The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on December 16, 1934 · 52
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 52

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Sunday, December 16, 1934
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12 SUNDAY MORNING. DECEMBER J 6, 1934. r ART KI-Ij N e w B o o k s an d T h e it Make r s Two Philosophers Agree in Spuming ''Absolutes" Local Writers, With Caustic Humor, Address Laymen, Favoring Modem Science I t . as Against Plato BY DONALD C. WILLIAMS (Dr. Williams is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at U.C.L.A. Ed.) MUST PHILOSOPHERS DISAGREE? By T. C. S. Schiller. Macmillan. THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH. By Eric Temple Bell. Reynal & Hitchcock. Mr. Bell Is professor of mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. Mr. Schiller is a philosopher, one time of Corpus Chrlsti, Oxford, and now of the University of Southern California. Both men are adept at conveying the results of technical studies to the nontechnical reader, and their latest books agree in the playful employment of staggering erudition to propagate what the authors conceive as the true philosophy of science. THE LASH OF WITS Both are lively, anecdotal, and "brash' (to use Prof. Bell's expression.) Both detest Platonism, the notion of absolute truth, "the dun-colored clouds of metaphysics" (Bell.) and all philosophies which provide only "desiccated lecture-fodder for ruminant professors' (Schiller.) Both, however, believe that there has been a real intellectual progress from Aristotle's arid logic to the experimental truths purveyed by our modern institutions of learning "into which tens of millions have been poured for bricks, books and gadgets, and literally thousands for brains" (Bell,) and both hold that only the perversity of professional philosophers prevents iheir composing now their .ancient differences. Prof. Schiller's argument, withal, is generally ironic but Prof. Bell smites with joyous ribaldry. FINDS FUTILITY "Must Philosophers Disagree?" consists largely of lectures read to California audiences. So far as simple themes may be discerned in so rich a budget, the first five essays criticize the affectation and futility which the author finds in much philosophy, traditional logic, and educational theory, while the next six recount sympathetically the origins and affiliations of the renovat ing "pragmatic" movement in philosophy, for which Schiller shares responsibility with James and Dewey. ' - . The remaining thirteen essays apply the pragmatic method to sweep traditional cobwebs from such topics as the nature of knowledge and truth, religion, creation and evolution, human history, and psychical research. Appeals to scientific method, concreteness, usefulness, relativity, impermanence, novelty, the vital process, purpose and personality, lard the pages until only the most dead-souled reader can fail to be elevated and excited. WITH GREAT GUSTO "What is truth?" Prof. Bell sketches, sometimes with rather more gusto than accuracy, the history of the great fundamental improvements in man's "conscious effort to think consistently." The four great forward steps have been the Egyptian invention of the appeal to reason, Pythagoras's definition of deductive proof, Lobatchev-sky's discovery : of non-Euclidean geometry, and, In 1930, the discovery by Lucasiewicz and Tarski that our whole logic, with its supposedly eternal laws of thought, is only one of an indefinite number of logics. The villains of the piece are the dead hand of tradition, the sedentary philosophers of Greece, the "hag-ridden" middle ages, the modem scientist who serves up wishy-washy cosmological gruel for the bishops, and the bLshops who are grateful for such service. Prof. Bell's conclusion seems to be that although the word "truth" is meaningless, science is more like truth than its rivals are. DELECTABLE WITCHCRAFT MARY POPPINS. By P. L. Travers. Reynal and Hitchcock. x Let j, economic determinism go break its filthy neck: farewell Depression. Good-by to Deals of every sort. For Mary Poppins, with her magic box and magic carpetbag, has come to America from over the horns of the moon, blown hither by a high east wind. We knew this late high wind would bring something, but we never imagined it would fetch Mary Poppins. The reviewer never heard of this little Irish girl, P. L. Travers, before. She lives, we are told, part time in England and part in France. But wherever she dwells, over the door of her house is written the motto, "Whimsey." Let Emerson have his "Whim;" Mary Poppins. was born of whimsey in a- world of delectable witchcraft. , She does not come to us in a for midable volume: it is a little; about the size of a long chapter out of one of these Anthony Adverses. But what potency! What chuckles! Grandma may safely read the book, but it would be wise to strap her ribs with adhesive tape beforehand, otherwise she may break 'em off short with fits of immoderate laughter Any attempt to summarize the story of Nurse Mary Poppins, who descended upon the tiny house of the Banks in Cherry-Tree-Lane, would be sheer desecration. It is nonsense raiued to ecstasy, and every human from 7 to 70, who acknowledges affection for "Alice in Wonderland" or the creations of James Stephens or A. A. Milne, will recognize Mary at a glance as his very own. This is simply one of the most lovable prize packages of this decade. Let Mary Poppins cure you of your humpy-dumps. H. T. I: ITS K v 1 vS .-si S Witt? " eTV - i i t. .1 - 'I Uk ..' . ' Children of the East YASU-BO AND ISHI-KO. A Boy and Girl of Japan. By Phyllis Ayer Sowers. Thomas Y. Cro-well. LET'S GO HOUND THE WORLD. By Phyllis Ayer Sowers. Grosset and Dunlap. Mrs. Sowers 'has lived in the Far East and knows the life of the little children in Japan, China and Siain intimately. More than that she has traveled around the world with eyes keen to see the things that boys and girls would enjoy and appreciate. Readers of. Mrs. Sow-ers's other popular booKs for children will know that she can always be trusted to entertain and instruct. And the pictures are charming. A Flying Kitten THE STORY OF DEADSTICK THE AIRPORT KITTEN. By Louis Turck Staunton. Putnam. Amelia Earheart writes the foreword to Mrs. Staunton's tale of a kitten who, unaccountably, took a fancy to tailspins and gliding. Dead-stick was black enough to give any pilot the jitters when she crossed hia path. W. N. With Byrd at the Pole SOUTH OF THE SUN. By Russell Owen. John Day. ' Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper reports on the first Byrd Antarctic Expedition, Russell Owen has combined memories with extracts from his diary to make a hu man and thrilling narrative of what happened to these men marooned from civilization for a year. Thrown together even more solidly and Intimately than men in a war, they showed strange new laces to life under stress of danger and confinement, under the influences of the Antarctic's cold and terrible beauty. Vast silence engulfed them and they retreated inward to emerge in the nakedness of their real selves. Delicately, humorously, Russell Owen examines all of them, including himself. W. N. Where'a th Fire? FIRE! By Cliff" Meredith. Reynal & Hitchcock. Photographs and stories about fire-eaters the world over, taken mostly from newspaper reports. W. N. Give Year-Long Enjoyment With A 'Magazine !iDsei9iptioii Ladies. Home Journal ......... 1 McColli.... ( 0 Delineator American Home 1rr Our magazine section will gladly take suWrij tions for any weekly or monthly periodical. Not ' only do you save considerably with 1, 2 or 3-yrar subscriptions . . . hut you, may charge ihrni to your regular Broadway, arrountl MAGAZINE SECTION ' v STREET FLOOR The BBlEflPAlbWAY MAKOlM MNA0NftNv fill- With vt vttr WMt Mttfftt iHlltfWtt r HI tf)t r-r-ffiti vmif In wit -it I ttMl dtttlfl,, in tfivitlasalH?, riHtnallly! TJH tm!rMt ht tHt tw-ff tt) ft, ORIGINALITY Of SPEtCH by Issbells M. Hanbury . PttM II.M, 0 Mil Mly l C0U10I or CUlTUMk SUSJICTS, nr i tll , U A. BE ORIGINAL! P. L. TRAVERS Creator of Mary Poppins, who has stepped into the select company of Peter Pan, the Bastables, Alice, and Winnie the Pooh. HANDY SHAKESPEARE THE WORKS OP WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: Gathered into One Volume. Oxford University Press." , Around Christmas time Shakespeare is sure to be a dependable favorite.,' But the gift-seeker is usually embarassed by being offered expensive sets or single volumes printed on shoddy paper in microscopic type. Neither are calculated to please the discriminating. Oxford University Press has prepared, in a single and reasonably convenient volume, a Shakespeare octavo that is printed unedr the supervision of the Shakespeare Head Press, the text used being that edited by the late Arthur Henry Bullen, though instead of the plays being arranged under the heads, Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, they are presented under the now generally accepted chronological order.'" , . No notes are here to disturb the eager reader, though he will find an excellent and extensive Glossary at the back. Some of the other distinctive features of this volume should be indicated. The names of the characters are not buried in the text, but set above the speeches; the line numbers do nor mar the margins, but may be found at the top of each page. In addition to the plays, all the poems are printed. The general reader, then, may rejoice that he has been given, in one attractively bound and printed volume, a Shakespeare that will appeal to his notion of snug-comfort-in-an-arm-chair as well as to a restricted family budget. MORE DANCING GODS FIESTA IN MEXICO. By Erna Fergusson. Illustrated by Valentin Vidaurreta. Knopf. ; In her "Dancing Gods," Miss Fergusson described the Indian ceremonials of New Mexico and Arizona. Alarmed for fear the Mexican government's attack upon the Catholic religion might also do away with the idols behind altars and the dances in their honor, she traveled all over Mexico observing fiestas and recording them while there was still time. ; Her book is not an ethnogra pher's description of native customs. It is a travel book, gay and grave, discursive, but always seeking out fiestas of the saints. There are many stories of encounters with mestizos and Indians, coming from and going to one or another of Mexico's countless fiestas. The dances and rituals are set down In a prose that dances, too. While she is painstaking and accurate in her descriptions, making her volume of great value to students, she never overlooks the fact that she is dealing with a mysterious and fascinating land, with a people who have survived 400 years of conquest, with a modern Mexico that is rising out of ashes and tears, turmoil and revolution; and thus her story is always supremely Interesting for the average reader. W. N. A BOOKMAN'S MANIFESTO (Mr. BY JOHN T. WINTERICH Winltrith is sitthor of "Booi end the Man," etc. Ed.) FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS. By Paul Jordan-Smith. Oxford Uni versity Press. To one of the early (hence now comparatively unobtainable) numbers of the Colophon Lawrence Meynell of the Nonesuch Press contributed an engaging paper whereof the sardonic sting of the title was softened to innocuousness by the utter good humor of the essay itself; "Some Collectors Read." Paul Jordan-Smith is empliatically and ecstatically of this nobie company. Moreover, in "For the Love of Books" he has produced a gay, lively, penetrating, readable book about book collecting. These assembled papers are a veritable manifesto of sane and sound bibliophiiy; they embody, often with aphoristic pat-ness, always , with enthusiasm and candor, the whole credo of the collector, .. - NOTHING OBSCURE Mr. Smith has his likes and his dislikes, and is at no pains to obscure either. One is never in doubt about him; there is no hedging of opinion, but a forthright assertive-ness that makes the reader want to protest or to roar approval, according to the angle c impact. Thus I cannot share Mr. Smith's rapt partisanship of Arthur Machen oi his aversion to Anthony Trollope; I second his approval of Willa Cath-er's "A Lost Lady" and file an indignant demurrer against his swift dismissal of "My Antonia." And when he analyzes the deliquescence of Joseph Hergesheimer, and reserves for James Boyd a corner of shelfage for books yet to be born (and may their parturition be speeded,) I delight to stand beside him as assistant cheer-leader. FOR INDEPENDENCE Praise heaven we do not all think alike or read alike. If we did, publishing would be as secure an enterprise as the gadget industry, and literary criticism become as statistically exact as the computation' of butter fat. And by the same token it is not good for us all to collect the same books. The case for the independent collector has never been so well put as Mr. Smith puts it Now all book collectors ought to be independent, but too few of them are. I feel that Mr. Smith inveighs too strongly and too frequently against the wealthy collector (time was when there actually were wealthy collectors.) ignoring the fact that the acquisition of the grand rarities by the rich will one day be the means of making those crown jewels available to the inspection of Mr. Smith and me if we can manage to outlive their present custodians. Mr. Smith works himself up into a fine lather in these bits of shadow-boxing I have a suspicion that some of it is in the nature of a Freudian defense, and that if a million dollars popped suddenly into his lap he would immediately set the wire hot with the clamor for a First Folio Shakespeare. HUMAN INTEREST But this Is little enough to com plain about, and it does not mar the charm of Mr. Smith's erudition (qualities that go hand in hand so rarely that bells ought to be rung when they do,) the thoroughness of , his scholarship, the zest with which he prosecutes his research Thus his essay on Jerome Cardan is an admirable example of his capacity to interpret his collector-en thusiasm in terms of powerful hu man interest.' It is a perfect piece of reconstruction the rearing of a life - like, nay, living, personality from the crumbly cart of stodgy sixteenth and seventeenth century imprints. There is only a trifling percentage of factual error in these pages, em bracing as they do hundreds of names of men and books, and cov rrlng most of the lands reached by the sun. I regret the slipshod reference to Theodore Dreiser's novel as "The (for An) American Tragedy," and recent evidence has been unearthed to indicate . that Sarah the MA ill! 11 SSL lit you knew and loved tells her life story and what a story in her own book I Foreword by WILL ROGERS nit k y 3J Wentworth-Morton had nothing to do with the writing of "The Power of Sympathy. A CASE HISTORY The books to collect (and the book, to read) are the books to ward the possession of which the collector (which is to say, or should be to say, the reader) is impelled by an; emotional necessity that will not be gainsaid. ,, If the neophyte or the sub-neophyte inquires of the sea soned collector,. "How do you get that way?" the answer is, "By reading the case-history of a collector who has got that way himself." Read "For the Love of Books" read it as experienced or threshold collector read it as plain casual reader and see if you can escape the contagion. See, indeed, if you want to. IMPORTANT REPRINT THE STORY OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN. By Paul Radin, Live- right. Beautifully bound, illustrated with six color plates and two dozen phO' tographs, Paul Radin's classic has been revised and is now available at the price of an ordinary, novel. Here is no skeleton outline, told in popular jargon, but a full and complete story of the American Indian of both North and South America, written by an anthropologist in language that sacrifices neither clarity nor exactness. Aside from the somewhat antiquated work of Clark Wissler, it , is the only volume covering the entire subject in compact space; and Wissler's book is for specialists. The amount of detailed information packed into the book without disturbing , its splendid narrative flow is remarkable. Here are the Indians of the plains about their daily life, today and yesterday; here are the great vanished civilizations of Aztec and Maya, of Inca and Cliff Dweller; here are the Indians of today in the Southwest, in Mexico, wherever they have endured with anything like original strength; and here are the remnants of once great tribes; crushed under the heel of the conqueror. The volume cannot fail to , fascinate and inform even those who know much more about the Indian beyond the fact that he used to stand in front of a cigar store. W. N. now m Ul! uuti B DRESSIER aiid nmmmon Now at ail bookstores $2.50 LITTLE, BROWN Christian Allegory THE FOUNDATION." By Briant Sayre Young. The Maribeck Press. Los Angeles. Another romance of the type of "If Christ Came to Chicago" or "In His Steps." For Joab seems here to be a reincarnation of the Christ spirit, and his struggles with au thority, orthodoxy, unbelief and the police seems to parallel events in the life of Jesus. Joab and Mary have established a new church, "The Foundation of the Earth," but the police run Joah in and finally turn him over to the psychopathic ward. Then people begin to get uneasy: later the foundations of finance crumble: then earth disturbances bring terror. The whole world Is divided. Is Joah the only refuge? Fundamentalists, and people of the evangelistic faiths will appreciate this curious novel. 5 Th. W. Cautious to a Fault INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE. By Phyllis Bottome. Houghton Mifflin. In prose so sure that it can be called cautious to a fault, Miss Bottome shows the expert skill of the craftsman in these short stories. - But there is more than craft here. The au thor brings sympathy and insight to these tales, which i ranpp frnm penetrating siuqics oi ado lescence and characters with unusual naivete, to : tragic' and ironic pieces, While Miss Bottome dem onstrated her in her recent ' -, - . . 1 r Phyllis Bottome uncommon talents novel, "Private Worlds," she is no less thorough and successful in the field of short stories. She relies on sharply crystallized characters and convmcmg human situations rather than on obvious short story iwi&us ana , paradoxes, ane exer cises restraint, but does not exclude warmth, so that these tales have that mark of vitality that make a story credible as well as entertain ing. .. M. M. The Complete Playgoer THE BEST PLAYS OF 1933-34. Edited by Burns Mantle. Dodd, Mead. For a number of reasons, the past theatrical year proved to be a fat one following a series of lean, famished seasons, with a thin pros pect for the current year. Accord ingly, Mr. Mantle's present volume is one of the best in recent years. The editor's choice of representative plays includes "They Shall Not Die," "Men In White," "Mary of Scot land," "Dodsworth," "Ah. Wilder ness," "Her Master's Voice," "No More Ladies," "Wednesday's Child. The Shining Hour" and "The Green Bay Tree." In addition to this likely selection. the volume provides a comprehensive yearbook of the American theater, with lists of casts, statistical summaries and other information. As usual, the Burns Mantle book proves indispensable for the complete playgoer. M. M. , The Best Sellers To the list of Brentano's best sellers published last week, we see but few changes. James Hilton's "Lost Horizon" heads the list of novels, to which the only newcomer is Elizabeth's "The Jasmine Farm." The non-fiction list welcomes three newcomers: "A Time to Keep," by Halliday Sutherland; "Glory Hunter," by Frederick F. Van de Water, and "Metropolis," by Agnes Rogers ajid F. L Allen. MARY PKKFOKD'S BOOK up V V. My discovery has given me ao much spiritual light in the hardest hours of my life that I want to share it with all who care to try It" . . from Mia Pickford't story of her experience on tht path to right thinking. WHY HOT TRY 5Qff J. UL Robinson Co, Seventh Street tn Grand Avenue " ML'tual 0333, Hours 9 to 5 From theyComplete BOOK STORE T One of Robinsons' iriathematical minds submits the following figures which tells its own story of Robinsons "Complete BookStore." Juvenile Books on hand include: ' 1520 standard titles 407 1934 titles . Adult Books on hand include: 1180 standard titles 590 1934 titles Meaning that for a child one has a choice from 1927 different books and for an adult choice from 1770 different books or nearly 3700 in all. MISiBimi!MIMH ' Of these Many Robinsons' Recommend "Mary Poppins" by P. L. Travers the "Alice and Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" of 1934 for all ages. Robinsons have a large stock for Christmas, but they are going so fast, one is urged to hurry. Only $1.50. - "The Forty Days of Musa Dagh" by Franz Werfel heroic, beautiful, overwhelming a new masterpiece joining the world's greatest books. $3. , BOOK STORE FIRST FLOOR SI at on ' bookshops H. C. KINSIT A CO.. N..Y. JvU). Robinson Co. SEVENTH STREET AND CRAND AVENUE .MUTUAL 0333, HOURS 9 TO 5 Old BoohKare Booh From Across the Sea (ML I f Incunabula (Books 'from the cradle days of printing, Mote 1501) with hand-illuminated initials and rubications a few in original stamped pigskin and calf bindings. $40 to fSG. Farly Prcsi Itcnn, a small choice group of Aldincs, $6.50 to $15. First Editions of Sir Walter Scott in ripnnl hoards, uncut, rch.ukcd: 'Tcscnl'of the Tcik," $15, "Qucntin Durward" $12 and "The Tiratc," $12. Early Cookery Hooks (1745 to 1805) in old calf, fchacked, several at $7 each. Also a numltcr of individual items such as "Way to Cct Wealth, and Husbandry" (Icrva.sc Marklum, $25; "Florigeum, Frankfort," (1612) with hand-colored Botany plates of folio size, $(0; Byron first editions $6 to $10; Shelley's "Hellas" first edition, $50; and many more amenities to hook collecting, all of them, available in Robinsons', First Floor in the Old Book Store Just received a fine lot of bindings by Riviere of London in mint condition. Catalogue sent on request. cat; "" mm m m mm m I 1 mm EXPERIMENT 111 AUTOBIOGRAPHY by H. G. WelU "One of the most amazing documents ever set down in black letters on white paper! ; Cbicago News $4.00 FULL FLAVOUR by Doris tejfe MA vivid, full-flavoured record of Life!" Cbitaf Tribitn $2.50 LOST PARADISE by R. P. Tristram Coffin "A rare, bravt talc . . . about real people." S. Y. Htr. Tribun $2.50 THROUGH SPACE AND TIME by Sir James Jeans "Deserves to he listed among the marvels of this epoch!" N. V. Times $3.00 MARY PETERS by Mary Ellen Chpse' "As rich a harvest as ever came from The Banks!" Ciictgt Newt $2.50 Plowing on Sunday by Sterling North "Alive with flaming episode; ruthless, yet kindly." , Howard V, O'Brien $2.50 CONFESSIONS OF A SCIENTIST by Raymond L Ditmars "The reading of his book is an absorbing experience." . N. i'. Timet $3.50 AMERICAN BALLADS AND FOLK SONGS Collected by John A. Lomax and Alan Umax $3.00 THE MACMILLAN COMPANY i A WELL RECOMMENDED BOOK "RIDING 'THE -TIGER99 hy HARRY CARR JOSEPH HENRY JACKSON San Francisco Chronic! "An extremely readable crM between a colorful travat h"" and a concise outline of what Oriental minda are thinking about at the moment." OR. MARGARET CHUNG. "A book by a liberal American Interpreting the Orient tor his own people. Harry Carr shows koen understanding of the psychology of the Ortrntal people and has a peculiar faculty for seeing things as they are not what they aeem." LEE SHIPPEY Los Angeles Times Tho great charm of this book Is the feeling of Intimacy one gets of the home Ufa, nodal practices and spiritual outlook of the Japanese and Chinese. A travel book of strange and Interesting places, a rlosnup mont of us want to see and cannot." , A Hcst Selling" IJook - - - $2.50 - At all boohitorM, HOUGHTON M I mi N 60, 1

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