Skip to main content

Frank's first article

The archive of the Spectator magazine has a reproduction and transcript of what is probably Frank Harris's first printed article, a review of E. Freeman's Some Impressions of the United States (1883). 

In My Life and Loves, volume 2, Frank describes how he wrote it:

... after reading Freeman with great care and finding that indeed he was the very type of an arrogant, pompous pedant who mistook learning for wisdom, I let myself go and wrote an honest but contemptuous review of his book; indeed, there was nothing in it for the soul. I ended my review with the remark that "as Malebranche saw all things in God, so Mr. Freeman sees all things in the stout, broad-bottomed, aggressive Teuton."

Freeman's book (which I bought a cheap copy out of curiosity shortly after locating the review online) is indeed an unpleasurable read, being a long-winded, tendentious, charmless piece of bigotry. The sole highlight is right at the end, where Freeman takes umbrage at some American journalists failing to correctly understand something he said. The spluttering injured pomposity he exhibits at this insult to his amour propre elicits mirth rather than sympathy.

It is a salutary reminder that priggish racist nitwits with an inflated sense of their own intellectual significance have existed in every era. Frank Harris was rightly unimpressed.


Leave a comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.