have only a hearsay acquaintance withnthe theoretical intricacies of structuralismnand poststructuralism. In view ofnthe increasingly abstruse and esotericnnature of literary theory, it seems incrediblenthat in May of 1930, 3,000npeople attended a Carnegie Hall debatenon humanism by Babbitt, HenrynSeidel Canby, and Carl Van Doren.nThe battle peaked in 1930, whennHumanism and America: Essays onnthe Outlook of Modern Civilization,nedited by Norman Foerster, appeared.nThe subtitle itself suggests the widenimplications the contributors saw innliterary matters. This collection of essays,nrepresenting a sort of New Humanistnmanifesto, was vigorously answerednby young liberals the same yearnin The Critique of Humanism: A Symposium,nedited by Hartley Grattan.nAlso that year, Paul Elmer More camenvery close to receiving the Nobel Prizenthat went to Lewis.nAs a movement, the New Humanismnwent into eclipse early in the 30’s.nThe Depression directed literary attentionnto the left, and Babbitt and More,nthe most brilliant spokesmen, had re­n141 CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnally said what they had to say evennbefore the 30’s began and were dead byn1933 and 1937 respectively. But asnAustin Warren emphatically insistednin 1958, “It is a ‘VULGAR ERROR’nthat, with the deaths of Babbitt and hisnally, P.E. More, in the 1930’s, then’New Humanism’ movement becamenextinct. An error.” It “went underground.”nAlthough Lionel Trilling wasnaccurate in noting in 1970 that “at thenpresent time the idea that literature isnto be judged by its moral effects hasnvirtually no place in critical theory,”nthis is not to say that the moral approachnis dead in practice. Individualnprofessors on campuses across thencountry have continued, despitenvogues in critical theory, to teach theirnstudents to respond to literature as ancriticism of life, to examine its moralnimplications and judge its expressionnof human values. And wherever therenhas been a commitment to the inextricablenrelationship between art and life,nethics and aesthetics. Babbitt andnMore have been appreciated as persuasivenexpounders and defenders of thengreat tradition of moral criticism.nIn the forthcoming issue of Chronicles of Culture.nTotal Concentrationn”If I have shown men to be ridiculous, ludicrous, it wasnin no way out of any desire for comic effect, but rather,ndifficult as this is during these times of universal spiritualndecay, to proclaim the truth.”n—from “Realism and the Spirit”nby Eugene lonesconThomas Molnar contrasts Goethe’s sinceritynwith modern literaturenLee Congdon looks at resistance in the Third ReichnLwa Thompson reports on her pleasure jaunt to MongolianBrian Murray looks at novels by Martin Amisnand Anita BrooknernnnIn our century, people advocatingnrestraint, discipline, decorum, and adherencento standards risk being misunderstood.nTheir principles are readilyndistorted and caricatured as puritanical,nelitist, reactionary, or repressive.n”Every doctrine of genuine worth isndisciplinary,” noted Babbitt, “andnmen in the mass do not desire discipline.”nBoth Babbitt and More laborednunder a sense of going against thengrain of the literary and social values ofntheir day. More considered himself thenleast read and most despised man withinnhis sphere of activity. Babbitt wasnhaunted by a feeling of isolation, thatnfrustrating sense perhaps common tonmen of discernment and principle whonare deeply convinced of truths thenworld about them ignores or rejects.nNaturally the New Humanists werencaricatured. They were discredited bynwhat Seward Collins in 1932 callednthe “Myth of the Nasty, Mean, HorridnOld Man,” which asserted that thenHumanists were “hard-hearted oldnmen determined to maintain their authoritynagainst aspiring youth . . .nfixed in ancient ways and petulantlynannoyed with novelty . . . arrogantlyntrying to elevate their own narrownpreoccupations into universal edicts.”nIn an almost Pythagorean set ofnalternahves—critical/creative, repressive/liberating,nold/new, cold/warm,nnarrow/broad, dogma/choice, andnreaction/progress — the Humanistsnwere always placed on what was considerednthe negative side.nMyths can be persistent. This one,nnurtured by Sinclair Lewis’ NobelnPrize speech, has stigmatized Babbittnand More for over 50 years. As andoctoral candidate in the late 60’s, Inasked a distinguished specialist in criticismnto direct my dissertation onnMore. “I wouldn’t touch that stuffednshirt with a ten-foot pole,” was hisnreply. Later I learned that he actuallynhad no firsthand acquaintance withnMore’s work.nBut despite the myth. Babbitt andnMore continue to find an audience ofnappreciahve readers, and a trickling ofnbooks and arhcles about them hasncontinued since the 30’s. Several selectedncollections of their wrihngs havenappeared: Paul Elmer More’s ShelburnenEssays on American Literature,nedited by Daniel Aaron in 1963; ThenEssential Paul Elmer More: A Selec-n