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BOOK REVIEWS 363 not need to be the owner of a property in order to enjoy the natural beauty it offers (p. 135). I can enjoy what's yours much more than you. Your meadow's beauty I survey, Which you prize only for its hay. There can I sit beneath a tree And write an ode or elegy. What to you care, does to me pleasure bring, You own the cage, I in it sit and sing. Mr. Hoyles comments on these lines, "such indulgence was condemned by the eighteenth century until the early Blake." Then he quotes lines by Blake with scant resemblance to Norris's. Actually Norris's sentiment was not only not condemned in the eighteenth century, but it was repeated and applauded. Berkeley in an essay in the Guardian, 1713 (No. 49), affirmed "it is usual with me to consider myself as having a natural property in every object that administers pleasure to me. When I am in the country, all the fine seats near the place of my residence, and to which I have access, I regard as mine .... I have a real, and they only an imaginary pleasure from their exterior embellishments." Akenside expressed essentially the same sentiment in his blank verse poem The Pleasures of Imagination, 1744 (III, 574-598). There are, nevertheless, many good things in this book, particularly a fine summary of Watts's contribution to English hymnology. Had the author contented himself with the literary style of his three poets and derived only theological conclusions from their essentially theological subject matter, he would have been on sound ground. He could have considered More as a Platonist, Norris as a Platonist and Cartesian, and Watts as an open-minded empiricist without becoming enmeshed in the intricacies of intellectual movements. On the basis of his actual analysis of three unassuming religious poets, however, he arrives at the following sweeping and unsubstantiated conclusions: (1) "Neither classicism nor the Enlightenment, as traditions, do more than stagnate once they have been given a modestly definitive expression in Pope's Essay on Man." (2) "Our conclusion must be that classicism and the Enlightenment merely cleared the ground and prepared the way for the new Romantic culture which was capable of replacing the Renaissance" (p. 251). One can merely call up the words of one of Watts's hymns, "Be husht into a pious calm." m. OWENALDRIDGE University of Illinois, Urbana Moses Mendelssohns Friihschri[ten zur Metaphysik. By Alexander Altmann. (Tfibingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1969. Pp. xii+ 396. DM 58.00) This is a truly remarkable study; for it is not simply a commentary on Mendelssohn 's early writings but is a critical analysis of sources and an evaluative comparison of Mendelssohn's views with those of his contemporaries as well. It is, moreover, a work of outstanding scholarship---dependable in every detail that I have been able to check-which successfully weaves the many threads of themes and arguments into a pattern that is revelatory of basic issues in mid-eighteenth century (1755-1764) philosophy. The restriction to this "early period" of Mendelssohn's work is justified by the fact 364 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY that Mendelssohn's later publications add nothing that is new to the views here under consideration. The study is based upon the texts of the lubiliiumsausgabe of Mendelssohn 's Collected Works (Berlin, 1929- ) and the as yet unpublished material in the Mendelssohn Archives of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. Lest my opening statement be regarded as exaggerated, I should like to illustrate with at least a few examples the type of comparative analysis and evaluation Professor Altmann's study really is. The analysis begins with Mendelssohn's first published work, the "Philosophical Conversations" of 1755. The interesting account of Lessing's role in bringing about that publication I shall disregard; for only the "tapestry" of ideas need concern us here. All four "Conversations" deal with the metaphysics of Leibniz-Wolff. However, by way of an introduction to the main topic, the first two "Conversations" provide a criticism of Spinoza's philosophy that culminates in a repudiation of that philosophy and sets forth the thesis that Leibniz' system was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 363-366
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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