Comment on New Books

Philosophy. The Principles of Psychology, by William James. In two volumes. (Holt.) This work belongs in a scheme of books for schools and colleges which provides advanced, briefer, and elementary courses in science, and is itself intended for the advanced course. The name might also be applied to the system presented ; for Dr. James, if he has not in this treatise done actual pioneer service, has placed him self among the leaders in science who are pushing on over ground only lately opened. Here are fourteen hundred pages or so, and the reader who gets aboard the train with Dr. James for an engineer may well ask in advance what the chances are of arriving at any destination. We think he cannot go far without making up his mind that, at all events, he is to have a most agreeable excursion ; and if he chooses to sleep over some long sections of the road, he may count on being waked by the movement from time to time. In brief, Dr. James invites confidence by the candor of his speech and the unmistakable ring of honesty in his voice. If, sometimes, one suspects that he has been carried a long way round to reach a familiar point, one has at least the freshness of sensation when he comes unexpectedly upon the point itself. The irrepressible humor which attests the sanity and charity of this author makes his book entertaining reading even for the unelect. — The Time-Relations of Mental Phenomena, by Joseph Jastrow. (N. D. C. Hodges, New York.) A brochure in the Fact and Theory Papers, which collects a number of curious facts indicative of the relative speed, for instance, with which action responds to a stimulating impulse. If the readers of this paragraph desire to test one of the statements, they will please form a line, each holding his neighbor’s hand. Let the line A B be one mile in length ; let A press the hand of his next neighbor ; let her, immediately upon receipt of the pressure, communicate it to her neighbor. In three minutes B will feel his or her hand squeezed. — Introduction to Philosophy, an Inquiry after a Rational System of Scientific Principles in their Relation to Ultimate Reality, by George T. Ladd. (Scribners.) Dr. Ladd has not aimed at making a textbook, but such a free essay as may aid the student and teacher as well who are engaged in the systematic study of philosophy. It is an accompaniment to such study, and represents the attempt of a teacher to discuss at large those riddles of reason which inevitably present themselves for consideration whenever one is engaged in more academic work in the field. — Essays in Philosophy, Old and New, by William Knight. (Houghton.) Mr. Knight, well known for his editorship of Wordsworth, here prints seven papers, in which the main contention may be said to be for the distinctest recognition of the element of an indestructible personality. Not that all his essays turn on questions involving this, but even in those, like the one on Classification of the Sciences, which are farthest removed from the theme there are intimations of the insistence of this doctrine.— Judaism and Christianity, a Sketch of the Progress of Thought from Old Testament to New Testament, by Crawford Howell Joy. (Little, Brown & Co.) After an Introduction on the General Laws of the Advance from National to Universal Religions, Professor Joy proceeds with an examination of Hebraic literature, Biblical and otherwise, and upon this basis inquires into the Doctrine of God, Subordinate Supernatural Beings, Man, Ethics, The Kingdom of God, Eschatology, and the Relation of Jesus to Christianity. This scheme intimates the sweep of the thought. We shall return to the book more deliberately.

Sociology. The Coöperative Commonwealth, by Laurence Gronlund (Lee & Shepard), is issued anew in paper, and is accompanied by a second work by the same author, entitled Our Destiny ; the Influence of Nationalism on Morals and Religion. This is not so important a book as the preceding, partly because it is little more than a restatement of the principles of the Coöperative Commonwealth in general terms, and a running criticism upon the literature of socialism since the first book was published. It is, however, an earnest plea for a reconstructed society on broad principles of Christian morality, and is of interest as showing some of the best thought of men who are actively engaged in this reconstruction by their economic doctrines.— Siberia and the Nihilists. Why Kennan went to Siberia, by William Jackson Armstrong. (Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland, Cal.) A pamphlet giving the history of Mr. Armstrong’s treatment of Nihilism and Russian despotism, including his lecture and his newspaper controversy with Mr. Kennan. Both writers are now on the same side, apparently. — The Suppressed Book of the Peasant Bondareff. (Pollard Publishing Company, New York.) The fact of suppression, being the important one, is first stated. The topic of the book is Labor, and is made known, augmented, and edited by Tolstoï. The translation is by Miss May Cruger. The book is interesting as containing the inspiration of Tolstoï in his religions belief, and the nakedness of the statements contained in it have thus a value which a more elaborate presentation would not have. The attempt of both men is to answer the demand which the Saviour whom they profess to interpret refused to answer : “ Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me.” — The Distribution of Wealth, or The Economic Laws by which Wages and Profits are determined, by Rufus Cope. (Lippincott.) Mr. Cope passes in review the facts which affect the distribution of the products of labor, and the forces that control production and distribution ; his survey is so broad and general that when he comes to ascertain the remedies for existing evils he writes temperately, and without undue confidence in any single remedial power. His book is therefore less impressive to some minds, for in economics we all of us have a sneaking faith in quackery when it relates to the body politic, though we may be ready enough to refuse the treatment when applied to our individual property. How many followers of Henry George would voluntarily release their own ten-acre lot ? — Sociology; Popular Lectures and Discussions before the Brooklyn Ethical Association. (James H. West, Boston.) Seventeen lectures on such topics as Primitive Man, Growth of the Marriage Relation, Evolution of the State, Evolution and Social Reform, and the like. The application of the hypothesis of evolution to social law has this disadvantage, that the facts in sociology are of great number and variety, and not yet very fully classified ; the temptation is strong to select such as fit conveniently into a well-rounded evolutionary scheme, especially when one has only an hour to do it in. — The Now Era in Russia, by Colonel Charles A. de Arnaud. (Gibson Bros., Washington.) The writer undertakes to show “ that all the internal disturbances within the empire arose from the conflicts of the nobles or reactionary class in opposing the steadfast policy of the emperors in favor of liberal and popular measures.”

“ Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love,
But why did you kick me downstairs ? ”

Biography. Havelock, by Archibald Forbes. (Macmillan.) A number of English Men of Action Series. Mr. Forbes’s training as a military reporter and his familiarity with Eastern life enable him to recount Havelock’s career with skill and impressiveness. His presentation of the great general’s character is involved in a record of his deeds rather than in more distinct and formal outline, and some will doubtless regret that the strong religious element should be, not ignored, but not made conspicuous. — Citizeness Bonaparte, by Imbert de Saint-Amand ; translated by Thomas Sargeant Perry. (Scribners.) A volume in the series of Famous Women of the French Court. By the clear use of the form of a sketch of Josephine, the author manages to tell the story of one part of Bonaparte’s career with freshness and spirit. Not only the personality of Josephine, but her influence on Napoleon, are set forth with the vivacity of personal memoirs. — An opportune work is Henrik Ibsen, 1828— 1888, a Critical Biography, by Henrik Jaeger ; translated from the Norwegian by William Morton Payne. (McClurg.) The author includes reference to all of Ibsen’s writings save the Lady from the Sea, which appeared after the book was written. There is a specially interesting autobiographic sketch of Ibsen furnished the author for his work, and the minute study which Mr. Jaeger makes of Norwegian society and polities is of great value to the student who wishes to account for the particular turn which Ibsen’s art takes. — Alexander Hamilton, by William Graham Sumner. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) Mr. Sumner has written a very interesting study of Hamilton’s place in the political and financial development of the Union out of its colonial stage. He has not attempted a life of Hamilton, for that was not needed, but he has applied with great acumen the principles which he holds to an analysis of the doctrines which prevailed, in a more or less confused form, at the close of the eighteenth century as to the functions of the state, especially in reference to its dependencies. The survey which Mr. Sumner finds himself obliged to make at the outset of features of American public life is very interesting and instructive. It strikes us, however, that in his own way he is as much a doctrinaire as Hamilton, and that if Hamilton’s opinions are open to criticism in the light of modern experience, Hamilton’s service in consolidating the Union against external force and internal dissension Cannot well he overrated.

History and Politics. The October, 1890, Bulletin of the Boston Public Library, besides its customary lists of accessions to the library, contains an interesting account of the copy of the Columbus letter now in the possession of the Library, with heliotype copy and a translation, so that the student who cannot see the original has really before him what answers just as well for purposes of study, even though the heliotype will not thrill him, probably. (Boston Public Library.) — Races and Peoples, Lectures on the Science of Ethnography, by Daniel G. Brinton. (N. D. C. Hodges, New York.) A useful book if one would know in brief form the latest results in a science which is pretty comprehensive in its scope. Dr. Brinton has no charm of style, but he does not err by giving the reader hasty and seductive generalizations. Indeed, his learning is almost too fragmentary to satisfy the ordinary reader. The caution, however, and reserve which characterize the author’s definite statements give one confidence that, so far as the book goes, it may be followed.

Hygiene and Domestic Economy. Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking, adapted to Persons of Moderate and Small Means, by Mrs. Mary Hinman Abel. (American Public Health Association, Rochester, N. Y.) This little work, which is a prize essay, raises our expectation when, after plunging into one of those learned analyses of food properties with which all scientific women begin their cook-books, we come upon the encouraging words : “A pinch of pepper, a cup of coffee, a fine, juicy strawberry, — what of these ? They may contain all five of tlie food principles, but who cares for the proteid action or carbohydrate effect of his cup of good coffee at breakfast, or what interest for us has the heating effect of the volatile oil to which the strawberry owes a part of its delicious taste ? ” That is just what we were getting ready to say, and now we can go on and praise the good sense and surprising ingenuity of this brochure, which winds up with bills of fare which give not only the number of ounces of proteids, fat, and carbohydrates in a particular dinner, but the cost in cents of the several ingredients. Mrs. Abel, who is by no means a vegetarian, as her husband’s name suggests, tells us how to provide three meals a day for a family of six at the average price of seventy-eight cents for the three. — Dust and its Dangers, by T. Mitchell Prudden, M. D. (Putnams.) A sensible little book on the perils which spring from the germs of disease, especially tuberculosis, hidden in the dust of our cities. The writer points out certain general remedies which look toward cleanliness ; we notice that he fails to mention the remedy earnestly proposed by some German physicians, that every one touched with tubercular diseases should carry a rubber cuspidor slung to his side, as he walks the streets. — Home Exercise for Health and Cure, translated from the German of D. G. R. Schreber by C. R. Bardeen. (C. W. Bardeen, Syracuse.) An interesting manual, which not only does not require a gymnasium, but even dispenses with Indian clubs, wands, and dumb-bells. The original treatise has had a wide circulation in Germany. It suggests the principles of the Delsarte system. — Good-Living, a Practical Cookery-Book for Town and Country, by Sara Van Buren Brugière.

(Putnams.) The author has produced a big, comprehensive book : the bigness resulting from her care to be explicit in trifles and to assume inexperience in the user ; the comprehensiveness from the wide range taken in the origin of the receipts, and the inclusion of very simple and very complex dishes. There is a full index. — Household Hygiene, by Mary Taylor Bissell, M. D. (N. D. C. Hodges, New York.) A little volume containing suggestions regarding sanitary house-building and housekeeping. Thus, it begins with the site and the soil, and takes up such enticing subjects as Sanitary Furniture and Roof Gardens. We are surprised that under the former heading the writer does not frighten her readers by a reference to the arsenical character of many wall papers and other hangings. The book has no waste of words, but goes straight at its subjects.

Literature-Craft. The Trade of Authorship, by Walstan Dixey. (The Author, 73 Henry St., Brooklyn, N. Y.) The title hints at the grade of the book. It is a good-natured, lively piece of practical advice to the multitude of persons, endowed with a little mental ability and a good deal of ignorant ambition, whom this age of print calls upon to listen to the great economic law of supply and demand. Mr. Dixey must have something of a contempt for the miscellaneous crowd, whom he badgers with his words much as a drillmaster at work upon the awkward squad. — Newspaper Reporting in Olden Time and To-Day, by John Pendleton. (Armstrong.) A volume in the Book-Lover’s Library. Of English origin, its gossip is quite exclusively of English newspapers. We fancy some of our American reporters could have given Mr. Pendleton points. — Periodicals that pay Contributors, to which is added a list of publishing houses. Compiled by Eleanor Kirk. (The Compiler, 786 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.) A revised and enlarged edition of a book which may be useful to beginners who propose to themselves a regular system of approaches to the intrenchments of literature. The information is rather general.

Essays. A neat volume in the Riverside Classics Series (Houghton) is that containing a selection of Dr. John Brown’s papers, under the title Rab and his Friends, and Other Dogs and Men. Besides the title paper, the other bright, affectionate dog papers are included, Marjorie Fleming also, the noble reminiscence of his father, and a few of the quaint, sympathetic short sketches which have endeared this writer to his readers. The selection is prefaced by a charming little recollection of the writer by one who uses the initials E. T. McL.— On Making the Best of Things, and Other Essays, Idle Musings, by E. Conder Gray. (Putnams.) A volume modeled on the once famous Country Parson’s Essays, and remarkably like its model, full of secondhand wit, airy commonplace, and views of life as seen through the glass of literature. The wise saws which one meets in its pages are only better men’s wisdom less the original wit. — Love and Lore, by Edgar Saltus. (Belford.) A baker’s dozen of papers and poems on such subjects as The Courts of Love, The Canons of Pure Courtesy, The Future of Fiction, What Pessimism is Not, Morality in Fiction, and the like. There is an alertness of movement and occasionally a penetration of life which interest one, but the light cast on the subject is mainly a cigarette light. — Brampton Sketches, Old-Time New England Life, by Mary B. Claflin. (Crowell.) A dozen chapters descriptive of life in a Massachusetts village about twenty miles from Boston, as it is remembered by a matron who could draw also upon the recollections of the interesting old people whom she knew in her girlhood. The homeliness of the sketches is not the least of the charms of the book, for it is an attestation of their truthfulness. What a pity that more such memories should not be preserved ! But it takes not only a retentive memory, it requires a willingness to keep in the background, to produce as good results. Mrs. Claflin has given herself a little more liberty, but she has also secured a certain immunity from self-criticism, by writing so entirely in the third person. — Messrs. A. C. McClurg & Co., of Chicago have been making some exceedingly pretty books, reissues of classics, which may be grouped on this score. An edition of Bacon’s Essays, edited by Melville B. Anderson, is one of them. The text is edited with apparent care, and the Introduction has some very sensible words upon the Bacon-Shakespeare craze. Mr. Anderson wisely relies upon the internal evidence for disputing the title of Bacon to Shakespeare’s plays, and says effectively, “ How refreshing and liberalizing, after dwelling in this dry light of intellect purged of human feeling, to emerge into the warm sunlight of Shakespeare’s genius ! ” Another of these pretty books is an edition of Saintine’s Picciola. The name of the translator is not given, but the English style is rapid and free. After all, the kernel of Picciola is all that one cares for. The third is The Best Letters of Lord Chesterfield, edited, with an Introduction, by Edward Gilpin Johnson. The editor seems to make good his claims to have treated these letters with such discrimination as to render the book really serviceable, not only as a piece of literature, but as a textbook in politeness. — The Story of my House, by George H. Ellwanger. (Appleton.) A pretty little book, in spite of its too heavy paper and its unleaded and bizarre type, befitting the pleasant fancies of a writer who plays about the real or fanciful building, furnishing, and decorating of a house. The reader need not fear that he is to be invited to a conference with the plumber or drainmaker. Mr. Ellwanger’s guests are presented rather to a great number of poets and writers of all ages, who have something apposite at every turn. The house is a Spanish castle, at the floor of which the host stands bowing and making a gift of it with fine Spanish courtesy to each new-comer.

Fiction. Walford, by Ellen Olney Kirk. (Houghton.) Like all of Mrs. Kirk’s stories, this has a touch-and-go which commends it to the novel-reader. The characters, the incidents, the plot, have a way of engaging the attention and holding it so that one does not find himself! analyzing the causes which produce effects, but pursuing the theme as it is unfolded, and curious to know how the story is to turn out. — Wanneta, the Sioux, by Warren K. Moorehead. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) The writer of this book has had a training as an archæologist, not as a novelist. What would he think of a novelist who, treating the Indian subject, should rely for his knowledge of Indian manners and customs upon Peter Parley, say ? Yet this is what he has done as a novelist, taking for his model in fiction the most conventional and artificial tellers of tales. — Thy Name is Woman, from the French of Dubut de Laforest, by Frank Howard Howe. (Belford.) A cheap sort of Manon Lescaut. There are some vulgar Americanisms in the translation, as where two of the personages are said to have “ lit out,” which register the literary and moral tone of the work. — Dr. LeBaron and his Daughters, a Story of the Old Colony, by Jane G. Austin. (Houghton.) Readers of A Nameless Nobleman, one of the best historical romances we have, will take up this book with alacrity when they see its name, for Dr. LeBaron figures as the son of the nameless nobleman. The story lacks, however, the unity of its predecessor. The web of life has become more complex, and what is gained in a study of old colony social life is lost in the concentration of interest. Mrs. Austin is saturated with the legends and fireside tales of Plymouth and its neighborhood, so that not only are historic names freely used, but incidents and adventures not to be found in the graver histories, yet not invented by the romancer, rise to the surface of print, and serve to give the chronicle an air of lifelikeness. — The Doctor’s Dilemma, by Hesba Stretton. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) For purposes of story-telling an intricate plot has been woven, and some liberties have been taken with human nature. It can hardly be said that the story tells itself or is unfolded by a natural process of development, but the reader is reminded at every turn of the author’s dilemma rather than the doctor’s ; for the tying and untying of knots is the business of the book. — Christie Johnstone, by Charles Reade. (Dodd, Mead & Co.) A tidy edition of this famous story, though when we come to look more closely at type and binding, we think the former a fashion which will soon tire the eye, and the latter somewhat meaningless in decoration.— Dorothy’s Experience, by Adeline Trafton. (Lee & Shepard.) A bright, winning story of how a woman of true religious nature, who had drifted away from her moorings, came back through unselfish work for others, reëstablishing her creed bydeed. There are some skillful lines in the drawing of a very unlovely class of girls, — those who in mind, as in dress, display cheap finery, — and much genuine feeling in the effort put forth to show their true nature. If one occasionally mistrusts Miss Trafton’s closeness to fact, and suspects she has supplied both sub and super structure from her imagination, one does not doubt her sincerity. — George Sand’s The Gallant Lords of Bois-Doré, translated from the French by Steven Clovis (Dodd, Mead & Co.), is a new translation, and is in two fair volumes. We cannot highly praise the English, which is rather formal and angular.—Timothy’s Quest, by Kate Douglas Wiggin. (Houghton.) Mrs. Wiggin may be thought to be in some doubt how this book should be classed when she adds to her title the words, “ A story for anybody, young or old, who cares to read it; ” but we prefer to take this sweeping phrase to indicate that, though the chief characters in the book are two children, the story appeals not to children necessarily, but to all who can be attracted by such figures. In truth, there are children who will not care for the Story, and mature readers who will. The scene is laid in New England, apparently, though there is a singular Californian flavor about the book, as if it had ripened under more generous skies. The genuine humor and sincerity of feeling constantly save it from an artificiality which suggests a refined and remote descent from the humanitarian literature inspired by Dickens. There are passages which read as if they were the result of sympathetic observation; there are others which echo the voice of the story-teller who tells not the simple, but the affected annals of the poor. Yet after we have said our sour words, we hand the book to our neighbor with advice to read it.

Books for the Young. Zigzag Journeys in the Great Northwest, or A Trip to the American Switzerland, by Hezekiah Butterworth. (Estes & Lauriat.) The Canadian Pacific runs through the book, but whenever a picture, or a story, or a poem offers a good stop-over the author does not hesitate to abandon his trip; and the result is that the reader who accompanies him to the end of the journey will very likely think he would have got there sooner, and would have seen quite as much of the American Switzerland, if he had trusted himself to an ordinary guidebook.— St. Nicholas, an Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks, conducted by Mary Mapes Dodge. (The Century Company.) The bound volumes which collect the numbers for the past year give one a very good notion of the variety which passes before the reader of the monthly parts. It is interesting to note how many names of contributors are as yet unknown to fame. Such a magazine clearly offers a field for new writers; but we doubt if inexperienced draughtsmen find the same hospitality.— Harper’s Young People for 1890. (Harpers.) A survey of a year of this weekly journal gives a good notion of the wide range taken by it. It seems to us to have a little closer relation to actual life than St. Nicholas. There is not, perhaps, so much fancy in it, and it has a somewhat more masculine temper. If both were weeklies, one would not go far astray who took them alternately. — The Story Hour, a Book for the Home and the Kindergarten, by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith. (Houghton.) Mrs. Wiggin’s Introduction, in which she discourses on the art of story-telling in the school-room, is a delightful piece of work, full of freshness and good suggestion. The stories, to our thinking, clever as they are, would gain much from the telling. They have, in a word, a decorative style which is little likely to be criticised as the words fall from the lips of a friendly story-teller, but is, somehow, rhetorically rather than constructively lively when read from the printed page. But the book offers itself most effectively to one who is to read aloud to a young child, or, better still, to tell the stories over again.— King Tom and the Runaways, the Story of what Befell Two Boys in a Georgia Swamp, by Louis Pendleton. (Appleton.) A lively story of boy life in the South before the war. The writer, whether he tells a true narrative or not, writes with intelligence regarding boy nature and a Georgia swamp; and if there is a little mechanical treatment, we doubt if a boy would notice it, for he would be too much interested in the story. It is the purblind critic who sees such things — and speaks of them.

Fine Arts and Holiday Books. The Portfolio for November (Seeley & Co., London; Macmillan, New York) has an etching, faithful Hearts, from the picture by P. H. Calderon, which is interesting as an illustration of the hold which domestic subjects have on the English mind. Mr. Calderon is not the painter one would suppose likely to paint a British farmer laying flowers on his wife’s grave, while his little child looks shyly on, but this is the subject, ami somehow one is not greatly touched by it. There also is an engraving of Holbein’s Ambassadors and what we take as the completion of Charing Cross to St. Paul’s, with the admirable pen-and-ink drawings by Pennell. — The numbers of L’Art for October 15 and November 1 (Macmillan) are less interesting than usual, for they are devoted largely to a survey of the engravings at the 1889 Exposition, and process copies of lithographs are not very satisfactory. There are, however, heliogravures after Van der Meer and De Vrieudt. — The fortieth volume of The Century (The Century Company) covers the months May to October, 1890. We have been interested, in running through these six numbers, to note how far the magazine is dependent for its interest and value on its illustrations. Such a series, of course, as Italian Old Masters owes its importance to Mr. Cole’s remarkable engravings. Now and then there are articles which could not be read intelligently without the accompanying designs, as Prehistoric Cave-Dwellings and Chickens for Use and Beauty; there are others which gain decidedly by the use of pictures, as the paper on Wells Cathedral and The Women of the French Salons; one series, that of Mr. Lafarge’s Letters from Japan, appeals to the reader with peculiar interest because the writer uses in the series both his modes of expression, that with the pen and that with the pencil. But aside from such papers as we have hinted at, we are disposed to think that the marriage of literature and art tends to divorce.