Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/874

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Prof. William Watson Goodwin's Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb appears from the press of Ginn & Co. in a new edition, rewritten and enlarged from the editions of 1860 and 1865, and so modified by the operation of the author's own criticisms of his earlier effort as to have become to a great extent a new and independent work. A great change has in fact come over the conditions of Greek scholarship during the interval, so that it could hardly be adequately represented in its present state without reconstructing the exposition almost from the beginning. As the author remarks, "few are aware how modern are many of the grammatical doctrines which are now taught in all classical schools." The writings of the Greek authors are full of refinements of style and delicate distinctions which greatly impede the progress of the beginner and make the labor of the advanced student not easy, and on which the ordinary grammars and lexicons cast but a dim light. The purpose of Mr. Goodwin's manual, if we gather it correctly, is systematically to use the full light of the most recent scholarship in explaining them.

The Directional Calculus of Prof. E. W. Hyde (Ginn & Co.) is an effort to introduce the system of multiple algebra invented by Hermann Grassmann, and called by him the Theory of Extension. The author has become convinced of the superiority of Grassmann's system to Hamilton's quaternions, in that it is founded upon and is consistent with the idea of geometric dimensions; and that in it all geometric quantities appear as independent units. His directional methods are also believed to be superior to the comparatively awkward and roundabout methods of the Cartesian co-ordinates. While Grassmann's results are all obtained for n-dimensional space, Prof. Hyde has, for greater simplicity, restricted the discussion to space of two and three dimensions.

The purpose of Mr. William Roscoe Thayer's The Best Elizabethan Plays (Ginn & Co.) is to present specimens of the work of the five Elizabethan dramatists who stand highest among Shakespeare's contemporaries. The selected works are Marlowe's Jew of Malta, Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster, Fletcher and Shakespeare's Two Noble Kinsmen, and John Webster's Duchess of Malfi. The choice in each case is justified by critical remarks respecting the author and his works, with comparative estimates of the merits of the latter. A general view is presented of the development of the English drama from its rise in Marlowe to its last strong expression in Webster. Its development was urged by the impulsion of the modern spirit which was remolding the society of the Renaissance, added to the great stimulus of the recovered appreciation of classical antiquity. The great poets of the Elizabethan age took all nature for their province. Literary precedents and the conventional rules prescribed by writers of rhetorics and grammars did not hamper them. "Taking the implements at hand—the tedious moralities and the loosely spun miracle plays—they soon improved upon them, soon invented a drama-form not so rigid as to be cramped nor so loose as to be redundant, but articulate like a highly developed organism and as elastic as the various material furnished by nature required. And for their meter they adopted and perfected a line susceptible of almost infinite modulations, suited alike to the simplest narration and to the highest outbursts of passion, and to the most delicate whisperings of fancy."

The Leading Facts of American History (Ginn & Co.) is the title of a generally admirable presentation of this important topic by D. H. Montgomery. The work is based on a careful study of the highest recognized authorities. Its purpose is to present, in a clear, connected, and forcible manner, the important events in the history of our country. The author has aimed to be accurate in statement, simple in style, and impartial in treatment. We are glad to observe that military events and politics do not have the first places, but that these are given to social, scientific, and industrial progress, to which they belong. Another commendable feature appears in the brief summaries of most important features attached to each period.

While Mr. Joseph H. Crocker's purpose in his essay on Different New Testament Views of Jesus has been solely to state the facts respecting the single topic indicated in the title, the author has compiled the paper from the point of view of the supposition that each of the authors of the Gospels had 1 his own ideas of the nature, personality,