« 이전계속 »
CHIT-CHAT; LITERARY AND MISCELLANEOUS.
We scarcely ever remember a period of such extraordinary dulness in the literary world, as the last few weeks. If we except Captain Parry's Third Voyage, there has scarcely been a single work of importance published. The shops of the London wholesale booksellers resemble so many cemeteries, or catacombs, where nothing is to be seen but “ pile upon pile” of the hapless remains of defunct and unsaleable authors.
A report has been most industriously circulated, that the failure of Messrs. Hurst and Robinson will operate to the prejudice of Mr. Alaric Watts's Literary Souvenir for 1827. We are requested to state, that there does not exist the smallest ground for such an assumption. The forthcoming volume is in a state of considerable forwardness, and will be published along with the other annuals. Some idea of the character of its embellishments may be formed from the fact that they are all engraving, or engraved (in the line manner, in the most finished style of the art) by CHARLES HEATH, WILLIAM and EDWARD FINDEN, Rolls, ENGLEHEART, ROMNEY, WALLACE, MITCHELL, HUMPHREYS, &c., after subjects painted, in some instances, expressly for the work, and in others, selected from celebrated pictures, never before engraved, in the possession of various distinguished collectors,-by HOWARD, NEWTON, TURNER, MARTIN, EASTLAKE, GREEN, COPLEY, FIELDING, W. E. West, FARRIER, &c. Among these illustrations are the well-known “Girl in a Florentine Costume of 1500," by Howard, a female face of exquisite beauty; a Spanish Lady singing and playing upon a Guitar, after a study by Newton, and the last and most authentic Portrait of Lord Byron, from a picture painted by Mr. W. E. West, in Italy, in 1822. Of this portrait, Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. Leigh Hunt, and many other gentlemen who saw his lordship during his residence in Italy, have said, that the likeness is admirably preseryed; and that it is, in fact, the only authentic resemblance of Lord Byron extant. So greatly did Lord B., and the friends immediately about him, prefer this portrait to the many which had already been painted of him, that he authorised Mr. West to get it engrayed for him by Raphael Morghen, at his own price. This price was four thousand dollars; but as Morghen would not promise to execute it in less than three years, the idea of getting it engraved by him was abandoned. In Paris, the artist was offered six hundred guineas for this picture; but refused it, as he wished to reserve it for an introduction in this country. It is now being engraved for the Literary Souvenir, in the line manner, by Engleheart. It is, says the New Monthly Magazine, (in an interesting article upon Mr. West's portrait), far from our wish to underrate the picture of Lord Byron by Phillips, or the drawing of him by Harlow, nor, indeed, were it possible that it could be like any thing that ever existed, would we deny the accuracy of the attempt by Westall, exhibited last year, in Somerset House. But these were all made in the outset of his career, when the novelty of reputation transported him to an affectation of singularity in his appearance, and he chose to be represented in nothing but corsairs; long too ere the troubles of life had blanched a hair of his head, or added a line to his countenance. What we have wanted of Lord Byron, is a resemblance of him at a period when his variable character had gone its utmost length towards being fixed. The writer in the New Monthly then goes on to mention, that the deficiency of which he complains has been supplied by Mr. West's Portrait. So much for the illustrations of the forthcoming Literary Souvenir. It is hardly necessary to add, that the Literary portion of its contents has been furnished by a host of the most distinguished writers of the age. The kindness of Mr. Secretary Peel, Mr. Ridley Colborne, and several other distinguished collectors, has afforded
the Editor a choice of some of the most splendid specimens of modern art extant for the purposes of his work.
"Set a beggar on horseback and he will ride to the deyil,' is a proverb, to the truth of which most men's experience will bear abundant testimony. The case to which we are about to refer, will add another to the innumerable confirmations of this trite truism already upon record. Anxious to taste a breath of fresh air towards the close of last month, we entrusted our editorial reigns to a young Phæton-like contributor of genius during our absence, strictly limiting his vagaries to the small print in the last few pages of our Magazine. Here, thought we, he cannot fall far, if fall he should. Alas, how | sadly did we reckon without our host! Under the pretence of correcting one of our slips, he fell with his whole weight on all the morning newspapers, in a yein worthy of “Herc'les” himself; calling one dull, another vulgar, and another brazen, and finally gathering up his slashing epithets and throwing them in the faces of newspaper editors in general, (ourselves among others, for we have the honour to belong to that highly respectable fraternity), with surprising coolness and nonchalance. We should, however, have pocketed the affront as far as we were concerned; but the vagabond had positively the impudence, not only to bespatter one or two of the ablest and most respectable of our contemporaries, but actually those of them who happen to be more particularly after our own heart: to wit, The New Times and Morning Post, two of the ablest and most interesting papers published. (We speak of the former from our knowledge, and the latter from general report). If our calumniated contemporaries had not abounded in the milk of human kindness, or what is more probable seen through a very dull joke upon Mr. Hazlitt's principle, (who, in his Essay on Comic Humour, declares that lying is the soul of wit), we should haye been impaled aliye ere this, for the impertinence of our deputy. He tells us, in extenuation, that he wrote the paragraph when “half-seas over; but, as we cannot think of encouraging people who write in their cups, we have dismissed him from our little cortege, with the memorable address of Othello to his drunken lieutenant-“ Cassio, be thou no more an officer of mine."
Our correspondent, W. S. S., informs us, that he has in the press three Fairy Tales, from the German of L. A. Grimm, which he proposes to publish at Christmas. They are entitled “ The Three Brothers,” “ The Foundlings of the Spring,” and “ The Black Guitar." From the specimens which we have already perused of the productions of the Messrs. Grimm, we doubt not that our young friends will find these tales amusing.
We have heard of actors, on state occasions, dying twice for the amusement of the public, but have rarely met with periodicals equally accommodating. The “ News of Literature," however, has had the goodness (for the edification of the public of course) to come to life again, since our last, and die over again. Requiescat in pace.
Another“ Life of Napoleon,” a political one, is announced.
In a clever article in the last “Monthly Magazine,” entitled “ Fashionable Novels," and attributed to the pen of Mr. Croly, we are glad to find an echo of our opinions of “ Vivian Grey” and its author. “ Vivian Grey,” says the critic of the “ Monthly Magazine,” is “immeasurably the most impudent of all feeble things; begot in puppyism, conceived in pertness, and born in puffing : whether the writer be any thing above a collector of intelligence in servants' halls and billiard rooms, no one, of course, can tell, as no one ever heard his name before ; but the graces of a tavern-writer, and the knowledge of a disbanded butler, are but sorry things, after all, to trade upon. His only chance of escaping perpetual burlesque, is to content himself with wearing “ violetcoloured slippers,” “slobbering his Italian greyhound,” and “sinking suddenly and finally into total oblivion.”
We are happy to hear that a second yolume of Miss Mitford's “ Our Vil
lage” is on the eye of publication. It has been reserved, with other good things, until the latter end of the autumn.
A Mr. Shea, of Cork, announces a volume of Poetry, which, to judge from some extracts which have met our eye, in a respectable provincial print, is likely to be of a very respectable order.
Mr. Colburn does not seem to act quite as liberally, on some occasions, as one might reasonably expect from a person of his celebrity. Because our last month's publication announced an exposé of Mr. D'Israeli, the author of “ Vivian Grey," he refused to allow an advertisement of it to appear on the corner of his Magazine. Another bookselling firm, who appropriated to themselves certain remarks in an article on the book trade in our last Number, refused to send such of our Magazines as had hitherto been conveyed through their medium, any longer. Yet the article in question was, on the whole, exceedingly complimentary to booksellers, and merely deprecated those customs of the trade, which seem to bear so heavily upon authors as a body. That our readers may see all that is to be said on the other side, we have given place to a bookseller's reply to our remarks, in our present Number. It will be seen, that like most controversialists who have only half a leg to stand upon, he has imputed to us sentiments and opinions to which we never gave expression, for the purpose of appearing to rebut them most triumphantly. We shall have a word or two with this veteran in our next.
Messrs. Hunt and Clarke are collecting and publishing, in a cheap form, all the most interesting specimens of auto-biography that have been written. The numbers already published contain the Lives of Colley Cibber, Hume, Voltaire, Lilly, Marmontel, &c.
Mr. John Taylor, late of the Sun Newspaper, is, we hear, about to publish a volume of Poems, by subscription. The villainy of a person with whom he was connected in business, has, we regret to hear, conduced to render this measure in some degree essential to his future comfort. Why does not Mr. Taylor write his Reminiscences, we are quite certain they would be extremely amusing, and find a liberal purchaser.
Harriette Wilson has, we are told, written to a respectable bookseller at the west end of the town, to offer him the refusal of her husband's trayels in India. The favour has been declined.
We are particularly anxious to direct the attention of our readers to an interesting little volume, which has just issued from the press, and which we propose noticing more at length at some future opportunity. It is entitled “ The Song of the Patriot; Sonnets and Songs, by Robert Millhouse.” The author is a weaver of Nottingham, and the brief sketch of his life prefixed, by his brother, describes the many and severe difficulties and privations under which he has laboured. The volume contains a great deal of very pleasing poetry. If some of our fashionables, with whom money is even in these times plentiful enough, knew how greatly they might help to ameliorate the condition of an amiable writer and his distressed family by the purchase of a small volume like this, they would, we are sure, need no stronger inducement.
The Literary Chronicle, in a flattering notice of our last month's Magazine, informs us that Linn Clouden Abbey, the poem ascribed to Robert Burns, was written, seyeral years ago, by a J. T. Walter. According to the testimony of one of our valued correspondents, it is in parts a close imitation of a ballad in the Border Minstrelsy, by Sir Walter Scott. We mentioned the source from which we had derived it, and did not pretend to vouch for its authenticity. Our contemporary of the Literary Chronicle is, however, quite wrong in his assertion, that Mr. D’Israeli, junior, was not the editor of the Star Chamber. We happen to know that he was. One or two of our newspaper friends have been extremely critical, on the subject of a misprint in the Bulls of Genius in our last number, and have condescended to inform us, that the tragedy of Douglas was written by Home, and not by Bishop Horne. It seems we took the wrong bull by the horn. Such mistakes will happen in the best regulated families.
A Mr. A. Black, of Edinburgh, has written our publisher a very choleric letter, denying that the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal is either dead or dying; accusing us of a wish to “puff off Dr. Brewster by the most contemptible falsehoods;" after calling upon us to contradict our statement, he proceeds to admit its correctness, by acknowledging that “ to avoid connecting himself with a lawsuit between Dr. Brewster and Messrs. Constable,” Dr. Jamieson has dropped the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, and commenced another with a new name. The fact is, that Dr. Brewster was the original proprietor of the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, and when his agreement with Messrs. Constable and Co. terminated, (at the twentieth number), he sold the work to Mr. Blackwood; but as Messrs. Constable and Co. unwarrantably assumed that they were the proprietors, and continued to publish a work under the old title, Dr. Brewster commenced “ The Edinburgh Journal of Science.” In consequence of the failure of Messrs. Constable and Co., their journal has been discontinued ; Professor Jamieson has however commenced a new work, with a fresh bookseller, under a different title, as any body else might have done; and notwithstanding this fact, which Mr. A. Black himself admits, that person has the assurance to write our publisher an abusive letter, (of which he forgets to pay the postage), accusing us of falsehood and misrepresentation. We know nothing of Dr. Brewster, and have no interest in recommending his work, but we will now say what we feel and believe to be the truth; that it is the best work of the kind published, and can therefore have little to fear from the abortive thing that is opposed to it. We hope Mr. Black is satisfied.
The editor of a Glasgow paper, states that a gentleman on whose veracity he can rely, informs him, that he was passing along the east coast of Bute, near Rothsay, on Wednesday fortnight, when he saw within a yard of the shore, a mermaid combing her fine black hair with the utmost deliberation!
A cave, containing fossil bones, has lately been discovered on the banks of the Garonne, near Bourdeau. The bones are principally of the tyger and the hyena, and are analogous to those, the remains of which were found in the neighbourhood of Paris.
We are happy to hear, that the English translation of a new work by Frederick Schlegel, entitled “ A view of Classical Antiquity,” is nearly ready for publication.
The “ Rejected Articles” lately published by Mr. Colburn, is from the pen of Mr. P. G. Patmore. There is rather a droll circumstance connected with the appearance of this volume. The author introduced an article purporting to be a review of Tremaine, in the Blackwood style, in which he contrived to quote some very absurd passages from the book under review. This gave such offence to the sensitive Mr. Ward, that Mr. Colburn was induced to cancel the paper, and supply its place with some vapid imitations of Lord Byron, before a hundred copies of Mr. Patmore's book had been disposed of. Having accomplished this excision, a new title-page was printed, and the remaining copies announced as a second edition. 0, Wicount Wictoire de Soligny!
There are one or two very excellent articles in the last Monthly Magazine; those on “ Debt," and “ Fashionable Novels,” more especially. “My Lodging," is sad vapid trash; nor is the paper on the proper use of eyes, a great deal better. Mr. C. Webbe's “Haroun" is worth a cart load of such rubbish.
The estimated number of looms, propelled by water and steam power, in the United Kingdoms, including those in preparation for working previous to the stagnation, and as near as any calculation can be made, is 57,000. The average produce, taking it at 22 square yards of cloth a day, makes 1,254,000 ; or, 1,741 yards a minute; weekly, 7,524,000; monthly, 31,330,000; yearly, 376,200,000. Allowing six yards to each person, for yearly consumption, will supply 62,700,000, and will cover 62,700 acres of ground, and in length, would extend 213,750 miles, and reach across the Atlantic Ocean 71 tiines !
Peele's Coffee House was sold by auction a few weeks ago. The files of a large proportion of the newspapers published in Great Britain, were included in the purchase.
We are sorry to have to announce the death of Mr. Byerly, the Editor of the Literary Chronicle, the Star, evening newspaper, and the Mirror; and the compiler of the Percy Anecdotes. He died on the 28th of July. He established, if we mistake not, the Literary Chronicle, now in the eighth year of its age. He appears to have been an indefatigable writer; and if we except an occasional spurt at the Literary Gazette, and its contributors, he was, altogether, a very fair and impartial periodical critic. His private friends speak of him as an extremely warm-hearted, and excellent man; and from all that we have heard of his character, we see no reason to question the correctness of their testimony.
A Correspondent, who professes to know a good deal of what is passing in the literary world, assures us, most 'confidently, that we have been misinformed as to the circulation of the Edinburgh Review. The sale, he delares, exceeds nine thousand; and he adds, that Messrs. Longman and Co. do not propose to publish it from choice, but because they have, as co-partners with Messrs. Constable and Co., no other alternative. Some differences have, it appears, arisen between the Great House and Mr. Jeffrey, which are not likely to be terminated without recourse to a court of law. It seems that the sum which the editor of the Edinburgh Review should have received quarterly for his own lucubrations, and the payment of his contributors, was 7001. This 2,8001. per annum he unwisely suffered to accumulate in the hands of Messrs. Constable and Co., until it has reached an amount of several thousands; and although Messrs. Longman and Co. are said to have paid their quota of his salary to Messrs. Constable, regularly, he intends, we hear, to sue the former firm for the entire sum now due to him. If he was aware that Messrs. Longman and Co. made their payments punctually, and he chose to risk his money, by allowing his friends the use of it, he can have no claim, either in law or equity, upon Messrs. Longman & Co. If the claim be persisted in, it will of course be opposed, and, we doubt not, most successfully. A bookseller does well, in these times, if he pays an author once; to expect new editions of payment, as well as new editions of books, strikes us as being somewhat unreasonable. Possibly, the real facts of the case may not have transpired.