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Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie. By HENRY hands, although, of course, under the same
W. LONGFELLOW. With Illustrations general direction and supervision, the natby F. (. C. Darley. Boston : Ticknor ural inference is, that something positive and Fields.
has been attained, either in the principle Maud Muller. By John G. WHITTIER. of manufacture, or in a better understanding
With Illustrations by W. J. Hennessy. of the elements which must enter into the
composition of a really elegant book, and a The Vision of Sir Launfal. By JAMES juster estimate of the manner in which these
RUSSELL LOWELL. With Illustrations elements are to be combined.
all the necessary conditions appear to have Flower-de-Luce. By HENRY WADSWORTH been recognized and fulfilled. It is, of
LONGFELLOW. With Illustrations. Bos. course, too much to say that they are perton : Ticknor and Fields.
fect, and many who are versed in the par
ticulars of lineal art will perhaps find things Of these volumes three have long since which they might wish otherwise. But with taken their place in the letters of America, all such qualification, these volumes show and in the hearts of all who know and love indisputably that in the matter of illustrathe purest, the truest, and the best that tion and typography the New World is now poesy can offer. To them in their secure quite the equal of the Old. position will now be added “Flower-de- The artists engaged — to whose names, as Luce," — Mr. Longfellow's latest volume, - mentioned above, should be added those of which, containing indeed for the most part H. Fenn, G. Perkins, S. Colman, Jr., and only such lyrics as he has already contrib- W. Waud, as illustrators of “Floweruted for desultory publication, is yet rich de-Luce". - are all men well known, and with the fruit of the deep insight, wise most of them are eminent in their profesthought, earnest feeling, and ripe 'scholar. sion. Each has had a subject which suited ship of his full maturity.
closely his capacity and taste, together, evi. But it is not our purpose to pause in criti- dently, with the liberty of treating his theme cism over works that may fairly be said to according to his own discretion, and as amhave passed beyond the province of contem- ply as he pleased, — the brief poem, “Maud porary criticism. Rather is it our desire to Muller,” for instance, having been supplied welcome them as they are tendered to us in by Mr. Hennessy with thirteen illustrations, a new form, and to commend the artistic while in the other volumes equal liberality character of their presentation. For these is manifest. books indicate that out of the many at- We have not the space to make, as we tempts which have been made in this coun- should like to do, an exact analysis of these try — some of them most creditable, too, and volumes, comparing each artist's series of nearly approaching thorough excellence drawings, one by one, with his chosen pasto produce illustrative and mechanical ef- sages of the text; but a careful examination fects equal to those of England and conti- convinces us that as a whole these designs nental Europe, there has at last come an are remarkably appreciative and apt. Evabsolute accomplishment, from which we ery person will not expect his own ideal hope and are ready to believe there will be Evangeline or Sir Launfal to appear before no recession.
him on the page, but every reflective mind One book of great beauty would hardly will find, we think, such a parallelism beraise our faith so far. It might be the re- tween poetry and picture as is not only sult of a fortunate combination of propitious consistent with exactness, but will further circumstances, an accident of which the best serve to illuminate and beautify the text. intent in the world could not cause a delib- Intelligent or even inspired drawing is erate repetition, - for chance can work well vain, if to it be not added faithfulness and as easily as ill, may make a plan as simply fervor on the part of those whose handiwork as mar it, and none need be told how often follows that of the draughtsman, and upon the best-devised schemes “gang a-gley” by whom his fate and fame greatly depend, reason of some fortuity for which no allow- the engraver and the printer. Heretofore ance had been made.
it has seemed almost impossible for Ameri. But when from the same press there can representatives of these three arts to emanate in a single season several books, work together for good. The drawing prepared at different times by different might be faultless as it lay intact upon the
wood, but the graver in a heedless hand or the manipulation of an injudicious pressman left little except the broad, indestructible characteristics in the impression which was eventually made public.
At last, let us be thankful, a new era has dawned, and we have here woodcuts which may confidently invite comparison with any as examples of the highest excellence which has yet been reached in this department. The thorough and intelligent workmanship of the University Press has preserved to us every line and shade which was intrusted to its care, and the prints are free alike from fade indistinctness and from ruinous weight of color. The engraving which is so admirably represented is thoroughly good, and, to our thinking, it is of a better school than that which largely obtains in England at this time, and the degeneracy and slovenliness of which have been of late so much criticised and deplored by the best judges. The most of the designs have been engraved by Mr. A. V. S. Anthony, who ranks probably at the head of American engravers, and whose delicacy of feeling and touch, beautifully exemplified in the eighth and twelfth pictures of "Maud Muller," entitle much of his work to an estimation not far below that accorded to Linton or Thompson. The few remaining blocks were cut by Mr. J. P. Davis and Mr. Henry Marsh, who emulate most praiseworthily the excellence, skill, and fidelity of Mr. Anthony.
An American Family in Germany. By J. Ross BROWNE. New York: Harper
IF the author of this amusing book had been less devoted to his purpose of making fun, we think he could have made us a pic ture of German life which we should have been very glad to have in the absence of much honest information on the subject and the presence of a great deal of flimsy idealizing. As it is, we fear that his work, for the most part a truthful portraiture, will present itself only as a caricature to those unacquainted with the original, and that, for all Mr. Browne says to the contrary, many worthy people must go on thinking German life a romantic, Christmas-tree affair, full of pretty amenity, and tender ballads, and bon-bons. But some day, the truth will avenge itself, and without the least air of burlesque show us that often narrow and sordid existence, abounding
in sensual appetites, coarse or childish pleasures, and paltry aims, and varnished with a weak and extravagant sentimentality, - that social order still so feudally aristocratic and feudally plebeian, in which the poor are little better than vassals, and their women toil in the fields like beasts of burden, and the women of all classes are treated with rude and clumsy disesteem.
Mr. Browne's book is devotedly funny, as we hinted, but, in spite of this, is really very amusing. A Californian, rich from the subiti guadagni of his shares in the Washoe mines, is carried to Frankfort by his enthusiastic wife, who is persuaded that Germany is the proper place to bring up American children. They live there in the German fashion, Mrs. Butterfield charmed and emulous of German civilization, Mr. Butterfield willing, but incorrigibly Californian to the last, and retaining throughout that amazing local pride in the institutions, productions, and scenery of his adopted State which Americans so swiftly acquire in drifting from one section of the Union to another. The invention of this family is not the least truthful thing in the book, which in many respects is full of droll good-sense and good humor.
Charles Lamb. A Memoir. By BARRY CORNWALL. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
It is not to any very definable cause that this charming book owes the interest with which it holds the reader throughout. It can scarcely be said to present the life or character of Lamb in a novel aspect, and even the anecdotic material in which it abounds does not appear altogether fresh. The very manner in which the subject is treated is that to which we are accustomed: for who has ever been able to write of Charles Lamb but in a tone of tender and compassionate admiration ?
Something, however, better than novelty of matter or method appears in this Memoir, and makes it the best ever written concerning the fine poet, exquisite humorist, and noble man, whom it brings nearer than ever to our hearts. Much was to be expected of Mr. Proctor in such a work, though much would have been forgiven him if he had indulged himself far more than he has done in an old man's privilege to be garrulous upon old times and old friends, and had confined himself less strictly to the life and character illustrative of Lamb's.
As it is, there is nothing concerning'any learning is so at the service of his philosof Lamb's contemporaries that we would · ophy that it never burdens, but only arms. willingly lose from this book. In these. There is a tougla welding of principle with sketches of the humorist's friends the sub- fact, and fetching of opposite poles, together tile and delightful touches bring out his in the constant circulation betwixt ideas and own nature more clearly, and he appears
Sometimes an excess of antithesis in the people who surrounded him hardly shows a little too much the wrinkled brow less than in his essays or the events of his of thought, striving to put more into a sencareer ; while Mr. Proctor's long acquaint- tence than it will fairly carry, and corrugatance with Lamb becomes the setting to a ing the elsewhere smoother lines, -as in more careful picture than we have yet had a hilly country there was said to be too of his singularly great and unselfish life ; much soil to be evenly disposed of, and so and we behold, not a study of the man in part of it had to be pushed up into the this or that mood only, but a portrait in sky. But this roughness is better than which his whole character is seen. The thinness; and in Mr. Whipple's book there sweetest and gentlest of hosts, moving are passages of swift, grand cloquence, and among his guests and charming all hearers of intense peace and depth. Wit and huwith his stammered, inimitable pleasantry; mor, native to our author, with no maligthe clerk at his desk at the India House, nity or pride for an ally, combine with sentiand finally released from it into a life of il- ment and reflection, and his talent is never limitable leisure ; the quaint little scholar wrapped up in a merely elegant phrase, of Christ's Hospital ; the quaint old humor- but in plain and homely words is the deist taking his long walks about his beloved livery of his sense. We would cite, in London ; the author, known and endeared proof of the justness of our criticism, such by his books; the careworn and devoted essays as those on “Character," " Intelman, hurrying through the streets with his lectual Character,” and “ Washington and maniac sister on his arm, to place her in the the Principles of the Revolution." Those shelter of a mad-house, - it is not some on Thackeray and Nathaniel Hawthorne one of these alone, but all of these together, show, with appreciative praise, the literthat we remember, after the perusal of this ary doctor's fatal feeling the patient's Memoir, so graceful in manner, so simple pulse. The courtesy of Everett is gracefully in style, and so thoroughly beautiful and owned ; and there is a fine glimpse of that unaffected in spirit. There is no story from face of Thomas Starr King, which did not which the reader can turn with a higher seem so much to mirror the sun as to sense of another’s greatness and goodness, make the sunbeam a shadow of itself; while or an humbler sense of his own,
a just tribute is paid to the original and courageous genius and research of our great enthusiast and naturalist, Agassiz.
But Character and Characteristic Men. By ED- this is a book to be mastered only by a
WIN P. WHIPPLE, Boston : Ticknor and thorough perusal, and no hasty diagonal Fields.
glance along the leaves can render justice to it.
While deserving attention for its If we should say this is a book that general merits of intelligence, morality, liubrings its author under its title, and that he manity, and a spiritual faith, which no eyc is in every page of it to us the unconscious of friendship is needed to discern, in the subject of his own pen, we might sufficicnt- judiciary department of letters it has an ly express our sense of its reality and vital unrivalled claim. For faculty of pure critstrength. But no self-introduction could icism we know not Mr. Whippic's equal. be more modest or undesigned. We know The judgment-seat shines in his eye. We of no volume in which vigor walks with seem to be hearing all the time the kindly less attendance of vanity, or less motion of sentence of an infallible sight. We should covert egotism in the stalwart stride ; yet be afraid of the decree which such knowlthe style, which proverbially is the man, cdge, intuition, imagination, and logic comdoes not lack decisive stamp, but is too bine to pronounce, but that no grudge propeculiar to be confounded with any other. vokes, or bribe can ever bias the court; It is not flaming, or flowing, or architec- and, while its just conscience cannot acquit tural. It is not built, but wrought, with hollow pretensions, over its own decisions blows of the hammer. We should empha- preside an absolute purity and the loftiest size the writer's historic taste, but that his ideal of human life.
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