OLLIER, Charles. Inesilla (1824)
La Belle Assemblée, n.s. 29 (Mar 1824): 125.
All who recollect the delightful story of ‘Altham and
his Wife,’ by Charles Ollier, will rejoice in the announcement
of another volume from the same pen, under the title of ‘Inesilla,
or the Tempter, a Romance; with other Tales.’ Altogether
there are four tales in the volume. The first, from which it takes
its title, is based on the supernatural; and, though wild and terrific,
is rich and fanciful, beautiful and interesting, in an extraordinary
degree. ‘The Convict,’ another of the stories,
is written in a style of the humblest simplicity; yet, like the
homely sketches of Crabbe, it finds its way to the inmost recesses
of the heart: it is deeply, painfully affecting. Why does not the
author expatiate in a wider field?
Monthly Review, 2nd ser. 103 (Mar 1824): 329–30.
We could find much cause both for praise and blame in the wild
and fantastic but at the same time powerful story of Inesilla. As
a work of imagination and strong feeling, it possesses very considerable
merit, but in point of composition and good taste it is [329/330]
very deficient. It is a terrific spectral tale, full of the most
extraordinary horrors, and quite unfit even for a sober-minded person
to read immediately before he retires to his pillow; recording the
history of two young lovers, tormented by a sort of wandering Jewess,
who some centuries before had received the boon of perpetual beauty,
on the condition of seducing her own descendants to evil. The story
itself has clearly nothing very edifying, nor is the mode in which
it is treated altogether unexceptionable. Should Mr. Ollier add
a little more coloring to some of his pictures, they would certainly
attract the eyes of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, who
are no friends to gentlemen with warm imaginations.
We feel very strongly inclined, also, to expostulate with Mr. Ollier
on the style which he has chosen to adopt, and which to us is peculiarly
unpleasing. There is an affectation of novel phrases in it which
destroys the simplicity of the narrative. What are we to understand
by such images as the following?
‘She looked into her lover’s face, and with a low murmuring
voice like the faint edge of a calm wave, which wanders not breaks
amongst the pebbles, she said ––’
Notwithstanding these faults, many beauties in the volume attest
that it is the production of a man of ability.
Notes: Mistakenly listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Poetry’.
Format: 12mo; price 7s. Boards. Publisher: Lloyd & Son.
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