Comment on New Books

Poetry. The Death of œnone, Akbar’s Dream, and Other Poems, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (Macmillan.) It is noticeable in this final volume of the Laureate’s verse how impressive is the personality of the poet. The themes chosen, the melody of the verse, the whole treatment, conspire to deepen the tone in which an old man sings to a people long accustomed to his voice. Here is no idle song, but the clear, bell-like utterance of a poetic nature conversant with high themes, finely attuned, so that a seemingly careless note is expressive of the ease with which the poet sings. — Lachrymæ Musarum, and Other Poems, by William Watson. (Macmillan.) The title poem is a threnody on Tennyson, and two or three other poems intimate the writer’s sense of kinship with great poets. These are indeed among the best of his verses, for he is kindled by this glow of human fellowship. There is also a robust moral force underlying several of the poems, and a fine distinction which arrests the reader’s attention, and impresses him with the belief that there is mastership in this writer. Mr. Watson has a firm touch and a truly virile imagination. It is a pity he should have thought it worth while to recover his mere journalist Lines to our New Censor. One reads the little book with strong pleasure, and goes back to it for noticeable lines.—Jump to Glory Jane, by George Meredith ; edited and arranged by Harry Quilter, with forty-four designs invented, drawn, and written by Lawrence Housman. (Macmillan.) There is something unintentionally droll in the serious manner in which Mr. Quilter clears the road before Mr. Meredith’s chariot. The poem itself, with its setting of profound interpretation and effective illustration, is a good example of Mr. Meredith’s manner at its level best. The parable was worth telling, and its half-grotesque form thrusts the meaning into the reader’s mind. — At the Beautiful Gate, and Other Songs of Faith, by Lucy Larcom. (Houghton.) Miss Larcom has gathered in this volume not only the more distinctively religious verse contained in her volume of poems, but also many other pieces not before brought together. The effect of the collection is of poetry wrought naturally out of familiar material, and not of perfunctory work, or of work which springs from a single side of the poet’s nature. — A Book of Famous Verse, selected by Agnes Repplier. (Houghton.) Those who read Miss Repplier’s paper in The Atlantic on poetry for children will know what to expect in this book, — clear judgment, fine taste, stanch fidelity to high standards, and an absolute freedom from mawkishness and pretty sentimentality. It is a robust book, and admirably well balanced.

Fine Arts and Illustrated Books. Man in Art, Studies in Religious and Historical Art, Portrait, and Genre, by Philip Gilbert Hamerton ; with forty-six plates in line engraving, mezzotint, photogravure, hyalography, etching, and wood-engraving. (Macmillan.) An expensively illustrated and very delightful work. Under the general headings of Culture, Beauty, Religious Art, History and Revivals, Portrait, Life Observed, Mr. Hamerton writes a large number of short chapters, full of the agreeable, almost colloquial writing on art from the point of view of a man who carries well in his head the due relations of content and technique. There is a saneness, a mellowness, about his criticism which at once attracts the reader, and Mr. Hamerton’s personality is of that quiet, good-humored sort which enters into his work without making the reader constantly wish to eliminate the personal equation. The illustrations are from early and late masters. Many of them are noble. All of them are admirably chosen and very interesting. — Preferences in Art, Life, and Literature, by Harry Quilter, M. A. (Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Loudon ; Macmillan, New York.) Mr. Quilter has been an industrious critic of art for a score of years or so ; he States that he has seen and written of, within that time, nearly five hundred thousand pictures and sculptures, besides criticising several hundred books, — say twenty-five thousand a year, or sixtyeight a day. No, no, Mr. Quilter, there is something wrong here. He has gone over this great body of criticism, printed or in manuscript, and worked out a solid quarto volume of four hundred pages, in which he treats of pre-Raphaelitism, Frank Holl, Millet, William Hunt, Watts, the Royal Academy, and other subjects, and has gathered sixty-seven full-page illustrations from the works of men on whom he has commented ; many of them exceedingly interesting, and not readily to be studied elsewhere. Mr. Quilter has embroidered his criticism with much interesting personal chat, but he is so violently first personal that the reader is perhaps unnecessarily irritated. The Makers of Venice, Doges, Conquerors, Pailiters, and Men of Letters, by Airs. Oliphant. Extra Illustrated Edition. (Macmillan.) this volume follows the same general style as the handsome companion volume of Makers of Florence. Mrs. Oliphant points out how much more subordinate the men of A Venice were to the imperious city itself, how much the individuality of its makers was sunk in the general glory of their creation. Possibly for this reason portraiture is scarcely represented in this volume, which is illustrated chiefly from an architectural point of view, with engravings on wood, almost always admirable, and with heliotypesorsome form of photographic reproductions, which are best when most detailed. On the whole, the book is a delightful storehouse of treasures from the stones of Venice. I he colors cannot be given, but the pictures-quciiess, the richness, the proportions, are here. —Mr. J. R. Green’s popular A Short History of the English People makes an excellent subject for illustration, and the new illustrated edition (Harpers) is designed upon an admirable plan. Every page, in effect, has an engraving or map, and there are a number of striking copies of illuminations. The cuts are to a very large extent copies of contemporaneous drawings, so that the first volume, the only one thus far published, has a rude character which tells much to the eye of what the picturesque text also tells in its way. The abundant architectural drawings give richness and strength to the page, and the reader perceives that the book has been made with great care, the illustrations really illustrating, and not merely decorating. The frequency of historical maps is a great help, and one could not ask for a more delightful introduction to the study of English history. The work is edited by Mrs. Green and Aliss Kate Norgate. —Aratra Penteliei, Seven Lectures on the Elements of Sculpture, by John Ruskiu. (C. E. Alerriil & Co., New York.) This volume in the reissue of Ruskin’s writings has the added value, like the others, of Mr. Norton’s introductory note, which includes transcripts from Mr. Ruskin’s private letters. Mr. Norton gives judicious hints for the discriminating reading of Mr. Ruskin’s discourses.

Fiction. Uncle Remus and his Friends, by Joel Chandler Harris ; illustrated by A. B. Frost. (Houghton.) Mr. Harris seriously proposes to shuffle Uncle Remus otf the stage with this hook. We refuse to believe in the disappearance of so humorous a darky ; but meanwhile, with the threat hanging over us, we read with avidity not only the stories of the sort he has made classic, but the songs and ballads he sung and the record of his various experiences. The songs and ballads especially reproduce remarkably the musical childishness of the race. The varied entertainment of the book ought to make it exceedingly popular.—The Ivory Gate, by Walter Besant. (Harpers.) Mr. Besant’s latest venture in the field of psychological fiction has for its motive a phenomenon of brain disease, the existence of two distinct personalities in one individual. Mr. Dering, in his normal state a successful and highly respected London solicitor, with all the qualities essential to the attainment of such a position, becomes at intervals, under another name, a man as opposite in character as can well be, an extreme socialist, believing that the abolition of property would be a panacea for every ill, and doing all that in him lies to hasten the coming of so desirable a revolution in human affairs. That so skillful a storyteller as Mr. Besant makes an admirable use of the serious misunderstandings and complications arising from such a situation need hardly be said. Though there ceases to be any mystery long before the close of the tale, the interest is steadily maintained to the end. Incidentally, the views on social problems of an unemotional, clearheaded, and upright man of the world, and the Utopian dreams of a benevolent theorist, are, with full justice to each, effectively contrasted. — Children of the Ghetto, by I. Za’ngwill. (Jewish Publication Society.) Notwithstanding the carelessness or unskillfulness which at first makes this novel seem rather a collection of sketches and studies than a continuous narrative, the reader soon becomes impressed by the extraordinary vividness and force with which a new and strange world is depicted, the world of the Whitechapel Jews, with their alien languages, laws, customs, and faith, — a city within a city, — their Eastern superstitions, their strenuous Orthodoxy, and their cheerful acceptance of a ceremonial and ritual law governing every act of life that becomes to their more or less Anglicized children irksome or unendurable. The author does not confine himself to the East End, but goes as far afield as Kensington, introducing us to many wealthy middleclass Hebrews, with their various shades of belief and unbelief. With all its shortcomings, the book not only gives us realistic pictures of the life of a peculiar people, but lets us perceive their mental attitude, their point of view, far better than some of the outside studies of incomparably greater writers. — Winterborough, by Eliza Orne White. (Houghton.) A tale of a New Hampshire small town. It is marked by much ready cleverness, which shows itself in bright repartee and saucy conversation. There is also a study of character, in which some excellent points are made; and though the book strikes one sometimes as practice work, it is better worth reading than some stories which fulfill more perfectly the demands of the professional workman, — Roland Graeme, Knight, by Agnes Maule Machar. (Fords, Howard & Hulbert.) Roland was not merely a Knight of Labor ; he was knightly in his spirit of sympathy, helpfulness, and protection to all who suffer. He was a Canadian, whose studies for the ministry were interrupted by family losses, and who came, therefore, to the United States to labor as a journalist. The author’s real interest, however, is not in the several characters of the story, but in the exposition of the new theology and of Christian socialism. There is little plot, and the writer brings slight skill to this side of her work. — An anonymous novel, An Exquisite Fool, and The Silent Sea, by Mrs. Alick Macleod, are late additions to Harper’s Franklin Square Library.

Books for the Young. Giovanni and the Other Children who have made Stories, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (Scribners.) The preface to this delightful book is almost, if not altogether, the best thing in it ; for Mrs. Burnett states so luminously and brightly the way stories may get written that she lets dull readers into a private chamber of the story-teller’s brain. The stories are simple, scarcely more than the expansion of a few characteristic scenes and personalities, but there is the art of a practiced writer in the telling ; sometimes we may think a little too much art. — The Admiral’s Caravan, by Charles E. Caryl. — (The Century Co.) It is easy to see that but for the famous Alice in Wonderland this clever book would never have been written just as it is, and we find in the fact an additional reason for thankfulness that Alice was written. The illustrations by Birch are spirited and humorous. — Some Strange Corners of our Country, by Charles F. Lummis. (The Century Co.) Mr. Lummis writes of the wonderful natural features of the Southwest, and of the Indian and half-Latin races that people the inhabited portions. There is an agreeable restraint in his manner, from the clear sense that the country is already exaggerated enough and needs no agony of words, and the book is admirably illustrated. The narrative is frank and unaffected, and boys are to be congratulated at falling into such good hands. — Japan in History, Folk Lore, and Art, by William Elliot Griffis. (Hough ton.) A number of the Riverside Library for Young People, and, like the other books in this series, unaffected by the condescension which vitiates so much literature addressed to the young. Indeed, there are some parts of the little book which would be found stiff by mature readers; but it is especially to be commended for the effort which the author has made to put Western readers into some sort of historical sympathy with Japan, and not into a state of mind which regards that country as a mere museum of curiosities. Dr. Griffis writes from a familiar knowledge and with a keen appreciation of the Japanese mind.— Indian Fairy Tales, selected and edited by Joseph Jacobs. (Putnams.) A welcome companion to the editor’s volumes of English and Celtic Fairy Tales. These Indian stories, though they have become known to the English reader only within the last twenty-five years, are really the oldest of fairy tales, and the editor is almost willing to pronounce them the originals from which a large portion of the folk lore of Europe, and even of America, has been derived,— reputed borrowers being as far apart in time and space as Æsop and Uncle Remus. But whether they believe or no that the Tar Baby owes its existence to a Buddhist Jataka, all lovers of fairy lore will find this a charming book. A word of praise must be given to Mr. Batten’s admirable illustrations, which add greatly to the value of the volume. — The Thirsty Sword, a Story of the Norse Invasion of Scotland, by Robert Leighton. (Scribners.) A tale of the Western Isles in the thirteenth century, and of the dwellers therein, who, whether Gaels or Norsemen, are equally possessed by the true Berserker rage. The story is vigorously written, and the spirit of the time and place is reproduced with considerable skill ; but we think the author is less successful than when writing of the young islanders of our less barbarous if tamer days. — Canoemates, a Story of the I lorida Reef and Everglades, by Kirk Munroe. (Harpers.) The boy heroes of this entertaining tale meet with as many startling adventures and have as great a number of hairbreadth escapes as can be conveniently crowded into a moderate-sized volume. But the absorbed young reader will feel happily confident that the often-missing canoes will not be finally lost, and that their constantly imperiled owners will in the last chapter return triumphantly to their anxious kinsfolk. Incidentally, much will be learned of southern Florida and its denizens.—Cab and Caboose, the Story of a Railroad Boy, by Kirk Munroe. Rail and Water series. (Putnams.) A frankly sensational tale, in which the manly young hero, driven from home by the wiles of the boy villain, takes a brakeman’s place on a railroad, and in the briefest possible time meets with every misadventure, misfortune, and accident that can well befall one in that position. He shows astonishing coolness and bravery in the most trying and difficult emergencies, but is not finally freed from his tribulations till the repentance, confession, and death of his enemy. We should think that even the boy reader would find not altogether unwelcome the atmosphere of ordinary life and the commonplace safety of an office desk which his hero reaches at the close of his meteoric career. — It is a little puzzling to read on the cover of a book, “The Boy’s Own Outdoor Book. Edited by Charles Peters,” and then find that the title-page says, “Outdoor Games and Recreations. Edited by G. Andrew Hutchinson.” Whichever may be its proper name, the volume is evidently an American reissue (Lippincott) of a thoroughly British book. It is “a popular encyclopædia for boys,” full of facts, rules, anecdotes, verses, and pictures about cricket, football, golf, lacrosse, yachting, canoeing, cycling, skating, and swimming, not to mention a score of minor sports. — Harper’s Young People for 1892 makes one of those volumes of which children seldom tire, finding the mélange of picture, story, verse, anecdote, biography, natural history, botany, travel, sport, etc., practically inexhaustible. The Columbian year is fitly commemorated in various ways, most noticeably by the fullpage portraits of Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, the serial story Diego Pinzon, and the account of the New York celebration.

History and Biography. Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott, and Notices of his Artistic and Poetic Circle of Friends, 1830 to 1882, edited by W. Minto ; illustrated by Etchings by Himself, and Reproductions of Sketches by Himself and Friends. In two volumes. (Harpers.) The recent flood of autobiographical volumes has borne no such treasure as this, for the thoroughly delightful portraiture of a most interesting man is not done in formal fashion, but with the half-concealing, half-revealing touch of an artist. Mr. Scott was a man who won the best of friends, yet he was frank in his expression of likes and dislikes. There is a negligent air about many of his anecdotical passages, and when he speaks of himself it is often with a musing, questioning manner. Occasionally he is very keen in his comment, as when speaking of Ruskin, and very sympathetic, as when speaking of Emerson and Rossetti. There are also many suggestive reflections on art, character, religion, many sketches of quaint forms of life, and always a singularly attractive compound of native shrewdness and artistic passion. — The Memories of Dean Hole. (Macmillan.) The clever and kindly face which looks out from the frontispiece belongs to an English ecclesiastic who was known otherwise as a remarkable cultivator of roses, and whose good qualities as a companion made him the friend of Englishmen of all sorts and conditions. Leech, Thackeray, Dickens, Dr. John Brown, were among his intimates, and his love of outdoor sport brought him into connection with hunters, cricketers, and archers. His stories are often droll and always good-natured, and there is an almost amusing bringing up of himself sometimes, as if he put off his hunting-coat suddenly and put on the surplice. We suspect that he must have added a capital power of telling a story, for those which are gathered here have the air now and then of being memoranda for stories. But much of the hearty companionship of the man has passed into his book. — The Story of Sicily, Phœnician, Greek, and Roman, by Edward A. Freeman. The Story of the Nations series. (Putnams.) It was a favorite saying of Mr. Freeman, the wisdom of which is well exemplified in this book, that “ in order to write a small history you must first write a large one.” This “small history " is a marvel of what may be called comprehensive condensation, for no point is omitted or unduly slurred which is essential to the continuity of the story or to a clear understanding of it. In short, the volume is an admirable summary of the results of the elaborate studies recorded elsewhere, and has the certainty and precision of touch which only the writer’s unrivaled knowledge of his subject could give. The history of the island which for ages was the battlefield of rival nations, languages, and creeds closes here with the coming of the Saracens. The author had hoped not only to add a volume which should carry on the story of Sicily to the death of the Emperor Frederic II., the limit which he had set to his large work, but to continue the history in this form to the absorption of the island into the kingdom of Italy.—The Duchess of Berry and the Court of Charles X., by Imbert de Saint-Amand. (Scribners.) This volume chronicles what were perhaps the happiest, and certainly the most brilliant years of the Duchess of Berry’s checkered life. Her father-in-law is of necessity the central figure of the story, and is sketched sympathetically, but without undue partiality. Indeed, Charles X., with his agreeable person, charming manner, gracious kindliness, lavish generosity, and excellent intentions, would have made an ideal king in a romance, but he was singularly ill fitted to understand or cope with the sternly realistic difficulties of his position. In this, as in the preceding volume, the author is greatly indebted to the delightful memoirs of the Duchesse de Gontaut. The book is of course steadily readable, and also bears marks of carelessness, for some of which the translator may be responsible. — Student and Singer, the Reminiscences of Charles Santley. (Macmillan.) Those whose own reminiscences include the singing of Mr. Santley in ballad concerts and oratorios, when he was in this country, a score of years ago, with Mr. Cummings, Mrs. Patey, and Miss Wynne, will take up this book with special interest. We cannot promise them as much pleasure as they had from Mr. Santley’s voice. Some of his experiences, especially in early life, were worth telling, and are told with candor and straightforwardness ; but on the whole Mr. Santley’s acquaintance with men and affairs seems not to have gone beyond the surface, and he has not the art of making superficial narrative entertaining. — Social Life in England from the Restoration to the Revolution, 1660-1690, by William Connor Sydney. (Macmillan.) Mr. Sydney, who made an acceptable study of England and the English in the eighteenth century, carries his researches back another generation, and discourses of roads, inns, manufactures, mines, the characteristics of the several parts of the kingdom, dress, amusements, education, and whatever serves to illustrate the life of the people in different ranks. It is a somewhat disappointing book, in part because it is so ill provided with guideboards in the way of chapter headings and running titles, though side heads are frequent, and in part because the writer seems not to have digested his material thoroughly; yet it serves as a useful accompaniment to a formal history of the same period.

Literature. The Dialogues of Plato, translated into English, with Analyses and Introductions, by B. Jowett. In five volumes. (Macmillan.) This is the third edition, revised and corrected throughout, of a translation which goes far toward putting the unlearned English reader on a level with the classical scholar. Indeed, the work has also a very great value to the latter, since it enables him, after mastering a few dialogues with painful attention, to take in rapidly the whole scope of Plato’s philosophy. The ingenious system of headlines and side notes is cleverly adapted still farther to aid the reader in grasping the main lines of thought, and the equipment of introductions with which the work is furnished supplies the place of a history of philosophy and an elaborate commentary. Finally, there is, in the fifth volume, a superb index, nearly two hundred double-column pages in length. The Master of Balliol, whatever be his theology, — and who knows just what it is ?— has rendered an imperishable service to the new study of classic literature. — Historical and Political Essays, by Henry Cabot Lodge. (Houghton.) Mr. Lodge has collected papers some of which are known to constant readers of The Atlantic. His historical papers are largely biographical in form, dealing with Seward, Gouverneur Morris, Madison ; and his political papers, treating of matters which are of immediate importance, draw their best arguments from historical precedents. — Prose Idyls, by John Albee. (Houghton.) Mr. Albee has chosen to set forth in prose, which has a distinct flavor, fancies, reveries, bits of experience, parables, thoughts, which might be the motives for poems. There is nothing in the prose form which is not genuine prose ; there is nothing in the matter, we might almost say, which is not genuine poetry. The sketches all have point, but they are not so epigrammatic as to depend solely upon the point for their value. Indeed, the quiet beauty of the bits is of the resting sort which is often wanting in poetry of the day. Altogether the book is distinct and welcome. One would have to go back to Hawthorne to And kinship in some of the work. — Dr. Henry van Dyke has brought out a third edition of The Poetry of Tennyson (Scribners), in which the chronology of the poet’s life and works has been so much enlarged that it might rather be called a bibliography, and one more complete and accurate than can be found elsewhere. A new estimate of Maud is also given, the result of light thrown upon the poem by Tennyson’s own reading and interpretation of it. The author’s fine memorial verses are fitly prefixed to this edition. — The series of Literary Gems which Messrs. G. P. Putnam’s Sons published a year ago has been enlarged this season by the addition of Sheridan’s The Rivals ; Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Wolfort’s Roost; Bryant’s Thanatopsis and Other Poems; Milton’s L’Allegro and II Penseroso, with Sonnets and Odes ; Gray’s Elegy, with Sonnets and Odes; and Thackeray’s Charity and Humor, with Nil Nisi Bonum. These small volumes are neatly printed, bound in imitation morocco, and furnished with etched frontispieces. They reflect the good taste and economic judgment of those who make use of them for gift-books.

Education and Textbooks. A French Eton, or Middle-Class Education and the State, to which is added Schools and Universities in France, by Matthew Arnold. (Macmillan.) Both of these treatises are reissues, and the conditions which led to their original production have been modified ; the treatment, moreover, is from an English point of view. Nevertheless, such is the charm of Mr. Arnold’s manner, and so eagerly does he seek after the heart of his subject, that the book is profitable as well as agreeable reading to students of pedagogy in America to-day. — History of Higher Education in Massachusetts, by George Gary Bush. (Government Printing Office, Washington.) One of the issues of the Bureau of Education. It is devoted largely to Harvard, but all the colleges in the State, both those for men and those for women, are treated. Perhaps it was desirable to make such a survey for the sake of enriching the series to which it belongs, but, with the exception of one or two of the younger colleges, the history of each has been amply set forth in separate volumes. — Shoemaker’s Best Selections for Readings and Recitations, No. 20, compiled by Mrs. Edna Chaffee Noble. (Penn Publishing Co., Philadelphia.) The book takes a wide range, beginning somewhat low down in the scale of literature, though high in the scale of good spirits. — Manual of the Natural Movement Method in Writing, an Original Self-Instructing System of Penmanship, by Charles R. Wells. (Bardeen.) — The History of Modern Education, an Account of the Course of Educational Opinion and Practice from the Revival of Learning to the Present Decade, by Samuel G. Williams. (Bardeen.) A convenient survey, in chronological order, of the successive impulses given to education by individual men and by organized associations. The closing chapter is in a manner a succinct appraisal of the current modes of popular education. The basis of the work is lectures delivered by the author from his chair at Cornell. — A Pathfinder in American History, by W. F. Gordy and W. I. Twitchell. (Lee & Shepard.) Part I. of a capital handbook for the use of teachers. The compilers go straight at the mark, assuming that American history is intrinsically interesting and of the highest importance in the development of an intelligent patriotism. They lay down courses, make practical suggestions, and throughout are specific, not general, in the aid they give teachers in this most significant part of school work. — Practical Ethics, by William De Witt Hyde. (Holt.) For textbook uses, the method employed by Dr. Hyde has the advantage of uniformity. Starting with Food and Drink, and continuing through twenty-two chapters up to God, he divides each subject into The Duty, The Virtue, The Reward, The Temptation, The Vice of Defect, The Vice of Excess, The Penalty. A method serviceable enough in the more definite bases of conduct becomes somewhat mechanical and strained when applied to the higher movements of the spirit. The book is, however, manly, clear, and progressive in its development of the laws of life. — Handbook of University Extension, edited by George F. James. (The American Society for the Extension of University Teaching, Philadelphia.) Fifty or more papers and reports of meetings. The enthusiast will find abundant evidence of the interest felt in this movement, and of the variety of experiments going on. The critic may question how far the central organization is succeeding in systematizing the efforts, and how much it is really reinforcing the local activities. —Materials for French Composition, by C. H. Grandgent. Part V. Based on Super’s French Reader. (Heath.) Designed for pupils in their first year’s study of French. — A German Science Reader, by J. Howard Gore. (Heath.) The technicalities of science have found a freer opportunity of expression in German because of the flexibility, and one may say the immaturity, of the language, and Mr. Gore has had the good thought to practice the young student, who wishes to know German in order to be able to read German scientific books, in the use of passages either from German writers or translations into German.— The Story of the Iliad, by the Rev. Alfred J. Church. (Macmillan.) The first volume of a new series called Macmillan’s School Library. Mr. Church’s skill in rendering classic literature into a form familiar to the young is well known, and it is favorably shown here in the manner in which he does not make a bare summary of the Iliad, but begins his story with an explanatory chapter, and then aims throughout at a narrative, not a prose epic.