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REVIEWS OF BOOKS
GENERAL BOOKS AND BOOKS OF ANCIENT HISTORY
A History of All Nations from the Earliest Times. General Editor,
John HENRY WRIGHT, LL.D., Professor in Harvard University. Volumes I. and II. (Philadelphia: Lea Brothers and Company. 1905. Pp. xviii, 353; ix, 370).
The general title-page names as authors of the work Charles M. Andrews, John Fiske, Theodor Flathe, G. F. Hertzberg, F. Justi, J. von Pflugk-Harttung, M. Philippson, Hans Prutz, F. Wells Williams; the general editor is Professor John Henry Wright, of Harvard University. The work consists of twenty-four volumes: five on Antiquity, five on the Middle Ages, ten on the Modern History of the Old World, three on the two Americas, and one an index-volume to the whole. The preface states that Vols. I.-XIX. are a carefully edited translation of the Allgemeine Weltgeschichte, slightly condensed, with additions; an additional volume, by American scholars, brings the history of the Old World down to the present century, and three other volumes, by Fiske and Stephens, deal with the Western Hemisphere. The title of Vol. I. is ' Egypt and Western Asia in Antiquity, by F. Justi, Sara Y. Stevenson, and Morris Jastrow;' that of Vol. II. is ‘Central and Eastern Asia in Antiquity, by F. Justi, F. W. Williams, M. Jastrow, and A. V. Williams Jackson.' The form is royal octavo. The editor, aided by Mr. G. W. Robinson, has read and revised manuscript and proofs of all the translated volumes, and has prepared analytical tables of contents for all the volumes. The whole is profusely illustrated.
The plan of the work is to give not a collection of monographs on the various nations, but a picture of the social and intellectual progress of the civilized world viewed as a community of peoples; the history is regarded as a drama in which each nation comes on the stage and acts its part at the appropriate time. Thus in Vols. I. and II. we have first the early history of Egypt and Babylonia, then the relations of these nations with each other, with Syria, Assyria and Israel, and later with Persia; India and China, however, stand apart, and of the history of Japan at this time nothing is known. Special attention is paid in these volumes to the results of recent excavations and to art and religion. An excellent introductory chapter on “prehistoric Egypt" is contributed by Mrs. Stevenson, Curator of the Egyptian Section in the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania; a brief account is given of the efforts to penetrate into the pre-dynastic period, and the opinion is expressed that the historical development was continuous, that King Mena (now known to be an historical person), though he represents a new starting-point of organization, was preceded by a long period of civilization, there being no cultural break between him and the time before him. The view, here favored, that the Egyptian language and civilization were not derived from Asia is probably correct. Various reconstruction theories, set forth by Petrie and others, are mentioned; but none of these can be regarded as more than hypotheses to be tested by future discoveries. In the succeeding accounts of Egypt, Babylonia, Syria, Assyria, the Hittites, the Israelites, the early Persians, the Parthians and the Sassanians, the narrative, though compressed, is clear, and historical verity is in general successfully kept apart from conjecture. In the early Hebrew history (down to the middle of the ninth century) there has been substituted for the German original a well-considered statement, in two chapters, by Professor Steenstra of the Cambridge Episcopal Theological School, a careful construction of the Biblical material in the light of sound modern investigation; and he has also contributed a chapter on the history of Hebrew literature, which is at the same time a sketch of the historical development of the Old Testament religion. It were greatly to be desired that the historical method might be employed more strictly in the description of the religions of Egypt and Babylonia, which in'this work consist too largely of strings of names without a clear statement of the conditions that brought about successive modifications of the cults. The term esoteric” used of the teaching of the Egyptian priests (I. 44, 50) may be misleading: it does not seem likely that they meant to conceal the higher religious thought from the people, since the hymns .containing this thought were accessible to the public. The account of the Zoroastrian religion is good, though it is an exaggeration to say (II. 182) that it was superior to the religions of other ancient peoples. Two chapters, by Professor Williams of Yale, give brief sketches of China and Japan; he is disposed to put the beginnings of Chinese civilization as far back as the year 3000 B. C., though the early history is involved in obscurity. Japanese recognizable history begins, he thinks, hardly earlier than 1500 years ago. two volumes constitute a much-needed guide in the study of ancient history that both the general reader and the specialist may consult with profit. A few slips are corrected by the editor in footnotes.
Moderne Geschichtswissenschaft: Fünf Vorträge. Von KARL
LAMPRECHT, Professor an der Universität Leipzig. (Freiburg
im Breisgau: Hermann Heyfelder. 1905. Pp. 130.) What is History: Five Lectures on the Modern Science of History.
By KARL LAMPRECHT, Professor of History in the University of Leipzig. Translated from the German by E. A. Andrews. (New York: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan and Company. 1905. Pp. viii, 227.)
PROFESSOR LAMPRECHT has made his visit to America to lecture at St. Louis and at Columbia University the occasion of publishing the most interesting and most important of his works on historical method. His earlier productions in this field have been introductory in form. To be sure they deal with very fundamental questions of the scientific investigation and interpretation of history, and contain much that is new; but in the main they have been written from the standpoint of destructive criticism, or go to establish a general scientific basis for his distinctly original contributions to historical method. With the ground well cleared, and separated by the Atlantic from polemical environment, Professor Lamprecht could develop his method positively and constructively.
The lectures are before us in two editions, the German original and an English translation. Before considering their subject matter it will be well to measure the accuracy and success of the translation. Anyone who has worked through Lamprecht's earlier essays on historical method does not need to be told that the difficulties which have confronted the translator are appalling. We have borrowed our historical method from Germany so utterly that an English terminology does not exist. He is confronted at once, for instance, by “Kulturgeschichte ". How shall it be translated ? Culture history” is a barbarism, and “history of civilization ” with its inheritance of bric-à-brac is an absurdity. What is the translator to do, then, with the indispensable adjective " kulturgeschichtlich ”,—to say nothing of more difficult terms ?
The translation inevitably suffers from such conditions. In spite of them it gives us a rendering which is clear, readable, and reliable for sense, and which is a useful contribution toward an English terminology of the subject. Many inexcusable inaccuracies in detail occur, however. Thus: “because there is a pleasure which consists largely of pain, bitter-sweet feelings; e. g. the sensation of greenish-yellow, etc.” (p. 124), is not a satisfactory translation of:—“ denn es gibt eine Lust, die mit Unlust gemischt ist, ein Bitter-Süsses z. B. oder die Empfindung eines Grün-Gelben usw.” (p. 70). The vacillation in choice of words, which is noticeable here and there, is usually due to the search for an equivalent which does not exist,—as when “Reizsamkeit " is translated “excitability” on p. 101, is given in the original on p. 102, and is translated “sensitivity” on p. 138. The most serious
error is the confusion, several times in the second lecture, of the terms symbolical and typical. These defects are not serious enough, however, to keep anyone from the translation. It will give a clear idea of the principles of Lamprecht's method; for thorough and detailed knowledge we must go,-rather more than usual,—to the original.
The first of the five lectures in the volume,—the one delivered at St. Louis,—begins with the sentence:-“ The modern science of history is primarily a social-psychological science",—that is social in distinction to individual. The two schools of history which are thus indicated belong, really, to different stages of intellectual development. From its beginning in the imaginative epic and the realistic genealogy history has progressed with civilization. In the eighteenth century,-in accord with the prevailing mode of thought,-each series of events was considered to be the manifestation of an “idea” which was made effective by great individuals. Later these “ideas ” were regarded as transcendental, as in Ranke's works.
Meanwhile, however, social-psychic phenomena were attracting attention. Herder introduced the concept of the “folk soul", and a new interpretation of history arose,—the descriptive history of civilization. This disappeared with the ending of the first period of subjectivism. When subjectivism began to dominate again, about 1870, psychology, economics, ethnology, etc. had established themselves, and with their help, and as a part of the same movement, a new and more penetrating social-psychic interpretation of history appeared, i. e., culture-history. Burckhardt began the analysis of psychic conditions by dividing the Middle Ages from modern times, a division generally recognized by the individualistic school, although, with that inconsistency which constitutes its chief charm for many minds, it generally denies the possibility of a systematic extension of the method. Lamprecht is the first who has worked out logically and applied systematically the principles of the social-psychic method.
The first three Columbia lectures deal with the system of cultureperiods, Lamprecht's great contribution to historical method. In the first he gives a sketch of German history in order to describe the characteristics of the periods and the manner of transition from one to another. In the second he treats more fully the present, subjectivistic, period in order to show more clearly the character and mechanism of the transitions and periods. And in the third he makes a general application of the principles which have been brought out in the review of German history.
This description and analysis of the most essential part of the Lamprecht method is the most thorough and at the same time the most concrete that we have. It shows, moreover, a careful reworking of his scheme since it was first applied and some modification in consequence. The period of conventionalism, the later Middle Ages, he now regards as a subordinate transition-period, rather than as a fully independent period, like the preceding typical, or the succeeding individualistic. Similarly the subjectivistic period is divided into an earlier and a later, which are separated by a reaction.
The underlying principles of these periods may be briefly indicated. In every period there comes, eventually, a time when new stimuli appear, economic, intellectual, etc. No one can escape them, they rule the age with constantly increasing power. The result is a dissociation with the dominant of the existing period, which brings in its train great psychic confusion and even suffering. But gradually men come under the control of a new dominant, and finally a new period, different in quality and breadth, takes the place of the old. The transition and the period are both primarily social-psychic, and the dominant is an active force,-not a passive expression of individual acts. This determines at once the position of the individual. He is dominated by the transition and by the period. Within them he enjoys freedom; but he cannot pass their bounds. An illustration is furnished in the imperfect success of the constant effort of historians to free themselves from the dominant of their time in order to understand the past. The true task of history is to study these periods and their transitions in the important social groups,-especially the nations, the most fundamental of all.
The concluding lecture is devoted to the problem of universal history. Nations are not isolated, they are osmotic, to borrow a term from natural science. The relation may be a specific renaissance of the culture of a past nation, a specific reception of culture from a contemporary nation, or a more truly osmotic interchange from day to day. This foreign culture may furnish stimuli, etc.; but to be effective there must not be too great a difference in the psychic level of the nations concerned. The change of the dominant may thus be helped or hastened from without; but it can really come only from within the nation itself. To trace the culture-relations of nations is the problem of universal history.
The scientific principles of the culture-history method are but those which have given, not alone to natural science, but also to economics, ethnology, the history of art and literature, and the other sciences of man, their great success in the latter part of the nineteenth century. What is history? or, rather, Where is history?
Asa CURRIER TILTON.
The Early History of India from 600 B. C. to the Muhammadan
Conquest, including the Invasion of Alexander the Great. By VINCENT A. SMITH, M.A. (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1904. Pp. vi, 389.)
In the brief space at my disposal it is difficult to speak in an adequate fashion of the merits of this book. The first point that should be emphasized is, that Mr. Smith is a pioneer and one attempting a task that has frequently been pronounced impossible. The second point is that