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April 24, 1921 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1921-04-24

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_I

N L

I. aL

iEKER

I

THE "STEEPLEJACK"-A RE-
QUIEM, A REVIEW AND
. A RESUME

(By G. D. E.)
This is supposedly a review of
James Gibbon Huneker's last work,
"Steeplejack" (Scribners), but I hope
I may be forgiven if, in view of the
fact that the book is an autobiogra-
phy, I slight it in favor of its author.
"Steeplejack" is an unusually com-
plete autobiography; it was completed
lateĀ°in 1918, published in 1920, and
early this year Mr. Huneker passed;
away at the age of sixty-one.'
I call attention to a line in the early
pages of the first volume ("Steeple-
jack" comes in two volumes), take it
for what you will: "I've never met
anyone with whom I would change
places, except a dead man." 'The
writer doubtlessly referred to the im-
mortals. Peace, Huneker, you are
immortal! The world may not recog-
nize it, but then, immortality is some-
times a figment of fools. Greatness,
recognized or unrecognized, is amar-
anthine.
Sowed Seeds of Culture
And Huneker is great because he
sowed the seeds of culture. He taught
the art of criticism; to amplify, the art
of appreciation and, elimination. He
did not speak to the mob nor yet to
embryonic intellectuals. He assumed
always that his followers were ready
for a post-graduate course. He aimed
at porphyritic material; men already
crystallized by the heat and mellow of
culture. Let someone else fuse and
shape the plastic , and let the adaman-
tine entirely go hang!
Through Huneker a number of our
best critics in literature, painting, and
music saved themselves from falling
into the mud of mediocrity and empty
popularity; and he saved not a few of"
the artists themselves from the same
fate. Today, in consequence, we have]
his disciples, a small school of skill- 3

ful critics, helping the artists, drilling,
yet new critics, and here and there
encouraging men who have merely the
potential ability of appreciation.
"Steeplejack," like the rest of Hun-
eker's books, seems bewildering to the
beginner and none too easy for the
savant to follow. It is replete with
unfamiliar names and titles. Therein
is its educational value; its charm
forces one to read, its abstruseness
forces one to investigate and learn.
Shows Variety of Life
The work shows the variety in the
author's life, the fruition of the rich,
mixed element; of the man. He ranged
chiefly between Philadelphia, his home
city, and Vienna. He met all manners
of men; he was personally acquainted
with nearly all leaders of all seven
arts. Huneker was not only a literary
critic of the first water; he estimated
music superbly and played no mean
hand of his own, and he knew paint-
ing.
He had tiffs with Bernard Shaw, he
talked to Joseph Conrad, he received
letters from Nietzsche, Brandes, George
Moore, Remy de Gourmont, Frank
Norris, Havelock Ellis, a postal card
from Tolstoi, communications, stacks
and bales of them, from painters, mu-
sicians, stagefolk.
But for all the gentle charm which
won the host of friends, Huneker could
strike and strike hard in defense of
his concepts,. and against the churlish
gasconade of Puritanism. "What has
morality to do with art?" he asked de-
fiantly. In opposition came only the
tin hootings of the Puritans, armed
with ink wells and hymns, seconded
feebly by the nickering shades of An-
thony Comstock and Cotton Mather.
Leading Critics Praise
But time presses and I have already
overfilled my space allotment. Rather
than re-hash I respectfully call your
attention to an article on Huneker, far
more complete and interesting, by C.
Blythe Sherwood, in "Arts and Decora-
tions," for March, obtainable in theI
"periodical room" of the library. In
addition it may be announced that
Mencken devotes .over forty pages to
Huneker in the "Book of Prefaces."

ZELL
WRITTEN BY A MICHIGAN
GRAD, UNDER PEN
NAME
(By it. D. S.)
An illuminating vignette of drab

metropolitan bourgeois life is "Zell"
(Knopf), the second novel of a Detroit
lawyer and Michigan graduate, who
writes under the name of Henry G.
Aikman. Although better than "The
Groper," Aikman's first novel, "Zell"
is not without crudities. On the whole,
however, it is unusually good and
merits a place among the notable in-
terpretations of mid-western American
life of such moderns as Masters, Dell,
Anderson, and Lewis.
Avery Zell, son of bourgeois medi-
ocrities, finds his life shadowed by the
"disgrace" of his parents' divorce. In
later years he is the victim of an un-
happy marriage and faces the problem
of leaving his prosaic wife and going
with the woman he loves, thus freeing
himself from the demoralizing Puri-
tanical influences which have con-
stantly hampered him, or of staying
with his wife and giving his son the
chance that he himself has lacked.
This, briefly, is Aikman's theme and
he has developed it well. Throughout
the book the author's "idea" is per-
haps a little .too apparent. Also the
story suffers somewhat from compres-
sion. The latter is especially notice-
able in the chapter entitled "Avery,
Junior," in which the tone of the book
descends almost to the burlesque level
of the "His Day of Rest" cartoons,
Avery Zell, his depressingly matter-
of-fact mother and sister, anI his
scapegrace father are all well handled.
Inez Copeland, the girl Avery loves,
is rather unconvincing. With this ex-
e ception the characters are those one
sees a hundred times a day-on the
street cars, in the corner drug store,
in church, in the movie theatres. In
short they are the people that compose

three-quarters of a big city's popula-
tion.
"Zell" is a promising work. Aik-
man, slightly under the influence of
Dreiser, has nevertheless a simple and
concise style of his own. His first
two works show many signs of his be-
coming one of America's few first-
class novelists.
SEEIG MICHIGAN2
WV81I TH THE OPERA
(Continued from Page One)
his heart-breaking rendition of "Hot
Dog."
After spending Sunday in Detroit
with the D. A. C. as headquarters and
brief sight-seeing tours around the
city, out Mount Elliott avenue and In
the region of Cadillac Square, the
troupe left the Brush street station
early Monday morning for Pontiac.
Earle Neale drew first blood on the.
trip when he received a beautiful
bouquet Of roses at the close of "Fairy
Fountain." Forsythe also had an ex-
perience here that prevented him from
getting his usual allotment of sleep.
It was at this point that a petition was
circulated and presented to the man-
agement that more care be taken in
spotting the cars so as to minimize
the usual noises current around a rail-
road yard.

per cent of the Saginaw products were
rewarded for their efforts, one receiv-
ing a lovely Maize and Blue nosegay
and the other a sumptuous funeral
wreath. A big formal party at the
Durant in Flint lasting until' three
o'clock brought the social side of the
tour to a close with the exception of
more or less private affairs in Detroit
over the week end. A few of the come-
dians succeeded in missing the train
which pulled out before breakfast.
Professional Jealousy'
Harmony as a whole existed through-
out the trip, although professional
jealousy cropped out now ' and then
when one of the leads would feel that
another member of the cast received a
larger steak than he did or hotter cof-
fee at meal time. The routine of school
will probably weigh rather heavily
from now until the end of the semester
on the "Top O' th' Mornin' " troube, but
there is still the chance that a longer
trip will be taken in June to look for-
ward to and at least anticipate.

Woman Senator
Active, J usy a
Lansing, Mich.-Michigan's first
man legislator, Senator Eva M. H9
ilton of Grand Rapids, has set a 1
precedent for any of her sex who
follow her.
Senator Hamilton attends every
sion of the body to which she
elected and takes an active par
consideration of all bills preser
She has "mothered" 11 measureE
all, ranging in importance from
teachers' retirement fund bill to an
protecting lotus flowers in water
the Great Lakes and their tributa
Senator Hamilton is chairman of
committee on industrial schools
also a member of four other com
tees.
Use the advertising columns of
Michigan Daily to reach the bes
Ann Arbor's buyers.--Adv.

Ann Arboi"s buyers.-Adv.

JUST RECEIVED-

The

New Arrol Shir

Bay City Wins
The dance Tuesday night at Port
Huron was one of the outstanding fea-
tures of the trip, although the sight-
seeing trip to Sarnia might be conbid-
ered as a close second. It was here
that one of the members of the chorus
fell asleep in a barber chair and lost
his locks. Bay City was the next stop.
Not enough could :be said for the treat-
ment accorded the members of the
opera by the Michigan alumni in Bay
City who had entertainment provided
for them from the time they arrived
until they left for Saginaw. There
was not an idle moment and the men
were kept busy throughout their stay.
One of the biggest problems of the
trip for E. Mortimer Shuter was to
see that the local talent in the show
would stand out prominently in their
home towns. Sixty-six and two-thirds

Ca, m pus

WhVite,

wi low collar attached

Wadhams & Co

Q # ' P

State

St$reet

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SUNDAY

- TUESDAY

( fg' '

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F
E
A
T
R
E

0 T N
IDHARLES
~HAPL1N
-has taken a partner in the fun bus-
iness. They're the greatest combina-
tion of mirth-makers who ever got
together. It's-
JACKIE COOGAN
whose work has stamped;him as one
of the greatest juvenile actors ever
discovered.
FOLLOW THE CROWD TO
"'THE

STARTING TODAY

CLARA

KIMBALL

Y

0

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G

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IN

-,.

'w.

,'!J) i

"r

I

A vital dramatic document dedicated to the great army:ofij
who gained unhappiness by telling their husbands too

KID"

z

IN ADDITION

P
R
O
G
R
A
M
M
E

i..
fi 1
I r

The comedy that took a year to
make. A laugh every minute and
here and there is a sob too.

EDDIE BARRY
and the FOLLIES girls
in

Ik ALSO

'A %9

rI

EVIA NOVAK

-IN-

"THE TORRENTtt
She was swept by the curling sea on the
shores of a desert isle. He swooped down
from the sky and they met once more.

"Dining

Room

t

Kitchen and S-!ink"5
A merry mix-up of a stranded burlesque show,
rich uncles and a pair of crooks
TOPICS S::::::::::::::: OR C H ESTR A

PRICES ONLYc

'7

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