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David Harum A Story of American Life   By: (1847-1898)

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David Harum: A Story of American Life by Edward Noyes Westcott is a timeless piece of literature that delves into the complexities of human nature and paints a vivid portrait of small-town life in America. Set in a quaint town in upstate New York during the late 19th century, the novel explores themes of friendship, love, and the pursuit of happiness against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society.

The protagonist, David Harum, is a fascinating character who embodies the spirit of the American dream. He is a shrewd businessman with a deep sense of integrity, often epitomized by his now-famous quote, "Do unto the other fella as he would do unto you, only do it fust!" Harum's unorthodox methods of dealing with people and situations often leave a lasting impression on readers.

The book skillfully weaves together various storylines, including Harum's encounters with his niece, his attempts at matchmaking, and his involvement in financial matters. Through these experiences, Westcott highlights the complexities of human relationships and the challenges that individuals face when their values clash with the changing socio-economic landscape.

One of the most significant strengths of David Harum is Westcott's ability to portray the authentic atmosphere of small-town America. The vivid descriptions of the town's streets, businesses, and community events transport the reader back in time, immersing them in an era where horse-drawn carriages and simple pleasures reigned supreme. Through this meticulous attention to detail, Westcott creates a nostalgic ambiance that resonates with readers, regardless of their own cultural background or time period.

Furthermore, the author's writing style is both engaging and witty, ensuring that readers remain captivated throughout. Westcott's clever use of dialogue and colloquial language adds an authentic touch to the narrative, making it all the more relatable and enjoyable. The book is peppered with memorable quotes and pithy observations that offer insights into human behavior and the intricacies of life itself.

Although published more than a century ago, David Harum remains relevant and thought-provoking even in the present day. Its exploration of timeless themes and universal human experiences makes it a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the human condition.

In conclusion, David Harum: A Story of American Life is a beautifully crafted novel that offers a glimpse into a bygone era. Edward Noyes Westcott's vivid storytelling, memorable characters, and richly detailed depiction of small-town America combine to create a literary gem that continues to resonate with readers of all generations.

First Page:


A Story of American Life



New York D. Appleton and Company 1899 Copyright, 1898, By D. Appleton and Company.


The's as much human nature in some folks as th' is in others, if not more. DAVID HARUM.

One of the most conspicuous characteristics of our contemporary native fiction is an increasing tendency to subordinate plot or story to the bold and realistic portrayal of some of the types of American life and manners. And the reason for this is not far to seek. The extraordinary mixing of races which has been going on here for more than a century has produced an enormously diversified human result; and the products of this "hybridization" have been still further differentiated by an environment that ranges from the Everglades of Florida to the glaciers of Alaska. The existence of these conditions, and the great literary opportunities which they contain, American writers long ago perceived; and, with a generally true appreciation of artistic values, they have created from them a gallery of brilliant genre pictures which to day stand for the highest we have yet attained in the art of fiction.

Thus it is that we have (to mention but a few) studies of Louisiana and her people by Mr. Cable; of Virginia and Georgia by Thomas Nelson Page and Joel Chandler Harris; of New England by Miss Jewett and Miss Wilkins; of the Middle West by Miss French (Octave Thanet); of the great Northwest by Hamlin Garland; of Canada and the land of the habitans by Gilbert Parker; and finally, though really first in point of time, the Forty niners and their successors by Bret Harte... Continue reading book >>

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