THE LIBRARY LANTERN N
Published monthly from October to June 1lyehe\
Hamilton Smith Library, of the Unive 3p;
of New Hampshire E .
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the post office at Durham, New ndier the
act of August 24, 1912.
Vol. 16 OCTOBER, 1940 No. 1
AS I REMEMBER HIM; the biography of R. S., by Hans Zinsser.
The greatest authority on typhus fever finished his autobiography early this
summer. This is no "doctor" book, for he was a man of wide interests and sym-
pathies, to whom a great poem, a good saddle horse, and a fine wine were equally
worthy of appreciation. His medical career was brilliant, and his discoveries such
as have helped to control epidemics of some of the most devastating diseases. Yet
while he writes of his scientific work, this is only incidental to his purpose of
studying the times through a personality-that of a child of the nineteenth cen-
tury unable to adjust himself to the post-war twentieth; the son of an immigrant
contrasting his reactions with those of the old stock as represented by Henry Adams.
The warmth of his spirit glows from every page. Writing in the third person, he
describes the reaction of R. S. to the realized gradual approach of death. The
heightened awareness of beauty in familiar things, the deepened tenderness toward
loved ones, enriched rather than saddened him. His philosophical confusion was
tempered by a basic belief in man's ultimate humanity. When Hans Zinsser died
a few weeks ago his publishers revealed that "R. S." stood for Romantic Self.
We have lost one of those few who in the grim and cruel world of today stand as
forerunners of man's nobler future.
THE LIVING FRANCE
PARIS, FRANCE, by Gertrude Stein.
This strange genius now devotes her talents to giving us her impression of
French civilization, and while she is brief, witty, and amusing, she shows herself
to be a shrewd observer of social phenomena as well. A man has two countries,
explains Miss Stein; the country where he lives, and the country that represents
for him romantic adventure. For her generation of Americans, this latter coun-
try was France. France was civilization and culture; the intellectual home of
the twentieth century.
French cooking, fashions, pets, schools, and many details of everyday life in
Paris and the departments creep into this book. France is more alive than Ger-
many, she says, because Paris hats have been lovelier the last two years than ever
before. Millinery is an art with the French, and while its arts are alive a country
is still strong and vital. While she takes the war into account, she does not seem
to feel that it will change the French character, or that their way of meeting it
has shown a decline in the vigor of France. It is the duty of France and England
to civilize this century, a century already forty years old, tough and wilful. Paris,
France by Gertrude Stein is even more amusing than the satire on England, With
Malice Toward Some, that we were all reading not long ago-and it is a much
better book. Not one of its author's weirder productions, it contains none of those
passages where the phongraph needle seems to stick, and it can be understood and
enjoyed by any average reader.
A NOVEL OF FRIENDSHIP
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, by Carson McCullers.
Here is a book, a first novel, by a young lady who is just twenty-two years
old. It is the story of a deaf-mute, John Singer, who lived in a small southern
city, a man whose only friend was another deaf-mute. But Singer's friend was a
little queer, and the day came when he was sent to the state hospital. Nothing
was left for Singer after that, though he carried on his work and outwardly was
much the same as before. After his one friend was gone and there was no longer
anyone with whom the handicapped man could easily communicate, curiously
enough Singer became the confidant of four others whose lives crossed his. He
was their safety valve, the one to whom they could pour out their hearts. It was
a strange group-Mick Kelly, the twelve-year-old daughter of Singer's landlord,
whose passion for music could not be satisfied by the home-made instruments which
were all that she had; Biff Brandon, the quiet man who ran the cafe where Singer
took all his meals; Dr. Copeland, the Negro physician whose pride in his race made
him the wonder of blacks and the scorn of whites; Jake Blount, who raved drunk-
enly about the laboring man and the conditions under which he is forced to live
and work. To each of these Singer brought a sense of comfort, but for him there
was only his friend, shut away across the state.
HOLDERS OF THE LIME-LIGHT
MY TEN YEARS IN THE STUDIOS, by George Arliss.
It was to be a book about Routine! Imagine Arliss writing such a book!
Godfrey Davies predicted it would be a classic in two hundred years; and so Ar-
liss says, "When you feel, reader, that I am being dull almost beyond endurance,
I want you to understand that that is when I am being most literary and most
classical and most inspiring to our great-great-grandchildren." The book is full
of the drollery of Arliss, the theatre, and Hollywood. There's a vacation at St.
Margaret's Bay; an anecdote of William Archer swimming, in his neatly buttoned
black suit, to the rescue of a drowning tripper; the pleasant and professional sides
of Hollywood are both here. Of course, it is a book of the theatre, past and
present, and if you enjoyed Up from Bloomsbury, you'll be wanting to read My Ten
Years in the Studios.
LILLIAN RUSSELL: THE ERA OF PLUSH, by Parker Morell.
Characteristic of Victorian style, the sub-title, The Era of Plush epitomizes the
book, Lillian Russell, a biography of the acknowledged queen of the vaudeville and
musical comedy stages for three decades. In the flamboyant personality who,
through exploits running the gamut from scandalous lawsuits to U. S. diplomatic
missions, held the public lime-light for a half-century, the author has reincarnated
an era of "inhibited Victorian opulence." Adroitly introduced in the tale are
persons whose names are indissolubly connected with theatrical and social history;
Lewisohn, Weber and Fields, Montgomery and Stone, Diamond Jim Brady. Gilbert
and Sullivan wage their battle against the pirated editions of "Pinafore," Tony
Pastor proves the "one-man Hercules in the Augean stable of variety," with
George Cohan, his apt pupil in political satire. Theatrical history, sociology or
biography may all lay claim to this entertaining book, but withal it remains a
skillful, vivid picture of the indomitable Lillian. Was she haunted by the bugbear
of vaudeville players, "Whom do I follow?", the night Tony said "Ladies and
gentlemen, I give you a vision of loveliness and a voice of gold Miss Lillian
BY AN EXILED ARTIST
THE LIGHTS GO DOWN, by Erika Mann.
This book is a collection of interesting, well-told stories. They are pitiful,
terrible episodes, showing the lives of the German people going to pieces. They
tell of poor food, long working hours under unfit conditions, and concentration
camps. Were these deprivations because the country was at war? No, this was
during the middle 1930's, a time of peace, supposedly. These amazing and little
realized conditions were so hopeless and stifling to the ambition of the individual,
that the reader can scarcely believe them. In fact, we would suggest that the
reader begin with the explanations in the back of the book, a section which verifies
all of the stories. Accepting, then, that they are the truth, their greatest value
lies in the fact that they are all typical examples of pre-war German life. They are
neither the terrible crimes committed by a few powerful outcasts, nor the fine
actions of a small group of good Germans. They come from the experiences of
the average person, as related to Miss Mann, and she has, in turn, set them down
beautifully, and in sincere understanding.
THE RICHER LIFE
THE BIRD IN THE TREE, by Elizabeth Goudge.
Damerosehay is the name of the eighteenth-century house which Lucilla Eliot
has made into a retreat for her children and grandchildren. She has learned much
from life in her seventy-eight years and is firmly convinced that "one must build
. .. from the outside inwards." David, her best loved grandson, comes to visit her
and tells her that he is going to marry Nadine, divorced wife of Lucilla's son
George. Lucilla is stunned by the news. She realizes that many people including
David believe that personal feelings must be put before everything else, but she
is sure her way brings greater happiness in the long run and she decides to fight
for her principle. The Bird in the Tree is the story of the conflict between Lucilla
and David and Nadine. Ben, Tommy and Caroline, the children of George and
Nadine who live with their grandmother must be mentioned too, for they are im-
portant factors in the struggle and are so well and sympathetically depicted by
the author they deserve a place with outstanding children in literature. An element
of mystery about the original ownership of the house adds to the interest of the
story. Readers of Miss Goudge's earlier books will not be disappointed in this
FROM A CROSSROADS CHURCH
FORTY YEARS A COUNTRY PREACHER, by George Gilbert.
In an easy colloquial manner the Episcopalian preacher, George Gilbert, gives
an account of his forty years administering to the needs of a poor country com-
munity. Although commissioned by publishers anxious to exploit the newly
awakened interest in the professions as practiced in rural America, there is evinced
throughout the sincerity and faith of those who truly minister unto others; who
attempt to make the deserted crossroads church into a vital force again. The char-
acterizations of his family in Vermont, the father in particular, are poignantly
vivid; and the whole tale is flavored with a dry sense of humor that causes remin-
iscent chuckles from anyone familiar with R.F.D. New England. Humbly trying
to reach his fellowmen on an equal footing, he brought practical homely aids to
their problems, rather than theological quotations. Into this category fall pigs,
pump repairs and social gatherings. The whole book is permeated by his credo,
"It is not church form that makes good Christians. The essence of the Christian
ministry lies deeper than that and is rooted in human relationships."
HISTORY WITH A NEW FLAVOR
THE STORY OF THE PACIFIC, by Hendrik Willem Van Loon.
Here is an invitation from Hendrik Willem Van Loon to forget what you
ever knew about the early history of the Pacific, and begin anew with the first
real explorers of those waters-the Polynesians. Although much of this early
history is guesswork, the author includes the established facts and gives them new
life by relating amusing sidelights. Van Loon wants us to know more about Bal-
boa's discovery of the Pacific than is told in some history books by the short foot-
note, 'Balboa finds the Pacific.' Nor does the author neglect those other most
important explorers of the Pacific, Tasman, an official of the Dutch East India
Company and Roggeveen, last of the Dutch explorers. Van Loon completes this
book with an account of the extensive voyages of Captain James Cook who was
probably the most intelligent and humane of all the men who ever sailed the seas.
If you like your history with a new flavor, we suggest that you try The Story of
the Pacific, done in the best Van Loon style.
OUT OF OLD SUSSEX
EMBER LANE, by Sheila Kaye-Smith.
Ember Lane is a strangely absorbing and intense tale by that English novelist,
Sheila Kaye-Smith, who gave us Rose Deeprose and The Valiant Woman. This
novel seems to move rather slowly but with such fascination that one can overlook
the lack of fast-moving action.
It is in Sussex that Miss Kaye-Smith sets the scene for her novel. Ember
Lane was an old Sussex road much used in former days but just a byway now.
Out of these Sussex moors comes the legend of Dickory, the highwayman and the
tragic mystery surrounding him, reaching out to touch the lives of a handful of
modern men and women.
DRAMA IN LOUVAIN
(When the German Army marched into Louvain in May, 1940, they destroyed
the great library there, rebuilt after the First World War. Here, the young and
the old librarian are talking.)
"What army comes with torches in the night
Over the flooded lands to the east? I say,
I do not like their boast, their show of might."
"Their fathers came here once this very way."
"But those were madmen, for they burnt the books
You kept, as we keep now. Oh how serene
And permanent our new-built cornice looks!
They're beating at this door! What do they mean
By stopping here?"
"They would have light to see
To read, perhaps."
"There's fire in wing and hall!
Old parchment crackles, leather smokes. The key - !"
"No use! Bring me the records. Not one wall
Or shelf will stand at dawn. In hell's despite,
Books are the only things devised by men
Stronger than men themselves. Here will I write
'This year they vainly burnt the books again.' "