Text: Various, Literary Reviews, Southern Literary Messenger, September 1839, 5:???-???


[page 164:]


The Waverly Novels, with the Author's last Corrections and Additions; complete in Five Volumes. Carey and Hart, Philadelphia.

We had occasion to notice the enterprise of the above booksellers in our remarks upon the splendid volume of Scott's works, devoted to his poetry, which issued from their press a few months past; in one book, scarcely more ponderous than the original edition of the Lay of the Last Minstrel, the whole of Sir Walter's poetry is gathered together, including various minor pieces never before published. We have now a continuation of the same glorious edition — the entire “Waverly Novels” are presented in Five Octavo Volumes; the author's last corrections and additions are included; and his valuable notes grace the text matter in appropriate relation. The type is clear and sufficiently bold to render its perusal an easy task; the paper is of the same consistency and whiteness that won our admiration in the volume of poetry; and a well-engraved Steel Likeness, from the original picture by Newton, in the possession of Murray the bookseller, gives additional value to the work. We have no hesitation in saying that Carey and Hart's edition of Sir Walter Scott's works is the best library and family edition ever printed, either in England or America.


Fanny, and other Poems. One Volume. Harper and Brothers, New York.

Mr. Halleck's muse but seldom condescends to flap her wings in the Parnassian atmosphere; the publishers, therefore, with due consideration of the wants of the devotees of Apollo, kindly furnish us with a repetition of the former flutterings of her graceful pinions. We should rejoice to welcome a novelty from the pen of Halleck; there are so few real poets now extant, that we cannot allow one of the highest of the craft to waste his days “in ease inglorious,” without a word of reproach — and this new edition of our favorite “Fanny” is a mouthful of sweets that makes us wish for a larger feast.


A Reply to the Critics. By Samuel F. Glenn. Washington, 1839.

This boy will be the death of us! Here is another “little pamphlet,” printed at the sole expense of the “littery” Sammy, and devoted to our positive extermination from the list of periodicals. Why, dear Sammy, will you persist in spending your hard earnings to prove yourself an ass? Be assured that you are already sufficiently ridiculous in the eyes of those to whom you gratuitously forward your productions; and if your respectable maternal parent neglected sending you to a Sunday School in your days of bibs and bread and butter, it is not incumbent upon you to exhibit the depth of your ignorance to “the world at large!”

Our readers may not recollect Sammy. We had occasion lately to notice his arrogance in presuming to address a literary society and publish Essays on Criticism, when he is not only unacquainted with the syntactical construction of sentences, but literally unable to spell correctly the words which he presses into his service. Our critical remarks have engendered Sammy's ire — and, lo! the result — an octave of mendacious ignorance and vituperation, levelled at all critics who have had the honesty to ridicule the pretensions of this particular gander of the capitol, this Virgil of Goose Creek — and at ourselves primarily and most particularly.

We are not angry with Sammy, although he lets drive at us “with savage earnestness and vengeful play.” Sammy insists upon it that he is a great writer — that the bad grammar and mis-spelling evident in all his productions, are the faults of the various printers employed — nay he even confesses that such errors will be found in his forthcoming work. Sammy once inflicted an hour's talk upon our suffering nature, when he uttered more bad language than a mad cockney in a farce. Was the printer to blame, then 1 We have a letter written by Sammy's own hand, wherein Priscian's head is broken with painful frequency; and we also possess the manuscript of a poem, by Sammy, wherein he pathetically asks a weeping willow why it hangs its head so sorry fully. This is no typographical error, for the printer has never yet seen this poem, and we are doubtful if he ever will.

Sammy F. Glenn reminds us of a certain little Scotch manager whilom of our acquaintance, who bores every editor within blarneying distance till he obtains the insertion of a self-written commendation either of his most unpopular management or of his execrable stage assumptions — performances which the good sense of the American public has nearly driven from the stage. This besotted man parades the false notice as a specimen of public opinion; but if an honest critic ventures to give a [page 165:] line of reproof or even to hint a wish of amendment in the parsimonious system of management, the conceited bigot raises the cry of persecution, and denounces the editor as a personal foe, or a tool in the hands of a clique of enemies. Just so it is with his brother humbug, Sammy Glenn, who practises villanous means of puffing hitherto unknown in the annals of Grub street — but vituperates, in bad grammar, the critic who ridicules the Essays and Lectures of a litteraire who is unable to spell correctly a word of three syllables.

Sammy sends copies of his productions to every editor within reach; if the “notices” are honorable he greedily publishes them as puffs, but if unfavorable, he declares that the work was printed for private circulation, and ought not to have been criticised — or that “his poems from the nature of their emission were SACRED TO CRITICISM.” Any one who understands the English language would imagine that “sacred to criticism” meant consecrated or devoted to that purpose — but poor ignorant Sammy intended to mean just the reverse! However, the printers can bear the blame.

Sammy has not attempted to answer any one of our objections to the consummate nonsense fabricated by him both in his Essay and his Lecture — a lecture which he says was printed at the request of the literary society before which it was delivered. Is it possible that there exists a literary society so common-place in its material as to allow our stultified Sammy to insult them in a lecture? did they not observe the longitude of the ears beneath his lion's skin? were they not awakened to a sense of sight by the sound of his asinine bray? We say again that Sammy has not attempted to answer our objections, but contents himself with accusing us of distorting our quotations, and of criticising an extract from Campbell as the writing of Sammy himself. Not so, Sammy; we took your position and its predication, divested of the parenthetical absurdities which confused your meaning — there was no necessity to give the whole of your rigmarole paragraphs; and as to the quotation, we did not affirm that you wrote it, but said that you had introduced a very tender and beautiful sentence in support of your doctrine. This language is very different to accusing you of writing any thing emanating from the pen of Campbell. Oh, Sammy, Sammy, where do you expect to go when you die?

We shall not again notice our friend Sammy's attacks; we cannot spare room for the paltry subject, nor find time for the unprofitable task. If his “little pamphlets,” are sent to us, \te shall notice them as they deserve; as we do every other publication placed in our hands. We thank him cordially for the trouble he has taken in proving the correctness of our criticisms, and in circulating the proofs at his own expense. His “Reply to the Critics” is the best puff of our magazine that we could possibly issue, and establishes the honest correctness of our literary opinions beyond the power of denial. Sammy's “Introduction” alone proves all that we have asserted of his ignorance; it consists of three lines and a half, yet contains four flagrant violations of propriety. Here it is.

“I am urged to the following very brief reply by the consideration that the critics in question have gained a literary standing of some degree in this country, and have disseminated statements which, as I hope to prove herein, are alike obnoxious to liberality and to truth.”

“The critics in question.” What critics? who are they? No persons have as yet been named, nor has the gravamen of the matter been stated; the question is not yet before the reader.

“A literary standing of some degree in this country.” A phrase most Glennish and obscure. Of what degree? as big as all out doors, or as small as a lump of chalk?

“As I hope to prove herein.” In where 1 in the introduction consisting of three lines and a half, or in “the following brief reply?”

Obnoxious to liberality and truth.” Sammy, we confess the soft impeachment — we are obnoxious to liberality and truth. Borrow a dictionary, man, and find the meaning of the word. Why do you venture upon a four-syllabler without a previous investigation? Obnoxious means liable, or subject, or exposed to anything — not opposed or inimical, as we imagine you intended to say. Sammy, you must save up half a dollar, and purchase a dictionary.

Gentle reader, if three lines and a half contain four distinct misusages of the English language, how many are likely to be contained in a ‘’ little pamphlet” of Sammy Glenn's slip-slop?

Sammy talks rabidly about the malignancy of our depraved heart! poor, dear, Sammy! we bear you no ill will. If you dislike our critiques why do you send us your “little pamphlet ‘?” why do you concoct falsities, and publish puffs, of your own fabrication, and write impudent letters? Reflect and refrain, or your name will become a bye-word for ignorance and pretension! If you have any relatives of respectability, issue another printed circular, and swear that you are not the author of the little pamphlet written by one Sammy F. Glenn. For the sake of your future prosperity, we advise you in the parental language of the elder Wellei — “Samivel, Samivel, you had better prove a hallibi!”


[[Subsequent reviews in this issue are attributed to Poe]]





[S:0 - SLM, 1835] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - BGM Literary Reviews (Sept. 1839)