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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsBooks And Persons: Being Comments On A Past Epoch 1908-1911 - "Ecce Homo"
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Books And Persons: Being Comments On A Past Epoch 1908-1911 - 'Ecce Homo' Post by :mohausa Category :Nonfictions Author :Arnold Bennett Date :May 2012 Read :1909

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Books And Persons: Being Comments On A Past Epoch 1908-1911 - "Ecce Homo"

1909


(_7 Jan. '09_)

The people who live in the eye of the public have been asked, as usual, to state what books during the past year have most interested them, and they have stated. This year I think the lists are less funny than usual. But some items give joy. Thus the Bishop of London has read Mr. A.E.W. Mason's "The Broken Road" with interest and pleasure. Mr. Frederic Harrison, along with two historical works, has read "Diana Mallory" with interest and pleasure. What an unearthly light such confessions throw upon the mentalities from which they emanate! As regards the Bishop of London I should not have been surprised to hear that he had read "Holy Orders" with interest and pleasure. But Mr. Frederic Harrison, one had naively imagined, possessed some rudimentary knowledge of the art which he has practised.

* * * * *

This confessing malady is infectious, if not contagious. I suppose that few persons can resist the microbe. I cannot. I feel compelled to announce to all whom it may not concern the books of the year which (at the moment of writing) seem to have most interested me--apart from my own, _bien entendu_: H.G. Wells's "New Worlds for Old." If it is not in its fiftieth thousand the intelligent masses ought to go into a month's sackcloth. "Nature Poems," by William H. Davies. This slim volume is quite indubitably wondrous. I won't say that it contains some of the most lyrical lyrics in English, but I will say that there are lyrics in it as good as have been produced by anybody at all in the present century. "A Poor Man's House," by Stephen Reynolds. Young Mr. Reynolds has already been fully accepted by the aforesaid intelligent masses, and I have no doubt that he is tolerably well satisfied with 1908. Nietzsche's "Ecce Homo." When this book gets translated into English (I have been reading it in Henri Albert's French translation) it will assuredly be laughed at. I would hazard that it is the most conceited book ever written. Take our four leading actor-managers; extract from them all their conceit; multiply that conceit by the self-satisfaction of Mr. F.E. Smith, M.P., when he has made a joke; and raise the result to the Kaiser-power, and you will have something less than the cube-root of Nietzsche's conceit in this the last book he wrote. But it is a great book, full of great things.

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