Review of Affirmations
Affirmations. By HAVELOCK ELLIS. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1915. 2d ed., with a new Preface. 8vo. Pp. xii+252. $1.75
More than once it has occurred to me to reflect whether anyone is doing quite so much for the study of sociology at the present moment as
( 553) Havelock Ellis. The six volumes of his Studies in the Psychology of Sex have done more than anything else to lift the taboo from the study of sexual questions and to put the reproductive field among the regions within which we seek to establish a rational control.
The present charming volume deals with Nietzsche, Casanova, Zola, Huysmans, St. Francis, and others, and its interest for the sociologist lies in the recognition that "there is a literature which is not all art-the literature of life. Literature differs from design or music by being closer to life, by being fundamentally not an art at all, but merely the development of ordinary speech, only rising at intervals into the region of art. It is so close to life that largely it comes before us much as the actual facts of life come before us. So that while we were best silent about the literature of art, sanctified by time and the reverence of many men, we cannot question too keenly the literature of life. In this book I deal with questions of life as they are expressed in literature. Throughout I am discussing morality as revealed or disguised by literature."
W. I. Thomas
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO