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


Page 113

the last of the old school rather than the first of the new.
  Less close to Cooper was another novelist who fought in the Civil War, and who gave his life in one of its earliest battles, Theodore Winthrop (1828–61). Of a stock as eminent in New England and New York as Cooke’s in Virginia, he had a more cosmopolitan upbringing than Cooke: after Yale he traveled in Europe, in the American tropics, in California while the gold fever was still new, and in the Northwest. His work at first found so delayed a favor with publishers that his books were all posthumous. Time might, it is urged, have made Winthrop a legitimate successor of Hawthorne, but in fact he progressed little beyond the Gothic qualities of Charles Brockden Brown, whom he considerably resembles in his strenuous nativism, his melodramatic plots, his abnormal characters, his command over the mysterious, and his breathless style. Of his three novels—Cecil Dreeme (1861), John Brent (1862), Edwin Brothertoft (1862),—John Brent is easily the most interesting by reason of its vigorous narrative of adventures in the Far West, at that time a region still barely touched by fiction; nor should the real hero of John Brent, the magnificent black horse Don Fulano, go unmentioned. That Winthrop’s talent looked forward in this direction rather than backward to Hawthorne appears still more clearly from The Canoe and the Saddle (1863), a fresh, vivid, amusing, and truthful record of his own journey across the Cascade Mountains and an established classic of the Northwest. His early death, however, closed a promising chapter. Until the arrival of Mark Twain and Bret Harte even California did not



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