Books of the Month

Art. The second volume of L’Art for 1881 (J. W. Bouton, New York) is a valuable edition. It is richer than many of the preceding volumes in full-page pictures, most of them etchings, and as usual the text is liberally illustrated with excellent reproductions of sketches, pen-and-ink and crayon drawings. A partial list of the etchers who are contributors to this volume is sufficient guarantee of the general excellence. The most prominent are: Leon Gaucherel, art director of the publication, Gautier, Salmon, Lalauze, Chauvel, Champillion, and Bulaud. Among the smaller drawings are sketches by Detaille, and a penand-ink drawing made by Fortuny in 1869. Several pages are occupied, most agreeable to the reader, by an article on the eminent French landscape artist, Daubigny. It is illustrated by a small sketch of the artist at his easel, brief memoranda of his paintings, and a full-page etching by himself. Drawings by Lhermitte and etchings after paintings by Jacquemart are especially worthy reproductions. A notable feature in the different numbers which combine to make up the volume is the appearance of notes upon topics of interest in American art circles. They are written by Felix Regamey, a well-known artist of New York. One of F. S. Church’s drawings, Silence, was brought out in this department of one of the numbers. The magazine some time ago extended the limits of its plane Sufficiently to include the dramaticand musical arts, and these departments are evidently as well conducted as any of the others.—The Magazine of Art for September (Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., London, Paris, and New York) has for its best features an article on Michael Munkascy, with two engravings ; a third article on the Salon of 1881; Part II. of The Career and Works of Flaxman, with four engravings ; Proportions of the Human Figure, by Charles Roberts; The Woman’s Part in Domestic Decoration.—A new edition of William A. Emerson’s Handbook of Wood Engraving (Lee & Shepard) has been found necessary. It is altogether a very interesting little volume, and a valuable one to whomever may wish to Study engraving on wood. Evidently it was written with the intention that it should be of practical service in instructing the learner in the art, for, with the exception of about twenty pages given up to a history of the art, from the origin to the present time, — no less acceptable because it is brief, — the book is filled with descriptions of tools and apparatus, and explanations of the manner of engraving the different classes of work. Mr. Emerson is an engraver, and his instruction is all the more valuable on that account.

Educational. Professor Simon Newcomb’s Elements of Geometry (Henry Holt & Co., New York) is a thorough work. It covers the same ground as all the standard geometries used in our colleges and high-grade schools. The author has followed Euclid’s ancient model in one important respect, that of beginning the work with clear definitions, —and founding the subject upon them. The first three books do not require any especial familiarity with algebra, and can therefore be used by younger classes if desired, but in the other books a knowledge of simple equations is sometimes necessary. The appendix contains notes on the fundamental principles of geometry, which furnish the basis for this work. These notes constitute a summary of conclusions arrived at by continued discussions upon fundamental axioms and definitions during recent years, and are a valuable accession to the text-book proper. — The original English edition of Prof. William R. McNab’s Botany was in two volumes, Morphology and Physiology, and Classification of Plants, but by the interposition of Charles E. Bessey, professor of botany in the Iowa Agricultural College, the two volumes have been revised with great care, and reduced to one volume, for the use of American students. In the process of revision Professor Bessey has made only such changes as were necessary or very much desired. The text has been simplified by the elimination of the more technical expressions, wherever it could safely be done, and the substitution of others more familiar or more readily understood and remembered. The practical value of the book to American students is greatly enhanced by the substitution of American for European examples whenever necessary and possible. Illustrations arc introduced as often as the text requires them. The book is especially adapted to the demands of the middle classes of schools, for which there appears to be no generally accepted work on this subject.

Fiction. Mr. James Otis pleasantly works out a capital idea in his Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus. (Harper & Bros.) Toby Tyler’s experience w ith the living skeleton and the fat lady and the clowns and the monkeys of the traveling show is a thing that will go straight to the heart of every well-constructed boy. The gay cover of the little book is a promise that is handsomely fulfilled by the lively narrative and spirited pictures inside, — Harper & Bros, have added Mr. Black’s That Beautiful Wretch to the 12mo cloth edition of this writer’s novels. — School Girls, or Life at Montague Hall, by Annie Carey (Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.), is a pleasantly written little story of English girl-life, —the last work, as we are informed by the preface, of an estimable lady, who did not live to see her book in print. — Mrs. Southworth’s industry makes it difficult for the average novel-reader to keep pace with her, unless, indeed, he confine himself exclusively to her fictions. The latest work on our list is entitled The Bridal Eve, or Rose Elmer. (T. B. Peterson & Bros.) Whether it is a recent novel or a fresh edition of an old one is not made quite clear. —The Quartet, by W. 0. Stoddard (Charles Scribner’s Sons), is a sequel to Dab Kinzer, and like that story belongs to the better class of juvenile fiction. — It often happens that it is the disciple who founds the school; so Wild Work may briefly be described as a novel of the Tourgee order, though the author, Mary E. Bryan, claims that her story of the Bed River tragedy was published serially two years before the appearance of A Fool’s Errand. Like Judge Tourgee, she deals with the Ku-Klux and the other machinery of Southern romance; but it is doubtful if she repeats the success of A Fool’s Errand. Miss Bryan has more literary art than Judge Tourgee, though she has the Southern constitutional weakness for confusing her “shalls” and “wills.” — Dr. Newell, in his historical romance of Hawaii, Kalani of Oahu, has opened up new ground. The deities of the Hawaiian mythology furnish Dr. Newell with an entirely fresh body of characters, and his romance is very interesting, save here and there where the author attempts to do some “fine writing,” — with the usual result. We think if he had been less learned and less lavish of scientific words, the story would not have suffered. The work is published by the author.— The latest issues of the Franklin Square Library of novels are Sceptre and King, by B. H. Buxton; The Black Speck, by F. W. Robinson; Reseda, by Mrs. Randolph ; Warlock o’ Glen warlock, by Geo. MacDonald; With Costs, by Mrs. Newman; The Private Secretary; and The Cameronians, by James Grant.

Miscellaneous. One would suppose that the last word had been said on Robert Burns; but Mr. William Jolly, of Inverness, has written a very fresh and interesting little volume about the peasant poet, his haunts and bis friends, — Robert Burns at Mossgiel, with Reminiscences of the Poet by his Herd-Boy. (Paisley: Alexander Gardner. 1881.) While there is nothing absolutely new in Mr. Jolly’s sketch, it throws fresh light on several obscure points, and brings us nearer to the daily life and surroundings of Burns than many a more pretentions biography has done. It is a charming little book in manner and kind. — Our Familiar Songs, and Those Who Made Them (Henry Holt & Co.) is the title of a sumptuous volume in which a delightful idea is very skillfuilv materialized. It was certainly a charming conception on the part of Helen Kendrick Johnson to gather into one beautiful volume several hundred popular English songs, with their piano accompaniments. To quote from the compiler’s preface : “ They need no introduction ; they come with the latch-string assurance of old and valued friends.” It is a book to stir the memory: no one can turn over its pages without recalling some voice that once sung this or that. Here are all the dear old songs! The collection, which is admirably arranged, is rendered further valuable by Mrs. Johnson’s brief and appreciative sketches of the authors and composers for whom she has performed so loving an office. The volume has a careful index, and is very tastefully printed and bound. (Pages 660.) — In Among the Sioux (D. Van Nostrand) Captain D. C. Poole, of the 22d Infantry U. S. A., gives a well-written and interesting account of his eighteen months’ experience as Indian agent on a Dakota reservation. Captain Poole is evidently a close and intelligent observer, and his book is to be recommended to those who wish a clear and impartial description of the red man and the white man as they exist on our faraway frontier. Several of the incidents related are exceedingly dramatic, — the more so, perhaps, because they are simply told, and with none of an amateur’s fatal desire to do fine writing. — The visit of Spotted Tail, Red Cloud, and other chiefs to the Great Father at Washington is an episode which the author handles with shrewdness. —The Mystery of Hamlet (J. B. Lippincott & Co.) is a brief Shakespearean study, in which Mr. Edward P. Vining vents the theory that the Prince of Denmark was a woman ! — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher and Poet, is the title of the latest accession to Appleton’s Handy-Volume Series. (D. Appleton & Co., New York.) The book is creditable to Mr. A. H. Guernsey, whose name appears on the title-page, as a well-arranged compilation from the works of Mr. Emerson. The editor has introduced, occasionally, such extracts from prominent writers as are of peculiar interest and importance in this connection, and he has supplied the book with sufficient original matter to hold the selections together, and to make amends for passages which were too long to reprint. It is impossible that any book should contain such quotations and not have a real value, but in this case there is an additional worth contributed by the convenient grouping of the extracts under distinctive heads. It is, in short, the kind of introduction to the eminent philosopher which makes a closer acquaintance with him the less difficult and the more desirable.— Another collector has busied himself, or herself, with the writings and speeches of Benjamin Disraeli, and the result is a book called Wit and Wisdom of the Earl of Beaconsfield. (D. Appleton & Co., New York.) Whether or not there is any considerable demand for these compilations from the papers of eminent men it is impossible to say, but if there is it argues an extraordinary interest in even the commonest sayings of men in prominent positions, and attaches to them a new importance. In the absence of any proof of the popularity of such books, which, unfortunately, the frequency of their appearance does not afford, it is common to ascribe their publication to the ambition of the collector rather than to any demand. Often, as in this case, the selections are made in good taste and are well put together._ Classical students are offered a new translation of The Two Orations on the Crown, Æschines and Demosthenes, by George W. Biddle. (J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.) So many translations into English are already in existence that a new one does not seem to be in active demand, but it is possible that the attempt made in this “to unite sufficient literal adherence to the original with what may be called the forensic tone of the occasion" may make it popular among scholars. It is in all respects convenient and attractive in form ; is not loaded with an exhaustive introduction, nor encumbered with notes. Some introduction was necessary, however, and in it the translator, after giving the principal circumstances of the trial and a microscopic view of the political condition of Greece at that time, has briefly compared the two orations which the book gives in full.—Mr. Lawrence Barrett’s study of Edwin Forrest, the initial volume of J. R. Osgood & Co ’s American Actor Series, reaches us too late for present comment. — Houghton, Mifflin & Co. have added to their Philosophical Library Ludwig Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity, translated from the second German edition by Marian Evans. George Eliot published this translation in 1854; it has long been out of print, and is now reissued in compliance with a demand by the admirers of the great novelist —E. Dentu, of Paris, has just published a careful French translation of Mr. Frank H. Mason’s Life of General Garfield. The translation is made by Mr. B. F. Peixotto, our present consul at Lyons. The volume contains the best portrait we have ever seen of the late President. —Sir John Franklin, by A. H. Beesly, is the latest addition to Putnam’s series of brief biographies, all the subjects of which have so far been selected with discretion. The most striking volumes published are this and the Haroun Alraschid of E. H. Palmer.

History. The Introduction to the Study of English History, by Professor Samuel R. Gardiner, of King’s College, London, published some time ago, has been republished by the same firm (Henry Holt & Co., New York), with the addition of a critical and biographical account of authorities by J. Bass Mullinger, M. A., of St. John’s, Cambridge. The object of the work is to provide help for those who wish to study some particular part or parts of English history, and the chief assistance rendered hv Mr. Mullinger in the present volume is found in the indications of the hooks which such students will require. Part Second of the book is devoted to the study of English History in conjunction with that of the development of the English tongue. The introductory chapter furnishes a valuable list of works on the comparative study of language. — Professor Gardiner’s small volume, English History for Young Folks, (Henry Holt & Co., New York), tells the story of England’s history in a manner that insures its being attractive to the younger students. The absence of dates, except where they are of the greatest importance, as, for example, those of the kings’ reigns, is the removal of the great bugbear that invariably frightens children, and makes the study of history a disagreeable task and a drudge. To make a history pleasant reading for young people, as is done here, is to increase the probabilities that they will remember well what the history relates to them.

Poetry. A new edition of Holmes’s poems is not so rare a thing as to require extended comment. The demand for his delightful lyrics has familiarized us with new editions; but the present collections in two compact l6mo volumes, containing all his latest verse and graced with an admirably engraved head by Closson, is especially exquisite. It will be difficult to find a neater Christmas or New Year’s gift than these two little blue books, with their flexible covers and gilt edges. (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) —Dante G. Rossetti and Christina C. Rossetti have each a new volume of poems (Roberts & Bros.): the first entitled Rose Mary, and the latter A Pageant and Other Poems. — Aside from these the poetry of the month is not remarkable. There are some, pleasant, amiable rhymes in Water Lilies, by Clara B. Heath (published by the author), and in The Three Vows (G. P. Putnam’s Sons) Mr. W. B. Green makes it plain that he has not the remotest idea of blank verse. The utter incorrectness of his rhythm is almost fascinating.

Criticism. We have received from Trübner & Co., London, Occasional Papers on Shakespeare, being the second part of Shakespeare, the Man and the Book, by C. M. Ingleby, M. A., LL. D. Dr. Ingleby discusses a variety of subjects with great scholarship and no lack of spirit, and disagrees with almost everything that anybody else has said about Shakespeare. An antagonistic attitude towards all other commentators, obsolete or contemporary, seems to be the prime condition of the true Shakespearean student. We suspect a latent dramatic critic in ourselves, we take so many strong exceptions to every edition of Shakespeare we ever saw. Dr. Ingleby gives a receipt for a beau-ideal edition. If he does not act upon his own hint, we trust that some one else will do so. Among the most notable chapters in the work are those on the English of the Elizabethan period and the spurious Burbadge elegy. Mr. F. G. Fleay contributes a paper entitled Metrical Tests Applied to Shakespeare, which is ingenious and possibly important, but much too recondite to interest the general reader.