Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/February 1898/General Notices


In Hallucinations and Illusions[1] the fallacies of perception are studied by Mr. Parish in the light of the data furnished by the International Census of Waking Hallucinations of the Sane. While examining the books on the general subject the author found that, as a rule, only single aspects of it were treated, such as fallacies of perception occurring under morbid conditions or in dreams, while little or no attention was given to the waking hallucinations of healthy persons; in fact, very few data had been collected to furnish the basis for an inquiry into this aspect. The requisite data have now been obtained by the International Congress of Psychology, and the subject has undergone some discussion in that body; and it has seemed a good time to review, as a preliminary inquiry, the whole field of sensory delusion, to indicate its relations to normal or "objective" perception, and to elucidate the common organic principle which underlies alike normal and fallacious perception. This is what is undertaken in this book. Fallacious perception is considered as affected by various pathological and physiological states, and, as to the physiological process in it, its factors, contents, initiation, and manifestations, with a summary, an appendix containing narratives of waking hallucinations collected by Baron von Schrenck Notzing, tables compiled from the censuses, and indexes of authors and subjects.

For the student of Nature's humbler efforts in the mammalian line, Mr. Ingersoll's series of sketches[2] of the habits and ways of some of our commoner "wild neighbors" will prove instructive as well as delightful reading. The author is a well known contributor of natural-history papers to the magazines, some of the chapters in this volume in fact being made up in part from material which has previously appeared in this way. The greatly added interest and pleasure which the merest smattering of natural history gives to out-of-door rambling is not generally appreciated, and if Mr. Ingersoll's book has no other result than that of pointing the way for some amateur scientists into a field of almost inexhaustible variety and beauty it will amply justify itself. There are nine special animals and their families described, the first place being given to the squirrels. The puma or American panther, under the title of The Father of Game, is given a long chapter. An exceedingly interesting but somewhat unusual section in such a book is entitled The Service of Tails, and describes the various useful purposes served by this appendage. Among the forms discussed perhaps the most curious is that of the opossum, which serves both as a "hand rail for the young family" and as a fifth limb for the mother. Another strangely useful tail is that of the king crab or horseshoe. It is used as a pry or lever, and seems quite essential to the preservation of the life of its owner. The hound of the plains, or American prairie wolf, is described in the fourth chapter. Other animals taken up are the badger, porcupines, the skunk, "calmly considered," woodchucks, and "coons." The sketches consist mainly of descriptions of appearance, habits, and food, with whatever of anecdote or fable the author may have found clustering about the animals among the Indians or elsewhere. The illustrations are fairly good.

Mrs. Frank's adaptation of Hauschmann's Origin and Development of the Kindergarten System[3] is not strictly a translation, but rather an account of the contents of the book, with such omissions, curtailings, and transpositions as seemed necessary to render the material practically useful to kindergarten students and others interested in the training of young children. Her work has been done under the impression that no other book in kindergarten literature presents so complete an account of the progress and development of Froebel's educational thought. "It shows what kind of a man Froebel was, and how he came to elaborate his system, and is made the medium for tracing the growth and development of the Froebel idea from its very beginnings down to the establishment of the first kindergarten." The translation has been made with Mr. Hauschmann's permission, and he has assented to the changes the translator has thought it proper to make. The curtailments consist chiefly in making as short as possible the account of certain periods in Froebel's life already in the hands of the English reader, and in summarizing some of the passages.

It does not take the serious student of French literature long to learn that it is very large and various. Much of it is also very brilliant. Each of the periods, from the middle ages down, into which criticism classifies it offers its store of books, than which no other literature exhibits a fuller one, and is distinct in its characteristics; while in every department, except poetry, it possesses works which are not excelled. A suitable and well-adapted presentation of the subject, such as Mr. Dowden[4] gives us, can not fail, therefore, to be a valuable and in every way desirable addition to the library of manuals. For making such a presentation the author confesses to having the most essential qualification—love of the subject. Thorough acquaintance with the whole of it he can not have, for that is beyond the power of any one man, and he especially observes that the latest attempt at its full presentation is the combined work of specialists, of whom there is one for each chapter. He, too, has had his collaborators, "the ablest and most learned students of French literature," who have written each a part of the book; but he has consulted them, not in the flesh, but on the shelves of his library. Five periods are recognized, with subordinate classifications by forms, etc.—the middle ages, of which the amount of production that has survived is astonishing; the sixteenth century, the seventeenth century, the eighteenth century, and the period from 1789 to 1850. The work closes with the decline of the romantic movement, leaving the naturalism of the present rather a subject for current criticism. Provencal literature is not included. The index is commendably full.

The Bibliography of Education[5] is the outgrowth of an educational library which the author, Will S. Monroe, of the State Normal School, Westfield, Mass., has been collecting for sixteen years. When, a few years ago, he undertook to catalogue the collection, then numbering about twelve hundred volumes and pamphlets, with a view to publication for the benefit of other persons engaged in educational work, it was thought best to enlarge the list and include other works bearing on the subject. The present catalogue, the resultant of this idea, contains the titles of thirty-two hundred books and pamphlets, nearly all in the English language and obtainable in the ordinary course of trade. The exceptions to this rule are works of reference—encyclopædias and bibliographies, which are also included. The standard foreign works of reference are given, and sources of information are indicated respecting the educational literature of France and Germany. As much care has been taken to secure titles of English books as of American. The indexing of periodical literature is not attempted. The titles are grouped into classes, and these broken into sections and subsections, the shape of which has been largely controlled by the nature of the materials, and an index of twenty pages is provided.

Prof. Sylvanus P. Thompson's Light Visible and Invisible[6] is a work of real popular interest, and at the same time presents in its appendices to chapters brief discussions in exact science. It embodies the Christmas lectures delivered by the author to the people at the Royal Institution in 1896, which were liberally supplemented by experiments, and in which pains were taken to present the most recent progress in science. The wave theory is kept in special prominence, and the language is adapted to it. In the lecture relating to the invisible light of the infra red some of the experimental points in which the demonstration of the electro-magnetic nature of light rests are introduced. Having learned by his experience that polarization is not hard to understand when properly explained, the author has presented the subject "in a model way, devoid of pedantic terms, and illustrated by appropriate models." The topics treated are light and shadow, the visible spectrum, and the eye, polarization, the invisible spectrum of the ultra-violet and the infra-red, and Röntgen light. Interference and diffraction are barely alluded to, and spectrum analysis and the greater part of the subject of color vision are necessarily omitted. In the appendices to chapters the general method of geometrical optics, anomalous refraction and dispersion, the elastic solid, and the electromagnetic theories of light are briefly explained, and "other kinds of invisible light" are described or mentioned.

To the man who speculates on the origin and ultimate goal of the human race—and who of us does not?—the geological periods when we first begin to find evidence of man's existence in anything like his present form can not fail to be of exceeding interest. The treatment which the human society of these remote days usually receives is not of a popular character, although it is frequently closely allied to pure fiction. But now Mr. Stanley Waterloo has given us a novel[7] whose plot is laid in the time of the cave men, the earliest period from which any human remains have been obtained. The hero of the story, Ab, is one of the "great men" of his time, and the story is chiefly a history of his career. We are first introduced to him at the age of one year, the opening incident of the story recounting his narrow escape from the maw of a cave hyena, a beast which in those days was large and dangerous and a great contrast in all ways to his modern representative. The father and mother of Ab are carefully described, as well as the cave in which the family live. The cave man's probable daily life (which consisted principally of getting something to eat) is reconstructed, and his weapons, methods of hunting, language, and clothes are discussed. The accident by which the bow and arrow were discovered is graphically related. Methods of capturing large and small game, the variations of different tribes due to varied surroundings, and, in fact, a detailed description of the manners and customs of man in the time of the cave dwellers is worked out with considerable ingenuity and care. The book is evidently the result of a considerable study by Mr. Waterloo of geological ethnology, and will be found very entertaining by all who are at all familiar with geologic history. The psychologist will be entertained by the mentality with which the author has endowed his primitive characters. The book is also rather attractive in appearance, despite its excessively modern binding.

A third edition of Mr. Albert H. Chester's Catalogue of Minerals Alphabetically Arranged, and giving their chemical composition and synonyms, is published by John Wiley & Sons. The catalogue has been intended from the beginning to embrace all English names in current use in the nomenclature of mineralogy, including species, varieties, and synonyms, and omitting dead and useless names. In the present edition, which has been revised and entirely reset, all names added up to date have been inserted in their proper order.

Prof. Clarence Moores Weed has endeavored, in his Life Histories of American Insects (Macmillan Company, $1.50), to present in a nontechnical manner the results of his observations of a few of the most interesting species, some of which he has especially studied during the last ten years; while for other sketches he has drawn upon his fellow entomologists. Among the more curious or more familiar insects thus presented and described are the crickets, walking sticks, grasshoppers, army worm, the insect of raspberry canes, insects that mark apple and oak leaves, wasps, hornets, aphides, and spiders, including "daddy longlegs." The style of the book is attractive, the descriptions are clear, and the illustrations are numerous and excellent.

Professor Kingsley's Elements of Comparative Zoölogy is intended as an introduction to the serious study of the subject, and embraces directions for laboratory work upon a selected series of animal types, together with a general account of related forms. By combining the functions of a laboratory guide and a general outline of zoölogy, it has been possible to emphasize the comparative side of the subject. But "it is not sufficient to ask one to compare a grasshopper and a beetle, pointing out their resemblances and points of difference; leading questions must be asked." Such questions are furnished, and when the student has answered them he may be supposed to have "a tolerably complete statement of the principal characters of the larger groups of the animal kingdom." Types have been selected for detailed study, partly with regard to the facility of obtaining them and partly to their adaptability to being worked out by average students, and the work has been made largely macroscopic. Laboratory work is insisted upon as the most important (H. Holt & Co., New York).

Faith or Fact, by Henry M. Taber, with preface by Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll (Peter Ecker, publisher, New York, $1),is dedicated to the lovers of mental freedom, and particularly to those who have had to endure opprobrium from orthodox Christianity. It is described in the title page as "illustrating conflicts between credulity and vitalized thought, superstition and realism, tradition and verity, dogma and reason, bigotry and tolerance, ecclesiastical error and manifest truth, theology and rationalism, miracle and immutable law, pious ignorance and secular intelligence, hypocrisy and sincerity, theocracy and democracy." It is devoted to the criticism of the orthodox branch of Christianity, which the author thinks that system has invited by the course it has pursued in various respects.

Who would have imagined that the problem of the universe could be solved in a book of sixty-five small pages? Great as the task is supposed to be, that is what seems to be attempted by Mr. John E. Atwood in his essay on the Constituents of the Universe (James Edward Friend, publisher, San Diego, Cal.). The doctrine of the book, which is enlarged upon in various applications, is that "space—extent or room—and time—continuation or motion, are the three great essentials that comprise or constitute the universe"; and that all ideas of anything else existing or acting conveyed by the terms and conceptions which we in the imperfection of our knowledge and capacity have invented to account for the things we see, are false. Mr. Atwood writes as one possessed of strong convictions.

The Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the year ending June 30, 1896, presents statistics exhibiting the most satisfactory results yet accomplished by the service. While the total number of disasters was greater than in any prior year, the percentage of lives and property lost was less. The average annual loss of life from 1877, when the service was generally extended to the sea and lake coasts, till June 30, 1896 (excepting the year 1878, when an exceptional mortality attended the disaster to the steamer Metropolis), has been one out of every one hundred and twelve persons on board vessels involved in disaster, and the loss of property twenty-one per cent of the value imperiled.

In his essay on Value (Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., $1) John Borden presents a sober discussion of the principles on which value is founded, with its incidents—utility, use, value, relative exchange, market, nature, and money value; to which he adds A Short Account of American Currency, giving its history, and a chapter on A National Currency. His exposition of money value is sound, simply expressed, and forcible, showing how there can be but one standard, and that representing the intrinsic value of the bullion contained in the piece, and that coinage is merely a certification that metal to that value is there, not making the value or adding to it. He differs, however, from the majority of the gold-standard men in that he insists that if there is to be paper money (which must be merely representative of actual money behind it), the Government alone should issue it.

The sixth volume of the Proceedings of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences covers the period from December, 1892, to the beginning of 1897. One of the most emphasized features observed in reading it is that it records the death of so many of the members who took part in the foundation of the academy and contributed to its usefulness and fame. The most important papers contained in the volume are a summary of the archæology of Iowa and a bibliography of Iowa antiquities, by Prof. Frederick Starr; a list of coleoptera from the southern shore of Lake Superior, by Prof. H. F. Wickham; and a revision of the Trexalinæ (grasshoppers) of North America, by Prof. Jerome McNeil. Shorter papers of interest relate to local and special subjects. Further, the minutes of the several meetings of the academy and the annual addresses of the presidents are given; also a portrait and biographical sketch of Prof. G. C. Parry, and a bibliography of his works.

The Eighth Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden contains papers by William Trelease and J. Cardot, with fine plate illustrations, on the Mosses of the Azores and Madeira and botanical observations on the Azores, embodying the results of the visit of Mr. Trelease to those islands. The belief is expressed that by the system of distribution adopted, papers published in the garden reports are within the reach of more working botanists than those in any other similar publication on this side of the Atlantic. The garden suffered great damage by the tornado of May 27, 1896, and has been at considerable expense in repairing it. Plans are under consideration for making large additions to the grounds. The educational facilities offered by the garden are appreciated and utilized, but not so much as they ought to be.

Ten Noble Poems in English literature is the title of a pamphlet by J. T. Jones giving the result of a number of inquiries sent to various prominent literary people. The poems receiving the most votes were as follows: Intimations of Mortality; Saul; Elegy written in a Country Churchyard; Rabbi Ben Ezra; Ode to a Skylark; Harvard Commemoration Ode; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Thanatopsis; The Eternal Goodness; Lines on Tintern Abbey (Unity Publishing Company, Chicago).

In Health of Body and Mind (Eagle Press, Brooklyn) T.W. Topham, M. D., gives us a discussion of the ethics of disease, in which he takes the position advocated by Mr. Spencer—that the care of the body is just as much a duty as is the care of the mind; that "disease is the result of violated law, a wrong done to Nature, and whether we are responsible for it or not, the fact remains still potent for our consideration of the greatest of all problems, that the sick man is a sinner against Nature, and that he will have to pay the penalty to the last farthing, both for his own and his ancestors' misconduct." Among special chapter headings we find the following: Why We are Sick; The Tension caused by Worry; Athletics; Self-Control; Breathing as a Means of Health; A Plea for the Baby; The Reduction of Fat; and Pain. A number of special exercises are described and pictured.

The Induction Coil in Practical Work, by Lewis Wright (Macmillan, $1.25), was written, says the author, simply and solely as a practical help to the efficient and safe use of an induction coil, with some special reference to the revived and extensive use of that apparatus in surgical and physiological work with Röntgen rays. This new field of experiment has brought many into personal contact with coils who have never had any acquaintance with such instruments before, and it is thought that some will like to have a convenient outline of the many other impressive and beautiful experiments in which the induction coil bears a part. There are eight chapters which, starting with a general consideration of electrical induction, go on to a special consideration of the structure of the induction coil, its manipulation and care, the discharges in partial and high vacua, and finally spectrum work and X rays, which seem to cover the ground fairly well in an elementary way. There are numerous diagrams and several well executed plates.

We have recently received a reprint from the eighth annual report of the Missouri Botanical Garden, entitled Botanical Observations on the Azores. Mr. William Trelease, the author, seems to have done an immense amount of work in the time which he was able to give his subject—two short leaves of absence in the summers of 1894 and 1896. The volume consists mainly of a catalogue of plants, which is followed by a very instructive series of plates.

The third annual report of the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitraion consists chiefly of the addresses delivered at the meeting which opened on June 2, 1897. Among the speakers were the Hon. George F. Edmunds, Rev. E. E. Hale, President Dreher, Hon. E. P. Wheeler, Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, Hon. George F. Seward, Colonel George E. Waring, Jr., Prof. U. P. Gilman, and General James Grant Wilson. The platform adopted by the meeting deplores the failure of the recent treaty between Great Britain and the United States, but rejoices at the rapid popular growth of the arbitration idea, and looks forward to the establishment in the near future of an Arbitration Commission, to which all international disputes shall be submitted.

Students of Hebrew literature and customs will be interested in the pamphlet containing tracts Shekalim and Rosh Hashana of The Babylonian Talmud, original text and English translation, with notes and explanations, by Michael L. Rodkinsen. The notes seem to be ample and satisfactory, and a great relief from the technicalities and obscurities of the text. Published in New York, 54 East 106th Street, by the New Talmud Publishing Company.

Mr. Maximilian P. E. Groszman's Working System of Child Study for Schools (Syracuse, N. Y.: C. W. Bardeen, 50 cents) is, as its title indicates, a manual of suggestions as to the method in which the study may be conducted. The author perceives that a systematic method of child study is beginning to be evolved, and shows his appreciation of the matter by declaring that the new pedagogy must be based upon it; but we must not wait until the results of all the researches have been collected, for that would be to wait a long time. There is enough material already on hand for the new education to begin at once. The author has a great advantage in that he is able to present his suggestions in the light of his experience in the New York schools of ethical culture and of the working of the methods pursued there. His precepts are re-enforced by the citation of cases which have been studied there.

"The Philosophy of the Undeniable" is the catching phrase by which Mr. Dwight H. Olmstead designates the doctrines contained in a booklet just issued by him (G. P. Putnam's Sons) under the title The Protestant Faith, or Salvation by Belief. It is not, as its title might imply, a devotional treatise, but a series of arguments directed against certain time-worn dogmas still largely held by orthodox churches. Starting out with a summary of the causes of the Lutheran Reformation—"an intellectual rather than a religious movement"—Mr. Olmstead, in a few pages of terse reasoning, demonstrates that the retention of the dogma of justification by faith vitiated the entire Lutheran system, since belief and unbelief are equally involuntary, and therefore neither blameworthy nor deserving of reward. This point, he claims, strikes at the very existence of the churches, and is fatal to their present form and organization. The psychological barrier with which orthodoxy is thus confronted is further strengthened by certain ethical considerations. "Salvation," says the author, "is not a proper incentive to the performance of duty"; and "the theology that looks to the mere salvation of the soul, whether from punishment or from sin itself, can be defended neither on principle nor, paradoxical as it may seem, on the plea of expediency; certainly not, if he be the happiest who is the most virtuous." Thus abandoning these tenets, which in the verbiage of the pulpit are called "essential truths," the author sees in the individual conscience a higher criterion of morality and a nobler guide to salvation, the conscience itself being derived from the aggregate of beliefs entertained for the time being by the individual. Here he recognizes the changeful character of all human thought, and makes provision for further development of religious belief. Although published originally nearly half a century ago, the work is still well abreast of the times, and a newly written introduction on the limitations of thought puts the book in the van of liberal thought. Mr. Olmstead has built up his thesis as if he were constructing a pyramid. His arguments are cemented with a cold and dispassionate logic which goes far to justify his own characterization of his doctrine as the Philosophy of the Undeniable.

  1. Hallucinations and Illusions. A Study of the Fallacies of Perception. By Edmund Parish. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 390. Price, $1.35.
  2. Wild Neighbors. Outdoor Studies in the United States. Illustrated by Ernest Ingersoll. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 297. Price, $1.50.
  3. The Kindergarten System: Its Origin and Development, as seen in the Life of Friedrich Froebel. Translated and adapted from the Works of Alexander Bruno Hauschmann for the Use of English Kindergarten Students. London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co.; Syracuse, N. Y.: C. W. Bardeen. Pp. 253. Price, $2.
  4. A History of French Literature. By Edward Dowden. New York: D. Appleton and Company. (Literatures of the World Series.) Pp. 444.
  5. Bibliography of Education. By Will S. Monroe. New York: D. Appleton and Company. (International Education Series.) Pp. 202.
  6. Light Visible and Invisible. A Series of Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, at Christmas, 1896. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 294. Price, $1.50.
  7. The Story of Ab. By Stanley Waterloo. Chicago: Way & Williams. Pp. 351. Price, $1.50.