THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, by Ralph Harper. (The Harvill Press. 10s. 6d.)
OR all its title this is not a -Isimple book. It is philosophy, metaphysics, the seeking for the realities behind the appearances in the new style. It involves no formal analysis, nor systematic treatment of the ideas of being, the good. the true, the beautiful; nor, though it is largely concerned with the utter refutation of Nietzsche and all he stood for, does it present his system systematically and refute it logically.
In fact more than half the story is that logic is not enough, as the author states, concluding " the tale" : " Experience teaches men much, poetry even snore. and philosophy confirms as it reflects on both." (Italics ours.) Here we are in a world of thought made familiar from different angles by Gabriel Marcel on the one hand and Jean Paul Sartre on the other; and in which Max Picard and Louis Lavelle. Heidegger and Kierkegaard, are more often referred to than Plato. Aristotle, or St. Thomas.
But those to whom these are but names in learned reviews or pretentious conversation should not be put off by this fact; for first of all there is Fr. Martin D'Arcy's helpful ' Foreword." and then the author's own prologue and epilogue-and I think they ought to be read together-to help set this discussion of the world of " poetic justice " round the fairy story of the Sleeping Princess in " position " for the man in the street. " Mr. Harper," says Fr. D'Arcy. " is sensitive to the mood of our
PICK OF TO-DAY'S SHORT STORIES. by John Pudney (Putnam, 12s. 6d.).
GIVEN a modicum of discrimination, the middlebrow author will often make a better editor than his highbrow counterpart. Being less concerned with the theory of writing, with some personal " party-line " of principle and taste, he will respond to a broader range of styles. not seeking to systematise incongruous talents.
Just such an unabashed middlebrow is Mr. Pudney; and " Pick " No, 6, of 28 stories, is rich with the proof of his wide approach. Tales of plot, studies of character. psychological explorations, fantasies of some horrific future all find a home in these 250 pages. Authors young and old, recognised and up and•coming, meet together in this collection. L. P. Hartley has a brilliant ghost-piece. Dorothy Whipple a grim and neat surprise. Louis Golding a vampire sketch. Robert Waller a poetic fancy. Isobel English a subtle narrative. Neville Braybrooke a racon teur's remembrance. D. S.
Crossword No. 381
Prizewinners.: First priLe, one guinea: Miss Jean Cole, Newport. Second prin. a book: P. Swift, Si. Helens, Lancs. time and sums it up in certain words which may at first disconcert the reader. Many may not he familiar with his use of such terms as nostalgia. presence and anonymity though in time they may become as acceptable as the onetime obscure paintings of the French Impressionists. These words mark a difference in approach to human problems from that which has been traditional among philosophers."
It may be an over-simplification of Mr. Harper's fascinating 150odd pages of disquisition on the Fairy Story to say that " the world of poetic justice" is the world of Christian Charity, the Order of Grace. the Supernatural; hut it is true.