piece together, from no other sources than Mr. Howells
's writings, an unrivaled picture of our book-making during more than sixty years. All that the present historian can attempt is to sketch with bungling fingers a few men and a few tendencies which seem to characterize the age.
One result of the Civil War
was picturesquely set forth in Emerson
The War had unrolled a map of the Union
, he said, and hung it in every man's house.
There was a universal shifting of attention, if not always from the province or section to the image of the nation itself, at least a shift of focus from one section to another.
The clash of arms had meant many other things besides the triumph of Union and the freedom of the slaves.
It had brought men from every state into rude jostling contact with one another and had developed a new social and human curiosity.
It may serve as another illustration of Professor Shaler
's law of tension and release.
The one overshadowing issue which had absorbed so much thought and imagination and energy had suddenly disappeared.
Other shadows were to gather, of course.
Reconstruction of the South
was one of them, and the vast economic and industrial changes that followed the opening of the New West were to