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March 22, 1936 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1936-03-22

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

SUJNbAi, MAIWi , 93

IN

TH-EE

WORLD

O F

B O O KS

H.

G.

Wells' Scenario Fantasy

STERN: Chats And Scintillates In
.Her Autobiography

Not So Success
By KENNETH PARKER
Herbert George Wells, prophet of
a sort, declared some seven years ago
in his book The King Who Was a
King that the movies are destined to
become our greatest art form and
that, as result, we are due to see
the development of a new literary
medium, the "film treatment," a
"literary collateral of the stage or the,
novel." Wells is anticipating such a
development in giving the reading
public another of his modified scenar-
ios in Man Who Could Work Miracles,
an expansion of the short story of
that title.
Having learned something of the
craft of the script writer while work-
ing with Alexander Korda, of Lon-
don Film Productions, in the filming
of Things To Come, Wells has ap-
parently decided to take up in earnest
the writing of non-technical sce-
narios, intending them for general
consumption. The work in hand pre-
sages more of its type to come.
Man Who Could Work Miracles is
a strange offering.', Not only does it
involve a peculiar form of presenta-
tion but also a fantastic situation,
which is not tied up with reality as
effectively as it is in the original
story. The combined factors serve to
defeat the humorous effect intended,
although the work is not without its
bright moments.
George McWhirter Fotheringay,k
supposedly an average individual, but
judged by American standards, a
mental entity even below that level,
is given the power to work miracles -
even as he is arguing against mira-
cles one night in the bar of the
Long Dragon Inn in the English
country town of Dewhinton. Not,
knowing that the power has been
given him by the Player, one of three
imagined Elemental Powers who are
curious to see the outcome of such
a gift, Fotheringay attempts to prove
to one Toddy Beamish that miracles
are impossible by commanding the
lamp in the bar to burn "upsy-down"
-which it does.
After experimenting with this new

sful

As

Original

TODAY'S BOOKS
MONOGRAM by G. B. Stern.
Macmillan,$2.50. Autobiographical
reminiscences.
TAKE ALL TO NEBRASKA.
By Sophus Keith Winter. Macmil-
lan $2.50. A novel of farm life.

ALUMNUS WRITES NEW BOOK
Arthur Pound, well-known writer
and graduate of Michigan, is the au-
thor of a new book, comprising his
recent series of articles in the At-
lantic Monthly. The articles, each
covering a large American corpora-
tion are the result of his thirty

MONOGRAM, By G. B. Stern.
Macmillan. $2.50.
By DOROTHY GIES
THERE are all too few books in theI
world that one can open to abso-
lutely any page, and read backwards
or forwards or skipping with equal
pleasure. G. B. Stern's pseudo-auto-
biography is that kind, and certainly
one of the most delicious pot-pourris
of reminiscence, comment and phi-'
losophy to bubble upon the literary
horizon in many years.
In these days of the blood-sweat-
ing school of prose, when writers even
of comic strips have to get horribly!
intense about everything, what balm
to the cauterized reader is a leisurely
personality like Miss Stern's. Spiri-
tually kin to the eighteenth century,
with its lost art of letter-writing and
its easy, rambling conversational es-
says, Miss Stern's book likewise is one
long series of digressions, so sprightly,'
so urbane, so engaging one is com-
pletely won by her wanderings.
To mention in the next sentence
a whiff of Gertrude Stein and a dash
of William James seems quite incon-
gruous, to be sure, but curiously
enough the book suggests both of'
these, depending for its construction,
or rather its formlessness, on pro-
cesses of association, related in many
ways to automatic writing. But G.
Stern has charm where G. Stein has
not.
Miss Stern has determined to avoidi
the pitfalls of formal biography,
"dullness, crowding, bad taste, anec-
dotes, a cargo of I's, whimsicality,
and over-intimacy." So her method
is simply to choose at random three
objects in her room - a little blue

glass dragon, a bit of the Grand Can-
yon, and a picture found in a rubbish
heap at a French villa - and with
these as stimuli, to follow where her
train of thought and memory leads.
The net result is the distillation of
a vivid and mercurial personality
through a kaleidoscope of events.
Peter Pannery, vicious obsession of
the Englishman, Queen Victoria's fu-
neral, cakewalks, torch songs, her
great aunt, heroine of The Matriarch
novel, the Marx Brothers - all receive
brief and scintillating comment. Na-
turally the difficulty of so haphazard
a method is that half one's reminis-
acrag may be irrelevant and uninter-
esting to the reader. Miss Stern
shows a fastidious taste in selection
and is never once guilty of the cap-
ital crime of dullness. Particularly
intriguing are her paragraphs about
the theatre -Noel Coward conceiv-
ing Cavalcade, the Christmas panto-
mimes of another decade, the first
night of Journey's End in Berlin, and
her close acquaintance with brilliant
actors. When she dissects the Elsie
Dinsmore books in the light of Freud
and discloses a ghastly Oedipus com-
plex in that saintly heroine the result
,is hilarious.
Concerning Miss Stern herself, one
gets the image of an Ina Clairish lady
with a gift for banter, who has seen
sunsets on every continent and lived
all in all, a life of delightful levity.
But the book is not all froth and
no beer. There are pages of bril-
liant description, of subtle under-
standing and mature wisdom. Thus
she shrewdly declares of the elder
Marx: "Groucho sums up our spe-
cial pride in being children of the
Twentieth Century; he gives us an
effect of swift logic, decisive action,

THE LOST GENERATION by Max- years' observation of the evolution of
ine Davis. Macmillan. $2.50. American business.
A study of youth and the depression. -
PLAYS OF CHANGING IRELAND. been sold in this country in the last
Edited by Curtis Canfield. Macmil- I forty years. From the same source
lan. $3.50. Irish drama of the past comes the information that the sale
decade. of Somerset Maugham's Of Human
PUBLIC SPEECH by Archibald Mac- Bondage is approaching the 2,000,000
leish. Farrar and Rinehart. $7.50. mar.

Poems
dor in

by the author of Conquista-
a signed limited edition.

H. G. WELLS
power in a harmless sort of way
Fotheringay eventually comes to re-
alize his potentialities. But being a
humble man, he goes to his employer,
Mr. Grigsby, to Mr. Bampfylde, the
village banker, and to the Reverend
Silas Maydig for advice. After being
convinced of his power, these gentle-
men give him plenty of advice, but
of conflicting sorts, so that he finally
perceives that he must act according
to his own principles. He does, and
therein lies the climax of they story.
Throughout there is a feeling of
conflict between fantasy and reality
to a degree which is not present in
the original short story, a tale which
is delightful because such incidents
as the sending of the village police-
man to Hades and then to San Fran-
cisco are left to the imagination of
the reader and not further exploited.
On the whole, the touch in the adap-
tation is heavy, sometimes degenerat-
ing to slapstick; and we must say
that the "film treatment" is an art
form which has its limitations.

Marcel Maurel3
G. B. STERN
author of
"Monogram", "The Matriarch", etc.
(Macmillan)
ruthless efficiency, hundred-per-cent
organization, and the result non-
sense."
Possibly that too is the character-
istic fault of contemporary literature.
At any rate you will find a thor-
oughly delightful oasis in MONO-
GRAM.
BEST SELLERS OF THE WEEK
THE LAST PURITAN by George
Santayana. Scribner's. $2.75.
WHY KEEP THEM ALIVE by Paul
de Kruif. Harcourt. $3.00.
THE EXILE by Pearl Buck. Reynal
(AP) Hitchcock. $2.50.
THE HURRICANE by Nordhoff
and Hall. Little Brown. $2.50.
ALMA MATER by Henry Seidel
Canby. Farrar & Rinehart. $2.50.

Doubleday Doran report that Rud-
yard Kipling left an estate of more
than $3,000,000, and that a total of
3,500,000 volumes of his works have

I

Engraved $
Cards & Plaes.
THE ATHENS PRESS
Printers
City's Lowest Prices on Printing.
308 North Main Street - Dial 2-1013

Former Student's Adventures
With Mr. Punch Recommended

r

I1

TYPEWRITERS
A Few Good Used Ones
For Sale or For Rent
ULRICH'S BOOKSTORE

oil

By JOSEPH S. MATTES I
FORMAN BROWN: Punch's Progress
MacMillan: $2.
Punch's Progress - from Ann Ar-
bor to Hollywood, from Natural
Science Auditorium to the screen.
Sixteen years ago this Mr. Punch
was first created after Forman Brown,'
then a student and later an English
instructor here, and Harry Burnett,
his roommate, saw their first mar-
ionette in "Natural Science Audi-
torium - as unlikely a theatre as
could well have been found." Then
and there developed an almost fath-
erly love for Mr. Punch, a growing
disease, the author calls it, that has
always been incurable for him, and
probably always will be.
There followed for Messrs. Brown
and Burnett college summers of tour-
ing Michigan in a Ford of ancient
vintage, displaying Mr. Punch to
Michiganders from Charlevoix to well
south of Ann Arbor, from Ann Arbor
to Lake Michigan-then, upon grad-
uation, New England, where "hick"

I

I

umims

ammmmem

aI

1

BOOKS OF REFERENCE
for all
BRANCHES OF ENGINEERING
BOUCHARD: SURVEYING ..... . ............. . .............. ...... . $3.75
ALLEN: RAILWAY CURVES AND EARTHWORKS WITH TABLES........ 4.00
MERRIMAN & WIGGINS: AMERICAN CIVIL ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK..... 8.00
KING: HANDBOOK OF HYDRAULICS................................... 4.00
WALKER & CROCKER: PIPING HANDBOOK ............................. 5.00
WEBB: RAILROAD CONSTRUCTION TEXTBOOK WITH TABLES........ 6.00
O'ROURKE: GENERAL ENGINEERING HANDBOOK .................... 4.00
BLANCHARD: AMERICAN HIGHWAY ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK........ 6.00
MACHINERY HANDBOOK .............................................. 6.00
KENT: MECHANICAL ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK... .......................6.00
MARKS: MECHANICAL ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK ...................... 7.00
COLVIN & STANLEY: AMERICAN MACHINISTS' HANDBOOK............ 4.00
SMALLWOOD: MECHANICAL LABORATORY METHODS . . ..............3.50
STANDARD HANDBOOK FOR ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS................. 7.00
WARNER & JOHNSON: AVIATION HANDBOOK .......................... 7.50
COLVIN & COLVIN: AIRCRAFT HANDBOOK. .................. 4.00
HENNEY: RADIO ENGINEERING HANDBOOK ........................... 5.00
HUDSON: THE ENGINEERS' MANUAL ................................... 2.75
HUDSON-LIPKA : MANUAL OF MATHEMATICS........................ 1.50
KIDDER & PARKER: ARCHITECTS' AND BUILDERS' HANDBOOK.......8.00
HOOL & JOHNSON: CONCRETE ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK .............. 6.00
HOOL & JOHNSON: HANDBOOK BUILDING CONSTRUCTION, 2 vols......10.00
HODGMAN: HANDBOOK OF CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS...............3.00
PERRY: CHEMICAL ENGINEERS' HANDBOOK .......................... 6.75
INSKIP: TABLES OF SQUARES AND LOGARITHMS.....................4.50
INSKIP: TABLES OF SQUARES (New Arrangement) .....................5.00
INSKIP: TABLE OF GRADIENTS ........................................ 3.00

town inhabitants and vacationing J
millionaires enjoyed Mr. Punch f
equally.
Then the Yale Puppeteers - they X
picked this name up by virtue ofX
Harry attending dramatic school at
Yale; they should be, I think, the
Michigan Puppeteers - started tak-
ing Mr.' Punch on extensive tours:
through the East, southward, stop-
ping here and there, to Florida, the
Middle West, and finally to Califor-
nia by way of the Southwest. In
Hollywood a theatre is acquired; the
greats of Hollywood meet Mr. Punch
of the wooden head, and give rise to
many an amusing tale. But the
wanderlust is too strong and so back
to New York where an ambition of
long standing is satisfied-to estab-
lish a permanent marionette theatre
in America's largest city.1
After success in New York they va-
cationed a while, then were called to
Hollywood to help in the production
of a picture. I
Whether you are interested in pup-
peteers or no, whether you have ever
seen a marionette or no, you will
probably enjoy Punch's Progress to
the utmost, because, essentially, it
is adventure. Nothing of the me-
chanics, history or technique of pup-
petry is contained, giving it a lightT
ness that is delightful.
Brown's ability of expression is not
too often equalled. He has a lively
vocabulary, words, as Stanley Walk-
er's saying goes, that "swim and cut
and slap and dance." Whatever he
is describing, his lovable puppets, a
movie ' actress, a Babbitish junior
leaguer, or beautiful scenery, each
sentence is compact and clear.
Next to his excellent expression,
probably what makes the book so in-
teresting is his intense love of pup-
petry. His enthusiasm for the little
wooden men is carried into his trav-
els and it is contagious; not that you
fall in love with marionettes, but
rather you are interested in and ad-
mire this man Brown and all his en-
thusiasm, his light and adventurous'
spirit.
Once in his early days of puppeteer-
ing, he scribbled a sonnet which
translates somewhat his love for pup-
pets:
I have played God, stood balancing
above
"the yellow glare of lights and pulled
the string
"that make alive the tiny wooden
things
and felt not mercy, kindliness, or
love,
"but only aching fingers, eyes that
strain
"to make the puppet pass across the
stage
"and simulate the human heritage
"of pleasure that is masquerading
pain.
"Some day I shall not make them act
like men.
"I shall be God indeed, and shall not

WAR SURGEON WRITES
A hitherto unexploited field of war
reminiscence will be covered by Dr.
Harvey Cushing's From A Surgeon's
Journal: 1915-1918. Depicting faith-
ully the experiences of a medical
man in the War, the book is to be
profusely illustrated with startling
photographs.

I.

LW

1.

Something New
For The 1936'
Junior Girls Play

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