Literature at this time was scarcely considered a profession. Magazine circulations were too limited for publishers to pay for contributions, and all an author usually got or expected to get was some copies to distribute among his friends.
They are asking for circulations and audiences that were never considered by any artist until the last few generations. And when they do not get them, they are disappointed. Those who catch on, like Sinclair Lewis in "Main Street," are men who have succeeded in projecting definitely what great numbers of other people were obscurely trying to say inside their heads. "You have said it for me."
The result is dulness of sight, a stagnation of the vital circulations, and a general deliquium and sloughing off of all the intellectual faculties. This sort of gingerbread is baked daily and more sedulously than pure wheat or rye-and-Indian in almost every oven, and finds a surer market. The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers.
Here is no ruin, no discontinuity, no spent ball. The divine circulations never rest nor linger. Nature is the incarnation of a thought, and turns to a thought again, as ice becomes water and gas. The world is mind precipitated, and the volatile essence is forever escaping again into the state of free thought.
Northcliffe is undoubtedly patriotic and is sincere, but he is, above all other things, a newspaper man. The huge circulations of his papers tell their story of his mind. He is a genius in knowing what will interest the common intelligence.
He was anxious to hurry his progress now that he had him. It was not long after Eugene was seated in his advertising managerial chair that he saw how things lay. His men, when he gathered them in conference, complained that they were fighting against falling circulations. "You can talk all you want, Mr. Witla," said one of his men gloomily, "but circulation and circulation only is the answer.
From the Phaedrus you may learn all the intelligible and intellectual genera, and the liberated orders of the gods, which are proximately established above the celestial circulations. From the Politicus you may obtain the theory of the fabrication in the heavens, of the periods of the universe, and of the intellectual causes of those periods.
She needs to have some general ideas in regard to ways of bringing back the system from an abnormal to a healthy state; as, for instance, equalizing the circulations. Learned professors, women physicians, will know how to deliver courses of lectures on all such subjects, and to tell what books have been written on them, and where these books may be found.
The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapour to the field; the ice on the other side of the planet condenses the rain on this; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man. The useful arts are reproductions or new combinations by the wit of man of the same natural benefactors.
How appetizing a morsel, this sheet new and smooth from the press, this sheet written by an ironic, understanding, small band of men for just a few thousand persons like me, ruthlessly scornful of the big circulations and the idols of the people! If the Gazette and its sole rival ceased to appear, I do believe that my existence and many similar existences would wear a different colour.