CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS, like all wellpublicized figures of the present day, are well enough known to the world. Thanks to the advertising of publishers, the ubiquity of television, cinema newsreels, newspaper gossip writers, personal appearances to sign copies of new books and, above all, the perfection of modern photography, there can be few writers today who are not known to their public as faces. Yet, on the whole, presentday authors' faces are a mundane lot. Few literary figures can now be called spectacular to look at. There are a few lank, longhaired, ethereal figures, one or two striking beards, and a handful of faintly exotic types, but in the main, presentday authors and authoresses, for that matter are a dull crowd, indistinguishable in a thousand people picked at random. They are stodgy, rather bored in countenance, sucking overdone pipes, or peering owlishly from behind commonplace hornrimmed spectacles. All the spectacular figures have gone. Bernard Shaw was the last reminder of the spacious days when a literary man appeared his part. We no longer have the gigantic majesty of G. K. Chesterton, the aristocratic demeanour of A. E. W. Mason, or the cadaverous, bearded mask of D. H. Lawrence, while the bewhiskered dignity of Trollope and Dickens now seems but a myth.
Library Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1965
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