Gerould, Gordon Hall (1877-1953) by Vaughn, Matthew

Gordon Hall Gerould Although he is remembered best now as a scholar of medieval literature, published short stories and essays on a variety of topics in during the first decades of the twentieth century. His fiction, with its conventional style and inevitable surprise endings, reflects the conservative positions he laid out in his scholarly and critical works like . Gordon Hall Gerould Scribner’s Magazine The Patterns of English and American Fiction While he praised writers like and for their ability to reveal the inner life of their characters, Gerould was unwilling to accept the later novelistic experimentation they helped inspire. In his view, ’s talents were spoiled by ; ’s output amounted to ; and ’s best novels were little more than (457, 460). Although the critical consensus eventually embraced modernist literature and Gerould’s own fiction has been forgotten, his work as a medievalist made a more lasting contribution. During his long academic career, he published extensively on , , the folk-song, the folk-story, and saints’ legends. Henry James Joseph Conrad D. H. Lawrence adolescent visions of sex Virginia Woolf nothing better than sickly fantasies William Faulkner incoherent nightmares Beowulf Chaucer Thoroughly humanistic in his approach, Gerould emphasized literature’s edifying potential over the minutia of specific textual and historical concerns. Born in 1877, he began teaching in 1901 during the era of , an influential Yale professor who preached the benefits of great literature with evangelical fervor. The preface to Gerould’s translation of is characteristic of his views: (vii). William Lyon Phelps Beowulf Understanding great books is a step towards understanding life itself, and should help to illuminate all human experience. They should be read with that in view – not as specimens from a museum of history Gerould married fellow author and contributor in 1910. They had two children, Christopher and Sylvia, and the couple’s fictional work demonstrates an understanding of the difficulties involved in balancing family life with a literary career. Gerould’s short story for instance, concerns a critically acclaimed author who plans to sell out to the popular taste in an attempt to give his wife and two children the life he feels they deserve. Drawing on his experience as a captain in the Army during World War I, Gerould’s essay argues that the veteran scholar will (469). Gerould was a professor at Princeton for more than forty years and the zest he brought to his profession is evident in the prolific bibliography he left behind. Although his assessment of modernist literature was shortsighted, his belief that his wife’s short stories would is, perhaps, more easily forgiven (vi). Scribner’s Katharine Elizabeth Fullerton The Best-Seller, The Professor and the Wide, Wide World feel more zest in teaching and research from having found that he can do other things” and find “that his absence will prove a positive benefit both to himself and to his university one day be reckoned among the best of their time —Matthew Vaughn Selected Works by Gordon Hall Gerould . New York: Ronald Press, 1953. Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight . . September 1915:325-334. The Best-Seller Scribner’s Magazine . Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1942. The Patterns of English and American Fiction . April 1919: 465-470 The Professor and the Wide, Wide World. Scribner’s Magazine

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