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The consideration of the number of Reviews, Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly, offered to the public, may produce a wonder at the sight of a Prospectus for an additional periodical work: but the slightest examination of the nature of the new publication will make wonder cease.;
The present Reviews are not so much distinguished for an account of a new work, as for a critical examination of the subject, on which it is written. What is called a Review of a political or religious publication, really consists of a declaration of the sentiments of the Reviewer ; and the publication is generally, extolled or depreciated; not according to its abstract merit as a composition, but according to the party or sect, which the Critic is disposed to follow.
Such has been during more than half a Century the conduct of the most respectable Monthly Reviewers. The Quarterly Reviews, lately established, have risen still higher in the scale of original . VOL. I. . NO. II.
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disquisition. They have often taken the title of a book as a Motto to a Dissertation on a subject, which occupied the public mind, and scarcely hinted at the publication, which appeared at first sight as the object of their Criticism.
- It is not intended to depreciate the merit of
these Reviewers. Much learning, genius, and information, have been thrown on the subjects, which they have undertaken to elucidate ; their observations on Political Economy have, on some occasions, suggested useful hints to Government, and their Country has been informed, if not direct-, ed, by the result of their labors. From the collision of their opposite sentiments, and from the facts which they have brought to light in support of their opinions, the public mind has been illuminated, taste has been refined, knowledge has been increased, and perhaps it is not too much to say that the general manners have been improved.
But we strongly feel the force of an objection, which has been frequently made, that it is necessary, in order to form an impartial opinion of a book, to read many Reviews of opposite principles, and that in consequence of the length, to which
critical dissertations are carried, many books are not reviewed until their novelty or their importance has ceased; and some are never noticed. To remove these objections, a new Periodical Work is proposed to the public, under the title of “ THE New Review OR Monthly ANALYSIS OF GENERAL LITERATURE,” to be published on the 1st of January, 1813, and continued on the 1st of every Month, Price 2s. 6d.
The Plan is,
I. To analyse EVERY Publication, by giving a view of the Con
tents; the Preface, when it explains the subject; and Extracts, of prominent parts of the book, and of any thing that may create present interest ; thus enabling the reader to exercise a judgment unprejudiced by the sentiments of the Reviewer.
II. . To print a Supplementary Number at the end of the year, contain
ing an Index of Subjects with reference to the Authors, who have treated on them ; thus perpetuating a full and correct list of all Writers, and of the Subjects of their Publications.
III. To insert Literary Intelligence, and Notices of Works in hand; to * mention Improvements made in new Editions of Works; and to admit Defences of Authors against Criticisms.