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Our space will not permit us to examine the later plays of Ibsen individually. They are variations and amplifications along the lines. already indicated. It is these later dramas which have made Ibsen's name familiar in America as well as Europe. Their order is as follows: "The Young Men's League" (1869), "Pillars of Society" (1877), (1877), The Doll's House" (1879), "Spectres (1881), "An Enemy of Society" (1882), "The Wild Duck" (1884), "Rosmersholm " (1886), and "The Lady from the Sea" (1888).
"The Doll's House" is one of the strongest plays that Ibsen has produced. In the way of character-painting, and artful and artistic handling of the situations, he has done nothing better. It is a pity that we could not have had "The Enemy of Society," with its strong autobiographic suggestiveness, first; but there is no more characteristic play upon the list, nor one more indicative of the author's mind and power if only it be read with fairness and appreciation,—than the one selected. The heroine of "The Doll's House" is its light-hearted pretty little mistress, Nora Helmer. She has been eight years the wife of Torvald Helmer, and is the mother of three bright vigorous children. She is her husband's doll. Torvald Helmer calls her his little lark, his squirrel, provides for her every fancy, hugely enjoys her charms of person, forgets that she has a soul -and is sure he loves her most devotedly. Nora has always been a child; her father, a man of easy conscience, has brought her up entirely unsophisticated. She knows nothing of the serious side of life,-of its privileges, its real opportunities, nothing of the duties. of the individual in a world of action. Nora is passive, she submits to be fondled and kissed. She is happy in her "doll-house," and apparently knows nothing outside her home, her husband, and her children. Nora loves her family with an ideal love. Love, in her thought, is an affection which has a right to demand sacrifices; and in turn is willing to offer up its own treasures, whether life, honor, or even its soul, be the stake. She is not merely ready for such a sacrifice-poor sentimental Nora!she has already, though in part ignorantly, made it, and has committed a crime to save her husband's life.
There is much machinery to carry on the plot; but in spite of the abstract nature of the theme, the episodes are so dramatic and the dialogue so brisk and natural that the drama moves without perceptible jar, and our interest
intensifies and the suspense increases until the dénouement occurs. Herein lies the secret of the success of this and all the other of Ibsen's kindred dramas. Along with the poet's insight and the cold clear logic of the philosopher, he possesses in an eminent degree the secret of the playwright's art, and knows well how to clothe his abstract dialogue on themes philosophical or psyschological, so that the observer follows every incident and every word with an interest that grows more and more in
It is impossible to tell all of Nora's story here. Miss Lord's translation will do that best, if only curiosity may be aroused concerning it. Suffice it to say that the catastrophe falls in a situation characteristically dramatic. The curtain descends just as Nora, the wife and mother, turns her back upon husband and children, and passes, by her own free choice, nay, in accord with her relentless insistence, out from her doll-home into the night, andwhither? This is the question that all the hosts of Ibsen's censors are repeating. Whither? And did she do right to leave her children and her husband? And what a revolutionary old firebrand Ibsen must be to teach such a moral, and proclaim the doctrine that all those unfortunate mismated women who find themselves bound to unsympathetic lords may, and should, turn their back on the home and abandon their offspring to the mercies of strangers! But alack! this isn't the moral of Nora Helmer's story. It was the doll-marriage and the relation between Torvald Helmer and his doll-wife that was at fault. Nora's abandonment was an accidental, though a necessary, episode. It is the dénouement of the play, to be sure; but the end is not yet. There is an epilogue as well as a prologue to the drama, though both are left to the reader's imagination to perfect. "A hope inspires" Helmer as he hears the door close after Nora's departure; and he whisperingly repeats her words" the greatest of all miracles!"
This particular phase of wedded life-and perhaps it is becoming not so very infrequent a phase even on this side the water-is a problem which confronts us in society. Is this your idea of marriage? demands Ibsen. Is it a marriage at all? No; he declares bluntly. It is a cohabitation; it is a partnership in sensuality in which one of the parties is an innocent, it may be an unconscious, victim.
Nora goes forth, but we feel she will one day return ; her children will bring her back. Nei
ther she nor Torvald could have learned the bitter lesson had Nora remained at home. It is the wife at last who makes the sacrifice. How strange it is that so many of the critics fail to see that Nora's act is not selfishness after all There is promise of a splendid womanliness in that "emancipated individuality" that Ibsen's enemies are ridiculing. There will be an ideal home after the mutual chastening is accomplished: an ideal home-not ideal - not ideal people necessarily, but a home, a family, where there is complete community, a perfect love. W. E. SIMONDS.
RECENT SOCIAL AND POLITICAL
Every active period is critical. Our own period is preeminently active and preeminently critical. Earnest and intelligent men feel that issues for extended good or evil are being rapidly made up with us in the history of republican society and free government. The dangers are imminent. Political corruption, a grossly unequal distribution of wealth, an increase of the vicious and the thriftless, race prejudices, the tyranny of an iniquitous traffic over the public conscience, offer an accumulation of malign powers of the most formidable character. There is one fact which brightens the sky through all the clouds. Never was evil more distinctly seen or more boldly confronted than now. Discussion and action follow fast on each other.
Of the eleven books on our list, one is a
INSTITUTES OF ECONOMICS. By Elisha Benjamin Andrews, D.D., LL.D. Boston: Silver, Burdett & Co. THE INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS OF THE NATION. By Edward Atkinson, LL.D., Ph.D. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
SUBJECTS OF SOCIAL WELFARE. By the Right Hon. Sir Lyon Playfair, K.C.B., M.P., LL.D., Ph.D., F.R.S. New York: Cassell & Co.
SOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY, and Other Essays. By Richard T. Ely, Ph.D. New York: Thos. Y. Crowell & Co. PROBLEMS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY. By Joseph Henry Crooker. Boston: George H. Ellis.
THE LAND AND THE COMMUNITY. By the Rev. S. W. Thackeray, M.A., LL.D., Trin. Coll. Cantab. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
INVOLUNTARY IDLENESS. Labor and Its Products. By Hugo Bilgram. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company.
AN APPEAL TO PHARAOH. The Negro Problem, and Its Radical Solution. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert.
THE POLITICAL PROBLEM. By Albert Stickney. New York: Harper & Brothers.
MONOPOLIES AND THE PEOPLE. By Chas. W. Baker, C.E. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
THE PUBLIC REGULATION OF RAILWAYS. By W. D. Dabney. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
re-discussion of the most immediately influential branch of sociology-economics; four are works which treat, each of them, of a variety of social questions; while six deal exclusively with some one problem in our national life.
The Institutes of Economics" has two main motives, as stated by the author: to furnish a brief text-book, giving more play than most treatises to the teacher and the taught in the recitation-room; and to handle the topics in a less detached form, with a deeper sense of their relation to sociology. President Andrews is thoroughly able and full of industry. What he does is always worthy of consideration. The method of treatment pursued by him has important gains and also serious losses. Such a book vindicates itself in the hands of a vigorous teacher, but is too much of the nature of a skeleton to be perused with much pleasure by the general reader. The work is full of material, but has precisely the opposite effect, with the reader simply, from what it was intended to have, and would have, in the hands of an instructor full of vitality, that of wearying the mind with too many important truths, none of them sufficiently expanded to impress the thoughts. It is a book that is not only capable of yielding itself easily to the work of a teacher, it is excellent as a concise volume of reference and suggestion. The ground that President Andrews occupies lies intermediate between
the catholic and conservative school of economics and the progressive and ethical one. He believes, on the one hand, in "certain general laws of absolute and universal validity "; and on the other, in "the rightfulness of public intervention," resting on sufficient reasons. The sociological cast of the book lies chiefly in its historic material, and in a recognition of the many modifying conditions of economic
The book of Dr. Atkinson, on "The Industrial Progress of the Nation," with its compact octavo page, is voluminous. It is occupied almost wholly with Production, or with closely related questions; but its discussions attach chief importance to the general prosperity of the citizen. The work is a series of studies in sociology quite as much as in economics. About two-thirds of the volume has appeared previously, chiefly as articles in "The Century" and in "The Forum." The student in sociology cannot afford to neglect the labors of Dr. Atkinson. They receive form under so large a knowledge of affairs, and with so extensive an inquiry into facts, as to give them much prac
tical interest, putting needed restraint on speculation, and on the fears and the hopes which arise from the contemplation of special causes. There is a large amount of healthful optimism in these investigations. Many correcting influences are discovered in existing evils under appearances which disguise them. Though Dr. Atkinson is sometimes obscure and tedious from diffuseness, he has done an important work. We trust his favoring estimates are more correct than we sometimes fear they are.
"Subjects of Social Welfare" is composed chiefly of addresses given on a variety of occasions by Professor Playfair. These addresses are pleasing, persuasive, and profoundly animated by some cogent purpose touching the general weal. They pertain chiefly to health, education, and economics. Though the discussions stand in immediate connection with the wants of England and Scotland, they have sufficient breadth to be of general interest. They are sustained by an extended knowledge of facts within the field under consideration. While urging progress, they are restrained in temper. These discourses mark advantageously the points of influence of one who well represents a most intelligent and serviceable class of educated men, men who are the real strength of the community to which they belong.
Professor Richard T. Ely, of Johns Hopkins University, has gained, by a variety of recent publications, very considerable influence in practical social questions. The result is fortunate. Though he is far from conservative, he is controlled by wide sympathies and a deep interest in the facts involved. His writings are very aidful in securing a more extended, intelligent, and patriotic attention to the social topics covered by them. The volume on "Social Aspects of Christianity" presents a brief but very earnest discussion of the duties of the church to society. In common with most men of an ardent and philanthropic temper, he thinks these obligations but very partially met. We thoroughly sympathise with the spirit and motive of this endeavor to redirect the religious devotion of the world to the furtherance of helpfulness and fellowship among men. Professor Ely is evidently full of belief, but of belief which attaches itself primarily to the words and works of Christ. The book contains also a brief discussion of Philanthropy and of Ethics and Economics. Professor Ely thinks ethical and economical questions are inseparably interlaced; nor is it easy for one who regards
sociology as the fortunate construction of society, as the comprehensive science of humanity, to feel otherwise.
"Problems in American Society," by the Rev. J. H. Crooker, is a work wrought out in a somewhat less ardent and more conservative temper, but is none the less inspired by a thoughtful and earnest desire for social progress. The subjects discussed are: "The Student in American Life," "Scientific Charity,"
The Temperance Problem," "The Political Conscience," "Biblical Instruction in Public Schools," Religious Destitution of Villages." All are handled in a clear and interesting way. The last two, "Public Schools" and "Villages," are particularly worthy of note. The criticism of the methods of religious instruction in villages is especially applicable in the Western States. It ought not to be difficult to bring some immediate improvement to the competitive and feeble efforts now made by the several religious denominations. The article on Temperance lays chief emphasis, as well it may, on the moral elements in the problem. It does not favor prohibition. Mr. Crooker, like many another good man, fails to appreciate at its full force the fact that the problem is also one of economics and of civics, each in a high degree. Hundreds of thousands of the weakest of those who have best right to claim the safety of law are left without any sufficient legal protection, because of the liquor traffic. Children, by the tens of thousands, are subjected to conditions worse than those which fall to savage life.
These four volumes are made up of essays and discourses that are now sent out on their second service to the community. This is an instructive lesson to the clergy, when a volume of sermons is rare in appearance, and still more rare in rendering aid to the public.
There are four additional volumes, each of which treats of a specific evil and offers for it a heroic remedy. The peculiarly bold speculative spirit with which social questions are handled is seen in the fact that an author portrays an evil, and brings forward his prescription, attaching but slight importance to the fact that the proposed action is quite one side from men's thoughts, and from anything they are likely to undertake. Our proposed social cures are often of a surgical character, in which we prepare to divide deep, cut boldly out the malign part, and close up the wound, as if society were already stretched on the clinical table on purpose to undergo our operations.
The authors of these remedies scarcely seem aware of the immense inertia which stands in the way of their proposals and is sufficient of itself to render them wholly nugatory. The first of the four volumes, "The Land and the Community," by S. W. Thackeray, an English clergyman, re-argues the land question from the point of view of Henry George. Mr. George furnishes a brief preface. The work treats of the historical circumstances under which the present tenure of land has arisen; of the infringement of the public rights involved in this tenure; of the right of the community to resume possession of its own; and of the gains that would follow on this resumption—to wit, free access to land, a better relation of classes, the removal of taxes, the removal of poverty. Those who desire to see the now familiar argument fairly well put, can find their wish met in this volume. Neither the author nor Henry George seems to understand that real progress is usually accompanied by many oppressive acts, and that men do not for that reason retrace their steps in a vain effort to correct the evils of a primitive movement. Progress lies by new ways, through new dangers, with new oppressions. No man's voice will ever be loud enough or strong enough to bid us successfully face about in our march.
The second volume, "Involuntary Idleness," by Hugo Bilgram, stands in suggestive contrast with the first volume. The remedy it proposes for essentially the same evil is not the abolition of rent but of interest. "An expansion of the volume of money by extending the issue of credit-money will prevent business stagnation and involuntary idleness." The book is to be commended for brevity. The obscurity of the style is in harmony with the impossible conclusion to which it would lead us.
The "Appeal to Pharaoh" treats of the Negro problem, and urges transportation as its only solution. The book is lucid, vigorous, interesting, and is intended to be perfectly judicial. It is as fair a presentation as can well be made by one who evidently shares the race prejudice, whose universal presence and force the work asserts. It is one of the saddest of books. Its dark colors are due to the sincerity of the author, and the hopeless view he gives of American character. We are so subject to the race prejudice, he thinks, as to be ready to override all righteousness, all good-will, and to secure our own comfort as a people under this blind aversion by an act so wicked and highhanded that it would follow our history to its last
syllable with the stern reprobation of heaven and humanity. If the facts are such, and only such, as are here presented, then there is very little sense of justice, and no reserve of righteousness, in us. The world would have very slight occasion to congratulate itself on any prosperity achieved by such a people in such a way. Yet it may, with much truth, be said that this one wrong would be better than those many injustices, little and large, with which we now meet this people at every turn. Have we, then, in ourselves only the possibility of one or the other great sin? The good taste of the author fails him when he brings the Bible into the discussion. Let us commit our national transgressions without dragging our sacred book in the dust behind us. If the author does not reckon with the righteousness of good men, neither does he with the unrighteousness of bad men. It will not be easy to awaken those whose interests are slight and remote to so great and so costly an undertaking.
"The Political Problem," by Albert Stickney, in a sharply-drawn and appreciative way presents the evils incident to our present form of politics. "It creates a privileged class; it bars the best men from the public service; it takes power out of the hands of the people; it destroys the political freedom of the citizen; it destroys the political freedom of the people; it destroys official responsibility; it corrupts our whole political life." The author implies not so much that these are all undeniable tendencies as that they are completed and final facts. He proposes an entire reconstruction of methods. methods. Business is to be ordered through a series of public assemblies, which shall be the organs for the formation and declaration of the popular judgment. These popular assemblies are to have supreme control. The proposal forgets several things which we can hardly overlook and make our theory of practical moment. It overlooks the fact, or sets light by it, that such a scheme is so far off from anything with which we are historically united as to put it beyond our reach; that the evils incident to our present method are not more the fruits of our system than they are of those who work the system; and that a new crop of misfortunes would begin inevitably to appear in this prolific soil under the new conditions. Wholesale progress is impossible in all worlds, physical and spiritual. Slight corrections, and many of them, are all we can reasonably look for.
The two remaining books belong to an ex
cellent kind, and well represent it. "Monopolies and the People" is full of information, but this is not its chief merit. I should be sorry to have the eye of anyone strike this brief notice without having his attention decisively directed to the work. It shows most distinctly how inapplicable the law of competition is to the later more close and active forms of business; how inevitably the severe and drastic character of the law leads those who would not themselves be destroyed by it to escape it through combination, in itself capable of securing a more peaceable and proportionate method. The conclusion, then, is that the community should accept these pacificatory adjustments, and protect its own interest by making itself a party to them.
The other volume, "The Public Regulation of Railways," by W. D. Dabney, is written from direct and liberal knowledge; and gives, in a form clear and concise, a large amount of legal and considerable economic material touching the great question, What can be done, and should be done, with railroads? The author is cautious and conservative in his own opinions. The general impression which the facts in the case make is that railroad commissions -especially the Interstate Commerce Commission-call for more freedom of action. They should have the power to settle specific cases widely, in view of all the interests involved. We might thus hope to allay existing evils without occasioning new ones, and slowly to formulate safe and generally applicable principles of procedure. This work meets a specific want exceedingly well. JOHN BASCOM.
A MAN OF MANY FRIENDS.*
The intimate and appreciative companion of such diverse men as the mystic saint, Thomas Erskine; the devoted and catholic-minded prelate, Bishop Cotton of Calcutta; the quaint and mellow humorist, Dr. Brown of Edinburgh; the eloquent and brilliant preacher, Norman McLeod; the subtle and profound divine, John McLeod Campbell; the serene, gentle, and selfless spirit, John Mackintosh of Geddes, and the brooding scholar-poet, Arthur Hugh Clough, can have been himself no common person. He had other friends not commemorated in this volume, among the dead,
*PORTRAITS OF FRIENDS. By John Campbell Shairp. With a Sketch of Principal Shairp by William Young Sellars, and an Etched Portrait. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
Dean Stanley and Matthew Arnold; among the living, Professor Jowett and Chief-Justice Coleridge and Bishop Temple. It is trite to say that a man is known by his company, and it is not always true. it is not always true. Men are strangely huddled together sometimes by accident, and strong intellects rest themselves in queer associations. Great poets and humorists and men of letters lay down their genius and find comfortable companionship in dull and commonplace society. When you ask their insufficient comrades to weigh and measure those whose hours of relaxation they have shared, you find at once that they have never met on equal terms; that they have never really seen the man whom the world reverences; that they have no light to throw upon his personality; that they were admitted only to a single homely or shabby corner of him; that he lounged indeed on their sofas, and yawned in their hammocks, and climbed mountains and sailed seas with them, but always left the upper part of him ashore when he boarded the yacht, at home when he took up the alpen-stock, somewhere outside as he smoked their cigars and drank their wine and ate their dinners. Only a person of some kindred calibre is able to measure the man of the higher sort, however often he may be thrown into relation with him. No one can paint a portrait very much above his own level. The artist is, after all, the chief limitation upon his art. He puts into his picture a good deal of his sitter, but a good deal more of himself. Could Quasimodo conceive a faultless Apollo? Would there not be hint of hump or crook or misfeature somewhere? The man who is many-sided enough to catch the lights and shadows of such varied figures as Erskine and Campbell and Brown and Cotton and Clough must himself have been, if not in all respects their equal, at least altogether of their kind, their fitting mate and natural interpreter.
Principal Shairp had a genius for friendship, was a lover of his fellow-men, not in any vague philanthropic fashion, but with an alert interest and sympathy for individuals. His heart, always open to a true man, found not a few worthy of entering it. It was said of a certain clever contemporary, by one who knew him in his youth, that he could not go down to the front gate without meeting a lion, so happy and adventurous were his chance encounters. It would seem true of Principal Shairp that he could not enter any company without finding a friend. He had a remarka