Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  9 (1884–85), 486–93.

Editor's Literary Record



Regular Feature, Review

Publications reviewed:

Thompson 1884 Allen 1884


Physiological Psychology, Soul, Comparative Philology, Imagination, Science Fiction, Popularization

    Warns that Daniel G Thompson 'professes himself the pupil and follower of Mr. Mill, of Mr. Herbert Spencer, and of Professor Bain', and readers 'cannot therefore expect from him such lessons as were taught by Hegelian tutors of old, nor a fond adherence to Aristotle's treatise, De Animâ' (490). Complains that Thompson's views on the origins of language are not tested by the 'comparison of civilised and savage tongues', and that he 'decorates his theme with a very curious set of quotations from authors of extremely diverse dates and qualities'. Concludes that the book will not be particularly welcomed 'even by the unscientific reader'. (491) Proclaims that Grant Allen has 'plenty of the scientific imagination, which he can divert at will into the paths of romance' (491–92), and he 'has, in fiction, a field of his own, the romance of science'. Advises that 'it would be worth his while to make himself still more accomplished in this art, and, perhaps, to take himself and his work in this kind more seriously. His wide knowledge of strange lore and of many lands must enable him to conceive crowds of perfectly new situations [...]; this is better than popular treatise on the domestic snail, and the evolutions of the black beetle. Many men can write these, better or worse. Only one could write John Creedy [one of the tales in the volume under review]'. (492)

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