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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/555

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SYMBOLS.

SYMBOLS.
By HELEN ZIMMERN.

THE progress made by the experimental school of anthropology in Italy is proved by the works which are appearing in rapid succession by such men as Lombroso, Ferri, Gorofalo, Cogliolo, Sighele, and Bianchi, to mention but a few. The study of criminality and degeneration has in these later years greatly modified the juridical canon, and that which once appeared monstrous heresy is now shown to be truth; nor, owing to the power of science, are the summary judgments any longer possible of which Dante wrote when describing Minos:

"Judges and sends according as he girds him:—{Longfellow's translation.)

Guglielmo Ferrero, author of a work entitled Symbols in their Relation to the History and Philosophy of Law and Sociology, also belongs to this school, being one of its youngest members. In order to introduce him to our readers it is enough to mention his collaboration with Cesare Lombroso in his great work. Criminal Woman (La Donna Delinquente), discussed in these pages, which was written as a companion to the Professor's former work. Criminal Man (L'Uomo Delinquente). Symbols is an accurate, minute, conscientious study of a phenomenon innate in humanity, and the volume appears opportunely at the present time, when fiction and dramatic literature are so often inspired by symbolism. On this account besides scientists, novelists, and dramatists are invited to make use of the book, above all in Italy, where, unfortunately, gentlemen of that kidney study but little and talk at random. Guglielmo Ferrero says in his preface: "This book is only an essay, only a rapid transit across an immense unexplored region of the history of mankind"; adding: "The moral miseries of man have been much studied; the many devious ways of the passions, love, hate, vanity, covetousness, have been explored; but his intellectual miseries have been studied but little, those wretched errors into which man falls by reason of the organic weaknesses of his intelligence, owing to which the paths of humanity up to the present day have been bathed so often in blood and tears."

Such the genesis of Ferrero's book; such its raison d'être, as I deduce from his own words: "If we reflect that accidental changes of name have generated ferocious rites, that for a question regarding statues or pictures blood ran in floods under the Byzantine Empire; that at this day, at any moment, Europe might blaze up with fires of war, provoked by some unlucky metaphor, or by an ill-expressed phrase exchanged on account of