it evinced no actual discontent with capitalism as such; in the ‘seventies it had, indeed, dealt harshly with railroads and their bondholders, complaining of the “profit motive,” but mostly it was concerned with better morals and better manners. The monthly magazines, unruffled, set an example of perfect politeness.

It was the Free Silver demand of 1896, the fulminations against Captains of Industry, who were concentrating the manufacture of commodities, and the Captains of Wall Street, who were concentrating credit, money, and profits, that touched a match to the monthly magazine fuse. Under the leadership of McClure’s there sprang up others with good democratic names, such as Everybody’s and The American. For such magazines Ida M. Tarbell wrote her history of the Standard Oil, Tom Lawson wrote his “Frenzied Finance,” and Lincoln Steffens wrote his “Shame of the Cities.”

There is good reason to doubt whether the magazine muckraking era accomplished more in the direction of reconstruction and reform than a Congressional investigation. Collier’s, by campaigning against fraudulent patent medicines, forced the enactment of a measure which proved inadequate, just as the Pujo Committee’s inquiry into the “Money Trust” fostered the passage of a faulty Federal Reserve Act, intended to remedy the conditions exposed. Newspapers, the original crusaders, were more often successful because their work was localized and more intensive. But the magazine muckraking was responsible at least in part for the enactment of those anti-trust laws which the New Deal was later to set aside, and it goaded the elder Theodore Roosevelt into his most picturesque invective against the “predatory” interests. It was he, indeed, who recovered from “The Pilgrim’s Progress” the word used to describe this phase of magazine effort.

The muckraking period was but a more spectacular eruption in the process of converting monthly magazines to the newspaper technique. Other effects were more subtle or obscure. Thus an editor whom I congratulated on an article he had printed in the current issue told me with lifted eye- brows that it had been kicking around his desk for a full year. It was good any time, so he had held it until, that very month, he had taken another thing off his schedule at the last minute and thrown it in. Obviously the chief demerit of that article was its permanent worth. It was good any time, and therefore was not quite timely enough. Another magazine editor to whom I proposed a personality sketch of Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, inquired skeptically what public interest there could be in him. I ventured the suggestion that he probably would be the next President. This proposal was received with ridicule, but a week or so later Calvin Coolidge announced, from his retreat in the Black Hills, that he did not choose to run again; whereupon the editor telephoned me to inquire how soon I could turn out a sketch of Hoover. I delivered it the second day thereafter, it was made an insert in the next issue, which had already gone to press, and so was timeliness itself. Still another monthly magazine not long ago caused a special article to be cabled from abroad, in order to be strictly in the swim.

Far be it from me to declaim against taking time by the forelock, or even making hay while the sun shines. I recognize clearly enough that current interest is one of the deepest human interests. The tempo of this day may be a little incongruous with that august serenity which once pervaded our better periodicals, and doubtless it is embarrassing at times to be cast in the Cinderella role of having a deadline at midnight, with never a Fairy Prince to fit the slipper later; but since the whole nexus of things and events tends to make us more and more time-conscious, it would be folly to fly in the face of fact. Moreover, magazines are equipped undoubtedly to give us that treatment of news which Editor and Publisher realizes cannot get into newspapers.

As for the “confession stories” which so often lend heart throbs to the elite among the monthlies, they are an old type in fact and fiction. Even biography and religious literature supply their examples. My own notion is that the Atlantic Monthly was the first of its class to encourage such contributions, but certainly nowadays it has no monopoly of the field; and there are pulpwood publications so enamored of the genre that they will print nothing else. Occasionally, one fancies, they must envy their superiors for having angled from the teeming waters a juicier morsel than theirs. Certainly no one who wishes to purge himself with an honest confession, or even to fabricate a persuasive pretense, is likely to lack a market.


When magazines began specializing in newsier kinds of material, it was natural that they should turn to newspaper men as contributors. For the most part they recruited the newcomers from such papers as the old Sun and Evening Post in New York, which in those days (alas, no longer!) demanded good writing. It was thus that Steffens and Will Irwin and Samuel Hopkins Adams and a host of others sauntered from the anonymous shades of their journals into the full light of signature, and then in time became members of magazine staffs. Thereafter magazines came to commandeer more and more newspaper men as editors, executives, and assignment men.

But these fellows were accustomed, putting it baldly, to being paid for their work when they did it. If they worked on space, they turned in a “string,” if not they received at the end of the week a stated wage. True, payment was after publication, but publication was so prompt that payment all but coincided. To wait for months before receiving the rewards of their efforts was contrary to their experience and their philosophy. Thus, along with the more efficient practice of making the magazine from within the office, there grew up the more businesslike practice of paying for contributions on acceptance; and happily the magazine editor was enabled to do this because his new technique was bringing him bigger circulations and higher advertising rates.

In the period from 1914 to 1927, when the new technique had been fairly well perfected, the percentage of magazine revenue from advertising rose, as indicated by the census, from a little more than half to nearly two-thirds. (The precise percentages, if you care for them, were 52.9 and 63.4.) During the same time the newspaper percentages rose from 64.9 to 74.1. The newspaper ratio has remained about the same since then, while the ratio for magazines has crept a little higher. The advertiser, that is to say, is the angel of the magazine world just as he is the angel of the diurnal press. In each field he exercises somewhat the same compulsion toward the selection of that sort of material for. publication which will engender in the reader a frame of mind friendly toward advertising blandishments. In each he exerts a silent pressure on behalf of the existing order.

Taking the magazine field by and large, however, one finds there far more often the voice of protest than can possibly be heard among the newspapers. One finds in that field heartening evidence that we still have, here and there, a freedom of the press. And singularly, it is these very examples which have often found their editors among men trained to the conformities of the newspaper craft. Our left-wing publications are seventy-five per cent manned and written by recruits or volunteers from daily journalism. And perhaps it is but an evidence of their having kicked over the traces that they employ the word “journalistic” so frequently as a term of reproach or belittlement. Often their ideas are confused and commonplace; few of them are first-rate thinkers, but nearly all of them have personality and an acquaintance with the vocabulary of invective.

Periodical publications and the daily press, it must by now be apparent, are interlacing and interacting agencies. If the magazines have drawn freely upon the newspapers for personnel, we should not forget that Walt Whitman, William Cullen Bryant, and Edgar Allan Poe, to name but a few, have served as newspaper editors and reporters. It is my own view that all publishing, not excepting books, tends to become not so much a literary pursuit as an industrial disease.

As for books, the Cheney report, prepared at the direction of the publishers’ association, constituted a clinic on those “economic illiterates” who are responsible for our library output. They have learned as much as the magazines, however, about the economics of timeliness and the salability of news. We saw this in a flood of “shockers” after the World War, with “All Quiet on the Western Front” in the vanguard as a best-shocker and best-seller. We saw a similar phenomenon in nearly a dozen books about Technocracy when it was still in the news, and in still more on the New Deal, which is now news. One effect of this is a feverish haste in preparation. A publisher once proposed to me that I write a book of at least fifty thousand words about a current event and deliver the manuscript within six weeks.

What he wanted was to score a news “beat,” a sort of “news-behind-the-news” thing, And within a month of the cancellation of the air-mail contracts there appeared in The Publishers’ Weekly a page advertisement of a novel about the air mail, illustrated with newspaper headlines, and with the notation, “Rushed publication indicates you write or wire your orders at once!”

That is to say, book publishers like magazine editors attempt to exploit a public interest already aroused by the newspapers, and are influenced by the patterns of news stereotypes. If they are candid, and a few of them are, they will tell you that this is a counting-house influence. They are not attempting to advance the cause of letters so much as to fatten their own purses. If we have a satire on “Anthony Adverse” it is because the novel is a best-seller, and the satire is an effort to tie a tail to the kite. Book publishers themselves are pleased, of course, and often are unaffectedly surprised, when a really well-written volume pays its way. As a class they no longer depend, any more than magazine editors depend, on good writing to pay dividends. The corrupt and corrosive effect of the mass audience and of the advertiser who pays well only if he reaches the mass is apparent in all three main branches of publishing, in the newspaper, the magazine, and in books.


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