Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/430

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416
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

but also the bibliography of the art. Some doubt may be justly felt in regard to the dates assigned to the use of iron and glass; a preliminary acquaintance of a thousand years would, however, suffice for the germination of the photographic idea. The recollections and sketches are sprightly, and include many suggestions for artists and amateurs.

The Philosophy of Fiction in Literature. By Daniel Greenleaf Thompson. New York and London: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 224 Price, $1.50.

This essay begins with a survey of the office of fiction in literature, estimates its value in the bearings of scientific teaching, morals, and aesthetics, analyzes the qualities of a novel, seeks for its various sources of interest, discusses its relations to art, morals, and science, and closes with observations on the construction and the criticism of a work of fiction. The first quality, underlying all the others, and most essential, of a work of fiction is, that it be of sufficient interest to cause one to read it through. Many and very different qualities may be combined with this interest. Hence we have discussions of the manner and extent to which science, morals, and æsthetics may enter into its scope, and the rival qualities that give the most pronounced distinctions of schools, of realism and idealism. Under the last category we have the important principle that a fiction is a work of art, and must respect the canons of art; it must appeal to the æsthetic sense, never losing sight of that primal condition of artistic work, the elimination of the disagreeable. This and other precepts teach that, in the matter of "naturalism," now so much talked about, "the 'experimental' method is a means, not an end. We must not make the mistake of supposing that the study of Nature consists only in an enumeration of Nature's phenomena. Nor can we impose upon the world by giving it our sketches and studies as the finale of art. The use of 'observation and experiment' is to enable us the better to employ our faculties.... 'Naturalism' never must be allowed to limit our creative activity, but only minister unto it, chastening it to enable us to give substance rather than shadow. It must not chain genius down. It must not restrict its selection of subjects, nor must it absolutely control its treatment of them. It may lay the foundation, furnish the brick and stone and mortar, but not the architecture of the building." The author agrees with M. David Sauvageot, that the important service has been performed by realism of inaugurating a reaction against the arbitrary conventions of degenerate classic and of romantic art; and that it has prepared the way for a new and dominating idealism. The conclusion is forced that, while realism could not dispense with creativeness, it is, if rightly understood, of great value in making strong, clear, and life-like the products of creation. Other objects of interest and causes of interest considered as giving popularity and success to the story that brings them before the mind are the exhibition of power; the exhibition of love, which "plays so prominent a part in life, has so dominant an influence on conduct, that its absence as a motive is at once felt by the reader, and the plot from which it is omitted seems very artificial"; the exhibition of social life; and the comic or ludicrous element. Important points to be considered by a story-writer are, that he should understand exactly what he is about when he forms the plan of bis tale, and should appreciate how far he is appealing to each of the three great interests in a work of fiction, and how far he may disregard one for the sake of the other.

Animal Life and Intelligence. By C. Lloyd Morgan. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 512. Price, $4.

The primary aim of the author of this book has been the consideration of animal intelligence from the scientific and philosophical point of view. He has endeavored to contribute from the results of several years' study and thought to our deeper knowledge of those mental processes which we may fairly infer from the activities of dumb animals. But so inextricably entwined does the subject of intelligence seem to be with the subject of life, the subject of organic evolution with the subject of mental evolution, and so closely questions of natural selection to be interwoven with questions of habit and instinct, that he has devoted the first part of the volume to a consideration of organic evolution. From this consideration the conclusion is reached that the