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194 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY it is indeed a "document" but one written in a language different from the language of philosophy or science or other forms of "prose," and that if one is to interpret aright the ideas which it embodies, much more if one is to understand the poem qua poem, one must never forget this fact. In its larger aspects, as Professor Lovejoy suggests, the ~history of ideas must be a co-operative venture, drawing upon the lmowledge and the techniques of specialists in a wide variety of fields. Such cooperation is not without its educative value for the specialist himself. And it is accompanied by another condition, difficult but also salutary: the necessity of presenting the results in a language which shall attain a degree of precision without sacrificing general intelligibility. The history of ideas can be addressed only to the general reader, for every specialist becomes the general reader so soon as he leaves the confines of his own subject. In nothing is Professor Lovejoy's example more useful than in the object-lesson which it gives of precision combined with general intelligibility. Almost inevitably in this review, and indeed with some justification, we have spoken of the history of ideas as if ~t were the invention of Professor Lovejoy and his school. Actually, of course, it has been and is practised by many scholars who never can1e under his direct influence . To look no farther, one will find in the recent pages of the QuARTERLY two distinguished examples, in Dr. M. H. Abrams' "Archetypal Analogies in the Language of Criticism" and Dr. F. E. L. Priestley's "Newton and the Romantic Concept of Nature." But no one has done so much for the new discipline as has Professor Lovejoy, or so fully exemplified its possibilities. And even where he has not exploited certain of its resources (as he very clearly has not exploited the field of religious doctrine and terminology, with its juxtaposing of nature and grace, and its specifically Christian conception of liberty), he has, nevertheless, recognized fields which require to be drawn in. It is appropriate, then, that all who have the interests of the new discipline at heart should join with the faithful body of disciples in expressing their gratitude and felicitations to its ]eading exponent. SCHOLARSHIP IN THE, HUMANITIES* H. s. WILSON This book contains a thorough and valuable survey of the methods and materials for literary criticism at present available, ·a survey especially designed to meet the needs of scholars, and those who wish Theory of Literature. By RENE WELLEK and AusTIN WARREN . New York: Harcourt Brace [Toronto: McLeod]. 1949. Pp. x, 403. ($5.25) REVIEWS 195 to become scholars, concerned with the study of the modern literatures. ' Even more, however, it is an argument in favour of certain reforms in contemporary scholarly methods and in the programme of studies followed in our graduate schools of the humanities. The authors believe that the study of literature, as carried -on by contemporary scholars, nee~s to become more literary and that the way to aahieve this end is •to practise literary ·criticism and to train students as critics of general and comparative literature rather than as antiquarians or specialists. vVe should aim, they argue, "to reconstitute literary scholarship on more critical lines: to give merely antiquarian learning its proper subsidiary position, .to break down nationalistic and linguistic provincialisms , to bring scholarship into active relations with contemporary literature, to give scholarship theoretical and critical awareness" (p. 288). With part of this programme, every thoughtful and liberal-minded scholar will heartily agree. Whatever serves to make scholarship more broadly humane and critically precise is to be cultivated; whatever makes it more narrow and pedantic, frivolous and inhumane, is to be shunned. Nevertheless, there is a curious and disturbing suggestion in the above-quoted passage, as it seems to this writer, which runs all through the book. The suggestion is contained in the phrase "to bring schola:rship into active relations with contemporary literature." If this means simply that scholars should be familiar with the best contemporary writing ·and relate their study of the culture of the past to that of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 194-197
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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