British Fiction, 18001829

HARRISON, William H. Tales of a Physician (1829)

Contemporary Reviews

La Belle Assemblée, 3rd ser. 10 (July 1829): 33–34.

A slight volume, entitled ‘Tales of a [33/34] Physician, by W. H. Harrison,’ consisting of nine sketches, written in a style somewhat passé, has little to distinguish it beyond the moral and religious feelings by which its pages are pervaded. Our author has availed himself of all the opportunities which the medical profession offers, of becoming acquainted with the affairs of his neighbours; and the result has been the present volume, which, unexceptionable in its nature, may not be found destitute of interest and amusement. Without having, according to instructions given in the preface, examined the records of the University of Timbuctoo, for his diploma, we may venture to pronounce ‘W. H. Harrison’ to be ‘no true man;’— we mean, no physician.

Monthly Review, n.s. 11 (Aug 1829): 612.

If a medical man of strong feeling and kind heart were to keep a journal of the incidents as well as cases which he meets with in his practice, he might produce a volume which would vie with any, the most powerful, fictitious narrative. There is merit in the ‘Tales’ before us, but it is of a common-place kind, such, in fact, as we find in fifty works of the same class, without the writers ever thinking of assuming the character of physicians, or feeling it necessary to use such a fiction for the basis of their narratives. The details given by our author are far too similar and sentimental, to be any thing like what we might expect from a man whose heart is filled with the strong sense of human ill, and they have little of that power over the sympathies which belongs to the eloquence of truth. As the ‘Tales of a Physician,’ therefore, we do not see much in them to praise, but as the simple inventions of a philanthropic and ingenious mind, they are really very pretty and amusing. A vein of amiable and highly moral feeling runs through the whole volume, and it only wants more variety of light and shade to make it worthy of a higher praise than we have been able to give it.

Notes: No price or format given. Publisher: Jennings.

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