Authorial Affiliations or , The Clubbing and Collaborating of Brander Matthews


Both the friends and enemies of Brander Matthews attested to his sociability. Clayton Hamilton wrote in 1929 that Matthews had a "genius in the gentle art of friendship." (86). Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University, observed that "Matthews knew everybody and everybody knew him" and Mark Twain even jokingly inscribed one of his books, "To B. M. From his only friend." (1) Although Matthews counted among his friends many prominent critics, writers, and politicians, (especially notable was his intimate friendship with Theodore Roosevelt), his congeniality and relentless socializing was not part of a program of professional networking. For Matthews, the ability to socialize was part of his identity as a specific kind of culture figure, that of a professional man of letters. As the cultural prestige accorded the romantic and solitary author wanted, Matthews came to embody a phenomenon that assigned cultural prestige to the practice of authorship as an activity most suited for men who could "mix." Through his collaborative fiction, critical essays, indefatigable socializing, and, most importantly, his exchanges with other writers and literary figures, Brander Matthews drew together conflicting theories about the practice of writing in order to bolster the vision of romantic authorship for what he saw as the new and resolutely unromantic twentieth-century literary marketplace.

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