Page images


ever written. It is the same in theme BOOKS THAT MAY HAVE

as a rather lame play which flared forth ESCAPED YOU

on Broadway recently for a week, 1. Cobb of 'The Worldby John

Ostriches". A man falls in love with L. Heaton a collection of the most a former mistress's daughter. The forceful editorials ever written in

plot is as simple as that; but in the America.

character of Kate Clephane we have 2. The Singing Season" by Isabel delicacy and complication of emotion Paterson a costume romance written that is dramatic and poignant. Mrs. with much beauty.

Wharton tells this story swiftly, and 3. Liza of Lambeth" by W. Somer- with her usual command of masses of set Maugham an early short novel

dialogue. She does not attempt to exthat has power and drama.

plain differences in the generations. 4. How to Write Short Stories" by She shifts from the Riviera to New Ring Lardner with the reissue of his books, this stands out; if it is not the

York gracefully and with a complete most amusing, it is surely among the understanding of both moods. I think best.

she has achieved an even greater under5. The Old Maidby Edith Whar

standing of the mother-daughter relaton - one of the novelettes grouped as tion than Edna Ferber evinced of that Old New York, and one of the finest stories this great writer has ever given us.

of mother and son in “So Big". To be sure, “The Mother's Recompense" is not always pleasant reading. It is

painful, exceedingly painful, and cruel. Society and the Fringe

This author never spares heroines; with group Edith

unflinching zeal she lets us see their Scott Fitzgerald

at first souls. Kate Clephane is so human glance, ridiculous; but if you will read that she terrifies, and her tortures The Mother's Recompense" and then and psychological adventures hold the "The Great Gatsby", I think you will reader as do few mystery stories, for in discover my reason. In one, we find a this novel suspense plays a large part. mature woman, with an amazing toler- Actually, we do not know the solution ance of life and an understanding of its until the final page, and it is a solution smallest values, writing with force and in which we are vitally interested. clarity on a theme as tremendous as “The Great Gatsby" (Scribner) is any she has ever touched. In the a strange combination of satire, burother, a brilliant young man, im- lesque, fantasy, and melodrama. It is mensely puzzled by life and disturbed Fitzgerald writing with his old gusto, by shifting values in his own scheme, with driving imagination, and with a writes vividly but chaotically on a sense of the futility of life and of the theme that is as tremendous but constant presence of bootleggers. A scarcely as clear. “The Mother's hideous and grotesque comedy this, yet Recompense" (Appleton) is, it seems to a comedy in which truth lurks where me, the best story Mrs. Wharton has the thread of the tale seems least plaus



well as

ible. It is a satire on present day ing. “Unknown Tribes, Uncharted
fame. It is a story of people who, Seas” (Appleton) is a somewhat vivid
through some twist of fate or personal narrative by Lady Richmond Brown
magnetism, arrive at great notoriety, to who tells how she regained health by
whom those on the fringes of society travel. Carveth Wells's “Six Years in
flock, whose liquor the sycophants the Malay Jungle" (Doubleday, Page)
drink, and who fall into ruin and neg- makes one wonder just a trifle, in spite
lect when the inevitable scandal at- of many interesting facts, how a man
tacks them. Fitzgerald has told, could spend so many years in a jungle
really, the story of a modern Cagliostro, and come out with so little sense of
and told it amazingly well. That I do romance. However, don't let me keep
not always know what he means, is you away from the books if you care for
perhaps my fault. Whether you like the ordinary travel story.
"The Great Gatsby" or not, whether
you understand it or not, you at least
cannot deny its vitality.

New England and the South
НЕ advertisements Alice

Brown's "The Mysteries of Ann" More Wrangling over Wrangel

(Macmillan) lead one to believe that TEFANSSON'S books always have she has turned from realistic fiction of a tang of controversy as

New England to the writing of detecadventure. His newest volume is no tive stories. Quite the contrary, she exception; in fact, it is the liveliest of has never penned a shrewder, more the lot. Here he tells the true story of deft, or more captivating study of New the settlement on Wrangel Island, of England character than in this short the death of the settlers, and of the novel which seems to me technically a manners and actions of the famous masterpiece. She is writing, of course, Ada Blackjack. “The Adventure of of insanity in a mild form; but she does Wrangel Island” (Macmillan) has a so with humor and a delicious sense of multiple appeal. To those who enjoy the ridiculous. What an absurd and stories of hardship and conquest it will charming play“The Mysteries of Ann" prove a story of dramatic incident and would make. The story of how Ann pathetic heroism. To those who enjoy confused life with a story in her own detective stories, it will offer a problem mind, and how life turned out just like in the unwinding of truths not clear that, is fascinating and even thrilling. at first glance; for the facts were The comic New England sheriff has apparently mistold in many of our never been done with better wit. For prominent papers last year. To those several hours' reading there is nothing interested in international politics, it to beat this. gives a study of the movements of na- James Boyd, whose “Drums" (Scribtions in the obtaining of new lands. ner) has already received much critical To those who know Mr. Stefansson's acclaim, writes curiously like Thomas vivid narratives of old, it gives, I think, Boyd, to whom he bears no relation the most of all. Can I say more? other than that his books are published

Two other travel books I read this by the same firm. “Drums" is the month and found only mildly interest- story of Johnny Fraser of North Carolina and the American Revolution. conscious mind. With my own classes Johnny is a youngster of bravery and in composition, I have always used charm. Mr. Boyd writes with great Mrs. Austin's theories. I find that attention to atmospheric detail and after one or two talks on the use of the with an uncanny sense of dialects. subconscious, the writing tends to Still, for all that, there is something become expressive of the students and missing. I suspect that this Boyd will to gain in power and force. In directsome day be considered one of our best; ing a young actor I once used Mrs. yet he lacks poetry and fire, and that Austin's method, quite unknown to curious quality of romance that one him; the resulting performance was the finds in others of his generation, in Sid- best he had ever given. Many people ney Howard, for example, or Louis will find something strange in this Brom ld or Robert Nathan or Cyril theory and in this book; but to me it is Hume or, among his elders, Joseph thoroughly understandable, and vitally Hergesheimer. Mr. Boyd is solid. important. He is worthwhile. I don't think he “Principles of Literary Criticism” is exactly dull; but he is, without a by I. A. Richards (Harcourt, Brace) is shadow of a doubt, weighty.

an excellent text on this much discussed subject. Mr. Richards not only advances his own critical theories, he analyzes, too, the history of æsthet

ics in a clear and understanding way. Literary Genius et al.

With this volume, Spingarn's "Literary TARY AUSTIN'S articles on gen- Criticism in the Renaissance", and

ius, which ran, most of them, in W. C. Brownell's brochure, “Critithis magazine, have now been pub- cism", the library of the potential lished under the title “Everyman's critic or the student of reviews should Genius” (Bobbs-Merrill). For the be adequate. craftsman of any sort who wishes to A good book, too, is Ernest Boyd's understand the workings of the sub- “Studies from Ten Literatures" (Scribconscious mind and the ways to which ner), a discussion of leading contemit may be put to serve the conscious, porary figures in the various European here is a book as necessary as an arith- countries. Mr. Boyd is informed on a metic. Mrs. Austin's claims are diffi- variety of subjects and writes with cult ones to state, and she has accom- amazing facility. As a literary journalplished the seemingly impossible. Her ist he is unexcelled, and his books theory is that every man is possessed occasionally rise above journalism to a of genius if only he knows how to use high level of thought and entertainit. One of the most interesting parts ment. This is one of his best efforts. of the volume as it stands, and new to me, is the collection of data she has made on the methods of work of various geniuses in one line or another, from

Bitterness and Light Bill Robinson, the buck and wing dancer, to Wilfred Lewis, the inventor. ZRAEL” All of them testify in one way or another to the accomplishment of their cally drowned last year while trying to best work through the use of the sub- save a stranger, is a volume containing


Color is gentle in the trees,
The willow leaves look
Timidly down, more timidly back from the


poems of grace and dramatic power, and lyrics of beauty. The preface by Charles Hanson Towne, from one friend to another, is warm with sentiment and understanding. Welsh, as we knew him, was a gentle person with a host of friends. His dramatic criticisms were kindly and his poetry, for the most part, concerned with the joy of living. Occasionally, however, as in “The Floorwalker", there is a note of quiet irony. The title poem has majesty and authority. It rings true throughout and the final stanza is memorable:

Beauty has come to rest:
Sweet as a sleepy-bell
The breeze swings within the close-pressed
Shadows, and the sun
Falls in little sprays, to be picked by



And yet the souls that Azrael brings

Across the dark and cold, Look up beneath these folded wings,

And find them lined with gold.

Marion Strobel, like Aline Kilmer, finds moods and incidents in the ordinary life of woman to capture in lyric and dramatic stanza. “Once in a Blue Moon" (Harcourt, Brace) is her first published volume, although she has long been known to magazine readers both as a lyrist and as the associate editor of Harriet Monroe's “Poetry”. It seems to me that she is at her best in careless songs, in her verses to her tiny daughter. In the sonnet form she becomes a trifle impressed with the movement of her own lines. There is just a trace of pompousness; but her gift is unmistakable. “Pastoral”, I like especially:

Unflaggingly Pleasant HARLES S. BROOKS is one of the

most popular of American essayists, yet I think he is not often given his due by the critics. Perhaps that is because so many of our popular essayists live in and about New York City, and have columns or other means of self expression. This remark is not meant as a criticism of them; for columns are useful things for any man to own. Brooks is, after all, a trifle too pleasant, but that is a happy fault and easily forgiven. "Like Summer's Cloud” (Harcourt, Brace) is as a whole, I think, his best collection of essays. "On Playing the Trombone" and “Once there was a Furnace Boy” are excellent pieces, containing much wise observation and delicate humor. So are many others in the book; there could be few better companions for the essay lover on a summer's day than this volume. It has charm, wit, and wisdom, and shows Mr. Brooks's gift for the nice phrase – a growing, not a lessening one.

- J.F.

This is a place of ease: Beauty has come to rest,



A HOMER OF THE LOGGING cited material may be had in the foreCAMPS

word of Esther Shephard to her own By Percy MacKaye

significant volume “Paul Bunyan"

an admirably conscientious setting HE author of "Paul Bunyan' down, from the lips of lumbermen in

our own James Stevens, born in their own speech, of those extravagant Iowa and raised in the spacious out- logging tales, many of which James doors of the great west well merits to Stevens has embodied in his work. be known, by this epical work, as the A comparison of the two books will prose Homer of that American myth- reveal Mr. Stevens's method as an ology which has sprung gigantically artist and the excellence of his style, into being from the campfires of our vitally plastic and fecund with imagivast timberlands during the last half native insight and observation. His century.

epic is told in a fluent and vivid prose, From generations of forest lore, simple, powerful, clear and un-selfwhose dim origins are lost in dateless conscious, which shows him to be an times and distant lands, from countless accomplished master of his medium, a minor tales and anecdotes, he has native writer likely to rank very high builded a major native epic, through in future works. the cloud capped contours of which The only regrets of this reviewer are, emerge a few enormous forms, centring first, that Mr. Stevens has allowed (in in one mythic Colossus - Paul Bun- the book's later chapters) certain tranyan, the logger-dreamer of "Real

sient journalistic allusions to invade America".

his folk theme in a work else permanent The ancient demigods of the “Iliad" as true literature; and secondly, that and "Odyssey" — with their battles, he has not more often permitted his own intrigues, feasts, and voyages in a still spirited prose to cite the native speech uncharted world were not more modes of his woodsmen, of which he heroically indigenous to the imagina- shows such imaginative, first hand tions of the Greeks than these grotes- knowledge as in this volcanic eruption quer titans of forest fairy lore have of Paul Bunyan at the outset of been to the day dreams of a million his fight with Hels Helsen, the Big American lumberjacks, who are even Swede: now but just rubbing their eyes to stare

“By the blazing sands of the hot high with dumb yearning after their depart- hills of hell, and by the stink and steam of ing heroes — passing away forever the low swamp water, how in the name of before the "evil inventions" of "Ford

the holy old mackinaw, how in the names

of the whistling old, roaring old, jumping Fordsen", the genius of modernity. old, bald-headed, blue-bellied jeem cris and For Mr. Stevens's acknowledg

the dod durned dod do you figure you're

wearing any shining, crown of supreme ments to anecdotal sources of his form

authority in this man's camp? Say!!” of the legend, the reader is referred to “Aye tank so", said Hels Helsen calmly. his introduction. A very worthwhile

“Suffering old saints and bleary-eyed

fathers!” comparison with this preface and its

“Yah, aye tank so."

« PreviousContinue »