Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Views and Reviews in American Literature, History and Fiction >> Article II: The Epochs and Events of American History, as Suited to the Purposes of Art in Fiction >> Page 88

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 88

Reviews/Essays | Wiley and Putnam | 1845 - 1846
Transcription 98VIEWS AND REVIEWS.

no unfounded exaggerations. It would be easy for the romancer
even now the poet such poets as we already possess pursuing
the proper methods, devoting himself, soul and body, to his art,
and properly sustained by the sympathies, and encouraged by the
obvious wants of the people, to work such details into a
thousand exquisite and truthful fictions. He need not turn
his eyes for the
crude material to the obscure chronicles of foreign lands. That
which we possess, is not less susceptible of artistic elaboration;
nay, in many instances, it is not only quite as good as the exotic,
but rudely developed in the block, and ready to our hands. The
outline of the statue is already in the stone the image is half
starting from the shade, and the divine conception looks out from
its cloud, with eyes of sweetest soliciting, only waiting for the
endowing hands of art to become a living and a loving soul. The
studies yielded to the master of fiction by our moral progress,
are not less numerous than those which the painter may gather,
on every hand, from the matchless forest land through which he
wanders. He has but to follow a like direction to cut away the
under-growth to cast down the offensive and obtrusive object
to bring out into bolder relief such forms as merit to be made
particular--to be raised into superiority, and elevated by appro-
priate tributaries and the work is done as he could wish it.
The creation is here already in our possession ! it is the
clearing the clearing only which has need to follow.
WE have already dwelt so long upon the events of the previous
periods, that we shall be compelled to hurry somewhat rapidly
over those which remain. It will be conjectured, from what has
been already said of the characteristics of this epoch, that we re-
gard its materials, not only as decidedly superior, at present, to