Contributions to Civilisation
Our Debi to Spain. By E. Allison Peers. (Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 5s.) Reviewed by A. A. PARKER This little book is an introductory outline of Spain's contribution to civilisation. To deal with this adequately in such a small compass is impossible, but Professor Peers achieves a certain measure of 'success largely through his sense of proportion.
Throughout the book there runs the theme of heroism, a heroism that finds its supreme expression in a sanctity overflowing in apostolic and missionary activity. There is the secular heroism of the medieval "Crusaders " against the Moors, of the explorers of the New World; and beside this there is the heroism of such great apostolic figures as St. Dominic, Bl. Raymond Lull, St. Vincent Ferrer, of St. Ignatius and the great sixteenth century mystics and reformers of religious life, and of the missionaries in America and Asia.
Even if such themes as Fr. Vitoria on war, the conception of government and colonisation revealed in the Laws of the Indies, the idea of authority and sovereignty developed by the political theorists, could be considered to fall outside the scope of such a small book, there still remain such themes as the democratic spirit of Spain, the predominant creative influence of the people (as distinct from an aristocratic class) on her culture; the tremendous sense of human dignity coupled with an intense familiarity with earthly things and a profound realisation of the evil of the world; the passionate concern for moral integrity revealed in the finest products of her literature.