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ERIC Number: ED021827
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1967
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Changing Conceptions of the Pioneer in the Contemporary American Novel.
Karolides, Nicholas J.
Wisconsin Studies in Literature, n4 p30-8 1967
Beginning with Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales," the frontier has been a significant aspect of the American literary consciousness and has contributed to the popular folk traditions of the self-made man, of individual opportunity, and of progress through perserverence and hard work. In the first two decades of this century, the frontier novels tended to be sentimental romances in which the wilderness hero--genteel, aristocratically mannered, frequently southern, courageous, and resourceful--overcomes dangers to reestablish his honor and fortune, then returns to society with none of his initial nobility impaired. In the 1920's the frontier novel moved from romance to realism, from the glories of the wilderness to the ordinary events of life on the edge of settlement. The aristocratic hero gave way to the common man as hero--humble of origin and, generally, a farmer who has come to the frontier to transform the wilderness and create settlements. Later shifts in emphasis in the 1930's and 1940's show (1) attention to the value of hard work, self-help, and simple living, and (2) a movement from concern with individual freedom of action to emphasis on human dignity, justice, and peace, particularly with respect to the Indian. (DL)
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