A Sense of Reality, by Graham Greene (Bodley Head, 15s). Mr. Greene ventures for the first time beyond the threshold of fantasy and legend. in these four stories. "Linder the Garden". a short novel, describes in great detail an "afternoon dream", seen on different levels of interpretation, childish fantastic, childish realistic, adult reminiscent. "A Visit to Morin", the most realistic piece in the book, is an essay in the tortured Catholicism with which readers of Mr. Greene will be familiar.
The Winter People, by Gilbert Phelps (Bodley Head, 18s). Now that there is so little of the earth's surface left to explore. the psychology of the explorer becomes a legitimate field for investigation. For the Lost World of Conan Doyle, Mr. Phelps substitutes a valley in which Colonel Parr's unhappy love-affair. the world's deep yearning for peace both find expression. The question posed is. did the valley really exist, or did it only exist in the mind of Colonel Parr?
Italian Sketches, by Maurice Rowdon (Gollancz, 21s.). "Sketches" inadequately describes Mr. Rowdon's heavy-handed approach to the Italian scene. His eight years in the country have not borne recognizable fruit, and have done curious things to his English. The book is littered with exclamation marks, so many nails in the coffin of its author's presumed ability to convey atmosphere. This is a book for sensitive people who can enjoy being irritated.
An Anthology of Commonwealth Verse, edited by Margaret O'Donnell (Blackie, 21s.). In postCommon Market days, a reminder of one of the realities of Commonwealth: English as a cultural medium. Too many of the poems are pale imitations of English models. but the Australian and New Zealand ballads have an enjoyable tang of their own. The editor's device of creating a separate "Anglo-Celtic" section, is an unfortunate eccentricity.
King John, by J. C. Holt (published for the Historical Associa
tion by Routledge. 3s. 6d.). In this useful little pamphlet, Professor Holt, of the University of Nottingham, examines the main lines followed by modern scholars in evaluating the character of King John. Lack of a level head, he concludes, is the factor which most damaged John's career.
Planned Social Study (Catholic Social Guild. 3s.). Three of the nine courses for discussion groups in this booklet deal with the late Pope's encyclical Mater et Magistra. One of them embodies the Young Christian Workers "See, Judge and Act" approach, which can be adapted to almost any group. Other courses tackle social and international ethics and industrial relations.
Latest in the Penguin Classics excellent series include John Gower's Confessio Amantis (5s.) written about 1390 and here " translated " from the Middle English by Thomas Tiller into what he calls "neutral" English.
By this he means that it is not archaic or ultra-modern. This version is only one-third of the original length of 30,000 lines but Tiller summarises in prose the missing tales.
Other new books in the series are Chronicles of the Crusades (5s.), two volumes by the Old French chroniclers Joinville and Villehardouin, translated by Margaret R. B. Shaw; Euripides Medea and Other Plays (4s.), translated with an introduction by Philip Vellacott; The Conquest of New Spain (6s.) by Bernal Diaz. translated with an introduction by J. M. Cohen: and The Letters of the Younger Pliny (5s.). translated with an introduction by Betty Radice.
County and Voluntary Schools, by Sir William Alexander and F. Barraclough (Councils and Education Press Ltd., 21s.). This fully revised Third Edition is a must for every education officer and, I would say, diocesan education commission. The latest law on these schools is fully and clearly set out.