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

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

[Review of Charles Sealsfield, Tokeah; or the White Rose>]

We notice this fiction, because, though upon an Indian subject it is not tedious, and though it would seem, both from the circumstances under which it was written, and mistakes as to matters of fact in the book, that the author had had but brief and scanty opportunity for personal acquaintance with the red men, yet the sketches, especially of the girl, Canondah, are excellent, spirited and lifelike.

This author is himself like the man of the wilds in some respects. He feels little need of an object in life, or harmony of character, but delights to note the signs of individuality, and the workings of common instincts. He has a keen sense for physiology, and excels in defining the shades of temperament.— What merit he has is genuine, for he notes down his impressions just as they are received; this merit we must mention wherever we find it—it is so rare at a time when the fear of public opinion and the spirit of imitation make so large a part of literature hackneyed or vapid. A book may be coarse and low, but still if it is something, there is a satisfaction and a life even in rejecting it, which cannot be derived from these sad painted shadows of sometime somethings.

Review of Charles Sealsfield, Tokeah; or the White Rose. An Indian Tale, 2d ed. (Philadelphia:
Lea and Blanchard, 1845). New-York Daily Tribune, 28 June 1845, p. 1; reprinted, New-York Weekly Tribune, 5 July 1845, p. 6. Title supplied. Charles Sealsfield is the pseudonym of Karl
Postl (1793–1864), a Moravian-born monk who settled in America in 1823, becoming a
novelist and travel writer.

-145-

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