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Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma

Reviewed Work(s): The Nude. A Study in Ideal Form by Kenneth Clark
Review by: Johannes A. Gaertner
Source: Books Abroad, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Summer, 1957), p. 315
Published by: Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma
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Accessed: 10-05-2017 23:45 UTC

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Valerian Revutsky invites fromstudent
the his own class,ofand condemns
mod- the
ern drama to reassess intellectual's
the place fear ofof Mykola
ever being wrong and his
Kulish in the development
lack of of the
interest in theUkrainian
other arts. Both essays
theater. Sound scholarship is displayed
are significant contributions to theby under-
Constantine Bida in his standing
paper of our
on present
the cultural
"Lin- life.
guistic Aspect of the Controversy over Horst the Frenz
Authenticity of the Tale of Igor's Campaign" Indiana University
which supports the view that the poem is
authentic. * Kenneth Clark. The Nude. A Study in
Ideal Form. New York. Pantheon. 1956.
Justus Rosenberg
Swarthmore College xxi 4- 458 pages, ill. $7.50.
The only thing wrong with this otherwise
* Lionel Trilling. A Gathering perfect book of(which is dedicated to Bernard
Boston. Beacon. 1956. Berenson viii -f- and embodies much of his aesthetic
167 pages.
$1.45. philosophy) is that an expert wrote it, Sir
With the wide acceptance of paper-bound Kenneth Clark, one of the greatest connois-
editions in this country, it has become custo- seurs and art historians of our time. Such
mary for critics to publish their miscellaneous people, having seen everything and retaining
writings in book form. The present collection nearly all of it, are apt to underrate original-
of so-called "fugitive essays" contains sixteen ity. Whatever they see is similar to something
book reviews written between 1949 and 1956, else they have seen before; influences abound,
a longer essay on the American Intellectual, similarities lurk everywhere, and derivations
and an address entitled "On Not Talking." darken the air of art appreciation. Yet thou-
The short pieces, although ranging from re- sands of independent creations do exist,
views of biographies (e.g., of E. M. Forster's though they may be parallel or similar to
great-aunt and of Monckton Milnes) and of others, and the connoisseur's constant referral
autobiographies (Robert Graves's Good-Bye of one work of art to another, though proof
to All That) to analyses of novels (C. Virgil of his erudition, may bore the nonprofessional
Gheorghiu's The Twenty-fifth Hour and reader.
C. P. Snow's The New Men), of critical stud- Erudition, however, in a book like this is no
ies (L. A. Reid's A Study of Aesthetics), col- flaw, but an asset, especially when it is ex-
lections of letters (by Henry Adams), and pressed in Clark's inimitable style, a style like
literary discussions, have one thing in com- champagne brut - dry, sparkling, and ex-
mon. They go far beyond ordinary book re- hilarating. Every sentence is weighted with
views and, in a concise manner, give back- scholarship, taste, good sense, and humor and,
ground, amplification, and original thought indeed, it very often takes expert knowledge
to the particular subject under discussion. to appreciate how much the author has put
The two excellent chapters on Zola and into a sentence, how well aware he is of all
Dickens are, respectively, a revaluation and the unsolved problems, how charmingly he
defense of Zola and an explanation as to why combines elegance with profound knowledge.
"we cannot read Kafka or Lawrence or Faulk- A superb achievement in word and picture!
ner without learning a little better how to Johannes A. Gaertner
read Dickens." Lafayette College
"The Situation of the American Intellec-
tual at the Present Time" points out that the * Frank Elgar, Robert Maillard. Picasso.
change in the attitude of the American intel- Francis Scarfe, tr. New York. Praeger.
lectual toward his own country is due to the 1956. 315 pages, ill. $5.
fact that the influence of Europe has come One to can easily agree with the blurb of this
an end and that there has been a considerable book which calls it "an outstanding example
improvement in the cultural situation in thisof the publishing art: 322 black and white
country as compared with three decades ago.illustrations, 75 plates in six colors . . . , with a
However, Trilling finds, there are manyskilled integration of text and pictures on 307
areas of American life and culture to which pages, for only $5.00!" Even the exclamation
the American literary intellectual in particu- mark is justified. The book has, besides, a few
lar must respond and in which he must show other useful features: a list of works by Pi-
a greater interest. He must prove that "art casso in European museums, 261 small repro-
. . . really is the criticism of life." In "On Not ductions of his principal works (nine to a
Talking" he elaborates on another idea, the page) in an appendix, and a condensed bibli-
alienation of the American artist and intellec- ography. The texts, too, present a new, in-

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