The thirst for works of the imagination is as strong and universal at the present time as at any former period; and we trust that of the floods which annually pour in upon the reading world, there are some fountains at which the soul may drink and feel itself refreshed and invigorated.
--The Western Monthly Magazine, 1833
Perhaps it was in part the note of confidence sounded in this opening statement of Isaac Appleton Jewett's "Themes for Western Fiction" that won him, in December 1833, the first annual prize for the best essay to appear in the pages of The Western Monthly Magazine. 1 Addressed to the writers of America, Jewett's essay made an impassioned plea for a new and distinctly national literature which would draw its subject matter from the rich artistic resources offered by the wilderness West. Citing the wealth of material available to writers in the landscape, characters,