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will come over American life in the generations that follow", Mr. Seabury prophesies. "They will be protected by this sound mental hygiene from the woeful condition that sickens and sorrows so many minds - the dead weight of experience residue lying like poison in the dark chambers of memory." As a weapon against insanity he quotes Payot's dictum that "we can only control human nature when we obey it."
It is the custom, in this day of mercenary sophistication, not only to gild the drab violet but, sometimes, to turn it into something which it distinctly isn't. "In the Land of the Laughing Buddha" (Putnam) makes a strenuous effort to metamorphose the blatant corn flower into a flower of rare, adventurous, and captivating permanence. Upton Close is one of those wayward souls who are invariably reading adventure and romance into a match borrowed from the corner traffic cop. China, to him, is a mixture of Sax Rohmer, Kipling, and Richard Harding Davis. He wills tense passions from each and every rice bowl. For all of that, his is a book which should interest many particularly those of our more inland cities. Regarding the humor, it is not entirely nasty to venture the belief that, outside of Mr. Close, most of the laughter must rest with the Buddha of his title.
The subject of all verse is the little but significant detail in the action of the great tragicomedy of life. One poet may choose to emphasize the tragic detail while another throws the spotlight upon some comic moment. And there are still other poets who try to show both, or else the one within the other: the tragic aspect of the comic moment. Of the latter group
is Adèle De Leeuw. In her "Berries of the Bittersweet" (Brimmer) we are prepared, by the title itself, for this mixture of life's essential sorrow and happiness. The mise en scène of this collection is entirely domestic. The husband-lover, the children, and the daily tasks are the material from which the garbs of the muse's moods are cut. Here is excellent material for intense poetry; but this intensity is the very quality that is lacking. There is never a line that perfectly contains a magnificent despair or delight. All of it goes rather normally and calmly along, and often the poet can be seen biting her pencil end for the next phrase. Such poetry may be a relief to the author and it may at times please the reader, but it certainly cannot be classed among the deep and moving verse of the day.
Professor Ellsworth Huntington explains differences in the behavior and achievements of groups of people by hereditary differences in mental characteristics. "The Character of Races" (Scribner) is devoted chiefly to showing the part that natural selection has played in producing racial characters, as illustrated by the fact that "the fishing industry tends to eliminate people of a timid disposition". Unfortunately the fishing industry does no such thing, and the results of Professor Huntington's applications of his principle are utterly absurd. There is no evidence worth considering that mental traits are hereditary and can be selected; there is, on the contrary, evidence, by analogy with physical traits, that even inbreeding reduces variability only slightly. The explanation of a certain recurrent form of behavior is, then, more probably the cultural setting in which it occurs. According to Boas, "Our knowledge
of the reactions of men living in diverse cultural forms and the study of the cultural forms themselves lead us to infer that hereditary characteristics are irrelevant as compared to social conditions. . . . We may say, furthermore, that cultural anthropology makes the existence of fundamental racial differences very improbable."
Joseph Pennell had a collection of London sketches which Macmillan wanted "illustrated" by a text. So Sidney Dark, according to his own preface, was commissioned to write "London". The collaboration is now published, packed with Pennell's inviting etchings which sandwich in Dark's informal descriptions. If there is a London Chamber of Commerce, it should handsomely pension author and artist, for the book makes the city of fogs seem the most desirable place in the world to visit.
A new edition, in one handy volume, of "Modern Russian History" (Knopf) by Alexander Kornilov, as translated and expanded by Alexander S. Kaun, is welcome, since the first issue is out of print, and timely inasmuch as interest in Russian affairs is increasing steadily with the growth of an international consciousness. The book is made up of a series of Kornilov's lectures delivered from 1909 to 1916, covering in detail the history of Russia during the nineteenth century down to 1890, supplemented by an outline history from that date to 1916 by Mr. Kaun. edition is further enriched by an admirable introduction written by Geroid Tanqueray Robinson, of the Department of History of Columbia University, who has also provided a fairly copious bibliography of works in English, and a few in German and French. Primarily intended as a college text
book, it is much more than such books can usually claim to be, for it may be said to break new ground, at least so far as non-Russian readers are concerned. Kornilov's introductory sketch of the growth of Russia up to the nineteenth century is necessarily brief, since he was writing for students to whom much of that history was presumably known, but its very brevity makes it stand out as a brilliant performance. The body of the volume is a careful, minute analysis and interpretation of Russian life, political, social and cultural, during the century before the catastrophic collapse of the old régime.
It may be difficult for some readers to grant that "The Selected Works of Artemus Ward", edited with a preface by Albert Jay Nock (A. and C. Boni), merits the laudatory and glowing essay with which Mr. Nock acclaims the long dead humorist. Until this book, we had never read Ward, and we never expect to again, for we were unable to find any of the rare and exalted qualities in his work which Mr. Nock so earnestly prepared us to encounter. prepared us to encounter. We hope to
be forgiven the expression here of the honest opinion that these selections contain nothing which is of permanent value.
In compiling "The Golden Treasury of Modern Lyrics" (Macmillan), Laurence Binyon is inevitably challenging comparison with the "Golden Treasury" of Palgrave, a work which he admittedly intends to supplement, by beginning where Palgrave left off and including the most notable short English poems from the year 1850 until the present. As might have been anticipated, the verse selected by Mr. Binyon does not on the whole reach the same high level as that contained in
Palgrave's famous anthology; yet the compiler has done a competent piece of work, and has produced a volume which the lover of poetry is certain to appreciate and enjoy. One may be somewhat irritated, of course, by certain inclusions and omissions; one may regret that poets so notable as A. E. Housman and Alfred Noyes are not represented although Mr. Binyon has not failed to devote several pages to his own work; one may note unfavorably the slight attention devoted to lyricists so accomplished as Ernest Dowson, James Thomson, and Arthur O'Shaughnessy; and yet, in general, one must admit that the anthologist has threaded his way with skill through the difficult mazes of poetry, and has given us perhaps as good a collection of recent English verse as has been produced to date.
No phase of American history is more fascinating than the story of the life and death of a town. In some places in this country it is the chronicle of defeat against insuperable natural conditions; in others it is merely the record of the restlessness of human nature that is forever seeking Utopia round the next bend in the river or on the other side of the mountain. "The Romance of Forgotten Towns" (Harper) is fingerprinted with the marks of many civilizations-English, French, Spanish, German - and pious traces of strange religious sects looking for a haven where they might worship in peace. The author, John T. Faris, has carefully combed the records of pioneer achievement, and collected many photographs of the interesting and quaint relics of these settlements. There were giants in those days, men and women who planted peaceful industrial communities in the midst of the virgin forests. Though in many places there
is now only a brass plate or a statue to commemorate their accomplishments, the thriving cities and towns of today have arisen from the very graves of their achievement, and the fibre of our national life has grown from their bones.
Like most Americans we shall probably see the world by proxy, being too vitally concerned with pursuing the elusive greenback. We therefore nominate Harry L. Foster as our ambassador plenepotentiary to foreign lands, on the strength of "A Gringo in Mañana Land" (Dodd, Mead). By keen observation and a spicy style, Mr. Foster has created a book both informative and entertaining. To wit: Manzanillo is disposed of thus: "One of several places where the traveler, upon leaving his ship, takes one hasty glance at the dirty black beach and the
..driftwood shacks, grasps his nose firmly between thumb and forefinger and makes a dash for the daily train that will carry him somewhere else." A quiet family celebration: "Around the corner came a procession of mournful men and wailing women led by three coffins. Excitedly I hailed the proprietor [of the hotel]. 'A bandit, señor? No, indeed. Jose Dominguez had a christening at his house last night. night. Purely a family affair, señor, nothing more!" Humorous incidents, dramatic episodes, and newsy yarns make up the book, without detriment to an undercurrent of continuity. To usurp the language of the law school, Mr. Foster's work is a "case book" about our Latin-American neighbor. Underlying principles and philosophical comment are avoided; events and incidents make up the work. The reader is allowed to draw his own conclusions. May Mr. Foster travel again soon and may we have the pleasure of reading his record thereof!
A fragrance of old lavender permeates the pages of Augustine Birrell's "More Obiter Dicta" (Scribner). On reading it old, dusty emotions trip across the threshold of memory, redivivus for a brief instant. The essays are offered by the author without apology. They need none. For Mr. Birrell has a shrewd insight, a quiet humor, and a sound judgment. His style is that of an older day, less rushing, but just as bored as our own. His subjects are the miscellany that torture or delight all reviewers, ranging from humbug and the forgotten Miss Ferrier to Châteaubriand. One reads them with the feeling that one is in the presence of a Tradition. Just the amount of respect one owes it, is a problem. To damn with faint praise is an avoidance of responsibility. To panegyrize is to drown one's intelligence in the well aged Malmsey of a quiet Victorianism. Augustine Birrell has his niche neither too high nor too low. Let us leave him there in peace, meanwhile making our obeisance in the same vein
neither a mere nod nor a deep bow.
Lester Burrell Shippee's "Recent American History" (Macmillan) is a highly satisfying volume. It is satisfying for its completeness, not that it gives every detail as a single volume on the entire period since the Civil War, and as a textbook, it is only a summary which the teacher must expand but that in selecting details, and in fitting them into accounts of large industrial, social, and political movements, it is governed by a viewpoint not usually to be found in books. of its type. Moreover, it expresses this viewpoint with such suavity and apparent disinterestedness as to justify its current appellation of "liberal". If, in fact, the book errs at all it is in its excessive restraint; but this too may be
a necessary fault to be remedied in the classroom.
The translations of de Maupassant's stories which Lafcadio Hearn made for the New Orleans "Democrat" and "Times-Democrat" have been collected under the title of "Saint Anthony and Other Stories" (A. and C. Boni), with an introduction by Albert Mordell.
The stories are excellent, but
no more so than the translations. Hearn had very high standards, and one may agree that the translations are masterpieces in their own right, having the quality of great English prose and yet preserving the spirit of the original.
"The Book of Friendship Verse", collected and edited by Joseph Morris and St. Clair Adams (Sully), contains not only the most celebrated poems on friendship by writers of the past and present, but also a liberal selection of immortal prose on the subject by such masters as Montaigne, Bacon, Addison, Dr. Johnson, Thoreau, and Emerson. We believe that the inclusion of both verse and prose in a single volume of this kind has been carried out here with most happy results in achieving completeness, breadth, and variety. The present anthology is rendered both timely and valuable by the enduring permanence of its contents.
B. W. Mitchell writes of camping and glorious mountain scenery in "Trail Life in the Canadian Rockies" (Macmillan) with buoyant enthusiasm. He gives many valuable suggestions for other campers and mountain climbers. But the glory of the Canadian Rockies needs more than an enthusiast; it requires, rather, the soul of an artist and the pen of a master hand. Nor do the photographs even begin to do justice to their subjects.
THE BOOKMAN'S MONTHLY SCORE
Compiled by Frank Parker Stockbridge, Life Member of the American Library Association, in Cooperation with the Public Libraries of America
Library readers started off the new year appropriately by demanding the three new books which, most commentators will agree, command first attention in their respective fields. In fiction, the newcomer in the Monthly Score is E. M. Forster's “A Passage to India". Watch for it to climb higher. In the general list, Mr. White's "Woodrow Wilson" is surely the most talked of biographical work that has appeared in some time, while "The Fruit of the Family Tree", satisfying as it does a growing curiosity as to what science can tell us about life, was certain to appeal to those who had read its author's "New Decalogue of Science". And lest those curious about such things should wonder why popular interest in etiquette has declined, as suggested by the lower position of Mrs. Post's famous work, be assured that there is nothing wrong with this picture. Librarians report as great a demand as ever for guides to perfect behavior, but the demand is spread over half a dozen competitive volumes.-F. P. S.
4. Life and Letters of Walter H. Page Burton J. Hendrick