By LITTLE, BROWN
ANY person who has read one of Mr. Howe’s twenty books, largely biographical, or even one of the twenty books Mr. Howe has edited, must feel that he has been in contact with a man of letters and a man of heart. Now comes this charming volume of autobiography, and the author is revealed to those who are so unfortunate as not to know him at first hand as a delightful writer in a new field, humorous, modest, wise, and good. A New Englander, but not of Boston, he became a Boston institution. His account of that sea change is fascinating reading, as are his pictures of the men and women he knew, before, during, and after; but so is every chapter in the book. We can do no better — as far as his accomplishments are concerned — than to quote the brief summary of them on the jacket: ‘Friend of Richard Harding Davis, of Aldrich, Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett and all the other blossoms of New England’s second flowering — biographer of Phillips Brooks, Charles Eliot Norton, Moorfield Storey, John Jay Chapman — winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Barrett Wendell — an Overseer of Harvard College — a Director of the Athenæum — a Trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — a member of the Tavern Club — author of the Harvard War Biographies — editor, poet, Bostonian, and good friend.’
Those who are privileged to be among his friends will appreciate the story of a dinner presided over by Professor Rand of Harvard in honor of a distinguished Greek scholar from England. It pleased the host to introduce each of his guests to the visitor in Latin. Not everyone understood his sonorous periods, but all were able to follow him when he addressed this author as Marcus Antonius De Lupus Quam — to which he added in all solemnity, 1 Et Quam!’
If the above seems to be something less than literary criticism, our excuse is that a good autobiography is the man. This book is as delightful as the man who wrote it.
R. E. D.