« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
old Nick. Cheap printing reaches its climax when we get such a book, 234 pages clearly printed, for twenty-five cents.
22. Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs. By John Kenrick, M. A. In two volumes. Redfield, Clinton Hall, New York, 1852. 16mo. pp. 427, 435.
A republication of an English work which has excited a good deal of attention, and been very favorably reviewed at home. Every one knows that the history and archæology of Egypt have had such added light thrown upon them since this century dawned, that they have become really new studies, as much as chemistry or geology. And yet, to quote Mr. Kenrick's statement, “no work has appeared in our language from which the historical student can obtain a comprehensive view of the results of the combined labors of travellers and artists, interpreters and critics." He has endeavored to supply such a need. We cannot pronounce any opinion on its value, but we can say that, as compared with all others we have seen, it is distinguished for method, simplicity of statement, fulness, and symmetry. We account it one of the most valuable works that have come to our shelves for a year.
Mr. Kenrick first outlines the geography of Egypt, the Nile and its monuments, the country between Egypt and the Red Sea, and the Western Desert, and calls attention to its soil, productions, and climate. Next, its population and language, agriculture and horticulture, navigation and commerce, chase and fisheries, mechanical and industrial arts, modes of warfare and armor, have chapters appropriated to them. The domestic life, manners, dress, amusements, writing, music, &c., of the old Egyptians, are portrayed by the help of the hieroglyphics. Architecture, sculpture and painting, and science are interpreted. The religion of ancient Egypt,-including theology and sacrificial rites, the sacerdotal order, animal worship, and the theory of future life, and also the methods of embalment and sepulture, is clearly presented. What is known, too, of the constitution and laws of the old dynasties,--the relation of king, priests, and warriors; the tenure of land, the administration of justice, and the condition of women, is unfolded. And in the closing chapters, the dynasties are marshalled into as good chronological order as possible, and the events of the different reigns related. No book could be better arranged, and the publishers have presented it in excellent type and on beautiful paper. We hope they will be encouraged by success in this particular, to give us more such treasures at moderate cost.
23. Comparative Physiognomy; or Resemblances between Men and Animals. By James W. Redfield, M. D. Illustrated by 330 engravings. Redfield, Clinton Hall, New York, 1852. pp. 334.
Any man that buys this book and complains of his bargain, must be a mortal hater of fun. To say nothing of the 330 engravings,
in which prominent faces are put in equation with monkeys, cats, and peacocks—Dr. Beecher compared to a lion, Jenny Lind to a lioness, Mr. Barnum to an owl, Erasmus to a wild boar, Louis Napoleon to a stork, &c. Think of chapters with these titles : “ Resemblances of Prussians to Cats ;" “ of Russians to Geese;" Frenchmen to Frogs and Alligators ;” “ of Jews to Goats ;” “ of Irishmen to Dogs," "of Negroes to Fishes," &c., &c. Dr. Redfield maintains, against the phrenologists, that the face is the true index of character, the brain generally being in harmony with it, but always sụbservient. The book really shows a great deal of acuteness, and will sharpen a person's eye for the peculiarity and suggestiveness of faces. The pages overflow with humor and puns, but the levity is genial, and now and then some grotesque satire is launched out, in the shape of a comparison, that shows a keen eye for the recesses of folly in the human heart.
24. The Chevaliers of France, from the Crusaders to the Marechals of Louis XIV. By Henry William Herbert, Author of "the Cavaliers of England,” &c., &c. Redfield, New York, 1853. 16mo. pp. 399.
Mr. Herbert is determined that no Chevaliers shall go unsung: This volume is composed of five stories, with historical basis, and free imaginative dress, to give vivid pictures of the times of 1200, 1428, 1565, and the early Jesuit adventures in the western wilds of our own country. The treatment is spirited, and the book is very readable.
25. Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley; with the original narratives of Marquette, Allouez, Membré, Hennepin, and Anastase Douay. By John Gilmary Shea. With a fac-simile of the newly discovered inap of Marquette. Redfield, New York, 1852. pp. 347.
Of such a book, the simple title is recommendation enough. With the exception of Marquette's voyage, the other papers are now given, for the first time, in English. There is quite a lengthy introductory history of the discovery of the Mississippi river, and a life of Marquette, drawn from faithful study of early Spanish and French authorities. The map is a rich antiquarian curiosity, and yet the explorer of the Mississippi has not been dead two centuries. Of course this volume is a precious treasure to all who are interested in the early history of our country.
26. The Children of Light; a Theme for the Time. By Caroline Chesebro', author of " Isa, a Pilgrimage,” “ Dreamland," etc. Redfield, New York, 1853.
Mrs. Chesebro' has a large circle of readers, who prize her as the painter of the new phases of character which the intense reform school has developed. We have not read a line of this novel, and
cannot, therefore, give any other commendation, or criticism, than its name and authorship will suggest to those who are acquainted with the style and spirit of the authoress.
27. Speeches on the Legislative Independence of Ireland, with Introductory Notes. By Thomas Francis Meagher. Redfield, 1853.
Mr. Meagher is “ the lion” now, in New York. His efforts for his country's freedom, his eloquence, his sufferings, transportation, and escape from Australia to our country, and his modest bearing since his arrival, make him an object of interest to the lovers of liberty and the admirers of patriotism. His speeches will be read with avidity, no doubt, and they are really eloquent; but in running through the modern Irish eloquence, we feel how vain is all sentimental patriotism, or brilliant speech-making, divorced from calm statesman-like wisdom, and moderate, persistent resolution, in coping with the resources of the Saxon rulers of Ireland, and opening any vista of hope for the long suffering “ Emerald Isle.” The quick heats of Celtic eloquence will never melt the chains that are welded on the limbs of the nation.
28. The Life of Bernard Palissy, of Saintes : His Labors and Discoveries in Art and Science ; with an outline of his philosophical doctrines, and a Translation of Illustrative Selections from his works. By Henry Morley. In two volumes. 16mo. pp. 303, 347. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.
Will any one believe that one of the most thrilling narratives of moral heroism and devotion to truth which the world affords, is connected with the discovery of white enamel for pottery? Let any one read these volumes, and it will be plain to him that greatness does not depend on brilliant circumstances, for this obscure potter steps out from his French work-shop into the circle of heroes. Chapters 9, 11, 13 and 17, of volume one, belong to the same rank in literature with Kepler's years of baffled calculation, and Columbus' undying faith amid courtly neglect and insult.
Palissy was a religious hero, too. Born about 1510, he was a zealous Protestant in 1560, just about the time that his years of toil and distress in search of white enamel were crowned with success, and wealth was flowing into his treasury. He removed from Saintes to Paris in 1575, and lectured on various philosophical theories of nature, which his mind had matured. In 1585, he was thrown into prison, and died in the Bastile, loyal to his faith, in 1589. Two young women were the old man's fellow prisoners. The King, wishing to save them, visited them in prison, and said, “ I have been compelled, in spite of myself, to imprison you,” and then begged them to retract their heresy that they might be saved from the vengeance of the Catholic party.
Sire,” said Palissy, “You have said several times that you feel pity for me; but it is I who pity you, who have said "I am compelled.' These girls and I, who have part in the kingdom of heaven, we will teach you to talk royally. The Guisarts, all your people, and yourself, cannot compel a potter to bow down to images of clay.” The girls were burned ; Palissy died a prisoner.
29. English Tales and Sketches. By Mrs. Newton Crosland. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.
We have the argument of induction to warrant us, in our ignorance of this volume, in commending it. It is published by Ticknor & Co., whose books are always worthy additions to the library of the study, or the parlor. This volume is dedicated to “Grace Greenwood."
30. Essays and Tales in Prose. By Barry Cornwall. In two volumes. Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.
A portrait of Mr. Procter, gives additional value to these volumes. The admirers of Barry Cornwall's poems will prize this presentment of his face, so honest and hearty, and yet shooting a mystic gleam from the quiet eye. This is the only complete collection ever made of his prose pieces. The most elaborate papers are,
" the Memoir and Genius of Shakspere," “ English Tragedy,” and “ English Poetry,” the latter written twenty-seven, and the second one, thirty years ago. The rest are smaller essays and stories, distinguished for their delicacy of feeling, fine touches, and simple pathos. Some dramatic scenes which close the second volume, reveal to us our loss that they are only fragments.
31. Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers. By Thomas De Quincey, author of " Confessions of an English Opium Eater,” etc. In two volumes. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.
These make up nine volumes of Mr. De Quincey's writings, which Ticknor & Co. have given to our reading public, and we hope the end is not yet. We are more favored than the English public itself, for no such collection of the author's fugitive pieces has been made in his own country. The first of these volumes contains three pieces—"The Household Wreck;” “The Spanish Nun;" and “Flight of a Tartar Tribe.” The second, gives us “System of the Heavens as Revealed by Lord Rosse's Telescopes;”“ Modern Superstition ;' Coleridge and Opium Eating ;" "Temperance Movement ;» « On War;” and “ The Last Days of Immanuel Kant.” The subjects, therefore, are adapted to call out the whole range of Mr. De Quincey's singular powers,--subtle portraiture of character ; dreamy and wild story-telling; analysis of social phenomena and forces; minute learning strung on fantastic threads; eccentric fun, and sombre moral speculation. Nothing can be more sublime than
the story—we presume it is a coinage of the author's brain—"Flight of a Tartar Tribe.” It reads like a dream inspired by opium. Those who purchase these volumes may be sure of reading, which will repay a twentieth perusal.
32. On the Study of Words. By Richard Chenevix Trench, B.D. From the Second London Edition. Revised and Enlarged. New York. Redfield. 1852. 12mo. pp. 236.
We have read no novel, lately, that proved more fascinating than this little volume. It shows the genesis of many of the richest words of our language, unfolds the power hidden in them, and vivifies their “ fossil poetry.”
No one can read it without feeling a deeper interest in words as treasures of historical and poetical wealth, and making more careful efforts to use them with precision and grace.
33. The Upper Ten Thousand. By G. Astor Bristed. New York. Stringer & Townsend. 1853.
A book made up of articles formerly published in Frazer's Magazine, as sketches of New York society, by the author, then residing in England. It is a great pity that a graduate of an American college, and of an English University, a young man of good scholarship and ample fortune, cannot find more noble literary occupation than the composition of such a miserable, superficial, silly book. If he has any latent manliness, he will one day repent of such a prostitution of time and talents, in sackcloth and ashes.
34. Personal Memoirs and Recollections of Editorial Life. By Joseph T. Buckingham. In two volumes. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, & Fields. 12mo. pp. 255 & 256.
There are citizens of Boston and vicinity, to be counted by the hundred, who will be glad to possess these books, from the interest they feel in the valiant and veteran Editor. They can be recommended, however, to general readers, on other grounds. They are valuable as historical materials. Much of the history of a city that would never get into the dignified pages of a large work, comes out in the memorabilia of the establishment and secret machinery of a leading newspaper; and the account given at length in the first of these volumes of the “New England Galaxy," supplies a very good picture of the living Boston during its career. Mr. Buckingham is no ordinary. The strong fibre, the massive sense, the healthy passion, and the steady persistence of the old Puritan character is in him. He has been intimate with most of the great men of the last half century that shaped the policy and guided the fortunes of Massachusetts, and in his memoirs we get behind the scenes and see history as it flows fresh from the creative energy of leading minds. There are excellent Essays, too, in these books, the gems of the editorials and contributions that gave character to the journals which