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be of the Egyptian than the Gothic architecture, — have more the form of the pyramid than the cathedral, and rather boast of the breadth of its base than of the number and elevation of its spires.
4.- The Knickerbocker, or Nou York Magazine, for October,
The October number of this Magazine treats us rudely and wrongly. We are sorry for it, for we like both editor and work. The matter of animadversion is the review of Glass's “ Life of Washington," in the 92d Number of our journal.
We need not trouble ourselves with the fling at the " "young gentleman who perpetrates the classical articles in the North American,” any further than to say that it involves a two-fold mistake. We obtain our contributions in that department from various sources, and the author of the article in question is not a youth.
The writer of the notice in the Knickerbocker says, that the beauties of Glass's history are not “even so much as hinted at," in our review. We, however, expressly said, that Glass “is often happy in the choice of words and phrases,” and mentioned
terseness and strength” as characteristic of portions of his work.
The writer goes on to complain, that “no merit whatever is ascribed to the fact of the author's having written his work at a distance from all those aids to composition, with which others are so abundantly supplied.”. What is meant by ascribing merit to the fact here stated, we do but indistinctly apprehend; but certain it is, that we took care to specify the want of the “ necessary helps ” to writing Latin, as one of the difficulties with which Glass had to struggle; and we clearly alluded to this want as one of the circumstances which “disarm criticism,” in judging of the work.
The reviewer spoke of the writings of Cato, Varro, and Lucceius, as voluminous.” This, especially in reference to Lucceius, the writer in the Knickerbocker considers as a grievous error. If, however, any one will read Cicero's celebrated letter to Lucceius, the twelfth of the fifth book of the familiar letters, he will find that this epithet, even in the case of Lucceius, was properly applied. That the writings of these three authors were equally voluminous, is neither asserted by the reviewer, nor is it implied in his language. The author of the notice supposes, that the reviewer must have been ignorant that any of the works of Cato and Varro have come down to our time; and the prin
cipal reason of his belief is, that the reviewer has classed these two authors with Lucceius, of whom “ no writings whatever” remain. This reason, which in the opinion of the writer is so conclusive, is, however, entirely a fiction of his own. The fourteenth letter of the book of Cicero's letters, referred to above, is ascribed to Lucceius, and its authenticity is now probably for the first time denied. The important inference, therefore, fails.
These authors were mentioned together, because a very small part of their writings is now extant, and they are less generally known as authors, than some of those whose names immediately followed.
The writer of the notice proceeds; “ The reviewer makes mention also of the lost comedies of Plautus and Terence, and thinks, that if we had them, not only the vocabulary of the Latin language, but its compass of expression would be greatly enlarged.” He then says, “ that the genuine comedies of Plautus, as fixed by the Varronian canon, were only twenty-one in number, and that of these we have twenty remaining. Consequently but one is lost. What a wonderful play this lost one must have been," &c. Here is a misrepresentation, which would not have found its way into the work where it appears, except through some mishap. What the reviewer said was this. “ If the voluminous writings of Cato, Varro, and Lucceius, and the lost works of Cicero, Livy, Sallust, Cæsar, Tacitus, Pliny, and of the numerous orators mentioned by Cicero and Tacitus, had been preserved ; and if we now possessed the lost comedies of Plautus and Terence, and the innumerable dramatic works, which appeared in Rome, from the time of Plautus to the commencement of the decline of the Latin language, no doubt the vocabulary, as well as the compass of expression, would be enlarged." The writer, as may be seen above, has on his own responsibility inserted the word “greatly" before the word “enlarged”; an interpolation which was necessary in order to make his objection of any force. In addition to this, what must be the unscrupulousness of a writer, who would represent the reviewer as drawing his inference from Plautus and Terence only, when he had in fact drawn it from a long catalogue of authors ?
As to the number of the lost plays of Plautus and Terence, without entering on a discussion of the question, it may be sufficient to say, that this writer himself has admitted, that one play of Plautus is lost, and he might have added, that parts of others are likewise lost; and if he had consulted Professor Anthon, he might have ascertained, that “the most learned and intelligent critics” have differed very widely as to the number of the comedies of Plautus, which they have admitted to be genuine, and that Varro himself seems on some occasion to have assented to the authenticity of several dramas in addition to the twenty-one, which are usually styled Varronian. Crusius is quoted by the writer of the notice, as advancing the opinion, “that in all likelihood we have only lost above one or two of the dramas of
Terence.” This language is not the most intelligible; but it seems to be here admitted, that enough of Terence has perished to justify the language of the reviewer. The whole passage is given above.
The reviewer had said, that “the changes of termination to make English names Latin, should be conducted by some rule;" and showed by examples, that Glass is faulty in this respect. The writer of the notice remarks, that inconsistencies like those pointed out in Glass, occur in other writers. This does little towards proving the rule not to be a proper one. The difference between Glass and the other authors referred to is this. In Glass, the faults in question are frequent; in the authors referred to, they appear so seldom, as to prove them to be mere negligences.
The writer of the notice is unskilled in verbal and grammatical criticism. His defence of Glass in the frequent use of the word velitatio is, that this word is used in approved translations from the Greek into Latin. But in such translations verbal exactness is usually aimed at; and, on this account, from the necessity of the case, great purity of language has not been required. Not one of his remarks on the other criticisms of the reviewer have the remotest bearing on the points at issue. The following is an instance of his acuteness most favorable to himself. The reviewer had objected to the phrase, “vacuandi recipiendique rationi contrarium." The author of the notice supposes, that all will be right, by inserting the reciprocal pronoun before “rationi.” But in the name of all that is Latin, what does “vacuandi recipiendique se rationi contrarium," mean?
The writer says, that the motto on the title-page of Glass, was written by Professor Anthon; and adds, “will it be believed that this learned reviewer has certainly swallowed the whole for a genuine quotation from Cicero,” and “ actually mistook a piece of modern Latin for a passage from Cicero?” This he pronounces “the best part of the story.” What deplorable shamelessness is here! The reviewer made no mention of this motto, nor alluded to it directly or indirectly.
For his credit's sake, and that of all who print for him, we commend our censor to a more self-denying use of his pen. It is an unsafe instrument in some hands.
5. — A Treatise on the Physiology and Pathology of the Ear;
containing a Comparative View of its Structure, Functions, and various Diseases ; Observations on the Derangement of the ganglionic Flexus of Nerves, as the Cause of many obscure Diseases of the Ear; together with Remarks on the Deaf and Dumb. Sixth Edition. By John Harrison Curtis, Esq., Aurist in Ordinary to his Majesty, &c., &c., &c., &c. London; Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, Paternoster Row. 1836. 8vo.
This is, on the whole, a useful book. The mere fact, that it has reached the sixth edition, speaks very distinctly in its favor. If it does not treat profoundly the various topics that come under notice, still the author is evidently a man of extensive experience, with a good talent for observation and a fair share of practical knowledge.
The subject of which it treats is one of deep interest. The diseases of the ear are so frequent, coming on osten from very slight causes, sometimes without any known cause, and are so apt to terminate in partial or total deafness, that any thing that is calculated to throw light on the subject, cannot be regarded with indifference.
It is well known too, that when the function of hearing is impaired or destroyed, it is exceedingly difficult to restore it. It is therefore very desirable to understand those diseases that lead to its destruction, to learn, if possible, the means by which they can be arrested, and at any rate to be able to distinguish between those that produce only a temporary deafness and those that cause a permanent loss of the function.
Many persons are of opinion, that this department of surgical knowledge has not kept pace with some others; that the diseases of the eye, for example, are much better understood than formerly; that many affections, that once terminated in the loss of sight, are now within the control of art; that vision is in many cases, at the present day, easily restored, where a cure would formerly have been thought impossible; but that nothing of this kind has taken place with regard to the diseases of the ear.
To a certain extent this is true. A great improvement has unquestionably been made in what is termed ophthalmic surgery, while it cannot be denied that not a few of the diseases of the organ of hearing wholly baffle the art. But this should not be attributed altogether to a neglect of the subject; the difficulty in fact lies deeper. The loss of hearing very often arises from VOL. XLIV. NO. 94.
the state of the internal ear or the brain; and in most of such cases, all that science can do is to teach the fact, without furnishing a remedy. Very many of the diseases of the organ of sight, on the contrary, are situated in the eye itself, the brain and optic nerve being unaffected, and not a few of these produce partial or total loss of vision. It fortunately happens that many of these cases are within the reach of art, and by a delicate, though not a very difficult operation, the functions of the eye may be restored. But a small proportion, on the other hand, of those diseases of the ear which terminate in deafness, are situated in the external organ, and a few only of these are in the present state of knowledge within our control.
It is probable that the mere loss of hearing is not so great a privation as the loss of sight; yet we know that the deaf are ordinarily far less cheerful and happy than the blind. This can perhaps be accounted for by the fact, that the loss of hearing is more frequently in consequence of a diseased state of the brain, than the loss of sight. Another circumstance also seems to favor this opinion; and that is, that insane persons are very often deaf, while the sense of sight is rarely affected in them.
Even when deafness is the consequence of some defect in the external organs, it is not very often that it can be removed by any human means, and still less often by a surgical operation; differing essentially, in this respect, from the diseases of the eye.
It is well known that the loss of hearing sometimes arises from an obstruction of the Eustachian tube, the canal which runs from the back part of the throat to the cavity of the tympanum. Through this canal the air passes from the mouth, the membrane of the tympanum is in this way kept tense, and consequently vibrates better when sounds strike upon it. The air is occasionally prevented by colds in the head, as they are called, and other inflammatory affections about the throat, from passing through this canal, and so long as the passage is obstructed, the sense of hearing is rendered more or less imperfect. In some cases this obstruction is permanent and complete, and in such cases permanent deafness is the consequence.
From a knowledge of the fact, that the membrane of the tympanum may be ruptured, and the sense of hearing remain unimpaired, Sir Astley Cooper was led to suggest and practise an operation, in cases of deafness arising from an obstruction of the Eustachian tube, that for a time promised very favorable results. The operation was very simple; the membrane was merely punctured by some small sharp-pointed instrument like a couching-needle. The air was in this way admitted to the cavity of the tympanum, and the tension of the membrane thus