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


Page 231

  Howe had taken a step beyond Edward Eggleston on the way to that stiffening of the conscience which brought the naturalism of the next decade, but in the eighties he had no fellow except Joseph Kirkland of Illinois, who wrote the crude, truthful Zury (1887). Elsewhere local color produced few novels that need to be called by name. Cable wrote others for Louisiana: Charles Egbert Craddock now and then turned away from the short story with her Tennessee material; as did Sarah Orne Jewett in New England, H. C. Bunner in New York, and Richard Malcolm Johnston in Georgia. An unusual control over a diversity of sections appears in the work of Constance Fenimore Woolson, a grandniece of Fenimore Cooper, who during the eighties had a promise that seemed to rank her little below Howells and James and Crawford. She lived in turn in the Great Lakes region, particularly Mackinac, in the devastated, reviving South of Reconstruction times, and in Italy, applying her art to all of her neighborhoods. Henry James found her deserving of a fairly extended critique from a pen which did not often condescend to the underwoods of literature. Her stories are perhaps as good as her novels, but she has not quite survived by virtue of either. And yet East Angels (1886), that glowing, rich-hued picture of the Florida of the tourist, just misses being a classic. To be mistress of all the local colors will not make a writer even a minor classic unless something else is added—some superior grace as in Cable or superior veracity as in E. W. Howe.
  Little as most of the novels of the period touched upon its public affairs, some of them were not silent. Albion Winegar Tourgée’s A Fool’s Errand (1879) called attention



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