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


Page 271

and vividness surpasses all who have dealt with the proletarian immigrant in American cities.
  The term naturalism by no means fits James Branch Cabell, who has laid the scene of much of his invention in medieval Europe and who at many points seems incorrigibly romantic; and yet a temper so ironical and so unconventional sets him widely apart from the rococo romancers of the years during which he commenced to write. He belongs rather with those brilliant newer writers, like Sherwood Anderson, Dorothy Canfield, Willa Cather, Floyd Dell, Zona Gale, Joseph Hergesheimer, Sinclair Lewis, and Ernest Poole, who seem to forecast a new generation of novelists who will not be content to strike some interesting note and then to keep on striking and exploiting it till the end of their careers, but who instead will dare to experiment and may thus succeed in growing. Hope springs, and help may come, from the example of the poets springs, and help may come, from the example of the poets—of Edwin Arlington Robinson and Robert Frost and Edgar Lee Masters—who have recently been showing how much of drama can be distilled into a little verse. They have already been important influences upon the more scrupulous and reflective novelists, and a continuation of their influence is perhaps an element as much to be desired as any in the coming generation of American fiction.



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