Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/433

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
419
LITERARY NOTICES.

"great public interest" has been awakened in education, and the Government has "taken it up in earnest," and grants of money become available for schools that can earn them by passing a certain number of pupils through certain grades, then the whole spirit of education becomes changed. The student's one ambition—if he has any at all—is to pass an examination, the teacher's is to get as many of his pupils as possible to pass as many examinations as possible; and to these wretched ends the whole work of the school is made subservient. There is no time allowed for reflection or for the slow gathering of results, none for the enjoyment of what is learned, none for the gathering of wayside illustrations; all is hurry and press, strain and stress, business from the start and business to the close. The result is, the all but complete extinction of true intellectual interests. Our young people do not learn to love knowledge for its own sake, for any sense of mental enlargement that it confers, or for any benefit that it enables them to bestow on their fellows. They hardly have time, indeed, to realize the difference between what is real and vital in knowledge and what is its mere outward husk or shell; and they leave school in thousands with intelligences blunted rather than sharpened, and—we grieve still more to think—with moral sensibilities dulled rather than quickened, by the routine to which they have been subjected.

Some may hold that we overdraw the picture; but there can hardly be a doubt in the mind of any liberally cultivated man or woman that the evil to which we refer, and on which the signers of the "protest" that has given rise to our remarks expatiate, is a very real one. We trust sincerely that the whole subject will receive a very thorough discussion, and that, in our own country, there will prove to be a sufficient force of enlightened public opinion to introduce at least some partial reforms. More than this, in an essentially state-directed system of education, we dare not hope for.

 

 

Our readers who have followed the "New Chapters in the Warfare of Science," by Dr. Andrew D. White, as they have appeared from time to time in the "Monthly," will be glad to learn that the publication of this unique series will be resumed in the February number. These papers are characterized by novelty, pith, and scholarly research. Dr. White has devoted several years to the investigation of his subject, and is now in Europe, examining the libraries and collections of antiquities for additional material. This research, which the author is making unusually exhaustive, can not fail to bring out many facts and incidents in the history of dogma and superstition which have never before seen the light, or have been buried in obscurity for centuries. With such resources at his command, Dr. White is in a position to lay before his readers some very remarkable illustrations of the persistent dominance of delusion in the human mind. But much more than this superficial interest is aimed at, for the author hopes by the publication of these papers to start some trains of thought among reflecting men which shall be of permanent service alike to Christianity and to science. The chapters immediately forthcoming will treat of the subject of "Demoniac Possessions and Insanity."

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

English Composition and Rhetoric. Part II. Emotional Qualities of Style. By Alexander Bain. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 325. Price, $1.40.

The discussion of the subject of this volume is considerably amplified from that given in the original work, with a more precise classification and fuller detail of examples. The subject is confessed to be beset