Hamlin Garland's Early Work and Career

Hamlin Garland's Early Work and Career

Hamlin Garland's Early Work and Career

Hamlin Garland's Early Work and Career

Excerpt

Hamlin Garland lived a long and varied life and was a maker of many books. Born in Green's Coulee, Wisconsin, in 1860, he died in Los Angeles in 1940, after a literary career of fifty-six years and after publishing almost fifty volumes. His career can be readily divided into three phases: an initial period of reform activity and middle-border fiction (1884-1895); a middle period of popular Rocky Mountain romance (1896-1916); and a final phase of increasing conservatism and of family and literary autobiography (1917-1940). This study is restricted to Garland's early career, to the years 1884- 1895. It traces the sources of his philosophical, social, and aesthetic ideas during these years. It also examines his writing in relation to his ideas and in relation to literary achievement. Lastly, it discusses his friends, his literary and social milieu, his personal drives and needs--the matrix out of which his early career took shape, grew, and changed.

The plan of the study is a modified chronological progression. Each chapter, besides surveying a particular period, also emphasizes the phase of Garland's writing or activity most prominent in that period. Chapter ii, for example, not only summarizes Garland's activities of 1884-1887, but also deals fully with his most important work of those years--his development of a critical system. This method results in some chronological overlapping and some omission of material from chapters in whose chronological limits it could rightfully be included. It achieves, however, a chapter-by-chapter concentration on particular phases of Garland's work while maintaining a general chronological advance. Only in this way could Garland's diverse activities and writings be adequately discussed within a framework of his changing interests and ideals.

My study of Garland's early work and career relies heavily . . .

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