Adolescent Fervor and Sophisticated Flippancy
"THE OWL IN THE ATTIC AND OTHER PERPLEXITIES" By James Thurber with an introduction by E. B. White. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1931. Price: $2.00
MR. James Thurber who occupies a high place among the humorists of the "New Yorker" has set forth a work on marriage, care of animals, and the correct use of the subjunctive mood with instructive illustrations under the title of "The Owl In The Attic And Other Perplexities". The first part of this opus has to do with the domestic relations of big, strong Mr. Monroe and little Mrs. Monroe. In spite of Mr. Monroe's great powers as a protector and defender of the weaker sex the conclusion is that real strength lies in unity. He repulses burglars, bats, and temptations, and his wife is duly appreciative not only of the abilities of her husband but also of her own place in the scheme of things.
The chapter on the care of animals is taken for the most part from the Pet Department of the "New Yorker." It deals chiefly with the more subtle sides of animal life, but for all of that quite instructive and thoroughly amusing. He solves such problems as horses with tendencies to take up their residence in the drawing room and adolescent polar bears.
The most amusing section of a thoroughly hilarious book is devoted to an improvement of Dr. Fowler's "Modern English Usage." He begins with "who" and "whom" and concludes in crescendo on adverbial advice. In all departments the author shows himself a thorough master of his subject and proves conclusively that for sheer lucidity and clarity nothing can equal manual gesticulation a la Jane Cowl. All of which fits in paradoxically with the fact that Mr. Thurber's humor is the product of delicate, well constructed prose seldom equaled by modern American comic writers.
H. M. Tomlinson's new book "Out of Soundings" was published yesterday by Harpers. It was illustrated by his son, H. C. Tomlinson.
The Irish poets, A. E. (George Russell), and James Stephens, are offering new volumes of poetry to be published by Macmillan sometime in March.
"World Champions" by Paul Morand has been one of the most discussed books of the year in France. It is to be published here this month. The scene is again laid in America.
"The Blue Angel," Marlene Dietrich's most famous vehicle, is based on a novel by Heinrich Mann. His new novel, "The Little Town," will be published by Houghton Mifflin this Spring.
J. B. Priestley, author of "Angel Pavement," is going to Tahiti by way of New York to write his next novel.