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The Parts Men Play   By: (1891-1964)

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E text prepared by Al Haines

THE PARTS MEN PLAY

by

ARTHUR BEVERLEY BAXTER

Author of "The Blower of Bubbles"

With Foreword by Lord Beaverbrook

McClelland & Stewart Publishers ======== Toronto Copyright, Canada, 1920 By McClelland & Stewart, Limited, Toronto

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

TO THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER

JAMES BENNETT BAXTER

WHO BELIEVED THOUGHT TO BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS, AND WHO WENT THROUGH THIS WORLD DISPENSING GENIAL PHILOSOPHY AND KINDLY HUMOUR TO ALL WHO CAME WITHIN HIS CIRCLE

FOREWORD.

Mr. Baxter is my countryman, and, as a Canadian, I commend The Parts Men Play , not only for its literary vitality, but for the freshness of outlook with which the author handles Anglo American susceptibilities.

A Canadian lives in a kind of half way house between Britain and the United States. He understands Canada by right of birth; he can sympathise with the American spirit through the closest knowledge born of contiguity; his history makes him understand Britain and the British Empire. He is, therefore, a national interpreter between the two sundered portions of the race.

It is this rôle of interpreter that Mr. Baxter is destined to fill, a rôle for which he is peculiarly suited, not only by temperament, but by reason of his experiences gained from his entrance into the world of London journalism and English literature.

I do not know in what order the chapters of The Parts Men Play were written, but it seems to me that as Mr. Baxter gets to grip with the realities of his theme, he begins to lose a certain looseness of touch which marks his opening pages. If so, he is showing the power of development, and to the artist this power is everything. The writer who is without it is a mere static consciousness weaving words round the creatures of his own imagination. The man who has it possesses a future, because he is open to the teaching of experience. And among the men with a future I number Mr. Baxter.

Throughout the book his pictures of life are certainly arresting taken impartially both in Great Britain and America. What could be better than some of his descriptions?

The speech of the American diplomat at a private dinner is the truest defence and explanation of America's delay in coming into the war that I remember to have read. The scene is set in the high light of excitement, and the rhetorical phrasing of the speech would do credit to a famous orator.

But I fear that I may be giving the impression that The Parts Men Play is merely a piece of propagandist fiction something from which the natural man shrinks back with suspicion. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Mr. Baxter's strength lies in the rapid flow and sweep of his narrative. His characterisation is clear and firm in outline, but it is never pursued into those quicksands of minute analysis which too often impede the stream of good story telling.

I am glad that a Canadian novelist should have given us a book which supports the promise shown by the author in The Blower of Bubbles , and marks him out for a distinguished future.

If in the course of a novel of action he has something to teach his British readers about the American temperament, and his American public about British mentality, so much the better.

BEAVERBROOK.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

I. LADY DURWENT DECIDES ON A DINNER II. CONCERNING LADY DURWENT'S FAMILY III. ABOUT A TOWN HOUSE IV. PROLOGUE TO A DINNER PARTY V. THE OLYMPIANS THUNDER VI. A MORNING IN NOVEMBER VII. THE CAFE ROUGE VIII. INTERMEZZO IX. A HOUSE PARTY AT ROSELAWN X. GATHERING SHADOWS XI. THE RENDING OF THE VEIL XII. THE HONOURABLE MALCOLM DURWENT STARTS ON A JOURNEY XIII. THE MAN OF SOLITUDE XIV. STRANGE CRAFT XV. DICK DURWENT XVI. THE FEMININE TOUCH XVII. MOONLIGHT XVIII. ELISE XIX. EN VOYAGE XX. THE GREAT NEUTRAL XXI. A NIGHT IN JANUARY XXII. THE CHALLENGE XXIII... Continue reading book >>




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