British Fiction, 18001829

ANON. Short Story, A (1800)

Contemporary Reviews

Critical Review, 2nd ser. 31 (Jan 1801): 116.

The youthful writer of this ‘Short Story’ informs us, that her motive for publishing it was ‘to enforce the duty of resignation under affliction.’—Of every species of distress to which the lot of man is subject, perhaps there is no one so difficult to be borne as that of ill treatment from those we love. The author enters upon the latter part of her story with an enthusiasm which shows the warmth of her heart. Nor have we any reason to complain that it exhibits a warmth unfriendly to the cause of virtue. If we were to exercise the severity of criticism, which she seems to dread, we might without difficulty point out many faults; but we shall content ourselves with one remark, which will apply not only to herself, but to almost all the novel writers into whose hands this critique may fall, namely, that although in periodical publications and compilements of essays a motto may serve as a convenient sign or text at the top of each separate paper, yet, in a connected story, whether gay or serious, a quotation from authors, either English or foreign, placed at the beginning of every chapter, can only tend to break the thread of the narrative, and is rarely of any use but to assist in filling up the page. And further, although the introduction of a sonnet may fairly be allowed in due time and place, yet the interspersing a work with verses, without regard to either, we must condemn as a defect of no small magnitude.

Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’. Format: 2 vols 12mo; price 7s. Sewed. Publisher: Cawthorne.

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