|Previous||1 of 4||Next|
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
large ( > 500x500)
Loading content ...
1909 7117 Harvard 1491 study 4673 ROBERT W. VAN KIRK Figure BROWNING POPULARIZED BY MEANS OF LECTURES, LECTURE-RECITALS AND DRAMATIC INTERPRETATIONS The Purpose of these Lectures and Recitals ROBERT BROWNING has the misfortune to be generally regarded as so abstruse and profound as to be the despair of ordinary minds. Mr. Van Kirk is an enthusiastic student of this great poet who is aiming to awaken new interest in his writings by showing how intelligible and thrillingly interesting they may be made by dramatic interpretation. These Recitals invariably surprise the hearers with the charm and vividness of the poet's lines and the tremendous dramatic action they suggest. Mr. Van Kirk is one of the few persons who are endeavoring to do for Browning what scores of Impersonators and Readers are doing for Shakespeare. A FIVE DAYS SERIES OF LECTURES AND RECITALS given in the season of 1909 at THE FAMOUS CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION, N. Y., was received with marked favor. A Growing Appreciation of Browning Mr. Van Kirk's enthusias ic reception by the Boston Browning Society, and by Universities, Colleges, Chautauquas and Women's Clubs in a dozen different states of the Union, is evidence not only of the high character of his work but of a growing appreciation of Browning's poetry. The permanent influence of these Recitals is shown in the hundreds who have been led to read Browning with a new vision. I. LECTURE Robert Browning: the Man and the Poet Browning's personality was one of the most interesting among the literary men of the past generation. As a poet he had scant appreciation until he was considerably westward of fifty. But today he is recognized as the strongest intellectual and religious force in the world of poetry of the nineteenth century. He is the poet of strength and faith. With me, faith means perpetual unbelief Kept quiet like the snake 'neath Michael's foot Who stands calm just because he feels it writhe II. LECTURE-RECITAL ILLUSTRATED BY Andrea del Sarto, Evelyn Hope, Apparent Failure, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, My Last Duchess AND OTHER SHORTER POEMS. The Monologue is Browning's favorite literary form and in it he is master. The shorter poems here used illustrate his skillful employment of the Monologue for dramatic purposes. His power as an artist is shown not only in vivid objective pictures, but also in the subjective and passionate revelation of character. III. LECTURE The Ring and the Book In June 1860 Browning found in a book-stall an Old Yellow Book which proved to be the report of a murder-case in Rome in 1698. This became the source of The Ring and the Book, his magnum opus, and the great drama of the age. The recent publication by the Carnegie Institution of this Old Yellow Book together with Prof. Hodell's translation, has aroused new interest in the poem, because anyone may now study it in connection with its sources. IV. RECITAL Count Guido Franceschini, FROM THE RING AND THE BOOK Guido is Browning's Iago—his deepest conception of demonized manhood. He is the black object-lesson which terrifies us at the awful fate of the man who sells himself to do evil. For vehemence of passion and tragic action not even Shakespeare surpasses Browning's Guido. V. RECITAL Canon Giuseppe Caponsacchi, FROM THE RING AND THE BOOK Caponsacchi is Browning's St. George—his highest conception of spiritualized manhood. He is the object lesson in light which attracts us to truth, purity and self sacrifice. In this character we have the best illustration of Browning's magnificient creative genius. It is at once a study in psychology, ethics and religion. VI. RECITAL Saul Saul represents the soul's experience in an ecstatic mood. It is an argument to prove the goodness and power of God from personal, subjective experiences of benevolence and self-sacrifice. Whether regarded as a Monologue or Soliloquy, the poem requires dramatic interpretation in order to appreciate its subtle power. VII. RECITAL A Blot in the 'Scutcheon This is Browning's choicest play, a tragedy of passionate and pathetic interest. Browning here teaches the folly of the worship of ancestral traditions, and shows the inevitable and fatal consequences of sin, and at the same time reveals the power of love to redeem even wrecked human lives from the tragic irony of utter reprobation. PRESS COMMENT EDITORIAL FROM THE PRESBYTERIAN BANNER PITTSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA Mr. Van Kirk's Recital of an hour and a half was from memory, without the slip of a word or a moment of hesitation. Not only so. but he rendered the intensely dramatic defense of the highly emotional Italian with artistic faithfulness to all his play of thought and feeling, ranging from calm recital to passionate and tragic pleading. But it was all done with such perfect art, yet artlessness, with none of the affectation and bombast of some professional elocutionists, that it was a pleasure and a charm to hear it, and at times one was deeply moved by it. As an intellectual and emotional feat it was wonderful and could only be compared to such a performance as Paderewski gives when he plays a program of the most difficult music, running through several hours from pure memory. THE WATCHMAN, Boston, Mass. Mr. Van Kirk threw himself with such ease into the part that for sixty minutes the audience hung to the passionnte and heart rending defense as if the unfortunate Count himself were before them. Mr. Van Kirk's presentation was far more real than most acting, for it was utterly devoid of that artificiality of tone and gesture characteristic of so many professional actors. THE CLIPPER, Garrett, Ind. Mr. Van Kirk's reading before the Twentieth Century Club made such a profound impression that he was brought back to present Caponsacchi. THE NEWS, Grand Rapids, Mich. Before a large audience at the Public Library Mr. Van Kirk impersonated the half dozen characters in A Blot in the 'Scutcheon with such effect as to bring the whole drama before the eyes of his hearers as though it were enacted on a stage before them. THE TIMES, Ames, Ia. Mr. Van Kirk appeared at the Chautauqua in a Browning Lecture-Recital, using Andrea del Sarto, Evelyn Hope, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister and other shorter poems. It was indeed a treat for admirers of Browning, and it gave others a clearer insight into the poet they had thought dry and uninteresting. THE DAILY NEWS, Aurora, Ill. In his Recitals at the Aurora Chautauqua Assembly Mr. Van Kirk reached the height of true art, losing himself in his subject and revealing the genius of Browning with a correctness and intensity both startling and delightful. The Assembly reached a climax in him and the management has been petitioned for his return next year. THE TIMES, Adrian, Mich. Those who had attempted Browning and found his meaning obstruse and abscure, wondered at their own denseness in the light of Mr. Van Kirk's vivid interpretation. THE JOURNAL, Providence, R. I. There have been few such readings from Browning heard in the city as the two given yesterday. Mr. Van Kirk showed remarkable dramatic power, and his expression, enunciation and bearing were those of the finished speaker. THE EXAMINER, N. Y. Mr. Van Kirk proved to be a master of Browning and succeeded in portraying a type of demonized manhood in which evil was veiled by pathos and the consummate skill of an actor. THE RECORDER, Albion, Mich. Mr. Van Kirk's power as a dramatic reader of Browning was shown in the manner in which he held the undivided attention of his large audience of College students and citizens throughout the entire Recital. THE REPRESENTATIVE, Nevada, Ia. Mr. Van Kirk's fine literary insight into his characters and realistic manner of portraying them, set before his audience the entire Italian scene connected with Andrea del Sarto. THE COURIER-GAZETTE, Rockland, Me. An enthusiastic Browning student, possessing a fine stage presence and a dramatic talent vouchsafed to few lecturers, Mr. Van Kirk was able to bestow upon the defense of Count Guido a power of realism that brought vividly before his audience the famous court scene from Browning's masterpiece. THE JOURNAL, Detroit, Mich. From memory, and with rare dramatic ability, Mr. Van Kirk gave a selection from The Ring and the Book, which occupied an hour and a half and held the large audience as in a spell. NORMAL COLLEGE NEWS, Ypsilanti, Mich. The selection was very difficult and required a deep appreciation for literature. Mr. Van Kirk showed himself both scholar and impersonator of unusual merit. PERSONAL APPRECIATIONS PRESIDENT W. H. P. FAUNCE, Brown University, Providence, R. I. You gave a rare treat to those who were present at your reading in Manning Hall. You have a real mission along the lines you are now pursuing, auxiliary to your work in the pulpit. PRESIDENT AUGUSTUS H. STRONG, Theological Seminary, Rochester, N. Y. Your impersonation of Guido is very impressive and convincing. I regard such a Recital as of distinctively ethical value, entirely aside from its literary and educational influence. PROFESSOR JOHN M. ENGLISH, Newton Theological Institution. Rev. Robert W. Van Kirk awakened deep interest in Boston and vicinity by his impersonations and interpretations from Browning, which were marked by insight, sympathy and artistic skill. JOHN R. GOW, Ex-President Boston Browning Society. In attempting the rendering of Count Guido the reader dared the most difficult piece of work probably in the entire range of Browning's dramatic monologues. It was a distinct achievement to hold the undivided attention of such an audience. Mr. Van Kirk did more; he imparted to the lover of Browning a new feeling of the masterfulness of the poet's lines, and he kindled in many who have scoffed a keen desire to get at the heart of so great a dramatist as this admirable interpretation showed him to be. PROFESSOR GERALD B. SMITH, University of Chicago. Seldom have I spent a more delightful and profitable hour than in listening to Mr. Van Kirk's masterly presentation of Count Guido's Defense. The complete way in which Browning's subtle interpretations of character were made plain by this sympathetic Recital was a revelation to me of hitherto unsuspected possibilities of bringing Browning into the spiritual experience of everyone. THE REVEREND CARL D. CASE, Ph. D. Buffalo, N. Y. Mr. Van Kirk became so absorbed in the parts represented that the audience was absorbed, too, in a complete self-forgetfulness. The act of delivery had so reached nature again that neither the speaker nor the audience was selfconscious. WALTER I. FOWLE, Secretary Ames, Ia., Chautauqua. Robert W. Van Kirk's Browning Lectures and Recitals were one of the most valued features in our recent assembly. They give that real element of worth which makes the true Chautauqua permanent. DR. DEAN T. SMITH, Professor in U. of M., Ann Arbor, Mich. When the Recital was ended we looked twice to make sure that it was simply a modern preacher who was standing before us. PRINCIPAL D. W. ABERCROMBIE, Worcester, Mass. His recital before the boys of the Academy was marked by genuine dramatic power and real insight into the passionate spirit of the dramatic episode. PROFESSOR THEODORE G. SOARES, University of Chicago. Mr. Van Kirk's dramatic impersonations from The Ring and the Book, at the University of Chicago, was an excellent piece of work, showing a fine conception of Browning's thought, and a strong power of dramatic interpretation. He is rendering a good service in thus bringing to the public an opportunity of understanding a noble literary work that is little appreciated. PROFESSOR F. S. BARBOUR, Head of English Department, Michigan State Normal School, Ypsilanti. Mr. Van Kirk has a fine literary insight into his characters, rare skill in making those characters alive before his audience through voice, gesture and facial expression, and best of all, perhaps, never for a moment lowers the dignity of the masterpiece as a great work of art. PROFESSOR WILLIAM A. COLLEDGE, Dep't Literature, Armour Inst., Chicago. Mr. Van Kirk is a man of fine literary tastes and possessed of dramatic ability of a very high order. Such Browning Recitals are bound to become popular. PROFESSOR THOMAS C. TRUEBLOOD, Chair of Oratory, University of Michigan. Guido's Defense is a strong and difficult part, but your interpretation was clear, varied, powerful, yet free from any suggestion of rant. Your explanations greatly heighten the effect of the Recital, and will go far toward making Browning better appreciated. PRESIDENT JAMES D. MOFFAT, D. D. Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pa. Mr. Van Kirk's rendition is determined by his sympathetic study of the author, rather than by his respect for the rules of art or the imitation of any supposed master. PRESIDENT GAYLORD SLOCUM, Kalamazoo College. He has certainly grasped in a masterly way the thought of Browning, and enters into his subject with an evidently keen appreciation of the lesson that is to be taught by the characters that are presented. THE REVEREND JOHN L. JACKSON, D. D. Chicago, Ill. For an hour and a quarter he held a company of University people spell-bound by the charm and power of his rendition. MISS EMILIA GOLDSWORTHY, Director of Art, Western Michigan State Normal School. An evening spent listening to Mr. Van Kirk's Recital is as rare a treat as studying first hand the old Italian masterpieces on palace walls, the character sketches are given with such vivid color and fine appreciatton. O. L. WILSON, Manager Chautauqua Assembly, Aurora, Ill. Mr. Van Kirk gave two Recitals at our Assembly with a tremendous success. He carried his audience with him to a person, and on the second day was greeted by an audience three times that of the first.
|Title||Robert W. Van Kirk: Browning popularized|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Van Kirk, Robert W.|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||4|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|