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January 09, 1938 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1938-01-09

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PAGE EiGHT T HE MICHIGAN DAILY
.IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS

SUNI AV JAN. 91 1'.MR5

THES Iuthor, Photographer,
-TPortray Its Decadence
By DISRAELI of sharp reality to those who have isfied with less from his works. It is
YOU HAVE SEEN THEIR FACES, by been able only to hear and read in: dangerous to have a dissatisfied white
Erskine Caldwell and Margaret half-belief of poverty worse than man on the land and therefore he!
Bourke-White, Modern Age Books, x mere hunger poverty. Each photo- must get off. So, slowly he is being
New York. 75 cents. graph does what a novelist would re- forced to find another place to settle

WOODCUTS
Lynd Ward's Newest
Novel Is Story
Of Crash
By FRANCES CARNEY
VERTIGO. A novel in wood-cuts. By
Lynd Ward. New York: Random
House. $3.

quire a chapter building up to, the!
As we prepared to review this book gaudy patent medicine signs slapped,
we read that Senator Borah, the all over the niggers' shacks, the sick
eloquent liberal, has joined in the eyes, the lolling empty stoop of chron-
fight against the anti-lynching bill ic malaria and the close to the bone
announcing as he signs up that the face that has fought and struggled
bill "rests on the theory that the with a soil that makes no promises for
people in our southern states are un- a better future. There are faces of
willing or unfit, to maintain the or- people who own nothing and never
dinary principlestof self government." will own anything and who-don't care
He also says that it is a "blow at the about owning anything. Many of the
heart of local self-governments." Elo- faces are dark with distrust, some
quent the senator must have been, mere blanks, and in a few there is a
but, we feel sure, no more eloquent peculiar, clean sort of look that may
than the fine photography that Miss in some way be pride in the struggle.
Bourke-White offers as evidence that Mr. Caldwell speaks a little of this
the American South holds in its dry- pride in his part of the book, his part
ing, wornout bosom one of the most being the synthesis of the impres-
degenerate agricultural civilizations sions gained in the trip. He talks of
of modern times. Such a statement the devotion to cotton as the crop of
does not give undue importance to the South, and the disgrace atten-
the book, for In the past three or four dant upon throwing it over for any-
years since Mr. Caldwell's novel "To- thing like diversified farming. The
bacco Road" took to the stage, the lot continuous growing of cotton has ex-
of the sharecropper and the tenant hausted a none-too-rich soil and
farmer has been a feature story in cost puts fertilizer far out of the
most of the country's better news- reach of most of these sub-marginal
papers. It has been generally recog- farmers. Mr. Caldwell does not do
nized as one of the biggest material as well in his part of the bargain as
problems of the nation. And "You Miss Bourke-White, however. He
Have Seen Their Faces" does a bet- seems to chafe at being bound to
ter job of telling why than any Sun- straight prose and seems to miss the
day supplement story could possibly freedom of fictional prose. He makes,
do. however, a thesis that absentee own-

l in an area where there isn't any-

I

thing to settle on. Already families!
have taken to the road in mulehauled,
or even handhauled, wagons. And the

Short Story By Michigan Student1
Is Included In Latest 'Signatures'
By JOSEPH GIES Love," is also of the "incident" type.
Its keynote is not tragedy, but poig-
SIGNATURES, WORK IN PRO-'nancy, the lovenof two people and the
GRESS, Number Three, Winter, cold terror one of them feels when the
1937-38. Edited by John H. Thomp- other does not return promptly from
son and John M. Brinnin. Detroit. a trivial errand. The language of the
75 cents. story is admirably fitted in its sim-
The third issue of the first volume plicity to the basic nature of the
of Signatures contains more of the theme.
work of already established authors A chapter from a first novel by
than have previous numbers, and Kenneth Fearing, whose two volumes
more complete stories, and thereby of poetry have established his repu-
loses something of its peculiar value tation in that field, describes in first
as a publication. The writing itgelf, person a stick-up of a little uptown
however, is of a high calibre; several New York bar It is notable in par-

Hanley. a young English novelist, to
be called "Soldiers Wind." Somewhat
analagous to it in style, though not
in content, is a chapter from Fred-
eric Prokosch's- Harper prize novel.
"The Seven Who Fled."
The poem to a novel about Detroit
by Leslie Sellers, shows some talent,
but, incomplete as it is, can hardly
be commented upon.
Several poems, all in free verse, of
which Martha Millet's "No Dedica-
tion" is the strongest expression, and
two brilliant literary essays by Gran-
ville Hicks and Newton Arvin, an
Samuel Butler and Walt Whitman
respectively, round out the collec-
tion.

Negro is steadily settling into a baser Vertigo, although hardly a novelty,
slavery than before the Civil War- since it is the fourth in a series of
not a possession now, but just a less novels in woodcuts by Mr. Ward, pre-
brainy fellowman who is very much
afraid of a homemade hangman's ents a neat problem in aesthetics,
noose in the hands of deposed and re- uniting two art forms to produce a
sentful white farmers. - peculiar hybrid.
heu photorars arewellc Through the medium of woodcuts.
Thnewpthuota osfromechat-with the only words an occasional
tioned with quotations from the chats title is told the story of the years
Mr. Caldwell had with the people and from 1929 to 1935, as they are reflect-
throughout the short text are longer ed in the lives of three people, a girl,
statements from sharecroppers, plan- an elderly gentleman, and a boy. The
tation managers and landowners. picture is one of confusion and fus-
These more than Mr. Caldwdll tell tration and injustice: a strike brutally
the story along with the picture, and suppressed, unemployment; and the
are a convincing enough social docu- personal tragedies resulting from!
ment in themselves If such extreme poverty and lack of opportunity. The
poverty over-runs the South and ed- girl wants to be a violinist, the boy.
ucation is curtailed because there are an engineer. But the girl's father
not enough clothes to go around for loses his job, and subsequently his
children to go to school; if a grow- eyesight in an attempt at suicide;
ing majority of the white population the boy has to leave town and is un-
are being forced out of productive able to get work. The girl has to
work and another and lower Negro pawn her violin, she and her father
slave economy being forced in by the are evicted, and they go on relief.
minority which owns the land; then The elderly gentleman, a semi-invalid
we wonder if somewhere along the closely resembling the late John D.
line, a "blow at the heart of local Rockefeller, spends his money on art,
self-government" isn't just what is Thanksgiving baskets, and monu-
needed. ments to the war dead; but is head
of the corporation which discharges
the girl's father and responsible for
A J ustice Who Gave the violent breaking of the strike.'
Victoria Advice One wonders whether the combina-
tion of the wood-cut and the novel
can be as effective as either of its
Judge Pierre Crabites, special lec~ parent arts. On the one hand there
turer in law at the Law School of is the danger of degeneration into a
the University of Louisiana, offers the mere series of illustrations with the
interesting observation in his book, value of the single picture as a pic-
"Victoria's lardian Angel," that ture sacrificed to the story. On the
Baron Stockman, who hammered into other there is the possibility of lack
of continuity and clearness in the
England's sturdiest queen "the moral narrative. Whether a novel in wood-
dignity" of the Court, was personally cuts, however excellent, could compete
neither a prude nor a hypocrite" but on equal ground with either a nove'
"fixed the line of conduct for which or a series of wood-cuts per se is
he ougt s teacousy bcaue h Sdoubtful; the purposes of the two
he fought so tenaciously because he i arts are too different to be reconciled
considered it good politics. without some loss either for the novel
"He felt," remarks Judge Crabites, or the wood-cut.

J
trt
l

of the stories are minor masterpieces.
Of especial interest is the short;
story of Harry Purdy, Michigan stu-
dent. The story is a presentation of
the sex problem on campus, and will
doubtless evoke varying reactions
from readers. It is not a pretty pic-
ture, and it may be accused of being
an unduly overdrawn one, but it is not
a false one. The individual with whose
psychology the story is concerned is
an extreme, not an exaggerated case.
The writing style is for the most part
direct and free of superfluity.
Of the work by better known writ-
ers, an incident of the Bering Sea
fishing fleet, told by Grace Lumpkin,
and a story by Erskine Caldwell are
outstanding. "The Dory," Miss Lump-
kin's tale of a fisherman swept out to
sea by a sudden wind, past his help-
less comrades on the schooner, is a
quickly told little tragedy, simple,
dry-eyed and stark. Two other men'
had committed suicide during the
six weeks' voyage of the ship, one
from loneliness, the other from physi-
cal pain, the captain deeming it im-
possible to return to port until the
cruise is finished. Three lives-all
^or a few fish.
Mr. Caldwell's story, "The Only)
ly gentleman is president of the same
corporation from which the girl's fa-
ther is discharged.
Probably there is no danger of ah
vogue of novels in wood-cuts; but,
aside from its interest as a curiosity,
no one can deny that Vertigo is a
powerful book.

ticular for a strikingly authentic di-
aldoue, the sort of realistic everyday
conversation that somehow holds a
peculiar fascination from its very
commonplaceness, if there is such a
word.
Leane Zugsmith's short story,
"One of the Two," a study of the psy-
chology of an unmarried woman liv-
ing in what is conventionally called
sin, is neither especially fresh-sound-
ing, nor absolutely convincing.
A longish excerpt from a novel in
progress by Waldo Frank, called
"Prelude to War (1914)" is rather te-
dious. Mr. Frank possesses vocabu-
lary and imagination, but lacks the
writing instinct so apparent in the
work of Miss Lumpkin and Mr. Fear-
ing. He also gives the impression of
being an already fully-developed
writer.
aySherwood Anderson is represented
by a human interest yarn of a Joe
Louis fight audience, a sympathetic
and appealing picture of the gallery
fans, the Negro and white backers of
"The Brown Boomer" as Anderson
calls him, although insthensports
pages the appellation customarily ap-
pears as "Bomber."I
An excerpt from "Pink and Blue!
Sky," a forthcoming first novel byl
Robert O. Erisman, shows consider-
able facility in detailed description,
and particularly an ability to convey
an atmosphere.
One of the most intriguing pieces
of writing in the group is an excerpt
from a novel being written by James

Special Dry Skin
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818 SOUTH STATE

N

In the tar paper shacks that are ---
spread over this area they set up their
cameras and photoflash bulbs, and Mo re On Mu ssolIin i
while Mr. Caldwell sat talking with "
the people, Miss Bourke-White wait- "The Plough and the Sword, Labor,
ed. When the conversation drew the Land and Property in Fascist Italy,"
struggle-worn features of the men oy Carl T. Schmidt, will be published
and women of the South into the ex- next week.
act expression best. descriptive of It is said to contain a number of
their position, the camera went to important facts about the domain of
work. Il Duce which have not previously
The result has been the bringing been brought to light.

"I

"that Englishmen are congenital
hypocrites and that by burning in-
cense to virtue a Sovereign could win
a place in their hearts. And he urged
that any trifling with their sense of!
propriety would bring' about disaster."
Judge Crabites gives the Baron full
credit in his book for making "a
strong minded, self-centered woman
perceive that if the people had any
doubts about the rectitude of the
private lives of the Sovereign the days
f Monarchy were over. The fact'
that he based his advice entirely upon
grounds of expediency, rather than
upon principles of ethics, may dis-
please some of my readers," says the
Judge. "However, to my mind, it be-
speaks the broadness of his states-
manship.... He Was bent upon ac-
complishing results. He spoke theI
language which was most suitable to
his purpose."

Vertigo, however, strikes as near a
perfect balance between the two el.-
ements as one could wish. Each pic-
ture is interesting in itself, in line and
composition, boldly drawn, with a
kind of grim beauty. While it is es-
sentially an illustration, it is not slav-
ishly realistic. The stories of the three
are told simply but in such a way as
to make them seem tremendously
real and moving, and at the same
time to make one sense the forces
which shape them. The characters
are vividly portrayed, even the minor
ones: the servant of the elderly gen-
tleman, the girl's father, the man
whom the boy almost holds up. The
book deserves at least one rereading
(if one can call it that), which brings
out more clearly details not noticed
!or not understood on first inspectior
-elements of irony: the commence-
ment address, the fact that the elder-

HATS THAT ARE D I FFERENT
Black ... Brown.. ..Navy
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McK2NSEY HAT SHOP
227 SOUTH STATE STREET PHONE 2-1416
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Read The Daily Classifieds

f

For Information -Call MISS JONES at 2-3241

1 /
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SKATING OUTFIT
Priced at
$495
Two-color brown and black shoe with
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Tublar hockey skate with extra hard
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WOMEN'S SKATES
$4.25 up
F R E E five shorpenings with the purchase
of each skating outfit.
A COMPLETE STOCK OF C.C.M. SKATES

Seeks Campus Candid Opinon on a Vital Question

Question: Where may one obtain the
best quality in photographic supplies?

a
BILL SCOOP:
I buy all my equipment at
F. & B. - good equipment
means good pictures.

r

-. .
_ . f"
-, 4 .
M t //
..,,,

'U ,
MISS SALLY CANDID:
For indoor shots F. & B. has

SIS SCOOP:
My brother knows best
he forgot to mention the
quality developing done
F. & B.

but
fine
by

ls

the correct film and best
veloping I've found yet.

de-

GEO. J. MOE

FRANCISCO & BOYCE
Since 1905

oi

SPORT SHOPS
711 North University

902 South State

723 North University

221 South Fourth

(1

h

1r' 4
I' ' ' r . I I ' ,

Hoping
To See ou

11

to see you

Ii

,MF

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