Text: Edgar Allan Poe, Critical Notices, Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. II, no. 7, July 1836, 2:???-???


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CAMPERDOWN.

Camperdown; or News from our Neighborhood — Being a Series of Sketches, by the author of “Our Neighborhood,” &c. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard.

In “Our Neighborhood” published a few years ago, the author promised to give a second series of the work, including brief sketches of some of its chief characters. The present volume is the result of the promise, and will be followed up by others — in continuation. We have read all the tales in Camperdown with interest, and we think the book cannot well fail being popular. It evidences originality of thought and manner — with much novelty of matter. The tales are six in number; Three Hundred Years HenceThe SurpriseThe Seven ShantiesThe Little CoupleThe Baker’s Dozen — and The Thread and Needle StoreThree Hundred Years Hence is an imitation of Mercier’s “Lan deux milles quatre cents quarante,” the unaccredited parent of a great many similar things. In the present instance, a citizen of Pennsylvania, on the eve of starting for New York, falls asleep while awaiting the steam-boat. He dreams that upon his awakening, Time and the world have made an advance of three hundred years — that he is informed of this fact by two persons who afterwards prove to be his immediate descendants in the eighth generation. They tell him that, while taking his nap, he was buried, together with the house in which he sat, beneath an avalanche of snow and earth precipitated from a neighboring hill by the discharge of the signal-gun — that the tradition of the event had been preserved, although the spot of his disaster was at that lime overgrown with immense forest trees — and that his discovery was brought about by the necessity for opening a road through the hill. He is astonished, as well he may be, but, taking courage, travels through the country between Philadelphia and New York, and comments upon its alterations. These latter are, for the most part, well conceived — some are sufficiently outré. Returning from his journey he stops at the scene of his original disaster and is seated, once more, in the disentombed house, while awaiting a companion. In the meantime he is awakened — finds he has been dreaming — that the boat has left him — but also (upon receipt of a letter) that there is no longer any necessity for his journey. The Little Couple, and The Thread and Needle Store are skilfully told, and have much spirit and freshness.

 


Notes:

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[S:0 - SLM, 1836] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - Criticial Notices (July 1836)