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 later product. The work in that first collection containing The luck of Roaring camp he never surpassed, though over and over for years he repeated its characters and backgrounds in stories of California life. If he is to endure it will be on account of the title story, or Tennessee's partner, or The Outcasts of Poker flat. Like James, Harte was a conscious artist, a workman who had served a careful apprenticeship. His stories are models of condensation, his characters are as distinct and as striking as are those of Dickens, his climaxes are dramatic, and his closing effect is always impressively theatric. Sentiment he used with a free hand, but he kept it more within control than did the creator of Little Nell. Fiction with him, as with Poe, was a deliberate thing, to be written with the reader always in mind. His unit necessarily was short. He had no power to trace the growth of a soul or to record the steps of an evolution. His one attempt at a novel, Gabriel Conroy, was a failure. He could make a situation dramatic, he could make alive a climactic moment in a reckless career, but he was powerless to deal with the resultant effects from a complexity of motives and situations. What he added to the short story of his time, aside from the obvious local colour, was the dramatic element. His stories move, they culminate, they may be translated with little change into acting plays. Moreover, Harte was the first prominently to bring into the short story the element of paradox. It is the object of the theatrical always to move strongly the emotions, to keep interest taut by swift change and by unexpected turns. With Harte paradox became almost a mannerism. Everywhere anticlimax: in a desperado suddenly an outburst of Christlike self-sacrifice; from a mild youth with seraphic countenance a fiendish outburst; from a seeming clergyman, all in a moment, profanity. The weakness of Harte was his lack of sincerity and of moral background. Unlike Cable and Page, he stood apart from his material, cold and unmoved, and sought not the truth but effect upon the reader. Every one of his extreme characters may have had somewhere a counterpart, and every separate incident, no matter how startling, may actually have happened at some time during the mining era, but the assembling of all this mass of exceptions and of isolated extremes into
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