Books of the Month
Science. Mr. G. P. Brown, in his Sewer-Gas and its Dangers (Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co.), gives the result of careful investigations made for the purpose of ascertaining to what extent improper drainage is responsible for sickness in our great cities. The author does not claim to have written a scientific treatise, nor to have dealt with the technical mysteries of plumbing. His little essay is just what it professes to be,—a sensible, straightforward statement of the defects which he found in the system of sewerage adopted in Chicago. For Chicago the reader may easily substitute New York, or Philadelphia, or Boston. — D. Appleton & Co. have reprinted Anthropology, an Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization, by Edward B. Tylor, D. C. L. The work, which addresses itself to the cultured reader rather than to the scientist, is profusely illustrated.— George M. Beard, M. D., has furnished a supplement to his treatise on Neurasthenia, entitled American Nervousness: Its Causes and its Consequences. (G. P. Putnam’s Sons.)—The Disposal of the Dead, by Edward J. Bermingham, A. M., M. D., is a plea for cremation. (Bermingham & Co.)
Poetry. In this department we have Giorgio and Other Poems, by Stuart Sterne, the author of Angelo (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.); A Little Child’s Monument, by the Hon. Roden Noel (London: C. Kegan, Paul & Co.); The Perfect Day and Other Poems, by Ina D. Coolbrith (published by subscription) ; and The Legend of St. Olaf’s Kirk, by George Houghton (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.). Each of these volumes is entitled to praise : Giorgio for a certain dramatic strength, and Roden Noel’s Child’s Monument for its delicate versification ; Miss Coolbrith’s poems have here and there fine lyrical qualities, and Mr. Houghton’s picturesque Northern legend is well worthy of its present tasteful resetting. This poem was originally published in pamphlet form for private circulation.— Some one who withholds his name from the title-page has turned Tennyson’s poem of The Princess into a play. (Lee & Shepard.) The dramatization is not very skillfully done. The playwright has overlooked several of the most effective points in the narrative, and deliberately eliminated the delicate humor of the poem. The idea of making a parlor drama of it was charming.
Fiction. The month has not been very prolific in novels, but the list is notable since it embraces Synnöve Solbakken, translated by Rasmus B. Anderson, from the Norse of Björnstjerne Björnson. This forms the initial volume of the complete collection of Björnson’s novels and romances announced some time ago bv Houghton, Mifflin & Co. The same publishers have issued Miss Phelps’s Friends: A Duet, and Edgar Fawcett’s A Gentleman of Leisure. The former story, which has just run its course in The Atlantic Monthly, is certain of a wide popularity in book form, and equal good fortune may be predicted for Mr. Fawcett’s charming and caustic picture of New York society.—In Mrs. Geoffrey (J. B. Lippincott & Co.) the readers of Molly Bawn and Phyllis will find something quite to their taste. — The Story of Helen of Troy (Harper & Brothers) is a society tale, of rather light texture, — It is rather difficult to class Hidden Power (G. W. Carleton & Co.): so much fiction is mixed up with Mr. T. H. Tibbles’s presentation of contemporary events that we must needs place his book among the novels. Hidden Power is a singularly felicitous title for a work of fiction in which literary power is so completely hidden. It is not, however, devoid of interest or entertainment.—In the Annals of Brookdale an anonymous author draws a pleasant idyllic picture of the typical New England village of twenty-five or thirty years ago. (J. B. Lippincott & Co. ) — The American readers of Hester Stretton—and she deservedly has a great many readers in this country — will warmly welcome the reprint of her Cobwebs and Cables. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) — The Chaplain of the Fleet, a capital novel by Walter Besant and James Rice, and The Miller’s Daughter, by Annie Beale, are among the latest additions to the Franklin Square Library. —The most striking thing about Contrasts, by M. R. Grendel (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), is its tasteless cover. It does injustice to a really clever story of Northern and Southern life. The latter half of the novel is more than clever.—The Rev. George H. Hepworth’s little story is quite as feeble as its affected title, or rather its lack of title, would lead one to expect. (Harper & Brothers). The author christens his novelette with three exclamation points, and the production really is !!!. — MM. Sirven and Leverdier have fallen victims to the baleful idea of writing a sequel to Zola’s Nana. The kindest thing that can be said of these two gentlemen is that they have failed in their attempt to be as “scientific ” and revolting as Zola. (J. B. Peterson & Brothers.)—Happy-Go-Lucky, by the author of Rutledge (G. W. Carleton & Co.), is an advance on some of the writer’s later novels, but is not so satisfactory as the story by which she first attracted her public. — The Count’s Secret, translated from the lurid French of Émile Gaboriau (Estes & Lauriat), A Nihilist Princess, also a translation from the French (Jansen, McClurg & Co.), and Among the Hills, by E. F. Poynter, the author of My Little Lady and other charming tales of English life (Henry Holt & Co.), complete our list.
Literature. Harper’s Cyclopædia of British and American Poetry, edited by the late Epes Sargent, is a handsome volume of nearly one thousand pages in double columns, neatly printed and admirably adapted for its purpose. Errors of taste and judgment are inevitable in compilation on so grand a scale: the present work contains as few mistakes as any poetical anthology with which we are acquainted. In the matter of selection, the editors of cyclopædias of this kind usually follow in each other’s footsteps, like Indians on a warpath. Mr. Sargent wisely struck out a course for himself, or at least sought to do so. In most instances he gives us not only fresh selections, but selections quite as excellent as the time-honored “ specimens.” — The little folks will hail with delight Mrs. Abby Sage Richardson’s Stories from Old English Poetry. The stories are from Chaucer, Spenser, John Lyly, Robert Green, and Shakespeare. (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) — Charles Scribner’s Sons have issued the fifth volume of Max Müller’s Chips from a German Workshop,— a work whose interest and value are inadequately expressed by the title.
History and Biography. The Correspondence of Prince Talleyrand and King Louis XVIII. during the Congress of Vienna has been issued in one handsome and marvelously low-priced volume by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The work, which is excellently printed on good paper, is furnished with a carefully prepared biographical and geographical index, and sells at one dollar. The Correspondence also appears in the Franklin Square Library, and in a cloth edition at seventy-five cents. (Harper & Brothers.) — Fowler and Wells have issued the first, volume of The History of Woman’s Suffrage, edited by Elizabeth C. Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage. The work is to he complete in two volumes, the first of which contains over eight hundred closeIy-printed pages, and is illustrated with numerous portraits on steel. — Edgar Quinet, his Early Life and Writings, by Richard Heath (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), is the latest addition to the English and Foreign Philosophical Library. It is an exposition of Quinet’s writings rather than a narrative of his life, though the opening portion of the book is rich in delightful biographical studies. The deep interest taken in Quinet and his literary career is shown by the fact that the first edition of this work is already out of print— An interesting biographical sketch of Count Agénor de Casparin, translated from the French of Thomas Borel, by Gen. O. O. Howard, comes to us from the press of G. P. Putnam’s Sons. A work of more immediate interest, however, is General Howard’s account of Nez Perce Joseph. (Lee & Shepard.) The rights and wrongs of the Chief Joseph and the circumstances attending his pursuit and capture arc matters that have been imperfectly understood by the public at large, and evidently not understood at all by several of those critics who have been most severe on General Howard’s action in the case. — If the Lost Cause were not quite dead, Mr. Davis’s history of The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, in two ponderous volumes, would deal it a deadly blow. (D. Appleton & Co.) — Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. have added to their Popular Library Boswell and Johnson and The Rev. Rowland Hill.
Theological and Religious. We have to record three very important works: The Republic of God, an Institute of Theology, by Elisha Mulford, LL. D. ; The Theistic Argument, by the. late Professor Diman: and The Gospel of the Resurrection, by James Morris Whiton, Ph. D.
(Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) — In The Story of the Manuscripts (D. Lothrop & Co.) Mr. Merrill has undertaken to give a popular account of the manuscript history of the Scriptures of the New Testament. He traces the probable origin and destruction of the original documents, the copies and their distribution, the discovery of the leading manuscripts, and the work done by scholars in editing them. His work is executed in a spirit of affectionate interest, and he writes con amor a.— It has become nearly impossible to keep the run of the various editions of the revised New Testament. The latest and in several respects the most satisfactory edition is the Comparative Edition. (Porter & Coates.) This work embraces the authorized version, known as King James’s, and the new revised version arranged in parallel columns for comparison and reference. It is printed with large, clear-faced type on paper of good quality. Messrs. Lee & Shepard have issued an American reprint, which they state is an accurate and exact reproduction of the Oxford edition. Still another comes from Messrs. Harper & Brothers. In this edition the readings and renderings of certain passages preferred by the American Committee are printed as foot-notes.
Education and Text Books. In the series of School Bulletin publications (Syracuse: C. W. Bardeen) there have been published A Short History of Education, a reprint of the article Education from the Encyclopædia Britannica; the little book is edited, with considerable apparatus, by Prof. W. H. Payne, of University of Michigan; also DeGraffs Pocket Pronunciation Book, containing three thousand words of difficult pronunciation.— The publication of a manual, How to Use Wood-Working Tools (Ginn & Heath), is an agreeable intimation of the progress already made in the introduction of technological studies into elementary education.—In the Chautauqua Language Series (A. SBarnes & Co.) there appears a Second German Book after the Natural or Pestalozzian Method for Schools and Home Instruction, by James H. Worman. It is meant for beginners in German, but it seems to be assumed that the beginners are children, the pictorial explanations having little other value. —Mr. Rolfe in his edition of Shakespeare has reached Coriolanus. (Harpers.) In his preface he recognizes Mr. Hudson, whose edition comes into comparison with his, and although his thrusts are good-natured we suspect this is the mild beginning of a controversy. Mr. Hudson may talk back.
Criticism. The Philosophy of Carlyle, by Edwin D. Mead, is a very thoughtful examination of that great writer’s career, purpose, and influence. The voice of this book is in a different key from that of the voices now contending over the unlucky Reminiscences and their injudicious editor. The point of view from which Mr. Mead looks at the author of Sartor Resartus is indicated by the quotation from Emerson which figures on the fly-leaf: “Carlyle has, best of all men in England, kept the manly attitude in his time. . . . His errors of opinion are as nothing in comparison with this merit, in my judgment.” (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.)