Friday, May 17, 2019

Pierre in Columbus Georgia

From The Southern Sentinel, September 16, 1852; found in Georgia Historic Newspapers. The Southern Sentinel was then published and edited in Columbus, Georgia by Tennant Lomax.

Columbus, Georgia Southern Sentinel - September 16, 1852


1. Pierre; or the Ambiguities —by Herman Melville. New York: Harpers. 
Transcendentalism must possess a strangely infectious power. For here is the author of “Typee” transformed into as absurd a dreamer as now rejoices in the patronymic of Young America. Lennox, with its learned neighborhood, certainly does not suit the voyager of “Mardi.” He had better take to the sea again.
Eugene Sue never spun a story of more impossible plot; Alexander Dumas never depicted more unreal characters; nor did George Sand ever send into the world a book of as questionable morality. The style, moreover, abounds in affectations and barbarisms; the efforts to be funny, are ludicrous only from their failure; and the attempted eloquence degenerates into merest rodomontade. His heroic announcement that he writes not in conformity with the rules of art —and he might have added, of nature—to him may seem very grand, but to us sounds snobbish. 
Whatever the “ambiguities” of the volume, one thing is indubitable—namely, that a more perfect abortion in literature than Pierre, has not been sent into the world for some time.
Number 2 is Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, praised by the Georgia reviewer as "the most finished and exquisite of Mr. Hawthorne's works."
... This famous analyst and painter of human nature, captivates you by the skill and nicety of his procedure. The superficial man of the world, changed into a cringing shadow; the earnest, half noble, half deluded woman, spurning the restrictions of her sex; the confiding, womanly heart, that wins the strong man’s love; the calm student of human life, and the herculean philanthropist, absorbed in the cure of others, until he himself is diseased beyond recovery—are all delineated, as none but Hawthorne could draw them. The moral of Hollingsworth’s character constitutes, we should say, just the study for many New Englanders. He is the exact type of the sincere abolitionist, affording all such, who will take it, a profoundly true view of their own condition and danger. The whole story preaches, with strongest emphasis, the inefficiency of all reforms, where egotism is not excluded—in which the benign soul of the Gospel is not incarnated.... --The Southern Sentinel (Columbus, GA), September 16, 1852.

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