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December 02, 1923 - Image 6

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PAGE SX
BOOKS
BENEVOLENTLY
EXHUMING SHADOWS1
BUIlED CAESARS, by Vincent Star.
relt. Covicl-McGree, 193.
Mr. Vincent Starrett after divers
hectic years of contributing to Vanity
Fair and its ilk makes his formal bow
on our little stage with his first book,
one Buried Caesars, miserably pub-1
lished by Covici-McGee who apparent-'
ly have come to the point where they
will print anything.
Mr. Starrett, let us say, is by this
time quite an elderly gentleman with
mittens on his hands and a lovely pur-
ple scarf to keep his neck limber.
Once upon a time he was of the lea
jeunes, the enfants terribles of they
naughty nineties, and drank coffee,
and read "Dorian Grey" with the best
of them.
His mission on earth evidently has
been to celebrate and polish the bones1
of the illustrious Unknowns that
swept across the country as a result
of the American imitation of the Eng-
lish imitation of the French decad-
ence. Morrow, Crackenthorpe, Middle-t
ton, Harte (Walter Blackburn, that.
is), Macfall-you have heard of them?
. . . well, neither have I, but it must
be laid to Mr. Starrett's credit that in
a fortnight I will have read them all
or die ignobly in the attempt.
And what more, after all, can you
ask of a book of literary apprecia-
tions?
However, it is rather amusing to
consider the author's eternal enthus-
iasm-and for the moment, your en-
thusiasm too-about his subjects, an
almost childish delight, an unholy
and frightfully unsophisticated atti-
tude. "Come play wif me," he cooes,
"pitty! pitty!" and then drags out an-
other obituary and fondles its sym-
bol.
"Romance," he giggles, "Ah me, for
the good old days of romance!" Bierce,
he would have you know, died in a
Mexican revolution, Crackenthorpe
jumped in the Seine, Middleton turn-
ed on the gas, Read passed to the
greater light reviewing The Shepherd
of the Hills.
One can laugh at the picture in this
day of terribly modern freedom where
a dozen visits to a brothel will make
any author famous, yet with it all
there is a certain undeniable satisfac-
tion. While the scene is hardly Vic-
torian, tea is still in fashion and sex
has hardly been discovered. Despite
its affectations, its artist's ties, its
silhouettes and brackish oaths, it is
calm and respectfully indecent,
charming perhaps, infinitely restful.
On the other hand, the man has the
awful reminiscence craze to be for-
ever writ against him. Memories are
permissable to grandmas, but very
bad form for any one below sixty. It
is, in truth, a sign of degeneration
and should be kept out of sight at all
costs.
To balance this, the author is de-
lightfully inconsequential and incon-
sistent, and better yet, he carefully
declines to cast himself on either side
of the literary fence: he admires his
various masters, but he refuses to be
dogmatic-or insistent about it. He re-
fuses to quarrel, in other words, a5
most singular virtue in these days of
causes.
And now that I am done, it might
be fitting to tell you in a line what
the book is really all about. It is, in
short, a sheaf of biographies mixed
with a taint of criticism about various

passing lights of the last decade and
in particular about Marion Reedy's
Mirror school. Briefly, toe passionate-
ly worships them all and on bendedr
knee begs you to re-read their dusty,
volumes. If you truly mean to tape
the gentleman seriously-why not do
so!
--1 ohcrt LBartron Henderson.

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1923

THE STAGE Someone very keenly remarked that plains why King Lear's elder daugh-
(Continued from Page Two) if his "King Lear's Wife" had appear- ters treated their father so harshly in
known you were interviewing me 1'ed under the name of a German orss
wouldn't have let you in'" his "Gruach" as the work of an un- his dotage. Thus we have a situation
Which, according to the fable, is pronouncable Russian the numerous of thorough basic passion: King Lear
whtthey alwardys sa, h fadist groups which profess to spon-_cruel, domineering, grossly sensual
what they always say. or better drama would have imme- openly prefers a waiting maid to his
A MR. BOTTOMLEY diately snatched them up. The idea: wife, and even in her dying moments
In speaking of Gordon Bottomley, it should also be supplemented by pointIdeserts his queen for the mistress. . .
may be best to first assume the role that if we had a progressive stage, "Gruach," one of his later works,
of a barker, for with the possible ex- even a stage managed by astute busi- takes another Shakespearean charac-
ception of a professor or two and an ness men, his plays would have been ter, Lady Macbeth. As the play opens
odd theatre maniac like myself, no-'professionally presented long ago as she is about to be married against her
body seems to have even heard of the good theatre politics, will to a lowland lord, a sluggish
man. You should know, then, that he It is all so inconceivable-this lack! man who loves soft winds and clear
is a contemporary Englishman who of recognition: it almost seems that wine. Somehow there is something
writes poetic tragedies of the most un- Gordon Bottomley is writing dramas within her that yearns for a sterner
usual merit, and whose works have that are too beautiful, too artistic.; life, so that when the envoy of the
been printed in two volumes, "King And by this, do not misunderstand king, Macbeth, spends the evening in
Lear's Wife" and "Gruach and Brit me; he has none of the hopeless mys- the castle, it is only natural that she
ain's Daughter" by the Chiswick Press tery of Claudel or the gooey sentiment should give herself to him. Together
of London, which of itself insures an of the latter-day Maeterlinck. Rath- they go out into the fierce wintry
exquisite format, er, his work is virile and rugged, night, her strange will already begin-
In this gentleman we probably have primitive if you will, and surchargedIning to dominate her master's charac-
one of the few striking literary phe- with the powerful strength that ter.
nomena of the day. Here is an author makes for great art. Such bare outlines, of course, rob
who writes poetic plays which as "King Lear's Wife," which is gen- the themes of their remarkable over-
poetry are breath-taking in their beau- erally conceded to be his greatest tones, the weird horrific manner in
ty and as plays tremendous in their work, is an excellent example of this. which simple incidents conspire to
obvious worth, but which, neverthe- The story takes the Shakespeare char- form a fated net about the heroes
less, have been financial failures as acters about thirty years before that people them. They fail so piti-
books and practically unproduced on Shakespeare presents them, and with fully to show the persistent philoso-
the stage. ! the utmost keenness and subtlety ex- phy of the superman that motivates

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