Porte Crayon: The Life of David Hunter Strother

Porte Crayon: The Life of David Hunter Strother

Porte Crayon: The Life of David Hunter Strother

Porte Crayon: The Life of David Hunter Strother

Excerpt

This book treats the life and work of one of the most popular American writers of the mid-nineteenth century, David Hunter Strother ("Porte Crayon"), whose accomplishments as an artist, writer, soldier and diplomat comprise one of the most versatile careers in American history. From painting and illustration, Strother at the age of thirty-seven turned to writing; at forty-five he entered the Union army and rose to the rank of brigadier general; at sixty-three he was appointed consul general to Mexico. Like other Virginians before him, Strother had a wide range of interests which gave him access to American personalities as different as Washington Irving and Walt Whitman, Winfield Scott and Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln, and a host of others. As "Porte Crayon," he became one of the most widely read and highly paid writers in the United States. To the pages of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, he brought a talent that both molded and reflected the popular taste in literature from 1853 to 1879. His fifty-five articles in that magazine, all of them illustrated by his own woodcut drawings, are a link between the two traditions of literature in the South -- the genteel romanticism of the sentimental novelists and the earthy realism of the frontier humorists. As a soldier, Strother guided the first successful Union campaign in the Shenandoah Valley and thereby incurred the enmity of a generation of his fellow Virginians. But it was with his pen . . .

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