Mid-West Quarterly, The (1913-1918)


Date of this Version



Published in THE MID-WEST QUARTERLY 2:2 (January 1915), pp. 169-183. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons & the University of Nebraska.


Long before the vogue of Taine's theory of literary criticism made it incumbent on the critic to explain the characteristics of his author by race, milieu, and moment, many of his compatriots had already employed the method-in so far, at least, as the element of environment is concerned--in attempting to account for the peculiarities of American novelists. Each of these attempts, whether it was successful or not, gives us a glimpse of the author's conception of the American people. If we supplement the information obtained in this way with that contained in the direct affirmations which they have made concerning our national characteristics, we have sufficient data to enable us to determine what, in their estimation, our leading traits are.