The Amelia Alderson Opie Archive
1806 Simple Tales
Critical Review, series 3, 8 (Aug. 1806): 443-6.


WE cannot but surmise that Mrs. Opie has either been the reviewer of her own work, or has at least got it criticized by some partial friend in a certain northern review, which has in this instance deviated from its professed plan of severity, and may therefore fairly be suspected of sometimes suffering that to be done, which it has of late unbecomingly insinuated to the prejudice of other journals.

            A tedious insipidity pervades, with a few exceptions, every one of these tales, for which the fair author makes us no other, recompense than a few pathetic touches at the dénoument of each.  Mrs. O. we presume, was of opinion with Moses in the Vicar of Wakefield, that when once in favour with the public, she had nothing to do but to go to sleep; and impressed with this idea she has not exerted her usual diligence.  In the story of the ‘Soldier’s Return,’ and the ‘Brother and Sister,’ she is more successful than in any of the rest.  It requires some art to clothe the thoughts and phrases of common people, without letting them rise into bombast or sink into vulgarity; but in the two last mentioned tales Mrs. O. has observed a happy medium.  As our fair readers, we know, will consider us as unpardonable unless we present, them with a specimen of Mrs. Opie’s pathetic, we cannot select a passage which will better exemplify the remarks we have just made than the following:

[quotes from ‘Brother and Sister’]


Previous   Next   Index
Life Portraits Works Music Bibliography

Please address all queries, both scholarly and web-related to: