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Letters of a Solitary Wanderer
    (Review / The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer: Containing Narratives of Various Descriptions, by Charlotte Smith)
  Annual Review /JAS, 1802
  vol. 1 (1802): 720.
Art. II. Letters of a Solitary Wanderer; containing Narratives of various Description. By Charlotte Smith. Vols. 4 and 5. 12mo.

Had these volumes contained only the conclusion of a novel, begun in the three preceding ones, we might have contented ourselves with a simple announcement, which, joined to the well known name of the author, would have been sufficient to excite the curiosity of the public, but the present work contains, as the title informs us, various narratives, slightly connected by a general frame, and three of them are completely included in the volumes before us; of these, therefore, we are called upon to give an opinion. The genuine strokes of feeling, and lively tinges of fancy, which embellish the style of Mrs S might lend an attraction to adventures in themselves uninteresting; we should listen with pleasure to the writer, though the hero and heroine were incapable of moving our sympathy; in these tales, however, we are not put to the trial. The characters possess much interest, and some share of that novelty of which the situations, founded as they are upon the wonderful and striking revolutions of the age, have so much. It is true that we are surprised by some of those singular rencounters, those almost miraculous combinations of fortuitous events, those flights of sentiment, and exertions of knight-errantry, which, amid many probable circumstances, and natural characters, invariably tinge, with an air of romance, even the most skilful attempts to delineate real life and manners, by fancy characters and fictitious adventures; but these objections the readers of novels must long have been in the habit of overlooking. In a writer of the eminence of Mrs S we stop to notice defects of grammar, and slight inaccuracies, which we should not deign to remark in authors of inferior note. Such are an preceding the h aspirate, as 'an hope,' 'an Helen,' &c. the accusative case of the pronoun instead of the nominative, as, 'her imperious master whom she wished might be authorized;' and sometimes the nominative instead of the accusative, as 'him among them who I took for the superior;' and a few sentences the conclusions of which appear to have forgotten their beginnings. [complete]

Provided by Julie A. Shaffer, November 1999