Cover image for The prose of Vachel Lindsay : complete & with Lindsay's drawings
The prose of Vachel Lindsay : complete & with Lindsay's drawings
Lindsay, Vachel, 1879-1931.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
volumes : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PS3523.I58 A14 1988 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

From Springfield, Illinois, Lindsay studied at Hiram College, the Chicago Art Institute, and the New York Art School, turning to poetry only after he had no success as an artist. The appeal of Vachel Lindsay's poetry is, first and foremost, one of sound. Many of his poems are meant to be chanted aloud, intoned, or sung. The poet was a phenomenon in his day, who became famous for the recitation of his poems. He preached a gospel of beauty expressed in almost primitive cadences. His early art studies under Robert Henri gave him the ability to illustrate his own poems, and he developed an elaborate theory of art that has gone largely ignored. Among his best-known works are "General William Booth Enters Heaven", published in Poetry Magazine in 1913, and "The Congo" (1914).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Vachel Lindsay has all but disappeared from the anthologies, with only fading memories of "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven," "The Congo," or "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight." But this volume of prose (the first of two) may resurrect him by drawing attention to Dennis Camp's recent edition of the complete poems from the same publisher (CH, Dec '84, Nov '85, Oct '86). If not, the inclusion of Lindsay's film criticism alone justifies the prose book's value. And such selections as "A Handy Guide for Beggars" and "Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty" line out with much vigor the convictions behind Lindsay's poetry. The mix of transcendental fervency is enough in the American grain to be most readable. Less yawpish than Whitman, not as austere as the Concordians, this "good boy," as Frost called him, crisscrossed America peddling poems for bread in a way that anticipates later literature of the road, without the raunchiness of a Kerouac, but infused with the spirit of William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways (1982). In places, there are echoes of Twain's storytelling, as in Roughing It, or essences of small-town middle America, as in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. This is a delightful book. And the 124-page essay The Art of the Moving Picture (orig. pub. 1915) is of historic importance as among the earliest film criticism. Moving from the silents into the talkies, Lindsay envisions how America's "speed mania" may be satisfied by the action-picture-motion of the "photoplay," as Hollywood icons provide an early mirror of American values. -T. C. Buell, Portland State University

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