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Outlines of English and American Literature
by Long, William J.

The interest aroused by Harte's mining-camp tales influenced other American writers to discover the neglected literary wealth of their several localities; but they were fortunately on guard against Harte's exaggerated sentimentality and related their stories with more art and more truth to nature. As a specific example read Cable's Old Creole Days and Madame Delphine with their exquisite pictures of life in the old French city of New Orleans. These are romances or creations of fancy, to be sure; but in their lifelike characters, their natural scenes and soft Creole dialect they are as realistic (that is, as true to a real type of American life) as anything that can be found in literature. They are, in fact, studies as well as stories, such minute and affectionate studies of old people, old names and old customs as the great French novelist Balzac made in preparation for his work. Though time holds its own secrets, one can hardly avoid the conviction that Old Creole Days and Madame Delphine are not books of a day but permanent additions to American fiction.


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