Books of the Month

History and Biography. Renaissance in Italy, by John Addington Symonds, is a work which has been carried through three parts in England: The Age of the Despots, The Revival of Learning, and The Fine Arts. The first two of these have been reissued here (Holt), and ought to find many readers, for the American mind seizes with especial avidity upon those epochs in history which are marked by fresh impulse in life. Mr. Symonds enlists at once the sympathy of his readers by his comprehensive interpretation of the movement named as the Renaissance, recognizing in it the historic awakening which is still in process of development in society and politics. —The fifth volume of the admirable series of Campaigns of the Civil War is F. W. Palfrey’s The Antietam and Fredericksburg Campaign (Scribners), which will be read with interest, not only because of the importance of the subject, but because General Palfrey is a clear writer, and makes no concealment of his judgments. — Historical Outline of the English Constitution for Beginners, by David Watson Rannie (Scribners), is a brief sketch of the evolution of the political life of England, and will be of excellent service in directing young students along a line which is fast being accepted as the trunk-line, so to speak, of historical work. —H. E. Scudder’s Noah Webster (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) is the second in the series of American Men of Letters, and from the range of Webster’s work might almost have found a place in the parallel series of American Statesmen. The historical treatment of the subject was necessary from the scantiness of the material for a strictly biographical account, but it seems a pity that the personality of Webster should fade out in the book from behind the growing bulk of the Dictionary, which looms up in the last half of the work and casts a shadow over the subject. — The fifth volume of the Memoirs of Prince Metternich (Scribners) covers the period 1830-1835, and has for its general subject the July Revolution and its immediate consequences. In arranging this portion the editor had an important treasury to draw from in the Princess Melanie’s Diary; the passages from it frequently give a lightness to the work. — America, a History, by Robert Mackenzie, includes the United States, the Dominion of Canada, and South America, etc., the etc. taking in Mexico and Central America. It is miscalled a history; it is rather an oration, and is published in Harper’s Franklin Square Series. — The second and third volumes of the Military History of Ulysses S. Grant, by Adam Badeau (Appletons), have appeared, completing the work, and we may now expect an interesting fight of words.

Criticism. An Analytical Index to the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, with a sketch of his life (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), may fairly be called a piece of criticism, since its pages offer an excellent opportunity for any one familiar with Hawthorne to discover the range of Hawthorne’s sympathy and speculation. Its usefulness as a book of ready reference will make it an acceptable accompaniment to any edition of the works. — We have already referred to the English edition of Shairp’s Aspects of Poetry, and welcome now the neat American reprint. (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) Those who have felt their indebtedness to Principal Shairp’s former works will be glad to have this in the same style. The personal interest which the author takes in poetry and his acquaintance with poets give a warmth to his essays. — The long-expected Introduction and Appendix to the New Testament in the Original Greek, by B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort (Harpers), has appeared too soon, it is to be feared, to contain an explicit rejoinder to the Quarterly Review article, which also appeared too late to get the benefit of this criticism.

Fiction. The latest issue of the Leisure Hour Series (Holt) is Dick Netherby, by Mrs. L. B. Walford, whose agreeable novels of Mr. Smith, Troublesome Daughter, and others predispose one to like this. — Miss Alcott’s story of Moods, which was published several years ago, has been republished in a new edition (Roberts), which becomes almost a new book, since the author, with a praiseworthy literary conscience, has rewritten portions and made the novel over.—Esau Runswick, by Katherine S. Macquoid, has been included in Putnam’s series of Trans-Atlantic novels, and Eunice Lathrop, Spinster, by Annette Lucille Noble, in the same publisher’s series of Knickerbocker novels, these last being Cis-Atlantic. Miss Noble will be remembered as the author of an amusing if somewhat crude story called Uncle Jack’s Executors; she has been less successful in this book, since she has lost some of her gayety without securing any more firmness of plot. — A Child of Israel, from the French of Edouard Cadol (Petersons), turns upon the marriage of a French woman to a Jew. The final difficulties are removed by a marriage in America, from which blessed country they send back cards drawn up in the style which the author invented, and then palmed off as American.—Bob Dean, or Our Other Boarder, is the title of a novel by Mrs. Emma Nelson Hood, of Austin, Texas (Claxton, Philadelphia), where the scene is laid. The author evidently has taken a dislike to the villain of her story, yet does not like to say how villainous he really was. — The latest volume of the Round Robin Series (Osgood) is Madame Lucas, a light and airy novel of half Bohemian life, with faint regrets and disenchantments, but no naughtiness. —The Fatal Marriage, or Orville Deville, by Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth (Petersons), is one of forty-three novels by this writer, every one of which is a separate astonishment. — The latest, issues in fiction of The Franklin Square Library are The Captain’s Room, by Walter Besant and James Rice; The Senior Partner, by Mrs. J. H. Riddell, who once wrote a clever story in George Geith of Fen Court; A Heart’s Problem, by Charles Gibbon; God and the Man, a romance, by Robert Buchanan, of the time of John Wesley. — The delightful arrogance of the title An American Story Book tempts the reader to look further into a volume whose sub-title informs him that it contains Short Stories from Studies of Life in Southwestern Pennsylvania, pathetic, tragic, humorous, and grotesque. It is published by the author, Frank Cowen, at Greensburg, Penn., and belongs to a class and age of literature of which Georgia Scenes was a mild example ; but this has not equal claims upon the attention of the reader.—The Dickens Reader, in Harper’s Franklin Square Series, is a selection of character readings from the stories of Charles Dickens, made by Nathan Sheppard. It is hoped that nobody will he misled by the title into supposing it suitable for schools.

Religion, Theology, and Morals. The lectures given before the Lowell Institute by James Freeman Clarke in 1880 have been collected into a stout duodecimo volume, bearing the title Events and Epochs in Religious History. (Osgood.) The chapters cover such conspicuous subjects as the Catacombs, the Buddhist monks of Central Asia, Augustine, Anselm, Jeanne d’Arc, Savonarola, Luther, the Mystics, George Fox, the Huguenots, and John Wesley, and Dr. Clarke’s sympathetic treatment and agreeable style are well adapted to the purpose. — Paul the Missionary, by the Rev. Wm. M. Taylor (Harpers), is less a narrative or critical biography than a practical illustration of Christian living drawn from the Aposfle’s life, which is, however, fully described. — The Infidel Pulpit is the title of a collection of lectures by George Chainey, who also publishes the work. The author, who was formerly a minister, first in the Methodist and next in the Unitarian church, conceives himself now to have found a freer field and clearer air outside of all religious organizations. He writes sometimes with keenness in his criticism of existing faiths, but his own outlook beyond the horizon is somewhat indefinite. He grazes an important truth when he seeks to substitute the state for the church, but a state without God would not satisfy Mr. Chainey long, — of that we are sure. — A further volume in the reissue of Dr. Holland’s works is his Concerning the Jones Family (Scribners), in which he imagined the mediocrity so open to advice, and so likely to profit by it. —A new edition of Thomas a Kempis’s On the Imitation of Christ (Osgood) is embellished with a number of head-pieces, initial letters, and tail-pieces, which have a somewhat ungainly look, being in most cases too large for the page, and having a blurred and heavy appearance. — A second edition has appeared of Monumental Christianity, or the Art and Symbolism of the Primitive Church as Witnesses and Teachers of the one Catholic Faith and Practice, by Rev. John P. Lundy (Bouton), a work which originally was published six years ago, and now has the benefit of the author’s further research and criticism. —A new edition has been published of Prayers, by Theodore Parker (Roberts), which is preceded by a preface by Louisa M. Alcott, and a biographical sketch by F. B. Sanborn. The prayers represent Mr. Parker’s thoughts on high subjects, cast in a somewhat rhetorical form, and will be read at a disadvantage, since a colder criticism attends the reading than was present at the hearing.—The Hibbert Lectures for 1881 have been re-issued by the Putnams, and consist of Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by some points in the history of Indian Buddhism, by T. W. Rhys Davids. The lecturer’s method is to present within the narrow limits of six discourses a survey of Buddhism, with occasional suggestive references to a comparative study of religious beliefs. The book becomes thus rather a sketch of a theme than a thorough statement.— Studies in the Life of Christ, by the Rev. A. M. Fairbairn (Appletons), is a reverent, sympathetic, unhackneyed examination of the salient points in that life, with a view to extracting its greatest worth.

Books for Young People. The series known as Zigzag Journeys, by Hezekiah Butterworth, has been increased by the volume Zigzag Journeys in the Orient, descriptive of travels from Vienna to Constantinople, the Euxine, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. It was a capital idea to line the covers with clew maps. — Of the same general order of books is T. W. Knox’s Adventures of Two Youths in a journey to Ceylon and India, with descriptions of Borneo, the Philippine Islands, and Burmah. (Harpers.) The book is in the series entitled The Boy Travelers in the Far East, of which it is Part Third. Both of these writers make profuse use of illustrations, and employ the customary machinery of a party of boys under the guidance of older persons. The design and the quantity of information can be praised; the literary execution is sometimes lost sight of in the presence of these more important considerations. We wish it were not. — Recollections of Auton House is an anonymous and delightful account of a happy childhood by a writer who has the advantage of using his pencil as well as his pen. He has followed the direction of the Greek proverb, gnothi seauton, and demurely writes himself down C. Auton. (Houghton, Mifflin &Co.) — Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney’s Boys at Chequasset has been added to the uniform edition of her writings published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. — The Cruise of the Ghost is a capital book for boys, by W. L. Alden, author of The Moral Pirates, which we were glad to recommend last year. (Harpers.) — Sketches and Scraps, by Laura E. Richards, with pictures by Henry Richards (Estes A Lauriat), is not a very satisfactory book. The rhymes are sometimes pretty, sometimes silly, sometimes commonplace; the pictures are sometimes clever, sometimes tasteless, sometimes careless. — The Giant Raft, Part I., Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon (Scribners), is perhaps the latest of Jules Verne’s extraordinary combinations of nature and melodrama. — The Unseen Hand, by Elijah Kellogg (Lee & Shepard), is a story of homely life in Western Pennsylvania at the close of the last century. Mr. Kellogg’s dry style seems to suit the place and times; we always have respected the sincerity of his purpose and the realistic efficacy of his work; if he had only seen all that he saw from the outside, instead of being in the life itself, he would have been likely to write better books. There is too little art in them, and yet they have good stuff. —The simple rhymes of At Home (Marcus Ward & Co.) are not marred by any slips from good taste, and if they are not very poetical they are unaffected and domestic; the pictures, by J. G. Sowerby and Thomas Crane, show only moderate skill, and are ineffective in the delineation of children’s faces, but they are pleasing in subject, and will be better for children than some that are more artistic.

Domestic Economy. Appletons’ Home Books series contains Home Decoration, by Janet E. Runtz-Rees, which is devoted to art needlework and embroidery, painting on silk, satin, and velvet, panel-painting, and wood-carving. — Home Amusements in the same series, by M. E. W. S., is devoted to hints and suggestions, which range from flower stands to private theatricals and lawn tennis. The author has a catholic taste, and manages to cover a number of occupations with the name of amusements which those engaged upon them regard in a more serious light.—A new edition of J. Pickering Putnam’s The Open FirePlace in all Ages (Osgood) contains additional illustrations, which still further kindle the reader’s jealousy, and make him, as he reads the book before his register, repent of his sins and ask for estimates immediately. The book is at once the record of a most wholesome reform and a tract for the unconverted.— The Mother’s Guide in the Management and Feeding of Infants, by John M. Keating, M. D. (Leas), is a sensible and careful little volume, by a physician of experience.

Philosophy. A recent volume in the English and Foreign Philosophical Library is The Mind of Mencius, a translation by the Rev. Arthur B. Hutchinson from the German of E. Faber. (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) The work is a systematic digest of the doctrines of the Chinese philosopher, and intended as an interpretation of the mysteries of Confucianism. The book is apprehended by the translator in a most practical spirit. He wished for something which should be of use to the missionary, and he found in Faber’s work a valuable introduction to the study of Chinese philosophy. The English reader will be glad to have so substantial and orderly a setting forth of a subject which appears hopelessly obscure when taken in the direct form of a translation from the Chinese.

Literature. The Harpers have issued a dignified edition of Peter Cunningham’s The Works of Oliver Goldsmith, in four volumes, which will be worth the pains taken with it, if it calls back readers to a literature which has been preserved by its form, as the best literature is preserved. What a singular Contrast between the reputations now and then of Johnson and Goldsmith ! Who wants Johnson’s complete works ? Who does not want Goldsmith’s ? And who, having examined the present edition, would care to have Prior’s or Bishop Percy’s? Neither work approaches the fullness and accuracy of Mr. Cunningham’s Goldsmith, which is not likely to be superseded. We have here for the first time a carefully edited, well-printed, and complete collection of Goldsmith’s writings.

Business. The number of the United States Official Postal Guide (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) for January is in striking contrast to the first of the series, issued, we think, eight years ago; a solid, business-like, blue-book, of over eight hundred pages, filled with well-arranged matter pertaining to the post-office, it shows admirably the soundness of the principle which asserts that government may prepare, but a publishing house can best manufacture and distribute, a work of this character. The Guide has grown steadily in thoroughness of appointment and usefulness to the public. —No more Free Rides on this Jackass, or Protection Forever and Everywhere, by Frank Rosewater (Frank Rosewater, Cleveland), is a brochure which undertakes, by means of much fooling and occasional glimmers of sense, to settle the question of protection and free trade. We fear that most would get neither fun nor instruction from it.