THE LIBRARY L
Published monthly from October to t.r /the
Hamilton Smith Library, of the myu ity..
of New Hampshire t >
Entered as second-class matter October 10, 1927, at the post office at New Hampshire, 'under e
act of August 24, 1912.
Vol. 16 FEBRUARY, 1941 o .'-- o 5
SIR WILLIAM ALEXANDER, FIRSTI'EA1
THOMAS H. McGRAIL
In recent years a number of biographies have appeared dealing with lesser
known British administrators, such as Grace Cockroft's The Public Life of George
Chalmers and Imlah's Lord Ellenborough. Now appears a biographical study
of the first Earl of Stirling, based largely upon the primary sources.
Born William Alexander, he did not enter his teens until after the defeat of
the Spanish Armada. He gained the normal classical education and became a
cog in the administrative machinery of James I and Charles I. He was primarily
of the promoter type. In Scotland he functioned as collector of bad debts, mining
operator and in 1614 was made Master of Requests. His land speculating activ-
ities were wide enough to include Nova Scotia and at one time he held title to a
large area in Maine as well as to Long Island. His colonial enterprises in Nova
Scotia failed. He was ubiquitous commission and committee member and holder
of numerous sinecures. Poor devil of a man his copper coinage scheme and
his support of the new Service Book for Scotland rendered him thoroughly un-
popular among his own people. In spite of his genius for doing the inexpedient
thing Drummond and Ben Jonson thought well of him, but following Alexander's
death his work was forgotten. Probably not even a Hemingway could do for
him what has been achieved for Donne.
In the Preface to the first issue of The Student Writer Professor Lloyd
stated that the choices published were "authentic rather than pretentious." This
was a fine tribute to the efforts which have continued in an identical way to the
present time. Professor McGrail shows that lack of authenticity was the real
reason for the failure of Sir William Alexander as a poet of the seventeenth cen-
tury. The Scottish laird wrote for the aristocrats according to the fashion. He
was not truly creative; he lacked real imagination and expressed little deep emo-
tion. Unable to combine theory and practice, he aspired but did not succeed;
he may be regarded as an incarnate Sisyphus.
Four overlapping groups will constitute the audience for this book and deem
it a "preiveleidge" to read: (1) tourists who have driven around Nova Scotia and
into the Gaspe country; (2) people with a keen interest in British imperial his-
tory; (3) close students of English history, and (4) those students of English
literature who wish to learn for themselves more about the lesser known English
men of letters.
Reviewed by Allan B. Partridge.
S If you like to read widely on a certain subject and draw your own con-
clusions, you will be interested in seeing a selective bibliography of books
published in 1940 on the Second World War. Copies of this bibliography
will be available at the Circulation Desk.
o9-. Ko -6
BIBLIOMANIA AMIABLE AND INFORMAL
BOOKS ALIVE, by Vincent Starrett.
To those who delight in books and reading there is no gossip that can com-
pare with literary tittle-tattle, especially when it is chatty, amusing, informative
and clever. In Books Alive which he subtitles "A Profane Chronicle of Literary
Endeavor and Literary Misdemeanor," Vincent Starrett has dished up a mess of
pottage to charm anyone's intellectual appetite. Avowedly an informal saga of
books and their makers, Books Alive has only one purpose to make literature
alive and interesting. Mr. Starrett has achieved that purpose remarkably well.
His book is one that you will want to keep at your bedside and browse in from
time to time. His deft handling of literature's worthy and unworthy exponents
makes fetching reading. As you read you are bound to find yourself checking
your reading against the books described by Mr. Starrett. If he doesn't lead you
to read a good many other books, we miss our guess. And, naturally, Books
Alive is a mine of information for quiz parties and sprightly table talk. That
genial man of letters, Christopher Morley, has aided Mr. Starrett's efforts by pre-
paring an informal index which makes the book the more entertaining. Some-
how or other you must get, hold of a copy soon.
"WHERE NOW ARE OUR DREAMS?"
FAME IS THE SPUR, by Howard Spring.
The author of My Son, My Son! has taken the title of his new novel from a
line of Milton's Lycidas. From a poor little home in Broadbent Street, in Ancoats,
on the outskirts of Manchester, England, John Hamer Shawcross begins his climb
up the ladder of fame. The rise of the Labour Party supplies the background,
with Ann's work for woman suffrage adding drama and depth. It is a long climb
from Broadbent Street to a seat among the peers at the Coronation of George
the Sixth, but Hamer never wavers. Then, as an old man of seventy-five, Hamer
comes to realize the truth in the words of Dr. Horst; "There is no peace, you
understand Shawcross, no peace anywhere except in a man's own heart." It is
a long novel, absorbing and at times deeply moving, and a worthy successor to
My Son, My Son!
FIGHT FOR LIBERTY IN NORTH CAROLINA
RALEIGH'S EDEN, by Inglis Fletcher.
In the year 1765, Edenton, North Carolina, was a farming community. Its
proud gentlemen, as much as the poorer men, who worked their small claims, loved
the soil. Midst a certain growing unrest of the colonies, particularly among the
poor, the gay life of those early days went on. There was riding to the hounds;
lovely gowns came direct from London; and all work for the wealthier Carolin-
ians was done by slaves, newly brought from Africa. Soon the oppression of
heavy taxes began to cause trouble among the poor, and much argument among
influential men, on the rights of the free man. The breach between England and
America continued to widen, and Revolution, at first unbelievable, soon became
the only solution. This is the story of the American fight for freedom, wrapped
in the colorful life of the South and the adventure of a wild country in a time
of piracy and the intrigue of war. Though lengthy, the book is of the kind not
to be laid aside. Most thrilling of all are the scenes from actual history: the
speech of William Pitt in the House of Parliament against taxation without repre-
sentation, and the battle at Guilford Courthouse, a stirring sight with Tarleton
marching into an ambush of American soldiers, and victory swinging to one side
then the other as more troops appear, and finally the amazing Lord Cornwallis,
himself, proudly leading the Queen's Guard. What a wonderful way to learn
of our country's history!
SMALL TOWN STUFF
HOME TOWN, by Sherwood Anderson.
Do you pine for the big city? Do you fail to find in your home town the
opportunities and appreciation of your talents that you consider your due? If
so, look at these photographs and read the running comment by Sherwood Ander-
son, champion of the Home Town. Or, if you live in the city, find out where the
heart of America really is. For here are striking photographs, taken all over the
country by the Farm Security Photographers, of small town life as lived by the
common people. The sun beats down on the treeless main street of a western
town. A New Hampshire street sleeps in its blanket of winter snow. The folks
attend town meeting, church suppers, or the local lecture series. Local youths
find local careers as blacksmiths, jewellers, teachers, druggists, or county clerks.
In the text Mr. Anderson describes the local events and characters that you know
so well yourself if you have ever lived in a small town. You thought these were
peculiar to your town; they are universal, hence their significance. These are the
real America, the pulse of democracy; worth understanding, worth living and
PRESIDENT IN HOMESPUN
FOR US THE LIVING, by Bruce Lancaster.
"In the transition from pioneer territory to solid county or state, the more
intimate annals of those people who brought about that metamorphosis wither
rapidly from known fact to dim hearsay. But sometimes, during such social birth,
a man or woman may emerge, gigantic and through mere being, force an explora-
tion of half-forgotten years." Bruce Lancaster has painstakingly and skillfully
delved into the shadowy years of Abe Lincoln's early life, and written an incom-
parable novel of the frontier, when "movers" pushed west along the Wilderness
"Thar's allus suthin' peculiarsome about Abe," and he becomes the loadstone
of young Hugh's life. For the book is about Huge Brace! The character and
personality of Abe slowly broadens and deepens, reaching out and touching the
lives of all those about him. Gradually he struggles more consistently against
the buckskin in him, and when he loses heart his friends urge him on recog-
nizing in him the ability to see beyond local factions and ideas; the ability to see
and express the universality of man's hopes.
Lancaster's master pen at historical fiction has deftly written a splendid story,
one that compares in readability with Gone With the Wind and in characterization
with Madame Curie.
WHO DID THAT?
THE GREAT MISTAKE, by Mary Roberts Rinehart.
There is nothing like a good murder mystery to make one forget the world
and all its woes. In The Great Mistake, Mary Roberts Rinehart has given us
another of her murder stories with a good plot and excitement packed into every
chapter. People are mysteriously assaulted or murdered; they disappear and re-
appear; there are unusual midnight visitors; everyone is suspected; everyone
makes mistakes, but the greatest of these is, of course, murder. All these neces-
sary ingredients turn out a book which doesn't know the meaning of a dull mo-
ment. If you are an avid mystery fan you probably will be able to detect the
person guilty of violating the calm (?) life at the "Cloisters," the fabulous "white
elephant" residence of the Wainwrights, but we defy you to figure out the whys
and wherefores. So if you're in the mood for a couple of hours of good enter-
tainment, relax (? !) and read The Great Mistake.
TRUTH GIVES FICTION A RUN
PAGEANT OF ADVENTURE, by Lowell Thomas.
In view of the fact that Lowell Thomas is scheduled to appear on our cam-
pus in the near future, our readers will be doubly interested in this new book of
his. Brought up in the Cripple Creek mining district, Lowell early acquired a
stock of adventure stories. Soon it became a hobby, and for twenty-five years
he has gathered adventure stories from all parts of the globe. He has chosen the
two hundred "best" from his bulging files to make up this Pageant of Adventure.
They are grouped under eleven headings, the final one being, "Everyman's Ad-
venture." Perhaps the ideal way to read the book would be one section at a time,
but we warn you once you have started there is no stopping! Not that every
story in the book is a breath-taking thriller, but you never know what the next
one will be like. Some have been headlines in the newspapers, but even these
stories have Lowell's own mark about them.
FOR BROWSING PLEASURE
WIITH LOVE AND IRONY, by Lin Yutang.
From a new newspaper in revolutionary Nanking, a series of articles have
been compiled and now appear as the delightful book, With Love and Irony. Again
Lin Yutang shows his dexterity in these comments upon some view or incident
in political or social life. Fresh, keen and fearless these short essays sparkle.
Ranging far apart in subject matter these forty-nine selections touch upon all
mankind, its hopes and fears, and failings; plus Mickey Mouse.
Possibly those essays pertaining to Europe, America and Britain are the most
apropos for this reading public. They cause the reader to wince, grin, and read
again to savor the short, crisp, pithy sentences every one an epigram. The
English, according to Lin Yutang, have the knack of doing the right thing called
by the wrong name. The author's only English poem appears in this book; it's
an English maxim,
"When you are traveling in Rome
Do exactly as at home."
From Lin Yutang's viewpoint we see that "modern Europe is being ruled
not by a simple supreme Intelligence, but by three men with big and powerful
jaws Signor Mussolini. Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin."
Like perspective in Chinese painting, there is room in these essays for the
imagination to wander. Each rereading bringing to focus new facets of thought.
Pearl Buck aptly characterizes them as "the instinctive expression of the work of
his mind, glancing, darting, penetrating, laughing."
THE INDIANS ARE COMING!
QUIETLY MY CAPTAIN WAITS, by Evelyn Eaton.
After all the books on the present war, it is a relief to find a different setting
for a story. It's not only a relief but a pleasure to read Quietly My Captain
Waits. This is a novel about the early French colonization of Canada and the
historical role played by a gallant woman, Madame de Freneuse. Evelyn Eaton
gives us a well-written story based on historical fact, full of romance, travel. In-
dian lore, and adventure. Critics say that it is a nobler All This and Heaven, Too,
a more romantic Northwest Passage. The dashing Captain of the Royal Arcadian
Navy, the intriguing Madame, the dreaded "white Indian," all are so very much
alive that they will fascinate you. Once you start reading Quietly My Captain
Waits, you will not want to put it down until you have finished it.