AmblesideOnline AO Parents' Review Articles AmblesideOnline.org

The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
______________________________________
Books.

Volume 10, 1899, pg. 262


Siepmann's French and German Series, edited by Otto Siepmann. We congratulate Messrs. Macmillan on the production of this series. We have long been accustomed to have the classics produced as reading books, but the aim of this series is somewhat different. It "introduces a number of works by distinguished French authors, such as de Vogüé and Emile Pouvillon, who are prominent in their own country, but whose books have not yet received that recognition among our school classics which is their due. It will also include some of the best productions of Daudet, Coppée, Theuriet, and others, of which no English school editions exist; and finally it will contain a few works which, although more familiar, may yet, it is hoped, be welcome in an edition framed on the plan here advocated." The further intention of the editors is to include in their selection such books as afford a knowledge of France and French ways and institutions. The notes again are not meant to be store-houses of grammatical curiosities. The introduction gives, in each case, a short account of the author and his works, and various appendices are added, which the teacher should find useful.

L'Abbé Daniel, par André Theuriet, edited by F Desages (2/6), appeared in the first place in La Reveu des Deux Mondes. "That this charming prose idyll should have been well received is only natural. From beginning to end the story is told in simple and graceful language, which is in perfect harmony with the scenery that forms the setting. "This is how the story begins: "Avant-hier j'ai eu vingt ans, et j'ai quitté le sémímaire pour n'y plus rentrer. Mon coeur est plein de joie, et une douce fiévre m'agite depuis que je suis revenu dans mon cher pays mi-poïtevin et mi-tourangeau. J'ai refait connaissance avec mon petit domaine des Bruasseries. J'ai revu les Templiers, où habite mon oncle, et où j'ai retrouvè Denise, grandìe et plus belle encore qui l'an dernier. Elle a maintenant dix-sept ans."

Petites Ames, par Emile Pouvillon, edited by S. Barlet (2/6). This is how the author describes himself:--"L'objectivisme qui est le fond de mon esthétique est aussi le fond de mon caractère. J'ai un penchant invincible á sortir de moi, et je fuis les occasions de m'y renfeimer . . . Ma vie? Provincale et familiale: les hivers á Montauban, les étès au bord de l'Aveyron á Capdeville. Du silence autour de moi, beaucoup de silence; la vie des arbres, des ciels et de I'eau, intimement, liée á ma vie--et ausel importante." M. Barlet says in his introduction "that the author's style is pure, graphic, and racy, his analysis clear and distinct, and his stories are rustic pictures of great sincerity. We feel he has lived with his characters and knows them intimately. He represents them to us in all manner of lights and shade, and from beginning to end we remain under the genial spell of his witchery." An attractive beginning counts for much in a French story, and this is how Pouvillon describes Justin Ségol, the first of the Petites Ames: "je le vois, ce Justin Ségol, faisant son entrée dans. In cour du petit séminaire, et je vois aussi la casquette qu'il tenait á la main, une casquette aussi insolite d'aspect que celle du fils Bovary, plate-celle-ta, comme une assiette, toute en paille tressée, jaune, avec des toesades compliquées et les glands retombant sur une visière immense en curi verni." The other stories are Lise, Le Clocher de Saint Pasteur, "lalintide, Hortilous, Verux-Saxe.

Mon Oncle et Mon Curé, par J. de la Bréte, edited by E. Goldberg. This book "may serve as a model of the good simple French of the present day . . . It teems with delightful colloquialisms and terse phrases all combined with that bright spirit which is so essentially French in character." Certainly Mon Oncle et Mon Curé is not dull reading. Here, for example,--"Quels mécrèants! quels sacripants!" reprenait-elle, en me regardant d'um air furieux, comme si j'avais appartenu à l'espêce en questice. "Hum!" répondait le curé. "Des gens qui ne pensent qu'à jouer, qu'à manger!" continuait ma tante, qui avait sur le coeur la pauvretè léguée par son mari. "Quels suppöts de Satan!" "Hum! hum!" reprenait le curé, en hochant la tête. "Monsieur le curé, na'écriais-je avec impatience, hum! n'est pas un argument très fort."

Sacs et Parchemins, par Sandeau, edited by E. Pellissier (3.6). "Sandeau's chief characteristics," says M. Pellissier, the editor, "are the delicacy of his pictures, the refinement of his style and the sound moral tone which reigns throughout his works." "Sacs et Parchemins is a masterpiece of its kind and so admirably adapted in all respects for use in the class-room that it is a wonder no English school edition of it has yet appeared . . . . . . The style, which is terse and polished, abounds in happy, literary reminiscences, and wit sparkles in every page." "Je ne l'ai pas oublié," dit Laure: "mais je me souviens aussi que le vincente n'à eu qu'à se montrer pour enlever toutes vos sympathies. . . . Je n'ai pas était dupe un seul instant de son empressement, de ses avniduités. Je me suis dit tout de suite: voici un gaillard qui sait de quel cocé la miche et beurrée. Et pourtant, "ajouta Laure, "qui ne pouvait s'empécher de rire, vous le receviez, vous lui faisiez fête, vous aviez juré qu'il servait votre genre."

La Premiere Croisade, tirle de l'Histoir e des Croisades par Michaud, edited by A. V. Houghton (2.6). Mr. Houghton says that the greatest praise is due to Michaud for his care in examining all the original documents he could find, and for the impartial spirit he displayed in putting together the results of his investigation, but he adds that he evidently had no depth of criticism, and no sympathy with the cause that prompted the crusade or the spirit peculiar to the soldier of that time. The story of the first crusade is so full of intense and dramatic interest, the personalities of Godfry, Trancred, Robert of Normandy, Raymond, are so fascinating, Ascalon itself, such a name to conjure with, that the brilliant historian of the crusade has a light task in handling this epic of history. An historical introduction in English and a good map, shewing the line of mete of the converging armies, make the book more valuable.

Sappho, Trauerspiel, von Grillparzer, edited by W. Rippmann (3/-). The story of the Lesbian poetess, with her convent or college of accomplished maidens, has come down, with fragments of her work, through twenty-five centuries. Universal tradition relates how she threw herself from the rock of Leukas (a leap from which, it was supposed, would free the heart of love) in pursuit of the haughty Phaneum. This is the subject of Grillparzer's tragedy. The fundamental idea according to the poet is "that art and life are incompatible." This is not primarily a tragedy of love as some have maintained. The tragedy lies in the fault of Sappho in wishing to combine with the priesthood of art such enjoyment of life as is granted to ordinary mortals. Byron's note upon reading the play is instructive in more ways than one. It made its appeal to the Byronic temperament!--"January 12th, 1821.--Read the Italian translation by Guido Sorelli of the German Grillparzer--a devil of a name, to be sure, for posterity; but they must learn to pronounce it . . . With every allowance for such a disadvantage, the tragedy of Sappho is superb and sublime! There is no denying it. The man has done a great thing in writing that play. And who is he? I know him not; but ages will. ‘Tis a high intellect. . . . Grillparzer is a grand, antique, not so simple as the ancients, but very simple for a modern--too Madame de Staëlish now and then, but altogether a great and goodly writer."