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The First American Novelist.

The following opinion on American novelists, expressed by R. L. Stevenson, is from the New York Times:-

"Henry James is such a powerful writer that I take great delight in reading his works. He has given up his pottering of years past and has become more finished, light, but yet powerful. Time was when I thought Howells was in the lead, but I think James has beaten him altogether. Howells has made a formula and swallowed it, and it has stuck to him. James looks at the world instead of a swinging black ball of geometrical proportions. Still, I think Howells will change his ideas. He seems too clever a man to stick to them. The recent discoveries regarding the Russian school of novelists has set England to noting them very widely. I am very much taken up with them. Tolstoi is extraordinary; he is wonderful; but I think the old man has actually gone daft, for it is in credible that any one could hold such paradoxes of opinion. But his literary excellence is wonderfully artistic. 'Peace and War' I enjoy the best of those of his works that I have read."

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