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THE CONTRIBUTORS' COLUMN
'LOYD DELL, who has just sailed for England on his first trip away from these shores, is busily at work completing a volume of short stories. He has a house for the summer on Hampstead Heath, with a garden. It is expected his young son will find English soil as excellent to play upon as American. HERVEY ALLEN was a close friend of Miss Lowell's and a poet whose work she admired. His "Earth Moods" (Harper), recently published, is a fine book. His Life of Poe, which is well under way, is said to be a most unusual biography. DAVID MORTON, the sonneteer, has this year been teaching at Amherst. He is said to find college teaching quite as congenial as high school, but we suspect that he occasionally misses the wilds of the New Jersey country. If we were to paraphrase ARTHUR MASON, who has gone on a visit to his native Ireland, we should say:
Just about now the fairies are talking to Arthur Mason. Real Irish fairies, too, dripping from their own foamy runnels between Irish rocks; red capped amid the greasy darkness of the bogs; perched high in the blooming haws.
For Arthur Mason is one of the fortunate ones to whom it is given to revisit the home of their youth with still-illusioned eyes. For him the braes are as wide as they ever were, and the burns as deep, and the bogs as mystifying, and_the mossy burying grounds as speaking of the Banshee, and the reason of this is that in his youth part of the sheet was written in invisible ink; he could only read of adventure, and his light feet spurned the mosses and the flowers, and his ears did not hear the wee ones talk.
Now, in his maturity he returns with the hidden words laid bare. More than that, he can speak with those gentle little ones, and he can pause at the graveyard to shout sarcasms to the hateful Banshee.
DORIS AND SAMUEL WEBSTER, husband and wife, spend their summers on an abandoned farm in Connecticut which they assure us becomes more abandoned each year. Mr. Webster is the son of Annie Moffett
Webster (daughter of Mark Twain's sister Pamela) who lived in the same house with her grandmother, Jane Clemens, for twentyfive years. During his river days Mark Twain, then a young man in his early twenties, also lived in the Moffett home in St. Louis. Mr. Webster's father, Charles L. Webster, was president of Charles L. Webster and Company, publishers of many of Mark Twain's books, and his sister was the late Jean Webster, author of "Daddy Long Legs", etc. Doris Webb Webster is joint author with her husband of "Uncle James' Shoes", a novel (Century). CECIL ROBERTS, the young English novelist, has lectured here this year with great success and is to return again next season. He is at work now on an autobiography, and his novel, "The Love Rack" (Stokes), will appear in the autumn. HARRY LYMAN KOOPMAN, librarian of Brown University, is at present on a leave of absence which has taken him traveling around the borders of the country, and as far as Alaska. He is an author and poet. His "Hesperia", an American national poem in two volumes, has been published at intervals, the last and final volume appearing in 1924 (Marshall Jones). JOSEPH COLLINS is playing a great deal of golf these days and completing "The Doctor Looks at Biography" for autumn publication (Doran). ARNOLD PATRICK has gone to Europe.
JULIAN HAWTHORNE writes us that he has been busy for the past year on two books, one a novel of sixty thousand words, the other a collection of short biographical sketches of well known figures of the past seventy years, whom he has personally known. The sketches have been printed serially and, somewhat to his surprise, have interested many people. CASTNER BROW
THE CONTRIBUTORS' COLUMN
DER is a newspaper man and a writer of advertising. JOHN J. GUNTHER was well known in Chicago before he went to Europe. As an undergraduate at the University of Chicago he took an active part in the literary life of the metropolis and contributed to various of its literary reviews. FRANK WEITENKAMPF is curator of prints at the New York Public Library, and the author of many books. A new edition of his "American Graphic Art" was published in 1924, and his "How to Appreciate Prints" is in its third edition and eleventh printing. LOUIS BROMFIELD has just finished his novel, and is at work revising his play. He hopes when all of these duties have been accomplished to sail, along with all other American authors, for Europe. IRWIN EDMAN, of Columbia University, is to go abroad next year for study and the composition of several volumes of philosophical content. His "Richard Kane", which has been appearing in "The Century", is to be published this autumn. CHARLES FRANCIS POTTER has for the last five years been minister of the
West Side Unitarian Church in New York. He is now resigning that post to take up his duties as executive secretary of Antioch College.
EVA V. B. HANSL of Summit, New Jersey, has been much interested in the parent education movement. Her articles and reviews on various subjects relating to that theme have appeared in THE BOOKMAN. GERALD HEWES CARSON is as hard headed a young writer as we know. He works steadily at his daytime advertising job and turns out excellent essays and criticism at night. This may be due partly to the steadying influence of his charming wife. HERBERT S. GORMAN is about to go to Europe. He is engaged on a biographical volume which ought to prove his finest production so far. DUBOSE HEYWARD is at the Peterboro Colony with his wife Dorothy, writing a new novel to follow "Porgy". Selections from "Porgy" are to appear both in "The Forum" and THE BOOKMAN. MICHAEL JOSEPH writes that his new book on the writing craft will be published presently.
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THE MONTH ON MURRAY HILL
The purpose of this section of THE BOOKMAN is to acquaint readers with the publishing activities of George H. Doran Company and their authors.
WOW JUNE has forced the windows open,
and the bustle of fall books in preparation has sunk into the sea of sound which surrounds this island in a city. Buildings are going up so rapidly that one finds his window bricked up on returning from lunch; yet quietly, in a rustle of papers and a monotone of electric fans, books are being made which will outlast this changing skyline. If ever there were a dull season in a publishing house one might be tempted to write of that in verse:
"On Murray Hill The riveters are singing to the steel . . .”
Out that way came SEIBERT OF THE ISLAND a while ago; and by the time this number of THE BOOKMAN appears, SEIBERT will have been dressed in a blue-green sea-fight by Cory Kilvert and sent out on its mission in life. It is a mighty tale of adventure, written by Gordon Young. One takes a risk in speaking so of the work of an author not yet well-recognized; but in its swing from a sailors' lodging-house in San Francisco, across the South Pacific in a stolen ship to that island under the sky, there is every element which goes to make up romance.
One would like to say, if you like Conrad you will like Gordon Young. But to make a claim and a comparison so ambitious is tantamount to saying: This is a story similar to some of Conrad's; I wish it were as good! So I must content myself with stating that SEIBERT is better plotted than most of Conrad, and written almost as well.
Whose new novel, THE VENETIAN
But it becomes quite silly
A while ago I wrote Gordon Young that I knew him in "Adventure", and that of the two magazines I could read willingly, "Engineering and Mining Journal-Press" was the other. And I slipped one of his own paragraphs out of SEIBERT OF THE ISLAND and flung it at him as if to say, why have you kept secret such skill as this? Few adventure stories have in their swift movement leisure for writing:
"With the same air of calm destructiveness he drew back a gloved fist and smote the mirror. Many cracks instantly converged on the silver surface, as if a small THE BOOKMAN Advertiser
THE MONTH ON MURRAY HILL
bomb had burst before the glass and the image of the explosion remained."
Henry Beston, who is preparing other adventures in his BOOK OF GALLANT VAGABONDS, read that passage and would, no doubt, have slapped his thigh if gestures were not foreign to so huge a man. From that point he and I started all over the world together for an hour, while I discovered two places where he had never been; and Murray Hill and the rattle of riveters fell away to valleys and the song of locusts, and once a machine gun. Manuscripts moved past going home, the newspapers accumulated, and adding machines made out royalty statements for June while we took a small boat down among the Sea Islands where DuBose Heyward's PORGY is laid (it will be out in the autumn) and climbed to the Rainbow Bridge in southern Utah.
Albert Payson Terhune, Frank L. Packard, Hulbert Footner, they all write at first hand of adventure. But sometimes it grows quite exciting even on Murray Hill.
It was two months ago that Edwin Lefevre came in to talk about his new book, THE MAKING OF A STOCKBROKER, which will be released June 22. I sat him down by me, laid his stick and hat across my desk, and asked him to tell me all about himself that I did not know. In a few minutes he knew all about me. He is a man much more interested in people than in books, and in business than in writing; which makes for ease of style and wealth of matter when he does write. For years he told of the romance of big business in the "Saturday Evening Post", and later brought out a book on Murray Hill called REMINISCENCES OF A STOCK OPERATOR. There were others too, WALL STREET STORIES, SIMONETTA and ONE IN A MILLION, all written in a style which, while neither staccato nor abrupt, carries the reader along at flying speed like a surfboard on a wave. This is probably the height of good journalism the minimizing of obstacles to the mind and eye and reminds one of Sir Philip Gibbs. It must be the result of an instinct for the reader's mind, so that the things which need
explaining are explained at just the proper length, and the large words and brain-halting ideas of other men fall into easily digestible form. When I first opened the STOCKBROKER book I found myself suddenly on page forty-eight; so I closed it quickly to take home. It is one of the inexplicable traditions of a publishing house that one's reading should be done at meals and in bed, lest the office have the appearance of a club. And of course it is a bit difficult to look up from a book and tell one's secretary to do something, at least with the ring of authority.
THE MAKING OF A STOCKBROKER is the autobiography of one John Kent Wing, as told by Edwin Lefevre. John Kent Wing is a famous Wall Street broker, in the story. And the book is dedicated to one John Wing Prentiss, a famous broker of Wall Street. What are we to deduce from that? I asked Mr. Lefevre. But he was talking of something else, the reason for writing the book. It is fully set forth in the preface. The Wall Street man, like the stage Englishman, is limited in popular conception to a type curiously far from the true one. "The trouble is that the public's Wall Street is in reality an old Wall Street. It became obsolete years ago." Thus John Kent Wing. He loves his business, is prouder of its record than of its success, and denies hotly that the buccaneer of thirty years ago exists. His story is one of astonishing achievement through adventures which are true ones, and which are all on the records of the past twenty years.
I have seldom been so excited as during that first panic. Later, of course, I lost millions without turning a hair; but that fifty thousand dollars was more than I could afford then. Toward the end of the book, when I was frightfully wealthy, I thought of buying Murray Hill entire, and telling the riveters to stop.
For June publication there are several unusual novels besides THE MAKING OF A STOCKBROKER and SEIBERT OF THE ISLAND. Of the latter, by the way, Edwin Björkman has just written me: "The biggest South Sea story since Stevenson, comparing favor
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THE MONTH ON MURRAY HILL
ably with his EBBTIDE and THE WRECKER." By V. Sackville-West there is SEDUCERS IN ECUADOR, whose title has nothing to do with the story beyond its mystery and strange quality. Curiously I read it through (and it is a short book) until I laid it down staggered by the fact that it might be true. It is a Tale of Hoffman, boldly done, a ghoulish trick of fate and imagination. I would read it again if I did not remember every line. V. Sackville-West wrote CHAL
LENGE several years ago, and that one I have given to a dozen people at Christmas ever since.
Then there is THE HARP, a story of South Africa containing a mystic quality of other character, almost epic in its tale of mother and son. Ethelreda Lewis, the author, is a resident of Johannesburg, and wife of a doctor there. Hers is one of the few novels by South Africans which has reached American publication. Another was THE LITTLE KAROO, by Pauline Smith, the book of short stories about which Arnold Bennett is so tremendously enthusiastic.
Wyoming. Her new mystery novel, THE RED LAMP, has gone into manufacture for August release, which in this instance is a lengthy process, for the first edition is to be a hundred thousand copies. E. V. Lucas, essayist, art critic, is recently in from England; and once in a while comes Dan Poling, who is Dr. Daniel Poling of the Old Fort Church on Fifth Avenue, to talk about THE FURNACE, published in May. Like Ralph Connor, who is finishing TREADING THE WINEPRESS for autumn release, he has shown that a minister can write a powerful story, especially if he has been a laborer, lecturer and army chaplain.
Whose novel of THE ELDER SISTER
So much has happened recently on Murray Hill. Twelve new Americans of considerable reputation have added their names to the summer and autumn publication lists: Floyd Dell, Percy MacKaye, Elsie Singmaster, Nalbro Bartley, Stephen Vincent Benet, Hervey Allen, DuBose Heyward, Edward Lucas White, Jessica C. Cosgrave, Corey Ford, Henry Beston, and Gordon Young.
Michael Arlen has returned to England, triumphant but exhausted by the demands on him here. Irvin Cobb is headed toward Montana, and Mary Roberts Rinehart is in
Manuscripts eagerly awaited are coming in to Murray Hill. Hugh Walpole's PORTRAIT OF A MAN WITH RED HAIR and Frank Swinnerton's THE ELDER SISTER; Aldous Huxley's ALONG THE ROAD and Richard Blaker's "OH, THE BRAVE MUSIC!" are arriving or expected from England. RED ASHES, by Margaret Pedler, is in
preparation for July and an immediate success; THE GIRL WHO CAST OUT FEAR is just in from Italy, where Dorothy Speare is making her début in grand opera, and will be brought out in the fall.
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