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American and English Books Abroad-Ferdinand Lassalle-Books and Decorative Art-Mercury or Apollo?- In the Land of the Forty Niners-Literary Hyphens-"By the Queen of Roumania"-Prophets with Honor.

T is refreshing to be able to record ready market, particularly in Ger

and American books are regaining their old status and in some respects are improving on even prewar standards. Generally speaking, the books which are really successful in America and England will prove successful, at any rate to a limited extent, on the Continent. A book or story which has some fundamental appeal to human nature is not likely to fail in countries other than that of its origin. Margaret Kennedy's fine novel, "The Constant Nymph", for instance, was sold to Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and for publication in the Tauchnitz edition, within three months of publication.


Provided the setting is not too local and the dialogue not too idiomatic, the well told original mystery or detective story will generally find a publisher in one or more countries abroad. Works by authors of established reputation, like John Galsworthy and Thomas Hardy, are almost certain to sell, although in many cases some years after recognition in their own country.

The psychological novel - I don't like the label, but the rough classification will serve - is difficult to sell in any language, and the novel that is "almost good" rarely tempts the foreign publisher.

Apart from fiction, biography is not so popular as it was, but books on political and economic subjects find a

many. Temporarily, at any rate, there is a big demand abroad for travel books.

Among recent contracts made for foreign rights, it is interesting to note that Henry Ford's "My Life and Work" is to be published in Portuguese- the twelfth language into which this book has been translated. H. G. Wells's "Kipps" is to be published in Czechoslovakia; "The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page" in Dutch; Mary Borden's "Jane - Our Stranger" in Swedish and German; E. M. Forster's "A Passage to India" in Swedish; John Galsworthy's "The White Monkey" in Danish-Norwegian, Swedish, and Italian; and Michael Arlen's "The Green Hat" in German, French, Danish-Norwegian, and Swedish. New additions to the Tauchnitz collection include "The Rector of Wyck" and "Arnold Waterlow" by May Sinclair; "Love" by the author of "Elizabeth and Her German Garden"; and "Balisand" by Joseph Hergesheimer.

Sixty years ago a bullet cut short the romantic career of Ferdinand Lassalle. He was killed in a duel at the age of forty. Lassalle was one of the most remarkable figures in modern German history. A Jew, brilliant of intellect, able in politics, and compelling in personality, he inspired the admiration of even Bismarck, who described him

as "one of the most intellectual and gifted men with whom I have ever had intercourse". The great traveler von Humboldt applied to him the characteristically German epithet of "Wonder Child"; Heine considered him the "Messiah of the nineteenth century".


In celebration of Lassalle's centenary the German ex-minister, Herr Konrad Haenisch, has published "Lassalle, Mensch und Politiker" (Berlin: Franz Schneider Verlag), an admirable outline of Lassalle's life and work. the least interesting feature of Herr Haenisch's book is its exposition of Lassalle's essentially nationalist policy, with its inevitable distrust of the Austrian monarchy, and his intelligent (as the war proved) anticipation of the disintegration of the Austrian State. The book also sheds light on the mutual antagonism of Lassalle and Marx. But perhaps the most illuminating part of the whole work deals with Lassalle's firm stand for "a good understanding between the two great civilised nations, Germany and France, from which all political liberty, all progress of European civilisation, all democratic evolution depend. On this hangs not only the fate of any one nation; it is a matter of life or death for European democracy." O tempora, o mores!

The Exposition of Decorative Art is upon us. Hardly have we recovered from those sonnets to a soccer team, rhymes for a runner, ballads of a basket ball, and other atrocities which accompanied the Olympic Games than we are invited to wade through columns of laudatory adjectives with which messieurs les journalistes hail the glories of polychromic decoration and profusion of gilding that characterize most of the pavilions.

A very handsome special number of

"L'Illustration" over the world exactly how the principal buildings look on the architects' water color sketches. The distance which separates these fairylike structures from the unfinished shanties that occupy the grounds at present is considerable. One is tempted to quote Browning's Rabbi ben Ezra, "What I aspired to be, and was not, comforts me." We are told that in another month or so things will be more shipshape. It would be fairer to postpone any detailed examination of the Section du Livre until that date, although we may already mention that Crès, Morance, and, naturally, the magazine "Art et Décoration" have separate pavilions.

shows readers all

America does not figure officially at the Exposition, but a bookstore, Le Portique, has placed on sale copies of the Dial Press's superb album "Living Art", edited by Scofield Thayer. Among Parisian critics Elie Faure, André Salmon, Maurice Raynal, and Roger Allard have hailed this album as unique among publications reproducing modern art, and it is some satisfaction to feel that the culture and taste of the United States are represented at least to this extent. Le Portique is something of an innovation in the way of bookshops. It has an extensive lending library of valuable works dealing with the fine arts, many of which are scarce or out of print. Situated on the Boulevard Raspail, close to the artist quarter of Montparnasse, it includes among its patrons a number of American students from the schools in the rue de la Grande Chaumière and the near by Alliance Française.

We may expect that the Exposition will bring with it a host of volumes dealing with the tendencies and achievements of ultramodern art. One of the first to appear is an attractive

volume"Le Meuble Français Moderne" by Louis M. Moussinac quite a model of its kind; and we had last year a useful collection entitled "L'Art Français depuis Vingt Ans" with short monographs on such subjects as "Le Travail de Metal", in which France has lately been distinguishing herself, "La Céramique et la Verrerie", and "Les Décorateurs du Livre", as well as the inevitable painting, architecture, and sculpture. While none of these volumes can be said to set the Seine on fire, they are valuable handbooks for those interested in the subject. They have the further merit of being moderate in price and well, although not profusely, illustrated.


André Gide enjoys giving offense. Last year he felt it necessary to publish a work defending a certain vice generally condemned by public morality everywhere and limited to those individuals whom Edward Carpenter has classified as "The Intermediate Sex". Recently he has sold off at public auction the presentation copies of books given him years ago by brother authors who do not approve of his attitude on this question. Among those who have thus incurred Monsieur Gide's displeasure we find Maurice Maeterlinck, Francis Jammes, Pierre Louys who has died just as he was again coming to the fore- and Henri de Régnier. Other items at the sale were manuscripts, limited editions, and corrected proofs of various books by Gide himself as well as a fine "first" of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and Lord Alfred Douglas's "Poems". There were four hundred and five items in all, and the total amount realized was slightly over one hundred thousand francs. It is said that this sum is considerably less than the

figure Gide anticipated. Altogether it would seem that the author of "L'Immoraliste" and "Les Nourritures Terrestres" would have done better to remain faithful to Apollo, father of literature, rather than desert him in favor of Mercury, god of commerce. The comments on Monsieur Gide's action in making money out of books that had been given him have been numerous and scathing, and we should not be surprised if more of his former friends would join the list of those whose works shall not be allowed to have the honor to figure on his shelves. Hence, another sale. . . .


Is it fact? Is it fiction? At any rate "L'Or", by Blaise Cendrars, is an unusual and fascinating book. With no history of early California at hand for reference, it is not easy to say how far Cendrars has based his account of the adventures of Johann August Sutter on actual documents or how much he may have added or subtracted. The fact remains that the result is a coherent, intensely interesting whole, probably the first important historical novel about America ever written by a Frenchman. In its kind it challenges comparison with the best work of our own writers. Sutter himself, sometime tramp in his native Switzerland, then again adventurer on the Seven Seas, the absolute ruler over the richest valleys in California, finally dying, a destitute and half mad beggar, on the steps of the Capitol at Washington, is a striking, even an epic figure. The story of his rise and subsequent ruin, caused, ironically enough, by the discovery of gold on his ranch, is a tale that captures the imagination. Its romantic appeal is increased by the abrupt, almost dry style, reminiscent of the language of the old chronicles,

which Cendrars has employed. The author has succeeded in suggesting at least as much as he actually tells. Certain chapters, as for example the one describing the port of New York in 1834, have all the diversity of movement which animates a great movie film. With "L'Or" Blaise Cendrars ceases to be the migratory poet whose work was known only to a small number of cosmopolitan dilettantes and becomes a novelist who must be taken into account when one surveys the field of modern French fiction.

Anyone who follows literary events in France cannot fail to have noticed the increasing interest displayed by publishers and the general public in what is being read abroad: prominent critics and novelists like Valéry Larbaud, André Maurois, Philippe Soupault, Benjamin Crémieux, Léon Bazalgette, Charles Du Bos, and Jean Cassou, to mention only a few, are devoting time and energy to the task of familiarizing their compatriots with the most interesting works that are being published abroad. They are hyphens in the best sense of the word, traits d'union linking together readers and authors everywhere.

The series of lectures held during May and June at the Collège de France and the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier under the auspices of Robert Aaron and the Union Internationale des Etudiants is further evidence of the wide interest in contemporary international literature.

American books and authors were described by Bernard Fay. Monsieur Fay has the reputation in his own country of being something of an iconoclast, and if he treats American idols with the same lack of respect he displayed toward generally accepted values in French

literature, he is likely to be severely called to task by more academically minded critics. On the other hand, Monsieur Fay recently published in "Le Correspondent" an extraordinarily sane and broadminded article on the vexed question of the Franco-American debt situation. In it he displayed a thorough grasp of the psychology of the two countries. What a pity it was not reprinted and sent to every fire eating Congressman and editorial writer in the two countries!

Another international literary event to be recorded is the annual congress of the P. E. N. Clubs, held in Paris at the end of May. A number of distinguished men of letters from all over Europe attended the congress. John Galsworthy, president of the English P. E. N. Club, who is also the founder of the entire association, presided, and many topics of interest and importance to authors generally were usefully discussed. Among the entertainments organized was a banquet at which the foreign delegates were greeted by Georges Duhamel and Valéry Larbaud, a visit to Balzac's house in the rue Raynouard, and a special performance at the Atelier Theatre.

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It is not often that one is able to chronicle the literary activities of royalty. I learn that the Queen of Roumania is now contemplating writing her reminiscences. She has just finished her new novel, which she is calling "Ilderim: A Tale of Light and Shade". Her Majesty will be remembered as the author of "The Voice of the Mountain", a novel published recently by Knopf. She has also written a book about Roumania, called "The Country That I Love", which has been illustrated by her daughter, Elizabeth, Queen of Greece. Another

book, "Roumanian Fairy Stories", is to be published in England this year.

The celebrated anecdote about the Shah of Persia and Omar Khayyam is worth recalling in connection with modern Spanish literature. It will be remembered that, when approached by the band of enthusiastic devotees who desired to visit the grave of Omar, the Shah observed: "But why do you wish to visit the grave of Omar Khayyam? He is one of our minor poets; we have many greater than he." We know, of course, that Omar's Western reputation rests on Fitzgerald's inspired translation, but an interesting parallel may be said to exist in contemporary Spanish fiction.

With no intention of disparaging the virile novels of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, one may point to two Spanish authors of far greater distinction in their own country. "Azorin", the critic and essayist, now a member of the Royal Spanish Academy, and Pío Baroja, author of the "Memoirs of a Man of Action", are perhaps the most considerable of living Spanish authors. Blasco Ibáñez, of course, is eminently translatable and his outlook is cosmopolitan; hence his international popularity. Azorin, on the other hand, is so characteristically Spanish, so exquisitely difficult to render into another language, that he will probably remain little known outside his own country.

Baroja is already known in America through the translation of his trilogy, "The Quest", "Weeds", and "Red Dawn". Azorin is primarily an essayist; Baroja a novelist. Baroja's "Memorias de un Hombre de Acción: Las Figuras de Cera" (Madrid: Caro Raggio) is a fictional presentation of the life and times of his great uncle, Eugenio de Aviraneta. The Peninsular War, the French invasion, the Carlist wars - these were exciting times for Spain of the early nineteenth century and provide abundant material for the modern novelist. Baroja is a kind of historical idealist, although he has no illusions about the Carlists and their methods. This series of memoirs, of which Aviraneta is the central figure, represents modern Spanish literature at its best, and the volume now issued, "Las Figuras de Cera", is one of the best that have appeared.

Spain does not produce many autobiographies, and the "Memorias del Conde de Benalua, Duque de San Pedro de Galatino" (Madrid: Blass) is the more welcome on that account. One of the old Castilian nobility, the Duke of San Pedro de Galatino describes graphically in these pages the Revolution of 1868, which broke out at Madrid, and his subsequent experiences in Paris, Vienna, and London. The result is a vivid picture and a story more exciting than many a romance of history or fiction.


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