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Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Spinoza are only a few of the subjects of Dr. MacLaurin's scrutiny. The difficulty of completely explaining such persons as these on purely medical grounds is similar to that involved in squaring the circle or inventing perpetual motion. At least our author has steered fairly clear of the temptation to belittle end products because of lowly origins - a weakness that mars the work of some of the diagnosticians in his field. The intention stated in "Post Mortem" "to throw such light upon them [great persons] as is possible as regards their physical condition; and to consider how far their actions were influenced by their health", has been fulfilled, if we take into account the unavoidable limitations of the method. There can be no irrefragable proofs in the circumstances. Some of the links, as it were, are missing. Dr. MacLaurin himself reminds us that there can be no real diagnosis without seeing the patient. He has not seen the patients, but he has seen their pictures, and is able to exclaim over a painting of Queen Elizabeth, "That is not the portrait of a loose woman!" Here is good reading.
"He knows not France who knows not the Pyrenees." The same might also be said of Spain, which claims a generous portion of this land of adventure that has tempted brigands and gipsies and wandering soldiers of fortune since the days of Roland. In more recent times, it has been the retreat of Charlemagne, Hannibal, and summer voyagers not content with the Strand and the Rue de la Paix. One of these was Paul Wilstach, who came back with a book half written and has subsequently put on the finishing touches. "Along the Pyrenees" (Bobbs-Merrill) is nothing if not thorough. It abounds with facts,
photographs, maps, routes, and suggestions for travel; yet it possesses, in full measure, what so many so called travel books possess not at all - charm. To read "Along the Pyrenees" is to promise oneself a glimpse of this region during the next trip abroad. Carcassonne, Perpignan, Mont Perdu, Pau!
Cauterets, Ax-les-Thermes, Lourdes,
There is poetry in the sound of the names, says the author; they march, they sing, they trip out with rhythm! And so does the reader sing as he marches along through Mr. Wilstach's melodious pages. Now and then, even the most sedate will find himself tripping rhythmically to the accompaniment of lutes and the songs of forgotten troubadours, and at no time will the journey be a wearisome one.
Are prejudice and legal disability all that prevent women from equaling the achievements of men, asks Dr. Paul Bousfield in "Sex and Civilization" (Dutton). In answer he contends not only that women's physical disabilities are exaggerated, but that their temperamental disabilities, though at present genuine, are entirely artificial, the product of environmental influences from earliest childhood. This he demonstrates as follows: Psychic energy is of one kind in male and female. A normal human being, moreover, applies this energy to various sexual aims in the same order in which they have occurred in biological evolution: first to autosexuality, then to homosexuality, and finally to heterosexuality; and whatever energy is not absorbed by erotic activities is set free for application to other purposes (sublimation). The difference, then, between male and female is only this: The male is allowed to complete the development,
so that such erotic energy as he employs is concentrated on the normal act of sex, is therefore small in quantity, and leaves a great deal of psychic energy to be transformed for other purposes; on the other hand, the training of the female prevents her from completing the development and causes her to retain a large proportion of the infantile forms of sexuality and of activities more properly subordinate to the normal act of sex, all of which absorb most of her energy and leave little for other purposes. "Assuming that every individual has a certain amount of energy or capacity for work, the efficiency of the woman, who is in reality of equal capacity with the man, is considerably reduced by what we may term 'the continual leakage of energy'." Woman will therefore be set free, not by enactment, but by an education which recognizes the equality of the sexes.
There is one book this season which will be the choice possession of all college professors. Its name is "Some Aspects of Modern Poetry" (Stokes). Its author is Alfred Noyes. One Noyes. One opens the cover expecting to see Sandburg, Masters, Robinson, and Marianne Moore, but one finds instead a large group of eminent Victorians all of whom are defended with exquisite kindness against the chaotic minds of today who sneer at Tennyson, who dismiss Alice Meynell as a Catholic saint, who often say that Henley and Dobson are not worth discussing. For Alice Meynell Mr. Noyes has made a cap of pearls. For Tennyson he has shaped a golden crown set with emeralds and garnets. For Henley and Dobson, six and eight pages each. Shakespeare is there, and following him is Longfellow with trembling beard. These essays are finely
written with the scalding passion and irony of a mind which knows and loves English literature and cannot make room for the present, cannot adjust its imagination to anything but the past and its vivid security.
W. L. George again undertakes to display his extraordinary knowledge and understanding of that most incomprehensible creature, woman, in "The Story of Woman" (Harper). Mr. George not only sets forth his views on the trend of modern woman, but he delves into her history of forty thousand years ago. He is very brave to tackle such a subject in two hundred and fifty seven pages. Beginning with an account of the Neolithic Age, he discusses the days of the patriarchs, life during the height of Roman and Grecian culture, the influence of Christianity, the Renaissance, the seventeenth century, the Victorian era, early rebels, and concludes with a promise for the future. The book gives one a smattering of information which reference proves is not always accurate. To mention only two failings: Mr. George wishes to tell not a story, but the story of woman, yet he discusses only one racial group of women from each period. Also, in his consideration of the position of woman he fails to attach importance to the economic condition of each particular period, which naturally had direct bearing upon her status. "The Story of Woman" is obviously written to sell. It provides intellectual pap for American consumption.
The age of liberalism, believed here, remains still in the grey offing. On a tiny island off the coast of Spain exiled Miguel de Unamuno wrote mildly Machiavellian essays, while Alfonso breathed more easily. Exile can re
sult from many causes, but one wonders at the reasons which prompted the exile of Unamuno. In his "Essays and Soliloquies" (Knopf) one remark only a strange piety, some not too reddish ideas, and a Victorian veneer of style. The exiled gentleman writes reasonably pleasantly and with a style, if clarity can be called style. But his ideas are such as an aging, slipping Shaw might employ were he making a bid for readers become cold and forgetful. Mildness is here, and quietude and gentleness. There is talk of religious matters and some politics, but if there is harm it is not too apparent. It may be, however, that dark kings with handsome mustaches and unhandsome dictators have their own or at any rate family ideas about the fundamentals of exile.
The traveler who must follow schedule and feels impelled to rush from museum to picture gallery and from one ruin to another, in the most avid of sightseeing moods, will welcome Clara E. Laughlin's "So You're Going to Italy!" (Houghton Mifflin). Others will find the book disappointing. Miss Laughlin unnecessarily admits in one place that she has "just reread a great many books on Rome", and the number and length of the quotations she uses leaves little room for original work. She has accumulated facts and facts and still more facts, tied them together with a string of trivial remarks, and enveloped the whole in a flimsy wrapping of facetiousness precisely what one would expect from the title. Mechanically, the book leaves little to be desired. It is of convenient size, the type is excellent, and the illustrations far and away better than those found in most travel books. Miss Laughlin considers, in
the four sections of the book, Naples, Rome, Florence, and Venice, and the immediate vicinity of each centre. The hill towns, Sicily, and the Riviera are left for another volume.
It is impossible to read Thomas Moult's selection of "The Best Poems of 1924" (Harcourt, Brace) without getting the feel of the present day poetic trend: its pendulum swing from orthodoxy to radical forms and back again. This is a catholic little book, covering a wide range of expression, yet never swerving from the highest criteria of taste in the various literary camps. The compiler is singularly free from intolerances, either of the very old or the very He demands of the poets who are represented here honest artistic credibility and the use of a universal and dignified medium. Freshness of sound, sharpness of imagery, and a poignancy in emotional depth are frequent attributes of the work collected in this volume. From what must have been a fairly formidable mass of verse in American and English periodicals last year, the editor has chosen a satisfying and sensitive group. The word "best" must, of course, always have its private qualifications, but we have no hesitancy in saying that the poems in this little collection are all extraordinarily good. Examples from the English magazines seem rather more capable, more sure in their grasp of difficult and highly cadenced forms. Some of the American pieces are conventional in form: a sonnet by David Morton, for instance, strikes us as being as fine a thing of its sort as we have seen lately. Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Not Always" and the free verse sketches by Carl Sandburg, though characteristic, seem to fall short of the best work of these two really great artists. One wonders if
the constant use of one tool has made it perhaps too fine for æsthetic usefulness. John V. A. Weaver's "A Sailor Gropes for Words" is at once typical and vigorous. Of the English group, William H. Davies, the Sitwells, and John Freeman deserve more than passing attention. On the whole, Mr. Moult's collection is admirable, and its format, with decorations by Philip Hagreen, is delicate and effective.
It is almost impossible to think of the brilliant Casanova as old, in poverty, uttering bitter things about old age; impossible, too, to think of him without a large group of beautiful women to adore him. The last twenty four years of his life were not included by him in his Memoirs and, until recently, have remained hidden. Mitchell S. Buck has written a supplement to the Memoirs presenting this period, in "The Life of Casanova from 1774-1798" (Frank-Maurice). From England Casanova went to Venice, where ironically he was guardian of public morals. Intimately associated with him at this period was a young seamstress, Francesca Buschini, his last Venetian love, whose letters throw much light upon Casanova's life at this time. The year before his death, in response to a letter from Cecilia Roggendorff, he wrote a brilliant and brief summary of his life beginning with: "My mother brought me into the world at Venice on the 2d April, Easter day of the year 1725. She had, the night before, a strong desire for crawfish. I am very fond of them. I was an idiot until I was eight and a half years old. After having had a hemorrhage for three months, I was taken to Padua, where, cured of my imbecility, I applied myself to study, and, at the age of sixteen years I was made a doctor and given the habit of a
priest so that I might go seek my fortune at Rome." And so he goes on through his amazing adventures.
Although Edward Shanks's "Bernard Shaw" (Holt) cannot truthfully be said to answer any pressing literary need or to cast much new light upon the by no means dim planet with which it deals, it serves nicely to carry on the attractive "Writers of the Day" series of pocket size critical biographies which contains such notable essays as those of Rebecca West on Henry James and Hugh Walpole on Joseph Conrad. Shanks takes up G. B. S. as novelist and critic, dramatist, writer of prefaces, and philosopher. He lays him down a trifle tritely as "a serious man with a real philosophy, in which he believes with all his heart". Incidentally, the study bristles with palpable hits. Mr. Shanks feels that Shaw is "essentially a man of the theatre" rather than a propagandist using the cart of Thespis for purely evangelistic ends. He is bold enough to point out Shaw's "peculiar weakness for cheap jokes", to describe a dramatic passage as "very trivial and a little vulgar", to repeat a malicious phrase about "the non sequitur, or Shavian method of reasoning", and to wager that "if we look at him in cold blood Mr. Shaw gives as much evidence of muddleheadedness as of common sense". In fact, "he is not an exceptionally reasonable man; and though his intellectual powers are great and flexible they are always completely at the service of his emotion and intuitions". Mr. Shanks has performed for Shaw the service G. B. S. performed for Shakespeare. He has made him human. A negligible postscript on "Saint Joan" might have been omitted. Bibliographies add to the book's value as a handy reference work.
If one cares for letters, and there are many who do, a generous supply will be found in John Gardner Coolidge's "Random Letters from Many Countries" (Marshall Jones). Always an inveterate traveler, Mr. Coolidge was in the diplomatic service until a few years ago, and his letters, written from 1887 to 1908, bear the postmarks of such focal points as Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Manila, Pretoria, Peking, Mexico City, and Managua, Nicaragua. There is decided color in the pages of this stout volume; the author was in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, in the Philippines at the time of the Insurrection, had a taste of shell fire from the Boers in South Africa, and witnessed stirring events in China, Mexico, and Nicaragua, serving as minister to the last named country. Mr. Coolidge shares something of the spirit of all adventurers, and his letters, although gentle and unassuming by contrast, have a suggestion of the Richard Harding Davis flavor. They have also the value of continuity, achieved through being written to a single person.
Books by pedagogues not infrequently bore. Not so "From College Gates" (Houghton Mifflin) by Caroline Hazard, president of Wellesley College from 1900-1911. The book is a series of addresses delivered upon various public occasions, and is divided into three parts. The first, "Outside the Gates", is a contribution to the history of the past fifty years in the movement for the higher education of women. "Through the Gates" pays tribute to "the influence of that bright spirit who shed her lustre upon Wellesley College, whose memory is now enshrined in the Hall of Fame" - Alice Freeman Palmer. "Within the Gates" is a survey of "the specific growth and devel
opment of Wellesley during the years of my administration". The book, in the main, is interesting and illuminating. It displays the fine ideals which actuated the leaders of the movement for higher education for women. It gives the layman an educational perspective.
Frankness to the limit of indiscretion is, of course, essential to an autobiography. The Princesse de Montglyon leaves little to be desired, in this respect, in her record of her life as "The Last of a Race" (Doran), although the book does not belong to the sprightly family of the chroniques scandaleuses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Born at the ancient castle of Argenteau, on the eighteenth of July, 1862, the girl child, de Mercy Argenteau, was a disappointment, since a male heir was wanted for a line that reached back ten centuries. She grew up without the love of parents, was forced into a loveless marriage which ended in divorce, and was almost as unfortunate in her lover and in her son who abandoned her to go off with the elderly wife of his tutor. is a dismal tale, culminating, fittingly, with the destruction of the beautiful old castle which the Germans wrecked at the opening of the war. It holds much of anecdote concerning celebrities: Napoleon, the Prince of Wales of the Eighties, and many lesser lights. The volume is handsomely printed and liberally illustrated.
"The Land of the Pharaohs" (Revell) by Samuel Manning, edited by James Baikie, is genial and diverting. If Dr. Manning's tour appears a trifle rapid and insensitive, his account is tolerant and never tedious. He projects the natives vividly, by quotation. For he questioned them persistently, and