Mr. Hall comments--"If we would divide the
novels of the
present day into a thousand parts; five hundred of these
parts must be at once condemned as so contemptibly
frivolous as to render the perusal of them a most
criminal waste of time!
Four hundred and ninety-nine of the remaining five
hundred parts are positively corrupting in their influence.
They are as full of representations which can have no other
tendency than to mislead, corrupt, and destroy--those who
habitually peruse them.
Perhaps highest merit than that can be attributed to novels,
by some, is that they are 'innocent and amusing compositions.'
This merit, small as it is, is greater than can be conceded. All
books are not innocent which may be exempt from the charge
of disseminating secularism and licentiousness. If they . . .
convey false impressions of life,
excite a distaste for its duties, and
divert the mind from real life to fantasies,
they are decidedly pernicious. This, to a greater or less
extent, is the effect of all novels. Every discerning reader
knows this to be the fact."
Hannah More comments--"Novels, however free from
evil in their more gross and palpable shapes, yet, from
their very nature and constitution, they diminish sober
mindedness. At best, they feed habits of improper
indulgence, while nourishing a vain and visionary
indolence, which lays the mind open to error, and
the heart to seduction!"