Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/281

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LITERARY NOTICES.

Don't insist on making things out simpler than they really are; on the other hand—

Don't affect far-fetched and over-elaborate explanations.

Don't be overwise. Why should you make a fool of yourself?

Don't imagine that anything is gained by juggling with words or by evading difficulties.

Don't refuse to change the point of view of a question, if requested by an opponent to do so. A true conclusion can not be invalidated by any legitimate process of argument.

Don't be inordinately surprised when a man who knows quite as much as you do on a given subject, and perhaps a little more, does not agree with you in your conclusions thereon. Try the effect of being surprised that you don't agree with him.

Don't keep on hand too many cut-and-dried theories. A foot-rule is a convenient thing for a carpenter to carry about with him; but a man who is always "sizing up" other people's opinions by a private rule of his own is apt to be a bore.

Don't be in a hurry to attribute bad motives or dishonest tactics to an opponent. Try to get an outside view of your own motives and tactics.

Don't refuse to hold your judgment in suspense when the evidence is not sufficient to warrant a conclusion.

Don't imagine that, because you have got a few new phrases at your tongue's end, you have all the stock-in-trade of a philosopher, still less that you are a philosopher.

Don't try to express your meaning till you have made it clear to yourself.

Don't argue for the sake of arguing; always have some practical and useful object in view, or else hold your peace.

Don't grudge imparting what you know, and do it with simplicity.

Don't prosecute any study out of idle curiosity or vanity. If you have time for intellectual work, be a serious and honest worker.

Don't be too eager to "get credit" for what you do.

Don't undervalue the work of others.

Here we have a score or so of maxims of the prohibitive kind, and the number might be indefinitely increased. There is no doubt the intellectual progress of the world might be hastened, and the good order and harmony of society greatly improved, if these precepts and others like unto them were more carefully observed. Whether we get another "Don't" manual or not, sensible people should think of these things, and try to bring their intellectual habits at least up to a level with their social ones.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC SERIES.
VOL. LIV.

Comparative Literature. By Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett, M.A., LL.D., F.L.S., Barrister-at-Law, Professor of Classics and English Literature, University College, Auckland, New Zealand, author of "The Historical Method." New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1885.

This is in many ways a remarkable book. For some years, not many to be sure, a certain number of critics have been urging the necessity of applying to the study of literature the principles of scientific treatment which has brought forth rich fruit from many seemingly arid sources. While they have been apostrophizing vaguely on the general need of some such change, and generally with but little apparent success, we have in this volume tangible proof of the good results that the method can produce in competent hands. Naturally enough, the mere novelty of the theory excites angry surprise; then, too, the venerable habit of regarding literature and science as two irreconcilable poles of thought has opposed the recognition of the inevitable advance of science into every department of investigation, and it has been held—it is still held—that genius is something which defies analysis as it defies definition; that it was only necessary to have a creative mind to create masterpieces; and that to attempt to show how