With this filial flourish, Noel Perrin ends his series of Rediscovery columns. Here's an annotated list of the 35 books he has written about, and an up-to-date word on the availability of each.
Henry Adams, Democracy (1880). Probably the best and certainly the wittiest political novel ever written in America. Son of a congressman, grand- and great-grandson of presidents, Adams knew Washington inside out. Harmony Books, $4.95; New American Library, $3.50.
George Ade, Fables in Slang (1899). What Garrison Keillor is now, George Ade was 90 years ago: the funniest man in the Midwest. Out of print.
Diana Athill, Instead of a Letter (1962). The autobiography of an Englishwoman whose life was blighted at age 22, who had a successful career but a dull time for the next 19 years, and who made an unexpected leap back to happiness at 41. Carroll & Graf, $7.85.
W.N.P. Barbellion, The Journal of a Disappointed Man (1919). Barbellion was a Victorian scientist who died young. He had known that he would; he was determined to pack 70 years into 30, and very nearly did. A moving book -- and one, incidentally, that will sometimes nudge a suicidal college student back toward life. Merrimack, $8.95.
Peter S. Beagle, A Fine and Private Place (1960). Fantasy. This double love story takes place in a Bronx cemetery. Two of the five main characters are a living man and woman; two more are ghosts. The fifth is a raven, one of the great kvetchers in modern literature. Ballantine, $2.25.
Ernest Bramah, Kai Lung's Golden Hours (1922). 1001 Chinese Nights, so to speak. Kai Lung is a Chinese story-teller, invented by a man who had never been to China, but who had a rich imagination. The book is baroque humor at its most rococco. Out of print.
Bryher, Roman Wall (1954). Bryher (really an Englishwoman named Winifred Ellerman) is writing about the late days of the Roman empire -- but not as they looked at Rome. This is Switzerland in 265 A.D., just before the invading barbarians captured Augusta Raurica, and killed half a legion in one day. There is little pageantry, an overwhelming sense of having been there. Out of print.
James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion (1926). Cabell both loved and mocked chivalric ideas. Nine stories tell what happened to the nine surviving members of the Fellowship of the Silver Stallion, back in the 13th century. Their knight-errantry occurs both on earth and in remoter settings, such as Valhalla, where the soul of one of these Christian knights gets carried off by a careless valkyrie. Out of print.
Jonathan Corncob, (pseud.) The Adventures of Jonathan Corncob, Loyal American Refugee (1787). One of the earliest novels about the American Revolution. It is impudent, irreverent and rude. With grand impartiality it attributes venal motives to almost everybody on both sides: the British, the Hessians, the Americans both rebel and Tory. The Catch-22 of the 18th century. Godine, $7.95.
James Gould Cozzens, Guard of Honor (1948). A serious war novel -- and in the opinion of many, the best written by an American about World War II. Harvest, $8.95.
Walter de la Mare, The Three Royal Monkeys (1910). An adventure story for children by the English poet. Highly verbal children will like it best, since de la Mare coins a good many words in mulgar, the language of monkeys. Out of print.
Lord Dunsany, The Blessing of Pan (1928). Imagine the god Pan appearing in the world of Anthony Trollope, and quietly subverting a remote rural parish. Out of print.
Emily Eden, The Semi-Attached Couple (1860). What the Jane Austen lover turns to when he or she runs out of Jane. The scene is one generation later and one social class higher than in Austen's own work. Doubleday, $8.95.
Robert Graves, Watch the North Wind Rise (1949). Graves's utopian novel describes a quite unusual future society called New Crete. The ruling class is composed entirely of magicians. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $7.95.
Maureen Howard, Bridgeport Bus (1965). Mary Agnes Keeley, 35 and a virgin, leaves her hypochondriac mother back in Bridgeport, and moves to the big city. A lot more happens than the inevitable romance. Penguin, $4.95.
William Dean Howells, Indian Summer (1886). Howells is best known for his serious novels about social change -- but this time he wrote a sparkling romantic comedy, set in the American expatriate colony in Italy. It's about 10 times more fun than The Rise of Silas Lapham. Fromm Internation, $8.95; Library of America: Howells, $25
W.W. Jacobs, Many Cargoes (1896). Tales of Cockney life at sea. These stories, by a master story- teller, take place on tiny British coastal ships in the last days of sail and first days of steam. The best half- dozen are almost perfect farce. Ayer, $18.
Henry King, "The Exequy" (1624). A great poem by a man who wrote only one great poem -- a requiem for his young wife. In many anthologies of English poetry.
Philip Larkin, "Church Going" (1955). Larkin has written more than one great poem; this is his best. It's a deeply religious poem by a deeply non-religious man -- and what emerges is a kind of elegy in a deserted church. In many anthologies of modern poetry.
C.S. Lewis, They Asked for a Paper (1962). C.S. Lewis wrote the Narnia books and many works of Christian apologetics. He also wrote some of the most acute and most readable literary criticism of the 20th century in the "papers" collected here. Out of print.
Rose Macaulay, A Casual Commentary (1925). If you like your wit dry, Rose Macaulay is your author. Thirty-nine essays by a distinguished novelist, lightly touching many aspects of civilized life. Arden Library, $35.
Viola Meynell, ed., The Best of Friends: Further Letters to Sydney Carlyle Cockerell (1956). Sir Sydney Cockerell was a museum curator with a gift for friendship. He brought out the best in people, and it shows in these letters from G.B. Shaw, Alec Guinness, T.H. White and many another. Out of print.
Joseph Mitchell, The Bottom of the Harbor (1960). Some people think Mitchell is the best nonfiction writer in America, as he is certainly the most publicity shy. The six long essays collected here are all concerned with one aspect or another of waterfront life, and they are superb. Out of print.
Eric Newby, When the Snow Comes, They Will Take You Away (1971). It's Italy in 1943. A young British P.O.W. has escaped, and is hiding out on a hill farm. A true story, but one that reads like an exceptionally good novel. Washington Square Press, $3.95
Allan Nevins and Milton Thomas, eds., The Diary of George Templeton Strong (4 vols., 1952). Strong (1820-1875) was a keen-eyed, sharp-tongued observer of the American scene. He devoted most of his attention to his native New York and to Washington, where he worked during the Civil War. Probably the best American diary there is. Octagon, $138
Blanche Chenery Perrin, Born to Race (1959). For a full account, see the top of this page. Out of print.
Gwen Raverat, Period Piece (1953). The period is the turn of the century, and the place is Cambridge, England. One of Charles Darwin's granddaughters fondly remembers her childhood in a distinguished but remarkably eccentric family. Norton, $3.95.
Herbert Read, The Green Child (1935). The one novel by a famous art critic. It attempts to dramatize the state of nirvana. I a very odd way it succeeds. New Directions, $4.95.
Henriette Roosenburg, The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1957). Don't read this book if you're ashamed to cry. Roosenburg, a member of the Dutch resistance in World War II, was caught and condemned to death. But she survived to write this book. Herself a true heroine, she tells the stories of four heroic people -- not quite matter-of-factly, but so unboastfully you'd almost think it was the human norm. Out of print.
Ernest Thompson Seton, Wild Animals I Have Known (1898). Eight true animal stories by the best naturalist Canada has ever produced. By good fortune he is also one of Canada's best writers. Norwood, $30. Freya Stark, The Valleys of the Assassins (1934). Dame Freya's books are a cross between travel literature and narratives of exploration. This one describes the remote castle country of Iran just before modernization arrived. Tarcher, $9.95.
Stendhal, On Love (1822). The great French novelist is in top form in tis series of reflections on the most interesting of all emotions. Da Capo, $8.95. (If you'd prefer to read the original, you can order De L'Amour from French & European Publications for $6.95.)
Daniele Var,e, The Maker of Heavenly Trousers (1935). A super-super-romance by a distinguished Italian diplomat. The scene is imperial Peking back when it was imperial. This is the sort of book Harlequins aspire to be. Out of print.
Charles Williams, All Hallows Eve (1944). There are lots of novels that hoke up a supernatural terror -- the one here is for real. The author was an English poet and lay theologian who wrote seven novels about interaction between this world and the next. All Hallows Eve is the best of them. Eerdmans, $5.95.
Austin Tappan Wright, Islandia (1942). A utopian novel about a small agricultural country that intends to stay that way. The characters are vivid, the plot enthralling. Perfect reading for back-to-the-landers. Plume, $9.95.