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August 06, 1944 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1944-08-06

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LITERARY PAGE
4 Book Reviews-Original Prose Every Sunday
Wilson Szt bject of Two Books;
Contrasting Pictures Presented

THE MICHIGAN DAILY SUNDAY,

'Joseph the Provider'
Ends Biblical Tetralogy

WOODROW WILSON AND THE LOST
PEACE. By Thomas A. Bailey. 381 pp.
Tlhe MacMillan Company. $3.
WOODROW WILSON As the Camera
Saw Him Then and as We Begin To See
Him Today. Be Gerald W. Johnson with
the collaboration of the Editors of
Look Magazine. 295 pp. Harper & Bros.
$2"
By HENRY POPKIN
WITH PREDICTIONS of peace
and plans for peace in the air
as they are at the moment, our
publishers and our authors have
turned to examining the world's
last attempt to fashion a lasting
peace. In line with this interest are
two recent books about Woodrow
Wilson, Bailey's Woodrow Wilson
and the Lost Peace, which is a his-
tory of Wilson's unskillfulness, and
Johnson's Woodrow Wilson, which
records Wilson's idealismr.
Bailey concentrates on Wilson's
unskillfulness, to the almost com-
plete neglect of Wilson's idealism,
integrity, and vision; Bailey seems
almost to regret that Wilson was
an idealist and that his broad prin-
ciples for the foundation of peace
happened to be justified.
Instead of applauding this ideal-
ism and vision, Bailey is com-
pletely taken up with deploring
Wilson's unwillingness to com-
promise with principle. At the same
time, Bailey complains of whatever
compromises Wilson did make at
Paris. It may almost be said that
Bailey's criterion is: whatever Wil-
son did, he should not have done
and whatever he omitted to do, he
should have done. In discussing
each successive action of Wilson's
during the framing of the Ver-
sailles Treaty, Bailey debates at
length the possible reasons why
Wilson was wrong. That he was
wrong always appears to be Bail-
ey's first premise. His only concern
is to show why he was wrong. Very
seldom does Wilson get a clean bill
of health on any issue.
The historical, factual back-
ground of Bailey's work seems
fairly respectable. Most histori-
ans will agree with him that
neither secret diplomacy nor
idealistic purpose brought us into
World War I. Our entry was
caused by the reason Wilson gave
in 1917, the threat to our historic
right to freedom of the seas.
Idealism entered upon the scene
later, as Bailey points out.

Equally authoritative is Bailey's
history of men and events at Paris.
He admits he has no new facts, but
he employs the memoirs of Lloyd
George, Lansing, House and others
with careful regard for most of the
facts. The leading characteristic of
Bailey's account is its emphasis on
Wilson's errors.
Woodrow Wilson and the Lost
Peace is offered as a guide to future
peace-planners. The treaty-mak-
ers of the future are advised to
avoid Wilson's pitfalls, to be more
inclined to compromise with reac-
tion and isolationism at home, not
to pitch their ideals too high, to
be less arrogant in dealing with
foreign statesmen. Some of Bail-
ey's advice is sound, but he fails to
note that Wilson was right about
many things and to counsel that
our future peace-planners try to be
right about the same things. The
Fourteen Points were basically
sound, although they were misin-
terpreted. The League of Nations
was a good idea, although Ameri-
ca's failure to participate made it a
failure. Wilson was morally right
in his concepts of international
justice, considerably more so than
Lloyd George or Clemenceau.
IN BRIEF, Bailey counsels the
peace-planner of today to be an
adroit diplomat (which Wilson was
not); Bailey does not add that he
should be a man of integrity and
high ideals (which Wilson was).
We can look forward to a less one-
sided choice than this one when we
select our next peace commission,
but if such a choice should be
necessary, I, for one, prefer a peace
by Wilson to a peace by Talleyrand.
Woodrow Wilson is picture-his-
tory. The publishers call it "A
LOOK Picture Book," and I assume
there are more to come. The text
by Gerald Johnson is mainly in
the form of captions. One quickly
gets the idea that the captions are
for the pictures and not the pic-
tures for the captions. And the
pictures are excellent. Johnson's
text is pretty good trimming, but
the pictures are the body of the
book.
Wilson is a hero in this book, a
tragic hero on the grand scale, a
great man, a man of integrity who
saw beyond his contemporaries,
who erred and was vilified, who
died fighting for the right and has

NOTE-Took his A. B. from Western Mi-
chigan College in 1942 and received his
A. M. in English from the University
last June.
JOSEPH THE PROVIDER. By Thomas
Mann. 608 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $3.
By ROBERT ALLEN
THE PUBLICATION of Mann's
Joseph, the Provider, marks
the conclusion of one of the major
creative works of our era, Joseph
and His brothers. This makes it
almost essential to discuss the ser-
ies as a whole, or at least to discuss
The Provider in its relationship to
the earlier three volumes, for it
becomes at once apparent that
Joseph the Provider is less able to
stand alone than any of the others.
The reason for this seems to be
its lack of any real dramatic in-
tensity. Although the period which
the present novel treats includes
all of Joseph's career following the
incident of Potiphar's wife, at no
time is there any doubt as to the
eventual brilliance of its conclu-
sion. The conflicts between Joseph
and Mut, between Jacob and La-
ban, between Joseph and his broth-
ers, have all been, or are about to
be resolved.
At no time before has the calm,
deliberate and ironic pace moved
so leisurely. Mann, like Joseph,
who tells his steward Mai-Sach-
me, "If it is a whole year before
they come back with Benjamin,
it will not be too long for me.
What is a year, anyhow, in this
story?" can see the end of his
story, and seeing the end, can see
no reason for hurrying it.
To accuse a novel of lacking real
intensity, and of being sluggish
would seem to damn it. And if The
Provider were to be judged solely
upon its own merits, such a verdict
would be almost inevitable. For
while its appeal is not necessarily
esoteric, even Mann's most fervent
admirers will find much of the
present novel a little discouraging.
But if The Provider is considered
in its relationship with the earlier
portions, a truer estimation of its
own distinctive values is apparent.
In the first place none of the prev-
ious volumes has so completely
realized Mann's contention that
art is a festive experience, that the
artist is the one who is able "to
turn life into spiritually subli-
since been justified and has be-
come a legend. Wilson is a noble
figure, and in Woodrow Wilson the
man's nobility emerges in grand
style, despite occasional irrelevan-
cies and semi-maudlin touches in
the text.

mated entertainment, and in
festival for others." The Prov
is above all else a festive nov
novel of laughter. Even Jose
imprisonment in the early port
cannot be taken with anyl
degree of seriousness. The tri
phant conclusion, which aw
Joseph when he is rescuedf
this, the second pit, is too nea
THIS is closely akin to the se
quality which is particu
noticeable in the final vol
Mann spoke of the Joseph no
as a "bashful poem of man."

to a
vider
el, a
eph's
tions
high
ium-
waits
from
r.
nand

Against Oblivion
New Life of Severn
Tells of Keats
NOTE-Received his PH.D from the Uni-
versity this year after completing his
undergraduate work at Hamilton Col-
lege and being granted his A. M. from
Columbia. At present; he is an Instruct-
or in the English department.
AGAINST OBLIVION The Life of Joseph
Severn. By Sheila Birkenhead. 324 pp.
The MacMillan Company. $3.
By DR. RICHARD H. FOGLE

IN ..
X11 fft1J' .
r J(/IU

larly
ume.
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The

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qualities which would make such
an estimation valid have been lat-
ent in all of the volumes, perhaps
most notably in Young Joseph. But
the young Joseph has much of
Tonio Kroger about him; that is,
he is entirely too much of the iso-
lated individual to permit the rea-
der to give him the full symbolic
weight that a "bashful poem of
man" would imply that the central
character possesses.
The Provider is a much more
universal charactr. Sly and lov-
ing, something of an opportunist,
the ideal bourgeois, and the ideal
artist, he comes much closer to
being a representative of Mann's
humanism. But Mann refuses to
see Joseph blindly. It is as Jacob
tells Joseph when they are reunit-
ed. God "has elevated and rejected
you both in one . . . It is a worldly
blessing, not a spiritual one."
If the prevailing tone of the book
is an extension and development of
earlier attitudes, in other respects
there is less to set it apart. Irony
remains its most characteristic fea-
ture. As an attitude and as a man-
ner of expression, Mann has made
irony peculiarly his own. Usually
the ironic approach in Mann takes
the form of rather gentle laughter,
by means of which he is enabled to
express emotionally a kind of ap-
proval for something, which on
purely intellectual grounds he feels
compelled to reject. It is the direct
result of the conflict between the
artist and the bourgeois which has
been so painful, but so aesthetical-
ly fruitful in Mann's career. It is a
playful concern with the half truth.
NOW this irony pervades both the
style and the approach to the
novel. It explains the bantering,
scientific expressions, which when
combined with the consciously
heightened prose, gives the novel
its peculiar savour. Such diverse
styles as illustratd by "True, the
art of soothsaying was held inhon-
or; it was a partial explanation
that Joseph had chanced to dis-
tinguish himself in the field and
had come off better than the very
best domestic product," and "There
she stands, tall and almost sinister
on the slope of her native hills;
one hand on her body, the other
shading her eyes, she looks out
upon the fruitful plains where the
light breaks from towering clouds
to radiate in waves of glory across
the land," are synthesized in the
ironic mode, and create not dis-
unity, but unity of a very high
degree.
Aside from the style itself, the
"scientific" treatment, as Mann
himself has observed, when ap-
plied to wholly unscientific and
legendary matters is pure irony.
And Mann repeatedly makes a
very considerable show of being
very accurate. "For here in this
account I am not drawing a long
bow but merely telling what hap-
pened . . . Exaggeration does, of
course, get a more striking tem-
porary effect; but surely a criti-
cal and considered narrative is of
more real profit to thelistener."
This, then, to Mann is the last
joke, and perhaps the best one
of all.
This suggests questions as to the
accuracy of his portrayal of ancient
Egyptian and Hebraic -life. Cer-
tainly its detail evidences a thor-
ough knowledge of the life and
times. In this respect it is like The
setting. In both novels, however,
the setting is about their only real-
istic quality.
The court of Ikhnaton was a
highly sophisticated and advanced
stage of civilization. The early
Jews were profoundly moved by the
idea of God. Nevertheless the orig-
inal Ikhnaton and Joseph, would
probably have trouble recognizilg
thaml in Mnann'seaaranatr

MORE than a century ago an ob-
scure young English poet died in
Rome in the arms of an equally ob-
scure young artist, his sole nurse
throughout a lingering illness in
exile. The poet was John Keats;
the artist Joseph Severn. Keats
has survived, however, in his po-
etry, while Severn, who outlived
him over fifty years, is today known
only for his fidelity to the greater
man.. The rest of his career has
been relegated to oblivion.
The Countess of Birkenhead does
not succeed in reversing the ver-
dict of posterity upon Severn, de-
spite her avowed attack "Against
Oblivion" in his behalf. After fin-
ishing her book, the reader is like-
ly to find himself agreeing with an
earlier biographer, William Sharp,
that "he (Severn) would, dissociat-
ed from Keats, be . . . only as it
were a voice to charm those among
whom the personal tradition of the
man is still more or less potent.
"Her hero is amiable but shadowy,
throughout his life a mere pleas-
ant walker-on amid more vital
characters. So much, in fact, is
tacitly admitted by the author in
her treatment of him: she subor-
dinates him in his childhood to his
picturesque and irascible father, in
young manhood to Keats, after
the death of Keats to his fascinat-
ing but dangerous patron Lady
Westmoreland, and in later years
to his wife and his daughter Mary.
Only rarely is Joseph Severn him-
self permitted to hold the center of
the stage.
This failure of the author to
carry out her intention need not
in itself mar the reader's pleas-
ure' in an eminently readable
book. Lady Birkenhead has an
eye for tlhe dramatic moment, the
telling anecdote, the striking vis-
ual effect. She has perused
Keats's Letters, Sharp's Life and
Letters of Joseph Severn, and
various polite memoirs of the
period with discernment, and
It has elements of both, but it is
essentially a world created par-
ticularly for them.
Still another aspect which The
Provider has in common with the
earlier volumes is the strength of
its minor characters. Ikhnatoi, the
neurotic seeker after the One God;
his mother, the crafty ruler and
respecter of traditions; Pharaoh's
baker and butler; Joseph's jailer,
Mai-Sachme; the eleven brothers,
particularly Judah, all emerge as
full bodied figures. Most vital of
all, however, is Tamar. Her story,
complete in itself, is probably the
most truly distinguished portion of
the whole novel.
It is the fact that one can speak
of it as portions, that makes it no
more satisfactory than it is as a
novel. Structurally it is loose and
episodic. The individual scenes are
brilliantly executed. It is impos-
sible not to recognise the power of
such a scene as that which leads to
Joseph's confession to his brothers,
Children, here I am, I am your
brother Joseph!"
Nevertheless, Joseph the Provider
is essentially denouement. It is an
elaboration of "and they lived hap-
pily ever after." It is only when it
is placed in its real position as the
final volume of Joseph and His
Brothers that its rightness is seen.
It brings the whole to a conclusion
which justifies Mann's contention
that the series is "a bashful poem
of man."

NOTE-Took her A. B. with Honors in
English from the University in 1943 and
receed her A. M. in English last June.
Was a two-time freshman Hopwood win-
ner.
HIDDEN FACES. By Salvador Da li.
Translated by Haakon M. Chevalier. 413
pp. The Dial Press. $3.
By VIRGINIA LaRUE
HIDDEN FACES reaches us
equipped with a special jacket
and drawings by the author, and an
assortment of dedications and fore-
words which we might expect in a
new and ornate edition of an old
favorite, but scarcely in a first
novel, even when it is written by so
celebrated a man as Dali. We
cannot help suspecting, then, a
supplements these with hitherto
unpublished letters and memor-
anda of Severn and his family.
She is to be commended for her
scrupulous respect for her sour-
ces and her careful documenta-
tion,
ALONG with these virtues, how-
ever, Against Oblivion has seri-
ous defects. It is curiously inco-
hereit in point of view and meth-
od. Severn is a frail link between
personalities who have no common
relationship except his acquaint-
ance with them, and who are in-
troduced only to achieve a momen-
tary effect. The author wavers be-
tween narrative, in which she mod-
ifies and interprets her sources,
and a tendency to reproduce her
sources entire for as much as a
chapter at a time. She has not,
in short, devised a method and
formulated an attitude to cope
with the materials at her disposal.
Her habit of transferring senten-
ces from letters to the mouths of
her characters in conversation, it
may be noted in passing, occasion-
ally produces an artificial and
wooden effect.
Finally, despite much charm,
Against Oblivion is marred by an
over-feminine prettiness not whol-
ly inappropriate to Severn him-
self, but unsuitable for explaining
and -interpreting the genius, for
example, of Keats. For that, one
would do better to turn straight-
way to the golden Letters of John
Keats themselves.

certain amount of hocus-pocus; so
much irrelevant detail suggests a
lack of solidity in the work itself.
The substance of the book, when
we encounter it after a confus-
ing series of apologies and explana-
tions, is the decadence of the
French aristocracy. This is, as
Chevalier has suggested, a novel
in the tradition of Balzac and Huy-
smans, and furnished with all the
feasts, jags, and orgies we under-
stand to be essential to the scene,
glossed over with Dali's luminous
vocabulary, with the hollow mod-
ernity lent by the use of names
and events familiar in this war,
and with the dizzy, mock-Freudian
details contrived through Dali's
weird imagination.
The story revolves around a
handful of comtes and dames lifted
out of the subtle depravity of their
lives by the crises of the war, and
aided by its exigencies in the re-
discovery of their true "faces."
Dali's characters, as even the
jacket blurb will tell you, are not
only individuals: they are im-
(Continued on Page 7)
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4 THE MICHIGAN DAILY SERVICE EDITION

.I

ANN ARBOR, MICH.

SUNDAY, JULY 30, 1944

of the Department of Pedi-
atrics and Communicable
Diseases in the medical
school. Prof. Warren E.
Blake, professor of Greek,
was named new chairman
of the Department of
Greek, succeeding Prof.
Campbell Bonner. Prof.
Bonner merely resigned his
administrative duties and
will continue as professor
of Greek. In the College
of Engineering Prof. Al-
fred H. Lovell, professor of
electrical engineering, has
been appointed chairman
of the department of elec-
trical engineering for 1944-
45.
* * *
SOCIAL WORKERS are
less in demand this sum-
mer, the Bureau of Ap-
pointments says, but the
demand for trained people
is great with the field of
stenographic, work contin-
uing to send out the great-
est call for workers. Chem-
istry, physics and all fields
related to engineering,
nublic health and biologi-

movies were included in
the program.
"BULLET BOB" West-
fall, All-American fullback
of two years ago who has
been in and out of the Mi-
ehigan football picture
since the start of practice
a month ago, once more
leaped into the limelight
when it was learned that
a vote is being taken of all
Western Conference foot-
ball coaches to determine
whether he is eligible for
another year of competi-
tion. The wartime rules
permitting servicemen to
compete in the Big Ten
after having completed
three years of collegiate
competition contained no
provision regarding civil-
ians. Westfall, who carries
an honorable discharge
from the Army, is the first
such case to be affected by
the ruling.
MICHIGAN TRACK
COACH KEN DOHERTY
flatly predicted a few days

taking time of 4:01.6 with
Haegg just a few feet to
the rear. Both men smash-
ed the former mark of
4:02.6, also set by Ander-
sson a few weeks earlier.
"When two runners such
as Haegg and Andersson
get together, they push
each other to great per-
formances," the Michigan
mentor said.
* * *
AN ANN ARBOR
CLOUDBURST greeted
Michigan's football squad
Friday but this didn't dam-
pen the Wolverine spirit
and according to Line
Coach Biggie Munn, the
workout was the best of
the year. The Blues, com-
posed of experienced per-
sonnel scored three touch-
downs against the Whites.
As the scrimmage ended,
the Whites had driven to
the Blue 20-yard line.
* * *
JOHN TEWS, naval
trainee and number one
man on this year's Wol-

Alhhn /ibO *t' 2aoit'uA 1? etau'ant

FINE FOOD and genial hospitality
are always present at the Allenel.
For important week-end, dates, or
dinner during the week, the Al-

lenel is the place to go.

TITLED- Film actress
Joyce Reynolds (above)
has received more than
20 pin-up titles from sol-

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