An Elementary Text-book of Geology


IT is well known that there are certain things, which, like reading and writing, come by nature, such as the driving of a gig, and the management of a small farm. These every man can do. And till lately it seems to have been very generally held, that, when a man or woman had shown by repeated failure that he or she was hopelessly incompetent to earn bread in any other way, there was nothing to forbid him or her from opening a school for small children: the laying of the foundations of an education was such a simple matter that it was within the reach of everyone. It looks also as if the writing of an elementary text-book on a scientific subject is very generally held to be an equally easy task, at least the bounteous profusion with which such books are showered upon us would appear to point to such a conclusion. But anyone who has tried to teach or to write a book that shall be used for teaching purposes, knows only too well that it is with the beginner and in the elements of his subject that the real difficulty lies. And besides the inevitable obstacles to success which from the nature of things he must meet with here, there are to be taken into account others of a more artificial kind. An elementary text-book must he cheap; neithėr author nor publisher can be expected to be wholly indifferent to profits, and only cheap books pay in science; but, setting this consideration aside, it is of the first importance that the work should be within the reach of the largest number possible of buyers. Cheap, and therefore small and sparingly illustrated. So here arises the first difficulty. What to leave out in the text and how far illustrations may be dispensed with.

An Elementary Text-book of Geology.

By W. Jerome Harrison, F.G.S. (London: Blackie and Son, 1889.)

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

GREEN, A. An Elementary Text-book of Geology. Nature 41, 75–77 (1889).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.