15 JULY 1893, Page 26

Joanna of Naples. By St. Clair Baddeley. (Heinemann.)— Mr. St.

Clair Baddeley is, unless we mistake, a minor poet. If this is the case, it is a pity that, having an outlet for his poetical faculty, he does not resolutely keep it from intruding itself into his prose ; unfortunately, he has not done this, and the consequence is that his book, showing though it does industry in research and soundness of judgment, is made hard reading by an im- practicable style. " Seldom," he writes, a propos of Boccaccio's quarrel with Niceolo Acciajoroli, "can the vague and fitful discords of that curious compendium of human contrasts, the poetic nature, be made to resolve harmoniously as the common chords of life, as they are struck by the blurring fingers of the Commercial Spirit." Surely that is a very odd way of writing history, and it might be matched by any number of similar passages. The student of history, however, will do well to persevere, for the book will be found useful.