Books of the Month

Poetry and the Drama. On Viol and Flute is a volume of poems selected for an American publisher (Holt) by Edmund W. Gosse from those previously published in England. The fine scholarship, good taste, and literary atmosphere of the author are very noticeable. He has so fine a literary sense that he almost creates nature. —Lyrical and Dramatic Poems selected from the works of Robert Browning, by Edward T. Mason (Holt), is preceded by a portion of Mr. Stedman’s criticism of Browning. The book appears to have the design rather of persuading people to read Browning, by showing that he is not always obscure, than of giving a typical selection.—College Verses, compiled by the Berkeleyan Stock Company (The California Publishing Company, San Francisco), is a selection of verses which have been written at various times between 1872 and 1878 by members of the University of California. The book indicates a clearer understanding of what poetry is than similar works published at the East.—It may be allowed to draw attention to a little volume of privately printed poems by E. R. Sill, formerly connected with the same university as officer, entitled The Venus of Milo and other Poems, in which one may detect something more than clever versification. Two of the poems, The Fool’s Prayer and Five Lives, have exceptional value. — Mirabeau, an Historical Drama by George H. Calvert (Lee & Shepard), bears witness to a spirit of scholarship which troubles itself but little with poetic fashions. — Poems, by Ernest Warburton Sburtleff, with an introduction by Hezekiah Butterworth (Williams), is a volume of quiet poetry, written out of a sincere feeling for the purer elements of life and nature.—Songs of an Idle Hour, by William J. Coughlin (Williams), make one wonder what the author does when he is busy.

History and Biography. Haydn’s Dictionary of Dates and Universal Information relating to all ages and nations has passed to its seventeenth edition, which contains the history of the world to the autumn of 1881. Benjamin Vincent is the editor, as he has been since 1855, and the long life of the work goes far to remove the appearance of arrogance on the title-page. It has been revised for American readers by George Cary Eggleston, who “has corrected errors in the English work with respect to American matters; has added American dates to all important titles from which they were omitted in the English work ; and has inserted such additional titles relating to American subjects as were necessary to fit the work for the use of American readers.” (Harpers.) It is furnished with a full index. — The Shenandoah Valley in 1864. by George E. Pond, associate editor of the Army and Navy Journal (Scribners), is the eleventh in the series of campaigns of the civil war, and contains an account of the important. battle of Cedar Creek. —Reminiscences and Memorials of Men of the Revolution and their Families, by A. B. Muzzey (Estes & Lauriat), is based upon personal recollection of many men of note in the neighborhood of Boston, and is devoted to an affectionate and amiable account of persons and families. The writer is an old gentleman, who values the past and lingers over its memories. —Mr. Josiah Quincy in Figures of the Past, from the Leaves of old Journals (Roberts), has done a somewhat similar task, but has confined himself more closely to his own recollections, and has had the advantage of drawing from a long series of journals. The book is a series of simple and often very agreeable pictures of life, chiefly in Boston and vicinity, extending over a period of more than half a century. Mr. Quincy, who died before the book was published, belonged to a notable family, and his recollections have the charm of good-breeding, even when the literary form is negligée.

Literature and Literary Criticism. The third series of Spare Hours, by Dr. John Brown (Houghton, Mifflin & Co ), is largely devoted to semiprofessional papers, but Dr. Brown in his medical character is rarely technical and always a familiar friend. There are few recent English writers who have established such intimate relations with their readers. — A new edition of Hawthorne’s works has been begun (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) with Twice-Told Tales, Mosses from an Old Manse, The Wonder Book, and The House of the Seven Gables, four of the twelve volumes promised. The type is admirable, the accompanying etchings very agreeable, and the bibliographical introductions by Mr. Lathrop reserved and interesting. Altogether the edition has the appearance of having been carefully planned, as it certainly is well executed. — In the new issue of Dr. Holmes’s writings, The Poet at the Breakfast Table (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) comes second, and is furnished with a new preface. — Early English Literature (to Wiclif), by Bernhard Ten Brink (Holt), is translated from the German by Horace M. Kennedy. It treats of the literary monuments of England of the earliest period, and is a minute, painstaking study, somewhat dry, but not without a conception of the forces which lie behind literature. It may be commended to students. — A History of Latin Literature from Ennius to Boethius, by G. A. Simcox (Harpers), in two volumes, is rather for the general reader than the special student. “ My original aim,” the author says, “in writing, was to do something toward making Latin literature intelligible and interesting, as a whole, to the, cultivated laity who might like to realize its literary worth, whether they read Latin or no.” The book has a special value from its literary treatment of the Latin Fathers.— The Iliad of Homer, done into English prose by Andrew Lang, Walter Leaf, and Ernest Myers (Macmillan), is a companion volume to Butcher and Lang’s Odyssey; and although prose befits the Iliad less than the Odyssey, many readers will find a new charm in this translation, since it permits a more nervous and yet flowing English than is possible in verse. — Socrates, a translation of the Apology, Crito, and parts of the Phædo of Plato (Scribners), is a new issue in paper of a translation published anonymously in 1878, and prefaced by an introduction from Professor Goodwin, of Harvard. — In Foreign Classics for English Readers, Rousseau, by Henry Grey Graham, has appeared (Lippincott), and illustrates English conservatism as well as French philosophical romance.

Business. The Business Man’s Commercial Law and Business Forms Combined, by J. C. Bryant (J. C. Bryant, Buffalo, N. Y.), is described further as a vade mecum for the counting-house. It deals with such matters as come within the range of ordinary business, and is also furnished with questions which render it useful as a textbook. The author is one of the well-known firm of Bryant and Stratton, who have long conducted an organization of business colleges.

Household Economy. Ice-Cream and Cakes, a new collection of standard fresh and original receipts for household and commercial use, by an American. (Scribners.) This business-like volume contains nearly five hundred receipts and wise counsels, among which we note with pleasure the injunction, “ Just as soon as you have done using any dish or implement, wipe it perfectly clean, and set it in a dry place. Don’t wait till a more convenient time.”

Education and Text-Books. A Hand-Book of English and American Literature, for the use of schools and academies, by Esther J. Trimble (Eldredge and Brother, Philadelphia), begins its preface with the hopeful sentence in italics, The study of literature is the study of the works of an author, and closes with a discouraging sentence, also in italics: Encourage pupils to make their own criticisms of an author’s style. The book itself affords somewhat distracting help in each direction. The editor tries to pack much illustrative history in a small space, and gives the most fragmentary examples of literature, while the criticisms, especially upon current writers, are very poor models for the youthful critic. The trouble with the editor is that she has good principles, but forgets them as soon as she engages upon her work, and becomes involved in a hopeless attempt to tell young readers everything. —From Chicago (Townsend MacCoun) come two tidy books, Mueller’s Horace and Dindorf’s Iliad. They are simply texts, being a part of Trübner’s series, adopted by an American house. The neatness of the binding commends the book both for text-book use and for the book-shelf. — Mr. John Wentworth Sanborn publishes from Batavia, N. Y., a manual which he has prefaced with the title A Method of Teaching the Greek Language, tabulated; together with directions for pronouncing Greek, rules of accent, division of words into syllables, formation of tenses of the verb, and on reading Greek at sight. It is in effect a drill book, and is intended to give the grammatical side with precision and iteration. — Professor J. B. Greenough, of Harvard, has issued with Ginn & Heath a Virgil, which comprises the Bucolics and six books of the Æneid. It is fully annotated, furnished with a vocabulary, and further illustrated by a number of descriptive woodcuts. A second volume is to follow, containing the remainder of the Æneid and the Georgics. The book has an attractive air of thoroughness and finish. — In the Pestalozzian series (C. W. Bardeen, Syracuse, N. Y.) has been published First Year Arithmetic, accompanied in the same volume by a Teacher’s Manual. It has been prepared by James H. Hoose, and professes to be based upon Pestalozzi’s system of teaching elementary number. — The dime question books of the same publishers now include Botany, General History, Astronomy, Mythology, and Rhetoric and Composition.— Mr. Rolfe’s edition of Shakespeare’s Plays (Harpers) is completed by Pericles and Two Noble Kinsmen, on the title-page of the latter of which he places also Fletcher’s name. He omits Titus Andronicus from his series, in which he may he right on strictly critical grounds; and one could well spare the gory horrors of the play, but there are some passages which are Shakespearean enough to he Shakespeare’s. The series, as a whole, is admirably adapted for the purpose for which it is designed, — use in schools.

Fiction. Dust, a novel by Julian Hawthorne (Fords, Howard and Hulbert) is a story of English life in the early part of this century. — The Surgeon’s Stories by Z. Topelius, is a series of six Swedish Historical Romances, of which the first, under title of Times of Gustaf Adolf, has just been published by Jansen, McClurg & Co., Chicago.— The Jews of Barnow, stories by Karl Emil Franzos, translated from the German by M. W. Macdowall (Appleton) gives an interesting interior view of Jewish life in Poland, and comes at a time when the public is readier to be interested than it once was.—Mrs. Lorimer, a Sketch in Black and White, by Lucas Malet (Appleton), is the reprint of an English novel which has excited attention in England. — Dukesborough Tales, by Richard Malcolm Johnston, in Harper’s Franklin Square Library is an American book, revived by its author, who has added other more recent stories in the same vein. The old-fashioned air of the work ought not to deter readers, and will not if they should happen to light first on the singularly clever story of The Various Languages of Billy Moon. The book, besides its interest as a volume of stories, portrays curious provincial life in Georgia.—In the same series is My Connaught Cousins, a novel of Irish life, prefaced by Robert Buchanan, who vouches for the truthfulness of the pictures. —Homespun Stories, by Ascott R. Hope (Appleton), is a collection of lively stories, of school-boy life chiefly.

Philosophy and Religion. Notes on Evolution and Christianity, by J. F. Yorke (Holt), has for its object, in the words of the preface, “to turn a small stream of fact and criticism on to an important question. Is there in the teaching of Christ an originality so wonderful as to be accounted for only by the assumption of a special divine revelation ? ” Mr. Yorke does not put out the question by his stream. He concludes by appealing to his readers to accept “ the teaching of the last and greatest of God’s prophets, science, who alone can tell us truly what we ought to do and what we may become.” As if the fundamental relation of man to Christ was that of a student to a teacher! — Ingersollism from a Secular Point of View, by George R. Wendling (Jansen, McClurg & Co., Chicago), is also from a violent and oratorical point of view. — In the Philosophic Series (Scribners) which Dr. McCosh is issuing, the second number is Energy, efficient and final cause.

Nonsense. A book written by the Spirits of the So-called Dead, with their own materialized hands, by the process of independent slate-writing, through Miss Lizzie S. Green and others, as mediums. Compiled and arranged by C. G. Helleberg, of Cincinnati, Ohio. The title-page bears a stanza from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life, in which we are told that Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul; but we never saw any dustier souls than those that are taken down from the top shelf in this book.

Fine Arts. In the Bibliothèque de l’Enseignement des Beaux Arts. published by A. Quantin, Paris, to which we have already called attention, three new volumes have appeared: La Peinture Anglaise by Ernest Chesneau, Les Procédés de la Gravure by A. de Lostalot, and La Gravure by Henri Delaborde.