August 4, 1941
The many sins of the irreverant translator, according to the great novelist.
A Treasury of Russian Life and HumorEdited, with an introduction by John Cournos. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc. 706 pages. $3.75. A Treasury of Russian Literature Selected and edited, with a foreword and biographical and critical notes, by Bernard Guilbert Guerney New York: Vanguard Press. 7,072 pages. $3.95. Some fifty writers are represented in Mr. Cournos' anthology and some thirty in Mr. Guerney's. Except that the latter goes much farther back into the past while the former includes a much greater number of contemporary authors, both volumes cover much the same ground.
Three grades of evil can be discerned in the queer world of verbal transmigration. The first, and lesser one, comprises obvious errors due to ignoranc
Mr. Shakespeare of the GlobeBy Frayne Williams New York: E. P. Dutton and Company. 596 pages. $5. The biographical part of this book will not disappoint the imaginary not-too-bright giant for whom blurbs are fattened and human interest lavishly spread. Surely, there must be something very attractive in the illusion Mr. Frayne Williams tries hard to keep up, namely, that environment can be made to influence a poet once it is neatly deduced from his works. "No poet," he says, "can be comprehended without estimating his attitude toward marriage." How very true!
Slava Bohu, The Story of the DukhoborsBy J. F. C. Wright. New York: Farrar and Rinehart. 438 pages. $3.50. Nu (as the author would say), this is a highly entertaining account of what the Dukhobors did, or declined to do, in Caucasia and Canada. Although the first chapters dealing with the history of the movement are anything but dull, the real fun starts when the bearded babes have been shipped to the remote wood selected for them by hopeful humanitarians.
The Knight in the Tiger's Skin By Shot'ha Rust'hveli New York: International Publishers. 347 pages. $4.50. Tariel, the sunlike, the cypress-formed, may be inferior, spiritually and intellectually, to his Western brethren, King Arthur's knights, but, otherwise, he puts them rather into the shade. Matched with this mournful, moaning, "mad-minded" rover, great Lancelot of the Lake would seem almost perky, and romantic Sir Tristram a very lukewarm lover.
Serge Diaghilev: An Intimate Biography By Serge Lifar New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 413 pages, $5 The Russian Renaissance is a curiously lovely thing to look back at over one's shoulder, blending as it does priceless artistic magic with a touch of eerie futility and the pathos of its impending doom.