15 JUNE 1929, Page 29

First of a new series of reprints, edited under the

attractive title of "- The Background of History " by Mr. C. H. Hartmann, comes the entertaining Memoirs of Captaib Carleton (Routledge, 10s. 6d.). Historians have long debated, first, whether there was a Captain Carleton serving under Peterborough in Catalonia during Queen Anne's reign, and secondly, whether he wrote the book. Mr. Hartmann has been able to add a few details to the elaborate memoir of Carleton which Colonel Parnell compiled a generation ago 1: Carleton was a real person, who was about seventy-eight when the book appeared in 1728. But Mr. Hartmann is too hasty in dismissing Colonel Parnell's careful argument for Swift's authorship. The book is clearly the work of a practised hand-not Defoe's-and the malicious humour in the story of the rascally Irish friar is typical of Swift.

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