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tection his highest powers were en- real autobiography. After all, an aulisted, and in his noble effort to save the tobiography is a great betrayal and few exquisite Hetch Hetchy Valley for the people are sufficiently intellectualized nation, he hesitated not to sacrifice his to realize the importance of betrayals. own life. As yet, his service to human- Yet autobiographies continue to be ity has hardly been measured. His written. Season after season they are love for the beautiful was unsurpassed, published, and the preponderance apand he worked untiringly with voice pear to be sops to the author's pride or and with pen everywhere to awaken obvious gestures for notoriety or an the hearts of men. Much remains for overweening sense of importance. Cuthose to accomplish who glimpse his riously enough, the four books that vision. The battle for the preserva- occasion these lines enter none of these tion of the Kings and the Kern has yet categories. While it is true that none to be won with Congress; but no one, of them is a great autobiography in alive to his Maker, who has seen their the definitive sense of the word, yet all wonders can doubt that they are among of them are extremely entertaining the most precious treasures that God revelations. They mirror forth perhas entrusted to man. If California sonalities with a sufficient capture of calls you, journey with John Muir be- reality to engross the reader with life. fore you enter its portals. His vision is Consider their source. They come true, and his spirit will reward you! respectively from a poet, an artist, a
radical propagandist, and a pugilist. The Life and Letters of John Muir. By The poles could not be farther apart
William Frederic Badè. Houghton Mif- and the only unity to be noted is the Alin Company.
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 VARIEGATED MEMOIRS
progress through this shadowy terrain By Herbert S. Gorman
that we call living. It is needless to
state that Messrs. Kreymborg, Fuchs, T is surprising to note how few Herzen, and Corbett have actually
adequate autobiographies there are lived, have time after time been face in the world. Outside of such achieve- to face with those objectives for which, ments as “The Education of Henry rightly or wrongly, they imagined Adams", and the self depictions of their mental, spiritual, and organic Prince Kropotkin, Marie Bashkirtseff, functionings were created. Benjamin Franklin, Jean Jacques Rous- Alfred Kreymborg calls his book seau, Amiel, and John Stuart Mill, “Troubadour”. It is wise and there are not many that do not present pertinent title, for he has passed through insurmountable obstacles to the claim life for some forty years making of greatness. Sometimes the fault is melodies. With the inborn sensitivity a suspicion of fictionalization, as in of the poet he progressed from his Casanova and Benvenuto Cellini; more father's tobacco shop, through years of often it is a frank inadequacy. The dull livelihood touched to magic only man or woman cannot rise to his or her by music, to that early Greenwich authentic personality with that rare Village that existed before rents went insight and impartiality that postulates up, tea rooms refused to chalk up
dinners, visitors from Oshkosh and It would be interesting, if space points west descended like the Biblical permitted, to go rather intensively into plagues, and magazines for the select “Troubadour” and point out its imand little theatre movements were in portance as an addition to the literary their toddling infancies. In a way history of modern America. Many of “Troubadour" is a history of the rise the names and personages noted and of the Village and its eventual downfall neatly described in these pages have through an influx of charlatans. Mr. won their spurs, and still others are Kreymborg writes graciously and with yet to reach that acceptance that must a sagacious eye. He looks back upon justify them in the eyes of the world. his life and he sees a struggle that It would also be interesting to analyze apparently has no end, but he appears Mr. Kreymborg himself. For the to relish much of it. And because he most part he has written of himself does relish it so the reader is bound to objectively, although there are porbe carried swiftly along on this amusing tions of "Troubadour" wherein he sets and sprightly river of self revelation. down comment on himself that is There is an historical note in this book, exceedingly apt and important. The for the author played no small part in impression that a general reader gets that awakening of America to the new is that of a kindly whimsical soul forms in poetry that is now an old striving doggedly and yet somewhat story. After all, it was due to him shyly toward a goal that was for a time that that rare and long senescent a little uncertain to the poet himself. magazine “Others" introduced such He experienced the tug but was not writers as T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, quite aware of the direction. And Marianne Moore, and a dozen more to together with this self revelation and a public that noted them with skeptical historical significance go the virtues of eyes and lifted eyebrows. Mr. Kreym- dozens of tiny valuable vignettes of borg appears to have been a doughty aspects of the New York before the champion of lost causes.
He was a
war, the New York of Third Avenue in sort of poetical Don Quixote riding the Nineties, of combats in chess clubs doggedly across fields that barely (for Mr. Kreymborg was, and is, an sensed the hoofs of his horse. In fact, expert chess player), of magazine he was an inveterate experimenter with ventures, lecture tours, foreign exprojects that any wise man who had cursions (this last after the war, by the observed America in those days would way), of the struggle and Bohemian have informed him were decidedly due insouciance of the man who will write to fail. Possibly he knew this. Pos- poetry in spite of all obstacles. There sibly he was mad enough to hold to his is much that is peculiarly brave and standard in the face of ridicule. Any- admirable in "Troubadour"; and beway, the reader will observe a con- cause it displays so well that high sistency in his progress that may be courage of the singer who walks noted of few writers in this country. blithely through an endless series of He staked his career time and again adversities, there is ample reason for upon dubious chances, and while in it to be read, studied, and digested. the eyes of many he may seem to have In no other way can one find so much failed in vindicating his existence, there set down about the birth of the poetic is a sufficient audience to encourage renascence in America. him in the road he has taken.
Emil Fuchs's “With Pencil, Brush, and Chisel” is a different sort of book. an invaluable addition to the history It is not nearly so much autobiography of our modern times. Herzen was as "Troubadour". Perhaps it should indubitably a great man and his be called memoirs. While Mr. Kreym- greatness is reflected in this work, borg was spinning a top (if he ever did published in the original long ago, spin a top) on Third Avenue, Mr. which is now seeing the light in an Fuchs was modeling and sketching English translation. Figures who are kings and queens. His book is a part of history, Sazonov, Bakunin, sophisticated one, and by far its most Mazzini, Orsini, Proudhon, walk important chapters are those concern- through the pages of this third instaling his years in London and his activi- ment of a life that was dedicated to a ties for the Royal Family Pictures great ideal. The Revolution of 1848 such as that of the Christmas he passed in France which marked the appearance at Sandringham with the Prince of of Louis Napoleon, "Napoleon le Wales (later Edward VII) and his Petit”, is pictured in vivid side glimpses. entourage, and the night he spent One hears these great anarchists and drawing from the dead body of Queen socialists talk. Plans of worldwide Victoria, are invaluable. Mr. Fuchs's liberation fill the book. Always with contacts with the rulers of England a vivid sense of appearances and were close, and particularly important realities Herzen sets down these memare his memoirs which describe Edward oirs of the days when he saw history VII as Prince of Wales. A picture being made and a world turning over in that is exceedingly vivid is given. He that France that had again thrust met others, too, who were high in the royalty from its throne and turned to history of the England of their day, the ideal of the republic. It is graspand all of it is set down with astonish- ing and animated material, compact ing ease and urbanity. Then there with an easiness of wit that adds a are his odd notations of the other sparkle to the pages, filled with a sense figures with whom he came in contact, of characterization that is generally John Sargent, for instance. In every the portion of the practised novelist. case the reader will carry away a clear Here is a work (and it must be borne in picture of the personage.
It is true mind that this third volume is but a that this book is not autobiography in portion of a larger scheme that runs the real sense of the word, for it is into five volumes) that is no less altogether too much concerned with than an historical monument. It is Mr. Fuchs's contacts; indeed, so much difficult not to arrive at the concluso that often we lose sight of Mr. sion that “The Memoirs of Alexander Fuchs himself and focus our attention Herzen” will become one of the lesser on the particular personality that is classics. being reconstructed. But it is enjoy- Possibly, it may seem like a long able reading, as are all such books when jump from Alexander Herzen to James they are well done. And “With J. Corbett, “Gentleman Jim” or Pencil, Brush, and Chisel” is well “Pompadour Jim” as you will, and yet done.
both of them were fighters. After all, The third volume of “The Memoirs Jim Corbett was
a figure of of Alexander Herzen" but deepens the romance, not precisely in the same impression of the two previous books category with David and Launcelot that have already been issued. Here is and D'Artagnan, perhaps, but pretty
near it. He was the man who knocked THE CULTURE OF THE out John L. Sullivan when that was
FUTURE breathed in certain circles twenty
By Ernest Gruening years ago it was almost the same as pointing at Saint George and whisper- T was that creative critic, Carl Van ing, “There's the man who killed the Doren, I believe, who first identiDragon!” “The Roar of the Crowd"
fied Mary Austin as “prophet and disis James J. Corbett's memoirs of a life coverer”. Patient study and intuition passed, for the most stirring part, in have repeatedly enabled her to deduce the squared arena. Unlike most books from her ample knowledge of a past and about pugilists (if we except the work a uniquely multiple perception of the of Bohun Lynch) it is astonishingly present, what the future will bring. good reading. Mr. Corbett has a To her senses the things of life are never sense of humor and, added to this, static. The spirit of the surrounding dramatic appreciation of the proper matter lives within her. She vibrates thrill at the proper moment.
to its rhythms. And out of the fulness great fights are set down with of her receptivity, she recreates a rich simplicity that adds to their im- and mellow pattern, always original in pressiveness. The reader will follow its synthesis and strangely dynamic. these narrations with a deal of enter- From our Indian southwest, Mrs. tainment, for there is good drama in Austin predicts, will rise within apprethem.
ciable time “the next great and frucOf course “The Roar of the Crowd” tifying world culture”. “The Land of is in no sense of the word an addi- Journeys' Ending" is the exposition of tion to what we must term literary her belief. It would be difficult to autobiographies, but it is sincere and
characterize this remarkable book by straightforward and Mr. Corbett never any brief or conventional label. It is loses a precise understanding of his own description, but of rare munificence. perspective. There is no boasting Into its woven history, archæology, here or attempts at lengthening one's anthropology, zoology, botany, physistature. Indeed, it is very much like ography, geology, and meteorology are a man reminiscing among a quiet warped also philosophy and poetry and gathering of his friends, friends who an occasionally clear mystic strand know him very well and before whom which at other times may be sensed he is simply himself and no legendary rather than perceived. figure. Because of this neat command While Mary Austin has for many of modesty on Mr. Corbett's part, years been the outstanding apostle of his book becomes excellent light the Amerind culture, its challenge, reading.
which she again conveys so vividly, is
singularly timely in this moment of Troubadour. By Alfred Kreymborg. Boni growing national self analysis and world and Liveright.
reorientation. Her concept may be With Pencil, Brush, and Chisel. By Emil partially found in the following passage:
Fuchs. G. P. Putnam's Sons. The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen. Trans- When the gringos came they despised.
lated from the Russian by Constance And the Protestant missionary with Garnett. Volume Three, Alfred A. the Indian Bureau behind him, has made a Knopf.
dull, debasing smear over the lovely and The Roar of the Crowd. By James J. æsthetic culture of the pueblos. Looking Corbett. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
back, shall we come at last to see Chris
tianity, marching across the world as it STREET DUST AND POLLEN marched across the Rio Grande, with dull effacing foot, always confusing the teaching
By Hervey Allen of its Founder with the particular obsession of the time which it expressed. : : . In this 'IVE books, three of them antholofashion passed into the keeping of the United States the vase, the cup in which
gies, containing a little poetry, and had mellowed for a thousand years the med- much verse and words arranged in paticine for want of which the civilized world
terns, lie mutely before me despite the is tearing out its own vitals. For in the cultural frame which we hold so obstinately
disparate efforts of a bevy of young that it can never refill from its original ladies and gentlemen to be acceptably sources, and so stupidly that the precious content is spilled and fouled by the least
audible. There is also to be considered creditable elements of our culture, lies the the work of editors to the same end and only existing society that ever found and
the vociferous blurbs of publishers who kept for an appreciable period, the secret of spiritual organization.
fondly risked labor, paper, and capital
in furtherance of the conspiracy. PutOne cannot gather the full force of ting my good ear close to the covers of the contrast which the author intends
the anthologies, I hear a confused babel without reading the entire book, but
with here and there a stray musical this excerpt is indicative:
note. Sniffing the atmosphere engen
dered by these tomes, I find my critical the pueblos, at the time Spain proboscis tickled almost to the point of found them, had no rich, no poor, no pris, sneezing by much dust from the comons, no red-light district, no criminal classes, no institutionalized orphans, no
mon street and just enough pollen from mothers of dependent children penalized by old gardens to induce a faint twinge their widowhood, no one pining for a mate of rose fever. Why are these books? who wishes to be married. Nowadays you will find all manner of unlovely util
For some I can find no answer, although ities . . . but among our ancients there was the psychology of the anthologies is never an article of the meanest use which had not its own ästhetic quality, if no more
fairly clear everyone in them, and than that form of beauty which comes of
his or her friend or friends, will buy a perfect mastery over material.
copy, possibly two at Christmas, when
Santa Claus so often plays the good Many of course, however they may friend to publishers by leaving sundry enjoy some of Mary Austin's superbly literary jokes in the stockings of the colorful glimpses of a romantic setting, dear public. will not understand her message. But "Indian Summer" by Antoinette for those who consider that our indus- Scudder heads the list, because Miss trial civilization has produced the best Scudder is sometimes a fair craftsman, of possible worlds, the book may at and in one poem, “Yet Once”, attains least prove an illuminating excursion. the rank of poet. Pasted over the line, For others who have been slightly frayed “But as with the thickly growing" or jarred by the clatter of steel and ("harebells" being understood), I find steam-ordered progress, it will come as the typed in line, "Purple harebells a refreshing and quickening adventure breezeward blowing." Now, if “breeze into realms where the spirit may se- ward” means anything at all, it means renely bask in beauty that has a prag- toward the breeze, just as windward matism all its own.
means into the wind. We respectfully
submit that even harebells in poems The Land of Journeys' Ending. By Mary
should not move against the wind. It Austin. Century Company.
gives us an eerie, creepy feeling and