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The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Tales

Bret Harte

Book Overview: 

A collection of short stories from Bret Harte

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A MODERN INDIAN NOVEL AFTER COOPER CHAPTER I

It was toward the close of a bright October day. The last rays of the setting sun were reflected from one of those sylvan lakes peculiar to the Sierras of California. On the right the curling smoke of an Indian village rose between the columns of the lofty pines, while to the left the log cottage of Judge Tompkins, embowered in buckeyes, completed the enchanting picture.

Although the exterior of the cottage was humble and unpretentious, and in keeping with the wildness of the landscape, its interior gave evidence of the cultivation and refinement of its inmates. An aquarium, containing goldfishes, stood on a marble centre-table at one end of the apartment, while a magnificent grand piano occupied the other. The floor was covered with a yielding tapestry carpet, and the walls were adorned with paintings from the pencils of Van Dyke, Rubens, Tintoretto, Michael Angelo, and the product. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I’ve been curious about reading Bret Harte pretty well just because I love Mark Twain so much (even though they evidently didn’t think much of one another) and they’re often compared to one another. Finally, I was inspired to tackle this little collection of some of Harte’s most famous stories. R...more

The last batch of short stories I read must have been in high school - required reading, of course. I'd never much paid attention to the genre because, like poetry, I wanted something longer, substantial, filling. Not to say short stories and poetry don't have merit - Edgar Allen Poe can keep me...more

I heard about Bret Harte years ago when reading a run-down of western fiction, so figured I would give this a shot. All the stories are short ones, ten pages being around the average, and the max. This stuff was written in the 1800's, so be prepared for the writing to be a bit different-this is n...more

It is a pretty sad tale that starts off tragically and ends in tragedy as well. I'm not a big fan of stories that make you feel worse than you were when you started reading them.

I have always heard of 'The Outcasts of Poker Flat' and 'The Luck of Roaring Camp' but I had never read a word of Bret Harte. I even live next to an elementary school named for him!

A neighbor lent me this volume and I must say that I was really surprised by what I found. I expected folksy, heart-...more

Interesting, fairly entertaining stories by a minor talent who may have had quite a bit of influence on the genre. Good selection, great introduction, generally inadequate and overly fussy annotation: which reader needs to be told in a footnote that 'Milton' is 'the 16th century author of Paradis...more

-spoilers-

Luck, the symbol for redemption in the Roaring Camp comes from "very sinful woman" Sal. There is a form of Platonic irony here, Platon in his dialogues portrayed his mentor Socrates as very ugly, fat and ridiculous looking man. Nonetheless, he was also portrayed as an intellectual, uniq...more

"The Luck of Roaring Camp" is a prompt, but interesting, mid-1800s American short story that is really characteristic of Bret Harte's writing style. Essentially, it is a retelling of the Biblical nativity story, as presented by a cast of characters from a small, male-dominated Wild West town. Aft...more

I've become fascinated with this whole period of American History (ie. The Goldrush) which is why I decided to finally read this. What I did not realize is that Harte actually blazed the trail for the kind of writing in which the characters were ordinary Americans who cursed a lot, a genre which...more

Mark Twain and Charles Dickens thought Bret Harte was the king of western American literature, yet their works are much better known today than his. Harte's stories and characters could justifiably be seen as the inspiration for O. Henry and Damon Runyon but, again, they are household names and h...more

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