Books of the Month
Literature and Criticism. Italian Popular Tales, by Thomas Frederick Crane. (Houghton.) This collection, drawn from the best Italian sources, is the first comprehensive one which has appeared in English. It is interesting to see how divided the author is in his apprehension of his audience. His own interest is a double one: he is a scholar, curious for comparative folk-lore, but he is also a humanist, delighted with the stories which he finds. He follows Grimm in this respect, and though he does not go to individual sources for his stories, his temper and his purpose are much the same as those of the pioneers. — Sartor Resartus appears in a neat form as one of a series of Carlyle’s choice books. (Estes & Lauriat.) — Seed Thoughts for the Growing Life, from Robert Browning and others, selected for the use of teachers and the help of children and parents, by Mary E. Burt (The Colegrove Book Co., Chicago): a little pamphlet of sixty pages, drawn from a teacher’s experience in providing short, pithy sayings for children to learn. The apothegms have the advantage of being unhackneyed. — The Ethics of George Eliot’s Works, by the late John Crombie Brown, with an introduction by Charles Gordon Ames. (George H. Buchanan & Co., Philadelphia.) Mr. Brown, whom readers of George Eliot’s Life will remember, finds a common ground in the novels and in historic Christianity which will be likely to surprise some who have looked upon George Eliot as a post-Christian. — The Wanderings of Ulysses, by C. Witt, translated by Frances Younghusband, has been published in Harper’s Handy Series: a more close rendering of Homer than Lamb’s Adventures of Ulysses, but not, we think, in such graceful English. — The Enchiridion of Criticism is the title given to a small volume intended to contain the best criticisms on the best authors of the nineteenth century, edited by William Shepard. (Lippincott.) The collection is not especially important. Too many persons are treated, from too few points of view. The book is rather for the curious than the inquiring and studious. — The Wit of Women, by Kate Sanborn (Funk & Wagnalls): a volume of selections from the writings of women, connected by running comments. Miss Sanborn’s notion of wit seems strained sometimes. We doubt if much of the material would be collected if there were any intention of showing wit in general, and we do not see the precise feminine quality in the book. — A Layman’s Study of the English Bible Considered in its literary and secular aspect, by Francis Bowen. (Scribners.) In this study, which was originally given as lectures to an academic audience, Professor Bowen makes a vigorous plea for the study of the King James version as a part of liberal education. In doing this, he intends to keep to the Bible as a work of literature, but it is interesting to see how inevitably he is drawn into discussions of morals, history, and to some extent religion. — Corneille’s Tragedy Polyeuctus, the Christian Martyr, has been translated into English blank verse by Walter Federan Nokes. (Schoenhof, Boston.) The French and English are given on parallel pages. — The Great Poets as Religious Teachers, by John H. Morison (Harpers): a thoughtful little volume, in which the author wisely goes to Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, and others for those intimations of the religious nature of man which evade the student who relies for his discovery of human life upon the demonstrations of physical nature. — Literature, by Herman Grimm. (Cupples, Upham & Co.) Miss Sarah H. Adams has translated a number of Grimm’s essays on Emerson, France and Voltaire, Albert Dürer, Voltaire and Frederick the Great, and other subjects. The freshness of Grimm’s mind, the candor and generosity, together with his substantial learning, make his judgments worth attention. He has the advantage of being able to look at the subjects he chooses from something more than a strictly German point of view. — What we Really Know about Shakespeare, by Mrs. C. H. Dall. (Roberts.) Mrs. Dall has brought together in convenient form the accessible facts about Shakespeare, and has added such conjectures of her own as seem to her in keeping with these facts. She confesses her indebtedness to Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps, but does not always agree with him. The book has rather a helter-skelter look, with its succession of scrappy notes, that bear slight typographical relation to the main essay. — Mr. Augustin Daly has issued an interesting brochure, containing a fac-simile reprint of The Merry Wives of Windsor, with a prompt-copy of the comedy as played at his theatre. Mr. William Winter contributes to the volume a delightful essay on Falstaff and various of his interpreters.
Travel and Nature. Through Spain, a Narrative of Travel and Adventure in the Peninsula, by S. P. Scott. (Lippincott.) Much of the ground traversed in this volume is a tolerably new field for tourists, the writer is a good narrator, and the illustrations are pleasing, especially those of architectural subjects. Altogether the book is a creditable addition to our literature of travel. — The Queen’s Empire, or and and her Pearl, by Joseph Moore, Jr. (Lippineott) : a narrative of travel in Hindustan, somewhat dry and uninviting, with phototype illustrations, which have the dullness of the photograph and the indistinctness of the lithograph.—Chosön, the Land of the Morning Calm, a sketch of Korea, by Percival Lowell. (Ticknor.) Mr. Lowell had a new subject, and he has treated it with a leisurely regard for all its possibilities. We have to thank him for a handsome volume with interesting illustrations, and if the style of writing is somewhat discursive and Mr. Lowell seems to wander a little from a straightforward narrative, the reader may remember that the Koreans are in no hurry, and he may well appropriate some of their temper. — Along Alaska’s Great River, a popular account of the travels of the Alaska Exploring Expedition of 1883 along the great Yukon River from its source to its mouth, in the British Northwest Territory, and in the Territory of Alaska, by Frederick Schwatka. (Cassell.) The expedition included a raft journey of over thirteen hundred miles. Mr. Schwatka is an experienced northern traveler, and shows in this book his energy and determination in overcoming obstacles. He clears up many points in Alaskan geography, and gives one a distinct impression of the country scenicalty, though hardly of its resources. The engravings are intelligible, but rather rude. — Japanese Homes and their Surroundings, by Edward S. Morse (Ticknor): a delightful book and a distinct addition to our intimate knowledge of the Japanese, because the writer has confined himself to a subject capable of being treated comprehensively, and because he writes from a sympathetic position, and one of familiar acquaintance. — The Greek Islands and Turkey after the War, by Henry M. Field. (Scribners.) Dr. Field writes with the advantage of a traveler who has been over the ground twice, and has in his second visit a special errand. He carries with him also his old disposition to moralize upon his theme, but it is only just to say that there is for the most part a pretty straightforward story.
Politics and Sociology. The Origin of Republican Form of Government in the United States of America, by Oscar S. Straus (Putnams): a thoughtful little book, but somewhat off the track, owing to the author’s persistent regard of the war for independence as a revolution. If he had called it an evolution, he would not have missed so many plain ruths. He also seems to have overlooked not only the germs of local and representative government in English politics, but the familiarity of the Puritans with Geneva, — The Woman’s Department of the World’s Exposition at New Orleans has issued a Report and Catalogue (Rand, Avery & Co., Boston), in which the industry of women finds some slight recognition. By means of the classification by States it is possible to reach some conclusion as to the comparative enterprise in this form of the different parts of the country. — Dust Ho! and other Pictures from Troubled Lives, by H. A. Forde and her sisters (S. P. C. K., London; Youngs, New York): a sympathetic account of a dozen church institutions in London for the care of the neglected. The sketches are free from statistical dreariness, and are mainly the report of an intelligent visitor. — The Industrial Situation and the Question of Wages, a study in social physiology, by J. Schoenhof. (Putnams.) The conclusion reached by the author is that with free competition with other nations, that is, by the abrogation of duties on materials, American industries could create an unbounded market all over the world. He does not appear to consider the possibility of self-protective measures on the part of other nations, but it would not be by any means surprising if the adoption of the policy of free trade on the part of America should result in a protective policy on the part of England.