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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
near it. He was the man who knocked out John L. Sullivan when that was 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 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 Fuchs. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen. Translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett. Volume Three. Alfred A. Knopf.
The Roar of the Crowd. By James J. Corbett. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
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
tianity, marching across the world as it marched across the Rio Grande, with dull effacing foot, always confusing the teaching of its Founder with the particular obsession of the time which it expressed. . . . In this fashion passed into the keeping of the United States the vase, the cup in which had mellowed for a thousand years the medicine for want of which the civilized world is tearing out its own vitals. For in the cultural frame which we hold so obstinately that it can never refill from its original sources, and so stupidly that the precious content is spilled and fouled by the least creditable elements of our culture, lies the only existing society that ever found and kept for an appreciable period, the secret of spiritual organization.
One cannot gather the full force of the contrast which the author intends without reading the entire book, but this excerpt is indicative:
the pueblos, at the time Spain found them, had no rich, no poor, no prisons, no red-light district, no criminal classes, no institutionalized orphans, no mothers of dependent children penalized by their widowhood, no one pining for a mate who wishes to be married. . . . Nowadays you will find all manner of unlovely utilities... but among our ancients there was never an article of the meanest use which had not its own æsthetic quality, if no more than that form of beauty which comes of perfect mastery over material.
Many of course, however they may enjoy some of Mary Austin's superbly colorful glimpses of a romantic setting, will not understand her message. But for those who consider that our industrial civilization has produced the best of possible worlds, the book may at least prove an illuminating excursion. For others who have been slightly frayed or jarred by the clatter of steel and steam-ordered progress, it will come as a refreshing and quickening adventure into realms where the spirit may serenely bask in beauty that has a pragmatism all its own.
The Land of Journeys' Ending. By Mary Austin. Century Company.
STREET DUST AND POLLEN By Hervey Allen
IVE books, three of them antholo
gies, containing a little poetry, and much verse and words arranged in patterns, lie mutely before me despite the disparate efforts of a bevy of young ladies and gentlemen to be acceptably audible. There is also to be considered the work of editors to the same end and the vociferous blurbs of publishers who fondly risked labor, paper, and capital in furtherance of the conspiracy. ting my good ear close to the covers of the anthologies, I hear a confused babel with here and there a stray musical note. Sniffing the atmosphere engendered by these tomes, I find my critical proboscis tickled almost to the point of sneezing by much dust from the common street and just enough pollen from old gardens to induce a faint twinge of rose fever. Why are these books? For some I can find no answer, although the psychology of the anthologies is fairly clear everyone in them, and his or her friend or friends, will buy a copy, possibly two at Christmas, when Santa Claus so often plays the good friend to publishers by leaving sundry literary jokes in the stockings of the dear public.
"Indian Summer" by Antoinette Scudder heads the list, because Miss Scudder is sometimes a fair craftsman, and in one poem, "Yet Once", attains the rank of poet. Pasted over the line, "But as with the thickly growing" ("harebells" being understood), I find the typed in line, "Purple harebells breezeward blowing." Now, if "breezeward" means anything at all, it means toward the breeze, just as windward means into the wind. We respectfully submit that even harebells in poems should not move against the wind. It gives us an eerie, creepy feeling and
shakes our confidence in Mother Nature and Miss Scudder. I have had to put adhesive plaster on this book to keep the covers and the harebells from moving, well into the wind.
Vincent Starrett now appears before the curtain with "Flame and Dust", unfortunately with more of the last than the first. The publisher of this really well printed and bound volume tells us on the cover, among other things, that Mr. Starrett is "smiling at the puerility of man". I am afraid that some of Mr. Starrett's audience will be moved to quote scripture and say, "Thou art the man."
Henry T. Schnittkind, Ph.D., has gathered together, for the seventh time we hope there is something final in the theory of the fatality of holy numbers - what he calls "The Poets of the Future". On examination this turns out to be an anthology of college verse. Nearly everybody agrees that the chief merit of college verse lies in its tendency to die without mourners or the need of a funeral. I am not so sure that Professor Schnittkind's attempt to prolong the agony is not merely another way of working on the sympathy of the public to provide a printed coffin. There is one poem, however, in this book that stands out like a bolt of lightning photographed on an otherwise dull negative. It is "Vale" by Charles T. Lanham of the United States Military Academy. The cadet who wrote this poem to West Point deserves to be moved up several files on the army list.
Professor Glenn Hughes of the Uni
versity of Washington has published an anthology of verse written by the students in his classes. The book is well made and the verse well made, but it is made. I am glad to say that these verses show a laudable attempt not to be palely lyrical, and occasionally some good figures and a real sense of epigram and free rhythms. None of these young poets seems to realize that his own native northwest has some of the finest Indian legends on the continent. Why not something about Leshi, a little Chinook flavor, or the magnificent legend of the Bridge of the Gods? Instead we get bumble bees, bronze fish, and the inevitable villanelle.
"Column Poets" is an anthology of verse from newspaper columns. Keith Preston has furnished an introduction in which he takes the now fashionable and easy fling at free verse. We are then let in for 113 pages of more or less metrical journalese. One signing herself "Rose Mary" asks not without
O, Lighthouse, kissed by the roguish waves, Why do you wink at me?
Good old lighthouse! Why not?
Indian Summer. By Antoinette Scudder. Harold Vinal.
Flame and Dust. By Vincent Starrett. Pascal Covici.
The Poets of the Future, A College Anthology. Edited by Henry T. Schnittkind, Ph.D. Stratford Company.
University of Washington Poems, First Series. Selected and edited by Glenn
Hughes. University of Washington Press.
Column Poets. Edited by Keith Preston. Pascal Covici.
IN BRIEF REVIEW
NE Indian explanation of the origins of their folk tales is they were "first told by a voice which came from beneath a great rock in the forest": which may be accepted as a poetic form of a genuinely scientific statement as far as the bulk of them, obviously nature myths, are concerned. The most striking thing about many of these myths is their universality - we find stories of the flood, and of the "great fish which swallowed a man". As Cora Morris remarks in the preface to her "Stories from Mythology: North American" (Marshall Jones), we have come to "realize that these myths belong not only to the Eskimo and the Indians but that they are ours, too". Certainly acquaintance with them has a plain educational value, aside from the fact that they are intrinsically interesting. This volume is a well chosen selection from the wealth of material at hand. Although aimed at youthful readers and liberally illustrated, it is not to be classed as a "juvenile", but rather as a good example of popular science.
"The relation of a poet to his age should not be self conscious . . . he should neither deliberately reject the actualities, discoveries, the temper of his age, nor should he constitute himself their interpreter." Thus, in a late chapter in "Literary Studies and Reviews" (Dial) speaks Richard Aldington the critic, commenting, unconsciously perhaps, at the same time on the poetic movement in which Richard Aldington, poet, has taken so prominent a part. Of this movement and its crescendo and diminuendos there is
little said in the volume. We may apply that dictum, rather, to the sweet singers of postmediæval France whose gemlike quality sustains the fire of centuries of criticism. Their false classical setting, perhaps, has stood the test of time less well, but in the author's opinion even this fact cannot dim the lyric quality of their song. It is refreshing to find in the same book critical estimates of a Ronsard and a St. Evremond, a Proust and a Joyce. And we have seen nowhere so clean cut a picture of the multiple creative personality of Remy de Gourmont. In spite of Mr. Aldington's meticulous weighing of sources and his calm rational view of modern currents in literature, we feel a lack of conclusiveness in these papers that is vaguely irritating. Is he too much the scholar to have real enthusiasms for the old, and does he mistake determination in present day writers for authentic fire? The chapter on T. S. Eliot seems to us a tour de force, presenting as it does an interesting but unimportant critical conceit. We have a notion that this astute critic is still wavering between the old and the new gods.
To one who secretly envies the lot of a newspaper correspondent, "Celebrities of Our Time" (Joseph Lawren), a collection of interviews by Herman Bernstein, will prove a dangerous book; when the last page is turned, he will be tempted to rush to the office of the nearest editor and offer to pay his own way to Italy, if the paper be interested in a few words from Mussolini or D'Annunzio. During the past fifteen years Mr. Bernstein has come into contact with