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shaping of its own world. This ideal of life as fine and free art involves, as Mr. Brown seems to see, a radical overhauling of our established prejudices and routine institutions. Mr. Brown does not look to any magic to transform our world. He has simply and successfully tried to define where our Kultur falls short of being alive, in order that we may turn to seek life more abundant. He has done an excellent and necessary job.
The Creative Spirit. By Rollo Walter Brown. Harper and Brothers.
PRESENT DAY PORTRAITS OF JESUS
By Charles Francis Potter
HE eternal value of Jesus is that
he belongs to all time and all places. Attempts to localize him, as in Mary Austin's "A Small Town Man", or to modernize him, as in Bruce Barton's "The Man Nobody Knows", are foredoomed to failure, for his acknowledged universal appeal is not limited geographically or chronologically.
When Mary Austin writes a book to prove him a small town man, we know beforehand that she may remind us that he was born in a village and spent most of his days there, but that her thesis can never be proved, with so much evidence against it. The phrase, "a small town man", has a distinct connotation of inferiority. It implies an individual of provincial ideas and limited horizons. It is true that historical criticism has revealed that Jesus had ideas about demon possession and the millennium which were local and temporary, but the world knows that the Man of Galilee was anything but a small town man. His was an
eternal and universal life, although he lived at a certain time and in a very small place.
When Mr. Barton attempts to prove that Jesus was an American supersalesman born out of due time, we know that his thesis, too, is too much for any clever author to succeed in demonstrating. Indeed, we have a feeling almost of revulsion that anyone should try such a theme. We can suffer the Gideons to put Bibles in the hotels for the salvation of traveling salesmen, but Jesus as a suitcase-carrying drummer is altogether too much for our imaginations.
Mr. Barton confesses in his preface that his book was written as a protest against the idea of Jesus as "a pale young man with flabby forearms and a sad expression" who also wore "red whiskers". This conception was taught in the Sunday School which the author attended in his youth, and we sympathize with the boy's protest. But the defense mechanism which was then established developed such power that the grown man has gone to the other extreme. The picture which is drawn as an antithesis is just as repulsive, except to Rotarians and Babbitts. From the book we get a confused and rather painful impression of a muscular hiker who "slept outdoors and spent his days walking around his favorite lake". This he-man was a successful business organizer and at the same time "the most popular dinner guest in Jerusalem". The Man Nobody Knows is a man whom few of us want to know. We have seen too many of the sort in the marts of New York City. One almost prefers the pale young man of the Sunday School charts of Mr. Barton's boyhood.
Such chapter headings as "The Executive", "His Advertisements", and "The Founder of Modern Busi
ness" shock us into attention. One gets the same impression of incongruity as comes from reading in recent translations of the gospels into Americanese, where "Yea, Lord" is rendered, "Yes, Sir." We read such chapters to see if their headings are justified and find them more ingenious than convincing.
The Bible verse following the title page, presumably as a text for the book, is from the incident of the twelve year old Jesus in the Temple, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" The italics are Mr. Barton's, and are inexcusable from the point of view of accurate translation. As a matter of fact the word "business" is not in the Greek at all. When it was inserted by the King James translators to make English sense, the word "business" had not at all the commercial connotation which Mr. Barton gives it and upon which his whole thesis depends. The author forgets, evidently, that it was from that same temple a few years later that
Man Jesus". In this edition she has laid more emphasis upon the mystical side of Jesus's nature. She says in the preface that the present volume is carried out in the way she originally intended to write the book - the public was not ready for it at that time. Either volume is very readable and inspiring. It is the best book about Jesus ever written by a woman, and in parts and ways is better than any written by men. It takes a womanly intuition to bring out some phases of Jesus's universal character, and this study supplements all other biographies extant.
this same Jesus drove out with a whip TO SPANK OR NOT TO SPANK of cords some very successful business
By Eva v. B. Hansl
TIL the editor sent me the
latest batch of books on child training to review, I thought the subject of spanking had been settled long ago in favor of spoiling the child and sparing the rod. But here, within one week, a college professor pleads for a short snappy spank instead of a long verbal lecture-beating, two Senators in the legislature of the State of Michigan introduce two bills to restore the whipping post, and a New York publishing house issues a book "Beginning the Child's Education" by Ella Frances Lynch - which is a thinly disguised plea for the reinstatement of the ancient and lately dishonored switch in the home.
The title of the book, combined with its insistence that "a nice little switch on the legs" is the most effective means of obtaining obedience and that strict obedience is a prerequisite for all other lessons of life, reminds me of a passage in another book which has recently come from the press, "Lifting Mist", a novel of English schoolboy life by Austin Harrison:
Many years back, he had stolen a ball from a shop and his nurse had reported it. His father had called him into his study. On the table was a riding whip.
"There is only one thing to be done", his father had said, pointing to the whip. "I know", Sam had replied. "Undress", said his father.
Sam did so and then his father broke down.
"Go", he said. "I cannot strike you. Perhaps you will understand honor better if you are not whipped."
Sam did understand. He respected his father for respecting him. He never stole again; never felt any inclination to. All that was years ago, yet to the boy a very living memory. It was his first experience of right and wrong, and he had been given his chance. That was right of his father. Had his father flogged him, he might not have cared, might have resented it. But, put upon his honor, he felt bound for the sake of others, and to betray them was cowardice.
That passage, to me, sounds much more understanding of the real motivations of childhood than anything in Miss Lynch's book. If she knows what the newer psychology is revealing, she doesn't admit it. She doesn't want to know, I believe; she wants to cling to the old tenets. I wonder: was she benefited by the rod so much that she wants posterity not to be cheated, or is she taking out on the new generation what she herself suffered?
"If experience teaches her to associate pain with her outbursts of temper, she will soon put forth energy to regain self-control", she writes. Or again, "This habit [of obedience] cannot be established without resorting to pun
"A child would far rather obey a command than comply with a request." How does she know? Did she ever
try the other method? And even if it were true, what a relationship she establishes by giving commands rather than making requests of children. Would she really rather establish a world of Prussian military camps than a League of Nations?
I should not have spent so many words on this book when there are so many good ones to review, were Miss Lynch's pernicious doctrine not so dangerous. It permeates her books to such an extent that the value of all her excellent suggestions about beginning the child's education at home by training in observation, etc., is practically nullified. It doesn't matter to me very much what she has to say so long as she always dangles that "nice little switch" around while she says it.
What a complete contrast we find in Dr. Ira S. Wile's "The Challenge of Childhood". Seldom have I encountered a more sympathetic (and not sentimental but understanding) explanation of the real motives and causes of children's behavior. Dr. Wile is not an adult judging from without; he is "one of us" seeing from within. He makes you realize the full meaning of the French phrase, "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner". I wish his style were as lucid as his
ideas: i.e., I wish he could make us understand his diagnosis as easily as he understands and diagnoses the problems that come before him at the Health Clinic of Mt. Sinai Hospital. In spite of his technical vocabulary, however, his book is thrilling reading. He has handled his material in the case method, giving each of his fifty cases a fictitious child's name and using each case to illustrate the points he has made in his five introductions one for the book, and one each for four divisions: physical, intellectual, emotional, and social problems.
Two little books, easy to read and chock full of common sense, are "Wholesome Childhood" by Ernest R. and Gladys H. Groves and "From Infancy to Childhood" by Dr. Richard M. Smith, all of Boston. The latter is as sensible a little book as was ever compressed within one hundred short pages. Its last chapter, "Training and Education", is alone worth the purchase price. Let us see what Dr. Smith has to say about spanking, obedience, and punishment:
Every child must be taught to obey. This is difficult to accomplish but the trouble is more often with the parents than with the child. Obedience is based on the confidence of a child in his parents. It is prompted by mutual affection and by a recognition of this by the child. The attitude of the parent toward a child should be reasonable and not arbitrary.
Punishment is one of the hardest subjects to discuss because it is such a personal matter. The object of punishment is not to inflict physical or mental pain but to impress upon a child the importance of obedience... Unless punishment accomplishes this object it fails in its purpose.
If possible, the reason a child said or did the forbidden thing or failed to act in accordance with the parent's wish should be discovered. Then if punishment is necessary it is desirable to make it fit the crime: to make the punishment bear some evident relation to the misdeed. Spanking is an admission that physical force is the only method of control: acknowledgment of failure.
One could quote at length from the Grove book, too. But this, valuable as its point of view and advice may be, suffers from a poor arrangement of material. If it is intended as a book for immediate consumption, like a novel, it should not hop from one subject to another as it frequently does, without transition or obvious connection; if it is intended as a textbook, it should have subdivisions or paragraph headings to guide the reader in its use.
Dr. Louis Fischer, medical director of the Infantorium and of the Heckscher Foundation and Nursery, New York City, has brought his book "The Health-Care of the Baby" completely up to date in the fifteenth edition. Its especial value, it seems to me, is for the mother, the physician, or the nurse who is dealing with delicate babies or those who present difficult problems of feeding. For the average mother of a normal, healthy baby there is a little too much of the air of the hospital about the book an air of apprehension and symptom hunting. Dr. Smith's book, on the other hand, has an air of wholesomeness, of freedom from worry, so long as we follow the rules. Its emphasis is laid upon the ounce of prevention, whereas Dr. Fischer appears to be concerned with the pound of cure. There is the difference in these two books, I think, that lies between the preventive and the curative aspects of medical practice.
Quite the most scholarly book in the present collection is "Child Hygiene" by Dr. S. Josephine Baker, whose pioneer work in this field is well known the world over. Although intended, with its charts, graphs, tables, and other statistical material, as a textbook for students of the subject, it makes absorbing reading for the lay person interested in child welfare, for
it is well written and never dull. Tracing the history and evolution of child hygiene from the earliest glimmerings in the days of Romulus and Lycurgus, Dr. Baker considers in turn the mother, the infant, the pre-school child and the school child, as well as the organization and administration of child hygiene departments of city, state, or federal government. She is obliged to limit her subject to the United States; nevertheless, she introduces sufficient comparative data to make us alternately ashamed and proud of our accomplishments in this direction if we agree with Mr. Hoover when he says: "The children are the army with which we march to progress."
Though she lived nine years into the present century, and was witness to the rise of the journalistic short story, Miss Jewett steadfastly portrayed the order of life, the types of character, which she knew best, and which lay within the range of her own peculiarly personal point of view.
The order of life which Miss Jewett wrote about was that of rural New England or, more locally, Maine coastal village folk. Romantic as Wordsworth was romantic, Miss Jewett's stories were purposed, as Wordsworth's poems were, to show "incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men, and, at the same time, to throw over them a certain coloring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect; and further, and above all, to make these incidents and situations interesting by tracing in them, truly though not ostentatiously, the primary laws of our nature".
In the country, character is more sharply individualized. American men and women who win their bread by farming or fishing or working otherwise in partnership with the inscrutable and quixotic forces of nature have always had a turn for both philosophy and common sense, and a rich, eccen
"A REPORTER", remarks Willa tric, colloquial idiom in which to ex
Cather in her introduction to the two volumes of stories she has extracted from the work of Sarah Orne Jewett, "can write equally well about everything that is presented to his view, but a creative writer can do his best only with what lies within the range and character of his talent."
That may stand as a concise statement of what Sarah Orne Jewett was and was not. She was not a reporter.
press their sense and sentiment. This was true of the California of Bret Harte, of the Missouri of Mark Twain, as it was also true of the Maine of Sarah Orne Jewett. The fact that the homely speech of a generation which has passed is being forced out by the exigencies of a changing civilization (many expressions such as "summer kitchen" or "smokehouse" are obsolescent because the things themselves