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[372] almost three in every number. It was no longer fiction of the earlier type. A new demand had come to the short story writer; in the ‘Introductory’ to the first volume of Putnam's magazine the editor announced that American writers and American themes were to predominate, adding that ‘local reality is a point of utmost importance.’ In the first volume of the Atlantic, Emerson struck the new note: ‘How far off from life and manners and motives the novel still is. Life lies about us dumb’; and in the same volume a reviewer of George Eliot notes ‘the decline of the ideal hero and heroine.’ ‘The public is learning that men and women are better than heroes and heroines.’ By 1861 a writer like Rebecca Harding Davis could open her grim short story, Life in the Iron Mills, with a note like this;
I want you to hide your disgust, take no heed to your clean clothes, and come right down with me,—here into the thickest of the fog and mud and effluvia. I want you to hear this story. There is a secret down here, in this nightmare fog, that has lain dumb for centuries: I want to make it a real thing for you.

The fifties and sixties in America stand for the dawning of definiteness, of localized reality, of a feeling left on the reader of actuality and truth to human life.

The first significant figure of the transition was Rose Terry (1827-92), later better known as Rose Terry Cooke, who has the distinction of having contributed seven short stories to the first eight numbers of the Atlantic. Born in Connecticut—the heart of New England, a school teacher with experience in country districts, she wrote with knowledge and conviction of the area of life that she knew. In her long series of stories beginning in the forties with unlocalized romantic tales in Graham's and extending throughout the transition period into the seventies and eighties, and ending with a final collection as late as 1891, one may trace every phase of the American short story in half a century. Her early Atlantic narratives lean decidedly in the direction of the Young ladies' repository type of fiction, sentimental, leisurely, moralizing, and yet even in the poorest of them there is a sense of actuality that was new in American short fiction. They were not romances; they were homely fragments of New England rural

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