11 JULY 1931, Page 28

Current Literature

THESE fourteen biographical studies ranging over a period From Anne to Victoria (Methuen, 10s. 6d.) are based upon lectures given under Oxford auspices outside the University. They are short, and in every single case the reader wishes them longer. Some of them deal with such well-known characters as the Old and the Young Pretenders, Hogarth, Horace Walpole, Samuel Butler, Millais and Holman Hunt. Others attract the reader by less known names. Marianne North, for instance, will recall to many persons who are no longer young a charming personality, a botanist, a good 'artist, and a great traveller, whose collection of flower portraits still delight the habitués of Kew Gardens. The names of Sir Robert, Jane and Maria Porter head a charming sketch of the once distinguished trio. Jane and Maria were popular novelists in their day, though Thaddeus of Warscrw and Scottish Chiefs are unknown titles to the young people of the present and to their elders recall as a rule nothing but the memory of an old bookcase and the worn backs of its inhabitants. Richard Jeffries is a really enlightening essay on that singular man of genius and fascination.

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