« AnteriorContinuar »
from unusual points of view. Thus, the essay
Prof. Simon Newcomb's "Sidelights on As-
Several years' quiet study of the planet Mars, through the great refracting telescope at Lowell Observatory and at other observation stations, has furnished Mr. Edward S. Morse with material for his book, "Mars and Its Mystery' (Little, Brown). This is an attempt to tell to the general reader all that scientists now know about Mars. The volume is illustrated.
A HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
A Chronicle of Nature's Year
type of institution that has arisen in this country under the name of college or university. In a single volume it is, of course, impossible to discuss every phase of so vast a subject. President Thwing has attempted to sketch the development of American higher education in outline and to enumerate the more important of the general results. He has studied the work of the small college as well as of the large, and has traced the influence of both types of institution, as well as of the newer State universities of the Middle West. A lifetime of careful observation has enabled him to do this intelligently and effectively.
NEW WORKS ON RELIGIOUS SUBJECTS. In a very scholarly, scientific, and iconoclastic, yet reverent, volume, Dr. Nathaniel Schmidt, professor of Semitic languages and literature at Cornell, and director of the American school of Archæology at Jerusalem, traces the modern intellectual conception of Christ under the general title "The Prophet of Nazareth" (Macmillan). In no other place but Palestine, declares this writer, could such a career as that of Jesus have been possible. While acknowledging the greatness and beauty of the conception, "that has for so many centuries furnished spiritual nourishment to men," Dr. Schmidt declares that some of our ideas concerning the man Christ must pass away. The abandonment of an erroneous position, however, he declares, should be reand in many places, has at last completed "A garded as an inestimable privilege "when it History of Higher Education in America," which renders possible a deeper insight into the hishas been published by the Appletons. President toric reality, and when it becomes manifest that Thwing's studies of the American college prob- this reality transcends in inoral value the fiction lem have included in their scope practically every it displaces."
tianity should be interpreted, not through nature, but through nature's highest concept, man, to the Creator of man.
A useful compilation of testimony to the value of foreign missions, from the written and spoken view of famous men all over the world, has been issued by the Revells under the title "The Missionary and His Critics." The author of the volume, Rev. James L. Barton, has admirably infused into readable form the opinion of different nationalities, particularly in the Orient, as to the worth of Christian missions.
In a tersely put little volume in earnest, convincing style, Bishop Thomas B. Neely describes the needs and opportunities of "South America, A Mission Field" (Jennings & Graham).
New works on the literary history and character of the Christian scriptures include "The Bible as English Literature" (Scribners), by Prof. J. H. Gardiner (Harvard); "Outlines of Biblical History and Literature," also Scribners, by Dr. Frank K. Sanders (Yale) and Dr. Henry T. Fowler (Brown); and "The Hebrew Literature of Wisdom in the Light of To-day (Houghton, Mifflin), a "synthesis," by John Franklin Genung.
DR. NATHANIEL SCHMIDT.
An exceedingly interesting study of the Bibical story of the Deluge, by Mr. F. Watlington, an old sailor, has been brought out by the Mayhew Publishing Company (Boston). Entitling his analysis "The Log-Book of Noah's Ark," this practical navigator investigates and analyzes the voyage made by the ark and gives us his ideas, in text and picture, of how this ancient craft must have looked.
Mr. H. W. Garrod, fellow and tutor of Merton College, Oxford, has given to a volume of five attractively written essays on religious subjects (McClure, Phillips & Co.) the title of the boldest and most analytic: The Religion of All Good Men." He calls the volume "a study in Christian ethics."
Among new works on preaching and the modern pulpit, perhaps the most noteworthy volume of the past few months is Dr. Lewis O. Brastow's "The Modern Pulpit" (Macmillan). Dr. Brastow, who is professor of practical theology at Yale, studies the Protestant pulpit, since Protestantism, he declares, works in the modern spirit. While not underestimating the preaching of the Roman Catholic Church, Dr. Brastow does not forget the claim of Roman Catholicism that "because of its claim to be superior to temporary influences, it shares the fortunes of its founder, 'the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.'" Dr. Brastow commends the American pulpit for its intellectual virility, its realistic and practical quality, and its faculty for covering a great variety of subjects.
Dr. George A. Gordon, the present minister at the Old South Church, Boston, has brought out a volume of sermons (Houghton, Mifflin), which he entitles "Through Man to God." Dr. Gordon believes that the heart and soul of Chris
A MODERN SAILOR'S NOAH'S ARK." Illustration (reduced) from "The Log-Book of. Noah's Ark."
An appraisal of the value and estimate of the position of "The Apostle's Creed in Modern Worship" (Scribners), has been prepared by Mr. William R. Richards, pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church, New York.
A German theologian once declared that "in the whole history of human thought there is not to be found a system more difficult to understand than that of Spinoza." Hence the reason, or excuse,-for the study of "Spinoza and Religion" (Open Court Publishing Company), by Dr. Elmer Ellsworth Powell, professor of philosophy in Miami University.
"The Origin of Supernatural Conceptions." an essay on the development of religions from pre-historic times, by John James Greenough, has been published by the author at Brookline, Mass.
A study of "The Historic Bases of Religions," by Hiram Chellis Brown, treating of primitive, Babylonian, and Jewish forms, has been brought out by Herbert B. Turner & Co.
THE NOVELS OF THE SEASON.
of a well-known writer on the subject of book reviewing.
"There's no longer any real criticism of literary work in the papers nowadays. There's only extravagant eulogium written up by an author's personal friends and wormed somehow into the press, or equally extravagant abuse, written and insinuated in similar fashion by an author's personal enemies." So laments an exjournalist,-who is writing a great novel,-one of the characters in Marie Corelli's "The Treasure of Heaven", newly published by Dodd, Mead & Co.; and therefore the pessimistic creator of the great novel (one feels it must be very great, indeed, because he himself says it is) concludes that "sound, unbiased, honest literary criticism is dead." Otherwise, his book might have been reviewed by one "who simply and solely considered it from an impartial, thoughtful, just, and generous point of view,-taking it as a piece of work done honestly and from a deep sense of conviction." Miss Corelli, observe, takes occasion here to launch out against the hooded conspirators of the press who have failed to value her works as highly as she does. As a matter of fact, contemporary reviewers are more than generous toward the minor scribes of the day; they often bestow praise where none is deserved. Moreover, the sound critic knows something about Balzac, and Thackeray, and Turgenev, among the dead; likewise about Tolstoi, and Meredith, and D'Annunzio, among the living. Hence, such a critic, though he would willingly acknowledge "The Treasure of Heaven" to be "a piece of work done honestly and from a deep sense of conviction," would still remain undazzled by Miss Corelli's method. of writing novels.
Her latest volume tells of an old, jaded London millionaire and social grandee, who, disgusted with the hollowness of his life and the heartlessness of his customary associates, flees from all this false metropolitan vanity to an obscure country district in remote Devonshire; here, disguised as a basket maker out of work, the millionaire finds that the poor and lowly are always ready to help one another with the most self-sacrificing beneficence. Virtually, Miss Corelli's theme is her familiar: The rich are bad and the poor are good. Well, let us give her credit for wishing this wicked world wagged differently, and let us be thankful for the writers who voice that altruistic spirit less intemperately and less platitudinously, Richard Whiteing, for instance. His "Ring in the New" (Century) has for its leading maxim a highly laudable sentiment, "More brotherhood!" The book must be considered a welcome addition to the literature of Utopian sociology, and as such will at least partly, one hopes, exercise the influence of humane charity intended by the author.
WASHINGTON AND HIS COUNTRY.
Those following the course of local contemporary fiction will remember the success of Janice Meredith ", about seven years ago. She was a fabulously fascinating creature, was Janice. Her influence upon American history was amazing. At least, so one was led to infer by the author, who must have known, since he was a professional historian of the Revolutionary period. Had he not been an amateur novelist as well, perhaps nobody would ever have invented a young person like Janice, and that would have been a serious loss to the book trade, which depends very little on the publication of facts, thriving mainly on the spread of fiction. Now comes an author with a Washington romance who is a novelist by birth and a historical scholar by incident. The result is, that though one may ask how nearly some of Mrs. Fraser's characters agree with historical records, there will be no ground to complain that these characters do not make a fairly plausible impression. As a sister to Marion Crawford, Mrs. Hugh Fraser may readily be credited
with story-telling faculties, while, as the consort of a British diplomat, she has had chance to tap upon the sounding board of human nature in every land. Her present literary offering, published through the medium of the Holt Company, is entitled "In the Shadow of the Lord", and brings before us at least three Americans whom all will like to read about,-George Washington (as a boy) and his parents. And the special persuasion for reading Mrs. Fraser's supplement to existing romantic Washingtoniana we can state in a very few words: In the Shadow of the Lord" is told with spirit and vivacity by a woman who has something to communicate, and knows how.
Among the remaining novels of essentially national interest recently placed on the market, the most important is Winston Churchill's "Coniston", which gives a picture of New England's early "boss' era. That marvelously (and depressingly) instructive tale, so valuable as political history, has received previous notice in this magazine. Henry George's son has written "The Romance of John Bainbridge" (Macmillan), based partly on episodes in the career of his renowned father, and revealing close acquaintance with that unswept floor of Hell, New York politics. Metropolitan finance and fashion give rise, in Mr. Stimson's "Cure of Her Soul" (Appleton) to the not inapposite remark, "Dirt and money, Money and dirt," though perhaps "dishonesty and vulgarity" would have been fairer criticism. Compared with the society of foreign capitals, that of New York shines rather through vulgarity than vice; whereas, regarding the anarchists of the cash
box, poor old Europe is still in the nursery. For a most lawless steward of his wealth one should contemplate the Mammon-hearted Ryder. to be met with in "The Lion and the Mouse (Dillingham), by Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow, a novel founded on Mr. Klein's play of the same name. Robert Chambers, too, has tried his lance at literary "trust-busting," interjecting various unhealthy financial operations with morphine and adultery. However, "The Fighting Chance" (Appleton) does not show this author at his best, and it can be said, without fear of contradiction, that Mr. Chambers must have read with more or less care a certain novel entitled "The House of Mirth."
Mr. Robert Chambers' wilfully lurid "Fighting Chance we do not recommend, and if we repeat his name it is to say what unmixed pleasure may be got from his "Tracer of Lost Persons" (Appletons). The title renders the subject of the book, but not its extraordinary ingenuity, the "Tracer" going so far as to find a certain person who does not exist at all! The humor is quite delicious, and the whole thing is carried through with great spirit.
Rustic life in northern Georgia is portrayed by W. N. Harben,-see "Ann Boyd" (Harper), and the noble red man at his last stage of resistance to the yet nobler white is chosen for depiction by Miss Eleanor Gates, whose "Plow Woman (McClure) would certainly have found existence on a Dakota farm, three decades back, tedious without occasional danger from "plenty heap big Injun." But Charles Egbert Craddock's "Amulet" (Macmillan) goes up the stream of time a whole century further, to the Cherokees then roving the Great Smoky Mountains.
ITALY PAST AND PRESENT.
Europe's most interesting country owes to the peculiarly violent emotionalism of its people no small part of the attention it receives from foreign writers. Coming to an immediate example illustrating this fact, we would point out Robert Hichens' recent novel, "The Call of the Blood (Harper), which shows what tragic possibilities may result from passion unrestrained. Indeed, the course that primitive instincts might take among Italy's most untamed denizens would run to the extremest point with some of those halfcivilized Sicilians whom Mr. Hichens brings before us. And this highly gifted author has the intuitive sensitiveness, the right artistic impressionableness, for accomplishing his delicate task. But to write effectively about that lovely island one must be,-in words, a painter of scenes as well as a painter of soul. Mr. Hichens' scenic reputation needs no bolstering up, and those who read "The Call of the Blood" will enjoy the colorful psychologic portraits of certain human cousins to treacherous, volcanic Etna. The nonSicilians of the book, however, jar upon one's sense of probability, and we should rather like to know why so able a writer took 485 pages to tell a story for which 350 would amply have sufficed. On the score of diffuseness, though, his fellow countryman William de Morgan beats him easily, telling a great deal less in more. pages closer printed; the literary merits of "Joseph Vance" (Holt),-whose least soporific pages bear relation to Italy,-no one will wish to dispute, just as the author's hardihood in
'Bembo" is a subtler piece of work than Ridolfo", less crude in the action, less neglectful of archeological details; the characters are more complex, the descriptions more complete; the pristine vigor of "Ridolfo is wanting, however. Perhaps "Bembo will incite some to a re-perusal of "Romola." There, worldly craft and religious fervor are depicted with an attempt to show what extremes the Italians could reach at either. In our own day intense religious emotion may still produce such a man as "The Saint" (Putnam) and it may still prompt ecclesiastical persecution. Nor is there anything new in finding the hierarchy engaged upon shady political intrigue with the civil authority, see Senator Fogazzaro's novel of modern Rome.
risking deserved neglect everybody must admire. door, a full-bodied gentleman dressed all in Of William de Morgan the present reviewer mail, with a jaque of crimson satin, had stepped had not heard before,-nor of Egerton Ryerson from the crowd to make a way for him; which Williams, junior, whose "Ridolfo' appears having affected to do, he had turned, and raisunder the McClurg imprint. From Adams' ing his velvet beret with his left hand, and drop"Dictionary of American Authors", evidently ping on one knee as if to crave some boon, had useful to booklovers, we learn that Mr. Wil- swiftly driven a dagger into Galeazzo's body, liams is a lawyer practicing in the city of and again, as the Duke fell away from the Rochester, and that he is, thus far, credited with stroke, freeing the blade, into his throat." one printed work, "The Hill Towns of Italy." One thing is certain about Mr. Williams' first attempt to write a novel: he has succeeded. He has carefully studied his place and period.-Perugia in the fifteenth century, and he has been able to muster, within his own imaginative feeling, the wild, lawless spirit and bestially ferocious violence, culminating in acts of insensate fury, which might characterize a "tyrant" prince of the early Renascence. The more than intense expression given to religious emotion in that day he also has realized unto himself. In short, the tempestuous life of that Italian period has come before him so vividly, that, aided by his eloquence and dramatic consciousness, he has contrived a seizing romance. It takes considerable skill to keep up the excite- "The Saint" has already been spoken of by ment which "Ridolfo" evokes, and not lapse this magazine at some length, but in the into "blood and thunder"; that Mr. Williams splashes about too lustily in gore and rage, cannot be denied. He needs to cool off before doing his next novel. A volcanic eruption is a splendid sight, yet it palls if too long continued, or too often repeated. Finally, the forced, maudlin "happy ending" which disgraces Ridolfo" cannot be excused in one whose abilities justify high aspirations. "Ridolfo is pure tragedy, and will stand no contortion. "Noblesse oblige," so does talent. We hope to meet with Mr. Egerton Williams again, and meanwhile congratulate Mr. Leyendecker on the gorgeous illustrations and cover, and the publishers on a handsome, excellently printed volume.
Instead of a supposed Perugian "tyrant," Bernard Capes exhibits Galeazzo Sforza, the fiendish yet artistic, the bloodthirsty yet philosophical, the debauched yet sentimental Duke of Milan, who succeeded his more virtuous father in 1465, and misruled his domain for eleven years, when, in the words of the novel, "Bembo" (Dutton):
"As the Duke entered the church by the west
language of W. R. Thayer, who wrote the introduction to the English version. Quotation from Mr. Thayer's admirable article did not, however, necessarily imply agreement with all his views: while strongly moved by the sublime beauty of Benedetto's character, one is yet beset by painful evidence that the profound, poetic, high-minded, Signor Fogazzaro does not know how to construct a novel. A writer might bristle with all sorts of moral, intellectual, and artistic perfections, and not be able to tell the simplest little story. But here is Marion Crawford, for instance, who now publishes "A Lady of Rome" with the Macmillans, and who, despite his mild, most unvolcanic, unItalian temperament, his lack of severe artistic integrity, his commonplace thought, has nevertheless written tales about Italy, and other countries too, which have secured him a worldwide audience. Its novelistic deficiencies put aside, "The Saint" will suggest to many religious people this question: To what extent can good works atone for loose beliefs? The Saint" stirs up in the heart so much that is