Lucile Reviewed or Mentioned in The Nation, 1868-1906

The Nation. December 12, 1867, p476. “Illustrated Gift Books.”

Advertiser mentions Mr. George Du Maurier as one of the strongest men of the fac-simile school, and instances, as “one of the latest and best specimens of this style” the illustrated edition of Bulwer's “Lucile,” with Ticknor and Field's imprint. Mr. Du Maurier's drawings to this book are not, however, up to his own best standard. He had done vastly better in Punch , not only as a delineator of character but, even more notably, as a designer in black and white. In this purely artistic respect he is far enough from the highest excellence – far enough below Blake or Cruikshank or even Leech, but yet one of the best designers living and stronger than this book shows him to be. But we name three of the illustrations as better the others, and as giving much of that easy command of the gestures and attitudes of modern men and women which make George Du Maurier a sort of Horace Vernet, in kind if not in degree of power – Alfred Vargrave and Cousin Jack, opposite page 6; Alfred and Matilda, opposite page 116; and the spirited group opposite page 253, the closing scene of the poem. The illustrations to “Snow Bound” match the point well; those to “Lucile” are too strong for it, and even their harshness of line and violent contrast of black and white are elegance itself beside a poem which is one of the most inartistic poems known, with all its merits of natural feeling and sound social philosophy a triumph of bad versification and false poetical style.

The Nation. September 9, 1869, p212.

[Long list of forthcoming editions of poetry. This description seems to concern a Lovell issue.]

Owen Meredith's “Lucile,” the success of which ought to persuade him to leave off poetry, and take to novel-writing, goes into one more of its numerous editions.

The Nation. August 11, 1881. Number 841, p.115. “Notes.”

J.R. Osgood & Co. will publish early next month, as a holiday gift-book, Owen Meredith's ‘Lucile” with upwards of 160 wood-engravings after designs by prominent American artists. The form will be large octavo.

The Nation. December 15, 1881. Number 859, p472-473.

Owen Meredith's ‘Lucile' is always a favorite with many readers – those who like poetry of lords and ladies, and of high life at foreign watering-places, and who also like to have this gay society attuned to high sentiments, leading at last to the triumph of the truly virtuous. There is not much more than this in ‘Lucile,' but this is something, and it is certainly a poem which leads itself readily to illustrations. In some respects this new edition (Osgood & Co.) has very rare merits in its artistic execution, but the illustrations pass too readily from sublime to the ridiculous. The two young men who appear singly, in the engravings, as persons of fashion and elegance, are represented together (on page 196) in the guise of two drunken footmen, returning home from a carouse; while the heroine herself is now a robust young damsel at the piano, and then a pallid nun among the rocks. Would it not be safe, in preparing an illustrated book, to entrust each personage to one artist, on pain of death in case of any varying representation? However, we gladly recognize ‘Lucile” with whatever faults, as the most creditable illustrated book that has lately met our eyes. We ought also to speak here of a sort of pale parody on Owen Meredith's book, under the name of ‘Geraldine: a Souvenir of the St. Lawrence” (Osgood) – a parody all the more interesting because the resemblance is alleged in the preface to have been unconscious. The hero is an American lecturer, trying as hard as Bunthorne in the play to extricate himself from his female adorers, and a good deal of it reads like the less offensive parts of the Beecher trial; the lovers and ladies and rivals having endless metaphysical discourse, sometimes in very lonely places and at very late hours, with a good deal of Platonic embracing, but without guile.

The Nation. June 19, 1884, p527.

'Lady Blake's Love Letters,' translated from the French by Page McCarty, just published by Carleton & Co., of this city, is a translation of George Sand's ‘Lavinia.' It is not easy to understand why the name of the author is not given in the book. One would suppose that any work of George Sand's would sell better with her name on the title-page than without it. An attempt to create an interest in the book is made by stating on the title-page that it is “the theme from which Owen Meredith took his famous poem of ‘Lucile.'”

The Nation 65:1695. December 23, 1897, p498.

Some ten or a dozen book calendars for the approaching year come to us from Marcus Ward & Co. … .

To the latter class exclusively belong the series published by Frederick A. Stokes Co. ascending from the New Humphrey and Little Sweethearts Calendars (studies of children) to the Longpré (flowers). Lucile (Mme Lemaire's design for Owen Meredith's poem), a Bevy of Fair Women, and the Sarony (portraits of Ada Rehan, Mary Anderson, Ellen terry, Fanny Davenport, etc.) Color and photography play here an equal part, with varying attractiveness.

The Nation 69:1793. November 9, 1899, p352. “Notes”

In reproducing works non-copyrighted, or whose copyright has lapsed, though there are plenty of available editions, T. Y. Crowell & Co. are displaying no little activity this season. To the former class belong a one-volume edition of Cloughs's Poems, which will, we trust, make new admirers enough to the sale of better English editions still in the market; George Eliot's 'Middlemarch,' in two volumes; Halevy's 'Abbé Constantin'; Mrs. Gaskell's 'Cranford'; Meredith's 'Lucile'; and Kipling's 'Barrack-Room Ballads.' Among the latter class are Curtis's 'Prue & I'; Longfellow's 'Evangeline' and 'Hiawatha', and Hawthorne 's 'House of the Seven Gables.' Clough and George Eliot apart, the rest offer a uniform well-ornamented exterior, and are mostly illustrated in color, with much success when the design is good.

The Nation. November 22, 1906, p435.

It is believed that "Lucile" and other poems of the late Lord Lytton were much more popular in America than in England . They appeared when I was still at an age omnivorous of poetry, yet I never read them, though they were admiringly quoted by Miss Braddon in her novels. Why did I not read the work of "Owen Meredith," while I was "turning with nocturnal and diurnal hand" the poems of Keats and Shelley, of Tennyson. Browning, William Morris, Rossetti, and Mr Swinborne? I can give no reason for this negligence of "Owen Meredith," but certainly his "Letters," edited by his daughter, Lady Betty Balfour, are very well worth reading by the lover of literature, as well as by the student of politics, society, and Anglo-Indian affairs. To quote a line of Lord Lytton's, "One finds one's self quietly falling in love" with the letter-writer, especially when he was young, eager, ardent in pursuit of the laurels, and so affectionate that he addresses Mr John Morley as "Dearest Morley." His mind was amazingly brilliant without being flashy, and was rich in a hundred interests, while his relations with his father, the famous novelist, were manly, and creditable to him in a remarkable degree. He seems to have been as warmly attached as Dickens himself to Dickens's friend, Forster, remembered by a later generation as "a harbitrary gent." To both of the Brownings he was devoted, though an unexplained coolness arose between him and Mr Browning, from what cause, poetical, political, or personal, we are not informed. Lady Betty Balfour has done her selective and editorial work with piety and discretion, so that hers is one of the best books about the famous folk of a fading generation.

Last revised: 20 August 2010