Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 1) >> Simms as ''Nemo'': The Rediscovered Letters to the Charleston Mercury >> Page 2

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Correspondence | [1860]
Transcription WORDSWORTH, and generalizes his subject; but does not paint details.
STREET has a passion for details, which, indeed, somewhat affects his ability
to generalize. He is wonderfully minute in his delineations; and this volume,
which describes hunting life, and the peculiar sports and aspects of the lakes
and the contiguous country, with wonderfully graphic pen, is equally
instructive in the description of scenery, the effects of light and shade, and
the various distributions in nature, which enable the poet-painter's special
interest in behalf of [...] jutting prominence, cool clouds [...] sunsets, and
the rippling courses of the water, as affected by winds or secret currents. His
book, in brief, is a series of graphic sketches of men and scenes, in a region
of the salient and the picturesque. It is illustrated by numerous wood cuts,
which seem to us the work of some 'prentice han'. They do not strike us as
ornamental, however they may be illustrative.
2. You will find the Queens of Society. a very pleasant body of
biography, from the pens of GRACE and PHILIP WHARTON, who may be
brother and sister, or husband and wife, for aught we know; it is enough that
they work together harmoniously in book-making, even should they fail in
house-keeping. The style of the volume is not as uniform as if traced by a
single pen; but it is not wanting in harmony and unity. It is easy, and
sometimes slip-shoddical: perhaps a little too easy and loose for a
biographical work which is expected to live; but what is lost in propriety, is
sometimes gained in animation and spirit, and we have found the work
agreeable even when it has failed to prove authoritative and dignified.
Altogether, we may commend the volume as one of very attractive material,
at once social and literary. The book is illustrated by pictures, and these are
numerous, if not calculated to prove the superiority of art in the present over
the past ages. The subjects of the collections and the text are numerous also;
and include-the names of most of the surprising women of modern periods.
There are none of the ancient, and but one or two recents; a volume of fast
women would be a good tail-piece to this; and one of the ancient celebrities
a good head-piece.
3. The APPLETONS' have given us a very interesting and somewhat
original book, in The Physiognomy of Common Life, by GEORGE HENRY
LEWES, a well known and excellent writer, who, in this work, fully sustains
his reputation indeed, makes a new reputation in a province in which he
has not hitherto been identified: We believe, however, that portions of his
work involve opinions to which Naturalists do not usually incline. There are
some vexed questions on which he commits himself; but this will not much
matter. What we desire of an author, in modem times, is the free utterance of
opinion; independence and courage, whenever it is really justified by
thought. We may even say that he errs; but it is a redeeming feature with him
when he thinks.