“Literary Notices. Book Table.” The New York Mirror (March 14, 1835)


In this article, dated March 14, 1835, the editors of the New York Mirror review several books, among them The Cavaliers of Virginia (1834–1835), by William Alexander Caruthers.


Book Table.

Numbers of new books, and old books in new forms, have appeared within the last four or five weeks, sorely perplexing us with the rapidity of their succession; for holding it, as we do, a point of conscience not to write of a book until we have read it, there can be no difficulty in understanding that the critical department of our journal is any thing but a sinecure. By great exertion and perseverance we have managed to run through seven or eight of the newest, and will dispose of them as briefly as may be. “The Cavaliers of Virginia,” stands first on our list, written by Dr. Caruthers, of this city, and published by Harper and Brothers. It is an American historical romance; the scene laid in Virginia; the time soon after the restoration of Charles the second of England to the throne of his fathers. There are some very good characters, and a vast abundance of incident, generally managed with skill. The historical and fictitious portions of the tale are blended with tact and judgment, and the first great requisite in all novels is successfully attained—namely, interest in the mind of the reader. The faults are principally negative; there is nothing on which you can lay your finger and say “this is bad,” but you cannot help thinking, occasionally, “this is not as good as it might be.” The material is excellent; it is not always worked up to the best advantage.—”The Most Unfortunate Man in the World,” comes to us in duplicate; editions having been published by Carey and Lea, and the Messrs. Harper. This concurrence of operation is something unusual, and we confess that we can discover in “the Unfortunate Man,” no especially good cause for its happening. The book is clever and entertaining: has no continuous plot, but seems to be made up of a succession of misfortunes and disasters, related with considerable spirit, such as have, no doubt, befallen men before now, and probably will again: there is nothing improbable in them, except their ascription to one individual. It is a readable book, but nothing remarkable.—”The Mayor of Windgap,” has likewise been introduced to American readers in separate editions, by the same publishing houses. It is by John Banim, or, as he has always chosen to call himself, “The O’Hara Family.” A wild and strange story, in which the reader is completely at fault from the very beginning; he perceives, very soon, that the tale upon which he has engaged is to be a remarkable one—prolifick in “moving accidents” and strong, startling characters, but what it is to be like he can form no conception. The interest increases as he goes on; it becomes excitement—eagerness—and at last he reaches the close, wondering more than all that a skein so ravelled should be unwound without disappointing his highly-wrought expectations. It is a remarkable story, the “Mayor of Windgap”—”The Princess,” by Lady Morgan, is likewise a book of much talent, and we are rather inclined to think, the most finished and vigorous of that lady’s productions. The story is not the most probable, in its principal features, and the characters, generally, are somewhat exaggerated; but story and characters are strikingly marked with imagination and power. “The Princess,” however, has higher merits than these; it is made the vehicle of a rich display of knowledge and criticism touching the politicks, literature and fine arts of Holland and Belgium, especially the latter, and may very safely be read as a guide by those who would know more of that country than can be gathered from newspapers and geographies. In another respect, this book cannot be read without interest of a painful character; namely, as giving a picture of morals and manners among the aristocracy of Great Britain. We are fain to believe that it is much too highly coloured; but, even with all the allowance that can be made, there is enough left to excite both disgust and horrour.—”The Coquette,” by the author of Miserrimus—alias Frederick Mansel Reynolds—has found admirers, we perceive, on this side of the Atlantick, but we cannot enrol ourselves among the number. With here and there an amusing passage—amusing rather from extravagance than legitimate humour or wit—the story appears to us to be nonsensical, incoherent, improbable and immoral—the characters totally unnatural, and the effect of the book just the reverse of desirable. There certainly is vigour in it, both of language and conception, but it is vigour wasted and thrown away. Many of the incidents are such as we should be sorry to have read by a daughter or sister, and this is a fault which should forbid the republication of any work designed for general reading.—”The Rebel and other tales,” is a collection of miscellaneous pieces, by the author of Pelham, made and published by the Messrs. Harper. The two most important and interesting are the dramatick fragment, out of which grew the novel of Eugene Aram, and the political pamphlet on the recent change of administration in England, to which we adverted some time ago, as an instance of remarkable popularity. It had then passed through ten editions, having been written on the twenty-first of November last; we perceive by the London papers, that eleven more have since been issued and sold, making in all twenty-one, or upward of forty thousand copies in less than two months!—Harper and Brothers have published the complete works of Hannah More, in one royal octavo volume of nearly six hundred pages, with a portrait and vignette. A work of immense interest and value, which ought to be in every man’s library. It is a code of religious and moral instruction, often beautifully developed in pleasing narrative, and varied to suit every taste and every diversity of age or character.—The same publishers have given to the American publick, “The life of the Rev. Samuel Drew,” by his eldest son; a striking and highly interesting example of intellectual power, making its way from ignorance, poverty and humble station, to eminent usefulness, learning and fame; a narrative that takes its place by the side of those in which are recorded the progress of Gitford, Ferguson, Brindley and others, who, by the force of their own talent and industry, have achieved reputation without any assistance from fortune or circumstance.—Carey and Lea have republished from the English edition, “The life and writings of the Rev. George Crabbe;” the distinguished poet of humble life. This, too, is a remarkable exemplification of talent commanding success. The biographical portion is extremely interesting, although it contains no uncommon incidents; its charm consists almost entirely in the simplicity and rectitude of the man, exhibited with singular constancy and effect in every stage of a long and a well-spent life. Of the poems we need not speak.—”La Revue Française,” is one of the few periodicals which we never fail to read, and it is one also upon which we never feel that our time has been thrown away. The number for January is peculiarly strong in criticism; the reviews of Bulwer’s Last Days of Pompeii, De la Mennais’ “Words of a Believer,” and Mackintosh’s History of England, are vigorous papers, although we do not subscribe implicitly to the justice of all the criticisms upon the first and last; as to De la Mennais’ bolderdash, we abandon that to the tender mercies of any critick. The number is embellished with a lithographed portrait of M. Berryer, the celebrated orator of the chamber des deputés.

APA Citation:
The New York Mirror. “Literary Notices. Book Table.” The New York Mirror (March 14, 1835). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
The New York Mirror. "“Literary Notices. Book Table.” The New York Mirror (March 14, 1835)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 18 May. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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