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February 21, 1958 - Image 11

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1958-02-21

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21,1958
1958 P rize
Writings
PRIZE STORIES 1958: THE O.
HENRY AWARDS. Selected and
Edited by Paul Engle and Curt
Harnack. 312 pp. Garden City:
Doubleday & Co. $3.95.
THE thirty-eighth volume .in a
continuing series of short story
collections, Prize Stories 1958
brings together some of the select
contributions to this literary genre.
All 17 stories have been pub-
lished in leading American maga-
zines of the past year, ;therefore
reflecting current commercial taste
in the short story field. In this
respect, Prize Stories might make
an interesting text for a junior or
senior creative writing course.
While some of the stories are
markedly better than others, the
reader will find his own favorites
and, quite probably, disagree with
the selections of the 'editors.
-Vernon Nahrgang

THE MCHIGAN DAILY

'PORTABLES' SERIES:
New Paperbacks Survey English Poetry

NEW
BOOKS
IN
REVIEW

VIKING PORTABLE POETS OF
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE:
Medieval and Renaissance Poets,'
Elizabethan and Jacobean Poets,
Restorian and Augustan Poets,
Romantic Poets, Victorian and
Edwardian Poets (five vols.).
Edited by W. H. Auden and
Norman Holmes Pearson. 3,200
pp. New York: Viking Press.
$1.45 each.
ARECENT addition to the grow-
ing number of English poetry

ANN ARBOR BOOKS:

War Leader Portrayed

anthologies on the market, the
five-volume Portable Poets of the
English Language has many at-
tractions for the general reader.
This series combines both Eng-
lish and American poetry in one
sweeping survey from Langland to
Yeats-divided into five convenient
groupings from the Medieval and
Renaissance to the Victorian and
Edwardian poets.
EACH VOLUME is a period or
periods complete in itself with
introductory material, indexes, and
short biographical statements on
each of. the* authors represented.
In addition, a "calendar" collates,
year by year, the publication of
important poetical works with
events in closely related fields of
the theater, essay, and novel.
Included among the 3,204Tpages
(the paperbacks range from 576
to 672 pages each) are Chaucer's
"The Pardoner's Tale," Pope's
"Rape of the Lock," Coleridge's
"The Ancient Mariner," Fitzger-
ald's "Rubiayat of Omar Khay-
yam" and ,many other standard
works.
THE PORTABLE Poets encom-

Ii. II

-Daily-David Arnold

pass substantial sections of "The
Faerie Queen," "Paradise Lost,"
"Essay on Man," "Don Juan" and
many other longer poetical class-
ics. For the student who will read
all of these works, the excerpts in
this anthology will be so much
repetition, but for the reader in-
terested in a wider survey of many
works (with little emphasis on any

MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE:
Queen Novel Turns Back Time

one), this system should prove
feasible.
The texts themselves, after the
first volume, are without notes, al-
lowing for uninterrupted reading
of the poetry. The first volume has
added material on Middle English,
with notes, to bolster comprehen-
sion of the language.
-Vernon Nahrgang

THE FINISHING STROKE. By
Ellery Queen. New York: Si-
mon and ,Schuster.
IN THE LAST twenty years, what
was once the detective novel
has come to be called the novel of
suspense-and the distinction is
an actual one. For today, mystery
fiction has evolved from the mur-
der puzzle-detection stage, where
plotting and logic problems were
supreme, to a position close to that
of the modern novel, where char-
acter study is all-important and
murder itself merely the trade-
mark of the genre.
Those who can still appreciate
the earlier form will find Ellery
Queen's new novel, The Finishing
Stroke, a welcome publication.
The Finishing Stroke goes back
to the early days in crime detec-
tion, not only in style, but in scene
as welL Ellery Queen handles one
of his first cases, and the time is
the Christmas season of 1929-30.
Here is the crime puzle in its
purest form; a mysterious series of
gifts, one on each of the twelve
days of Christmas, is sent to the
would-be murder victim-but is
intended from the first as a chal-
lenge to the detective. Much of the
novel is taken up in the waiting
from day to day for the next gift
and accompanying cryptic mes-
sage to appear.
At the same time, the open in-
vitation to the reader is clear. For
all the clues are made known;

V,

ther care no "chance" happenings
or guesses. The reader, with the
application of intellectual prowess
and a little logic, is capable of
solving the murder.
Here, indeed, is a novel remi-
niscent of early Queen. The Fin-
ishing Stroke liasn't the complexi-
ty and blood of the best Queen
novels, but it comes much closer
than any other novel Queen has
written in the last 25 years. And
The Finishing Stroke is a welcome
return to the intellectual chal-
lenge of the mystery novel as it
used to be.
* *.*
THREE FOR THE CHAIR. By
Rex Stout. New York: Viking
Press.
Typical, of the modern method
of mystery-writing is this trio of
novelettes by Rex Stout. Mystery
fans will find Three for the Chairj
fast - moving and entertaining,
while Nero Wolfe fans will enjoy,
this collection all the more.
Murder is the theme in each of
the stories, and detectives Nero
Wolfe and Archie Goodwin work
in sick room, trout creek, and city
hall successively to trap three
killers.
There is, however, no intellec-
tual puzzle. Solutions in each of
the stories could vary logically, de-
pending on the sleuth. Yet the
stories are nevertheless entertain-
ing and well put together.
Champions of Nero Wolfe will

find this a welcome addition to the
unending character study of the
overweight, orchid-loving criminal
investigator.
Three for the Chair is success-
ful particularly as mystery in a
shorter-than-a-novel form. Some
authors would have drawn out
similar plots, added useless char-
acters, and tried to make more of
what are good short novelettes.
THE HOLLYWOOD MURDERS.
By Ellery Queen. Philadel-
phia: J. B. Lippincott Co.
For the past three years, book
publishers have been bringing de-
light to mystery readers by reis-
suing the older and better works of
the major writers in three-novel
anthologies.
One of the most recent in this
series is The Hollywood Murders,
a collection of two middle-period
Queen novels and one of his later
efforts. The older of the three,
The Devil To Pay (1937) and The
Four of Hearts (1938), are by far
the better constructions.
All three are typical Queen puz-
zles-not the best, but then any
Queen novel ranks high in the
mystery field-and the solutions in
each case are the result of the
same competent, logical sleuthing
by the master himself.
These novels are always good,
but especially so in this three-for-
one package.
--Vernon Nahrgang

STONEWALL JACKSON. By Allen
Tate. 322 pp. Ann Arbor: Uni-
versity of Michigan Press. $1.65.
A WRiTER of histories can do
little more than record the
actions of a man, from birth until
death; it takes a philosopher or a
poet to extend the man beyond his
time, to restore to his life more
meaning than mere scholarly in-
terest or the evocations of Lin-
coln's doctor's publicists. Tate is
a poet; his first book of poems was
published in the same year as
Stonewall Jackson.
The brief and meaningful pic-
ture of Jackson's childhood sets
the tone of, the book. The boy's
honorable refusal to resign from
a bargain, even if it means the
loss of a larger profit, heralds ,a
characteristic refusal to retreat
from later commitments.
Part of this is good training,
childish submission to an abstract
right, before he knows himself.
Later, he is articulate: "God," he
says to an officer, "has fixed the
time for my death . . ." He will

not think about it; he will act, act
well, and be ready when it comes.
Jackson may turn outside himself,
for the meaning of his life, but
the fact is that he lives in keeping
with that discovered meaning.
THE PHILOSOPHER marks the
context of Jackson's life, the dog-
ma of the South and its slavery.
The poet shapes the life, with an
inventive reshaping of words, as
thea story extends, his own words
and those of Jackson, something
best shown by Jackson's sense of
his "time." the idea of predeter-
mined death and self-earned dis-
tinction in life that permeates the
book.
As Jackson was a general, much
of his life was his campaigns, and
much of the book is just that. Tate
describes the battles competently,
using simple maps, and it is these
clashes that heighten the life lived,
fill out the well-made shadow of
humility and rock strength.
-Burton Beerman

IT IS THE PLEASURE OF THIS
FIRM TO HAVE PARTICIPATED
IN THE ARCHITECTURAL METAL
FOR THE NEW UNDERGRADUATE
LIBRARY.
Redford Iron Works, Inc.
26125 SEVEN MILE ROAD
DE'TROi 40, MICHIGAN
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It is with pleasure
that our company supplied
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Snew Undergraduate Library.
Ann Arbor Office. Machines
200 East Huron Street
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