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A MILLION COPIES ISSUED. AM glad to be able to report that the success of “ The portrait of Shakespeare which has been selected was J Penny Poets" seems to be assured. With the issue painted by a Russian artist fiom a portrait in Ben of the ninth number. Campbell's “Pleasures of Jonson's folio. The portraits in Number 2 are even better
executed than tbose in No. 1, and I hope that this attempt Hope, and Other Poems,” I have printed one million
to provide a portrait gallery of the poets will not have to copies, giving an average of more than 100,000 for every
be abandoned for lack of support. This album, with
As the numbers of “ The Penny Poets" multiply there increases the difficulty of keeping them together. There is no necessity for binding them. They are handier to read unbound. But a place for them is essential, otherwise they will knock about the house and litter in the bookshelves, and ultimately get lost. I therefore repeat this month the notice published in the last nunber of the REVIEW, about the arrangements which I had made for the supply of Bookshelves and Corner Brackets for the safekeeping of the forty-eight. The prices are as follows:
Box I. Cardboard box covered with leatherette. Size 11in. by 7} in. Price 6d., or post free, 9d.
Box II. Wood box covered with leatherette, with partition
down the centre. Size 114 in. by 74 in. Price ls. or post free, Box V. Price 5s.
Box III. A corner bracket in plain wood. Size 15 in. by issue. I gave last month the numbers of the copies 104 in. Price 2s. Od., or post free, 3s. printed up to date. Since then we have published
Box IV. The same, with ornamental facings, hand-painted.
Price 3s. 6d., or post free, ts. Mrs. Barrett Browning's “Lady Geraldine's Courtship and
Box V. Ornamental stand in japanned lacquer. Size 13 in. Selections." Thomas Campbell's “ Pleasures of Hope and Other Poems.”
by 15 in. Price, post free, 5s.
Box VI. Large corner bracket (made to fit any corner) in Milton's " Paradise Lost," Part 1. Abridged.
plain wood. Size 21 in. by 25 in. Price, post free, 7s. 6d. William Morris's “Earthly Paradise.”
Box VII. The same, enamelled, with ornamental facings Mrs. Browning was the first of woman poets to be and hand-painted. Price, post free, 108. included in the series, and our selection is confined to
Nearly every day I hear from friends and subscribers, such poems as are out of copyright. The first living
that notwithstanding the extensive circulation of “The poet to appear in this series has been Mr. William Morris,
Penny Poets,” they have not yet penetrated into regions who has been extremely kind in permitting me to use very copious extracts from his great poem, the “Earthly Paradise," which by this means I hope will be introduced to many who have hitherto never had an opportunity of enjoying Mr. Morris's poetry. In dealing with “Paradise Lost " there was some difficulty. The poem itself was too long to be published even in two parts. The work of abridgment was difficult, and naturally provokes hostile criticism, for the abridger must perforce lay profane hauds upon a great English classic. The task, however, has been accomplished in a rough and practical fashion, and it is possible for those who have not the patience to read the long epic through, to familiarise themselves with the drift of Milton's argument and the greatest of all his passages. The contribution which Campbell made to our literature was so slight in quantity, although rare in quality, that there was no difficulty in printing the whole of his poetry which will live in a
Box VI. and VII. Price 7s. 61. and 135. single number of the series.
where they would be greatly appreciated. If any of my The second number of “Our Poets' Corner" has been
friends or readers care to assist in this effort to disissued. It contains portraits of Burns, Longfellow, seminate high-class literature among the masses, and will Shakespeare, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The communicate with me, I shall be glad to send them
circulars and sample copies if they would undertake to introduce them to their friends in their respective neighbourhoods. A good deal can be done in calling attention to this
this matter through the press. Mr. E. O. Catford, of the Adult School at Bunhill, wrotera cordial letter to One and An, the organ of the Adult School movement, which led to the publication of an editorial in that journal in support of this attempt to bring the masterpieces of English literature within the reach of the masses. The editor says:--
To them, practically, these treasures have been non-existent. Now every man can have a " Poets' Corner" in his own house,
are showing their appreciation of this unique offer by closing with it gladly. Whittier and Tennyson ought to have a large sale among our schools, and should be secured at once, as we understand that the first edition of “Macaulay's Lays” (with portrait) cannot now be had for love or money.
I have received enthusiastic letters from British Columbia, where the educational authorities seem inclined to adopt the series for use in their schools.
An esteemed correspondent in Constantinople ordered four complete sets of" The Penny Poets" to be forwarded to four English Schools in the Turkish capital. Every week I get letters from working men and others who express their gratitude and delight on being introduced to reading of which they had heard but never before had had at their own disposal. All this is very encouraging, and justifies my hope that if those who know of “ The Penny Poets” would help in bringing their existence before the public, we should have a weekly circulation of a quarter of a million instead of 100,000.
At the end of this month I shall publish the second part of “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." I am rather curious as to the result of this experiment. I bring it out now, because the third and fourth cantos of Childe Harold describe the most popular of all European tours. Childe Harold goes from Belgium, up the Rhine, passes through Switzerland, and then makes the tour of Italy. No one who makes that tour should be without a pocket edition of the poem. It will be an increased pleasure to read on the spot the reflections which they suggested to one of the greatest of English poets. Next year I hope that Dr. Lun may see his way to organise Childe Harold Tours, following the route of Lord Byron. “The Penny Poets" just met the need of the tourist who does not wish to lumber up his haversack or his portmanteau with bound volumes, but he would like to have “Childe Harold ” in an edition which he could carry in his breast pocket without feeling the weight even when mountaineering.
Box III. and IV. Price, 2s. 6d. and 3s. 6d. and hold familiar converse with the greatest minds by his own fireside. The education and pleasure of such a privilege who can measure ? This alone, if we owed Mr. Stead no other debt, would put him in the rank of public benefactors. We may share this privilege by helping the circulation of the penny books. We cannot speak too highly of their value. School librarians are strongly advised to introduce them into their schools. Our Adult Schools ought to circulate one hundred thousand or more of them. Shall it be done? Bunhill and other schools have taken the subject up heartily, and the men
OUR CIRCULATING LIBRARY.
THE demand for the boxes of our Circulating Library
last month was not so great owing to the summer
season. Only eleven boxes were ordered, and have been despatched to the following destinations :
CUMBERLAND.-Harrington (two boxes).
ABROAD.-Hong Kong (four boxes). Four boxes have been ordered from Hong Kong quarterly by the editor of one of the local newspapers. He reports that there is no public library in the colony. At the City Hall they have a number of books which are useful for reference, but there is nothing more recent than thirty years ago. The club has a good library for its members, but at present there is no public lending library. Applications continue to come in for boxes in the Mediterranean ports, but I have not yet been able to establish any system for the interchange of the boxes.
Last month several of the book boxes returned after having been out for the first quarter. The boxes had not suffered any damage worth mentioning, and were in good condition. The state of the books, however,
varied very much in the different boxes. In some cases they had been rather roughly used, and were in a dirty condition. In these cases, of course, we have had to charge for damage. In other cases-notably, that of Long Sutton in Lincolnshire-the books had not only been very extensively read, but were returned in perfect condition. Centres in mining districts and villages in the neighbourhood of towns would probably find it worth their while to cover the books in paper covers. This will save a great deal of trouble in cleaning the books, and will also be a protection to them. On the whole, the books have been very well read, and will probably be more so in the winter months. I give here two typical lists, one from a small town in the mining district of the Midlands, and the other from a village in the Eastern counties. The numbers placed before the titles of the books show the number of times the volumes have been issued during the quarter ::
I. 9–Beyond the Dreams of Avarice. By Walter Besant.
The Privateersman. By Capt. Marryat. 7–Roland Yorke. By Mrs. Henry Wood.
6--History of Our Own Times. By Justin McCarthy.
The Raiders. By S. R. Crockett.
Eric. By Archdeacon Farrar.
Marcella By Mrs. Humphry Ward.
Joshua Davidson. By Mrs. Lynn Lynton. t-John MacGregor. By Edwin Hodder.
The Heavenly Twins. By Sarah Grand.
Chicago To-day. By W. T. Stead.
Boy's Own Paper Annual. 2-Shakespeare's Works.
Oliver Twist, By Charles Dickens.
Ants, Bees, and Wasps. By Sir John Lubbock.
Two Years Ago. By Charles Kingsley. 10-It's Never Too Late to Mend. By c. Reade. 9- Marcella. By Mrs. Humphry Ward. 8- The Story of Creation. By Edward Clodd. 7- The Raiders. By S. R. Crockett.
Wee Willie Winkie. By R. Kipling.
Short History of the English People. By T. R. Green.
Toilers of the Sea. By Victor Hugo. 5—The Humour of Italy.
The Heavenly Twins. By Sarah Grand.
Charles Kingsley, His Life and Letters. 4-Jacob Faithful. By Captain Marryat.
The Draytons and the Devenants. By Mrs. Charles. 3-Mrs. Browning's Poems.
Oliver Cromwell. By Frederic Harrison.
Early Days of Christianity. By Archdeacon Farrar. 2-Round the World in Eighty Day'. By Jules Verne.
Nicholas Nickleby. By Charles Dickens.
Kenilworth. By Sir Walter Scott.
The Co-operative Movement. By Beatrice Potter.
Poultry for Prizes and Profit. Prof. Long.
The Marquis of Salisbury. H. D. H. Traill.
Advice to Young Men. By W. Cobbett.
I despatch boxes of books as soon as they are ordered. Owing to this the boxes of the same set do not return at the same time, which adds considerably to the difficulty of re-despatching them. In the future I will continue to send out the boxes as they are required, but will arrange that at the end of the second quarter they shall be returned on the same day. This will probably make the second quarter of irregular length, but it is necessary to make this arrangement in order to facilitate the interchange of boxes.
Mr. Robertson, who has formed a centre at Buckhaven, writes me that in addition to the usual subscription to the library he charges an entrance fee of one shilling. In return for this shilling he allows members to borrow books from his own private library. By this arrangement he secures the advantages both of a permanent and a circulating library. It is an example which might be followed in other parts of the country. By a misprint one of our Lincolnshire branches was recently given as Tugham. It should have been Ingham.
Mr. A. S. Steenberg, who is now in England studying our Free Library system, with a view of establishing something on similar lines in Denmark, has been much interested in examining the working of our circulating library. As most of the towns of Denmark are in reality little more than villages, he is of opinion that a similar system to the REVIEW OF REVIEWS CIRCULATING LIBRARY would probably be the best method of providing the Danish people with libraries. They are wófully deficient at present in this respect. I shall watch with interest any attempt which may be made to establish a circulating library on our lines in the kingdom of Denmark.
AEAR MR. SMURTHWAYT,—It has always been
said that a general election is fatal, for the time
being, to bookseller and publisher alike. Times change, and for once, I hear, the trade in books has revived rather than declined with the Dissolution. But still no doubt, the sudden upheaval is responsible for the postponement of more than one volume of importance, and as a result, this short following list of what has been selling best includes two or three titles that appeared last month:
Trilby. By George du Maurier. 6s. Celibates. By George Moore. 6s. Gerald Eversley's Friendship: a Study in Real Life. By the Rev. J. E: C. Welldon. 6s.
The Story of Bessie Costrell. By Mrs. Humphry Ward. 2s.
The Alps from End to End. By Sir William Martin Conway. 21s, net.
Conventional Lies of Our Civilisation. By Max Nordau. 17s. net.
" Trilby” (Osgood. 6s.), it would seem, is achieving something of the success over here that it has already made in America; while the appearance of Mr. George Moore's “ Celibates” (Scott, 6s.) shows that the author of “ Esther Waters" has at last captured the book-buying public. But I do not think that" Celibates” will add at all to his reputation. It is made up of three separate stories, of which the first, “Mildred Lawson," takes up three hundred of the odd five hundred pages the volume contains. Studies of celibate character, of types averse from marriage, they show undoubted cleverness, but too often the kind of cleverness that has not sufficient command of its own qualities; and again and again Mr. Moore allows his work to suffer from that old intrusive lack of reticence which more than anything else was responsible for the comparative failure of his earlier works, and which, no doubt, he learned from his whilom master, the author of “ Nana." Nor has the book any of that large humanity of motive which, so much to its advantage, informed every chapter of “Esther Waters," and redeemed its occasional faults. There Mr. Moore was sympathetic; in “Celibates'' he returns to his old hard, dispassionate habit of treatment a habit which, whatever its artistic merits, has seldom characterised a great book, and never a popular. “Gerald Eversley's Friendship” (Smith and Elder, 6s.), the next book of fiction on the list, is quite a clifferent pair of shces. It is a school story, and by the Headmaster of Harrow. Mr. Welldon was one of the gentlemen, surely, who & year or two ago protested against the “real life" of the French author I have just mentioned. His “study of real life," at least, does not err on the side of undue realism. It is over. loaded with matter, however,' especially towards the end, and although readable, is not going to be a school classic like “ Tom Brown's Schooldays;” nor will it ever reach the popularity of those other schoolstories by a schoolmaster“ Eric" and " St. Winifred's." Both Mrs. Humphry Ward's “The Story of Bessie Costrell” (Smith and Elder, 2s.), and Sir William Martin Conway's is The Alps from End to End” (Constable, 218. net), appeared on the list last month. Their reappearance goes to prove that the reading public is not as inconstant as we have been made to believe. It has remained faithful to Mrs. Humphry Ward, and it has not yet tired of the seemingly endless literature of Alpine and other climbing.
How far Max Nordau's “ Conventional Lies of Our Civilisation" (Heinemann, 178. net) owes its immediate success to the Nordau “boom ” which followed the appearance of “ Degeneration," it is difficult to say. The present translation is from the seventh edition of the German work, and that its note is much the same as that of the later and more famous volume is suggested sufficiently by the title of its first chapter, "Mene, Tekel, Upharsiu.” Again, we find Dr. Nordau the uncompromising critic. His statement of the lie of religion," "the lie of a monarchy and aristocracy,"" the political lie,” “the economic lie," “ the matrimonial lie," and a whole series of “lies”under the comprehensive title of "miscellaneous," is as strenuous and fearless as the most sensation-loving reader could desire. He draws, in fact, an indictment, readable enough certainly, but generally wrong-headed, against most of the characteristic features of our civilisation. We have one writer in England whom he sometimes reminds me of-the author of " The Quintessence of Ibsenism," Mr. George Bernard Shaw
Among the other big books the box contains, I think you will like best “ The Land of the Muskeg" (Heinemann, 14s. net), not merely for its numerous illustrations, its excellent maps, and its interesting letterpress, but because of the author, a very good portrait of whom appears as the frontispiece of the volume. Mr. H. Somers Somerset is the son of Lady Henry Somerset, who only attained his majority this year, and we have in his “The Land of the Muskeg," which was published last month, probably the best book of the kind that has ever been written by so young a man. It is a book of travel and adventure in lands but rarely visited by the English hunter. Mr. Somerset formed the chief of a hunting party which penetrated into Alberta and Athabasca, and afterwards crossed the Rocky Mountains into British Columbia. As a record of travelling in regions as yet unsophisticated by civilisation, where real genuine Indians can be found, and where young adventurers can risk their lives in as many ways as human ingenuity can devise, Mr. Somerset's book will commend itself, and it deserves a wide popularity. There are so few articulate persons who have travelled through the Hudson Bay Company's territory, that when one comés along with such a natural talent for observation as Mr. Somerset, it would be unpardonable for him not to have given us, who stay at home, some of these pen and pencil pictures of the unknown country through which he has passed. The "Muskeg," which gives its name to the book, is not, as some imagine, a wild beast, but a fearsome natural product in the shape of a bog.
To take the “solid subjects” first, I think that the book of the most actual historical interest that I send you is the volume, “ The Crimea in 1854, and 1894" (Chapman, 16s.), in which General Sir Evelyn Wood has collected, with considerable amplification and revision, and with the addition of many illustrations and maps, the series of articles on the Crimea which he contributed last year to the Fortnightly Review. Then there is the third and final volume of Dr. Reginald Sharpe's “London and the Kingdom" (Longmans, 10s. 6d.), a history derived mainly from the archives in the custody of the Corporation at the Guildhall. It is an official history, too,“ printed," the titlepage tells us, “ by order of the Corporation under the direction of the Library Committee." To the excellent
Cambridge Historical Series has been added a volume by given, for various reasons, so little satisfaction." On a Mr. Edward Jenks, “ The History of the Australasian subject of equal practical interest is Mr. Chance's “ The Colonies from Their Foundation to the Year 1893" (Clay, Better Administration of the Poor Law" (Sonnen6s.), bound, by the size of its subject, to be an abstract schein, 6s.), a volume of Mr. C. S. Loch's Charity Organimerely, but an abstract which the author's skill, the maps, sation Series, designed to serve as a guide to the and the excellent index have rendered most useful. "A administrators of the Poor Law. Mr. Chance advocates Short History of the Catholic Church in England” the restriction of out-door relief with a view to its virtual (Catholic Truth Society, 3s. 60.) is, of course, intended for abolition. Dr. F. H. Wines's “ Punishment and Reformathe general reader; while “The Legitimist Kalendar for tion: an Historical Sketch of the Rise of the Penitentiary the Year of Our Lord, 1895” (Henry, 5s. net), by the System” (Sonnenschein, 6s.) hails from America, and Marquis de Ruvigny and Raineval, I send you more as naturally has a good deal to say about “the honourable a curiosity than as a serious book. For "a text-book for part which the United States has borne in the movement Legitimists throughout the world” in which the line in for a better recognition of the rights even of convicted the National Anthem appears as “ soon to reign over us,” criminals." “ This is not,” says the author, " a book on and which proclaims itself as "a very incomplete attempt prisons, much less on the organisation of Government to arouse interest in the History and Claims of the Elder prisons.” It is designed rather "as an aid to legislation Line of the Royal House of these Realms," is certainly a and a guide to the formation of a correct public opinion." real curiosity.
Then you will find a new volume of Mr. W. J. Ashley's A volume of a very different type is Mr. Edward F. Series of Economic Classics, a reprint of Thomas Strange's “ Alphabets: a Handbook of Lettering with Mun's “England's Treasure by .Forraign Trade, 1664" Historical, Critical, and Practical Descriptions" (Bell, (Macmillan, 3s. net). 8s. 6d, net), one of Mr. Gleeson White's Ex-Libris Series, A suggestive scientific work, and one to which treating the subject from the standpoint of historical specialist critics have not taken very kindly, on account beauty, rather than that of historical value or antiquarian of the heterodoxy of the theory it advances, is Mr. research. The result is a work of extreme interest to overy Charles Dixon's "Migration of British Birds” (Chapman, reader to whom the printed book has an appeal apart from 7s.6d.). It deals with the post-glacial emigrations of the meaning conveyed by its contents. The illustrations British birds as traced by the application of a new law number nearly two hundred, and give examples of all governing the geographical dispersal of species, and is sorts of different types and letterings, both ancient and put forth as “a contribution to the study of migration, of to-day. Thus there are specimens of the alphabets geographical distribution, and insular faunas.” More designed by Mr. William Morris, Mr. Walter Crane, Mr. orthodox, and dealing generally with the same subject, is Selwyn Inage, and other designers of note who have Mr. F. E. Beddard's "A Text-Book of Zoogeography" experimented in this particular medium.
(Clay, 6s.), a volume of the Biological Series of the Of distinctively biographical interest I have not much Cambridge Natural Science Manuals. It has useful to send you, but Professor R. K. Douglas's “Li Hung- maps, and aims at giving the principal facts of its subject chang" (Bliss, 3s. 6d.), the new volume of Mr. Jeyes's without an undue profusion of detail. Public Men of To-Day Series is very much on the nail, Of science of a less theoretical kind I send you two and makes an excellent introduction to the modern history books. One, “ The Pheasant” (Longmans, 5s.), is a new of China, and to the study of its future developments. volume of the Fur and Feather Series, and is the joint Of purely personal matter there is, of course, very little, work of the Rev. H. A. Macpherson, who deals with the but as a sketch of the Chinese Viceroy's public career and natural history of the bird, of Mr. A. J. Stuart-Wortley, of his influence it could not be bettered. Then Archbishop who deals with its shooting, and Mr. Innes Shand, who, Whateley's famous brochure, “ Historic Doubts relative to in due order, treats of its cooking. The illustrations are Napoleon Buonaparte” (Putnam, 3s.) has been reprinted; good. The second book, Mr. P. Anderson Graham's and Mr. Percy Fitzgerald has brought up to date and “Country Pastimes for Boys" (Longmans, 6s.), I cannot reissued in a popular form his “Sir Henry Irving: a praise too highly. It is just the kind of volume Record of Over Twenty Years at the Lyceum " (Chatto, ls.) there was a need for, and which should be in every
You will find four or five books of great political house where boys are, or where boys visit. It is value. Of these perhaps we should be most grateful for not a manual of sports or games, nor of the pursuits the two new volumes, the fifth and sixth, of Mr. Charles which every boy learns at school, but it is designed to Booth's “Life and Labour of the People in London” suggest occupations, healthy out-of-door occupations, for (Macmillan, 7s.6d. each, net). The first of these deals boys in the country who are thrown on their own with the building trades, wood workers, and metal resources. Moreover, it is wisely aimed at the compra workers; the second with precious metals, watches, and hension of lads ten or eleven years old, and everythin, instruments, sundry manufactures, printing and paper with the aid of nearly three hundred illustrations, is made and the textile trades. Each has an exhaustive index, perfectly clear. It has twenty-two chapters, and deals and is thoroughly illustrated with diagrams. The amount with such subjects as birds-nesting, bird jets, poultry of labour which their preparation entailed upon Mr. and pigeons, fishing with and without tackle, skating. Booth and his assistants must have been enormous, but swimming, and kite and toy-boat making. It is a it is equalled by their value. Then there is “ The Problem volume entirely admirable and praiseworthy, of the Aged Poor” (Black, 6s.), by Mr. Geoffrey Drage, In verse I send three volumes—two of a kind M.P., one of the gentlemen who turned out Sir William ambitious if not presumptuous, one modest and Harcourt at Derby. It is divided into three parts, unassuming; and not unnaturally the least "important" dealing respectively with the extent and causes of old age is the best of the three, and holds the most pleasant pauperism and the means of meeting it, the question of old reading. Neither Sir Edwin Arnold's “The Tenth Muse age pensions, and the conclusions which Mr. Drage and Other Poems" (Longmans, 5s. net), nor Mr. Eric draws from his investigations and considerations. He Mackay's “A Song of the Sea, My Lady of Dreams, ventures to publish this book, he says, because “the and Other Poems” (Methuen, 5s.) have any qualities Report of the Royal Commission on the Aged Poor has other than those their readers will expect, while Mr.