THE ARROGANT HISTORY OF WHITE BEN by Clemence Dane

THE ARROGANT HISTORY OF WHITE BEN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A fantastic idea, fantastically executed. Frankly, I felt it one of those books in which the author is carried beyond her depth and left stranded. It has none of the fascination of her last book, The Moon is Feminine, which was straight out of fairyland. Here the symbolism is grotesque rather than fey. The period is projected into the future; the characters are people made callous and bitter by continued wars and the loss of all they once cherished; the time is the eve of an armistice. The scene opens at the home of a woman, shorn of wealth, husband, lover, brothers, and left with an unloved child. Into this setting is thrust a strange conception of a scarecrow, clothed in the trappings of the dead, given life by a child's whim, and carrying to utter extremities his purpose of existence, the elimination of the ""crows"". That they should stand for all that was grasping and destructive in English life and politics was a minor matter; they must perish. This is the story of a scarecrow become dictator; of power carried to the nth degree; of England stripped of decencies and balance. Perhaps the English can take it as it is intended but to me it seemed an idea stretched beyond the realm of fantasy, symbolism which wears thin. For a limited market of sophisticates.

Publisher: Doubleday, Doran