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


Page 247

romancer and realist both at once, but they brought to the revived form a dexterity of plot and a neatness of finish which Scott had lacked. The American romancers of the period, accompanying their British contemporaries in art, at the same time kept for the most part at home in their choice of themes and matter.
  The local color writers had frequently dipped into such history as their sections afforded, though employing history generally as handmaid not mistress. Within two or three years after Stevenson’s Kidnapped (1886) and Rider Haggard’s She (1887), history in the American novel assumed an importance it had not had since Cooper and Hawthorne. Arthur Sherburne Hardy in 1889 published Passe Rose, a dainty romance of the time of Charlemagne, and Harold Frederic, the next year, In the Valley, a substantial, unaffected narrative of life along the Mohawk at the time of the French and Indian War. The material thus touched upon by Frederic had already been discovered by Mary Hartwell Catherwood, who probably thought of Stevenson but certainly thought of Francis Parkman, who wrote an introduction to The Romance of Dollard (1889) vouching for its historicity. She had discovered a new romantic treasure; the angular quaint ness of Pike County now gave way before the charm of an older world adventuring in the Middle West, noblemen pitted against savages, black-robed Jesuits, coureurs de bois swarming through all the rivers and forests, highbred ladies strayed into the wilderness, innocent Indian maidens, half-breed villains, French villages as little as possible like the Anglo-Saxon towns which had grown up on their ancient sites.



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