19 MAY 1923, Page 16



WHETHER influenced by the weather or not, the production of books has dropped as suddenly as the barometer. My table this week bore a lighter load than for many weeks past and the number of notable books is correspondingly small. The most important is. certfinly The Letters of George Meredith to Alice Metjnell, 1896-1907. The letters reveal, even to a casual glance, Meredith at his most Meredithian. The book, published by the Nonesuch Press, is a beautiful production : so, too, is Love Poems of John Donne—another book from the same publisher—which is bound in quarter- parchment with cover and end-papers in a very effective Italian patterned paper in brown and cream. I congratulate the Nonesuch Press on both books. I congratulate it even on its review-slip, which is a work of art in itself. Another Meredith book is A Bibliography of Meredith, by Mr. M. Buxton Forman, which is published by the Bibliographical Society. The book contains facsimiles of Meredith's writing in letters to Swinburne and Watts-Dunton and a fragment of a poem, and also of three title-pages. From Mr. Martin Seeker come two small books, Seven Plays by Gilbert Cannan and Puppet Plays by Alfred Kreymborg, the American poet who, with his wife, has run a puppet-theatre in America with considerable success. His book has a preface by Mr. Gordon Craig. There are several books on Sport, Natural History, and Exploration. Angkor-Ruins in Cambodia, by P. Jeanncrat de Beerski (Grant Richards), contains an account of the astonishing buildings and sculpture at Angkor, by one who was sent there on an artistic and literary mission by the French Government. The book is copiously and strikingly illustrated. The Deer and Deer Forests of Scotland, by Alex. I. McConnochie, and A Naturalist in Hindustan, by R. W. G. Hingston, both published by Messrs. H. F. and G. Witherby, are attractive, and The Life, Diaries and Correspondence of Jane Lady Franklin, 1792-1875, edited by Mr. W. F. Rawnsley (Erskine Macdonald), appears to contain interesting material about travel and personalities.

In Great Britain and Prussia in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford : Clarendon Press) Sir Richard Lodge, Professor of History at Edinburgh, embodies his Ford Lectures delivered at Oxford last year.

I am very glad to see that a contest in verse-speaking, which is to be known as the Oxford Recitations, is to be held at Oxford in the Examination Schools in the High Street on July 24th and 25th. The contest is for both children and adults, and is divided into nine classes. Adjudicators will be Sir Herbert Warren, Prof. Gilbert Murray, Prof. George Gordon, Mr. Laurence Binyon and Mr. John Masefleld. It is hoped to make the contest an annual affair. Seeing what excellent results have been obtained by such contests at the Edinburgh and Glasgow Musical Festivals, no one can fail to rejoice at the institution of the Oxford Recitations.