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THE EDITOR RECOMMENDS —
constructed, its details and its descripBOOKS THAT MAY HAVE
tions are so amassed, that without the ESCAPED YOU
creaks usual in an historical novel this 1. “Dracula" by Bram Stoker golden, daring period is reconstructed (Doubleday, Page). One of the best
with something like perfection. It horror and mystery stories ever written. Surely you haven't missed it.
reminds one of Defoe, this writing.
It is good. At times description be2. “Beggars of Life" by Jim Tully (A. and C. Boni). These autobio
comes really beautiful, but it never graphical sketches of hobo life are clogs the progress of the story. Charpacked with drama and sentiment.
acters are drawn with color and humor, 3. “The Dominant Blood"
yet they likewise never hold up the Robert E. McClure (Doubleday, Page). swift narration. This is a good yarn, A quiet, normal novel of a not-so-muchshouted-about side of the younger gen
embroidered by fine writing. Buck eration.
Hayden, Charlie Meek, Marcus Handy, 4. “Through the Wheat” by Thomas Town Marshal McGrath a fistful of Boyd (Scribner). This great Ameri- characters that are memorable. All can war book shall be mentioned here
the stock incidents of western novels until every reader of THE BOOKMAN owns it.
are here, yet how unimportant becomes 5. “Bare Souls" by Gamaliel Brad
the fact that they have been used ford (Houghton Mifflin). The best of before. It must be admitted that when a long line of good books from a fine
Mr. Irwin comes to a love scene he American author is this collection of historical portraits.
stutters a trifle, but that's a minor difficulty; although love is the concern
of the final page, “Youth Rides West” Will Irwin Rides a Fine Steed
is primarily a tale of escape and ad
venture. HE western novel in many forms
embroiders and infests our national literature. “The Virginian” is still read with joy. Zane Grey is more
A Satirist and a Mystic vital than most people suppose.
ard Bacon, Ph.D., retired from the written books with a good deal of teaching profession before the publicaquality. Not since “The Virginian", tion of his latest satirical poem. The though, has a story of mining camp, author of “Ulug Beg' has a vicious and posse, and quick shooting so thrilled
“Ph.D.s: Male and Feme as does Will Irwin's “Youth Rides male Created He Them" (Harper) is West" (Knopf). It is the story of a one (or rather two) of the few really Harvard boy in the Seventies who goes funny poems published in English in west to seek his fortune and finds the last decade. Here is the essence of wealth and love among the mountains. academe: the trials and tribulations of In plot it is conventional, in tone midnight oil, the flutterings of feminine melodramatic; but it is so cleverly postgraduate students, the ardors and
a sure pen.
and Emerson Hough have PERHAPS it is fortunate that Leon
endurances of musty shelves and whole is considered. "Good Friday vaulted halls. All, all are here! Song" has a quaintness that I like. Sophia Trenton, heroine of “A Moral Listen to the cadences in this final Poem", is unusually appealing:
She was not like a flower (my heroines
Are painted as a homely muse dictates), Nor wicked as the seven deadly sins,
Nor the sweetest of girl undergraduates.
Good folk all, pray heed my call.
The resurrection glory
I sing its holy story.
So let the world sing glee,
The second poem is a monument of tragic woe. In the byways and lanes of early English are encountered many an event of ironical import. Take this stanza on the study of “Beowulf” what could be more trenchant?
W , ,
Oh, wherefore art thou Beowulf? I wonder. was also translator, and in the Nameless barbaric bard, what have you course of his translating he turned into
wrought? Pithecanthropic semi-epic blunder,
English prose from a French source (he Here and there sullied by a human was probably not an expert Latinist) thought,
"Ovyde Hys Booke of Methamorphose", Or fancy fainting 'mid dull blood and thunder,
that naive and beautiful collection of Feeble, but to the reader overfraught legendry to which, as source material, Like beauty almost, as he plods rebellious, Cursing, the flame that spared Cotton
literature owes many great debts. Vitellius.
Basil Blackwell, publisher to
Shakespeare Head Press of StratfordIf you enjoy good satirical verse, you upon-Avon, has printed it luxuriously will find both “Ulug Beg" and this from the manuscript in the Pepysian latest production of Mr. Bacon's in- Library at Magdalene College. His dispensable.
edition is limited to 375 copies. A marked contrast is Robert P. Houghton Mifflin have a certain numTristram Coffin's “Christchurch" ber to distribute in America. Many (Seltzer). No one in America, with the limited editions are, frankly, bores. possible exception of Thomas Jones, Here is one, however, that is beautiful has written lyrics that compare with and, to any lover of literary curiosities, these in their quality of reverence and invaluable. Only books X-XV of the mystic vision. "Monks of Mona" “Methamorphose" exist in this transis an exquisite piece of writing lation. The first nine were lost; but visionary, musical, fine. “Lindis- the six here presented are well worth farne" has ballad quality, and lyric owning. Caxton's English is not really beauty as well — a rare combination. difficult. Although weakened OCPerhaps one legitimate criticism of a casionally by French influence, it yet beautiful book is the use of similar conveys these simple stories with grace rhythms in too many poems; but this is and strength. This is a dignified and a small matter when the beauty of the carefully wrought work.
Conrad, Conrad and Hueffer, Hueffer fer). This piece, republished from an HE Shorter Tales of Joseph
almost forgotten time of their collab
oration, remains uninteresting to me, volume: eight stories between rich blue
except as a literary experiment. The covers (Doubleday, Page). An excel
new editor of “The Transatlantic lent preface by the late master explains
Review" has, however, written a biogthe collection. Partly, it says:
raphy that is arresting and illuminat
ing in his "Joseph Conrad: a Personal It would have been misleading to label those productions as sea tales. They deal
Remembrance" (Little, Brown). He with feelings of universal import, such for has given us a record of a personality instance as the sustaining and inspiring which has seldom been equaled as sense of youth, or the support given by a stolid courage which confronts the unmeas- interpretative biography. Conrad beurable force
of an elemental fury simply as comes real both as person and as writer. a thing that has got to be met and lived through with professional constancy. Of
So, too, unfortunately, does Hueffer, course there is something more than mere who, fine writer that he is, allows an ideas in those stories. I modestly hope unpleasant egotism, difficult to analyze, that there are human beings in them, and also the articulate appeal of their humanity
to cloud the perfection of his portrait so strangely constructed from inertia and of collaborator and friend. For the restlessness, from weakness and from
writer or student of writing perhaps strength and many other interesting con. tradictions which affect their conduct, and
there can be no better textbook than in a certain sense are meant to give a colour- this. It reveals a man immensely ing to the actual events of the tale, and
concerned with words as words, as even to the response which is expected from the reader. To call them “studies of instruments of beauty, as portrayers of seamen" would have been pretentious and
character. Much of the book is a even misleading, in view of the obscurity of the individuals and the private character of
discussion of writing rather than of the incidents. “Shorter Tales" is yet the actual biographical details. A collabbest title I can think of for this collection. It commends itself to me by its non-com
orator has a peculiar knowledge of the mittal character which will neither raise man with whom he works. Mr. Ford false hopes nor awaken blind antagonisms. has used this advantage to the full. We can then read, or reread, these
The result is an acute study of the great narratives. What an atmosphere writing man. I like this paragraph, of the supernatural is achieved in "The
which might well occupy an evening's Secret Sharer", with implements only
discussion for any spinners of yarns: of the natural! "To-Morrow", pitiful,
We used to say that a passage of good terrible, totally insane, is another
style began with a fresh, usual word, and masterpiece of technique. "Typhoon", continued with fresh, usual words to the one of the greatest storm pieces
end; there was nothing more to it. When
we felt that we had really got hold of the ever written, contrasts strangely reader, with a great deal of caution we with the rather ordinary but neverthe
would introduce a word not common to a less effective measures of “Because
very limited vernacular, but that only very
occasionally. Very occasionally indeed; of the Dollars”. From these great practically never. Yet it is in that way stories it is disillusioning to turn to the
that a language grows and keeps alive.
People get tired of hearing the same words maunderings of “The Nature of a
over and over again. ... It is again a Crime” (Doubleday, Page) by Joseph
matter for compromise. Conrad and Ford Madox Ford (Huef
- J. F.
A SHELF OF RECENT BOOKS
DEUCES WILD IN THE SPRING load of some forty orphan children of FICTION
tender years, London waifs philanBy Isabel Paterson
thropically destined for San Francisco
under the ægis of a virtuous maiden 'HE advance guard of novels of lady of the Anglican persuasion, a
1925 seem inclined to march in clergyman's daughter. Miss Charlotte pairs, as if wanting the reassurance of Smith had all the prejudices proper to company before facing the redoubtable her social status. A decent Scotsindifference of the public. Not that woman had been brought as a nurse. they would exhibit any grave concern The ship's doctor was Irish, bibulous, as to what one may think of them; they Rabelaisian, and a Roman Catholic. strive for insouciance, but the tentative The ship was wrecked in the lee of a note can be discerned. They neither fertile and uninhabited South Sea Isadmonish nor uplift, commenting land. aloofly upon the oddities of animate Seventy years later a rescue party nature, especially that curious creature arrived. They found that the orphans who calls himself Man. Life, they had thrived and multiplied, preserving would say, is a queer business, but you in their island home an undiluted midmust take it or leave it, for you can't Victorian atmosphere. Miss Smith, stop it or change its course. The aged ninety eight, was a reduced but best thing, then, is to stand aside and still majestic replica of the late dear smile.
Queen. The social, political, and ecoIn this chance haul of the dragnet, nomic problems of the tight little isthere are two satires, two family chron- land had reproduced themselves with icles, a very remotely related brace of the same grotesque fidelity. If the national or racial exhibits, and an odd microcosm is funny, the author implies, one, an international exhibit.
what of the original? And if they were We may as well swallow the bitter funny, what of ourselves? How shall pill first, reserving the jam for conso- we look to our grandchildren? It is all lation. But since Miss Macaulay's done in good humor, with a touch of tonic is sugared with tolerant amuse- broad comedy for a high light in the ment, it goes down most easily. It is distressing circumstances of Miss an antidote to Victorianism, containing Smith's marriage. She had been dea salutary reminder that we may have ceived by the doctor; he had a wife in achieved a distinction without a dif- Ireland. Miss Smith never knew it ference in our Georgian emancipation. until she had borne ten children in this If the Victorians were self righteous, bigamous union; and she kept the searen't we a little smug in our superi- cret thereafter, reacting to her hidden ority to those benighted creatures? shame by a more rigid respectability in
The plot belongs to the great univer- law making. Illegitimacy she would sal stock; Miss Macaulay helps herself not tolerate. On principle she was also to it gracefully. She premises that in a teetotaler, though she fuddled herself 1855 there sailed from England a ship- on palm wine with great dignity, calling