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November 03, 1935 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1935-11-03

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Daffy Americans Parade
In Witty Review
Of Foibles
Stokes. $3.00.
Watching the headliners of the
past 15 years troup merrily past his>
city desk in the New York .Eerald-
Tribune in a never-ending circus,
Stanley Walker had many hearty: s
laughs over the goofy actions of the
Americans he recalls in his lively,'
crackling Mrs. Astor's Horse.
In 23, chapters, each on some phase
of daffiness and sometimes revolting I
around an eytra-daffy individual,
Walker puts his subjects on parade. -Courtesy Ann Arbor Daily News.
giving the facts concisely and com-
pletely on everyone from "Fishwife
in the Temple" Hugh S. Johnson to
"Passion Fanner" Sally Rand.-
The title of the book is taken from
a peasant saying during the hey-day
of the upper social crust - "She isS
dressed up like Mrs. Astor's plush Se
horse." But times had changed and I ndicts And Delights
in the late summer and early fall In Essays
of 1935 some of the swanky socialites
feared a revolution. Walker re-
counts: "In Washington Franklin D. IT SEEMS TO ME, Heywood Broun
Roosevelt, the Great Obfuscator, was Harcourt, Brace and Company,
frightening the solvent with his pro- 2.50.
gram to 'Tax the Rich,' translated by By MARY SAGE MONTAGUE
the Bourbons into 'Soak the Thrifty.' In this collection of his newspaper
In San Simeon William Randolph columns Heywood Broun depicts a
Hearst reaffirmed his allegiance to chaotic ten years ,of incident and in-
the Constitution of the United States. dignation. It Seems To Me is meaty
Walter Lippmann became so clear and amusing, and, unlike most jour-
that he was actually hard to read. nalism, has not gone stale. The 106
H. L. Mencken was finally unmasked pieces are gleaned from the several
as a Tory. Reporters for The Daily papers for which Broun reported, his
Worker walked boldly into the better career having been varied because of
hotels. Arthur Brisbane, past 70, the fact that his allegiance to a paper
still clung to his theories of the in- was not of the kind that brooked
vincibility of the gorila and the joy evasion of responsibility, or the
and duty of' female fertility, but he breaking down of the liberal tradi-
added one rather startling sugges- tion. In "The Piece that Got Me
tion to his program - he wanted mo- Fired" he says of The World, "it
torists to carry Toggenburg goats in does not seem to me that the paper
their automobiles so that fresh milk posseses either courage or tenacity
would always be on hand." . . . the fault lies in a certain
General Hugh S. Johnson is tossed squeamishness."
a bouquet when Walker pronounces Broun has long been known for his
him plainly the winner in the three- abilities in the field of the light es-
cornered contest for invective su- say. Elasticity of scope and mood
premacy involving Huey Long and characterize these columns, and the
Father Coughlin last spring. With subject matter ranges from a sympa-
his "economic kibitzers and political thetic interview with a horse to a
pansies," "political termites" and somewhat rebellious dissertation on
"public political enemies number one "Trees," "If," and "Invictus." "Trees
and two," the former cracker-downer (if I have the name right) is one of
is made king of American invec- the most annoying pieces of verse
tive. within my knowledge." Often his
After Mrs. Astor's Horse no modern humour is drawn from the stories
sophisticate could find life quite as that make the front pages of his
dull. For the smart - a knowing paper. When 3,500 people fought to
smile, but for us simple folk - hearty get into the museum of natural
guffaws. history to hear about the Einstein


Writes Of Goldsmith
Irish Bohemian ... .

Revolt On The Campus' Tells
Vivid Story Of Student Radicals

Gwynn. New York: Henry Holt
and Company. $3.50.
(of the English Dept.)
Stephen Gwynn is a veteran Anglo-
Irish man of letters, whose recent
biographies of Swift and Scott have
been quite favorably received. He is
not a scholar of the erudite type, and
his life of Goldsmith is not the result
of what with any strictness of lan-
guage can be called research. It is,
in fact, hard to believe that he even
made any attempt to exhaust the
obvious resources of the libraries of
Dublin, where he resides. He dis-
cusses the process of composition of
The Traveller without any reference
to the unique proof sheets of an
earlier form of the poem, which
Bertram Dobell made accessible in an
inexpensive reprint in 1902. He says
nothing, in connection with the ques-
tion whether the deserted village of
Auburn was English or Irish, about
Goldsmith's prose essay in 1762 on
the subject of depopulated English
villages, based on his own observation
that summer not very far from Lon-
don; this essay was discovered by
Professor Ronald Crane in 1927, dis-
cussed by him in the Times Literary
Supplement that autumn, and re-
printed in his volume of New Essays
by Oliver Goldsmith. One might go
on for pages to point out authentic
and documented information about

Goldsmith which has not gotten into
this book. It is not a work to which
the student can go for precise infor-
mation when that is what he wants.
It is regrettable that Mr. Gwynn
did his work so hastily, because with-
in its limitations his volume is really
excellent. He has several qualifi-
cations for writing about Goldsmith;
he grew up in Ireland and knows
Irish life, which he thinks has not
,hanged in its salient features since
'he day of Goldsmith; he is a shrewd
and mellow observer of humanity and
free from those intellectual crotchets
of the "new biography" which would
throw the student of Goldsmith's
character off the right track at every
turn; he long ago edited Horace, a
fact which I cite, without any at-
tempt at levity, as a sort of guarantee
that his portrait of such a delicate
humorist as Goldsmith will be done
with the indispensable right "touch;"
in short, Mr. Gwynn knows his Gold-
smith and writes of him with intuitive
understanding which in its own way
is as valuable as erudition, and per-
haps more rare.
"Oliver Goldsmith is the ugly duck-t
ling of English Literature," says Mr.
Gwynn, and he tells the story of his
struggles and adventures with indul-
gence, tenderness, and humor. Gold-
smith was shiftless in money matters.
But he had two countries, says his
biographer, "and though the roots
of his heart were in Ireland, his
spiritual home was Bohemia. In
that frontierless community which
has its Alsatia in every great city in
Europe, and a raggle-taggle of its
citizens scattered along every great
road, the rule of life is that when you
can lend, you lend, and when you
can borrow, you borrow."
This places Goldsmith admirably,
and Mr. Gwynn deals frankly with

the degradation and misery which
is the lot of the shiftless Bohemian.
"Life had to show Oliver Goldsmith
its most ungracious aspect, it had to
drench him with bitterness and
squalor, before he could be what he
became, able to set aside these ap-
pearances of reality, and affirm his
relief that kindness, gentleness, com-
passion and gayety were the lasting
truths in life." Mr. Gwynn argues
with much shrewdness that Gold-
smith was all his life deeply in-
fluenced by the memory of his father,
but that he remembered his mother
with some bitterness. The evidence
is cumulative, but perhaps the most
important point is that, in The Vicar
of Wakefield, "Mrs. Primrose, though
she insists that a man must be well
provided with birth and fortune to
match in such a family as hers, is
not represented as a lady: whereas
'he Vicar with all his simplicity is
not only a scholar and a Christian
but a gentleman in every word and
Such comment as this makes the
volume both interesting and illum-
inating, to the specialist in the sub-
ject as well as to the general reader.
One final word of qualified praise:
Mr. Gwynn might have gone further
in reaction against the sentimental
conception of Goldsmith as a harm-
less harper entertaining us who do
the serious work of the world; he
might have shown us more clearly
the strength and integrity of Gold-
smith's intellectual character. After
all, Dr. Johnson said of him that "he
was a very great man."

James Wechsler. Covici-Friede Co.
These are troublous times -on
every front. James Wechsler, who
succeeded the famed Reed Harris
as editor of the furor-arousing Co-
lumbia Spectator, has, in Revolt on
The Campus, concerned himself for
the most part with the significantl
change wrought in student thought
and action by the economic troubles
of the "outside world" which, in the
last six years, have cracked down
on a large segment of the campus
For two outstanding reasons Mr.
Wechsler's book is devoted almost
entirely to an evaluation of the "radi-
cal" student movement, and so of
course to the National Student
League and the Student League for
Industrial Democracy, organizations
whose program embodies the out-
spoken left-wing trend of many stu-
dents. First of all Mr. Wechsler
himself is a radical, and speaks as
one; secondly, conservative student
thought has been inarticulate, rising
to the surface only to suppress those
who are interested in letting the
world know of their opposition to
war, Fascism, encroachments on
academic fredeom, and retrench-
ment in education.
Mr. Wechsier has written a lively,
entertaining, and compendious ac-
count of the campus "revolt." His

style is fluent and polished to a sur-
prising degree for so young a man.
And, if there are some who will at-
tack him for occasional errors of fact
and for hasty judgments, it must be
added that the great wonder is not
that these bobbles appear, but that
they are so few.
"Revolt on the Campus" deserves
to be read by every person who has a
past, present, or future- connection
with the American university. To
those in authority and to those de-
sirous of maintaining the academic
status quo at all costs, it will loom as
a disconcerting work; disconcerting
because it does not hesitate to dis-
cuss at length such touchy problems
as "the Olympian detachment of the
professors," "the interlocking direc-
torate of the finance-capital Trustees
and Regehts," "the viciousness of
the college administrators who en-
courage student attacks on their radi-
cal fellow students," "the business-
like hierarchy of the University ad-
ministrations," "the jingoism and
war-mongering tactics of the sup-
posedly enlightened educators," the
Reserve Officers Training Corps, the
anti-war movement, the rah-rah
boys, and so on indefinitely.
No alert student will permit him-
self to miss at least a glance through
the pages of Revolt On The Camp-





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