and in fact are not brought down to Byron's death, it is to be hoped that they are only an instalment of what cannot but be a valuable contribution to the history of the Whig party and its activity during the earlier portion of the last century.

The work of collecting and arranging The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley (Pitman) has been efficiently carried out by Mr. Roger Ingpen. Their value in this form will be recognised by all who have had occasion to read the numerous biographies of the poet. In those each writer had his own special point of view, and each was able to cull from the mass of extant letters sufficient support of his own argument. That Shelley was a versatile and attractive letter-writer is beyond question, but whether he was consistent in his views, Mr. Ingpen's labours leave us in doubt.

The interest which The Love Letters of Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh (John Lane) cannot fail to arouse will go far to allay the regret that the wish of at least one of the writers has been disregarded by his representative. The friends and admirers whom Jane Welsh's already published letters have gathered round her memory will find fresh reason for their allegiance. We learn, too, from these letters more about the doubts and hesitation which beset the lady before she entrusted her life's happiness to the man of genius. That Carlyle in his own peculiar way was fascinated by her is made clear, and that his affection was deep and absolute is placed beyond doubt by these letters.

Apart from the personal interest and the memories of the past aroused by The Correspondence of Priscilla, Countess of Westmoreland (Murray) there is much to be learnt. The contrast between the social and domestic life of the middle of the last century with that of the present time is not more marked than that which has come over political opinion. The terrible anticipations of constitutional chaos which was to follow each grudging concession to public opinion, make those smile who have gone through each "revolutionary crisis" and found the world around them quietly going on with its daily business. The other impression conveyed by these charming letters is that the writers and recipients are typical of a class of educated and intelligent women with whom men most distinguished in politics, literature and science were glad to correspond and from whom they looked for encouragement and often for helpful guidance. Lady Rose Weigall who has edited her mother's correspondence may be congratulated upon the selection she has made and thanked for the fresh light these letters throw upon many public men of the last century.

The memoir of Sir Wilfrid Lawson (Smith, Elder), edited from his own reminiscences with sympathy and tactfulness by Mr. George W. E. Russell, mainly consists of the Diary kept by Sir W. Lawson during his long service in Parliament. It is the modest but genial record of a life spent in the service of others-and of a politician who having no personal aims and ambition to gratify could display complete independence of party-trammels, when they impeded his life's work. The cause of temperance never had a more single-purposed advocate; and although he did not live to see the enactment of certain legal restraints which he desired upon the sale of liquor, he was able to realise the

advance his opinions had made in all classes of society, and more especially among those whose intemperance was most marked.

Had the author of "Self-Help" survived until The Autobiography of Sir H. M. Stanley (Sampson Low, Marston & Co.) had been published, he would have been able to cite a more striking instance of British selfreliance and its reward than any in his collection of self-made men. A debt of gratitude is due to Lady Stanley for having allowed this scrappy diary-with its letters-bearing on its face evidence of truth, to be published. Although Stanley achieved a position which others than explorers might envy, he was never ashamed of his dubious parentage, of his hard apprenticeship and of his struggles and failures. As a rule his indomitable spirit alone sufficed to pull him through. His one bit of luck at New Orleans was meeting the man who divined his possibilities; but it was Stanley's force of character which enabled him to grasp the opportunity. His subsequent experiences as a soldier and prisoner during the American Civil War, as a newspaper writer, a war correspondent and an explorer make up a book of more than ordinary interest, and moreover give the clue to that facet of his manysided character which attracted the artistic and perhaps Bohemian sympathies of the editor of these pages. On two important occasions the public will be disposed to think Stanley made false steps. He was as unable to gauge character as to submit to restraint. The result was that he handed over the Congo to King Leopold, and entered the House of Commons as a party man.

How far it may be compatible with the rules of social ethics for a lady who holds a salon to write her reminiscences is a question which need not be raised. If it is to be done, it should be done well, and in writing her Memories of Fifty Years (Arnold) Lady St. Helier, perhaps better known as Lady Jeune, has certainly made excellent use of her opportunities. She has been brought into contact with all the prominent lions and lionnes of society for more than a generation; and has seen reputations, literary, social and political, made and lost almost before her eyes. Her personal reminiscences of those who succeeded and of those who failed are always tactful and kindly; and the book gives an insight into a phase of London life which one more usually associates with Paris of the past.

Few men of action would seem less qualified to write Memories of My Spare Time (Blackwood) than Sir Henry Brackenbury, but his volume is another evidence of the truth that the most occupied men have the most leisure. Sir Henry Brackenbury seems to have been everywhere, known everybody, and taken note of everything that came within the scope of a varied and active life, which culminated in the Directorship-in-Chief of the Ordnance Department. In his time he had been war correspondent, organiser of the Red Cross Society, privatesecretary to a viceroy, and author of numerous books.

The claims of the Volunteer movement to public gratitude could not have been more aptly voiced than by Sir John Hay Athole Macdonald, who having passed through all the grades of the Scottish Law Courts, as Counsel, Lord Advocate, Judge of Session and Lord Justice Clerk, in 1899 volunteered to go out to South Africa. That he was fully qualified

will be seen from his well-timed volume Fifty Years of It (Blackwood), which practically covers the whole history of the Volunteer movement in this country. Mr. Macdonald joined the Edinburgh Volunteers when a law-student, and rose to be Colonel of his regiment, notwithstanding his persistent opposition to the pipe-clay traditions of the War Office. These "Experiences and Struggles of a Volunteer," the second title of the volume, show under what difficulties the Volunteer movement made its way and obtained a hold upon public esteem.


Professor Bury, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, in publishing his Harvard lectures on The Ancient Greek Historians (Macmillan) definitely ranges himself with those who recognise them. as pioneers in archæology and research. In the present volume, the Professor passes in review the chief historians of Greece and those of Rome who followed Greek methods. He holds that whilst dealing with contemporary events the writers habitually subordinated truth to rhetorical effect. When tempted to generalise, as was the case with Thucydides, they were, however, by no means insensible to the value of research in reconstructing the history of the past.

It is a little disconcerting to realise that with all the attention given to the study of the classics we should practically have had to wait until now for a compendious Literary History of Rome (Fisher Unwin). Professor Wight Duff has happily shown himself adequate to a task from which English scholars as a body have shrunk. To make a good deal of Latin literature intelligible, it was needful, as Professor Duff has found, to give some correct notions of the Roman religion, which was something more than "an elegant mythology." In dealing with his subject, Professor Duff divides Latin literature into three stages, the earlier, which corresponded roughly with the period of the republic; the Ciceronian, that of transition, and the Augustan. In Latin as in every other literature the process of evolution due to imagination, taste and criticism is clearly traceable, and there is a note of reasonableness in Professor Duff's implied suggestion that the older works are deservedly neglected except by philologists and the students of origins.

It is difficult to believe that so attractive and readable an account of Social Life at Rome in the Age of Cicero (Macmillan) could have been pieced together as that given in Mr. W. Warde Fowler's book. We get glimpses of all classes of society and of all probable topics of discussion, as well as of the relations of the various classes and groups towards each other. We are made to understand the social as well as the political causes which undermined the stability of the Republic, and were the germ of those which brought about the downfall of the Empire.

There is an amount of history to be learnt from Mr. H. E. Butler's erudite volume on Post-Augustan Poetry (Clarendon Press) which may attract a certain number of readers outside college gates. It is difficult, however, to believe that he will arouse much interest in poets who have already sunk into respectable oblivion. Juvenal and Martial will always hold a place in popular favour and are possibly appreciated


as much by men of the busy world as by scholars and students. The others of whom Mr. Butler treats are bound up in that familiar but unwieldy volume, the "Corpus Poetarum Latinorum," which is to be found on many bookshelves but is seldom opened. The value, however, of its contents from a literary as well as from a historical point of view is that which Mr. Butler seeks to prove.

The editors of the Cambridge History of English Literature (University Press) are to be congratulated on the methodical progress of their work. To appreciate fully the development of a literature it is even more necessary to preserve chronological order than when rehearsing events of history. In the second volume dealing with the "End of the Middle Ages," we strike the first note of modern style in . England and across the Border. Around the Paston Letters and the Travels of Sir John Mandeville there lingers an atmosphere of doubt, which Miss Greenwood does not altogether dispel. When, however, we come to Chaucer and Gower, treated by Professor Saintsbury and Mr. G. C. Macaulay, we feel ourselves on surer ground. In the third volume we emerge upon the full brightness of the Elizabethan period, opening with an interesting criticism on Spenser by Professor Saintsbury, and passing over the work of numerous lesser and greater imitators or rivals, we arrive at the literature which centred round the Marprelate Controversy, which marked a new departure in disputation. The care with which the various bibliographies have been compiled adds greatly to the value of this history.

It is impossible to congratulate M. Jusserand on his remarkable Literary History of the English People (Fisher Unwin) without a feeling of regret that such a work had not been undertaken by one of our own countrymen. On the other hand, M. Jusserand's keen perception and logical mind enable him to marshal his facts and his inferences therefrom with the clearness which distinguishes French thinkers. This second volume of his History deals with the Elizabethan period and the causes of the predominance of the drama, and how in its development it opened the road to the reception of subjects so diverse as the philosophy of Bacon, the disputes of the theologians and the poetry of the Stuart epoch. The relations between the people and its literary exponents during this period are the original features of M. Jusserand's work, and he displays a remarkable insight into the thought and expression of the seventeenth century.

Mr. Frank Harris has submitted to public appreciation a distinctly original treatment of The Man Shakespeare (F. Palmer), by means of which he claims to have succeeded where all biographers have failed. Briefly, his theory is that "the dark lady" of the later sonnets was Mary Fitton, a lady attached to the Court, who inspired Shakespeare with an absorbing passion. Mr. Harris traces through the whole range of Shakespeare's dramas from "Romeo and Juliet" to "Winter's Tale," the course of love, hesitation, passion and deception which was the poet's fate. This view is supported by much apposite criticism and by a rare knowledge of Shakespeare's writings. The difficulty which suggests itself to the reader is whether a great dramatist ever attempts to portray himself or his own feelings in his work, and does not rather

create a character to sustain his part in a drama of which he had already fixed the object and the limits.

Mr. J. W. Mackail's contribution to the study of English poetry, The Springs of Helicon (Longmans), deals with their course from Chaucer, through Spenser to Milton. These he regards as the three typical sources. His estimate of Chaucer is at variance with that of many critics, for he sees in much of that poet's work a psychological insight, the outcome of careless inspiration rather than of laborious analysis. For Spenser, Professor Mackail professes great admiration, but is hardly able to pardon the want of the Greek touch in the poet's treatment of his characters. For Milton he reserves unstinted praise, and places him rather on a pedestal made by hands than on a hill-top whence life-giving streams issue forth. The true value of these lectures is that they show how from Chaucer down to our most modern poets the traditions of English poetry have been maintained and modified.

The value of Mr. Paget Toynbee's labours in tracing the influence of Dante in English Literature from Chaucer to Cary (Methuen) will be called in question by those who regard the latter's translation as the starting-point of Dante's recognition in this country. It is probable that Chaucer may have had a fuller acquaintance with the "Divina Commedia" as suggested by the similarity of scattered phrases or tropes than can be attributed to chance; but with the exception of Milton in the seventeenth century and Gray in the eighteenth, scarcely a single writer alludes to the great Florentine. It was not until the nineteenth century that the young and revolutionary poets of the day turned to Italian poetry for inspiration and guidance. Since Shelley there has been an increasing recognition of Dante's place among the Immortals, and his influence upon modern English literature has been such that Mr. Toynbee has an abundant field in which to labour.

Mr. W. H. V. Reade's desire to throw more light on the Moral System of Dante's "Inferno" (Clarendon Press) has moved him to descant at length upon the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is in this teaching, Mr. Reade holds, that the key to the problems connected with the relative penalties assigned to moral misdemeanours in the "Purgatorio" and the "Inferno" is to be sought. He shows that whilst malicious sins find no place in the former, the punishment of certain deadly or capital sins is not recorded in the latter. Whether in this selection Dante was deliberately cutting himself adrift from the criterion set by St. Thomas is a point on which critics will certainly disagree. In the times when the Seraphic Doctor and the inspired poet wrote, crimes of violence were judged by a different standard from that of sins of fraud, and it is not unlikely that the poet and the divine should have had independent standpoints. Mr. Reade has produced a volume of rare research and labour, which cannot fail to be appreciated by all Dantists, even though they may not accept his conclusions.

One is almost tempted to suppose that Mr. Arthur Symons in restricting his survey of The Romantic Movement in English Poetry (Constable) to the period between 1722 and 1900 was anxious to establish some law of ebb and flow in verse analogous to that of the ocean-tides. The Georgian period opened inauspiciously for poetic fervour, the classi

« VorigeDoorgaan »