An unsigned review of Selected Shelburne Essays, by Paul Elmer More
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320 ] An unsigned review of Selected Shelburne Essays, by Paul Elmer More1 New York: Oxford UP, 1935. Pp. xiii + 297. The Criterion: A Literary Review, 15 (Jan 1936) 363 This volume, No. 434 of “The World’s Classics,” comes to us from New York, but we hope that it is published in this country as well, since it is the first selection from the essays of the finest literary critic of his time. The Shelburne Essays, are so numerous that any selection so restricted as this, must appear to have something arbitrary about it.2† These at least are chosen by their author; and their variety is such that we may presume that he had in mind to show the variety of his interest. Out of the thirteen essays, of which one is on “Criticism” itself, only two deal with American subjects: Jonathan Edwards and Thoreau. The great essay on Huxley (or we might say, on Huxley and Disraeli) is included.3 The volume is to be considered as an introduction to, not a substitute for, the complete Shelburne Essays. Notes 1. Unsigned, but credited to “T. S. E.” in the index. The Shelburne Essays (1904-21), named after a village in Maine to which Paul Elmer More retreated for two years of reflection, is an eleven-volume collection of reviews and articles, many written in his capacity as editor of The Nation (1909-14). TSE had reviewed the ninth volume, Aristocracy and Justice (1915), in “An American Critic” (1916) (1.406), and the first volume of the new series, The Demon of the Absolute (1928), in “Mr. P. E. More’s Essays” (1929) (3.585). 2†. It is possible that the comma following the phrase “Shelburne Essays” in this sentence is an error on the part of TSE or the typesetter. But in keeping with TSE’s odd comma usage, which often includes unnecessary punctuation between subject and predicate, the editors have maintained this sentence as it appeared in print. 3. TSE alludes to the following essays: “Criticism” (1-24), “Thoreau’s Journal” (97-117), “Thomas Henry Huxley” (188-228), and “Jonathan Edwards” (229-52). TSE wrote to Bruce Richmond on 13 Oct 1939: “I am also sending the Selected Shelburne Essays volume. I don’t know whether you will find anything in that to your liking, but the last paragraph of the essay on Huxley is good eternal verity in a light and readable form.” ...