British Fiction, 18001829

GLEIG, George Robert. Stranger's Grave, The (1823)

Contemporary Reviews

La Belle Assemblée, n.s. 28 (1823): 319.

Our last page is drawing towards a close; but we cannot relinquish the pen without mentioning, in terms of the very warmest praise, the deeply interesting and pathetic tale, entitled ‘The Stranger’s Grave.’ With some slight defects, which experience will not fail to correct, it is a work of uncommon merit, and we earnestly recommend it to the notice of our readers.

Notes: Review is in Supplement to 1823. Listed under the heading ‘Novelists’.

Monthly Review, 2nd ser. 103 (Feb 1824): 217–18.

If we admit that this story is told with interest and pathos, that merit is the basis of a strong objection to it: for it narrates events arising out of a criminal connection between a young man and his niece, and such an occurrence should not be suffered to inspire any gentle feelings. Rarely as, we may hope, such a circumstance actually takes place, why should it be imagined, in order to work it up into a sentimental tale? We grant that the faults of the erring couple are made to form their punishment, [217/218] and thus constitute the moral of the fable: but they are allowed to give way too readily to their improper attachment, and to excite too much of the sympathy of the reader. No failure of moral intention, however, can be attributed to the writer; who distinctly observes at the conclusion, ‘Reader, I have told thee a tale of no ordinary woe; but it has a moral in it. Whatever thou mayest be, or however situated, guard well the first avenues which lead to sin; for if one false step be taken, thou canst not tell of how many evils it may prove the prelude.’

Some Scotch characters and dialogue are introduced, and numerous unintentional nationalities of language mark the writer to be a native of the northern part of our empire.

Notes: Format: 12mo; price 6s. Boards. Publisher: Longman & Co.

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