1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Maria Porter

Anonymous, in "Female Character: Miss Porter" New-York Mirror and Ladies' Literary Gazette 6 (7 March 1829) 276.



The distinguishing characteristic of Miss Porter's novels are a pure and lofty morality, a truly feminine sensibility, great sweetness of description, an eloquent appreciation of natural beauties, and a graceful style of composition. If ever the mind of an author was expressed in her works, it is that of Miss Porter. Her pure and gentle temper beams through every page of her writings, and sheds a cheerful and beneficial light throughout the whole of them. Piety and good-will breathe in every sentiment, without the slightest appearance of affectation; and while every one must be amused by them, few can rise for the perusal of her volumes without melioration and refinement of feeling, the results of which will work out some portion of good in the world. It is for the happy effects, in this respect, that Miss Porter is entitled to her highest praise as an authoress. Such books as she writes are designed chiefly for the perusal of her own sex. To women, from the nature of their vocations, reading is more a necessary of life than it is to men; and they can read nothing, in spite of the cavils against novel-reading, more likely at once to refine and improve their minds, without the effort of study, than such as Miss Porter's. Those novels represent the most amiable parts of the female character in their most agreeable developments; and treating, as they do, of tales of pure affection and honourable deeds, they teach women, and young women particularly, how much influence they possess, and how usefully, and virtuously, and beautifully, they may employ it.