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acquire accurate information on the subject. So far as linguistic results are 
concerned, we look for light from these inquiries rather in the analogy between 
the developments of signs and language than from any material and substan- 
tive relation to be exhibited between the two. The processes of mind are the 
same, or nearly the same, in both cases, and we shall be able to study the 
psychology of language in that of this other and lower means of communica- 
tion, as we study the physical and mental organization of man in that of the 
lower animals. 

C. H. Toy. 

The Number and General Character of American Publications for 
1879, in Romance Philology and Literature. 

Statistics of publication are usually regarded as a pretty sure barometer by 
which the rise or fall of interest or activity in any given department of science 
may be measured. This is true, I think, however, as applied to language, only 
in so far as the study of it has advanced beyond the purely practical stage, or 
the immediate wants of the community for text-books have not already been 
supplied. Both of these conditions have been well illustrated by the most 
recent American contributions to Romance philology and literature. Up to date 
not a single original scientific treatise has appeared with us in this field, while 
the development of the pedagogical side of it has been so extraordinary that we 
stand second only to Germany, perhaps, in the number of aids offered to the 
student who is seeking an acquaintance with the rudiments of these languages. 
Besides a large number of imported works, no less than 364 grammars, hand- 
books and other elementary helps are now actually to be had of our own pub- 
lishers. About five-sixths of these belong to the French alone, the remaining 
sixth being divided between the Spanish and Italian, with a proportion of three 
to one in favor of the former. 

Fully nine-tenths of all the works here mentioned are introductory in the 
strictest sense of the term, while a large part of the other tenth is nothing but 
a repetition of methods already issued under another form, the existence of 
which, in certain cases, has been lost sight of, in others, wilfully ignored. 
These, we hold, have virtually no raison d'etre, as they have simply multiplied 
the difficulties of selection for the scholar, without adding in any way to the 
reduction of his expense or time in acquiring the fundamental laws of the lan- 
guage. We need not, moreover, be surprised with this long list of educational 
works to draw on, and with no introduction, as yet, into the scientific study of 
the Neo-Latin idioms, that the last year (1879) has been particularly barren in 
production in this department. It has been characterized by a marked falling 
off in the number of conversational and purely elementary manuals, by the 
absence of all 6- or 12-lesson methods, and of all 'lightning-train' issues for 
learning ' without study' ; nor has any new ' short-cut' series been proposed or 
' leather-bottle ' exercises invented for the acquisition of French ' without a 
master.' We have evidently touched bottom, and an era of common sense is 
about to set in, which we owe, perhaps, in great measure to the blessings con- 
ferred upon us by the methode naturette. 


The majority of American publications for this period has been of two kinds, 
pedagogical and literary, with the bulk of the work limited to translations of 
the latter sort, and particularly of fiction. Leaving out of account, then, 
English treatments of subjects connected with Romance literature, the sum 
total of all publications amounts to 59, of which 58 belong to the French and 
one to the Spanish. The other Romance languages are not represented 'by 
any work. If, now, we compare the educational with the non-educational pro- 
ductions, we have only 8 of the former standing over against 51 of the latter. 
This very small proportion of educational works is, it seems to me, a significant 
hint as to what the immediate future will require for these studies in America. 
Our pedagogical needs for French and Spanish are moderately well supplied. 
We have enough elementary treatises for the present. The demand is now 
most urgent for advanced methods based upon scientific principles of the his- 
toric growth of language. The leading canons of French grammar, especially, 
have been cast in a variety of moulds sufficient to last us for another generation. 
Scientific investigation, a higher standard of practical teaching, a reaching out 
after more extensive culture in these languages, are the pressing needs of our 

Of the 51 non-educational works just named, two only are reprints (French), 
while the remaining 49 are translations covering almost every department of 
literature, science, etc., with fiction at the head and history at the tail end 
of the list. Novels lead off with 17 volumes, to which Emile Zola has con- 
tributed the largest number of any single author, viz. five — a fact which, in 
itself, would seem to have a striking significance with reference to the material- 
istic tendencies of our novel-reading public. This author's popularity in 
America, over that of his contemporary fellow-countrymen, is due, however, in 
part most certainly, to pure curiosity. A volume like L' Assommoir, of which 
one hundred thousand copies were sold in France in a few weeks, would 
naturally arouse great curiosity on this side of the water to see what is in it, 
and then other works of the same writer would follow as a matter of business 
speculation. Next to Zola come Greville (Mme. Durand), Theuriet and Verne, 
with two volumes apiece. Following fiction we have biography represented 
by 11 translations, science by 8, art and drama by 3 each, and finally the closing 
group — music, literature and political economy — by 2 each. 

Of the eight educational works seven are French and one Spanish (an ele- 
mentary Spanish primer, which, it is hoped, will do no special harm). If there 
is any one sign in book-making that indicates an improvement in the moral 
sense of French grammar-manufacturers, it is surely the fact that the whole 
year 1879 inflicted on the American public only three treatises of this sort. 
Two of these are harmless productions of extreme elementary pretensions ; the 
third is sui generis, — a curiosum of peculiar merit. Its author must be blessed 
with a big bump of originality (a quality not possessed by many of his pre- 
decessors), and be, besides, a close observer of the leading traits of American 
character. It is to our intense appreciation of the ludicrous that he appeals 
with the following modest title : " Comical French Grammar ; or, French in an 
amusing point of view, being extractic, fantastic, idiomatic, methodic, phleg- 
matic, theatric and graphic." 

The most propitious augury for the future, perhaps, in these studies, is the 



disposition to examine into previous methods before launching out upon some 
apparently new theory or system. With the increase of this spirit we are sure 
to have the 300 and odd educational works now in the book-market overhauled 
very soon, and a little light thrown on the utter waste of energy expended in 
the writing of at least three-fourths of them. It is not much credit to our 
American scholarship that there should be so few traces of rigid scientific 
method in the whole range of these studies, while our German friends for three- 
quarters of a century have been making valuable contributions to our knowledge 
almost every year in this great and important department of learning. Within 
the shell of the common pedagogical routine the few American scholars have 
shut themselves up who could have rendered good service in this field, under 
more favorable circumstances of an interchange of ideas and of united effort. 
The current year, we hope, will bring about an attempt to set aside, in part at 
least, this disadvantage, and to establish some centre of influence by which a 
more just appreciation of these studies may be promulgated. 

Scheme showing the number of works published in America in the depart- 
ment of Romance languages for 1879, and the subjects to which these works 
belong : 





Manuals of conver- 













(1) Reprints, (French,) 



r Fiction, 










Non-Educational. ■ 


Polit. Economy, 




Whole number,