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Y far the biggest and most dramatic novel ever written by America's most popular woman novelist. It is the tre mendous love story - distinguished, modern, courageous - of two people you will never forget.




The Novel of the Year

Out June 17

Two Dollars


unbosoming. And they continued to do so later, from one room to the other, when at last they decided to go to bed. Then, in the middle of the night, he got up and went in his bare feet into Annette's room. He sat down in a low chair by her bedside. They did not talk any more. They only needed to be near each other.'

How does a man of letters recapture the passion, the tenderness, the delicacy of such moments, quivering with the very heartbeats of life, when one soul finds another and no longer has need of speech? The spirit that creates gives to the giver. 'Dem Helfer half der Helfer droben.'

Better workmanship than this translation by Mr. Van Wyck Brooks would be hard to imagine. It is so good that it has the force of an independent work in English. And never has even M. Rolland been more outspoken about that pair of touchy subjects war and sex. He has, in his free speaking, exposed himself to attack with complete indifference. He can afford to. For he is one of few men living through the war period who has earned the right to say, 'All evil comes from the fact that no one dares be sincere beyond the line where his own interests and passions are threatened.'

This book holds burning words. They are red-hot irons with which this man of courageous heart and honest mind goads the wild beasts of human hate and violence out of the arena in the colosseum of Imperialism. The spiritual core of the book is in these words which he has written of Annette Rivière; but they are equally true of Romain Rolland:

"The peculiar duty assigned to her was to save the sacred sentiment that filled her, this Friendship-Friendship, the country that survives all the Iliums. In order to respond to this appeal she was ready to forego people's respect and to transgress every human law. A higher law had spoken. If every one did the same, in his own restricted domain, it would be the greatest Revolution of humanity.'


Brother John, by Vida D. Scudder. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. (An Atlantic Monthly Press Publication.) 1927. 12mo. xii+334 pp. $2.50.

THE seventh centenary of Saint Francis has been marked by a realization of how contemporary the Little Poor Man really is. Into a world bored like ours he came with a solution to life's problems startlingly simple, with a new-old key to joy. Within the near past there have appeared some excellent new interpretations of the Little Brother. Many people have hoped that Miss Scudder, whose mind and heart have long been given to Franciscan research and meditation, would at this time share the results of her study. In Brother John she has dealt, not with the Saint himself, but with the equally interesting subject of what to do with him once he had lived and

laughed and learned on La Verna that love means crucifixion.

Through the eyes of John of England, called. as was Francis himself, from luxury and position to wed Lady Poverty, we see the early Franci cans struggling to reconcile the Religion with the world as it is; endangered on the one hand by fanatic mendicancy and on the other by such surrender to order and communal possession as threatened to destroy libertà francescana. After long struggle John himself espouses the cause of the Spirituals or Strict Observers, undoubtedly what Francis himself intended; but he has sympathy enough to understand the arguments of those who would surrender something of the freedom of absolute poverty for the pursuit of learning, like Bonaventure and Roger Bacon, and of those who, like Pope Gregory, sought by regularizing the Order to make it more immediately serve the Church. The author presents to us a large gallery of thirteenth-century people. They are strongly pictured; no mere names. We see them as real men. Oddly only John himself seems colorless, scarcely more than a mirror for other portraits and a mouthpiece of ideas. Nor. despite the fact that she knows her Umbria, has Miss Scudder made her pictured places very vivid.

However, it is not with characterization or description that the author is chiefly concerned, but with spiritual conflicts. In presenting these she is peculiarly successful. Here we have no romance less than that of souls in basic travail. something hard to write about without either sentimentality or dullness. Avoiding both, she has told a story so interesting that even one used only to more obvious problems will find himself loath to put the book by. This is due not merely to the writer's skill but also to the immediacy of the conflict. How to reconcile the service of God with possession and power, how to be free to love and yet constrained in love - these are dilemmas every man's to face. In these early Franciscan days they constitute vivid drama.

Miss Scudder's style is appropriate: direct, honest, and, if one may venture to say so, unfeminine. One feels that she understands Francis better than she might comprehend Sister Clare. It is not often that American novelists have dared to deal with basic spiritual problems. This book is for those who welcome a realism of the soul.


From Man to Man, by Olive Schreiner. New York: Harper & Bros. 1927. 12mo. xxx+461 pp. $2.50.

"THIS book is going to be awfully outspoken; An African Farm was nothing to it,' wrote Olive Schreiner in a letter dated July 21, 1884, regarding the novel published after her death under the title From Man to Man, or Perhaps Only. She worked on it intermittently during many years; her letters bespeak her intense interest in it: 'I

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Attractive illustrated biographical booklets on Edwin Arlington Robinson, John Masefield, Sara Teasdale, John G. Neihardt, James Stephens, and Marguerite Wilkinson will be sent free to anyone on request.

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love it more than I love anything in the world. I've never loved any work so.' She lived with her characters as if they were real people; her inability to finish the book brought her a sense of frustration and defeat: 'I seem to have done so little with my life.'

It is a story of two women: one, Rebekah, an intellectual idealist, bound in marriage to a sensualist who is false to her; the other, Bertie, a victim in her extreme youth of a man who departs with no further thought of the ruin he has wrought. The story of Rebekah's love for a man of her own type, and of her renunciation because of duty, was planned, but never written; the story of Bertie's tragic life is depicted with masterly realism, but unfinished. The action takes place partly in Africa, partly in London.

Here, as in The Story of an African Farm, the reader finds a power of vivid characterization, passionate presentation of the concrete of daily experience, deep sense of the tragedy of life, and an arresting beauty of nature background. This is on a larger scale than the earlier novel, more balanced, and without the touches of exaggeration that brought a Dickens note into the humorous parts of her first story. If the narrative seems at times a bit broken, not wholly a unit, because of the long period over which the work extended, there is compensation in the fact that we have here the gathered thought and the poignant experience of a lifetime.

The author's piercing keenness of thought in regard to almost every aspect of human life is evident throughout. Sometimes, as in presenting the idea of the unity of all life, of its organic nature, and of progress from lower to higher forms of being, she is discussing ideas familiar in the nineteenth century, and her force comes not so much from the newness of the thought as from the vital intensity of her treatment, an intensity both emotional and intellectual. Sometimes, as

in her answer to the doctrine of the survival of the fittest, her thought is strikingly original and arresting.

To bring out a something of Christianity latent in the physical order, where others have seen nature 'red in tooth and claw,' is no small achievement, and it is significant utterance on the part of one who held herself no Christian. One wishes that the philosophy, science, history, and sociology summed up in the chapter entitled 'Rainbows in the Avenue' could be separated from its story context and printed in essay form. To put this survey of nearly the whole of life into the mind of one woman in one night is as dramatically wrong as the thought is, taken by itself, intellectually stimulating.

If this is, as the author said, a sex novel, it is a sex novel not in the modern manner. There is no insidious taint in it; it is not propaganda of a new and lower order of morality, but the reverse. Her protest against the inequality of sex standards is dramatically cogent; if in the intervening years the standard has changed, it has not been in the direction she wished. Still deeper than her arraignment of a wrong social code is her presentation of the tragedy and the glory of womanhood in the order of nature; here she writes as no one else has written, and as no one but a woman could write.

Why was the book never finished? Was the cause ill health, or, in part, removal for a long period from the wide horizons of her native veldt which so stimulated her mind and her imagination? Was she too intensely human to achieve the sustained detachment of the artist, too closely involved in the forces she was trying to portray? The conviction with which you are left the author found life too great for dramatic presentation, outstripping her artist power to depict - adds to the interest and challenge of the book. MARGARET SHERWOOD


The books selected for review in the Atlantic are chosen from lists furnished through the courteous coöperation of such trained judges as the following: American Library Association Booklist, Wisconsin Free Library Commission, and the public-library staffs of Boston, Springfield (Massachusetts), Newark, Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Louis, and the Pratt Institute Free Library of Brooklyn. The following books have received definite commendation from members of the Board:

The Public Mind, by Norman Angell

A collection of essays, brilliantly observant of erratic democracy

Riata and Spurs, by Charles A. Siringo

E. P. DUTTON & Co. $3.00


The true story of a great cowboy and ranger

Readings, selected by Walter de la Mare and Thomas Quayle ALFRED A. KNOPF Illus. $5.00
Memorable and entertaining selections of our best English prose

The Return of Don Quixote, by G. K. Chesterton
A gay parable in novel form for all social reformers

Red Pants, by Captain John W. Thomason, Jr.
Sketches at first hand of the marines on and off duty

The Marionette, by Edwin Muir

DODD, MEAD & Co. $2.00



A delicate narrative in whose eerie romanticism is found a tragedy of a father and son




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