THE MICHIGAN DAILY
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 1935
THE BOOK PAGE
Van Doren's 'The Transients'
Blends Fantasy With Realism
MDWrites Of Inconceivably
Naive George Brush.. -
HEAVEN'S MY DESTINATION.
Few Very Short Glimpses At
THE TRANSIENTS course, an old theme, but there is aI
By Mark Van Doren. Morrow. $2.50. freshness and strangeness about Mr.#
Van Doren's people that a reader will
By DR. ARNO L. BADER find delightful. The whole book is aI
Of The English Department o'urious and romantic-realistic idyll.
In this novel Mr. Van Doren, who What Mr. Van Doren means by his
has been known in the past as poet,, I:tcry is another thing. There is a con-
-holar, and anthologist, makes his tant invitation to the reader to al-
;Ir t venture into the field of prose legorize', to set up symbols, to con-
-.ion. The result is an unusual book, tri ct a philosophy, a criticism of life,
od enough to stand out from the from the narrative and from the talk
"'neral run of fiction of the day, yet of John Bole. This would not causeI
zct a really first rate novel. The story ithe reader discomfort were it appar-
is one of fantasy and realism, with! nt that fantasy alone was intended.
metaphysical overtones. But .it seems clear that some definite
John Bole and Margaret Shade, meaning supposedly underlies the
beings from another, unspecified I whole -- the book is a comment on,
world, find themselves in Connecti- I or interpretation of, life - and thisl
cut. In John's words, "A man found I meaning is nebulous.j
himself suddenly in a world which! The novel, as fantasy, is unusual
was strange to him, though he had I .n that it is fantasy told with such
often dreamed of it. Al.l of its ways 'a marked air of realism. Both itsI
were absolutely strange." '*fiey meet, strength and its weakness are derived
travel together for a time, and then, I frcm this fact. There is a peculiar
oeca use John Bole wishes to return :harm gained by the mixture of im-
to his own world at a. stated time and mortal beings and the petty realities
Margaret wishes to become a mortal, of this world, but there is also the
he escapes from her by the simple matter of credibility: John and Mar-
cevice of having himself imprisoned aret ale not quite convincing, either;
as a hitch-hiker. A love affair with I as real persons who eat, sl-p, walk,
the jailer's daughter develops. Mean- 1:alk, and make love, or as spirits from
while Margaret is found walking the another world. Imagination in a high
roads by Stephen, the scion of a I degree is necessary to such a tale; it is
walthy family, and here again love of noticeable that Mr. Van Doren is most
z.rtal for immortal enters the story. ctonvincing when dealing with the
tuI h John and Margaret abandon contrasts between mortal and immor-
their worldly lovers, however, and live tal. Margaret and Stephen, John and
to ether in a ruined house in a wood Madge the jailer's daughter -here
until the time comes when they must fantasy and realism go well together.
n:ake the decision either to return to The last section - the idyllic worldly
th 1ir own world or to remain and live life of Margaret and John, both im-
a, mortals. John elects to return, mortals - is the weakest. The au-
.id Margaret follows regretfully - thor's imagination has not been equal
whether to a future reuniting is not to the task. One wonders, however,
made clear. whether W. H. Hudson could have
The synopsis is banal, but the ac- sustained his realistic fantasy if he
tual novel is not. The visitation of had created for Rime a mate of the
cther-world beings to this earth is, of same bird-like race.
By Thornton Wilder. Harpers. $2.50
By PROF. EARL L. RIG+GS
j Of The English Department.
As in The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
Thornton Wilder writes Heaven's My
Destination in a style so simple and
so direct as to disarm criticism. Mr.
Wilder apparently has no profound
mEsage to deliver, no new theory to
piopose, no sweeping indictment ofc
civilization to suggest. His new novel,'
to be sure, deals with problems of-
current interest, but all he seems to
ask is balance, sanity, and judgment
in human conduct. But let us be
The hero, George Marvin Brush,
a a successful salesman for the
Caulkins Educational Press. He has
become (oi was born, one suspects)
excessively introspective. Morbidly
sensitive about an affair with a farm
girl, he sets out to live a life com-
patible with a literal reading cf the
New Testament and the philosophy of
Gandhi. Thus he is a pacifist, save
on one memorable occasion when he:
defends the honor of an elderly spin-
ster; he is committed to voluntary
poverty; and he considers his natural
abilities (for he is endowed not only
with rare physical strength but with
a remarkable singing voice as well)
at the service of humanity. His one
ambition is to found an American!
home and be the father of six chil-
dren. He is narrow-minded, too. He
dismisses scientific theory with child-
like (or childish) simplicity, and he
considers smoking and drinking as
evidences of moral corruption. He is
the graduate of an obscure Baptist1
college somewhere in South Dakota,t
yet even the most cynical professor
can hardly imagine any college grad-i
uate quite so unsophisticated andt
naive as Thornton Wilder presents
George Brush as being. In fact, Mr.
Wilder presents his hero as inconceiv-l
ably naive. George Brush is trickedI
into visiting a house of prostitutionl
and imagines the girls to be daugh-t
ters and wards of the woman int
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novel dealing with the psychological I issuing long-term bonds against an
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in England, France, Palestine, Egypt, INTOLERANCE. By Winfred Er-
and the United States. nest Garrison. Round Table Press.
MEMORY OF LOVE. By Bessie $2.50. Traces the history of intol-
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in the first person.
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sler. Farrar & Rinehart. $2.50. Local Best Sellers
About a small town newspaperman
who rises to a position of pre-emin-
ence from relative obscurity. He is HEAVEN'S MY DESTINATION.
given to idealizing women and is By Thornton Wilder. Harpers.
dominated by them. Many of the: $2.50.
characters are good. WHILE ROME BURNS. By Alex-
DESTINY'S MAN. By T. F. Tweed. ander Woollcott. Viking. $2.75.
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romance. This time the story is about ---- ==--- -- -
Lynn Maynard, who has her troubles I THE
in London, and, of course, finds hap- Colonial Book Shop
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Roy Helton. Harpers. $2.50. In =-__ __
-Courtesy The Detroit News.
charge: even when his friends seekf
to disillusion him, he is unwilling
to believe them.
What after all does the novel
mean? Its hero is a caricature, and
the book may therefore, be pure
foolishness. As such, it is rollicking
good fun, with a distant flavor of
Don Quixote. But this is unlike Mr.
Wilder. Apparently we are to lay down
Heaven's My Destination convinced'
that he lives life most fully who main-
tains always a balanced perspective.
Thus an overwhelming attention to
business dwarfs the cultural outlook;
downright sensuality, as well as re-
ligious fanaticism, destroys the hu-
man spirit. If this is Mr. Wilder's in-
tention, then the novel is a failure.
For the adventures of a simple-heart-
ed youth, who is as ridiculous and
unreal as the situations in which he
is placed, do not make good material
for satire. No, even Heaven's My Des-
tination will not convert us to hu-
I - --~----- --- - - -- ____
The Most Complete
in Ann Arbor
This Week's Feature is
The style of the novel varies some-
what, from plain unadorned state-
ment to a kind of poetic prose. Yet it
is by no means a "poet's novel." The
structure is admirable. If there is any
marked weakness in the book, it is to
be found in the minor characters,
some of which are mere cut-out fig-
j"On the whole, The Transients is a
good first novel of an unusual sort.
By its very nature it will never have
a wide appeal, yet it should find a
fairly large group of readers to whom
fantasy, good prose, and an invita-
tion to think offer inducements to
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN !
More and better books for Mich-
igan children," is the motto of the
Library Extension Service in its pro-
gram of making the small towns and
rural sections of the state more book'
This work, which is made possible
by funds supplied by the Children's
Fund of Michigan, is carried on by
keeping a number of sets of selected
children boobs circulating about the
towns of the state with populations
of less than 2,000.
Mostly About Books
And Their Authors
Ci' The Screen
Reviewed in today's
Corner S. Univ. and Forest
After passing through the hands of --
six different publishers in the course
of about eight years, the series of fac-
simile reproductions known as the AT THE MAJESTIC
English Replicas has been definitelyv
taken over by a seventh - the Fac- THE LITTLE
simile Text Society, whose publica- MINISTER"
tion work is done by Columbia Uni- A Pandro S. Berman production,
versity Press, New York City. ' starring Katherine Hepburn and John
The Society has already made avail- Beal, featuring Alan Hale, Beryl Mercer,
able eight of these volumes and this Donald Crisp, Andy Clyde, Mary Gor-
month is republishing seven more. j dcn, Frank Conroy, and Reginald Den-
These are: Pilgrim's Progress, by John ny. Directed by Richard Wallace.
Bunyan; Poetical Sketches, by John "The Little Minister" needs little
Blake; Minor Poems and Areopagitica, or no introduction to Ann Arbor
by John Milton; The First and Second
Anniversaries, by JohnDonne; Poems,' movie-goers, having already become
S1817, by JohnKeats, and TheDeserted as famous as its star as one of her
Villa, byolivKertsGoldmTh. Dsete Mmost succe;Cssful vehicles. Besides
Village, by Oliver Goldsmith. being widely heralded as such, there
The first Lothrop book scheduled is a great deal more to be found in
for 1935 is The Fun of Having Chil- this quaint, unusual, sometimes!
dren by Katharine Seabury to be pub- whimsical Scotch story, the original
lished Jan. 25. In private life the au- of which is from the pen of J. M.
thor is Mrs. William Marston Sea- Barrie.
bury of New York, wife of a well- Katherine Hepburn may be the
- known New York lawyer and sister- primary reason why thousands storm
in-law of Judge Samuel Seabury the box offices of the nation to see
of Jimmy Walker investigation fame. "The Little Minister," but her pres-
ence is by no means its sole attrib-
Max Eastman is translating Leon ute. There is John Beal, a new-
Trotzky's life of Lenin, which will comer, the excellence of whose per-
soon be published by Doubleday, formance elevates the picture from
r w +.. r a. a
coated that it is overlooked almost en-
tirely. This has been ably commented
on by Andre Sennwald in the New
York Times, who says, "Although sev-
eral of the neo-purist exhibits, notably
'Anne of Green Gables" and "The
Little Minister," where photographed
with extraordinary skill, they repre-
sent to discerning critics a ruinous as-
sault upon the beginnings of an adult
cinema." However, "The Little Min-
ister" should not suffer materially
from the derogatory comments of
these "discerning critics," because it
is decisively superior to the common
run of movie trash, -C.B.C.
MARIANNE IN INDIA. By Lion
WILD PASTURES. By Rex Beach.
Farrar & Rinehart.
THE GUESTS ARRIVE. By Cecil
LEOPOLD THE UNLOVED. By
Ludwig Bauer. Little, Brown.
THE ILLUSION OF IMMORTAL-
ITY. Corliss Lamont. Putnam's.
Our stock is complete - We can supply any-
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New L. C. Smith and Corona, Silent, Remington,
Noiseless, Underwood, Royal portables. Priced at
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Reconditioned typewriters of all
makes bought, sold, rented, exchanged, cleaned and
repaired. Convenient payments may be arranged.
Sales of Fdward N. Westcott's David
Hlarum have doubtless been stimu-
lated by the recent popular Will Rog-
er's movie. The Appleton-Century
Company just ran off the hundredth
printing of this novel that has been
popular for 40 years.
Ford Madox Ford's Provence: From
Minstrels to the Machine will be pub-
lished on March 27 by Lippincott.
314 South State St.
The Typewriter & Stationery Store
Since 1908 IF YOU WRITE, WE HAVE IT Phone 6615
the ordinary big star vehicle type.
He is not food for Hepburn's person-
ality. Nor are any of the other char-
acters. Nor is the story warped until
it is completely Hepburn's story. "The
Little Minister" is beautifully de-_
signed, is full of a ripeness brought
about by a romantic suspense involv-
ing more than merely two people in
love. is executed with insight that is
not only sympathetic but is authen-
tically Scotch and dramatically con-
scious, and weaves its way into a
In former vehicles, Hepburn has
been a Kentucky mountaineer, a stage
struck New Englander, and a super
innocent young writer. This versatility
in her career is manifested further as
we see her now as an adventurous
young gypsy girl who is a complete
mystery to the small Scotch town of
Thrums. She ignores all convention,
flits about in the woods, and generally
upsets the peace of the community.
A new minister arrives in town, a good
looking young bachelor, and when he
and the gypsy girl become interested
in each other, the fireworks begin.
These fireworks are deceivingly inno-
cent in every aspect, and the -plot
never has a trace of anything that the
Legion of Decency would condemn.:
What might be shady is so sugar-
NEW FICTION: Three cents, five
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