« PreviousContinue »
The Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels. By Andrews Norton. Cambridge: John Owen. 8vo. Vol. II. pp. 278 and cc; Vol. III. pp. 336 and lxxxiv.
Egypt and the Books of Moses, or the Books of Moses Illustrated by the Monuments of Egypt; with an Appendix. By Dr. E. W. Hengstenberg. From the German, by R. C. D. Robbins, Abbot Resident, Andover Theological Seminary. Andover: Allen, Morrill, & Wardwell. 12mo. pp. 300.
Dr. Pusey Answered; or an Exposition of the Doctrines and Fallacies in his Sermon on the Eucharist. By a Graduate of Columbia College. New York : Edward Walker. 8vo. pp. 40.
The True Churchman Warned against the Errors of the Time. Edited, with Notes, by the Rev. Henry Anthon, D. D. New York: Harper and Brothers. 8vo. pp. 66.
A Critical and Historical Introduction to the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament. From the German of Wilhelm M. de Wette. Translated and enlarged by Theodore Parker. Boston: C. C. Little & James Brown. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 517 and 570.
The True Issue Sustained: or, an Exhibition of the Views and Spirit of the Episcopal Press in Relation to the recent Ordination in St. Stephen's Church, New York. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 54.
A Discourse preached to the North Church and Society, Salein, Mass., August 20, 1843, the Sunday succeeding the Death of Hon. Benjamin Pickmán. By John Brazer, D. D. Salem. 8vo. 32.
The Blessedness of those who die in the Lord. A Sermon occasioned by the Death of Washington Allston, delivered in Cambridge, July 16, 1843. By John A. Albro. Boston: C. C. Little & James Brown. 8vo. pp. 27.
A Discourse preached before the 2d Church and Society in Boston, in Commemoration of the Life and Character of their former Pastor, Rev. Henry Ware, Jr., D. D. By Chandler Robbins. With an Appendix. Boston: James Munroe and Co. 8vo. pp. 71.
Practical Observations on the New Testament. By the Rev. Thomas Scott. Arranged for Family Worship. With an Introduction by A. Alexander, D. D. Philadelphia; Lindsay & Blakiston. 8vo. pp. 532.
A Discourse on the Character and Writings of Rev. William Ellery Channing, D. D., by Orville Dewey. New York: Charles S. Francis. 8vo. pp. 40.
A Sermon occasioned by the Death of Rev. Henry Ware, Jr. D. D. Preached in Bulfinch Street Church, October 1, 1843. By Frederick T. Gray. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 8vo. pp. 16.
Views of the Lord's Supper. A Sermon preached September 3, 1843, before the First Congregational Society in Eastport, Me. By Charles H. Farley. Boston: Benjamin H. Greene. 8vo. pp. 25.
Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life, designed particularly for the Consideration of those who are seeking Assurance of Faith and Perfect Love. By Thomas C. Upham. Boston: D. S. King. 12mo.
Commemorative Discourse, delivered in Baltimore, September 17, 1843, on the Occasion of the Decease of the Rev. F. W. P. GreenVOL. LVIII. — No. 122.
wood. D. D. By George W. Burnap. Baltimore: John Murphy. 8vo. pp. 16.
Communion with the Unseen. A Discourse delivered in the First Congregational Unitarian Church, October 1, 1843. By Williarn H. Furness. Philadelphia : J. Crissy. 8vo. pp. 16.
A New Series of Question Books, for Infant Classes in Sabbath Schools. By Rev. J. Banvard. No. 2. Salem: John P. Jewett. 12mo. pp. 44.
The Chief Dangers of the Church in these Times. A Charge, delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Ohio, at the 26th Annual Convention in Gambier, September 18, 1843. By Charles Pettit McIlvaine, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese. New York: Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 47.
A View of Congregationalism, its Principles and its Doctrines. By George Punchard. With an Introductory Essay, by R. S. Storrs, D. D. Andover: Allen, Morrill, & Ward well. 18mo. pp. 331.
A Vindication of the Organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church. By a Layman. Richmond : 12mo. pp. 56.
VOYAGES AND TRAVELS. Wanderings on the Seas and Shores of Africa. Part I. New York: Joseph W. Harrison. 8vo. pp. 64.
Scenes and Scenery in the Sandwich Islands, and a Trip through Central America; being Observations from my Note-Book, during the Years 1837 – 42. By James Jackson Jarves, Author of “ History of the Sandwich Islands." Boston : James Munroe & Co. 12mo.
A Narrative of the Last Cruise of the U. S. Steam Frigate Missouri. By William Bolton, one of the Crew. Boston: Samuel N. Dickinson. 8vo. pp. 33.
NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
Art. I. - The False Heir. By G. P. R. JAMES, Esq.,
Author of “ Morley Ernstein,” “ Forest Days,” &c. New York : Harper & Brothers. Price one shilling. 1843.
The author of " Sartor Resartus,” in a petition to the House of Commons, on the copyright question, signs himself “ Thomas Carlyle, a Maker of Books.” This phrase, which applies to Herr Teufelsdröckh only in a quaint sense, is applicable to Mr. G. P. R. James in its literal meaning. He is, indeed, no “maker" in the old significance of that term, for he creates nothing ; but he is emphatically a literary mechanic. The organs of his brain are the tools of his trade. He manufactures novels, as other people manufacture shoes, shirts, and sheetings. He continually works up the same raw material into very nearly the same shapes. The success he has met with in his literary speculations should be chronicled in the Merchants' or Mechanics' Magazine. He is a most scientific expositor of the fact, that a man may be a maker of books without being a maker of thoughts ; that he may be the reputed author of a hundred volumes, and flood the market with his literary wares, and yet have very few ideas and principles for his stock in trade. For the last ten years, he has been repeating his own repetitions, and echoing his own echoes. His first novel was a shot that went through the target, and he has ever since been assiduously firing through the hole. To protect his person from NO. 123.
critical assault, he might pile up a bulwark of books many volumes thick and many feet high. Yet the essence of all that he has written, if subjected to a refining process, might be compressed into a small space, and even then would hardly bear the test of time, and journey safely down to posterity. When we reflect upon the character and construction of his works, and apply to them certain searching tests, they dwindle quickly into very moderate dimensions. We find, that the enormous helmet encloses only a small nut, that the nut is an amplified exponent of the kernel, and that the kernel itself is neither
space has no limits, and as large portions of it are still unoccupied by tangible bodies, it seems not very philosophical to quarrel with any person who endeavours to fill up its wide chasms; yet, in the case of Mr. James, we grudge the portion of infinite space which his writings occupy. We dispute his right to pile up matter, which is the type or symbol of so small an amount of spirit. We sigh for the old vacuum, and think, that, though nature may have abhorred it in the days of Aristotle, her feelings must have changed since modern mediocrity has filled it with such weak apologies for substance and form.
Piron, standing before the hundred volumes of Voltaire, remarked, “This luggage is too heavy to go down to pos
What would he have said, if he could have seen the hundred volumes published by Mr. James ? We think of the “ Vicar of Wakefield,” which one can carry in his pocket ; of Charles Lamb's delightful " Essays " ; of the tragedy of “ Ion”; and of many other small and precious gems, which time cannot dim ; and when we contrast these with Mr. James's voluminous mediocrity and diffusive commonplace, we obtain a new and vivid idea of the difference between quantity and quality. When a man has little or nothing to say, he should say
it in the smallest space.
He should not, at any rate, take up more room than suffices for a creative mind. He should not provoke hostility and petulance, by the effrontery of his demands upon time and patience. He should let us off with a few volumes, and gain our gratitude for his benevolence, if not our praise for his talents. But when we find bim “ multiplying himself among mankind,” and looking out upon us from such a vast variety of points, demanding our assent to the common notion that he is a great producer of
thought and sentiment, - we are provoked into a desire to sift his pretensions to the bottom.
We would not be so unjust to the numerous readers of Mr. James, even to that unfortunate portion of them who consider him the legitimate successor of Scott, as to assert their ignorance of his faculty of reproduction. A dim rem, iniscence, similar to that on which Plato founds his doctrine of the soul's preëxistence, they must have had occasionally, while re-perusing an old novel in a new dress. A dúll country gentleman was once seduced into an attempt to read the 66 Vicar of Wakefield.” He journeyed through that exquisite book, seemingly at the rate of ten pages an evening; but when he laid it down for the night, and carefully marked the place where he stopped, some impudent niece or nephew put the mark about eight pages back in the vol
Of course, many months elapsed before he arrived at the end. He was then asked how he was pleased with it; “Oh! he liked it very well, but he thought there was a little repetition in it!” An objection somewhat similar to this, we have heard made against Mr. James, and with about as clear an insight into the real secret of the matter.
To write a good novel, or a series of good novels, is not generally considered, even by those whose whole reading is confined to romance, to require any great effort of talent or genius. A man who repeats some axioms in physics, or wraps up a plain fact in a metaphysical shroud, is more likely to be considered as a great personage, than a writer of creative mind, who thrills the heart, or warms the imagination, with a prose epic. The products of the inventive powers rarely obtain so much of the popular reverence, as the deductions of the understanding. Works which have caused their authors vast labor and patient meditation ; which have stimulated every faculty of their nature to the utmost ; which may have required not only the highest imagination, but the deepest and most comprehensive thought ; and which are pervaded, it may be, by the results of a whole life of feeling, action, observation, and reflection ; are still generally classed as " light reading.” It may be light reading, but nothing is more certain than that it is not commonly light writing. The novel of “ Ivanhoe” may be placed by some in the department of light literature. But if those who coolly classify in this manner would but reflect upon