The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 3 (July 1, 1933)
Among the Books. — A Literary Page or Two
New Zealand'S finest advertisement is David Low. He is one of the most publicised figures in England, and it is always mentioned that he is a New Zealander. He is spoken of as the greatest living cartoonist, earns a Prime Minister's salary, and is a social lion of London. I may be creating a small sensation therefore when I say there is the possibility of the Dominion producing another Low. Mark the word “possibility.” In his early days at black and white work, who would have been bold enough to suggest that young David, who used to draw for the Christchurch “Spectator,” was going to be world famous? He had yet to find himself, to build up his marvellous technique, to develop a style of his own. It has been said that had not Alf. Vincent become an imitator of Phil May he may have been a great artist. There are other temptations in the way of the young artist, but, granting he has the genius and follows not false gods, fame is waiting for him. That is why I am being guarded in suggesting that Russell Clark, a young Dunedin black and white artist, may become another David Low. I first saw his work in an exhibition Sketcher, published a few weeks ago. Immediately I was keenly interested. Obviously Clark had soaked himself in Low, had absorbed some of the characteristics of George Prain, another most promising New Zealand artist, but at the back of it all was a glimpse of the budding genius of Russell Clark. I will watch the progress of Russell Clark with confidence that he will justify my expectations.
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In the same Sketcher, and in the Capping Carnival Sketcher the work of Gordon McIntyre also stands out strongly. McIntyre is an old hand at the game and can get a likeness better than most artists in New Zealand.
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Recently we had a reprint of Norman Lindsay's children's classic, “The Magic Pudding.” It was the first time I had read this little known book, but it set me ardently seeking for the first edition, which was published at one guinea and has since mounted in value to five times that figure. I was the happiest man in Wellington, therefore, when I had a mint copy knocked down to me at a Wellington book sale recently for eleven shillings.
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Like our old friend Johnny Walker, Dent's, the famous British publishers, are “still going strong” in their “Everyman's Library.” As a lad it was my first great ambition to have and follow up the complete Everyman's Library, and I still have that ambition, more especially so when I come across such a bookish book as “Erewhon and Erewhon Re-visited,” which is No. 881 in this classic library. This is the first time that our most famous New Zealand writer has had his two greatest works between one set of covers. The introduction in the new volume is by Desmond MacCarthy.
Handing on the torch of my enthusiasm to the young “Shiblis,” what more effective fuel to keep it alight than “A Poetry Book for Boys and Girls,” No. 894 of the Everyman's series. The editor of this volume, Guy Pocock, has made an admirable selection.
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I cannot leave Dent's yet awhile, until I refer to their double volumes, which, like wireless, super cocktails and talkies, are a natural outcome of our advanced civilisation. Fancy getting Boswell's “Life of Johnson” in one compact volume—almost pocket size. What more inspiring bulge for the hip pocket than this book, with its 1280 pages. Charles Lamb would have gone into ecstasy over it. Repeating myself, it is a “bookish book.”
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The encouragement of new writers and the further development of New Zealand literature are the ideas behind the Commercial Writers' Institute, headquarters in Dunedin. Its founder and Director of Studies, Leonard J. Cronin, a page 62 well-known New Zealand journalist, when judging a short story contest, in his editorial capacity about a year ago, discovered that much talent was being stifled through lack of efficient guidance. A comprehensive course is available, combining concise instruction, helpful criticism and direction in marketing.
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Had a little argument the other day as to which was the first newspaper published in New Zealand. History, I think, definitely establishes the fact that it was the “New Zealand Gazette,” the second number of which was printed and published on the Petone Beach, on April 18th, 1840. The first number was published in London on August 31st, 1839. The editor was Samuel Revans. Of the 350 copies issued, I understand that only five are in existence.
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The vigorous controversy that raged in “The Dominion” for a week or more recently on the price of beer, brought back to my mind that famous phrase of David McKee Wright's: “Beer makes us feel as we ought to feel without it.”
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G. B. Lancaster, whose latest novel is reviewed elsewhere in this issue, is returning to New Zealand in September.
Stuart Peterson, one of our best black and white men, is now on the permanent staff of the “Free Lance,” and is wandering over many pages per issue in his usual effective style.
The correct pronunciation of Samuel Pepys is “Peppies,” not “Peeps.”
James Cowan has completed the MSS of a collection of South Sea Stories that will probably be published by Endeavour Press, Sydney.
Syd. Miller, the well known black and white artist of “Smith's,” has left that paper, and is now free lancing.
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“Pageant,” by G. B. Lancaster (Endeavour Press, Sydney and Wellington.—Before I read the book I was agreeably surprised that a comparatively new Australian Publishing House could produce a book that challenges comparison with the best English publishing houses. The jacket is arresting, the format must please the real booklover. The edition is better than the English edition and can stand up to the excellence of the Canadian edition. As for the story, just read it, and exult in the fact that this country has given such a brilliant novelist to the world. Price, 6/6.
“The Devil Rides High” (“Cassell's) ties you down from Chapter I. to the end. There is no let up in the all absorbing interest of this story of love and aerial adventure in the Arctic. Jealousy is the theme. Clarence Winchester, the author, is editor of “The Argosy” and “Cassells Magazine.”
“Gold-dust and Ashes” (Angus and Robertson, Sydney), is one of the most enthralling stories we have had of the New Guinea Gold-fields. The author, Ion Idriess, gives us a powerful story of this dangerous and most romantic country and the heroic struggles of lion-hearted prospectors in their search for gold. What a glorious change for the novel reader in this true to life story. A great six shillings worth.
“New Zealand's Best Scenic Feature.”
In addition to the £5 cash prize awarded to Miss Isobel M. Peacocke for the winning essay in the above competition, ten other prizes, each to consist of one year's free subscription to the “New Zealand Railways Magazine,” have been awarded to the following competitors in terms of the competition announcement in our March-April issue:—
B. Lord, 58 Conway Street, Spreydon, Christchurch; Ellen J. Murray, Shield Hill, Dunedin; J. D. Hay, Lands and Survey Dept., Box 15, Invercargill; Mrs. M. Williams, P.O. Box 22, Otane, Hawke's Bay; C. H. V. Steere, 25 Blackwell Street, Marton; Mackellar Giles, 43 Trent Street, Oamaru; Joy Ridgen, “Brooklyn” Greendale, Canterbury; Carol Blyth, Greenlane, Auckland; W. Vance, 66 Wai-iti Road, Timaru; Thomas Roche, 105 Abberley Road, St. Albans, Christchurch.
Export Markets for Wood Products.
According to Mr. R. St. Barbe Baker, a forestry expert of wide experience, America has cut seven-eights of her forests; while one-half of the remaining area was in reserves. Thus U.S.A. is working on its last sixteenth, and must look for further supplies from outside sources. America will be looking to New Zealand as a source of supply later on.
There will be large export markets for the products of the forests established by N.Z. Perpetual Forests Ltd.*