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THE BOOKMAN will present each month tabloid reviews of a selected list of recent fiction. This section will include also the books most in demand according to the current reports in "Books of the Month", compiled by the R. R. Bowker Company, The Baker and Taylor Company's Retail Bookseller", and "THE BOOKMAN'S Monthly Score".. Such books as the editor specially recommends are marked with a star.


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1. "Dracula" by Bram Stoker (Doubleday, Page). One of the best horror and mystery stories ever written. Surely you haven't missed it.

2. "Beggars of Life" by Jim Tully (A. and C. Boni). These autobiographical sketches of hobo life are packed with drama and sentiment.

3. "The Dominant Blood" by Robert E. McClure (Doubleday, Page). A quiet, normal novel of a not-so-muchshouted-about side of the younger generation.

4. "Through the Wheat" by Thomas Boyd (Scribner). This great American war book shall be mentioned here until every reader of THE BOOKMAN owns it.

5. "Bare Souls" by Gamaliel Bradford (Houghton Mifflin). The best of a long line of good books from a fine American author is this collection of historical portraits.

Will Irwin Rides a Fine Steed

HE western novel in many forms

Tembroiders and infests our national

literature. "The Virginian" is still read with joy. Zane Grey is more vital than most people suppose.


constructed, its details and its descriptions are so amassed, that without the creaks usual in an historical novel this golden, daring period is reconstructed with something like perfection. It reminds one of Defoe, this writing. It is good. At times description becomes really beautiful, but it never clogs the progress of the story. Characters are drawn with color and humor, yet they likewise never hold up the swift narration. This is a good yarn, embroidered by fine writing. Buck Hayden, Charlie Meek, Marcus Handy, Town Marshal McGrath a fistful of characters that are memorable. All the stock incidents of western novels are here, yet how unimportant becomes the fact that they have been used before. It must be admitted that when Mr. Irwin comes to a love scene he stutters a trifle, but that's a minor difficulty; although love is the concern of the final page, "Youth Rides West" is primarily a tale of escape and ad


A Satirist and a Mystic

bert Quick and Emerson Hough have PERHAPS it is fortunate that Leon

written books with a good deal of quality. Not since "The Virginian", though, has a story of mining camp, posse, and quick shooting so thrilled. me as does Will Irwin's "Youth Rides West" (Knopf). It is the story of a Harvard boy in the Seventies who goes west to seek his fortune and finds wealth and love among the mountains. In plot it is conventional, in tone melodramatic; but it is so cleverly

ard Bacon, Ph.D., retired from the teaching profession before the publication of his latest satirical poem. The author of "Ulug Beg" has a vicious and a sure pen. "Ph.D.s: Male and Female Created He Them" (Harper) is one (or rather two) of the few really funny poems published in English in the last decade. Here is the essence of academe: the trials and tribulations of midnight oil, the flutterings of feminine postgraduate students, the ardors and

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If you enjoy good satirical verse, you will find both "Ulug Beg" and this latest production of Mr. Bacon's indispensable.

A marked contrast is Robert P. Tristram Coffin's "Christchurch" (Seltzer). No one in America, with the possible exception of Thomas Jones, has written lyrics that compare with these in their quality of reverence and mystic vision. "Monks of Mona" is an exquisite piece of writingvisionary, musical, fine. "Lindisfarne" has ballad quality, and lyric beauty as well a rare combination. Perhaps one legitimate criticism of a beautiful book is the use of similar rhythms in too many poems; but this is a small matter when the beauty of the

whole is considered. "Good Friday Song" has a quaintness that I like. Listen to the cadences in this final stanza:

Good folk all, pray heed my call.
The resurrection glory

Is now at hand in every land,
I sing its holy story.
Christ has won

who'll have a bun?
So let the world sing glee,
He lives, He lives, and promise gives
Of life eternally!


Hot-cross buns!

Jeweled Prose

TILLIAM CAXTON, the printer, was also translator, and in the course of his translating he turned into English prose from a French source (he was probably not an expert Latinist) "Ovyde Hys Booke of Methamorphose", that naive and beautiful collection of legendry to which, as source material, literature owes many great debts. Basil Blackwell, publisher to the Shakespeare Head Press of Stratfordupon-Avon, has printed it luxuriously from the manuscript in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College. His edition is limited to 375 copies. Houghton Mifflin have a certain number to distribute in America. Many limited editions are, frankly, bores. Here is one, however, that is beautiful and, to any lover of literary curiosities, invaluable. Only books X-XV of the "Methamorphose" exist in this translation. The first nine were lost; but the six here presented are well worth owning. Caxton's English is not really difficult. Although weakened OCcasionally by French influence, it yet conveys these simple stories with grace and strength. This is a dignified and carefully wrought work.

Conrad, Conrad and Hueffer, Hueffer


as a

HE Shorter Tales of Joseph Conrad" have been issued volume: eight stories between rich blue covers (Doubleday, Page). An excellent preface by the late master explains the collection. Partly, it says:

It would have been misleading to label those productions as sea tales. They deal with feelings of universal import, such for instance as the sustaining and inspiring sense of youth, or the support given by a stolid courage which confronts the unmeasurable force of an elemental fury simply as a thing that has got to be met and lived through with professional constancy. Of course there is something more than mere ideas in those stories. I modestly hope that there are human beings in them, and also the articulate appeal of their humanity so strangely constructed from inertia and restlessness, from weakness and from strength and many other interesting contradictions which affect their conduct, and in a certain sense are meant to give a colouring to the actual events of the tale, and even to the response which is expected from the reader. To call them "studies of seamen" would have been pretentious and even misleading, in view of the obscurity of the individuals and the private character of the incidents. "Shorter Tales" is yet the best title I can think of for this collection. It commends itself to me by its non-committal character which will neither raise false hopes nor awaken blind antagonisms.

We can then read, or reread, these great narratives. What an atmosphere of the supernatural is achieved in "The Secret Sharer", with implements only of the natural! "To-Morrow", pitiful, terrible, totally insane, is another masterpiece of technique. "Typhoon", one of the greatest storm pieces ever written, contrasts strangely strangely with the rather ordinary but nevertheless effective measures of "Because of the Dollars". From these great stories it is disillusioning to turn to the maunderings of "The Nature of a Crime" (Doubleday, Page) by Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford (Huef

fer). This piece, republished from an almost forgotten time of their collaboration, remains uninteresting to me, except as a literary experiment. The new editor of "The Transatlantic Review" has, however, written a biography that is arresting and illuminating in his "Joseph Conrad: a Personal Remembrance" (Little, Brown). He has given us a record of a personality which has seldom been equaled as interpretative biography. Conrad becomes real both as person and as writer. So, too, unfortunately, does Hueffer, who, fine writer that he is, allows an unpleasant egotism, difficult to analyze, to cloud the perfection of his portrait of collaborator and friend. For the writer or student of writing perhaps there can be no better textbook than this. It reveals a man immensely concerned with words as words, as instruments of beauty, as portrayers of character. Much of the book is a discussion of writing rather than of actual biographical details. A collaborator has a peculiar knowledge of the man with whom he works. Mr. Ford has used this advantage to the full. The result is an acute study of the writing man. I like this paragraph, which might well occupy an evening's discussion for any spinners of yarns:

We used to say that a passage of good style began with a fresh, usual word, and continued with fresh, usual words to the end; there was nothing more to it. When we felt that we had really got hold of the reader, with a great deal of caution we would introduce a word not common to a very limited vernacular, but that only very occasionally. Very occasionally indeed; practically never. Yet it is in that way that a language grows and keeps alive. People get tired of hearing the same words over and over again. . . . It is again a matter for compromise.

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