passage. Ephesian also delights in exhibiting the variety of his subject's gifts. We are reminded that Lord Birkenhead was a fine athlete in his day, who only missed his Rugger blue because he broke his arm, and who accomplished the feat of swimming across the Great Harbor at Syracuse. We are reminded, too, of the range of his literary interests:

He is still ambitious to write an account of the last phase of Charles I after his final defeat by the Parliamentarians. Napoleon was, and remains, another of his favorite themes. Simultaneously he gathered materials about Dr. Johnson, and he long ago wrote a book never yet published - about Johnson's poems, which may be taken as a preface to a more considerable project.

Elsewhere it is stated that Lord Birkenhead 'is understood to be writing a Life of President Wilson and a comprehensive work on Bolshevism.' A mind sympathetic to such different types as President Wilson and Charles I is certainly not lacking in range.

The Lion and the Fox, by Wyndham Lewis. London: Grant Richards, 1927. 168.

[Saturday Review]

"THE master-subject of Shakespeare's plays has its origin in the Machiavellian obession of his time; or rather, that is the form the deeper conflict takes. The figure used by Machiavelli to express this conflict is that of the lion and the fox.' On this theme of Shakespeare's reaction to the fashionable cult of

Deepe, deepe observing, sound brain'd Macchiavell

Mr. Lewis has written a large, meandering book which takes us up highways and byways of the Shakespeare country and becomes more interesting when it leaves the original point than when it pursues it. That Elizabethan wits were saturated with Renaissance notions is obvious; that they made a sinister myth out of a timid literary gentleman with a sharp eye is equally plain. Men like Marlowe would dramatize anything, and the realism of Machiavelli was given a romantic lift on the surge of the mighty line. The conflict of simple, unadvised strength with purposeful cunning is natural to drama, and the Elizabethans, with Shakespeare at the head, could give it an Italianate twist. Mr. Lewis has filled out this idea with diligence, but the idea itself is hardly strong enough to support a large volume.

However, Mr. Lewis embroiders his theme, and he does so as a man who has come far enough

under Shakespeare's fascination to reject the complacent English notion of William, the world's conqueror, as a smooth-spoken, decorous, public school muscular Christian, who wrote his tragedies only in order to find sermons in slaughter and good in agony. The psychopathological discussion of Shakespeare can lead to no certainty, but the subject is better faced than smugly set aside. To Shakespeare the pessimist and railer Mr. Lewis brings an ear ready and acute, and his critique of Troilus and Cressida is of more importance than his general and rather laborious researches into the lion-and-fox parable. Mr. Lewis never stops his ears with that Victorian politeness which used to assume a diplomatic deafness whenever Shakespeare became vociferous in an unsuburban way. This dreadful hero-worship has been deflated in recent years, but a few more stabs from Mr. Lewis will do it no harm. Before long we shall have reached a stage at which even the most Emersonian schoolma'am will be unable to pass off on her defenseless pupils a portrait of William as 'quite the little gentleman.' In achieving this highly desirable end Mr. Lewis coöperates with all realistic criticism of the school of Brandes and Harris in wishing to destroy the dummy Shakespeare of the schoolroom.

A Passenger to Teheran, by V. Sackville-West. London: The Hogarth Press, 1926.

[Saturday Review]

MISS SACKVILLE-WEST is, at heart, a whimsical, bashful kind of traveler. She seems, indeed, to be more than half ashamed of her liking for strange sights. Travel, she says, is, after all, 'an irrational passion' that cannot be logically defended; the really great brains among us 'prefer to doze by the gas fire and let the minarets and cupolas arise without risking the discouragements of disillusion.' Then, again, travel is so 'uncomfortable' (she herself went everywhere by steamer, train, or motor car), and so 'lonely,' in the sense of being selfish and 'private'; for try as we will, with brush or pen, we can never communicate its delights to our stay-at-home friends.

After all of which unnecessary excuses we expect a half-hearted, apologetic sort of travel book. We get precisely the opposite. Miss Sackville-West is not aways pleased. Her impressions of a country depend, to a not inconsiderable extent, upon her moods, the state of her health, and so forth. But her likes and dislikes are recorded with equal vigor and enthusiasm (one suspects that, in retrospect, she enjoys them both equally), and disclose her, whatever her methods of locomotion, as a traveler born. Moreover, she has an unusual power of

description, especially when she likes a place (as she does Persia), which goes far to redeem her travels from her own charge of selfishness. This year, apparently, she intends to go farther afield, to Shiraz and the south, and if she can manage to get a little off the beaten track, and learn a few words of Persian, perhaps, and take that excellent camera with her again, the resulting book should give quite a lot of pleasure to large numbers of people whom she has never met. She will find that, contrary to her present opinion, European visitors can get to know something of the people without possessing Edward Browne's deep knowledge of their literature. And if she leaves the motor car behind she will understand still better what Kinglake meant in the passage which she quotes about making traveling your 'mode of life' for a time if you wish to appreciate it fully.

In the meantime she has written a very entertaining little book. She was at Teheran during the recent Coronation ceremonies, and gives an amusing account of that rather hectic week of State functions and firework displays —‘the day fluttered with flags, the night dripped with gold.' She gets to know everyone, and sketches all with sympathy and humor. Her best descriptive passages begin on the road to Isfahan-and of that we shall hope to get more from her soon.

Fascism, by Giuseppe Prezzolini. Translated by Kathleen MacMillan. London: Methuen and Company, 1927. 78. 6d.

[Times Literary Supplement]

THE most important point which emerges from Signor Prezzolini's analysis is that Fascismo is in the main a middle-class movement and thus derives from the same source as the Risorgimento, whose principles it apparently contradicts. The men who carried it to triumph are the young members of the officer class who came back from the war which had made Italy one, to find a Government incapable of gathering the fruits of victory. Like many other observers, Signor Prezzolini thinks that this current of opinion might have rallied to Socialism had the Socialism of 1919 to 1921 been less divided against itself and less obstinately antipatriotic. But as things were it offered no place to men whose outlook

[ocr errors]

was both nationalist and conservative. To add that it was also capitalistic is, in Signor Prezzolini's view, to forget that industrialism is far less developed in Italy than in Northwestern Europe - a doctrine commonly held by Italian intellectuals. The arguments by which it is usually supported are so unconvincing that Signor Prezzolini has shown wisdom in deciding not to argue it at all. He is, at any rate, on firm ground when he contends that the impulse toward Fascismo was idealistic and not economic, and that opinion backed Mussolini because he was the one man in Italy who could get things done. For this reason Signor Prezzolini substitutes a study of the Duce and his most representative followers for a detailed discussion of the Fascist programme. His general verdict is none too favorable:

The Fascist ruling class is not a very numerous class; it does not exceed in all one thousand. Their chief qualifications have to be youth, organizing powers, a limited experience of public affairs; a bold and soldierly spirit; preferably of northern origin or industrial interests; an understanding of how to deal with the masses and a certain amount of military prestige; mediocrity of intellect and a not too extensive knowledge of foreign countries.

Nevertheless, Signor Prezzolini is of opinion that up to the end of 1924, at which date his survey ends, the national outlook of the men at the centre of affairs was prevailing against the narrow despotism of the average provincial 'ras' or 'boss.' In an able but very cautious supplementary chapter Miss MacMillan traces the steps by which the spirit of faction has come to rule supreme in the movement. To the inevitable question, What of the future? she returns the noncommittal answer that 'granted that nothing unforeseen occurs, Fascism is a lasting régime.'


HIRST, FRANCIS W. The Early Life and Letters of John Morley. London and New York: The Macmillan Company, 1927. $10.50.


Système des Beaux-Arts, by Alain. Paris: Librairie Gallimard. Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Française, 1926.

In a most interesting avant-propos · - for the word 'preface' seems too scholarly for his subtly whimsical manner - the author warns us that he has once for all time reached a decision to write entirely for himself. Many writers tell us that much only to give glaring proof to the contrary a few pages further on. But Alain-who, by the way, André Maurois acknowledges as one of his most treasured teachers — keeps his word. He accuses æsthetic criticism of being bound hand and foot by Kantian doctrine, and goes off for an entirely subjective ramble through each and all of the fields of æsthetics. One should call the book 'outlook' much rather than 'system.' Once you have read the preface, you may turn to the chapter, 'De la mode,' or 'De la forme théâtrale,' or 'Des danses guerrières,' or 'De la poésie et de la prose,' or 'Des perspectives.' Everywhere one finds thoughts either strikingly plain and candid or involved but yet logical- and most often as arbitrary as everyone's personal musings are apt to be. Sometimes one receives deep satisfaction from passages that seem to reveal the very essence of art, like the following in the chapter, 'De l'épique':

'Le secret des arts est surtout des plus émouvants, nous apparaît ici, car la pitié réelle ne console pas, et la colère réelle encore moins. Mais par la puissance du rythme, par ce mouvement qui n'attend pas, par cette fuite des choses... le récitant, l'auditeur et d'abord le poète sont délivrés de ces sentiments trop forts auxquels ils disent adieu sans cesse.'

Sometimes one feels bored at the intricacy of passages written so much for and by the author himself that no one else can be expected to follow them readily. On the whole, this is not an easy book to read through. The venture very much resembles pearl fishing, and this particular reader has found the pearls unquestionably worth the exertion.

Twilight, by Count Edouard von Keyserling. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1927. $2.50.

AFTER we recover from the surprise of finding that the Count Keyserling who is the author of this book is not the philosopher who kept a Travel Diary and who collected views on marriage, we receive a second shock on discovering

that we have finished the story of 'Twilight' before completing the volume which bears its name. In other words, the important story is followed by two rather unimportant ones, all included under a general title which certainly defines the semidarkness in which the characters struggle to free themselves from the chains of inexorable fate. 'Twilight' is a tragic and powerful story, far more German than Russian in treatment, written with the simplicity and sincerity of Turgenev or Chekhov. The futile attempt of young lives to struggle out of the encompassing gloom and narrowness of a past generation into the sunshine of happy and normal activity is presented with truth and poignancy. But youth is not only repressed and thwarted by the weight of ancient tradition and family custom; it is crushed and defeated by outward tragedy. Count Keyserling has given us a story well worth reading if only for the contrast it awakens in the reader's mind between a European twilight in which a new generation gropes for recognition and the glare of sunlight which beats upon the successful and conquering youth of Columbia's happy land.

A Study of Swinburne, by T. Earle Welby. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1926. $5.00.

His own generation had at Swinburne in a variety of ways, but the time has certainly come when our own contemporaries must decide on new grounds what value he has for them as a poet. Mr. Nicolson's cocky little volume in the English Men of Letters series summed up the attitude of one type of young English critic. Mr. Welby, a reviewer for the Saturday Review, now devotes a volume to another, and on the whole more judicious, attitude. His study, though it should not be taken alone and without reference at least to Gosse's Life and Edward Thomas's excellent volume, uses enough new biographical material and makes enough new critical statements to deserve an important place in Swinburne criticism. Mr. Welby is especially happy in the emphasis he puts upon 'Songs before Sunrise,' 'Erechtheus,' and the Mary Stuart trilogy; and he brings critical unity out of two generations' chaos by showing how basic was Swinburne's passion for liberty - a liberty that was often enough a mystical abstraction, but certainly not merely the battle cry of a meaningless revolt.

The Marquis of Bolibar, by Leo Perutz. New York: The Viking Press, 1927. $2.00. THIS novel is laid in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, and it describes how a group of Austrian officers were compelled to become the destroyers of their own forces. Learning that the Marquis of Bolibar has arranged a series of signals which will lead to the annihilation of the regiments occupying La Bisbál, the invaders determine to catch the ringleader and do away with him. This they do- unknowingly, however; only the man who tells the story recognizes the Marquis in the mule-driver that they shoot down in cold blood because he overhears a compromising secret. But just before their victim dies he foresees that his murderers will carry out the signals in good time, and, sure enough, logic and circumstances force their hands repeatedly. This is something more than the usual mystery and adventure novel, though it is thrilling enough to suit the most nervous taste. It is such a capital time-killer that we sometimes forget that it is also a piece of literature.

The River Flows, by F. L. Lucas. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926. $2.00.

MR. LUCAS, whose book of essays, Authors Dead and Living, appeared about a year ago, is one of the younger men who are contributing regularly to various English magazines. This his first novel is a piece of fine writing, and is cast in the form of a diary, various letters, and the passages of narrative or dialogue necessary to give some semblance of form to the whole.

It is a study of two young men who while at Cambridge form a deep friendship. The mother of the one is anxious that the other shall assist her son to find a suitable wife. Unfortunately he is all too successful, for the fortunate girl captivates him as well. The tragedy is told with brilliance and feeling; every word and phrase appears to have been carefully weighed before it became woven into the texture of the drama. This is a book for the sophisticated, but above all for lovers of a clever and polished style. In Unknown Arabia, by Major R. E. Cheesman. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926. $10.00.

FEW have penetrated into the desert regions of Eastern Arabia, and no European is known to

have preceded Major Cheesman in a great part of the region which he explored in 1923 and 1924. The Sultan of Nejd did all that was in his power to facilitate the achievement of an extended trip for the purpose of collecting birds and animals, and incidentally of mapping a considerable tract of unknown desert. Under the circumstances it was only to be expected that Major Cheesman should have an unusually interesting story to tell.

His book fills a twofold purpose: it narrates the adventures, often humorous enough, which befell the author, and as such is a delightful book of travel for those who are fond of reading about the lesser-known parts of the earth; and it gives a mass of information about the fauna and flora, as well as the geography, of the land. The author has a very pleasant style, and has enriched his story with many photographs taken during his stay in Arabia.

The Elder Brother, by Anthony Gibbs. New York: The Dial Press, 1926. $2.00.

CAN it be that the younger writers are abandoning the unabashed hedonism which is so roundly censured, for a return to the proud suffering-insilence of our forefathers? Just the other day Mr. Michael Arlen, of all people, turned out a cinema fable revealing the lucent Menjou as a noble youth, cheated of his love by a perfidious comrade, bearing his anguish jauntily for a score of years before Fate relented and awarded him the now widowed lady. And here is young Anthony Gibbs writing about Ronny, the elder brother who gave up education that Hugo the younger might do Oxford in style. Next Ronny yields good repute to shoulder the disgrace of Hugo's amour with a misguided matron. Fortune and reputation gone, Ronny now loses his beloved to the rapacious junior. Completing his degradation with a Monte Carlo debauch, he returns to London to kill the despoiler, but shamefacedly begs a tenner instead and 'fades into the fog.'

The writing Gibbses-Sir Philip, A. Hamilton, and Cosmo Hamilton-all have the storytelling flair, and Anthony is no exception. But this unbridled turning of the other cheek, with echoes of Lady Windermere's Fan, comes strangely from a young man of the generation of Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.


It is of more than casual significance that such words as 'rationalization,' 'readjustment,' and 'regulation' are so often employed in Business European business discussion. Ecoas a World nomic interest is no longer focused to Problem the same extent as formerly upon quantitative aspects of production. They will take care of themselves. The important task now is to adjust consumption to increasing production, to accommodate the production of different continents, countries, and climates to each other, and to reduce the erratic zigzag of industrial activity to a symmetrical curve. The coming World Economic Conference at Geneva, the formation of cartels embracing several countries, and what is popularly called international finance all betoken this effort. Speaking of the coming Geneva Conference before the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Sir Arthur Salter, Director of the Economic and Financial Sections of the League of Nations, said hopefully that not only was it true that from the shock of the Great War Western civilization was, after all, going to recover, - of that he felt as certain as that the world would never stand the shock of another great war, - but it was also true, though surprising enough, that the average level of prosperity throughout the world was higher to-day than before the war. The world's population had increased from 1913 to 1925 by five per cent. The production of foodstuffs and raw materials had increased by nearly sixteen per cent. Therefore, not only was the total income greater, but the total real wealth per head of the population was greater. These figures were for the world as a whole, not for Europe considered by itself. But even in Europe things were not so black as one might at first be inclined to think. In Europe the population had increased between 1913 and 1925 by only about one per cent. In comparison with that, production had increased by between four and five per cent. But—and here was the significant fact the trade of Europe had fallen by perhaps ten per cent.

The most conspicuous symptom of the present economic maladjustment is unemployment in Europe, where, according to recent estimates, between eight and nine million workers are idle, not including those in Soviet Russia. Last winter Germany led the procession with one million, eight hundred and fifty thousand receiving unemployment aid, and probably more than two million actually out of work. Great Britain had

more than one million, six hundred thousand on the dole, and considerably more than that number unemployed. Little Austria's army of idle workers had fluctuated between one hundred and fifty thousand and two hundred thousand for the last two years. Denmark's figures are approximately the same, and the other Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands report more than one hundred thousand out of work. A gradual betterment of conditions in Great Britain and Germany may be accompanied by an increase of enforced idleness in France, and possibly in Italy. Somewhat analagous to this labor surplus is surplus of certain raw materials, likewise due in the main to sudden and uncontrollable technical advances. For example, the world seems to be oversupplied with textiles and textile fibres relatively to present standard of consumption. This is explained partly by the development of new products like artificial silk. Evidences of overproduction exist, however, in branches of industry where this competition plays a minor part. Last year was a disastrous season for the jute manufacturers of Great Britain, where the largest company, with a capital of four and one-half million pounds sterling, reported a loss of six hundred and forty-three thousand pounds. Among the reasons for this was an abrupt fall in the price of raw materials. Last winter representatives of seventeen different countries held an International Cotton Congress at Cairo and Alexandria, where the relation between prices of raw materials and of finished goods was discussed at length. Between 1913 and 1923 Egyptian cotton rose relatively much faster than American cotton, tripling in price, while our own middlings rose only seventy-seven per cent. Since the latter year, however, changes in materials and fashions, and crop and market fluctuations, have caused Egyptian cotton to fall more rapidly than American cotton. The result is that quotations of the two are now approaching parity, although the cost of producing cotton is much higher in Egypt than in America.

Britain's great business banks have become so largely public institutions - Dr. Walter Leaf of the Westminster Bank contends that Britain's they are as good as nationalized alLights and ready that their chairmen's annual Shadows reports are addressed to the moneyed public at large quite as much as or more than to their stockholders. To quote the New Statesman, "Their speeches are not mainly directed to the

« ElőzőTovább »