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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:
And yet the souls that Azrael brings
Marion Strobel, like Aline Kilmer, finds moods and incidents in the ordilife of woman to capture in lyric nary 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:
This is a place of ease: Beauty has come to rest,
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.
A SHELF OF RECENT BOOKS
A HOMER OF THE LOGGING
By Percy MacKaye
HE author of "Paul Bunyan"
our own James Stevens, born in Iowa and raised in the spacious outdoors of the great west - well merits to be known, by this epical work, as the prose Homer of that American mythology which has sprung gigantically into being from the campfires of our vast timberlands during the last half century.
From generations of forest lore, whose dim origins are lost in dateless times and distant lands, from countless minor tales and anecdotes, he has builded a major native epic, through the cloud capped contours of which emerge a few enormous forms, centring in one mythic Colossus - Paul Bunyan, the logger-dreamer of "Real America".
The ancient demigods of the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" — with their battles, intrigues, feasts, and voyages in a still uncharted world - were not more heroically indigenous to the imaginations of the Greeks than these grotesquer titans of forest fairy lore have been to the day dreams of a million American lumberjacks, who are even now but just rubbing their eyes to stare with dumb yearning after their departing heroes passing away forever before the "evil inventions" of "Ford Fordsen", the genius of modernity.
For Mr. Stevens's acknowledgments to anecdotal sources of his form of the legend, the reader is referred to his introduction. A very worthwhile comparison with this preface and its
cited material may be had in the foreword of Esther Shephard to her own significant volume "Paul Bunyan" an admirably conscientious setting down, from the lips of lumbermen in their own speech, of those extravagant logging tales, many of which James Stevens has embodied in his work.
A comparison of the two books will reveal Mr. Stevens's method as an artist and the excellence of his style, vitally plastic and fecund with imaginative insight and observation. His epic is told in a fluent and vivid prose, simple, powerful, clear and un-selfconscious, which shows him to be an accomplished master of his medium, a native writer likely to rank very high in future works.
The only regrets of this reviewer are, first, that Mr. Stevens has allowed (in the book's later chapters) certain transient journalistic allusions to invade his folk theme in a work else permanent as true literature; and secondly, that he has not more often permitted his own spirited prose to cite the native speech modes of his woodsmen, of which he shows such imaginative, first hand knowledge as in this volcanic eruption of Paul Bunyan at the outset of his fight with Hels Helsen, the Big Swede:
"By the blazing sands of the hot high hills of hell, and by the stink and steam of the low swamp water, how in the name of the holy old mackinaw, how in the names of the whistling old, roaring old, jumping old, bald-headed, blue-bellied jeem cris and the dod durned dod do you figure you're wearing any shining crown of supreme authority in this man's camp? Say!!"
'Aye tank so", said Hels Helsen calmly. "Suffering old saints and bleary-eyed fathers!"
"Yah, aye tank so."
Volumes might be written (and probably will be) on the ethnic sources of the Paul Bunyan legend. The principle of its childlike humoresques is the dislocation of size values. Here are lineal traces of Gulliver and Gargantua; of Thor's boastings in the Elder Edda; of "Beowulf" and the "Grimm's Tales" giants; of Münchhausen and Hercules.
A wild blend of the Babylonian with the Canuck might be discovered in that preposterous "Babe, the Blue Ox, who measured forty-two axhandles and a plug of chewing tobacco between the horns". An analogous blue cattle beast of other sex and less grandiose dimensions was tracked, though never corralled, by this reviewer, on his travels in the Kentucky Mountains, lured by an old fiddler's snatch, which sang as follows:
I had an old blue cow and her name were
Ary time I milked her she run over the cup.
But the reader must turn without fail to Mr. Stevens's volume for the delectable wonders of Babe and his master, Paul Bunyan, with their superlative associates, Johnny Inkslinger, Hels Helsen, "The Bull of the Woods", Hot Biscuit Slim, Pea Soup Shorty, Sourdough Sam, Jonah Wiles, "the legless logger", and the impossible others.
In prose narrative Mr. Stevens has written an unforgetable poem: the epic of a vast overgrown dreamer - America who has laid waste his dominion in the blind exuberance of his own dreams of "Work - Work - Work". In the humorous-pathetic legend of this dreamer of the woods the imaginative folk cultures of the world, which we have darkly stamped out in our immigrant-teeming cities, have interbred
awful theme. The Beatrice and Benedick whose married tiffs compose his book are simple folk, reminding one of nothing so much as Meg and her John in "Little Women". Beatrice pouts when Benedick's Aunt Imogen is too much considered, in their early married life, and Benedick does not admire Beatrice's Uncle William to excess. From these Freudian deeps of dissimilarity they proceed, sometimes almost with tears, through the sewing on of buttons, the unwelcome action of relatives, the arrival of a "man-child, in the doctor's black bag", to the moment when Beatrice decides that the house is godless, and takes Benedick to church with her, on page 237. Later, the athletic parson beats Benedick at golf. This evidently settles any theological doubts Benedick has ever had. By this time Benedick and Beatrice have two babies, and while the husband "knows that his wife will never again lead their paths very far afield", Beatrice has fortunately reached the conclusion that "Benedick is a much nicer sort of person than any of the gay married men who used to make love to her".
So that some four years after marriage, by the exercise of tact and adaptability and reason, everything is
straightened out nicely, and there is not going to be any more trouble.
Paul Popenoe strikes a much deeper note strikes a note indeed that is arresting, as far as I am concerned. Perhaps there are other little handbooks upon marriage as excellently simple and earnest as this one; I have never seen one. Mr. Popenoe ignores the spiritual aspects of marriage, and the economic factors, and deals faithfully and plainly with the everyday human interest: selection, courtship, marriage itself. What qualities girls
to plain terms, our "incompatibilities" and "mental cruelties" brought down to the level of circus tummyache and measles.
How to Stay Married. By George Gibbs.
AN IRISH-AMERICAN DUET By Arthur Bartlett Maurice
we have had the substance
want in their husbands, what qualities Fourst of George Bernard Shaw's
men look for in their wives, he has tabulated and worked out by the law of averages, and the result is extremely interesting and enlightening reading. With dignity, with deep conviction, and with an unmistakable interest in the general happiness of the race, he has handled physiological problems carefully and sympathetically; "Modern Marriage" is a book numbers of persons would be the better for reading. It is delightful to find these things treated normally, with no references to complexes, suppressed desires, neurotic emotionalism, and psychoanalytical values; infidelity, satiety and coldness in marriage, called by these old fashioned names, seem somehow more manageable!
One can easily imagine the stupefaction with which the young persons of 1970, say, will learn that their grandmothers used to get married without reading anything about it. "But then what on earth did you know about anything?" these youngsters will demand. "About yourselves, and life, and what to do, and what not to do?"
And we shall answer meekly, "We didn't know.” Such a book as "Modern Marriage" will be a textbook taken for granted then. It is good for us occasionally to find our heroics reduced
share of this book before in the introductions to the various plays, and in the periodic polemical outbursts that have usually stimulated thought, and have always started controversy and added to the gaiety of mankind. But this book, save for the suggestion of its title, is not a solo but a duet. Adelphi Terrace is the battleground where the voice of North Carolina vies with the voice of Dublin. There are two protagonists; one, the clever, industrious American who never shies from the limelight, who has always held in praiseworthy reverence the Biblical injunction about "hiding one's light under a bushel", and who has never been parsimonious in the disbursement of words.
Here Mr. Henderson has the first word. The surprise of the book comes when the reader discovers that Shaw has the last word.
Yet for all that it is a delightful and valuable little volume; Shaw in a nutshell; a repository of Shavian epigram and a short cut to the high spots of the Shavian philosophy. Directed adroitly by Mr. Henderson, the table talk veers, not with Shaw's mood of the moment, but toward the illumination of those questions in which American readers are most likely to be interested. In
turn the duet concerns itself with "Things in General"; "The Drama, the Theatre, and the Films"; "England and America: Contrasts"; "Literature and Science"; "The Great War and the Aftermath".
Cartoon by Bohun Lynch depicting "A Quiet Dialogue between Bernard Shaw and His Biographer "— From "Table-Talk of G. B. S."
"People should execrate me for things I have said, not for things that fools say I have said", is Shaw's reply to Henderson's allusion to the alleged suggestion by Shaw, prior to the Washington Conference, that England wanted to fight America. It is a language in common that makes most of the trouble, for while it makes an alliance easier, it also makes quarreling easier. "The Americans and Chinese may utter endless insults to each other and be none the worse, because neither
understands the other; but an American insult to the English or an English insult to the Americans might lead to a war." It is for that reason that Anglo-American relations have been so frequently strained.
The films, and above all the American domination of the films, come in for Shaw's particular vituperation. He offers the suggestion that the United States government put a limit of $25,000 to the expenditure on any single non-educational film. In his opinion such a law would probably result in an enormous improvement because it would force directors to rely on dramatic imagination. The present colossal proportions of the film make mediocrity compulsory: "They aim at the average of an American millionaire and a Chinese coolie, a cathedral-town governess and a mining-village barmaid, because the film has to go everywhere and please everybody." Shaw finds the preliminary titling exasperating. "We shall soon have to sit for ten minutes at the beginning of every reel to be told who developed it, who fixed it, who dried it, who provided the celluloid, who sold the chemicals, and who cut the author's hair."
There are peeps of the Shaw who seems to be "spoofing" the world for his own amusement in the occasional profession of utter ignorance. For example, Henderson is quizzing his host at No. 10 Adelphi Terrace about some of the American authors of the hour. "Surely you know Edith Wharton?" "I seem to have heard the name, but cannot connect anything with it." "Willa Cather?" "Never heard of her or him." "James Branch Cabell?" "Not Cable no, of course not. he a Senator? No; that's Cabot, isn't it? I am afraid I am out of it." "Sinclair Lewis?" "Nice chap. I met