HARTE, Bret (1836-1902)
The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches
Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co., 1870. Octavo. (7 1/16 x 4 1/2 inches). iv, , 256pp.
Green cloth, brown endpapers, blind stamped, gilt lettering, spine worn.
First edition, second issue with the inclusion of "Brown of Calaveras." A landmark of California literature.
Francis Bret Harte was an American short story writer and poet, best remembered for his short fiction featuring miners, gamblers, and other romantic figures of the California Gold Rush, though he died in Europe. The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches is a collection of short stories and essays. The short story it is named after tells about the life of a baby boy born in a 19th-century gold prospecting camp. When the boy's mother dies in childbirth, the men of Roaring Camp must raise the boy as their own, which brings them new responsibilities and changed attitudes. It was the first of Harte's stories to gain national attention. This compilation was published at around the same time as Harte's poem "The Heathen Chinee," resulting in Harte's popularity to doubly increase in a short amount of time. Subsequently, the publisher, James Thomas Fields, offered Harte a $10,000 exclusive contract to contribute to The Atlantic Monthly. However, only a couple of years later, Harte's popularity had severely declined, and he was left to be a struggling writer for the remainder of his life.
BAL 7247; Zamorano Eighty 40; Grolier American Hundred 76.