Графични страници
PDF файл

Fall of the Roman Empire," embracing the life of Mahomet, with the notes of Dean Milman and Dr. William Smith.

Volume eighth has Chevalier Bunsen's life of Martin Luther, contributed by him to the "Encyclopædia Britannica;" followed by "An Estimate of Luther's Character and Genius," by Carlyle; and, in addition, what the editor calls "The Reverse-side of the Picture;" or a statement of the blemishes of Luther's character, by Sir William Hamilton. sketch of the life of Chevalier Bunsen completes this interesting and valuable volume.

Volume ninth has Lamartine's Oliver Cromwell, and volume tenth, Wiffen's life of Torquato Tasso.

These are to be followed, in volume eleventh, by the life of Peter the Great, compiled by Mr. Wight, the editor; and in volume twelfth, by the "Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin."

We could wish that a set of this "Household Library" might soon find its way into every "School Library" in the land.

MONTAIGNE'S WORKS.*-Mr. Wight is also editing the best translations of some of the French standard classical writers. The only one which we have yet examined is his edition of Montaigne's works. This contains Mr. Hazlitt's life of Montaigne, also an abridgment of Mr. Bayle St. John's biography of him, a bibliographical notice of the various editions of Montaigne's Essays, and an account of his portraits.

This is not a book for miscellaneous reading. Neither the habits nor the modes of thinking of the Frenchman of the world, nor the character of the times in which he lived, make him an author for the present time or for the people of this country. A philosopher looking out upon the world from his "loop-holes of retreat " he has produced much that is lively, shrewd, witty, learned, and philosophical. He lived in the last half of the seventeenth century, during the reign of Louis XIV, when if France was splendid and magnificent it was dissolute and licentious. Montaigne did not differ from the prevalent character of his age and nation, and spoke out his thoughts freely and fearlessly, not to reform, but to please and gratify his countrymen.

Now our own theory is that the licentiousness which would drive an

* Works of Michael Montaigne, comprising his Essays, Journey into Italy, and Letters, with Notes from all the Commentatators and Biographical and Bibliographical Notices. By W. HAZLITT. A new and carefully revised edition by O. W ̧ WIGHT, in 4 vols. New York: Derby & Jackson. 1859. For sale by S. H. Elliott.

author of our days from all decent company, is not to be tolerated in an old writer. We shall examine, therefore, with greater interest, the other volumes of this series, among which we see announced the works of Pascal and Fenelon, as soon to be published.

RUSKIN'S TWO PATHS.*-We have never been among the ardent admirers of Mr. Ruskin'; but must confess that we laid down this book with the feeling that we have not before done him justice-that what we have considered dogmatism, may be, after all, but a just appreciation of himself. We acknowledge that the tone and spirit of this book have modified our feelings even when we found ourselves dissenting from some of his positions.

The Two Paths is a collection of addresses delivered at several places, in some instances to schools of design, on subjects of peculiar importance to all whose business or taste leads them to pay attention to art as manufacturers or purchasers. The style is animated and agreeable, almost colloquial, and principles are mingled with attractive information in a manner to be very pleasing to both hearer and reader.

The object of these lectures is to enforce the law, that all noble design of any kind must depend on the sculpture or painting of Organic Forms. The author does this by opening wide the book of Nature, and showing that every pebble and leaf, and grain of sand, tell a story and convey a lesson; in teaching that we may find beauty and enjoyment everywhere; that forms sculptured by a Divine hand, and pictures drawn by a Master artist are to be found on every side, and that if we wish to be cultivated and happy, we have only to open our eyes and learn both to observe and enjoy.

But the charm of the book lies in the fact that while giving instruction and enforcing rules for decorative art, there is constantly evident a fervid enthusiasm for the beautiful in Nature in all its forms, and a deep religious reverence for the good as well as the beautiful, which will make it an attractive and useful book to the general reader, as well as to those for whom it was particularly intended.

THE CONVALESCENT.-There are few persons who have done so much for the good of chronic invalids as N. P. Willis. An inv alid for years,

* The Two Paths; Being Lectures on Art and its application to Decoration and Manufacture, delivered in 1858-9, by JOHN RUSKIN, M. A. John Wiley. New York.

The Convalescent. By N. PARKER WILLIS. New York: Charles Scribner. 12mo. pp. 456. Price $1.25.


given over as incurable by his physicians, he has manfully followed out a course that he has prescribed for himself, and now at the beginning of his fifties, he pronounces that he is "convalescent." His remedy is perfectly simple, one that any invalid can avail himself of, if he has only sufficient resolution. It is this: With a reasonable amount of advice from any school of medicine, with a sensible watch of nature's curative instincts, and with proper self-government, persevering exercise, and control of appetites, "ignore and out-happy" your disease! With good spirits, occupation, and “the disease taken little or no notice of," recovery is at least much more likely! In one of his letters he says, treat your disease "as politicians treat the political party that they oppose." You can't get rid of it altogether, so "keep it in the minority!" It may be said. this is the oldest of prescriptions. Yet to Mr. Willis fairly belongs the honor, as we think, of making it popular among the "incurables" of this generation. He has done good service, and many an invalid, who has taken courage in reading his letters, owes to him a lengthened and a happier life.

The present volume, consisting of letters written by the author during the year that he was following out the regimen he had determined upon, will be interesting to others besides those who are seeking to know how to throw off the oppression that comes with disease. The details of little excursions taken from Idle-wild, the chronicles of in-door and outof-door pastimes, stories about his dogs and horses, and above all his horseback rides and chit-chat about his neighbors, are all written in the easy, graceful, genial, and hopeful style that has made Mr. Willis so popular as a letter writer.

THE PASHA PAPERS.-This series of amusing papers, satirizing men, manners, and things in New York, came out first in the columns of the "Evening Post." They are now collected, and appear, in handsome dress, as a volume for the library. They profess to be a translation of the letters of Mahommed Pasha-rear-admiral of the Turkish navy-addressed to his friend in Stamboul, Abel Ben Hassen, keeper of the Green Seal, and superintendent of the sacks of the Bosphorus.” The unsophisticated rear-admiral comments with a gravity that is truly Turkish upon all the wonderful things that he sees and hears in the

The Pasha Papers. Epistles of Mahommed Pasha, Rear-admiral of the Turkish Navy, written from New York to his friend Abel Ben Hassen. New York: Charles Scribner. 1859. 12mo. pp. 312. Price $1.

great city of our occidental world; and the satire on our society, our politics, our churches, our newspapers and the thousand shams that everywhere abound is really refreshing. Europeans say of us that we are, as a nation, “thin-skinned.” For this reason we are the more likely to be benefited by Satire! Might we not have much more of it with advantage !

Mosaics.*_"Scrap Books" are proverbially entertaining. The success of the author of “Salad for the Solitary,” and “Salad for the Social,” and of this new volume, “Mosaics,” which is also a salad," shows that he well understands how to compound the condiments which give the true relish to the crowning glory of the dinner table. As the Frenchmen have it, “ Any fool can pour the oil; but it takes a wise man to put in the mustard and the vinegar.” If we may judge from the praise bestowed upon the author, Mr. “Fred. Saunders,” in England and in this country, he is the prince of caterers in this line.

[ocr errors]


A COMPENDIUM OF AMERICAN LITERATURE.-In a former number we spoke highly of the first edition of this book, and commended it as a work that should be in every family where there are young people. The author has carefully revised it, and this second edition has been enlarged by the addition of some sixty new names. It now contains selections from the writings of one hundred and sixty-eight of the best known of our American authors, with short biographical sketches of each.

The preface of this second edition informs us that the “Compendium” has met with opposition in certain quarters, because “some of the extracts breathe the spirit of freedom and of opposition to slavery." We have been curious to look up some of these “incendiary” passages, and suppose that we have found them in an extract from a certain document called “The Declaration of Independence," drawn up, many years since, by one Thomas Jefferson, that abounds with some “ glittering generalities" about the Rights of man;" and in another passage selected from a letter, written by George Washington to General LaFayette, which we quote for the benefit of our readers.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mosaics. New York: Charles Scribner, 1859. 12mo. pp. 420. † A Compendium of American Literature, chronologically arranged ; with Biographical Sketches of the authors and selections from their works. By CHARLES D. CLEVELAND. Philadelphia : 1859. E. C. & J. Biddle. 12mo. pp. 984.

"There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it, [slavery.] But there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by legislative authority; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be wanting."

We should give a wrong impression, however, if we should lead any one to suppose that this is anything like a book of anti-slavery extracts. We do not think there are a dozen such passages in the book, of which we have mentioned two. The selections seem all to have been made fairly and with good taste from our best authors.


THE ROMAN QUESTION.*-This little volume has acquired special celebrity in Europe since the Emperor Louis Napoleon has seen fit to attempt its suppression. Its republication in this country has been heralded by the transfer of whole chapters to the columns of the principal New York Daily Papers. The book is aimed at the temporal power of the Pope The author, though professing to be a Roman Catholic, handles "without gloves" the whole subject of the ecclesiastical and temporal dominion exercised by the Holy Father, the Cardinal Bishop of Rome, and protests against the continuance of that overgrown ecclesiastical monarchy. No book of the day abounds with such brilliant wit and with such withering satire. The chapter on Antonelli is unsurpassed for the overwhelming intensity of the ridicule and contempt which are heaped on the unfortunate Cardinal. Our limits will allow us to quote only the opening sentence.

"ANTONELLI was born in a den of thieves. His native place, Sonnino, is more celebrated in the history of crime than all Arcadia in the annals of virtue. This nest of vultures was hidden in the southern mountains, toward the Neapolitan frontier. Roads, impracticable to mounted dragoons, winding through brakes and thickets; forests, impenetrable to the stranger; deep ravines and gloomy caverns-all combined to form a most desirable landscape, for the convenience of crime. The houses of Sonnino, old, ill-built, flung pell-mell one upon the other, and almost uninhabitable by human beings, were, in point of fact, little else than depots of pillage and magazines of rapine. The population, alert and vigorous, had for many centuries practiced armed robbery and depredation, and gained its livelihood at the point of the carbine. New-born infants inhaled contempt of the law with the mountain air, and drew in the love of others' goods with their

*The Roman Question. By E. ABOUT. Translated from the French by H. C. COAPE. 12mo. pp. 219. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1859. Price 60 cents. For sale by T. H. Pease.

« ПредишнаНапред »