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on the way to becoming best sellers. In the case of Harry Hervey, however, although he has done remarkably well with his novels and a travel book, "Where Strange Gods Call", his "Ethan Quest" makes no concessions to popularity and is said to be a combination of romance and realism, with an ending far from happy. Adela Rogers St. Johns, the lovely lady who writes about the movies, puts forth her first novel, "The Skyrocket". Bill Johnston, the jovial and humorous gentleman of the New York "World", writes knowingly of "These Women", and an Edison Marshall novel, "The Sleeper", makes a bid for best seller fame.
Above Fortieth Street, in what might almost be called the Main Street of the literary world, since it contains many of the clubs and most of the gossip of New York, are several of the most conservative and largest of our publishing houses. In the same building as Condé Nast and his decorative magazines is Henry Holt and Company. Here, one sees Henry Holt himself, tall, stately, white haired, and his sons, obviously like their father. By them will be published Mrs. Dawson Scott's "The Turn of a Day", a story in which all happenings take place within twenty four hours. After many announcements, the first volume of "Annette and Sylvie", translated from Romain Rolland's French by Ben Ray Redman, will appear. The promise of a new novel by Ralph Straus, to which a title has not yet been given, will please those who still find "The Unseemly Adventure" well worth joyful
remembrance. It is interesting to know that the respect for Burton E. Stevenson as anthologist is so great that not one of the 428 authors represented by 1,374 poems in his "Home Book of Modern Verse" charged him for the use of material. This book should be a good companion volume for "The Home Book of Verse".
On the next street and one may reach it by going through an areaway
is Putnam's bookstore, and above it the offices of the publishers of innumerable outline books. With Robert Keable's arrival in this country, they announce his new story, fruit of travels in the South Seas, called "Numerous Treasure", which oddly enough is the name of its heroine. Meade Minnigerode's "Lives and Times", intimate biographies which stress the atmosphere of periods perhaps more than the characters considered, deals with Theodosia Burr, Citizen Genêt, William Eaton, and Stephen Jumel. James J. Corbett's "The Roar of the Crowd" (reviewed in this issue) adds to fighting literature. Why the brittle minded critic of the New York "Sun" should write a life of Irving Berlin, I don't quite know; but it can be certain that Alexander Woollcott will give a touch of quaintness and impudence to anything he undertakes. Three other personal narratives are found on the Putnam list: "My Jungle", completed by William Beebe as he leaves for the Sargasso Sea, "The School for Ambassadors" by M. Jules Jusserand, and "Adventures in Criticism" by A. Quiller-Couch.
(To be concluded in April)
FOREIGN NOTES AND COMMENT
N September, 1906, I found myself in a proverbial predicament: I was short of legal tender. Being then a graduate student at Columbia, I was forced to do something about it. In the language of Edmond About, I said to myself, for when I talk to myself I always use what grammarians term "the polite form of address": "Comment vous vous y prendrez?" Suddenly my skiff came in: I secured the posi
tion of teacher of French and German in a boys' school directly across the Hudson from Morningside Heights.
In the French course we took up Edmond About and read "Le Roi des Montagnes". It is a glorious account of cultured banditry in Greece, quite inoffensive to anyone unless it be a Greek of that time who was so literal minded that he was unable to penetrate the subtle difference between a good joke and a bad gibe. The boys liked the tale. And they all passed the Board Examinations. Consequently, I for one wish to express my appreciation to the publishers for bringing out this story in the esteemed translation of Miss Crewe-Jones. "The King of the Mountains" is as good a tale of its kind as I ever read. Old Hadji Stavros, leader of the bandits, is a real creation, while his confederates have what it is so difficult to give en masse each his own personality. The Englishmen, particularly the Englishwomen, they hold up are choice exemplars of those tourists who go abroad because they are not satisfied with the run of things at home but who, once abroad, stifle the foreigners with praise
of the land that gave them birth. Moreover, this novel brings out a fact that is always overlooked in connection with highway robbery: we condemn without reserve the practice, which is natural, but fail to admire the skill that wallet lifting exacts of those who engage in it. To be even a supernumerary in the employ of a Hadji Stavros requires an extraordinarily nimble brain. Such devils should be
given their due, especially when manipulated with the adroitness that was part and parcel of Edmond About.
This novel is found in the Library of West Virginia University in no fewer than nine different editions. On the library card of one of these editions (1891) there are these words: "The Library shall be opened at least once a week during the college year, at such time as may suit the convenience of the Librarian." The Library of the same institution is now open every day in the week including four hours on Sunlishers are reaching back and bringing day. No wonder that American pubout the masterpieces d'antan.
On the other hand, Zamiatin's "We" is published in this country though it has not yet seen the light that comes Russia. In this there is a measure of from the printing press in its native eminent propriety, for the book - it is hard to designate it more closely since nothing like it was ever seen in the United States before depicts life as it is to be in a thousand years from now. Well, if life is to be like this in 2025, I am personally grateful for the assurance that man lives but three score years and ten. I want none of this machine made love, life, birth and death, though
I am bound to say that for once the publisher's announcement is intelligent. That bit of selling talk uses the adjectives "amusing", "satirical", "bold", "powerful", "modern", and "cubist", in describing the book, and the terms are justified. This book should be read, if for no other reason, merely to see the extremes to which the human mind may go. But I am convinced that the publishers brought it out in order to show what Soviet Russia may be.
There are no name characters in it, and not many numbered ones. Its personages are so many prongs on the ratchet which, in revolving, sends this man up and that one down. There are forty chapters (they are termed "records"). I believe that Record XII
is the best: it is on the delimitation of the infinite, angels and poetry. But however this may be, there are two similes in the book which I cordially recommend to Mr. Wilstach. Of a certain young woman it is said that her normally alluring mouth, or lips, looked, in their pout, "like a crescent with the horns down". And of a certain man it is said that “his Adam's apple stuck out like a broken spring against the upholstery of a worn divan". Anyone who may wish to know why the Bolsheviks have forbidden the book up there should read Record XX on State rights and duties.
pass up his solid academic record and remark that he is a man of notable boldness in that he essays to fix forever the value of creations that are not his. As it is we drop the issue, with this remark: There are two big differences between Lalou's method of procedure and that of a typical German historian of literature. The German would include his own novels in his history and would pass judgment on them; and the German would never try to explain his country's literature as a detached product. On the contrary, any German literary historian feels, indeed knows, that literature, and particularly 'contemporary" literature, can neither be explained nor vindicated without a running comment on and appraisal of these additional factors in the aesthetic life of a nation: the press, science, politics, religion, history, criticism, art in all its forms- painting, music, sculpture, stage — and foreign influences. When M. Lalou takes this point of view and spends another fifteen years on his history, we shall be in a position to rank it high. At present, the most that can be said for it is that it would make an excellent manual for such college students as wished to orient themselves in the field.
George Heyer has rendered, admirably though freely, François Villon's chefs-d'œuvre into English verse. For this he is to be warmly thanked. Villon (1431-1484) did not write much; but he wrote that poem, or ballad, that closes with the question, Ou sont les neiges d'antan? probably the greatest verses ever written in French. Consequently, any individual who brings his works closer to the hearts of the English speaking people renders a magnanimous and magnificent service. The booklet is beautifully made, contains the original French on one page and the somewhat "original" English
The Exiled Russian Literature
IT is an old truth that literature is the
fruit of the soil on which it is grown. A writer, like a tree, imbibes the sap which feeds and shapes him. Were it not so, literatures of different nations would have no individual national characteristics. Yet this comparison should not be interpreted too closely. For unlike a tree, a writer eradicated from his native soil and living out of touch with his people is not necessarily fated to wither and die. Plato and Dante, Victor Hugo, Heine, and Mitzkewich as well as many others lived and wrote in exile. Indeed, "writer exiles" might be the subject of an interesting work embracing literatures of all times and all nations and sparkling with a brilliant array of immortal
If, however, individual writer émigrés have been many in all countries, his
tory has on its records but comparatively few examples of entire "exiled literatures". For this reason, if not for others, the existence, growth, and development at the time we live in of the exiled Russian literature in Paris, Berlin, Prague and other European capitals seem to constitute a subject deserving of attention.
Let it be stated right away that, in spite of numberless difficulties, the two million Russian exiles who fled in 19191920 from the Revolution and who do not want to return into the Soviet realm, lead an active cultural life of their own. They are scattered all over the world; their main centres are in Paris, Berlin, and Prague (which number together over half a million Russians) but there are also thousands of exiles in Shanghai, Peking, and other exotic places. Like real "sons of Israel" these men, belonging to the cultural crème des crèmes of the old Russia, form as it were a little world of their own within the world, a state within states. They have an enormous number of Russian schools in which they educate their children, two Russian universities one in Berlin and the other in Prague about sixty newspapers, a score of weeklies and monthlies, and some thirty five to forty publishing houses which have issued in the course of the last years thousands of new Russian books and republished thousands of old ones.
Most of Russia's prominent fiction writers such as I. Bunin, Kuprin, Merezhkovsky, Balmont, Artzybashev, Mrs. Gippius, Shmelyov, etc. — have joined the émigrés in their mass exodus. A mere enumeration of these names suffices to prove that the old and glorious traditions of Turgenev and Tolstoy as well as the younger schools of decadents and symbolists have left their native country and settled abroad.
In the first years of their Calvary the exiled writers could not and did not write; they were bewildered by the catastrophe, shell shocked as it were. But time heals wounds; their literary output has been steadily increasing since 1921-1922, and has attained by now its normal pre-Revolutionary proportions. Their financial situation has also changed. In the first years of exile it was almost desperate. In 1920 I happened myself to observe in Constantinople Mr. Grebenstchikov, a young prose writer, carrying loads on his back in the dirty and dusty docks of Galata. Now, since publishing houses have opened and the exiled readers have found jobs, the writer can again make his living by writing.
In a way Russian writers have even profited by their exile. The Revolution, the flight from Russia, a close communion with the spiritual life of various European nations and with European authors, have enriched them with invaluable impressions and experiences. Moreover, exile has broadened their audience. Their works are usually brought out not only in Russian, but also in French, German, Czech, etc. Almost every short story by I. Bunin or Kuprin is published simultaneously in the "Sovriemennya Zapisky" and in "Le Mercure de France" or "La Nouvelle Revue Française". "A quelque chose malheur est bon", says the French dictum, and in the case of writer émigrés it is undoubtedly true. These writers are not eradicated from their soil, for there is as it were a Russian hinterland around them, yet at the same time they are, so to say, cosmopolitanized by the conditions in which they live and work.
It is impossible even to enumerate in a short article the best works of fiction that the exiled literature has to its credit. Therefore I shall mention
only a few books that have appeared in the course of the last months, enough to give a concrete illustration of the tempo and the range of the Russian literary life outside of Russia.
The book of the month is undoubtedly the first part of "The Birth of Gods. Tut-ank-Amon in Crete", historical novel by D. Merezhkovsky (the Russian version has been brought out by the "Sovriemennya Zapisky", Paris, and the French has been published serially in the "Mercure de France"). Judging by the title one might think that the author has decided to enrich the world with one more roman de boulevard dealing with a fashionable subject. This is not, however,
the case. Mr. Merezhkovsky is the best living Russian critic and essayist, an outstanding poet, a learned linguist, a prominent philosopher, and the author of world famous historical novels ("Leonardo da Vinci", "Peter and Alexis", etc.) translated into all the European languages. His new Egyptian novel is the result of long study and research. A Russian critic justly says of it that Mr. Merezhkovsky has found words simple, heavy and old like pyramids, has worked out a style deeply original in its primitive simplicity, and has succeeded in drawing a painting of mystical beauty. His unusually daring attempt certainly does deserve the attention of the American reader.
Another event of the month is "The Rose of Jerichon", a volume of short stories and poems by I. Bunin (the "Slovo" Publishing Company, Paris). Mr. Bunin is recognized as the best contemporary Russian prose writer. He is, so to speak, the descendant of the most illustrious literary ancestors, the standard bearer of the best literary traditions. Every fragment, every story coming from his pen is an event to the Russian reader. His new vol