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It is a pleasure to discover that the art of essay writing is not dead. In these nine essays, the author (a British scholar known here for two studies of 18th-century men, and The Art of Living) ranges over subjects as as the philosophy of Tolstoy, the art of translation, the conflict between science and the humanities, and the life and poetry of A.E. Housman. The last essay in the book for the little essay, which somewhat surprisingly and somberly presents the case of overpopulation as the world's greatest problem today. What unifies all these topics is the mind and personality of Mr. Lucas, a man devoted to the power of the human mind to deal with the individual problems of life and literature, but mistrustful of abstract philosophical thought. Perhaps the strongest virtue of this book is the extent to which the author knows his literature his primary field seems to be the ancient classics, but he to aimed at home among British, French, and Russian writers. The very depth of him to lease French quotations untranslated and even to insert an occasional phrase in Greek or Latin, but this need not frighten away unscholarly readers as he is completely unpedantle, always clear, and never dull. In an age when many scholars and intellectuals prefer to address themselves primarily to their colleagues, it is a delightful experience to some upon a writer like this, whose audience is any intelligent reader and who communicate- the enjoyment to be gained from reading and thinking.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1961
Publisher: Macmillan