21 AUGUST 1936, Page 28

Current Literature

This volume (John Murray, Os.) contains twenty-two hitherto unpublished letters from. the Barrett-BroWning family correspondence, which found- their way last year to a New York auction where they fetched £8,000—a sum which testifies to the enduring fascination exercised _over the -World by that famous and picturesque love-story. Nothing very much emerges from these letters (addressed to Elizabeth's sisters, Henrietta and Arabel) that we did not already know; but it is delightful to renew acquaintance with that enchanting, warm-hearted woman and her bold but thoughtful and scrupulously correct rescuer from the prison of Wirnpole Street. " Her entire sweetness of temper," writes Robert I3roiiuipg,from Pisa, "makes it a delight to breathe the situ. e ' air with her " ; and when a little further on we come upon an underlined postscript : " Love to Minny. Speak of Papa always" (Papa, Who would not even open her letters) we too can feel, across ninety years, the generous warmth of her spirit. The minor figures of the Browning romance, Wilson their servant and the spaniel Flush, make satisfactory appearances in their familiar characters ; and we are almost present at the birth of the beloved child Penini. The little book in fact -will charm many of those who enjoyed Mr.

• Resier's famous play (or the film derived from it) ; and no doubt it was with that wide public in mind that Mr. Benet has provided a commentary at first sight almost too explana- tory : " The reference to Newman and Puscy . . . is to two leaders of what was known as The Oxford Movement in England (having nothing to do with a certain modern cult that has adopted the name)." But generally he tells us just what we want to know.