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December 08, 1950 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1950-12-08

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Literary Selection Offers Solution for Christmas Gift


* * *

* * *

* * *


Classics, Reissues, Foreign Volumes


Psychiatrist Untangles Web
Of Stupidities; Tells Science,
TT.-!- .-. TE -

Two Sicilians Take on Free Love
* * *

The most universally accepted Christmas gift will always be a}
book. Whether a person is academically inclined or merely likes to read
for his own personal entertainment, there is a book to be found for
This Ohristmas, as'always, there is a sparkling new collection of
books from which one may choose those he would like to give or re-
ceive. Although the field of choice is extremely wide, according to the
critics, there are fewer books this year than usual which fit into thep
"must read" category. Opinions vary considerably, and popularity
trends cannot be easily detected. However, there seems to be a general
tendency to fall back on classics and reissues, with volumes from
abroad ranking high on the lists of favorites.
Fiction . .
THE MILL ON THE PO, by Riccardo Bacchelli. This long, lower-
class-epic novel is a translation by Frances Frenage from the Italian.v
It is a personal view of history, as seen through the eyes of an Italian
peasant, from 1812 to 1872. In Italy (according to its American pub-
lisher, at least) this book is considered a national epic. The story of a.
common man who is given the role of hero, and fails to achieve the
nobility required of him, The Mill on the Po has received generally
approving reviews.
THE DISENCHANTED by Budd Schulberg. Reviewed elsewhere on
this page.-

Italian. Priest
Tangles With
cormn 11111


a collection of most of Faulkner's work in the field of the short story " THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON
and novelette, and serves to point out in startling fashion the genius ofT CAMILLE, by Giovanni Guaresch
the man who was recently announced the recipient of the 1949 Nobel (Pellegrini and Cudahy)
Prize for literature. The stories in this'collection are something more
than great writing. They are representative pieces from a man who ON THE BACK cover of the dust
has done much to build up a tradition of great fiction in America. jacket appears the talicized
These stories possess the inborn power and imagination that charac- words: "This is a happy book."
terize most of Faulkner's work. If the time comes that his novels are This is too bad. By the sound of
no longer read, certain of these stories, perhaps "Old Man," or "That it, the man who. writes these
blurbs would apparently have the
Evening Sun," certainly will be. reader believe that this is a book
THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE, by Tennessee Williams. of Pollyanna-like tales that can
This finely-drawn novel by the famous playwright is permeated with sit down with and feel good over.
a certain sense of decay and dissolution fused with a subtle horror. True enough, these little fanta-
It is in the tradition which Williams has established in his plays and sies of an Italian priest are enjoy-
which Bowles, Capote and Vidal have developed in literature. A able to a fine degree, but they are
strange, brooding undercurrent of sex runs through the book. Wil- by no means so innocuously plea-
liams has strength and restraint combined with admirable craftsman- sureable. They are written with
ship. If the subject matter does not bother you, the book is an ex- tive touch which mark them as
cellent one. fine humor, well worth anyone's
THE BACKWARD BRIDE by Aubrey Menen. Reviewed elsewhere reading.
on this page. Don Camille is a parish priest in
a little village in the Po valley.
A FEARFUL JOY, by Joyce Cary. Once again Mr. Cary has come The tales contained in the book
through with a group of characters as colorful and memorable as any find him opposed by-a sometimes
that have ever been assembled on pages. An old hand at creating such formidable adversary in the person
people as Gully Jimson, the redoubtable old painter who came very of Peppone, the Communist mayor
much to life in The Horse's Mouth, Gully's sometime mistress, Sara of the village.
Monday, and a host of other personages who caper enthusiastically When Don Camille gets involved
through his books, Cary has turned out a bright new set for this in such situations as when Pep-
book. Although their morals are unique, Tabitha Baskett and Harry pone came in asking to have his
Bonser wander through this novel in a peculiarly human way, mak- baby baptized Lenin, he merely
ing for superlative reading. turns to his altar to consult Christ.
THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON CAMILLO, by Giovanni Guares- Christ tells him what to do. He
chi. Reviewed elsewhere on this, page. should baptize the baby as Pep-
PARADE'S END, by Ford Madox Ford. This is a monumental vol- pone wishes.
ume containing the Tietjens tetralogy written by Ford between 1924 So Don Camillo does. But first
and 1928. When the novels first appeared, they met with courteous he gives Peppone a good thrashing,.
but generally disinterested approval. Appearing now, it is as if a just on general principals.
sharp and powerful light has been cast across the world of fiction, bomb, disguised as an Easter egg,
Ford was able to perceive the inner reality of a situation which gener- on Don Camillo's doorstep. Attach-
ally eludes most writers, as his fine writing draws one to the direct ed to it was a small card reading
center of a broken world. "Happy Eester." So Don Cammillo
ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES, by Ernest Hem- carries it back to the Party head-
ingway. To come out' and say this this is an excellent book, or that this;Quarters, politely requesting that
is a poor book, would be to settle in a word a critical battle that has Outhe selionibe corr extremely
been healthily raging for the several months since the publication of difficult to catch Guareschi's hu-
Hemingway's first novel in a decade. Whether the decision, who ever mor. It is subtle, but not the sub-
makes it, is positive or negative, one thing is certain: this will be the tlety of confusion. In the micro-
most talked-of novel of 1950. Opinions range from that of John cosm of the small village in the

Humanities RKe
ham Myerson (Knopf).
DON'T LET THE fact that this
provocative book was written
by a psychiatrist scare you away
from it. It is not a work on psy-
chiatry or any of its branches,
although Myerson' takes a few
well-directed pokes at psycho-
analysis, nor does it offer any pan-
aceas for individual or universal
Reading this book is the next
best thing to having a long, con,.
tinuous, and continuously pleasant
discussion ringing through the
arts, the social and physical sci-
ences and philosophy with an el-
derly, cultured modern man-a
discussion from which .you would
learn much, although you may find
yourself in violent disagreement
with him more often than not.
* * *
Myerson, who died in 1948, was
a prominent Boston neuropsychia-
trist. Despite his being the author
of several technical books, he could
not find time to write the magnum
opus that his publisher had been
after him to write since 1930 until'
a lingering illness forced him into
inactivity in 1947.
This book is the result. It gives
one the impression that Myerson
was the very model of the type
our liberal arts colleges try so va-
liantly to produce, and in which
they very rarely succeed: a well-
rounded man. He was able to draw
from virtually every subject in the
curriculum, from anthropology to
zoology to make his points, and
the points are very well-made, in-
In his chapter on "Woman, the
Authorities' Scrapegoat," Myerson
comes to the defense of 'Mom' and
calmly demolishes those who have
set her up as a convenient and
available target. "I am not writ-
ing a brief for the follies of moth-
ers," he adds, "since in my daily
work I am, alas, too often appalled
by the stupidities and cruelties of
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters,
husbands and wives and, in fact,
of all groups and classes of hu-
man beings.
"It is a very tangled web, this
civilization of ours, and we are all
the victims of the follies of our
ancestors, and, in.some part, the
authors of the sorrows of our de-
It is this reasoned, mellowed at-
titude he brings to all problems
that gives a tone of sonority with-
out didacticism to the book. In-
deedone chapter, "The Lowdown

lation to Iian I
on Authorities", is devoted to a
brilliant dissection of all "experts".
* * *
The principal significance of
Myerson's approach is not, how-
ever, its skepticism, much-needed
as this outlook is in these days of
wholesale acceptance of official
It is rather his insistence on
maintaining a close relationship
between the humanities and the
sciences, both social and physical,
as keys to the understanding of
Thus, while he decries the lack
of scientific method in what he
calls the intuitive attitudes of psy-
choanalysis, he does not reject the
importance of their findings, and
examines. them on their own
He insists on a gocial concept of
life, in which means do not pre-
dominate over ends, and that all
activity has social significance.
But he does not derogate techni-
que (means) in itself, wisely real-
izing that the danger of over-spe-
cialization comes only when social
purposes (ends) are forgotten or
* * *
These considered judgements, all
carefully worked out, are the kind
that the academic world needs, to
get closer to reality, and to its
own declared ends.
This was evidenced quite recent-
ly when a highly-touted social sci-
entist gave a series of lectures
here, in one of which he cate-
gorically insisted that Marx's mo-
tives were not altruistic, but stem-
med from his frustrations as a re-
sult of the prejudices of his time.
Myerson cites a similar writer who
claimed that Marx's desire to break
down "ei t ir e ly good social
schemes" was caused by mother-
These "facts" as Myerson says,
are without the "slightest statis-
tical or even logical proof". Here
again, he insists on more than only
a marriage of the sciences and
humanities, but on their living in
a close, constant interrelationship.
Much of the material in the
book is not new. Myerson fre-
quently interrupts himself to say
so. But the total effect is to stim-
ulate, challenge and modify one's
thinking. It is such distinctions
that make a book worthwhile.
-Saul Gottlieb

Aubrey Menen. (Scribners).
SINCE THE publication of his
first book in America, The Pre-
valence of Witches, the reputation
of Mr. Menen as a satirist of the
first order has gfown steadily.
Moving briskly through the 300-
plus pages of his latest novel is
a story line which permits Menen
to take a swipe at everything from
free love to existentialism.
* * *
A pedantic young man named
Aquila, fresh from the University
of Palermo, gets married to Ani-
setta, an innocent young peasant
girl. The two receive a trip abroad
for a wedding present under the
chaperonage of Aquila's Uncle
Georgie, a noted Sicilian brigand.
Aquila, however, is more inte-
rested in the radical new social
philosophy of his idol, the British
F. S. Fitzgerald
Budd Schulberg (Random
THIS THIRD novel by the Hol-
lywood author of What Makes
Sammy Run?, leads the way in
the current rediscovery of F.
Scott Fitzgerald, the great Ameri-
can novelist of the twenties.
Fitzgerald is a character named
Manley Halliday in the novel who
is portrayed as a haunting figure
of a genius whose Romanticism
which made him popular in the
twenties is out of place in the
,socially-conscious thirties.
At 43, Halliday has sunken to
alcoholism and a job writing movie
scenarios. He and a junior scrip-
ter named Shep Stearns are ,as-
signed to gather atmosphere for
a film on the campus of an East-
ern college. Most of the novel is
concerned with the trip East,
sprinkled with long backflashes of
Halliday's past.
In dealing with the many facets
of Halliday's mind, Schulberg
runs into serious trouble, for he
attempts not only to categorize
a highly complex mind, but also
attempts to voice his own criticism
of the Golden Twenties in the pro-
cess. The result in an indefinite'
mingling of an era and a person-
ality, with neither one emerging
clearly enough to be really under-
-Tom Davis

wife, who to his way of thinking
is being admirably "converted."
As the story ends, Aquila has
completely given up any ideas
which he may have entertained
concerning reason, and Anisetta
has encountered such people as: an
existentialist who has a hard time
getting along with his fellows be-
cause he is happy; a young ex-
American come to Europe to es-
tablish One World, and a left-over
, The theme, if such exists, is the
triumph of women over reason.
And if this sounds like mourn-
ful conclusion, Mr. Menen man-
ages to make it quite palatable.
His satire is so effortless and sat-
isfying that it is a pleasure to have
one's fondest theories and compla-
cencies tossed about by such a
-Chuck Elliott
The Newest and
Best in
For Christmas Giving

* . *
Professor Lissom, than he is in his
wife. Anisetta; frustrated on hear-
ing Aquila discourse continually
through the night on the merits
of free love, decides to put an end
to it. So, soon after they arrive in
London, Aquila is left flat with
his philosophy, his Uncle Georgie,
and a note reading: "Have run
away to live in sin for a week with
Professor Lissom."
. * * *
Conveniently enough, she leaves
the address of the love nest with
Uncle Georgie, and after consider-
able persuasion, this doughty gen-
tleman talks Aquila into setting
out in pursuit.
Twings of conscience k e e p
Aquila from putting his whole
heart into the chase, although by
this time it is apparent to every-
one but him just what Anisetta is
trying to do. He can't help approv-
ing this gesture on the part of his






1216 South Univ.




here's the perf4

ect gift


O'Hara, who'said of the book: "Real class," to Maxwell Geismar, who, Po valley, the author has caught
writing in the Saturday Review of Literature, called it "not only Hem- the essence of what may be the

ingway's worst book; it is a synthesis of everything that is bad in his
previous work . . " So take your pick The story concerns itself with
the last two days in the life of a fifty-year-old American colonel liv-
ing in Italy. He makes love to a young Italian countess, drinks a great
deal, shoots ducks in the marshes, and finally dies of a bad heart.
THE ADVENTURER, by Mika Waltari. A translation from the
Finnish by Naomi Walford, this novel is the second by Waltari to be
made available to American readers. The first, The Egyptian, did much
toward establishing the author as a considerable literary figure. This
new novel helps to confirm his position., It is a picaresque novel in
the tradition of Tom Jones and Candide Its hero, Finn Furfoot, is
conducted through his many adventures with a deft hand, while the
author savagely damns human corruption.
Other books worth note: The Wrong Set, by Angus Wilson. A spar-
kling set of short stories by an exceedingly competent Englishman .. .
Helena, by Evelyn Waugh. This latest bid of acerbic comment by the
famous British satirist takes place in ancient Constantinople and
England, but manages to probe soft spots in society throughout his-
tory . . . The Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West. The late Mr.
West is said to have written, in this book, the finest satirical study of!
Hollywood ever presented to an unreceptive public. Having first ap-
peared in the thirties, this is the book's first reprint edition, and bids
fair to get a better reception . . . World Enough and Time, by Robert
Penn Warren. Still a fine book, perhaps the best of 1950.
KON-TIKI, by Thor Heyerdahl. Growing out of a theory that an-
cient Peruvians, sailing westward on huge balsawood rafts, could have
populated Polynesia, the book is the story of an experiment to prove
this theory. Heyerdahl, accompanied by five fellow adventurers, tra-
veled to the Peruvian shore, built a raft of huge logs by hand as the
Indians might have done long before, and set out to cross the Pacific.
The narrative is a tremendous epic of the sea in all its moods, as the
men become acquainted with it during their 101 days at sea. Heyerdahl
is somewhat limited as a writer; but as an adventurer writing about
adventure, he would be difficult to surpass.
THE AGE OF SCANDAL, by T. H. White. Probing among the
literary and political oddities of the latter half of the eighteenth cen-
tury, Mr. White has turned out, in his latest book, a volume of pe-
culiar interest. It may not make many new friends for him (as most
new books aresupposed to do for their authors these days), but it will
certainly find favor among readers who have already had occasion
to enjoy his often casual but always imaginative output. This book
may well be called an escapade in literary history.
NOBLE ESSENCE, by Sir Osbert Sitwell. The fifth and final vol-
ume of Sir Osbert's carefully drawn autobiography, this book is char-

way out of the basic antagonismsj
of this world today.
Although the reader may feel
that Guareschi is the only one
capable of reconciling Communism
and dhristianity and getting away
with it, in his own mind, reading
this book is an entertaining way
to while away the time until some-
one comes up with a better idea.
--Peter Holmes


/}:.v 4i:: O

' -"
/f' .

\ :

for Christmas Gifts
The Disenchanted
byBudd Schulberg ............$3.50
Speaking of Man
by Abraham Myerson .. .... .. .$3.00
The Swiss Family Perelman
.. . . . .*. ..... ....$2.95
My Neck of the Woods
by-Louise D. Rich......... ....$2.75
A Fearful Joy
by Joyce Cary ................$3.00
Across the River and Into the Trees
by Ernest Hemingway...........$3.00
Blanding's Way
by Eric Hodginss..............$3.00
The Maugham Reader

Typical campus beauty at Michigan State College:
brown-haired, brown-eyed Marilyn Sumner
One night recently, band leader Woody
Herman wound up a stand at Michigan
State College with "Sweet Sue." Then look-
ing out upon a sea of beautiful co-eds on
the dance floor, he said: "Talk about Sweet
Sue, this school has the most beautiful
girls in the country."
But Michigan State's claims aren't going
to go unchallenged, even though it may
have a surplus of lovely girls.
This week's PARADE MAGAZINE has a
most interesting and provocative story by
Robert Goldman on the campus beauties at
Michigan State.
Read this story in





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In sturdy leatherette-covered
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