3 JANUARY 1936, Page 34


The monuments of a culture can serve more than one use. They can provide a critical canon, an epitome of experiences different from our own, a summation of mature tribal wisdom. In volume form they are usful as paperweights or door-stops. And in idle decadent moments they provide simple amuse- ment when scissored and pasted into scrap-books. Mr. Bloom- field calls his scrap-book (Cassell, 7s. 6d.) The Mediterranean, and in it he has stuck snippets of Hesiod, Thackeray and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. There is no limit to this sort of parlour game, and the result is always a handsome Christmas present. It is mainly the picturesque, the whimsical and the humorous that take Mr. Bloomfield's eye. His favourite authors arc the eighteenth and nineteenth-century dilettanti who sauntered along the Mediterranean, giving superficial opinions in a loud voice. The picture is most incomplete, as sentimental and genteel as the illustrations. It is perhaps scarcely a coincidence that there is no quotation from D. H. Lawrence, a Mediterranean dweller whose sense of the genius loci and whose wealth of descriptive writing has very few equals. We do not find Lady Blessington a sufficient compensation. •