Page 2, 20th April 1945

20th April 1945
Page 2
Page 2, 20th April 1945 — AFRICA DANCES

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People: Geoffrey Goers


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SIR,-The effect of the item headed " More Penguin Anti-Christianity " is likely to be damaging to Catholics rather than to Geoffrey Goers Africa Dances or its publisher.

Certain unsympathetic observations on Catholics and Catholic practices in West Africa have been made. It is not enough just to list these observations and dismiss them as " ignorant attacks." Goeer's argument is that Christian missionaries have destroyed the old religions of the West African end, in consequence, the order of his primitive society and left hint with no defence against the commercial barbarity of the West tu, an imperfectly understood alien religion, that is often adopted out of snobbishness or an itch to " get on." That, very roughly, is the argument which right or wrong puts the hotch-potch of quotation into some intelligible perspective It may be false that " candles and relies are sold at very high prices" in Dahomey. but it is true of other times, other places. Perhaps the pilgrims were not " fairly tipsy and a few roaring drunk," but it is possible, and would it invalidate the Church's claims ?

True or false, the various claims alter nothing and hardly justify a com

motion. Subjectively for Gover they are probably true; that is, he is prejudiced on the side of the defeated, the old tribal society with its indissoluble corporate life, its peasant culture, cruelty and magic; against what he sees as the cleekly individualising influences of missionaries from whose hands come not only the Word of God but the brothel and the maxim-gun; he is prejudiced and cannot see happenings the same way as your reviewer. But I didn't think that excused the discourtesy and extravagance of the notice.

As to Penguin Books' Anti-Christianity: it surely is a little fantastic to single out one non-Catholic publisher in a non-Catholic country and then base the ehargo solely on Crux Amara and Africa Dances: two books out of several hundred published by this firm. In any case the real eultwit. as far as Africa Dances is concerned, is Faber and Faber who first published it in 1935.

PETER TitostesoN.

Rosemary, Bledlow Ridge, Bucks.

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