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From Bow Bells: Review of The Evergreen, Vol. 2

WE have received The Evergreen ; or, the Book of
Autumn, A Northern Seasonal
(published by
Messrs. Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, of the Lawn-
market, Edinburgh, and by Mr. T. Fisher Unwin, of
Paternoster Square, E.C.).— The work is tastefully
got up, being bound in embossed leather, and superbly
printed on fine paper, with rough sides, while tbe illus-
trations are of a remarkably bold and unconventional
character.    This issue of the “Evergreen” is, we
gather, particularly concerned with the Celtic Renas-
cence, now incipient in literature as well as art, and the
revival and development of the old Continental sym-·
pathies of England. It joins also in the rallying call of
a “Return to Nature,” and seeks to link the Autumn
of our age with an approaching spring, so passing
through Decadence towards Renascence.    In the
chapter on the “Biology of Autumn,” J. Arthur
Thompson, the following fine passage, among others,
   “But in the very midst of death, one is impressed
with the abundance of life. It is the time of seed-
scattering. The cotton-grass has unfurled its white
sails on the moor, clouds of thistledown and ragwort
nutlets, with equally dainty parachutes, are swept over
the waste ; the hooked fruits of burdock, houndstongue,
and how many more, cling to our clothes and to the
sheep’s fleece ; all sorts of pods and capsules have
opened, and gusts of wind—how much more the equi-
noctial gales—have scattered the seeds.   The pro-
digality is as unmeasurable as it is providential.”
   In the essay, too, on the “Sociology of Autumn,” by
My. Patrick Geddes, there is some clever writing, as the
following brief extract will show :—
   “Again, then, as of old the child shall know how the
earth and sun determine the seasons; these the plant
and animal life; and thus also, indirectly as well as
directly, our own essential life and labour. Into this
simple chain, henceforward unbroken, all minor
specialisms, their loose facts woven firmly into chains
of causation, shall be securely linked. To develop this
simple lesson, this House the Sun Built, all our
specialists are needed, astronomer and meteorologist,
zoologist and botanist, economist, writer. and critic.
And (as in the educative initiations of the ancient
mysteries) the lore or the seasons furnishes the central
thread.    Our glorious autumn of harvest and woodland,
her pathos of fall and decay, have indeed been familiar
from that very dawn of art and poetry, which her wealth
and wine, her joy and sorrow, have done perhaps most
of all the seasons to awaken.”
   As a gift-book, or for placing on the drawing-room
table, the “Evergreen” is, we opine, eminently suit-
able in all respects.

MLA citation:

“The Evergreen.” Review of The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal, vol.2, Autumn 1895, Bow Bells Nov 1895, p. 491. Yellow Nineties 2.0, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.