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


Page 233

2000 and then to wake upon a Utopian Boston which, like the rest of the world, has moved forward, without revolution, to a rational adjustment of production and distribution, and has perfected the conditions of human life. In his glad millennium all capital belongs to the community and all labor contributes to it; the inequality of reward has disappeared, for men and women all share alike, however different may be the tasks to which they are assigned by the most careful selection; intelligent planning has increased the wealth of the community, wealth has increased leisure, and leisure has increased joy and goodness. Bellamy’s specific solutions of the ancient problem matter less to the history of American fiction than the fact that he found an enormous public ready to snatch from his romance some sort of consolation in a vast discontent.
  At the opposite pole from Bellamy was Frank R. Stockton (1834–1902), in whom whimsy reached something like its apogee. Stockton, a Philadelphian, first worked at wood-engraving but deserted it for literature, which he reached by the unusual avenue of fairy tales and juvenile journalism. As in his fairy tales he had made his fanciful creatures behave, as far as possible, after the manner of the real world, so into his maturer stories of the real world he constantly infused a fairy irresponsibility. His earliest important book, Rudder Grange (1879), illustrates all his qualities. The suggestion came from an actual maid in Stockton’s household, whom he called Pomona both in fact and in fiction, and around whose preposterous deeds and words and tastes he built up a little cycle of improbabilities. Pomona, after a youth largely devoted to the kind of literature that entranced Tom



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