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instinct to judge by success and quantity. Lewis hates the|
standards of his time and place, but cannot free himself. Even
his honest and mystical preachers are presented as boobs because
they let the self-seeking realists put it over them. The rewards
of failure do not appeal to him. He compensates by a sort
of vulgar snobbishness against routine and work. He sneers
at all butter-and-egg men, all the unbeautiful hum-drum and
commonplace of life, without ever apparently admitting that
butter and eggs are necessary commodities. "The obviously
respectable candidate for mayor was a Christian business-man,
a Presbyterian, who was a manufacturer of rubber over-shoes."
Now there is nothing criminal in making over-shoes, which I
presume Mr. Lewis employs upon occasion. Again: "Clyde
had a fat wife and four children. Mr. Tippey had pale blue
eyes and he wore a 14^2 collar encircling a thirteen neck."
Well, Mr. Lewis has red hair and often looks like an angry
sophomore and writes like one at times. This mislaid Grecian
with the eyes of a police reporter must lead a hard life. But
we pray it may not warp him out of being a great novelist.


ELMER GANTRY, by Sinclair Lewis. Harcturt, Brace. 432 pp. Prict
$2.50 postpaid of The Surrey.

Should Parents Have Children?

["""HE Allinghams is the story of the adolescence of a family
A of six children, set against the loving tyranny and ration-
alized repression of parents who began raising children in the
nineties. There is a temptation to smile contemptuously upon
parental devices which the veriest amateur in child guidance
now would abhor. "How preposterous!" one is tempted to
exclaim when the selfishly affectionate father and mother refuse
to let Mollie go to the city to cultivate a real talent for music,
simply because they want her around and so delude themselves
into thinking she is too young (at nineteen) to be trusted away
from home. "How blind" when finding that Robin tipples
when he is bored at home, they decide that his punishment
must be separation from the studies which really interest him
at college. With some disapproval, though less certainly, the
modern parent would regard Mr. Allingham's reluctance to let
Wilfred go into the Army, for after all he probably would not
have done as well there as in farming, as his father wished.

These objective and obvious mistakes, however, are not the
most devastating. Miss Sinclair has showed repeatedly an
interest in tracing the disasters which arise from a too-highly
emotionalized relation between parent and child, robbing the
child of his independence and making it impossible for him to
grow out of spiritual infancy into a life of his own. This is a
problem about which even the modern cannot be glib, for it
does not lend itself to self-diagnosis; it is always our friends'
children, not our own, who are thus pauperized. But in
Margie, the eldest of the Allinghams, this process is traced as
tragically as in the earlier stories of Mary Olivier or Harriet
Frean. Robin, the youngest boy, escapes by a hair's breadth
a similar shipwreck for which he seems headed by his Aunt
Martha's adoration.

The Allinghams is, of course, a novel and not a treatise on
parental practice. It is written in the concise yet lucid manner
of Miss Sinclair at her best. And because it does treat with
interest and artistry some of the matters which we now are
beginning to consider with some claim to science, it will
illumine even for professional students in the field some of the
aspects of child tievelopment in which the author has proved
her prescience. MARY Ross

THE ALLINGHAMS, by May Sinclair. Macmillan. 368 pp. Price $2.50
postpaid of The Suri'ey.

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Apostrophizing the City of Ur

JOHN BREEN, an Irish orphan, hard-fisted and sixteen,
is dumped by the fates on the East Side of New York. The

1 author leads him on to politics and pugilism on the Bowery;

I then stings him with a passion for learning that starts him to
Columbia. Half-way of the book he emerges with a degree
in civil engineering ready for his life and love role in the city.
His life is work; dreaming, planning and building the city.
Now and then he stands aside to view the. Manhattan skyline
and marvel. His love is just another story of love unrequited
beaten by a suave and worldly rival. But in the end he tri-
umphs only to desert his wealthy fiancee at the eleventh hour
to follow some scheme for salvaging the slums. The city had
beco'me his mistress.

There is a plot into which the story is unnaturally squeezed.
Incidental to the plot there are a number of literary tricks
that add nothing but length to the book. For instance, we
are reminded that Breen is a child of guilty joy and we are
confidentially introduced to the sub rosa father, the scion of a
wealthy family. Breen has been converted into a glorified
Horatio Alger hero meeting all obstacles with dogged toil or
his fists ; crushing or ignoring all who oppose him. We see
Breen in action; but only once, and that on the Bowery, do we
get near to him. But we can forgive the author his plot and
his hero. The big thing is New York. He stands aghast
before its immensity asking, "What in hell is this thing, the

Poets have never been able to grasp you. Plunderers cannot
ravage you; you absorb them and their plunder. Murderers kill
and escape, losing everything, including their publicity. Bishops
scold you and stay. Cardinals condemn you and solicit funds.
Rabbis and cantors love you. Visitors patronize your towers.
Radical* are not one-tenth as radical as you. Conservatives are
wild philanderers compared with the solidity of your foundations.
Up, up, up, you shoot; your views alone are forming a philosophy.

On almost every page when the writer turns aside from the
story there are lines or paragraphs of beauty, gems that reveal
to us that here is a man who has caught a vision. The sad
thing is that he did not take another year to cull and boil down
before going to press. His description of the Bowery in its
palmy days is masterfully done. Now and then as he contem-
plates the city he becomes frustrated by its immensity, plung-
ing into the slough of adjectives. To him the city is a center
of life and change, of "international combustion," of increasing
stimuli, a center of conformities and chaos, intoxicating the
most fertile imagination, defying description. His attempt to
encompass it all in a single volume is daring but well worth
the reading.


Harcourt, Brace.

EAST SIDE WEST SIDE. b\ Felii Riesenberg.
415 pp. Price $2.50 postpaid of The Survey.

Floyd Dell Studies a Pink

MR. WINDLE was like many another middle-class Amer-
ican he had worked, married, had had a child, grand-
children, and had lived through almost three years of the
European war without actually experiencing any of these
events. He had predispositions but no opinions, and as the
war came closer to the United States, he developed none, therein
varying from his species.

Retired, and with time on his hands, he began to make a
.club of the Plaza in his home city on the western coast, where
every evening speakers held forth on all subjects. He heard
them impartially, for "he had the habit of listening to talk
about new ideas and it made little difference what they were."
Hut the town's attitude towards free speech and plenty of it
began to suffer a sea change, via submarines; and the night
came when Mr. Windle found himself in jail with a lot of his
Plaza companions about whose doctrines he knew nothing.

That adventure was the beginning of his acceptance by the
people in the radical groups as one of themselves. They soon
learned that he was only a harmless old man, with no con-
versation, no ideas, but friendly, open ears. He began attend-
ing their meetings regularly. Then April, 1917. arrived. Rad-
icals and pacifists now met with half an eye on the seismo-
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graph; offices were raided and "enemies of the government"
lurked under beds. College girls became Hun spies in the
headlines. Uninfluential men were sent to Leavenworth. In
place of fatality among non-combatants there was fatuousness.
More heads were lost by America in the war than lives.

Mr. Windle attended the war, as he had attended his wed-
ding and the birth of his daughter, an innocent bystander.
He had life in a dream world with a dramatic personae of
two, a cousin, Christopher, who had been killed in the Civil
War, and a mill-girl, Ada, whom he had known for an after-
noon in his twenties. He projected this world into actuality
by identifying Christopher and Ada with two young people
among his new friends and died content when, war-troubles
over, they began to perpetuate his dream in their life together.

Behind this charming story of a simple old man straight
out of an early Wells' novel, Floyd Dell has played correspond-
ent for the home-line trench of America in 1917-18. It is the
first piece of fiction to chronicle those disturbed times which
have left a knife in the vitals of all movements that combat
the conservative drift.

True, it photographs only a fringe of the American radical
movement, its types and its work. For these people, causes put
color and adventure into life; they are external trimmings
added when times are propitious and dropped in stagnant days.
So the doldrums after the War has left tired radicals, tired
liberals, tired socially-minded of many kinds, all marking
time as if they are truly, in Gertrude Stein's words, "a lost
generation." No wonder those who work unfalteringly for
a better social order scoff at this occasional comrade. The
worker is radical because his cause and "the business of living"
are one should he tire, he becomes a scab; the true social
reformer starts all over again on his program when the work
of twenty-five years has been wiped out did he become tired,
he could be accused of selling out. These radicals who tire
and retire are playboys in a grown man's world.

The Floyd Dell of the old Masses has been writing stories
and novels for a living. They are graceful stories, often intelli-
gent stories, but the ever-so-gay and strong young heroines
are not very different from those perfect, brave girls of
Chambers. Floyd Dell can write; his prose is smooth and
lively. In this book he has left out most of his recurring
"pagan" episodes, and almost all of Greenwich Village. There
are a dozen fine episodes that could stand alone.

Once I heard Floyd Dell state his ideas on a platform only
to be followed by a speaker who refuted them as "delightful
piffle." They were substantial ideas and he meant them, but
he expressed them trivially. So does this novel take an impor-
tant bar'-ground and concentrate trivially on unimportant per-
sons and their actions. It would be a pity to conclude that
this is the only novel of those recent days that our radical
movement can produce.


AN OLD MAN'S FOLLY, by Floyd Dell.
Price $2.00 postpaid of The Sur-.-ey.

George H. Dora-n. 363 fp.

Negroes and Earth

NO novel has come out of the South more racy and redolent
of its peculiar soil than Black April. For description,

atmosphere and local color it must rank among one of the
achievements of the new fiction of the South a fiction which
gives the realistic lie to the romantic, sentimental plantation
tradition and which oddly enough is primarily the work of
three preeminent southern women writers, Ellen Glasgow,
Evelyn Scott, and Julia Peterkin. As a story it is less epic than
Green Thursday despite its larger canvas and crowded detail,
but Blue Brook and its earthy plantation Negroes is as care-
fully studied a protrayal of peasant life as American literature
has yet produced.

Mrs. Peterkin's hero is this time not a pious, humble critter
like Kildee. but a domineering, masterful son of the jungle,
Black April lord of everything human on the plantation almost
as a tribal chieftain might be. Only superstition rules his life
as tyrannously as it rules the rest, and the real drama is the
constant bog-like hold of its dark forces upon those who might
otherwise be strong sons of the soil. But the man who can
hold a rattlesnake at arms length will quaver at "bein" run-
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jured" and turn back for the fear of a "hant" or an old
woman's saying. Perhaps the atavistic hold of superstition is
a bit overdrawn, but undoubtedly here is the real protagonist
of the story, the force upon which the whole life of the com-
munity ebbs and flows. One grants it as dramatic license to
the whole story ; even though it eventually exceeds the bounds
of anything typical. The Negro peasantry, however, has been
too caricatured by false generalizations to suffer seriously from
the over-particularizing of a quite studied and sympathetic por-
trayal such as Mrs. Peterkin's. Honest fiction is the first
prerequisite; perspective must and will come later.


postpaid of The Survey.

ISobbs-Merrill. 316 pp. Price $2.50

Asking Too Much of Wells

MR. WELLS is notorious for having avoided, as a novelist,
the actual problem of the novel, and, as a sociologist, the
actual problem of society. Therefore comes the difficulty Mr.
Doughty finds in establishing a specific educationism from Mr.
Wells' pontifical reiteration of generalities or from his unpointed
details. The numerous quotations from Mr. Wells' works
simply characterize Mr. Doughty as a zealous extractor,
placing him in a category with the very Ph.D.s he and Mr.
Wells condemn.

Neither in hjs novels nor in those books dealing less fiction-
ally with social problems, has Mr. Wells judging further from
the immediate evidence of Mr. Doughty 's extractions given
us anything to aid us in the determination of a suitable modus
operandi in education. We are all more or less agreed upon
the general necessity for a new approach and a new method.
We have in a great many instances, without the help of Mr.
Wells, made that approach. But the specific details of subse-
quent procedure are tantalizing in their elusiveness and variety.
What has Mr. Wells done to assist in the capture and selec-


In a book, Social Forces in England and America (1904).
which has surprisingly escaped Mr. Doughty 's grasping inspec-
tion, Mr. Wells included a brief essay on The Schoolman and
the Empire, in which he stated, in reprimanding Kappa, author
of If You but Knew, that it (the educational necessity) was
not so much a matter of curriculum as of personnel, or the
general scholastic atmosphere. "So long as we require school-
masters to be politic," he asserted, "there is no sense in talking
about anything else." It was not a startling or fresh thesis
even then, and it is, of course, a concern still. .But seventeen
years later, Mr. Wells was offering a curriculum change as the
hope for education. In 1903 Wells had believed in a very simple
curriculum; in 1921, he was for Latin and Greek, etc., etc.
Mr. Doughty has gone to considerable trouble to outline the
two "systems" of Mr. Wells, but I am puzzled by No. 7 of
the "system" of 1903: "Drawing and Painting, not as 'art'
but as appreciation of form and color and of the means of
: vvv,.,* io "oi-t" if not such appreciation? But

tion :

expression.' What is "art", if not ..

in the "not" and in the contradiction is Mr. Wells fear of
the actual; he is afraid of "art," although it is evident to any
intelligent educator that it must be, in its essential purity, a
determining and synthetizing factor in education.

Mr. Wells, it seems to me, for all his quasi-science and for
all his, as he calls it himself, "fanaticism" over history, has
not achieved a substantial practical intellection relevant to our
time. His idealism is nostalgic, negative and one of escape.
What is his philosophy of education? Doughty, despite chap-
ters upon the biology et cetera of Wells, has not been able
to consolidate a set of fundamental and inclusive principles.
There is no statement as to Mr. Wells' attitude towards hand-
work as part of the curriculum. What is his attitude towards
instruction in itself? He has condemned the old schools, but
what does he think of the new, Bedales, the Dalton plan
schools, the nursery schools, the Dominie's school and others?
But, principally, how will he relate his educational creed to the
contemporary world? To avoid the implications of an indus-
trial-commercial society is not to avoid its control. Senten-
tiausness and elementary Greek are not preparations for a
school program that will ensure our absorption of a condition
that is now in control of us. The fact that teachers play

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In this book, a Chinese scholar of politics and
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authority the relations of China to foreign


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By Alfred Zimmfrn Price, $2.00

Mr. Zimmern discusses in this timely book
the problems of the Commonwealth in relation
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It helps us,

Are You Teaching English
To Foreign Bom Qroups ?




In his introduction Dr. Shiels of Teachers
College says, "For those interested in the
education of foreign born pupils this book
bristles with suggestions." Miss Elizabeth
Woodward adds, "In my six years of ex-
perience as state supervisor in immigrant
education I have found nothing more fit-
ting to use with those who are learning the
language of the country."

For The^Americanization Worker

The first chapter is full of practical information
on why and how to use a play to teach English.
Besides instructions for choosing, casting and
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plays, based on the every day experience of
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important roles in Mr. Wells' novels may be an intriguing
detail, but it does not make of Mr. Wells a potent influence
on educational thought or direction.

Ceo. H. D,

H. G. WELLS, EDUCATIONIST, b y F. H. Doughty.

1-88 pf. Price $2.00 postpaid of The Survey.

These Be Americans


Ready May 25.

Price $2.00.

The University of North Carolina Press


SERGEANT looks at her America and finds
L-> it good. "A disaffected New Englander" she calls herself,

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 39 of 130)