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BOOKS AND BOOKMEN

‘A Scrap of Paper ’: The Inner History of German. Diplomacy and Her Scheme ( of World-wide Conquest. By Dr K. J. Dillon. London: Hoddei and Stoughton. I The above possesses many merits. It ! is compact, vigorously written, logical, j clearly stated, and in by an expert of j international repute. Dr D.llon knows ( Germany, and knows it well. Ho has for ■ years been in close personal touch with , Ihe in-ems and names that have been Erominent in our cables. He is also lessecl with keen observation, a strong | and ckar intellect, and the ability to set j down in eloquent and forcible English the ' icsults of ins world-knowledge and varied j exper once. One does not need to worry | about this, that, or the other history once one has thoroughly mastered the contents of this little book. And this, happily, is comparatively easy, the facts being so well marshalled and so attractively stated. The ; carefully, long-planned, and’ wondcrfully- ; fully developed scheme of German aggreei sion on our Empire is laid bare, so that ! he who runs may road and understand. ; Dr Dillon neither indulges in hysterics : nor in maledictions, and some of -his ini dignation is reserved ior ourselves. There 1 is iv> excuse for the majority of us. We ought to have known what was coming. We cannot, renly that no ono told us, for what is now happening- we were told w uld happen. What we did do was to laugh the tellers to scorn. We are at one, I n., wn li Dr Bilim when he says that it lis b utcr the war came when it did than later, t-eoing that it had to be, we have all cause for thankfulness that German arrogance at last compelled England to draw the sword. Stories of great (-vents, sc admirably and authoritatively told, should be used as a test book in all hiich schools. It is the duty of our educational authorities to see that the origin, causes an>l responsibility for this meat war that has been forced upon mankind arc known by heart and retained in memory. •The Bonk of Genesis : Authorised Version by Permission.’ Illustrated by F. t'ayley Robinson. The. Medici Society. Few superstitions die harder than superstitions about the Bible; and there is no doubt that 111 the days of our fathers it was commonly held a wicked or irreligious thing to talk or think of the Bible in terms of literature. That very’ curious notion—associated with a time when the sunlight must bo excluded from the front of the house on the Sabbath, and it was lilting that wo should sit down to a heavy and hot midday meal—is not yet gone: and some people, on opening this nook, might he startled by -Mr Cayley Robinson’s hold and striking pictures of scenes in Genesis. But others will view them in quite another light. They will had these illustrations original and in some instances beautiful: sparing in inessential color and detail; and bringing a leader to the study' ot Genesis with a fresh interest and a profit. What ends but good and useful can be served, then, I by shell a work as this? ’There should be a beginning to every story, but usually the beginning is omitted because the truly fundamental is , not rcga’rded as suitable for romance; but men have sense enough to approach Divine knowledge with eyes for the fundamental, and no one has well studied the literature of any great religion and retained that veneration for •■refinement” which is like a second pair of eyelids to many civilised, people. Genesis might be recommended even by an atheist to people in need of contact with reality. No Sunday newspaper is fuller of it; but in no newspaper may be, found what even an athfisi may find and know as tvcasurable in Genesis. The art of the writer or writers of Genesis is not a careful art; for Genesis is a document sometimes in conflict with itself. Its most redoubtable foe is not geology, but its own inconsistency. But its inconsistency and occasional obscurity do not prevent Hie book from producing an effect extraordinarily . multi-colored and thought-inspiring. Genesis is a little world in itself. Its anthropomorphic God, mysteriously companioned, is a figure only present to the imagination which can look closely at death and pain and the work of death and pain in aggrandising and intensifying life. —The God of Genesis, — who creates and repents of his creation, may' seem like an older and sublimer Frankenstein; but whereas FrankenstcinV monster makes us think of little but the mechanical blundering which made its body an eyesore and thwarted its aspiration, the man and woman made by God make us think of deops and heights whence spirits can bo called and incarnated, and of that mysterious human self that chooses or refuses to love another. Those to whom drama is not. wholly a matter of technique must acknowledge and applaud the powerful simple!tv of the Jchovistic drama of the so-called Fall, where a passion For science was pitted against the love of Gcd, and won, leaving man and woman forlorn and blighted—their only hope the inspiration of the curiosity which hail givyi them a little base knowledge, not enough to direct them in time to the tree n{ life. One needs only to be artistic to admire the mingling of majesty and i pettiness in the scene following the eating of the forbidden fruit. This fruit that the human pair have eaten may or may not be in itself magic ; an artist would prefer that it were not, for enough magic lay in their curiosity to account for what ensued on yielding to it. The mere, act of disobedience engenders a dread of reprisals; soul becomes tbe prurient critic of body; the career of curiosity is suspended, though, up a vista of chiliads, one sees tbe men of science of countless generations toiling to undo the mischief wrought by tno first and saddest priers, whose dignity is sustained hv JenovahElohim when He says: “Behold, the man is become one of us, to know good and evil.” In praise of ,—The Biographies in Genesis—of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, one can hardly sav more than that these people are more real to the imagination than many and many a person whose autograph letters are bought for albums to-day. The dove returning with an olive leaf to the ark ia poetry, and the rainbow confirming the truce of God is poetry; but Noah, alas! is not poetry, and Noah’s curse upon his disrespectful son’s son has been used to justify the crime of slavery. But the lives of Abraham and his three principal descendants excite pleasure in the contemplative soul. Though Hagar’s insolence condemns her to banishment one knows that Abraham was essentially a gentleman ; Tiis gentleness is part of the frtfifico which he offered on the occasion when Isaac was laid on the altar; and what we may term his gentlemanliness is illustrated by his insistence on paying for the burial place of his wife. One lingers over the life ot Abraham with a tense ot having before ono the model of a modern problem novel, itself not being problematical owing to the direction and assurance of God. And here it may be said that whether or no one believes in the authenticity of Genesis, one cannot, unless born vermicular, fail to be impressed by the relation therein between God and Man. It does the soul good to look beyond law for 'the law-giver; and even if Genesis were fiction one little sentence from it — “Is anything too hard for the LOrd?”— might awake in some depressed subject ana. prisoner of materialistic law an interest in Someone higher than man. —Fiction and Romance.— In one thing adored by readers of fiction Genesis is rich. Rain drowns one wicked multitude, and fire and brimstone destroy and cleanse another; crime is haughty, and punishment is another name for crime; but loves remains, and it ia the love of our own day. It is the love of country and kindred, it is conjugal love and the love of God. Romance has eyes through which we still see Rebekah ministering to Abraham's ambassador at the well. The tender eyes of Leah and ths Eathos of her motherhood still vex the eart, though her .better-loved sister is dear to a world of broad humor, which wakes at night around bottles and decanters, as also to the larger world that feels the piteousness of degth by birth. And

still we feel the inextirpable fraternal affection that Joseph felt for thorn who sold him, and still the compunction of Reuben’s grimy sonhood and the filial love of fratricidal Judah glimmer and shine in view of humanity. Over one figure in Genesis the modern mind broods ns over an epitome of clever men with tender hearts, who, sinning, did not fall into mud. Jacob, with his passionate yearning for the occult goodness of the Blest, Jacob who stole a blessing with the hardihood of a housebreaker. Jacob who would not let the Immortal Wrestler go until ho had blest him, Jacob the sly is also Jacob tho high, who, blest and bereaved, learned and taught, in tho poem that_ was as his death song, the language of eternal love. The literary man goes to Genesis, as becomes a literary man, for beauty or ucliness, for conviction or! doubt or anything that can swell his book or article; but sometimes an eternal verity flashes at him from this old scripture, and he fc-eis that tho searcher has changed into the searched.—The ‘ Saturday Review.’ WAR LITERATURE. ‘The Red Bonk: An After-the-War Policy’ (by Ambrose Pratt).—Air Critobley Parker, the publisher of tho above, writes: “In furtherance of the policy I adopted at the outbreak of the war, I now announce a book dealing with the all-important question of what good Australians are going to do with Germany’s commerce after the wav. There can be ( little doubt that for years past we have i been subscribing liberally toward the building and maintenance of Germany's armaments. We have done this by trading in German goods and manufactures of all kinds. The question is, after the war, are wo going to take up our trade with Germany ns though nothing had happened’/ If we are, it will mean in effect that wo are quite prepared to help her pay her indemnities. It has to be remembered that Germany has smashed the factories of the Belgians and endeavored literally to oxtermiiiate the people. Tho scene- of the war nitrations in France is amongst the most thickly populated factory areas. The damage done to the factories alone in Belgium and, France will take years to remedy, and it may he part of Germany’s scheme to arrange a civil revolution when the Kaiser’s aitides are-pushed back on Breslau by the Russians. This would enable Germany's military rulers to sue for peace with the hope of averting tho invasion and devastation of their country. If such a thing were permitted, how easy would it lie for Germany, with her factories intact, to pay any indemnity demanded! The work by Ambrose Pratt on this all important subject is therefore timelv.” Tho third and fourth numbers of 'Life's Wav Guide ’ to hand complete the set of this most useful and concise war publication. The idea was to answer in four sixpenny booklets a thousand or more war queries that are puzzling readers on this side of the sen, and this has been accomplished. In addition to making ‘ Life’s War Guide ’ a compact and low-priced encyclopedia of the war. each number contains an article by Dr Fitchctt, and several special articles, such as ‘How Is an Army Fed?’ ‘ls the Submarine Invincible':’ etc. 'Blit the chief aim of * Life’s War Guide ’ is to answer war questions so that, no matter what magazines or papers one reads on the war, these compact reference booklets are most helpful. Each number contains several pictures and maps. ‘Punch Cartoons.’—Wo have received from Jarrold and Sons, London, 12 post cards, the pictorial part of each of which consists of a. war cartoon from this famous comio weekly. It is satisfactory to know that tho measure of tho infamous German war lord has been accurately taken by English artists aind journalists. In our last week’s issue wo inadvertently credited Whitcnrnho and Tombs with being tho printers of Dr M'Nab’s latest book, ‘ From Tasman to Marsdcu,’ whereas it was turned out from the premises of J. Wiikie and Go.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141128.2.86

Bibliographic details

BOOKS AND BOOKMEN, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914

Word Count
2,096

BOOKS AND BOOKMEN Issue 15662, 28 November 1914

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