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410 LEITERS IN CANADA 1977 and humanitarian reflections Johnson made as an individual. (CLARENCE TRACY) Everard H. King. James Beattie Twayne's English Authors Series. Twayne Publishers. 190. $8.50 The contemporary fame of James Beattie (1735-1803) rested principally on two works: his Essay all the Nature al1d Immutability of Truth , ill Opposition to SophistnJ and Scepticism (1770), a vindication of Christianity against Hume, and the unfinished poem The Minstrel (1771-4), the story, in 123 Spenserian stanzas, of the youth and education of a medieval poet called Edwin. Johnson befriended Beattie and praised his Essay without reservation; Gray corresponded with him and received his early poetry with guarded enthusiasm. But time has not been kind to Beattie. His philosophical works have long since been relegated to oblivion, and his poetry, although it continued to be read into the nineteenth century, has all but shared the same fate. Dr. King's volume is thus doubly welcome as a useful survey of Beattie's life and works (there is no other), and as a reminder that Beattie's works, insipid as they may now appear, are of some historical importance. The book is laid out like others in the Twayne series: there is a chronology; an account of Beattie's life and career as a professor at Aberdeen; a survey of his works, comprising philosophical essays, Christian apologetics, literary essays, and poetry; a study of his influence and reputation; an annotated bibliography. King has drawn on copious manuscript sources, and this introduction to Beattie will be both comprehensible to the undergraduate and helpful to the advanced researcher . It is in his chapters on Beattie's poetry and its influence that King's work is most open to criticism. Beattie the poet was at best a minor talent, nowhere near the magnitude of Gray. His claim to originality in the character of Edwin is genuine but small. The Ministrel is an essentially derivative work - hence, no doubt, its contemporary popularity. This King recognizes, yet still he describes it as 'a coherent and important statement about the poetic life' (p 97), and asserts that it was a seminal work of 'profound and lasting power' in the lives and writings of the Romantic poets (p 108). Such a claim could only be sustained by a most rigorous treatment of evidence, for there were many other works available to the Romantic poets in which they might have found Minstrel-like elements. King's treatment of evidence is not rigorous. The slightest verbal coincidences he accepts as marks of influence; where there is no possible echo, he discerns 'reworking.' Thus we are to see in Keats's El1dymion, II, 73-4, 'where sleepy twilight dreams / The summer time HUMANITIES 411 away: a reworking of Beattie's 'Where twilight loves to linger for a while' (p 126). Even the failure of the Romantic poets to admit that they resembled Edwin is proof of his influence: 'one may assume that their silence indicates a deep-rooted preoccupation with Edwin as the personification of the largely unspoken fears and hopes of their own early poetic lives' (p 129). It is regrettable that this part of the book should have been thus vitiated, for the question of Beattie's influence on the next literary generation was one eminently worth pursuing. It still is. (JOHN D. BAIRD) Douglas G. Long. Bentham 011 Liberty:Jeremy Bentham's Idea of Liberty in Relation to His Utilitarianism University of Toronto Press. xvi, 294. $22.50 To those who go to do battle with Jeremy Bentham's manuscripts is due, at the least, resounding applause; to those, no matter how scarred, who return with valuable interpretations, obeisance seems appropriate. So it is with Douglas Long, who in Bentham on Liberty gives us the results of his investigation of a theme, political and social liberty, which is, in its easy form, important perhaps more to Benthamites than to Bentham. Like all else in Bentham, the theme cannot be studied or exposited in isolation from his view of utility, and Long gives a full and adequate justification of his subtitle. What he also deserves great credit for is placing Bentham firmly in the eighteenth century. Most...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 410-411
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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