Lucile Reviewed in The Academy
20 (1881 July/December), “The Last of the Gift Books,” p470
Lucile. By Owen Meredith (the Earl of Lytton). Illustrated. (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.) This very edition has been one of the most successful "gift-books" of the season in America, where it was published by Messrs. Osgood, of Boston. Such a double issuing of books on either side of the Atlantic, without any notification on the title-page, will be a snare to the bibliographers of the future. But in the present case we are the gainers, and have no right to complain. Of the poem itself it is not now necessary to say anything. A curious point in this edition of it is that the name of the place in which so much of the scene lies is for the first time correctly printed -- "Luchon." As to the illustrations, while admitting that they are excellent examples both of American draughtsmanship and of American engraving, it must also be said that they belong to a style of art that has had its day in this country. As must always be the case when a number of artists combine, the result is to decorate rather than illumine the meaning of their author. We admire the head- and tail-pieces, and the pictures that are only intended to represent chance similes in the poem, no less (if not more) than the larger illustrations and plates, which ought to embody the leading thoughts of the poet. The handsomeness of the book must be granted; but we doubt whether it will win for Lucile many more readers.
Last revised: 25 August 2010