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BOOKS OF VARIED INTEREST
The title of Mr. Calvin S. Brown's edi
have been left to slumber forgotten in the tion of six famous English plays, for files of the San Francisco Ecaminer, where the use of teachers and students, is entirely they first appeared. They are journalism too pretentious. “She Stoops to Con- - very good journalism, even--but not quer," "The Rivals ” and “The School dramatic literature. Of course, much of for Scandal," James Sheridan Knowles's our best dramatic criticism appears in the Virginius,” and Lytton's “Richelieu" columns of the daily press, but Mr. Syle's and "The Lady of Lyons" do not repre- work cannot be classed with it. His sent The Later English Drama—since papers are clever, but superficial, leaving Shakespeare according to Mr. Brown! - the greater questions touched upon exor even a very large part of it. So far as actly where they were taken up. This is the book goes, however, we have no fault best seen in the consideration of the questo find with it, for it is carefully edited tion, “Is the Actor's Art Unworthy?” and annotated, with a long list of authori- apropos of Mr. Augustine Birrell's “ Essay ties consulted, and the texts are given on Actors." Apart from the fact that Mr. complete, with the exception of one exci- Syle treats the genial author of “ Obiter sion, which is conscientiously indicated. Dicta,” with undue familiarity-for himEven the dedications, prefaces, prologues we object to this paper because it is utterly and epilogues are printed in full. This is unconclusive. As to the "impressions of but another reliable school-room book some modern plays," they deal with added to a list already unnecessarily long; “ Robin Hood,” “ The Geisha," “ Trilby,” the editor's point of view is so clearly indi- “Niobe,” etc., and leave unnoticed the cated by the closing paragraph of his serious work of American and English somewhat hasty introduction as to make playwrights that has occupied us for the comment superfluous: “In later times last five seasons or so. Evidently San Browning, Swinburne, and Tennyson have Francisco is not the right place from all written dramas, but either because which to judge the modern drama. [Wilthey are lacking in dramatic power or be- liam R. Jenkins, 16mo, 75 cents.) cause the poetic drama has become a thing Is The Domestic Blunders of Women of the past and audiences want something supposed to be a serious contribution to different, the poets are left aside and contemporary social theory, or does its people go to hear the productions of such author claim to hail from the ranks of authors as T. W. Robertson, Tom Taylor, humorists? In either case his position is Dion Boucicault and W. S. Gilbert." akin to that of the poet who “intended an This sounds as if it had been written years ode, but it turned to a sonnet." We mean ago, yet the copyright imprint of the no disrespect to the sonnet. Analogy volume reads 1898. [A. S. Barnes & Co., is always dangerous, but when speaking 12mo, $1.50.]
of this series of papers one falls into it If we except the paper on “The Influ
For whether the author (enence of Molière upon Sheridan and Con- titled "A Mere Man”) poses as a seer and greve,” which, however, has no great prophet or descends to light pleasantry, value, the contents of Essays in Dramatic analogy is made the vehicle of his thought. Criticism, with Impressions of Some Mod
“To attack women because they are fickle or ern Plays, by L. Dupont Syle, might well vain-glorious seems to me as absurd as to attempt
to prove that man is not the superior animal be readable, because the subject forms part cause he is by instinct fond of cakes and ale.”
of our future national life, and has a past “ It is as natural for ine to be fond of women as
that reaches beyond ancient Egypt into it is for children to be fond of toys."
the arid homes of the earliest Asiatic In fact the entire argument of the book civilizations, and, in this country, into the is based upon an analogy between the desert realms of the races the Spaniards house and the office, which are character- found. Agriculture by irrigation, Mr. ized as the two branches of a man's busi- Smythe demonstrates, is the true scientific
The office is usually a paying con mode, far more productive than the cern, while the house is not. Man man method that relies upon the uncertainties ages the office—woman the house. Office of rain. Socially, too, its influence is employees attend to business, or their ac. shown to be far-reaching. The author customed haunts know them no more. preaches the settlement of the arid West House servants do as they please and stay by agriculturists, seeing greater wealth on. Ergo, the responsibility for the vari there and greater national strength than ous ills which mar the even tenor of home in “expansion ” abroad. A small capital life, lies at woman's door. Also, since the -far too small to start in business with greater includes the less, man, who man in these days of commercial combinations ages with such unfailing skill, the more -will suffice; the class to which he prindifficult office branch of the business cipally addresses himself are the “ half“could manage any detail of domestic employed,” the surplus population of the life better than women do."
East, especially of its cities. The field. But the pitiless logic of this scathing he says, is open to the middle-aged as critic is put forth in sorrow rather than in well as the young. There is room for as anger. His mission, as he tells you, is one
many millions in the West as now form of "sheer pity,” and in spite of your faults the total of our population, and more. and your “birdlike brains,” he loves you The book is practical, convincing and restill. Have you not his own assurance markably well written. It will be of great that he is a most affectionate husband and service to those seeking a home and an father.
assured future; it will be found most inAnd some day, perhaps, the well-known teresting by cultured people who have no fact may be borne in upon his conscious intention of going to the West and irriness that about ninety-five per cent of the gating it, because it places in new lights men who go into business fail, and possi- many and wisely diversified branches of bly, too, some pessimist will tell him—to common knowledge. [Harper & Brothers, quote the words of another man—"about 12mo, $1.50.] the employer who grows old before his In that excellent series of literatures of time in a vain attempt to get ne'er-do the world which offers condensed but inwells to do intelligent work, and his long, teresting and thoroughly trustworthy surpatient striving with help' that does veys of the literary output of the reprenothing but loaf when his back is turned.” sentative peoples of the world, the latest [Funk & Wagnalls, 12mo, $1.25.]
work is A History of Sanscrit Literature, Mr. William E. Smythe is an enthusiast by Dr. Arthur A. Macdonell, of Oxford, and an authority on the subject he To some a volume of 500 pages on a literpreaches. The Conquest of Arid America ature so ancient may not seem alluring, is not a dry book of economics and agri- but the importance of the subject is incultural information, but a work that is disputable, and ever since Sir William
Jones in the latter part of the eighteenth chapters are devoted to the Scot's ancestry century introduced the Sanscrit master- and life—and for a brief, sketchy account pieces to English readers by translation, they are picturesque-indeed, the whole this literature of the East has had its due book is that-and suggestive. recognition. Dr. Macdonell, by over Half a dozen chapters follow in which twenty years of study and teaching, has Stevenson is considered as moralist, artist, well fitted himself to do the present work. romanticist, novelist, landscape-limner The merits of it are thoroughness, clear- and stylist. The treatment of these phases ness and a sense of proportion rather than of his literary power lacks clear-cutness, a particularly engaging method of presen- with repetition as a result. It is in the tation. Readers of Max Muller upon sub- analysis of the moral quality of Stevenson jects within this field will miss his elo- that the biographer seems to us least quence and charm. But for a complete
But for a complete happy. Although saying very properly setting forth of the development of the that courage is the one ringing word of Vedic and Sanscrit periods of the Indian the gospel according to Louis, he yet fails literature, an able exposition of the drama, to feel the essential sanity of the sermonphilosophy and poetry of the East in izing on the last and greatest of the its finest examples, the writer deserves essays. And to our mind he is somewhat great praise. He gives frequent illustra- astray in summing up this writer's actions of the literature he is expounding, complishment as due to "amazing cleverusing his own translations in the main. ness," rather than to the sane vision of There is a full index, and for student pur- the great masters. As to that, the years poses--especially as a book of reference, will decide. this history will prove a valuable addition It may be added that the volume is to what has been already done. [D. Ap- generous in quotation, illustrating the pleton & Co., 8vo, $1.50.]
points made. Mr. Cornford's study is The lives and studies of Stevenson con- distinctly readable if it is slight in textinue to multiply since his death-one of ture and at times unsatisfactory in its the many signs of his increasing import- conclusions. [Dodd, Mead & Co., 12mo, ance in English literature. What with $1.25.) the major work of Mr. Colvin, and the John Burroughs is known and loved as minor contributions from various pens a high-priest of Nature, an essayist who, more or less able, we have already plenty with the knowledge of the naturalist, has of material for those who would get a per- the literary truth which makes his writsonal or critical introduction to this won- ings appeal to a wide audience. The derfully attractive novelist and essayist. volume called The Light of Day is a little
The latest addition is Mr. L. Cope Corn- aside from what he has accustomed us to ford's Robert Louis Stevenson, whose expect from him, though it is no surprise author declares himself to be an
eager to those who have kept closely in accord student," and has engaged in a labor of with his mind-habits. The sixteen papers love. An ideal biographer should be in making up the book are religious discuscomplete sympathy with his subject, while sions and criticisms from the naturalist's no blind worshipper. Mr. Cornford finds point of view, as the sub-title tells us. Mr. much to admire, much to praise, in Steven- Burroughs is an agnostic, in the noble son, but it does not seem to us that he sense of that abused word; that is, he rehas penetrated to the core of his person- fuses to let faith lead him into what is ality, or quite done him justice. Three called belief in that which his reason says
is not so.
He shows in his essays the in- written, in the style of the reminiscences evitable historic conflict between science of an eye witness of it all; indeed, it is and religion, the gains of the former over very well possible that the author obtained the latter ; the discrediting of theology her information from contemporaries of in the intellectual advancement of the McLoughlin and Whitman, as well as race; and the validity of the modern from documents and books. [A. C. Mcsceptic's position. Few will deny the Clurg & Co., 12mo, $1.50.] logical clearness, the candor and the sweet Attractively printed and bound, Mr. spirit of reasonableness that pervade the Leon H. Vincent's little volume on the argument, which is, in the author's plan origin of the French salon, Hótel Ramthe successive re-statement of a few prin- bouillet, deserves the attention of students ciples. The papers are refreshingly free of French literature. It is little more from the theologic odium pertaining to than a sketch, but here and there in its the religious polemic as such. To the pages we get glimpses of so thorough a affirmative religionist Mr. Burroughs's knowledge of the times, the literary lights mistake will be that he does not give due and conditions of seventeenth-century place to that side of man's nature which France, that we are willingly, gladly makes faith as authentic as the processes even, led to the conclusion that Mr. Vinof reasoning. Yet perhaps this would be cent is preparing to follow up this introhardly fair to the author, for again and ductory study of a fascinating subject again in his treatment he emphasizes the with a more extended work. That he is importance of this tap-root of the religious thoroughly equipped for the task is eviinstinct ; and the lovely and familiar dent from his little volume, for, when he poem of his own, with which he intro. drops for a moment the main thread of duces his book, plainly declares that he too his narrative to draw the picture of one hopes, even against reason. [Houghton, of the characters in its throng, he at once Mifflin & Co., 12mo, $1.50.]
arrests our attention and holds it. The One of the most picturesque chapters in Marquise de Rambouillet ranks with the the history of the winning of the West is many women who have shaped French dealt with in Eva Emery Dye’s Mc Lough- intellectual life. She was the first to lin and Old Oregon, for, while the famous practice—which is preaching by example governor of the Hudson's Bay Company -the equality of brains and achievement west of the Rockies is its central figure, with birth and blood. Only a grande the book deals largely with the first dame could do it in her day; only a woman Americans who ventured into that wilder- of note can do it in ours. The study is ness and saved it for the Union, foremost not confined to the Hôtel de Rambouillet, among them Dr. Whitman, whose famous but includes also a clear review of the ride across the continent to secure the salons that succeeded it—those of the country for the United States is retold Précieuses ; and here again we are struck here. The book is not a history, but by the thoroughness of treatment, the rerather a series of sketches of the condition markable usefulness to the student of of the country, the life at the Hudson's these pages. They will find their way Bay posts and of the hunters and settlers, unaided into the hands of the small circle of the hardships the emigrants endured of those to whom they appeal. The pubon the long trip from the East, of the In- lishers have been most felicitous in giving dians and the work of the missionaries the book a daintily appropriate dress. around them. It is vivid and attractively [Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 16mo, $1.00.]
THE LITERARY QUERIST
How answer you that ?
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM iii. 1.
EDITED BY ROSSITER JOHNSON
[TO CONTRIBUTORS:-Queries must be brief, must relate to literature or authors, and must be of some general
interest. Answers are solicited, and must be prefaced with the numbers of the questions referred to. Queries and answers, written on one side only of the paper should be sent to the Editor of THE BOOK BUYER, Charles Scribner's Sons, 153-157 Fifth Avenue, New York ]
L. P. W.
488.– Will you please inform me where Winston Churchill, author of "Richard Carvel,” was horn ? As I understand it, there are two Winston Churchills—one an American and the other an Englishman. Will you please tell me which of the two is the author of "Richard Carvel," and what are his parents' names ?
The author of “Richard Carvel” was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1871, and was graduated at the United States Naval Academy in 1894. We do not know his parents' names.
The other Winston Churchill, whose second name is Spencer, is a son of the late Lord Randolph Churchill. His mother was Miss Jerome, of New York, and has just become Mrs. George Cornwallis West. He has been in South Africa as a war correspondent.
491.-I am going to ask what I feel sure you will consider a very foolish question. If a lady enter into a literary partnership with a man who is a writer as well as herself, would it be believed by the readers of their joint novel, that there was an intimate friendship between the writers, or would it be regarded merely as a business partnership, like any other ? Are literary partnerships of this kind formed with no particular friendly relations between the parties, and where they could not be except in a business way?
Such partnerships have been formed on business principles, as where one writer was strong in construction of plot, and the other in delineation of character; but it is hardly conceivable that one could exist without some measure of friendship and sympathy. No such mechanical combination as would tan a hide and construct from it a pair of boots could be relied upon for producing liter
M. K. B.
483.-In Kipling's volume, “ The Seven Seas" (New York, 1896), the first half of the last verse of " The Song of the Banjo" reads as follows : * The grandam of my grandam was the Lyre
[O the blue below the little fisher-huts :) That the stealer stooping beach ward filled with fire,
Till she bore my iron head and ringing guts!" These lines are omitted in the subscription edition (New York, 1899) and the following are substituted : * Of the driven dust of speech I make a flame,
And a scourge of broken withes that men let fall ; For the words that had no honour till I came
Lo! I raise them into honour over all !" Can you tell me who made this change, why it was made, and what the new verse means ?
0. S. H. The change could have been made by no one but Mr. Kipling himself. It is very common for poets to make changes (sometimes radical ones) in successive editions of their work.
492.-Referring to Stevenson's “ Vailima Letters,'' a correspondent asks me to give the pronunciation of 76 Vailima " and tell what language it comes from. I have endeavored to get this information from the books themselves, but have not been successful. I.judge that the name belongs to the Samoan language, whatever that may be : but I would like exact information, and especially how the vowels are sounded and how the syllables are accented.
The word is pronounced, as nearly as the sound can be indicated by letters: Vahy-lee-ma, in three syllables. The vowel sound in the first syllable is a little broader than " vi."
A, T, H. B.