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Samuel Putnam — New York Sun, n° 9, 12-9 - ’32.
The young Leo Ferrero made his debut as a philosopher a year or so ago, under the distinguished patronage of M. Paul Valéry, with a succinct and scholarly study of Leonardo’s own writings. This book, entitled «Leonardo, o dell’Arte (Leonardo, or the Problem of Art)», bore a preface by the author of «Variété» and was speedily translated into French. Portions of it have been published in English in the New Review. Since the appearance of his «Leonardo», Leo Ferrero has spent most of his time in Paris, which he prefers to his native Italy,.... The reader may be referred to an article on «The Tragic Grandeur of Italy» which was published in the Italian number of This Quarter (Summer, 1930), and which will be found in the Italian section of the forthcoming second volume of «The European Caravan.» This article, a paragraph or two of which is incorporated in «Paris,» is in a way necessary to complete comprehension of Leo Ferrero’s position.
Leo Ferrero’s thesis is that Paris is the only place left where «the metabolism of the Occident still takes place»; and the adds: «The majority of Occidentals follow its (Paris’s) laws without recognizing its right to dictate those laws; the Parisians themselves are conscious neither of their function nor of their power.» Paris is, «even in its outward appearance, the most striking symbol of a civilization which has worked out the Occidental synthesis.» It has become «the object of the admiration and respect of a good portion of the globe.»
The conclusion: «It (Paris) must choose; it must either place itself at the head of the Western peoples and point out to them the future, or resign itself to charming them with its memories of the past.» Paris and the French, it is admitted, are inclined to be callous toward the present world chaos; but that is because they have enjoyed too satisfactory an order themselves and find difficulty in picturing any other; they have recovering from victory. Nevertheless France must «bear the moral weight of a world shaken by revolutions and moral