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January 22, 1939 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1939-01-22

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i.V, IN., B.






_. _



Produces A Devastating
Analysis Of Dictatorship .. .

by I;. o Silone. Translated from
the :~. '.n by Gwenda David and
Eric M1: 'acher, Harpers, New York

Silor e west book is the cleverest
and m,: tntertaining piece of writ-
ing thc't t. have s1 far read on the
subject o ictatorship, and consider-
ing tht .ame of material that has
fallen in :_r this heading in the past
few year that is saying something.
Silo: e t isn't discussdictatorship;
he dissec it; and though his satire
is bril .iht, his analysis is coldly
critical. ',What the book constitutes
chiefly is a study of the folklore of
fascisrr. ir more thoroughly than
one wcvtw,. cxpect in 336 pages, Silone
probes ppychology of the leader,
the ci. tstances which give rise to
fascism., 't:( iideology of fascist move-
ments. tt: relation of social and
econoricc orces to fascism, tech-
niques of ascist propaganda, fascist
party ro ,' cs and many other mat-
ters. Eu t.1e most important thing
about tc )ook is not what it says,
for I doeu: if there is anything abso-
lutely crn iial in it, but rather how
it is said Other writers on fascism
may be eperts; Silone is an artist.
clsists Of Dialogues
Struct u' ly, the book consists of
a series .dialogues, or trialogues if
there is , -A a word, among three
men; M ,V., the future dictator of
America ;ofessor Pickup, his advi-
ser; and 'i mas the Cynic, an exiled
intelleci;L l i.e., Silone himself. The
scene is >vitzerland, where the Cynic
lives ai±t hich the other two are
passing _W ough in the course of a
secret tc : of Europe undertaken to.
study t .x 4echniques of dictatorship
at first :iid. Professor Pickup acts
as a so of straw man in the con-
versatio a constantly setting up
tenets } fascist orthodoxy for
Thomas to kock down. Both utilize
abunda;i.t quotatioris from fascist
texts; E i e, who is something of a
scholar, of.arly ,knows his subject
backwa and forwards.
Per o:tal Traits Important
The 1 sor al qualifications of the
fascist dictator, Silone holds, are,
most ini m rtant for his individual
success. .3- must be first of all ab-
solutely t rt on gaining power and
have n ot icr strong interest in life.
He must lhv been frustrated in the
ambitio.' f his youth, and he must
possess : ;lit personality which en-;
ables hir o be thoroughly, sincerely
insincere id hypocritical. Any weak-;
ness dr a c his struggle for power
may com tmin his chance for dicta-
torship. 'T is is not to say that the
imperfei;ie ns of the leader will
wreck :e fascist movement, how-
ever, fo: iat is solidly founded on
the soc 1chaos of a declining eco-
nomic ssi M. "The birth of fascism,"
the cync , ys, "presupposses the fol
lowing ;- oiltions: in the first placeI
the state i .ust be in a state of crisis,
that is to ay, radical social changesj
must he ve taken place which are ut-I
terly irroc ,ncilable with the old po-
litical s:r.t 'm; in the second place the
crisis o t e state must be of such1
4a natur ' a; to be of most immediate
-benefit too ne Socialist movement, toa
whi h e nasses must be irresistiblyc
drawn, fe ing it to be the only
movem ni capable of creating a new
world; n the third place the Social-
ists, w n confronted with their re-
sponsib itis, must turn out to be
utterly in dequate to the arduous
task befork them and do nothing but'
increase the general confusion, com-
pletely 'ailing to fulfill the hopes re-
posed in them. When these three con-
ditions are fulfilled Fascism appears{
on the .i ne as tertius gaudens, the

interloper who steals the plum. Un-
less its leader is a complete idiot, its
prospects are excellent."
Mr. W. then asks why it is that
the failure of socialism does not help
democracy instead of fascism, and
the reply of the Cynic to this ques-
tion is both enlightening and inspir-
ing. Victory of fascism over' demo-
cracy, he says, does not mean that
the democratic idea is exploded. Even
if. fascism is established in the coun-
tries with long-standing democratic
traditions, "it will only mean the po-
litical defeat of one definite historical
form of democracy. I believe the
democratic idea will survive all the
political forms with which it has so
far been identified. The difference,
between the democrats of the present'
day and their ancestors, who fought
in past centuries for popular liberties,
for equality before the law, for po-
litical liberties, and risked their lives
on the barricades, in civil wars and
wars of independence, is very great
indeed, and it has nothing whatever
to do with individual psychological

properties . .. the democrats of the
present day no longer have an ideal
to realize. They are traditionalists,
conservatives. They live on the yield
of their ancestors' conquests. A class
in the ascendant, a class fulfilling a
revolutionary function, increases the
;stature of its representatives, gives
them the preeminence of Cromwell,
Jefferson, Mazzini, Lenin. But a
democracy in decline, maintaining
itself by compromises and retreats,
[:can only be represented by such peo-
ple as Giolitti, Bruening, Laval,
Chamberlain; and it is to be feared
that the more time passes the steeper
is the decline . . . the leaders of!
European democracy show all the
characterictic signs of a political
class that has exhausted its mission."
This is Slione's message. It is, as
I indicated before, not startlingly
new. It falls into place beautifully,
however, with the analysis of the1
roots of dictatorship in the economic,
social and psychological instability
of our times which comprises the!
material of the books.

----------- to the Pacific Coast. The last offer I
had of a review of Gone With The
Ex Libris Wind was in November.
Some of the books reviewed here
are the gifts of publishing companies.
By JOSEPH GIES These institutions on the whole, how-
-I ever, are decidedly snug with their
The difficulties of getting books re- property when it comes to publica-
tions the size of the Daily, and gen-
viewed on time for this page have erally send only their weaker items,
been getting on the book editor's forcing this department to fall back
nerves lately. Even if rlobody does on various other methods of obtain-
read them, I still like to have at least ing books. These include practically
a couple of them appear every week, everything short of stealing.
and the new low reached by today's
page is definitely discouraging. The Well, maybe better luck after ex
only excuse I can offer is the one that
has been offered to me for the past
fortnight: that exams are coming.
Possibly the studies which prevent
my reviewers from writing reviews
will also operate to keep readers from
noticing their absence.
When I first became editor of this
page a couple of years ago most of
the reviews were being written by
faculty members. This seemed to me
to be a slightly anomalous situa-
tion, for the Daily is after all a stu-
dent newspaper; so I have gradually
eliminated faculty-written material. NEWS FLASH FROM NEW
The quality of the reviews has na- YORK: Mrs. Dillon of the DILLON
turally fallen off as a result, but up SHOP is in New York picking out
to now I always consoled myself with the latest in formals
the thought that at least ,the student so that you will be
reviewers didn't call up at noon Sat- the 1939 Fashion
urday to say they wouldn't be able to Parade at the J-
get their copy in for this week, as the Hop. She has sent
faculty men used to have a deplorable /back some of the
habit of doing. But now this regret- new models already
table tendency has appeared among and here they are:
the student reviewers.- - A floating marquis-


V. F. Calverton Sees Optimistic
Trend In Modern Literature

The tradition of optimism and faith
in the future of America expressed in
the writings of Emerson and Whit-
man has evolved into the modern
trend toward Socialism in literature
C. F. Calverton, editor of Modern
Monthly told a meeting sonsored by
the Young People's Socialist League
yesterday at the 'Union.
The Romantic pe ilod in America is
notable for its lesser pdets such as
Lowell and Longfellow whom Mr.
Calverton characterized as sixty-
third and eighty-second rate poets
respectively. Mr. Calverton was of
the opinion that the most important.
productions of the Romantic period
were Whitman and Melville. The
writers of this period composed "per-
haps the most optimistic literature
the world has ever known," he added.
All were imbued with the dream of
the West.
Calverton compared this period in
American literature with the period
following the Revolution in Russia.
The faith and hope of Russian writ-
ers in Communism are expressed in
their literature, art and cinema
achievements, he said.
In America the Romantic era of
achievement and hope was over-
whelmed by the' disillusionment and
hopelessness which followed the Civil
War period, he said. The glowing
pictures of the West were shattered
by the realistic school of writers who
described the West as it had become
with the predatory methods of big
business. Frank Norris, in Octopus,
which Mr. Calverton termed "the
first authentic and well thought out
picture of what had happened to
America," was to literature what
Bryan was to politics in the '90s,
Mr. Calverton said.
The trend toward Socialism in3lit-'
erature was first expressed in the
opinion of Calverton in the early

writings of William Dean Howells.
Another tendency at this time was
toward what Calverton called ur-
banized realism. Theodore Dreiser
interpreted this trend in his writ-
ings. The disillusionment and pessi-
mism of American thought is also re-
flected by Thomas Wolfe, Sherwood
Anderson and Eugene O'Neill, he said.
The depression, he said, forced
American writers to take stock of
themselves. This "re-inver tory," he1
added, }has resulted in a strong So-
cialist trend on the part of many writ-
ers best exemplified by Clifford Odets'
tendency on the,stage. This "rebirth"
Calverton concluded, is a continuation
of the tradition of the great writers
of the nineteenth century with its
emphasis on group salvation.
Fill Yacancies
New Members Accepted'
By Two Houses
The Girls Cooperative and Roch-
dale Houses last week admitted four
and three members respectively to fill
the vacancies to be created. next
Those admitted to the Girls' Co-op
are Ruth Wellington, '40, Helen Cor-
man, '41, Marion Lendred, '42 and
Genevieve Wood, '40. Boarding
members will be chosen next week.
Raymond Otis, '42, George Baum-
garten, '42E, and Alex Shulman,
Grad., were chosen for membership
in the Rochdale house.
The cooperative houses are run ac-
cording to the Rochdale principles
which include democracy, one mem-
ber one vote, and no discrimination
on racial, religious or political

The iay observer might think that
nothing would be easier than getting
three or four book reviews together
every week from a campus as large
and literate as this one. On the con-
trary, however, such is not the case by
any means. Nearly every week some-
one asks me if I want a review of some
book which appeared on the market
10 or 12 months previously. Seldom,
however, does anyone offer to review
a book which has not already been
through the best seller hit -parade
and pronounced fine or terrible by
every book critic from Harry Hansen;
Why Carry Your
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Taffetas that look like Dresden
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and a real fore-runner of spring,
Navy marquisette with tiny peter
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filmy white lingerie trimmed lace.
Many more will be here before this
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J-Hop means splendor from tip
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for Passing Exams .. .

Kern. Estimates given cheerfully. See Tom Harmon
a of phone-
National Bank Building Phone 7900
t c::=> (sOc c0C=> (QO O

ac fresh, clean, cornfor table

111 artlett & Robertson



-Boston Transcript



8:30 P.M.

;{ L
$ it

is conducive to careful
No extra charge for twenty-four-
hour service .

lounging robe

or pajamas

in Hill Auditorium
Taking the place of Budapest Chorus-
Please use Coupon No. 7.


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