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Outlines of English and American Literature
Typical Story-Writers
by Long, William J.


Cable was accompanied by so many other good writers that it would require a volume to do them justice. We name only, by way of indicating the wide variety that awaits the reader, the charming stories of Grace King and writers Kate Chopin dealing with plantation life; the New England stories, powerful or brilliant or somber, of Sarah Orne Jewett, Rose Terry Cooke and Mary E. Wilkins; the tender and cheery southern stories of Thomas Nelson Page; the impressive stories of mountaineer life by Mary Noailles Murfree (Charles Egbert Craddock); the humorous, Alice-in-Wonderland kind of stories told by Frank Stockton; and a bewildering miscellany of other works, of which the names Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Hamlin Garland, Alice French (Octave Thanet), Rowland Robinson, Frank Norris and Henry C. Bunner are as a brief but inviting index.

It would be unjust at the present time to discriminate among these writers or to compare them with others, perhaps equally good, whom we have not named. Occasionally in the flood of short stories appears one that compels attention. Aldrich's "Marjorie Daw," Edward Everett Hale's "The Man without a Country," Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger,"--each of these impresses us so forcibly by its delicate artistry or appeal to patriotism or whimsical ending that we hail it as a new classic, forgetting that the term "classic" carries with it the implication of something old and proved, safe from change or criticism. Undoubtedly a few of our recent stories deserve the name; they will be more widely known a century hence than they are now, and may finally rank above "Rip Van Winkle" or "The Gold Bug" or "The Snow Image"; but until the perfect tale is sifted from the thousand that are almost perfect, every ambitious critic is free to make his own prophecy.

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