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A review of Carpenter's essays on modern science reads: Edward Carpenter is a seer. So say those who know him best; and the reader of this little volume of essays, in which he has put his ripest thoughts, will be inclined to agree with that judgement. He sees into things farther than other men, and has the faculty of looking through the crust of convention and artificiality in which the modern world is embedded. The title of the first essay, which also entitles the book, is a bold one, and suggests the author's aim. He holds that the rather indefinite thing which we mean by civilization has, if used in the definite thing which we mean by civilization has, if used in the definite sense adopted by writers on primitive society, obscured the real life of man and brought about an unhealthy change in the structure of human society. In its historic evolution he finds that these bad changes have coincident with the growth of property and the ideas flowing from it. And he goes on to argue that the social life of the wilder races is more harmonious and compact than that of civilized nations.
It may sound startling and paradoxical to say this, but the reader who dismisses such theories as absurd will regret that he has not followed the argument through. Contents include: Civilization - Its Cause and Cure; Modern Science - A Criticism; The Science of the Future - A Forecast; Defense of Criminals - A Criticism of Morality; Exfoliation - Lamarck versus Darwin; Custom; and A Rational and Humane Science. Also see other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.