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I am quite in a fever. O! my old and most intimate friend! what a shocking state am I now reduced to. I intreat you, if you possibly can, to afford me some consolation directed to me here, and pray do not divulge my mortification. I will endeavour to appear indifferent and as I now resign my recordership, I shall gradually get rid of all communication with this brutal fellow.
Mr. Tinker's notes are numerous and helpful and, of course, beautifully phrased.
A Newsboy Novel
TS publishers assure me that "The Prince of Washington Square" (Stokes) is not a hoax; that the young gentleman in his teens who presented the manuscript genuinely conceived and executed this amazing combination
of sentiment, heroics, and sophistication, never knowing at all how very funny it was. There seems to me some internal evidence to disprove this fact; but, however that may be, Harry F. Liscomb is almost as entertaining as Daisy Ashford. Through these pages stalk the "desperate bootblack bully", Percy the cake-eater, and the Prince himself, whom two flappers "were brazen enough to osculate on his rubicund jowls, much to his social contretemps". That particular passage somehow makes me wonder about the authenticity of the whole. On the other hand, the general tone of the following paragraph almost makes me a believer in the youth and innocence of the reputed author:
The flappers, in marked contrast to the cake-eaters, were such squeamish dressers that it would be a difficult task to describe accurately what kind of clothes they were actually wearing. How these flappers managed to dress so fastidious on the meagre wages their parents earned weekly
remained a fathomless mystery to their plainly dressed classmates, but to them it was a merely flapperish secret.
Another gem from a short chapter called "Midsummer Infatuation" must not pass unnoticed: "Jack sheiked his sheba like a real son of the shifting sands in a gallant try to make her his second subjugation, but she proved too
astute for him." Here is an excellent volume for reading aloud of an evening. Reading it on a train is dangerous, for fellow passengers are convinced that loud and uncontrolled laughter is a sign of actual, or at least incipient, lunacy.
Pennsylvania, Asa Don Dickinson,
HE librarian of the University of
has made a guidebook to reading and called it "One Thousand Best Books" (Doubleday, Page). There are many such volumes; no one of them, I think, with any more carefully adjusted lists than this latest one. The indexes are masterpieces. There is a plan for ten years of reading at one hundred books per year. There is a suggested library for women's clubs of three hundred volumes. Most useful of all are Mr. Dickinson's descriptions of specific books and their authors. These short pieces are informative and well written. Nor does the author neglect other lists; he discusses and tabulates them. Here is the result of a life of librarianism, and a fruitful one. It is well worth your attention if you are anxious to be directed in realms of literature. Catholic, informed, well made, this is a useful and pleasant volume.
- J. F.
A SHELF OF RECENT BOOKS
ROMAIN ROLLAND AND OTHERS
By Ernest Boyd
HEN "Annette and Sylvie" appeared in France in 1922, it was understood to be the "prelude to a work in several volumes", entitled "The Enchanted Soul", which, if not so long as "Jean Christophe", would consist of some eight volumes. Of these two have been published so far in French, and now the first of them is available in English, the smooth English of Ben Ray Redman. If it does not reproduce the choppy style of the original, it is vastly more agreeable to read. To deliver judgment on a work after reading the prelude would be rash, so let it be said that "Annette and Sylvie" is very much more readable and entertaining than the second volume, "Summer", which is just about as dull and old fashioned a piece of French melodramatic fiction as I have ever tried to read. Annette and
Sylvie are half sisters, the former legitimate, the latter illegitimate. Annette has been brought up by rich middle class parents, and Sylvie has grown up in poverty and independence. They meet and are attracted to each other by their very differences, for Annette is intellectually bold but externally reserved and modest, whereas Sylvie is shrewd, unreflective, and free in her speech and manners. Nevertheless, in the end it is the respectable Annette who has a child by a man whom she despises and refuses to marry. The second volume is endlessly and drearily concerned with the history of this unmarried mother and her child, con
trasted with the position of Sylvie, who has got along very well without ideas or theories of life.
Whether Romain Rolland can recapture the popularity and prestige which were his before the war embroiled him with ninety per cent of his French public, will be determined by the ultimate success of "The Enchanted Soul", his most ambitious novel since "Jean Christophe". French criticism tends more and more to regard him as the author of that one work. Another one novel author is Louis Hémon, the vogue of whose "Maria Chapdelaine" both here and in France encouraged the publication of "My Pretty Lady" and his "Journal", neither of which has had very much success. "Blind Man's Buff" is better than either; but in spite of the author's familiarity with English and with London, this story of an Irishman's adventures in search of a clue to the riddle of his universe, first in Socialism and then in the Salvation Army, has the rigidity of a still life. Louis Hémon's work prior to "Maria Chapdelaine" had been offered to French readers in serial form without attracting much attention, even though he once won a fiction prize. The English influence on him was so strong that, after his death, stories by Kipling which he had translated for his own amusement were actually printed as his by a Paris review. It was not until he got to Canada and wrote "Maria Chapdelaine" that he found himself; then fate intervened, as usual, and he was killed.
Admirers of Zola will be glad to see an edition and a translation of "Germinal" that are worthy of each other.
This is not the bowdlerized Vizetelly version, but one made by Havelock Ellis, who has written a special preface for this reprint of what was originally a work issued only to subscribers. After the lapse of more than twenty years Ellis looks again at his work and finds it good, and he is proud to have been the means of making this great epic of industrialism available for readers of English. "Germinal" is one of the "Big Six" in the Rougon-Macquart series which survive the deadly method of Zola. It is so elemental in mood and so elementary in the details that once shocked our grandfathers, that I doubt if any healthy minded reader today will notice any perceptible outrage to his or her pruderies. It has none of that synthetic bawdiness out of which a new generation gets a "kick" comparable to that of synthetic gin.
Bernhard Kellermann is already represented in English by "The Sea" which, outside Germany, has been unaccountably regarded as a work of literature. Now comes "The Ninth of November", a German best seller, which did more than anything else to put this author on the map. The title has little significance, for it is not until toward the end of the book that "the sun of the 9th of November rose sparkling over Berlin", and the story is essentially a study of the German military type and of Berlin life during the year preceding the armistice. General von Hecht-Babenberg is the personification of all the vices of Prussian militarism, and his own household crashes into ruin symbolically and conveniently just as the German Empire is overthrown. His daughter Ruth emerges into the wicked world as a result of women's wartime activities and is converted to Socialism. His son mutilates himself to avoid going back to the front, and carries on a love affair with
the lady whom the father has selected for his second wife. In the modern German manner, corpses rise from the grave and symbolic figures haunt the guilty, but Kellermann is just putting some cheap expressionistic touches à la Toller to his conventional wartime melodrama whose best parts are the descriptions of the horrors of trench life and the pictures of the gradual fall of Berlin from a fine, clean, orderly city to a sink of vice, debauchery, poverty, and despair. Bernhard Kellermann will not, I fancy, put Messrs. Barbusse and Wassermann out of business, for they have surpassed him in those qualities which give any value to "The Ninth of November".
The two volumes of translations from the Russian are supplementary to each other, for in his introduction to "Tales of the Wilderness" Prince Mirsky is not so enthusiastic about Boris Pilniak, the author of that work, as about Aleksei Remizov, the author of "The Clock". Pilniak, Remizov, and the as yet untranslated Andrey Bely are the three outstanding figures in Russian literature since Chekhov, and it is these we should read, he says, rather than Andreyev and Artzybashev. Prince Mirsky is a sound and interesting critic of Russian, and his very lack of excessive praise for Pilniak is a proof of his good sense. Remizov embodies nearly all the characteristically Russian traditions, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, and the folk tale, and in Mr. Cournos's versions he provokes the demand for more and better Remizov.
The Wilderness. By Boris Pilniak. Alfred A. Knopf.
The Clock. By Aleksei Remizov. Alfred A. Knopf.
THE LOVESOME SPOT
By Richardson Wright
FORMAL design is axiomatic wher
gardens played a part in domestic and artistic evolutions. From the beginning gardens were made not to imitate nature but to challenge her. This type of design goes far back into the race roots. The formalism of Italian gardens carried on the heritage of Greece; French gardens learned formalism from Italy; and English gardens, in turn, from France. In Spain formalism came through the Moors, who transplanted the idea from the Persians, those same Persians who, going eastward, took formal garden design into India. And the Persians, for their formal designs, were indebted to the Egyptians! In America garden In America garden design, like its sister art, architecture, is a synthesis of all the experiments and achievements of the past.
This universal concept of garden design is evident in the three sumptuous books under consideration. M. Forestier, who has to his credit many fine gardens in France and Spain, and who created the roseraie at the Bagatelle in Paris, offers what he calls "a notebook of plans and sketches". This work, originally published in France some years back, has been capably translated by Helen Morgenthau Fox. Plot plans and perspective drawings show variously sized garden problems. Details of garden architecture steps, summer houses, seats, fountains, pavements are drawn in practical detail. Plant lists are included. The book is
ideal for those who plan to design a garden, whether large or small, and for those who study landscape architecture, since each detail is so beautifully and helpfully explained. The gardens, of course, bear the heritage of La Notre in the geometrical formalism of their design. In the main the plant material suggested by M. Forestier is used in this country or equally good substitutions can be found; certainly the type of design he suggests fits our suburban problems exactly. It is adaptable to many kinds of houses in practically all sections of the country.
Miss Nichols's "Spanish and Portuguese Gardens" is another inspiring aid to garden design. Of late there has been a revival in California and in Florida of what is termed Mediterranean architecture - Spanish and Italian types of houses. For such houses the gardens of the Iberian Peninsula are a natural concomitant. They are Moorish gardens, enclosed, formal, precise, dependent upon water, color, architecture, and a studied design for their effects. Heretofore this style of garden has been practically unknown to American gardeners. The oriental word for a garden is "a paradise"; it was a place to live in. The newer gardens of Spain and the author assures us many are being made today being made today are recreating this Eden spirit.
Apart from its architecture, the pronounced feature of the garden of the Iberian Peninsula is water. The hot climate made the water tank and the water channel as necessary in Spain as it did in India. Likewise the same brilliant arrangement of color that is found in the rugs of Persia and India is found in the flowers and architecture of Spanish gardens. Miss Nichols surveys each of these features in her study of the oriental background and in explaining the Moorish transition of them
to Spain. She describes the pleasure grounds of the Renaissance, gardens of Majorca, the eighteenth century developments in Spain, the smaller gardens and patios and the Portuguese pleasance. Her lists of the plant material used in these gardens constitute an especially illuminating feature of the book. The illustrations have been selected and reproduced with great care.
"Beautiful Gardens in America” is a revised and enlarged edition of a previous work by Miss Shelton. It is an indication of the amazing improvement both in gardens and in garden interest that has taken place in this country in the past ten years. Introductory chapters speak of the problems of climate met in this country and give historic data where necessary; otherwise this is a picture book, a rich, inspiring, and helpful display of gardens from every section of the country. The variety of these gardens is impressive. Italian types are here, Spanish, English, Dutch, naturalistic, water gardens, rock gardens; but in all design is evident. In short, it seems that American garden owners are at last impressed with the necessity for laying out a garden in a well defined design. The variety of flowers, trees, and shrubs is also a commendable feature, for despite a prohibitive embargo against plant importation, we manage to make gardens in this country that compare favorably with gardens in the Old World.
These three volumes can be recommended for that section of the library which, in country houses today, has
Gardens. By J. C. N. Forestier. Charles Scribner's Sons.
Spanish and Portuguese Gardens. By Rose Standish Nichols. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Beautiful Gardens in America. By Louise Shelton. Charles Scribner's Sons.
HOUGH not equaling the bulbous masses of proletarian literature, there is a growing body of writing definitely devoted to what Nietzsche used to call a "master morality". In all the democracies of recent times, not excepting our own, there have been intellects, of course, tellects, of course, who worshiped the aristocratic ideal, preaching the sole and everlasting validity of strength, energy, and blood. But no one ever preached it with an intenser passion or a wider erudition than Arthur Gobineau, author of the "Essai sur l'Inégalité des Races Humaines" and citizen of France during the deadly mediocrities of the early French republic. The Count's essay was translated as a slavery tract in the middle of the last century and printed in America. But from then till now, when "The Golden Flower" appears in a translation by Ben Ray Redman, few Americans have acquainted themselves with the French superman.
"The Golden Flower" is a series of five essays, each designed as a preface to one of the five parts of Gobineau's extraordinary rhapsody in dramatic form, "The Renaissance". It was omitted from the original edition of "The Renaissance" a unique work of great energy and was printed in Germany for the first time in 1918, and in France in 1924. Though rather too ecstatic in parts, there are segments of thought of extraordinary power, like the famous and significant passage that