Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Madrid in 1835,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. IX: Literary Criticism - part 02 (1902), pp. 157-158


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[page 157:]

MADRID IN 1835. SKETCHES OF THE METROPOLIS OF SPAIN AND ITS INHABITANTS, AND OF SOCIETY AND MANNERS IN THE PENINSULA. BY A RESIDENT OFFICER. TWO VOLUMES IN ONE. NEW YORK: SAUNDERS & OTLEY.

[Southern Literary Messenger, October, 1836.]

ONE portion of this title appertains to volume the first, the other to volume the second. Of Madrid, the author has managed to present a vivid picture by means of a few almost scratchy outlines. He by no means goes over the whole ground of the city, nor is he more definite than necessary; but the most striking features of the life and still-life of the Metropolis are selected with judgment, and given with effect. The manner of the narrative is singularly à la Trollope — and this we look upon as no little recommendation with that large proportion of readers who, in laughing over a book, care not overmuch whether the laugh be at the author or with him.

The sketches, here, of the manners and social habits of Madrid are done with sufficient freedom, and a startling degree of breadth; yet the details, for the most part, have an air of profound truth, and the conviction will force itself upon the mind of the reader that the “Resident Officer” who amuses him is thoroughly conversant with his subject. Such passages as the following, however, are perhaps somewhat overcolored:

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Notwithstanding the greater variety and racy picturesqueness of volume one, volume two will be found [page 158:] upon the whole more entertaining. Here the author deals freely, and en connoisseur, with the Ministry, the Monasteries, the Clergy and their influence, with Prisons, Beggars, Hospitals and Convents. This portion of the work includes also some memorabilia of the year 1835 — the Cholera and the Massacre of July. A chapter on the Spanish Nobility is full of interest.

The work is a large octavo of 340 pages, handsomely printed and bound, and embellished with two good engravings — one of the Convent of the Salesas Viejas, the other of the Prado by twilight.

 


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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 Madrid in 1835)