Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/285

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275
LITERARY NOTICES.

more philosophical character, and deal principally with the nature and methods of scientific inquiry. The subjects are The Forms of Liquids, The Fibers of Corti, The Causes of Harmony, The Velocity of Light, Why has Man Two Eyes? Symmetry, The Fundamental Concepts of Electrostatics, The Principle of the Conservation of Energy, The Economical Nature of Physical Inquiry, Transformation and Adaptation in Scientific Thought, The Principle of Comparison in Physics, and Instruction in the Classics and the Mathematical Physical Sciences.

A discussion of much literary interest—and scientific, too, so far as it relates to the evolution, growth, and variations of popular tales—is given by Prof. Richard Jones, of Swarthmore College, in his book on The Growth of the Idyls of the King (J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia). The effect of the study—especially of the Arthurian legends in their different versions—"is a disregard of the criticism that Lord Tennyson's ideal knight and blameless king is not the Arthur whom we know through Malory." Sir John Malory's Morte d'Arthur is a compilation from numerous legends in various languages. It does not form a consistent whole, and does not always present the most significant stories or the best versions. That Tennyson does not always agree with him means simply that he selected some other version than the one given by him, or exercised the poet's license of modifying the version to make it conform to his purpose. These views are brought out in the preliminary chapters of the book; and after this follows a minute criticism of the structure of Tennyson's group of poems, and a comparison of the editions from the earliest, showing by the successive changes in the text the gradual unfolding of his ideal.

The List of the Publications of the Bureau of Ethnology, compiled by Frederick Webb Hodge, with its index to authors and subjects, will be a valuable aid to students in this department. The Bureau has done most excellent work in a field where it was much needed, and at a time when it could be done more efficiently than ever afterward.

The Index to St. Nicholas, Vols. I to XXI, was composed by Mr. W. M. Griswold, an indexer well known by his other similar works, for the use of his children, aged eight and nine years. Any one who glances at it, the compiler says, "will see that few branches of knowledge suitable for children are umnentioned," while in some cases works are given which are models of what such should be.

In placing the book Central Station Bookkeeping and Suggested Forms before the electrical public, the author, Horatio A. Foster, has endeavored to show a classification of accounts and a system of reports for central light and power stations, such that the management may by their use know the full details of the business of distributing the electric current. It appears that the means of securing these data are very deficient, or neglected, at many of the smaller stations. The book contains diagrams for the organization of the staff of electrical central stations, the classification of accounts and reports, and includes sample forms for every department. It is devoted mainly to accounting departments of central stations, and outlines a scheme for their organization and routine which will enable the management to determine at any moment the condition of business and the unit cost of the generation and distribution of current. The forms were devised after an examination of several hundreds in practical use in many stations, and are intended to embody the best points of all. In an appendix is furnished a classification of accounts of electrical street railways, together with instructions, forms of books, etc., necessary to carry it out. (Published by the W. J. Johnston Company, limited, New York.)

The Ninth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, Carroll D. Wright, relates entirely to Building and Loan Associations in the United States, including under that title all associations having the purpose indicated by it. Such associations have existed in this country since about 1840. Their growth has been very rapid since then, and their accumulated assets have increased to an enormous amount. As private corporations, doing a semi-banking business, conducted by men not trained as bankers, they offer a study in finance not afforded by any other institutions. England, France, and some other countries have kindred institutions, but nowhere have they grown to such vast proportions as in the United States.