|About the Book|
The period from the American Revolution through the first decade of the nineteenth century was a time American literati spoke frequently and elegantly of founding a national literature, but could hear only the accustomed sounds of literary England. Hugh Henry Brackenridge, an immigrant Scotsman, was one of the most significant founders of the literature of the frontier. Immersed in both the classical tradition and in the rising democratic spirit at Princeton College, Brackenridge in his writing prefigured later literary modes, such as local color and realism. This evaluation concentrates on the literary events of his life, beginning with the youthful poem Rising Glory and continuing with the prose narratives and satires. Analyzing the works in terms of style, thought, and mood, the author relates Brackenridge to his time and shows how he stood prominently among those writers of the frontier who came to typify America in so many Eastern minds—European as well as American. This is a study in how a trained classicist carried a literary culture to the American West and how that environment tested and tempered it.