TUESDAY, AUGUST 8, 1922
THE SUMMER MICHIGAN DAILY
One of the most interesting books
which I have chanced upon is "The
Opinions of Anatole France," (Knopf).
The substance of it was documented
from the conversation of the French
writer by Paul Gsell who also, some
few years ago, did a like volume on
'Whether the words of France were
taken down verbatim or not I cannot
exactly say, but I suspect that they
were not. Something of Anatole
France's style seems to be missing;
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there is a certain sparkle and ironic
crispness o wrds lacking, though
that may be due to a difference be-
tween France's writing and his specch. I
lowever, I note a similarity between
the speech of Rodin, reported by Gsell,
and that of France, also reported by
Gsell seems, as Mr. Mencken has
pointed out, a sort of a French Bos-
well, and I formed a like opinion when
I read the Rodin volume. There is a
great deal of lavish praise, which,
however merited, seems to be a little
too saccharine for one of my tastes.
In spots it descends to the downrght
subservience of a barber, a bootblack,
or a school teacher shaking hands
with Warren Harding.
However, mistake not, the book a a
whole is very enlightening, 'very in-
teresting, very entertaining, and it
gives some intimate pictures of Ana-
tole France, as intimate, perhaps as
one could wish of the man other than
in a robe de nuit. And while the ironii
words of France seem to be lacking in
some cases the ironic substancei
Indeed, it is said that this is the
very volume which caused Frace to
be regarded very disfavorably by h
government, though I really can't see
why. Even in this benighted and pur-
itanistically sodden locality I have
said things far more offensive to the
gods. Still, rance has his say on
almost all subjects, and I suspect that
it is his opinions on war which brought
down the wrath of the patriotics, pol-
itical sans-culottes. Surely, however,
the Left Wing cannot have looked up.-
on him with so much disfavor, even
though still suffering some from the
late hysteria and the tune of the Mar-
Not only is Anatole France looked
upon with indignation by the govern-
ment, but I hear he is on the Index of
the Catholic church. The good Fath-
ers have likely discovered that "Pen-
guin Island" is not a nursery tale. In
my opinion, for France to achieve
these additional honors at his age is
to have his full and long life crown-
ed with ultimate expression of suc-
cess. If he could only get all other
churches and all other governments
against him he would have nothing
more to ask of existence in this "best
of all possible worlds."
But he has done enough, thought
enough, written enough for one man.
I doubt if there is a better artistic
thinker in all of Europe. Certainly he
is the clearest writer in all France,
the best stylist in that country, which
is to say the clearest writer and the
best stylist in all the world.
The book which I am reviewing-
alas, with many digressions will be
deightfut % anyone who appreciates
Anatole France, and to anyone who
has not read him, if that "anyone"
has intellect. I recommend it chielly
for the insights that it affords one
aside from thse afforded by the many
books by Monsieur Bergeret, as France
is more intimately known.
I quarrel with him on his idea that
love for humanity is the source of in-
spiration for genius, the soarc of1 gen-
ius itself, and I think that France gets
a little too softiph at times, but that
doesn't hinder me from thinking that
ie is, at the last end of life, still the
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clever and interesting of all the
French writers, and consequently, in
miy opinion, "The Opinion's of Ana-
tole France," is a very entertaining
and instructive volume.
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