Books of the Month

Books for Young People. — The Boy Travellers in the Russian Empire : adventures of two youths in a journey in European and Asiatic Russia, with accounts of a tour across Siberia, voyages on the Amoor, Volga, and other rivers, a visit to Central Asia, travels among the exiles, and a historical sketch of the empire from its foundation to the present time. By Thomas W. Knox. (Harpers.) It only needs to be added to this descriptive title-page that the book is liberally illustrated, that the boys are accompanied or accosted by completely informed gentlemen, and that probably no party ever traveled through the Russian Empire that had so little fun on the way and issued at the other end so chock-full of information. — The bound volume of Harpers’ Young People for 1886 is as delightful a holiday book as can be found for young readers. — To have invented The Lady from Philadelphia is a distinction in itself, and the Peterkin Papers, by Lucretia P. Hale (Ticknor), not only merits a second edition and a lot of pictures of various degrees of humor, but ought to have a generous access of readers. Its fun is just of that catching kind that runs through a family, and suggests bywords, and the entire conception of the Peterkins is so clever, so simple as a caricature, and so entertaining that only its limitations as a book for young people prevent it from having fame. — Talks with my Boys, by W. A. Mowry (Roberts), professes to be the substance of a veteran teacher’s familiar lessons in the virtues, but it is scarcely this in form. It has, however, many anecdotes and practical suggestions which would possibly take hold of boys. It should, perhaps, rather be classed with educational books. — Little Lord Fauntleroy, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Scribners), is a brilliant little fairy tale of real life, in which lords, earls, and the like answer every purpose of created beings. The invented Lord Fauntleroy is a precarious creature, but the author is too skillful to allow her work to suffer from any fatal indecision in drawing him. — The Story of Music and Musicians for Young Readers, by Lucy C. Lillie (Harpers), is a pleasant, rather rambling volume, which will be especially acceptable to those who have already made some little headway with their music. Mrs. Lillie is not always successful in reproducing the figures of famous musicians, so as to give them individuality, but she surrounds them with a good deal of decorative anecdote which is effective. —Lives of Girls who became Famous, by Sarah K. Bolton. (Crowell.) Rather an uncommon proportion of these girls are American : Mrs. Stowe, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Mott, Mrs. Livermore, Miss Hosmer, Miss Alcott, the Countess Ossoli, Miss Mitchell. Mrs. Bolton writes in an interesting manner; she does not prose, and is evidently much interested in her subjects. The portraits are poor. — The Christmas Country, and Other Tales, by Mary J. Safford. (Crowell.) Some of these stories are original, but most are translations. There is no special consistency in the book, but the prevailing tone is German sentiment, often rather strained. — The Boys’ Book of Famous Rulers, by Lydia Hoyt Farmer (Crowell), contains brief biographies of Agamemnon, Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne, and others down to Napoleon I. The book is somewhat rhetorical in style, and praise and blame are ladled out in a severe fashion; but after all there is not much moralizing, and the writer tells her stories in a straightforward manner. — The Tales of the Sixty Mandarins, by P. V. Ramaswami Raju, with an introduction by Professor Henry Morley. (Cassell.) A collection of Chinese fairy tales, which are rather curious than interesting. They have the aimlessness which to occidental minds seems so characteristic of the Chinese. — Chivalric Days, and the Boys and Girls who helped to make them, by E. S. Brooks. (Putnams.) The strong interest which the writer evidently takes in his work goes far toward pardoning the somewhat stilted form in which he seems to find it necessary to present mediæval scenes, if he would give them remoteness. But after all, is it not nearness rather than remoteness which we should give to children, when we are reconstructing the past for them ? — Blue Jackets of ’61, a History of the Navy in the War of Secession, by Willis J. Abbot. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) We must complain at the outset of the sub-title of this book. The war was the war for the Union, not a war of secession. Words and terms should be looked after sharply in our books for young people. Our criticism ends with this, for the book strikes us as done with excellent judgment and very readable. The story of the navy has the advantage over that of army operations in its comparative simplicity and its appeal more directly to one’s admiration of pluck and personal bravery. A ship with its sailors is a unit in an engagement; it is only now and then that one can form this impression of a company, regiment, or brigade.

Art and Illustrated Books. A Handbook of Christian Symbols and Stories of the Saints as Illustrated in Art, by Clara Erskine Clement, edited by Katherine E. Conway. (Ticknor.) Mrs. Clement’s previous handbook has been drawn upon in this work, while the material has been somewhat recast to make it more distinctly a companion for those who approach mediæval art with a sympathy for the church within whose pale it was executed. — The Romance of the Moon, by J. A. Mitchell (Holt), is a clever little bit of nonsense, in which an ingenious fancy is capitally set forth by pictures of quaint humor. — Stories of Art and Artists, by Clara Erskine Clement. (Ticknor.) Mrs. Clement has not troubled herself, fortunately, to keep a juvenile audience always in view, but has helped herself to the most interesting anecdotes about painters and pictures, and told them anew in a straightforward, business-like fashion. The illustrations vary in excellence, the highly calendered paper sometimes bringing out the defects of inferior ones. —Thoughts on Art, and Autobiographical Memoirs of Giovanni Duprè, translated from the Italian by E. M. Peruzzi, with an introduction by W. W. Story. (Roberts.) A delightful book, in which appears the figure of a man who to many will seem the relic of a past age. Duprè’s religious nature and his devotion to art, and in art to religious subjects, separate him from the great body of contemporary artists, while his naïveté and general simplicity and beauty of character invest his memoirs with a peculiar charm and grace. — A Muramasa Blade, a Story of Feudalism in Old Japan, by Louis Wertheimher (Ticknor), will have its attraction for most in its striking pictures by modern Japanese artists, who seem to have entered upon the illustration of the story with an uncommon vigor of imagination. — Imagination in Landscape Painting, by Philip Gilbert Hamerton. (Roberts.) The text in this edition has appeared before, but the illustrations, which are line-engravings, mezzotints, and process cuts, are new in this volume. They add much to the understanding of the text, and the book is something more than a picture-book, being a true aid to the study of the important subject which Mr. Hamerton has under consideration. — Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel, profusely illustrated by the pencils of Harper, Garrett, Myrick, and others, forms a fit companion for the handsome holiday editions of Marmion, The Lady of the Lake, etc., previously issued by the Ticknors. — In his Character Sketches from Thackeray (Cassell), Mr. Frederick Barnard gives us fulllength drawings of Becky Sharp, Colonel Newcome, the Little Sister, Major Pendennis, Captain Costigan, and Major Dobbin. The notable figures in great novels are flesh-and-blood persons to each reader, —persons whose flesh and blood are, in a manner, contributed by him. He has his own idea of their physical attributes. Probably no two readers form precisely the same idea. From our point of view, Mr. Barnard’s portraits — with the exception of that of Major Dobbin, and possibly that of Colonel Newcome — are not good likenesses, however excellent they may be as pictures. We are bound to say that they are pleasing in their own way, and that, the artist’s work has been admirably reproduced by the photogravure method. — In point of mechanical execution, The Blessed Damozel, with illustrations by Kenyon Cox (Dodd, Mead & Co.), deserves to rank with the most Sumptuous of the holiday books. The work reaches us too late to be included among the art publications reviewed elsewhere in this number.

Theology, Philosophy, and Religion. Sermons, New and Old, by Archbishop Trench. (Appleton.) This volume will be accepted by many as a testament from a man who had a fine spirit, a generous nature, and a hold upon human interests and concrete things which forbade his spirituality to become vaporized. Other men have made more of a mark on their generation than Trench, but few have maintained so honorable a middle course, avoiding the polemic not through timidity, but through charity. The sermons in this volume are good expressions of the kindliness of nature which prompted them. — Three Martyrs of the Nineteenth Century, Studies from the Lives of Livingstone, Gordon, and Patteson, by the author of Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) Although this is a book of biographic sketches, its main intent is to make clear the religious springs in the life of each man. There is danger in such cases of exaggerating a feature in the desire to be emphatic, and we confess to some distrust of sketches of such thoroughly real and active men which may reduce their humanity while enlarging their piety. — The Transfiguration of Christ, by F. W. Gunsaulus (Houghton), is a short series of lectures, in which the author examines certain phases of modern skepticism and belief in the light of the transfiguration. The real value of the book, to our mind, lies in the frequent insight which the author shows of spiritual truth, and the occasional poetical and striking form in which he casts his thought. We suspect that if he had thrown his reading to the winds, and given us in place a small, semi-devotional work on the subject, he would have achieved a greater success; still his book is undeniably one of worth. — Psychology, the Cognitive Powers, by James McCosh. (Scribners.) Dr. McCosh designs the book to be used as a text-book, but from its subject and treatment it may properly be regarded as a contribution to philosophy. A clear and systematic presentation of a scheme of philosophy is always something more than a text-book. It is interesting to observe that the author makes a cautious concession to physiological psychology, by infusing into his work a larger element of physiological science than he would himself have been likely to give twenty years ago. — Esoteric Christianity and Mental Therapeutics, by W. F. Evans. (H. H. Carter & Karrick, Boston.) Mr. Evans is positive in his belief that the phrenopathic system, as he calls it, or the mind cure, as others name it, is a practical expression of the occult laws of Christ. He writes apparently from the standpoint of a disciple of Swedenborg. —Orient, with Preludes on Current Events, by Joseph Cook (Houghton), is the characteristic comment on human life and progress as noted by a western philosopher, who has taken the east on his way round the world, but with his weather eye on the home horizon. — Prejudiced Inquiries, being the Backwoods Lectures for the year 1884, by E. J. Morris. (Putnams.) Mr. Morris, who is a Welsh clergyman, and former neighbor in the country of the late Dr. Mulford, writes an interesting, regretful, and affectionate introduction, in which he notes the connection between his book and his friend. The lectures themselves are upon a variety of topics, by which a country clergyman sought to widen the interests of his people, or rather to appeal to their wider interests by corresponding thought. The book is an honorable one ; it is marked by individual, robust thinking and nervous expression, running sometimes into quaintness. Mr. Morris makes no concealment of the fact that Christian philosophy underlies his words.—Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, translated, with an introduction and notes, by Andrew P. Peabody. (Little, Brown & Co.) Dr. Peabody is evidently taking a hearty pleasure in this gracious task of translating Cicero’s ethical writings. He provides notes when they are needed, and casts the translation in a mould which is at once Latinical and vernacular. — Missionary Work among the Ojibway Indians, by the Rev. Edward F. Wilson. (S. P. C. K., London ; Youngs, New York.) A livelier narrative than missionary books are apt to be, and combining adventure with catechising.

Biblical Criticism and Illustration. Scriptures, Hebrew and Christian, arranged and edited for young readers as an introduction to the study of the Bible, by Edward T. Bartlett and John P. Peters. Vol. I. Hebrew Story from Creation to the Exile. (Putnams.) Although this book might properly be included among Books for Young People, its form and treatment render it rather to be classed under the above heading. The task of the editors, who are connected with the faculty of the Episcopal Divinity School of Philadelphia, has been to take the Old Testament Scriptures and rearrange them in a continuous narrative, in which prophecy and psalm find their appropriate place and the duplication of narratives is avoided. The words are mainly those of the Authorized Version, or of the Canterbury Revision, as the editors neatly call it, but advantage has been taken of the selective method to give occasionally the results of criticism, and to introduce explanatory words. All of the Biblical text is not used, but the reader by means of this book gets the Hebrew story in Biblical language. The result strikes us as admirable, and as a commentary on the Old Testament of a singularly reserved and useful character. — A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti, translated, revised, and enlarged by Joseph Henry Thayer. (Harpers.) A model of typographical excellence, to begin with. Certainly no Greek dictionary has appeared for a long time which is such a pleasure to the eye. We might have preferred the deader surface of the English Liddell and Scott to this highly calendered paper, but the book is really a brilliant piece of printing. Dr. Thayer has carefully discriminated his own work from that of Grimm and Wilke, and a hasty survey shows that his work has been vastly more than that of a scrupulous translator. Many of the paragraphs under words are in effect critical articles, and the dictionary becomes, as such books ought to be. a book to be studied, and not merely one of reference. We suspect there has been a great deal also of silent criticism on the original. We cannot help regretting, however, that Dr. Thayer, even if he made no use of Robinson, should not have recognized in his preface that pioneer American scholar.—Messianic Prophecy : the prediction of the fulfillment of redemption throug’h the Messiah ; a critical study of the Messianic passages of the Old Testament in the order of their development. By Charles Augustus Briggs. (Scribners.) Here is a really important addition to American theological literature taken on its exegetical side, and one which seems likely to widen the horizon of young theological students. The clearness of Dr. Briggs’s method is especially praiseworthy; there is an admirable and unusual combination of the scientific habit and the devout sentiment, and the fearlessness of the author is never mere audacity, but springs from confidence in the truth.

Literature and Literary History. English Hymns, their Authors and History, by Samuel Willoughby Duffield. (Funk & Wagnalls.) Mr. Duffield has made a large book, — larger than was necessary, we think, for a more vigorous pruning would have reduced his own rambling prose, and presented the actual facts in a more compact form. He has, however, brought together a good deal of information about American hymns not to be found in the excellent English treatises of Christophers and Miller. We are a little surprised that in his preface he should have ignored his indebtedness to previous workers in the same field, and that he should, for example, have made no mention of that indefatigable, accurate, and unwearied student, the Rev. Frederic M. Bird, whose labors in hymnology ought never to be overlooked. — A Memorial of Mary Clemmer, by Edmund Hudson (Ticknor), is the affectionate, and if partial yet appreciative, record of one of the most industrious of American literary women. That Mrs. Clemmer should be forgotten soon would seem to be the penalty paid by those whose work is absorbed by the rapacious maw of the daily and weekly press. Her husband, indeed, hopes for a longer life for her poems and collected works. It may be so, but we suspect that, like the dyer’s hand, her work partook largely of the fate of that upon which she expended it. — The third volume of John Morley’s Critical Miscellanies treats, among other subjects, of George Eliot. J. S. Mill, Mark Pattison, W. R. Greg, Harriet Martineau, and Auguste Comte. (Macmillan.) — Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, by Count Lyof N. Tolstoï, translated from the Russian by Isabel F. Hapgood (Crowell), is a singularly full and detailed account by himself of a man who is a force in literature because he is much more than a man of letters. — In the Travellers’ Series (Putnams) Hood’s Whims and Oddities have found a place. The queer pictures which seem to give gravity to the fun are preserved in all their uncouthness. — Mr. William Winter’s two charming volumes on England have been reprinted, under the title of Shakespeare’s England, by Mr. David Douglas, of Edinburgh, and reissued here in one volume by the Ticknors. —Recent numbers of Cassell’s National Library are Egypt and Scythia, described by Herodotus, name of translator not given ; Hamlet; Nature and Art, by Mrs. Inchbald ; Plutarch’s Lives of Alcibiades and Coriolanus, Aristides and Cato the Censor; Cowley’s Essays; Voyages and Travels of Marco Polo; The Merchant of Venice. — A History of Greek Literature from the earliest period to the death of Demosthenes, by Frank Byron Jevons. (Scribners.) Mr. Jevons intended his book for the use of students preparing for examination, and it shows this in the compactness of its statements and the orderly treatment. He has not, however, wholly suppressed himself, and he writes with a refreshing honesty and freedom from mere academic regard. His protest against a certain school of critics is good: “ They examine the Homeric poems as they would a candidate’s dissertation for a degree, and have no hesitation in rejecting the author of the Iliad and Odyssey for not knowing his Homer.” — Familiar Talks on some of Shakespeare’s Comedies, by Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer. (Roberts.) We can easily understand that these talks were given; they have such value as talks may have, but there is a wide difference between the interest which one may take in listening to a running comment on one of Shakespeare’s plays and that to be taken in reading the same. It is hard to see where Mrs. Latimer adds to Shakespeare, or even especially illuminates him.

Essays. Fraternity Papers is the title given to a volume of desultory essays by Edward H. Elwell. (Elwell. Pickard & Co., Portland, Me.) The book appears to take its name from the club before which the papers were read. The writer is evidently a person of humane interests and of a curious disposition. He cares for antiquities not as a mere antiquarian, but as one who would rather have talked with his ancestors than merely read the documents they left behind. His paper on The Puritan Sermon and that on The Building of a House may be taken as illustrating the kind of interest which he has in historical subjects. — The Round Year, by Edith M. Thomas. (Houghton.) Miss Thomas is first a poet, but that does not incapacitate her from writing very graceful prose. Her sketches of nature in half-hidden forms are so delicate, they show so fine an intimacy with the retreating shadows of dusky shapes, that the effect of this little book upon a sensitive imagination is of distinctly poetic breathings. If, occasionally, she is betrayed into a little fantastic trick of language, one can forgive it, since it does not seem affectation, but a certain pirouette of the mind, as if the wind had whistled to this lover of nature, and she had caught the sudden whim. Still, we can hardly advise Miss Thomas to lose herself in prose. The best things in this book could have been said in verse, and such verse as hers we can ill spare. Let us hope that she keeps her diary in verse ; it is her natural expression. — Manners Makyth Man, by the author of How to be Happy though Married. (Scribners.) Has the ulster of the Country Parson fallen on this writer ? He belongs to the same school of the prophets, — the platitudinarian school.

Political Economy and Sociology. The South, its Industrial. Financial, and Political Condition, by A. K. McClure. (Lippincott.) Colonel McClure is confident that the South is soon to receive the attention which the West has enjoyed from owners of capital and from immigrants, and his book, which gives the result of several journeys, is intended to indicate the openings which exist. It is for the most part a record of observation, and while it is hopeful and disposed to place objects somewhat under a rose-colored glass, and to avoid subjects disagreeable to Southern readers, it will be found useful as a rapid survey of a section of the country which is still a terra incognita to many. We wish somebody, equipped as Mr. Olmstead was, would again visit the South. — The Railways and the Republic, by James F. Hudson. (Harpers.) Mr. Hudson rightly apprehends the importance of the railway as an influence in political science, and applies himself to the task of discriminating between the manifest advantage of the great corporations and the not so manifest evils which they have brought in. His book brings together much valuable information respecting the law and the railways, but we think some of his conclusions would have been modified if he had taken into account more clearly the experience of other nations than the United States. As a study of railway conditions in the republic it is important, but its importance would have been greater if he had been willing to regard the conditions of railways elsewhere as having direct bearing upon his chief subject.