FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 1927
THE SUMMER MICHIGAN DAILY
BOOKS OF THE DAY
The Nagnilfcent Idler, by Cameron varied, the political "drum taps," and1
Rogers (Doubleday, Page & Comp- finally, "sands at seventy."
any, $2.50.) Whitman's life, as "has been men-
"Afoot and light-hearted I take to tioned, was a carefree one and he had
the open road, I experiences which to relate in an or-
healthy, free, the world before me, dinary manner would render them
The long brown path before 'me lead- vulgar. Here perhaps Rogers rises
to the call as nobly as any man could.
No more sweetly, and no more beau-.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I tifully can one imagine these iici-
myself ,am good fortune, dents to be told * * * one must
Henceforth I whimper no more, post- be impressed by Walt's doctrine ofl
° pone°°1nomore, need nothing, ,the beauty of the physical being.
Bone withnoor, CdOm tng, Jb As far as that indefinite thing called#
style goes, Rogers is pleasant and
raries, querulous criticisms, agreeable, but after all his charac-
Strong and content I travel the open terizations are his forte. Louisa, the
road." mother of the poet, is breathing, andl
Perhaps those lines from the com- worrying and living again in thel
mencement of "The Open Road" best pages that deal with her. And sol
express Walt Whitman's doctrine to are all of the characters * * * or-
live simply for the joy that one finds ganic things * * * not merely
in life. There being nothing beyond, paper and ink.
the present is the thing. It is a The book has one effect. It stands
inomentary life, and for that reason as a beacon afar, dim yet flickering
carefree * * * and yet, despite with flashes of brilliance, beckoning
the critics of such a state of mind, like Walt would-"Come, I have found
it seems splendid to me at times. the way Follow Me!"
To catch that spirit, however, and W. K. L.
to enclose it within the dull covers
of a book is a difficult task, and per- With the publication on August 5th,
haps Cameron Rogers did not wholly ! of "A Prince of Outlaws" by Count
succeed in his "The Magnificent Alexis K. Tolstoy, Alfred A. Knopf
Idler'; and yet he did succeed suffic- has made available in English the
iently to arouse in the reader an famous historical romance known is
admiration for Walt and a desire Russian as "Prince Serebryany." It
o atno moreabout Americs is regarded by many critics as the
poet." greatest purely historical novel Rus-
Rogers, who by the way is the son siaxhas produced.
Alexis Tolstoy, a second cousin of
f the man who wrote "The Rosary,' Leo Tolstoy, was an uncle of the last
takes his reader far back into the Imperial Russian Ambassador in
histories of the. Whitman and Van Washington, George Bakhmetev. He
Velsor families, (for Walt's mother's was born in 1817 in St. Petersburg
naiden name was Van Velsor), and (now Leningrad) of noble family, and
lightly travels over the men and received a very careful education. He
women whose children were later to was proud in later life of having sat
bring forth the man that Walt was. = as a boy on the knee of Goethe.
Then the author swings into the Tolstoy's name is known to Ameri-
story of Walt himself, as an orchestra cans through the production by the
picking up the dominating theme of Moscow Art Theatre of his drama
a symphony. "Tsar Feodor," in the title role of
First, we have youth upon Long which Musqvin and Katchalov alter-
Island, and seratim the journalistic rated. His drama "Boris Godunoff,"
experiences, which were many and about a great historical character
made, familiar by Chaliapin, was the
basis for the opera of the same name.
These dramas are part of the trilogy
which made Tolstoy famous in Eu-
rope: "The Death of Ivan the Ter-
rible," "Tsar Feodor," and "Boris
Although Alexis was a blood rela-
tion of the more celebrated Leo, the
two Tolstoys were quite unsympathe-
tic. Alexis had no social philosophy'
to propound; no religion to preach,
no axes to grind. He kept free tromj
court intrigues, and wrote for the joy
of pure art. He repeatedly refused
the offer to be the aide-de-camp of
the Tsar Alexander II, whose play-1
mate and lifelong friend he was, and
preferred the humble post of Court
Huntsman, which gave him freedom
for hunting, a sport he loved, as well
as freedom to write.
"A Prince of Outlaws' is of the
same interesting period in Russian
history as his dramas. The scene=
laid in the days of Ivan the Terrible,
pictures the conflict between the cor-
rupt Oprichnina, who were Ivan's un-
official police, and the landed gentry,.
the boyars, who were obliged to turn
outlaws in self-protection. Prince
Serebryany, in the "Prince of Out-
laws," refuses to compromise his
ideals to gain the favor of the Tsar.
He is captured twice and is about to
be beheaded, but is saved both 'times
-once by Boris Godunoff, who is one
of the characters in the book. He
ultimately wins the favor of the Tsar
without giving up his honesty of mo-
tive and action. The passionate love
of Serebryany for Yelena, who has
married another man for protection in
his absence, runs through the book.
With the. appearance. of . Prince
Serebryany the rigorous literary cen-!
sorship which existed at all times in
Czarist Russia was lifted temporarily;
and for the first time fiction was per-
mitted to deal with Ivan, the half-mad
Tolstoy, who died in 1875, had aj
prosperous, happy life, and, except'
for the passionate love-affair with the
lady who afterward became his wife,
an uneventful one.
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