Monday, December 7, 2015

Melville invoked in 1847 review of Charles Lanman's A Summer in the Wilderness

Charles Lanman engraved cropped

Is "outpodish" even a word? Analogous to anti-podish, I'm guessing, clever variant of antipodic.
This book has a similarity of feeling to Melville’s incomparable Typee; the two authors appear to have the same [outpodish?] tastes, the same of nature and most bewitching spirit of vagabondism. The difference is that Mr. Melville’s canoe floated on the sunny waves of Tahiti and Mr. Lanman’s on the cold rapids of the Mississippi. There is a vast difference, too, between the savage stoics of Lake Superior and the jolly sybarites of the Marquesas. And then Mr. Lanman is apt to grow sentimental and view things with the glass of an amateur and with an eye to effects, while Mr. Melville is always jolly and much readier to laugh than weep. Indeed, we believe that there are no burning tears, nor bitter sighs, nor anything of the sort in his two books. But with Mr. Lanman the case is different, and he has injured the character of his book by indulging occasionally in artistic criticisms and grave speculations. These are the kind of things that readers do not want, at this age of the world, in books relating to the wilderness.... 
--New York Evening Mirror, May 12, 1847; found at Fulton History
New York Evening Mirror / Wednesday, May 12, 1847


  1. Well, "outpodish" is not in the OED, nor is outpode, outpodes, or outpodean. Its meaning certainly wouldn't be obvious to me on first reading.