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


Page 251

resembled that of the frontier of Cooper and Simms. If the matter of the Frontier partially eluded the ardor of the romancers, nothing of the sort happened to the Settlement and the Revolution, which now luxuriantly bloomed again. The hardships of pioneering and of warfare were united in Alice of Old Vincennes, an account of the expedition of George Rogers Clark, and in The Crossing, which portrayed the West during the Revolutionary and Federalist eras from Vincennes and Kaskaskia on the north and from the Carolinas on the east to the Mississippi and to Louisiana. The true territory of romance, however, lay east of the Alleghanies, between New Jersey and Richmond. For every tale concerned with New England or New York there were two or three concerned with Pennsylvania or Virginia. The Tory Lover moves from Miss Jewett’s gentle Berwick to Europe and back: The Duke of Stockbridge is a romance of Shays’ Rebellion. But The Heart’s Highway hovers around Jamestown at the end of its first century; Prisoners of Hope and To Have and to Hold rarely stray far from Tide Water; Richard Carvel joins the England of Dr. Johnson with Revolutionary Maryland; Hugh Wynne and Janice Meredith range from New York to Yorktown, yet the center of their interests is the Philadelphia of the Continental Congress.
  Topographical classification is practically as suitable with these tales as with those of the first period of American romance. Certain distinctions of course appear. Joan of Arc stands clearly to one side by virtue of a power which none of its rivals display. The Choir Invisible employs history only incidentally in a poetic and highly sentimental interpretation of human existence.



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