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96 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY of the German aversion to reality. What Professor Hohlfeld fails to add, in the light of recent outbursts of German energies, is that Goethe was thinking of controlled and socially useful practical endeavours--but this is a matter of course for one so well acquainted with Goethe as Professor Hohlfeld is. For both English and German audiences he has on occasion attempted to underscore the continuing fruitfulness of Goethe's life and works. It is to be hoped that he is right in assuming that we are only now beginning to understand Goethe and to be moulded by him. For those who are separated by language barriers from the spring of Goethean inspiration, Berthold Biermann's volume, composed of letters and memoirs in English translation, should prove a helpful initiation . In many other cases such documents are often but faint echoes of personalities; but in this case the documents lead, in the orbit of Goethe's striving, right to the font of his wisdom and experience, by short and easy paths. ENGLAND'S GOLDEN AGE OF SONG" H. S. WILSON In his important study, Professor Hallett Smith has surveyed the major poetic kinds (exclusive of the drama) which were practised by the poets of the time England's greatest poetic and musical energy, the age of Queen Elizabeth I. The book is not intended as a complete chronological survey of Elizabethan non-dramatic poetry but as a selective and critical account of the variety and magnitude of the Elizabethan poetic achievement outside of the theatre. Each of the six chapters deals with a distinct category of Elizabethan poetrypastoral , Ovidian poetry, the sonnets, satire, poetry for music, heroic poetry-and with due observance of Elizabethan literary decorum, Professor Smith has varied his critical method in each chapter to suit the needs of each particular kind of poetry with which he deals. The result is an admirable contribution to the critical appreciation of the great body of Elizabethan poetry, incisive, apt, illuminating from many different points of view, a remarkable compound of learning and critical discrimination. In the scope of its survey, the freshness and vigour of its appreciation, the book fills a great need. The theme of Professor Smith's opening chapter is that Elizabethan pastoral poems were poems of good life. The Elizabethan pastoralist *Elizabethan Po~tTY: A Study in Conventions, Meaning, and Expression. By HALLETT SMITH. Cambridge, Mass,: Harvard University Press [Toronto: S. J. Reginald Saunders and Company Limited]. 1952. Pp. vii, 355. $6.75 REVIEWS 97 sang of contentment with one's lot, however humble; of freedom from envy and ignoble greed, from pride and ambition; of the joys of the virtuous man who is his own master; of the plaints of the lover whose mistress is cruel; of country toils, and sorrows, and merrymakings; all of this in a mode at once sophisticated and naive, a blend of the native traditions of song-and-dance games of the countryside and the observances of rural festivals with reminiscences of Theocritus and Virgil, Mantuan and Montemayor and Clement Marot. And it is all richly illustrated, from the earliest examples of pastoral lyric in that great Elizabethan storehouse of the kind, England's Helicon, to the major achievements of The Shepheardes Calender, the Arcadia, and the sixth book of The Faerie Queene. In the chapter which illustrates the growth of the tradition of mythological narrative poetry deriving mainly from Ovid, Professor Smith first traces the course of a single narrative theme, the myth of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, through the whole period; and proceeds to sensitive and fresh appraisals of Marlowe's Hero and Leander, Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis and Lucrece and other related examples; showing likewise how this stream of narrative is related to the "Fall .of Princes" theme as exemplified in the Mirror for Magistrates and the "Complaints" of Daniel, Drayton, and others, and to the vogue of "Heroical Epistles" inaugurated by Drayton, the last a fashion deriving ultimately from Ovid's Heroides. The chapter on the Elizabethan sonnets, one of the most notable in the volume, contains a much needed corrective of the popular notion that the Elizabethan sonneteers were engaged in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 96-98
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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