Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/577

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561
LITERARY NOTICES.

William E. Foster for the Society for Political Education, might be described as a bibliography. The references are historical—to the antecedent influences, the framing and adoption of the Constitution, and Constitutional History since 1789—and cite numerous papers and books on each branch of the subject. In the Appendix are given the constitutional interpretations since the civil war affecting the question of national or State supremacy.

Letters from Waldegrave Cottage, by the Rev. George W. Nichols, is a collection of reminiscences, portrayals of eminent or lovable men, and rural sketches, which, published first in a monthly magazine, are gathered up into a single volume. The author claims descent from the Earl of Waldegrave, and is able to point to the graves of ancestors among the venerable tombs of Trinity and St. Paul's churches, New York. The essays include sketches of life, scenes, and persons at various places in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Yale College, Brooklyn, N. Y., etc., notices of famous divines and men eminent in the life of society and the State, and other items of personal reminiscence such as usually furnish pleasant reading even to strangers; and there is an air of repose about the whole that is refreshing to the reader vexed with the controversies of the day. (Exchange Printing Company, New York.)

The historical novels published by W. S. Gottsberger form an attractive-looking department in the library, and the promise offered by their neat exteriors is usually more than fulfilled when they are read. They include pictures of Oriental antiquity, the classical period, the middle ages, and heroic or romantic episodes of later times, sketched by the master artists in their respective fields. Among the latest of these publications is Nero, by the German Ernst Eckstein, one of the most famous and most prolific of the writers of this class. Its special effort is to describe how Nero, from the gentle and noble character he is said to have been by nature, became transformed into the inhuman monster of whom such incredible tales are told. This purpose leads to the more comprehensive treatment of the separate stages of development rather than the excesses of the matured criminal.—In Joshua, Dr. Georg Ebers has attempted to treat the wanderings of the Israelites during and after the Exodus in the form of a romance. In it he has made use of his own observations in the field covered by the wanderings, and of the latest results of archæological explorations in the Nile Delta; and in the "scenery of the drama" he has copied as faithfully as possible from the landscapes he beheld in Goshen and on the Sinai Peninsula. For the incidents he has relied on the Bible and Egyptian records.—Ekkehard, a Tale of the Tenth Century, has been written by Herr Joseph Victor von Scheffel, in the belief that a union of history and poetry, for working purposes, would be detrimental to neither. The materials from which it is composed are derived from the tales of the monastery of St. Gall, begun by the monk Ratpert, and continued to the end of the tenth century by Ekkehard the Younger, contained in the folios of the Monumenta Germanica, which are described as being, in spite of much naïveté and awkwardness, "charming stories, made up of traditions of older comrades, and accounts of eye and ear witnesses." Quite unconsciously, the author adds, "these annals carry us far beyond the boundaries of the cloister walls, presenting the life and aims, the culture and customs of the Alemannia of that period with all the fidelity of a picture painted from nature."

The Truth-seeker Company publishes a symposium on the question of the Existence of a Positive, Constructive Side to Free Thought, to which some twenty of the most prominent representatives of the school described as freethinkers are contributors. Besides the direct question, the character and scope of the constructive side are considered by those who answer affirmatively, or the reason why there is no such side if the answer is negative.

In his paper on Etruscan and Libyan Names; a Comparative Study, Dr. D. G. Brinton seeks evidence of affinity between the race of which the Berber tribes of the present are the representatives and the ancient Etruscans. In a former paper (October, 1889) he supported his theory by comparison of physical traits, customs, arts, and language; in the present one he carries out, to a limited extent, a comparison between