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dovel, “ The Ways of the Hour," was pub a certain round, make their bows, and dislished in 1850.

appear. Nothing is more remarkable than the

It argues no common genius for deirregularity of Cooper's work and his inse- scription and narration that, with such curity of touch. Too hurried to be re. conspicuous defects, Cooper's scenes do strained, too careless to be finished, too yet produce, the illusion of reality. In fluent to be artistic, he seems to possess describing the fierce moods of the sea, or no literary style. But in his best pas in personifying the silence of forest and sages these very defects enhance bis prairie, he has few rivals. Here he brings merits. It is because he has not waited to his special knowledge into play, and writes select his words, that his narrative is rapid, of his own experiences as a sailor or a strong, and overwhelming. No pause or backwoodsman. Here he combines, and check impedes its rush. He has little to excellent effect, directness of purpose constructive talent, and still less power of with_minuteness of detail. Sometimes drawing characters. His plots are inco- the Delphic God seems to move within herent or monotonous in plan. His heroes him, and he stammers out what he sees are turned into the forest to stumble on and feels, not what he thinks or imagines. adventures or, .as in “The Pilot,” “ The At such moments he rivets attention till Prairie,' "The Last of the Mohicans,” the improbabilities of the situation are “The Red Rover," “ The Water Witch,” forgotten. His habitual reliance on hair. there is an escape and a pursuit. In de. breadth escapes in time blunts the feeling tail the construction of his stories may be of suspense. But, with all his faults, in similarly criticised. The action is incred-force and vigor of narrative Cooper has ible, the motive insufficient, the conduct not often been surpassed. unaccountable. His inability to create Irving had few disciples. Kennedy, in characters is equally manifest. In his “Swallow-Barn "(1832), avowedly imitates European travels, he collects a mass of him in his good-natured sketches of Virinformation as to facts; but he rarely, if ginian society, but he falls far below his ever, attempts to sketch a character or to model. Longfellow in “Hyperion " and record a conversation. His novels dis. “Outre-Mer" is infinitely more successful play the same deficiencies. He is not at in catching the graceful ease, cultured home in painting social life. His digni- tone, and international breadth of Geoffrey fied characters are dull, his humbler fig. Crayon. Cooper, on the contrary, was the ures are exaggerated. His women are so Pathfinder in whose trail followed a swarm josipid as to be totally wanting in interest. of writers. Like their leader, they were They are only introduced as means of romancers, not realists. They did not atcreating business. His conversations are tempt, any more than Cooper had done, to wooden, spiritless, and invariably skipped. paint contemporary society, local scenes, In his sea novels, it is not his Long Tom or provincial characters. Like him, they Coffins, but his Ariels, Dolphins, and depended for their interest on sensational Bristol traders, which support the action incidents, exciting adventures, and strikof the pieces. We are interested in the ing effects. English critics were, and still sate of the craft, not in that of the live are, prone to wonder that American writstock. Yet Cooper has enriched fiction ers have not sought inspiration in their with one character which the world will own history. The surprise can only pronot willingly let die. By whatever name ceed from ignorance. Few epochs of Leatherstocking be cailed, his presence colonial history were left untouched. gives vitality to the story in which he Mrs. Child in “Hobomok” (1824) treats figures. With his childlike simplicity, his of early New England life. Motley, the infinite woodcraft, his untaught piety, bis historian, began his literary career with gentleness and truth, his grief at the prog: Merry-Mount,' which has the same ress of civilization, he is a coherent, actual period as its background. Kennedy in creation. It is only the critical eye which " Horse-Shoe Robinson"

(1835), and detects the strain upon credulity, or per- Simms, an American G. P. R. James, in a ceives that the proportions exceed the continuous series of stories, deal with the size of life. When even Leatherstocking War of Independence in South Carolina. is exaggerated, it is not surprising that Thompson, in “Green Mountain Boys Cooper's Red Indian is an Aristides in (1840) and its successors, writes a history paint, a Cato in a blanket, a Stoic of the of Vermont before and after the war. primeval forest. With only one excep. Flint, in “ Francis

Berrian" (1826), tion, Cooper's characters are like the per- chooses for the historic background of formers in a circus, called up to go through his story the Mexican war of 1821, and

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for his scenery the Red River and the not the purpose of their authors to deArkansas. Hoffman's “Greyslaer” (1840)|scribe their own national characteristics is a tale of the War of Independence and or preserve the racial or social peculiarifrontier factions in the district of Albany: ties of contemporary life. All that they Bird, in “Calvaar ” and “ The Infidel,” required was an imaginary background for selects scenes in the conquest of Mexico, their sensational incidents. Their books and in “ Nick of the Woods” (1837) paints were European, not American. Yet one with exaggerated vigor Red Indian life American novel has been called by so during the consolidation of Kentucky. discriminating a critic as Lowell" the first Jones's “ Haverhill ” (1831) contains the Yankee book," containing “the soul of memoirs of an officer in General Wolfe's down East.” Sylvester Judd's “ Marga. army during the conquest of Canada. ret" was published in 1845. Apart from Such are but a few examples from a lits literary merit, which is, in our opinion, lengthy catalogue of historical novels small, the publication is interesting. It is written during the lifetime of Cooper, and a sign of the times. It marks a change in within the first fifty years from the birth the attitude of theologians towards imagof American fiction. The reproach that inative fiction. The Unitarians were at these early novelists neglected their own this time, perhaps, the most numerous history is totally unfounded. The anti- certainly the most influential religious English national sentiment was strong, body in the northern States. Judd, himand noisily asserted itself; but power to self a Unitarian minister, writes the novel give it adequate expression was wanting with the avowed purpose of breaking Crudities of style, extravagances of plot down the prejudices which his co-religionor incident, an excess of overloaded de. ists manifested towards fiction.

“ Marscription, a morbid taste for horrors — in garet” is a story of New England between a word, all the natural defects of a youth- 1783 and 1800. It takes up the history ful literature have consigned these patri- of the country at the point at which it otic efforts to well-deserved oblivion. emerged from the revolutionary, war. Nor was it only in these directions that Unlike most of its contemporaries, the American novelists attempted flight. In novel deals with character instead of ad. “ Philothea ” (1835) Mrs. Child told a ventures; it treats of inward developtale of Pericles and Aspasia, suffused ment, not outward movement. It has the with an atmosphere of Swedenborgianism one unpardonable fault of dulness. Yet and Bostonian transcendentalism. In her through the clumsy, labored touches of wake followed Ware, who, in stiff, stately the artist, and through the haze of religion style, essayed classic fiction with such and poetry with which the book is sufbooks as “ Zenobia " (1836), and “Probus," fused, may be seen as nowhere else at and “Julian.” far more worthy of record the time the working of the New En. are the novels of travel and adventure of gland miod, the keen study of spiritual Dr. Mayo and Hermann Melville. Mayo life, the domestic virtues, the love of home is an interior Morier. His “Kaloolah,” and inanimate nature, and the political, with its inedley of home experiences, Af. social, and religious idealism which conrican adventures, and political and social tribute the finer sides of the shrewd, satire, has shared the fate of Hadji Baba money-getting character. of Ispahan. As a sea-painter, Melville With the possible exception of this one stands to Cooper in somewhat the same obscure product of pative talent, the most relation as Michael Scott, the author of faithful sketches of contemporary Ameri. “Tom Cringle's Log,” stands to Marryat. can life come from the per of a foreigner. Extravagant and hyperbolical as his books Little is known of Carl Postel, who wrote often are, “ Typee,'

," “ Omoo,” and “Red. | under the name of Charles Sealsfield. burn" are vivid transcripts of personal Fascinated by the vastness of the Ameriexperiences, possessing the fresh charm can continent and by the variety of its of improvisation. They are stirring tales social civilization, he studied the country of sea and land adventure, interspersed with true German thoroughness, noting with marine pictures worthy of Vander- every detail, registering every feature, in. velde, filled with highly wrought, spirited corporating every fact. His plots are little descriptions, and crowded with outline more than slender threads by which he figures, which are dashed in with rapid, strings together his experiences. In his vigorous, and often telling, strokes. “ Travelling Sketches," for instance, the

None of the books which we have so hero is a young Virginian, who leaves his far encountered were, in the true sense of plantation in charge of an overseer and the word, distinctively American. It was travels to the Northern States in search of

a wife. He passes through a variety of or weird fancies. Anomalies and deformadventures, mixes in New York society, ities of human nature, physical decay and meets Yankee traders and Alabama ora- decomposition, pseudo-science, and aptors, is present at a backwoods election, palling deaths, are his favorite topics. sees something of the dark and light sides The genius of the man is displayed in his of slave life, recognizes the miseries of treatment. Compare his effects with absenteeism, encounters a cruel and im- those of Brown, and the difference is seen pudent Pennsylvanian overseer, and finally to be enormous. His thought is pure marries Louise Menon, the daughter of a idealism, his method pure realism. And Creole landlord of Louisiana. In the in the fusion of the two lies the secret of " Lebensbilder aus beiden Hemispheren” his power. He is at once piercingly direct (Zurich, 1835) the story is continued by and mysteriously vague. He aimed at the honeymoon tour of the young couple vividness of impression, and he obtained on board Mississippi and Arkansas steam- it by a careful selection and disposition of boats. Fact rather than imagination is every detail. He was, what none of his Sealsfield's sphere. He draws what he predecessors had been, a consummate artsees with graphic realism; but his method ist. His weird imaginings stand out in is too rapid, and his aim too vast, for his the dreamland of fancy with almost dazpictures to be anything but panoramic zling clearness. Mysterious, obscure, sketches. The different parts are not elusive, as are the elements with which he brought into relief; the tone is uniformly works, the picture he produces is as clear fat; the general result is fragmentary and and definite as a photograph from real incomplete. Yet no other writer, in either life. The majority of his tales scarcely the New or the Old World, has depicted rise above the level of mechanical cleverwith a tithe of Sealsfield's truth, vigor, ness, to which they were condemned by and comprehensiveness the conditions of his belief that all literature is a mere trick. American life from 1828 to 1842.

His humor was of the elvish kind which Till nearly the close of the first half of rejoices in mystification. It belongs to the present century American fiction re- that bastard species in which practical mained more or less in the imitative stage. joking is classified; it consisted in pass. Brown was an American Godwin; Irving ing off fictitious narratives as facts, and in was a “Spectator on the banks of the elaborate preparation for his drafts on Hudson; Cooper was an American Scott; human credulity. The highest kind of Miss Sedgwick, an American Miss Edge work was placed beyond his reach by his worth ; Simms, an American James; entire want of human sympathy. But in Mayo an American Morier; Miss Kirk- such a composition as “ The Fall of the land, whose pleasant sketches were pub House of Usher” he achieves a great lished under the name of “ Mary Clavers,” literary triumph by the vivid impression an American Miss Mitford. No distinc. and definite sensations which his imaginatively original forces arose in the fictitious tive realism enables him to produce. In literature of America before the advent of his own narrow field he was an original Poe and Hawthorne. Both these writers genius, and, as such, his name will outlive struck out for themselves an independent the fame of many who better deserve the line. They have no prototypes in English wreath of immortality. And he possesses fiction.

an additional claim to the gratitude of his Poe's region is that of pure romance. countrymen. He was for America the With the instinct of genius he selected founder of the short story which is the the field for which his powers were pecul. characteristic form of the national fiction. iarly adapted. From it he rarely wan. He is the progenitor of Hale, Cable, Bret dered. His strangely introverted mind Harte, or Stockton. Complete in itself, preyed upon itself. His gloom and mel the American short story does not, like ancholy were part of his own nature. The the English imitation, suggest that it is a world with which he came in contact pro- portion of a larger whole. It is not fragduced no impression upon him, or, at the mentary, but as perfect within its limits most, provoked his sneer. The problems as a French conte. of real life find no place in his pages. In some obvious points Hawthorne may, Heartless himself, he had no heart for the at first sight, seem to resemble Poe. A trials of humanity. He does not draw closer study proves that the superficial from observation; his bloodless, spectral similarities are really points of contrast. figures are not Aesh and blood. Almost In strength both of head and heart, in all his tales are based on the sentiment of ethical purpose, spiritual insight, sincerity terror, excited either by tangible dangers of method, power of observation, and,

above all, in human sympathies, Haw. fame came to him but slowly; its rewards thorne far excels his contemporary. He were tardy. Yet the discipline was on the possesses Poe's combination of realism whole good. As he says bimself in one and idealism in a larger, healthier meas- of his autobiographical notes: "If I had ure. Poe was realistic only in treatment; sooner made my escape into the world, I he cared nothing for detail except as an should have grown hard and rough, and aid to his art of mystification. In a sense my heart might have become callous by this is true of Hawthorne. But his poetic rude encounters." vision is united with matter-of-fact obser. Hawthorne offers a remarkable illustra. vation, because through the real he tion of his own belief in the power of grasped the ideal. His humor is less inherited tendencies, the transmitted efextravagant, because less artificial, than fects of human action, the influence upon the humor of Poe. His style, mannerist the mind of local surroundings. Both his though he undoubtedly is, surpasses that ancestry and his birthplace moulded his of Poe, except in those gloomy, sombre genius and colored his imagination. He passages where the latter is at his best. was lineally descended from John HawPoe is a morbid pessimist, who groped thorne, the colonial Torquemada who, in among repulsive horrors in search of sen- 1692, sate at the Witch House in Salem as sational effects. Hawthorne, a sound one of the assistants on the trial of those minded, healthy optimist, studied the into whom the devil had entered. Like mysteries of human nature as the basis of the witch-judge, Hawthorne is pre-occu. his ideal philosophy of life. Of the two pied by the fantasies of overwrought reli. men, Hawthorne was the greater and the gious sensibility - enthralled by spiritual more conscientious artist. All his work mysteries of human nature. A born inis carefully finished, and it has the added quisitor, he investigates with passionless charms of originality of thought, rich, eyes the transcendent secrets of the soul. statuesque fancy, and subtle psychological Temptation, evil, and the consequences of analysis. It possesses also the peculiar sin, give the keynotes of his tragedies. fascination of shyness broken down. The spell of the supernatural holds him, Hawthorne pours into his pages all the as it held his forefathers. Its shadow lies whims, reveries, and reflections which upon his intellectual heart. He stands reserve and diffidence forbade him to wistfully in that broad belt of twilight divulge in speech. The hereditary taint where, like night and morning, vice and of solitariness was confirmed by the in- virtue meet, and the seen and the unseen communicative habits of his family. Soli- come into contact, and melt into one an. tude was his companion, imagination his other, so that they 'lose their lines of playmate. A grave, melancholy anato demarcation. The unsolved mysteries of mist, he speculates on human nature with this region exercise over him a glamor tranquil curiosity. An unaffected, but which he imparts to his pages; its shadnever a misanthropic, cynic, a solitary in owy scenery forms his favorite backhis walks, a phantom to his neighbors, he ground; its sunless atmosphere envelops lived a hermit life, endowed with the the stage on which his tragedies are divine faculty of silence. Yet from his played. So, too, early surroundings of quiet corner he was not only a minute, iime and place were exactly calculated to but an interested, observer of his fellow- strengthen his inherited tendencies and creatures, or of the currents by which their transmit unimpaired the effects of previ. lives were affected. No man who so ous actions. In the decaying, town of strongly felt the beauties of external na- Salem, venerable among the cities of the ture, or who could paint children with New World, peopled with the spectres such true tenderness of feeling, could of stern-visaged Puritans, eloquent with have been the gloomy psychologist it is memories of a terrible phase of religious the Gallic fashion to represent him. Grop- thought, Hawthorpe was born in 1804, ing as he did into the holes and corners and there he lived the most impressionof the human heart, it is a strong proof able years of his life. From these sur. of his ethical purpose that these danger roundings he derived that sympathy for ous subjects never betray him into repul- antiquity which is neither Irving's reversive realism or sickly sentimentalism. He ence for all that is venerable, nor the could not have escaped the peril if no respect which the pride of an old country higher motive than morbid curiosity had pays to the vestiges of an historic past. guided his search. His mind was always Hawthorne's peculiar sentiment is partly wholesome, his interest in humanity keen compassion for decayed gentility in the 10 the last. His life was sequestered; I midst of modern prosperity, partly a hu. morous perception of the absurdity of its not a novelist at all. Fancy, imagination, claims to deference. Both the ancestral poetic vision, are his gifts. Romance is and the local influences powerfully affect his domain. Too intent upon penetrating Hawthorne's writings. It is the sup- below the surface in both men and things, pressed passion of his Puritan ancestor he represented neither as they passed which gives to “The Scarlet Letter” its before his eyes. He looks through, rather haunting force. Beneath the surface of than at, life. No figures stand out from its parched and sultry pages glows with his pages, which, like Hosea Biglow, are almost oppressive intensity of heat the unmistakable products of the New World. divine wrath of the old witch-judge. It is The Puritan background, which he uses his peculiar_feeling towards antiquity with such consummate effect, was imag. which in “ The House with the Seven inative and historical not contemporary or Gables " guides his brush as be paints actual. In the “Blithedale Romance” he the pathetic, yet sub-humorous, figure of deals with a passing phase of social hisHepzibah Pyncheon, or in "Transforma- tory; in his “ Note Book” and “Shorter tion” reveals the secret of the melancholy Stories ” he draws from characters and atmosphere of Rome and the iniogled scenes which are of home growth. But, sublimity and triviality of the Eternal in spite of these exceptions, he remains a City.

romancer rather than a novelist. His Ancestry and local surroundings, mental Deutral territory between fact and fancy is gifts and mental defects, unite to make a “no man's land ;” he makes no effort to Hawthorne the greatest master of the paint life at his doors. His treatment is preternatural, the magician of the spell indirect, that of his successors is direct; of supernatural awe. From every side his method is fanciful, theirs is realistic; come the elements which produce the they have gained the power of reproduceffect of unsubstantiality — his power of ing what they see with vivid force; they pensive brooding, the brown twilight color have lost the ideal touch, which is the which wraps his figures in a strange, hazy secret of creation, and which redeems atmosphere, the coldness of his analysis, from triviality the commonest incidents the self-possession of his style, the indefi- and most ordinary figures. nileness of his touch, the indeterminate. Before 1861 writers of American fiction ness of his end. His heroes and heroines were either imitators or not distinctively have little warmth; they scarcely talk like national. It might be thought that a ordinary men and women; they move self- strong exception should be made in favor consciously; they speak constrainedly, as of the raciness of the best-known Amerithough there is something present which can humorists. National, in one sense, reads their thoughts, notes their gestures, they may fairly claim to be. Making registers their actions. The human inter- enorinous allowances for their exaggeraest is never so overpowering as to break tion, they not only preserved the dialectal through the film of the atmosphere. A peculiarities of American Doric, but master of the by-play of suggestion, his painted truer pictures of many phases of hiots meet us at every turn. His subtle social, political, and military life than mind and pictorial imagination give contemporary novelists. Humor was, in.. ghostly significance to the commonest ob- deed, their only resource if they would jects. He works out the central idea in compete with newspapers in a picture of marvellous detail, never presenting it the every-day world. It was a rude device nakedly, but always giving it concrete to catch the popular ear. Original, exshape, exhibits it from fresh points of cept in the most technical and grudging view, offers it in new combination, till the sense of the word, no one will deny them reader ends by feeling that he is himself to be; but literary they certainly are not. haunted by the impalpable, inevitable Lowell is the true master of American presence of Hawthorne's thought. humor so far as it is a distinct literary

Hawthorne's mastery of the preternatu product. He has no predecessor. Charles ral seem to us the most characteristic Lamb and Burton, or the “Spectator," or feature in his genius. He followed no Thackeray, may be prototypes of Wash. predecessor ; he left behind him no suc. ington Irving, of Holmes, or of Curtis or

He stands so completely alone Warner. But what Old World humorist that the ordinary methods of comparative is the father of the American school which criticism are baffled. He must be taken arose before or during the war a school as what he is an original genius. Yet, of which Petroleum V. Nasby, Josh Bil. independent as he is, be cannot be called lings, Major Jack Downing, John Phønix, a distinctively American novelist. He is | Orpheus C. Kerr, and, above all, Artemus

cessor.

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