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


Page 60

make the book distinguished in its own right. His later novels, Horse-Shoe Robinson (1835), in which he dealt with the Revolution in the Carolinas, and Rob of the Bowl (1838), which has its scene laid in colonial Maryland, are nearer Cooper, with the difference that Kennedy depended, as he had done in Swallow Barn, on fact not invention for almost all his action as well as for his details of topography and costume. Indeed, he founded the career of Horse-Shoe Robinson upon that of an actual Revolutionary partizan with such care that the man is said later to have approved the record as authentic. Decidedly Kennedy’s gift, like Irving’s again, was for enriching actual events with a finer grace and culture than the ordinary romancers could command. His style is clear, his methods always simple and rational.
  Cooper’s closest rival among the romancers of his school was William Gilmore Simms (1806–70) of South Carolina. Born in Charleston, outside the little aristocracy of the town, Simms got but a scanty schooling. He seems, indeed, during his youth to have been as bookish as Charles Brockden Brown, but it was romantic poetry and history which fascinated him, not romantic speculation. From his grandmother he heard innumerable legends of the Revolution, South Carolina’s epic age, and cherished them with a poetic and patriotic devotion. When he was eighteen he went to visit his father, who had left Charleston for the West, had become friend and follower of Andrew Jackson, and had settled on a plantation in Mississippi. The young poet was thus shown the manners of a frontier which corresponded, in many ways, to that of Cooper, and he seems, during extended travels, to have observed its rough



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