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REVIEWS 429 sprightly and stimulating. But, by the very nature of things, it does not fit well under Professor Brett's coat-tails. It does not match either the detachment or the sweep of his treatment. Indeed, there is not yet room for Brett's kind of perspective in viewing the contemporary scene. The editor is disarmingly modest when he says in the Preface that this addition of his own may appear to many "like the Festival of Britain skylon sticking out of the Crystal Palace." Unfortunately, the analogy is rather too apt. The skylon is not trivial. It is simply out of place. It remains for teachers of psychology to capitalize on the new availability of a classic. Here is a Student's Shorter Edition of Brett's History of Psychology. And the truth of what John Beare2 said about it in 1913 becomes more impressive with every passing year: "The psychologist who pursues his subject on merely modern lines may achieve excellent results; yet, if ignorant of the work of his predecessors, and especially the Greeks, he is too often betrayed into waste of time and a false opinion of his own originality." SIXTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLISH LITERATURE" H. S. WILSON Professor C. S. Lewis's contribution to the "Oxford History of English Literature" is learned, brilliantly written, and provocative, as was to be expected. Its position as one of the most readable among historical studies of English literature is assured-if, indeed, it may properly be described as a "history" in any strict sense, for all its substantial proportions. The author has been at some pains to explain his critical method, which is intended to avoid, in so far as possible, a schematization that is too diagrammatically neat to fit the facts and that will allow him to include all the varying currents of literary thought and expression in sixteenth-century England. He surveys these currents in his opening chapter entitled "New Learning and New Ignorance," a masterly account which is full of fresh and stimulating insights. For the remainder of his book, Professor Lewis eschews the term "Renaissance" as a misleading or empty generalization.He supplies his own terms of analysis, dividing the literature studied into "Late Medieval," "Drab," and "Golden." The two latter designations , he insists, are not invidiously intended-"drab" is not necessarily 2John I. Beare in a review of Brett's History of Psychology, Mind, XXII (1913). 277. *English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, excluding Drama. By C. S. LEWIS. Oxford History of English Literature, ed. F. P. Wilson and Bonamy Dobtee. volume III. Oxford. at the Clarendon Press [Toronto: Oxford University Press], 1954. Pp. viii, 696. $6.00. 430 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY dyslogistic nor "golden" eulogistic. Nevertheless, it is hard to discover how the "drab" literature, which extends through the mid period of the century, is anything but clumsy, jejune, or, at best, soberly neat, as Professor Lewis judges it. The very qualified praise of Wyatt and Surrey does little to counterbalance the severe strictures upon the rest of the contributors to Totte!'s Miscellany, upon The Mirror for Magistrates and most of the early Elizabethan translators; and only the more judicious estimates of the achievement of Tyndale and his Tudor successors in the translation of the Bible and of the makers of the English Prayer Book go any way to support Professor Lewis's contention that "drab," in his critical usage, means very much more than "cheerless and dull," as the dictionary has it. Nor does the author attempt to explain how or why the "drab" literature gave place to the "golden." With the advent of Sidney and Spenser (p. 65), men have at last learned how to write; for a few years nothing more is needed than to play out again and again the strong, simple music of the uncontorted line and to load one's poem with all that is naturally delightful -with flowers and swans, with ladies' hair, hands, lips, breasts, and eyes, with a silver and gold, woods and waters, the stars, the moon and the sun. Prose does not become Golden so suddenly as verse; many of its Golden triumphs were in the following century. It...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 429-433
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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