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


Page 122

and canny, pawky humor, among the innumerable stories dealing with New England rural life.
  Evangelical sentimentalism was carried on with large popular success by the Rev. Josiah Gilbert Holland of Massachusetts and the Rev. Edward Payson Roe of New York until nearly the end of the century, when others took up the perennial burden. That both Holland and Roe were clergymen is a sign that the old suspicion of the novel was nearly dead, even among those petty sects and sectarians that so long feared the effects of it. Holland, whose first novel had appeared in 1857, was popular moralist and poet as well as novelist and first editor of Scribner’s Magazine (founded 1870). His metrical novels, Bitter-Sweet (1858) and Kathrina (1867), sweet, soft, warm, and facile, probably caught more readers than any of his tales in prose. Roe contented himself with prose fiction. Chaplain of a regiment of cavalry and of one of the Federal hospitals during the Civil War, he later gave up the ministry in the conviction that he could reach thousands with his beguiling pen and only hundreds with his hortatory voice. His simple formula included: first, some topical material, historical event, or current issue; second, characters and incidents selected directly from his personal observation or from newspapers; third, an abundance of “Nature” descriptions with much praise of the rural virtues; and fourth, plots concerned almost invariably, and never too deviously, with the simultaneous pursuit of wives, fortunes, and salvation. Barriers Burned Away (1872), Opening a Chestnut Burr (1874), and Without a Home (1881) are said to have been his most widely read books, though none fell unheeded



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