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


Page 166

plain-speaking. How far he was shorn of real powers no one can say; one can say, however, that under these intenerating censors he moved from the methods which produced The Innocents Abroad to those which produced Huckleberry Finn and Joan of Arc.
  The year after his marriage he went to Hartford, where he lived for seventeen years, with intervals of lecturing and occasional sojourns in Europe. At Hartford lived also Mrs. Stowe and Charles Dudley Warner; and with Warner, who to the Mark Twain of that period seemed an important man of letters, he collaborated in a novel, The Gilded Age, which appeared in 1873. The more conventional elements in the book, the Easterners, Philip Sterling and Henry Brierly, and their loves and fortunes, are Warner’s; the more original, the sections portraying Western life and satirizing Congress and Washington, are Mark Twain’s. His, too, is the masterly conception of Colonel Beriah Sellers, the man of hope, who lives constantly in the expectation of an avalanche of unearned increment in his direction. From the collaboration of two such different authors nothing unified could come. Warner’s chapters are usually tame; Mark Twain’s are often noisy and busy with his old burlesque. Neither man shrank from melodrama or hesitated to set it side by side with the most scrupulous realism. But the materials of The Gilded Age are a dozen times better than its art. Perhaps all the more truly because of its lack of balance and perspective does the book reproduce the jangled spirit of the time, its restlessness, its violence, its enthusiasms so singularly blended of the sordid and the altruistic. Colonel Sellers, who has the blood of his creator in him,



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