Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Memoirs of Lucian Bonaparte,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. IX: Literary Criticism - part 02 (1902), pp. 155-156


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[page 155, continued:]

MEMOIRS OF LUCIEN BONAPARTE, P(RINCE OF CANINO,) WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT, UNDER THE IMMEDIATE SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE AUTHOR. PART THE FIRST, (FROM THE YEAR 1792, TO THE YEAR 8 OF THE REPUBLIC.)

[Southern Literary Messenger, October, 1836.]

IN the publication of these memoirs the Prince of Canino disclaims any personal views. “I do it,” he says, “because they appear to offer materials of some value to a history so fruitful in great events, of which the serious study may be useful in future to my country.” In the commencement of the brief introduction from which these words of his are quoted, he complains, but without acrimony, of the pamphleteers who have too often made him the subject of their leisure. “Revelations, secret memoirs, collections of anecdotes, the fruits [page 156:] of imaginations without shame or decency, have not spared me. I have read all of them in my retirement, and I was at first surprised how I could have drawn upon myself so many calumnies, never having offended any person. But my astonishment ceased when I had better appreciated my position — removed from public affairs, without influence, and almost always in silent or open opposition to the powers, though sufficiently near to keep them constantly in fear of my return to favor, how was it possible for the malice of the courtiers to leave me in repose?”

It is not our intention to speak at length of these memoirs. Neither is such a course necessary in regard to a work which will, and must be read, by every person who pretends to read at all. The author professes to suppress all details that are foreign to public affairs — yet he has not too strictly adhered to his intention. There are many merely personal and private anecdotes which have a very shadowy bearing, if any, upon the political movements of the times. That the whole volume is of deep interest it is almost unnecessary to say — for this the subject is alone an assurance. The style of the Prince de Canino, is sufficiently well known to a majority of our readers. The book now before us possesses, in prose, many of those peculiarities of manner, which in so great a measure distinguished, and we must say disfigured, the author’s poem of the Cirréide. Here are the same affectations, the same Tacitus-ism, and the same indiscriminate elevation of tone. The edition of this book by Saunders and Otley is well printed, with a clear large type, and excellently bound.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Review of Memoirs of Lucian Bonaparte)