Summer 1939 • Vol. I No. 3 Book ReviewsJuly 1, 1939 |

Speculations on Sin

The Family Reunion. By T. S. Eliot. Harcourt, Brace and Co. $1.50 It is perhaps scarcely legitimate to compare Murder in the Cathedral, which is more properly a pageant than a play, with Eliot’s latest work, yet at one point such a comparison will serve to illustrate what I feel to be the radical weakness of The Family Reunion. Doubtless there are several reasons for the surprising stage success of the earlier piece, including its character as pageant, but not the least of them is the fact that the audience is at once put in possession of the knowledge why the action is necessary. Whatever else may escape them—the further reaches of theology and irony—they know that Thomas is to become a martyr, and understand at least enough of the circumstances and the character of the man to make the action seem plausible, if not, indeed, necessary. It is precisely here—in point of adequate motivation—that The Family Reunion seems to me to fail. To be sure, we know the general sub

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