All the characters use essentially the same dialect, and every sentence is duly supplied with its anecdote or illustration, each one of which is essentially bookish at last.
It has been well said of it that it is an attempt to look at rural society as Jean Paul
would have looked at it. Indeed, we find Longfellow
reading aloud from the ‘Campaner Thal’ while actually at work on ‘Kavanagh
,’ and he calls the latter in his diary ‘a romance.’1
When we consider how remote Jean Paul
seems from the present daily life of Germany
, one feels the utter inappropriateness of his transplantation to New England
read the book ‘with great contentment,’ and pronounced it ‘the best sketch we have seen in the direction of the American
novel,’ and discloses at the end the real charm he found or fancied by attributing to it ‘elegance.’
, warm with early friendship, pronounces it ‘a most precious and rare book, as fragrant as a bunch of flowers and as simple as one flower. . . . Nobody but yourself would dare to write so quiet a book, nor could any other succeed in it. It is entirely original, a book by itself, a true work of genius, if ever there was one.’
Nothing, I think, so well shows us the true limitations of American literature at that period as these curious phrases.