REVIEW OF LEWIS’S TALES OF WONDER (1801)
Tales of Wonder: Written and collected by M. G. Lewis, Esq. M.P. Author of the Monk, Castle Spectre, Love of Gain, &c. 2 Vols. large 8vo. Pp. 480. 2l. 2s.
Far from being inclined to join in the censure which has been directed against Mr. Lewis for compiling the present volumes, we think he is much better employed than in most of his former productions, at least, with reference to his well-known romance, entitled The Monk, a work that has tended more to vitiate juvenile minds, and poison the fountains of morality than any thing of the kind that has fallen within our notice for a long period. Indeed we hardly know of any work of so licentious a complexion, and of so mischievous a tendency, except the political crudities of the detestable Citizen PAINE. From all that we have read or heard of Mr. Lewis and his works, he seems to us to possess a singular turn of mind. His fancy appears to be chiefly attracted by, and absorbed in, the terrible, the horrible, the hideous, and the impossible; nor can we conceive what has been his bent of education that has led him into so uncommon a track of study. He certainly does not want abilities, or knowledge, but his talents are strangely perverted, and he sometimes seems even to be employed in throwing a ridicule upon himself. But to the present work. It consists of as many tales as the author could collect in order to scare the minds of children, and impress a terror upon the imagination through life. Some indeed of the compositions, to be found in these volumes, are of a pathetic, interesting, and moral cast; but they bear a small proportion to the works of the other tendency. Several pieces were written by Mr. Lewis himself, and others are well known. We shall extract an imitation from the German, by Walter SCOTT, as a specimen of the works which these volumes contain, as he seems to be the best of the new species of horror-breeding Bards. [omitted]
[SOURCE: Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, 8 (March 1801), pp. 3223]
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