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THE RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW.
Criticisms upon, Analyses of, and Extructs from curious, useful, and va-
luable Books in all Languages, which have been published from the
The objects of this work are, in the first place
To supply an instructive and entertaining Miscellany, which shall
2. To revive the memory of undeservedly neglected Books; and,
3. By its numerous and carefully selected extracts, to furnish a
4. To afford an abstract of those Works, which are too bulky or
the only curious or valuable parts from Books otherwise worthless.
To open a publication for the reception of bibliographical notices
This Review will be continued Quarterly, each Number containing
CONTENTS OF Nos. I. II. III. AND IV.
Warwick's Spare Minutes,
William Lilly's Life, by himself.
Adventures of Lazarillo de Tormes.
William Browne's Pastorals,
Nature, and Providence; and
on the Progress of Literature.
North’s Life of Lord Keeper Guil-
History of the Jews in England. Butler's Genuine and Spurious Re-
Sir Williain Davenant's Gondibert.
Effects of Modern Criticism. Phineas Fletcher's Purple Island.
Travels of Sir Anthony Sherley, a
Sir Thomas Elyote's Image of Gou-
Extracts from the Introduction to the Retrospective Review.
The design of this Review of past Literature had its origin in the decisively modern direction of the reading of the present day—it is an attempt to recal the public from an exclusive attention to new books, by making the merits of old ones the subject of critical discussion. The interesting form and manner of the present Reviews it is intended to preserve, though from the nature of the work, and from our unfeigned horror of either political or personal invective, we shall neither pamper the depraved appetites of listless readers, by piquant abuse--nor-amuse one part of the public, by holding up another to scorn and mockery—at any rate, we shall not be driven to a resource of this description through a paucity of interesting matter which we may legitimately present to our readers. While the present Reviews are confined to the Books of the day, we have the liberty of ranging over the whole extent of modern literature.
The literature of our own country, the most rich, varied, and comprehensive of any in the world, and replete with more interest to the English reader than any other, will have peculiar claims on our attention-and to it will the pages of the “ Retrospective” be zealously devoted; not howeveri to that portion of it whose sole recommendation is its antiquity, although we shall avail ourselves of such bibliographical information as will in any manner illustrate the history of art, or the grand, though slow and silent march of mind. We shall not pay exclusive homage to the mighty in intellect-to those of heavenly mould, who, like the giants of old, are the offspring of the gods and the daughters of men-far from it-many others less imposing, whether in philosophy, poetry, or general literature, from whịch any thing original in design, profound in thought, beautiful in imagination, or delicate in expression, can be extracted, will be considered worthy of a place in this work. There are few of the productions of the mind, as well as of nature, which do not possess some useful or valuable properties—many ponderous volumes, however tedious as a whole, frequently contain something useful or beautiful, but the road to which is as arid and fatiguing as journeying through the desert of Arabia, to the green spots and fresh waters with which it is sprinkled : to those green spots and fresh waters, we shall shorten the way. In our neglected or forgotten poetry in particular, we are often surprised, in the midst of dull passages or quaint conceits, with fine ideas, lofty flights of imagination, or sparkling expressions, which are too good to be lost, and too much encumbered with worthless matter to be sought for by general readers. In other works, in which the good is so diffused amidst the bad as to render t difficult, if not impossible, to separate the different parts, we shall present our readers with an analysis, which is often more agreeable, and as useful as the originals. We shall also, by a careful selection of particular extracts, not only endeavour to give an idea of the mode of thought and style of individual authors, but to furnish a collection of specimens of the greatest part of our writers, so as to exhibit a bird's-eye view of the rise and progress of our literature. The utility of such a work to the student, in abridging his labour, and thereby increasing his gratification, is obvious—whilst to him who only reads for his own amusement, it will have the attraction of a various literary miscellany, without 'exacting from him a too rigid attention, and as it is our design to mingle the useful with the agreeable in due proportions, it
may be to him even without its value and instruction.
Our Review is not one, which can derive assistance, of the inost trivial kind, from any source, except the innate truth and beauty of literature. We can take up none of the questions, which divide the country “ billowed high with human agitation;" we have no politics, and are the very antipodes of novelty. The subjects of our criticism are in their grave, alike deaf to the voice of praise or censure; and we are not ingenious enongh, or it may be, 90 honest, to put our contemporaries to the rack on the monuments of the tead. We cannot supply the lounger with small talk at an easy rate, or cut put a royal road to literature, for those who would be wise, deep, and learned, at the expense of an hour's study divided with a due attention to breakfast. They who read Reviews for a “precis” of the last new book, that they may appear to have read it, withont having seen it, will skim over our 6 contents” with sovereign disdain. We can tell them of none, save those whom they might have known long since, and whom they will get no credit for knowing
It is the desire of the Editors to resort to every source of information open to them, and avail themselves of all the valuable assistance they can procure, in order to render their work as varied and interesting as possible ; they therefore beg to state to the literary portion of their countrymen, as well as to the possessors and collectors of such books as come within their plan, that all communications and contributions will be respectfully received and attended to, being addressed to the Publishers, C. & H. BALDWYN, Newgate-street, and R. TRIPHOOK, Old Bond-street, London ; GOODE, Cambridge ; BELL & BRADFUTE, and J. ROBERTSON, Edinburgh; and GRAHAM & Son, Dublin.
Early in January,
THE TRAGEDIES OF ALFIERI,
Translated in Blank Verse by Charles Lloyd :
The second edition ; to which is added, MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND
WRITINGS OF ALFIERI, with his Portrait finely engraved by Cooper ; 4 vols. 12mo. 21s.
“ ALFIERI is the great name of this age.”—Lord Byron. “ Such as these Dramas are,—holding so high a place in Italian Literature,
and in European reputation,--they well deserved to be translated; nor would it have been easy to find a more competent Translator than the Writer, who has with so much ability and acuteness characterized them.”
Quarterly Review. “ In his own way, ALFIERI, we think, is excellent. His fables are all ad
mirably contrived, and completely developed : his dialogue is copious and progressive: and his characters all deliver natural sentiments with great beauty, and often with great force of expression."
MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF
ISABEL; A TALE,
By CHARLES LLOYD, 2 vols. 12mo., 10s. “It is evidently the work of a man of talents, full of enthusiasm, of strong
and uncontrouled powers, and is written from feeling and passion, rather than from the cold and calculating dictates of authorship. It is, therefore bold, and sometimes paradoxical, involving the best interests of the human heart in the inexplicable mazes of metaphysical sentiment, and exhibiting the martyrdom of overwrought virtue, dying the victim of passion, but triumphant over frailty and death."-Monthly Review, June 1820.