DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE
Miss Suzanne Everett Throop, Chairman
In the season beginning in the Fall of 1918, our country was still closely associated with the European Allies, first in war and then in the Peace Conference, so it seemed appropriate and timely to take for the subject of the year's study, the ideals of Great Britain, France, Belgium, Italy and America, as expressed in their recent fiction; for fiction nowadays is so definitely a study of life, that any books worthy the name are, paradoxically, truth.
Your chairman accordingly gave a course of talks as follows: The first at the Palace Hotel, on December 14, 1918, reviewed some recent novels of France from "Colette" by Maurice Barres, to "La Veillee des Armes" of Marcelle Tinayre, and "Le Feu" by Henri Barbusse. The second talk, at the Fairmont, a month later, gave a brief view of the Belgian and Italian contributions to modern thought, especially in the writings of Verharen and Maeterlinck, D'Annunzia and Giacosa.
On the first day of February, the chairman gave a lecture at
Elder Gallery on "Russian Writers and the Growth of the Revolutionary
Spirit." This seemed to be quite in line with the Federation's study for
the year, so notices were sent to the members and many attended, much to
the pleasure of the speaker.
The last two lectures in the course were on British and American
just before and during the war. The last meeting was held in April at
Mills College, where members of the Federation had lunch and were shown
over the beautiful campus.
In the Autumn of 1919, there was a prospect that several distinguished
foreign writers would visit San Francisco. At Dr. Castle's suggestion, a
series of preparatory talks was planned, each to be given before the
arrival of a noted literary visitor. The first talk of the season,
however, in recognition of the Lowell Centenary just finishing,
discussed "The American Idea," as expressed principally by Lowell and
his contemporaries. The second lecture, by request, gave an account of
the novelist Hugh Walpole, and his work, followed by a discussion of
Ibanez's "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," its story and purpose. A
number of the members soon after had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Walpole
lecture on "Making a Novel," and some who understood Spanish heard Mr.
Ibanez on another occasion.
When it was known that the noted English dramatist Granville
would be in San Francisco in February, 1920, negotiations were
undertaken with his manager, Professor Samuel Hume of the University of
California, for a short address to the City Federation. An introductory
lecture on Mr. Barker's writings and his activities as a modern play
producer was given by the chairman. On the following Wednesday, February
18th, occurred the very delightful literary tea at the Fairmont Hotel
with Mr. Barker as guest of honor and principal speaker. About four
hundred guests, among them many well known men and women of letters,
enjoyed this occasion, which was a successful close of the season.
Transcribed by Elaine Sturdevant
Page last updated June 3, 2002