Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

Publishers and Authors. Dolores by Harro Harring.

We see in the Evening Mirror of Friday, 30th January, a short notice of Harro Harring, and of the work he has written since his arrival among us.—This book was announced, some time ago, as to be published next Spring, and not a few readers looked forward with the strongest interest to its appearance. We see the writer in the Mirror supposes it to be in the press.

But we were informed a few days since that the Publishers have refused to fulfil their contract with regard to the work on the ground that “it is not duly orthodox.”

This rumor struck us as of the most singular character. Can it be that there is a foundation for it?

Should we admit that this is a legitimate position for a publisher, that, to wit, of a censor of doctrines and opinions; in other words, a censor of the Press, silencing not words and sentences only, as is the case with the hireling official of a despotic monarch, but whole works in which other men have expressed such views of life and religion as to their consciences seem orthodox; still such a position would be inappropriate indeed to the eager venders of “The Wandering Jew.”1 Sue, whatever his pretensions to influence as a man of genius and a seeker for truth, certainly derives none from what is technically styled orthodoxy, by those classes which assume to themselves the right of limitation, and as of all his works “The Wandering Jew” is the one which is especially the exponent of what by the same classes are considered the most pernicious of heresies, it is impossible to suppose that the same Publishers would desire a proprietorship in that and decline it in any other work on the score of want of orthodoxy. That would be literally straining at a gnat to swallow a camel.

Were we in wicked Europe with its finesse and strategy we might suppose that the Publishers declined in this way their contract to create a sensation and would afterward publish the work under some other name, availing them

____________________
1
Eugène Sue published The Wandering Jew in 1844–45.

-350-

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