Review of The Castle of the Rock, or Memoirs of the Elderland Family (1798)

Review of The Castle of the Rock, or Memoirs of the Elderland Family. By the Author of Derwent Priory [Signed, “V.V.”].  3 vols. Symonds, 1798.  Analytical Review 27 (March 1798), 418-19.

     We would advise our fair author in future, to offer her buntings to the world 'without any apology.' Critics are but four beings, little given to gallantry: their 'tribunal' is erected for the purpose of administering impartial justice, from which they ought not to be turned aside by flattering speeches, or lady-like blandishments. 

    [419] The 'perplexities, cares and uncertainties,' amidst which a work may have been composed, is no excuse to the public for it's dullness or it's defects: a writer who pours forth crude thoughts, or immature conceptions, merely to beguile his thoughts from dwelling on less agreeable subjects, without considering whether he be qualified to entertain or instruct the public, may attain the end proposed, but would be unreasonable were he to expect the reader, who probably labours under none of these disadvantages, to be as easily amused. Every production, whether good or bad, must rest upon it's own merits; apologies therefore, with but very few exceptions, are either impertinent or superfluous. But, to relieve the 'palpitating heart' of this timid, yet adventurous damsel, we cheerfully add, that, though the Memoirs of the Elderland Family do not rank with those distinguished performances, which have given dignity to the title of a novel, they may yet claim a respectable place among that species of fictitious history, which aims neither at uncommon incident nor original sentiment, but affords to a numerous class of readers either a relaxation from severer pursuits, or, in the intervals of dissipation, an agreeable resource against ennui.