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


Page 39

“a fairer morning never dawned upon the Alleghanies than that which illumined the Alps”; but he was not sufficiently master of his material, stout as his opinions might be, to make good romances out of it.
  He had, however, caught the contagion of the critical spirit, and he returned to New York in 1833 in no mood to lend his voice to the loud chorus of national self-approval then sounding. He found himself, in fact, fatally cosmopolitan in the republic he had been justifying from abroad for seven years. He sought to qualify too sweeping praise of America precisely as he had recently sought to qualify too sweeping censure in Europe. But he had not learned tact while becoming a citizen of the world, and he promptly angered the public he had only meant to correct. The result was the long and dreary wrangling which clouded the whole remainder of his life and has obscured his fame even to the present day. If he had attended the dinner planned in his honor on his return, he might have found his welcome warmer than he thought it. If he had been an observer at once keen and tolerant enough, he must have seen that the new phases of democracy which he disliked under the presidency of Andrew Jackson were in large measure a gift to the old seaboard of that very frontier of which Cooper had been painter and annalist. But he did not see these things, and so he carried on a steady fight, almost always as right in his contentions as he was wrong in his manner. From Cooperstown, generally his residence except for a few winters in New York, to the end of his life he lectured and scolded. His Letter to his Countrymen (1834), stating his position, and The Monikins (1835),



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