2005 – 2010

Schlagwort: Review

Edgar Allan Poe: Review of Hawthorne „Twice-Told Tales“

Twice-Told Tales. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. Two Volumes. Boston: James Munroe and Co:

We said a few hurried words about Mr. Hawthorne in our last number, with the design of speaking more fully in the present. We are still, however, pressed for room, and must necessarily discuss his volumes more briefly and more at random than their high merits deserve.

The book professes to be a collection of tales, yet is, in two respects, misnamed. These pieces are now in their third ret publication, and, of course, are thrice-told. Moreover, they are by no means all tales, either in the ordinary or in the legitimate understanding of the term. Many of them are pure essays, for example, „Sights from a Steeple,“ „Sunday; Home,“ „Little Annie’s Ramble,“ „A Rill from the Town. Pump,“ „The Toll-Gatherer’s Day,“ „The Haunted Mind,“ „The Sister Years,“ „Snow-Flakes,“ „Night Sketches,“ and „Foot-Prints on the Sea-Shore.“ We mention these matters chiefly on account of their discrepancy with that marked precision and finish by which the body of the work is distinguished.

Edgar Allan Poe: Review of Dickens‘ „Barnaby Rudge“

We presume our readers all know that „Barnaby Rudge,“ now „in course of publication“ periodically, is a story supposed to be narrated by one of the members of Master Humphrey’s society; and is in fact a continuation of the „Clock,“ although complete within itself. From the concluding words of „The Curiosity Shop“ — or rather of the volume which contained that tale — we gather that the present narrative will be occupied with matters tending to develope the spirit, or, in the language of Mr. Dickens himself, the „heart“ of the mighty London, toward the conclusion of the eighteenth century. This thesis affords the most ample scope for the great powers of the writer. His opening chapters assure us that he has at length discovered the secret of his true strength, and that „Barnaby Rudge“ will appeal principally to the imagination. Of this faculty we have many striking instances in the few numbers already issued. We see it where the belfry man in the lonely church at midnight, about to toll the „passing-bell,“ is struck with horror at hearing the solitary note of another, and awaits, aghast, a repetition of the sound. We recognise it more fully where this single note is discovered, in the morning, to have been that of an alarm pulled by the hand of one in the death-struggle with a murderer: — also in the expression of countenance which is so strikingly attributed to Mrs. Rudge — „the capacity for expressing terror“something only dimly seen, but never absent for a moment“the shadow of some look to which an instant of intense and most unutterable horror only could have given rise.“ This is a conception admirably adapted to whet curiosity in respect to the character of that event which is hinted at as forming the ground-work of the novel; and so far is well suited to the purposes of a periodical story. But this observation should not fail to be made — that the anticipation must surpass the reality; that no matter how terrific be the circumstances which, in the dénouement, shall appear to have occasioned the expression of countenance worn habitually by Mrs. Rudge, still they will not be able to satisfy the mind of the reader. He will surely be disappointed. The skilful intimation of horror held out by the artist produces an effect which will deprive his conclusion, of all. These intimations — these dark hints of some uncertain evil — are often rhetorically praised as effective — but are only justly so praised where there is no dénouement whatever — where the reader’s imagination is left to clear up the mystery for itself — and this, we suppose, is not the design of Mr. Dickens.