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December 01, 1935 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1935-12-01

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

SUNDAY,

.. .,

IN

THE

WORLD

OF

BOOKS

Halliburton Details Latest Orgy
Of Globe-Trotting In New Book
SEVEN LEAGUE BOOTS. pale lips. When the story has been
By Richard Halliburton. tinished, Halliburton visits a num-
Bobbs, Merrill Co. $3.50. ber of the more familiar scenes of
By ARNOLD S. DANIELS the Czar's life, interviews Mrs. Lenin,
and then tests the practicability of
Swinging gracefully from vine to the Scviet marriage and divorce sys-
vine in accepted Tarzan style, and tem by marrying his stout inter-
occasionally emitting loud calls of preter in one room, and divorcing
her in an adjacent room a few mm-
self-approval, Richard Hallibtrton utes later.
in his latest volume of photographs He then gives a clear, complete
and word-pictures of himself against picture of Russia gained during his
the invariable exotic backgrounds, brief visit. Impressed by a strong
Seven League Boots, takes his read- show. of military power, he feels that
ers on a round-the-world tour of the ideas now being developed in
places- of historical interest. Russia "we must accept, and the
He interviews one of the assassi- sooner the better. Thus is America
nators of the Romanoffs, gets mar- going to develop, perforce, in the
ried and divorced in Russia in less direction of new Russia's enlight-
than five minutes, visits Fort Jef- ened attitude towards the working
ferson in the Florida Keys, crosses masses, while Russia at the same
the Alps on an elephant, visits the time gropes toward America's ideal
scene of the sinking of the Merri- of personal and intellectual liberty."
mac in Santiago Harbour, broods Having done with Russia, Halli-
over the ruins of Cristophe's fort burton marches on to the Caucasian
and palace in Haiti, lives among mountains, where he spends a short
the remnants of the Crusaders in j time among the Khevscorians, a
the Caucasians and touches upon an tribe believed to be a remnant of
alarming number of other places the second Crusades. He is intrigued
about which volumes have already by their medieval armour and
been written. quaint habits of drinking and fight-
The first spot on his itinerary ing. And so on to Turkey, and its
was Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tor- Sultana.
tugas of the Florida Keys. Here,; The Sultana, "not the great Sul-
at "America's Devil's Island," he re- tana who ruled an empire and
views the case of Samuel Mudd, the thwarted Napoleon, but the little girl
doctor who set John Wilkes Booth's from Martinique, neglected and for-
broken leg, when the assassinator gotten, faded to a fragrant memory
of Lincoln was fleeing Washington. . . . and so far from home," is, in
From Santiago the perennial flea Halliburton's opinion a pathetic, sad
jumps to Haiti, and visits Sans Souci little figure, and he grows sentimen-
and the Citadel, the strongholds of tal about her at length. ,
King Cristophe, the black dictator of He next visited the Holy Commu-
that rich little island, who ruled so nities of Mount Athos, "No Woman's
sternly and violently that, according Land," and lived among the monks
to Halliburton, "Mussolini and Sta- After describing, and relating an-
lin, a hundred- and twenty-five years cient myths about a number of other
later, were to seem like weak sisters famous Greeks, he turns to Ethiopia,
compared to this towering black ty- and interviews the emperor. His
rant." He pauses here to marvel, picture, painted by an Ethiopian art-
and to relate the already too familiar ist, is used as the frontispiece of the
story of that bloody monarchy. After book. It shows the author in a typ-
a short stop at San Domingo, where ical pose.
he is allowed to view the bones of The book closes with a description
Christopher Columbus, IHalliburton's most amazingdar-
discloses his plan to rent an ele- of andibrton t amazn ar-
phant on which he was to cross the ing and brilliant feat. On an ele-
Alps in the footsteps of Hannibal. phant named Elysabethe Dalrymple
The plan falls through at first how- he crosses the Alps, following in the
ever, and the watching world is footsteps of Hannibal. The trip is
forced to wait until a few months made with ease, and he is received
later to witness the astounding feat. everywhere with great rejoicing. He
Undaunted, he proceeds to Russia, pauses at the St. Bernard monastery
whern he has the remarkable good to have his picture taken, and then
whrene has nteremarkablne oo thcrosses over the Alps, to ride directly
fortune ofsinterviewing one of the into the annual Italian army maneu-
three assassinators of the Romanoffs vers, causing the assembled soldiery
on his death-bed. To him are re- tothinghtheyaebei ryt
vealed for the first time the facts of to think that they are being at-
the ghastly event, told by Peter tacked from the rear by Ethiopians.
Ermakov, as bloody froth tinged his The reader may assume that Hal-
liburton then went home to Cali-
sai !#t@Oxi1D01Da' fornia to brood, over new plans.
CH RISTMAS Readersof Seven League Boots will
not be a whit surprised or taken
i CARDS and GIFTS 3 aback to hear some day that he is
A following the footsteps of Aeneus
STUDENT SUPPLY STORE into the land of the dead, or has
1111 South University at last discovered the lost cities
of Atlantis.

MARK TWAIN: Democrat
By PROF. HOWARD MUMFORD JONES
The two dominant literary personalities of the last part of the
nineteenth century were Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. Whitman
carried his democratic faith through the Civil War; and if the political
corruption of the following decades shook that faith, they did not
destroy it. What was Clemens' relation to political democracy? In
1860 he was only 25. His slight participation in the war furnished him
with a literary burlesque; in 1861 he went to Nevada with his brother;
and until 1866 he remained in the Far West, remote from the conflict.
Then he went to Hawaii; then, after a brief return to the United States,
he made his memorable visit to Europe. In 1870 he married; and
until 1872, besides supporting
his family, he was busy writing
his two vast books, The Inrno-
cents Atroad and Roughing It.r
Not until 1873 did he "settle <.:
down" at Hartford, Connecti-
cut.
As it is charged by critics
that Twain deliberately avoided
writing social and political crit-
icism because his friends were
men like H. H. Rogers, the (
Standard Oil magnate, these
dates have considerable signifi-.
cance. The Grant period ended?
with the Hayes-Tilden election
of 1876, and during the rest of
the century there was a slow rise
in the level of public decency.
Twain did not see at first hand
the Civil War or the corruption.
of the Grant administrations;
but when, aided by C. D. War-
ner, he turned his attention to
this theme, the result was The
Gilded Age (1873), a book which
despite great defects, indicts the whole economic and social corruption
of the age. Once finding this theme, he never again lost it, for his
essays, his speeches, his letters, his humorous squibs excoriate the
low state of public - and private - morals.
Modern critics, however, charge that he was blind to the economic
causes of this corruption. But Twain was not, and never pretended
to be, an economist. For him democracy was founded in human nature;
and the paradox of Twain's view is that a profound belief in the
potentiality of human nature leads Twain to pessimism. Man is cap-
able of sympathy and love, but he is full of meanness and cruelty;
and, seeking to account for this contradiction, Twain fell back upon
a naive doctrine of determination which he failed to fuse with his
evolutionary beliefs. Looking back on history in The Prince and the
Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee, and Joan of Arc, he detected a steady
improvement in the direction of modern man; looking around him in
The American Claimant and Pudd'nhead Wilson, he saw greed and
cruelty still in the saddle.

BRIFFAULT,

* Paints Startling Panorama
*Of Pre-War Europe .. .

EUROPA. By Robert Briffault.
Scribner's. $2.75.
By ALBERT K. STEPHENS E
(Of the English Department)
Son of an English diplomat, Julian
Bern spends his boyhood in the Rome
of the 1800's, trudging the Appian
Way to school, absorbing a pagan
love of balance and beauty along with
Italian sunshine. His aunt, Lady
Penmore, horrified to learn that he
doesn't play cricket, ships him to Eng-
land to learn to be "nice and trim and
English," and eventually sends him
through Cambridge. There are blessed
periods of respite, vacations in glor-
ious Italy, during one of which he
tastes the sweets of young love with
Zena, daughter of an expatriate Rus-
sian prince who, in 1900, lives in
Oriental magnificence. The love affair
is nipped in the bud, and, disillu-
sioned, Julian returns to England.
His astronomy teacher furtively in-
ducts him into a knowledge of celes-
tial magnitudes which helplessly
dwarfs Christian theology, and he re-
fuses to attend chapel. He plunges
into the study of philosophy - at-
tends lectures, for instance, on "Post-
Hegelian Currents in Realistic Ideal-
ism"-and in the end renounces phi-
losophy as mere logomachy. He
learns the principles of socialism -
the correlation that exists between
one's notion of the ideal government
and his bank account - from an old
German printer and, his eyes opened,
becomes an observer of the furtive
war of the classes in pre-War Eu-
rope, a struggle which involved also
the war of the sexes. Agreeing with
an unpopular biologist that "the urges
of life shape the world," he dedicates
himself to the pursuit of scientific
truth and embarks on a long series of
researches into the habits, the
"urges," of simple marine life.
These researches he carries on in
Naples, where he finds it all too easy
to relax in the sex-saturated atmo-
sphere in which moves the inter-
national society of European nobility.
But when, in collaboration with the
biologist, Julian wishes to add a final
chapter to the report of the re-
searches which would give the human
meaning, the social significance, of
his scientific findings, he is thwarted
by the ancient prejudices here in a
pseudo-scientific garb, about the dif-
ference between man and animal and
the peculiar nature of the human soul.
This is but one more in a progressive
series of disillusionments, and now
we see a keen young mind slipping
into the paralysis that comes with
too thorough understanding of the
accumulated folly we cal, modern
civilization. He again encounters
Zena, now a princess in her own right,
and with her and her simple carpe
diem philosophy he drifts through a.

year of desire and fulfilment, until
the opening crack of the Great War.
That is the skeleton of this valuable
sociological novel - and as set down
here it is misleading. For the book
is much more than an account of
Julian Bern and his reactions to his
environment. It is 500 pages of in-
discreetly overheard conversations be-
tween the bluebloods of the Almanak
de Gotha, the Social Register of the
ruling classes of pre-War Europe; 500
pages of the small-talk between kings
and financiers, echoes of intrigue
and scandal, guarded whispers of rev-
olutionary plotters, blood-and-thun-
der oratory of political bamboozlers
and of futile pink socialists, pano-
ramic views of restlessly parading
millions of men under arms, and
close-ups of the bitter suffering of the
dispossesed, inarticulate slaves in
English mines, Italian pastures, and
German factories.
The vocabulary is amazingly ver-
satile; the whole range of intellectual
life is drawn on for conversation be-
tween "emancipated" polyglot char-
acters - conversation that is intel-
lectually stimulating. The pages
are packed with intimate, convincing
detail - Briffault's father was in the
French diplomatic service and the
author lived through the scenes he
describes - detail which wins the sus-
pension of dis-belief necessary to dra-
matic art and thusssaves the book
from the accusation of being mere
essay or propaganda. To the "ap-
prentice-to-life" theme of early nine-
teenth century novels by Disraeli and
Bulwer-Lytton is added the pano-
ramic effects of Hardy's Dynasts and
the pessimism of T. S. Eliot as he
surveys European civilization in The
Wasteland. The whole is an enlarged
and enriched kind of Point Counter-
Point for the twenty years preceding
the World War; the subtitle, signifi-
cantly, is The Days of Ignorance.

An intelligent duchess is represent-
ed as saying, in August, 1914, "The
fate of Europe is at this moment in
the hands of a few people who are
not fit to be trusted with the fate of
a barnyard." This remark stands
near the end of the book; the preced-
ing 496 pages, with their amazing se-
quences of sex-mania, greed, and
stupidity in high places are the docu-
mented evidence on the basis of which
one pities even the barnyard. The
book closes with the staccato of
declarations of war, and as Julian
and his Russian princess settle down
for a free ride out of Germany in a
railway compartment, its blinds
nailed down with German thorough-
ness, a lieutenant asks the lady whe-
ther there is anything more he can
do. Her answer is the supreme touch
of the novel and its last sentence:
"Oh, yes," said Zena. "Bring me
a bunch of roses."
BEST SELLERS OF 1789
As early as 1789 earhest attempts
were being made to regenerate the
youth of America. Mrs. Sarah Went-
worth Morton, the first American
novelist, observed that "didactic es-
says are not always capable of en-
gaging the attention of young ladies,"
so she turned to fiction. Her great
work, THE POWER OF SYMPATHY
or THE TRIUMPH OF NATURE
was published in Boston in 1789.
Her preface proclaims the purpose
of the work "to expose the danger-
ous Consequences of Seduction and
to set forth the advantages of fe-
male Education."
PRINTING
LOWEST PRICES
PROGRAMS, BIDS, STATIONERY
THE ATHENS PRESS
Downtown. North of Posto fice

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