Last Update: April 24, 2001 .Navigation:. Main Menu .. Poe's Criticisms
[Text: Edgar Allan Poe (?), [Additional] Review of New Books, from Graham's Magazine, February 1842, inside rear paper wrapper.]


[Inside rear paper cover:]

REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.

[column 1:]

The Ruins of Athens: Titania's Banquet, A Mask; and other Poems,  By G. Hill. Otis, Broaders, & Co. Boston.

    Amid a good deal which is trite, and imitative, this volume presents many passages of the truest poetry. Were it not for some blunders, or rather eccentricities, of rhythm, of which Byron was never guilty, the greater portion of "The Ruins of Athens" would bear collocation and even comparison with much of that "Childe Harold" upon which it is obviously modelled. We quote from a finely imaginative passage where Mockery is personified as

A small gray Elf, all sprinkled o'er with dust
    Of crumbling catacomb and mouldering shred
Of banner and embroidered pall and rust
    Of arms, time-eaten monuments, that shed
A cankered gleam on dim escutcheons, where
    The groping antiquary pores to spy
A what ? a name perchance ne'er graven there;
    At him the urchin with his timid eye
Sits peering thro' a skull and laughs continually.
    "Titania's Banquet," although faulty as a whole, has likewise many richly ideal beauties. The "Lyrical Pieces" are very unequal but one of them called "Leila" we shall be pardoned for quoting. Were it not for a certain resemblance which it bears to Pinckney's "Health," we should be tempted to speak of it in terms of unqualified admiration.
                     LEILA.

When first you look upon her face
    You little note beside
The timidness which still betrays
    The beauties it would hide:
But, one by one, they look out from
    Her blushes and her eyes:
And still the last the loveliest,
    Like stars from twilight skies.

And thoughts go sporting thro' her mind,
    Like children among flowers:
And deeds of gentle goodness are
    The measure of her hours.
In soul or face she bears no trace
    Of one from Eden driven,
But like the rainbow, seems tho' born
    Of Earth, a part of Heaven.

    The book, although a beautiful one, is sadly disfigured by typographical errors. In the copy forwarded us, many of these mistakes are corrected in pencil; but by far the greater number remain unnoticed. In the second stanza above quoted, for example, ramparts is printed rampires, and on the very title-page the author has failed to perceive the gross blunder in the motto which reads
Quid Pandioniæ restant nisi nomen Athenæ?
These things may as well be corrected in a new edition.

The Lady's Musical Library; Embracing the Most Popular and Fashionable Music of the Day. Edited by Charles Jarvis, Professor of Music. Godey & M'Micahel: Philadelphia.

    This is the general title of a monthly periodical of which we can scarcely speak too well. The first number (now before us) embraces 24 pages of beautifully printed music, free from the external blunders which disfigure the ordinary publications, both as regards the notes and the words. The size of the page is the usual quarto; and the subscriber to the work will have, at the year's end, for three dollars, fully as much music as can be had under common circumstances for thirty. The name of the editor is sufficient assurance of the musical merit of the journal. In its outward appearance nothing could be more truly tasteful. [column 2:]

[[]]

Wealth and Worth, or which makes the Man? Harper & Brothers: New York.

    This little work is in the best style of Miss Sedgwick, though it does not purport to be from her pen. It is the first in a series of American tales and we confidently predict for it a popularity unrivalled among the productions of its class. Its spirit is vigorous and healthy thoroughly American its style of composition is chaste, simple and natural, and many of its descriptions are drawn with exquisite grace and beauty. The scene lies partly in New York, on the banks of the Hudson, partly in a village on the shores of the Atlantic, and this change of place affords abundant opportunity for various and graphic delineation of nature and manners. The plot is developed without violence to probability, and yet with vicissitude sufficiently striking to invest the story with continual and increasing interest. The moral is obvious enough, without being painfully pounded and laboriously inculcated in terms on every page. It is to be found, as it should be, rather in the incidents and character of the story, than in a prosing comment by the author.

    We could easily refer to various scenes and passages to justify the praise which we are disposed to bestow on this little work and the more disposed because it is issued in a style so unpretending, and has not been heralded by puffs preliminary and concomitant. Much as the juvenile readers owe to the brothers HARPER, for the very numerous and valuable publications which they have issued during the last twelvemonth, their debt is largely increased by the presentation of the volume before us. We can say with sincerity that no juvenile work has recently fallen under our notice which we can commend so heartily as we are happy to commend "Worth and Wealth."

The Mechanic. By Francis Harriet Whipple. Burnett & King: Providence. D. Appleton & Co.: New York.

    This is a very neatly bound little volume, containing a well written tale, the object of which is to show the moral worth and dignity of the artisan to maintain the elevation of the mechanic. The idea is well carried out.

Illustrations of the Law of Kindess. By Rev. G. W. Montgomery. O. Hutchinson: Utica.

    A neat duodecimo of some 200 pages, in which the thesis of Kindness or Charity is thoroughly, it not ably handled. The opening words of the Preface speak little for the mere grammatical style of the work. "These illustrations of the Law of Kinds," says the author, "are sent into community without any apology, &c." The true value of the book, however, is happily independent of its English.

Rural Sketches. By Thomas Miller Author of "A Day in the Woods," "Beauties of the Country," "Royston Gower," etc. Carey & Hart: Philadelphia.

    Thomas Miller is well known, both here and in England, as an uneducated author of much talent. He is particularly remarkable for the näiveté, and heartiness, of his style, as well as for the simplicity of his subjects. Those who love natural homely thoughts, (without originality) expressed in the most unpretending, and in a somewhat rough manner, will be pleased with Thomas Miller.
 


[The six notices given here may be attributed to Poe as highly probable, although not certain. Since they appear only inside the rear of the external paper wrappers, they were apparently unknown to Heartman and Canny, and are not mentioned by T. O. Mabbott. They were first attributed to Poe by W. D. Hull in 1941. Hull's confidence in Poe's authorship is reduced only for the item on "Jarvis's Lady's Musical Library," saying, "About this notice there is nothing distinctive: it may be kept in the canon with a question mark on the basis of position." For the review of Jarvis, Hull notes that Poe's Marginalia from SLM for April 1849 also mentions the poem "Leila" and mentions the similarity to Pinckney's "Health." For the review of Sedgwick, Hull says, "Poe admired and appreciated the work of Miss Sedgwick and this review is no exception. It seems to me Poe's." For the notices of Miller, Montgomery and Whipple, Hull says, "The three remaining notices, ranging from three to six lines in length, are typical of Poe." For the notice of Miller, Hull notes a comment from a review of Miller's "Fair Rosemond" in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for October 1839, where Poe describes Miller as ". . . a man of true genius, but of a somewhat uncultivated intellect . . ."]

[The Poe Society is especially grateful to Mrs. Susan Jaffe Tane, who was kind enough to provide a copy of the text from the rare original in her collection. W. D. Hull included partial transcriptions of these reviews in 1941, but those were not complete and contained several minor errors.]

~~~ End of Text ~~~

[S:0 - GM, 1842]