Books of the Month
Literary History and Criticism. Studies in Early English Literature, by Emelya W. Washburn, (Putnams), is a somewhat discursive and narrative treatment of the theme. It represents an enthusiasm which is conscientiously occupied with the details of the subject, and yet runs frequently into generalizations which are not strained, but sensible and reasonable. — Heine’s writings, The Romantic School, the Suabian Mirror, and Introduction to Don Quixote have been translated by S. L. Fleishman, and published in a single volume. (Holt.) The Romantic School was written originally for the illumination of the French, and thus serves singularly well as an introduction to the study for the use of American students. The translation has scarcely the grace of Heine, but it preserves his caustic wit and his keen insight. — Mr. John Addington Symonds’s Renaissance in Italy (Holt) is now complete by the publication of Italian Literature, in two octavo volumes. — The Subjection of Hamlet, by William Leighton (Lippincott), is further explained on the title-page as an essay toward an explanation of the motives of thought and action of Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark. The essay is a very thoughtful one. It. is more than ingenious, and is worthy the attention of every student of Shakespeare. It would not be just to state Mr. Leighton’s conclusions in a sentence. — A Study, with critical and explana tory notes, of Alfred Tennyson’s Poem The Princess, by S. E. Dawson (Dawson Brothers, Montreal), is a modest little work, which undertakes to illuminate the poem by a running commentary, and to furnish notes, as if it had given the text entire. — Emerson at Home and Abroad, by Moncure D. Conway (Osgood), is a study of Emerson’s genius, freely illustrated by personal reminiscences.— The death of the Hon. George P. Marsh has led to a fresh issue of his two volumes of Lectures on the English Language. (Scribners.) The first is devoted rather to the structure of the language, the second to its historical monuments. The judicious character of Mr. Marsh’s mind and his wide learning keep these books valuable, though twenty years have elapsed since the first edition.
Poetry and the Drama, Webster, an Ode (Scribners) is a dignified-looking volume, containing forty pages of ode and eighty of notes, all by W. C. Wilkinson. Notes also occur occasionally at the foot or top of the page. Mr. Wilkinson’s ode and the statue in front of the Boston State House are both modeled after Webster. — Agamemnon, La Saisiuz, The Two Poets of Croisic, Pauline, and the first and second, series of Dramatic Idylls are the contents of a new volume of Browning’s, Poems (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) which gathers thus all the acknowledged work not hitherto collected in the American edition. — The Wisdom of the Brahmin, a Didactic Poem, translated from the German of Rückert by Charles T. Brooks (Roberts Bros-), is, as Mr. Brooks says, “mainly an original work, composed by the author in the character of a Brahmin, spiritually born in the East, but located in the West, — one who has by long and deep study and sympathy caught the spirit of Oriental thought and the style of Oriental expression, and now reproduces the essence of the best Oriental wisdom in forms created by the most accomplished European culture.” The first six books are given as an experiment. Mr. Brooks’s venture seems to have been encouraged by the success of the Light of Asia.
— Lethe, and other Poems, by David Morgan Jones (Lippincott), is sufficiently accounted for by the author when he calls them, in his dedication, ephemeral verses. —The Legend of St. Telemacluts and the Legend of All Souls’ Day make a little ribbon-tied book, published in Pittsfield, Mass., by J. B. Harrison. The author is Rev. W. W. Newton, and the poetry is fervent.
— Rare Poems of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Roberts Bros.) is Mr. W. J. Linton’s gleanings after the fuller harvest which has been garnered in the anthologies. He has furnished the book with notes, and has removed some of the obstructions which antique forms present. Mr. Linton has rightly chosen the most musical and lyrical period of English verse for his delightful material. —Poems, by James Avis Bartley, A. B. (The Jeffersonian Book and Job Printing Office, Charlottesville, Va.). is an octayo pamphlet of ninety-six pages. — Mr. J. Brander Matthews has collected a volume of Poems of American Patriotism (Scribners), and those unacquainted with the subject will be agreeably surprised at the intrinsic worth of the poetry. As an accompaniment to school work, the book ought to have a positive value, and the editor has made it more serviceable by furnishing it with notes, and by adopting a chronological order for the selections. — Helen of Troy, by A. Lang (Scribners), is the Greek lady done in a modern English dado; and with a nice sense of propriety, the old Helen, who sits and walks as if she were a model for Mr. Leighton, has left the troublesome part of her character for antiquity to take care of. The poem has much of the sweetness of Mr. Morris, not quite so long drawn out, and one may be pardoned for carrying: some of the lines and images about with him till they are worn. We must compliment the American publishers on the good taste of their reproduction.— Idyls of Norway and other Poems (Scribners) is the title which Mr. Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen gives to an agreeable little collection of his poetry, some of which had already appeared in the pages of his novels. The romancer is the poet in both instances, and one may read Mr. Boyesen’s poems with something of the same kind of pleasure with which he reads his prose.— The Fire-Worshippers and Dermot McMurrough are the titles of two dramas published in a paper volume by the Prospector print, Del Norte, Colorado Blue fire appears to be the light by which they were written, and all the speeches read as if they were delivered at the top of one’s voice. —Mother Goose for Grown Folks, by Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney (Houghton, Mifflin &, Co.), is a new revised and enlarged edition of a book published a dozen years ago, and brought now into range with the author’s other writings; Mrs. Whitney has not only exercised her ingenuity on the old jingles; she has made a capital suggestion for others to do the same. A game might well bo tried by wits of seeing what various interpretations any one of the ditties might receive. —Mr. Robert Bell has edited a collection of Bongs from the Dramatists (Dodd, Mead & Co.), which is fully annotated, and is made, besides, more accessible by a uniform use of current spelling.—Poems of the Household, by Margaret E. Sangster (Osgood), is a volume of short poems, conceived in a simple, reverent spirit and melodiously delivered.—Paplius and other Poems, by Ella Sharpe Youngs (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London), is a small volume of verse, by a cultivated and sensitive woman.
Art and Decoration. Art and Nature in Italy, by Eugene Benson (Roberts Bros.), will repay the reader who wishes to hear what a painter has to say about a few Italian topics, which he has selected from the abundance of the material plainly in possession of one who writes so freely and easily. There is a generosity and honesty about the criticism in the book which we commend to the querulous dilettanti of the day. — In the series of Appletons’ Home Books two new ones have appeared: Home Occupations, by Janet E. Runtz-Rees, and The Home Needle, by Ella Rodman Church. The former gives abundant suggestions for all sorts of home-made bricabrac, out of leather, paper, straw, wax, and card-board, and in some cases is minute in its directions: the latter confines itself to the humbler occupations of plain sewing and useful needle-work. — The Lady’s Book of Knitting and Crochet, containing over one hundred new and easy patterns of useful and ornamental work, is published by N. D. Whitney & Co., Boston, the dealers in worsteds. The author is described as “ a lady expert, who lias conscientiously tested all of them.” The condition of her brain is not stated, —Mr. William Tirebuck has written a little volume on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his Work and Influence (Elliot Stock, London), in which he includes also a brief survey of recent art tendencies. There is no biography except in the last paragraph of the book, but there are some suggestive criticisms, as where he compares Mr. Henry Irving to E. Burne Jones. — Travels in South Kensington, with Notes on Decorative Art and Architecture in England, by Moncure D. Conway (Harpers), is a collection of three papers which appeared originally in Harper’s Monthly, and gives a readable account of the material out of which a more artistic England is forming, together with some sketches of what has already been done, chiefly by artists, in rendering their houses beautiful. Such a book is of more use, we think, to Americans ambitious of decorated homes than books of principles and designs, since the thing done is more instructive than the thing that ought to lie done. —The old Masters of Belgium and Holland, by Eugene Fromentin, has been translated by Mrs. Mary C. Bobbins (Osgood), and furnished with heliotype illustrations after Rubens, Paul Potter, and Rembrandt. It is a pleasure to read such thoughtful criticism, given in such delightful style. —Parisian Art and Artists, by Henry Bacon (Osgood), is substantially a reprint of the author’s contributions to Scribner’s, and is an agreeable, light introduction to contemporary French art, with sketchy accounts of the men and women whose names may be heard in Paris studios.
Holiday Books. That Glorious Song of Old is the title given to a thin, square volume containing Dr. E. H. Sears’s Christmas hymn, “It came upon the midnight clear,”with illustrations by Alfred Fredericks. (Lee & Shepard.) The pictures, which are allusive in their subjects, are not always conducive to a reverent spirit. The artist has employed melodramatic treatment on a diminutive scale, and the effect is to diminish astonishment, which is the first product of the melodrama and its chief justification. — Curfew must not Ring To-Night, by Rosa Hartwick Thorpe (Lee & Shepard), is another of the square illustrated books, the illustrations being by F. T. Merrill and E. H. Garrett. The artists have in some cases worked together on the same picture. The series is of greater worth than that of the previous book, the subjects being treated with more simplicity and dignity. We can praise also the omission to illustrate the central fact of the poem,—a fact which may safely be left with the author of the poem. — Ring Out. Wild Bells, from the same publishers, has the same general plan. The illustrations are from designs by Miss L. B. Humphrey. The artist seems to us to have aimed at vigor rather than to be vigorous by nature. — Macmillan & Co. have issued the old Christmas and Bracebridge Hall of Washington Irving, with Caldecott’s illustrations, both which appeared in elegant form last season, as sixpenny pamphlets now. The illustrations suffer in printing, yet Mr. Caldecott’s style permits cheap printing better than more refined work does. — The Charles Dickens Birthday Book (T. Whittaker, New York) comes with the recommendation that tiie selection is the work of Dickens’s eldest daughter; the illustrations, five outline sketches, by his youngest. It is not hard to find the necessary number of sentiments in Dickens. — Chimes and Rhymes for Holiday Times, edited by Almira L. Hayward (Osgood), is a collection of verses upon a somewhat novel plan, the poems being grouped under the heads of New Year’s, Washington’s Birthday, Easier, Fast Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The selections are mainly from American authors, though Herrick is called Into service for Fast Day.—Three Great Poems, by W. C. Bryant (Putnams), is a work combining three separate illustrated books, Thanatopsis and the Flood of Years, of which the designs were furnished by Linton, and Among the Trees, illustrated by McEntee. The unity of the book is in the poetry. McEntee’s illustrations have a humorous look by the side of Linton’s. In one picture there is a boy climbing a tree, and the width of the boy is truly remarkable. — College Cuts, chosen from the Columbia Spectator, 18S0, 1881, 1882 (White & Stokes, New York), shows a good deal of cleverness both in text and cuts, but the college element is singularly absent. — Wayside Flowers, original and contributed poems, arranged by Ellen E. Dickinson, illustrated by Julia C. Emmet (White & Stokes), is an awkwardly disposed collection of leaves, tied together by a ribbon, the illustrations in chromo-lithography — Grandma’s Garden, with many original poems, suggested and arranged by Kate Sanborn, illustrated by Walter Satterlee (Osgood), is a little collection of leaves tied together, with a design in colors on the cover. The selection looks to a kindly revival of interest in old-fashioned gardens, — Mr. T. Buchanan Read’s Christine is dignified by a number of engravings from designs by E. Dielman, yet we must think that Mr. Dielman has sometimes adapted himself ton closely to Mr. Read’s verse. — New England Bygones, by E. H. Rollins (Lippincott), is a new edition of a quiet and graceful book, enriched by a number of engravings of more than ordinary value, and somewhat impoverished by a preliminary biographical sketch, by Gail Hamilton, which is unpleasantly private in its tenor.
Philosophy and Reliyion. Dr, James Martineau’s A Study of Spinoza (Macmillan) was originally designed for the series of Philosophical Classics, but, refusing to come within the necessary limits of the volumes included in that series, is published by itself. It is upon the same general plan of a separate discussion of life and philosophy, and will be welcomed by readers who regret the infrequent publication of Dr. Martineau’s work.— Mrs. Oliphant’s (?) A Little Pilgrim (Roberts) may perhaps be included here. It is an imaginative picture of a soul awaking upon the other side of death. There is a sweetness about it which will very likely be cloying to many.— American Hero-Myths, by D. G. Brinton (H. C. Watts & Co., Philadelphia), is a study in the native religions of the Western continent. It is an endeavor to present in a critically correct light some of the fundamental conceptions which are found in the native beliefs of the tribes of America. We think Mr. Brinton does not sufficiently regard the influence of the Spanish papists, and that we have not yet got to the bottom facts upon which to base philosophizing. — Moravian Missions is a course of twelve lectures, by Augustus C. Thompson (Scribners), upon a subject which has a romantic interest for Christians. Dr. Thompson is almost a pioneer in this interesting field so far as a comprehensive statement in English is concerned and his volume will be found to have caught some of the glow of this faithful company.
Ficliun. A new edition, at a lower price, has been published of Miss Keary’s A Doubting Heart. (Macmillan.) There are few writers in fiction who had obtained so strong a hold upon the affection of their readers as Miss Keary, whose death is deplored.— In the Round Robin series (Osgood), Rachel’s Share of the Road is more of a sermon than a song; but the sermon is a practical one which does not deal with ancient Jews, but with modern Christians, — Towhead, the Story of a Girl, by Sally Pratt McLean (Williams), is’as callow a piece of work as the author’s previous Cape Cod Folks. If the mixed colleges are going to give us novels like this, we shall sigh for monasteries and nunneries. — Aubert Dubayet, or the Two Sister Republics, by Charles Gayarré (Osgood), must he placed here, in spite of the author’s protest that it is not romance, but history. The characters and scones are historical, the two sister republics are France and America, but the author has undertaken to fuse his material into a semiromantic tale. We fear he underrates the interest of a perfectly clear and orderly historical narrative.— New Arabian Nights, by Robert Louis Stevenson (Holt), is a new volume of the Leisure Hour series, and one intended to be full of entertaining invention. The likeness to the Arabian Nights is merely in a little travesty of form, but Mr. Stevenson acts upon his own canons as laid down in his article in Longman’s magazine, and really tells stories. That the stories require the patience of the East may also be said. — In the Franklin Square Library (Harpers), the latest numbers are Allerton Towers, by Annie Thomas; Rachel’s Inheritance, by Margaret Veley ; Daisies and Butterflies, by Mrs. J. H. Riddell; and Of High Degree, by Charles Gibbon. — Norodom, King of Cambodia, a romance of the East, by Frank McGIoin (Appletons), enables the reader, weary of the sharp definitions of Western life and history, to surround himself by the fictitious gloom and monstrous shapes of Indo-China.
History and Biography.—In English Men of Letters series, (Harpers), Sterne is undertaken by H. D. Traill, who shows himself a trustee of the reading public by treating his subject with singular honesty. We can hardly think of a more trying book to read than a life of Sterne in Sterne’s manner; but a book like this, which takes a cool interest, and detaches that which is of permanent value from the decaying mass of Sterne’s writing, may be read with profit and pleasure.— Detailed Minutiæ of Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia, by Carlton McCarthy (Carlton McCarthy & Co., Richmond), is a volume of reminiscences, which proves beyond a doubt the moral, physical, and spiritual superiority of the Confederate soldier, — beyond Dir. McCarthy’s doubt, that is. — A Study of Maria Edgeworth, by Grace A. Oliver (Williams) has tiie additional words on the title-page, With notices of her father and friends; and the reader finds, if he is already familiar with the work, that Mrs. Oliver has drawn the first part of her book very largely from the memoirs of Mr. Edgeworth, and the latter part from the privately printed volume of Miss Edgeworth’s letters, since the book could scarcely have been compiled except for these resources. We think a more distinct reference to them by the author would have been more courteous. Mrs. Oliver has, however, gleaned from a variety of sources, and has made her book an encyclopædic life of her heroine.—In American Statesmen (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), John Randolph, by Henry Adams, is the latest volume, and the author has apparently regarded his subject with dispassionate interest, but with picturesque power. — The Early Days of Christianity (Cassell) is a work by that florid writer, F. W. Farrar, intended to cover the period embraced by the New Testament after the death of Christ, and is thus a companion to his Life of Christ and Life of St. Paul. It is very largely expository of the epistles. — The Life and Letters of Francis Lieber, edited by Thomas Sergeant Perry (Osgood), should have a great interest for all students of our political history. Lieber’s life was a romantic one, and his letters illustrate the power of fascination which public affairs have for a man whose personal experience has been a part of historic movements. The liveliness of the book may win some readers; its worth should hold more.— John Greenleaf Whittier, his life, genius, and writings, by W. Sloane Kennedy (S. E. Cassino, Boston), is one of those preliminary biographies which have an uncomfortable effect upon the friends of the subject. However carefully and accurately the work may be clone, one can scarcely avoid the feeling that a monument has been erected, with a blank space only left for the day of the death. The living have some rights, and the right of burial is not one which should he most strenuously defended. — The Beginnings of History according to the Bible and the Traditions of Oriental Peoples, from the Creation of Man to the Deluge, is the title of a work by Francois Lenormant, which has been translated by an American (Scribners), and introduced by Professor Francis Brown. Mr. Lenormant possibly protests a little too much that he is a Christian, but that is natural when the audience for whom he writes is considered. To the rationalist he says, “ This is a scientific book ; read it, and find a single point where my Christian convictions have embarrassed me, and proved an obstacle to the liberty of my research as a scholar, or where they may have prevented me from adopting the well-ascertained results of criticism.” — The eighth of the Campaigns of the Civil War (Scribners) is The Mississippi, by Lieut. F. V. Greene, who is a trained writer on military topics, but a student, and not a participant in the scenes which ho presents. It almost startles one to find military critics of a second generation. It will be well if those who are. to come are as scholarly as Lieut. Greene. — The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, the brilliant yet modest scientist, has been worthily presented by Professor Lewis Campbell and William Garnett. (Macmillan.) It contains a selection from his correspondence and occasional writings, and a sketch of his contributions to science, and is illustrated by portraits and colored plates. The nature was a noble one, and it is a positive gift when such a person is suddenly brought to the knowledge of a world which might only have known his scientific work. Ilis jeux d’esprit are capital. — The London Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has lately entered upon a remarkable career of publication, boldly assuming the task of furnishing a great body of literature, chiefly in history and science, but also in fiction, which shall bear the impress of a generous and not narrow Christian thought. It has enlisted the interest of sound scholars, and even its compilations have the appearance of thoroughness. Whatever may be said of the relation which such a society bears to the general publishing business, there is little doubt that the new vigor is well directed, and the public is getting the benefit of the enterprise. The New York agents are E. & J. B. Young & Co. Among the recent books sent to us are The Church in Roman Gaul, by Richard Travers Smith; Judæa and her Rulers, by M. Bramston, a work which bridges over the history of Israel from Nebuchadnezzar to Vespasian; and John Hus, by A. H. Wratislaw, who makes an historical biography detailing the commencement of resistance to papal authority on the part of the inferior clergy. The Diocesan Histories, to which we have before referred, are continued, and include York, by George Ormsby, and Oxford, by Rev. Edward Marshall. None of these books profess to be based upon original investigation, but they are not the work of mere hacks; men have undertaken them who could do original work if that were their purpose. Still another volume is a biographical one, devoted to Heroes of Science, by Professor P. M. Duncan, in which Ray, Linnæus, De Candolle, Buffon, Pennant, Lamarck, Cuvier, Murchison, Lyell, and others are treated.—In the Nature series (Macmillan) a little volume has been issued, devoted to memorial notices of Darwin by Huxley Geikie, Dyer, and others. The varied attainments of Mr. Darwin are well illustrated by the fact that specialists in geology, botany, zoology, and psychology take up those separate parts of his work.
Books for Young People. Christmas Rhymes and New Year’s Chimes, by Mary D. Brine (Harlan), is a large oblong book in boards, with verses and illustrations. The verses are generally objective and free from offensive sentimentality, but we object to such a poem as Two Small Maids. The pictures have the merit of not being too nice. — Elfin Land (Harlan) is another oblong book, with designs by Walter Satterlee and poems by Josephine Pollard. The pictures are better than the verses, which are doggerel. It is curious how the Ecsthetic nonsense, with its amiable slang, has worked into books for children. — The Young People of Shakespeare’s Dramas, for Youthful Readers, by Amelia E. Barr (Appleton), is a singular commentary upon the fallacy which possesses people that children are necessarily more interested in children than in older people. The assumption in this book is that, by giving young people a glimpse at the exceedingly small number of children in Shakespeare, one may allure them to an interest in the literature itself. The book is really a study of Shakespeare’s youthful characters, and as such can have little value for children; nor is it especially acute in its criticism, if it is to be read by older people.—The Talking Leaves, an Indian Story, by William O. Stoddard (Harpers), is to be enjoyed chiefly by boys and girls who have taken the Indian under their care, and accept him with all his grunts and imperfect speech as an important actor, without whom modern life would not be worth living. — Pussy Willow, and other Child Song’s, has words by Henriette Cushing, music by S. E. Farrar, and illustrations by Gertrude Clement. (White & Stokes.) The poetry has the appearance of being made to order, and the pictures, which affect a rude charm, are not well drawn.— Little Folk in Green, new Fairy Stories, by Henrietta Christian Wright, with illustrations in color by Lydia Emmet (White & Stokes), is pleasantly devoid of too much moral, but lacks something also of story. The illustrations, in color, have a somewhat amateurish look.—The Story of Siegfried, by James Baldwin, illustrated by Howard Pyle (Scribners), is not a simple transcript from the Eddas, but an attempt on the part of the author to weave the material into an imaginative whole. He seems to have entered heartily into the spirit of the Northern mythology, and we are glad that boys should have a chance at reading a tale which uses all the violent passions without any realism.—Mr. Hamilton W. Mabie’s Norse Stories, retold from the Eddas (Roberts), is more directly drawn from the original sources; that is to say, he has rendered the stories into story-telling English, while he has retained, as writers in love of this literature can scarcely help doing, something of the sternness of the early form. He has not, however, lost himself so completely in his theme as Mr. Baldwin. — Six Girls, by Fannie Belle Irving (Estes & Lauriat), is written by a disciple of Miss Alcott. — In the Young Folks’ Heroes of History, by George M. Towle (Lee & Shepard), the latest volume is devoted to Sir Francis Drake, one of the most admirable of all the subjects included in the series. — The American Boy’s Hands’ Book, by D. C. Beard (Scribners), besides giving practical directions for doing things which ordinarily pass from one boy’s intelligence to another in a traditionary way, contains also a great many hints of uncommon sports and playthings, and is so minute in detail and particular in its diagrams that it may safely be recommended to boys who arc not book-lovers; it is a great advance on the old-fashioned boys’ own books.— The Wonderful City of Tokio, or Further Adventures of the Jewett Family and their Friend Oto Nambo, by Edward Greey (Lee A Shepard), is substantially a continuation of the author’s previous book, Young Americans in Japan, and is an animated account of sights in Tokio as seen by the inevitable family, which forms the substructure of all books for children nowadays. There is a plentiful supply of pictures, mixed Japanese and Western. — Paul and Persis, or the Revolutionary Struggle in the Mohawk Valley, by Mary E. Brush (Lee & Shepard), is an historical story for boys, and one does not need to exact the closest imitation of old-time talk to find the book interesting and worthy. Would that more of our writers for the young set themselves Miss Brush’s task, and worked at it as faithfully ! — The Jolly Rover, by J. T. Trowbridge (Lee & Shepard), is intended to illustrate the evils following from a too close study of a cheap boy’s paper called The Boy’s Own. Will the book prove an awful example ? Or will it increase the circulation of The Boy’s Own ? We are inclined to think that this redoubtable paper would have accepted the book for serial publication, and found its account in it.—The Prize for Girls and Boys, 1882 (Estes & Lauriat), is one of the English magazines for the young, which, bound in boards, does duty at the end of the year as a holiday book. It has objectionable stories and weak religion.—Diddie, Dumps, and Tot, or Plantation Child-Life, by Louise Clarke Pyrnelle (Harpers), was written primarily for the preservation of many of the old stories, legends, traditions, games, hymns, and superstitions of the Southern slaves. The extreme care with which the vernacular is darkened to the color of the chief speakers will prevent the book from free use by children, which is an advantage, if it compels older persons to read it aloud with judicious oral editing.— Our Little Ones is the title of a monthly magazine conducted by Wm. T. Adams, of which the bound volume (Lee & Shepard) comes as an annual, with very slight reminder of the monthly parts. It is prettily illustrated and bound, and the reading is of an ordinary, uniiterary character, unpretentious, and on the whole, unobjectionable.
— Chatterbox for 1882 (Estes & Lauriat) is another of these books, but the type is small and blurred, the pictures are of an inferior order, and the literature is made to order. — Our Young Folks in Africa, the Adventures of a Party of Young Americans in Algeria and in South Central Africa, by James D. McCabe (Lippincott), is an adaptation of older books on Africa to the use of the young by the introduction of the customary machinery. The author does not appear to have had any personal acquaintance with the country traversed: certainly, the dull style of the book could not have been invented by a real explorer.
— The Boy Travellers in the Ear East, by Thomas W. Knox (Harpers), has reached its fourth part, which Covers Egypt and the Holy Land. Air. Knox is a bona fide traveler, but he is not a story teller nor a dramatist ; he is an encyclopædist, and his book is of a kind which an ostrich boy can digest.—In the Franklin Square Series, the Harpers have included William Black’s An Adventure in Thule.—The bound volume of Harper’s Young People for the year 1882 is vastly more valuable, from an art point of view, and a great deal more entertaining in its letterpress, than a majority of the books prepared especially for holiday readers. Indeed, the best book in this kind for the passing season is scarcely to be compared with these fifty-two numbers of Harper’s Young People, in their tasteful binding.—Among the books which do not need to have been just born, Miss Lueretia P. Hale’s The Peterkin Papers (Osgood) holds a high place. The ingenuity of the book, with its many changes rung upon a single theme, is surprising, and the drollery, the wit, the uncommon sense of the Peterkin family are enough to stock ordinary families with a winter supply of by-words.
Literary Guides. The second series of The Best Reading, edited by L. E. Jones (Putnams), has been issued, and, following the first series after a lapse of live years, includes in its classified lists the most important English and American publications during that time. The arrangement is a clear one, and the book will be very useful to readers who do not care to trouble themselves with elaborate and detailed bibliographies. The selection seems judicious, and the ranking of (he several books cautious. —Short Savings of Great Men, with historical and explanatory notes, by Samuel Arthur Bent (Osgood), is a comprehensive dictionary of familiar quotations, literally annotated, arranged under brief biographies of their authors, and well indexed. The bonk is a good addition to the library of reference which is lightening the labors of students and editors.
Science. Zoölogical Sketches, by Felix L. Oswald (Lippincott), is called by the author a contribution to the out-door study of natural history, and contains, besides his own observations, many curious facts which he has drawn from othersThe book is anecdntical and vivacious, and the author’s radical evolutionism crops out only occasionally.— The Earth as Modified by Human Action is the revised title of the revised edition of G. P. Marsh’s important work, Alan and Nature, first issued ten years ago. (Scribners.) It is hard to say whether the scientific or the historical student would find most worth in the book. It cannot be overlooked by any student in either department. — The Solution of the Pyramid Problem, or Pyramid Discoveries, with a new theory as to their ancient use, by Robert Ballard (Wiley), is a thesis, carefully worked out, and intended to demonstrate that these works were in effect vast theodolites for use in the survey of Egypt. — Easy Star Lessons, by Richard A. Proctor (Putnams), is a readable book, wretchedly printed, by which one is made acquainted in a familiar way with the stars as they may be seen from month to month. It is well furnished with cuts and maps. — TextBook of Geology, by Archibald Geikie (Macmillan), is intended primarily for students, and the plan comprises a tolerably full reference to special memoirs; In doing this Dr. Geikie has kept American researches especially in mind.— The Great Diamonds of the World, their history and romance, by Edwin W. Streeter, in the Franklin Square Library (Harpers), may be placed under Fiction, so far as the impression made upon the plain reader’s mind is concerned.