Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Omoo in England: The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal

Our Library Table.

Pp 321.
John Murray, Albemarle Street, London.

Those who read will not easily forget a work published in Murray's Home and Colonial Library, called "Residence in the Marquesas Islands," by one Herman Melville. It was a marvellous narrative; so marvellous, indeed, that the happy valley of Typee, wherein the author professed to have lived we know not how long a life of positive luxury and peace, was held to be a brilliant offspring of fancy. True or false, the book made a sensation, and now, in "Omoo," we have the sequel of it; and we are bound to say that in the present volume there are many indications of genuineness and authenticity calculated to remove any doubts which the strange adventures in Typee may have generated. This volume, however, is far less interesting than its predecessor: it is spun out with trumpery quarrels on board a south-sea whaler, the actors in which are a set of half-civilized brutes picked up at Sydney and elsewhere. If these had been omitted, we might have had a more gratifying book in half the compass. We pick out a tolerable notion of life at Tahiti and Polynesia generally, and rise from the perusal with no very exalted opinions of the benefits conferred upon Queen Pomaree and her subjects by the notorious Mr. Pritchard and the missionaries of his persuasion. Hospitality in the extreme seems to be a virtue common amongst the natives of these South Sea Islands; but of their morality or sincere Christianity, the less said the better.  --The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, 17 April 1847 via The British Newspaper Archive.

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