poe review, Ejercicios de Literatura. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

poe review, Ejercicios de Literatura. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

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Asignatura: Literatura, Profesor: otro otro, Carrera: Humanidades, Universidad: UCLM
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Edgar Allan Poe, Reseña sobre Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield, A Tale (New

York: D. Appleton & Co., 1842), publicada en Graham’s Magazine (Enero, 1842).

This publication is one of a class which it behoves every editor in the country to

encourage, at all times, by every good word in his power — the class, we mean of well-

printed, and, especially, of well-illustrated works from among the standard fictions of

England. We place particular emphasis upon the mechanical style of these reprints. The

criticism which affects to despise these adventitious aids to the enjoyment of a work of

art is at best but étourderie. The illustration, to be sure, is not always in accordance with

our own understanding of the text; and this fact, although we never hear it urged, is,

perhaps, the most reasonable objection which can be urged against pictorial

embellishment — for the unity of conception is disturbed; but this disturbance takes place

only in very slight measure (provided the work be worth illustration at all) and its

disadvantages are far more than counterbalanced by the pleasure (to most minds a very

acute one) of comparing our comprehension of the author’s ideas with that of the artist.

If our imagination is feeble, the design will probably be in advance of our conception,

and thus each picture will stimulate, support, and guide the fancy. If, on the contrary, the

thought of the artist is inferior, there is the stimulus of contrast with the excitement of

triumph. Thus, in the contemplation of a statue, or of an individual painting of merit, the

pleasure derivable from the comments of a bystander is easily and keenly appreciable,

while these comments interfere, in no perceptible degree, with the force or the unity of

our own comprehension. We never knew a man of genius who did not confess an interest

in even the worst illustrations of a good book — although we have known many men of

genius (who should have known better) make the confession with reluctance, as if one

which implied something of imbecility or disgrace.

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