The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

Volume 15, 1904, pg. 872-874

Traffics and Discoveries, by Rudyard Kipling (Macmillan, 6/-). Mr. Kipling is a little like oysters. You like him or you don't like him; but this new book of, what shall we calll it--tales? studies? no general title seems to fit. Those who do not like Kipling will find cause enough to schimpfen [complain] in The Captive and The Bonds of Discipline, for example. That the author knows how to use Yankee slang, naval slang, the slang of the trades, will not excuse him. Why need he use slang at all? say they. But, by those who appreciate the touch of la vie intime [private life] in which lies the scarce detected charm of Mr. Kipling's writings, those who know that he means and means intensely, not for himself but for his England (like Skepsy), who know that he sees with a clear eye, judges with a sound brain and cherishes all the concerns of his country in a warm heart, why, this volume, like the rest, will be read with keen pleasure and studied with profit. Mister Zigler is as fresh as our old friend Mulvaney. In the turbine engines and "wireless," we once more get examples of Mr. Kipling's power of discovering the profound poetry that may lie in mechanical devices and of discerning the passion at the heart of those who find out witty inventions. They, an elusive story of dream-children, as well as Wireless, give us something of the half-mystic charm, the touch of things unseen, which we get in The Brushwood Boy. In fact we find in this volume an old friend presented in the various phases which have delighted us in the past. As for the verses, some of them are meant for our castigation and are, perhaps, more effective as lashes than as poems; others reach the fount of tears; and others again sound the trumpet in our ear. But all that is to be said about verse and prose is--"Here we have the good gift of a new volume, by Rudyard Kipling!"

All's Well that Ends Well, edited by W. O. Brigstocke (Methuen, 3/6). The Arden Edition is a luxury to handle. We feel that its broad page, noble type, worthy paper, and cover, suggesting reticence and dignity, are, in a way, a tribute to England's Shakespere. Mr. Osborne Brigstocke has done his work of editing with scholarly care, research, and insight. For ourselves, we have an objection to notes and prefer to stumble, even lamely, through the text. But a single page of these notes convicts us. Every one of them contains a little new light, and Shakespere deserves more than casual reading. This, for example, " 'good faith, across'--not a brilliant retort. The metaphor is taken from the tournaments; it was considered shameful to break a lance across your oponent." The introduction is an exhaustive and at the same time a very interesting piece of work, with the little touches of personal preference and appreciation which give life to criticism. We agree with Mr. Brigstocke in thinking the plot of All's Well that Ends Well somewhat revolting. That, however, is not the business of the editor; and the value of such a critical edition is, that it brings out the poetic beauties and the charming touches of character in one of the less attractive plays.

Babies' Classics, chosen by Lilia Scott-Macdonald [George Macdonald's daughter; see image] (Longmans, 4/6). Here we have a children's book after our own heart. The Babies Classics, chosen by Miss Lilia Scott-Macdonald, include--Blake's The Lamb, The Chimney Sweeper, and The Little Black Boy, Shakespeare's Where the Bee Sucks; The Cow, The Daisies, and some others by the Taylor Sisters, Coleridge's Do you ask what the Birds say? Herbert's paraphrase of the Twenty-Third Psalm, Bunyan's "He that is down, need fear no fall" and many more, too many to name; but there is not one thing in the whole collection that the child-lover would wish away. "Some of the poems chosen," says Mrs. Troup, who writes the preface, "may seem to the critic children's classics perhaps, but hardly babies' classics; but yet, in actual experience, more than one of those which might be judged the least childish, have been learned and loved by children who had not passed beyond the last limit of babyhood." We entirely agree with Mrs. Troup: a baby's mind is not to be measured in a thimble and it is not the babies but their elders and betters who prefer twaddle. Mr. Arthur Hughes' poetic and graceful illustrations are exactly right, always beautiful and never commonplace. The charming little heading to The Bee would delight children though there are no figures in it and nobody is doing anything; but children would love to discern or guess the flowers in the garden about which the bees are swarming. The head and tail of pieces of "I once had a sweet little doll, dears," are triumphs of imagination. We hope this charming book with its bountiful page will find its way into many nurseries. [This appears to have been reprinted as "Classic Poems for Children: Selected by George MacDonald's Daughter, Lilia Scott MacDonald."]

The Work of the Prophets, by R. [Rose] Selfe (Longmans, 2/6). An admirable and much needed little book. The author of How Dante climbed the Mountain is precisely the person to handle the roll of the prophets and give in simple and direct language some notion of the personality of each and a key to his teaching. We have ascertained that children enjoy The Work of the Prophets. The illustrations are valuable and beautiful.

Frederick the Great and the Rise of Prussia, by W. F. [William Fiddian] Reddaway (Putname, 5/-). We are grateful to Mr. Reddaway for this admirable contribution to the Heroes of the Nation Series. The work is the outcome of very wide, if not quite exhaustive research, and we get, what is practically the key to European politics in the 18th century, some intimacy with Frederick as a person. We are taught by a modern school of history to disregard persons as being the mere accidents of their times. Mr. Reddaway seems to us to hold a juster view, that a great man is the expression and, to some extent, the maker of the age in which he lives. But does Frederick deserve the title of The Great? This is the question to which the author addresses himself at the close of a very interesting and able volume. He ascribes to him greatness, if it be greatness, of the lesser order, as a diplomat, a tactician, for example; but he rightly balances Frederick's powers and his performance. Of his powers, the estimate is that his energy alone is truly great; that "his energy was such that to him few achievements were impossible. If we turn from his powers to his performance, we find his name associated with three great phenomena of history," the greatest of these being the aggrandisement of Prussia. It would hardly be possible to write a dull book in which Frederick, Maria Theresa and Voltaire figure largely, and about a period, among the incidents in which are the rise of Prussia and the Seven Years War; and Mr. Reddaway is always interesting and generally illuminating. The illustrations, maps, etc., are admirable. We wish there had been a fuller table of contents.

De Tocqueville's L'Ancien Regime, edited by G. W. Headlam (Oxford Press, 6/-). Mr. Headlam's edition of de Tocqueville's great book is a valuable posession. The editor is worthy of the task he has undertaken; he appreciates the fine veractiy, originality, and sincerity of his author; the splendid patience with which the materials for de Tocqueville's great work were accumulated, always from first-hand sources (he learnt German, for example, that he might avail himself of state papers preserved in the archives of Germany), the brilliancy of his style and the singgleness of his aim. Mr. Headlam's introduction is an admirable help in understanding his author. L'Ancien Regime is one of the few great books that cannot be either repeated or dispensed with; perhaps it is not too much to say that no one can appreciate the force and the impotence of the French Revolution, nor understand its value as the key to modern history, without having read M. de Tocqueville's great book. By the way it is rather tiresome to read of him as 'Tocqueville,' and it is always slightly vexatious to have English headings to French pages; otherwise the get-up of the book, type, paper, binding, is as good as we expect, with reason, from the Clarendon Press.

Chaucer, by the Rev. W. [William] Tuckwell (Bells' Great Writer Series, 1/-). Our age may, or may not, be great in production, but in criticism, especially in the sort of interpretive criticism, which is not meant to display the errudition of the critic, but to make the great masters, whether they be poets or painters, understanded of the common people--in this line of work we have, without doubt, made our record. Mr. Tuckwell's truly delightful little book about Chaucer is a case in point. Much erudition is brought to bear, but in such a masterly way that the reader feels himself on familiar ground. The chapter headed Guide to Reading Chaucer is a triumph of masterly simplicity; every page has some illuminating touch; and Chaucer should be no longer a sealed book to any of his fellow-countrymen who know how to read, and who possess Mr. Tuckwell's admirable little key.

Mothers and their Reponsibilities, by M. E. Bailward (Longmans, 2/6). A capital little book written for the Mothers' Union and therefore the Church-women; but altogether sensible, practical, liberal, and sound in the practical advice upon general principles. The subjects treated of are:--The Mother, The Baby, Little Children (two to twelve), Youth, Married Life, Parentage.

A Teacher's Handbook of Moral Lessons, by A. J. Waldegrave (Swan, Sonnenschien, 1/6). This little book, published by the Moral instruction League, appears to be designed to help teachers to carry out the truly admirable hints on moral training contained in the introduction to the Education Code, 1904. It contains oral lessons upon habits, manners, justice, truthfulness and various other matters. It has many hints which shoudl be useful, and, perhaps, a few inspiring ideas, but no sanctions and no compelling motive. Still perhaps any help to give children moral ideas should be welcomed.

Infant Schools, their History and Theory, by D. Salmon and W. Hindsaw (Longmans, 4/6). A well-written and temperate text-book of Froebelian theory and practice. That we are not in sympathy with the author's point of view, the following passage will sufficiently indicate:--"If we regard the Self as a body of conscious experiences held together by memory and distinguished from the ouside world, or the Not-Self, by what has been called their special 'warmth and intimacy,' it is evident that the realisation of Self must be of very gradual growth." We hold, on the contrary, that the Self is there to begin with and that the work the child has to accomplish is that of accommodation to new and ever-changing conditions and of obtaining a serviceable knowledge of those conditions. Ideas are like rivers, a difference of direction at the start affects the whole course, and, for this reason, we have little in common with a volume which is good from the standpoint of its authors.

Typed by Natalie Williamson, Jan. 2024; Proofread by LNL, June 2024