British Fiction, 18001829

ANON. Zeluca (1815)

Contemporary Reviews

Critical Review, 5th ser. 2 (Sept 1815): 328.

Of novels it has been alleged by some, that the greatest art in composing a good one is, to know when to come to a denouement. From long observation we have seen, that in order ‘to catch folly as it flies,’ the choice of a name is no less important. Of late years, the public has been disgusted with the ‘Book,’—‘The Spirit of the Book’—‘The Book itself;’—the whole nought but reiterated scandalum magnatum. Then, again, were we teazed with the ‘Searches of Cœlebs,’—‘Sequels to Cœlebs’—‘Marriage of Cœlebs,’ &c. &c. In some catchpenny title pages, the names of established writers, with some small deviation, have been substituted, in order to make ‘a worthless tale go down.’ In the volumes before us a seeming shift of this kind is resorted to. Zeluca, may be supposed the twin sister of Dr. Moore’s excellent novel of Zeluco; though without ‘the tincture of a feature.’

The plot of Zeluca is weak; the heroine, in the first volume, is puerile, and froward, a tissue of bad temper and unamiable qualities; —in the last, she is too much of a demoniac to deserve pity; too glaring for admonition, and unfitting for precept.

Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’. Format: 3 vols; no price. Publisher: Baldwin & Co.

Monthly Review, 2nd ser. 79 (Mar 1816): 324–25.

In this female prototype of Dr. Moore’s celebrated Zeluco, the evils of ungoverned passion and inordinate vanity are forcibly drawn; the story has an appearance of reality and nature; and [324/325] the judicious reflections, which are occasionally introduced, shew that it is the production of an observant and sensible mind. We do not, however, approve the consolation which Marianne administers to Zeluca on her death-bed, by directing her to expect the forgiveness of her crime, merely on account of ‘its minutest palliation.’ —We must also observe that the private discourse of young ladies, in a ball-room, is here made too coarse to be credible; and the book is so carelessly printed, that errors in grammar and orthography occur in almost every page.

Notes: Listed under ‘Monthly Catalogue: Novels’. Format: 3 vols 12mo; price 1l. 1s. Boards. Publisher: Baldwin & Co.

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