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


Page 179

dimension and ambition. He gave up his house at Hartford and lived somewhat randomly, in various European cities, in New York, at Riverdale-on-Hudson, and finally from 1908 till his death two years later in his new house, Stormfield, at Redding, Connecticut. His sweetness had begun to grow weary and turn more and more insistently to thought which was neither sweet nor gay. His pessimism appears unmistakably in Following the Equator (1897), fruit of a lecture tour round the world which at sixty he had courageously undertaken to pay off the burden of debts due to his failure as a publisher. His great schemes for a fortune had failed; a beloved daughter died while he was on his royal progress; the antiquity of Asia appalled him. Though now a national figure, by popular suffrage the national man of letters, he had for some years suffered from a diffusion, if not a dimimunition, of his power. The American Claimant (1892), returning to Colonel Sellers of The Gilded Age for material, and Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896), had none of them fulfilled expectations naturally aroused. Even the better novel Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894) defied the efforts he put into it and escaped his control as he wrote. Part of it moved off into unrestrained farce and had to be issued separately as Those Extraordinary Twins; part of it developed into the seriously conceived tragedy of Roxana and her son—but a tragedy founded on the conventional device of infants changed in the cradle. It adds something to Mark Twain’s documentary value by its picture of Virginians in the West and by its principal character, Pudd’nhead Wilson. As an amateur detective he illustrates



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