24 JANUARY 1931, Page 28

Herr Walter Seckauer's The Books of the Emperor Wu Ti

(Seeker, 6s.) was awarded the Jugend Prize, but we confess our inability to understand why. It seems to be a Chinese allegory (tediously distilled through the conduit of a European mind) which runs hither and thither and arrives no whither. The hero, Shu Yee, who practises all his life the excellent virtues of moderation, prudence and self-control, never does find the books of the Emperor Wu Ti, but finds his testament, which is—" I am dead, but I would live." And Shu Yee, having begotten • twelve sons and one daughter (most of whom come to an unhappy end), lives for ever. And that is all, and we do not know why a writer of a Chinese allegory or parable, or magic fairy-tale—call it what you will—should use that barbarous, compound Chinaman; to the exclusion of the proper term which is Chinese. * **