SETTING IN THE EARLY DIME
NOVEL

In January 1860, only five months before the House of Beadle and Adams published the first dime novel, an anonymous contributor to The Christian Examiner revealed in an essay entitled "The Study of Nature" one of the principal cultural conflicts of the nineteenth century. "The life of man is a perpetual struggle with external Nature," the essayist commences, for "all her influences, if untamed and unresisted, are hostile to his full development and perfect growth, to his physical enjoyments and his higher aspirations, and even to his temporal existence." It is through "subjugation of her forces alone that man can achieve the nobler ends of his creation," and the "extent of his victories over Nature is a measure not only of his civilization, but of his progress in the highest walks of moral and intellectual life." Only by subduing Nature may man "vindicate his claim to be called a being, not a thing...." 1

Yet only pages later the essayist adopts a different stance. Lapsing into conventional Romantic rhetoric, he speaks fondly of man's

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The Dime Novel Western
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Dime Novel Western *
  • Contents *
  • Origin and Context *
  • Setting in the Early Dime Novel *
  • The Hero in Transition *
  • Setting in the Later Dime Novel *
  • Structure and Plot *
  • The Unifying Vision *
  • VII - Appendix *
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