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THE TREE OF HEAVEN
(Now Seventh Edition)
“One of the most impressive works of fiction of the
Other Ne Macmillan Books
THE MARTIAL ADVENTURES THE BOARDMAN FAMILY OF HENRY AND ME
By Mary S. Watts. The story of a girl's By William Allen White. The high
escape from the smug gentility of her spirited narrative of the adventures of two
environment and her development as a Americans in the war zone full of deep
democratic and humane individual. Ready insight and colored by delightful humor.
in April. Illustrated. Ready April 3.
THE CHRONICLES OF FLOOD TIDE
ST. TID By Daniel Chase. The story of the effect By Eden Phillpotts. New stories of of a successful business career on the life Devon and the west country of the author of man who at the start was essentially a of "Old Delabole” and “Brunel's Tower." student and dreamer. $1.50.
THE DARK PEOPLE: RUSSIA'S CRISIS
By Ernest Poole. A complete survey of the Russian situation and by one who has recently been in the country—a wholly remarkable and informing work. $1.50.
THE END OF THE WAR
By Walter E. Weyl. Shows the relation of this war to the whole history of American thought and action and forecasts the future policy of this country toward Europe and the world. Ready in April.
TOWARD THE GULF
By Edgar Lee Masters. The successor to "Spoon River Anthology"--another series of fearlessly true and beautiful poems revealing American life as few books have done. $1.50.
A WAR NURSE'S
A vivid account of actual experiences on
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, Publishers, New York
A REVIEW OF BOOKS AND LIFE
WAR AND THE SUPERNATURAL IN CURRENT
BY DOROTHY SCARBOROUGH
WE ARE in the midst of a revival multiple conventions, he seeks a of the supernatural in literature. magical chance of escape through While it is true that the ghostly has the realms of spirit, and while his always been present in man's poetry
sober feet tread trivial rounds he and prose, both oral and written, revels in bacchantic fears, in dissifrom the earliest recorded time, pations of the intellect. there are periods when it seems to The more man learns of the occupy more of his attention than natural laws the more he seems to at others. Man loves the weird. He believe in the supernatural. Witchis easily intoxicated with spirits. craft and alchemy he has put aside, He longs to feel vicariously the
the only to turn to psychical research. thrills that more than one world Astrology he has reluctantly yielded offer. He craves more than human up, yet the stars in their courses still knowledge, hence he writes and reads pester him. He must be peopling of magic vision, of second sight, of them, accounting for their aberrawisdom's wizardry. Discontent with tions, staging cosmic comedies. He petty poverty, he dreams of a phil- has given up ancient magic, but he osopher's stone. Rebelling against dallies with the ouija board. He the impending prison of the grave, loves to traffic with the other world, he loves to read of those who have even though he does not know the snatched victory from it or who have customs of the country. It appears escaped it, so he broods over the that the proper study of man is Wandering Jew, or the Elixir of ghosts. Life.
Craving immortality, he is This love for the supernatural, comforted at reading of man's in- manifest in literature as in life, destructible self, the all-conquering though never absent, is more marked Ego that transcends death and lives in the literature of the past twenty on eternally, "content to be anything or thirty years than ever before. in the ecstasy of being ever.” Hedged And since we have turned the corner in by life's ironic circumstance of of the twentieth century, we have law and order, fettered in flesh by seen more unearthly beings than ever
Vol. XVII, No. 2
in the past.
One can scarcely soars,” yes, and the clay-shuttered fathom why. Perhaps the pendulum casements seem less obstinate than is swinging violently back to faith of old. One might apply to this after a period of scientific scepti- world condition the words of Saintecism. Perhaps man is merely shak- Beuve, written of the events of 1815, ing off the shackles of the past con a period so like our own a century ventions and asserting his right to later: “At these moments of univerbelieve in what he will. Who knows? sal rending, it happens, I imagine, Possibly it is that man loves the that the ideal which lies behind the thrill of fear, and since pure terror terrestrial world is revealed, made exists only in association with the suddenly visible to certain eyes." supermortal, he yearns after the One feature of this revival of inghostly. Perhaps the secret of the terest in the supernatural is found power that the ghost story has over in the books and articles that claim us lies in the fact of our pathetic to be communications from the dead. ignorance of spiritual things, of the It appears that nowadays many mysteries that lie before us. We'd ghosts have itching pens, and others like to speak some friendly wraith desire to speak vicariously through to tell us news of the far land to the lips of mortals,—though royalwhich we hasten.
ties do not carry beyond the Styx, This advance of ghosts in the and the fame (such as it is!) must twentieth century has shown a be shared with one or more grasping marked increase since the Great War mortals in each case. But there is began. We may go a-ghosting on no accounting for ghostly tastes. all pages now, and devilled fiction is Why the spirits choose such limited much the vogue. The flutter of in and slow media as the pen and the numerable new-cut leaves echoes the human voice for transmitting their rustle of angel wings, and the cur utterances I do not know. Patience tains of our dramas rise as smoothly Worth, for instance, could write a on heaven or hell as on earth. Man deal faster if she used a typewriter is not content with one little world instead of a ouija board,—though, to write about, but claims the right patience knows, she writes enough as of eminent domain over all. All sorts it is! of picaresque immortals furnish the War Letters from a Living Dead complicating struggle for fiction Man, written by Elsa Barker, but now, and myriads of kindly spirits dictated (she claims) by the late rise-or descend—to give aid in Judge Hatch, constitutes a series of time of human need.
extraordinary communications from Perhaps the reasons are not far to the dead to the living. Mrs. Barker seek. This war has belittled ordi- asserts that she has been seized by nary thinking for us, so that we need an overwhelming impulse to write, superlative symbols, more than mor- unaccompanied by any inspiration tal images, to match the mighty as to subject. That is not uncomswing of events. One does not go mon! But it appears that when she on merely thinking afternoon tea grasps a pencil, ideas flow from a thoughts when a world is aflame, source which she identifies (to her when the sword-point is at human- satisfaction) as Judge Hatch, fority's throat. "Our blind conceiving merly of California, now apparently
a citizen of worlds at large. She conversations believed to have been says that the judge tells her thrilling held with Professor Münsterburg, facts concerning the other cosmos, which might be considered genuine, especially of conditions since the war since on these occasions nobody began. He informs her that the caught anybody's heel. Münsterwar was planned in hell,—which burg is quoted as asserting that he sounds more sensible than most post does not want to see the war, that it mortem statements. He is in a posi- makes him sick. He is not by himtion, it would seem, to judge the self in that! He speaks of the "arcomparative merits of the case, and rogant ignorance” of the German does not side with Germany.
people, whose downfall he propheThe author entertains the Maeter- sies. It certainly is a gentlemanly linckian theory that the war is a thing for Münsterburg to admit himmanifestation of a cosmic conflict, a self wrong on such an important struggle between the forces of evil question as Kaiserism. and of good, of which the fight on Among those publications describearth is but an infinitesimal part. ing what are claimed to be actual Her space correspondent gives lurid communications of the dead with the accounts of the astral world, and living, Mr. Warr's collection of stosays that the spirits of the slain go ries under the title of The Unseen through torments since the ghostly Host is interesting. Mr. Warr world is overcrowded now and in gives a number of scenes from the dire confusion on account of the battle-field, in which the dead are war. He describes an interview that represented as revealing themselves he has had with the devil, who is to the living. He says of an experikeeping bad company, it seems, hav- ence of his own in the Service of Ining been seen with the Kaiser. But tercession in St. Paul's, on the first in spite of a promise to tell Mrs. anniversary of the war, “That dear Barker the secrets of the war as seen friend of mine whose earthly body from the other side, the astral jour- sleeps in Flanders, but whose spirit nalist fails to reveal what would be is with the winged hosts in heaven, of most interest to readers on this was very near to me then, and spoke planet, when and on what terms the to me... and told me ... of war will end.
a meeting which awaits us beyond the Another spirit communicant said shadows and tears of this dying to be recently interviewed concern- world.” Mr. Warr is a Highlander ing the war as seen from the far side and, like the true Celt, believes in the of death, is Hugo Münsterburg. unearthly. The late Harvard professor, who be- True Ghost Stories is another colfore his death showed interest in lection of assumed veridical apparipsychical phenomena chiefly by his tions on the battle-field, believed in catching Eusapia Palladino by the by the writers. There are many heel and showing up her trickery in other examples of war psychics in a séance, has apparently changed our literature claiming to be real. sides on that as on other questions. The most appealing book among The October issue of the Journal of those purporting to be inspired by
the American Society of Psychical revelations from the dead is Sir · Research publishes an account of Oliver Lodge's Raymond, written to