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text 2014-08-30 05:22
Book Reviews of Yore - The Fault was all His Own and Mysterious Husband


I was linked a list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels and decided to find reviews for the books listed. Hence was born, Book Reviews of Yore.






The Fault Was All His Own. In A Series Of Letters By a Lady


"We are told that this is the production of a young Lady, of a promising genius; and the work bears sufficient testimony that we are not misinformed; for it abounds with the marks of an immature judgment, and yet affords proofs of a fine imagination. It is defective in plan, characters, and style; but many good sentiments are interspersed in it; and we meet with reflections that would do honour to the pen of a more experienced writer."


- The Monthly Review, 1771 



"This writer seems to have taken little pains either in planning or executing her work. The story is irregular, and productive of few interesting events. The characters are imperfectly delineated, and the business assigned them seldom has importance enough to excite the reader's curiousity or concern. Yet these letters are not destitue of merit. They are interspersed with many sprightly sentiments and sensible reflections, and bear the marks of a promising genius."


- The Critical Review, 1771



This one wasn't too bad. She had promising genius! I wonder if this Lady ever wrote anything else. The last review has a sentence about the lady now being married and living in Russia... so maybe not.


The Mysterious Husband. A Novel By Gabrielli, Author of the Mysterious Wife


"In a series of events, both upon the continent and in England, is narrated the history of lord Clarencourt and his family; and it is related with sufficient interest to keep alive the curiosity of the reader. But the author has given countenance to a circumstance which deserves the severest reprehension - the elopement of the ladies Elmira and Idamia, at the suggestions of a stranger. Not content with making Tancred turn out, at last, a lord, as is the custom of modern story-tellers, our author outstrips them all, and dubs him a prince. But let not this good luck induce our fair young countrywomen to be guilty of the like indiscretion; for it is a thousand to one, that, instead of making them princesses, it would lead them towards the direct and almost certain road to infamy and ruin."


- The Critical Review, Volume 33, 1801



That last one is great! It's a good book, but don't go getting into your head that every stranger who comes along with talk of elopement is going to turn out to a be a prince. It's such a romance novel story line. I love it!




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text 2014-08-26 04:23
Book Reviews of Yore - Adventures of a Pin and Fashionable Infidelity


I was linked a list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels and decided to find reviews for the books listed. Hence was born, Book Reviews of Yore.




The Adventures Of A Pin, Supposed To Be Related By Himself, Herself, Or Itself.


"A bundle of ill-connected stories, related without much regard to nature or probability, and little capable of answering the purpose either of entertainment or instruction"


The British Critic: A New Review, Volume 7, 1796



"We hope the writer of these Adventures is in earnest, in the last paragraph of his Preface. The best fate which we can wish to his performance, and the fate which most probably awaits it, is (in his own language) 'a gentle dip in the waters of oblivion.'"


- The Critical Review: Or Annals of Literature, Volume 18, 1796




Wow. That last one was harsh. Even though this book was apparently not too great, the title is pretty spectacular. 




Fashionable Infidelity, or the Triumph of Patience


"Infidelity, in various shapes, has so long infested the land, that every friend to virtue must wish to see it attacked with boldness and with skill. To crush this terrible monster, however, the arm of a giant is necessary; but the present combatant is a pygmy. In brief, we have nothing to commend in a writer who seems unacquainted with almost every rule of grammar -- but his 'good intentions.' The volumes may, however, on account of the morality which generally pervades them, be perused by the younger part of the community with some advantage."


-The Monthly Review, Volume 81, 1789



"The public are informed by the preface of this work, that "the intention of printing it was to exhibit the great misery which is produced in the world by the circulation of scandal; to prove that the well regulated mind will be enabled by calm perseverance to surmount the united efforts of deceit and malevolence; and to shew that Providence has so ordered it, that Art and Injustice will be ultimately ensnared in their own trammels." - The intention to do all this is so highly praiseworthy that we can only lament, with deeper sorrow, it is not carried more successfully into execution. There is a boldness of design in the outlines of this work which marks fertility and strength of mind, but the coloring is so very imperfect that its merit is entirely overpowered.  ...


We have pointed out a few of a much larger number, which appear to us to be defects; and if, in our inclination to praise rather than to censure, we have not pointed out the beauties to counterbalance them, the Author must blame himself, for not affording the opportunity of selection." 


The European Magazine and London Review, Volume 17, 1790



That second one has a whole host of examples of the author's poor phrasing. It is hard for me to pick out exactly what they were nitpicking, since the grammar is bound to have changed a bit in 200 some years. I think from what I gathered it was repetitive in it's phrasing, like a lot of blank of blank. At least I think that is what they were saying. 


I love that last line of the second one. We would have put praise in, but author, you should have tried harder to give us something to like. The whole review is pretty much saying, "We liked the concept, but the execution is horrid"

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text 2014-08-25 03:17
Book Reviews of Yore - Whimsical Breeches and Matrimonial Incontinence

Today on Facebook, Julia Quinn linked this list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels. These titles are great, though I didn't get very far down the list.


The reason is because I popped over to Google books to see if they were scanned. They are most definitely in the public domain, but I unfortunately didn't find the books. Fortunately though, I found reviews that I just had to share.



Frailties of Fashion, or The Adventures Of An Irish Smock, Interspersed With Whimsical Anecdotes Of A Nankeen Pair Of Breeches.


"Containing among a great Variety of curious connections between the most celebrated Demi Reps and Beaux Garcons upon the Ton. The Secret Memoirs of Madame D'Eon, as related by herself. Amours of Count D'Artois. Private Intrigues of Lady W-----y and Mrs. N----n; never before published. The Frolics of Boarding School Misses. The Gambols of Maids of Honour, &c. &c. Twelves. 2s. 6d. Sewed. Lister.


This perfrmance is addressed to the passions, and a sale is expected from the effects of the title page, rather than from the contents of the volume. The volume is an indecent and impure farrago; and it would be of service to the community, could a summary method be invented to suppress publications calculated to inflame the youth of both sexes and encourage vice, sensuality and licentiousness."


- The English Review, 1783

Wow! What an anthology lineup. The Frolics of Boarding School Misses sounds like something you would find on literotica today. Love this. I would read this book. (Source



Cuckoldom Triumphant Or, Matrimonial Incontinence Vindicated.


"Illustrated with Intrigues public and private, ancient and modern. By a Gentleman of Doctors Commons. To which is added, a Looking Glass for each sex. 12mo. 2 Vols. 5s sewed. Thorn.


This impudent apology for matrimonial incontinence unites excessive dullness with obscenity, and is, in the highest degree, detestable."


- The Monthly Review, Vol 45, 1772

Oh that is great! And authors think we give them a hard time today! Apparently this was not a novel either, but was classified as a medical book. Maybe self help? (Source)



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