Popular Science Monthly/Volume 19/August 1881/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 19 August 1881 (1881)
The appearance of Mr. Tylor's long-expected manual of anthropology will be welcomed by many as a valuable contribution to the cause of advancing education. Anthropology, the science of man, is the latest and highest product of growing knowledge. Speculations concerning the nature of man began early, and were mixed up with the loose knowledge that gradually accumulated; but it is only in quite recent times that this knowledge has begun to be winnowed and sifted and verified and classified, so as to take on something of the scientific form.
There has never been a lack of interest in the subject, and its claims and rank were neatly formulated by the poet, in his celebrated line—
long before the proper method of the study was discovered. Anthropological science—that is, the systematic and comprehensive study of the human race by scientific methods—belongs to the last half-century. A great amount of valuable knowledge has been accumulated upon the subject during that time, and digested in many voluminous treatises. But there was wanting a textbook that should sum up the leading facts and fundamental principles of the science in an authoritative and trustworthy manner, and in a form convenient and suitable for general use. Such a work is the one before us.
It need hardly be said that this is no field for the ordinary compiler. He may do useful service in the old sciences, where the subject-matter has been many times elaborated, and the method of exposition long settled; but only a master who knows his subject at first hand, broadly and thoroughly, can be trusted to present so vast a subject, and so rich in new and varied materials, in the due proportions of its parts, and in a compact, well-organized, and authentic form. Mr. Tylor, of all living men, was best prepared to accomplish this task. His elaborate works on "The Early History of Mankind" and on "Primitive Culture" have given him an eminent place as a pioneer and constructive student in the domain of anthropology. He has accordingly been long solicited to prepare a textbook upon this subject, for the use of students in high-schools and colleges, as it has been well understood that this science must soon take a leading and permanent place in the curriculum of a liberal education. The pressure of original studies prevented him from undertaking the work, and has much delayed it, but he has not allowed himself to be unduly hurried, well knowing the difficulty of giving his exposition a satisfactory form within the convenient limits of a handy-volume. But he has fulfilled the utmost expectations, and made his "Anthropology" the one unrivaled book upon that science for general educational purposes.
Of course, the scientific study of "Man and Civilization" can now be pursued only in the light of the doctrine of evolution. It is this law, indeed, that brings the facts of this subject into order, and gives organic method to the science. Anthropology is by no means a mere description of the different races and varieties of men; it deals also with the deeper problems of their transformation from lower to higher conditions, and with the development of all those elements which give rise to the civilized state. This is the underlying conception of the science, and how fundamental it is in the plan of Mr. Tylor's work may be best illustrated by briefly referring to the contents of his successive chapters.
In his first chapter, on "Man, Ancient and Modern," he opens up the new point of view from which man is to be studied. He then proceeds to define and fix the place of man in nature as related to other animals, considering the succession and descent of species, and the comparison of structure and brain endowments with inferior creatures. Chapter III is devoted to "The Races of Mankind," and is descriptive of their characteristics. The text is here illustrated by profuse and finely executed illustrations, of which we gave samples in the July "Monthly." The constitution, temperaments, types, permanence, mixture, and variation of races are here discussed, and the races of mankind are classified on the basis of these traits. The summary of the subject is admirable.
Chapters IV and V are devoted to "Language," which is of course considered as a problem of evolution. From the utterances of animals and the natural language of signs and gestures, and from emotional and imitative sounds, he proceeds to the origin of articulate language. The growth of meanings in articulate speech, abstract words, grammatical construction, and analytic and synthetic language, are then traced, with other important steps and elements of lingual development. Chapter VI, on "Language and Race," gives an account of the derivations and relationships of the languages used by different races; and Chapter VII, on "Writing," takes up the subject of picture-writing, and the formation of alphabets.
Chapters VIII, IX, X, and XI, deal with the origin and development of the "Arts of Life," as shown in the construction of weapons, tools, machines, dwellings, clothing, in the means of navigation, in cookery and domestic processes, glass-and metal-working, money, and the operations of commerce.
Chapter XII delineates the origin and history of the "Arts of Pleasure," poetry, music, dancing, drama, painting, sculpture, and games; and Chapter XIII is an excellent monograph on the origin and growth of "Science."
In Chapter XIV, under the title of "The Spirit World," the religions of the lower races are taken up, and a description is given of the origin and influence of primitive ideas of souls, a future life, demons, gods, and worship. Chapter XV treats of "History and Mythology"; and Chapter XVI, which is the last, and entitled "Society," discusses the social stages, the family, property, justice, social ranks, and the growth of government.
It will be seen, from this brief synoptical view of the contents of his volume, that Mr. Tylor covers broad ground, but it will be found that the treatment of his topics is remarkably full and satisfactory. We cordially recommend his book to all students who desire to make a systematic study of man a part of their education, and we may add that the ordinary reader will find it full of interest and instruction.
The author of this work is now well known to the scholarly world by his original and comprehensive treatises on "Sensation and Intuition," and on "Pessimism," He is entirely familiar with modern philosophical problems, and has given critical attention to the bearings of science upon the class of questions that has interested him.
In the present volume he has taken up the subject of "Illusions" from a new point of view. Hitherto illusions have been commonly regarded as of the nature of mental aberrations or hallucinations, excluding the idea of sane intelligence. Illusions from this standpoint are allied to insanity, and their study is considered as belonging to the professional alienist or the physician occupied with mental derangements. There is, of course, abundant ground for this treatment of the subject, but Mr. Sully assumes that the subject has a far wider aspect, and can by no means be properly confined to the domain of pathology.
The author considers, on the other hand, that the liability to illusion is natural, and that it is but a part of that capacity for error which belongs essentially to rational human nature. All men err, some more habitually and more widely than others; but there are errors of illusion that belong to the normal operation of the human faculties, the study of which is quite as much related to the physiology as to the pathology of mind. It is therefore a legitimate problem of the psychologist who analyzes the conditions of sound and healthy mental action.
From this point of view the author remarks: "In the present volume an attempt will be made to work out the psychological side of the subject; that is to say, illusions will be viewed in their relation to the process of just and accurate perception. In the carrying out of this plan our principal attention will be given to the manifestations of the illusory impulse in normal life. At the same time, though no special acquaintance with the pathology of the subject will be laid claim to, frequent references will be be made to the illusions of the insane. Indeed, it will be found that the two groups of phenomena—the illusions of the normal and of the abnormal condition—are so similar, and pass into one another by such insensible gradations, that it is impossible to discuss the one apart from the other. The view of illusion which will be adopted in this work is that it constitutes a kind of border-land between perfectly sane and vigorous mental life and dementia."
Thus regarded, the study of illusions becomes properly a branch of logic; that is, it involves fundamentally the discrimination of that which is true from that which is false. The author at the outset makes a definition and explanation which implies this idea. He says: "Taking tins view of illusion, we may provisionally define it as any species of error which counterfeits the form of immediate, self-evident, or intuitive knowledge, whether as sense-perception or otherwise. Whenever a thing is believed on its own evidence and not as a conclusion from something else, and the thing then believed is demonstrably wrong, there is an illusion. The term would thus appear to cover all varieties of error which are not recognized as fallacies or false inferences. If for the present we roughly divide all our knowledge into the two regions of primary or intuitive, and secondary or inferential knowledge, we see that illusion is false or spurious knowledge of the first kind, fallacy false or spurious knowledge of the second kind. At the same time, it is to be remembered that this division is only a very rough one. As will appear in the course of our investigation, the same error may be called either a fallacy or an illusion, according as we are thinking of its original mode of production or of the form which it finally assumes; and a thorough-going psychological analysis of error may discover that these two classes are at bottom very similar."
It will be obvious that this is not a technical work, but one of wide popular interest, in the principles and results of which every one is concerned. The illusions of perception of the senses and of dreams are first considered, and then the author passes to the illusions of introspection, errors of insight, illusions of memory, and illusions of belief. The work is a noteworthy contribution to the original progress of thought, and may be relied upon as representing the present state of knowledge on the important subject to which it is devoted.
A most readable volume, full of common sense and practical wisdom on a great number of important and interesting subjects. The author is evidently an omnivorous and careful reader, and has well cultivated the art of turning his varied studies to good literary account. His pages are loaded, we might almost say overloaded, with references to the best writers, and quotations of their trenchant and suggestive sayings. The first paper, on "Literary Style," from which the volume takes its name, is not a scientific or philosophical analysis of the subject, but is a formidable array of arguments, illustrations, and authorities to prove that literary form is the main thing in the art of authorship. Dr. Mathews shows that, in literature, ideas, facts, and the substance of thought go for next to nothing, while the style of verbal dress determines the place and permanence of literary productions. The following passage on Carlyle will exemplify the fundamental idea of the essay, and illustrate also the author's lively and earnest style of discussion:
The volume comprises upward of twenty essays, among which "The Duty of Praise," "A Plea for the Erring," "Hot-house Education," "The Art of Listening," and "Office-Seeking," are especially noteworthy.
Recognizing that the prism does not give the true values for the heat of the spectrum, and that it displaces the maximum ordinate of the heat-curve, the author has constructed and used a new apparatus—the "Bolometer," or "Actinic Balance," for the purpose of gaining a more actual value of the heat, the description of which and its operation is the chief purpose of these papers. With this instrument he has reached the interesting and unexpected conclusion that "the great proportion of all solar heat received at the earth's surface does not apparently lie in the non-luminous parts of the spectrum. Not only is the heat-maximum in the luminous part, but the total sum of non-luminous heat (so far at least as our measures extend) is relatively small."
The plan of the course of which this volume is a part has been developed during the practice of teaching German. Its general features are exclusive use of the German language without the help of the learner's vernacular; attention to grammatical and lexical details; the deduction of the rules from the examples; teaching by contrast and association; and graded lessons made up of conversations on familiar topics, so arranged as to supply a stock of words for daily use in common affairs.
Several lots of foreign life-saving rockets were sent to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, in the spring of 1879, for examination and trial, under the inspection of the author. They were stored for several months under ordinary conditions of exposure, and then inspected and experimented with. The report describes the experiments and the results obtained with the Russian, German, English, and Hooper apparatus.
The principal feature of the operations was the survey of the Black Warrior River and Warrior Coal Field, from Tuscaloosa to Sipsey Fork, conducted with a view partly to estimate the resources of the country, partly to ascertain the nature and extent of the obstructions to navigation, and the cost of removing or overcoming them. A report, by Henry McCalley, on the counties lying north of the Tennessee River is also included. Particular reports, with analysis, are given of fifty mines or outcrops of coal in the Warrior Field.
The author believes that nervousness—"strictly, deficiency or lack of nerve-force"—is a modern affection, and that it is manifested in the United States through a variety of symptoms that are peculiar in many respects to the country, and remarkable. He ascribes its great development and rapid increase chiefly and primarily to modern civilization, which is different from the ancient civilization by a number of characteristics which breed mental activity and anxiety about time-tables, and excitements about matters of politics and business, for which the ancients had only a limited concern. It is aided by secondary and tertiary causes which might be comparatively unimportant in themselves alone, but which, combined with each other and with the chief cause, exert each its own kind and degree of effect. The symptoms by which this nervousness is manifested, numerous as they are, and unpleasantly as they often exhibit themselves, do not all betoken ill to the country; for brain-workers have in all ages been long lived, longevity increases apace with nervousness; good taste, the beauty of women, the faculty of humor, the eloquence of oratory, increase with it; the evil of it tends, within certain limits, to correct itself; "and the physical future of the American people," says the author, "has a bright as well as a dark side; increasing wealth will bring increasing calm and repose; the friction of nervousness shall be diminished by various inventions; social customs shall be modified, and as a consequence strength and vigor shall be developed at the same time with, and by the side of, debility and nervousness."
The purpose of this work is explained in its own pages thus: "There are, in every period of taste, books which, apart from their literary value, all collectors admit to possess, if not for themselves, then for others of the brotherhood, a peculiar preciousness. These books are esteemed for curiosity, for beauty of type, paper, binding, and illustrations, for some connection they may have with famous people of the past, or for their rarity. It is about these books, the method of preserving them, their enemies, the places in which to hunt for them, that the following pages are to treat."
While, in other medical journals that give attention to microscopy, microscopic topics are made secondary to medical ones, the conductors of this journal intend to give the most prominence to those subjects especially related to the microscope. The present number contains four original articles in the special department of the magazine, and presents matters of general interest to physicians and pharmacists, under the heading of "Editorial Abstracts."
The discovery of a nearly complete skeleton of Brontosaurus has added many new points to our knowledge of the group of Dinosauria, some of which are given in the present paper. A second species, equally gigantic in size, has since been found, and two new genera from the same formation, all of which are noticed, and an outline of classification of the group is proposed.
The Bureau of Immigration has already issued several publications setting forth the resources of Kentucky. Persons interested in the settlement of the North west have published statements of the great advantages which that section offers to immigrants. The present tract is designed to exhibit the disadvantages of the Northwest, so as to prevent attention being turned away too much from Kentucky. The labor was not necessary. The advantages of Kentucky are too real and too well known to need exaltation through the depreciation of those of other parts of the Union.
Following up the suggestions of Mr. Petrie's English work on the "Recovery of Ancient Measures from the Monuments," the author insists on the necessity of more numerous and accurate measurements of the works of our American prehistoric races. The prevalent belief that the mound-builders used no unit of linear measure is contradicted by the measurements given by Messrs. Squier and Davis, by Mr. Petrie's deductions from them, and by the author's investigations. Computations made on these three bases nearly agree in giving a unit corresponding to 2·140 feet or 25·68 inches, with a possible error of ·0384.
Professor Prescott relates the results of the analyses made by himself and others of a considerable number of nostrums, which show that none of them contain anything new or rare, though many of them pretend to; that while many of them contain only what is at the best worthless, some contain substances that are actively injurious; that the composition of some is uncertain because it is often changed at the fancy of the proprietor; and that as a rule nostrums are better not used.
This paper is a description of a new mineral belonging to the vermicular group of hydrous silicates, occurring disseminated and in scales, and in seams in the hornblendic gneiss of parts of Philadelphia, which exhibits some remarkable properties.
The author believes that the species of plants common to Europe and America have had a common origin in the land about the north pole, and that they have migrated southward as the cold has increased in the Arctic regions; that on account of the present arrangement of isothermals some species reach in Europe a latitude higher by twenty degrees than that in which they are found in America; that the chain of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes furnishes or has furnished a highway for the dispersion of some Arctic forms over the southern hemisphere; and that the greater similarity between the floras of Europe, Northeast Asia, and Eastern America than between those of Asia and the American Pacific coast may be accounted for by reference to peculiarities of climatic conditions.
The record of the year covered by this report surpasses any previously made by the establishment. The service was distributed among 179 stations, of which 139 were on the Atlantic, 34 on the Lakes, and 6 on the Pacific. Three hundred disasters occurred within the scope of its operations, imperiling property to the value of $3,811,708, and the lives of 1,989 persons. Nineteen hundred and eighty of the men were saved, only nine being lost, and $2,619,807 worth of property were secured. The report gives the details of the operations and of the disasters.
An essay, the scope of which is fairly described by the general subject of the title. It relates principally to the discipline and culture which we receive from our presence in the world and its action upon us, the use we should make of the opportunities it affords, and the methods by which we may attain the best-rounded manhood.
The author describes some experiments by which he has been led to assert that be can produce, from rapidly breathing common air, a similar effect to that from ether, chloroform, and nitrous oxide gas, in their primary stages, and can thus render patients sufficiently insensible to acute pain from any operation where the time consumed is not over twenty or thirty seconds. While the special senses are in partial action, the sense of pain is obtunded, and in many cases completely annulled, consciousness and general sensibility being preserved. He has used his method satisfactorily in his dental practice for four years, and refers to Dr. Hewson as having used it in obstetrics for three years.
The Fish Commission, believing the gill nets to be a valuable fishing apparatus, has exerted itself to have them introduced and generally used in the United States. The present pamphlet is a part of its effort. The title furnishes a sufficient index to its reading contents. The plates exhibit the construction and method of setting and using the nets, to the minutest detail.
A noteworthy feature of this report is that it seems to show that the water-power of the Schuylkill has been highly overrated, and has not half the value at which it has been estimated; hence attention should be diverted from water-power and turned to steam-power as a means of propelling the machinery by which a steady supply of water is to be secured from such works as those on which Philadelphia depends.
This monogram gives a tolerably full and very satisfactory description of the situation, construction, and present condition of the so-called ancient Pueblos, with notices of the potteries and other relics found in them, and some measurements of skulls. The figures in the plates are representations of numbered specimens in the National Museum.
A series of essays on the life, surroundings, character, gifts, and public services of Demosthenes, and the general subject of "political eloquence in Greece." An analysis is given of the principal elements and characteristics of Demosthenes's eloquence.
Ether-Death. By John B. Roberts, M. D. Philadelphia. 1881. 12 pages.
Catalogue of Exhibits at the Third Annual Reception of the Rochester Academy of Science. Rochester. 1881. Pp. 34.
The Saratoga Mineral Waters. Directions for their Use. By Dr. W. O. Stillman, New York: Taintor Brothers, Merrill & Co. 1881. Pp. 57. Illustrated.
Papers read before the Pi Eta Scientific Society, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. 1881. Vol. II, No. 2. Pp. 101.
Studies from the Biological Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. Edited by H. Newell Martin and W. K. Brooks. Vol. II No. 1. 1881. Pp. 134. Illustrated.
On the Pathology and Treatment of Chorea, pp. 4; and Some Considerations on Insanity and Its Therapeutics, pp. 7. By Edward C. Mann, M. D. New York. 1881,
The State and Higher Education. An Address before the Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences. By Professor N. H. Winchell. Minneapolis. 1881. Pp. 18.
Objects of Sex and of Odor in Flowers. By Thomas Meehan. Philadelphia: "Gardener's Monthly" print. 1881. Pp. 3.
Anticipation of Lissajon's Curves. By Joseph Lovering. Pp. 7. With Plate. Large Telescopes. By Edward C. Pickering. Pp. 6. From "Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences." 1881.
The New York Water-Supply. Report of Isaac Newton, Chief-Engineer, and Opinion of E. S. Chesbrough, Consulting Engineer. New York. 1881. Pp. 14.
The Solar Parallax as derived from the American Photographs of the Transit of Venus, December 8-9, 1874. By D. P. Todd, M.A. From "American Journal of Science," June, 1881. Pp. 3.
Brief Review of the Most Important Changes in the Industrial Applications of Chemistry within the Last Few Years. By J. W. Mallet, F.R.S. From "American Chemical Journal." Pp. 98.
Color-Blindness. Remarks by Dr. B. Joy Jeffries at the Twenty-ninth Annual Meeting of the Board of Supervising Inspectors of Steam-Vessels, January 25. 1881. Pp. 31.
Report of the Analytical and other Work done on Sorghum and Cornstalks by the Chemical Division of the Department of Agriculture, Peter Collier, Chemist. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1881. Pp. 101. Twenty-seven Plates.
American College Directory and Universal Catalogue. Vol. III. 1881. St. Louis, Missouri: C. H. Evans & Co. Pp. 105.
Seedless Fruits. By E. Lewis Sturtevant, M. D. South Framingham, Massachusetts. Pp. 29.
Photometric Measurements of the Variable Stars & Persei and D.M. 81°·25. By Edward C. Pickering, Arthur Searle, and O. C. Wendell. From "Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences." Cambridge. 1881. Pp. 27.
On the Action of Hyponitric Anhydride on Organic Bodies, pp. 13; and On the Production of Ozone by Heating Substances containing Oxygen. Pp. 5. By Albert R. Leeds. From "Journal of the American Chemical Society."
Fatal Form of Septicæmia in the Rabbit produced by the Subcutaneous Injection of Human Saliva. An Experimental Research. By Dr. George M. Sternberg, Surgeon United States Army. Baltimore, 1881. Pp. 22. Illustrated.
Transactions of the Seismological Society of Japan. Vol. 1. Parts land II, April-June. 1880. Printed at the Office of the "Japan Gazette." Pp. 116.
Discovery of Palæolithic Flint Instruments in Upper Egypt. By Professor Henry W. Haynes. From "Memoirs of American Academy of Arts and Sciences." 1881 Pp. 5. Seven Plates.
"The Magazine of Art," June, 1881. Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. London and New York.
Papers of the Archæological Institute of America. By A. F. Bandelier. Boston: A. Williams & Co. 1881. Pp. 133.
Ranthorpe. By G. H. Lewes. New York: Williams. Gottsberger. 1881. Pp. 326. 75 cents.
The Emperor. A Romance. By Georg Ebers. From the German. By Clara Bell. 2 vols. New York: William S. Gottsberger. 1881. Per volume, 40 cents.
Rugby, Tennessee. By Thomas Hughes. London: Macmillan & Co. 1881. Pp. 168. $1.
A Theory of Gravitation, Heat, and Electricity. By Melville Marborg. Baltimore: John B. Piet. 1881. Pp. 104.
Sewer-Gas and its Dangers. By George Preston Brown. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co. 1881. Pp. 242. $1.25.
Synopsis of the Fresh-Water Rhizopods. By Romyn Hitchcock. New York: published by the author. 1881. Pp. 56.
The Disposal of the Dead; a Plea for Cremation. By Edward J. Bermingham. M.D. New York: Bermingham & Co. 1881. Pp. 89. $2.
Osteology of Speotyto and Eremophila. By R. W. Shufeldt. Surgeon United States Army. Washington. 1881. Pp. 147. Illustrated.
Comparative New Testament. Old and New Versions arranged in Parallel Columns. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates. 1881. Pp. 690. $1.50.
A Text-Book on Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene. By J. T. Scovell. Terre Haute, Indiana, 1881. Pp. 88.
Butterflies; their Structure, Changes, and Life Histories. With Special Reference to American Forms. By Samuel H. Scudder. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1881. $3.