Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/585

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563
LITERARY NOTICES.

appellative sense of words descriptive of objects in nature was lost, and the anthropomorphism and personification became more and more complete. From this general description and origin the author goes on to account for "myths of explanation," "myths arising from metaphor," "heroic legends," "nursery tales," "proverbs, folk-lore," etc., "survivals and reminiscences," "shadow and signification," "didactic and ethical myths," and "symbolism." Finally, he forecasts an "excelsior" for the human mind, when it shall grow beyond "anthropomorphism in reference to Deity?"

 

The book prepared by Paul Bert as an introduction to his "First Steps in Scientific Knowledge" has been translated and issued in this country, with the title Primer of Scientific Knowledge (Lippincott, 36 cents). The author says of the present volume: "This new work is carried out in the same spirit as the former and follows the same plan. The book is so arranged that the larger work becomes a review and extension of the subject. The method which consists in presenting to the child during two or three consecutive years the same subjects, in the same order, following the same general arrangement, but with an increasing number of facts and a progressive elevation of ideas, is an excellent one and is now universally adopted." The "Primer" is both more elementary and more practical in character than the "First Steps." It treats of man (his organs and their uses), animals, plants, stones, and the three states of matter, with a few paragraphs on light, sound, electricity, and magnetism. Reading lessons and subjects for composition are given at the end of each section. The book is full of pictures and is provided with a glossary. These two books serve admirably to bring the study of nature into the early education of pupils, where it will do them most good.

A very attractive little book, entitled Outlines of Lessons in Botany, is offered by Jane H. Newell, for the use of teachers, or of mothers studying with their children (Ginn). The lessons here outlined are suitable for children of twelve years of age and upward. They follow the plan of Dr. Gray's "First Lessons" and "How Plants Grow," and are intended to be used in connection with either of those books. The necessary references are given at the end of each section. These lessons contain directions for getting plants to work upon by raising them from the seed, etc.; also suggestions for leading the pupils to observe and to experiment for themselves. Part I, now before us, deals with the organs of plants and their functions, taking up in succession roots, buds and branches, stems and leaves, and thus affords a basis for classification, which Part II, on flowers, is to develop. A general description of seedlings precedes the chapters on the special organs, and prefixed to that is a brief account of plants and their uses. Only the flowering plants are studied in these lessons. The book has twenty-five illustrations.

Prof. Wentworth's series of mathematical text-books has been increased by the first volume of a work on Algebraic Analysis, by G. A. Wentworth, J. A. McLellan, and J. C. Glashan (Ginn, $1.60). This work is intended to supply students of mathematics with a well-filled storehouse of solved examples and unsolved exercises in the application of the fundamental theorems and processes of pure algebra, and to exhibit to them the highest and most important results of modern algebraic analysis. It may be used to follow and supplement the ordinary text-books, or as a work of reference in a course of instruction under a teacher. The present volume ends with a large collection of exercises in determinants.

Studies in the Outlying Fields of Psychic Science, by Hudson Tuttle (Holbrook, $1.25), is an attempt to explain those occurrences which have come to be known by the name of psychic phenomena. His theory is, that there is a psychic ether which conveys thought as the luminiferous ether conveys light; that every one's thoughts produce waves in this psychic ether, which may be felt by a person at a distance who has the requisite sensitiveness, and that in this way mesmerism, clairvoyance, mind-reading, visions, thought-transference, etc., are made possible. He regards this theory and these phenomena as furnishing a scientific basis for the belief in immortality. The closing chapter is a record of impressions which the author believes he received from the spirit world. Mr. Tuttle appears to be acquainted