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The Mentor: American Novelists

Hamilton Wright Mabie

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Book Overview: 

This group of distinguished novelists may be divided into four smaller groups, not only in time, but in selection and treatment of subjects. Mr. James and Mr. Howells are now the senior members of the literary fraternity in this country, and have not only American but European reputations. Only three novelists before them attained this distinction.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The early novels were not popular in the sense of running into large editions; but “The American” found many readers who were quick to appreciate its penetrating and searching analysis of character, its sharp contrasts of American and European traits, and the refinement of a style which is both rich and restrained.


All novelists reveal character; but those in whom the dramatic instinct is strong show it chiefly in action. Mr. James brings out character largely by means of analysis and description, and for this reason he is often classed among the psychological novelists. In his later years the habit[4] of analysis grew on him to such an extent that the movement of his stories was impeded and his style became complex and at times obscure. In a time when social relations between America and Europe were becoming more intimate, Mr. . . . Read More