The Luck of Roaring Camp: And Other Tales

Open Road Media
4
Free sample

The defining stories from one of America’s great wits

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Wild West grabbed ahold of American consciousness and never let go. With the discovery of gold, all eyes and wagons turned westward.

This collection of stories brings readers back to the American frontier. In “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” when a Native American woman dies in childbirth, the miners take it upon themselves to raise the child. Naming the baby Luck, the miners learn more about responsibility and class through raising the boy than they have through anything else in their lives. Other stories in the collection include classic prospecting-set short stories such as “Tennessee’s Partner” and “The Outcasts of Poker Flat” and the short novels “Muck-a-Muck” and “Selina Sedilia.” In this timeless collection, Bret Harte has captured the California gold rush as no other writer could.

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About the author

Bret Harte (1836–1902) was an author and poet known for his romantic depictions of the American West and the California gold rush. Born in New York, Harte moved to California when he was seventeen and worked as a miner, messenger, and journalist. In 1868 he became editor of the Overland Monthly, a literary journal in which he published his most famous work, “The Luck of Roaring Camp.” In 1871 Harte returned east to further his writing career. He spent his later years as an American diplomat in Germany and Britain.
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3.5
4 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Dec 30, 2014
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Pages
80
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ISBN
9781504001649
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Fiction / Westerns
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The opportunity here offered [Footnote: By the appearance in England several years ago of an edition of the author's writings as then collected.] to give some account of the genesis of these Californian sketches, and the conditions under which they were conceived, is peculiarly tempting to an author who has been obliged to retain a decent professional reticence under a cloud of ingenious surmise, theory, and misinterpretation. He very gladly seizes this opportunity to establish the chronology of the sketches, and incidentally to show that what are considered the "happy accidents" of literature are very apt to be the results of quite logical and often prosaic processes.

The author's first volume was published in 1865 in a thin book of verse, containing, besides the titular poem, "The Lost Galleon," various patriotic contributions to the lyrics of the Civil War, then raging, and certain better known humorous pieces, which have been hitherto interspersed with his later poems in separate volumes, but are now restored to their former companionship. This was followed in 1867 by "The Condensed Novels," originally contributed to the "San Francisco Californian," a journal then edited by the author, and a number of local sketches entitled "Bohemian Papers," making a single not very plethoric volume, the author's first book of prose. But he deems it worthy of consideration that during this period, i.e. from 1862 to 1866, he produced "The Society upon the Stanislaus" and "The Story of M'liss,"—the first a dialectical poem, the second a Californian romance,—his first efforts toward indicating a peculiarly characteristic Western American literature. He would like to offer these facts as evidence of his very early, half-boyish but very enthusiastic belief in such a possibility,—a belief which never deserted him, and which, a few years later, from the better-known pages of "The Overland Monthly," he was able to demonstrate to a larger and more cosmopolitan audience in the story of "The Luck of Roaring Camp" and the poem of the "Heathen Chinee." But it was one of the anomalies of the very condition of life that he worked amidst, and endeavored to portray, that these first efforts were rewarded by very little success; and, as he will presently show, even "The Luck of Roaring Camp" depended for its recognition in California upon its success elsewhere. Hence the critical reader will observe that the bulk of these earlier efforts, as shown in the first two volumes, were marked by very little flavor of the soil, but were addressed to an audience half foreign in their sympathies, and still imbued with Eastern or New England habits and literary traditions. "Home" was still potent with these voluntary exiles in their moments of relaxation. Eastern magazines and current Eastern literature formed their literary recreation, and the sale of the better class of periodicals was singularly great. Nor was the taste confined to American literature. The illustrated and satirical English journals were as frequently seen in California as in Massachusetts; and the author records that he has experienced more difficulty in procuring a copy of "Punch" in an English provincial town than was his fortune at "Red Dog" or "One-Horse Gulch." An audience thus liberally equipped and familiar with the best modern writers was naturally critical and exacting, and no one appreciates more than he does the salutary effects of this severe discipline upon his earlier efforts.

 

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