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THE PUBLISHERS AND THE NEW SEASON
IN past seasons I have read innu- novel, now challenges comparison with
merable bright catalogues of forthcoming books, seeing back of the publication of each volume stern editorial decision or sterner business acumen; hoping that from carloads of printed matter would spring magically rest, relaxation, and profit for the many. At last, however, the catalogue has become merely colored paper and well arranged type, human contact has become a necessity. So this year I have visited as many publishing houses as was possible in a very limited time, and have gathered from the editorial font itself some idea of volumes soon to be seen in shops and libraries.
It is one hundred years since Daniel Appleton found that the book counter in his general store was quite overwhelming other goods in point of sales. In West Thirty Second street, New York, the library of the present day Appleton's where guests are received is walled by high bookcases and looks as if it were really used for reading purposes. Stairs lead up, rather quaintly, to the editorial offices. Of this list, the most important book is obviously Mrs. Wharton's "The Mother's Recompense". It is the fruit of her visit here last year and deals not only with American social wanderers in Europe but with modern American society here. A posthumously published Emerson Hough will find many readers; for it is a story of love and adventure in the "lonely open spaces". Very much like Michael Arlen in style, with the same desire for plot innuendo and twists of word and deed, is Laurence W. Meynell, whose "Mockbeggar", an English prize winning
"The Green Hat". Jean Cocteau, French, impudent, breezy, gives us a cleanly but picaresque story in "Thomas, the Impostor". Another novel which Appleton's believe promises much is "Last Year's Nest" by Dorothy À Beckett Terrell, a domestic tangle that unravels satisfactorily. "Unknown Tribes
Seas", a romantic travel book of Albino Indians in Panama by Lady Richmond Brown, is said to bristle with adventure. A nice contrast on the list is Robert Lynd's "The Peal of Bells", a book of light occasional essays by this famous English critic. George Gibbs, the novelist out of Philadelphia, contributes, in addition to a costume novel "The Love of Monsieur", a story in essay form titled "How to Stay Married". Two critical works of importance are Lewis F. Mott's "Sainte Beuve" and Barrett H. Clark's "A Study of the Modern Drama". Many persons will be pleased to know that the poems of Robert G. Welsh, the dramatic critic who died so heroically last year, are to be published under the title "Azrael and Other Poems". Charles Hanson Towne has written an introduction.
On another floor in the same building, with Bibles of various sizes and descriptions naturally much in evidence, is the American branch of the Oxford University Press. Their large list naturally contains many scholarly works, a majority of them philosophical and religious in character and how exquisitely printed! A two volume "Letters of James Boswell" by Chauncey Brewster Tinker is made up of
much hitherto unpublished material. A luxurious travel book, the plates of which are rich in color and interest, is "Tibet, Past and Present" by Charles Bell.
In another building not far away, on Fourth Avenue to be precise, are Stokes and Dodd, Mead. Not so different in general appearance either. Both have library reception rooms, with many books. The Stokes offices are in the nature of individual libraries, decorated with delightful illustrations from old books. Dodd, Mead spread out with more open desk room.
That there should be three business romances on one list (Stokes) is odd. Lucille Van Slyke's "Nora Pays" deals with the penalties for success which come to a proprietress of a Fifth Avenue shop. Horace Annesley Vachell in "Watling's" shows us the proprietor of an English department store in moods of both sentiment and business. And "A Young Man's Fancy" by John T. McIntyre is a dreaming romance of spring and a store window. Those who remember Crosbie Garstin's "The Owls' House" will not fail to read his new "High Noon". In "Dominion" by John Presland we have, apparently, a tense and colorful story of South Africa centring around the life and personality of Cecil Rhodes.
Stokes will bring out also Honoré Willsie Morrow's "The Lost Speech", a new Lincoln story, in a small book some time during the spring. Amusing general books are two by famous business men, concerning their hours of play: Frank Hedges Butler's "Round the World" and Wendell Endicott's "Adventures with Rod and Harpoon Along the Florida Keys". Mothers will find unusual Pamela Grey's "The Sayings of the Children", in which Lady Grey of Fallodon recalls her own children's sayings and the publishers
have left space for fond mothers to record bright remarks of the precocious young. Speaking of the precocious young, "The Prince of Washington Square" is likely to be one of the literary curiosities of the year.
The Dodd, Mead list shows forth a glitter of detective stories; as described to me they sound equally baffling. "The Shadow Captain", a romance of Captain Kidd, sounds vastly entertaining, and if E. B. and A. A. Knipe have written it well it should prove good reading. Then there is a thriller subtitled a romance of reincarnation", "The Way of Stars" by L. Adams Beck. Fanny Heaslip Lea has long been known for her human, amusing stories in the magazines. "With This Ring" should, from accounts of those who have read it as a serial, prove popular. E. Barrington has chosen another historical figure to make vivid in fiction. This time it is the baffling Lord Byron, and she has called her story "The Glorious Apollo".
A third edition of "The Men Who Make Our Novels" by Charles C. Baldwin really amounts to a new book, for it has been completely rewritten and many names added. Reminiscences that should be filled with unusual anecdotes of the artistic group of the Nineties are those of William De Morgan's sister-in-law, Mrs. Stirling, "Life's Little Day". Edwin Valentine Mitchell of Hartford, one of the best booksellers in the country and editor of "Book Notes", has arranged "The Steamer Book: A Miscellany for Voyagers on All Seas". This is not an anthology of the sea but it is filled with all sorts of fascinating bits of information and with worthwhile articles and amusing anecdotes.
Less than ten blocks downtown on Fourth Avenue is the Century Company. Light grey wood rather fanci
fully carved marks the reception room of this dignified concern, wicker chairs for waiting guests and glass cases filled with books and manuscripts. Gilbert Frankau is the present day Robert W. Chambers of London. His "Life and Erica", most successful as a serial there, will be published as a book simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic. The author of "The Plastic Age" has written a story of the California mountains, "Martha"; and Marie Conway Oemler, of Savannah and of "Slippy McGee" fame, gives us a southern girl character in "His Wife-in-Law". "Jungle Born" is a fascinating title. John Eyton is frank in acknowledging debt to Kipling for this story of a boy raised by a mother ape. There will be another small book from Donn Byrne, the story of an Irishman who took a girl from an English convent to make his wife. "O'Malley of Shanganagh" - Irish enough, isn't it?
"Tradition and Jazz" is the provocative title chosen by Fred L. Pattee, whose criticism is becoming known in America as sound yet stimulating. E. Alexander Powell in "Beyond the Utmost Purple Rim" gives African adventures, particularly tales of Abyssinia. "Summer on Dipper Hill" is a companion volume to that popular volume "The Lone Winter", and its author, Anne Bosworth Greene, still lives and writes on her Vermont farm, in spite of the fact that tourists have made it somewhat of a shrine.
On Thirty Third Street, near Fourth Avenue, is the House of Harper. Harper's in their new uptown building have succeeded in preserving something of the atmosphere of old downtown days by means of quaint wall paintings and massive furniture. Two first novels which are believed to be of unusual power are "Wild Marriage"
by B. H. Lehman, an instructor in the English department of the University of California, and "Faith of Our Fathers" by Dorothy Walworth Carman, the story of the life struggle of a young minister. Margaret Wilson, winner of the Harper 1922-23 prize and of the Pulitzer Prize for 1924, gives us a modern problem novel this time in "The Kenworthys". Rose Wilder Lane's other writing will demand attention for her first novel, "He Was a Man". Although the Zane Grey book has been out some time, any mention of Harper books is scarcely complete without "The Thundering Herd".
As a contrast, perhaps, to their "Autobiography of Mark Twain", we have George M. Cohan's "Twenty Years on Broadway and the Years It Took to Get There". The playboy of the American theatre here tells a truly Irish life story. "The Creative Spirit" by Rollo Walter Brown, an idealistic study of creative impulses, it is hoped will appeal in somewhat the same way as Robinson's "The Mind in the Making". Another book which should have a wide audience is "Table Talk of G. B. S.", the conversations of the quixotic Mr. Shaw and his biographer, Archibald Henderson.
Brentano's is a great bookstore, filled always with customers and with an unusually intelligent sales force. In the building above the store are the offices of the publishing firm - light, airy, businesslike. One of the chief efforts of this house will be to revive an interest in Edgar Saltus. They are reprinting his entire works and adding two more volumes, "Mr. Incoul's Misadventure" and "The Anatomy of Negation". "The Virgin Flame" by Ernest Pascal, author of "The Dark Swan", is the story of a young composer in conflict with the jazz of modern music and life. On this list are two
interesting biographical books, Samuel Spewack's "Presenting-Morris Gest", and Rabbi Stephen Wise's "My Thirty Years' Battle". "Ulysses Returns" by Roselle Mercier Montgomery is a collection of verses by a balladist well known to newspaper and magazine readers.
In the Thirties, too, are the publication offices of THE BOOKMAN, modest cubbyholes in the firm of George H. Doran Company. Offices and bookrooms are ranged around an airy, open space in a building in the old Murray Hill section of New York. Two works from Sir Philip Gibbs will be contributed to the season's outlay of fine English books: his novel "The Reckless Lady" (reviewed in this number), and his extraordinary postwar volume "Ten Years After". W. Somerset Maugham's novel "The Painted Veil", Michael Arlen's "May Fair" and the new popular edition of "The Green Hat", and Aldous Huxley's "Those Barren Leaves" (also reviewed in this number) make an unusual group of novels from young Englishmen. One of the few real novels of real newspaper life, by a man who should certainly know of what he writes, is Irvin Cobb's "Alias Ben Alibi". Cyril Hume, whose "Wife of the Centaur" was a sensational first novel, gives us "Cruel Fellowship". "Everyman's Life of Jesus" will be published coincidentally with the second volume of Dr. James Moffatt's new translation of the Old Testament. In it he has told one of the greatest of stories simply, yet dramatically. "The Diary of Lord Bertie of Thame 1914-1918" is a revealing book concerning the war, for Lord Bertie was ambassador from Great Britain to France during most of the conflict. It is edited by Lady Algernon Gordon-Lenox. Another piquant and unusual narrative is "The Last
of a Race" by Princesse de Montglyon.
Farther downtown, this time in Greenwich Village, I found the comparatively new firm of Albert and Charles Boni, established over bright teashops and antique dealers but nevertheless neat, trim, and businesslike. They are rejoicing in the phenomenal success of Will Rogers's "Illiterate Digest". A first novel for
which they give preliminary cheers is "Schooling" by Paul Selver, the story, apparently, of a young schoolmaster. Laurence Housman's "Trimblerigg" is an audacious and thinly veiled portrait of a famous Englishman. There is the luxurious reprint of the famous "Yellow Book" on this list, also "The Mental Agility Book" by Ralph Albertson, an encyclopædia of educational puzzles containing over two thousand games of the wits.
On lower Fifth Avenue, not so many blocks distant from Washington Square, is the Macmillan building, with its staid bookshop, its dignified waiting room. On this fiction list is a new collection of short stories by James Lane Allen, the author of "The Choir Invisible". There are fresh products, too, from May Sinclair and Alice Brown, two stories by Eden Phillpotts, two books by the author of "Maria Chapdelaine", and a new novel "Rosalie" by Charles Major, author of "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall". (From all accounts he died in 1913; this is apparently a posthumous story.)
The first volume of Sir Sidney Lee's biography of Edward VII is ready. It deals presumably with his life and experiences as Prince of Wales. H. G. Wells sets forth more of his opinions in "A Year of Prophesying". A book of poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson opens with an anti-prohibition piece from which the book takes its
title, "Dionysus in Doubt". Two volumes of collected poetry, James Stephens's and Vachel Lindsay's, will make valuable library additions, particularly the latter, with the author's own odd illustrations. "Playwrights of the New American Theatre" should prove interesting, coming as it does from Thomas H. Dickinson, and representing therefore somewhat middle ground in viewpoint. Two travel books of note, Stefansson's "The Adventure of Wrangel Island" and Stella Benson's "The Little World", are only a few titles of this always huge list.
Appropriately near Macmillan's and other houses dealing in textbooks, is the home of Longmans, Green and Company. This venerable establishment has just celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of its founding in London. I was fascinated to learn that the first edition of "Robinson Crusoe" (1719) was issued by the publisher from whose business evolved the present firm. Compared to Longmans, Green, the Thomas Y. Crowell Company is a mere stripling, for it has not yet quite reached the century mark. Recently the Crowells moved from their old quarters on West Broadway up to Twenty Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue, so as to be nearer the rest of the fraternity. This firm publishes, in addition to fiction and general books, numerous reference works, among them "Roget's Thesaurus", whose popularity has been greatly increased by the cross word epidemic.
On West Sixteenth Street, in a fine old brownstone house, furnished quietly within, Robert M. McBride and Company greet the approaching scribe. Three of their novels look particularly interesting: Elmer Davis's "The Keys of the City", which is said to be more
romantic and less farcical than his other books; "Jonah" by Robert Nathan, one of the best of our young novelists; and "The Ninth of November" by a well known German, Bernhard Kellermann, which aims to show the breaking up of Germany as a result of the war. Since there is very little material to be found on shelves concerning Manchuria, Adachi Kinnosuke's book on that subject should prove useful. McBride's are adding
several informal travel books to a list which is becoming their specialty. One of these, "Two Vagabonds in the Balkans" by Jan and Cora Gordon, sounds as if it would be a good companion to their "Two Vagabonds in Spain", which I remember as an excellent "escape" book.
Opposite the Washington Irving High School and Washington Irving's old house, B. W. Huebsch have taken up new quarters. "The Freeman Book", cream of the contents of the lamented weekly, which contained some of the best critical writing ever done in America, is an important book if you are interested in good criticism. "The Long Green Gaze" by Vincent Fuller, announced as "a cross word puzzle mystery novel", is a novelty which will probably amuse many, and Louis Levine's "The Women's Garment Workers" is said to be authoritative as a textbook on trade unionism.
In midtown, on Fortieth Street not far from the New York Public Library, is the building which lodges the Hearst magazine and publishing concerns. Luxurious offices, you may be sure. Here it is that many best sellers may be encountered in the halls. The spring list of the Cosmopolitan Book Corporation is small, and it contains some interesting items. Most of their authors are well known before Mr. Hearst adopts them, or rather, perhaps,