History and Biography. The Mapleson Memoirs, 1884-1888 ; in two volumes. (Belford, Clarke & Co.) Colonel Mapleson tells the narrative of his “ squirmishes ” and battles as a theatrical impresario with a delightful ingenuousness, which makes no distinction between things big and little, and assumes a generous interest on the part of the public in his business affairs. Certainly the world of opera singers into which one is introduced in these two volumes has only one dimension. There are not many racy anecdotes well told in this riff-raff of reminiscences, but one is constantly coming upon such lively passages as this: “ At the matinée given on January 1st, at which she [Gerster] appeared, upwards of one hundred ladies’ odd india-rubber overshoes were picked up on the family-circle staircase, lost in the rush after the opening of the doors, there being a heavy snow-storm raging at the time."—Omitted Chapters of History, disclosed in the life and papers of Edmund Randolph, by Moncure Daniel Conway. (Putnams.) Whatever may be the conclusion regarding the value of Randolph’s services, the student is greatly indebted to Mr. Conway for bringing together so much new and important material ; and if he is a little shy of a writer who announces himself at once as an advocate, he will at any rate find his labor in reading lightened by the liveliness of the narrator. — A Short History of the War of Secession, 1861-1865, by Rossiter Johnson. (Ticknor.) Mr. Johnson opens his history with a sketch of the anti-slavery contest before the war; it is meagre, and hardly gives one the impression of a cumulative struggle. He interests us more in his graphic account of the comparative resources of the two combatants and of the attitude assumed by the South. The outline of the military movements, which is the main business of the book, is rapid and effective, and the brief conclusion forcible. We wish the author had called his book A Short History of the War of the Union. Names have power over habits of thought, and Americans should never lose sight of the two great ideas involved in Independence and Union; revolution and secession are the negative poles. — A History of Greece, by Evelyn Abbott. (Putnams ) The limits of the book are drawn at the Ionian revolt. A second part will bring the history to the end of the Peloponnesian War. Mr. Abbott writes with caution, but not with a power to arouse enthusiasm or to win the reader. — Facts about Ireland, a curve-history of recent years, by Alex. B. MacDowall. (Edward Stanford, London.) An ingenuous little book, which by means of a series of diagrams discloses the movements in Ireland under the heads of Agriculture, Education, Emigration, Bank Deposits, etc. — Four Years with the Army of the Potomac, by Regis de Trobriand; translated by George K. Danchy. (Ticknor.) This work was originally written for French readers, hence it has an introduction on the origin of the war; but the writer soon escapes into the more native task of relating his own experiences, which are told with animation and a generous spirit which quickly wins one to a liking for the soldier. — The Story of Mediæval France from the Reign of Hugues Capet to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century, by Gustave Masson. (Putnams.) One of the Story of the Nations series. The titlepage says one thing, the book says another, for it closes naturally at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The writer, who appears to know his subject well, struggles between a desire to tell all he knows and to keep his book down. The result is an inequality in the text, some chapters being fresh and readable, others crowded with troublesome detail. — The Life of Young Sir Henry Vane, Governor of Massachusetts Bay and Leader of the Long Parliament, with a Consideration of the English Commonwealth as a Forecast of America, by James K. Hosmer. (Houghton.) Mr. Hosmer had a good subject, and he has treated it with respect. Instead of taking the easily accessible material about Vane and working it up into a readable volume, he has sought diligently for new material, and he has studied his subject anew. His own dramatic habit of mind helps him to make a picturesque subject true to itself ; and the book, moreover, is pervaded by an energetic spirit, which finds special expression in the preface and closing chapter, looking to a more vital connection of English-speaking peoples than even Vane’s career prophesied. — Two Volumes in the International Statesmen series edited by Lloyd C. Sanders (Lippincott) are Daniel O’Connell, by J. A. Hamilton, and Prince Metternich, by G. B. Malleson. What contrasted lives! Yet they were both statesmen, with marked conceptions of what the state was. — Franklin in France, compiled from original sources, by E. E. Hale and Sons is completed in the present volume, —the second. (Roberts Bros.)—Delia Bacon, a biographical sketch. (Houghton.) Mr. Theodore Bacon has collected the letters written by and to his aunt during the time when she was engaged in her passionate study of the Shakespeare problem, and has made them the basis of a most interesting sketch. One does not need to have any views on the ShakespeareBacon question to read with profound interest and pity this exceptional book. It is not only a revelation of a remarkable character, but throws strong light on the characters of Hawthorne, Emerson, and Carlyle.—Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, in two volumes. (Webster.) The reader of this work is at first a little disappointed at the plain, rather dry style, the absence of that dash and elan which is associated with Sheridan’s name, and a further reading will not serve to increase greatly his admiration of the soldier’s literary power; but he will lay down the book with an admiration for something better than literary skill. The reserve with which Sheridan writes cannot conceal the temper of the man, which comes out effectively in his recital of a boyish scrape at West Point, and of his relations to Meade and Grant. The narrative, indeed, is never dull, and there is a refreshing absence of brag and fine writing. — Pen and Powder, by Franc B. Wilkie. (Ticknor.) A collection of reminiscences of the war, chiefly in the Western campaigns, by a newspaper correspondent of the time. His narrative deals little with the actual events of the war, but rather with his personal experience and with the accompaniments of war. His description of Washington will recall the loathsome condition of the city to those whose misfortune it was to be there in 1861-1865. There are one or two interesting sketches, but on the whole the book is not very valuable. — In The Story of the Nations series (Putnams), a new volume is The Story of Holland, by James E. Thorold Rogers. (Putnams.) A very acceptable book, especially because Mr. Rogers, by his training, is not disposed to take up an historical subject in a Conventional manner. He recognizes other elements in state life than political changes, and he looks to the relation which the whole history of Holland bears to European and American history. Hence there are many capital suggestions to the philosophical student, and but little mere picturesque detail of the war with Spain. — Ohio, by Rufus King, is the latest volume in the American Commonwealths series. (Houghton.) Mr. King writes like a publicist rather than a historian; that is to say, while he is interested in historical problems, he is especially interested in the legal aspects of history and in the general development of state policy. His apprehension of the forces which make Ohio is clear, and he writes often with a candor which is very agreeable ; this is especially true of his treatment of education and religion. His narrative of the Moravian settlements is strong, and his picture of early pioneer life full of interesting points. His view of Ohio in the late war is rich in suggestion, though it is presented so compactly as almost to mislead the reader. The quietness with which certain great facts are presented may lead their significance to be overlooked. — The Pilgrims and the Anglican Church, by William Deverell. (Remington, London.) A somewhat rhetorical account, for English readers, of the events which culminated in the establishment of New England, and finally of the monarchy in England under William and Mary. Mr. Deverell starts off on a gallop, and rides hard all through his tract; for such it is, a blindly partisan piece of writing.— The Nun of Kenmare, an autobiography. (Ticknor.) The writer was received into the Roman Catholic Church from the Anglican in 1858, and after devoting herself for a while to literary pursuits organized and became the head of a new order, the Sisters of Peace. She gave herself to the amelioration of the Irish peasants, and especially of the condition of working-girls, but met with continuous opposition from her ecclesiastical superiors. The book is mainly a narrative of the persecutions endured by her from first to last, and the reader becomes seized with a desire to know why she was persecuted, for it is difficult to discover the real cause from the somewhat confused though pathetic narrative. One gets glimpses, however, of the inner working of the Roman system which are not encouraging.
Education and Text-Books. Lectures on Pedagogy, Theoretical and Practical, by Gabriel Compayré ; translated, with an introduction, notes, and an appendix, by W. H. Payne. (Heath.) The author of this work means to confine himself to elementary processes. He impresses us as a writer who has gathered his material from many other writers rather than has worked out his principles by a thorough examination of the art of teaching. It is worth while, however, to get a survey of the subject from a French point of view, and the animation of the book is in contrast to the spirit of much kindred literature. — The Government Printing Office issues for the United States Bureau of Education an interesting thick pamphlet on Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, by Herbert B. Adams, with authorized sketches of Hampden-Sidney, Randolph-Macon, Emory-Henry, Roanoke, and Richmond colleges, Washington and Lee University, and Virginia Military Institute. The work is thus a contribution to a comprehensive history of the higher education in Virginia. The subject involves a consideration, in this historical form, of methods of education, and thus the treatment is of service to all who are interested in collegiate and university problems. The other colleges, with the exception of Washington and Lee and the Virginia Military Institute, appear to owe their origin and continuance to religious motives. The university has a noble history. The recent revival of William and Mary, which is treated only in its past relations, is significant of the new Virginia. The State is a great one in its past, and its resources. No loyal American can help hoping for a great restoration within its borders, and the present educational fervor is one of the hopeful signs. — From the same source is a tractate by A. D. Mayo on Industrial Education in the South. The paper, while it outlines nascent institutions, is rather a strong plea for the thorough organization of industrial schools throughout the South as a corrective of tendencies which must fill every thoughtful citizen with grave alarm. Mr. Mayo is no mere doctrinaire. — An introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages (375814), by E. Emerton. (Ginn.) A practical working manual for the period which is occupied by Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Dr. Emerton has some admirable suggestions as to the use of his book, — suggestions which apply to all text-books in history, but are not so certainly reinforced by the text-books themselves as in this case. Although the book is intended for the student and the class-room, it will he found full of suggestive sentences for fastening movements of historic importance in the reader’s mind. — Recitations for Christmas, selected and arranged by Margaret Holmes. (DeWitt, New York.)
Holiday Books and Books on Art. A History of French Painting from its Earliest to its Latest Practice, including an Account of the French Academy of Painting, its Salons, Schools of Instruction, and Regulations, by G. H. Stranahan ; with reproductions of sixteen representative paintings. (Scribners.) This work represents a vast deal of industry, and connoisseurs as well as students will be grateful to Mrs. Stranahan for bringing together so much that is scattered in a number of books and pamphlets. Most of the book is taken up, properly, with current or very recent art. We suspect it will be used chiefly as a book of reference, partly because it contains so much that is encyclopædic, and partly because the author’s style does not win to continuous reading. — The Home of Shakespeare, after Water-Color Sketches by Louis K. Harlow. (L. Prang A Co., Boston.) An oblong volume with chromo-lithographic plates, serviceable as a souvenir to those who have visited Warwickshire. Mr. Harlow’s style, however, is ill adapted to a book, since the value of his work is in its masses, and almost any one of the plates would look better if pinned to the wall on the other side of the room. The passages from Shakespeare are in some cases even farther fetched. —The Dream of Love and Fire. (Estes A Lauriat.) The general style of this book places it among holiday publications. The illustrations are photogravures, apparently from pictures by Gérôme, Picou, Cabanel, and others, executed in nightmarish tints. The text is rhythmical prose. It is deep-sea sounding to draw up ideas from it, and the bathybia which one discovers hardly pay for the fishing. When the author tells us that “the life-fire of thought-force dries man’s eye as it strikes,” we necessarily wish to shade ours, and so it may be that we have not seen through this production.—The Birds’ Christmas Carol, by Kate Douglas Wiggin. (Houghton.) A pathetic and humorous little story, of a kind more common when Dickens overshadowed humorists, but better done to-day just because Dickens is at a distance. It has a genuine touch, and the tear in the book sparkles. — The Man Without a Country, by Edward E. Hale. (Roberts.) This classic has been illustrated with drawings in the text and full page by Frank T. Merrill. The cleverest is that of Mr. Hale himself reading The Herald, which heads the story. It is a pity that the artist could not have managed to keep the figure of Nolan more distinctly before the eye in the several scenes which he has depicted. The subjects, however, are studied with care, and the general effect is good.— Eight Songs of Horace, edited by George E. Vincent. (F. A. Stokes & Bro.) An ingenious imitation of an ancient Roman cylindrical book. The odes are given in Latin and in English, and the reproduction is certainly very clever. To read it with ease one needs three or four slaves to hold it open. — Daylight Land, by W. H. H. Murray. (Cupples & Hurd.) This volume is an interesting experiment in bookmaking. It contains one hundred and forty designs in color printed with the text. The color is sometimes rather strong, to our thinking, and the effect rather raw, but the attempt was worth making. The figures of animals are often quite striking, and some of the ice and snow and mountain scenes are more impressive for the Color in which they are printed. The book is a narrative of travel along the line of the Canadian Pacific railroad by a party of gentlemen, whose interest is divided between the future of the country and the present attractions of travel, hunting, and fishing. The style is rather noisy at times, but perhaps the scenery makes us a little more sensitive to what is florid in literature.— We may name here, because of their dainty holiday dress, imitated from another publisher’s well-known series, five books published by F. A. Stokes A Bro. : Songs from Béranger, translated in the original metres by Craven Langstroth Betts. A little more refinement of ear would have helped the translator, for songs, above all other poetic forms, need melody. Mr. Betts has managed to retain something of the homely wit of Béranger, but his very anxiety to be faithful has sometimes made him miss more truly poetic qualities. Now and then the reader almost corrects the translator as he reads. Take, for example, the lines
It is a year since you 've been born ? ”
where it is almost impossible not to read
Songs of Toil, by Carmen Sylva, Queen of Rumania, translated by John Eliot Bowen, are the poems already published in The Independent, together with a number of others. The German original is courageously printed on the opposite page, a plan which we wish Mr. Betts had adopted. The conjunction of royalty with toil thus symbolized is a significant one. Another of these little books is, In the Name of the King, by George Klingle, a volume inspired mainly by the religious motive, and written for the most part, we should say, after some familiarity with Vaughan. At any rate, the writer plays timidly with conceits, and seeks by irregularity of form to Correct a tameness of thought. Two other volumes belong to the same series: Wood Blooms, by John Vance Cheney, and Old and New World Lyrics, by Clinton Scollard. We think the latter shows an advance on the writer’s earlier work. It is not quite so much mere frost-work. There is more conviction that
Cut in the firm Pentelic snow
Of lofty thought.”
Books for the Young. Baby’s Lullaby Book, Mother Songs, is a showy volume of verses written by Charles Stuart Pratt, set to music by G. W. Chadwick, and adorned with water-color drawings by W. L. Taylor; the whole chromo-lithographed and published by Prang. The writer of the lullabies has not forgotten that the thought is for the mother, and only the rhythmic movement for the child, and he has written simple, tender lines. Some of the smaller vignettes are particularly pretty, and one or two of the colored prints have more reserve than the others.—White Sails, by Emma Huntington Nason. (Lothrop.) This has something the air of a gift-book, but the poems, which sail under the title of the first, are bright stories in verse, of no poetic worth, and sometimes suggesting that Pegasus is traveling a corduroy road, but hearty, good-natured, and kindly. — Two more volumes in W. O. Stoddard’s series of The Lives of the Presidents (F. A. Stokes & Bro.) include, the one, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan ; the other, Lincoln and Johnson. Mr. Stoddard has had a tough job in some of these public functionaries, but it seems to us that as he has gone on with his series he has warmed up to it, and writes the later numbers with more skill than the earlier. — A new edition, revised and enlarged, is issued of The American Girl’s Home Book of Work and Play, by Helen Campbell (Putnams), which we noticed when it appeared five years ago. Two chapters are added: one on candy-making, the other on a New Home Industry, which is mosaic work in broken china, a curious saving of the fragments which Mrs Campbell finds practiced in London. It will be remembered that a part of her work is devoted to hints as to methods by which girls may earn their living. — The Chezzles, by Lucy Gibbons Morse. (Houghton.) A lively little book, thoroughly entertaining and wholesome, with scenes laid partly on Cape Cod, partly in France; and if the author wafts her characters to the Blessed Isles and metes out rewards with unstinting liberality, this is only part of the generous spirit which animates the entire story.
Fun and Humor. Patchwork in Pictures and Print — the pictures by F. Opper, the print by Emma Opper— (Stokes) aims at the youthful sense of humor, and so any one can enjoy it without a sense of shame. There are clever touches both to the business-like rhymes and to the dashing pictures. — Christmas brings the fifth series of The Good Things of Life. (Stokes.) Some of the smaller, least ambitious cuts are the most amusing. The society scenes are rather vapid, but literature in this respect is hardly better off, so that we are forced to the conclusion that the trouble is fundamental, — with society itself. — Thinks, by Bill Nye. (The Dearborn Publishing Co,, Chicago.) An entertaining little specimen of American humor let loose. — Nye and Riley’s Railway Guide (same publishers) is a lucus a non. There is no railway in it and no guide, but the book is a collection of drolleries : the prose by Bill Nye, the verse by James Whitcomb Riley. It is the peanuts of literature.
Politics, Economics, and Sociology. The Civil Service Law, a defense of its principles, with corroborative evidence from the works of many eminent American statesmen, by William Harrison Clarke. (L. K. Strouse & Co., New York.) An historical study as well as apology, for the author aims to show that the principles involved in the law are those which have been advocated by all great American publicists.— Numbers 50 and 51 of Questions of the Day (Putnams) are Friendly Letters to American Farmers and Others, by J. S. Moore, and American Prisons in the Tenth United States Census, BY F. H. Wines. Mr. Moore at once indicates the animus of his argument by heading his letters The Champion Tariff Swindle of the World. Mr. Wines’s pamphlet bristles with figures, but he handles them as if they were familiar tools. — Temperance, and Prohibition, by G. H. Stockham. (The Author, Oakland, Cal.) The author of this book was early interested in the temperance movement, having been a witness to Father Mathew’s labors in Ireland in 1838. He writes from a conviction that the license and prohibition laws have failed to accomplish the end aimed at, and offers his suggestions and criticisms in a temperate, judicious manner. His book will not be read much, because it is not violent and one-sided, but those who do read it are likely, if they are fair-minded, to credit the author with honesty and reasonableness.