The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

VII. Fiction II.

§ 18. James Hall.

A more representative Western author was James Hall (1793–1868), 8  born in Philadelphia, went west in search of adventure, lived in Illinois and Ohio, edited an annual and a magazine, and served as interpreter between West and East much as Irving did between America and Europe. Hall’s manner, indeed, is like Irving’s in its leisurely, genial narrative, its abundant descriptions, and its affection for supernatural legends which could be handled smilingly. He had real powers of fidelity, the only merit he claimed, to the life he knew, but he had also a florid style and a vein of romantic sentiment which too seldom rings true. Legends of the West (1832), Tales of the Border (1834), and The Wilderness and the WarPath (1846) contain his best stories; he is perhaps better known, not quite justly, for such books as Sketches of History, Life and Manners, in the West (1835), wherein he published his wide knowledge of a section then becoming important in the national life. It is as traveller and observer, too, not as romancer, that Timothy Flint (1780–1840) has come to be remembered, though he essayed fiction as well as nearly every other type of authorship in the days when he and Hall divided the West between them as a province to be worked by their versatile pens.   20

Note 8. See also Book II, Chap. XX. [ back ]