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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 362

take pains to see that his whole thought is expressed, instead of leaving vacancies which must be filled by the puzzled and groping reader. His own views and his quotations from the views of others about the static and dynamic theories of distribution are examples of an important principle so imperfectly expressed as to make us doubtful whether it is perfectly apprehended by the writer. He can avoid the use of those pedantic terms which are really nothing but offensive and, fortunately, ephemeral scientific slang. There has been, for instance, a recent vogue for the extensive misuse, usually tautological misuse, of the word “complexus” —an excellent word if used rarely and for definite purposes. Mr. Haseman drags it in continually when its use is either pointless and redundant or else serves purely to darken wisdom. He speaks of the “Antillean complex” when he means the Antilles, of the “organic complex” instead of the characteristic or bodily characteristics of an animal or species, and of the “environmental complex” when he means nothing whatever but the environment. In short, Mr. Haseman and those whose bad example he in this instance follows use “complexus” in much the same spirit as that displayed by the famous old lady who derived religious—instead of scientific—consolation from the use of “the blessed word Mesopotamia.”
  The reason that it is worth while to enter this protest against Mr. Haseman’s style is because his work is of such real and marked value. The pamphlet on the distribution of South American species shows that to exceptional ability as a field worker he adds a rare power to draw, with both caution and originality, the necessary