Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/201

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187
ANIMAL SYMBOLISM IN ARCHITECTURE.

ANIMAL SYMBOLISM IN ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE.[1]
By ANDREW D. WHITE,
EX-PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.

PROF. EDWARD P. EVANS is already well known to the readers of the Popular Science Monthly as a contributor of historical and psychological articles especially valuable and interesting.

His position upon the editorial staff of one of the most important European journals gives him extraordinary opportunities to discern events having a real bearing upon contemporary thought. As a scholar deeply interested in the most important modern questions, he has for several years past interpreted to Germany the significance of current American history and literature, and at the same time he has kept thoughtful Americans informed regarding various important political and philosophical developments in the New Germany, and in Europe generally.

This latest of his works is one for which every student of history, in its largest and best sense, should be grateful to him. Under the title of Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture he has thrown a bright light into the evolution of thought during the middle ages, and at the same time into the whole course of human development; and his book is not only learned but interesting; so that it will not only prove profitable to scholars but attractive to the general reader.

Many a ponderous and voluminous work on mediæval history and art, requiring months for its study, is really far less valuable than this little book, which can be read delightfully by the fireside during the winter evenings of a single week.

The great majority of thinking Americans who travel abroad are naturally attracted and impressed by the mediæval cathedrals. Representing the most profound and brilliant phase of architecture, these great creations attract even those who have little feeling for art in general. Among all structures reared by man they take strongest possession of thoughtful minds.

Yet few, even of the most attentive, see in them their full depth of meaning. Even the most scholarly traveler has been wont to give up some of the most interesting cathedral problems in despair. By the side of some sculptured group of heavenly beauty he sees masses of carving, grotesque, and not infrequently profane and even obscene. He can not understand why a sculp-


  1. Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture. By E. P. Evans. With a Bibliography and seventy-eight Illustrations. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1896.