NOVEMBER 26, 1940
NEW YORK, Monday —I was reluctant to come to New York City yesterday and yet I was delighted to take part in the Chicago University Broadcast. It will, I hope, arouse interest in what I think is going to be one of the most valuable things which have been done to make people feel that art is something which belongs in their homes, and not only on the walls of museums and art galleries.
It also seems important to me that we should realize that, if peace is ever to come in the world, our cultural values must mean something more to us than they have in the past. All artists have something to contribute to the peaceful world of the future.
In the past art has been for the few who could appreciate and afford it. In a democracy it must become part of the life of every individual and be supported by every individual. These exhibition weeks should bring us measurably nearer to our ideal of what civilization in the future should bring to us all.
Just lately I have had a little time for reading more than the mail, so I must tell you about it. There is a little book which has been written by Edith M. Barber, called: "Speaking of Servants," which every young housewife should have in her library. It is useful to both employer and employee.
It puts the running of a household on the right basis and makes it a business where the employee has the same consideration as in any other business. It is a practical little book with schedules for work and hours, and much information which even older housewives may be glad to acquire.
I have read one book in the past few weeks which I have hesitated to write about because I feel that it some ways it is almost presumptuous of me even to try to evaluate it. Ernest Hemingway's style is so simple, so lucid and clear-cut, that in its apparent ease one forgets what it must have cost anyone to learn to write like this.
He loves nature and some of his descriptions are almost like seeing a painting. There were times when reading "For Whom The Bell Tolls," when I could hardly bear to go on. It is coarse, it is cruel, it is horrible in spots, and yet I could not stop. It is compelling because the people, the everlasting mixture of good and bad, of coarseness and sensitiveness, of cruelty and gentleness, are real.
A keen interpreter of human nature is Ernest Hemingway and his Spanish experience has taught him that people will fight for their liberties. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the evidence of the appeal which a fight for human rights calls forth from the fine people the world over.
Had Robert Jordan lived, those last few days might not have remained perfection, but he attained in them glimpses of true happiness of various kinds and perhaps none of us could ask much more of a long life than that. If we have had perfection, even for three days, and the bell tolls, what matter? Life is over and we are ready for the next experience.