English Literature Of The 19th Century:
Reviewers, Magazinists And Minor Poets Of The First Period
Women Writers Of The First Period
Summary Of The Pre-victorian Literature
Second Or Early Victorian Period—1837-1870
Earle Lytton Bulwer
Captain Frederick Marryat
Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The military novels of Charles Lever have a strong resemblance to the nautical novels of Captain Marryat. Both authors endow their characters with an exuberant flow of animal spirits and furnish a rapid succession of amusing and exciting incidents. But Lever changed his style of writing more than once in his career. He was the son of an English architect, but was born in Dublin in 1806; educated in Trinity College of that city, and afterward at Göttingen, he became a physician. He displayed courage and skill in several parts of Ireland during the cholera outbreak of 1832. Then marrying Miss Baker, he went to Brussels and practiced among the British residents. From his own experience and the entertaining stories of retired officers who had served in Spain, he gathered the material of "The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer," "The Adventures of Charles O'Malley," and "Jack Hinton." These novels are careless in plot, but full of boisterous good humor, and describe fighting and battle-scenes with vigor. All classes of military men figure in them, from the Duke of Wellington to the reckless Micky Free. Lever became editor of "The Dublin University Magazine" from 1842 to 1845, and published in it several Irish novels, as "Tom Burke," "The O'Donoghue," "The Knight of Gwynne." They exhibit the volatile side of Irish life, and a racy national humor.
In later life Lever resided on the Continent, at Carlsruhe, in the Tyrol, at Spezzia, and finally at Trieste, where he died in 1872. In the novels of this period he described English travelers or residents on the Continent. Among them are "The Daltons," "The Dodd Family Abroad," "Davenport Dunn." He wrote also for "Blackwood's Magazine" miscellaneous papers under the name of "Cornelius O'Dowd." His latest novels were the best constructed, but the vigor of his invention and humor had been already spent, so that they never reached the popularity of his early ones.