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100 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY thirteenth century, and most from that dealing with religious art at the end of the Middle Ages. Except in one or two cases, as when he mentions a monument discussed in the original but omitted from the shortened version (p. 56), or describes a part only of a connected series of images, the Labours of the Months, this drastic method is remarkably successful. There is conveyed the same impression of authority and completeness in the reduced account as in the original. It is a pity that the publishers did not enlist the services of a competent historian of art to read the English translation, for there are nunlcrous little errors which are not in Male's texts. As instances, the twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse become the eighty-four elders, the famous English psalter at Hildesheim should be "from" St. Albans, not "at" St. Albans. Otherwise the translation is morc than competent and balks only at a few geographical and technical terms, rendering them in French though, for instance, the equivalent to "pignons" in English is "gables." The text is supplemented by forty-eight well-chosen illustrations, somewhat disfigured by their method of placing, bled as the plates are to the margins of the page. Their titles are in some instances most unattractively placed as a result of this practice. While this is no substitute for the books upon which it is based, Religious Art has its uses. It would be ideal preliminary reading to a summer to be spent in Europe and an effective accompaniment to undergraduate survey courses in European art. Its most serious failing is its inescapable completeness: it does not arouse curiosity or if it does provides no outlet for it. SHORTER NOTICES The T estament of Werther: In Poetry and Drama. By STUART PRATT ATKINS. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press [Toronto: Saunders]. 1949. Pp. xiv, 322. ($5.50) In the series of "Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature" Mr. Atkins, Professor of German at Harvard, has brought out a very interesting volume on the literary reception of Goethe's Werther in the poetry and drama of Bohemia, China, Denmark, Gemlany, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, Rumania, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. A bibliography of more than 80 pages with items reflecting different phases of Wertherian influence bears witness to the challenging strength of Goethe's first novel, in the wake of which three main literary currents are discernible at almost all times: imitation, criticism SHORTER NOTICES 101 (on moral grounds), and parody. The latter alone contained any promise or possibility of becoming vital literature. Since this possibility remained unrealized Mr. Atkins shows good judgment in discussing imitation, criticism, and parody under the one guiding theme of testament . It was Herder who envisaged a kind of literary history and criticism that would not be satisfied with commenting on a book as so many pages between two book covers, but would complete its characterization by describing its effects on other writers and even more on the reading public. Professor Atkins has done ample justice to the strictly literary influences that emanated from Werther. What the novel and its offshoots meant to generations of readers, the larger aspects of the Werther cult, we have to glean from his work by implication . Obvious as it is that the destiny of Werther was shaped by social conditions (mainly by the eagerness of the awakening middle classes to lay hold on and to identify themselves with the emotional riches Goethe had there ascribed to two of their members, to Werther and Lotte), this social basis of the popularity of Werther deserves fuller treatment. We know of no one in as good a position to give it as is Mr. Atkins. H. BOESCHENSTEIN Unity and Difference in American Life: A Series of Addresses and Discussions. Edited by R. M. MAcIVER. Religion and Civilization Series. New York and London: Harper, for the Institute for Religious & Social Studies [Toronto: Musson). 1947. Pp. viii, 168. ($3.50 ) The chief impression left by this slim volume of addresses and discussions is one of disappointment. Ambitious, and sometimes misleading , titles raise the reader's hopes high only to have the essays which follow...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 100-101
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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