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November 30, 1930 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1930-11-30

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MAD MAN'S DRUM: A novel in
woodcuts by Lynd Ward: published
1930 by Jonathan Cape and Harri-
son Smith; New York; Price $3.00.
Pictorial narrative of any great
length has almost a priori limita-
tions. Psychology, and thus any
depth of character, is almost im-
possible of consistent attainment
(and this would be particularly
true with such a rigid, inflexible.
art-medium as the wood-cut). -it
needs to confine itself almost c -
tirely to "events" of as high a
degree of symbolizing power as
possible. These lmiitations suggest
that the novel in wood-cuts would
be a new and diverting versin of
melodrama: with any psychology
(varying with the reader) being
When Lynd Ward initiated the
novel in wood-cuts last year with
his "God's Man," he was quite
aware of these limitations and at-
tempted only a swift story. The
added (really superimposed) inter-
est of resourceful design, affording
consistent pleasure to the eye,
made the new genre acceptable,
even excitnig.
In his second novel, "Mad Man's
Drum," Mr. Ward tries to attain
something richer than melodrama:
the novel of character. The efficacy
of his attempt depends, I think, on
the degree of thinking the individ-
ual reader is willing to contribute
to Mr. Ward's designing. The more
ambitious this art-form becomes,
the more woefully incomplete it
proves. But with the resourceful
co-operation of the reader, it is still
The novel tellsthe life-story of
a .boy, who is the victim of his
father's obsession for establishing
him as a man of culture. The
father, brutality cut sharp on his
face, is shown amassing his fortune
at the slave-trade, then returning
'o his child to settle down, a large
drum hung on the wall of their
home as symbol of what he had
left behind. The father brutally
squelches his boy's interest in
the huge native drum that hangs
on the wall and with dogmatic
stupidity confines him to books. The
boy's life story becomes a tragedy
of isolation and inability to com-
prehend the jeering world. Wood-
cut after wood-cut, in a manner
slightly repetitious, show this: the
boy in study is superimposed on a
wild cabaret scene: the boy reads
under a tree while healthy farmers
know reassuring contacts with soil.
Gradually in his pitiful maladjust-
ment to the world, his long-crushed
affective instincts are wildly awak-
ened in him and carry him away
into madness. In the closing cut,
he is wandering over the horizon







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UNIVEiRSITIES: American, English, itself complicating its task and dis- 9IJ[ TECHN l
German. By Abraham Flexner. New sipating energy and funds by doing
Yerk, Oxford University Press. 1930. a host of inconsequential things; I CLAUDIA. by Arnold Zweig: Trans-
Price s p.5rsthe second danger, arising from the lated from the German by Eric
more concerned with the short- fact that learning has never been Sutton: Published by the Viking
ccmings of its place in contempor- free from pedantry and suprf- Press: New York, 1930: Price $2.50:
ary life than has the teaching ciality, is the flourishing manufac- Review Copy courtesy of Wahr's
guild; and certainly no other pro- ture of make-believe science, over book store.
fession has digested the fruits of which mediocrity is jubilant. On CLAUDIA will make you wonder.
this concern into public print with this basis, the pursuit of science For here, for the first time to my
such obvious gusto and relish. The and scholarship belong to the um-knowledge has the techniue o
upshot has been a deluge of mate- versity; but assuredly neither see- knweghstetcnqeo
rial possessing elephantine oropor- ondary, technical, vocational, nor the short story been applied to the
tions, but often bovine understand- popular education have a place in novel. Certain reviewers- called
ing. the ideal scheme. "Farewell to Arms" two short stor-
In this welter, the appearance of So much for the idea of the med- ies without connection. Perhaps it
Dr. Flexneir's book is an agreeable ern university. To its organization, was but the life in Switzerland was
sign; it marks the first substantial Dr. Flexner devotes the remaining a natural development of the char-
effort in long months to clear away three sections of his book, dealing acters after the war. In CLAUDIA
much of the sedentary rubbish now in turn with three radically differ- we cannot expect anything. It is a
obscuring the major aims of edu- ent education systems. And what novel in which the author retains
cation and to reinterpret the func- balance Dr. Flexner at first loses the right to make his characters do
tion of the university in the light by being purely the theorist, he anything. For Zweig has not pin-
of extensive, well-seasoned data. now regains as a very practical ned them down to actual material
The scope of this treatise, as may man who does not mince his spade- experiences.
be inferred from its title, is the calling. He denounces correspond- Perhaps I shouldn't call CLAUDIA
university in the United States, ence and home study schools as a novel Very patently it is a col-
England and Germany. In his in- centers of quackery. He points out lection of short stories hung to-
troductory essay, "The Idea of a ha e ort oardbs A h. eter on a very slender thread.
Modern University," the author may be counted toward an A. B. de- In each one there is an emotional
ably renews and adorns the tradi- gree, or the so-called combined de- experience and a climax. In each
tion of clear thinking and inive gree passes the limits of credibili- one the characters get some place.
criticism begun by Newman and ty." Dr. Flexner asserts that there And the place at which they ar-
crtcsgyis not a college or a university in rvaftrth n,
left latent since Woodrow Wilson's the United States that "has the rive aer coming through the maze
Princeton days. The conception of the t State thatihs he of experiences which make each of
a modern university Dr. Flexner courage to place athletics where the seven chapters eomplete rtis-
set foth n tes wods:"Wht-every one knows they properly be- tic wholes in themselves, is the
ever allowances we might make long." He lays the principal blame taking off point for the next story.
for national tradition or tempera- for America's failure to place high- That is the thread which connects
ment, we should see to it somehow er education in its due position to them. In this way, Zweig has built
that in aprpopriate ways scholars three causes. while America places a work around the overtones in the
and cietiss wuldbe onsiou ofa naive trust in education, it lacks lives of various peopealcnct
and scientists would be consosao of comprehension is indicated by ev f osplc llconnet
four major concerns: the conserva- o opeeso sidctdb ed in some way with the artistic
tion of knowledge and ideas; the the miscellaneous character of cur- stratum of German post war so-
and ricula, by its aversion to discipline, ciety. For in a short story, it is not
ideas^; the search for truth; the and by its over-emphasis on social possible to delineate the basic ton-
training of students who will prac- activities as against intellectual ef- al structure (our maturing through
tise and 'carry on.'" But he sees fort.eniomt)noulvspn
two dangers to be encounteredin In England the church and so- which the overtonesuare arranged.
modernizing the university: a uni- ciety needed and obtained specific It is only possible to give an accur_
versity seeking to be modern, seek- types of edcation which, hateve ate account of the emotional struc-
ing to evolve theory, seeking to ti dfs dolid atn aterstabture of a person without telling
solve problems, may readily find lish a sane, solid and authoritative, hor he developed. Andgthis is no
-- _____________though far too limited, concept of small task. For the range of these
educational ideals. The future of overtones is infinite.
OTTRA M VARIES her universities will be largely de- tons is ite.
ETE NAL T HR E e rmined by the redistribution of This is rather obscure, but it is
ET ERNA L T HR E Efnancial support. Despite the pov- something that one can not fail to
i - - erty of post-war Germany, however, realize upon reading the book. We
A RICH MAN'S DAUGHTER. by R. the German ministers and the look in vain for experiences which
H. ftottram: Published by Harper German faculties not only value are not intricately conditioned. It
Brothers: New York, 1920 education, but know what it is. In is necessary to catch this if we are
R. H. Mottram, who wrote "The America University presidents and tof t able to tell why the book fai
Spanish Farm Trilogy," carries on faculties have not learned to use of its purpoe at the end, why we
the story of Geoffrey Skene in his their campuses and dormitories, as are left with an unsatisfied feel-
new book, "ARich Man's Daugh- is witnessed by the fact that they ing.
ter." will not forego a lovely campus, a There can be two reasons for this
Young Olive Rose Purchas, the Roman stadium, and extraxagant feeling. The one is the fact that
rich man's daughter, has married buildings in order to make teach- in the last chapter or chapters (the
above her class and Raymond ing a decent and possible profession line is not very definite) Zweig
Blythway, her husband, is not the for men of brains and taste in suf- must have decided to make a novel
sort to make the union a success. ficient numbers.
Skene is a lonely bachelor, set This book easily commends itself - - - - -
adrift after his war service in a to the student of university educa-
world he no longer cares for and tio. It is authoritative, contains
among people who give him nostal- an amazing amount of information,
gia. He meets the discontented and is written in a manner that is O N
Olive and fals in love with her. at once trenchant and lucid. What-
The rest of the book describes the ever else Dr. Flexner has done, he
emotions of a man who wants has at least succeeded in produc-
something and the reaction of the ing a constructive critique of the
same man after he gets what he university in modern life.
ant W. W.




Arnold Zweig, whose first novel, "Claudia," has just been translates
into English to meet the great demand for Zweig's work created by the
wai novel, "The Case of Sergeant Grischa" A sequel to this war book
is in preparation.
out of his collection of short stor- begin to yearn for this scherzo, at
ies. To do this, he brought in in- least I did, just at the point wherc
cidents in the past lives of his the short stories are being moldeC
characters which explained them I into a novtl,-at the end. And wE
away. These experiences, and var- finish with wonder and a bit of an-
ious other subtle touches, limited ger.

Gunnar Gunnarson: translated by
Roberts Tapley: published by The
Macmillan Company: New Yorl
1930: Price $2.50.
This novel, ostensibly a stark Ice-
landic tragedy, actually has a very
sophisticated structure: not too
immediately apparent, never obtru-
sive, very subtly integrated with the
material, and giving a well-told
story something like a permanence
of appeal.
The scene is laid in Reykjavik,
Iceland during the week of a terri-
ble onslaught of influenza. All
through that week, a distant vol-
canic mountain blazes against the
sky. Dark ashes float into the air
of Reykjavik, making the daylight
an eerie grey, suggesting the ap-
proach of an efernal darkness. The
epidemic takes a pitiless sweep of
the unprepared city. Church bells
toll deaths throughout the seven
This setting Gunnarson very
deftly manages. It inspires Terror.
But the intended sensationalism is
carefully concealed in the pains-
taking, almost prosaic care with
descriptive detail. Against this
background is enacted an eternal
conflict between two men and two
philosophies: intended in it woeful
1limax to stimulate Pity.
This manipulation of the Aris-
~otelian tragic emotions is made
nore subtle by setting the tragic
)rotagonist in the terror-inspiring
tackground. Grimur Ellidagrimur,
;he idealist of nobility and strength
s a doctor who hurries over the
ity fighting the epidemic. Into his
if e, on the eve of the epidemic,
;omes an old menace of his univer-
-ity days, Pall Einarsson: now a
history professor and a thoroughly
vulgar cynic, employing his keen-
ness of mind and his width of
background to detect flagrant il-
.ogicalities of behaviour and flaunt-
ing his discoveries before those who
deny them.
This han of the ugly distorted
body and mind, finds his life in
striking at others. He takes pleasure
.n being loathed by Grimur, the
one man he can least reach. He
t becomes obsessed with the necessi-

characters that we had learned to
accept without a limit. The result
is disbelief.
The other reason is the too long
modal persistence. In a novel of
the ordinary kind, we get all the
sides of a character. The light and
shade are faithfully shown. There
is a balance. Here because of the
nature of the book, there is no re-
lief. The mood, one of wonder and
conflict gradually being ironed out
adjustments in the psychic feelings
of the characters which is the basis
for one type of short story, is sus-l
tained much too long. We begin
to long for a merry scherzo. We

But if we read this book for what
it really is, a volume of short stor-
ies about the same people, we will
be amply repayed. The prose, as
was the prose in "The Case of
Sergeant Grischa" which CLAUDIA
precedad in Germany, is beautiful
And Zweig's almost magical arti-
try in portraying subtle- changes 0
feeling which we all know but can-
not put into words, takes the breath
away. It is really delightful and
wise, even though the technique,
an experimental one, cannot be
s wallowed whole.
Kw S.S.F.


ty of disturbing the doctor's seren-
ity. He uses the excitement of the
epidemic to attack Grimur and
with malignant remarks, viciously
timed, he bares the weaknesses of
}Grimur's idealism and drives him
limad. W.J.G.

A_ ________ ___ __ __u - __._.



0 0

with "the mar with the flute," theI___ _____
primitive mad-man's drum clutched
in his arm.
The wood-cuts are energetic. CHRISTMAS CARDS and
They are as crowded as psil GIFTS
with symbolic detail but only very
seldom so indulge symbolism as to Make Your Selections Now and Avoid
lose design. But, as I have sug- Disappointment Later
gested, unless one is willing to per-
sonally create the whole psycho- ... .*.*.~~*.....*.
logical liaison (that is, to "write"
the novel) "Mad Man's Drum" will
become merely a matter of "I like
this wood-cut, which one do you
like:" which is a complete denial
Frank Jewett Mather, America's 1111 SOUTH UNIVERSITY
great art-critic, has suggested Mr. HALF BLOCK EAST OF CAMPUS PHONE 4744
Ward's new novel as a profitable
e f f o r t t o e s t a b l i s h b y t r i a l a n d e r r o r t h esc o p eo fth ege n r e ._Th i s i s_-- - - - --
the scope of the genre. Tis is un -____-____________________________
deniable. W. J. G.
State Street Jewelers


'! 'illl
'' ',I


The Foremost Washington Correspondent

he realm of national
problems the articles of
Mr. Hard are highly re-
spect'ed and widely

"His career as a corre-
spondent gives him the
vantage point of having
something of definite

to impart."


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