THE NEW COSMOPOLITANISM
The Celtic Never-Never Land
The surge of female sympathy that would seem to have overwhelmed Sharp during the early and middle nineties in reality engaged only part of his extremely variegated literary identity. More than the sexual dynamic in him was seeking resolution in the personality of Fiona Macleod.
Sharp's temporary desertion of the London literary world in 1890 was symbolic of his rejection of the city and the limits that life there put upon his creative work. But even more than that, it was a rejection of what the city had come to stand for---the stolid, Philistine, Grundyistic English mind, which he described to his wife as "this atmosphere of deadening, crushing, paralyzing, death-in-life respectability."1 There was genuine alarm in his feeling that, if tendencies remained unchecked, the world would someday be "reduced to the sway of the plumber and builder, the artificial gardener and Bumbledom."2 Walking out on this world was a private effort to forestall that day and was merely one form of a general protest against Anglo-Saxonism, aroused by his early travels in Europe and by the Celtic associations he had made in London in the mid-eighties.
But the fire those associations had started, sending Sharp back to the literature and landscape of Scotland for inspiration, was by 1890 burning itself out and stood very much in need of refueling. This refueling Edith Wingate Rinder provided with her Celtic enthusiasm. Her interest in Scottish Celtism was not, however, exclusive. It was combined with broader interests in other literatures, and this combination was in itself, perhaps, the fullest source of the effectiveness of her inspiration. When E.W.R. encountered Sharp in Rome, he was, it is true, more ready than ever to reflect on the quality of his literary predilections and the direction his literary career would take. But he had, it must be recalled, great incipient leanings toward a cosmopolitanism which, if allowed to run its course without her, might never have yielded the particular results it did---that is, might never have so intensively represented itself in what, for all purposes, was the highly nativistic vein of Fiona Macleod. The vague hope he may have had of combining with his cosmopolitan commitment the strong nostalgia he felt for Celtism became, through her, a conviction he would pursue with passionate devotion thereafter. His effort to absorb and translate this paradox into a logical critical and artistic philosophy provides a good part of the drama of his later years.
Mrs. Rinder exercised the not-very-eminent talents she possessed largely as translator of French literature, and like most translators she looked to the moderns for fresh material. She had, therefore, an interest in contemporary literature written in French which she must have conveyed to Sharp, who was at the time, though learned on the subject of French art, probably still more widely than deeply read in its literature. Under her influence this situation immediately changed. Sharp began reading her apparent favorites, Maeterlinck and the Belgian school of impressionistic dramatists, in 1891. By 1892 he was sufficiently informed to write a review of a new volume of Maeterlinck translations to which Hall Caine had decided to lend his support.
There seemed to be no area in which Caine was not prepared to make himself Sharp's rival: he had in the 1880's published volumes competing with two of Sharp's major entries into the popular market, the Rossetti biography and an anthology of sonnets. But it is obvious that Sharp was not going to permit him to blunder into this new field unchallenged. He attacked Caine's introduction to the Maeterlinck volume, charging him with "an evident unfamiliarity with much that M. Maeterlinck has done, and what, perhaps wrongly, I take to be his obliviousness of the contemporary Franco-Flemish movement," in which Maeterlinck, he said, was "but one among several."3 After complaining further that Caine misunderstood Maeterlinck largely because of the "playwright fallacy"---criticizing, in other words, for poor stagecraft what was not intended for the stage---Sharp moved to defend Maeterlinck on another much more vital score, that of his alleged failure to give support to the national Belgian cause. Maeterlinck, Sharp asserted, insisted on being Flemish only until "he found that a Belgian wrote and spoke a universal tongue, and a Fleming what from a broad standpoint can be called only a provincial dialect."4 The polemic of these words can be explained by more than professional rivalry, for the critical atmosphere in which they were written was unfavorable to Maeterlinck, and can be defined by Richard Burton's attitude in a slightly later article in the Atlantic Monthly. Burton there classified the Belgian dramatist with the "decedents" and declared him to be French rather than Belgian---the French "of the boulevards of Paris," with its connotations of the unwholesome and foppish. As far as Burton was concerned, Maeterlinck had "deserted" the Belgian national movement.5 This must indeed have been a sore point for Sharp, who, with the addition of E.W.R.'s mixture of enthusiasms, had seen in the so-called Belgian Renascence a perfect analogy to the condition of the British Celts, particularly the Scots. Intrinsic to the Belgian school was a dilemma similar to that of the Celts created by the desire for a national form of expression and the availability of two languages in which that expression could be couched. The question was, would the wish to avoid complete submission to the domination of the culture to which they had been annexed best be realized by going to war with that culture or by submitting to it partially and utilizing some of its resources for nationalistic ends? An argument for the second, more pragmatic alternative was the incontrovertible fact of the wider diffusion, and the effective adoption by the Belgians, of the French language, an argument which Sharp (as Fiona Macleod) was later to use to defend his opposition to the Celts' use of Gaelic.
In the meantime, however, not yet a Celt in the popular mind, Sharp limited himself to expressing his opinions vis-a-vis the Belgians in terms that would only later prove to have equally forcible application to the Celtic movement. By 1893, he was more adamantly than ever a spokesman for the Belgian movement as represented by Maeterlinck and was growing increasingly firm in his conviction of the compatibility of a native movement with what appeared to be a non-native language. In an article called "La jeune Belgique," he asserted that the school of which Maeterlinck and Eckhoud, among others, were members was " always in passionate accord with the racial and national Belgic sentiment." It was a movement, he protested, "to bring about a reaction against literary ignorance, disorder, and general backbonelessness." In defense of their use of French, he claimed that the Belgians "have maintained steadfastly the demands of the fundamental laws of French poetry without hurt to, or transformation of, those particular aspects and methods of thought and sentiment characteristic of every patriotic Belgian---the legacy of his race, of his Northern climate, and of that political condition which has given his country an intermediate situation between the most powerful, as well as the most Occidental of the Latin peoples, and the most potent of the Germanic races."6 Quite a tightrope to have walked successfully! But the Belgians had so done, says Sharp, and had realized "a radical distinction between Belgic and French literature." For him there was no doubt that "the whole energy" of the Belgian movement was, "consciously or unconsciously, concentrated in the effort to withstand Paris."7 For "the Belgian movement" read "the Celtic movement," and for "the effort to withstand Paris," "the effort to withstand London," and the result resembles very closely Sharp's thinking on the nature of the Celtic "renascence" at the time.8 By 1895 Sharp had not only a firmer grasp of the debate and a cooler view of its issues, especially with regard to the nationalist claims of Belgian enthusiasts, but a more intimate recognition of the application of these to the movement in which he was by then deeply involved:
"Fifty years ago and less," he recalls somewhat wryly, "Celtic Irish and Celtic Scots obscured rather than obtruded their Celtism, partly out of persecution or active annoyance, partly out of weakness and folly, but mainly because of a perverse utilitarian instinct." A similar spirit had pervaded mid-century Belgium, he goes on, and by the time the tide of popular sentiment had turned it was too late to save what the Belgians themselves had destroyed: "Critics, students, general readers, and poets and novelists themselves, saw that Flemish was a steadily narrowing and inevitably doomed language . . . By this time . . . the clearest-eyed . . . realized that it would be madness to attempt the cult of what is necessarily transient."9 Also by this time, a more "clear-eyed" Sharp had divided what he considered the transient from the permanent in the literature of the Belgian school, a process of isolating characteristics of a racial and cultural nature from those strictly political or linguistic. He describes Eekhoud, for example, as "a Fleming of the Flemings": "and though he no longer writes in Flemish, his stories are charged with Flemish sentiment, idioms, enthusiasms, and prejudices. In his work, as in that of some of his abler confrťres, there is a remarkable strain of brutality, a peculiarly characteristic Flemish coarseness."10 And further on, he points to another characteristic distinguishing the Fleming from the French, a " more distinctly Teutonic side of this Belgian literary development, the mystic, the symbolic."11 It was a vein of literature toward which, by virtue of his natural disaffection with political nationalism, he was growing more sympathetic.
To trace Sharp thus through the three years of study of the relationship between Belgian literature and Belgian nationalism is to record in capsule form the evolution of his highly complex----often apparently contradictory---role within the Celtic movement. It is to see him devise a stance as spokesman of a national movement while remaining at the same time fiercely critical of nationalism in its strict political sense. But he did not develop this role entirely by himself. Behind him and E.W.R. were his Edinburgh colleagues of the Evergreen group, who shared his conviction that a broad nonpolitical base must be given to the various national movements burgeoning around them, and who seem to have been totally reluctant to make their own Celtic "renascence" either an entirely Gaelic movement or a nationalistic one, as some of their brothers in Ireland were dead set upon doing.
One of the most distinct characteristics of this "band of Edinburgh reformers," led to a great extent by Patrick Geddes of the University of Edinburgh, was the internationalism of its tendencies. Geddes had said that "our little scholastic colony in the heart of Edinburgh symbolizes a movement which while national to the core, is really cosmopolitan in its intellectual reach."12 Israel Zangwill, whose own cosmopolitanism was intense, records in one of his many peripatetic articles his meeting with Geddes, "the Emperor of Edinburgh," and speaks of Geddes' plans for restoring Edinburgh as a "European capital": "While the men of 'The Evergreen' 'would renew local feeling and local colour,' they 'would also express the larger view of Edinburgh . . .' an aspiration with which all intelligent men must sympathise." For Zangwill, "the quest at once of local colour and cosmopolitanism is not at all self-contradictory." "The truest cosmopolitanism goes with the intensest local colour, for otherwise you contribute nothing to the human treasury and make mankind a featureless monotony. Harmonious diversity is the true cosmopolitan concept."13 "Our sentiments precisely," Geddes might have said, for he acted upon them. The Edinburgh group, though most attractive to the French and Belgians, formed a magnetic center toward which many writers of very diverse backgrounds gravitated.
Critics commenting on the Evergreen, for two years (1895-1896) the major organ of this group, did not let this distinguishing quality go unnoticed. Victor Branford, himself a member, underscored its "international note" in a review of the Evergreen for the Bookman, recalling that one of the "local and national" traditions of patriotic Scotsmen had always in fact been "the old continental sympathies of Scotland (more particularly the 'ancient league with France')": "The Evergreen . . . [gives] some evidence that the continental connection is still a living and fruitful one. The Franco-Scottish Society now being organized in Paris and Edinburgh is a formal academic recognition of the lately revived custom of interchange between French and Scottish students."14
"The ancient league with France" had, of course, been cemented, from the standpoint of literature, by the Ossian rage of the later eighteenth century, and it therefore had a strong basis in literary history alone. But the Scottish Celts could afford to be more international in spirit than their Irish counterparts on other grounds besides the very genuine ones of sympathy and affinity with the European literary community, and these were purely, almost embarrassingly practical. There is convincing testimony that none of the Scots (not even Sharp) was very able in Gaelic15 or had any special passion for it that might guarantee their working toward its survival. Besides, the equally ancient Scottish league with England had practically precluded a linguistic rebirth of that kind, and the Scots, in contrast to the Irish, had been unable to rouse any serious protest against political and cultural subjection.
But the clearest practical reason for the generous breadth of vision among this handful of Scots was the uncertain power of their own combination of gifts. The leaders of the group, Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur Thompson, though broadly cultured men, were themselves not artists or belle-lettrists but biologists by training. Though a fair translator, Edith Rinder, one of the principal Edinburgh contributors to the Evergreen and the Celtic Library, was not a literary artist in the usual sense. Moreover, apart from her immeasurable gift to William Sharp's creative life, she was able to give legitimate sustenance to the movement only as an expert on Celtic Brittany. Elizabeth Sharp, who also helped to swell the ranks of the band, possessed literary talents that were mainly journalistic and editorial. That left in the credits given on the flyleaves of the Celtic Library only two other names of significance, and they were actually only one---William Sharp and Fiona Macleod. The reputation of the group as spokesmen of a literary movement of any distinction rested almost entirely, therefore, upon the Fiona Macleod myth. Of this Elizabeth Sharp, at least, seemed to be aware---perhaps all too painfully aware. "No conspicuous modern [Scottish] Celtic work had hitherto been written in the English tongue," she wrote in the Memoir, "until the appearance of the writings of Fiona Macleod, and later of Mr. Neil Munro."16
This was an enormous obligation with which to charge one man or supposed woman---and was more than valid cause for the absolute necessity of maintaining the image of Fiona Macleod in the public eye. Yet regardless of being almost the unique claim to regard possessed by the Edinburgh group---or perhaps because of it---Sharp, under both names, engaged himself in widening rather than narrowing its international tendencies. The name for the Celtic Library to which he strongly leaned was the "Cosmopolitan" series. He urged the publication in it "of occasional volumes by foreign authors of marked power and distinction," and there was an enormous range to those he proposed: Jonas Lie, Ola Hansson, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Antonio Fogazzaro, Matilda Serao, Joss Echegaray, Hermann Sudermann, Anatole France, J. H. Rosny, Georges Eekhoud, Camille Lemonnier, Hamlin Garland.17
The study of Celtic folklore, combined with his own breadth of outlook, gave Sharp a capacity to appreciate indigenous efforts to revive other native cultures that was unusual even for his broadminded era. In the case of D'Annunzio, whom few critics knew outside of his notorious novels, Sharp's deeper knowledge coincided with his interest in the impressionistic drama, and he made himself an expert on D'Annunzio's even now little-known dramas of Abruzzi life.'s18 He had also read Giovanni Verga, an Italian whose struggle for recognition against the alien popular taste of his own Italy was herculean, and he recognized, long before Verga became generally fashionable, the power and universality of his depictions of Sicilian peasant life.19 Sharp's astute perceptions regarding Belgian, Italian, and other little-read literatures were in advance of their time, and for them he deserves the full measure of personal credit. Yet there is room to wonder whether or not the widening of literary horizons that made them possible reflected no more than his own generous vision, his own cosmopolitan experiences, his own anti-British reaction, or his own simply practical needs. If he shared a very practically-based cosmopolitanism with his Edinburgh colleagues, he also shared a less practically-based cosmopolitanism with many others who might have disagreed with him on specific issues. Though they were his rivals when it came to interpreting the relationship between literature and nationalism, even men like Caine and Burton were at one with him in devoting their critical energies to studying examples of that relationship in foreign literatures. In fact, cosmopolitanism gave every evidence of being a strong trend in criticism by the mid-nineties, a consensus among many writers seeking to give new breadth to the English literary outlook, and shared by nearly every avant-garde journal of any significance. The roots of this mood lay deep in the ability of these men of Sharp's generation to respond in the same way to similar influences.
Cosmopolitan opinion certainly did not lack support from the philosophy and science rooted in ubiquitous nineteenth-century evolutionary theory. W. K. Clifford, in his highly influential analysis of Cosmic Emotion in 1888, on the hypothesis that matter had a natural tendency to become increasingly organic, envisioned man's moral evolution toward increased unity and "cooperation."20 The growing solidarity of the entire human race, he thought, would be the result of "much patient practice of comradeship"21 and might eventually yield the union of man with macrocosm of which romantic poets had had a prevision. Clifford's attempt to devise a scientifically tenable bridge between man's delighted contemplation of self and his awe and veneration of the world not---himself, his "cosmic emotion," perhaps lay behind the concept of "cosmic consciousness" prevalent among the Theosophists and among many students of occultism and exponents of racial or organic memory in the later century, including, of course, Yeats, A.E., and others, as well as Sharp. Such a concept was elaborated by Lafcadio Hearn, who argued that "the flesh-and-blood man is only the visible end of an invisible column of force reaching out of the infinite past into the momentary present." Hearn illustrated the chain linking organic memory first to an esthetic philosophy of universal sympathy---"pity" or "humanity"---and then to a fundamental cosmopolitanism of thought. He envisioned a world literature, initiated by a spirit of "unselfish sympathy" and revitalizing every national tradition by mutual influence and inspiration, "a search," he called it, "for the oneness of life in the exuberant flowerings of the geniuses of many world races." Like humanity, world literature would be "one" without sacrificing its variety.22
Meanwhile, the philosophy of universality was systematized during the nineties by Edward Carpenter, who himself had close connections with the London circle in which Sharp moved. For Carpenter, flashes of insight that brought men into a sense of union with the macrocosm were hints of the underlying oneness of all creation. "All these beings and personalities" of the universe, he wrote in The Art of Creation (1904), "must root down in one ultimate Life and Intelligence; all of them in the end must have a common purpose and object of existence."23
This form of idealism had many proponents, of course, and was rooted in romanticism. But it was taking on a new significance in the broader world vision of the later nineteenth century. Many practical and political strategies were growing within the semimystical concepts of universal union and solidarity that were part of the period's intellectual and spiritual ambient. Socialism and unionism based themselves on the ideal of human community within any given national area or within the labor force; communism went even further with its concept of international brotherhood. And some thinkers were beginning to restore Dante's mystical thirteenth-century vision in new terms, as a concept of nonmonarchical world government.
Whether these philosophies were the result or the cause of breakdowns in English nationalism and chauvinistic sympathies would probably be impossible to determine. A narrow Marxist might adduce as the source of their intensity a disaffection with the idea of English supremacy caused by the economic conditions that prevailed from 1873 to 1896, the years of the Great Depression. As one historian has pointed out, the growing tendency during those years simply was "to depreciate things English and exalt things foreign."24
At any rate, both cosmic thought and cosmopolitanism flourished simultaneously, and the writings of cosmopolitans took on more or less philosophical reverberation according to the depth of their acknowledgement of such cosmic philosophies. Certainly Sharp's own cosmopolitanism, implicitly at first, later explicitly, acknowledged them. To this extent his romanticism had gone beyond mere comradeship toward what Irving Babbitt calls a "superrational perception," and, as will be seen, it was to achieve the character of a genuine ethic.
The question of susceptibility to foreign influence in the later part of the century has wide and sometimes conflicting ramifications. For one thing, it was no sudden explosion: throughout the century foreign culture had played a large if unsystematic social and artistic role in England, a natural result of both a growing technology of communication and the experimental, sympathetic temper of the romantics. Even colonial imperialism, appearing to exert its pressure from another moral side entirely, stirred in the most jingoistic of writers, like Rudyard Kipling, warm sensations of universal sympathy and fellow feeling.
Without pretending to reduce the complexity of the causes of the cosmopolitan movement, one might well conjecture that its quality as a movement --- systematic, coherent, and genuinely philosophic --- came about in reaction to the false cosmopolitanism of the British imperialist. The glorification of the foreign and exotic, insofar as it in turn brought glory to the British Empire and sanctified the pride of Englishmen, has to be distinguished from the glorification inspired by a feeling antagonistic to English hegemony and superiority. In both cases a mystical idea of union may have been at work. But whereas the imperialistic cosmopolitan, if such he may be called, venerated that union as a function of the British Empire, and tended to derogate the race or nation that could not or would not be embraced by it, the true cosmopolitan saw union as worldwide and gratuitous; he was provoked to outrage at the claims of any one nation or race to superiority over another. In this sense Sharp's cosmopolitanism, being of the latter kind, represented a new phase of an old tradition. The egalitarian spirit that had had its first exercise within the boundaries of single nations was now being given universal scope.
The genesis of Victorian literary cosmopolitanism can be studied separately only if it is clearly seen as part of this larger cultural---even political-context, since as a movement it is marked by its conscious awareness of that context. Matthew Arnold's role as first standardbearer in the cause of an expanded European literary conscience makes him a good starting point, for the range of concerns, interests, and attitudes Arnold opened in the sixties touched those of the next generation at several points. Sharp expressed his direct debt to him by subscribing to Andrew Lang's characterization of Arnold's mentor, Ernest Renan, as the Moses and Arnold himself as the Aaron of the Celtic movement. And Arnold's deep interest in Sainte-Beuve and his study of Heine during the earlier part of his career as critic appear almost to have been handed down to Sharp as a bequest. In general, the kind of wider literary perception demonstrated by Sharp and his group in the nineties was precisely what Arnold had called for in his first collection of Essays in Criticism, published in 1865, and in his lectures on the Celtic spirit in literature in 1866.
If the effectiveness with which Arnold performed his standard-bearing role in the movement for literary cosmopolitanism remains in dispute among modern scholars, it is because he anticipated in a still more pertinent way the spirit behind the movement. Arnold was fully conscious that, as far as his English audience was concerned, the application of critical "disinterestedness" to the literary community of Europe as a whole had an outlaw taint upon it. For this reason, it has been suggested, he later backed away from his own early stand against British snobbism and insularity.25 What critics of his alleged failure of nerve have not recognized is that Arnold's early remarks had already received their sympathetic and enthusiastic hearing among the young men and women of Sharp's generation, and had stirred something in them that no amount of subsequent equivocation or recantation on Arnold's part could quell, and that their own experience could do nothing but confirm.
Arnold's voice had been by no means isolated, however. In many ways, direct and indirect, British vanity had been attacked throughout the high Victorian period. The Brownings had exerted a strong cosmopolitan influence by making foreign culture present and vivid to English readers and by insisting that the cause of Italian nationalism was their vital concern. Ruskin's graphic reevocations of the artistic, architectural, and sociological experience of the well-traveled Englishman had given impetus to the spirit of foreign appreciation. Walter Pater had influenced it with his interest in French symbolism, and Swinburne by underwriting Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Verlaine, and by his passion for Mazzini. Rossetti had encouraged it with his recollections of Francois Villon, and by reenfranchising the Italian "dolce stil nuovo." George Eliot and George Henry Lewes had contributed to it with their importation of German and French philosophy and higher criticism. And George Meredith, already in his early work representing the first swell of the new and stronger wave to come, was beginning to prick the swollen egos of the English bourgeoisie with sharp satire.
Nevertheless, the committed, near-religious elite of Edinburgh needed their special prophet. They found him not among the great literary names in England and Scotland, but on the outer edge of their own circle. He was the Frenchman Joseph Texte, whose interesting, unpretentious book Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Cosmopolitan Spirit in Literature (1895) must have given the cosmopolitans of Sharp's Edinburgh circle the joy of a private scripture and just the broad literary and historical basis they needed for a consolidation of views.
It is not precisely clear when Sharp discovered this volume. Though he refers to it in a late work, Literary Geography (1903-1904), a case may well be made for his having encountered it a good deal earlier, partly because of his liaison with French literary circles, and partly because the sentiments expressed in it are so akin to his own during the nineties that it is difficult to believe it did not either directly influence the framing of his ideas or confirm opinions he already held and give them a cogent vocabulary and an historical validity. As such, it merits special consideration here.
As a historian of French literature, Texte was of course concerned witli cosmopolitanism as an essential part of the modem French tradition. Yet the conditions which he saw as causal in the development of this tradition were strikingly reproduced in the England of the late nineteenth century, and this Sharp and his Evergreen circle would not have failed to see. Texte borrowed for an axiom of his thesis the same vocabulary that Matthew Arnold had used in "The Function of Criticism" to define the relationship between national and cultural movements. Texte stated that the history of nations "in their moral no less than their political life" could be divided into periods of concentration and expansion.26 But his definitions of these terms are curiously the reverse of Arnold's. The period of "expansion" for Texte coincided with strong nationalism, even imperialism, and was characterized by a tendency to chauvinism in literary and artistic taste. Conversely, "concentration" implied a reappraisal of traditional values, reflected in internal political and intellectual strife and a tendency to national self-criticism. (Arnold had considered the period of nationalism a period of reaction, and thus an "epoch of concentration," and had defined an "epoch of expansion" as a time characterized by the tendency to explore outside the intellectual boundaries of a single nation.)
From this point on Texte moved independently. As he saw it, neither concentration nor expansion was ever totally comprehensive as a national movement of mind. Residual national vanity, like residual internal criticism, was present even when the national mind appeared wholly taken up with the principle peculiar to the current phase of its development. An obvious distinction, it is yet an important one, providing a rationale for the apparently contradictory presence of the two mentalities at any given period---a presence especially notable in later Victorian England.
To illustrate this aspect of his theory, Texte provided a studious analysis of Voltaire's opposition to the prevailing current of cosmopolitanism in the late eighteenth century. That period in France was, in his view, just such a period of concentration as has been described. At that time, he says, apart from Voltaire, the major luminaries of French literature, whose efforts coincided with, and were in some cases identical with, the romantic movement, were only partially French. Rousseau, Mme. de StaŽl, Benjamin Constant, Chateaubriand, all took their signal from their outstation in Geneva, and often expressly considered themselves racially mixed. National allegiance among French intellectuals was, as a result, diffused, patriotism weak. The outcome, says Texte, was the raising of a protest "in the name of foreign and modern literatures, against the influence of the classical spirit."27
This clear division between the classical spirit as nativist and the modern and romantic spirit as cosmopolitan did not obtain in England in the nineteenth century. Yet any imaginative Victorian would have seen in much of the literature of the later part of the century a reasonable parallel. Alongside a romantic tendency for experimentation in life as well as in art, there seems to have run a diffused if not completely disoriented patriotism and a distinct readiness to criticize the pious values of mid-Victorianism, values that often smacked distinctly of national pride. Sharp was hardly the inventor of the attitude which, as early as the Heine biography in 1888, revealed itself in a vitriolic assault upon the smugness of the British reception of Heine's apostasy. "Those upholders of the opium trade," he snarled, "the despoilers of the weak, the land-grabbers par excellence" were hardly in a moral position to be critical of the supposed hypocrisy of a member of another race."28 It may partially have been this arrogant Anglo-Saxon posture that provoked his ad hoc popagandizing for Judaism in The Children of To-morrow; in his instinct for protest, certainly, Sharp could as readily be ruled by a negative passion as a positive one. By 1892, this same passion had reached a height in the outspoken iconoclasm of the Pagan Review, which could be identified by its irreverent motto and by its appeal to the Gallic Gautier to establish the review's general tone.
Any reader of the periodical literature of the nineties is aware how widespread was such sentiment. There is strength in the argument that much of the Gallicizing that represented itself as sophisticated art and criticism was deeply rooted in anti-nationalism, and that men like John Addington Symonds and Arthur Symons were not unaware of the shock value inherent in their exhibition of such widely European sensibility as they demonstrated in their major works. But if anti-nationalism were the sole motive of cosmopolitanism, it would have limited, sensational value alone, and the argument for allying the spirit of foreign appreciation with decadence would be strong. This, as previously shown, was not the case at all. True cosmopolitanism was grounded deep in cosmic, near-mystical ideology, and this was as true of men who prided themselves on their scientific minds as of others. Havelock Ellis, expressing hope for ever-increasing "social organization," or "communalization," and foreseeing an amalgamation of races as a partial result of colonialism, was capable of striking a note of great ironic disdain for British imperial methods. "On the whole," he says, in his introduction to The New Spirit, "we stamp [the "lower races"] out as mercifully as may be, supplying our victims liberally with missionaries and blankets." Yet in typical cosmopolitan spirit, while he envisioned England eventually succumbing to its own principle of greatness, "dispersion," he also saw it realizing that same greatness in its survival as a symbol, a "Holy-Land" for the English-speaking race.29
Texte's view of the modern cosmopolitan imagination is reflected in the greater as well as the lesser literary men of the period. One might hazard a broad generalization, in fact, and say that the prevailing theme of later Victorian fiction (and in modern times fiction has been the most important literary proving ground for the current social dynamic) can be reduced to the simple proposition that growth, maturity, and wisdom are in direct proportion to cosmopolitan experience---that an expanded conscience is, in other words, the outcome of an expanded horizon. just how absolute this relationship is can be seen in the novels of Henry James and Joseph Conrad, where morality itself becomes increasingly a function of mobility; and whatever James and Conrad left out of the expression of this philosophy remained only to be filled in by Forster, Lawrence, and Hemingway. Thus modern fiction, growing out of and beyond travel literature, allies itself with cosmopolitanism's underlying ethos, the breaking down of personal and national prejudices, the realization of the fullest humanity of the individual and the fullest potential of the community through enlarged, cosmic sympathy.
To the extent that cosmopolitanism provided the writer himself with a special ethic for action, it made him a student of world culture. The primitivism that is so variously expressed a motif in the literature of this period, marking so abundantly, for example, the work of William Morris, and providing through works like The Golden Bough a seminal education for the next literary generation, was, from the point of view of literary history, cosmopolitanism's most significant product. Thus Sharp's connection in the mid-nineties with the scholarly racial studies of Warner's Library 30 was the most natural and inevitable result of his outlook, and no more than his private contribution to a movement. The many ethnological pieces in Warner's represented a mere fraction of the scholarship and pseudo-scholarship in comparative studies during this period. It might well be concluded that the vast variety of investigations of this kind shared the single factor of anti-English reaction, and that the Irish movement was not alone to be accounted for in these terms. The extraordinarily wide diffusion of efforts on all levels to resuscitate each and every "racial spirit" in itself belied pure scientific disinterestedness, a facade which could easily disguise real discontent with the national or racial bond to which the "scientists" were ostensibly attached. If Matthew Arnold illustrates the spirit in which the first stimulus to broad racial theorizing in England was conceived, then it may be said that popular ethnology among the English originated, however weakly, as a challenge to Anglo-Saxonism. But it was Texte again who undoubtedly provided the most comprehensive statement of the "philosophy" behind Sharp's cosmopolitanism and that of hordes of other students of Celtic, Teutonic, Slavic, Icelandic, and Scmitic cultures, to mention but a few---behind, in fact, the whole movement of comparative studies of which Sharp made himself a distinct part.31 "To be a citizen 'of every nation,"' said Texte, "not to belong to one's 'native country'---this was the dream of French writers in the eighteenth century . . . Is it not a mark of the 'philosopher' to possess just this absolute detachment from the national bond which may very well be one of the most absurd prejudices handed down from early ages?"32
Texte's thesis is applicable to certain later Victorian literary pbenomena in another way. It suggests links by which movements not obviously definable as cosmopolitan may be proven to have connections with that attitude-connections which were embodied in Sharp's work. If, as has been pointed out, the cosmopolitanism of the period cannot so readily be defined as a revolt against classical literature as can the French romantic movement, nonetheless it may still be advanced as a revolt against a form of classicism. The "Greek spirit" as conceived by the later Victorians continued to be more romantic then classical in the traditional senses of these terms. Among them, "pagan joy" was promoted as the Greeks' most apparent and laudable characteristic. And this "joy" was posed, in typical antithesis, against the Greeks' brooding, highly "romantic" melancholy, their tragic sense, their spirit of protest in the face even of the inexorable. Appropriately, Euripides was Sharp's favorite among the Greek tragedians, if not among all classical writers. Indeed Sharp was possessed with the notion of writing drama that would ultimately mold out of the blend of Maeterlinckian "psychic" drama, Celtic myth, and the principles of Greek tragedy a new and formidable modern tragedy that would rid itself of what he called the "stifling" bonds of Ibsen's "realistic" stage.33 When he was not fashioning this new Celtic buskin, he was rhapsodizing over the Greeks themselves. Greek themes haunted him, and the attractions of Sicily were immeasurably augmented by the drumbeats of vestigial Greek cults he found still pulsing in the bloodstreams of the Sicilians.34 He spoke of Renan's "Prayer on the Acropolis" as something be too could live by.35 It was not surprising, of course, that he should link himself with this most prominent and controversial ethnologist, the Celtic scholar to whom Arnold traced his roots. Renan was another national relativist whose racial passion for the Greeks was conceived out of the same cosmopolitan logic Sharp used: Greek culture claimed permanence in having, in effect, died its national death, but risen again, phoenix-like, as a standard borne by all western nations, capable of uniting them in their diversity.
More, however, than the restoration of Greek antiquity made up the countercurrent to the imperialistic spirit that had characterized Tennyson's generation and grown into a form of national hysteria after it. The Italian Renaissance was another favorite source of sustenance for the cosmopolitans. The chaotic individualism of the period of the condottieri that, via Browning and Jakob Burckhardt, had become so tantalizing to students of Italian history and culture among the later Victorians was an implicit reflection upon the leveling demands of an austerely ordered and unified Britannia. While a part of British liberal opinion was expressing satisfaction with Italy's unification, literary men were simultaneously expressing a nostalgia for a spirit that was not only the opposite of the spirit of political unification but that, historically, most worked toward making that unification a near impossibility. Pater's Studies in the Renaissance and Symonds' History are cases in point. It was not the "Italianism" that expressed national self-consciousness and singleness of political purpose, but Italy's quality of picturesque disorder, of variety designed to tantalize and reawaken the jaded taste, that usually supplied its inevitable "magic."
Sharp's own passion for Italian "variety" has already been documented, though with his inclinations toward the Etruscans, the Campagna, and Sicily, he demonstrated that his passion was for a primitivism at still one further remove from the civilization of the Renaissance. Probably Browning best exemplified the liberal's confusion with regard to Italy---free it, he seemed to say, but don't make it less interesting---perhaps one reason that he let his wife handle the propaganda. To the extent that Browning's uses of the south were a rebuke to the northern values with which he had been reared, he was an expatriate ahead of his time, and this may partially account for the endurance of his reputation beyond the Victorian period.
In one other area the cosmopolitanism of the last part of the nineteenth century revealed itself as a protest against the spirit of English "expansion," and that is in its attitude toward the Protestant orthodoxy. Again on this score Texte expressed what might easily be considered the typical cosmopolitan view, and Sharp drew upon it. The romanticism of late eighteenth-century France had, of course, been characterized by a strong pro-Protestantism, since its main affinity was for the literature of the northern Protestant countries. Mine. de StaŽl, and Charles Bonstetten after her, had seen what they construed as an essential relationship between the "free" northern spirit and the preeminence of Protestantism in northern cultures. This view, combined with a natural tendency for those discontented with what they have to praise what they do not have, served to advance the French romantic's alienation-and therefore, says Texte, the future alienation of all French literary men-from the Catholic tradition and to make French romanticism a movement Protestant in the generic sense, that is, almost totally secularist in its tendencies.
In France, of course, where the Catholic orthodoxy was a powerful suppressive force, this may have been a justifiable alienation. In England, however, such a situation did not exist, or if anything, it existed in reverse. Although the Protestant establishment gave undeniably greater latitude for freedom of thought and expression in England, even a sympathetic Frenchman like Texte could see that the establishment of a Protestant orthodoxy did not yield all the advantages it might seem to promise for individual freethinking. The bitter cries going up in mid-Victorian England in the name of religious power could have given him ample evidence that, although "the Reformation had infused the English mind with a calm and dignified gravity, with intense and imperious conviction," it had given it "at the same time narrowness and false pride."36
This "narrowness and false pride," conceived as an ineradicable part of the English spirit in all its Grundyist aspects, may well have been responsible for the strange occurrence of the obverse of the French experience, the quiet recrudescence of a sympathy for Catholicism that partially characterizes the art and literature of the later Victorians. The early cosmopolitan Bonstetten, who had to a great extent brought more levelheadedness to Mme. de StaŽl's views on the relationship of religion to art, had long before Texte observed that a predominance of imagination and sense appreciation went inevitably with a religion of dogma and ceremony. The Latin countries, therefore, satisfied with the appeals of their religious forms to their most primitive devotional needs, were giving evidence of their preponderantly imaginative and sensual racial tendencies. Bonstetten's view was, though perhaps not intended as such, a blow to the northern Protestant insofar as it gave to the Latin a preeminence in those facultiesfeeling and imagination-most important to art, even as it may have taken away the Latin's claims to intellectual superiority.
But for Sharp's artistic brethren of the circle around Edinburgh, as for the Pre-Raphaelites before them and the Dubliners at their side, there was small need of more reason and intellect. The "rationalism" of English Protestantism, if such indeed it was, had only served to demonstrate the limits of reason when applied to faith; and if reason had been the mainstay of the English opposition to Catholicism, that mainstay may verv well have been lost to the new and shining encampment of science. In the war between science and belief English orthodoxy was to become the strange fellow-traveler of a religion it had considered its mortal enemy since the sixteenth century. But the ecumenical recognition that all religions find their common foe in secularism, though so brilliantly foreseen by Newman, was then a long way off. In the jungle stage of the evolution that ultimately produced that ecumenicism, English orthodoxy, like any other ortbodoxy in the same position, thought only to save itself by fastidious reentrencbment. As a result of this stance, many sophisticated Victorians undertook a healthy reevaluation of a previous posture toward all religions, including Catholicism, that had long been taken for granted. Thus the popular, if somewhat mistaken, identification of Catholicism with art and ceremony, with gorgeous display and the submersion of the intellect in emotional and devotional glamor, curiously worked in its favor with all of those whose varying commitments to the dictum of "art for art's sake" had given them a concern for, and appreciation of, emotion and imagination as the supreme creative faculties. When Yeats and Havelock Ellis, among others, said that the arts had become religious, the religion they intended involved the broadest possible latitude, and, in the root sense, catholicity. Yet it was a catholicity that sustained no embarrassment at its connotations---that included rather than excluded the spirit of Roman Catholicism. Notwithstanding the generous tolerance extended Catholicism by the greatest Victorians, Arnold, Ruskin, and Pater (not to mention Newman, of course), this was still, in the context of the English Protestant tradition, something of a new and reverse Bloodless Revolution.
This religious phase of cosmopolitanism is readily visible in Sharp's work. That first horrified shrinking from the vivid dramatizations of devotional themes like the crucifixion in Italian Catholicism was gradually transformed into a profound sympathy, and, when devising a vita for Fiona Macleod, Sharp expressly identified her as a Roman Catholic.37 Through her he came to equate the Italian Catholic emotional bath with the Italian mystical tradition, and with this new vision he looked favorably upon the same things from which the William Sharp of previous years had recoiled---among them Assisi and the dark devotions of southern Italians. The veneration of Mary, which some spokesmen for the rational Protestant mind termed Mariolatry and censured as a degradation of man's spiritual instincts, began to appear to Sharp as the means by which man expressed his persistent craving for a maternal spirit in which to submerge himself, a craving that reformed religions were wrong to deny. Surely too it was a reduction of the usual prejudice against "Latin degradation," if not a prejudice in its favor, that led Sharp to announce so victoriously the alliance between the Latin and Celtic races, and to allege that their coalition was the one thing capable of preventing Anglo-Saxon dominance of America's new racial "reorganization."38
A similar cosmopolitan bias informs Sharp's report of his visit to North Africa in 1893, in which he daringly put the work of Catholic missioners there above that of Protestants. The success of that work, he asserted, sprang from precisely that quality of sympathetic identification he had so often pronounced the first prerequisite for the artist, "that particular quality of imagination, or sympathy, call it what you will, which enables some missioners literally to be all things to all men." These words are supposedly quoted from a Protestant missioner's appraisal of the Catholic success, but the style and the concept were Sharp's own. "We are, broadly speaking, always ourselves," the missioner went on, "always English, or Scottish, or American; always conscious of our Protestant calling, our Protestant arrogance, our Protestant aloofness." But the French Catholic "White Fathers" had instead, he continued, made less of the divergence between Christian and Arab, more of their cooperation toward the same end. By avoiding theological controversy and by simplifying doctrine, they had also avoided the intellectual confusion that seemed to be the harvest of the Protestant approach to conversions.39
The tendency to favor an emotional or moral Catholicism, if not a doctrinal one, grew as Sharp, becoming more engrossed with the Celtic labors of Fiona Macleod, obtained firsthand experience of modern Celtdom on various excursions through the Scottish Isles. He found occasion to observe in the introductions and forewords to Macleod works that it was in the outlying regions of Scotland or in the isles, where Presbyterianism had failed to gain a foothold, that the people had been able to maintain the remnants of the beautiful old cults. In its tolerance of old ways and adaptability to them, Catholicism did not seem to ravage the Celtic traditions so much as Protestantism. To the Protestant's retort that the two superstitions went hand in hand, Fiona Macleod indignantly replied: "How common the foolish utterance of narrow lives, that all these old ways of thought are superstitions."40 These so-called superstitions were for Fiona Macleod the remains, fragmentary but persistent, of the Celt's true sense of union with the other world of which nature, in mystical terms, was but the garment.
Sharp's tolerance of Catholicism was thus a practical as well as a spiritual matter. In the process of collecting materials useful to his work as Fiona Macleod, he was finding himself frustrated by the dying of Gaelic tradition and legendary. Among the social and historical causes he found for this decline, the growth of towns was a peculiar source of bitterness. But sharing a nearly equal position of dishonor was what Sharp called "the sterilizing effect of Calvinism." A story in the Macleod collection entitled The Sunset of Old Tales---the title itself a metaphor for the slow passing of folklore---is a fictionalized damnation of the Calvinist spirit, seen as crushing the natural charity and benevolence of the unspoiled Celt. In that story, "The Wayfarer," a Calvinist preacher castigates a young woman for having a child out of wedlock. In innocent, Christ-like indignation, a passing wayfarer, representing the Celt's better and truer self, prays the townspeople to heed his own message of love, and they in their natural compassion move to his voice and receive the girl again into their fold.41
An article called "The Gael and His Heritage" contained more direct criticism of Calvinism: "I do not think any one who has not lived intimately in the Highlands can realize the extent to which the blight of Calvinism has fallen upon the people."42 It was only in the Catholic rituals, Fiona Macleod continued here, that the amalgam of pagan and Christian symbolism had survived. For this reason the larger number of Sharp's Celtic stories, where they were not legendary in basis, were set among the Catholic islanders and islemen. "The Children of the Dark Star," a series of tales recounting the vicissitudes of an island family, tells of a son entering the priesthood.43 "Fara-Ghaol" (false love) deals with an island woman who, though she is a Christian, suffers nonetheless from the anguished belief that her own child has been replaced by a changeling.44 "Cuilidh Moire" documents the persistence of pagan water rites among the Catholic islemen, who call the sea, with no sense of inconsistency, "the treasury of Mary." And the Latin-Celtic alliance, so closely related to Sharp's Catholic sympathies, was even pressed so far in one tale as to suggest a link between the Scottish McRoban family and the Italian Robani.45
It has already been suggested that Sharp's affinity for the Catholic tradition may be interpreted as another bond between the Celtism of Fiona Macleod and other so-called "decadent" movements conceived in a spirit antagonistic to English insularity. But his Catholic tendencies also contained elements inherently antagonistic to the Protestant Scots, whose nationalism Fiona Macleod seemed otherwise designed to flatter. Sharp was, in other words, taking a particular religious stance before his own people that could meet with only little general favor. This division of allegiances was of one piece with the conviction (founded in his natural cosmopolitanism, fostered by his training in Belgian nationalism, and never betrayed thereafter) that he could not support Celtic nationalism in any political sense.
The anti-nationalism of Sharp's Celtism was utterly comprehensive. It extended to the Irishman as well as the Scot, and it was formalized from the very beginning of his Celtic phase in the dogma that the Celt belonged to a "passing race".46 In 1896, collaborating as William Sharp on an anthology of Celtic poetry, Lyra Celtica, he sustained his view, though now in the tone of one under attack: "No, it is no 'disastrous end': whether the Celtic peoples be slowly perishing or are spreading innumerable fibres of life towards a richer and fuller, if less national and distinctive existence."47 His comments on Yeats in this volume predicted the thrust of Yeats's future work. Yeats, he said, in language that bore in its echoes of Arnold the discomfort of a man walking a fine line, "is too wise, too clear-sighted, too poetic in fact, to aim at being Irish at the expense of being English in the high and best sense of the word. This, fortunately, is consistent with being paramountly national in all else. In the world of literature there is no geography save that of the mind."48
But Sharp's distinction between literature and "all else" seemed to Celtic enthusiasts an evasion of political conscience. This position was interpreted by Celtic supporters, as it had been earlier by Belgian supporters, as a cowardly reluctance to stand behind the political exponents of the national movement and as a sell-out to Anglo-Saxon domination. It drew him into hot controversy, but that very controversy was the means by which he developed a mature and realistic ideal, respecting the bond with Anglo-Saxonism, while rejecting subservience to it. An essay called "Iona" and an article called "Celtic," both published as Fiona Macleod's in 1899, sought to isolate in the Celtic genius-as Sharp's earlier articles had sought to isolate in the Belgian those factors most contributory to its survival as a literary and cultural " spirit" rather than as a national entity. He referred in "Iona" to his phrase, familiar by now to Fiona Macleod readers, anent "the doomed and passing" Celt. "I have been taken to task for these words. [Yet, as] the Celt fades . . . his spirit rises in the heart and mind of the AngloCeltic peoples, with whom are the destinies of the generation to come."49 He insisted that the Celts' spiritual and artistic genius for mythmaking, rather than any imagined ability to unify and to exert power as a distinct race, was what alone would foster their survival. In "Celtic" he especially urged that it must be the duty of those honoring peculiar genius to avoid expressions of political nationalism and to attempt to realize the "ideal of art to represent beautiful life." He pressed for a Celtic movement "that is not partisan, but content to participate in the English tradition, and to give it in English what itself possesses that is distinctive . . . the vision of 'The Land of Heart's Desire,' the regret of lost beauty---the dwelling among noble memories and immortal desires."50
Some critics gradually conceded Fiona Macleod's wisdom, but others continued to attack her as pro-English, a point on which Sharp might still be easily inclined to sensitivity. He continued to retaliate, and in Fiona Macleod's essay "Prelude" he again prophesied a kind of rebirth of the Celtic spirit, though not one that contented diehard Celtic enthusiasts. His self-defense, now very much in the Arnold tradition of disinterestedness, demonstrated how deeply his literary cosmopolitanism had by this time worked out his rancor against Anglo-Saxon "Bumbledom":
Having made this gallant bow, however, the author rose to his full height:
Sharp's ultimate statement on the subject came in 1904, undoubtedly in a more friendly atmosphere. Still writing as Fiona Macleod, he published a two-part essay entitled "The Irish Muse," using as his point of departure Yeats's Book of Irish Verse. There he expressed firmly and simply his new ideal: "A national genius should seek rather for the beauty that can stand apart from time and country, than for that which must bear the impress of the time in the accent of the country."53 Crediting Yeats with the achievement of this difficult aim, Sharp maintained that "a country lives truly only when it realizes that its sole aim is not to live"---not to live, that is, in the ordinary political sense, but in a spiritual one; and in the case of the Celt this meant to live for the present within the English tradition, and by doing so to guarantee survival even beyond it. The intent of the essay was wholly summarized by an earlier statement in "Prelude": "Another and greater independence is within our reach, is ours, to preserve and eiinoble."54
Sharp was, of course, wisely and prophetically right: the Yeats whose later sense of literary purpose eschewed pure partisanship and realized the survival of the Celtic "mythopoeic" faculty in a world to which that faculty was becoming more and more alien was the Yeats of genuine literary permanence. It is to Sharp's credit that never in the heat of argument did he yield his conviction that only by giving symbolic meaning to any particular national identity could an artist assure its universality, and therefore its endurance.
Amid all this controversy, however, Sharp had not neglected to seek an actual landscape that, in his typical way, he might imaginatively utilize as a metaphor for his philosophical stance. This he found in the isle of Iona, whose "spiritual history" he composed side by side with his most forceful battle cries, "Celtic" and "Prelude." The long essay "Iona" was an impressionistic rendering of what its author, Fiona Macleod, called "the spirit of the isle." But that "spirit" had little of the actual about it. Iona served as a geographical means of dramatizing nearly every aspect of transcendent Celtism until then perceived by Fiona Macleod's fiction and criticism. Calling Iona "the mecca of the Gael," Sharp observed in the spiritual life of the island the same "blending of paganism and romance and spiritual beauty" that had formed the keynote of Fiona Macleod's technique of recasting Celtic folklore. In the legends of St. Columba with which the isle's history was invested he saw the survival of precious druid lore in the midst of the Catholic tradition. He found too, among the isle's legends, the same prophecy of the "woman-redeemer" that had been the singular apocalyptic vision of his own work. Iona, in short, was the very earth in which the Celtic spirit had been stored---"the microcosm of the Gaelic world"---and the soil from which Fiona Macleod saw the Celtic spirit, newly conceived, rise again as a "lamp unto the world." The symbolism of this prophecy was clear: "That greater change may yet be, may well have already come."55
Fiona Macleod's pleas for the remission of partisanship and the acceptance of "spiritual rebirth" had their sympathetic hearing. In a review of The Winged Destiny--- under which title were collected in 1904 most of Fiona Macleod's essays on the transcendent nationalism of the true Celtic spirit-the Irish author Ethel Goddard praised the "art and philosophy" of Fiona Macleod for its refusal to accept "any bondage to tradition or national feeling."56 Miss Goddard left no doubt that she shared the cosmopolitan outlook that characterized many of Sharp's generation. She chose as Fiona Macleod's central theme this passage from "Celtic": "It is well that the people in the isles should love the isles above all else . . . But it is not well that because of the whistling of the wind in the heather one should imagine that nowhere else does the wind suddenly stir the reeds and the grasses in its incalculable hour." Calling up echoes from the entire course of Sharp's past literary life echoes all the more startling because it was impossible for her to have known their full significance as part of Sharp's spiritual biography-the reviewer described Fiona Macleod's vision of the future of Celtism as giving it "a destiny akin to that of a fallen Greece and a dispersed Israel . . . Our most desired country is not the real Ireland, the real Scotland, the real Brittany, but . . . the shadowy land of heart's desire."57
If the wisdom of transcendent nationalism proved for Sharp to be incapable of translation, beyond the "spiritual history" of Iona, into a lucid and self-sustaining artistic product, it may be because, unlike the Yeats be so much admired, he implacably refused to dramatize the Celt caught halfway between an ancient world and a modern one. "The growth of towns," which he deplored in statement, was nonetheless an irreversible fact which he chose to ignore in Fiona Macleod's art. He restricted her efforts to retelling legendary tales of Celtic pre-history and of the initial invasion of the native druidic spirit by Christianity.
Where he did permit Fiona Macleod to write about "The World That Is,"58 as he called it, he limited his settings to places where the ancient traditions had survived fragmentarily and as though in a vacuum. His resentment of urban encroachment remained insistent, but it did not reveal itself as an internal theme of his Celtic fiction. He spoke of the life of the Celt, from the very start of his career as Fiona Macleod, as "alien in all ways from the life of cities."59 Even in the essay "Iona," into which he had so generously blended every aspect of his vision of the future of Celtdom, he had waived its inevitable present condition and held that "in the maelstrom of the cities the old race perishes, drowns."60 If this was indeed true, how was the Celtic spirit to survive and undergo its spiritual rebirth?
But Sharp's turning away in this sense from the modernity he had earlier championed may not necessarily have been the only cause of the spurious character of some of his Macleod work. The deep truth of what he did say about the nonpartisanship of art might still have been translated into artistic success but for the relentless inhibitions of time and circumstance. The key to the problem defined here lay once again in the typical geographical metaphor into which his imagination transposed his insight. No matter how geographically real Iona might be, it effectively remained for Sharp another correlative for an "illimitable" land of dreams, "the land of heart's desire," the Eden of our universal quest. Elsewhere the metaphor remained substantially the same "The Hills of Dream," "Sundown Shores," "The Dominion of Dreams." These, collectively, were but one figure that expressed his longing to exceed the partisan limits of the existing places of his world. But as a luminous and prescient symbol for a new human community that could yet be of this world, it was a failure. It remained instead a fantasy overwhelmed with longing and nostalgia---a fantasy to which the "doomed" Celt has long lent his vocabulary, and which Sharp could only describe as a far-off land of beauty "with the light of home upon it."61 Certainly for him, the "light of home" was not really upon any other than a far-off, inaccessible land. He was a man without a real country, either native or adopted, at a time when to have lost the partisan spirit of one's own country did not yet mean to have gained the whole world.