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His creation shines through all his work, giving it beauty, truth, and power. We do not doubt that humanity will enshrine him among its immortals.
Professor Badè was long a friend and fellow worker with John Muir in the Sierra Club of California. In critical situations they have stood firmly for the preservation of our finest scenery from commercial ruination. Eventually, all will realize that spiritual values are always of greater importance to mankind than are merely material considerations. Meanwhile, the privilege and the responsibility of this great service to present and future generations must rest upon such clear seeing prophets as Muir and his associates.
With an almost religious fervor, Professor Badè has for years collected the incidents and letters that cover many little known portions of Muir's life; and he has now sympathetically woven them into these eagerly awaited biographical volumes. Their literary quality is of high order, and all lovers of Muir's work are indebted to their compiler. There should be strong public demand for early publication of all the remaining material.
Early in Muir's life, his parents moved from Scotland to a farm in Wisconsin. Concerned with the stern realities of an ancient theology, they failed completely to understand the divine possibilities in their son.
a willing worker, he was driven by them early and late, and he received many chastisements for the good of his soul. It was only by arising from one to three o'clock in the winter's cold, that he secured the time to study and to develop his interesting mechanical inventions. Later at college he became absorbed in botany, and found an understanding friend in Mrs. Jeanne C. Carr, the wife of a professor. When Muir wandered
far afield and finally went to California, it was due to her insight and encouragement that he at last wrote for publication, and became acquainted with literary and scientific men of the day. In these volumes are many of Muir's early letters to Mrs. Carr, of the greatest poetic beauty. All are of remarkable interest to the general reader as well as to the student of his life.
In many ways the great range of the Sierra Nevada is the most beautiful in America. Upon its sunlit, snowy heights and in its grand and songful canyons, the Creator has lavished such wealth of beauty that only the stonyhearted can fail to see His love for man. If one roams alone, or with congenial friend, amid this paradise, he will long to return again and again that his soul may grow young in such companionship. John Muir was instant in his recognition of this opportunity. His experience with man had been a hard one. With God in nature, he felt at home; and he joyfully abandoned all that man could offer, in order to make this sacred mountain temple his home. For years he rambled over the range, climbing its highest peaks, rejoicing by its glorious streams and falls, worshiping amid its unequaled forests, sleeping upon its carpets of heather, and ever praising God with all his soul. Into his books he has brought this abundant life and joy, which forever will guide the traveler to a true appreciation of the beautiful in nature.
Muir's adoration of nature was enhanced by the closest scientific study of tree and plant and flower. He was especially the friend of glaciers, revealing their agelong, beauty-creating work to a skeptical world. He won the attention of the nation to our incomparable Yosemite, and to the supreme grandeur of the Kings and Kern river regions. For their recognition and pro
tection his highest powers were enlisted, and in his noble effort to save the exquisite Hetch Hetchy Valley for the nation, he hesitated not to sacrifice his own life. As yet, his service to humanity has hardly been measured. His love for the beautiful was unsurpassed, and he worked untiringly with voice and with pen everywhere to awaken the hearts of men. Much remains for those to accomplish who glimpse his vision. The battle for the preservation of the Kings and the Kern has yet to be won with Congress; but no one, alive to his Maker, who has seen their wonders can doubt that they are among the most precious treasures that God has entrusted to man. If California calls you, journey with John Muir before you enter its portals. His vision is true, and his spirit will reward you!
The Life and Letters of John Muir. By William Frederic Badè. Houghton Mifflin Company.
By Herbert S. Gorman
T is surprising to note how few adequate autobiographies there are in the world. Outside of such achievements as "The Education of Henry Adams", and the self depictions of Prince Kropotkin, Marie Bashkirtseff, Benjamin Franklin, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Amiel, and John Stuart Mill, there are not many that do not present insurmountable obstacles to the claim of greatness. Sometimes the fault is a suspicion of fictionalization, as in Casanova and Benvenuto Cellini; more often it is a frank inadequacy. The man or woman cannot rise to his or her authentic personality with that rare insight and impartiality that postulates
real autobiography. After all, an autobiography is a great betrayal and few people are sufficiently intellectualized to realize the importance of betrayals. Yet autobiographies continue to be written. Season after season they are published, and the preponderance appear to be sops to the author's pride or obvious gestures for notoriety or an overweening sense of importance. Curiously enough, the four books that occasion these lines enter none of these categories. While it is true that none of them is a great autobiography in the definitive sense of the word, yet all of them are extremely entertaining revelations. They mirror forth personalities with a sufficient capture of reality to engross the reader with life. Consider their source. They come respectively from a poet, an artist, a radical propagandist, and a pugilist. The poles could not be farther apart and the only unity to be noted is the evident determination of each man to be himself, to realize himself fully and in spite of those difficulties that thrust themselves so objectionably into one's progress through this shadowy terrain that we call living. It is needless to state that Messrs. Kreymborg, Fuchs, Herzen, and Corbett have actually lived, have time after time been face to face with those objectives for which, rightly or wrongly, they imagined their mental, spiritual, and organic functionings were created.
Alfred Kreymborg calls his book "Troubadour". It is a wise and pertinent title, for he has passed through life for some forty years making melodies. With the inborn sensitivity of the poet he progressed from his father's tobacco shop, through years of dull livelihood touched to magic only by music, to that early Greenwich Village that existed before rents went up, tea rooms refused to chalk up
dinners, visitors from Oshkosh and points west descended like the Biblical plagues, and magazines for the select and little theatre movements were in their toddling infancies. In a way "Troubadour" is a history of the rise of the Village and its eventual downfall through an influx of charlatans. Mr. Kreymborg writes graciously and with a sagacious eye. He looks back upon his life and he sees a struggle that apparently has no end, but he appears to relish much of it. And because he does relish it so the reader is bound to be carried swiftly along on this amusing and sprightly river of self revelation. There is an historical note in this book, for the author played no small part in that awakening of America to the new forms in poetry that is now an old story. After all, it was due to him that that rare and long senescent magazine "Others" introduced such writers as T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, and a dozen more to a public that noted them with skeptical eyes and lifted eyebrows. Mr. Kreymborg appears to have been a doughty champion of lost causes. He was a sort of poetical Don Quixote riding doggedly across fields that barely sensed the hoofs of his horse. In fact, he was an inveterate experimenter with projects that any wise man who had observed America in those days would have informed him were decidedly due to fail. Possibly he knew this. Possibly he was mad enough to hold to his standard in the face of ridicule. Anyway, the reader will observe a consistency in his progress that may be noted of few writers in this country. He staked his career time and again upon dubious chances, and while in the eyes of many he may seem to have failed in vindicating his existence, there is a sufficient audience to encourage him in the road he has taken.
It would be interesting, if space permitted, to go rather intensively into "Troubadour" and point out its importance as an addition to the literary history of modern America. Many of the names and personages noted and neatly described in these pages have won their spurs, and still others are yet to reach that acceptance that must justify them in the eyes of the world. It would also be interesting to analyze Mr. Kreymborg himself. For the most part he has written of himself objectively, although there are portions of "Troubadour" wherein he sets down comment on himself that is exceedingly apt and important. The impression that a general reader gets is that of a kindly whimsical soul striving doggedly and yet somewhat shyly toward a goal that was for a time a little uncertain to the poet himself. He experienced the tug but was not quite aware of the direction. And together with this self revelation and historical significance go the virtues of dozens of tiny valuable vignettes of aspects of the New York before the war, the New York of Third Avenue in the Nineties, of combats in chess clubs (for Mr. Kreymborg was, and is, an expert chess player), of magazine ventures, lecture tours, foreign excursions (this last after the war, by the way), of the struggle and Bohemian insouciance of the man who will write poetry in spite of all obstacles. There is much that is peculiarly brave and admirable in "Troubadour"; and because it displays so well that high courage of the singer who walks blithely through an endless series of adversities, there is ample reason for it to be read, studied, and digested. In no other way can one find so much set down about the birth of the poetic renascence in America.
Emil Fuchs's "With Pencil, Brush,
and Chisel" is a different sort of book. It is not nearly so much autobiography as "Troubadour". Perhaps it should be called memoirs. While Mr. Kreymborg was spinning a top (if he ever did spin a top) on Third Avenue, Mr. Fuchs was modeling and sketching kings and queens. His book is a sophisticated one, and by far its most important chapters are those concerning his years in London and his activities for the Royal Family. Pictures such as that of the Christmas he passed at Sandringham with the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and his entourage, and the night he spent drawing from the dead body of Queen Victoria, are invaluable. Mr. Fuchs's contacts with the rulers of England were close, and particularly important are his memoirs which describe Edward VII as Prince of Wales. A picture that is exceedingly vivid is given. met others, too, who were high in the history of the England of their day, and all of it is set down with astonishing ease and urbanity. Then there are his odd notations of the other figures with whom he came in contact, John Sargent, for instance. In every case the reader will carry away a clear picture of the personage. It is true that this book is not autobiography in the real sense of the word, for it is altogether too much concerned with Mr. Fuchs's contacts; indeed, so much so that often we lose sight of Mr. Fuchs himself and focus our attention on the particular personality that is being reconstructed. But it is enjoyable reading, as are all such books when they are well done. And "With Pencil, Brush, and Chisel" is well done.
The third volume of "The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen" but deepens the impression of the two previous books that have already been issued. Here is
an invaluable addition to the history of our modern times. Herzen was indubitably a great man and his greatness is reflected in this work, published in the original long ago, which is now seeing the light in an English translation. Figures who are part of history, Sazonov, Bakunin, Mazzini, Orsini, Proudhon, walk through the pages of this third instalment of a life that was dedicated to a great ideal. The Revolution of 1848 in France which marked the appearance of Louis Napoleon, "Napoleon le Petit", is pictured in vivid side glimpses. One hears these great anarchists and socialists talk. Plans of worldwide liberation fill the book. Always with a vivid sense of appearances and realities Herzen sets down these memoirs of the days when he saw history being made and a world turning over in that France that had again thrust royalty from its throne and turned to the ideal of the republic. It is grasping and animated material, compact with an easiness of wit that adds a sparkle to the pages, filled with a sense of characterization that is generally the portion of the practised novelist. Here is a work (and it must be borne in mind that this third volume is but a portion of a larger scheme that runs into five volumes) that is no less than an historical monument. It is difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that "The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen" will become one of the lesser classics.
Possibly, it may seem like a long jump from Alexander Herzen to James J. Corbett, "Gentleman Jim" or "Pompadour Jim" as you will, and yet both of them were fighters. After all, Jim Corbett was once a figure of romance, not precisely in the same category with David and Launcelot and D'Artagnan, perhaps, but pretty
breathed in certain circles twenty years ago it was almost the same as pointing at Saint George and whispering, "There's the man who killed the Dragon!" "The Roar of the Crowd" is James J. Corbett's memoirs of a life passed, for the most stirring part, in the squared arena. Unlike most books about pugilists (if we except the work of Bohun Lynch) it is astonishingly good reading. Mr. Corbett has a sense of humor and, added to this, a dramatic appreciation of the proper thrill at the proper moment. His great fights are set down with a simplicity that adds to their impressiveness. The reader will follow these narrations with a deal of entertainment, for there is good drama in them.
Of course "The Roar of the Crowd" is in no sense of the word an addition to what we must term literary autobiographies, but it is sincere and straightforward and Mr. Corbett never loses a precise understanding of his own perspective. There is no boasting here or attempts at lengthening one's stature. Indeed, it is very much like a man reminiscing among a quiet gathering of his friends, friends who know him very well and before whom he is simply himself and no legendary figure. Because of this neat command of modesty on Mr. Corbett's part, his book becomes excellent light reading.
Troubadour. By Alfred Kreymborg. Boni and Liveright.
With Pencil, Brush, and Chisel. By Emil
The Roar of the Crowd. By James J.
THE CULTURE OF THE FUTURE
By Ernest Gruening
T was that creative critic, Carl Van Doren, I believe, who first identified Mary Austin as "prophet and discoverer". Patient study and intuition have repeatedly enabled her to deduce from her ample knowledge of a past and a uniquely multiple perception of the present, what the future will bring. To her senses the things of life are never static. The spirit of the surrounding matter lives within her. She vibrates to its rhythms. And out of the fulness of her receptivity, she recreates a rich and mellow pattern, always original in its synthesis and strangely dynamic.
From our Indian southwest, Mrs. Austin predicts, will rise within appreciable time "the next great and fructifying world culture". "The Land of Journeys' Ending" is the exposition of her belief. It would be difficult to characterize this remarkable book by any brief or conventional label. It is description, but of rare munificence. Into its woven history, archæology, anthropology, zoology, botany, physiography, geology, and meteorology are warped also philosophy and poetry and an occasionally clear mystic strand which at other times may be sensed rather than perceived.
While Mary Austin has for many years been the outstanding apostle of the Amerind culture, its challenge, which she again conveys so vividly, is singularly timely in this moment of growing national self analysis and world reorientation. Her concept may be partially found in the following passage:
When the gringos came they despised.
And the Protestant missionary with the Indian Bureau behind him, has made a dull, debasing smear over the lovely and æsthetic culture of the pueblos. Looking back, shall we come at last to see Chris