REVIEWS OF BOOKS
Dlscurso del amor y de la muerte, praised in its day for " su erudici6n
exquisita, su vniuersalidad prodigiosa, su eloqiiencia florida", Dr. Woodford
finds absurdo e insulso", and the modern reader is tempted to say as
much of the poems (a panegyric, an epithalamium, a descriptive piece),
of the prose account of certain religious festivities, and even of the Competencia en los nobles y discordia concordada, a long dramatic colloquy
symbolizing the four elements which is as clearly indebted to Calder6n as
the epithalamium is to Gongora. If there be nothinghere for the general
reader, there is, however, much for the student interested not merely to
recapture the intellectual atmosphere of the colonies but to study the
complex and endlessly fascinating question of the evolution of taste.
Cueto y Mena was a licenciado, esteemed for the range and profundity of
his learning, who possessed two hundred books and quotes from or refers
to half that number of authors, classical and patristic, yet whose horizon
is so narrowly bounded by the Christian ethic that he has not even begun
to think outside it, mu.ch less to relate anything within it to the world
about him. There is much ingenuity in the Competencia, and for the rest
only ingenuous beateria. The sterility of his erudici6n " is pathetic, and
doubtless-to judge from the profusion of clerical encomiums which
adorned the original edition of his writings-not unrelated .to the company
he kept. The editor's notes constitute a fund of scholarship more pertinent
in nature: he has in fact done his task so well as almost to persuade us
that it was worth doing.
TOPOGRAPHY AND TRAVEL
The month of March was nearing its end when on a fine but chilly
morning I was at Victoria Station half an hour before the 9 a.m. Continental Express was due to leave for Dover."
So begins Mr. A. F.
Tschiffely's Round and about Spain (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1952,
pp. 318, 20S.) and it is not unfair to describe the sentence as typical.
Those who have never visited Spain will no doubt derive much interest
and instruction from a somewhat prolix account of the author's travels
through the country on a motor-cycle (the feeding of a horse on a postwar currency allowance being out of the question), and, on reading the
final words (" With this, gentle reader, I say to you I hope you have
enjoyed my story' "), will answer the implied question with an emphatic
Yes". Even the experienced, while running more lightly over the
pages, will find points of interest, for Mr. Tschiffely is a shrewd and
minute observer and throughout his five-thousand-mile tour he kept his
eyes open and his pencil busy. But the book must definitely be classed
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