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May 26, 1940 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-05-26

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Ma~f~1tC M

An ** +i I& r v d-N ** Ir -4-4 -,A -&,-r -9-IL , * A -W

P11I ICHIGAIN DAIL~Y
IN THE WOjRLD OF BOOKS

SUNDAYMAY 20, 1940

Foetry uroup
Given Prize
In Competition
Brinnin Also Honored
By College Poetry
Society Of America
The University Chapter of the Col-
lege Poetry Society of America has
been awarded one of the Society's
Louise Laidlaw Chapter money awards
as one of the two chapters "whose'
members have evidenced most prom-
ise and growth during the year."
John M. Brinnin, '41, president of
the local chapter, was also given the
$25 first prize Emily Dickinson
Award for the two best lyrics in Vol-
ume Nine of the Society's monthly
publication, "College Verse."
This is the first year that the Uni-
versity chapter has been functioning
as a formal organization. At the
present time there are 11 members:
Charles Miller, '41, James Green, '40,
Edwin Burrows, Grad., Chad Walsh,
Grad, June Harris, '40, Nancy Mikel-
son, Frank Conway, '40E, Dorothy
Farnan, '41, Anna La Rue, '42, How-
ard Moss, '43, and Brinnin.
Dr. John Arthos of the English
dcpartment is the faculty adviser.
Every poet is invited to join the chap-
ter, the only criterion being the
quality of his verse.
Two of the group had poems pub-
lished in the April issue of "College
Verse." Selections from Miller's "Ex-
ecutors of Earth," part of the vol-
ume that was awarded a-minor Hop-
wood prize last spring, and six lyrics
by Walsh were printed.
The College Poetry Society num-
bers more than 100 college and uni-
versity chapters. It is sponsored by
Conrad Aiken, William Rose Benet,
Witter Bynner, Arthur Davison Ficke,
Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, Arch-
ibald MacLeish, Margery Mansfield,
Edna St. Vincent Millay, John G.
Neihardt, Jesse B. Rittenhouse, Carl
Sandburg, Lew Sarett, and Lenora
Speyer.

English Author Tells Frank
Love Story In Lucid Terms

Deadline Set

I

For President's'
Books Voting

Mr. Arliss Writes Anecdotal
Account Of Hollywood Life

I

THE BLAZE OF NOON, by Rayner
Heppenstall, New York and Toron-
to, Alliance Book Corporation, 1940.1

across to the reader of this review.
If I'm not, about all I can say is, not
in the commercial plug sense at all,
ao and yet the book. A's nll t~here

By JAY McCORMICK ; to be seen and enjoyed.
Louis Duncan, narrator of this The dominating sense employed in
story, is a blind man. The story is lieu of sight in the book is that of
not of a blind man, it is a simple, touch. Duncan is a masseur. Dun-
a fine and frank love story done as a can needs more women than he
love story should be done, without would if his sight were normal. Dun-
hokum or mush, yet with tenderness. can must grope his way, not awk-
The pattern of the story does not wardly, but he must touch to see. It
matter; it is not a new one, yet it is startling to read along in the book
cannot, because of the treatment Hep- and never realize until something
penstall gives it, be trite. brings it strikingly into prominence
There are three things that make that one of the senses is not employed
the book eminently worth reading. at all in the rich, full sensual ex-
One is the author's style. Another perience described. There's a lot of
is the splendid sensory experience woman chasing, or woman reminis-
arising for the reader out of the high- cing done in the 300-odd pages, but
ly developed four senses of Duncan. I didn't come away with any of the
The third, and perhaps the best as- self-conscious itching of pornography,
pect of the book is that it takes wo- the instinctive sense of guilt raised
men apart, makes them what they in a middle class mind by the nasty
are, yet does not cheapen them, or things of life. It's a sensual experi-
destroy them. ence, the whole novel, but in no
The style is almost classic. It is sense of the expression could it be
exact, grammatical, sometimes too called a dirty book. The philosophy
lucid. The language is never ornate, of the narrator holds the whole thing
there are none of those amateurish very much in check, and allows depth
ventures into the realms of pure without lowness. There's nothing
poesy which so often appear in a work cheap, nothing insincere in the play
of high sensory content, yet there are of Duncan's four senses, and the re-
no passages inarticulate with the lease in that play due to his blind-
forcefully limited vocabulary of cer- ness.
tain moderns who have abandoned I say Heppenstall takes women
accuracy as something too fancy for apart, makes them what they are. I
the real stuff of life. I say too lucid don't mean that he says anything
at times, because even in the han(i; especially new about them; he doesn't,
of Heppenstall some subtleties which but he does, through the experience
must always be more in the mind of and thought of Duncan, reveal four,
the individual author than in the kinds of very true women as just
mass mind of the readers, are left par- what they are. He draws each of
tially stated, and the clarity of a prose these women as a character, not as
style can only arouse at such a point a type, yet when he has got through
the unconscious antagonism of half- there is an impression that each was
satisfaction, the feeling that here is the root type, that in each was to
something beautifully, but not com- be found something deeper than
pletely said. character, or oddness.

i
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MY TEN YEARS IN THE STUDIOS.
There are only six days more in by George Arliss, Little, Brown and
which to vote for books that every Company. Boston. $3.50.
presidential candidate should read
before entering the White House, Col- By CHARLES A. LEAVAY
uinbia University Press warned yes- The 10 years Mr. Arliss refers to in
terday in its weekly release. the title of his new volume of auto-
The release stated that the most biographical notes are those which
striking feature of the balloting thus
far for a curriculum of a "School for followed immediately upon the years
Presidents" has been the variety of he spent coming up from Bloomsbury.
titles, running from "The Grapes of They cover the decade from the sign-
Wrath" to "Alice In Wonderland." ing of his contract with Warner Bro-
In first place with no appreciable! thers in 1928 to the early months of
majority is the Steinbeck novel. Tied 1939 And for
for second are: The Bible, Lewis Car- purposes of accuracy
moll's fantasy, Machiavelli's The a better title would have been My
Prince and Karl Marx's Capital. Ten Years in and Out of the Studios.
Resting in a third-place tie are: While Mr. Arliss does complain that
Thurman Arnold's Folklore of Capi- his life has been one lacking in ex-
talism, Beard's Rise of American Civ- citement and adventure-due un-
ilization and America in Midpassage; doubtedly to a personal distaste for
Bemis' Diplomatic History of the the violence and lack of 'dignity such
United States, Drucker's End of Eco- a life calls for and a firm confidence
nomic Man, Hitler's Mein Kampf, that his one hundred and forty pounds
Plato's Republic, Spengler's Decline makes discretion the better part-he
of the West, and Voltaire's Candide. really means something else. For the
The release also wagged a grave tenor of his writing, which is from
head at the fact that most voters ig- the same bolt as his first autobio-
nored the tradition that all Ameri- graphical stint, Up the Years From
can presidents seek denizens of the Bloomsbury, and which measures
deep in their spare time. some 20 pages longer, is guided by his
Hills Of Kentucky Concern
Jesse Stuart In First Novel

belief that 'what an audience likes
1is domestic details.' The routine of
things! And that is Mr. Arliss' policy.
It amounts to a declaration of his
attitude toward the writing of biog-
raphy.
If you like things in the chatty vein,'
if you enjoy listening to a cultivated
modulation that charms with sim-;
plicity, urbanity, and which moves
so softly in and out of a succession,
of days, gathering new crystallineI
particles on the crust and glittering
with amusing anecdotes and experi-
ence, then you'll like this book. I
did. It is pleasant, gracious, harm-
less, warming, and mellow as an old

and others followed through the
years. And about his work in Holly-
wood and Teddington and Islington,
Mr. Arliss has a good bit to say.
Still it is the routine events that
he is most interested in. And cer-
tainly in a man's autobiography that
is essentially the man. His routine
life! How much truer is it, then, in
the life of a leading man, the star!
You never fail to understand that
Mr. Arliss is his own literary leading
man. He plays down to a minimum
everything that might throw the work
out of balance. His casting of James
Cagney for a minor part, of Bette
Davis when she was quite insignifi-
cant in the industry, of Joseph
Schenck, Darryl Zanuck, Sam Gold-
wyn---all these are mentioned in pass-
ing, mentioned swiftly and noiseless-

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}

grad. One could say without much
risk that Mr. Arliss managed this re-
cent literary effort between sips of+
the inevitable British brew.
The author seems to feel that his;
life as a motion picture actor be-
gan in 1928 when he permitted War-
ner Brothers to tie him to a contract
calling for three pictures. He admits
quietly that the Brothers signed him;
with the full expectation of taking
a loss on his work. The point wasI
simply that they were interested in
creating prestige for the films. As
Mr. Jesse Lasky had done years be-
fore for the silent pictures with his
Famous Players-Lasky corporation,
the Warner Brothers now wanted a
famous stage player to lend his per-
sonal influence to the medium at
that time called the movie-tones. And
so began a long series of films and+
Atlantic crossings. "Disraeli", "The
Green Goddess", "Alexander Hamil-
ton", "The House of Rothschild",+
"Richelieu," "The Man Who Playedj
God", "The Millionaire", "Voltaire",r

It is in his blend of humor, a
quiet, unruffled, mellow sort of humor,
that his particular charm holds. It
is a humor at once polite, pointed,
placid, and so civilized, the sort that
harmonizes intimately with your
Galsworthian clubman. And how
British Mr. Arliss is! Who but an
Englishman would become indignant
for a page and a half as he does
about the stupidity of international
restrictions against tourist canines?
and against voyaging parrots that
are family treasures? 'Why shouldn't
my dog have a passport?' So asks
Mr. Arliss. And, when you think
about it, why shoudn't his dog have
a passport-and a photo? He is,
speaking seriously, very correct about
the point-very correct in a serious
Victorian way.
This is not a work that must be
read from cover to cover, starting
from the beginning. Open it and
where you first find print, there you
can begin safely. It doesn't matter.
Mr. Arliss won't be annoyed. He un-
derstands. There is continuity, of
course, but that is only due to the
accident that one year follows an-
other.

/j
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sl
11

\A\ \

:%

THE LATEST VERSION
OF THE POMPADOUR

7
'7;

,/.
';

It is a thing far more common
among English writers than in this
country, this knowledge of the well
written sentence, this unconscious
zbscrption, never amounting to imi-
tation, of the great writings of the
past, but often it is accompanied by
a lassitude in thought, a satisfaction
that whatever has been said has been
said well, and a let-it-go-at-that
spirit. Not the case with Heppen-
stall. He is good, and not by na-
tional comparisons. As always, when
dealing with a thing as elusive as
style, I find myself wondering wheth-
er I'm actually getting anything
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For me, the girl Sophie Madron,
and the older woman, Mrs. Nance,
take a greater share of the writing
honors, but despite the attention I
gave them, I know that Betty des
Voeux and Amity Nance are equally
sound and well drawn. There is little
partiality shown in treatment of these
women, but from the whole novel
there does emerge, and not only be-
cause of the ending, a sense that the
two who are most basically women
are the best, the finest people.
Not a will-of the-wisp book, it
has no place in time, it has gone on
for long, and though written in 1940,
will be read in other years, and has
been felt before. It is in no sense
of the word a freak book. You will
not read it without feeling that you
have had an important experience,
an addition to your thought, and
probably to your life.
RADIO ad
MICHIGAN ICbs

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TAE
33 E

by

i mattia beauty
the Parrot - 338 S. State
EBLER BEAUTY SHOPS
EHuron, near Mosher-Jordan

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Phones
3030 or 7000

14.

4<

TREES OF HEAVEN, by Jesse Stu-
art, E. P. Dutton, New York City,
$2.50.
By HERVIE HAUFLER
Perhaps no one can write about
the Kentucky hills without being
quaint about it. The idea of a land
and a people locked up with the
past apparently cannot be discussed
without allowing something of the
Li'l Abner stamp to leave its im-
print.
In this, his first novel, Jesse Stuart
comes a lot closer to seeing the prob-
lem of the hills .than he has ever
done before. His stories in Esquire
and other magazines have relied al-
most entirely on the quaintness and
woodsiness of their subject-matter
to bear them through. "Beyond the
Dark Hills," his unusual autobiogra-
phy, expressed an almost rhapsodic
veneration for every phase of the hills,
without once qestioning whether
there were flaws in the hill's way of
life.
Jesse still loves the hills. He wants
so ardently to tell you about them
in his novel that his characters very
often speak to you instead of each
other. His eagerness to interpret
the hills gets in the way of his plot,
his action, his characterization.
"Trees of Heaven", however, is
something new for Jesse. He preach-
es the beauties of Kentucky mountain
life, but he also sees something of
the other side. He sees the filth and
squalor of the squatters. In these
lines he expresses his view on Ken-
tucky justice:
"Behind the judge are the pictures
of George Washington, Abraham Lin-
coln, Theodore Roosevelt and Wood-
row Wilson. If these venerable men
could only arise from their graves
and attend this court! If they could
only see hill justice in the land they
helped to shape, make breathe as a
nation-the most powerful nation un-
der the sun-if they could only sit
among their people as bystanders-
if they could only listen! Better they
cannot!"
These are his first steps in social
criticism. They seem to me to add
a welcome note of maturity to his
writing.
However much, though, his more
mature viewpoint has added to his
work, Jesse's best selling-point is still
his mountain blood. Half the time
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you are marveling at the exactness
of his observations-how earth looks
when it is turned up by a plow, how
a bird builds a nest, how squaredanc-
ers look when the fiddle plays its
hottest. He knows every formula and
process of hill-life from the proper
manner to clean a gun to the best way
of making sorghum molasses. There's
a big chunk of Kentucky caught in
this book.
Stylistically Jesse is the same as
ever-short, jerky sentences that can-
not be read aloud except in a mono-
tone. All the people talk alike, and
the narrative is in the same vein.
Jesse is in love with adjectives; he
loads his paragraphs with them-
"He looks down at her loose-flung
uncortrolled shock of golden wheat-
straw-colored hair." He has a child-
ish fascination for poetic devices-
"deep, dark, desolate hollow." As
long as he keeps within the hills his
figures of speech are acute and ef-
fective, but when he tries anything
else the result is strained-"The Au-
gust sun plays like an agate marble
in an arch of void."

MA RY CECIL

SHARP

AinznounCes the Opening of
The Corner House RestaurantNE
SUNDAY DINNER
frou 12 NOON to 7 P.M.
MONDAY IS OUR HOLIDAY

U.'I

ii

III

at the LEA
MAIN DINING
12:30-3:00
in the CAFETI
12:00-2:00

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