Mr. Wells, in The World of William Clissold, presents, not precisely his own mind as it has developed on the basis of his personal experience and way of life, but—shifting his angle—a point of view based on an experience mainly different from his own, that of a successful, emancipated, semi-scientific, not particularly high-brow, English business man. The result is not primarily a work of art.
Political satire in America is for the moment the monopoly of Will Rogers. Others may practice it for tiny audiences; his is as near to the sum total of the "picture reading public" as anyone can come. The paraphernalia of gum and lariat which helped him in the Follies is now partly laid away; he is on a vastly popular lecture tour; he broadcasts; he writes for the Saturday Evening Post; he publishes books. He has only to write a play and create a comic strip to become universal.
Banzai, by John Paris, New York: Boni and Liveright. $2.50. The author, at one time attached to the British embassy in Tokyo and writing under the name of John Paris, knows well certain phases of Japanese life. In Banzai he indicates his familiarity with geisha and yoshiwara problems, with student life and restaurants. But Banzai is much more trivial than the author’s previous novels of Japanese life, Kimono and Sayonara.
Pushkin, by Prince D. S. Mirsky. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company. 266 pages. $2.50. Gogol, by Janko Lavrin. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company. 263 pages. $2.50. The Republic of Letters series, under the editorship of Dr. William Rose, was recently inaugurated with Mr. Aldington’s admirable study of the life and genius of Voltaire.
Joan of Arc, by Joseph Delteil. Translated from the French by Malcolm Cowley. New York: Minton, Batch and Company. 268 pages. $3. There are many kinds of biography in these days of its vogue: one might almost say that Joan of Arc has been subjected to them all. There is the factual volume of Michelet from whose “excellent formula there is lacking the obscure part of God”; there is the sturdy attack of Anatole France and the glowing defense of Andrew Lang. There is Mark Twain’s imaginative romance based on twelve years’ accumulation of facts; there is Mr.
New England in the Republic, 1776-1850, by James Truslow Adams. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 438 pages. $5. With this volume Mr. Adams completes his trilogy on the destiny of that corner of our country in which physiographical, psychological, political and moral influences combined to produce and to perpetuate for two ‘and a half centuries the most pronounced, self-conscious example of sectionalism in our history. I use the word trilogy in a more specific sense than the designation of a three-volume work merely, for there is in Mr.
Rough Justice, by C. E. Montague. New York: Doubleday. Page and Company. $2.50. In no respect has the change in attitude toward human experience reflected by fiction been so marked as in regard to war. The last century knew the military novel as a specialty similar to the political novel, the ecclesiastical novel, the novel of education or industry or the sea. The profession of arms was like other professions, an affair of a class. It lent itself to fiction because of its opportunities of adventure, humorous in camp, glorious in the field.