Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/423

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
411
LITERARY NOTICES.

tunately, their other engagements, whether of business, pleasure, or religion, are too pressing to permit them to do so, there is much reason to fear that the poison generated by corrupt politics will seriously affect the whole life and growth of the community.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

A Manual for the Study of Insects. By John Henry and Anna Botsford Comstock. Ithaca, N. Y.: Comstock Publishing Co. Pp. 701. Price, postpaid, $4.09.

A substantial service has been done to teachers and students of entomology in the preparation of this handsome, systematically arranged work by Prof, and Mrs. Comstock. Besides describing the important insects of each order, the authors have undertaken to provide an analytical key of insect species similar to those which the student of plants finds so helpful and interesting. But while much pains has been taken to render easy the classification of specimens, the mere determination of their names has been treated as a matter of slight importance. The authors warn the reader against expecting in this volume such an approach to completeness as exists in the manuals of flowering plants. A work containing adequate descriptions of all the species in our insect fauna, they say, "would rival in size one of the larger encyclopædias." The general mode of treatment consists of a discussion of the characteristics of each order and the families composing it, with descriptions of the commoner species as illustrations of the several families. Simplicity has been studied in the descriptions, though not at the expense of accuracy, morphological terms have been reduced to a minimum, and so far as possible a uniform nomenclature has been used for all orders of insects. Writers confining themselves to single orders have developed differing nomenclatures, which is confusing to the student in passing from one order to another. Prof. Comstock has made as near an approach as practicable to uniformity in this respect, as a consequence of which, homologies heretofore above the grasp of any but advanced students, as in the wing-veins, arc now brought forcibly to the attention of the beginner. The technical terms from Greek and Latin, which are a great bugbear to many beginners in the study of science, have been robbed of half their terrors by marking the syllabic division and the accent of each the first time it occurs. Most of the eight hundred woodcuts in the volume have been engraved from Nature by Mrs. Comstock, who has also furnished a part of the text. An attractive frontispiece in colors represents several butterflies and other insects about a thistle-head and a spray of golden-rod. The book is issued at a low price considering its size, its large number of illustrations, and the excellence of its manufacture.

The Education of the Greek People and its Influence on Civilization. By Thomas Davidson. International Education Series, Vol. XXVIII. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 229. Price, $1.50.

The purpose of the author in this volume is "to show how the Greek people were gradually educated up to that stage of culture which made them the teachers of the whole world, and what the effect of that teaching has been." After an introductory chapter on the aim and general form proper to education, he outlines the life of the Greeks and its ideals. He traces the Greek citizenship from its patriarchal and tribal origins, and finds worth—"the worth of the individual as a member of society"—to be the Greek ideal in life. To this conception was added, when leisure came, the ability to employ that leisure in elevating avocations (diagoge). The nature of education, both before and after the rise of philosophy, is then sketched. In the earlier times much attention was given to physical culture, and for young boys music had almost equal prominence. Competitive exercises evidently were not feared. The mother-tongue and its literature were thoroughly studied, but we find no mention of any time whatever being devoted to the grammars of other languages, dead or living. Youths learned political science by observation of the conduct of public affairs by their elders. After the philosophical era began individual happiness came to rival civic worth as an end of activ-