An Echo of Passion

An Echo of Passion

by George Parsons Lathrop

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Overview

An elaborate analysis of character is the leading feature of this novel. The attitude of these writers such as this is critical, but softened by a large sympathy with all things living.

Such an artist is George Meredith, who is most charming and most successful in the subtle dissection of an intellectual crisis. The groundwork of “The Egoist,” one of his most admired works, is the discovery by a young girl of the deep ingrained selfishness of the man to whom she is betrothed; her escape from his egoistic love, which has become intolerable, forms the climax of that remarkable novel.

In like manner, “An Echo of Passion" is the criticism of a man's temptation during his uneventful stay in an American boarding hotel. The strong, hard-working young chemist is enjoying a short holiday in summer with his wife, and is influenced by the mysterious fascination of a friend of his early youth. This friend, by the richness and intellectual depth of her character, is the commanding figure of the book, and has received the most elaborate finish at the author's hands; the acuteness of the crisis is intensified by this woman's sensitive moral feeling; she becomes the young man's “conscience,” and he is eventually saved by her noble self-sacrifice.

This part of George Lathrop’s book is exceedingly careful and thoroughly successful.

The minor characters, on the other hand, are weak. There are two ancient ladies, whose one function it is to relieve the more somber colors by any possible absurdity of act or speech; but their humor induces that peculiar sense of lassitude against which all intending wags should be on their guard. As they talk nothing but gossip, there is unlimited scope for them to say really enjoyable things, but they disappoint us; they are too methodically correct even to tell us a good story.

After the manner of William Dean Howells, George Lathrop pleases by the bright, affectionale tone which is diffused through his book; nature and every form of life share in his sympathy; he dwells with the same fondness on the various tints of American scenery and the sweet and simple character of the little wife.

Nothing can be more clear and minute than the way in which the author, whom we suspect to be something of a botanist, dwells upon the different trees and flora of the forest near Tanford; but at times this vividness becomes painfully forcible; even the climax of the novel hardly justifies such an expression as the following :—

“ ‘Is she killed?’ The words burst from Fenn like the red drops that spurt from a knife thrust—;"

and there are others which have hardly so much justification. It would be pleasant to dwell longer on this book, for it has several charming points; but of criticizing criticism there is no end, and it may become, like much study, a weariness of the flesh.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016234113
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 334 KB

About the Author

George Parsons Lathrop (1851 – 1898) was an American poet and novelist. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.He was educated at New York and Dresden, Germany, when he returned to New York, and decided on a literary career. Going to England on a visit he was married in London, September 11, 1871, to Rose Hawthorne, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1875 he became associate editor of the Atlantic Monthly, and remained in that position two years, leaving it for newspaper work in Boston and New York. His contributions to the periodical and daily Press were varied and voluminous.

In 1883 he founded the American Copyright League, which finally secured the international copyright law.

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