Page images


War Memoirs - Dostoyevsky - The Loeb Library - Chronique Scanda-
leuse Gobineau - Light on Modern Spain - Historical Discoveries -
Nitti - Compulsory English in China - An Aviation Yearbook
Royal Love Letters - English and American Books Translated - Balzac


HE memoirs of M. Poincaré are America, sold 17,000 copies from No

now in preparation. I hear that vember 3 to December 7 last year. it has taken the French ex-Premier These figures will surprise many who some little time to make up his mind are of the opinion that war books are what form his reminiscences should dead. take. Like all statesmen who have played an important part in international affairs at a critical period of

Arnold Bennett, recently interviewed history, he finds himself confronted

in London by a French journalist on with the difficulty of condensing the

the subject of André Gide's “Dostoyexperiences of twelve years into two

evsky: Essays and Addresses", made volumes. Only the practical objec- this interesting pronouncement: tions of publishers have induced him to abandon his original intention to pub- I must confess to you that Gide seems lish two volumes a year over a period of to me an essayist born, not a novelist. five years, ten volumes in all! It is not

And his masterpiece might well be this

Dostoyevsky, which is truly a great book. certain even now that he will consent to Gide is above all things an intellect. Morethe compression of his experiences into over, his studies of Dostoyevsky may be

regarded as the Confessions of André Gide. two volumes.

Viewed in this light, they give a record of supreme importance.

The publication of the second vol. “Dostoyevsky” contains a remarkable ume of Admiral von Tirpitz's new war self portrait as revealed in his letters, book is likely to be delayed, owing to an illuminating survey of his moral, opposition on the part of the left parties religious, and political beliefs, and an of the Reichstag. This volume ought appreciation of Dostoyevsky's masterto make interesting reading, dealing as piece, “The Brothers Karamazov". it does with the fateful days of July, An address read at the celebration of 1914, onward. Some startling ex- his centenary emphasizes the need for tracts from von Tirpitz's diaries are revision of our estimate of the great promised, which shed a new light on Russian novelist and of measuring his the Berlin-Vienna relations during the worth by standards unfamiliar to westcrisis. The political opposition caused ern criticism. But perhaps the most by news of the second volume has interesting part of the book is André invested the book with an unusually Gide's sketch of Dostoyevsky's life up high degree of interest, at any rate in to his banishment to Siberia; the inGermany. The first volume, which is fluence of the years of prison on his yet to be published in England and mind and genius; his study of the

Gospels which bore fruit in the intro- accessible, in the best translations he duction of Christ's teachings as the can command, to those who have small primary motive behind Dostoyevsky's Latin and less Greek; and not only the creations.

well known authors, but others whose The novelist's methods of working work, but for his efforts, would veriare also recorded. He was no note- tably be for many of us sealed books. book theorizer or mere speculative The production of the Loeb Library is philosopher but an explorer of the dark in the hands of three editors, assisted recesses of the human soul. His own by an advisory board, on which are the disease - epilepsy - perhaps influ- representatives of four nations. The enced his outlook on life. M. Gide library is intended to include no less recognizes the Russian master's affini- than 400 volumes, of which nearly 200 ties to Nietzsche, Browning, and have already been published. William Blake. Dostoyevsky is well described as a very Rembrandt among novelists.

Since the death of Anatole France A series of lectures on Dostoyevsky, many books about the great French or to give him the Scandinavian spell- writer have made their appearance, and ing, Dostojewski, delivered by Konrad others are doubtless in preparation. Simonsen at Copenhagen University, But I doubt whether any will meet is published in book form by P. Haase with the same sensational success as and Son, Copenhagen. The author is Jean-Jacques Brousson's “Anatole a Communist. He explains that he France en Pantoufles". More than joined the Church of Rome as a result 100,000 copies were sold in Paris within of his study of religious works, inspired a few weeks of publication. Mr. by the writings of Dostoyevsky and Brousson was at one time Anatole Rathenau.

France's secretary, and in this candid book - too candid for the liking of

many he strips bare in most scandalThe founder of the Loeb Classical ous fashion the private life of his masLibrary, Dr. James Loeb, has just re- ter. The book is full of comments and ceived the honorary degree of Doctor anecdotes in very dubious taste, reof Laws at Cambridge University. He cording book-chapter-and-verse details is also the recipient of an honorary of his amorous peccadillos, his egotism, degree from the University of Munich. his garrulity, his ignorance, his insinIt will be interesting to see whether his cerity. Apparently Parisians do not alma mater, Harvard, will follow suit. subscribe to the theory of de mortuis Dr. Loeb, who is now writing a book on nil nisi bonum, for “Anatole France at Italian terracottas, is responsible for Home", judging by its sales and the some excellent translations from the discussions it has provoked, has been a French of Decharme and other French source of diversion to all Paris. What authors. He was once connected with useful purpose can be served by such an the famous commercial firm of Kuhn, exposure of human weaknesses? To Loeb and Company. Literature may the scrupulous minded there is somebe said to be his hobby, for it is doubt- thing indecent in this chronique scanful whether the Loeb Library pays as a daleuse rushed into print within a business venture; but Dr. Loeb is con- few months of the celebrated writer's tent to go on making classical authors death.

With each new reprint of Gobineau's ish liberal leader, shows in his new book work in France his amazing versatility what Spanish statesmanship has acand ingenuity are demonstrated afresh. complished in the last fifty years. He The “Cahiers Verts” (Paris: Grasset) is an enemy of bureaucracy

"a sehave now published his first long his- rious disease in the organism of the torical novel, “Le Prisonnier Chan- State" — and an avowed parliamenceux", a story in the manner of Walter tarian, though he deplores the weakness Scott, which appeared serially in “La and vacillations of recent ministries. Quotidienne" in 1846. Only one hun- Spain's abundant resources can be dedred copies were then printed in book veloped still further only by political form, so that the romance is for practi- reform and the spread of education, cal purposes now published for the first not by sudden revolution with its intime. The revival of interest in the evitable hardships and subsequent works of the Comte de Gobineau is years of chaos. exemplified in “L'Abbaye de Typhaines”, which, although a complete failure when first published in 1848, ran M. Charles de la Roncière, who is the through seven editions in a few weeks historian of the French navy, has pubwhen published a year or two ago. lished in Cairo under the auspices of the Without any claim to the grandeur of Royal Geographical Society of Egypt Scott or the amazing verve of the elder a study of the discovery of Africa in the Dumas, Gobineau is still well worth Middle Ages. Prior to the beginning reading. "Le Prisonnier Chanceux" of the sixteenth century, Africa was a is a sixteenth century romance full of legendary country. M. de la Ronspirited action, fair ladies and gallant cière's book, which consists of two soldiers, encounters between Huguenots volumes containing many admirably reand Catholics, robbers, faithful and produced mediæval maps, is a valuable treacherous servants, and a quixotic contribution to geographical literature. hero who meets with an astonishing The same author claims to have variety of exciting adventures.

found the actual chart used by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to

the west, and has published in France Modern Spain has too long been re- an interesting book dealing with his garded as an indolent and backward discovery. country. So false is the impression A definite impetus is given to the which generally prevails among arm- controversy about the nationality of chair travelers that if, as I fully antic- Columbus by the news of the forthipate, an English translation appears coming publication in Spain of a book of “Las Responsabilidades del Antiguo - written and compiled by an English Régimen, 1875–1923” por el Conde de lady and her husband — which proRomanones (Madrid: Renacimiento), duces striking documentary and other it will change many views. Although evidence that Columbus was actually some districts in Spain remain purely born a Spaniard. Historically the mediæval, chiefly owing to the diffi- point is of interest. culties of communication, the Spain of

* * * * today is a country very different from tradition.

One of the most remarkable books Count Romanones, who is the Span- published in Italy for some time is



Signor Vincenzo Nitti's recent vindi- There is no copyright in China, and cation of his father's policy as prime English books have been freely pirated minister, "L'Opera di Nitti” (Turin: in the past. What will happen in the Pietro Gobetti). Nitti, not without future if the rising generation in China some justification, is regarded today demands more and more English with considerable hostility in Italy and books? elsewhere. His lukewarm war policy, even when he was a minister, is chiefly responsible for the feeling.

American travelers who have made This vigorous defense is based on the journey from London to Paris by Nitti's speeches during the critical air and are acquainted with the well years. He became premier in June, known British airlines, may not be 1919, when Italy was in a very unset- aware of the network of foreign air

ed state. The peace negotiations services over the face of Europe. were unpopular and the Communists While Europe is the most important were actively exploiting the general continent from the point of view of discontent. He convinced”, commercial aviation, it does not possays his son, “that the fever of strikes, sess any monopoly of organized air proletarian violence, revolutionary and services. Civil aviation is growing so reactionary folly were transitory phe- rapidly and significantly that the pubnomena of the postwar period, states of lication of the “Jahrbuch für Luftmind rather than well defined propos- verkehr" (Munich: Richard Pflaum als." Acts of sedition went unpun- Verlag), the first production of its ished; strike leaders held the upper kind, is worth noting. Comprehensive hand and their demands, however and thorough, this yearbook (the first preposterous, were always granted. issue is for the year 1924) covers geoNitti's passive attitude brought trouble graphically the whole world, contains in its train.

complete lists of aerodromes and a Signor Vincenzo Nitti bases his case mass of other useful information. on the ex-Premier's public speeches, but his actions cannot be overlooked. In spite of this volume, it is probable that the Nitti régime will continue to The discovery of a dusty portfolio of be regarded as disastrous.

manuscripts preserved in the famous Mazarin Library reveals an interesting

collection of love letters written by From China comes the interesting François Talma, the great French news that the Chinese are modernizing actor, to Napoleon's sister, Pauline their schools and have decided that the Bonaparte. An amazing clandestine learning of the English language shall wooing this. For the purpose of corbe obligatory. The industrious thor- respondence the Princess became Mlle. oughness of Eastern peoples is well Sophie, and Talma's letters were called known, and this step may be followed for by her butler at an arranged adby a greatly increased demand for dress. It ended in bitter disillusionEnglish and American books in China. ment for François Talma. These letThe possibility raises a point conceiv- ters of his to the beautiful Pauline were ably of importance to English and found with a label, bearing in Mme. American authors and publishers. Le Brun's handwriting these words:


“Would it not be better to destroy Fashions in literature come and go. them? That remains to be seen.” The master of yesterday is neglected

today; tomorrow may witness a revival Susan Glaspell's novel, “Fidelity”,

of interest in his work. George Eliot, which went the rounds for several years

Tennyson, even Thackeray, have in England before finding a publisher, fallen under a cloud. In their places is to be issued in Germany by the firm

we have rediscovered Anthony Trollope of Griffel. “Fidelity” is now in its

and Thomas Love Peacock. Shakefifth impression in England. Other

speare and Dickens alone burn with books which are to appear in German

continuous brightness in the literary include Shaw Desmond's “The Drama

firmament. of Sinn Fein”, Stacy Aumonier's

In France, the critics make no secret Overheard”, and Margaret Ken

of their belief that Balzac is dead. All nedy's “The Constant Nymph”.

the more refreshing therefore is M. The Scandinavian rights of Michael

André Bellessort's new and brilliant Arlen's novel “The Green Hat” have

contribution to Balzacian literature, been disposed of; as have the Swedish

“Balzac et son Euvre" (Paris: Perrin). rights of Stacy Aumonier's “Miss

This is one of the best studies of Balzac Bracegirdle and Others". The Dutch

and his work — and there have been rights of "Arnold Waterlow" by May many — to appear in print. M. BelSinclair and “The Custody of the

lessort has an admirable biographical Child" by Sir Philip Gibbs, the Ger- gift; in addition, his critical survey is man serial rights of Booth Tarkington's not impaired by his ardent admiration. “Us" and the Czecho-Slovakian rights

Balzac's output was enormous: in of Gene Stratton-Porter's “A Girl of four years he produced fifteen or sixthe Limberlost", have all recently been

teen volumes, at least thirty short sold. “Blanco y Negro", the Spanish stories, and a vast amount of daily magazine, has acquired the serial rights journalism; and his best work was to of Howard Carter's story of “The

come later. His industry was equaled Tomb of Tutankhamen”.

only by his ambition. M. Bellessort's The Tauchnitz Continental Library book gives us a vivid picture of Balzac has made some interesting acquisitions,

the man as well as Balzac the novelist, which include Rose Macaulay's "Or- and one hopes it may lead to an inphan Island", Zane Grey's “The creased critical appreciation of Honoré Thundering Herd", and "The Son of de Balzac in his own country. Tarzan" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.


« PreviousContinue »