$2.75 By KNOPF
THIS is Volume IX (Books xvii-xviii) of the remarkable panorama of recent times, Men of Good Will. It consists in the main of a macabre story of two murderers — Quinette the bookbinder, who appeared in earlier books, and Claude Vorge, who is new — and an idyll in the life of Pierre Jallez, whom readers will remember. Together the narratives form a commentary on the effect of times of disorder upon two poets, one clearly degenerate and the other a sobered but still stanch idealist. The decadent Dadaist Vorge finds escape in a kind of connoisseurship of death; Jallez, in the love of a charming girl of the people. And the contrast is heightened by the fact that both stories take place in Nice, though the main characters meet only once and then for but a moment. This symmetry, though obvious, is not forced, and it is disguised by the appearance or reappearance of a great many other characters who illustrate other aspects of post-war Europe. As in the previous volumes, there is much memorable speculation and comment. One does not know whether to admire more the creativeness or the wisdom. It is probable that the next volume will deal with Pierre Jallez at Geneva during the early days of the League of Nations. R. M. G.