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Contemporary American Novelists (1900-1920)

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Author: Carl Van Doren
Published: 1922
Language: English
Wordcount: 46,474 / 145 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 37.3
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 1,172
Added to site: 2004.07.03 8135

The American Novel, published last year, undertook to trace the progress of a literary type in the United States from its beginnings to the end of the nineteenth century; Contemporary American Novelists undertakes to study the type as it has existed during the first two decades of the twentieth century.

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een largely inarticulate except for his rude songs and ballads; formula and tradition caught him early and in fiction stiffened one of the most picturesque of human beings--a modern Centaur, an American Cossack, a Western picaro--into a stock figure who in a stock costume perpetually sits a bucking broncho, brandishes a six-shooter or swings a lariat, rounds up stampeding cattle, makes fierce war on Mexicans, Indians, and rival outfits, and ardently, humbly woos the ranchman's gentle daughter or the timorous school-ma'am. He still has no Homer, no Gogol, no Fenimore Cooper even, though he invites a master of some sort to take advantage of a thrilling opportunity.

The same fate of formula and tradition befell another type multiplied by the local novelists--the bad boy. His career may be said to have begun in New England, with Thomas Bailey Aldrich's reaction from the priggish manikins who infested the older "juveniles"; but Mark Twain took him up with such mastery that his subsequent habitat has usually



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