« ElőzőTovább »
REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.
Vanity Fair, a Novel without a Hero. By W. M. Thacker- The test of the excellence of a novel is the clearness way. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1 vol. 8vo. with which its events and characters are remembered after This is one of the most striking novels of the season. It
it has been read. We think that Vanity Fair will bear this bears little resemblance in tone, spirit and object, to the
criterion. All its characters are recognized in memory as other popular romances of the day. The author follows living beings, and we would refer to and quote them with
as much confidence as to any of the acquaintances we hold in the Irack of Fielding rather than Bulwer, and aims at
in remembrance. representing the world as it is. Though his mind is not creative, it is eminently delineative, and he has succeeded Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats. Edited in cramming into one volume a large variety of characters,
by Richard Moncton Milnes. New York : Geo. P. Puteach expressing one of the different forms of worldliness,
nam. 1 tol. 120. and all belonging strictly to the world we live in. Though
This book, the long promised, has at last appeared, and the novel thus relates exclusively to the world, and indi
we must confess that, from the time expended in its precates a most remarkable knowledge of the selfish element paration, we expected a more satisfactory result. The in human nature, in the multitudinous modifications which biography, though written in a style of elaborate elegance, that element receives from individual peculiarities, the
and pleasing enough as regards cadence of period and general tone of the author himself is so far from being felicity of phrase, tells little about Keats which is new, and worldly, that it is distinguished by singular manliness, leaves many obscure passages of his life in the same darkcheerfulness and generosity. There is nothing morbid, ness in which it found them. Nothing 10 the purpose is nothing of the hater or the sentimentalist in his representa- told of the lady who was the object of Keats's passionate tions. He trusls himself resolutely to the genuine emotions of love, and who shares with consumption in being the the heart, but he guards himself against all superfine feelings dismal cause of his early death. Mr. Milnes points triumphand manufactured sentiment. His characters are so true antly to the new facts and private letters he has included that at first we are inclined to consider them common
in the volume, in proof that the common impression that place. In their development, however, we soon find that Keats lacked manliness of character, is an error; but the author is a master in his art, that without pretension instead of proving that Keats was a strong man, he has and without exaggeration, he touches profound springs of
very nearly proved that he himself is a sentimentalist. thought and sentiment, and represents with a graceful The characteristic of Keats is sensitiveness to external decision, and in clear light, those evanescent and uncon- impressions, the characteristic of Milnes is sensitiveness to scious transpirations of character, in which a novelist's self; the page of one throngs with delicious sensations, but capacity is most truly exhibited.
leaves no strong impression of character; that of the other The animating spirit of the novel is that master-piece of is pervaded by a thoughtful ennui, and leaves an impresaddress and cunning, little Becky Sharp. Tact and talent
sion of egotistic weakness of characier. Of course, Keats never had a worthier representative than this character. is the stronger man of the iwo, and a stronger man even She indicates the extreme point of worldly success to which than Milnes's musical sentences indicate, but still not a these qualities will carry a person, and also the impossibility strong man in the strict meaning of the phrase. of their providing against all contingencies in life. Becky The letters of Keats are exceedingly interesting, and steadily rises in the world, reaches a certain height, makes some of them fine specimens of brilliant espistolary com. one inevitable mistake, and then as steadily falls, while position, but we think there is a general tone of languid many of her simple companions, whom she despises as jauntiness observable in them, which shows a certain weaklings, succeed from the very simplicity with which feebleness at the heart of his being. He seems a man they follow the instinctive sagacity of pure and honest whom every one would desire to see placed in happy cirfeeling. Colonel Rawdon Crawley, a brainless sensualist, cumsiances, but not one who would bear bravely up under whom Becky marries, and in some degree reforms, but who, bad circumstances. The state of his finances occupies a by having an occasional twinkle of genuine sentiment in good portion of his letters, and it is often very pleasantly his heart, always was her superior, is drawn both with a stated. As early as 1817, he speaks of receiving a note for breadth and a nicety of touch which is rare in such de- £20, and avows his intention of destroying with it “ lineations. The exact amount of humanity which coexists of the minor heads of that hydra, the dun;" to conquer with his rascality and stupidity, is given with perfect accu- which he says, the knight need have no sword or shield, racy. Sir Pitt Crawley, coarse, uneducated, sordid, quarrel- but only the “ Bank-note of Faith and Cash of Salvation, some, his small, sharp mind an epitome of vulgar shrewd- and set out against the monster invoking the aid of no ness, is a personation 10 force laughter from the lungs of a Archimago or Urganda, but finger me the paper, light as misanthrope. Oid Mr. Sedley is a most truthful representa- the Sybil's leaves in Virgil, whereat the fiend skulks off tion of a broken-down merchant, conceived in the spirit of with his tail between his legs. . . I think,” he adus, "I that humane humor which blends the ludicrous and the
could make a nice little allegorical poem, called “The pathetic ili one. Joe Sedley, the East Indian, slightly sug- Dun," where we would have the Casıle of Carelessness, gests Major Bagstock. He has the major's physical cir- the Drawbridge of Credit, Sir Novelty Fashion's expedicumference, apoplectic turn and swell of inanner, with the tion against the City of Tailors, &c., &c.” There is a addition of Cockney vulgarity and cowardice. His retreat good deal of this coquetry with indigence in the volume. from Brussels, just before the battle of Waterloo, is There is one curious letter to Reynolds, referring to described with the art of a comic Xenophan.
Wordsworth's calling the exquisite Hymn to Pan, in In the characters of George Osborne, Dobbin and Amelia, “Endymion,”
," "a pretty piece of Paganism.” Keats took the author has succeeded admirably. They are wonder. the words in a contemptuous sense, and wrote a letter fully true to nature, and indicate even a finer power of from the feelings it excited, reminding us in its style of an characterization than is exhibited in the more strongly essay by Emerson. We extract it as almost the best thing marked personages of the work.
in the book.
some I am
Hampstead, February 3, 1818. The reader rises from the briography of Keals with the MY DEAR ReysolD9,-I thank you for your dish or impression that it tells one of the most melancholy stets filberts. Would I could get a basket of them by way of in the history of literature. The account of his last days dessert every day for the sum of two pence, (two sonnets is beyond measure painful. The poems now publiebed for on Robin Hood, sent by the two penny post) Would we the first time, though good enough to make a reputation, were a sort of athereal pigs, and turned loose to feed upon will hardly add to the fame or Keats. spiritual mast and acorns! which would be merely a squirrel and feeding upon filberts ; for what is a squirrel The Women of the Rerolution. By Elizabeth P. Elie. but an airy pig, or a filbert but a sort of archangelical acorn?
Nero York: Baker of Scribner. 2 rols. 12mo. About the nuts being worth cracking, all I can say is, that
We are under obligations to Mrs. Eller for the two T. where there are a throng of delightful images ready drawn, simplicity is the only thing. It may be said that we ought
lumes now before us. They are the first fruits of a large to read our contemporaries, that Wordsworth, &c., should harvest. And we doubt not that the authoress will parsse have their due from us. But, for the sake of a few fine
the subject, and gives continuations,” until something lite imaginative or domestic passages, are we to be bullied into justice shall be done to the women, the mothers, sixter, a certain philosophy engendered in the whims of an
wives and sweethearts of the great and good men of mer egotist? Every man has his speculations, but every man
Revolution. We wish that some just appreciation of what does not brood and peacock over them till he makes a false
all society owes woman could be had. We wish that some
one would sit down and show how all great efforts have coinage and deceives himself. Many a man can travel to the very bourne of Heaven, and yet want confidence to
their origin in woman's devotion to her doty, and all put down his half-seeing. Sancho will invent a journey great men owe their position to their motber's faithfal heavenward as well as any body. We hate poeiry that service, and how society owes the advantages which it has a palpable design upon us, and, if we do not agree,
may possess to the plastic mind of women. In this spirit seems to put its hand into its breeches pocket. Poetry
Mrs. Ellet has prepared the two volumes before us, and should be great and unobtrusive; a thing which enters
has by her labors added one other name to the long list that into one's soul, and does not starile it or amaze it with
claims the gratitude of Americans. Of course when bo
tices of one hundred and twenty-four women are crowded itself, bnt with its subject. How beautiful are the retired flowers! How would they lose their beauty, were they allowed to the biography of any one. Yet by a judicious
into two duodecimo volumes, no great extent can be to throng into the highway, crying out “ Admire me, a violet! Dote upon me, I am a primrose!" Modern poels for really prominent persons, Mrs. Ellet has given nach
disposition of material, and selection of prominent places differ from the Elizabethans in this; each of the moderns, like an Elector of Hanover, governs his petty state, and
to make her readers comprehend the characier, services knows how many straws are swept daily from the cause
and position of all her heroines. It happens to us to bare ways in all his dominions, and has a continual itching that
known something of the private life of several mentioned all the housewives should have their coppers well scoured.
in the volumes, and while we recollect much that is not The ancients were emperors of vast provinces; they liad
recorded, we are bound to confess that the characier a only heard of the remote ones, and scarcely cared to visit
each so far as we know is well brought out, and additional them. I will cut all this. I will have no more of Words
materials might serve only to sustain the opinion forbed worth or Hunt in particular. Why should we be of the by what is offered. We regard Mrs. Ellet's work only as tribe of Manassah, when we can wander with Esau ?
a prelude-a rich, delighiful, prelude—but it must be fol. Why should we kick against the pricks when we can walk
lowed by other performances. The work is enriched with
the likenesses of several ladies whose biographies are giren on roses? Why should we be owls when we can be eagles ?
-one or two of these we know are correct. The others Why be teazed with “nice-eyed wagtails," when we
resemble what we recollect to have heard denominated have in sight “ the cherub Contemplation?” Why, with Wordsworth's “Matthew with a bough of wilding in his
good likenesses. hand," when we can have Jacques “ under an oak," &c.? The secret of the “ bough of wilding'' will run through Orators of the American Revolution. By E. L. Magout. your head faster than I can write it. Old Matthew spoke New York : Baker & Scribnet. 1 rol. 12mo. to him some years ago on some nothing, and because he
Mr Magoon is a writer of great fluency and senabiiy, happens in an evening walk to imagine the figure of the
who “ wreaks" his thoughts upon expression. He has old man, he must stamp it down in black and whice, and it is henceforth sacred.
given us a very exciting volume, glowing with refoI don't mean to deny Wordsworth's grandeur and Hunt's merit, but I mean to say we
lutionary fervor, and eloquent of revolutionary bemes. need not be leazed with grandeur and merit when we can
The great difficulty is that each of his orators is deserie
in terms which a cool person might hesitate in applying to have them uncontaininated and unobtrusive. Let us have the
Demosthenes and Cicero. Mr. Magoon writes too much an old Poets and Robin Hood. Your letter and its sonnels gave me more pleasure thau will the Fourth Book of Childe sissippi stream of his rhetoric, we are pleased with the
the high-pressure principle. As we move down the Mis Harold," and the whole of any body's life and opinions.
rapidity of the motion, and the chivalrous feeling of the In return for your dish of filberis, I have gathered a few catkins. * I hope they 'll look pretly.
captain of the boal, but we look occasionally at the boiler
and the engine with some fear of an explosion. “No, those days are gone away," &c. I hope you will like them—they are at least written in impressing a great idea of our revolutionary orators on the
Seriously, the volume will doubtless serve its purpose of the spirit of outlawry. Here are the Mermaid lines ;
popular mind to reach which mind a certain extravagante “ Souls of Poets dead and gone,” &c.
of statement and description is now considered perecy. In the hope that these scribblings will be some amuse
The glowing mode of writing history and biography is ment for you this evening, I remain, copying on the hill,
doubtless, better than the dry and dead mode, bota medium Your sincere friend and co-scribbler,
between the two, combining life and morement with aces. Joun KEATS.
racy and discrimination, is better still. However, yo * Mr. Reynolds had enclosed Keats some Sonnets on know of no book on the subject so good as the present. It Robin Hood, to which these fine lines are an answer. can be read at one sitting, and it leaves a strong impression
on the mind of the power of our great orators. Every would be offended at the charge of ignorance. No person production which forcibly conveys an idea of our historical can read it without some addition to his knowledge. It is men as living souls, as well as living names, deserves 10 got up with remarkable skill, and covers a very wide extent succeed.
of erudition. Historical and Miscellaneous Questions. By Richard Thrilling Incidents of the Wars of the United States : ComMangnall. New York : D. Appleton f Co. 1 vol. 12mo.
prising the most Striking and Remarkable Erents of the
Revolution, the French War, the Second War with Great This has been one of the most successful educational
Britain, and the Mexican War. With Three Hundred books ever published. The present edition is from the Engravings. By the Author of the Army and Nary of the eighty-fourth London edition. The sale in England has United States. Philadelphia : Carey | Hart. 8vo. reached a hundred thousand copies. A mere glance at the
This is a large octavo volume, filled with deeply interbook will explain its popularity. It embraces the elements esting historical anecdotes, illustrated with engravingsma of Mythology, Astronomy, Architecture, Heraldry, as well volume which will create a taste for the whole series of as Ancient and Modern History, and gives exactly that American history, while it gratifies in pari a useful appekind of information which every body needs. The first
tite. The work is beautifully printed and admirably got principles and foundations of knowledge are often imper- out. fectly understood by persons moderately learned. Few have any system in reading or study, bui cram their minds Amelia. This is one of Miss Leslie's novels, and it is with miscellaneous matter of various kinds, without regard worthy of that lady's fame, founded on liberal efforts to to arrangement, and with no clear perception of the prin improve the heart, and make men and women better, hy ciples of any thing. Such a book as the present is needed setting before them instances of folly and examples of not only by yoath, but by many men and women who virtue.
THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF TIE Moox.-In the month of that society had no patience to await his return to lightSeptember, the night of the 12th and 13th-There was a no mercy for the obscuration which their ill-timed lenity total eclipse of the moon. Those who would know all to others had made him suffer. about it-exactly what was done when the adumbration But the moon on the morning of the 13th September commenced, when and how long total obscuration was passed out of the obscuration, and went on her course difobservable, and when exactly the satellite passed out of fusing light to all, and maintaining her supremacy, in apthe shadow of her principal planet—have nothing to do parent size and real lustre, above all the stellar orbs. And but read in the almanacs the predictions and calculations of thus it is with man. The shadow of misfortune or error, the event-for exactly to a second the whole was per- of indiscretion, is always projected across his path—he is formed as set down by the astronomers. It was a beautiful liable with every change to suffer some obscuration, some sigbt for those who love to watch the phenomena of the diminution of his brightness, some eclipse of that portion heavens, and there was not a cloud, not a passing scud, to bestowed on man. Let society wail- let him toil onwardprevent a complete view of the whole movement, from the let there be a little faith, a little confidence, a little hope, first stain upon the eastern limb of the moon until the whole and he will recover all he has lost, he will emerge from passed off from her western side.
the shadow that is upon him and be bright and profitable as This eclipse of the moon is caused by that planet's pass- before. In the deepest obscuration of the full, or the earthing through the shadow of the earth, projected far into ward face of the moon, when all but its bare existence space; and in proportion to the proximity of the moon seemed blotted out, the upper, heavenward surface was unis the duration of the eclipse—so that we who occupied dimmed, and reflected all the stellar glories of the higher the side of the earth to which the eclipse was visible, really planels. And thus is it with man. Sorrows, disappointsaw the moon darkened by the intervention of our own ments, errors, wrongs, darken his way, and all that is shadow. How like life is this! How many thousands are visible to those around him seems sullied and obscure, and daily condemned for some apparent fault, which they have he is left to toil onward through the deep shadow of misery indeed acquired from those who condemn. How many and shame-the earthward side of his heart in a total live and suffer in the shadow of those who sneer-and per- eclipse—but the heavenward portion, the cherished and secute while they impart the cause. How many parents, the blessed, though beyond the gaze, and often beyond by their errors, keep the sunlight of Truth and Religion the comprehension of the worldly-is bathed in the holy from their children, and yet condemn them for the shadow light of heavenly influences- it knows no diminution of which rests upon their mind, and makes them objects of un- brightness, no darkness from earthly shadows, no dimness desirable notoriety-profitless members of the social circle. from wordly cares or worldly sorrow, but, turned away
Go and inquire of that heart-broken, condemned female, from the observation and uses of mankind, its phaze is one why she ceased to be the light of the circle in which she of unalterable quiet, of undimmed and shadowless lustre, was placed and she will answer that the very beings Earıh is not permitted to project one shadow upon its whom she was to bless, and from whom she was to derive plane, while heaven and heavenly light lie beautiful and blessings, darkened her pathway by the interference of in- beautifying upon its surface. judicious kindness or ill-timed severity, and she became totally eclipsed. Ask the youth who has just made ship- THE WOMEN OF THE SCRIPTURES.–Our booksellers are wreck of his wealth and his fame, and he will tell you that making judicious preparations for the approaching holydays, in passing through the shadow which relatives and asso- and it may be anticipated that the next" Christmas times'' ciates had thrown across his path, his eclipse was so long will afford a most varied and elegant assoriment of gist books for the choice of purchasers. Among those that we improve upon it, that the new volume shall bear away ise have been favored with a sight of, one of the most beautiful, palm, and command the universal admission that it is amare both in design and execution, is a volume entitled “ The excellent than ever ! Women of the Scriptures,” which Messrs. LINDSAY & BLAKISTON have gotten up to correspond with those
CHEAP PUBLICATIONS. – In these days of cheap publisha favorite works “Scenes in the Life of the Saviour" and tions, the means of gratifying a love for reading are wibia “Scenes in the Lives of the Apostles," heretofore issued
the reach of all. There is an abundant supply to feed the by them. The new publication has been edited by the Rev. mental appetite, and our neighbor, T B. PETERSOS, Caters H. Hastings WELD, who has been well sustained by the for the public taste with great energy and success. To be artists, printers and binders in their several departments. lovers of light literature it may not be amiss for us to stue, The purchaser will find in this volume articles from many that Mr. P. has published uniform editions of the words ci of the most able and popular writers in the country, and those popular and approved writers, Mes. Grey and Miss we are sure that it cannot fail to commend itself, in an PICKERING— ladies whose writings are always worth eminent degree, to the favor of the public.
reading, and always convey a good moral. A late publica.
lion, “The Orphan Niece," by Miss Pickering, appen Messrs. Carey & Hart are about to publish an edition of now, for the first time in this country, and is as excelent Mrs. Sigourney's poetry, to be illustrated by some of the
and interesting as those from the same pen with which the best productions of the American burin, samples of which public are more familiar. we have seen and admired. It is fitting that the writings of Mrs. Sigourney should be thus set out.
IT Were we inclined to copy one-half of the tery The same publishers have caused to be prepared for the handsome complimenis bestowed upon our Magazine by festive season a handsome volume, of the Souvenir family, our friends of the press, we could not find room lo do st. called the Ruby. A portion, indeed most of its pictorial We feel, however, rejoiced at and grateful for these eviembellishments are of the first class of engraving, and the dences of their favor, and will strive to render ourselves letter-press contains poetry and prose worthy of perusal. yet more worthy of their commendations. The motto The work is a beautiful addition to the centre-table, and “Graham's Magazine” is EXCELSIOR ; and as it has hiberto will of course find favor.
stood immeasurably above all competitors in the publie "It is not ALWAYS Night.”—The heart chilled by
estimation, so shall it maintain its enviable position, and
merit the success it has enjoyed. adversity or languishing in sorrow, may find consolation and peace in the thought which forms the caption of this IT Our engraver, Wm. E. TUCKER, Esq., has in hand article, and which we find so beautifully woven into the and will have ready for the next volume, some bricant harmony of numbers by our contemporary, William C. specimens of his art. We promise our patrons and we RICHARDS, Esq. Editor of the “Southern Literary Ga- do so without a single fear that our promise will not be zette."
fully redeemed-more magnificent embellishments than any It is not always night! Thongh darkness reign literary work in the country has ever presented. This, of
In gloomy silence o'er the slumbering earth, The hastening dawn will bring the light again,
course, will involve an immense expenditure of money, bat And call the glories of the day to birth!
we never place cost in competition with the duty we owe The sun withdraws a while his blessed light,
our patrons, and our desire to merit their favor. To shine aguin-it is not always night! The voices of the storm may fill the sky,
DP We expect to give, in our next number, a life-like And Tempest sweep the earth with angry wing; But the fierce winds in gentle murmurings die,
portrait of our late correspondent and now co-editor, d. And freshened beauty to the world they bring :
BAYARD TAYLOR. He is a modest gentleman, and may w The aster-calm is sweeier and more bright;
be pleased with the idea of 20 public an introduction to the Though storms arise, it is not always night!
readers of this Magazine, but we know that he is a favorite The night of Nature, and the night of Storm, with them, and the admirers of his articles will be grauited
Are emblems both of shadows on the heari; Which fall and chill its currenis quick and warm,
to see " what manner of man he is.'' And bid the light of peace and joy deparı: A thousand shapes hath Sorrow to affright
WINTER Fashions.-Our friend Oakford knows how to The soul of man, and shroud his hopes in night. cap the climax of human perfection, if we may jodge from Yet, when the darkest, saddest hour is come, the various styles and fashions of Hats, Caps, &c., pte
And grim Despair would seize his shrinking heart, sented in his card on the cover of our “ Magazine." His
establishment is a favorite place of resort for all wbo desire As storm and darkness yields to calm and light,
to be well fitted ; and they must, indeed, be hard to please, So with the heart—it is not always night!
who cannot find something there to suit their fancy. THE FUTURE.—By the time another number of the
IF If we were inclined to be boastfal, we think we “Magazine” is laid before its numerous readers, the bustle might raise a high note of exultation upon the characte and din of the presidential election will have subsided, and of the present number of the "American Monthly Maga. the people will set themselves to thinking seriously of the zine.” But, as "good wine needs no bush,” we lay our selection of useful and entertaining publications, lo render offering before the public, confident that its manifest es. perfect the enjoyment of the long, calm, quiet winter cellence will be discovered without the necessity of a word evenings at home. Of course, none who take“ Graham's from us to point out its varied beauties. While, however, Magazine" now, will consent to deprive themselves of it we believe, and feel assured that the public will concar in for the future, especially as the new volume, commencing the belief, that this number is one of surpassing beauty and in January, will be rendered as attractive as means, energy, merit, it may not be improper to hint that the arrangement industry and application can make it. We shall soon lay we have consummated for the future, will enable us 19 before our hundred thousand readers our new Prospectus, improve even upon our present high standard of excetate, in which will be given a bird's-eye view of the plan of and keep us, as ever, far, very far in advance of the most our prospective operations. Nothing will be promised that labored efforts of all contemporaries. Our course is des we will not fully and faithfully perform; and, unrivaled ward, and he must bestir himself actively who woald es. as this “Magazine” has heretofore been, we intend so to cel us.