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Chapter 8: local fiction

The writer can remember when people habitually spoke of the Waverley Novels as “the Scotch novels,” and now we all speak of the Scotch novels again. It is a refreshing bit of sanity, after various literary whims and extremes, to find a bit of wholesome local life, such as Ian Maclaren gives us, holding its own month after month in popularity at the book — stalls. There has been a curious analogy in the experience of Scottish and New England fiction. Both representing a rugged soil and a severely simple life, with a dialect supposed in both cases to be wholly unavailable for fiction, both have turned out to represent a nearly inexhaustible material-more available, in each case, the more it was worked. This is probably the case with any soil, at least any which is tolerably homogeneous and simple. The deeper you dig, the more you find.

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