Books of the Month

Biography. Final Memorials of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, edited by Samuel Longfellow. (Ticknor.) It was apparent to every reader of the Life of Longfellow that the editor had found it necessary to compress the portion relating to the last fifteen years into a very brief form. He had gone leisurely along up to that point, but found he had then used up almost all his space, and so was obliged to hurry over the remaining years. He has now gone hack to the beginning, picked up a few threads that had been dropped, but devoted the most of the volume to an expansion of the fifteen years, treating them, in fact, as he had treated the earlier portion in his previous book. Thus this is in effect a third volume. It contains many letters of interest, but the diary is not so full as in the former volumes. The editor has also taken the opportunity to gather some of the ana about Mr. Longfellow, printed after his death, and to furnish the Life with bibliographical data. It is a pity that the index is just about as inadequate as that in the Life. After all, however much we may take exceptions to some details of editing, we are grateful indeed for such full material. The lover of good literature and of all that relates to a rare man will take his ease in such a work as this, and let others hurry as they please through compendiums. —John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, by William O. Stoddard (White, Stokes, & Allen), is one of a series of Lives of the Presidents. Mr. Stoddard appears to have in mind an audience of boys and girls, but it seems to us that he has studied simplicity of form rather than picturesqueness or a graphic art. There are a good many vague, general statements in the place of helpful details, and the result is a dudllness of effect. — The tenth volume of Leslie Stephen’s Dictionary of National Biography, letter C, contains a large number of notable brief studies, among which may be mentioned the papers on Chatterton, Chapman, Churchill (Duke of Marlborough), and Cibber. (Macmillan & Co.) — Histoire d’une Grande Dame au XVIIIe. Siècle (Calmann Lévy, Paris) is a delightful study, by Lucien Perry, of the lively Princess Hélène de Ligne. — Charles Reade, a Memoir, compiled chiefly from his literary remains, by Charles L. Reade and the Rev. Compton Reade (Harper Brothers), is a book to which we shall return.

Fiction. Village Photographs, by Augusta Larned. (Holt.) Miss Larned has shown a prodigality in this book which argues well for her resources. She has not saved her material for half a dozen novels, but has boldly sketched right and left the characters and incidents of village life, and pleased herself and her readers with a full and abundant survey. The sketches have an agreeable humor about them, and they are reasonably free from discursiveness, though one of the merits of such a book lies undoubtedly in a leisurely air. Miss Larned does not take her subject too seriously, neither is she over-anxious to be amusing, but, dealing as she does with little that is tragic or passionate, she has succeeded in transferring a veritable American village into book form. Photographs is a modest word to use, and is not wholly applicable. There is something better than photography in this work, and something also not so good ; for while the author’s personal touch is evident, there is not always the utter frankness of a photograph. — Baldine and other Tales, by Karl Erdmann Edler, translated from the German by the Earl of Lytton. (Harpers.) Lord Lytton has written an interesting preface to this collection of three tales, and the book is otherwise well worth attention. One needs, to be sure, to translate one’s self somewhat into the German habit of mind thoroughly to enjoy the stories, but the sentiment, though strained to the American mind, is not mawkish. The strength of the sentiment, indeed, is a large part of the individuality of the author, and as it is joined with a deep insight into human life it is varied and wide in scope.—Two Gentlemen of Boston (Ticknor) is a wearisome novel, which the reader works over from an undefined hope of coming upon something worth while. The author has labored hard over it, — so hard that though Boston and other familiar places are mentioned, they have become obscured and made curiously indefinite. The unreality of the thought and relations in the book is conveyed to the concrete facts, so that while the book is a novel in form and substance, it is in spirit a romance. A world is lived in by the writer which is invented for the purpose, but labeled with all the signs and marks of the actual world. — Mr. Barnes of New York, by A. C. Gunter. (Deshler, Welch & Co., New York.) A Corsican falls in a duel; his sister swears eternal vengeance on his slayer; she chases him all through the book, and finally appears to come up with him on her wedding-night in the person of her husband; she nearly goes mad; one of her family kills another of her family, thinking it to be the husband-duelist; then it turns out that the husband was not the duelist, after all, and the girl is saved, all uncomfortable people in the vendetta having been disposed of. Mr. Barnes of New York is an American crack rifle-shot, who is on hand at the duel, and acts as best friend to everybody up to the end of the story. The book is rather excitable than exciting. — Knight-Errant, by Edna Lyall. (Appleton.) A certain freshness is given to this novel by the introduction of Italian characters connected with a theatrical troop, read in the light of English domesticity. Miss Lyall carries forward the traditions of the English domestic novel, but enlarges its bounds, and without completely secularizing it manages to give one the idea of a Miss Yonge who has known something of the world. — Sabina Zembra, by William Black. (Harpers.)—Sigrid, an Icelandic Love Story, by Jon Thordssön Thoroddsen, translated from the Danish by C. Chrest; edited by Thomas Tapper, Jr. (Crowell.) An unpretentious picture of that extreme northern life which affects one by its simplicity of motive, as if it were too cold for human beings to have more than a few thoughts and a few feelings. The beauty of the work is of a somewhat starlight sort, and has a fascination for some readers. — The Buchholz Family, translated by L. Dora Schmitz from the German of Julius Stinde (Scribner’s Sons), is a continuation, if not the conclusion, of the author’s previous entertaining sketches of social life in Berlin. — Harper Brothers have issued extremely neat editions of Thomas Hardy’s last novel, The Woodlanders, and Rider Haggard’s story of King Solomon’s Mines.

Literature and Literary Criticism. A Club of One, Passages from the Note-Book of a Man who might have been Sociable. (Houghton.) No author’s name is given on the titlepage of this graceful-looking book, but the writer is evidently one of those devourers of books who read leisurely, digest and mark, and then desire to take others into a share of their pleasure. There is not much original observation, but a good deal of agreeable, quiet talk over books and men, such as a well-read man might deliver to a congenial acquaintance. — American Literature and Other Papers, by Edwin Percy Whipple. (Ticknor.) Five papers by this earnest critic, collected in a posthumous volume. The number of American critics of a large order is so small that we welcome a volume which contains the careful work of one who held a high place in the ranks. The interest which Mr. Whipple took in his subjects was at the bottom of his large success in treating them. To the last he was a genuine lover of literature as such, and not merely in its personal relations. — We may place here a little volume of reminiscences, A Half Century in Salem, hy M. C. D. Silsbee (Houghton), because of its agreeable flavor as a mellow fruit of a long life passed among associations which already begin to seem quaint and oldfashioned. Less a piece of literary art than Eleanor Putnam’s Old Salem, it has the great merit of being a real picture of a place and life which will one day be recognized even more than now as the final product of a peculiar provincial civilization. — The Saunterer, by Charles Goodrich Whiting. (Ticknor.) A quiet volume of rumination over passages of nature, and such trivial sights as attract the eye of a man who does not travel far from home, and whose interest is in the low tones. Mr. Whiting pleases the reader by his freedom from sentimentality and noisy writing, and by his power of seeing into familiar scenes. There is now and then a poetic touch, often a deep sounding, and if humor is not a prevalent element, there is a delightful absence of any straining after effect.

Philosophy and Theology. The New Psychic Studies in their Relation to Christian Thought, by Franklin Johnson. (Funk & Wagnalls.) A slight volume, in which some of the results of the British Society for Psychical Research are passed in review, and some of the more familiar forms of psychical disturbance in connection with religion are considered. Dr. Johnson takes a reasonable view of the subject, and if he is not very exhaustive, he is clear in his general conclusions. — Practical Cheirosophy, a synoptical study of the science of the hand, by Edward Heron-Allen, with explanatory plates and diagrams by Rosamund Brunel Horsley. (Putnams.) The positiveness with which the terms of this science are presented goes far to win the respect of the reader, and there are some extremely interesting diagrams of typical hands. The study is reasonable, and one’s private observation will repeatedly reinforce the conclusions of this science. We commend the book as a capital aid in a fascinating and helpful study. Many a young amateur in drawing might well work steadily over the representation of the hand. It furnishes fewer difficulties than the face, and is nearly as interpretative. — The Factors of Organic Evolution, by Herbert Spencer (Appleton), a reprint of two articles contributed to the Nineteenth Century. Mr. Spencer sums up his argument with the statement that the chief factor in the evolution of civilized men is the modification of structure caused by modifications of function, — Behold the Woman, parable sequel to Man is Love, by Bulah Brinton. (Bay View Herald Publishing Co., Milwaukee.) Long have we deliberated whether to include this mighty work under Poetry or Philosophy. We are not sure that it is either, but as spirit ought to be more than form, and as several of the cantos appear to be written in prose, in dialogue, it turns up heads for Philosophy. “ I, the poet, was in the spirit on a resurrection day (May 30, 1880).” So the work begins, and ends with a cut of the founder of Bay View and a sample home of a day wageworker. But the reader must not imagine that he is to catch anywhere at solid fact. There appears to be a fact somewhere in the book, but it dangles out of reach. — His Star in the East, a Study in the Early Aryan Religions, by Leighton Parks. (Houghton.) Mr. Parks brings to his study a personal acquaintance with the East, which he does not vaunt as any uncommon advantage, but which is really helpful as serving to humanize his thought. There is a generous, hearty treatment of the subject which wins the reader’s regard, and a certain fearless comparison of Orientalism with Christianity which indicates that the author holds his own faith in no timid or conventional manner. It is just because Christianity is not a mere religion to him that he is able to see the relations which Oriental religions bear to it. — The Foundations of Ethics, by John Edward Maude, edited by William James. (Holt.) The interesting preface in which Mr. James, with the aid of a friend, sets before the reader the brief history of Mr. Maude’s career leads one to promise himself a sincere pleasure in reading the discussions which follow. The clearness of discrimination at once impresses one, and that is half the battle in philosophy. — Dr. Channing’s Note-Book, Passages from the Unpublished Manuscripts of William Ellery Channing, selected by his granddaughter, Grace Ellery Channing. (Houghton.) Dr. Channing was so much a man of sentences, his thought was struck out often in a sententious and suggestive fashion, that it is not surprising to find his note-book yielding some admirable material. It is noticeable how contemporaneous much of the writing seems. The stream of thought in some places was as wide in Channing’s time as it is now, and had much the same flow. — Elements of Physiological Psychology, a treatise of the activities and nature of the mind from the physical and experimental point of view, by George T. Ladd. (Scribners. ) A calm, unprejudiced survey of this comparatively new science, and a very full and comprehensive one. It is interesting to see in this and other instances how resolute the scholars bred in the more metaphysical school are in availing themselves of the work of the pioneers in this new direction, and how free they are from that unscientific habit of mind which throws one back in antagonistic inertia when a new movement in philosophy is observed. — Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (Appleton) is a selection from the writings and sayings of Henry Ward Beecher, made by William Drysdale. Mr. Beecher was a man of point in his rhetoric, and he had a genuine insight of human nature. Thus such a collection as this abounds in apothegms which might well serve as texts for moral discourses, as when Mr. Beecher says, " It is impossible to indulge in habitual severity of opinion upon our fellowmen without injuring the tenderness and delicacy of our own feelings.” Some of the passages suffer, as keen sayings are apt to, by being taken out of modifying context, and there are therefore some apparently foolish sayings among the wise ones, but on the whole there is a commendable absence of smartness and straining for effect.

Text-Books and Education. Mr. W. J. Rolfe has added to his useful little text-books in literature Enoch Arden and other Poems. (Ticknor.) As before, he has worked into his notes a good deal of criticism from other students ; his own notes are even more helpful than usual, although we think he errs in giving too little credit to the student’s own intelligence. — Outlines of International Law, with an account of its origin and sources and of its historical development, by George B. Davis. (Harpers.) Mr. Davis, who is assistant professor of law at West Point, has aimed to provide a text-book for students who desire to get at the fundamental principles of the science of international law. Without giving many citations, he has helped the student by a liberal reference to authorities, and in an appendix he has printed Dr. Lieber’s Instructions drawn up for the use of army officers in the late war. — An Introduction to French Prose Composition, by Rev. P. H. E. Brette. (Harpers.) On the plan of Dr. William Smith’s Principia. It contains hints on translation of French into English, the principal rules of the French syntax compared with the English, a systematical course of exercises on the syntax, idiomatic and proverbial phrases, and an English-French vocabulary to the exercises. We think it is a mistake, if not a crime, to give children such fine type in a text-book. — The second circular of the Bureau of Education (Washington) for 1886 is devoted to proceedings of the department of superintendence of the meeting of the national educational association, held in Washington, February, 1886. The department of superintendence appears to mean that this was a convention of superintendents to discuss anything that might turn up. Such conventions are probably more useful for the incidental advantages than for the direct. One is oppressed by the volume of talk about education. It seems as though in conventions the speakers rarely get beyond generalities. — Charles P. Otis, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has selected and edited, with introduction, notes, and vocabulary, Grimm’s Märchen. (Holt.) We are glad that Mr. Otis has respected his text, and used his notes only as a means of pointing out divergences from literary German. — The Essentials of Perspective, with illustrations drawn by the author, by L. W. Miller. (Scribners.) Mr. Miller, who is a pupil of Professor Ware, has not written for scientific students and professional artists, but he appears to have written a very sensible and acute book, of service to the general student.

Travel and Nature. Captain Glazier and his Lake, an inquiry into the history and progress of exploration at the head waters of the Mississippi since the discovery of Lake Itasca, by H. D. Harrower. (Ivison, Blakeman & Co.) The author of this little work rightly judges that a mere demolition of Captain Glazier’s absurd assumptions would be breaking a butterfly on a wheel, but he uses the opportunity to make clear the geography and the history of the discovery of Lake Itasca. The pamphlet is at once entertaining, except to Captain Glazier, and instructive. —Waste-Land Wanderings, by Charles C. Abbott. (Harpers.) Dr. Abbott’s books gain in interest and naturalness. If he will remain as good an observer and clear himself of some of his aivkwardnesses of style, there is good reason to believe that his books will be permanent additions to our stock of readable natural history. — Due North, or Glimpses of Scandinavia and Russia, by Maturin M. Ballou. (Ticknor.) A respectable, matter-of-fact, but rather dull book of travels. The author has at least the virtue of brevity, but there is a singular lack of personality in the book, and the entire narrative is given in a tone which never seems to rise in enthusiasm or earnestness, and never to sink into absolute bathos.

Art. The Standard Oratorios, their stories, their music, and their composers, by George P. Upton. (McClurg.) An excellent, convenient little handbook, which takes the oratorio writers in alphabetical order, and gives a running comment on their works. We wish Mr. Upton had been a little more explicit and full in his treatment of the subject of oratorio texts. It is not easy, for instance, to make out the exact state of the case regarding the text of The Creation.

Science. Agriculture in some of its Relations with Chemistry, by F. H. Storer. (Scribners.) This work, in two substantial volumes, has been written, the author says, in the interest of persons fond of rural affairs, and of students of agriculture. It makes no special appeal to chemists or to students of chemistry. It must not be supposed, however, from this modest statement, that Mr. Storer writes in any superficial manner as regards chemistry. It is out of a thorough familiarity with the science that he treats of the practical art of agriculture. The detail of the work is explicit, and the book becomes of great value to every farmer who aims at more than a merely empirical treatment of his estate. — The new volume of The Gentleman’s Magazine Library (Houghton) treats of the Romano-British remains. The subject will occupy two volumes. The very great value of this series of reprints from the famous old magazine makes itself plain with each issue.

Books for Young People. Forced Acquaintances, by Edith Robinson (Ticknor), is a pleasing book for girls, written in good taste, and with that light, half-saucy manner which almost persuades one that girls commit no sins, but only indiscretions. The writer perceives the limitations of the ordinary girl-nature, and shows that love of detail in her work which sometimes makes a woman’s novel look like a dress, a little stuff and a good deal of trimming. The book reads like a good beginning. Whether the writer can ever go any deeper or not, it is not for us to say. There is no great depth to this, but neither is there mere frivolity. — The Flamingo Feather, by Kirk Munroe (Harpers), is an historical romance, the scene laid among the noble savages of America in the sixteenth century. A young French lad sails with Laudonnière, and has amazing adventures among the Indians. As the writer has very few facts to build upon, there is no great harm in such a tale, and Southern landscape makes a better background for high romantic jinks than New England does.

Biblical and Devotional. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of St. John, by Friedrich Düsterdieck, translated from the third edition of the German, and edited, with notes, by Henry E. Jacobs. (Funk & Wagnalls.) A work for students, rather than for the general reader. The translator is curiously at odds with the author on some points, incidental to the main character of the book, and it is a refreshing illustration of catholic scholarship to find a translator frankly differing from the book he introduces, and yet ready to acknowledge the integrity of the author, and to allow him a full and free presentation of his case. Düsterdieck belongs to the school which denies the Johannean and apostolic origin of the book, and places it in time before the fall of Jerusalem. He does not, however, appear to lay so much stress as has been common lately on the anti-Pauline character of the hook.

Lexicography. Murray’s A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Macmillan) has reached its third part, which runs from batter to boz. It is hard to lay down this book, if one takes it up. The bee’s consciousness is understood, as one dips into one word after another. We are glad to see that the attempted grammatical change from had better to would better is not recognized. Bitter end gets a cautious interpretation, from the nautical use of bitter. Boss in its American use is curiously illustrated from current London literature. And so one might go on picking out the plums from this delightful pudding.

Sociology and Political Economy. Progress from Poverty, review and criticism of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, and Protection or Free Trade, by Giles B. Stebbins. (Charles H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.) A pamphlet of energetic brevity, in which Mr. George’s positions are assailed both by facts and by a consensus of criticism from various sources. — Natural Law in the Business World, by Henry Wood. (Lee & Shepard.) A reasonable and clearly expressed inquiry into the laws which govern the fluctuations of business and control in the complex movements of modern industry. Mr. Wood is worth listening to, and as he carefully follows an inductive method the reader is never far away horn the concrete fact. — The Prisoner of Poverty, by Helen Campbell (Roberts Bros.), is a series of striking studies made among the poorer classes in New York. These papers attracted a great deal of attention in the columns of the New York Tribune, where they were first published, and in book form merit serious reading. — Two new numbers of Questions of the Day (Putnams) are American State Constitutions, a study of their growth, by Henry Hitchcock, and The InterState Commerce Act, an analysis of its provisions, by John R. Don Passos. The former is not very important. It is an address, and sketches very rapidly some of the more obvious changes which have taken place in the constitutions of the States. The latter is a clear and apparently impartial statement of the contents and tendency of the inter-state commerce act, which Mr. Don Passos characterizes as probably surpassing in importance any measure ever passed by Congress. — Machine Polities and Money in Elections in New York City, by William M. Ivins. (Harpers.) A temperate and forcible, because temperate, presentation of the facts in the case, together with suggestions as to the cure of the evil. Mr. Ivins writes like a sensible man, who sees that law can do something not toward making men honest, but toward securing the honest in the use of their rightful opportunities.

Poetry and the Drama. Apotheosis of an Ideal, an interior-life drama, privately printed, rights reserved, Boston, 1887, is one of those queer, inarticulate gurgles of an infinite baby which are intelligible only to the idolizing parent. — Madrigals and Catches, by Frank Dempster Sherman (White, Stokes & Allen), is a collection of very light and, for the most part, graceful verses, in which the ballades and the rondeaux occupy a section appropriately entitled French Follies. These affected, and now threadbare, forms of verse were well enough for awhile in the hands of Mr. Swinburne and Mr. Dobson, who caught their inspiration from Villon himself ; but what shall be said of later followers who take their ineffectual fire from Dobson and Swinburne ? The publishers have ruined a very pretty piece of book-making by clapping an advertisement on the back of the last poem. —We are sorry to notice that the triolet and the rondeau have also bitten two such clever young poets as Mr. C. H. Lüders and Mr. S. D. Smith, Jr., whose joint volume, Hallo, my Fancy (David McKay), gives more than usual promise and performance. Both these gentlemen have firmness as well as lightness of touch, and in each case their more serious lyrics are apt to be their best. Mr. Liiders’s Unafraid, on page 10, is a hopeful sign. — The Works of John Marston, in three volumes, are an especially welcome addition to Mr. Bullen’s fine series of the English Dramatists. (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) Asa whole, Marston is one of those play-writers whose value is historical rather than poetical. The student needs him to complete the dramatic group. If he had stood alone, he would have achieved that oblivion for which he insincerely prayed. Until now we have been obliged to content ourselves with Mr. Halliwell’s edition of Marston (1856), —a sufficiently good edition for the general reader, if the general reader ever touches Marston. In the present collection of the plays and poems we have a carefully prepared text, judiciously annotated. Mr. Bullen’s biographical and critical introduction is altogether admirable.

Ecclesiasticism. What is the Church ? or plain instruction about the church, especially in England, her doctrine, her discipline, her offices, by R. I. Woodhouse; with notes and supplementary chapter on the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, by J. A. Spencer. (Appleton.) A small catechism, drawn up as a help to pupil-teachers in the English national schools in teaching the young. It begins, of course, with the ancient British Church. Perhaps for the purposes of the book it was needful, but it seems a pity to explain the use of the word Protestant without more distinct reference to its historical origin. Dr. Spencer does not throw his supplement into the form of a catechism. —Young People’s PrayerMeetings in Theory and Practice, with fifteen hundred topics, by Rev. F. E. Clark. (Funk & Wagnalls.) The theory in this book is of less consequence than the practice, and the practical hints scattered through the book strike us as more to the point than many of the fifteen hundred topics. — Pilgrim Songs for the Sunday-School, by John W. Tufts. (Congregational Sunday-School and Publishing Society, Boston.) Of higher and more dignified character than many books of its class.

Mechanics and Invention. The Meigs Railway (C. H. Whiting, Boston) is the title of a pamphlet in winch Mr. Joe (sic) V. Meigs describes the peculiarities in construction and operation of the railway which he has invented and partially put into operation. The frankness and enthusiasm of Mr. Meigs and the apparent fullness of detail go far toward making friends of the reader. But the pamphlet can hardly answer the question, How will the railway stand the wear and tear of use ? Mr. Meigs is certainly carried away by his enthusiasm when he maintains that his road, " when painted handsomely, will certainly add to the appearance of the street ” !