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or else that he himself, in so carefully observing them, is wasting his force on non-essential particulars. It is quite certain that the more perfect the harmony between the nature and circumstances of a person in real life, - and it should be the same in fiction, — the less do they think, or do others in social intercourse with them think, of the mere circumstances considered in themselves.
The study of the use of detail in romance writing is far too little pursued by our novelists. The readers of Miss Edgeworth's Helea are sure of the aristocratic elegance of the life at Clarendon Park, and yet the assurance comes from what may be called internal evidence alone ; there are very few details given concerning it in the book. I is perhaps more difficult to trust to the reader's assuming that the ladies and gentlemen of an American story have homes and habits befitting ladies and gentlemen, but the difficulty vanishes the momen: there can be no doubt felt that they are ladies and gentlemen.
But Herman is not a book to be judged by its short-comings in literary art. It is a book that no one can read without feeling a sense of merit in it beyond the range of art, and without recognizing the possession by its writer of qualities which deserve and receive the homage of the most genuine respect.
19. The Works of the Right Honorable EDMUND BURKE. Revised
Edition. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1866. Vols. IV and V. pp. 482 and 508.
It is very well known to all persons enterprising enough to read now and then in those volumes whose presence is essential to the respectability of all high-caste libraries, that the standard editions of what are called the “ British Classics” are full of blunders. Whoever buys such standard editions must expect to be his own editor, and to see the broad phylacteries of margin in which he took delight disfigured with pencil-marks that grow more indignantly emphatic and reckless as he reads on. That scrupulous accuracy which once made the fame of printers has almost gone out of fashion, the world over, and the deceitful shows of broad margin, disagreeably tinted paper, and handsome printing have taken the place of the one solid merit that above all others should distinguish a book, - its correctness. What is worse, the blunders multiply with the editions till, in some cases, even if we get sense at all, we cannot be sure of its being the sense of the author. Here, for example, is a stanza from the Annus Mirabilis of Dryden, which, in three different editions we happen to have at hand, stands thus. (He is speaking of France.)
"That eunuch guardian of rich Holland's trade,
Who en vies us what he wants power t' enjoy;
And weak assistance will his friends destroy."
Of all authors Burke has perhaps suffered the most by the careful dereliction of his editors. That his works, many of them unrevised by himself, some of them dictated to amanuenses, and some made up from reporters' notes, should be more than usually liable to inaccuracy, was to have been expected. Greater editorial care was also to have been expected for this very reason.
But his editors, however highly they may have valued his writings and their influence, would seem never to have thought it worth while to trouble themselves with reading what it was so much easier to admire. Of his literary executors one died soon after himself; another, long before his work was completed, became stone-blind ; and the third, content with the unlaborious distinction which a coronet confers, seems to have satisfied his should not be given to a plebeian public. To those who know Mr. editorial conscience by deciding how much of Burke's correspondence Nichols, whose modesty, forbidding the appearance of his name on the title-page, we may perhaps offend by speaking of him here, it need not be said that this edition has every advantage which critical acumen, labor of research, and an almost fanatical exactness can those who do not know him, the amount of toil which he has devoted to these volumes, rewarded only by his own sense of having fulfilled
the responsibility resting upon even anonymous editorship, would ap-
rebellions. as to his king
as to who is king. on the one side
on the other. “ the beginning
“ beginner. tempter
tempted. “ important
“ impotent. “ least degree
last degree. appendages
possession. “ eternal
o internal. “ naturalist
evokes. “ petitioners
intersected. " reformation
formation. "I lived in
lived to. “ assistance
assistants. “ number
lumber. " he held
to be held.
for legislators read legislatures.
“ principal. “ useless prosperous
unprosperous. “ remarkable
spared. These few examples, selected from so many, will serve to show the amount and kind of labor that have been bestowed on these volumes, and to convince those who own any of the "standard” editions of Burke, that nothing but their own ingenuity will enable them in reading it to guess at the meaning of the author. This edition possesses the capital merit of accuracy; and we feel that the publishers deserve the special thanks not only of mere readers, but of all who love truth and honesty, for having resolved first of all to make a trustworthy book, and then, what does not always follow, for having secured a competent man to see that it shall be what it professes to be. We cannot, indeed, call this in all respects a perfect edition of Burke. We hope yet to see one supervised by the same accurate scholar, in which the chronological order of the works shall be observed, which shall include the life and letters, an index, and those illustrative notes which Burke is already enough of an ancient to need. But, until we get such an edition, it is a great deal to have one on which we can depend, and the editor deserves the thanks of all admirers of Burke for having done for his author all that he undertook, and more than any one else we can think of would bave been competent to do.
20. — Harper's Weekly, a Journal of Civilization. Vol. IX. For the
Year 1865. New York: Harper and Brothers. Folio. pp. 832.
In a notice prefixed to this volume the publishers state that “the circulation of the Weekly has steadily increased from the first. The average circulation for the past year has been largely over one hundred thousand copies per week. On some occasions over two hundred thousand copies have been sold of a single issue.” This immense circalation is not surprising. The last year was the most eventful in American history; and the events were of a sort not only to touch the deepest feelings, but to awaken the liveliest curiosity of the public. Truthful illustrations of them were of interest to the whole community. In the lines around Petersburg and Richmond, and on the march of Sherman, the artists in the service of the paper made their pictorial re
ports of scenes and incidents, concerning which every one was eager to learn the exact truth. Their pictures represented to the eyes of men and women and children the persons, the places, the actions which were filling their thoughts and exciting their hearts; and in the pages of the paper not devoted to pictorial illustration they found an admirable comment on the political conditions of the times, in a series of articles distinguished, as in former recent years, by clearness and moderation of statement, steady reference to principle, and the most thorough devotion to the great cause of the country and of bumanity.
The weekly numbers of the paper now bound into a volume form one of the most interesting and valuable records of a year, the events of which will hardly be of less concern to our remotest posterity than they have been to us.
The vast circulation of the paper imposes upon the proprietors the duty of making it in every respect worthy of its high pretensions as a Journal of Civilization. There is room for improvement in various respects. Some of the illustrations are not only poor in execution, but poor in conception, and incorrect. There was, to take a striking instance, bardly a single good illustration of any of the scenes and incidents connected with the death of Mr. Lincoln, though this was in part made up for by the very striking allegorical design, by Mr. Nast, of America weeping over his coffin. Again, the caricatures are almost invariably wretched in design, except when borrowed from Punch, and are frequently vulgar in intention ; if they cannot be abolished, they ought to be improved. And finally, there is a certain class of advertisements to be found on the last pages of each number, which the publishers of such a paper ought to feel themselves required by every consideration of public morality to exclude. We rely upon Messrs. Harper and Brothers to do justice to the public in these respects, and to make their profitable paper really representative of the civilization of America.
21. — A History of New England, from the Discovery by Europeans to
the Revolution of the Seventeenth Century, being an Abridgment of his “ History of New England during the Stuart Dynasty." By JOHN GORHAM PALFREY. New York: Hurd and Houghton. 1866. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. XX., 408, and 386.
DR. PALFREY has done wisely in preparing this abridgment of his larger work. Of the value of that work our readers are already well informed. No higher praise can be given to it than that which it justly deserves, of being a worthy history of New England. It is not probable