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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 ~~ · ---·~-~--....--- . __ ....__~ I I I .r '' • •. f< I ~~ .... • i r I \ I . t . :. . 1·: I • ' !'· .. 1.· l:;~ 1'i ' I J • I ~ ; (.;: I ; ~ I ' ' r •. , ! ' I r: - ! ~~, I i J ' 1-1 . f..··, I ·~• ' ! ,....-· , I - '._ • -' . . -I I-· . ._,• ':. , 106 THE UN-IVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY """'~- .... . I -· ·,_., I ~~- ' . - The ~ther selections are sparsely a~notated. · The. note- on the sonnet To Guido Cavalcanti (p. 621) says that "her the thirtieth on _ my roll" is ' Beatrice, whic~ is highly improbable. · · ·· The editor's-introduction (pp. vii-xi) cont;;tins informatio'n pn the life ang· works of Dante; .a comparison of the traditional "scholarly" way or _judging the Comedy with that of Mr. T·. S. Eliot,' followed by sensitive criticism of the three (;antiche, illustrating the preferred approach-that' of· ·relying on the personal impressions of the ."perceptive read~r." "Redeththe grete poet of Ytaille/That highte Dant, ~ .. " as· Chaucer said who,· / it is true; was recommending the original rather than a ,translation. . J. E. SHAW The Portable Elizabethan Reader. Edited a~ci with an introduction by HIRAM HAYDN. New York: Viking Press [Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada].- 1946. Pp. xvi, 688. ($2.50) · ,· The selection; fo~ this compact and convenient 'volume have .been chosen to represent the literature and life ofthe Elizabethan age from some of the less hackneyed sou·rces and to interest the general reader as much as the scholar. The editor has shown skill in representing the leading interests of the age-,in theology, politics, ethics, the tradition of the humanities', the lore ·of,science·old and new, the ·voyages of discovery-as·well ·as the aesthetic _achievements · in dtama, prose, and poetry. Interpreting the limits of the Eiizabethan age flexibly to include the total literary output of_ '. such writers as John Donne and Francis Bacon, the editor has· taken the customary view of the period as one.of transition from medieval a-prio'rism to t~e. inductive methods of scie~ce, and his selections .are especially designed to illustrate the awareness of new ·motives and tendencies if?-science, --ethics, and politics, in an age still linked. with the medieval past by its moral and theological preconceptions. The sele'ctions ·appropriately begin, therefore, with a passage from. ),Donne's Ignatius Hi.s Conclave, illustrating the "new horizons, of the - a~e; and 'range 'through such topics as '-'the dream .of power" (illustrated from - the marginalia of Gabriel Harvey to a·speech in the House of.Commons by Francis Bacon); "the rise of protestantism" (Foxe's Book of M_artyr.s to Don.ne's Sermons); "the creed of the court" (Astrophel an_d Stella to T'fl:e Gull's Hor:nbook); '.'the 'common man" (Nashe, Dekker, Deloney, and the broadside ballads);·"the well of the past" (the historians and translators);·-- "an age of song" (this last section aims to provide an adequate repre·sen- · tation of a few poets-Wyatt, Ralegh, Campion, Jonson, Donne-rather 1 than a safl1pling of many). The omission of Shakespe~re is deliberate, since he is represented in another volume of thi· s series and since, as the edito·r . t~~arks, the present selection is pervaded throughoqt by the-spirit of the great poet and dramatist. ' • I · ' ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 105-106
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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