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Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 110

York Ledger and began to make it the congenial home and the hospitable patron of a sensationalism which had been growing upon native romance as its earlier energy had gradually departed from it. Hitherto most nearly anticipated by such a son of blood-and-thunder as Joseph Holt Ingraham, author of Lafitte; or The Pirate of the Gulf (1836), or by the swashbuckling Ned Buntline, duelist, sportsman, and perfervid patriot, this sensationalism reached unsurpassable dimensions with the prolific Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., who besides The Gunmaker of Moscow (1856) counted his successes in this department of literature by scores. From the Ledger no step in advance had to be taken by the inventors of the “dime novel,” which was started upon its long career by the publishing firm of Beadle and Adams of New York in 1860. Edward S. Ellis’s Seth Jones or the Captive of the Frontier (1860), one of the earliest of the sort, its hero formerly a scout under Ethan Allen but now adventuring in western New York, is said to have sold over 600,000 copies in half a dozen languages. The type prospered, depending almost exclusively upon native authors and native material: first the old frontier of Cooper and then the trans-Mississippi region, with its Mexicans, its bandits, its troopers, and its Indians, who have now for the most part lost the high courtesy of Cooper’s and are displayed in the bitter spirit which prompted that Western saying that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. Among the actual heroes of this adventurous world the men who achieved a primacy like that of Daniel Boone among the older order of scouts were Kit Carson, the famous scout, and “Buffalo Bill” (William F. Cody), who was first



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