Letters from an American Farmer

 
9781502942050: Letters from an American Farmer

"[...]life in America wrought quite traceable effects upon the imaginations of Campbell, Byron, Southey, Coleridge, and furnished not a few materials for such captivating and airy schemes of literary colonisation in America as that of 'Pantisocracy.'" Hazlitt praised the book to his friends and, as we have seen, commended it to readers of the Edinburgh Review. Lamb mentions it in one of his letters—which is already some distinction. Yet when was a book more completely lost to popular view—even among the books that have deserved oblivion? The Letters were published, all the same, at Belfast and Dublin and Philadelphia, as well as at London; they were recast in French by the author, translated into German and Dutch by pirating penny-a-liners, and given a "sequel" by a publisher at Paris. [Footnote: Ouvrage pour servir de suite aux Lettres d'un cultivateur Americain, Paris, 1785. The work so offered seems to have been a translation of John Filson's History of Kentucky (Wilmington, Del., 1784).] The American Fanner made his first public appearance eleven years before Chateaubriand found a publisher for his Essai sur les Revolutions, wherein the great innovator first used the American materials that he worked over more effectively in his travels, tales, and memoirs. In Saint-John de Crevecoeur, we have a contemporary—a correspondent, even—of Franklin; but if our author shared[...]".

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