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November 29, 1951 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1951-11-29

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Pre-Christmas Book
Newspaperman Depicts French Life







~by Joseph A. Barry. (Norton)
A PRACTISING newspaperman
usually has a slightly differ-
ent outlool on things than the or-
dinary writer. He is used to think-
ing in terms of what would make
an interesting story, and tends to
achieve an "angle" by writing fea-
ture material, rather than taking
the broad view and being impres-
sionistic. He bases his writing on
facts immediately at hand; for the
most part avoiding the "mental"
approach. Though the results of
his technique are more often than
not temporary,, and become dated
in a short space, they are
thoroughly interesting while they
are new,
JOSEPH BARRY is at present
chief of the Paris Bureau of the
Sunday New York Times, having
graduated from the University of
Michigan in 1939. His knowedge of
the country is as detailed as one
would expect from a man working
intimately with the people of
France, learning their institutions
and appraising them with quick
and interested eye. The book falls
naturally into chapters which have
the appearance of being able to
exist separately as self contained'
articles. While there is to be found
in some sections enough to satisfy
the general run of travel book
readers-poetic touches about the
quays in Spring, discussion about
how free life is in Paris, and so on
-Barry tends to focus on specific
topics: "The Clown and the Peo-
ple of France," "The Chapel of
Henri Matisse," "French People.
Politics, and Premiers."
Actually, though the title
would lead one to believe other-
wise, this book is not so much
about Paris as it is about certain
phases and personalities in
French life as a whole. Inter-
view is piled upon interview in
an effort to nail down such hazy
topics as "French Communists,"
with the writer's aim always to

CARNIVAL by Paul Cezanne. The spirit of France may be epitos
mised in her love for clowns. Their buffoonery has fascinated
all Frenchmen from Rabelais to Picasso. A galaxy of these gay
and sorrowful talents are presented by Joseph Barry in a chapter
of his book Right Bank, Left Bank, recently published by Norton.

* * *


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present current facts in the most
interesting way.
In the chapter on the Commun-
ists, for example, we find Barry
interviewing types all the way
from the husband of his concierge
to top officials of the party and
intellectuals. He succeeds remark-
ably well in enclosing the topic,
and by concentrating on person-
alities against a supplementary
background of fact, lays it out in
an extremely appealing form.
Or try "The Flea Marketeers."f
"Unquestionably the greatest mar-
ket of the great village of Paris is
the Marche aux Puces. This fam-
ous Flea Market sits, or rather
sprawls, past the butte of Mont-
marte on the wasted palins of
Saint-Ouen, a northern suburb
thirty-seven steps from Paris'
Porte de Cignacourt." And here
Barry has spread the color and
eccentricity of that great market-
place as it can be seen right now,
and has interviewed several of the
"merchants" themselves.
He even takes a crack at ex-
plaining Sartre's position as an in-
tellectual power. Actually this brief
sketch is part of an attempt to
tell who is being the most subtle
on the Left Bank today, and why.
The philosophy is left to somebody
else, but the color is all there, in
the finest newspaper sense of the
word. For other tastes, there is a
glimpse backstage in the "Big

Fashion" business, and a short
tour of the "pleasure spots" in
current favor.
Barry is a clever writer, and
knows his market well. He picks
his subject matter with a fresh
eye and approaches it with con-
sistent originality. These facts
alone should make his book one to
be read by anyone who is at all
fascinated by the fact that there
should be such a place as France.
-Chuck Elliott
Book Features
UP FolkColor
THE PINE, by Lewis C. Reimann
(Privately published)
LEWIS C. REIMANN, one of Ann
Arbor's more illustrious citi-
zens, has recreated in this book
much of the romance and legend
of Michigan's Upper Peninsula in
its pioneer days. Brought up in
surroundings of lumberjack camps
and newly opened iron mines, Rei-
mann fills his pages with anec-
dotes of the land and the people.
He manages to employ a zest in
his writing that inclines us to
overlook occasional rough spots in
the prose. Whatever else he has
accomplished in the way of enter-
tainment, Reimann has most cer-
tainly made a colorful addition to
the body of American folk litera-
ture, grown from the common-
places and eccentricities of the
people themselves.
--C. E.
Who Launders KYER MODEL
Shi s Best? LAUNDRY

Sea Offers
Exciting Tale
Rachel L. Carson. (Oxford)
THE SEA, it would appear, is not
merely a saline body of water
conveniently provided so that man
may use it as a means of getting
from one bit of land to another-it
is variously a nemesis to man, a
treasure-house of information for
science, the mother-protector of
countless forms of life, and a hot-
bed of intrigue.
Most of the publicity for scien-
tific research during the past de-
cades has been allotted to outer
3pace, especially the possibility of
inter-stellar travel. Miss Carson
makes us intensely conscious of
the vast, unexplored regions of the
deep, and of the mysteries con-
founding us both above and below
the surface.
ACCORDING TO statistics
three-quarters of the globe's sur-
face is under water, of which area
only one-third has been investi-
gated to any extent. The deeper,
unexamined portions amount to
half the earth's surface. In 1949, a
record descent of 4,500 feet was
made off California by Barton;
this doesn't amount to much when
one considers that the average
depth of the ocean is nearly three
miles, and that in at least two
places there are trenches well over
six miles deep.
There are, of course, certain
difficulties to be overcome before
scientists can make any sort of
extensive tour of the premises.
Water pressure, for example, in-
creases at the rate of 2,400
pounds per square inch per mile
of depth. Visibility is zero below
2,000 feet, where the inky gloom
is only occasionally relieved by
a luminous denizen.
New scientific apparatus has
greatly facilitated narine re-
search. Slowly, ships equipped with
echo-sounding fathometers a r e
collecting data that will some day
make it possible to construct a
fairly accurate contour map of the
gigantic mountain ranges, can-
yons, and plains on the ocean bed.
An overgrown apple-corer has
been developed to extract deep
layers of silt, the bottom layers of
which were deposited millions of
years ago. Marine archaeologists
and geologists are having a field
day with the -contents of such
tubes. Hydrophones record strange
screeches and yowls, many of
which have yet to be identified.
Once in a great while, a fisher-
man's net will yield a rare species
thought to have been long ex-
tinct. And so the good work pros-
* * *
MISS CARSON has lavished
much care in the compilation of
scientific data; she has consulted
most of the leading authorities,
andshas made use of the most re-
cent information available. The
opening chapter of the book deal
with the origins of the sea and
the beginnings of life, and lack of
evidence is freely admitted. We
must be content with what appear
to the author to be the most rea-
sonable of the proposed hypothes-
The facts have been well-co-
ordinated, so that the reader is
made acutely aware of the order
inherent in the existing rela-
tionship between the myriad

forms of marine life. Since thef

by Graham Greene (The Viking
A BRILLIANT technique is not
always an unqualified literary
asset. There comes a point when
craftsmanship of the intense and
deliberate variety, given a great
subject, ceases to celebrate its ma-
terial and begins instead to con-
strict it; when, instead of liberat-
ing its great potential, it begins to
render it diminutive. System pre-
vails over vision and, in extreme
cases, machinery over spirit.
At the risk of oversimplifying it
may be said that the material is
not permitted to assume its own
form and so achieve its full and
". . . anything left when we'd
finished but You. For either of
us. I might have taken a life-
time spending a little love at a
time, doling it out here and
there, on this Aran and that. But
even the first time, in the hotel
near Paddington, we spent all
we had. You were there, teach-
ing us to squander, like You
taught the rich man, so that
oned ay we might have nothing
left except this love of You. But
You are too good to me. When
I ask You for pain, You give me
peace. Give it him too. Give him
peace-he needs it more."
--from The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene (The
Viking Press)
natural scope. It is rather beset by
a form. This procedure, peculiar to
literary psychology today, betok-
ens, in a sense, an emotional or
imaginative failure; technique
standing as cerebral substitution.
The brilliant craftsman, in most
unDostoievskian fashion fearing,
or refusing to trust, or incapable
of sununoning, his vision, falls
back upon system, writes withthe
top of his mind foremost-with the
result that his book does not live
beyond its final page. It has been
given the kiss of death.
In murder-mysteries of the first
order (Brighton Rock) and more
recently in Catholic analyses of
good and evil (The Heart of the
Matter), Graham Greene has es-
tablished a reputation as one of
the most dazzling technicians now
writing. His success however has
subject is of a somewhat techni-
cal nature, it is positively amaz-
ing to note that the reader is
never submerged in technology.
Neither does Miss Carson em-
ploy the slightest bit of condes-
cension in her explanations; she
works them in easily and na-
The Sea Around Us is 4 fascina-
ting acount of life. Practically any
sentence, taken at random, makes
the reader want to go on to the
next one, and the next, and so on,
No one has a right to expect
y more than this of any author.
-Siegfried Feller
- - - - -

heretofore been depressing in that
his books have tended to stop when
they have ended. They were re-
membered, of course, but as one
remembers the funeral of an aunt
one did not love and will not miss.
Technical excellence was won at
the expense, or in the absence, of
passion and compassion.
IN THE MOST recent of his
published fiction, however, The
End of the Affair, Greene has
achieved something more than a
tour de force. It is, of course, a
complex and brilliantly composed
book, a first person narrative that
fuses, in a process of revelation of
tremendous dramatic force, past,
present and future; and in a prose,
keen, incisive,, and so true to the
matter that it is barely noticed.
But it is also a passionate and
compassionate novel that both
contains itself and transcends the
limits imposed by the dangerous
talent. It disturbs, in other words,
long after it is read.
The book is, quite simply,
about love human and divine.
The narrator, whose love can
only express itself in terms of
hate, describes an unhappy af-
fair with a woman of great and
generous feeling. Perversely jeal-
ous, he employs a private inves-
tigator to determine the identity
of her new lover and to his
anguish discovers not only that
he has alienated a genuine and
abiding love but also that his
rival is no less a personage than
God to whose love she has been.
driven by the terrible imperfec-
tion of his own. The book does
not end, even in the circum-
stances of her death, with his
easy submission to God; he con-
tinues bitterly to oppose his for-
midable antagonist. But it is

Greene Studies Human, Divine Love

- - - -

with the hate that is also love'
and the unspoken suggestion at1
the book's close is that this tor-
tured resistance must end in a
saving surrender.,
The subject is thus intrinsically1
a great one. It asserts that human
love is not enough, that it must
end and the desert of lovelessness
resume itself, and what is left
then but the love of God which
does not diminish and which an-
nihilates the desert forever?'But a'
bare statement can give no resem-
blance of the almost preternatural
poignancy of the human action
(an action almost purely of
thought and feeling, that is) in
terms of which it is given full emo-
tional authority. It is about the
anguish of three principals who
wrestle pitiably for happiness with
the materials of imperfect loves
and who in their necessary failure
struggle towards or against the
love of God. But this does not say
what it is. We may define it best
by saying that it escapes the ne-
cessities of craft to become some-
thing fabulous or legendary of hu-
man experience.
For it is irrelevant to the cen-
tral issue of the novel that the
narrator, eager to love but cap-
able only of hating, is also a novel-
ist disenchanted by the nature of
his own art. For by his own tor-
mented confession, his is a craft
unmoved by love, a human art as
little free from imperfection as
human love. It is too much like
contrivance, too little like reli-
gious vision. In this sense, the
book is Greene's confession of fail-
ure. But if our estimate has been
correct, it can be said that he has'
in a manner been saved by his
own confession just as, as we sus-
pect, the narrator has been saved
by his.
-John Paterson

Canby Views
Lives of Two
U.S. Authors
Mark Twain and Henry James,
by Henry Seidel Canby (Hough-
ton Mifflin)
Lives as his model, Henry Sei-
iel Canby has produced a critical
tudy of the life and art of two of
9th century America's great lit-
rary figures, Mark Twain and
EIenry James. By comparison and
ontrast, dealing alternately with
the successive stages in the life of
each writer, Canby has created a
double portrait designed to set off
the virtues, faults and significance
of the two men.
But the deeper purpose of the
parallel device is to present two
ife-time inquiries into what it
means to be an American. At a
ime when the United States has
turned both west and east beyond
this hemisphere to assume a dom-
inant role in world affairs, it is
worth pondering the 19th century
theme of American innocents both
at home and abroad as revealed in
he art of Mark Twain and Henry
MARK TWAIN treked west as
a youth for adventure, freedom
and the eldorado of quick wealth.
As an older man he turned west in
imagination to transmute his early
experiences into two iIylls of boy-
hood, Tom Sawyer and Huckleber-
ry Finn. Tom is naive, romantic,
egotistical, but highly imaginative
and inventive. Huck is the youth-
ful picaro with a zest for life who
lives by his wits; a keen observer,
a tolerant cynic, endowed with
common sense and a passion for
In his own day Twain became
the embodiment of the American
West, expressing in his person and
writing its self-reliance, crude-
ness, love of adventure, and its
burlesque humor of exaggeration.
In Innocents Abroad the American
picaro roars at class, tradition and
culture in old Europe. In A Con-
necticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court, Boss is the prototype of
American technical know-how up-
turning the old regime and saving
the world for democracy,
Twain's America. was a ro-
mance of space and mobility. It
Americans were crude, they were
also honest. The danger was that
in the loss of innocense a sense
of intferiority and lack of cul
ture might yield not growth but
the pessimism and misanthropy
such as embittered Twain's last
Henry James turned east to find
in Europe what he felt America
lacked: culture, social graces, so-
phistication. His novels are, with
Jew exceptions, varitions on he
theme of the unsophisticated Am-
erican encountering the culture of
the Old World. His innocents are
candid, warm, fresh, moral nd in-
telligent; his situations are com
posed of the impact upon such
characters of tolanguage and re-
finements, the art and traditions,
and, incrgasinglyras he grew older,
of the subtle poisons and moral
aecay of the European upper class.
James' Americans are pilgrims
seeking life who in losing their in-
nocence either go under or obtain

awareness and insight into them-
selves. They discover that warmth
and generosity mean more than
refinement in the art of living.
WITH AMERICAN innocence as
the unifying theme in this double
portrait, Canby gives considerable
attention to the formative back-
ground of the two writers, the
chief experiences of their lives,
and, of course, analysis of _Vheir
works. While I do not thinV.that
the student of James or Twain will
find much new material or origi-
nal interpretation of their art, the
treatment is balanced and scho-
The style is urbane and in-
formal, but the flow of thought
is frequently interrupted by par-
enthetical remarks that are
either extraneous or germane
enough to stand without paren-
In keeping with the current
mode of stuyding personality from
a psychological point of view, Can-
by makes many sound inferences
and avoids extremes. Yet I wonder
how thoroughly he understands
the terms he uses, as, for example,
inhrh c .- +la+ mNIAin.. .






Whiskey, Grenadine Clash
In Brilliant Liquid Warfare

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In the Arcade
"Large enough to serve you --
Small enough to know you"

.9 1 if

____ I

THE HOUR, by Bernard De-
Voto (Houghton Mifflin).
WE ARE a pious people but a
proud one too, aware of a
noble lineage and a great inheri-
tance. Let us candidly admit that
there are shameful blemishes on
the American past, of which by
far the worst is rum. Nevertheless
we have improved man's lot and
enriched his civilization with rye,
bourbon, and the martini cocktail.
In all history has any other nation
done so much?
Thus Bernard. DeVoto begins,
.and in fact sums up, his treatise
on the art of liquor drinking,
which throughout flows with the
sophistication of a properly mixed
martini ("a gin of 94.4 proof and
a harmonious vermouth may be
generalized at about 3.7 to one"),
and at the same time has the lyric
rashness of a Kentucky colonel's
THERE IS no doubt left as to
where the author stands on the
subject of any drinks other than
his six o'clock martini and his
slug of rye or bourbon ("Scotch
drinkers want Scotch and you've
got to give it to them. Never touch
the stuff myself"). To him there
are only two cocktails. The rest
are "slops . . . fit to be drunk only.
in the barbarian marches and
mostly are drunk there, by the
"The most ominous of these was
probably the Bronx. The Bronx
had orange juice in it. It spawned
the still more regrettable Orange
Blossom. And then swiftly came
the Plague and the rush of the

and would really prefer white
mule; if female, a banana split."
And of the oenophilists-"good
men, not to be dispraised but vain-
gloriously claiming more thanwe
can allow"--he says "their vin-
tages do indeed have many beau-
ties and blessings and subtleties
but they are not superior to ours,
only different." This place of
equality surely should be deemed,
one of honor by the lover of the
grape. But pity the beer drinker:
to him not even a word of scorn.
HERE IT MUST be noted that
the publishers warn that DeVoto
has sown the seeds of a contro-
versy not soon to be resolved.
There is little doubt about this.
But it doesn't seem probable that
the main complaint will arise from
the author's tirades against orange
juice, rum, grenadine, olives in
iartinis, and imported gin's lack
of value. There will be plenty of
squabbles over these points.
There will be others over his
claims that too much candy in
youth makes for drinkers of
slops; his stand on the fight be-
tween the old-time priesthood
(distillers) and their modern,
scientific counterparts; his re-
medies for hangovers; his feel-
ings about bars, fancy cocktail
glasses, and the desirable num-
her for a cocktail party-"it
needs a wife, -or some other
charming woman, of attuned
impulse and equal impatience
and maybe two or three friends,
but no more than two or three."
Surely no one can take argu-
ment with DeVoto's style, which
allows him to get slightly notted



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