By Gary Scharnhorst
Bret Harte used to be the best-known and highest-paid author in the US within the early 1870s, but his vexed makes an attempt to generate profits by means of his pen ended in the failure of his marriage and, in 1878, his departure for Europe. Gary Scharnhorst’s biography of Harte lines the becoming advertisement attraction of western fiction and drama on each side of the Atlantic through the Gilded Age, a improvement within which Harte performed a very important role.
Harte’s pioneering use of California neighborhood colour in such tales as "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" challenged genteel assumptions approximately western writing and helped open jap papers to contributions by way of Mark Twain and others. the recognition of Bret Harte’s writings was once pushed mostly by way of a literary marketplace that his western tales helped create.
The first Harte biography in approximately seventy years to be written solely from basic assets, this publication files Harte’s own relationships and, moreover, his negotiations with a number of publishers, brokers, and theatrical manufacturers as he exploited renowned curiosity within the American West.
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Extra info for Bret Harte: Opening the American Literary West (Oklahoma Western Biographies)
32 bret harte Meanwhile, he negotiated a similar arrangement to write a series of California letters for the Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, whose editor, Samuel Bowles, he had met in San Francisco in the summer of 1865. His connection with the Republican—one of the most influential newspapers in the country, which printed ten of Emily Dickinson’s poems during her lifetime—was instrumental in his rise to national fame. As early as September 1866, Bowles reprinted the “quaint” satirical poem “To the Pliocene Skull” by “our special San Francisco correspondent, Mr.
Both Roman and Harte agreed that local reviews of the story in the secular press were cool and equivocal (the Alta California described it as “a pleasant little sketch”), while those in the religious press were more hostile. ” One of the religious papers even warned that it would discourage “investment of foreign capital” in the West. The tide turned in Harte’s favor only when news of the story’s more favorable reception in the East reached San Francisco in October. Samuel Bowles praised “The Luck” without stint in the Springfield Republican (“a genuine California story,” one “so true to nature and so deep-reaching in its humor, that it will move the hearts of men everywhere”) and reprinted it in its entirety even before learning the identify of the author.
The four exiles—the gambler Oakhurst, the two prostitutes, and the villain—meet the eloping innocents Tom Simson and Piney Woods on the mountain road to Sandy Bar. Trapped by an early-season blizzard, the outcasts suffer their deaths honorably, even virtuously—but there is no overt or even implied moral to the story. Still, it deserves its high rank among American short stories: Richard Harding Davis considered it one of the best tales ever written in English, and Howells included it in his 1920 edition of The Great Modern American Stories.