Y, JANUARY 20, 1935
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS
Contemporary American Graphic Art: Benson's Etchings
By ANDREW E. PROPPER
It has been said that "all good
American etchers go to Paris." And
one might add that, once there, they
often stop being American etchers;
sometimes they stop being "good."I
Day after day, during their years
abroad, these gentlemen sit and etch:
often they even stand and etch (oh!
excuse me, Mr. Saroyan) but the pity
of it is that they insist upon turning
out meritorious plates wholly devoted
to the ancient cathedrals, the crowdedj
market places, and to some of the
more homely citizens of "la belle
France." Then, when these talented
gentlemen return to their native
shores, they do a plane or two of
"Coney - Island - On-A-Hot-Sunday -
Afternoon-In-August," or "Tall Build-
ings." No one, alas, seems to have had
have portrayed "the American scene,"
and, with a feeling of duty done,'they
sail once more for their pet cafe in!
Montmartre. Thus it comes aboutI
that the collector cannot omit such
very fine plates as Mr. Herman A.
Webster's "Old Houses in Frankfort,"
or Mr. Arthur W. Heintzleman's
"Famille Suisse," from any represen-
tative assembly of 'American etch-
ings.' No one, alas, seems to have had
the foresight to suggest to these
gentlemen that some such subject
as "Front Porch in Davenport, Iowa,"
or "Back Yards, Norwalk, Ohio" might
prove the source of a surprising in-
spiration. No indeed, they must needs
do a flea-bitten Parisian beggar in-
Fortunately, it may be recorded that
Mr. Frank W. Benson did, indeed, go
toParis, but he came back. And an-
other peculiar thing about Mr. Ben-
son is worthy of notice - a catalogue
Raisonne of his etched work reveals
the curious fact that his first etch-
ing was made in 1882, and the date of
_ ,= ;.
' - .
-Courtesy of Gage Galleries, Cleveland, 0.
BLACK DUCKS AT DUSK
two hardy hunters who have made
the island in the early hours of a
bleak October morning. With only
black and white to aid him, Mr.
Benson makes us feel the keen air and
hear the shrill honks of the water-
fowl as they wheel and circle in that
cold, thin atmosphere.
This spontaneity, largeness of plan-
ning, breadth of effect and facile but
never perfunctory drawing which are
the hall-marks of all Benson etchings
have their roots in his early training
and practice as a painter. He is en-
dowed pre-eminently with what is
kncwn as the "painter's eye." His
plates have a directnessrand economy
of line which is deceiving; for such
ease of performance is by no means
acquired without arduous and persis-
tent labor. A successful etching can-
not be accomplished by mere brav-
ura. A smart piece of work with the
brush will sometimes "come off," and
brilliant color will often hide a faulty
line; but in etching one can count
neither upon accident nor incident.
The process itself will give away the
trickster. Hence each of these lines
that seems to have been dashed off at
express speea must have been well
and truly laid with painstaking con-
Mr. Benson has been called the
Dean of Contemporary American
Etchers, but he is more than that. He
is an internationally-known artist
who, in pursuit of wild-fowl on the
North American coasts and upper Ca-
nadian Rivers, first found this rich
new field of artistic activity for etch-
ing-needle and drypoint.
'A House Divided' Brin
Her Chinese Trilogy
To An End
A HOUSE DIVIDED. By Pearl
Buck. John Day. $2.50.
By JOHN SELBY
Now there is an end to Pearl
Buck's Chinese trilogy, which beg
so brilliantly with "The Good Eartr
continued somewhat less brillian
with "Sons," and today closes on t
plane of its beginning with "A Hou
The three volumes have covered
years, the period between thec
China and the new, whatever that 1
may be. Even Mrs. Buck, out of b
great knowledge of China, does r
venture a prediction, although s
does close with Yuan, son of Wang t
Tiger, in the arms of Meiling. A
both are of the new generation.
Y1s7 is the .nof n.lun dnr
Werfel Recreates Little-Known
Page In World War History
FORTY DAYS OF MUSA DAGH. us. That's the only thought that paci-
By 1:iani Werfel. Viking. $3. fies and consoles me. When I think
that, I feel I'm no worse, no less hon-
S. By DOROTHY GIES oureble, than any other many among
Certainly one of the most signifi- those millions . . . By fighting, we
cant works to emerge from the fertile cease to be just manure, rotting
Lackground of the World War is "The somewhere round the Euphrates. By
S. Forty Days of Musa Dagh," Werfel's fighting we gain honour and dignity.
an latest. publicationl, a novel of epic Therefore,. we should see nothing
h," scope, achieving immensity of sweep ahead, and think of nothing else, but
tly !nd p ower ul drama through its tale hqw to fight."
he of racial conflict. A stirring and little- The whole pattern is vibrant, in-
ise known page in the history of the war tense, vivid with a wealth of indi-
is here recreated into an unforgettable vidual scenes and characters. Ter
50 fabric. Haigasun, the sage and dominant
old In 1915 the Turkish leaders, bent on priest, Iskuhi, the madonna-like
ast a nurging of their nation, set about school-mistress, and Sato, the half-
ier the extermination of a despised mi- witted and sadistic child, all are part
jot nority, the Armenians. With brutal of the feverish mass that left its im-
he ,-ang-froid and unconscionable cruelty pact on the pages of Armenian his-
he the disenfranchised race was driven tory. Occasional diffusity may mar
from its villages to suffering and cer-
tain death. A single remote commu-
nity, four hamlets clustered about the
his second was 1912. What was Mr.
Benson doing between these dates?
A glimpse at the pages of "Who's
Who" reveals the answer; he spent
his time painting canvasses which won,
him a long list of honors and medals,
and these products of his brush are
now to be discovered in almost any
But Benson's life might be used as
an illustration for an essay on hob-
bies: first you ride a hobby and then
the hobby rides you. The instinct of
the sportsman led the artist to the
rod and to the gun for his recreation,
and, as a result, Benson today is the
Dean of Contemporary American
Etchers, who has given us a long list
of unforgettable plates dealing with
the fowler's and fisherman's life and'
with wild fowl in flight and at rest.
In the great watery wilds of the
northwest, Benson first found good
sport and then discovered that geese
in flight were fitting subjects to serve
as a medium of aesthetic expression.
Benson never tires of etching those
splendid wild geese in their diverse as-
pects of flight over wide waters and
marshy marge. In such a plate, for ex-
ample, as "Canvasbacks" he finds
an exquisite pattern in the ordered
flight of wild fowl as they wing theirt
way through an unclouded sky. Again
in the plate called "In Dropping
Flight," which I consider the finest
of his bird etchings, we may see howt
thoroughly Benson knows his game
birds; he understands every aspect of.
them - their bodily structure, their
manner of flight, of swimming,-of
feeding, and of resting..
Sometimes, in his etchings, the em- S
phasis is placed upon the fowl, with
with the surrounding deftly described
by a swift generalization of signifi-
cant environment such as reeds, water,
rky or cloud. This is true of suchj
a plate as "Black Ducks at Dusk"
dillustrated), where the suggestion of,
moving wings is seen and registered E
with precision that is scientific and
beauty that is breath-taking.
At other times it is the :andscapet
which plays the major part in the
etching - but a landscape always seen
through the eyes of the man with
a gun, hidden in a blind and awaiting7
his game. Such a plate is "The Duck
Blind" (illustrated) where one sees I
a cold checker-board sky silhouettingi
l --- -- -
The Most Complete
in Ann Arbor
This Week's Feature is
"The Forty Days
Of Musa Dagh"
Reviewed in today's
Corner S. Univ. and Forest
-Courtesy of Gage Galleries, Cleveland, O.
On Jan. 22, MacMill
lish a strong indictment
the title Why Wars Mt
contains chapters by
American women: Mrs
Roosevelt, Carrie Chapn
William Brown Melon
Brewer Boeckel, Emily
Judge Florence E. Alle
Hamilton, Jane Addams
an will pub-
of war under
ust Cease. It
. Franklin D.
nan Catt, Mrs.
A Few Very Short Glimpses At
Some Recently Published Books
- - -
A Fine SelectionI
1c to 50c
Newell Blair, FICTION !comes the fierce and primitive war-
n, Dr. Agnes WE ARE BETRAYED. By Vardis' rior. Alfred, remaining amid civilized
, and Dorothy Fisher. Caxton. $2.50. The third ease, misses out on quite a bit.
volume in Mr. Fisher's tetralogy of NON-FICTION
confessional novels. This one deals IN THE SHADOW OF LIBERTY
with a ew years of the married life By Edward Corsi. MacMillan. $2.50
of Wridar and Neloa. A chronicle of Ellis Island, told with
B warmth and insight, and bringing
MR. FINCHLEY'S HOLIDAY. Bymuch of the color, paeantry and lif
Victor Canning. Reynal & Hitch- of America's gateway.
cock. $2.50. The story of a chiefo
clerk in a lawyer's office, who wanders ANOTHER CASTLE. By Alfred
all over the English countryside on Neumann. Knopf. $3. The tragic
his vacation and experiences all the story of Louis Napoleon, told' dra-
adventure that is of necessity found matically, and with an understanding
on the English countryside. of the forces which shaped this man's
WetherfordD MAN, and Stories.olonel liLABOR, INDUSTRY, AND GOV-
Wetefr tre. By Gordon ' RFNMEN T. By Matthew Woll.
Grand. Derrydale Press $7.50. Stor- Appleton-Centuy. $2. The vice-
ies centering around Colonel Wenth- p etofCt he a e
erford, horses and hounds. Illustrat- president of the American Federa-
: edby illim J Hay' pintigs.tion of Labor analyzes the relation-
. ed by William J. Hays' paintings, ships between labor, industry, and
SUNLIGHT ON THE HILLS. By government from the viewpointof
Elizabeth Carfrae. G. P. Putnam's the middle-of-the-road workingman.
Sons. $2. Unfortunate circumstances' A STUDY OF HISTORY. By Ar-
almost thwart Kay Douglas's dream nold J. Toynbee. Volumes I-III. Ox-
of romantic happiness, ford University Press. $17.50. The
THE ROAD TO THE LEFT. By first volumes of a projected work of
Clara Wallace Overton. Farrar & 13, advancing Mr. Toynbee's philoso-
SRinehart. $2. Shall Lisa choose phy of history.
the egrant and wild Stan or the dis- _
appointed but faithful Henry?
Main TWIN-BORN. By Dolf Wyllarde. E Coming Books
Macaulay. $2. Arthur, cast among FICTION
the natives even as was Tarzan, be- HE SENT FORTH A RAVEN. By
Elizabeth Madox Roberts. Vik-
THAT FELLOW PERCIVAL. By
suan is e son o a war Iora o ui
he is not able to follow his father's
path. As a raw youth, he returns to
his father in the uniform of a revolu-
tionary; he is not able to bear arms
against the old man, however, and fi-
nally finds himself in "a coastal city,"
where he nurses his love of knowledge,
and of the soil in the partly western-
ized home of his mother.
He comes too close to revolution
again, however, and must leave. He
goes to America, and for six years he
is one of that large group of Chinese
who come to us for knowledge which
they may take back to China and
use for her good. Yet, when at- last
he does return, he is confused. His
course does not appear clearly, nor
does he ever find it, except by impli-
cation in the end.
In the first two books of her tri-
logy, Mrs. Buck made perfectly clear
for western eyes the background of
modern China. She has ended by do-
ing precisely the same for the con-
tradictory China of today. Yuan',
fearful, distrustful venture into Amer-
ica. his hatred and love of us, his
futile attempt to apply his knowl-
edge to the twisting mass which is
what is left of thousands of years of
culture - it all is magnificently set in
Mrs. Buck's almost Old Testament
AT THE MAJESTIC
"KID MILLIONS" .
A United Artists picture starring Ed-
die Cantor and featuring Ann Sothern,
SEthel Merman, and the Godwyn Girls.
talsoa feature, "Monkeyshines," dealing
with the day's adventures of a chin-
panzee; a fine Mickey Mouse cartoon,
"Dognapped"; Hearst Metrotone News.
That Eddie Cantor is still highl;
popular with the fans is to be seen
from the throngs which necessitated
a third evening showing of a part of
last night's bill. Just exactly why pop-
eyed Eddie, whose real name, we are
informed, is none other than Isidor
Iskowitz, is still so popular is a little
harder to explain.
. In "Kid Millions" there is the same
well-worn routine that aas buoyed it
and carried along his "Roman Scan.
dals," "Whoopee" and the others. Th
formula now seems to be: (1) tak
some violent transportation from the
normal walks of life such as (in "Kid
Millions") the inheritance of 77 mil-
lion dollars (2) add a few sharplv
drawn characters like an East Side
thug, a Virginia gentleman, an Egyp-
tian "sahib," a daughter of the sahil7
who is more than a little batty and
(3) shake well with dancing girls and
take with (4 "O.K. Toots," "An Ear-
ful of Music," "When My Ship Come
In," and Irving Berlin's "Mandy."
That's all there isuto it! Now, will
Pthat appeal to you again? A little
shamefacedly we admit that we, too.
enjoyed Eddie Cantor in "Kid Mil-
Thisscurrent riotous assemblage of
girls, songs, and Eddie is held to- I
gether by a "plot" which asks: Who
shall inherit the archaeologist's 77
millions? Eddie, the gangster and his
girl, the Southern gentleman, or the
sahib? Eddie is almost married off
to the sultan's nutty offspring, is
almost boiled in oil, is almost - and
then gets the jewels and goes back
across the ocean, solo, via aeroplane,
to marry his "O.K. Toots," who be-
comes his partner in a free-ice-cream-
for-the-kiddies business. That's the
general tenor of it all.
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, co-
starred for the first time, will roll
you in the aisles as they take the parts
of two squad car policemen out to
get Peg-Leg Pete, who has "dog-
napped" Minnie Mouse's chow. You
should, by all means, shudder with
horror when the rampant buzz saw
grazes Peg-Leg's ample pantaloons.
case of Musa Dagh, wrote in blood
their defiance to the edicts. Shut up
in the mountain fastness, they re-
sisted the overwhelming numbers of
the Turks for forty days and nights.
Werfel's story pivots about Gabriel
Bagradian, wealthy, cultured Armen-
ian, who has lived the pleasant in-
consequential life of an expatriate n
Parisian society for twenty-three -
years. Now, at the beginning of the
war, he has returned to the land of
his birth in Asia Minor, with a charm-
ing French wife, Juliette, and a young
son, Stephan. Imperceptably the
homeland enfolds him once more,
and the ties that bind him to his
race become steel-bound and irresis-
tible. When the blow falls, it is Ba-
gradian who leads his people into the
natural stronghold of Musa Dagh, to
hold out against the age-old oppres-
sors of their race.
We see the whole War, and all its
aspects of malignance and horror, re-
duced to the size of a mountain fast-
ness. The exiles on Musa Dagh live no
inspired lives. Faced constantly with
the threat of destruction, the defend-
ers still yield to jealousy and sin and
mutiny. The breath of hate and the
unnatural proximity to one another
;warp their lives and distort their out- j
.ook. Only Gabriel and one or two
>thers retain their clarity of vision.
3agradian says -and it is here the
lind aim of their hopeless heroism
,s crystallized --"At this moment all
over the world, millions of men are
.iving in trenches, just as we do.
They're fighting, or else they're wait-
.ng to fight, bleeding, dying, just like
We have Cards for most every occasion
Birthday, Wedding, Friendship, Sym-
pathy or Sick Cards. See our January
Special in PRINTED STATIONERY.
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Phone 4515 OFFICE OUTFITTERS 112 South
Geometry, Plane '
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J U I RLLLYI VI) -Another shipment of
PERRY: CHEMICAL ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK, $6.75
Other Books which should be of interest to Students
of Chemistry and Physics are:
HODGMAN: Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 19th Ed.
LANGE: Handbook of Chemistry . .
GILMAN: Inorganic Reactions
PATTERSON: German-English Dictionary for Chemists.
PATTERSON: French-English Dictionary for Chemists.
We Carry a Complete Stock of Reference Books
Anne Green. Dutton.
CASTLE IN ANDALUVIA. By
Elizabeth Sprigge. MacMillan.
CLASS OF '28. By Travis Ing-
ham. Farrar & Rinehart.
MIDDLE AGE MADNESS. By M.
A. Dormie. Appleton-Century.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES. By Grace
Livingston Hill. Lippincott.
PEACE AND THE PLAIN MAN.
By Sir Norman Angell. Harper.
DELIVER US FROM DICTA-
TORS. By Robert C. Brooks.
WHAT IS AMERICAN LITERA-
TURE? By Carl Van Doren.
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