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death becomes a sort of symbolic figure of an epoch of madness, madness in which there was method, of reality so harsh that it is unreal.
Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" probably had more success than Jules Romains's first book in English, and so he, in his turn, receives the honors of a second attempt to make America acquainted with the outstanding figure in contemporary German literature. There are three long short stories here, "Death in Venice", "Tristan", and "Tonio Kröger", all three as characteristic of Mann's genius as "Buddenbrooks", but as in the case of Romains-easier of approach. Mann's theme, as always, is the conflict between the artist and the bourgeois, between the interior and the exterior world. In each of these stories external circumstance, the atavistic element of philistinism, prove too much for the artist, for Thomas Mann sees the type as the degeneration of the solid human species upon which society is founded. "Death in Venice" is the most daring exposition of this idea, illustrated in its most extreme form, yet beyond the reach of Mr. Sumner.
Knut Hamsun is now so well established among that select band of foreign authors who are successfully transplanted that this tenth volume of his works to appear in English no longer occasions the comment which once attended such appearances. "Segelfoss Town" carries on the story which began in "Children of the Age". Lieutenant Willatz Holmsen and Adelheid of Segelfoss Manor are dead, and Segelfoss is now a town; when the story is resumed Holmengraa, who strove so hard to dominate Holmsen, is master. Holmsen's son lives abroad and Holmengraa has a free hand, but he has not the habit of commanding men, and his overthrow by the very forces which he
himself introduced to displace the old aristocratic and agricultural social order is powerfully drawn. The selfmade man eventually falls before the prosperous shopkeeper, and in the struggle of these two modern forces Hamsun sees the opportunity for the old family to reassert itself. Willatz Holmsen the Fourth is as aristocratic as his father, but he is an artist and he has a sense of modern ideas which will preserve him from going under before the pressure from the rabble. But he can never restore Selgelfoss Manor; industrial progress has made Segelfoss a town. Hamsun sees in that progress the worst fate of mankind.
all the substantial building stones in the Victorian social edifice are chapters out of his diary. Up to the war, Samuel Gompers was the American labor movement.
It is bewildering merely to read the table of contents of his autobiography. Hardly a social, economic, or political question remotely associated with labor fails to appear. Upon all of them
he has strong opinions, built out of a practical fight with circumstance, and in many his leadership has brought the prevailing solution.
Sam Gompers was a young member of the cigar makers' union in the early Seventies following the Civil War, when trade unionism was at a low ebb, and the few unions in existence were confused and weakened by secret organizations and by the futile attempts of the Socialists to bring about Utopia. Passing through the terrible depression of 1877, he saw and felt the horror of unemployment and the need for organization. His energy and passionate enthusiasm made him a leader in his own local union and later in the national union of the cigar makers. In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was formed, and Gompers was elected its first president, at a salary of a thousand a year. From then on, every event of any importance that touched upon labor became Samuel Gompers's personal business. There followed the desperate and decisive battle with the Knights of Labor the great secret labor organization of the Eighties. The A. F. of L. destroyed the Knights. There was the eight hour movement, the great railroad strike of 1894, the Homestead strike, the pioneer work of organizing the great international trade unions, such as the miners' and the textile workers', the greenback movement, the growth of social legislation, violence, the San Francisco dyna
miters, the panic and depression of 1907, the Buck Stove and Range injunction case, with the Supreme Court decision thereon in 1914. Finally, the story of labor in the Great War, with its greatly enhanced powers and organization, and Mr. Gompers's position in the Council of National Defense. A chapter called "After Armageddon" tells of the reaction of the war's aftermath upon the fortunes of labor. An added chapter written after Mr. Gompers's death by his secretary gives the labor leader's last year the La Follette campaign, the convention of the A. F. of L. in Mexico City.
Unionism, generally speaking, can be said to begin in America with the beginning of Gompers's official career. Before that time it was sporadic and confined to a few specialized trades. The American historian must come to this autobiography to supplement his knowledge of these decades, and the student of labor will find it a rich sourcebook as well as an acute commentary. I dare say these two volumes are the fullest, frankest, and most important biography of a labor man in existence. But wholly apart from social or political significance, they are the story of the forging of a rich and powerful character, blow by blow, through seventy active years.
In the last decade or two Americans had begun to take Gompers for granted as an institution of perennial growth. He had become the fortress of all that was established, even reactionary, in the field of labor. He had held office as president of the American Federation of Labor for forty two years with the exception of one year record breaking period of active executive duty. But twenty, thirty years ago he was a "dangerous radical". It is hard to think of the patriarchal labor chief, the friend of presidents he
knew a half dozen personally as the despised labor agitator of the Eighties and Nineties. Those early days of starvation, unemployment, and union organization against the opposition of police, employer, and public, are rich in suffering and struggle. He married at seventeen, was a father at eighteen. The times called for hardihood and battle. He was one of the leaders in the cigar makers' strike in the depression year of '77, and after the strike, which was a failure, walked the streets for months while his wife and children went hungry. "Once", he says, "I was ready to commit murder." A doctor had refused to attend his wife without an advance payment. He took the doctor by the collar. The doctor exercised his professional duties.
These raw, first hand, economic experiences won him over forever to the service of working men, but they never embittered him or tumbled him into radical or violent policies. Very early he became convinced that the hope of American labor lay in economic organization - in what he called the "bona fide trade union". He meant a union solely of workers, which did not meddle in politics, and which fought step by step for more pay, fewer hours, better conditions. The goal and heaven of the Gompers social and labor philosophy was the "collective agreement" between employer and union. He had mixed with Socialists, anarchists, and political reformers in his early days, and seen the chaos and waste which their fumbling brought in the tradeunion world. He made up his mind to have none of them, and for over forty years this limited but highly practical philosophy dominated American labor. At the last convention of the A. F. of L., held in Mexico City last summer, this philosophy the philosophy of Sam Gompers though opposed by pro
gressives, received a new and o old whelming endorsement. der
The narrowness and limitation of he practical philosophy indicated in ne way a restriction in his sympathies or interests. He realized deeply the importance of education and of general culture, he loved music. He believed the labor movement could enhance the lives of workers spiritually and intellectually, but he regarded his main job as the building of a sound physical body for organized labor.
Even in the brief rehearsals of crises in this story of his life, it is easy to sense the sheer natural leadership of the man a leadership that rested in the first instance upon his extraordinary vitality his ability to work three or four days with bad food and little sleep. Early days called for great physical hardihood, and he kept up a terrific work schedule till the end. Secondly, he loved men, and had a wholly natural and unforced pity for their sufferings. He was quite incorruptible, and he was shrewd enough not to try for the impossible. patience has rested upon realization of facts, not upon lack of idealism or sentiment." He had a strong respect for law, coupled with an uncanny sense of what other men were thinking and feeling. He played the forces which came under his control as president of the Federation with the skill of an artist and a statesman's purpose.
It would be hard to find a better record of the molding of rugged character through difficult and violent circumstance than is set down in this book. Or a more striking record of the transmission of personal character and ideals to the structure and temper of an institution.
Seventy Years of Life and Labor, An Autobiography. By Samuel Gompers. Two volumes. E. P. Dutton and Company.
IN BRIEF REVIEW
HE inspiring life story of modern China's late liberator is graphically and authoritatively told in "Sun Yat Sen and the Chinese Republic" by Paul Linebarger (Century), a biography whose subject has been for many years the paramount figure of his race. First president of the country which from early youth he had fought to free from Manchu oppression, exile, reformer, revolutionist, apostle of democracy-one follows the heroic narrative of his struggles with a quickening pulse and awed admiration. Judge Linebarger writes from years of intimate friendship with Dr. Sun, from a long and active participation in the cause of Chinese nationalism, and from a broad first hand knowledge of contemporary China. The resultant work is of inestimable historic interest, both as an accurate portrait of the dynamic Sun and as a revealing commentary on the life of China during the past fifty years.
Every critical or interpretative volume worth its salt has a theory or point of view ambitious or modest, right or wrong which is summoned up to explain the subject. One of the most interesting theories which has recently been applied to the short story is that of Frances Newman in "The Short Story's Mutations" (Huebsch). It is certainly ambitious, and right enough at least to be stimulating and to challenge refutation. Summoning biology to the exegesis of the arts, Miss Newman says that progress in creative fields has had nothing to do with chronology and all to do with the flaming
genius of great individuals who absorb the philosophy and practice of their inheritance, boldly break with it, and originate a new order of things. Miss Newman interrupts the thread of her exposition in each chapter to reprint a short story or "mutation" which in her opinion represents the origin of a new creative impulse and a new mode. Her reading has been encyclopædic. Petronius is there, the fabliau, the Gesta Romanorum, Boccaccio, Voltaire, Andersen, Musset, Mérimée, Maupassant, Laforgue, Henry James, Chekhov, Sherwood Anderson, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and Paul Morand. Miss Newman has a subtle and sinuous style, heavily weighted with allusions and modern instances. Like Philip Guedalla, she is brilliant and hard to catch. But she has organized a vast amount of material and thrown it into suggestive form, so that her book is interesting and valuable, no matter where her sophisticated quips may fall.
What William Johnston knows about "These Women" (Cosmopolitan) is contained in a number of familiar essays collected between the covers of a sizable, readable volume. These papers, however, are leveled as much at men as at their wives and sweethearts. They are an honest effort to untangle some of the knotty problems arising out of woman's new and powerful position in business, and the consequent upheaval in the home. Perhaps Mr. Johnston is too much a man to handle certain phases of these problems without masculine bias, for it would be wrong to say that
this book is entirely without male bigotry. Most of it is unconscious on the part of the author, for his very sincere desire to unscramble a mass of fallacious ideas about certain great social and economic crises of today is entirely constructive. We like what he says about wives and wages: "Any man who has a good wife, and doesn't pay her a salary, isn't a good business man." But what
he says about parents and children in "What Has Happened to Home", we like less, because we have a feeling that his information is gathered with a view to enforcing a premise already pretty clearly shaped in his mind before he began to write. On the whole "These Women" is provocative and sane, and one could ask little more from a book that sets out, in a common sense way, to tackle problems that only time and painful experience on the part of the human race can solve.
D. H. Lawrence's eighty four page introduction to "Memoirs of the Foreign Legion" by M. M. (Knopf) easily earns a place as one of the literary curiosities of the season. M. M.'s account much expurgated of several months in the Legion is worthy of more than passing attention, but Mr. Lawrence's foreword demands, nay, screams aloud for all the reader's spare smiles or tears, as the case may be. It seems that M. M., a troublesome borrowing acquaintance of the novelist, committed suicide at Malta in 1920 to escape from certain financial difficulties of an illegal cast, and in spite of the borrowings Mr. Lawrence decided to bring out his book. In doing so he improves the occasion to call M. M. "common little bounder", "an impossible little pigeon", and many much worse things drawn from a rich vocabulary of insult and invective. That's about all there is to the volume, but it
is quite enough. Those who beli old that Mr. Lawrence can do no wroder call the introduction a strong piece e work. Those who believe the oppac site may find crumbs of comfort for wounded sensibilities in a booklet entitled "D. H. Lawrence and Maurice Magnus" published in Florence by Norman Douglas (the N. D. of the introduction), in which the author of "Sons and Lovers" is neatly, wittily, and withal in friendly fashion skinned alive by an expert.
Gone is the last vestige of excuse for the mother who mismanages her children "because she didn't know any better". For now two different publishers have issued sets of books giving her all the information she needs, and each is small enough to fit into a vanity case and sold at a price at which a lipstick would not be procurable! Each is written by an authority in his field, is scientifically correct, and full of common sense and practicality. The smaller of the two sets constitutes the "Child Health Library" in ten volumes, published by Robert K. Haas in the format of the "Little Leather Library" and edited by John C. Gebhart, director of Social Welfare of the New York A. I. C. P. With it come the bookends to hold the three inch bookshelf, and an invaluable chart devised by the Division of Communicable Diseases of the New York State Department of Health which tells not only what are the symptoms of each disease but the method of infection, the possible after effects, and what should be done with the other members of the family when the dread germ has invaded the house. No doubt this little series contains all the information which social workers wish all mothers knew and acted upon. The other series of little handbooks is almost double the