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l lr··. ...._ ' I ' j ', ', . ! ..-.. 1., . /1 ', .. r 1 • _£ ' ~~ f ' r I ! \ . ·' . ' ... ' : , I ol j' , ': . .., ' : ...,.1 . REVIEWS ' ' : • I ' THE VIKING PORTABLE LIBRARY · ,.·, ' ~ ' . ·~· ' !} .The Viking· Portable Library series began with a collection of liter~ry ·· · . - A~ericana: called AS' You Were, ~ade by Alexander Woollcott primarily f~r the' American armed forces. It·has since expanded into a·rell).arkable j:mblis~ing venture which now embraces over thirty volumes an·d·is stjll·growing~ . Its chief aim is ·to provide a large selection (the volumes average over '700 pages) of the work of a well-known writer in a book of a compact siz~ which will sell for a reiatively low price. The selections have generally · been made by good critics, and the introductions, though unequal in merit, are often excelle~t. The bulk of the writers in the series are American, and include most of the standard American authors."· The·volumes are most -val~able, of course, when most complete: The Portable Dorothy Parker comprises all of that author's published work, and .The Portable Scott .·Fitzgerald contains his ~wo best novels. On the other hand, Thomas Wolfe a.nd D; H. Lawrence do riot lend themselves so easily to} being made po'rtable~ ...., . ' ., I ' ., • I • ~ I and a few, such as The Portable Shakespeare, which has only seven plays ... complete, will only encourage the pernicious .habit of reading gigantic ' "anthologies"' (whatever happened to the word uchrestomathy" ?) instead 1 of books, which is fostered by so many freshman survey co~rses in " American· colleges. But on the whole the conception and execution of the .scheme are · b. oth admirable. In addition to the four discussed below, a Portable Irish • · ' . Reader, a .collection of Irish literature of all periods, and a Portable· World Bible, selections from the sacred books of eight religi~ns, may be noted. ' \ The Portable Dante. Edited and with an introduction by PAOLO MILANO. New York: Viking· Press [Toronto: Macmill~n Co. of Canada]. 1947. Pp. xlii, i662. ($2.50)· ' This co~pact .little book, exceedingly well printed} wjth no 1 crowding of · the. page, c~ntains the translation of ..The Divine Comedy by Lawrence Binyon, complete, Rossetti's .translation of the Vita Nuova, also complete, nine of the lyric poems (seven translated by Rossetti~ two by Lyell and Grandgent), five extracts from the De Vulgari Eloquentia; seven from the .. \- De Monarchia, and parts of :five of the Epistles, ·translated by Ferrers Howell·and Wicksteed. The Con·vivio, which is inadequately described inr "'A Bibliographical ·:N-ote," is not represented, 'and the Eclogues and the , §?..uaestio de Aqua et. Terra are also omitted. . ' I ' •, I The choice of Binyon's excellent translation of The Divine Comedy i~ certainiy unobjection·able, but the editor's disparaging remarks about other translations (pp. xxxiii and 661) are. regrettable. The nott~s to the Comedy are largely taken from Grandgent, but other useful notes are provided ·by t~e editor. Needl~ss to.say,.there isno attempt to discuss di~cult passages. I '. .., . I • I • I ~~ · ---·~-~--....--- . __ ....__~ ...


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