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December 16, 1934 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1934-12-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TH E MICHIGAN DAILY

SUNDAY,

THE

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h Literature WELLS:
ays Prof. J e Experiment in Autobiography, by H.
G. Wells. Macmillan. $4.
(2) banditti, criminals, assassins, By PROF. PRESTON W. SLOSSON

His Autobiography...And
All's Wells With The World

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women like Lucrezia Borgia and men
like Machiavelli. The happy, happy
villagers group themselves artisticallyj
in the theatre, wave wine-flasks in
the air, and break into a ballet atJ
the slightest suggestion. The banditti,
criminals, assassins, etc., are filled
with lust, vengeance, cynicism, athe-
ism, and similar attributes; they go
out only at night, wrapped in dark
coats, or spend their daylight hours
Sin medieval castles with the shades
drawn, pursuing pale maidens who
rush from room to room ten or twelve
hours a day. Perhaps a third group
should be distinguished: (3) friars.
The friars either (a) stand about with
benevolent faces (or even skip) among
the happy, happy villagers; or (b)
egg on the noble assassins by prom-
ising them absolution from Rome.
Such, in brief, are the two streams
of tendency traced in Mr. Marshall's
volume. His book is the history of
the English attitude toward Italy in
the last part of the eighteenth cen-
tury arid the opening years of the
nineteenth. It is an extremely thor-
ough job, marred by a false spright-
liness of style and a tendency to but-
tonhole the reader with "you will re-
member." It reveals the varying atti-I
Ludes of a "northern" race towards
Italian art and literature.
Incidentally, the book raises the
question: why is one of the major Eu-
ropean literatures so neglected by
American universities?I

i

When H. G. Wells in an OutlineI
of History set out to write about the
universe he spent half his time in
writing his personal opinions and re-
actions; now that he has written An1
Experiment in Autobiography (Mac-1
millan, New York, 1934) it is equally
natural that he should spend half
his pages writing about the world at
large. For to this sensitive, multi-
farious, myriad-minded man the
boundaries between personal indi-
viduality and the cosmos are always
vague. He describes autobiography!
as the reactions of a particular brain.
which he describes with a not very
sincere modesty as a "very ordinary"
one (if he really believed that he
would not be so cocksure that all
philosophers and statesmen are blun-
derers whose blunders he can point
out, to the scenes and events of his
lifetime). Do not be disappointed,
therefore, if he breaks off in the
midst of one of his own love stories-I
there are several of them-to talk
for pages about the World State or
some other pet hobby; does he not
follow exactly the same methods in
his novels?

./
/"

SICI
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Darng Young Man Stories
Of Saroyan Creating Furor
The Daring Young Man on the Fly- pensate: shrewd and mordant irony,
ing Trapeze and Other Stories, by as in "Aspirin Is a Member of the
William Saroyan. Random House. NRA"; the haunting tragedy of Ba-
$2.50. dal the barber, in "Seventy Thousand
Assyrians"; a school boy's painful
By MR. CARLTON F. WELLS discomfiture, in "Laughter"; a revela-
Not since Hemingway's "Men With- tion of his own struggles as a penni-
out Women" (1927) has a volume of les writer, in "Myself Upon Earth."
short stories created quite such a fu- Other stories express by parable or
ror as William Saroyan's The Daring simple narrative Saroyan's convic-
Young Man on the Flying Trapeze tions on war, unemployment, Holly-
and Other Stories. The book has al- wood melodramas, and American
ready appeared in best-seller lists; standards of success. At his best, as
the title story deservedly won the O. in six or eight of these, he again and
Henry Memorial Award for 1934; and again gets effects that prove him be-
even the big-money magazines have, yond question a writer of real origi-
since the book's appearance, at last nality and power.
ventured to buy his manuscripts. Any reader who wants to know
The author, a twenty-five year old what is happening to the short story
Syrian born in California, has had a in the hands of certain gifted Amer-
bitterly discouraging apprenticeship icans should not miss this collection.
as a writer. Only the American Mer- But whether Saroyan can go on, as
cury and, more frequently, Story he evidently intends, to write a good,
Magazine would print his work up to full-length novel, remains to be seen.
the last month or so. Yet within the Meanwhile I for one shall await that
period of these recent months he has more ambitious book with very con-
achieved wide recognition and what siderable anticipation.
is more, financial security-a security

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Wells did noL enter British life by
the orthodox route of country family1
"public" school, university, etc. He !
Iwas the son of a gardener and a lady's
maid, attended shabby little third-!
rate schools, served as a shop clerk
and as a provincial schoolmaster, and
had during his entire apprenticeship
to life only one piece of exceptional
good luck, an opportunity to study One of H G Wells' own drawings, from a letter included in his
biology under the great Huxley. This "Experiment in Autobiography"
gave him a bent toward science and (Macmilla)
enabled him to produce that marvel-
ous series of scientific romances
which eclipsed the fame of Jules ary patriotism and a temporary in- quarreled Land violently, for he has
Verne and still stand unrivaled in terest in religion; but with the peace a most evil temper in his writings,
their field. But it was not long be- came disillusionment and reaction- though those who know him say that
fore sociological interests became Wells, ever in extremes, shoves over- he keeps it for his writings only) with
stronger than naturalistic ones in board "The War to End War" andyd
d H d the 'abian So- "God, the Invisible King," turns with nearly every man and party and
iety otepicialists, found it too fury against all European and Amer- movement in his day. He demands
mild. tried to revolutionize it and ican statesmen and generals, and de- cooperation but never cooperates;
ended by breaking with the Webbs mands with clamorous voice the im- he can't stand superiors, colleagues or
and Shaws altogether and going out mediate establishment of a World disciples! But that matters little; a
into the wilderness, a lonely Social- State governed by scientific engin- prophet is seldom a practical politi-
ist Party, all by himself! This was eers, a sort of dictatorship by the In- cian. And we, the reading public of
the period of his best novels and of telligentsia, (See lis "The Shape of the world, owe to Wells a long and
growing shelf of inspiring, fascinat-
his worst experiments with his per- Things To Come.) g mgie literat, which
sonal life; it is reflected in The New Wells is an intellectual Senator covers almost every subject of human
Machiavelli, just as much of his ear- Borah; that is, he demands world interest. I question if there is an-
her career is depicted in Tono-Bun- peace but cannot agree with anyone other living author to whom we oweI
gay. Then came the war, a tempor- else as to the road thither. He has so much.

sufficient at any rate to enable him to
push in with what he speaks of as his
"beeg novel."
Most of his two dozen or so stories
making up this volume are curiously
unlike the conventional short story.
They often take the form, or form-
lessness, of autobiographic confession,j
or loosely-knit satirical essay, or sub-
jective sketch. Often the author wil-
fully meanders, the story thread ne-
glected or forgotten. Occasionally the
subject-matter is unpleasantly ugly
or explicit, though in this he is cer-
tainlyamore restrained than many
American writers of fiction. These
qualities, no doubt, have kept Saroyan
from earlier publication in most mag-
azines.
But if the plot in the usual sense is
often absent, there is much to com-
Local Best Sellers
SO RED THE ROSE. By Stark
Young. Scribners. $2.50.
LAMB IN HIS BOSOM. By Car-
oline Miller. Harper. $2.50.
EXPERIMENT IN AUTOBIOG-
RAPHY. By H. G. Wells. Mac-
millan. $4.
WINE FROM THESE GRAPES. By
Edna St. Vincent Millay. Harper.
$2.
THE CHALLENGE TO LIBERTY.
By Herbert Hoover. Scribners.
$1.75.
GOODBYE MR. CHIPS. By James
Hilton. Little, Brown. $1.25.
LOST HORIZON. By James Hilton.
Morrow, $2.50.
WHILE ROME BURNS. By Alex-
ander Woolicott. Viking. $2.75.
HALF A MILE DOWN. By William
Beebe. Harcourt, Brace. $5.
CANTERBURY'TALES. Rockwell
Kent Illustrations. Covici, Friede.
$3.75.

I

FOWLER
From Boiler Factory To
Custard Pies Makes
Amusing Tale
Father Goose, by Gene Fowler. Covici,
Friede. $3.
By MARY ELIZABETH VINTON
"Hollywood-the potters field of
the arts" is the background for this
spritely exposition of the life and
times of movie mogul Mack Sennet of
custard pie comedy fame. The book
is as amusing as any of recent years.
The author, Gene Fowler, wrote
Timber Lane a best seller of last year.
year.
The first chapters are devoted to
the early influence of Mr. Sennet, nee
Michael Sinnot, who was the son of
poor but honest parents and who re-
ceived his first pay check for his
endeavors in a boiler factory, fit prep-
aration for a movie career. '
Scene of the early appearances of
Mary Pickford, Wallace Beery, and
Charlie Chaplin are particularly good.
The old swimming pool, now filled
with a decade of debris, and about
which these stars disported them-
selves for the amusement of millions
via the silver screen forms the ex-
cuse for a panegyric on the begin-
nings of the present movie colony.
Sennet's greatest ambition was to
have a large bath-tub installed in his
office, as he was in the habit of spend-
ing long hours in the tub, where he
claimed he could think better. He'
finally achieved this ambition and
had a gigantic porclain ttib set'in the
tower which contained his offices.
Here he used to hold conferences, sit-
ting neck deep in hot water. A rub-
bing board and a gigantic Turk
named Abdul Maljan, who served as
masseur, were other fantastic addi-
tions to the office furniture.
Father Goose is a very clever bio-
I graphy, probably because it includes
so much other material of current
interest that it never bores one with
the central character. The history of
moviedom has been made very pal-
atable by Mr. Fowler. Dealing with
fantastic subject matter such as only
Hollywood could produce, the author
has made of his work an hilarious
and satisfying tale.

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IF YOU WRITE,
WE HAVE IT

11

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The Stationery and Typewriter Store
O________ Ir er Or

NEW BOOK BY NOBEL WINNER!
Luigi Pirandello, winner of this,
year's Nobel Prize for literature, will
bring out a volume of short stories
entitled, Better Think Twice About
It, next month. E. P. Dutton is the
publisher.

L. A. G. Strong's Latest Tells
Story Of Prolonged Illness

Corporal Cune, by L. A. G. Strong.
Knopf. $2.50.
By KENNETH PARKER
L. A. G. Strong has been admired

in his previous novels for an econom-;
ical. sensitive prose style and for a
broad, sympathetic point of view.
These aualities are again found in hist
latest book, Corporal Tuhe. This timet
however, his talents are used to pro-;
duce a study of illness, which is'
unique in that Strong catches tho
peculiarly serene and yet observantt
attitude toward life which prolongedj
sickness often eives.
Ignatius Farrelly is the sick man.
Being suddenly cut off from normal 1
participation in life by a severe gas-
tric disorder and having recently suf- +
fered the loss of his wife in child-
birth, he finds himself unable to react
in the stock manner to anything -
even the discovery that the child his
t wife has left is not his but another
man's. His love for Stella, his wife, is
one of the moving things in the book,
and is probably one of the reasons

concern for his welfare, he finally' delight, whose ear infection turns into
leaves the estate of his wife's parents mastoid, but who recovers with the
in Scotland where he has been sum- greatest of ease, after an operation
mering and trying to regain the at- during which Ignatius can hear the
mosphere of pest holidays spent chipping of bone.
there with Stella, and goes to a nurs- This book will be of interest to
ing home in London for a rest cure many for its fine workmanship, and
and an operation. Here Strong reveals for its excellent portrayal of the psy-
the little drama's of the hospital - chology of the ill. But as a literary
both humorous and tragic. There is work it is not great because it lacks
the old woman next door who has an absorbing character. One has sym-
cancer and who says "Oh dear, oh pathy and admiration for Ignatius,
dear . . . This is a nice state of but one does not consider him quite
things," and finally one night dies, human. This is because of the fact
There is the spoiled boy upstairs that we know little of the background
who bosses the nurses, much to their of Ignatius before his illness.

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for his dispassionate outlook on a life?
which does not include her.
Looked ater by two sisters who
tire him much with their constant

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CLASSIFIED
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
NEW YORK TIMES; New York Her-
ald Tribune. All famous Newspap-
ers, Daily and Sunday. Miller Drug!
North University at Thayer.
WE CARRY a large selection of mag-
azines and newspapers. New York
Times and Herald Tribune. Daily
and Sunday. Swift Drug Store, 340
S. State Street.
LENDING LIBRARY
DON'T WAIT. Read the books you
have always wanted. Carlson Drug

You will find our store
packed with hundreds
of GIFT ITEM of per-
manent valuet.,
Themajority are priced
as low as $1.00aG.
A Fine BOOK makes an IdealI Gift.

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SUGGESTION:

You are cordially invited to come in and browse.
OPEN EVENINGS UNTIL CHRISTMAS
_- 1 .. . - -. .

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