Books of the Month

Poetry and the Drama. Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford’s poems, which have been appearing at intervals during the last few years, have now been collected into a volume (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), and the mere circumstance of grouping will disclose to many the fruitfulness of her mind. There is a rich perfume about all her work. —Come for Arbutus, and other Wild Bloom, is a volume of poems by Mrs. S. L. Oberholtzer. (Lippincott.) The inspiration is largely from personal sources. — Purple and Gold is the title of a little collection of poems on the goldenrod and the aster, arranged by Kate Sanborn. (Osgood.) These flowers have a happy faculty of winning the love of the poets. The book is made of separate leaves tied together with a ribbon. — Gems from Petöfi and other Hungarian Poets is a paper-bound volume (Paul O. D’Esterhazy, New York), which aims at giving a notion of Hungarian poetical literature, especially since the Revolution of 1848. The translator, William N. Loew, has furnished a memoir of Petöfi, and critical sketches of the other writers; his work is enthusiastic, and through the medium of a somewhat literal translation the rude force of the poetry struggles to get a hearing; it is a pity that much of the music should be lost on the way. — Maurine, and other Poems, by Ella Wheeler (Jansen, McClurg & Co., Chicago), contains a novel in verse, and a hundred or more other poems. — The friendship which Mr. Francis Bennoch, of London, had for Hawthorne will be remembered by the readers of HawthorneEnglish Note-Books, and his volume of Poems, Lyrics, Songs, and Sonnets (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) will be taken up in a friendly spirit, and read perhaps for its further introduction of Mr. Bennoch, rather than for its contribution to poetic literature, since the author frankly disclaims any other relation to poetry than one which makes of it a pastime. He has read other poetry, and made his own cheerfully to run in the same channels. — The new issue of Dr. Holland’s Poems contains his Mistress of the Manse, and The Puritan’s Guest and other Poems. (Scribners.) It is a pleasure to look upon the well-leaded lines. — Miss Charlotte F. BatesSeven Voices of Sympathy, from the writings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), is a well-arranged, suggestive compilation of such passages as may be trusted to carry not only consolation to the sorrowful, but encouragement to the depressed and quiet to the old. One can readily see how full of material Longfellowwritings are, and Miss Bates has searched diligently, bringing out many passages which would not occur to the casual reader. — The name Owen Innsly has a suspicion of pseudonymy about it; one suddenly remembers Owen Ashford, and the little veil which the name hangs before the personality of the author of Love Poems and Sonnets (Williams) is not unbecoming, for the poems themselves have a sexless flame. The book will attract attention by its quiet occupation of a place among books of true poetry: here is a maturity and calm of nature which indicate that the writer, if this be a first book, has passed through the experimental stage, possibly by other means than the writing of verse. There is a finish of expression which scarcely allows one to be arrested by the thought, and the thought impresses one as the reverie of a person whose world is a world of art and two or three choice souls. The reader, who is advised to get the book, will find a grateful absence of intensity, using that word as denoting the feverishness of much current verse essaying the same themes. —Mrs. Botta’s Poems (Putnams) will be welcome to many who have known her and her hospitable mind. They are fluent, and they are occupied with other thoughts than those which make the staple of much poetry; large subjects within short compass catch the eye, and forms of expression familiar to an older generation of readers.—Down the Bayou, and other Poems, by Mary Ashley Townsend (“Xariffa”), is a volume of rapid verse, tumultuous at times, busied about a variety of themes, and commemorating scenes and incidents which, in the main, relate to tropical regions. There is a richness about some of the poems, as, for example, that of The Bather, which indicates a decorative power (Osgood.)— The title On the Sunrise Slope, by Katherine E. Conway (The Catholic Publication Co., New York), would seem to suggest a more cheerful and buoyant class of poetry than one meets in this volume, which is somewhat tearful, but marked by sincere feeling and some melody. If it were, however, a garden of charming poems, we fear that few would get by the menacing sword of the Rev. Patrick Cronin, who guards the entrance by an Introduction. It is a pity that so simple and unaffected poetry should be introduced by such high-strung prose. — Lora, a Romance in Verse, by Paul Pastnor (John E. Potter & Co., Philadelphia), has given the author pleasure in writing; the reader will find his entertainment chiefly in one or two extraordinary situations, as where a young man, having gone into a muddy bottom to rescue a girl, kneels down, and raises her out of danger, until another young man, coming by, swims out to her,—there seemed to be water enough for him, — and gives her a belt to grasp: —

“ Then, as she leaped from her lover, half sunk in the slime-depths
(Pardon the life-loving maiden), she pressed forth a gurgle! ”
The realism of that squishing sound is a rare feat
in poetry. The young man who dragged the girl
to shore brings his thick hunting-jacket,
“ Wrapped it around her, and buttoned it, button by button.”

Will the reader believe it ? This fortunate young man finds the other young man’s horse and buggy waiting by the shore, and drives home with the well-buttoned girl, whom the author presently describes, with some slight effort at apology for her coldness, or perhaps for her slimy condition, as

“Excellent clay to the core was this maiden,— this woman.”

We regret bitterly that there is not room for more than one further quotation, and after poising like a humming-bird over the blossoms of this poem, Are dart into this fine line: —

“Her beautiful, billowy shoulders sank down in a calm.”

History and Biography. Hon. E. B. Washburne has prepared for the Chicago Historical Society a Sketch of Edward Coles, second governor of Illinois (Jansen, McClurg & Co., Chicago), which involves an account of the slavery struggle of 1823-1824. It will be found a real contribution to the materials for American history. —The eighth volume of collections of the Maine Historical Society has been published (Hoyt, Fogg, & Dunham, Portland), and contains a number of interesting papers, including one on the Northeastern Boundary. — Harper’s Popular Cyclopædia of United States History from the Aboriginal Period to 1876, by Benson J. Lossing, is a two-volume work in double columns, abundantly illustrated, in which the topics and persons connected with our history are treated in short articles, alphabetically arranged. There is a full index, and an index to illustrations. The form is a very convenient one, and the free use of cross-references facilitates the use of the book. We notice that Mr. Lossing has not heard the latest news about General Gage and the Boston boys. His selection of literary characters is somewhat arbitrary, and in general the work may be said to be a well-arranged scrapbook from Mr. Lessing’s previous voluminous writings. — Constantine the Great is the title of a monograph for general reading, intended especially to draw attention to the historical genesis of the union of church and state. The author, Rev. E. L. Cutts, has in his mind current problems of church and state, but he appears to take no unfair advantage of the reader, who will find the book a sober, historical sketch. (S. P. C. K., London, E. & J. B. Young & Co., New York.) — The same society publishes a work on Russia, Past and Present, adapted from the German of Lankenau and Oelnitz, by Henrietta M. Chester, but it is scarcely more than an extended encyclopædic article, and throws no new light upon the country.— The S. P. C. K.’s series of Diocesan Histories includes Durham, by J. L. Low, M. A., and Peterborough, by G. A. Poole, as well as Chichester, which we mentioned last month. —Mr. Grant Allen has prepared for the society a little book on Anglo-Saxon Britain, which will find a more general audience, and the audience will find the book fresher than most of its class. — An anonymous member of the Huger family has prepared a modest but interesting satement of the attempted rescue of General Lafayette from Olmutz, which it will be remembered was the work of Colonel Huger in connection with Dr. Bollman. (Walker, Evans, & Cogswell, Charleston.) — Orations and Essays, with Selected Parish Sermons, by J. Lewis Diman (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), may fairly be brought into this division, both because the most important papers in the volume relate to historical subjects, and because a commemorative discourse by Professor Diman’s friend, J. O. Murray, gives a sketch of the life led by one whose death seems untimely to all who were aware that the admirable work already done was but the careful preparation for larger and more permanent contributions to literature. It is not necessary, however, to go beyond this volume for reasons why the book itself should be read by all who can enjoy thoughtful and scholarly works expressed in a refined and graceful form. — Capturing a Locomotive, by Rev. William Pittenger (Lippincott), is the narrative, by one of the persons engaged, of a piece of secret service during the late war. It will be widely read, for it has all the air of a true story, and even its faults of style may help to confirm the impression one gets of its veracity.—E. A. Freeman’s Sketches from the Subject and Neighbor Lands of Venice (Macmillan) treats of historical matters mainly through architectural memorials; the recent moving events in the region are also made to help in the story, and the reader entrusts himself to Dr. Freeman with a sense that in so dimly seen a country he needs a somewhat positive guide. Dr. Freeman will help him to think lightly of other guides.—The Mendelssohn Family (1729— 1847), from Letters and Journals, by Sebastian Hensel (Harpers), is the first American from the second German edition of a delightful book. The editor, who is a son of Fanny Mendelssohn, hopes that the book, with its record of family life, will offer a good picture of a German middle-class household. It does this and more, for it brings forward again the ever-charming figure of Felix Mendelssohn. The work is in two volumes, and has a number of interesting portraits. — In Harper’s Franklin Square Library is published the Life of Giuseppe Garibaldi, by J. Theodore Bent, B. A., who has attempted to do historical justice, and no more. — In the same series is Mr. Dorman B. Eaton’s Civil Service in Great Britain, a history of abuses and reforms, and their bearing upon American politics ; a popularization of Mr. Eaton’s work which will be of service in the important matter of educating a large public not yet fairly roused.

Philosophy. Text Book to Kant. The Critique of Pure Reason, Æsthetic, Categories, Schematism, Translation, Reproduction, Commentary, Index, with Biographical Sketch. Such is the peremptory title of an important work by J. H. Stirling, the author of the Secret of Hegel. It is a little singular that in his biographical sketch he makes no reference to his indebtedness for the material, and perhaps even for the form, to Wasianski’s reminiscences. (Putnams.)—Perhaps the properest place in which to insert a reference to T. W. Higginson’s Common Sense about Women (Lee & Shepard) is under Philosophy, since the author in a hundred or more short chapters has endeavored to give attention to the various phases of what is known as the Woman Question, and to bring the several subjects to the test of reason and an educated judgment. — Seneca and Kant is an exposition of Stoic and Rationalistic Ethics, with a comparison and criticism of the two systems, by Rev. W. T. Jackson, Ph. D. (United Brethren Publishing House, Dayton, O.) It was originally prepared as a thesis for the doctor’s degree in the University of Michigan.

Fun. Ballads in Black is the title of a little oblong volume containing silhouette pictures and verses intended as books and patterns for shadow pantomimes. Even if one does not follow closely the subjects as given, there are hints for evening entertainments which will be of service. The ballads are by F. E. Chase, the illustrations by J. F. Goodridge. (Lee & Shepard.) — Cambridge Trifles, or Splutterings from an Undergraduate Pen (Putnams), is a collection of humorous papers on English collegiate life as seen from the point of view of the student who goes there to have a good time. — Helen’s Babies has fallen into the hands of T. B. Peterson & Brothers, who now publish it. — The Summer School of Philosophy at Mt. Desert (Holt) is a series of two dozen or so pictures, with sly bits of text, illustrative of flirtation at Mt. Desert. The artist, J. A. Mitchell, has done a clever thing, and the wit is capital. — Oddities of the Law, by Franklin Fiske Heard (Soule & Bugbee), is a collection of witticisms uttered by the bench and bar in connection with graver matters of the law; some were unconscious, but in most cases these sharp-tongued people knew very well what they were saying. — A companion volume, by the same editor and publishers, is Curiosities of the Law Reporters, which is not so distinctly a jest book as the other, but very entertaining. In both cases the legal habit is strong enough to lead the editor to use full reference to authorities. —In the second of the series of American Worthies, Christopher Columbus, by W. L. Alden (Holt), the ratio of fun to fact is considerably greater than in its predecessor. The publishers must breathe more freely as they see their ideal more steadily approached. Mr. Warner sometimes remembered to be funny. Mr. Alden sometimes forgets himself and is serious. The large type of the book was his only salvation. If he had made as many pages in smaller type we are convinced that he would have become at the end as melancholy as his readers. — The Fortunate Island and other Stories, by Max Adeler (Lee & Shepard), has some amusing situations, and the burlesque in it is of harmless follies. The writer has exercised some discretion in his fun, and the reader will thank him for not being as grotesque as he could be.

Criticism. W. H. Kühl, of Berlin, sends us Studien zu Lessings stil in der Hamburgischen Dramaturgie, by Dr. Max R. von Waldberg. — The Verbalist, by Alfred Ayres (Appletons), will be found entertaining reading by those who like to amuse themselves over words and their abuses ; it will be of service to many who fall into the way of using careless English. It is a manual, in alphabetical arrangement, devoted to brief discussions on the right and the wrong use of words. — The latest volume in English Men of Letters is Thomas De Quincey, by David Masson. (Harpers.) The subject has abundant material, and Mr. Masson seems to have preferred to satisfy the curiosity of his readers regarding De Quincey’s personal characteristics rather than to give a very acute analysis of his literary power. In truth, two or three books could be made about De Quincey without trenching much on each other. — Words, Facts, and Phrases is further entitled by its compiler, Eliezer Edwards, a Dictionary of Curious, Quaint, and Out of-the-Way Matters. (Lippincott.) It is an odd scrap-book, apparently illustrating the author’s own interest, arranged alphabetically. The reader can pick up a good many curiosities in it, but it is a chance if he finds the special oddities which interest him. — Aspects of Poetry is a volume of lectures delivered by Professor J. C. Shairp at Oxford (At the Clarendon Press, Oxford), which will he found very agreeable reading. It is not, one thinks, so learned, a work as its origin would suggest, but it is pleasantly informed by the author’s personality, which is always kind and sensible. — Authors and Authorship is edited by William Shepherd (Putnams), a modest and truthful way of connecting with the work the name of an author who has made a mosaic of all the bright bits which he can find in the personal history of English and American men of letters. The result, somehow, does not lift the literary calling into dignity; so much tattle suggests a tea-table view of literature.

Fiction. Slavers and Cruisers is a Tale of the West Coast of Africa, by S. Whitchurch Sadler, R. N. (S. P. C. K. London; E. & J. B. Young & Co., New York), a novel with religious touches here and there. — Tales of the Caravan, Inn and Palace, by William Hauff, is translated from the German by Edward L. Stowell. (Jansen, McClurg & Co., Chicago.) Hauff himself did not translate his stories from the Arabic, but he writes as one who has drunk deep of the Arabian Nights spring. — King’s Marden is a domestic novel, which makes up in propriety and virtue what it lacks in art and force. (S. P. C. K. London; E. & J. B. Young & Co., New York). — From the same publishers comes a similar work, A Leal Light Heart, by Annette Lyster, in which much fiction is blended with some seriousness. — Like a Gentleman (Lee & Shepard) is a woman’s temperance story. It is not the temperance which renders it an indifferent novel; it would have been no more successful if it had been on the side of continence. —Jules Verne’s story of The Tribulations of a Chinaman (Lee & Shepard), translated by Virginia Champlin, offers an amusing medium for acquiring doubtful information about China, and a capital means for passing an hour or two, if one has had his daily allowance of useful information. — Joseph’s Coat, by David Christie Murray, is the latest volume in the series of TransAtlantic novels (Putnams), with plenty of misunderstanding in it; but all the tangles are finally cleared. — George Sand’s Indiana has been issued by the Petersons in the form which has become almost the trade-mark of this house. — Faith and Unfaith (Lippincott) is by the author of Phillis and other somewhat gushing stories. An earl lies dead in the first sentence, and the awe of death with which the reader is ushered into the story is heightened by the extreme nobility which lies dead.—The latest numbers of Harper’s Franklin Square Library contain Thomas Hardy’s A Laodicean, James Payn’s A Grape from a Thorn, and Mrs. Cashel-Hoey’s The Question of Cain.

Science. Mr. Darwin’s The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the action of worms, with observations on their habits (Appletons) is not at all dependent for its power of eliciting interest upon the scientific training of the reader. The worm would have no occasion to turn upon Mr. Darwin, for that gentleman has set him up on end in the most honorable manner. —The thirty-sixth volume of the International Scientific Series is upon Suicide, by Dr. Henry Morselli, and is an essay on comparative moral statistics. It is an Italian contribution to what the writer speaks of as the new method of philosophy. (Appletons.) — The subject seems to be in the air, for Dr. James J. O'Dea appears with a substantial volume entitled Suicide, Studies on its Philosophy, Causes, and Prevention. (Putnams.) Dr. O'Dea collects a great number of cases, and he offers many suggestions as to the treatment of the subject, but his book can hardly be taken as a thorough one.— A World of Wonders, or Marvels in Animate and Inanimate Nature (Appletons), is a popular collection of queer things in nature, the storehouse of science being treated as an entertaining circus. — Freaks and Marvels of Plant Life, or Curiosities of Vegetation, is a volume which attempts a popular presentation of subjects, by M. C. Cooke, which have lately had a thorough scientific investigation. It is pleasant to see the venerable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (New York agents, E. & J. B. Young & Co.) undertaking the publication of such works. — The Opium Habit and Alcoholism, by Dr. Fred. Heman Hubbard (Barnes), is a treatise on the habits of opium and its compounds, alcohol, chloral-hydrate, chloroform, bromide potassium, and cannabis indica, including their therapeutical indications, with suggestions for treating various painful complications. It is intended as a practical guide to the physician.

Education and Text Books. B. A. Hinsdale, president of Hiram College, has prepared a volume under the title of President Garfield and Education (Osgood), in which the life of the President at the college is affectionately sketched, followed by a series of papers and addresses collected from his writings. The book gives a very agreeable interior view of the President’s life, and will be welcomed as a contribution to our better knowledge of him. — The Bureau of Education in Washington has issued No. 4 of its Circulars of Information for 1881, covering the topic of Education in France. It is eminently statistical in form. — German Principia, Part I., is the title of a first German course, containing grammar, delectus, and exercise-book, with vocabularies and materials for German conversation ; it is prepared upon the well-known plan of Dr. William Smith’s Principia Latina. The present is the third edition, revised and enlarged. (Harpers.) The book is of English origin.—The same publishers have issued a Manual of Object-Teaching, with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education, by N. A. Calkin whose Primary ObjectLessons has long been in frequent use by teachers. It is presumably the summary of a long experience in this special field of educational work, but we are inclined to think that the practical suggestions contained in it will have more value than the author’s mental philosophy.

Business. The Book-Keeper’s Companion, by Thomas A. Lyle (Philadelphia), is an ingenious chart, by which the principles of posting and balancing are made clear to the eye and mind. — The History of the Government Printing Office at Washington, with a brief record of the public printing fora century, by R. W. Kerr (Inquirer Printing and Publishing Company, Lancaster, Pa.), is a useful and interesting book; it will have a use beyond its intent, if it sets people to thinking of the important questions involved in the establishment of the United States of America as a great publishing corporation. In the Civil Service Reform movement a place should be found for a few pertinent remarks on the Government Printing Office. Other government publications are the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1880, and Alphabetical Lists of Patentees and Inventions for the half year, January to June, 1881, inclusive. Here may one see the poets who have been switched off upon another track than poetry.

Political Economy. Usury Laws, their Nature, Expediency, and Influence, is Number IV. of Economic Tracts, published by the Society for Political Education (New York), and consists mainly of opinions passed by eminent writers, and a review of the existing condition of things in the United States. We do not see that the editor troubles himself much about the opinions of Mr. Raskin and his obscure friends.

Illustrated Books and Art. Too late for record jn the holidays comes Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott, decorated, as the word goes, by Howard Pyle. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) There is power in the treatment, and there is sometimes beauty, but the artistic masquerade is so elaborate and ingenious that one has a painful feeling that he must turn a back somersault before he can land in a mood suitable for a serious enjoyment of the book. The pictures would be better if they were in glass instead of on paper. — Yankee Doodle has given Mr. Pyle another opportunity, and he has shown his facility in adapting himself to a theme at the antipodes of The Lady of Shalott. It was a pity that the verses should have been made the text of old Yankee pictures, for we think tney have pulled the artist down a little. The caricatures are harmless, out they have not wit enough to justify the draughtsman’s skill. (Dodd & Mead.) — An Edition de Luxe of proofs from the illustrated subscription edition of Longfellow’s Poetical Works has just been published (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), and it merits especial mention as a representative collection of engravings and illustrations. When this edition of Longfellow’s works was announced as about to be published, the statement was made that it would bring together the best artists and engravers in the country, and beyond question the result justified the high anticipations raised by this important venture. So much is necessary in just praise of the subscription edition that the value of the Edition de Luxe of proofs may be appreciated as an art production. The edition contains seventy-five illustrations, which were selected from the whole six hundred, and a limited number of proofs have been taken from the original blocks, on a hand press, in order that the best possible results might be obtained. We have before us, therefore, a portfolio of proofs, —to which the artists and engravers have set their signatures in approval, —representing the condition of the art of engraving in this country at the present time, and such a production has a high testamentary value. Among the artists whose illustrations are included are E. A. Abbey, G. H. Boughton, Mary Hallock Foote, Eastman Johnson, A. B. Frost, F. B. Schell, T. Moran, W. L. Sheppard, W. H. Gibson, J. F. Murphy, Alfred Fredericks, W. H. Low, F. Dielman, and L. S. Ipsen; and of the engravers the following, Cole, Closson, Kruell, Davis, Smithwick and French, Karst, Harley, Dana, Andrew and Son, Morse, Heineman, Russell and Richardson.