[Robert Underwood] Johnson
Martinez Apr 24/02
My dear Johnson,
I have not given Mr Powers permission to use Stickeen as an advertisement nor have I been within a thousand literary miles of doing so. I know not Powers Ye heavenly powers nor fear the powers of all the advertising powers to harm the little doggie of blessed memory. In sending you the advertising letter I only thought of raising a smile on the weary editorial phyz or phiz. But how solemly you take it. Too much grandfather, soninlaw, & office work I fear.
You "wonder what Shakespear would think if he saw Hamlet used to sell Danish blood hounds". I wonder what he would think if he saw a lover of pure literature using such safforn--hired titles as "a dog & a glacier" to sell Century Magazines, half made up of advertisements,--thus falling down to the tricks of base "Yellow Journalism" instead of staying aloft on the blue icy heights of Classic Stickeen!
But writing Classic or Yellow is all weary work & bids fair to be the death of me. Here half the winter has been spent on the Grand Canon & no end yet in sight--"A plague on both your houses," Truly "literature is in a bad way". Poor Lady she must have caught some misserable disease, The Golden Grippe I guess, or Commercial influenza as you city editors may call it. Next month, you say, you are going to "try to elevate the standard of the profession". Bully for you! This will help her, but for a complete cure I think the poor invalid should go up a Canon. But mind you, not the Colorado, not that one; advise against it, under any color it would kill her. Try to10033
turn her toward the Yellowstone, The Green Tuolumne or Hetch Hetchy, something of that kind anything except the red Arizona. In that awful gulf she will gurgle & gasp on conglomerate superlatives for a few days. Then pass away in a smothering choking dry blur of sublimity...
Truly I'm glad you're going to publish your collected poems Good luck to you Ive often thought of the grand work you could do were you free from the dreary drudgery of doing or directing the work of others.
Gilders new volume of poems has lots of fine things in it & I have greatly enjoyed reading it
My kindest regards to him
Ever faithfully Yours
Original letter dimensions unknown.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to [Robert Underwood] Johnson, 02 Apr 24." (1902). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 4657.
Reel 12, Image 0379
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