The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XII. The Romantic Revival.

XI. Lesser Novelists

§ 7. G. P. R. James

Another cause must be sought for the difference between Scott and George Payne Rainsford James. As a historical novelist, James was a professed follower of Scott. In the preface to the third edition of his first novel, Richelieu (1829), James relates how he sent the MS. to Scott, who, after keeping it for some months, returned it with a letter full of kindness and encouragement. Without a particle of Scott’s genius, James was a quick, patient, indefatigable worker. He poured forth historical novel after historical novel, all conscientiously accurate in historical fact, all dressed in well-invented incident, all diffuse and pompous in style, and all lifeless, humourless and characterless. James fell an easy victim to Thackeray’s gift for parody; but the modern reader will wonder why Thackeray took the trouble to parody James, unless it were that the task was agreeably easy and that Jame’s popularity was worth a shaft of ridicule.