26 MAY 1939, Page 38

THE ENGLISH By Edmond Privat In The English: From Pirates

to Prophets (Allen and Unwin, 5s.) M. Privat has set out to explode the legend of perfidious Albion, and by way of compensation has treated us more kindly than we deserve. From the piracy of our national origins (M. Privat flatteringly derives us from the Vikings), we have passed by slow degrees to the prophetic stature of the Victorian age; and the realism of the one and the idealism of the other remain blended in our natures. What M. Privat courteously refrains from reminding his compatriots is how closely our realism and our idealism are allied, and how often one can be made to play into the hands of the other. It is pleasant to find a Frenchman so familiar with the peculiarly English figures in our national tradition—Wyclif, Bunyan, Locke, Wesley, William Morris—as well as with those who have long ago acquired international status. But it takes a foreigner to compare Bunyan and Mr. Aldous Huxley—the former having abandoned his youthful cynicism for the cause of greed, and the latter for pacifism.