October 16, 2012

Birth of Finck: every spirit of thought

Edward Bertrand Finck was born in Louisville, Kentucky on October 16, 1870, but he would become known as an author under the name Bert Finck. By age 35, he had published four books under that name, including closet dramas and collections of short prose. After his fourth book, however, he turned his attention to practicing as a lawyer; he published only two books throughout the rest of his life. His final collection was issued in 1922 (Shadows on the Wall, as it was titled, was dedicated to fellow Kentucky author Madison Cawein).

Finck's turn of the century book Webs collects a series of short Emersonian musings on general or abstract topics, including "Gentleness," "The Door to Dreams," and "Sympathy." Many are allegorical; the majority are a single paragraph. The last section, however, is the longest at six pages composed of a random assortment of jumbled thoughts under the headline "Scraps from a Philosopher's Notebook." Most include some kind of moral lesson or other teaching, often based on piety. Reading several of them surely gives the reader an understanding why he was considered a "prose pastelist." This one is titled "The Book-Shop":

Truth glides in and out of the place, beside quivering aspirations, dying hopes, triumphant art, notoriety crowned for the day; lifetime labors rewarded with a few printed words; among frauds, idlers, dreamers, strong and weak men of the world; freaks, eager watchers for the dawn of better days; mystic teachers; musing students; greedy devourers of poisonous trash; successful fools; despondent geniuses; heroes, cowards, and messengers of fate.

At once a school and playground, this; a refuge and exhibition of men's minds; a throne-room of victory; a tomb for wrecked dreams; a court where the cries of the wronged can be heard, and the scattered myriads of human sufferers speak together; a stage where every spirit of thought plays subtle parts with the passions of all the ages—a haunt of both the dead and the living.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.