xt7qjq0stw34_4020 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/1997ms474.dao.xml unknown archival material 1997ms474 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. W. Hugh Peal manuscript collection Clipping about Anthony Trollope, The Story of a Practical Novelist from The New York Times Book Review text 43.94 Cubic Feet 86 boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 22 items Poor-Good Peal accession no. 11453. Clipping about Anthony Trollope, The Story of a Practical Novelist from The New York Times Book Review 2017 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/1997ms474/Box_39/Folder_71/Multipage13690.pdf 1945 November 25 1945 1945 November 25 section false xt7qjq0stw34_4020 xt7qjq0stw34 The Story of a Practical Novelist

HE TROLLOPES. The Chronicle of a
Writing Family. By Lucy Poate Steb-
bins and Richard Poatc Stebbins.
394 pp. New York: Columbia Uni-
versity Press. 54.


writer—some would say a
great writer—but he was not in
the slightest degree "literary."
For him the novelist‘s trade was
merely a means toward an end,
and he was more eager to be able
to keep a stable of hunters than
he was to be recognized as any
kind of artist. Perhaps the trucu-
lent frankness with which he con-
fessed his philistinism may sug-
gest that he was not quite so
comfortable in it as he would
have liked to be, but at least he
never wavered. As the authors
of the present book say, “Not cul-
tivation but the production of
millions of printed words became
the ruling object of his life.”

If then, he has in our time
enjoyed a revival of popularity,
it is certainly not because he cul-
tivated any of that high artistic
seriousness upon which the crit-
ics of our day are prone to lay
great stress. Henry James, whose
xttitudes are at this moment be-
ig enthusiastically championed,
poke with stem disapproval of

[e so-called novelists whose art
ias at best only the art of the
improviser. Trollope, writing at
top speed and feeling that if he
struck out a few unnecessary
sentences he was doing rather
more in the way of revision than
could reasonably be expected of
him, was the improviser par ex—

lence. Yet Trollope is, next to
ames, the most often discussed
f the nineteenth—century novel-
ists who wrote in English.

A book might be written in an
attempt to explain this paradox.
The present volume is, however,
not that book, since its authors,
though aware that the paradox

exists, have preferred to let it .

speak for itself and to devote
themselves to the task of chron-
icling pretty completely not only

Anthony Trollope. By R. Birch.

the events of Anthony’s busy life
but also the activities of his blue-
stocking mother and his historian
brother. The result is a close—
packed and well-ordered volume,
which probably contains more
information' about the family
than can be found in any other
one place. The result is also as
clear a picture of Anthony’s per-
sonality as it is possible to get
without going beyond the pres-
entation of documented facts. If,
nevertheless, the reader whose
interest has been continuously
held closes the book with some
feeling that something is eluding
him, that is because he seems to
know everything except how the
man he has learned so much
about could possibly have written
the novels we are told, somewhat
casually, he did write.

YOUTH of typically upper-
middle—class tastes (and opinions
is compelled to get a job as clerk
in the postoffice because the
family fortunes have not been
able to survive the improvident
instability of his mother or the
pompous and rather pathetic in-
competence of his father. He is
dissatisfied, difficult, and not
especially attractive.
we have been able to observe, he
is also neither particularly intel-
ligent, perceptive, nor even viva-
cious. Then one day he sits down
at his desk and writes a story. A
few years later the public is buy-
ing his books as fast as he can
write them, and he has become
one of the leading novelists of the
nineteenth century. Meanwhile
his tastes, opinions and person—
ality seem to remain just what
they were before. He can get into
better clubs and live on a more
expensive scale. But the change
is not very different from what
it would have been if he had in-
herited a brewery instead of be—
coming a writer.

In a sense the books are, of
course, the books that such a
man would write—if he could
write them. They are, that is to
say, stories about rather ordinary
people whose motives and ambi-
tions are quite ordinary. But or-
dinary people do not write excel-
lent books even about people like
themselves. Something not vis-
ible on the surface had been go-
ing on in the postal clerk and
continued to go on in the success-
ful novelist. One does not write
as Trollope wrote simply by sit-
ting down to a desk while mur-
muring that most Victorian of
sentiments, "How pleasant it is
to have money, heigh-ho, how
pleasant it is to have money.”

Possibly the secret is undis-
coverable. Possibly this is the
only sort of book that could be
written about Trollope. The fact
remains, nevertheless, that there
is little connection between the
man whose life story is being told
and the books he wrote. We see
clearly enough that the limita-
tions of the author necessitate
the limitations of the novel, but
we do not see how the excellen-
cies of the novel could have been
achieved by the man said to have
written them. Did, by any chance,
Francis Bacon toss them off be-
tween the composition of “Ham-
let" and the composition of


So far as,

"Othello” ? Were they discovered
in an old trunk? In any event,
the Anthony Trollope revealed in
“The Chronicle of a Writing
Family” certainly did not com-
pose them.

HAT one does get from the
Stebbins book is the richly docu-
mented story of a family group,
and the interest is so largely his-
torical or sociological rather than
literary that it might, without
being essentially diffgrent, have
been the story of a political or
professional family instead of a.
writing one. The opinions the
various ’I‘rollopes held, the mo—
tives that governed them and the
ambitions they cherished are
characteristically Victorian rath-
er than characteristic of the lit-
erary temperament, and the
atmosphere they create is the

, Trollope's Mother, Frances Trollope.

atmosphere of a Trollope novel.
Anthony's father might have
been an unsuccessful Bishop in-
stead of an unsuccessful lawyer;
Anthony himself might have
risenin the law or in the Church
instead of rising as a writer.
When the wife-to-be of the
former was given three weeks to
consider his businesslike pro-

posal of marriage, she replied, as.

a sensible Trollope character
would have done, by the hasty
warning that her fortune was
only £1,300 and that she received
a dress allowance of £50 a year.
Anthony himself, like the more
admirable people in his books,

The Labor

By Aaron Levenstein. 253 pp. New
Yorli: Alfred A. Knopf. $2.75.


HE seeker after an easy for-

mula for labor peace will not
find it within the covers of Mr.
Levenstein’s thoughtful book. .It
is a gloomy picture that he fore-
sees of the post-war relationship
between management and labor,
but there is little reason to ques-
tion the soundness of the prem-
ises on which he bases his fears
for the future.

He feels that the conflicts
bottled up in the war period are
ready to burst forth with new
fury, and that this strife will not
abate until we have faced up
squarely to the necessity for
writing an economic bill of

From (1 Drawing by J. E. Millais.

Orley Farm: Trollope'aHome While He Was Attending Harrow School.

distrusted all high-flown senti—
ments, shied away from emo»
tional women, worked hard to
rise in the world, measured suc-
cess in terms of income, wrote‘a.
passionate defense of fox hunt—
ing, and was cautiously liberal
so long as liberalism did not even
hint the possibility that anything
of importance might be changed.

He concluded that the penny
post would never succeed; that
neither the Suez nor Panama
Canal could ever be dug; and
that, since the United States was

obviously too big, first the South- «-

em and then the Western States
would achieve secession. He
thought slavery evil in itself but
was sure that the proposal-to set
the slaves free was fraught with
dangers too great to be faced;
and after coming to America for
the purpose of correcting the
errors of his mother’s notorious
“Domestic Manners of the Amer-
icans," he was all but converted
to her opinions by two undeniable
facts—Americans had very iniqui-
tous laws concerning copyright,
and they spit too frequently.

His parents had ruined their
lives by persistently living be-
yond their income. Anthony re-
acted, not by doubting for a
moment that to own good houses,
belong to the right clubs, and
frequent the proper set were the
noblest ambitions a man could
have, but simply by seeing to it
that he wrote a sufficient number
of words to pay for them all. By
comparison his mother, who
started out as some sort of uto-

pian Socialist and then, because
the common people were rude up
her, ended up at the parties of
Prince Metternich, seems rather
engaging. /

A LL this the Stebbinses clearly
and carefully set forth in an ac-
count which is not only interest-
ing but appears to come out of a
painstaking job of research
which has led them to innumer-
able contemporary sources as
well as through many modern
studies of their period. Never-
theless. they make no attempt to
analyze Anthony’s novels; they
draw no formal moral; and they
pass no judgment upon Anthony
except in so far as the record of
his attitude toward his work im-
plies such a judgment.

Perhaps a reviewer should not
rush in.- where they have decided
not to tread. But it is difficult
to refrain from remarking that
the contemplation of the life of
even the more successful Victo-
rians often leaves the modern
reader somewhat depressed. They
were so often strait-laced with-
out being virtuous, narrow with-
out being intense. They sacri-
ficed ease and pleasure as well
as nobility to what they called
success, but even money did not
mean to them the possibility of
any kind of splendor—only heavi-
ness and show. The weakness of
Anthony's novels lies in the fact
that they never ask a really
searching question. Apparently
he never asked any of himself

Problem: A Gloomy View

peacetime rights of employers
and their organized employes.
The pattern of wartime labor
developments is sketched against
the background of Sewell Avery's
defiance of the Government in

rights in which the privileges
and the responsibilities of the in—
dividual, of government, of man-
agement and of labor are rede-
fined. He does not think that
will happen soon.

The greater part of the book
is devoted to a review of the
revolutionary changes effected
by the war in the relations be-
tween industry and labor and
of the dominant role which gov-
ernment assumed in all phases
of the industrial process. So per-
vasive did the influence of gov-
ernment become under the stress
of war production needs and so
invisibly was the scope of this
influence extended that such a
review is of great value in mak-
ing clear the ultimate extent to
which government compulsion
replaced the free exercise of the

the Montgomery Ward case.
Although Mr. Levenstein uses
considerable ingenuity in linking
Mr. Avery with virtually every
type of problem that arose in
the conversion of our economy
to a war basis, the device would
have been more effective if Mr.
Avery’s attitude were more rep-
resentative of the general atti-
tude taken by American employ-
ers toward wartime restraints or
if the mail order business he
headed were more representative
of the industries which were
producing munitions for 'our

(Continued on Page 18)


 Not Strength But Luster Was His‘ Aim

in the ""Counter-Deccdence of the
’Nineties. By Jerome Hamilton Buck-
ley. 234 pp. Princeton: Princeton
University Press. 32. 75.


HEN Oscar Wilde was asked
if he cared for outdoor
sports he.replied: yes, he liked to
play dominos at a sidewalk cafe
in Paris. The mot is symbolic of
a period, the 'Nineties (plus and
minus), when literature was pret-
ty much in the care of men of
hallow respiration and feeble
1- ulse. They were revolting from
Victorianism—in a chaise longue.
Some of them wrote of the joys
f the open road, but they did
precious little to get there. They
czt around in scented drawing
. ooms, taking their own tempera-
ures. Or they were hunched over
table in some airless cafe, at-
cking a bit of a cutlet and a fel-

low-writer's reputation.

They were governed not by
arge ideas or imperious passions
cut by itches, yens and animosi-
ies. Their subjects came from
mks, pictures, memories and
leepless nights. When they pre-
and to write they consulted

eir nerves instead of their
maginations. They put literature
nto small boxes, which they did

p with ribbons. (Some of these
axes, to be sure, contained
; isly items.) At their worst,
hese writers seemed like mon-

eye in a zoo, agile but vain, chat-
ering and futile. At their best



they worshiped art with a cap—
ital A. They were fashioners of
phrases rather than interpreters
of life. word-smiths rather than

No wonder Edmund Gosse
wrote frankly to Stevenson: "I
pitifully agree with you about the
unimportance of the man of let-
ters—only let us only whisper it
among ourselves; for God’s sake.
don’t go blowing on the whole
thing in public." Of course some
writers of the period, Oscar Wilde
among them, succeeded brilliant-
ly in this milieu: flowers will
grow in a hot-house. Other writ-
ers—perhaps William Ernest Hen-
ley among them—might have
done better with a broader mar-
gin to their lives.

HENLEY was such a complex,
not to say confused, person that
he is not easily typed. He was in
many ways at one with his era.
Yet he was not a perfect brother
to the restless rhymsters and
esthetes by whom he was so
largely surrounded. In fact you
can make out something of a case
for Henley as a rectifier of the
decadent tendencies of his time.
That is what his biographer, Je-
rome H. Buckley, does. He calls
his book “A Study in the 'Coun-
ter—Decadence’ of the ’Nineties,"
with Oscar Wilde as the villain
of the piece—mostly offstage. He
calls Henley an “activist," a term
which he nowhere defines satis-
factorily but which seems meant

William E.-Henley. A Portrait by Spy for Vanity Fair.

. paintings.
1 Mantuan dwarfs.

to signify a hearty person with a
strong appetite for life. And this
quality Henley had in considera-
ble measure.

Physically he fits the role of
“activist." Despite his maimed
condition and recurrent ill health,
he was a big, bushy, booming
man, able to dominate a group
by quasi-Johnsonian techniques.
Friends called him the “Viking
Chieftain" and “the Pirate." Ste—
venson conceived his Long John
Silver with Henley’s loud, oft-
dreaded voice in mind. By con-
viction Henley, like the ”deca-
dents, was vaguely anti-Victorian.
He had no metaphysics (being es—
sentially not a thinker at all),
but he resisted the pious religios-
ity of many Victorians. His brave
little pagan poem “Invictus,” with
its insistence on the individual's
capacity to officgr himself, irri-
tated the orthodox

Mr. Buckley makes much, too,
of Henley's “masculine protest"
against the ‘passivity" of the
preceding era. Likewise Henley
favored the repeal of reticence on
the subject of sex. He was not
one to capitalize sex grossly, but
he deplored the fact that “the
theory and practice of British
art" were “subject to the influ~
ence of the British school girl.”
And he printed a chapter of Har-
dy’s “Tess” which the editor of
The Graphic had discreetly de-
clined. Mr. Buckley notes, too,
that Henley’s taste in. fiction was
for virile writers: among novel-
ists his favorite was Fielding. But
most of all the biographer em-
phasizes a sort of Browning-like
all’s—right-with-the-world attitude
that appears from time to time:

Life is good and joy runs high . . .

These data are to the point,
but Henley was not quite so‘rug~

ged or light-hearted or consistent
a person as all this implies. His

‘joyful salutations to a benign

world were natural whén he was
emerging safely from a long and
painful hospital experience. But
his endless repetition of the chant
throughout the years to come he
gan to sound hollow and facti~
tious. For to Henley the 'world
finally was not all sweetness and
light. The thought of death
seems to have held a positive,
even a slightly morbid, fascina-
tion for him. And his poems on
this theme ring truer than his
mechanized hurrahing for the uni-
verse. There is even a Victorian
suggestion in his welcoming of
Life—life—lije .'
great thing
This side of death.

’Tis the sole

HE epithet “activist" is too
5 rong to be applied to a man
whose mind was so divided as
Henley’s. In many ways he was
irresolute. He sang much of in-
dividualism and freedom, but he
stanchly supported a. Tory posi-
tion: “the unconquerable soul
had significance only in a social
context." Nor was he tenderly
interested in the unconquerable
souls of lesser breeds without the
law. A kind of Pan- -Englandism
was much in his thoughts, and he
talked glibly of
Sifting the nations . . .
The waste and the weak

From the fit and the strong . . .
Making death beautiful.

And yet. though an imperialist,
he was shaken by the Boer War,
and he said things that are star-
tling apposite in 1945. He was
shocked by “the appalling fact
that a national crisis shaking the
very roots of civilization could
alone procure a national unity."
And he fiercely warns the nation
against another lapse into soft
living. With military danger

the nation, in a dream
Of money and love and sport,
hangs at the paps
Of well-being, and so
Goes fattening, mellowing, doz‘
'ing, rotting down
Into a rich deliquium of decay.

Thoughts on a national or
international scale are not the
most characteristic of Henley. He
was mainly a litterateur, a poet
and an essayist. In his day many
people regarded him as a. majo
poet, an opinion in which Alfred
Noyes concurred as late as 1922.
He wrote scores of dainty, grace-
ful poems, many of them showing
how skillfully he had adapted
French metrical forms. People
were enraptured by the tone of
his lyrics: -’
Sing to me, sing, and sing agat.

My glad, great-throated nights


(Continued on Page 14)

Dwarf’s-Eye View of the Renaissance

THE DWARF. By Par Lagerkvist. Trans-

lated by Alexandra Dick.
New York; L. B. Fischer. $2.


N the great ducal palace of

Mantua which rises somberly
above the Mincio’s paludine mists,
there was in the old days—and
there still is—a series of tiny
rooms, complete in- every respect
and not much larger than those
which you would find in a doll’s
house. When the Gonzagas ruled
there in spacious magnificence,
these little chambers were taste-
fully fitted out with small beds,
small tables and chairs, and
miniature cassoni, tapestries and
In them dwelt the

228 pp.

It is perhaps one of the most
convincing evidences of the funda-
mental callousness and cruelty of
the Italian Renaissance to realize
that these rooms were so built
and equipped-and so peopledwto
satisfy the whims of Isabella
d'Este. For although Isabella has
been described rightly as “la
prima donna dcl mondo," so
gracious and alert of mind that
she “charmkd all hearts and
whenever she asked a favor no
one could refuse her," it was no
more inconsistent to her char-
acter for her to collect these

minuscule human beings (as one
might monkeys, camelopards or
precious cameos) than to shelter
the Urbinos when they had been
drivenfrom their state—and then
bargain with Cesare Borgia for
the art treasures he had filched
from them.

“The Dwarf," by the SWedish
novelist, Par Lagerkvist, is not
the story of one of these Mantuan
lilliputians, being laid in an en-
tirely imaginary city, but the
spirit of the worthy Isabella's
“little' rooms" pervades it. It is
instead the autobiography of. the
twenty-six—inch tall favorite of an
anonymous Italian prince who has
stepped straight frOm Machia-
velli. As such, it is one of the
bitterest books that this reviewer
has ever read. Even Swift’s bale-
ful passages about the Hou-
yhnhnms hardly surpass it. But it
is much more than that. It is a
dwarf's-eye view of the Rina-
scimento. In a sense, it is also a
dwarf's-eye view~seen from the
vantage point of Sweden-of the
whole story of human sham and

IN its former capacity it mar~
shals up all the conventional par-
aphernalia of cloak-and-dagger
romance. It deals with love, lust

and the desire for power. It
brings in war and treachery.
There are poisonings and there is
rape and slaughter. Among its
characters are an innocent (for a
while at least) daughter, a hand—
some stripling prince, a lewd and
aging princess, 3. pack-marked
captain of mercenaries, a kind of
twisted Mercutio, and finally—
and best draWn of all—4m artist
named Bernardo who is so obvi-
ously Leonardo da Vinci that one
regrets that the author did, not
give him his right name.

As for the. plot, it is drawn
from the most violent of the
Elizabethan dramas—and from
"Romeo and Juliet." The moral
tone is that of a warped Aretino.
But it is not. for its plot that one
must recommend it. One recom-
mends it rather for its unerring
if one-sided psychological report
upon a great era—for its pene-
trating if one-sided comments
upon man himself.

This is a year of historical
novels, but most of them are large
books that overflow with episode

' and description. Fittineg—almost

symbolically—“The Dwarf” is but
228 pages long. But there is an
old saying that good things come
in small packages. This is a very
small package. If you can. take it,

it is also good.