Critical and Social Essays
Reprinted from the New York “Nation.” New York : Leypoldt and Holt.
THESE brief papers very fairly represent the quality of the excellent journal from which they are taken, and treat subjects suggested by literary events and social characteristics with a bright intelligence and an artistic feeling only too uncommon in our journalism. All the essays are good, and several are of quite unique merit. The first in the volume, entitled “The Glut in the Fiction Market,” is full of a felicitous badinage and an exquisite power of travesty, which we should not know how to match elsewhere. The author of this admirable paper wrote also, as we imagine, the essays on “Some of our Social Philosophers,” “Critics and Criticism,” and “Voyages and Travels,” which are the best of the humorous articles in the volume. The graver essays are almost as good in their way as these, and we especially like “Why we have no Saturday Reviewers,” “Popularizing Science,” “Something about Monuments,” and “American Ministers abroad.” The paper on “The European and American Order of Thought” considers the subject with an originality and penetration which we would willingly have had applied in a more extended study of it.
In fine, we like all these articles front “The Nation,” for the reasons that we like “The Nation” itself, which has beer, in a degree singular among newspapers, conscientious and candid in literary matters; while in affairs of social and political interest it has shown itself friendly to everything that could advance civilization, and notably indifferent to the claims of persons and parties.