Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/112

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I02 Reviews.

events, of Map's numerous quotations to their sources, to point out many of his historical and literary blunders, and to identify many of the persons referred to. He has thus laid students under a debt of gratitude. His preface is very interesting. It contains a description of the manuscript, the details of which are con- tributed by Mr. R. L. Poole, a discussion of the previous ownership, and of the references to it by other writers. Here also the date of the work is discussed, and a short analysis is given, together with a somewhat more extended account of the Epistle of Valerius to Ruffinus against marriage (which is an earlier work of Map incorporated in the De Nugis) and of the mediaeval commentaries upon it. The references to the plan of the book do not seem quite consistent. On one page Dr. James says quite truly : " Nothing can be clearer than that there is no plan, and that the work was jotted down at various times, as the fancy struck the author." Three pages further on he says : " The plan, as I have said, is to seek." If we interpret this literally it means that the writer has not given up the hope that there is a discoverable plan. The fact is that the book is a desultory work of intermittent leisure or intermittent application. The items, doubtless written separately, have been shuffled and put together in a haphazard way, and no care taken to find any logical ground for the "distinctiones," to render the dates consistent, or to prevent repetitions or contradictions.

Dr. James' notes, valuable as they are, are very far short of what is needed for a full appreciation of the work. Indeed, he expressly says that he has "from the first renounced all efforts to compile a full commentary upon the text." Such a commentary would require the collaboration of more than one scholar. It should be preceded by a translation into English, which can now be undertaken with some confidence on the basis of Dr. James' text. No translation, of course, can reproduce Map's affected style, though perhaps a short specimen or two might be given where the antitheses, the assonance, and the alliteration are capable of being presented. The substance is of more importance for those to whom mediaeval history, tradition, and romance appeal; and they are an increasing number in these days. Cannot the Folk-Lore Society, or perchance the Cymmrodorion Society, be