22 JULY 1905, Page 22

A Short History of Venice. By W. R. Thayer. (Macmillan

and Co. 6s. 6d. net.)—This is a book of considerable value, telling the story of Venice succinctly and lucidly. Mr. Thayer has not, it is true, wholly escaped the lues biographica, if an historian is susceptible of that complaint. Venice is Mr. Thayer's heroine, and he con- descends to something like special pleading on her behalf. Surely the Republic's conduct in the matter of the Fourth Crusade and Zara cannot be said not to have fallen " a hair's breadth below the highest mark of honour as then conceived." To his apology for the Venetian lack of literature we have no objection to make. It is highly ingenious, to say the least. " As Englishmen and Americans draw four-fifths of their culture from books, they are likely to underrate the culture which speaks through the pla-itic arts and painting. Yet St. Mark's Church may have had for the people who saw it daily the cultural equivalent of an Iliad or an Antigone."