23 MAY 1908, Page 24

Messrs. Alexander and Co. publish the four following volumes translated

from the Russian of Merejkowski by G. A. Mounsey (is. 6d. net per vol.) All have the title of The Life-Work, and the names are Pliny the Younger, Montaigne, Calderon, and Ibsen. The Life-Work of Pliny the Younger is a very sympathetic and pleasing study. We doubt whether Pliny "laid bare his heart with nobility and frankness." He seems to us to write with one eye, so to speak, on the public. At the same time, he shows us a very genial, kindly personality, with no small spice of vanity, it is true, and with an open side to even coarse flattery, but in the main a true, benevolently minded person. The book is well worth reading. It is a pity that, in a double transliteration from Latin to Russian and Russian to English, some of the Latin names are sadly changed. " QuintiRian " has a superfluous "1." "Arpimidor" presumably stands for "Artemidorus," "Helvedius " for "Helvidius," "Marrik " for "Mauritius," " Phannia" for " Fannia," " Mizenae " for " Misenum," and "Amastrisa " for " Amastris." "Atizosia " we do not recognise. Montaigne is not unlike the Younger Pliny, and wears his heart much more upon his sleeve. If his candour was art, all we can say is that it was very artful indeed. If M. Merejkowski does not tell us any- thing new about Montaigne—and, indeed, this is more than we could expect—he at least gives a careful and illuminating exposi- tion of the man's habit of thought, and does it within a reasonable compass. Calderon is less interesting; the case of Ibsen is not one which we care to discuss on the present occasion.