T(homas) S(igismund) Stribling Jonathan Daniels - Essay

Jonathan Daniels

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

With a bitter and veracious shaping of his rich material, T. S. Stribling has written in his new novel, "The Store," the story of a town and a man in the stagnation years in the South after the Civil War.

In this both mean and dreamy Alabama town which shouted happily and drunkenly for Grover Cleveland, low tariffs, and white supremacy, Mr. Stribling has found his powerful theme in no melodrama but in the essential conflict which has marked the South since the Civil War overturned a whole system of living. His drama grows out of two strangely correlated aspirations: the aspiration of the old uprooted aristocrat to rebuild his lost civilization, and the desire of the intelligent, often aristocratically blooded, Negro to advance himself in the new. Essentially the story is their conflict with the mass of ignorant and prejudiced whites around them.

"The Store" would have profited had Mr. Stribling been a little less the crusader. Nevertheless it is easy to forgive him this preoccupation with white injustice and black resignation, because of the fierce, convincing sincerity which he gives to his novel.

Jonathan Daniels, "In Alabama," in The Saturday Review of Literature (copyright © 1932 by Saturday Review; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Vol. VIII, No. 52, July 16, 1932, p. 841.