Sunday, January 26, 2020

Piazza Tales in Chicago Prairie Farmer

The Prairie Farmer was edited by John A. Kennicott, Charles Betts, and C. D. Bragdon; and published in Chicago, Illinois by John S. Wright. Found via EBSCO in the American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection, specialized database of Agricultural Periodicals from the Southern, Midwestern, and Western US, 1800-1878. Transcription is mine.
PIAZZA TALES, by Herman Melville, Author of "Typee," "Omoo," &c. Published by Dix, Edwards & Co., New York. McNally & Co., Chicago.  
This little volume consists of a number of short productions, some of which are efforts of pure fiction, while others border so closely upon facts, that they seem rather to be essays on certain interesting Geographical and Historical points, than "tales."

The writer's forte seems to lie in the faculty of painting horrors. Some fine passages illustrating his power in this respect, may be found in his description of the "Encantadas," or the "Enchanted Isles." These lava-crusted shores, however, are not washed by purely fictitious seas, as one might suspect from the name, but stand in the hoary old Pacific, being none other than the little specks which lumber the school-boy's memory under the title of Gallipagos.

Most of the tales pertain to the sea and its shores. Those who wish to see peculiar imagery combined in a peculiar manner, will do well to read the work. In purely rural scenery the author is not so happy. He handles his pen like a practical sailor, who finds it difficult to extract poetical fancies from landscapes which have never been bedewed with salt spray. He, therefore, like a wise being, sticks to his element.

The typography and mechanical execution of the work are in the usual elegant style of Messrs. Dix, Edwards & Co.  --The Prairie Farmer, June 26, 1856.
“Piazza Tales.” Prairie Farmer: Devoted to Western Agriculture, Mechanics & Education, vol. 16, no. 26, June 1856, p. 102. EBSCOhost <>

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