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John Fiske defends the doctrine of Evolution as applied to Sociology and Hero Worship, against the attack of Dr. James, printed in a previous number of the magazine. The argument is well sustained, and the illustrations drawn from contemporary historians are strikingly appropriate. Froude and Mommsen, for example, have both written the life of Julius Cæsar. Froude rejects, Mommsen accepts, the modern scientific method of writing history; and, argues Mr. Fiske, Mommsen's account is far and away the truest and most accurate.
Mr. Richard Grant White gives his impressions of Sarah Bernhardt as an actress—who, it appears, is French-German-Hebrew by descent. Mr. White compares Sarah with Rachel, much to Sarah's disadvantage. Her art, he says, “is very fine, but its elements are simple, and its range narrow.” Rachel, on the other hand, was dramatic genius personifiedliving miracle of intellect and power.
Mr. W. M. Rosetti commences a very curiously interesting series of papers on the “Wives of Poets.” Mrs. Anna Jameson, one of the first of English female writers, has dealt with the same theme in a charming volume.
The fiction of the number is supplied by Mr. Henry James, jun., who has already achieved a reputation in Europe, as well as in America, as a writer of society novels. Miss E. Stuart Phelps gives the first part of a new story in her well-known graphic style. Mr. T. B. Aldrich draws a most humorous portrait of the average Londoner, under the cognomen of “Smith.” There are poems from the pens of Whittier, E. C. Stedman, and W. W. Harney, all excellent in their several kinds. Mrs. Harriet Preston contributes a pleasant paper on a symposium held at Lausanne, between Madame de Stael and Count Joseph de Maistre, sixty years ago.
Mr. N. S. Shaler gives us an agreeable sketch of winter travelling in Colorado. And an anonymous pen tells us how they manage matters matrimonial in Germany.
The number contains, besides, several short articles, reviews of books, and the customary editorial miscellany, which is always attractive reading. On the whole, it seems difficult to suggest a single improvement in the Atlantic Monthly; so varied, of such excellent quality, and so racily written, are its contributions.
This is, as everybody knows, the cheapest and most excellent of all the popular magazines printed in the English language. Its circulation is enormous ; and the proprietors spare no expense in procuring the choicest popular literature and the neatest graphic illustrations to adorn its pages. It is less distinctively American, and more cosmopolitan in its character, than the Atlantic Monthly; but it addresses a somewhat different and wider class of readers. Each number is a volume of miscellaneous reading in itself, a perfect repertory of fiction, travel, essays, poetry, and social philosophy. It is, in a word, the queen of family magazines.
The illustrated articles in the December number include Christmas carols, the English Lake District, with many striking anecdotes of Wordsworth, Coleridge, De Quincey, and the rest; the city of Pittsburg—that mighty centre of American energy and enterprise; Chinese Scenes and Incidents; and a tale by Rose Terry Cooke.
Mr. Henry James' novel of “Washington Square” draws near to its conclusion. The recent movements in Woman's Education are detailed by Mr. Charles F. Thwing. The three estates of the English realm are described for American readers by Mr. W. T. Davis. The remaining contents are made up of short tales, poetry, the usual historical and literary records of the month, and the every-amusing editor's “Easy Chair” and “Drawer.” There is, in fact, a month's good family reading, brimful of both amusement and instruction, in these beautifully-printed and illus trated 160 pages.
THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. In the sugar refinery of Mr. C. Spreckles, in San Francisco, there is a huge vacuum pan, the largest of the kind in the world. It holds 7600 gallons, and yields at every strike from 250 to 260 barrels of dry sugar. The manufacturers of this immense piece of machinery were Messrs. R. Deeley and Co., of New York, and it is described and figured in the number of the journal for 27th November. In the same number are given accounts of a new stove attachment, which greatly economises fuel; an improved cattle pen; a novel window blind made entirely of glass; an improved churn; a new filtering cistern; and descriptions of methods of causing rain at any time by sending up explosives into the clouds, and of travelling with lightning-speed on railways.
Amongst American industries, the manufacture of steam appliances takes a foremost place. One of the principal establishments in this branch is that of the Crosby Steam Gauge and Valve Company, in Boston. Mr. G. H. Crosby, the principal of the firm, is a famous inventor in this department, and he superintends the manufacture of his own patented articles, which are both numerous and valuable. The works are figured and described in the number for 4th December. There are also given, in the same number, descriptions, with illustrations, of a variety of wire apparatus for laboratory use ; improved flanging and welding hammers; a machine for pulping and grinding fibrous material ; a new steam stone-crusher; and a variety of smaller inventions and suggestions are also noted.
At Bridgeport, in Connecticut, there is an enormously large establishment named the Eatons, Cole, and Burnham Company, where all sorts of steam, gas, and water tools and fittings are manufactured. A full account of it is given in the number for 11th December. Professor Henry has discovered a method of transmitting and converting motion by means of a big magnet, which saves steam-power. An improved method of coupling carriages and trucks on railways, a new automatic scale, a new machine for washing bottles, and a new method of conveying live stock by railway trains, are similarly described and figured in this number.
A Business College is a thoroughly American idea, which has been successfully carried into act by Mr. S. Packard of New York.
In this large and well-regulated establishment, young people of both sexes are regularly schooled in all the details of actual business, prior to their going out into life. The idea is a most admirable one, and would, no doubt, answer excellently well in other large cities besides New York. A complete description of the college is given in the number for 18th December, which also contains descriptions of a variety of smaller inventions in mechanics and the practical arts, including a simple single-acting steam-engine.
The contents of these four numbers are varied by interesting sketches in natural history, and a miscellany of useful suggestions for adoption in the daily life of the household,
I. The Dioscuri of Italian Poetry. By 0. M. SPENCER, Commissioner and Consul-General of the United States
529 II. Some Personal Recollectio:s of John Stuart Mill. By JOHN PLUMMER, Sydney
542 III. Artesian Wells and Irrigation. By J: J. ENGLISH
550 IV. What Might Have Happened. By JAMES SMITH
557 V. Tribunals of Commerce. By B. COWDEROY
578 VI. The Guadalete and Granada. By Rev. C. E. Drought, M.A. 587 VII. Eastward Ho! By a Correspondent
593 VIII. Farmers and Free-Trade: A Reply. By JAMES ALLEN, Camperdown. 605 IX. The Intercolonial Conference and the Federation of the Australias. 623 X. The Cloture and its Application to our Colonial Assemblies. By
the EDITOR. XI. The Contemporary Thought of Great Britain, Europe, and the United States
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VOL. III.-No. XVII.-MARCH 1, 1881.
THE DIOSCURI OF ITALIAN POETRY.
Tasso and Ariosto are the Castor and Pollux of Italian literature. After Dante, to whom the primacy indisputably belongs, they are the twin divinities that contest the realm of the Italian Parnassus. Since admiration is only a modified species of sympathy founded upon a conformity of opinions, sentiments and tastes, the judgment as to which is the greater poet of the two resolves itself, for the most part, into a question of individual preference. “It is the eye of the spectator," says Hawthorne, “that transfigures the Transfiguration.” The scale will oscillate in favour of the Orlando, or the Jerusalem, as we prefer brilliancy of invention and energy of narration, or symmetry of taste and delicacy of sentiment; and we shall pronounce our verdict in favour of Ariosto or Tasso as we find the greater charm in the magical enchantment of the one, or the musical melancholy of the other.
Both sing of arms and knightly heroes; Ariosto in an ironical, Tasso in a sentimental, strain. In the former, we find more of nature, in the latter, more of art. Tasso is trammelled by dramatic rules, respects established precedents, and has a profound regard for public opinion and the learned academies. Ariosto consults nature and his own caprice, ignores the three unities, and cares but little for the VOL. III.-No. 17.