22 MARCH 1924, Page 22

THE ENGLISH SECRET, and Other Essays: By Basil de Selincourt.

(Oxford University Press. 10s. 6d.) These articles will probably be familiar to many readers who may have encountered them on the front page of the Times Literary Supplement. In avowing them Mr. de Selin- court has only done himself justice, but to us perhaps a dis- service. In their original anonymity they expressed a love and understanding of, and a pride in, the native genius which was an inspiriting and sustaining thing. For the superiority of the English mind to that of any modern race is the central idea, the mainspring of his intellectual activity. But this faith is not blindly held : "English, let us remember it, offers us no standards of discrimination ; that is the price it has to pay for its subtlety and comprehensiveness. The English- man who is to enter perfectly into his inheritance must be a citizen of the world." What was authoritative and modest, as self-confidence is modest in contrast to self-conceit, is now personal and dialectical. That is the loss. The gain is to have compactly before us the apparatus of belief. In his analysis of the English secret, sofar as it can be analysed, he is penetrating, and what is more remarkable, communicative. Many of his best results are obtained by considering the mind of our antipodal neighbour, the French. When the other essays do not directly bear on the same subject, they are practical applications of the sensibility which has been therein postulated—such are those on Town Planning " and " The League of Nations." An enlightened wisdom, which harmonizes without dissipating many of life's diverse forces, is here expressed with lucidity and grace.