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James Huneker

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .imation of fate as though it were [Pg 67]the milkman knocking at the door. I am a poet, and play upon the tympani; the conductor and the orchestra are boors. But I do injustice to one of them. He was an Alsatian, and spoke bad French. But he was an excellent bassoon player. He often called on me and we played duets for bassoon and tympani, and then read Amiel's journal aloud and wept. Oh! he had a sensitive soul, that bassoon player. He died of the cholera, and now I am alone....

After my failure as an orchestral player I gave a concert in this city, and played my concerto for seven drums and wood-wind orchestra. The critics laughed me to distraction. Instead of listening to the innumerable rhythms and marvellous variety of nuances I offered them, they mocked my agile behavior and my curiously colored hair. Even my confrères envied and reviled me. I have genius, so am hated and despised. Oh, the pity of it all! They couldn't hear the tenderness, the fairy-. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Huneker was known as the critic of the seven arts. While widely known in the early 20th century, he has largely been forgotten, which is a shame, since his writing is humorous and made art criticism accessible. He was admired by Mencken and Van Vechten, and his books are worth seeking out.