2 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 13


A Literary History of France. By Emile Faguet, Member of the French Academy. (T. Fisher Unwin. 12s. 6d. net.)—This book is one of the useful series called "The Library of Literary History"; and it is fairly safe to say that no other of the series can surpass it in brilliance and in value. We are beginning to realise more and more in England, both in schools and in private study, the necessity of a thorough knowledge of the French language and literature. There is no real cultivation without it. M. Faguet, in the very interesting introduction to this book, reminds us of the mutual indebtedness of France and England, the influence they have exerted on each other, all through the history of their literatures. Those who already know M. Faguet's writings will agree that there exists no wiser judge and no fairer critic, and will share his distrust of such teaching of English literary history as ignores that of France. After the publication of such a volume as this, ignorance Or neglect is indeed without excuse. It is literally crammed with information : every page is interesting and valuable. It is also singularly attractiye, so that wherever one chances to open it, one reads on, and the period or author accidentally chosen seems the most important of all. Greater praise to the work itself can scarcely be given. Wo must, however, express oar regret that the translation is hardly on so high a level. Though often good and readable, it occa- sionally betrays itself by a certain literalness and weakness of style. But the task must have been one of very great difficulty.