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W. C. Brownell’s book (1909) is the best assessment by a conservative critic of a group of American writers—Cooper, Hawthorne, Emerson, Poe, Lowell, and Henry James—to whom the author devoted the same serious attention he had given major English writers in Victorian Prose Masters. This approach, as well as Brownell’s interest in style, his cogent evaluation of Cooper, and his radical estimate of Poe, were notable in 1909 and are stimulating today. Brownell (1851–1928) spent most of his professional career as literary adviser to Charles Scribner’s Sons.