The Greatest of American Writers

H.L. Mencken

The Smart Set/June, 1910

HOW long does it take a new idea to gain lodgment in the professorial mind ? The irreverent ignoramus may be tempted to answer six days and six nights, or just as long as it took to manufacture and people the world; but any such answer would be a gross and obvious underestimate. Someday a painstaking statistician, putting aside his beloved death rates and export tables, will take the trouble to give us more satisfactory figures. He will determine, for example, with mathematical accuracy, just how many years, months, weeks and days elapsed between the publication of “The Origin of Species” and the abandonment of Genesis by the professor of “natural history” in, say, Amherst College. He will find out for us, again, exactly how long was required to make the first scholastic convert to Sidney Lanier’s sound but revolutionary theory of English verse. And finally, he will measure for us, with a dependable tape, the hiatus between the appearance of “Huckleberry Finn” and its acceptance by any reputable professor of literature, tutor, lecturer or high school pundit as a work of art of the first rank.

This last hiatus, I suspect, was of exactly twenty-five years’ length, to a day. And my suspicion is grounded upon three facts, to wit:

(a) On March 15, 1885, the first American edition of “Huckleberry Finn” was published in New York.

(b) On March 15, 1910, or just a quarter of a century later, the Adams Express Company dropped on my door step a copy of “Essays on Modern Novelists,” by William Lyon Phelps, a Harvard master of arts, a Yale doctor of philosophy, a former instructor in English at Harvard, and now the Lampson professor of English literature at Yale.

(c) I found in that book the first honest and hearty praise of “Huckleberry Finn,” by a college professor in good standing, that these eyes had ever encountered, and the first faint, trembling admission, by the same sort of professor, that Mark Twain was a greater artist than Oliver Wendell Holmes. After all, the sun do move!

After all, there is yet hope! If it is possible, in the year 1910, for a college professor to admit that Clemens was a greater artist than Holmes, without thereby imperiling his salary and the honor of his craft, then it may be possible by 1950 for him to admit that Clemens was a greater artist than Irving, than Lowell, than Fenimore Cooper, than all and sundry of the unbearable bores whose “works” are rammed into the heads of schoolboys by hunkerous pedagogues, and avoided as pestilences by everyone else.

Fortunately for Dr. Clemens, he didn’t have to wait for the college professors. Long before the first of them began to harbor thoughts of treachery to the “Tales of a Traveler” and “The Last of the Mohicans,” a large number of less orthodox persons began to sense the colossal merits of “Huckleberry Finn.” One of the first of them, unless memory errs, was the late Sir Walter Besant, himself a writer of experience and very much alive to the difficulties of the trade. Back in the early ’90’s his remarkable analysis of the story was printed, and soon afterwards a number of distinguished English critics adopted his view of it. Then came the gradual disappearance of Mark Twain, the glorified buffoon, and the rise of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the master of letters. He lived just long enough to see the metamorphosis of his fame accomplished. Twenty-five years ago the world roared over his extravagances and swore that they were fully as funny as the quips of Tom Hood and Petroleum V. Nasby, Bill Nye and Josiah Allen’s Wife. Fifteen years ago there arose folk who were rash enough to compare him, with some hesitation, to Holmes and Sam. Foote, Farquhar and Wycherley. And finally, just before he died, it began to be bruited about that a literary artist of world rank was among us, the greatest that the United States had yet produced—a greater than all our Hawthornes and Lowellses—a peer to Swift, Fielding, and Defoe—perhaps even a peer to Cervantes, Moliere and Rabelais.

There is no space here to discuss the grounds for that last theory. You will find them in parts of “A Connecticut Yankee,” in parts of “A Tramp Abroad” and other books, in every line of “Huckleberry Finn.” ‘His pictures of the mighty Mississippi, as the immortal Huck presents them, do not belong to buffoonery or to pretty writing, but to universal and almost flawless art. Where, in all fiction, will you find another boy as real as Huck himself? In sober truth, his equals, young or old, are distressingly few in the world. Rabelais created two, Fielding one, Thackeray three or four and Shakespeare a roomful; but you will find none of them in the pages of Hawthorne or Poe or Cooper or Holmes. In Kipling’s phrase, Huck stands upon his feet. Not a freckle is missing, not a scar, not a trick of boyish fancy, not a habit of boyish mind. He is, in brief, Everyboy—the archetype of all other boys—the most delightful boy that ever stole a ginger cake or tortured a cat.

Coming back to Dr. Phelps’s book, it may be said for it that its courageous championing of Huck is by no means its only merit. To me, at least, his estimates of Howells, Ollivant and De Morgan seem a bit overenthusiastic, but he says many shrewd things about Kipling, Sudermann, Bjornson and Hardy, and his general attitude is that of open-minded fairness. He has, in a word, produced a book of criticism with ideas in it, and it is to be hoped that he will follow it with another of the same sort, but dealing, let us say, with Henry James, George Meredith, Joseph Conrad, George Moore, Frank Norris, H. G. Wells and some lesser men. The present book, it may be mentioned at the end, contains an admirable bibliography by Andrew Keogh. (Macmillan, $1.50.)

The spring fiction continues to come in by the cartload. Some of it is good, some of it is indifferent, and some of it is atrocious. “Lost Face,” a new volume of short stories by Jack London (Macmillan, $1.50), belongs to the first class, and takes rank near the top of that class. It is seldom, indeed, that one encounters seven better short stories. They have good form, dramatic movement and interesting personages, and although the wild Alaska of the early days is the scene of all of them, they are widely various in theme and treatment. The book is worth reading. It takes away the flat taste left by Mr. London’s bad novel, “Martin Eden.”

Another volume of short stories is “Mr. Carteret,” by David Gray (Century Co., $1.00). Three of them are tales of the hunting field in Mr. Gray’s familiar manner; one is a golfing story, and the two that remain are unclassified. A certain facility is visible in these harmless fictions, but it cannot be said that they belong to the ages.

“The Climax,” by George C. Jenks (Fly, $1.50), is a novelization of Edward Locke’s play of the same name. Mr. Jenks has performed his depressing task in the fashion of an earnest artisan.

“The Godparents” next—a chronicle of true love by Grace Sartwell Mason (Houghton-Mifflin, $1.25). The godmother in the case is a maiden of thirty-two, and the godfather is a dashing devil of thirty-six—“noticeable anywhere for his height and the powerful swing of his shoulders.” On page 9 the reader begins to suspect that the two will make a match of it; on page 13 that suspicion changes to moral certainty; and after that the waiting grows rather tedious. Refined and ladylike stuff!

“A Disciple of Chance,” by Sarah Dean (Stokes, $1.50), is a great deal more exciting. The scene is London; the time is the careless eighteenth century, and Harry Walpole and George Selwyn are among the folk we meet. We look into White’s chocolate house; we see a lot of gambling, flirting and fighting, and we hear a lot of “la’s,” “lud’s,” “egad’s,” and “ ’slife’s.” A long and powerful yarn.

“My Heart and Stephanie,” by R. W. Kauffman (Page, $1.50), is a Zenda story with all of the orthodox thrills and a number of new ones. If you like Zenda stories you will find it an unalloyed delight.

“The Eddy,” by Clarence L. Cullen (Dillingham, $1.50), is the tedious and unconvincing tale of a scarlet lady who is saved from Gehenna by her virtuous young daughter. If this Mr. Cullen is the same who wrote “Tales of the Ex-Tanks” I wonder what has become of his sense of humor?

“The Carleton Case,” by Ellery H. Clark (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50), is a melodrama in the fashionable manner, with a handsome hero, a dastardly villain and a host of other familiar personages.

Three novels dealing with human existence in the South come next, and in each of them an invading Northerner is a principal figure. In “By Inheritance,” by Octave Thanet (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50), that Northerner is a wealthy New England spinster. She has half resolved to devote a couple of millions to the establishment of a negro university, with a Harvard-bred mulatto at its head, when a fortunate chance takes her down to the Arkansas black belt. What she sees there convinces her—as the same spectacle must convince any other sane Caucasian—that the higher learning is not for the ex-chattel. The book is far from a masterpiece, but it is written earnestly and with skill, and it shows a sound knowledge of Southern problems and the Southern people.

“The Scar,” by Warrington Dawson (Small-Maynard, $1.50), has no such merits. Extravagant praise by Theodore Roosevelt is printed on the cover, but that praise only proves that Mr. Roosevelt is an extremely incompetent critic, as Mr. Dawson himself is an extremely incompetent novelist. His picture of the decaying Southern aristocracy shows a touch now and then of veracity, but his characters in the main are stuffed dummies, his incidents are often incredible and his observations have a flat, sophomoric flavor. You will have to go a long way to find more ridiculous writing than is to be found on page 381 of this amateurish fiction.

“Caleb Trench,” by Mary Imlay Taylor (Little-Brown, $1 .50), is a Southern story merely by the arbitrary choice of the author. It deals with the love affair of a male commoner and a female patrician, and the scene might be moved to Maine, Oregon or Bavaria without material damage. As a tale it has a number of commonplace virtues, but as a social study it is entirely worthless.

In attempting a review of Eden Phillpotts’s latest novel, “The Thief of Virtue” (Lane, $1.50), I labor under a crushing handicap, for I have found it entirely impossible to read the book. The author’s tedious farmers do not interest me; his efforts at elaborate description set me to snoring. But the fault, I am quite ready to admit, may be mine rather than his, for a number of eminent critics hold that he is a master of the literary art. Perhaps it may be well to print what some of them say, in lieu of the review that I am unable to offer. The critic of the Boston Evening Transcript, for example, calls “The Thief of Virtue” a “masterpiece of English fiction” and ventures the view that a “greater triumph” would be unthinkable. The critic of the Louisville Post calls the author a genius; the critic of the Chicago Record-Herald says that his work “ranks with the best fiction of the day”; the critic of the Nation opines that he “will do for Devon what Mr. Hardy did for Wessex”; and Miss Jeannette L. Gilder, as if not to be out done, calls him “the foremost living English novelist, with the one exception of Thomas Hardy.” I submit these extremely flattering opinions in good faith and without comment. It surprises me, of course, to hear that Mr. Phillpotts is a greater artist than Mr. Moore, Mr. Conrad or Mr. James, but experience has taught me the wisdom of throttling my scoffs, even in the presence of the incredible.

Consider now the case of John Ordham, English diplomat and sexual vivisectionist, as it is set forth, with copious detail, in “Tower of Ivory,” by Gertrude Atherton (Macmillan, $1.50). John goes to Munich to perfect his German and at once finds himself in the midst of amorous adventures. One of the fair ones is Frau von Wass, the Bulgarian and vulgarian wife of a fat Bavarian Royal Privy Councillor. Another is the sweet young Fraulein Mabel Cutting, daughter of the designing Momma Cutting, out of America come. A third—a twilight, scarcely phosphorescent affair is this—is the highwellborn Princess Nachmeister, who has a palace in the Konigstrasse, with a high-walled garden extending through to the Kaulbachstrasse, and is a lifelong friend to S.M. the Queen Mother and to S.M., the mad King Ludwig. And finally, and most important of all, there is the Royal Bavarian Court Singer, Grafinn von Tann, whose stage name is Margarethe Styr, and whose real name back home in America was Maggie Hill.

John is engulfed by a wild passion for the Court Singer, but toward the middle of the book it cools, and he falls in love with Mabel. So great is his love, indeed, that he loses appetite and cannot sleep of nights. Furthermore, he marries Mabel —and straightway discovers that she has deficiencies as an Intellectual Companion. Just as they are about to become parents he dashes off to Munich to see his old flame, the Court Singer, and thereafter she is his only goddess. He lures her to London, and Mabel being dead by now, begs her to marry him. She refuses flatly. And why? Because she has a past of appalling blackness—a past involving an immoral drummer and the white slave trade—and she fears that it will blast his diplomatic career. In the end she commits suicide, leaving orders that her body be cremated and the ashes cast upon the Isar. As for John, he has a spell of brain fever—blest reminder of Victorian days—recovers, grows paunchy and gay, and dies finally as Lord Bridgminster.

It is difficult, of course, to take Mrs. Atherton and her fantastic creatures seriously, but it is not at all difficult to read her book. She is, indeed, one of the most entertaining fictioneers now before the public, and if it be urged against her that her stories lead us nowhere and throw no light whatever upon the problems of human existence it may be answered in her defense that such faults seem to be endemic among all writers who combine her nationality with her sex.

“Predestined,” by Stephen French Whitman (Scribner’s, $1.50), is sterner stuff. Here we have the story of a weak young man who succumbs to whiskey and women. The author has a firm grip upon his principal personages; he has observed accurately and he knows how to write. His book, in brief, is one of the best first novels of the year. In less skillful hands it might have degenerated into nasty melodrama; as it is, there is a flavor of tragedy almost Greek in this poor wretch’s struggle against irresistible destiny. Let Mr. Whitman be made welcome to the synagogue; his later writings will be worth reading.

To Marian Cox, author of “The Crowds and the Veiled Woman” (Funk-Wagnalls, $1.50), the welcome must be less hearty. It is difficult, indeed, to put away the hope that this first novel will be her last. Not that she has nothing to say! On the contrary, she is alive with startling theories about all things human, and some of them are decidedly interesting. But her book should have been cast in a frankly homiletic form. As it is, it is a tale with but three characters, all entirely incredible, and one of them talks incessantly from cover to cover. There is no end to his gab. He makes speeches of six, eight and ten pages, and when he is not on hand to speechify he writes interminable letters. His central doctrine seems to come, in the end, to this: that life is a device for enabling the soul to escape the ennui of eternity. I have no quarrel with that doctrine, but it strikes me, all the same, that it adds little to our store of knowledge.

“The Personal Conduct of Belinda,” by Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd (Doubleday-Page, $1.50), and “According to Maria,” by Mrs. John Lane (Lane, $1.50), are good-humored farces. In the first we are taken to Europe with a personally conducted party and come upon adventures which tend to grow more and more amorous as we mosey along. A cleanly and diverting fiction for the domestic hearth.

The heroine of Mrs. Lane’s chronicle is a Mrs. Samuel Smith, wife of S. Smith, a grocer with “a retail soul.” Growing socially ambitious, Mrs. Smith badgers S. into converting himself into S. Smith, Ltd. Thereafter the tale is one of social climbing—a comedy ever amusing.

“Those Brewster Children,” by Florence Morse Kingsley (Dodd-Mead, $1.00), is a treatise upon the rearing of children with a sugar coating of incident and dialogue. The walloping of the little devils is deprecated.

“The House of Mystery,” by Will Irwin (Century Co., $1.15), deals with Suggestion, that new and most fascinating mystery of the college professors, the magazine section romancers and the woman’s clubs. Specifically, we see the fair Annette Markham completely in the power of that immoral psychic, Madame Paula, and learn how the skeptical Dr. W. H. Blake, sometime contract surgeon to the Philippine Army of Occupation, rescues her from those unclean clutches, falls in love with her, marries her and carries her off to Europe for a two years’ honeymoon.

Life is short, but the procession of novels is long. Let us be brief! “The Intruding Angel,” by Charles Marriott (Lane, $1.50), is a tale in the contemporary English manner. That is to say, it derives from “Dodo.” The husband-hero takes a clergyman’s widow for his mistress, and his wife takes a writer of pornographic novels for her lover. The general air is that of refined and somewhat melancholy indecency.

“The Girl From His Town,” by Marie Van Vorst (Bobbs-Merrill, $1.50), is an American bestseller, with a dashing hero from Blairtown, Montana. He goes to England, wins the heart of a duchess—and then throws her over for a virtuous young chorus girl from “back home.”

In “The Red House on Rowan Street,” by Roman Doubleday (Little-Brown, $1.50), we encounter our old friend, John Alden. His name is now Hugh Burton, and he travels a thousand miles to ask Miss Leslie Underwood to be kind enough to marry young Philip Overman. And thus begins a galloping and diverting tale of mystery, which ends with “a crimson tide” flooding Leslie’s face and Hugh holding her hands. “But poor Philip!” protests the happy Leslie. “How can we ever tell him?” “Leave that to me,” says the lordly Hugh with a queer laugh.

In Cale Young Rice’s “Many Gods” (Doubleday-Page, $1.25), earnestness must make up for the lack of many other qualities necessary to a poet. Mr. Rice seems to be an assiduous and copious rhapsodist, but so far as I have been able to discover his industry has produced little worth reading. The verses in the present volume are notable chiefly for a certain very irritating roughness. The author’s ear is apparently defective; he has no feeling whatever for rhythm. Some of his lines—the second in the third stanza of “A Song of the Sects,” for example—must needs give acute discomfort to every reader with the rudiments of a musical sense. And the thoughts discoverable in his verses seldom soothe the pains inflicted by their atrocious form. Mr. Rice, in brief, is a bard who has very little to say, and who too often says that little with an extremely distressing lisp.

In “Rosemary and Pansies,” by Effie Smith (Badger, $1.00), the workmanship is a good deal better. Miss Smith’s message to the world, it must be confessed, is not very startling, but the somewhat obvious thoughts that she seeks to express are set forth with no little grace.

The same facility is visible in parts of “Roses and Rye,” by A. Maria Crawford (Badger, $1.50). In this author’s work, however, a sort of banal sentimentality usually takes the place of sentiment.

Coming to “ Random Shots,” by E. Marie Sinclair (Badger, $1.00), we are in the midst of high school fustian. If you are eighteen years old and passionately in love, it will thrill you; if you are older and less romantic, it will afford you many a gentle grin.

“Shakespeare in Limerick,” by Brainerd McKee (Morton, $1.00), is the labor of a man who set himself the task of writing a limerick upon each and every one of the plays and poems of old William. The enterprise was as fantastic as that of those frenzied missionaries who seek to convert the East Side Yiddishers to Christianity, but not nearly so hopeless, as the event demonstrates, for some of Mr. McKee’s limericks have a good deal of humor in them.

Nachtst kommt “Erdklange” von Sebastian Frank Wendland (De Vinne, $1.25). Dieser sehr ernste Dichter schreibt uber mannigfaltige Weltratsel. Er erortert Philosophie, das Ewige und den Tod. Aber er hat auch das Gehor fur lyrische Musik. Zum Beispiel, zwei kleine Gedichte, “Morgen” und “Abend,” sind sehr preiswurdig.

“The Giant and the Star,” by Madison Cawein (Small-Maynard, $1.25), is a book of ballads and jingles for children. Their merits are not overpowering. Here and there, true enough, one encounters a stanza fit for the First Readers, but too often the author seems to forget that children’s verses, to sing themselves into the memories of the little folk, must be technically perfect. In other words, it is a waste of paper to print jingles unless they really jingle. Mr. Cawein’s do not. His clumsy inversions, his stumbling meters and his lines ending with prepositions are faults which must inevitably torture any youngster who tries to follow him.

“Orestes,” by Richard Le Gallienne (Kennerley, $ 1.00), is a workmanlike effort to tell anew the ancient story of Electra, Orestes and Clytemnestra—workmanlike, but scarcely inspired. Mr. Le Gallienne explains, in an introduction, how he came to tackle the enterprise. The suggestion that he do so was made by William Faversham, the actor, who yearned to play Orestes to Massenet’s music, but found fault with Leconte de Lisle’s “ Les Erinnyes,” for which the music was written. Accordingly, Le Gallienne essayed to make an entirely new drama, fitting it to Massenet’s score as the paper is fitted to the wall. The result is a play with not a few purple passages, but with very little dramatic effectiveness. Compared to Arthur Symons’s splendid English version of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s “Elektra,” it seems puny and lumbering.

There are upward of nine hundred pages of text, not to speak of scores of full page illustrations, four maps and innumerable portraits of Maxine Elliott in “Astyanax,” an epic romance by the Hon. Joseph M. Brown, governor of the republic of Georgia and exterminator of Hoke Smith. I began to read the book back in the year 1909, but the gemutlichkeit of the holidays broke me of the habit, and so I am still some distance from the end. I am able, however, to issue a sort of preliminary bulletin, giving the general drift of the work. It is, in brief, an attempt to do for America what Homer, “or someone else of that name,” did for Greece. In its historical framework it belongs to the school of the immortal Ignatius Donnelly, for it seems to assume that America was invaded in remote ages by adventurers from Troy, who came by way of the lost continent of Atlantis.

Upon this framework Mr. Brown hangs an epic of great deeds and consuming love, written in passionate prose, with occasional rises to Timrodic blank verse. He is familiar with the laws and customs of the Aztecs and Incas; he has immersed himself in strange lores and mysterious philosophies; he has a footnote ready to prove every sword thrust and metaphor. The book is not one to be measured by ordinary standards, for it is not a mere book at all, but a whole literature—the national literature of the republic of Georgia. The Georgians have already testified to their pride in it by electing Mr. Brown their governor. In the face of that impressive verdict it would be presumptuous for an accursed Northerner to point out flaws. All I dare venture is the thought that the taste for Georgian literature must be an acquired one, and that its acquirement must be a painful business.

It is seldom, indeed, that two charming books of essays reach me in one day, for the essay is an art form but scantily cultivated in these electric times. The reason therefore is to be found, I suppose, in the fact that we are all afflicted by a universal earnestness—that we have come to regard life too much as a science and too little as an art. Now, earnestness is usually fatal to the essay, for its purpose is not to demonstrate a proposition or rub in a moral, but merely to communicate a mood. The essayist, in a word, must show a flavor of irresponsibility, or he ceases to be an essayist and becomes a dialectician or a homilete or a teacher or a mad mullah. The thing he writes must have what the musicians and painters call atmosphere, and if it has that it needs nothing else. He is a sort of Debussy—or, better still, a Haydn—of the written word. Let him but charm us as Haydn charms us with his sparkling rondos, his crystal minuets, his simple variations—and we ask nothing more of him.

Compositions which show that simplicity are rare just now—but here, as I have said, are two books of them, the one by Max Beerbohm and the other by Adrian H. Joline. The ingenious Max calls his volume “Yet Again” (Lane, $1.50), and it is made up of contributions rescued from the files of various newspapers, magazines and reviews. He deals with a vast variety of subjects, but the same note of mellow geniality is always dominant. He is not trying to convert the world nor to knock down the two thousand firm faiths which now set it by the ears, but merely to laugh gently at its follies and to give a word of praise to its virtues. One of the essays, in which Max mourns the sorrows of the newspaper editorial writer who is doomed to “write at top speed, on a set subject, what he thinks the editor thinks the proprietor thinks the public thinks nice,” is delicious enough to save a book of far less merit.

Mr. Joline’s volume is called “At the Library Table” (Badger, $1.59), and is made up of the confessions and opinions of an old-fashioned booklover. It must be said, however, that Mr. Joline is not actually so antique as he would have us believe. He pretends, in places, to eighty, ninety, 100 and even to 1 50 years, but he is really a very lively youth of threescore. Two amusing chapters upon William Harrison Ainsworth and G. P. R. James contain new contributions to the histories of those assiduous scriveners. The whole book is rambling, anecdotal, charming. It has the atmosphere which maketh the essay.

A fascinating narrative is that offered by Harry A. Franck in “A Vagabond Journey Around the World” (Century Co., $3.50). Mr. Franck, after taking his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and trying teaching for a while, resolved to see the world, and having but a small store of current money, he resolved further to work his way. The result was a year, and a half of careless knocking about—first in Europe, then along the Mediterranean and finally in the Far East. The book that Mr. Franck has made is no customary traveler’s tale, with dull catalogues of pictures and minute accounts of extortionate hotels. Not at all. In the whole of his merry journey he seldom set foot in gallery or hotel. Instead, he took pot luck with the beachcombers of Marseilles and Colombo, the perambulating grafters of Hindustan, the rascals of Port Said, the happy jack tars of the Seven Seas. His story is told with charming naivete; he goes into details; he discourses of things that the Pullman and Cunard tourist never wots of. A book worth reading. A welcome break in the avalanche of best sellers, bad poetry and tomes upon psychotherapy.


Prince Hagan —

by Upton Sinclair. (Kerr, $1.25)

An amateurish fable by a perennial bore.


Leaves of Life—

by Samuel Harley Lyle, Jr. (McGregor, $1.00)

Banal strophes by an earnest Southern minnesinger, with a portrait of the author.


Susan in Sicily —

by Josephine Tozier. (Page, $2.00)

A diverting book of travel, in the form of letters from the places visited, and with many excellent illustrations.


A History of the Great American Fortunes —

by Gustavus Myers. (Kerr, $1.50)

The second volume of Mr. Myers’s interesting work. He is a Socialist and insists that the reader remember it, but he is also a pains taking historian. The present volume deals with the history of the Gould and Vanderbilt fortunes — a moving chronicle of sharp trading and bold buccaneering, ostentation and corruption.


Earth Songs —

by Mary Chapin Smith. (Badger, $1.25)

An occasional idea in a sea of words.



by Edith Frank. (Broadway Pub. Co., $1.00)

Harmless banalities in the high school manner.


Raleigh —

by Wm. Devereaux and Stephen Lovell. (Lippincott, $1.50)

A workmanlike novelization of a melodrama recently on view in London.


What is Socialism? —

by Reginald Wright Kauffman. (Moffat-Yard, $1.25)

A brief exposition of the history and tenets of Socialism. Mr. Kauffman writes clearly and with good sense. The manifesto of 1847 and the Socialist platform of 1908 are given as appendices, and there is a short bibliography.