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


Page 225

Eliot, who was influential in many quarters. The writers of local color novels in not a few instances showed traces of Thomas Hardy. Ben-Hur recalls both Bulwer-Lytton and Victor Hugo. Aldrich and Cable and Bunner had obviously read such Frenchmen as Merimée, About, Daudet, Maupassant, though with reservations. Toward the end of the decade Zola began to be heard, particularly railed at, however, by the orthodox. Henry James and Howells investigated and expounded Turgenev; James added most of the French novelists of the time; Howells added Dostoevsky and his master passion Tolstoy, as well as the Spanish Galdós, Valdés, Valera, and the Italian Verga; while both Howells and James had something to say of almost every eminent European who practised fiction. Though eclectic, the American novel was not unwarrantably imitative. It had certain traditions of its own and followed them. It was faithful to American life, at least to those phases which it chose to record. Its points of view were clearly national. Without achieving methods as distinctive as those of the short story, the American novel was still a distinctively, unmistakably native product.
  In the department of domestic sentimentalism the most widely read rivals of E. P. Roe and his kind who appeared in the eighties happened both to be Lancashire women resident in America: Frances Hodgson Burnett, whose Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886) moistened millions of uncritical eyes with its account of the American child instructing the British aristocracy in democratic manners: and Amelia Edith Barr, whose swift, kindly pen played over all the fields of fiction except the distinguished. In



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