Rise of an American short story
1819 is the probationary date of an American novel birth. That was a day when Washington Irving published his outstanding series of novels and essays under the title ‘The book of sketches’. This collection was of great significance for American culture. Its publication meant not only the appearance of new genre, but also a worldwide recognition of American literature as independent and original phenomenon. The feeling of astonishment dominated within the emotional sphere of critical reviews, when they one after another were appearing in English magazines. Irving indicated ironically: ‘everyone was astonished that the man from hovel of America was able to express himself in unquestioning clear English. I was perceived as something new and odd in literature, as a wild man who put pen to paper instead of hair; they took interest in what such creature could say about the civilized society.’ Extraordinary Irving’s success dizzied American men of letter, especially those novices. Everyone rushed to write short stories. It was difficult to figure out at least one prose writer from the romanticism epoch, who hadn’t tried oneself in this kind of writing. Short story started to be undoubtedly a national American genre. A short story became a magazine genre. As above, almost everyone made an attempt to write a one, but novices didn’t treat a new genre and a new aesthetic system with much respect. As a rule an author of novels could not tell the difference between a short story and a romance. A noted specialist in literature F. L. Pettee fairly indicated: ‘they hardly could imagine that number of pages is not the only difference between a short story and a romance. They manufactured a sort of compressed, cut romance but not a proper short story. An immense number of that time short stories bored a visible character of imitation. The pattern for the copy for them was so-called horror stories. They were madly manufactured by European...
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