Vachel Lindsay to Jane Addams, October 15, 1916


Oct. 15, 1916.

Miss Jane Addams:
Hull House,

My Dear Friend: Certainly is was good of you in your convalescence to write a note to so humble a person as me. I assure you I am delighted to have interested you in my book on the photoplay. Munsterberg has the best book on the scientific side I think, and the bridge between us can be found in the phrase I have italicized and its implications "space measured without sound, plus time measured without sound" pages 106-111. I am delighted to have so much common ground with Munsterberg. His book appeared several months after mine, and we worked quite independently. His book is The [Photoplay], Appletons <$1.00>. I have not seen Griffith's Intolerance but the reviews indicate a film that illustrates Munsterberg's idea of the photoplay opportunity to move independently of time, space and causation. [page 2] I may spin Griffith as a Southerner of the virulent type, but I hold him the [Tintoretto] and Titian and Paolo Veronese of the new art, or the man who will teach the fellows who will become this. Milton did not carry out his avowed purpose to "assert Eternal Providence and Justify the Ways of God to man" and the devout pictures of Venice are anything but devout, to our thinking, nevertheless Milton and the Venetians have done their share for us. And so I am thinking that Griffith has probably preached a poor sermon on "Intolerance," and his method of philosophizing, running four trains of thought at once, may be mechanical or commonplace, or confusing in this instance, and yet he may set us a new standard in <picture> technique and splendors as the Venetians <did,> and forge methods and weapons his successors can use more to our satisfaction. If, even crudely, he illustrates in this play Munsterberg's [page 3] theory of the photoplay moving independently of time, space and causation, it will be a noble thing, the appearance of the theory and the technique at the same time.

I hope you and I can meet and go to this film some time, or some other you will choose. I will talk you to death and create disorder for a radius of ten feet.

George Hooker Esq. is a very good friend of mine and I have often dined with him at Hull House. I refer you to him for credentials, <as to my otherwise reasonable behavior, away from the theater.>

I venture to enclose my "Apologia Pro Vita Sua." Please do not feel yourself bound to read it. But I hope you can put it into the hands of some one near you to read, after you have looked at the pictures, so they <he or she> can explain what I am doing at the right moment and perhaps fit me into Hull House off and on; as the occasion warrants, and you want to see me. I will be in Chicago November 23 through December 3, for Little Theatre Performances [page 4] with Miss Elenor Daugherty. She will dance my poems in costume, as I chant them.

Very sincerely

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay.