"There is manifested a wide range of learning, a bold originality of thought, an exuberant fancy, and a figurative sprightliness which could not fail of imparting interest to any work."From the Oneida Morning Herald, May 26, 1849:
MARDI: And a Voyage Thither.—By Herman Melville. In two volumes. Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff street, New York, 1849.Published in Utica, New York, the Oneida Morning Herald was co-edited then by Richard Updike Sherman and Erastus Clark. Their highly complimentary review of White-Jacket in the Oneida Morning Herald for April 6, 1850, is transcribed in the 2014 melvilliana post linked below:
This third work of Mr. Melville's sufficiently evinces that his former works, Typee and Omoo, were no fictions. When, as in this instance, the author confessedly enters the field of romance, although he carries with him many of his former charming characteristics, it is easily perceived that he is dealing with very different materials—is in quite another element.
Mardi has many excellencies, as is sufficiently evinced by the attention which it receives from the critics. Its conception indicates no stinted genius or want of artistic talent. There is manifested a wide range of learning, a bold originality of thought, an exuberant fancy, and a figurative sprightliness which could not fail of imparting interest to any work. In most of these respects it surpasses Mr. Melville's former productions. They need the power of the mental crucible to fuse them into a harmonious whole. This, and what sometimes appears like straining after effect, with perhaps a little ultraism of opinion, are almost its only faults. Its excellencies will win for it many admirers.