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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 dash them down too often. That is not to say that all the papers are of the same value; as in most collections they vary much in worth and interest. The volume is divided into three parts: "The Common Ground"; "The Dividing Issues" ; "What We Can Do about Them." In the three papers of Part I, Louis Finkelstein stresses the need of gaining a sense of human unity in the nation and throughout the world on the basis of long-range planning and of the recognition of the prime value of the spiritual life of man; Allan Nevins analyses the rise of American culture and finds individualism, modified recently by a desire for social justice, along with enterprise, belief in equality of opportunity, devotion to personal freedom in civil and religious 102 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY rights, and optimism to be its chief marks; Louis Frank leaves one baffled as to what common ground America has won. In Part II, E. Franklin Frazier, in the most distinguished paper of the collection, ably presents the negro problem as it now exists; Vilhjalmur Stefansson touches upon the condition of the Eskimos, contrasting unfavourably Canadian and American treatment with that given by Soviet Russia; Eli Ginzberg finds that "economics is a way of thinking about how people make a living," and therefore involves one in a discussion of morals, education, and social philosophy; Ralph W. Sackman emphasizes deep conviction and wide vision in religion, and concludes with the late Archbishop Temple that, "This world can be saved from political chaos by one thing only, and that is worship." In Part III, the most disappointing, Clyde R. Miller, in the most positive paper of this part, warns against the delusions of racial and class superiority, of exclusive possession of the truth by anyone group, of scarcity of goods and jobs, and ends by discussing a plan, based on the well-known Springfield Plan, by which men "can be set free within a few weeks" from these delusions; Gerald W. Johnson feels that the press can do most by fulfilling its duty of acquainting its readers with all the facts and shades of opinion; Edward L. Bernays states that the most effective, logical, and simple way of dealing with such divisive forces as the negro-white relationship is to have ten or twenty of the leading investment bankers and the heads of the largest corporations exert their power and examples: thus will be solved "The American Dilemma...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 101-103
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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