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The Magazines

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1267, p. 46.

July 9, 1864

THE MAGAZINES.

...Macmillan proffers a very good number. The two most interesting contributions relate to America--one a poem by Longfellow, full of melody and feeling; the other, Mr. Dicey's slight memoir of his slight acquaintance with Nathaniel Hawthorne. There is not much to communicate about this shyest of men, yet Mr. Dicey has succeeded in touching the hermitage of the recluse with a pencil of light which diminishes without dissipating its natural obscurity. Hawthorne will never be thoroughly understood until the American nation shall have had time to develop further examples of a character not altogether new to it, though never before exhibited in such completeness, or under circumstances of such interest. The singular alliance of conscious superiority with morbid humility, of strong common sense with absolute nullity in public life, of vacillation almost ludicrous with perseverance and strength of will, is not unparalleled in the States, and may be referred to the conflicting influences of race and institutions on the one hand, and of physical conditions on the other. The very slightness and evanescence of Mr. Dicey's reminiscences impart to them the charm of perfect keeping with their subject.

...Like Macmillan, Blackwood is indebted for its chief attraction to America--at least we do not think we err in attributing the two lovely poems on Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," to William Washington Story. It is now about six years since the great sculptor published a volume of poems so saturated with the spirit of Robert Browning as to deserve no better character than that of a servile imitation, and to beget a seasonable fear that he would prove incapable of excellence in original literary composition. These new poems, however, retain just enough of the mannerism of Browning to render evident their great superiority in clearness and symmetry. In pith and masculine force they certainly fall short of Browning, yet are not unworthy of a disciple. The subject is one on which a man of Mr. Story's especial gifts deserves to be heard with reverence, a feeling fully justified by his glowing and prophet-like proclamation of inspiration from a higher source as the indispensable condition of all success in art....

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