Books of the Month

Poetry and the Drama. Björnson’s drama of Sigurd Slembe has been translated by William Morton Payne, who also supplies an admirable introduction. (Houghton.) The figures in this dramatic trilogy are tremendously real, but the realism is the powerful image of a poetic brain; and though the scenes lie back in the twelfth century, they have an immediateness of force which is the result of high poetic art. It should be said that there is no concession to the modern reader. Björnson has not tried to turn his drama into nineteenth-century idiom; and while there is no pedantic archaism, there is the broad, rude archaism which results from a strong imaginative handling, unafraid of the old facts and the old manners. — The Song of Miriam and other Verses, translated and original, by M. Woolsey Stryker. (Biglow & Main, Chicago). Chiefly religious in spirit, and not marked by any special form. —Madeleine, a Poem in Fragments, by Daniel Chauncey Brewer. (Putnams.) —Poems, by Richard Edwin Day. (Cassell.) There are commonplaces in this volume, but more than once the reader is struck by lines, passages, poems, which are very far from commonplace. Such is the line in Katydid, —

“ Frail gossip by the couch of dying day.”

Such are the closing lines in Daisies, —

“ Ye live a wakeful dream ’twixt sky and sod,
And, when ye perish, die as would a god
Last looking at the sun from maidens’ laps.”

And such is the poem Spain, which is full of force and flame. The poems on flowers have imagination as well as fancy, as witness Lines on the Emperor Moth; and altogether Mr. Day has a right to be called a poet. But he appears not to know when he has written an inferior poem, — It seems odd to see from Buenos Ayres a poem of Rupert’s, translated from the German into Spanish by G. Puelma Tupper. — Monadnoc and other Sketches in Verse, by J. E. Nesmith. (Riverside Press, Cambridge.) There is a self-poise about this poetry which gives the reader an agreeable surprise. We know nothing of the writer, but his poetry suggests a vigorous nature, a serenity of mind, and a fine disregard of the restlessness which affects most poets. Some of his sonnets have real virility, and his pictures of nature, if not charged with richness of imagination, have the quiet, translucent charm which springs from the reflection of nature in a trained and contented eye. — The Poetical Works of Gay Waters, including the Wicota. (Standard Publishing Co., Cincinnati.) What is the Wicota winch is thus included ? Some notion of it may be obtained from the dedication " to Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, and Sitting Bull, chiefs of the 20,000 Sioux.” If the dedication would only set those gentlemen to reading Gay Waters’s poems, it is possible that some of the lines in Wicota would make them question if it were worth while to whiten the red man. What sort of a civilization is it which can produce this young married woman ? —

“ Her husband’s income ? Fifty a week,
Outside of what the servants eat.
This is not much, but’t is enough
To gain the journalistic puff,
And buy her spring and winter ‘ gear,’
And add a polish to her sneer,
And bid her sawdust bosom heave
Her collar-bone just where the sleeve
Is padded with some pounds of wadding,
To keep her ancient blood from clogging.”

The italics are our own. It will take Spotted Tail some time to spell out these anatomical movements, and so allow his tomahawk to rust. — Book of Day-Dreams, by Charles Leonard Moore. (Lippincott.) It is a good while since we had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Moore’s poetry. Pleasure can pretty surely be counted on when his hooks turn up; not the pleasure which comes from an easy abandonment to a light-voiced singer, but that which springs from encountering vigorous imagination at work with material not altogether plastic, but yielding fairly good form. This volume contains a hundred sonnets, as Shakespeare conceived sonnets to be, and they have a sequence which, if not entirely intelligible on a single reading, will appear finally to the careful reader. There is a good deal of pomp of words and many sounding phrases which refuse to deliver up clear sense ; there is some want of melody; and how could Mr, Moore, in his last sonnet, produce such a line as

“ Adieu, adieu, my dreams ! but unto thou ” ?

The poem — for such the whole series is — contains the old quest of the soul for a satisfying solution of its being. Faults it has, but one could forgive faults to a poet who could write these lines at the end of his poem: —

“ Still courage keeps my soul. Though baffled, this
Broods like an eagle o’er the blank abyss.
O eagle, flown beyond this faded day,
Thy height is won, thou hast thine heart’s desire ;
A wider ether would thy wings essay,
And the fire in thee sought the source of fire.
Now is the end, now night thy gaze restrainest,
On vacant space thy plumes can beat no more ;
Beyond thou canst not, and beneath diadainest,
Thou hold’st devoured the deeps thou hast passed o’er.
What is there left ? In narrow circles flying,
To wheel forever on this verge of life,
Or solemn-souled and sure, and fate defying,
Sweep in proud splendor past the shores of strife,
Ages on ages hence perchance to fall,
Or to make covert and discover all.”

— Moore’s Irish Melodies and Leigh Hunt’s Tales from the Italian Poets are two recent additions to the admirably selected Knickerbocker Nuggets series. (Putnams.) — Porter & Coates have issued a new edition, the twentyseventh, of their excellent Fireside Encyclopædia of Poetry, edited by Henry T. Coates.

Fiction. In A Man Story, by E, W. Howe (Ticknor), the author returns somewhat to the curious manner of his first book, The Story of a Country Town, and his humor sticks out in the same awkward fashion.—Molly Bishop’s Family, by Catherine Owen. (Houghton.) Like this author’s previous books, this is a domestic-economy treatise in the guise of a story; but it is unblushingly frank, and the reader takes the recipes for Windsor pie, meat fritters, and croquettes as a sort of substitute for the picnics which he is invited to in Mr. Howells’s stories. However, this book deals more with the raising of a family than of a loaf. It is sensible, unpretentious, and realistic enough. What is more real than a pickedup dinner, unless it be a dropped egg or a spoiled child ? — The Story of an African Farm, by Ralph Iron, alias Olive Schreiner, appears at the head of Messrs. Roberts Brothers’ new Handy Library. The book, while dealing externally with scenes on an ostrich farm, is most concerned with the religious experience of the hero. There is a singular suggestion of Björnson in the manner of this book. The author writes like one of little experience in book-making, who has brooded over her subject so intensely that the oddity of her form ceases to be an affectation. — Autrefois, Tales of Old New Orleans and Elsewhere, by James A. Harrison. (Cassell.) Eleven stories, chiefly of Creole life. Mr. Harrison writes with enthusiasm, but the color in his stories, though laid on rather lavishly, is a color of words largely. His stories shrink when repeated only as stories, and one is likely to be rather fatigued with the brilliancy of their setting. — The Mediation of Ralph Hardelot, by William Minto. (Harpers.) An historical romance, the scene laid in Wat Tyler’s insurrection. — Doctor Ben, by Orlando Witherspoon (Ticknors), is a reissue in paper form of a clever Canadian story brought out some half dozen years ago. — Sinfire, by Julian Hawthorne, and Douglas Duane, by Edgar Fawcett, are two stories in one volume. (Lippincott.) — Behind Closed Doors, by Anna Katharine Green. (Putnams.) Given an impossible situation, it cannot be so very difficult to weave a cunning web, first to conceal the situation, and then to disclose it. One would not guess Miss Green’s plot, because by so doing he would convict himself of lunacy. — A Pure-Souled Liar. (C. H. Kerr & Co., Chicago.) The drainage is bad in this book. — The Elect Lady, by George MacDonald. (Appleton.) Readers of this writer will find something of the old mixture of mysticism and Scotch shrewdness, but the story itself is somewhat novel. — Through the Long Nights, by Mrs. E. Lynn Linton. (Harpers.) Whatever the story may be, no one ought to ask any one to read it, either through long nights by the electric light, or through long days in sunlight, so long as it is printed in such wickedly small type. — A Counsel of Perfection, by Lucas Malet. (Appleton.) A short novel with a good deal of strength in it. Such a character as that of Lydia Casteen is worth drawing. —The Graysons, a story of Illinois, by Edward Eggleston. (The Century Co.) —The Fatal Three, by M. E. Braddon. (Harpers.) The three are Clotho (or Clortio, as the printer will have it), Lachesis, and Atropos. Miss Braddon seems to have made her position without the aid of any special literary gift. — The Rebel Rose. (Harpers.) An English political and society novel, with a melodramatic touch, and a most matter-of-fact way of presenting the melodrama. Clearly the writer was a stage-carpenter by nature. — Karmel the Scout, and The Gun Maker of Moscow, both by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., are now reissued by Cassell. Is there a Revival of Letters ? — Master of his Fate, by Amelia E. Barr. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) A Tale of the West Riding; a tale also of sin and sorrow, as Mrs. Barr’s strong tales are apt to be. — The Pagans, by Arlo Bates, is reissued in Ticknor’s Paper Series; as also Fortune’s Fool, by Julian Hawthorne. — The Silver Lock and other Stories, by popular authors. (Cassell.) With this and other books of the series, the reader is given, not a chromo, but lots of information about Sapolio, Pears’ Soap, Ridge’s Food, Perforated Paper, and the like. — The Guardians (Houghton) is a readable novel. Is it misleading to call it old-fashioned, when we merely wish by this term to indicate that it neither analyzes to death nor occupies itself with impossible situations ? It is in fact a novel built upon lines familiar to all who know the history of modern fiction. It deals with character as disclosed by selected situations, and those situations are not commonplace, though they are matter of fact. The writers of the novel plainly were interested in it. — With the Immortals, by F. Marion Crawford. (Macmillan.) — The McVeys, by Joseph Kirkland. (Houghton.) This novel carries forward some of the characters introduced by the author in his novel Zury. — Nobody Knows, or Facts that are not Fiction, in the Life of an Unknown. (Funk & Wagnalls.) In a sort of Alfred Jingle style, the writer of this book has undertaken to make a hero of the unknown man in life who does the real work of the world. He has brought him into contact with toilers under many phases, and some of his representations of life are graphic ; but there is no such unity to the book as would give great force to such a scheme. — The Young Seigneur, or Nation-Making, by Wilfrid Châteauclair. (Drysdale, Montreal.) An interesting, unhackneyed series of sketches strung upon a semi-biographical string, the author’s purpose being to forecast the destiny of Canada. The book is quite worth attention, especially by those who consider the problem of race which old Canada suggests. — My Aunt’s Match - Making, and other stories by popular authors. (Cassell.) — Bewitched, by Louis Pendleton. (Cassell.) There is some promise in this melodramatic sketch, but it has the air of a juvenile production, written out of no real conviction of character and its movements. — Madame Silva, by M. G. McClelland. (Cassell.) With this, in the same volume and by the same author, is the tale of The Ghost of Dred Power. Both have a touch of the supernatural in them. — Putnam’s Sons have issued a very pretty edition of Thackeray’s The Rose and tire Ring, with the author’s quaint drawings.

Booksfor the Young. Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, by Margaret Vere Farrington. (Putnams.) It is always commendable to bring the early English romances to the notice of the young, and probably each fresh book reaches some who might otherwise miss the knowledge ; but this raconteur has no peculiar qualifications for her task, and we would rather give a bright boy or girl the jumble of Sir Thomas Malory, for the English of that book is sweet and quaint and will affect the imagination, and it is comparatively of little consequence to straighten the stories. Two Little Confederates, by Thomas Nelson Page. (Scribners.) The story of two young boys on a Virginia plantation during the war. The scenes have the air of being recalled by the writer, and they are described with a constraint which impresses their general truthfulness upon the reader. — Sparrow, the Tramp, a Fable for Children, by Lily F. Wesselhoeft. (Roberts.) A pleasant little story, in which birds and animals take leading parts. Their fortunes and those of the human actors are skillfully interwoven. — Editha s Burglar, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (Jordan, Marsh & Co.) The first presentation of this charming sketch in bookform.

Education and Text-Books. The Essentials of the French Language, by P. M. Clerc. (M. V. Laeage, San Francisco.) A book which embodies a teacher’s work with pupils who are in a hurry to get command of a working French speech. The arrangement is orderly, and we should think that, with a good teacher behind it, the book might serve its purpose. — A Primer of Memory Gems, designed especially for Schools, by George Washington Hoss, A. M., LL. D. (Bardeen, Syracuse.) These gems are alphabetically arranged, different in this respect from Graham gems, which are arranged in order of merit. Tlie impartiality of the selection is open to some question. The authors, to be sure, are taken from a wide range, including on one page Dryden, Shakespeare, H., Pope, Campbell, and H. The first essential of a gem is that it should not exceed three lines ; the next that it should be alphabetically arranged, and it is clear from an examination of the book that H. has been sadly overworked. But he is nobly ready. When Shakespeare fails, Mr. H. steps firmly forward. Who is this H. ? Not Mr. Ho— ? — The School Pronouncer, based on Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary ; a guide to correct pronunciation by means of exercises in the elementary sounds and their symbols, drills on the phonetic analysis of words, and lessons in words liable to be mispronounced. By W. H. P. Phyffe. (Putnams.) Besides the use of this book by teachers, — and an admirable one it is for them, — it would serve as a quickener of social intercourse. Where else can one find so easily such interesting facts as the pronunciation of “ syzygy ” and the spelling of ” methylenehexphenylphosphonium ” ? — Inductive Language Lessons, elementary grammar and composition, with a new, simple and effective system of diagramming, by Harris R. Greene. (Lovell.) One of the ingenious methods employed by Mr. Greene is to give a handful of sentences, some rightly, some wrongly, expressed, and then to set the scholar to correct the whole. His own language sometimes needs correction, as when he says, “ Now build these verb-terms into sentences, then diagram them all.” —The Song Century, compiled by C. W. Bardeen. (Bardeen, Syracuse) There is considerable variety and liveliness in this small collection, and the editor has gone to good composers for most of his music. — Aspects of Education, a Study in the History of Pedagogy, by Oscar Browning. (Industrial Education Association, New York.) This pamphlet deals largely with conditions to be found in England, but by this very treatment it is likely to help American students, since they are enabled to stand off and see the application of principles. It is often confusing to have principles applied to ourselves. — The New Model First Reader. (George Sherwood & Co., Chicago.) Chiefly different from other books of its class in having its pictures in high colors. — Aristotle and the Christian Church, by Brother Azarias (Kegan Paid, London), belongs among the contributions to the history of education, for it deals with a large historic subject, one of fundamental importance, and touching closely upon the practical questions involved in the controversy between secular and religious education. — Selected Poems from Premières et Nouvelles Méditations, edited, with biographical sketch and notes, by George O. Curme. (Heath.) The editor confesses that Lamartine is to him the dearest of all French poets, and frankly warns the student that this partiality may affect his critical judgment; but it has at any rate made him an interesting editor, for he reads the poems with the student as if he cared for them, and did not regard them merely as grammatical exercises. — Astronomy Note Book, for High Schools, Academies, and Colleges: thirty-six printed pages, interleaved with blank leaves for notes. By Marion L. Berneike. (Lovell.)—The Virtues and their Reasons, a system of ethics for society and schools, by Austin Bierbower. (George Sherwood & Co., Chicago.) This treatise contains much reasonable thought, but we do not well see how it could serve as a text-book in schools. It may help the teacher, but could hardly answer the demands of the ordinary pupil. — Physical Development, or the Laws governing the Human System, by Nathan Allen. (Lee & Shepard.) Dr. Allen is a veteran in a field in which he was also a pioneer, and this volume is made up of a series of papers published at different times, many of which have to do with the problem of the education of the body. The author is sometimes somewhat extreme in his views, but he is a vigorous hitter and has strong, sensible ideas.

History and Biography. Of Many Men is the title of a collection of anecdotical and reminiscential sketches by T. C. Evans, who was for many years an agent for lecturers and lions. (American News Co.) Thus he tells of his personal relations with Dickens, Bulwer, Sala, Yates, Webb, Weed, Grant, and others. In his capacity as impressario he did not always succeed in his purpose, but his efforts to succeed brought him for a while into close quarters with his noble game. The sketches, however, are not all due to this occupation, but the best things in the book are not Mr. Evans’s fragmentary skimmings from new books, but his personal recollections, and these, though not very important, are often quite readable. — The Advance Guard of Western Civilization, by James R. Gilmore. (Appleton.) A very interesting study of men and events in the Southwest in the important years just following the Revolution. We are surprised not to notice any reference to James Harrod. — Men and Measures of Half a Century, sketches and comments, by Hugh McCulloch. (Scribners.) The reminiscences of a sturdy publicist, who not only narrates his personal experience and describes the men whom he has known, but makes shrewd and telling comments upon public affairs as he has known them and had part in them. Naturally he gives considerable attention to questions of financial management and policy, but in whatever he writes he shows himself a sturdy, hard-headed, and opinionated man, whose opinions are well worth consideration.

Science. An Enumeration of the Published Synopses, Catalogues, and Lists of North American Insects, together with other Information intended to assist the Student of American Entomology, by C. V. Riley. This pamphlet is published by the United States Department of Agriculture at Washington, which also issues a serial, apparently, under the title Insect Life, devoted to the economy and life-habits of insects, especially in their relations to agriculture, and edited by the entomologist and his assistants, with the sanction of the commissioner of agriculture. Is not government going a little too far in entering the field with a free periodical ? We cannot see how this differs from any publishing venture, except that the people at large pay all the expenses, and the subscribers get it for nothing. — Entomology for Beginners, for the Use of Young Folks, Fruit-Growers, Farmers, and Gardeners, by A. S. Packard. (Holt.) In effect an introduction to the same author’s well-known Guide to the Study of Insects. Dr. Packard is always interesting, and has had good training for just the work he has undertaken in this book; but is it not almost too cramped ?

Sociology and Economics. Penological and Preventive Principles, with Special Reference to Europe and America; and to the Diminution of Crime, Pauperism, and Intemperance; to Prisons and their Substitutes, Habitual Offenders, Sentences, Neglected Yonth, Education, Police, Statistics, etc. By William Tallack, secretary of the Howard Association, London. (Wertheimer, Lea & Co., London.) We give the title-page in full because it serves as an abbreviated table of contents. Mr. Tallack advocates the separate system in prisons, a reasonable culmination of penalties, substitutes for imprisonment, and relies especially upon an appeal to the religious motive. And indeed, when one considers how badly the world has got on, and what claims Christianity makes of possessing the seeret of restitution, it would seem that the demand should unceasingly be made upon the religiously educated to find the corrective of monstrous evils in human life, and, above all, in social life.— Problems of To-Day, a Discussion of Protective Tariffs, Taxation, and Monopolies, by Richard T. Ely. (Crowell.) Mr. Ely contributed the papers which compose this book to the Baltimore Sun, and thus his work is not a concio ad clerum. He writes as a professor addressing a crowd, using the nearest illustrations to explain the principles which he holds. Mr. Ely is always interesting, and if he is not dispassionate, his impulses at least lead him to espouse the cause of the many, and not of the few. — The Tariff and its Evils, or Protection which does not Protect, by John H. Allen. (Putnams.) Here we have not a malignant professor, but an old ship-owner and merchant battering away at the foundation of all our prosperity. — Industrial Liberty, by John M. Bonham. (Putnams.) A thoughtful, well-written, and, we may add, very wellprinted book, which traces the development now going on of individual liberty through the operation of industrial laws. — The President’s Message, with Annotations by R. R. Bowker, is No. 48 of Questions of the Day. (Putnams.) The editor, we think, would have made more telling points if he had quoted more freely from the various speeches and reports by Republicans which are in consonance with the message. — The Tariff History of the United States, a series of essays, by F. W. Taussig. (Putnams.) In this volume Professor Taussig has reprinted his paper on Protection to Young Industries, which first made him generally known, and has added other papers which he has printed in periodicals. They follow his own course of study, which was somewhat chronological, so that when brought together they make a tolerably connected history from 1789 to 1887. —The Centennial of a Revolution, an Address by a Revolutionist. (Putnams.) An ironical criticism of the position taken by some publicists, notably in the Political Science Quarterly, that there has been a revolution, practically, by which the State has gone down before the nation.

Mechanics. Krupp and De Bange, by E. Monthaye; translated, with an appendix, by O. E. Michaelis. (Thomas Prosser & Son, New York.) A comparison of the two great European ordnance systems, to the advantage of Krupp. The book contains also an interesting description of the Krupp works at Essen. Messrs. Prosser are Krupp’s agents in this country. The book is, of course, a special plea, but it has all the appearance of fairness.

Dictionaries and Hand-Books. The Oxford Dictionary, by James A. H. Murray (Macmillan), has advanced through Part IV., completing Volume I., which covers A and B, and beginning Volume II. with C, Cass. The first section contains an interesting preface, giving a history of the enterprise. More than two million quotations have been collected, and the names are given of the notable scholars who have aided in the work. No name, however, is so important as that of the editor himself, who has had the labor of organizing and ordering the work. We think readers are wise who subscribe to this work in parts, and so have the pleasure of dipping into the entertaining history of words. After all, there is no book quite so fascinating as a dictionary. — Mr. Stedman and Miss Hutchinson’s A Library of American Literature has advanced through the fourth volume (Chas. L. Webster & Co., New York), which begins the period of United States history, and carries it in effect to 1820, although of course there can be no rigid demarkation of periods in such a work. As in the earlier volumes, there is evidence of thorough research. The editors have overhauled a great mass of material, and have exercised great economy in their citations, avoiding the prolixity which has been so marked a characteristic of our earlier literature. The biographical notes are brief and to the point, and altogether the work is likely to do what we fancy Mr. Stedman did not foresee, — distinctly add to his fame. — Hints from a Lawyer, or legal advice to men and women; a law-book for everybody, with reference to property, family, and commercial affairs. By Edgar A. Spencer. (Putnams.) Like similar hooks on medical subjects, the conclusion appears to be, In any case of real importance, consult a professional man. This hook gives you only a smattering.