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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

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


Volume 1, 1890/91, pg. 75


Much pressing matter for our first issues almost excludes from this number the notices of books to which we are pledged; meanwhile, a word as to the sorts of books we propose to notice. We must be allowed to be a law unto ourselves in our judgment as to what makes for education, in books, new and old. Very commonly, we shall omit to notice obviously valuable works, for the sufficient reason that they are already well-known; while we hope to unearth, or remind our readers of other works, likely to be forgotten in the rush of new publications, which should yet help in the formation of character, -- the essential function of education. Here, again we invite co-operation. Our aim of the Parents Review is, as has been well said, "to make private interests communal" and we shall gladly give, say, half a page, to a book which the reviewer considers has had an appreciable influence for good upon his own character, or upon the characters of his children. The range is wide; from, -- to draw a bow at a venture -- Struwwelpeter, to the "Memorials of Caroline Fox" but the whole legion of compendiums, abstracts, and epitomes is excluded. "We must draw the line somewhere," it is true; but the limitation we adopt is not arbitrary. The book which is to have a modifying effect upon character must be "touched with emotion," and emotion is an evanescent quality, not apt to survive hydraulic pressure. Our line cuts with as much nicety through the mass of scientific as of purely literary works. That must be a dull soul who can read Darwin, or Lubbock, or Huxley, Arabella Buckley, or Doctor Taylor, without any kindling of the enthusiasm of Nature. But does Natural Science never speak to the young student with a voice like a rattling of dry bones? one other limitation -- books proper to the school curriculum do not fall within our province.

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"Canst thou deny it? Did not goodwife Keech, the butcher's wife, come in then, and call me gossip Quickly? -- coming in to borrow a mess of vinegar; telling me she had a good dish of prawns-- whereby thou didst desire to eat some -- whereby I told thee they were ill for a green wound," &c., &c., Mrs. Quickly -- peace be with her-- still runs apace in drawing-room and market, from pulpit and platform. Her themes are many, but her method is one. It is at home she has been trained; in the delightful unrestrained of home talk she has acquired her facility. But Mrs. Quickly must be suppressed: we can not more of her. It is she who is the sower of faction -- the propagator of error. It is her inconsequent "thought," irrelevant speech, invincible ignorance, her utterly unconvincable attitude of mind, that rises like a huge earthwork in the path of enlightened effort. In this connection it is well worth while for parents to study at least two chapters -- those on Language and Conceptions -- of Archbishop Thomson's Outline of the Laws of Thought. it is profitable to know that there are laws of thought, the infringement of which is calamitous both for the individual and the community.



Typed by Mary Frances, August 2015