JACQUES R1V1ERE: a life of the Spirit, by Bradford Cook (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 25s.).
OUR strange provincialism in so largely ignoring the writings of fellow Catholics across the Channel has left it to America to publish the first English book on Jacques Riviere, "one among the great (French) spiritual writers". This appreciation of Prof Bradford Cook of California University is endorsed by many thinkers abroad. Jacques Riviere has • a very special appeal for a young generation too often tempted to let go the Faith: Riviere lost his own at the age of 11 when his mother's death seemed to his ardent spirit to show other Catholics as "cushioned" and tepid. ' His first conversion followed the I amous correspondence with Claude) and its unwearyipg patience with the boy of 20. rebellious and, above all. analytical-minded -even a railroad tract. says Professor Cook, had to be analysed fully before acceptance.
THE sub-title of the exhaustive and fully documented study "A I ife of the Spirit"exactly renders that of Riviere. German imprisonment in 1915 produced Riviere's spiritual classic A in trace de Diets from whose altitude he was so strangely to descend in the years preceding his early death. Professor Cook sees in the absence of outward practice the solitariness. the "drawing away from man" of Jacques' mind.
Riviere's ' fe, that other writer in a trilogy with Alain-Fournier. Jacques' "other self", in her incomparable preface to the Claude] letters gives the cause, rather, in material cares and the editorship of so famous a review as the Nouvelle Revue Fran raise-"no longer finding time to give himself to God, God will leave him that task as only reward".
Yet the search which truly underlay all outward seeming was to end. after the Last Sacraments received. with what Isabelle Riviere could call Jacques' "great cry of triumph and thanksgiving ... 1 approach the gates of death. Now .1 am miraculously saved".
E. M. BLOUNT.