Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/573

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
557
LITERARY NOTICES.

of the former pictures of these creatures were highly sensational; in some of the later ones neither art nor Nature had fair play, and we had to put up with awkward-looking creatures that could not get along at all in life, or with animals in attitudes which later researches have shown were not theirs. Hence our ideas upon these points need to be revised. The discoveries of later years have shown, as Dr. Henry Woodward observes m the preface he furnishes, "that the dicynodon and labyrinthodon, instead of being toadhke in form, were lacertilian or salamander-like reptiles, with elongated bodies and moderately long tails; that the iguanodon did not usually stand upon 'all fours,' but more frequently sat up like some huge kangaroo with short fore limbs." The discoveries of Marsh, Cope, Leidy, and others in America have added vastly to our knowledge of the real structure of these animals. We have now almost complete skeletons and details of the flying membranes of long and short tailed pterodactyles; the archæopteryx and Marsh's hesperomis and ichthyomis have given more definite shape to our knowledge of primitive birds; and the discovery by Prof. Fraas of the outlines of the skin and fins of ichthyosaurus have established the pertinency of the term fish-lizard as applied to it. These and other discoveries have been applied in the text and illustrations of this book; and we have, accordingly, the saurians of the sea and the land, the real dragons and sea-serpents of old, the monsters of America and of India—megatheriums, glyptodons, mastodon, mammoth, giant birds, Irish elk, and Steller's sea cow—represented with a clearer approach to accuracy than ever before, but still subject to correction by future discoveries.

Bible Studies. By Henry Ward Beecher. New York: Ford, Howards, & Hulbert. Pp. 438. Price, $1.50.

This is a volume of lectures on the early Old Testament books which were delivered in Plymouth Church on Sunday evenings in 1878-79, as part of an unrealized design eventually to cover the whole Old Testament with the course. The lectures were taken down by Mr. T. J. Ellinwood, according to his custom of stenographically reporting all Mr. Beecher's public addresses, and are now published under the editorial supervision of Mr. John R. Howard. The whole force of them, Mr. Howard says, "goes to throw off all the cramping theory of 'inspiration' which makes God responsible for all the evil that was done by the inchoate Hebrew people in his name. Thus the student is left free to follow this master expositor in rediscovering and newly appreciating the wisdom, the goodness, the grand foundation-work of Moses under the divine impulse, which both served to build up the Israelitish nation and has entered into many of the soundest elements of modern civilization. . . . The attentive reader of these Bible studies will lose no living belief in the ancient Scriptures as containing the word of God to men, while he will gain new and larger views of their worth for Christian life to-day—and that not in spite of the new philosophy of growth, but in full harmony with its irresistible advance." Of special interest, as bearing upon the subject in its generality, are the first three lectures, on The Inspiration of the Bible, How to read the Bible, and The Book of Beginnings.

Representative English Literature from Chaucer to Tennyson. Selected and supplemented with Historical Connections and a Map. By Henry S. Pancoast. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 514. Price, $1.60.

The author's attempt has been to write a book which should answer the needs of those who are beginning to teach the subject according to new methods. The tendency formerly was to study the history of literature without coming into real contact with the literature itself; now, in our anxiety to avoid this error, we are in danger of rushing into the opposite one, and of studying the literature torn from its living historic and human relations. In the present work the attempt is made to put the student in direct contact with some representative masterpieces, without ignoring the study of literature from its historical side. The sketches and selections are therefore presented in the order of their time by sequence, with a distinct historical thread running through the whole. The authors mentioned and quoted are presented in direct connection with the ages and surroundings in which they lived and wrote. The history and the surroundings are described