Text: Anonymous, “[Review of The Gift for 1843],” Foreign and Colonial Quarterly Review (London, UK), vol. I, no. 2, April 1843, p. 627


ART. XIV. — The Gift. 1843. Carey and Hart: Philadelphia

THE first glance at this volume surprised us. The immense progression making in the arts in America was never more thoroughly manifest. Only five years back, the illustrations to their Annuals were ill-selected and worse executed. The plates, muddy, dingy, and indistinct, and generally engraved after English paintings. The whole “getting up” of this very elegant work is, on the contrary, not only highly creditable, but unusually perfect. The engravings and letter-press are alike the production of native talent, and the subjects of the plates original. The frontispiece, illustrating a passage in the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” (the only textual exception to our remark,) is admirable as a composition, and the style in which it is produced would not disgrace the burins of Finden or Heath. “Rose Vernon” and the “Florentine Girl” are entitled to nearly the same praise; while “Billy Snub, the News-Boy,” is full of spirit, and boldly brought out; the cross in the back-ground, looming out against the sky, is a touch of poetry. Of the letter-press, we need only remark, that it is all readable; the “Lover’s Leap,” a tale of Indian incursion on the cottage-fastness of one of the Pilgrim-Fathers, is much more, it is admirably told; while the lovers of the dark and terrible may “sup full of horrors” on a tale of the Inquisition, entitled “The Pit and the Pendulum,” which, although a palpable imitation of Mr. Mudford’s powerful tale of the “Iron Shroud,” is, nevertheless, both clever and effective. Of the poetical contributions, one and all, we refrain to speak; none among them are above mediocrity; but of the style in which the volume is produced it is impossible to say too much; and the transatlantic ladies can receive no prettier “Gift” for their study tables.



Although he is not mentioned by name, Poe was the author of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” commented upon above.

This review was brought to the attention of the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie, in an e-mail of January 1, 2017.


[S:0 - FCQR, 1843] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of The Gift for 1843