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


Page 53

picture. The work of filling up has just seriously commenced.” He had in mind only the physical process, but his image applies as well to that other process in which he was the most effective pioneer. Two years after his death the outline of the national picture, at least of contiguous territory, was established, and the nation gave itself to the problem of occupation. In fiction, too, after the death of Cooper, the main tendency for nearly a generation was away from the conquest of new borders to the closer cultivation, east of the Mississippi, of ground already marked.
  As late as 1825 Jared Sparks thought ten American novels a striking output for one year, but during the second quarter of the century Cooper had many helpers in his task. For the most part they were more limited than he to particular sections. In New England, John Neal, D. P. Thompson, and Sylvester Judd had already set outposts before Hawthorne, at first a writer of short stories, came definitely with his greater novels to capture that section for classic ground. Paulding assisted Cooper in New York, and took Swedish Delaware for himself; for Pennsylvania, Bird was Brown’s chief successor; Maryland had Kennedy; Virginia, without many native novels, began to undergo, in the hands of almost every romancer who dealt with either the Settlement or the Revolution, that idealization which has made it, especially since the Civil War, the most romantic of American states; South Carolina passed into the pages of Simms; Georgia and the lower South brought forth a school of native humorists who abounded in the truth as well as in the fun of that border; the Mississippi and the Ohio advanced to a



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