British Fiction, 18001829

LAFONTAINE, August Heinrich Julius. Village Pastor and his Children, The (1803)

Contemporary Reviews

Critical Review, 2nd ser. 39 (Oct 1803): 236–37.

We have not lately perused any translation from a German work with more satisfaction than the present. We meet neither with ghosts, with lax morality, nor declamations on the inequality of conditions, nor with sneers at religion. The tale is simple and interesting: the attention is fixed by a series of adventures never trespassing on probability, though, from a difference of manners, sometimes singular. We must, however, remark, that the author seems to have [236/237] had an English work in his view—we mean The Vicar of Wakefield. The good pastor has the same benevolence and simplicity, the same unaffected piety, and a series of similar misfortunes. The character of the wife is more amiable. She is equally irritable, equally fond of her children, but more easily moved to benevolent actions, and more ready to forgive. There are few circumstances in that novel, which have not their counterpart in this; and Burchel is preserved under the name of Friedenhelm. The scene in which he silences the pride and haughtiness of the baron is admirably drawn. On the whole, we must repeat our commendation; and the English picture is so truly pleasing and interesting, that we cannot object to the German copy, especially as it is executed with care and ability, and with such variations as to render it, if not wholly different, by no means the same.

Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’. Format: 4 vols 12mo; price 16s. Boards. Publisher: Lane & Newman.

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