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 soldier of the Civil War, editor of the San Francisco News letter in 1866, associate editor, with the younger Tom Hood, of London fun in 1872, author in London of the brilliant satirical fables Cobwebs from an empty Skull in 1874, then in California again as editor of The Argonaut and The Wasp, and finally a resident of Washington, D. C., he was one of the most cosmopolitan of American writers. It was not until 1891 that his Tales of soldiers and Civilians, later changed to In the midst of life, gave him a place with the short story writers, a very prominent place some critics would insist. Power undoubtedly he had, a certain scintillating brilliance, and a technique almost uncanny. His world was the world of Poe, timeless and placeless, ghastly often, chilling always and unnerving. At his best he was Poe returned after a half century equipped with the short story art of the new generation. Few have surpassed him in precision of diction, in reserve, in the use of subtle insinuation and of haunting climax. Some of his tales cling in one's soul like a memory of the morgue. His failure was his artificiality and his lack of sincerity and of truth to the facts of human life. Like Poe, he was a man of the intellect only, a craftsman of exquisite subtlety, an artist merely for the sake of his art. With the eighties the short story came in America fully to its own. Up to 1884 it had generally been regarded as a magazine form, a rather trivial thing as compared with the stately novel. Hawthorne had abandoned the form early with the implication that he had used it as a prentice exercise. Harte no sooner had gained recognition than he began on Gabriel Conroy. Henry James, though it must be noted that it was after his long English residence, while revising his work declared that he had felt a sense of relief when he abandoned the frail craft of the short story where he ever had felt in danger of running ashore. Scarcely one of the later group of short story writers but sooner or later sought permanence in what, though they might not have confessed it, seemed to them the more permanent and dignified form of fiction. Beginning in 1884, however, collections more and more began to dominate the output of fiction. Henry James in 1885 gathered up his scattered work of a decade and put it forth as Stories revived. Others followed him, until seven
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