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October 30, 1921 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1921-10-30

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a movie, while again he is chastely tude of the company of actors which,
7 ~,writing blank verse-truly a versatile under the direction of the Brothers
lofsl C L u t or s youth. Yet his consistent inconsist- Fay created, or rather, recreated the
ence is convincing. He is, after all, old tradition of the Greek theater, in
a not very unusual young man who the emphasis of a liquid purity of voice
THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM adventure. He tries to enlist but has an artistic taste and no particular quality, hardly attained by any other
(By R. D. S.) finds he is physically unfit. So, whilt mission in life. He dabbles at this company, unless it be in France, since
'The Beginning of Wisdom' (Holt) his friends join the R. F. C., he finds and that experience, passes through the day when Greek tragedy was at
by Stephen Vincent Benet is another employment with a copper company in the successive stages of intellectual the height of its ascendancy.
of those surprisingly clever first nov- Frickett, Arizona, where he picks up revolt, of wild oats sowing, and of But the story of it all is so ably
els that are being written by authors a congenial band of friends consist- radicalism, coming out of it all in a told in the charmingly naive style of
still in their twenties. Benet has ing of Reds and I. W. W.'s. There is commonplace enough fashion. It is Lady Gregory in "Our Irish Theater"
hitherto been known solely for two a mine strike and the righteously in- reasonable to suppose that as a re- that it hardly bears repetition here.
or three volumes of verse, and the lignant citizens, with more ardor th spectable married man he will become It is only to attempt, as it were, an-
value of his poetic training is shown authority; pack Phil and two thousan a very conventional citizen and will other chapter that this article at all
by his appreciation of word values and miners off to New Mexico. From her. laugh at its youthful follies, even if pretends, and to ainounce the third
nuances of meaning. The result is a he wanders, not without sundry ex he will not regret them. American appearance- of the Abbey
fresh and sparkling prose which is, periences, back to his home in Cal - As a first novel, 'The Beginning of Theater Company, this time in Lennox
in this reviewer's opinion, far better fornia. A quarrel with his father soon Wisdom' shows much promise. It is Robinson's "The Whiteheaded Boy."
than his poetry. ° concludes this episode and he goes on interesting, with the exception of a And perhaps the most noteworthy item
The story is told with much the to Los Angeles. After some time he few dull spots, in both narrative and in the production now playing in New
same disregard for form as 'This Side gets a position as an extra in a mov- style. If it is a fair example of what York is the fact that it contains prac-
of Paradise.' Besides the ordinary ing picture, rises to be a star, buys Benet can do in prose, he will, as tically the original company which
narrative there are fragments of verse, a Stutz and numerous Liberty Bonds, the country gazettes always predict, has been gathered together after a
snatches of dialogue, letters, and ex- then chucks it all for an operation 'go far.' summer with "The Playboy of the
tracts from a diary. Benet, is both and a place in the army. Follow sev- Western World" in London.
more mature and subtle than Fitz- eral months of training and the sud- "THE WHITEHEADED BOY" "The Whiteheaded Boy" deals with
gerald. Moreover, his characters re- den termination of the war with Phil Lennox Robinson that most interesting personage, the
semble more average human beings still in training camp. Farming and (By S. T. B.) child for whom everything is sacri-
than do the super-sophisticated types verse writing are next on the pro- There is no more delightful tra- ficed-the baby of the family. That he
of the latter. gram and last several months until dition in all the history of drama than may receive his education, and pre-
His novel is like a series of brill- his father's illness calls him home that created by the playq of the Irish pare to be a doctor, the other child-
iantly colored lantern slides illustrat- once more. Here he meets Sylvia, National Theater, written by men (and ren of the family have been made to
ing the high points in the life of one his cousin and love of bygone days. women, too, for we must not forget give up the things nearest to their
Philip Sellaby. The first half skips They have both changed considerably Lady Gregory) who combine an under- hearts, and Denis alone, by reason of
rapidly through Phil's experiences since they last met and, after telling standing of the native, fanciful work- his alleged cleverness is given every-
from the time he dons baby dresses each other -all about themselves, they ings of the Gaelic mind with a keen thing which he might desire. The
until he leaves Yale, this last episode fade out with a conventional kiss be- sympathy for all mankind, which in- play deals with the lad's reactions to
containing a beautiful but unconvinc fore the fireplace and a vague promise fuses the plays with a broad generali- the sudden stoppage of his funds, due
ing love affair in which the youthful that all will be well forever after, ty of scope, too sweeping in its appli- to his third failure to pass the medical
Philip becomes enamoured of and sec- Perhaps this brief synopsis has been cation to make them only Irish in their examinations, and there is some very
retly marries a pretty little girl with unfair to Benet. Yet, by selecting interest. pertinent philosophy connected with
more past than future only to be only the most significant spots in There is an almost unavoidable it, too. He has been slaved for, given
released shortly by her unexpected Phil's life, the author has told a story temptation in dealing with this most everything to make life easy for him,
(and fortunate) death from acute that is difficult to sum up in a few interesting subject to delve deeply into and now his failure demonstrates his
pneumonia. words. At one time Philip is shoot- its charm to ramble at length about unappreciativeness according to his
The latter half of the book is more ing craps with - two negroes and a the struggling efforts of that little brother and sisters. But Denis feels
in detail and carries Philip pell-mell Mexican in a Barbary Coast alley, at band of Irish literary patriots who that he alone is not to blame. He
through an amazing hodge-podge of another time he is playing the lead in were finally responsible for the estab- knows that he is not clever and it
lishment of the Abbey Theater in Dub- is hardly his fault if his family has
lin-to mention the names of Yeats, insisted upon an undue extravagance
Martin, More Synge, Colum, and Lady in its treatment of him.- "Yes, I'm
Gregory and the rest who have fought different now," he says, "but whose
SHere' to revive in a national drama the fault is that? It's not mine. Who
heroic spirit of Ireland-and to launch was it made me out to be so clever;
forth upon a discussion of the viscissi- who insisted on making a doctor of

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