Books of the Month
Science and Nature. The fifty-first volume of the International Scientific series (Appleton) is Physical Expression, its modes and principles, by Francis Warner. The basis of observations for this book was largely in children, and Dr. Warner employed for this purpose both sound and imbecile children ; he invented and applied a number of ingenious mechanical contrivances for registering expression, and he reached many interesting results. It is a discussion of the subject from a physiologist’s point of view.— The fifty-second volume of the same series is devoted to Anthropoid Apes, by Robert Hartman, and is an interesting study of these poor relations in their home as well as in captivity. An introductory chapter gives the history of our knowledge of them. — The Mammalia in their relation to primeval times, by Oscar Schmidt. (Appleton.) The fifty-third volume of the International Scientific series. “ it will be found,” says the author, “ to contain proofs of the necessity, the truth, and the value of Darwinism as the foundation for the theory of descent, within a limited field, and is brought down to the most recent times.” — Upland and Meadow, a Poaetquissings Chronicle, by Charles C. Abbott, M. D. (Harpers.) Dr. Abbott, who is well known as a specialist in palæontology, shows himself in this volume as an agreeable traveler within that limited area which can be reached from one’s door-step in a day’s walk or paddle. It is a pleasure to welcome another to the select company which looks up to White of Selborne as master. — Discussions on Climate and Cosmology, by James Croll. (Appleton.) Mr. Croll makes this volume in part a defense of his positions as laid down in his previous well-known writings. He has carried his investigations farther and has enlarged the scope of his work. —An Apache Campaign, by John G. Bourke (Scribners), though ostensibly a record of military experience in 1883, is, by the way, a lively picture of the Apache Indians and the country traversed by them. — The Putnams have brought out a popular edition of Roosevelt’s capital Hunting Trips of a Ranchman. — Brattleborough in Verse and Prose is a little book compiled and arranged by Cecil Hampden Howard. (Frank E. Housh, Brattleborough, Vt.) The larger part of this souvenir is occupied by verse, while H. H., T. W. Higginson, and Fanny Fern are drawn upon for prose sketches— Persia, the Land of the Imams, a narrative of travel and residence, 1871-1885, by James Bassett.
(Scribners.) Mr. Bassett was a missionary in Persia, and in the larger part of his book gives an account of his tours through the country: but his views are not merely those of a missionary ; he writes like a good observer and an intelligent man. In the latter part of the book he gives the result of his general judgment of the country as gathered from nearly fifteen years’ residence. A map accompanies the volume, and there is a bibliography and a table of distances and altitudes, but no index.—Evolution of To-Day, by H. W. Conn. (Putnams.) This is not, as the title might indicate, a philosophical account of how to-day was one of the possibilities of yesterday, but is “a summary of the theory of evolution as held by scientists at the present time, and an account of the progress made by the discussions and investigations of a quarter of a century.” The author goes about his task in a spirit of fairness.—Charles F. Deems, on the contrary, in a tractate entitled Evolution, a Scotch verdict (John W. Lovell Co.), gathers a number of isolated dicta by scientific men in the true spirit of a polemic, and is plainly more desirous of having his side beat than of reaching the truth in the matter. — The twenty-third Bulletin of the United States National Museum contains a bibliography of publications of Isaac Lea, preceded by a biographical sketch, by Newton Pratt Scudder. — Burma, as it was, as it is, and as it will be, by James George Scott. (Redway, London.) A sketch of the new dependency of Great Britain by an Englishman who knows the country and takes a very rosy view of his subject. — Signs and Seasons, by John Burroughs (Houghton), contains a baker’s dozen of out-door sketches which are always new and always old. That is, Mr. Burroughs never wearies of Nature, and his stories of her seeming and doing are always fresh, but it is nothing but the good old world that he tells us about always.
Poetry and the Drama. Tecumseh, a drama, by Charles Mair, (Hunter, Rose & Co., Toronto.) Mr. Mair writes with precision and dignity, but makes little attempt at preserving the qualities of the Indian. Tecumseh and the Prophet might be Englishmen or Frenchmen. — Verses, Translations from the German and Hymns, by W. H. Furness. (Houghton.) It is worth while to have in so agreeable a form Dr. Furness’s unrivaled translation of Schiller’s The Song of the Bell, a translation so close as to be perfectly adjusted to the music written for the original. The other verses have the grace and sweetness which characterize this scholar and divine. — Songs of Old Canada, translated by William McLennan. (Dawson Brothers. Montreal.) Fourteen French songs are given, with the translation on opposite pages. The translation is spirited and faithful, and the songs are worth preserving. — Ziita Kii, or Songs from Silence, by Owen E. Longsdorf. (Scholl Brothers, Williamsport, Pa.) The poet handsomely refers the inspiration in his poems to a graven image which was dug up in one of the Ohio mounds. In a sort of Hiawatha measure we have a good deal of theosophic bosh. —Houghton, Mifflin & Co. have issued the concluding four volumes of the works of Thomas Middleton, the second author in Mr. Ballen’s group of English Dramatists. The lover of choice books is reminded that only three hundred and fifty copies of each work are printed, and that the type is then distributed. This admirably edited edition of the old English playwrights will soon be very difficult to obtain. — The Outcast, and other poems, by Walter Malone. (Printed at the Riverside Press, Cambridge.) Here is a volume of three hundred pages, written, the author advises us in his preface, for the most part between the ages of sixteen and nineteen. If he is a true poet, and should have kept this volume in manuscript say for ten years more, we wonder how many of the three hundred pages would ever find their way into print. — Idle Rhymings, a collection of thoughts jotted down in leisure moments, by John H. Mackley. (Jackson, Ohio.) Not a jot of poetry, however. — Translations from Horace, etc., by Sir Stephen E. De Vere, Bart. (George Bell & Sons, London.) The etc. which curls itself upon the title-page is simply an anacreontic, rendered from Walter Mapes, and a couple of short poems. The translations have vigor and compactness, but the loftier odes suffer less in the rendering than the lighter lyrics. — Summer Haven Songs, by James Herbert Morse. (Putnams.) The refined work and play of a man of letters who has pure sentiment, a varied form of expression, and excellent taste. — The Poet Scout, a Book of Song and Story, by Captain Jack Crawford. (Funk & Wagnalls.) Why is it that sentiment of the most melting character seems to well up most fluently from the Rocky Mountains ?— An Italian Garden, a Book of Songs, by A. Mary F. Robinson (Roberts Bros.), is a dainty volume of verse, much of which has an exquisite lyrical quality. — Saint Gregory’s Guest, and Recent Poems, by John Greenleaf Whittier (Houghton), contains eighteen poems, some of which have been seen already by readers of The Atlantic, who will therefore wish the volume. There is a delicate bit of irony in Mr. Whittier’s preface, which poets who are egged on by their friends will not enjoy. One finds great satisfaction in holding in one bunch flowers which separately are so fragrant and so beautiful.
Art and Illustrated Works. The second volume has been published of the History of Painting, from the German of the late Dr. Alfred Woltmann and Dr. Karl Woermann. It is occupied with the Painting of the Renaissance, and is translated by Clara Bell, and published in America by Dodd, Mead & Co. The value of the work is greatly increased by the illustrations, which do not profess to be works of art, but are excellent diagrams. Those which have the intention of pictures are defective in printing, which may be due to poor electrotypes. The translator has in some cases abridged the original and has added bracketed passages, indicating the English home of certain pictures. The work is rather one of reference than reading. —Etching in America, with lists of American etchers and notable collections of prints, by J. R. W. Hitchcock. (White, Stokes & Allen.) An interesting little etching, the first produced by the oldest of our etching clubs, forms the frontispiece, and the entire volume, of less than a hundred pages, is a readable and pointed brochure. In spite of the slight air of business about the lists at the end, the book strikes an unprofessional reader as impartial and candid.—National Academy Notes and complete catalogue to the sixty-first spring exhibition. (Cassell.) This catalogue, now in its sixth year, is edited by Charles M. Kurtz, and is a useful memorandum, since it contains photolithographic reduced reproductions of many of the pictures, brief notes regarding the artists, and much general information concerning the Academy and its members. — Woman in Music, by George B. Upton (A. C. MeClurg & Co., Chicago), is an interesting little monograph, treating not only the general question implied in the title, but indicating also the personal relations of women to the great composers. —My Journal in Foreign Lands, by Florence Trail (Putnams), has its place here, since the author devotes most of her attention to picture galleries. The book is not an important one, but it is naive. —A Stroll with Keats, illustrated by Frances Clifford Brown. (Ticknor.) The uninformed reader would naturally suppose that this was a poem, so entitled, written by a lover of Keats, and illustrated. It is, in reality, excerpts from Keats’s poem beginning,
“ I stood tiptoe upon a little hill,” with illustrations reproduced apparently by some process. It is too late to pronounce upon Keats, and too soon, let us gently hope, to pronounce on the artist. — We are in receipt of the current numbers of L’Art and The Portfolio, two publications that are without rivals in their own especial lines.
Literature and Literary Criticism. Mr. Horace Howard Furness has brought his new variorum edition of Shakespeare to the sixth volume, which is occupied by Othello. (Lippincott.) The great value which the edition has is enhanced by the editor’s decision in this volume to print the text of the first folio with scrupulous accuracy, and to make all corrections and proposed emendations in the text. An interesting feature is the use which he makes of actors’ comments, and the reader is delighted to find how Booth and Fechter interpret character and scene. The editor’s own human interest is constantly intimated, and the work is far removed from a mere dryasdust treatment.—Mr. W. D. O’Connor, under the title of Hamlet’s Note Book (Houghton), criticises Mr. Grant White’s criticism of Mrs. Pott’s Promus of Bacon, which was itself in effect a criticism of the Shakespearean authorship. All this stays us from attempting a criticism of W. D. O’Connor. Quis custodes custodiet? The one contribution which he appears to make to the Shakespeare stew is the suggestion that Raleigh wrote the sonnets.—The New York Shakespeare Society issues its third paper, William Shakespeare and Alleged Spanish Prototypes, by Albert R. Frey, who examines the question of Shakespeare’s indebtedness to Lope de Vega.