Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/257

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245
LITERARY NOTICES.

sense and intellect should balance each other, and in this manner the greatest happiness be secured. Thus, by a different process of reasoning, he arrives at a result similar to that reached by the Christian religion. Whatever may be thought of this as a religious or logical system, yet, taken as a whole, it is a work of the purest morality. The "Ethics" is the product of the reasoning powers and not of the imagination. Its general style and literary character are at great variance with the smooth disquisitions of modern times, but, if these mechanical effects are overlooked, the thoughtful reader will find the truths as new and striking as when they were first written.

In the preface is given an outline of the author's life, with the effect produced by his writings. The translation has been made with care and skill, and differs from the English translation in being somewhat more concise, while it is at the same time equally clear.

Comparative Zoölogy, Structural and Systematic. For Use in Schools and Colleges. By James Orton, A. M., Professor of Natural History in Vassar College; Corresponding Member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and of the Lyceum of Natural History, New York; author of "The Andes and the Amazon," etc. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1876. Price, $3.00.

This volume, as we are informed by the author in the preface, is "designed solely as a manual for instruction, and to present clearly, and in a somewhat new form, the established facts and principles of zoölogy." It is claimed for it "that the selection and arrangement of essential principles and typical illustrations are from the standpoint of the teacher.... and that a distinctive character of the work consists in treating of the whole animal kingdom as a unit, and in the comparative study of the development and variation of organs and functions from the simplest to the most complex state."

The work is divided into two parts, the first of which treats of structure, the second of systematic zoölogy, the plan of the author being to withhold from students the study of the classification of animals until "they have mastered those structural affinities upon which true classification is founded."

In both divisions of the work the synthetic method is employed, as being the most natural one, a study of simple structures and forms being first introduced.

The plan of the work is comprehensive, and claims to represent the latest phases of the science of zoölogy. Comparative zoölogy is defined as "the comparison of the anatomy and physiology of all animals existing and extinct, to discover the fundamental likeness underneath the superficial differences, and to trace the adaptation of organs to the habits and spheres of life."

The style is usually clear and attractive, and the book may be read with interest and profit by others than teachers and students. But we notice some passages which are obscure from brevity, others from inadvertence; and there are several inaccuracies, all of which it will be found more easy to correct in a second edition than it was to avoid in the first.

One feature of the work will neither be overlooked nor excused by naturalists. Of about 350 illustrations, a very large number, probably 300, are old, and have done service several times before. If some of these cuts are excellent and appropriate, others could have been omitted without detriment, while new ones illustrating American types are needed.

The value of the work is enhanced by copious notes, 220 in number, at the close of the volume.

What Young People should know. The Reproductive Function in Man and the Lower Animals. By Burt G. Wilder. With Twenty-six Illustrations. Boston: Estes & Lauriat. Pp. 212. Price, $1.50.

Prof. Wilder, being convinced that there are greater evils caused by ignorance of the legitimate and illegitimate uses of the reproductive organs than by the perversion of any other human propensity, has written this book to dispel the ignorance. If there were real knowledge upon such subjects, he thinks there would be no exercise of the imagination in regard to them. Few will agree with him in this idea, however excellent his work may be as a physiological treatise for the young in this special branch.