Books of the Month

Science. Characteristics of Volcanoes, with contributions of facts and principles from the Hawaiian Islands, including a historical review of Hawaiian volcanic action for the past sixty-seven years, a discussion of the relations of volcanic islands to deep-sea topography, and a chapter on volcanic-island denudation, by James D. Dana. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) This work is the result of studies extending over nearly sixty years, and including personal travel both in the volcanic regions of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and in the Hawaiian Islands. Professor Dana makes large use also of the observations of the missionaries in Hawaii; he looks upon the volcanic disturbances of the Pacific islands as more productive of ideas than the better known volcanoes of Europe, and not only gives in full the result of his own studies, but sketches in outline the possible investigations which remain to be made. The volume is a striking testimony to the freshness of interest and continuous labor of this veteran physicist. — At the same time with this publication, the publishers issue a new edition, uniform with it, of Professor Dana’s classic work on Corals and Coral Islands. The author has made important additions and changes, with special reference to the recent discussion on the Darwinian theory of coral reefs. — Falling in Love, with Other Essays on More Exact Branches of Science, by Grant Allen. (Appleton.) A score of lively papers, in which a man of taste in science, as another might be a man of taste in literature, discourses lightly upon fractions of subjects. He is usually entertaining, sometimes even when he is flippant, and his scraps of information have an air of veracity about them ; so that if one wishes a jaunty companion in the outskirts of the scientific world, he may go farther and fare worse. — The Physical Properties of Gases, by Arthur L. Kimball. (Houghton.) The second of a new series entitled the Riverside Science Series, and discriminated from similar series, so far as we can make out, by a special attention to the practical application to modern life of the fundamental scientific facts. This cannot be asserted emphatically of the book before us, which is, however, a plain, clear exposition of a subject which lies close to the fundamentals of science, and presents with force the latest conclusions rather than the latest guesses of investigators. — Garden and Forest; a Journal of Horticulture, Landscape Art, and Forestry. Conducted by Charles S. Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum, Professor of Arboriculture in Harvard College, etc. (The Garden and Forest Publishing Co., New York.) The two volumes thus far published, covering the years 1888 and 1889, indicate well the scope and high character of this publication. It represents the interests of intelligent students of nature, whether deriving their living from gardening or only their pleasure. It pays special attention to the subject of public parks, to the encouragement of beautifying highways, to the enrichment of gardens, and to the discovery of the treasures of the byways of nature. The lover of nature does not need to be a specialist or a professional person to get great enjoyment out of the work, any more than one necessarily must be an architect to enjoy The American Architect. Both journals are conducted by those who know their professions, but the appeal is to educated taste. — The Village Community, with special reference to the origin and form of its survivals in Britain, by George Laurence Gomme. (Scribner & Welford.) Mr. Gomme’s strong antiquarian interest stands him in good stead in this work, since it leads him to look closely into those vestiges of ancient Britain which really form the basis of all scientific investigation of village communities. His book is thus a contribution to the general subject of early forms of society, and not a mere reproduction of Germanic studies. The American student will find some of his own researches illustrated in an interesting fashion. Mr. Gomme makes no reference to the reappearance of these early forms in American colonial life, but we repeat, he is not engaged in confirming a theory, but in collecting facts which shall serve as a bottom for theories. — Heat as a Form of Energy, by Robert H. Thurston. (Houghton.) The third in the new Riverside Science Series. Professor Thurston gives the reader a good introduction to the subject by a rapid survey of the philosophers’ ideas of heat, after which he outlines the science of thermodynamics, then treats of heat transfer and the world’s industries, and finally, in succession, air and gas engines and the development of the steam engine. He writes with fluency and clearness, and is so genuinely interested in his subject, of which he takes a broad, comprehensive view, that he is quite sure to communicate his interest to his readers. — In the general Bibliography of the More Important Contributions to American Economic Entomology, prepared by authority of the Secretary of Agriculture, by Samuel Henshaw (Government Printing Office), Part III. is devoted to the more important writings of Dr. C. V. Riley, and contains fifteen hundred and fifty-four titles, from contributions to newspapers to large volumes. We wonder how much Dr. Riley’s less important writings would swell the total. — The Suppression of Consumption, by Dr. G. W. Hambleton, is the first of a series of small books entitled Fact and Theory Papers. (N. D. C. Hodges, New York.) This is an English production, but the writer seems familiar with American conditions. His theory is that “ consumption is the direct result of the reduction of the breathing surface of the lungs below a certain point in proportion to the remainder of the body, and is solely produced by conditions that tend to reduce the breathing capacity.” His remedy is a recourse to physical development, the reduction of the restraints of a refined civilization as respects modes of life, and a deliberate cultivation of expansion of the breathing apparatus.

Sport. The Modern Chess Instructor, by W. Steinitz. (Putnams.) The first part of an extended work on chess by a player of great distinction. It is, in the words of the author, “ the theoretical application of new principles and of the reasoning by analogies of positions which have been my guide in practice, especially during the last twenty years.” — The Art of Dancing, by Judson Sause. (Belford, Clarke & Co.) A manual of popular dances, together with chapters on the benefit and the history of dancing. It is odd how awkward diagrams of dancers who are not dancing appear. The men, especially, have an anxious look about their legs.

Humor. The Golden Age of Patents, a Parody on Yankee Inventiveness, by Wallace Peek. (Stokes.) Rampant: fun, which needed only to be less extravagant to be more witty. — Said in Fun, by Philip H. Welch. (Scribners.) Entertaining drollery, with capital pictures. If our society papers were made up of pleasantry of this sort, the world could afford to pay the bills. — Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome. (Holt.) An English extravaganza upon the American model, the boat journey being up the Thames, and the characters young men who had received their intellectual training principally through a course of Mark Twain. — Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, a book for an idle holiday, by the same author (Holt), is a more entertaining book. The writer slouches along, with premeditation to he sure, but hits off clever things from time to time, and, being free from the necessity of constructing persons, can give his whole mind to the more familiar task of constructing paragraphs. — Stage-Land ; Curious Habits and Customs of its Inhabitants. Described by Jerome K. Jerome. (Holt.) Much the most successful of this writer’s jeux d’esprit. In it, the hero, the villain, the heroine, the servant-girl, the good old man, the Irishman, the detective, and the other familiar figures of the modern conventional stage are capitally characterized in a mock-serious fashion. What could be better, unless it be the picture that accompanies it, than the description of the hero’s method of making love ? “ He always does it from behind. The girl turns away from him when he begins (she being, as we have said, shy and timid), and he takes hold of her hands and breathes his attachment down her back.”

Books for Young People. Little Miss Weezy’s Sister, by Penn Shirley. (Lee and Shepard.) A bright little book, with the kind of brightness which results from a very highly polished reflector behind the light of actual childhood. Penn Shirley belongs to the school of the author of Little Prudy. — English Lands, Letters, and Kings, from Elizabeth to Anne, by Donald G. Mitchell. (Scribners.) The second in a short series, which, though not addressed distinctively to the young, is from its manner of chief value to them. Mr. Mitchell saunters through English history with a literary rather than a topical guide in his hand, and stops now and then to point out parallelisms between earlier and later writers, as between Cowley and Tennyson, Butler and Trumbull. He is always genial, and if his work is not very profound it accomplishes what it intends, an agreeable introduction to history and literature, by one who holds a friendly position toward the reader rather than a critical one toward his subject. — Java, by Mrs. S. J. Higginson. (Houghton.) A little volume in the Riverside Library for Young People. Mrs. Higginson writes from a personal knowledge of Java, and has endeavored conscientiously to present the salient features of that interesting island ; but we wish she had interjected more of her own personal experience, since we think it would have served to humanize the matter of her book and to fix the facts more surely in the minds of the young. Too much impersonality in books for the young is to be deprecated. — Girls and Women, by E. Chester, in the same series, is an exceptionally wise book for girls. The author draws apparently from a wide experience, and her advice and suggestions are so sane, so generous, and so free from a merely conventional or a timid view of life that her readers will instinctively recognize their value. The young naturally look askance at hooks of advice, but they know an honest, frank, and wise friend when they meet such.

Bibliography and Books of Reference. American Notes and Queries, Volume II. (The Westminster Publishing Co., Philadelphia.) Modeled on its English prototype, this work is by no means confined to American subjects, nor do we think they predominate. If the communications seem to proceed from a less scholarly class than that which interests itself in the earlier, more famous serial, the range of topics is considerable, and the work only needs to maintain a good standing to become gradually the general receptacle of the odds and ends of literature, history, science, and folk-lore. — Bulletin of the Boston Public Library. (Printed for the Trustees by Rockwell & Churchill.) The present Number 4 completes the eighth volume of this useful serial, and besides the regular lists of books, under convenient classifications, gives Judge Chamberlain’s very interesting report on the alleged Shakespeare signature which has come into the possession of the Library. He reaches cautiously the conclusion that “the Library autograph presents many reasons in favor of its genuineness, and too few objections to warrant an adverse judgment.” Several plates are added containing copies of Shakespeare’s signature, from which the careless observer would draw the natural inference that we had very few examples of the great dramatist’s handwriting because it nearly broke his back just to write his name. — The Library of Harvard University also issues a serial, not of accessions, but of bibliographical studies. Number 34 is devoted to the Dante Collections in Harvard College and Boston Public Libraries, by W. C. Lane, including a note on portraits of Dante. Number 37 is a Bibliography of William Hogarth, by Frank Weitenkampf, of the Astor Library. — The Annual Index to Periodicals for 1888, being Number 7 of Cumulative Indexes. (W. M. Griswold, Bangor, Me.) This index, which is much less complicated than a single glance would lead one to think, is of great convenience to one who is hunting down some special subject, and wishes to know what has been published in the most important American periodicals above the grade of weeklies. — The Oxford Dictionary, as it is sometimes called, more exactly A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, founded mainly on the materials collected by the Philological Society, and edited by James A. H. Murray, has reached Part V., covering the words between “ Cast ” and “ Clivy.” (Macmillan.) As the editor points out, the number is especially interesting from the variety of material gathered upon the words formed upon “Christ.” We are pleased to see that there once was a real Christmas-box, made of earthenware. Running our eye over the pages, we notice that “ to chance ” it is not a bit of American slang, as we had supposed; that “ cement,” a noun, has almost given place to “ cement,” after the verbal form, though we thought the penultimate accent, which dates from the fourteenth century, was rather gaining ground ; that “ chaff ” is still on probation as a correct social word; that the term “ Civil Service ” originated with its use in the East India Company. There is a long and very interesting article on Church, and another on City. Indeed, the old jest of the disconnected character of dictionary stories hardly applies to this number, for in the historical treatment of these important words a most attractive narrative is made of the development and variation of ideas. — The second volume of The Century Dictionary is also at hand (The Century Co.), covering the words from “ Conocephalus ” to “ Fz,” which we leave the reader to look out to gratify his curiosity. The special feature which attracts one in Murray is the pedigree of uses of words, the tracing of shades of meaning from the earliest English use to the present day. The Century Dictionary also has illustrative quotations, but its strength lies in other directions, — in the fullness of its vocabulary, in its defining pictures, in its wide reference to technical uses. Occasionally it seems to emulate Murray in the detail of its treatment, as in its account of “do.” It is not so interesting to take up and read steadily as its English rival, but its arrangement is so clear, and it aims at such compactness of presentation, that it at once impresses the user as a capital book of reference. — The Musical Year-Book of the United States, compiled and published by G. H. Wilson. (152 Tremont St., Boston.) This annual for the season of 1888-1889 is the sixth in the series, and contains a very convenient record of concerts and festivals, with an excellent index, by which one can gauge the popularity of composers. —The April Bulletin of the Boston Public Library, published by the Trustees, contains, besides a classified list of the hooks placed in the Library from June to December, 1889, with author and subject indexes, a valuable list of the bibliographies of special subjects, and an index to notes upon books and reading to be found in library catalogues, in periodicals and other publications. The Public Library throws its treasures open to the public in a double sense when it gives free access to its books and sets up these inestimable guides to its great store. — Records of Living Officers of the United States Army, by William H. Powell. (L. R. Hamersly & Co., Philadelphia.) The list is alphabetical in order, and covers the names of more than twenty-seven hundred officers. By the use of convenient abbreviations, a good deal of space is saved, and the biographical statements are as a rule concise. In some instances, however, it looks as if the editor had allowed the vanity of his correspondent to get the better of him. — The Records of Living Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, compiled from official sources by Lewis Randolph Hamersly. (Hamersly.) The arrangement in this volume is by rank, and in each instance by seniority. A full index obviates the difficulty of reference which otherwise might occur. The narratives are fuller, and are in effect in many cases readable biographical sketches. For bibliographical as well as biographical reasons, it is a pity that the editors of these two useful volumes had not made a persistent effort to secure full names. — Volume V. of Chambers’s Encyclopædia (Lippincott) extends from Friday to Humanitarians. The first article, we regret to say, is devoted to the day, not to the man, Friday. We should like to know something more about the man. A valuable feature of this encyclopædia is the summary of authorities at the close of each article of importance. The articles are not colorless. A good deal of forcible characterization, for instance, may be found in some of the biographical articles. Henry George, by the way, contributes the brief article on himself. It is a little doubtful, to our thinking, whether it is wise for an encyclopædia, to which one goes for facts, to assume the function of a critical journal, and pass upon the qualities of men, especially living men, as is done in the case of several papers. There are signs of great contemporaneousness, as where, in the article on Harvard University, the very recent gift to the Semitic Museum is recorded. This volume sustains well the reputation of the work for compactness in the presentation of large subjects, as is evidenced by such papers as those on Greece and the Greek Church, the Gypsies, which indeed is fuller than we should look for, and Great Britain. The cuts are modest, the maps clear and effective.

Education and Text-Books. Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, by W. W. Goodwin. (Ginn.) This is a new edition of a standard text-book. Mr. Goodwin made his mark with the editions of 1860 and 1865, and now, almost a generation later, he offers what is practically a new book, his original positions being enlarged by a wealth of illustration and discriminated by delicate distinctions. It is not too much to say that American classical scholarship has in this work a more world-wide fame than in any other. The three copious indexes add greatly to the practical value of the book as a work of reference. — The Teacher’s Manual of Geography, by Jacques W. Redway. (Heath.) This little work is in two parts : the first containing Hints to Teachers; the second, Modern Facts and Ancient Fancies. It is interesting to see how a specialist in teaching is pretty sure to make his particular subject the centre of all knowledge. Thus in this book geography includes mineralogy, climatology, geology, astronomy, and history. It is not a text-book, but a convenient hand-book of suggestions to teachers. The second part is a rambling, discursive account of various matters of interest to those who are working up the subject of geography in the class-room. — Topics in Geography, by W. F. Nichols. (Heath.) A hook of somewhat similar intent, but more systematic and detailed. By means of it, the teacher who knows everything may carry a class without a text-book all over the globe. —An Elementary Treatise upon the Method of Least Squares, with Numerical Examples of its Applications, by George C. Comstock. (Ginn.) Intended for students of physics, astronomy, and engineering, as an aid in their computations. — Manual of Empirical Psychology as an Inductive Science, by Dr. Gustav Adolf Lindner ; authorized translation by Charles De Garmo. (Heath.) An interesting application of psychology as based upon psycho-physics to the needs of teachers. If any writer can make a real connection between psychology and pedagogy, he will win the gratitude of American teachers who have a vague feeling that there ought to be such a connection, but have been left largely to make it for themselves after patient study of Bain or Sully. — The School Room Guide to Methods of Teaching and School Management, by E. V. De Graff. (Bardeen.) The author is an institute-conductor. The fact that “seventieth edition” is on the title-page leads the unprofessional critic to hesitate about expressing an opinion unfavorable to the book, but it strikes us that there is a good deal of unnecessary fiddling work in it, as in the minute instruction how to gum a postage-stamp on an envelope, and the reasons for the same ; also that there is an air of hurry about the method, as if the compiler had ten minutes allotted for each subject. Analysis, moreover, is carried ad nauseam, as where a commonplace, sentimental little poem is given, and the commonplace and the sentiment are then studiously dug out, as if they were precious ore.

Oratory. Orations and After-Dinner Speeches of Chauncey M. Depew. (Cassell.) The versatility of Mr. Depew is noticeable in this volume, and the reader looks for further explanation of his attractiveness as a speaker. We think it is to be found largely in the offhand character of his speeches. There is no great distinction between the set speeches and those given after dinner. If one who has something to say can cultivate the art of speaking in the first person without being egotistic, he will be likely to have Mr. Depew’s effectiveness. Of wit there is no great amount, but plenty of badinage and easy-going clatter. — Political Orations from Wentworth to Macaulay, edited, with an introduction, by William Clarke. (Walter Scott, London.) Although three centuries are covered, seven eighths of the book is devoted to the last hundred years, and about two thirds to the period covered by Chatham, Burke, Erskine, and Fox. It would be foolish to say that political oratory is a lost art, but certainly the conditions, both in England and in this country, are not now favorable to its cultivation.