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[262] been noted in France and England, however, where different causes have been at work. No one can tell, in truth, what makes some plants in the literary garden wither at the same moment that others are outgrowing their borders.

There is one plant in our own garden, however, whose flourishing state will be denied by nobodynamely, that kind of nature-writing identified with Thoreau and practised by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Starr King, John Burroughs, John Muir, Clarence King, Bradford Torrey, Theodore Roosevelt, William J. Long, Thompson-Seton, Stewart Edward White, and many others. Their books represent, Professor Canby1 believes, the adventures of the American subconsciousness, the promptings of forgotten memories, a racial tradition of contact with the wilderness, and hence one of the most genuinely American traits of our literature.

Other forms of essay writing, surely, have seemed in our own generation less distinctive of our peculiar quality. While admirable biographical and critical studies appear from time to time, and here and there a whimsical or trenchant discursive essay like those of Miss Repplier or Dr.

1 “ Back to Nature,” by H. S. Canby, Yale review, July, 1917.

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