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Boyesen and the Norwegian Immigration
    by Clarence A. Glasrud (Volume I9: Page 15)

The career of Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, “the first writer of Norwegian birth or blood to use the English language in the successful cultivation of literary art” has been subject to general misunderstanding for a number of reasons. {1} The most important misconception involves Boyesen’s writings about Norwegian immigration to the United States. Many of his stories fall into this category, and since Boyesen him self was a Norwegian immigrant, critics have assumed that he was well qualified to write on the subject. But Boyesen was not a part of the main stream of Norwegian immigration to the western states, and a study of his literary output will show that his serious interests were in other fields.

Boyesen was twenty-one when he came to the United States as a graduate of the Royal Fredrik University in Christiania. When he died at forty-seven he had published twenty-four books, all in English; his uncollected magazine material would fill another twenty-four volumes. For more than twenty years he was a professor of Germanic literature at Cornell and Columbia universities. His popular reputation, a very considerable one from 1875 to 1895, has long since ceased to exist, but Boyesen has not been entirely for gotten. Histories of American literature give him scant mention and reveal a surprising ignorance of his work and its significance. He generally fares better at the hands of historians of intellectual and cultural movements, who still re member his courageous fight for realistic fiction dealing with important aspects of American life, and his strictures against the “Iron Madonna,” the young girl magazine reader whose taste for romantic claptrap prevented American novelists [16] from writing about serious matters, or from selling their fiction if they did. {2} One further aspect of Boyesen’s career has been generally overlooked: he was an important liaison man between European and American literature.

The disposition to rate Boyesen an important writer on Norwegian immigration is a pitfall besetting those who know something about his work and career, but not enough, or those who are not well acquainted with the nature of Scandinavian immigration to the United States. One example will suffice:

Boyesen’s life and work spanned the entire late period of the Scandinavian migration. He began his literary career in America with two poems . . . which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly for 1872. His influence ended with stories and articles published the year of his death, 1895. Between these two dates, 1872 and 1895, the Scandinavians came to this country in the thousands. Boyesen observed them, was himself a part of their migration and wrote about their problems with the authenticity of a careful historian. {3}

Hjalmar Boyesen was only technically “a part of their migration”: he became an American because he was convinced that he could live by his pen only by writing in a major language like English. {4} His own career, activities, and interests were so far removed from his fellow immigrants that he “observed them” only sporadically and superficially. The statement that he “wrote about their problems with the authenticity of a careful historian” is so far from the truth that it scarcely needs refutation. He had neither the intention nor the experience to play such a role.

Boyesen did, of course, make some interesting observations about Norwegian immigration in his numerous stories and articles. These observations must be considered in the proper [17] perspective: writings of his that bear on immigration must be judged in the light of his whole career. It seems significant that Boyesen’s fictional Norwegian immigrants fall into two categories: his heroes, genteel graduates of the university who migrate for capricious or romantic reasons; and his working-class people who migrate because of economic pressure and are treated humorously, satirically, or contemptuously. His early fiction is romantic and sentimental, both in the situations portrayed and in the conception of character. It seems unlikely that the author considered them serious studies of Norwegian migration. As his fiction became more realistic, his strong prejudices made his stories seem more purposeful, though they do not strike one as authentic. Late in his career Boyesen was producing his most careful and effective novels on vital American themes, but there is no serious fiction on Norwegian Americans from this period. Finally, during his last decade he wrote some critical articles about immigration; although these are serious and considered efforts, they reveal more about Boyesen’s growing pessimism, which was caused both by his personal difficulties and by his new social and political outlook, than they do about the Scandinavian immigration.

Boyesen’s first and most successful novel, Gunnar, has only the most tenuous connection with Norwegian immigration. America is not mentioned in this romantic novel. Boyesen, a homesick young expatriate, looked back nostalgically to his native land and wrote a peasant idyll, probably suggested by Bjørnson’s Arne. The success of the book kept its author in America. He optimistically predicted that it would have a large sale among Norwegian Americans in the West, but his letters to Rasmus B. Anderson suggest that this hope was not fulfilled, and place the blame for it on the lack of publicity in the Scandinavian-American press. {5} [18]

The second novel, A Norseman’s Pilgrimage, is autobiographical. Like Boyesen, the hero, Olaf Varberg, is a Norwegian immigrant who publishes a novel after spending five years in America. In this book Boyesen seems to be weighing the merits of romanticism and Europe against realism and America. When he went back to Norway and Germany in 1873 he may have taken a last longing look at Europe. Olaf Varberg’s state of mind is certainly that of the Boyesen who wrote the idyllic Gunnar; Ruth Copley, the American heroine, represents the beckoning world of America, with its realistic, materialistic, cold-blooded attitude and its eyes toward the future.

Some passages in this novel reflect the reception tendered Boyesen in American literary-social circles. The hero thought of himself as an American, but native-born Americans were not always so ready to concede that point:

Most people at first did not know what to make of him, but were kind to him, because they found him entertaining and liked to exhibit him as a curiosity. The fault, however, was his no less than theirs. He made no effort to throw off or even to step out of his narrow national shell, and they did not meet him half-way and thereby make the approach easier. {6}

Boyesen was a very young man when he wrote his first two novels; though he wrote in English, he was a transplanted, nostalgic Norwegian when he wrote Gunnar and still an uncertain expatriate in A Norseman’s Pilgrimage. As he continued to live in America, however, and his memories of Norway dimmed, his subjects became more and more American. At first they dealt mainly with Norwegian immigrants, but only because the author in seeking grist for his mill used what material he had at hand, and not because he was seriously setting out to chronicle the Norwegian-American immigration in fiction. The Norwegian immigrant [19] is an image of Boyesen, at least in his early fiction: a sensitive collegian who succeeds in America, gaining acceptance in eastern literary and social circles, partly because he is an educated and talented person, partly because he is considered an attractive novelty. Boyesen wasn’t writing about Norwegian immigration: he was writing his own story in a series of romantic variations.

He had published seven short stories by 1876 and in that year six of them were collected in his third book, Tales from Two Hemispheres. It seems significant that only the last of the seven stories has an American setting; although three others mention people who migrate to America, the American episodes are summarized and the action is concentrated in Norway. Three tales are entirely Norwegian in setting. The Atlantic Monthly, in a review of A Norseman’s Pilgrim age, noted that “Mr. Boyesen is as yet more harmonious in his pictures of Norway than in others.” The young author was being pulled in two directions. Always keenly aware of the popular reaction to his work because he counted on the income it brought, he was reluctant to abandon descriptive scenes of Norway and the portrayal of Norwegian character which he felt he could do well. But because he had accepted the creed of realism practiced by his literary mentors, William Dean Howells and Ivan Turgenev, Boyesen was eager to record the contemporary American scene that he was observing critically. He learned as early as 1877 that to do so was to call forth attacks from both amateur and professional critics: they charged that he did not know America well enough to write about it intelligently and that he was an ingrate to find fault with his adopted land. Nevertheless, Boyesen did turn more and more from Norwegian to American themes as his career developed. The deciding factor was probably a practical one: after 1873 he did not visit Norway again until 1891, and the American scene became more vivid to him than the Norwegian.{7} [20]

Many of Boyesen’s immigrant tales follow the general pattern of his first short story, “The Norse Emigrant.” A young man goes to America, makes a fortune (the circumstances are hazy, but both hard work and providential happenings are involved), comes back to Norway for reconciliation and justification, and finally announces that he must return to the land of the future. But “The Norse Emigrant” is really the story of old Aslak Lian, who was left in Norway to mourn for his emigrant son:

Every spring, when the mild winds from the Gulf Stream come gamboling with spring-like sport in through the narrow fjords and gloomy valleys of Norway, with swelling rivers and sprouting bushes everywhere following in their track, then people might look in vain for Aslak, for he was nowhere to be found; and there was not the man living who could say where he had gone. The saying was that he fled the fever; for that breeze from the Gulf is laden with fever-not small-pox or yellow fever in deed, but a fever which, sweeping through the scantily populated valleys of Norway, leaves a sadder desolation behind it than ever marked the footsteps of any earthly epidemic-the America fever. And, forsooth, Aslak Lian had reason to dread the America fever; the only son he ever had that fever had carried off. {8}

In spite of Boyesen’s having been Americanized and of his realistic theories, his stories continued for some years to emphasize Norway instead of America - the old people who remained rather than the young men who migrated. These immigrant tales reveal an interesting dichotomy. In conformity with the author’s own actions and opinions, the young man who migrates is shown to be in the right. In the closing scene he must turn his face toward the New World. But, after making this clear deposition in favor of youth, progress, and America, Boyesen feels free to engage the reader’s sympathies on behalf of the old people who are left to mourn, and to focus his story on picturesque, romantic Norway. This seems to suggest that Boyesen had a natural affinity for the sentimental and romantic aspects of a story, whatever his literary or social convictions might have been. [21]

“The Story of an Outcast,” first of the Tales from Two Hemispheres to appear in print, reinforces this conclusion. The story begins with the Norwegian father rather than with the outcast who fled to America. Bjarne Blakstad, like Aslak Lian, clung to the past, “wore his hair long, as his fathers had done, and dressed in the styles of two centuries ago. . . . He loved everything that was old, in dress as well as in manners, took no newspapers and regarded railroads and steamboats as inventions of the devil.” Boyesen knew that the old picturesque rural life in Norway was threatened and perhaps doomed by the “America fever,” modern inventions, and new social and political ideas. Bjarne’s spirited daughter is disowned by her father and makes her way to America. The episodes in America are quickly disposed of:

Why should I speak of the ceaseless care, the suffering, and the hard toil, which made the first few months of Brita’s life on this continent a mere continued struggle for existence: they are familiar to every emigrant who has come here with a brave heart and an empty purse. Suffice it to say that at the end of the second month, she succeeded in obtaining service as milk maid with a family in the neighborhood of New York. {9}

By far the most significant story in Tales from Two Hemispheres is “The Man Who Lost His Name,” the favorite of author and critics alike. As usual, a summary of the plot reveals the worst aspects of Boyesen’s story. Halfdan Bjerk is an aesthetic dilettante whose admiration for the ancient Greek republics leads to a corresponding enthusiasm for the United States. In New York City, however, he is robbed, arrested for vagrancy, and reduced to a state of helplessness and hopelessness: “The Grand Republic, what did it care for such as he? A pair of brawny arms fit to wield the pick-axe and to steer the plow it received with an eager welcome; for a child-like, loving heart and a generously fantastic brain, it had but the stern greeting of the law.” {10}

Bjerk is rescued by a plebeian countryman, becomes a [22] music teacher (he translates his name to “Daniel Birch”), falls in love with a dazzling heiress, and, after his suit is scornfully rejected, freezes to death on her doorstep, dreaming that she has relented.

Despite the absurd plot, many parts of “The Man Who Lost His Name” reflect Boyesen’s own experience in becoming Americanized. The sensitive young Norwegian-American professor who chose to move in upper literary and social circles must have suffered rebuffs. Some such experiences are recorded in a scene from this short story. The heroine tells her Norwegian music master that she and her friends are very grateful for his help in a Fourth of July song fest:

“Grateful? Why?” demanded Halfdan, looking quite unhappy.

“For singing our national songs, of course. Now, won’t you sing one of your own, please? We should all be so delighted to hear how a Swedish - or Norwegian, is it? - national song sounds.”

“Yes, Mr. Birch, do sing a Swedish song,” echoed several voices.

They, of course, did not even remotely suspect their own cruelty. He had, in his enthusiasm for the day allowed himself to forget that he was not made of the same clay as they were, that he was an exile and a stranger, and must ever remain so, that he had no right to share their joy in the blessing of liberty. Edith had taken pains to dispel the happy illusion, and had sent him once more whirling toward his cold native Pole. {11}

“The Man Who Lost His Name” also points the way to Boyesen’s later realistic novels. The hero of an earlier story, “A Good-for-Nothing,” was impressed by the “high-minded and refined women” of American society. Halfdan Bjerk, however, came too close to one of these bright stars, and his own pale light was snuffed out. Although Boyesen’s attitude toward American girls changed from admiration to criticism and finally to condemnation, the subject never lost its fascination. His later realistic novels invariably dealt with fashionable New York society and its brilliant but heartless young women. With this final story of the Tales from Two [23] Hemispheres collection Boyesen made the transition from Norway to America. {12}

In his “prelude” to Falconberg, his third novel, Boyesen invokes the memories of Leif Erikson and Thorfinn Karlsefne and announces that he will deal with their latter-day prototypes, now thronging to Vinland by way of Castle Garden. As the novelist watches the Norwegian immigrants disembark, he singles out a particular “sad-faced traveler” whose story he will record. {13} This young man is Einar Finnson Falconberg, who finds his way to the pioneer town of Hardanger, Minnesota. There he redeems his damaged reputation, defeats the Lutheran clergyman who opposes the Americanization of the Norwegian immigrants, and marries the most beautiful girl in the settlement.

The public’s reaction to Falconberg varied greatly. The Scribner’s Monthly reviewer was favorably impressed by the book’s Americanization propaganda, “The contact of slow conservative farmers from Scandinavia with the bustle and stir of Anglo-Saxondom in its American phase cannot fail to offer picturesque situations and these Mr. Boyesen has liberally used.” Boyesen himself seemed pleased with the outcry he must have been expecting from Norwegians on both sides of the Atlantic. In a letter to George Washington Cable dated August 7, 1879, he said: “Falconberg’ is also having a prosperous career & is making a sensation in Norway where it is being attacked on all sides. The alleged anti-clerical tendency of the book is naturally looked upon with disfavor among the eminently respectable & conservative Norsemen.” In the Scandinavian West the book was still being attacked more than a year later, when Boyesen finally replied to his critics. He contended that some of the leaders of the [24] Norwegian Lutheran Synod were more ridiculous and arbitrary than his caricature of a clergyman in Falconberg. {14}

In his own accounts of his first years in America, Boyesen stressed his role as a crusading editor of Fremad, a Chicago weekly: by defending the public-school system he antagonized Norwegian church leaders who were trying to establish parochial schools. He was convinced that these clergymen, sent to the United States by the Norwegian Lutheran Church, were seriously impeding the Americanization of the Norwegian immigrants; but even this bias scarcely justifies his characterization of Marcus Falconberg, the hero’s uncle, who attempted to keep a strong hold on his flock in the Hardanger settlement. Marcus Falconberg is the blackest villain Boyesen ever introduced into his fiction. {15}

The religious and political matter in Falconberg has drawn attention away from the novel Boyesen really wrote: the romantic story of Einar Finnson Falconberg, “an alpine flower among men,” who was forced to flee from Norway to Minnesota because of a youthful indiscretion. The political and religious questions are introduced unconvincingly and settled indecisively because they are subservient to the success story of a typical Boyesen hero. This university man with the delicate hands and classic profile becomes a recognized leader in the Norwegian colony chiefly because he is made of finer metal than the common herd. The best of the sturdy young pioneers of Hardanger prove their worth by becoming his loyal followers. Einar’s downfall stems from the discovery of his disgrace in Norway, not from any failure or weakness he has displayed in America. Coincidence is [25] added to accident when the villainous pastor learns that Einar Finnson is really his nephew, Einar Falconberg. Einar’s moral triumph is confirmed by his willingness to remain in Hardanger and face his past. The chief token of his success is his marriage to Helga Raven, the most desirable girl in town, whose ideal husband “must have a strong will, to which everything and everybody instinctively yield, and a lofty purpose.” {16}

The theme of Falconberg has led some critics to call the novel Boyesen’s first important step toward realism. {17} Since Boyesen was an immigrant author, this story about Norwegian pioneers in Minnesota was the kind of novel the critics thought Boyesen should write. The plot sounded promising too: a struggle for authority between secular and religious leaders, and a heated political race between Republicans and Democrats. Although Falconberg includes these ingredients, the religious and political issues are obscured by melodramatic but meaningless events; and the novel, instead of dealing with the real social and economic problems of such pioneer settlements, degenerates into a struggle between a good man and a bad one. The explanation is simple enough: Boyesen wrote the kind of novel he was able to write, and that was not a realistic story of pioneering in Minnesota. He created a genteel hero in his own image and he invented a villain whom he invested with the qualities he hated most. For the rest of the ingredients of Falconberg he was dependent, not on the close observation of life recommended by Turgenev, but on what he remembered of his visits to the western settlements nearly ten years before, and on second hand information.

Several years after the publication of this novel, in a pair of articles on Norwegian writers who were visiting the United States, Boyesen renewed his feud with the Norwegian Lutheran clergy. Falconberg was still a bone of contention in the [26] West, and on February 15, 1881, Boyesen wrote a letter to Budstikken, a Norwegian-language weekly published in Minneapolis, admitting that he had deliberately attacked the Norwegian church in this book. His defense was that the actual facts were worse than his fiction. In “Bjørnson in the United States,” a letter to the editor of the Critic (March 12, 1881), Boyesen was able to get in some more blows at the western pastors. Bjørnson had arrived in the United States in the fall of 1880, and was entertained by the Boyesens in New York City. When Boyesen wrote his article, the Norwegian author-reformer was completing a stormy tour of the Scandinavian West, where a hostile reception had been prepared for him. “The clergy, as usual the representatives of obscurantism and bigotry, began a fierce and determined warfare upon him the moment his arrival was announced: but they have so far accomplished nothing, except to stimulate the universal curiosity to hear him.” Boyesen was torn between indignation at the intolerance of the Lutheran Church and exultation over Bjørnson’s fearless speeches:

The Scandinavian press in the West is discussing with great vehemence and animation the questions and problems which he has broached in his lectures, and there are, amid much bigotry and foolishness, frequently a vigor and sincerity in these discussions which are the direct reflections of Bjørnson’s sincere and vigorous speech. It is evident that even though he has often been misunderstood, he has roused to thought the great priest-ridden masses in the Scandinavian West, and for years to come his mighty voice will be reverberating in their memories. {18}

The following year Boyesen hailed the coming of another Norwegian liberal writer who would help to alleviate the intellectual stagnation and spiritual servitude of the western Scandinavians. In a second letter to the Critic (January 14, 18892) he announced that Kristofer Janson would become a Unitarian clergyman in Minneapolis. But he made it clear that in making this move Janson had no intention of [27] abandoning his lifework - awakening and educating the Norwegian peasant:

He wishes merely to transfer his labors to a new field, working in the same spirit as before among his Scandinavian country men in the Northwest. These number, at present, about 600,000; and they are sorely in need of the liberalizing influence of just such a man as Mr. Janson, having been too long shut off from intellectual contact with the Nineteenth century by their “evangelical” Norse Lutheran Synod. It speaks very poorly, in fact, for the culture and the intellectual status of the Norwegians that they have allowed themselves to be ruled so long by a corporation which would find its proper place in a museum of antiquarian remains. It is the soul-paralyzing tyranny of this body of clergymen that Janson is endeavoring to break, apparently with encouraging success. He is an eloquent and forcible speaker, and has a great future before him in the field which he has chosen. {19}

Despite these flareups, Boyesen remained generally in different to his fellow Scandinavian Americans. Since his brothers were practicing law in the West, Alf in St. Paul and Ingolf in Chicago, he must have had some contact with these people, but it was very slight. {20} No native-born American could have spoken more condescendingly of the “priest-ridden masses” than Boyesen did. He was willing to write about his fellow immigrants, if American magazines desired such stories or articles, but he never wrote as one of them. As a Columbia professor and a New York literary man he was far removed in spirit and sympathy from the western Scandinavian Americans, a fact that both he and they fully appreciated.

The three “immigrant stories” in Boyesen’s second short-story collection, Ilka on the Hill-top, are worth mentioning only because they show how untypical his immigrants are. “Under the Glacier” is the story of a scientifically trained Norwegian American who saves his Norwegian relatives when the glacier sweeps their ancestral farm into the fjord. [28] “How Mr. Storm Met His Destiny” tells of a Norwegian-American misanthrope who finally marries his widowed childhood sweetheart after her baby daughter has softened his heart. “A Knight of Dannebrog” describes the declining career in America of Victor Julien St. Dennis Dannevig, who won his Danish decoration in the war with Prussia. This profligate artistocrat is very scornful of America’s “detest able democratic cookery” and “all-pervading plebeian odor of republicanism,” but he dies in a Chicago barroom brawl. The ending is reminiscent of Bret Harte, “Myself and two policemen followed him to the grave; and the cross of Dannebrog, with a much soiled red ribbon, was carried on a velvet cushion after his coffin.” {21}

Queen Titania includes the title story (a novelette) and two short stories. Although the novelette is romantic and sentimental in plot and characterization, its setting is fashionable New York society, the same as that of the realistic novels Boyesen was to write ten years later. Only the characterization of the hero is of interest here: Quintus Bodill, a handsome and scholarly Norwegian immigrant, begins his career in America as an obscure clerk in the wholesale department of a New York publishing firm; he rises rapidly after he points out evidence of “ignorance or very careless editing” in a new edition of Demosthenes.

The story includes an illustration of Boyesen’s attitude toward the Norwegian peasant immigrant. When Quintus lands in New York penniless, he seeks out Syvert Hanson, his father’s former groom:

This Hanson had been one of Quintus’s boyish admirations, on account of a rare and manly accomplishment he possessed of spitting through his teeth without the slightest movement of the lips. He had, however, vanished long ago from his friend’s horizon; but reports of his extraordinary prosperity had, from time to time, reached the family through Hanson’s relatives, who took pains to convey the impression that Syvert was now as big a man as Colonel Bodil himself, and perhaps a little bigger. Quintus, who had been accustomed to hear marvelous tales of America, [29] and had a vague impression that the common logic of human life was not applicable to republics, would, therefore, hardly have been surprised if he had been informed that Hanson was about to take up his residence in the White House. As it was, he counted mightily on the ex-groom’s influence, and fully expected to be introduced by him into the best society of the city.

Quintus discovers that “Mr. Hanson was not a member of the cabinet at Washington, nor even mayor of New York, but a box maker for the great publishing firm of J. C. Dimpleton & Co. in the city.” Although Hanson had not altered outwardly, there was an important change in his spirit.

One conspicuous change, however, seemed to have taken place in Hanson since his transplanting into American soil - he had learned to think. His vocabulary, though neither choice nor abundant, was certainly energetic and expressive, and indicated that his thought, which formerly had rarely risen above the sphere of the stable, had gained a much wider range. He had, especially, very definite opinions on politics, and expressed with much confidence what he would have done in a certain recent emergency, in case he had been President, until Quintus, who in his Norse simplicity was quite impressed by such magnificent talk, began to wonder whether the President might not have a personal grudge against Hanson, since he so persistently neglected to consult him. {22}

Boyesen told an interviewer in 1889 that Turgenev was directly responsible for the third story in the Queen Titania volume, “I wrote a short story called ‘A Dangerous Virtue,’ which was intended to be real rather than romantic, and sure enough it won his praise.” {23} It is useless to ask again why Boyesen waited so long to write this realistic story, but it is revealing to see how it differs from the other tales. Turgenev had advised his young friend to write what he knew best. The parallels that can be traced between many of Boyesen’s stories and his personal experiences indicate that he had tried to do this before, but his sentimentality always led him into romantic endings.

“A Dangerous Virtue” opens with a scene Boyesen had observed in Norway: a group of immigrant boats ready to [30] take their cargoes to the steamer waiting in the middle of the fjord. Anders Gudmundson Rustad is a fine-looking young man, but, being a peasant, he is not so delicate as Boyesen’s genteel heroes. He even appears slightly obstinate. His reason for emigrating is one Boyesen had heard about during a walking tour in Norway: as the youngest son, Anders goes to America with $1,500, to avoid lessening the family prestige by claiming his share of the farm, an action that would have involved parceling it into mere subsistence plots. {24}

Boyesen dwells at length on Anders Rustad’s response to New York. The bewilderment of the simple and straight forward peasant becomes almost a nightmare when he loses his money overnight in a bank failure. In his despair he remembers his Norwegian pastor’s promise that God will right all wrongs in the hereafter, but his old faith fails to comfort him. The Norwegian consul listens sympathetically to his story, but the peasant’s primitive sense of justice shocks him into a protest:

“Have we not all daily to accept compromises where, for some reason or other, it is impossible to obtain absolute justice: In fact, isn’t our whole political life and our whole civilized society made up of compromises between right and wrong? Prudence dictates it; religion recommends and sanctions it. You know the parable of the unjust steward, and Christ’s counsel to his disciples to make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness.”

A few years later Boyesen was to attack the rule of mammon in America in his realistic novels, but these full-scale efforts do not match the impact of “A Dangerous Virtue.” Anders Rustad invades a testimonial banquet given for the president of the defaulting bank and hears a guest say, “Really I can’t see why the laboring classes should be so horrid and discontented. . . . They have not our fine sensibilities . . . .why, then should they not accept their lot in a Christian spirit of submission?” When the bank president rises to acknowledge the tributes paid him and offers the opinion that the recent misfortunes “have been the chastening discipline of a just [31] Providence,” Anders Rustad springs for his throat. The banker refuses to press charges against him, but Rustad won’t be placated. Refusing the ten per cent settlement paid to the bank’s depositors, he attacks again. This time the banker is killed in the scuffle. Anders reads his own prepared speech at his trial, but his imperfect English turns it into a farce. The court finds him insane. When his wife comes to seek him in the Tombs, she refuses to believe that the haggard man with the terrible eyes is her husband. When the man dies, the attending physician can give no explanation of his fatal ill ness; but the Norwegian consul tells the doctor what caused the tragedy: “It was the over-development of a virtue. His sense of justice killed him.” {25}

Five of the seven short narratives included in Vagabond Tales are immigrant stories, and a sixth is a sentimental Norwegian tale. The collection is selective, for during the eighties Boyesen had published in various magazines a number of stories which were never reprinted, including one with a Norwegian setting. Although the “immigrant stories” in this collection are very uneven in quality, at least three of his “vagabonds” are familiar figures to readers of his fiction: like Einar Falconberg and Halfdan Bjerk, they are hand some, talented, warmhearted, and fresh from the university at Christiania.

“A Child of the Age” begins as the serious study of a willful wayward boy who becomes a radical at the university and is unable to get along with his conservative father. After he has a wife and a child of his own he finally conforms outwardly, until Bjørnson’s visit to the home valley causes a violent quarrel between father and son. After this promising beginning, however, Boyesen’s story ends like his early emigrant tales: the young man goes to America, makes a great fortune, and returns to a sentimental reconciliation with his family. {26}

For “A Perilous Incognito” Boyesen borrowed a Bret [32] Harte hero, a Norwegian American who made a fortune in the California gold fields. The hero returns to Norway and discovers that his Norwegian sweetheart is well acquainted with the works of Bret Harte:

She asked him about America, which she had been accustomed to view through Bret Harte’s haze of oaths, whiskey fumes, and pistol smoke. She was frankly astonished at everything he told her, and particularly at his patriotism. She had never imagined that anybody could have any sentiment for a mere geographical definition, she said. {27}

Albert Bonstetten, in “Liberty’s Victim,” is a typical Boyesen hero. The handsomest man in his university class, he marries the most beautiful girl in the Norwegian capital. He finds progress in Norway too slow, and decides to migrate to America, where his talents will be properly appreciated and success will come swiftly.

As a contrast to Albert Bonstetten, Boyesen introduces the son of immigrant parents, Oscar Rood, who begins his American career selling papers on the streets of Milwaukee. By living on boiled potatoes he has managed to work his way through the University of Wisconsin. Oscar is very proud of his dumpy wife and children and of his cheap house and furniture. He is enthusiastic about his job as the agent of the Excelsior Plow Company, for this superior product is to play an important role in the New World.

Bonstetten scorns Oscar Rood’s advice and help. Though he knows nothing of farming, he buys six hundred acres of land in Dane County, Wisconsin. The venture fails, he be comes a barkeeper (“Swedish Al”), and finally dies in a hovel on Chicago’s West Side. {28}

Boyesen thought enough of this story to recommend it to a young friend who wanted to throw up his teaching job and try free-lance writing. George Hyde of the Dial suspected [33] that “Liberty’s Victim” was a reflection of Boyesen’s own feelings after his resignation from Cornell, when he tried to support his family as a free-lance writer. After a year he was happy to take a position at Columbia. {29}

“Monk Tellenbach’s Exile” is the story of a cultured but rebellious Norwegian who tired of his own respectability. And when he “appeared in public in the company of agitators and other compromising personages,” he had become an impossibility to his family.

A Tellenbach who established schools for little ragamuffins and made inflammatory speeches in the Laborers’ Union, could only be relegated to non-existence, or, what amounts to the same thing, to the United States. There, it was said, a man could hold unauthorized opinions without loss of dignity. {30}

Monk is not a worker, and America has no more place for him than has tradition-bound Norway. Fortunately, he finds a humble friend in the New World. Very often in Boyesen’s tales the Norwegian peasant immigrants, who do not really interest the author, give their more brilliant brethren a helping hand (and are very happy to be able to serve “the Judge’s son” or “the Colonel’s heir”). The prize example is Lars Klufterud, an ugly little ex-stableboy, who “doubted if he had ever, in later life, experienced so keen a delight as when, fourteen years old, he strutted up the aisle in the church to be confirmed, in Monk’s discarded trousers.” Lars has succeeded as a harness maker in Chicago while Monk fails at a dozen jobs. The plebeian insists that his Norwegian idol come along to a pioneer claim in Oregon, and there allows him to fish all day while his host clears the wilderness. At the end of the tale the two men become rivals in love. The girl prefers Monk, who, rather than defeat his humble benefactor, disappears into the void.

“A Disastrous Partnership” is Boyesen’s only short story that approaches a realistic treatment of Norwegian [34] immigration. He betrays his uneasiness about the unfamiliar subject matter in the opening sentence, “A journeyman cabinet-maker is an unheroic figure, and two journeymen cabinet-makers are doubly unheroic; nevertheless, as it is the story of two journeymen cabinet-makers I am about to relate, they will have to do for heroes.” The two journeymen open a shop in Chicago. Truls Bergerson builds solid chairs and tolerates no shoddy workmanship, even when he has fifty workmen to supervise. His partner, Jens (or “James K.”) Moe, has the ability to design furniture and to advertise it. But while the men team well together in business, their social lives follow different paths, and in this is Boyesen’s story.

“A Disastrous Partnership” seems the wrong title for this narrative until Truls Bergerson gives a party. Here Boyesen has his chance to castigate his bourgeois compatriots for their slowness in becoming Americanized. Truls Bergerson and his friends sneer at Moe for his Yankee ways, baiting him about his American wife, his betrayal of Norway. Their hope is to get him thoroughly drunk to see if his fine wife will take him home and put him to bed, as a proper Norwegian wife would. The game goes too far, and Truls hurls a bottle at his partner’s head, nearly killing him.

The author’s strongly didactic purpose is made clear at the end of the tale, when a remorseful Truls Bergerson realizes that the aspirations he shares with his wife (a talented Norwegian cook) are still “of the Old World, groveling and uninspiring.” He and his Norwegian circle, who still cling to their old language and ways, hate Moe and his wife for their social ambitions. Truls muses: “Moe, in allying himself to the new civilization and the new land, had been wiser than he, and had reaped his reward. - . . Moe had assimilated himself to the New World, and plunged into the rushing current that bore mankind onward.” {31}

Taken together, Vagabond Tales is a more mature collection of short stories than Boyesen’s earlier efforts, Tales from [35] Two Hemispheres or Ilka on the Hilltop. But the critics were not enthusiastic about Vagabond Tales, and as the rest of Boyesen’s later short stories have never appeared in book form, the public evidently agreed with the critics. “It is true that just now we are experiencing a temporary reaction from realism,” Boyesen told a reporter in July, 1889. {32} It seems unlikely that the realism of the Vagabond Tales should have discouraged readers, but Boyesen’s growing reputation as an antiromantic may have affected the sales of the book. The sentimentality and melodrama in these stories may have been a concession to the reading public: he was aware that many critics and readers objected to the commonplace and he was anxious that his books should sell. The return to Norwegian subject matter may have been another concession, for tales about Norway had gained him his early popularity and critics were still asking why he did not write more stories like Gunnar.

The pessimism that begins to show itself in Boyesen’s work in the eighties characterizes not only his fiction, but also his topical writing. He was becoming increasingly concerned about the problems of immigrants, and more doubtful about their chances in the New World. The darker tone of his fiction could be charged to his dedication to the Turgenev Howells school of realism, but the arguments he brought forth in three articles on immigration must be credited to the growth of his political consciousness.

His knowledge of America and his right to voice his criticisms of his adopted country were challenged by those who disagreed with his social and political views. Among his friends, however, there were many who knew that this “Norwegian author” was an exemplary citizen who seized every opportunity to show his devotion to his adopted nation. This aspect of Boyesen’s career is well reflected in a tribute to “A Citizen by Adoption,” printed in Century after his death:

Prof. Boyesen was one of the most devoted of American [36] patriots. His love for the country of his adoption was not a pallid flame, devoid of heat and motive power. Whenever good citizen ship required the urgent action of every decent member of the community, this scholar-citizen did not merely “stand up to be counted” as a man: he could be counted as doing the work of a dozen men. His advice, his effort, his voice, were given quickly and effectively to the cause of good government. The country that he loved was not only dear to him for what it was, but for what it might be - for what, indeed, it yet must be, unless failure should be written upon its brow. He did not regulate his political action in America in reference to the conditions of his native country. He stood in America for America. This citizen by adoption was an example to all citizens, whether native or adopted. Would there were more of his kind. {33}

Whether “The Dangers of Unrestricted Immigration” was the idea of the author or of the editor of the Forum, which printed the article in July, 1887, Boyesen claimed to speak on this subject with some authority. This article, much expanded, became his speech on “Immigration,” delivered before the National Evangelical Conference in Washington, D.C., on December 7, 1887. “I doubt if there is another man in a private position in New York who has come into closer contact with the miseries which unrestricted immigration entails, and who has been the repository of more tales of alien woe than I,” he told his audience. The American system of unrestricted immigration had increased the nation’s territory, wealth, and power, Boyesen conceded, but the cost had been a lowering of the political morality. The danger was becoming even more grave, for “a large proportion of the foreigners who come to us now are hungry malcontents, who arrive with the avowed purpose to overthrow our institutions.” The old free and easy American way of opening the nation’s doors to all the world was no longer feasible, for with the supply of free land running out and the labor market glutted, even the best-intentioned of the new immigrants would become disappointed, embittered, then desperate, and inevitably “become enemies of the state.” {34} [37]

Boyesen voiced the same fears about the flood of immigrants in “The Modern Migration of Nations,” published in the Chautauquan. “I have stood and watched them by the hour in that modern Babel called Castle Garden,” he said; and as the immigrant ships discharged their cargoes, it occurred to Boyesen that all these people brought “a small bit of Europe with them, within their craniums, and this bit of Europe will take shape, somehow or other, for good or for ill, in our social conditions, our laws, and our institutions. How much of this could America stand, he asked, without endangering her national character and democratic institutions?

But if Boyesen was worried about the nation, he was equally concerned about the immigrant. In “The Modern Migration of Nations” he tried to assess the effect a change of nationality had on an individual. Referring specifically to his own personal knowledge of the Norwegian migration, he concluded that “the land-hungry Aryans who flocked to America were not necessarily well advised to emigrate, even if they were assured of finding their land and a reasonable prosperity in the New World.” A man past thirty was not likely to find happiness if he pulled up his roots and sought a new homeland, Boyesen judged. He felt that such a man could never adjust to strange neighbors, customs, and physical conditions. {35}

Boyesen’s literary and journalistic output during the nineties (he died suddenly on October 3, 1895) tells much about his career. In less than six years he published eleven books and a staggering quantity of magazine material. There were three novels, four books for boys, three volumes of criticism, and a collection of essays. Another novel and two novelettes appeared in magazines only, along with a half dozen short stories and at least four poems. But the bulk of the magazine material consisted of topical articles on a great variety of [38] subjects. A last trip to Norway with his wife and three young sons produced more than twenty magazine articles on Scandinavian topics. The time he gave to this magazine writing was time taken away from more serious work, but for nearly twenty years Boyesen had been driving himself to make more and more money in this way. A summer in Europe, a twelve-acre estate at Southampton, a fashionable New York apartment, and the other obligations incurred by a socially minded wife: these expenses had to be met on a professor’s salary, supplemented by fees from a heavy lecturing program and the income from his writing. He met the financial obligations (and left a $39,000 estate at his death), but the effort cost him his life. {36}

For Boyesen, the nineties meant disappointment and disillusion on several fronts. His vigorous battle for a more realistic literature dealing with serious American problems met with rebuffs and abuse. When he published his most ambitious novel, The Mammon of Unrighteousness (1891), he was criticized for his exposure of American financial and political corruption. He continued the attack in two more novels, The Golden Calf (1892) and Social Strugglers (1893). With the possible exception of his services as a liaison man between European and American realists, these three novels represent Boyesen’s best achievement. It must be emphasized again that his writings on immigration were only minor, incidental efforts. With the publication of The Mammon of Unrighteousness, however, Boyesen the realistic crusader and Boyesen the immigrant became part of the same issue.

Some of the attacks on The Mammon of Unrighteousness focused on the author and not the book. Because it seemed an easy and crushing answer to criticism from a naturalized citizen, he was told to go back to Norway if this nation was not good enough for him. This reaction hurt the idealistic, democratic, and patriotic Boyesen. He expressed the [39] bitterness he felt in the preface to another political novel, The Golden Calf (Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1892).

A year ago, when I published a semi-political novel, “The Mammon of Unrighteousness,” I was taken severely to task by many critics for having told the unvarnished truth concerning American politics. Such criticism came with ill grace from an adopted citizen, these gentlemen affirmed. If I did not like this country, as it was, why did I not remain in Norway? My book was, as a political henchman declared, “a vulgar and malicious libel on American institutions.” But neither he nor anyone else could demonstrate that my picture was not a true one. Censure of this sort seems to me excessively shallow. Has not an adopted citizen, who has spent the better part of his life here, as much at stake in the country as a native? And is he the better patriot who shuts his eyes to all abuses, shouts himself hoarse for the candidates of his party, without reference to their character, and with foolish optimism declares that it is useless to worry, and that everything will be sure to come out right in the end? This purblind and shallow optimism, which is so fatally prevalent, is to me a most dangerous symptom. Evils are not cured by ignoring them, but by a determined struggle against them. It is to the lover of his country and not the mere empty-headed boaster that its honor is most dear. Every great state has great and complex problems to face, and its honor and welfare demand that it should face them uncompromisingly, grapple with them, and if possible, solve them. And to this end it is first of all necessary that public attention should be called to them and their nature and gravity exposed. {37}

The critics’ attacks raised doubts in Boyesen’s mind as to the wisdom of his whole life pattern. In spite of the stimulation of seeing Norway again in 1891, and of introducing his American wife and sons to his beloved native land, Boyesen, confronted with the scenes of his boyhood, was assailed by sobering thoughts about the price he had paid for Americanization. The essay “My Lost Self” is a graceful and attractive piece of writing, but it is only one of several indications that appeared in the nineties that he was entertaining a new and more critical view of the value of emigrating.

I would contentedly return to that primitive condition if I could slip back permanently into my lost self . . . and [40] have all the experience that has transformed me drift and vanish like a dream that dissolves at waking. The world was not draped in gray then, but lay dewy and fragrant, flushed with the lovely colors of the dawn. . . . And what an exquisite set of senses I had, forsooth! How keen-edged, quiveringly alert, and vigilant they were! I could almost weep (if that too were not one of my lost accomplishments) at the thought of all the happiness that I have forfeited by the gradual blunting of those delicate instruments for apprehending reality. . . . I fancied, until this fatal visit to Norway, that I was greatly to be congratulated on having risen in the scale of civilization; but now I would willingly descend the scale again, step by step, or at one grand stride, if I could be sure of recovering what I have lost. {38}

This essay was what Boyesen’s critics had been waiting for. They attacked at once, impelled by their hostility to his creed for realism. “My Lost Self” seemed to prove their point that Boyesen’s work had been deteriorating steadily since Gunnar, and that he made a mistake in not following that romance with others of the same type. A writer in Munsey’s Magazine, for instance, said:

Professor Boyesen who teaches Columbia College boys nine months in the year and writes books and articles in the summer time, is one of the men who promised, ten or fifteen years ago, to add something substantial to American literature. It is a promise he has not kept.

He came to America from Norway when he was very young, when the quality of the Norwegian mind was entirely fresh to Americans, and in his vision of us there was a charm, a freshness, that was delightful.

This columnist, after citing statements from “My Lost Self,” turned the author’s confessions into arguments against his realistic fiction and criticism: “Professor Boyesen’s impressions . . . have become blurred instead of sharpened. Or at least that is the idea which his later work gives.” The explanation offered by Munsey’s writer is brutal, “He married an American wife - a rich American wife.” {39}

Boyesen’s disillusionment, though it had never quite over whelmed his optimistic and enthusiastic nature, had been [41] building up gradually over the years. The depression he felt in Norway, when he contrasted his boyhood self with the man he bad become, emphasized his present unhappy state of mind. Coming on top of this, the discouraging critical reception of his most thoughtful and carefully written novel deepened his pessimism. A new note of bitterness is sounded in “The Emi grant’s Unhappy Predicament.” There can be no doubt that the attacks on The Mammon of Unrighteousness are reflected in this article. Boyesen now considered that he had failed as an American novelist, and he was tormented by the feeling that he might have become a major writer if he had stayed in Norway with Bjørnson and Kielland:

It is this chilling sense of difference between him and the natives which dooms the immigrant to failure or to a success below the utmost reach of his powers. It constitutes a discount, and a heavy one, which is charged by the land of his adoption on his life’s capital. Of that margin of superiority which determines survival and dominance, he is obliged to sacrifice much, if not all, in the mere effort at adaptation to new conditions.

He is more or less at a disadvantage and is apt to have a tormenting sense of misrepresenting himself, of having fallen short of high achievement, even when he is most vociferously applauded. If he be a poet he can but murmur in broken syllables (like a musician playing upon an untuned instrument) the song that in his native tongue would have burst clear and melodious from his breast. If he be a novelist (even though he be imbued with a deep love for the country of his adoption) he is constantly reminded by his critics that his point of view is that of an alien, and if he ventures upon a criticism of social or political conditions, it is promptly resented. He is told that, if this republic is not good enough for him, he ought to have stayed at home. Nobody asked him to come. If he be a merchant the process of adaptation, of commercial acclimatization, is so exhausting, so wasteful of vitality, that success is likely to be bought, if at all, by an expenditure of talent and energy, much in excess of what would be required of a native. {40}

The articles on Norway produced by Boyesen in the nineties are hastily turned-out products of his last visit to his native land, but there are points of interest even in this journalistic writing. In an article on Norway’s struggle for independence, [42] he warned his mother country against any tie with Russia, and in a survey of “Norwegian Painters” he described the real-life prototype of his earliest hero, Gunnar. {41} The twenty-odd articles on Scandinavia can be roughly classified: (1) reports on the political situation in Norway, stressing the democracy of the Norwegians and the iniquity of the autocratic Swedes; (2) a varied lot of cultural and social articles and essays, some of them emphasizing Norwegian scenery and Boyesen’s recent experiences in Norway, others drawing on boyhood reminiscences; (3) literary and artistic criticism; and (4) articles on Norwegian immigration and the Scandinavians in the United States. These groupings are not rigid:
Boyesen was capable of touching on all of these topics in a single essay.

The most significant (though not the best) of these articles are those that give his observations on immigration and its results. “The Scandinavian in the United States,” in the North American Review, is Boyesen’s final evaluation of his fellow immigrants. These people are frugal, self-reliant, hard working, democratic, and easily assimilated into their adopted nation, he says. One of their worst faults, drunkenness, is now decreasing, and their clannishness is less their own fault than that of the native Americans, who are quick to exploit but slow to accept the immigrant citizen. He notes with satisfaction that the descendants of Cleng Peerson’s colony, the earliest Norwegian settlement (1825), have now been so completely assimilated into American life that only their names betray their origin. {42}

But while he still urged rapid assimilation, once the Norwegians came to America, Boyesen thought that they were better advised to stay at home. He admitted that those who immigrated to the United States improved their lot materially nine times out of ten, but by 1892 he was convinced [43] that this prosperity was bought at too high a cost. “Wealth rarely brings contentment,” he argued, and quoted a successful Norwegian-American farmer, “I don’t think people in this country leave themselves time to be happy.” Other considerations were more important to Boyesen:

How much simpler and more unperplexed, how much more richly colored, for weal or for woe, is the life of the Norwegian peasant than that of the American farmer! . . . And if he migrates, it is a fatally detached and incomplete self he transfers to the western prairies. All the finest tendrils of the torn roots of his being remain in the old soil; and though he may thrive, in a crude fashion, after the transplantation, he loses in an indefinable way his distinctness of physiognomy; his individuality pales and flattens out, and he becomes frequently incredibly vulgarized.

The Norwegian immigrants, he continues, “upon transplanting into the glaring America daylight, become, as it were, bleached and fade into a dire uniformity. They become like the prairie - blank, level, tedious, basking in a dreary featureless prosperity.” {43}

To close on that note would seem to support the characterization of Boyesen as a serious writer on immigration, even though it is clear once again that this is a Columbia professor writing of a movement centering fifteen hundred miles to the westward, and about a people with whom he had little contact. But such articles are hasty incidental efforts by comparison with his writings on contemporary literature and the social and cultural conditions that produced it. And since Boyesen was even more interested in imaginative writing than in literary criticism, it would be well to take a last look at his immigrant fiction and measure it against his realistic social and political novels.

“A Harvest of Tares,” a novelette printed in the May, 1893, issue of Godey’s Magazine, is the story of a strong-minded Norwegian girl who rejects her deserving suitor, a clergyman. She flees to Chicago, seeks out the young artist whom she [44] loves, and marries him. Thereafter she supports him and their family by giving voice lessons and singing in churches, while her husband enjoys his role as a misunderstood artist. Boyesen, with Norway once more fresh in his mind, gives the descriptions of Norwegian scenery and domestic life a full and attractive treatment. By contrast the struggle for existence in Chicago is melodramatic and unconvincing. {44}

“A Norse Atlantis,” Boyesen’s last short story about the Norwegian immigrants, appeared in Cosmopolitan for Nov ember, 1890. The Reverend Thorvald Gramm, a fashionable clergyman of Christiania, promotes a scheme for a Utopian colony on the Dakota prairies so that he can marry a bakery maid without sacrificing his social standing and self-respect. The colonists become victims of swindling American real-estate men and contractors, of storms, mosquitoes, and the vastness of the western plains; but above all, they are victims of their own genteel ignorance and social codes. The leaders return to Norway disillusioned, but the colony does not fail completely. The coming of the railroad transforms the settlement into a flourishing western city, and the humble workers who accompanied Gramm find a natural leader in his scapegrace son, who marries the bakery maid and becomes a pioneer statesman. Boyesen, however, merely mentions the colony’s successful growth: his interest follows the Utopian dreamers who fled back to Norway. {45}

This tale should lay the myth about Boyesen as a writer of immigrant stories. The real pioneering story is hastily summarized because he did not know this material at first hand. But he knew the pompous Norwegian clergyman very well indeed, and his story is really an elaborate character sketch, supplemented by melodramatic episodes in America that do service as a plot. Of the actual Scandinavian migration to the western states the reader gets no impression what ever. [45]

One last story must be mentioned. When Boyesen died, Cosmopolitan was printing a long short story that goes back to the theme of Gunnar. The hero of “The Nixy’s Chord” is a peasant who fails in love with a pastor’s daughter. He is sent to study music in Leipzig for five years and comes back an eligible suitor. {46} This is not an immigrant story, but it has some significance in Boyesen’s career. Just before his death, he went back to his earliest theme, to which he brought real sympathy and understanding; and instead of writing another romantic idyll, he gave the subject a thoughtful treatment, with realistic detail and psychological character delineation. The result is one of Boyesen’s most convincing and attractive fictional efforts.


<1> Laurence M. Larson, The Changing West and Other Essays, 82 (Northfield, 1937). Larson’s essay in this collection is the best study yet published of Boyesen’s life and career.
<2> Boyesen uses the phrase, “the Iron Madonna who strangles in her fond em brace the American novelist” in “The American Novelist and His Public,” an essay in his Literary and Social Silhouettes, 49 (New York, 1894).
<3> George L. White, Jr., “H. H. Boyesen: A Note on Immigration,” in American Literature (Durham, North Carolina), 13:363 (January, 1942).
<4> Boyesen, “Writing My First Book,” in Philadelphia inquirer, October 1, 1893; and F. E. Heath, “Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen,” in Scribner’s Monthly, 14:777 (October, 1877).
<5> White’s statement that the hero and heroine of Gunnar (Boston, 1874) migrate to America to solve their social problems is a misreading of the final passage of the novel. See also Larson, The Changing West, 99; and Gerald H. Thorson, “First Sagas in a New World: A Study of the Beginnings of Norwegian-American Literature,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 17: 119 (Northfield, 1952). Boyesen speaks of his hopes for the book’s sale in a letter to William Dean Howells dated September 27, 1873; Boyesen’s letters to Howells are in the Howells Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. His letters to Rasmus B. Anderson, dated March 28 and April 18, 1874, are in the possession of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at Madison.
<6> A Norseman’s Pilgrimage 35 (New York, 1875).
<7> Atlantic Monthly, 36:364 (September, 1875). Boyesen published a story, “Swart among the Buckeyes,” in Scribner’s Monthly, 14:547-559 (August, 1877); for the repercussions, see two letters that appeared in the New York Daily Tribune: Frank Sewall, president of Urbana (Ohio) University, July 1, 1878; and Boyesen’s reply, July 25, 1878.
<8> Galaxy, 15:199 (February, 1873).
<9> Tales from Two Hemispheres, 110 (Boston, 1876). “The Story of an Outcast” first appeared in Scribner’s Monthly in November, 1874. “A Good-for-Nothing,” published the following summer, has a similar plot.
<10> Tales, 22.
<11> Tales, 49.
<12> Tales, 163. Boyesen’s first society novel was A Daughter of the Philistines (Boston, 1884); his most important were The Mammon of Unrighteousness (New York, 1891); The Golden Calf (Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1892); and Social Strugglers (New York, 1893).
<13> Falconberg, 1-6 (New York, 1879).
<14> Scribner's Monthly, 18:492 (July, 1879). Boyesen’s letters to Cable are in the Cable Collection at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University. This letter is quoted by Arlin Turner in “A Novelist Discovers a Novelist: The Correspondence of H. H. Boyesen and George W. Cable,” in Western Humanities Review (Salt Lake City), 5:366 (Autumn, 1951). Boyesen’s reply to his western critics was printed in Budstikken (Minneapolis), February 15, 1881.
<15> Laurence Larson, after studying the files of Fremad, concluded that Boyesen exaggerated his crusading role in later years, and demonstrated that he was all associate editor of the publication for a very short time. See The Changing West, 88.
<16> Falconberg, 14, 113.
<17> See B. W. Wells, “Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen,” in Sewanee Review, 4:306 (May, 1896).
<18> Critic (New York), 1:58 (March 12, 1881).
<19> ”Kristofer Janson and the Norse Lutheran Synod,” in Critic, 2:8 (January 14, 1882).
<20> See O. N. Nelson, History of the Scandinavians in the United States, 1:348 (Minneapolis, 1893).
<21> Ilka on the Hill-top, 141, 179 (New York, 1881).
<22> Queen Titania, 13, 18, 29 (New York, 1881).
<23> “Professor Boyesen on Realism,” in New York Daily Tribune, July 29, 1889.
<24> See Boyesen’s “The Modern Migration of Nations,” in Chautauquan (Meadville, Pennsylvania) 9:281 (February, 1889).
<25> Queen Titanic, 219, 226, 231, 254.
<26> Vagabond Tales, 34-97 (Boston, 1889).
<27> Vagabond Tales, 259. Since Boyesen was a professor of language and literature, his stories are understandably loaded with literary references; furthermore, he may have been conscious of his literary debts to other writers. This is not an isolated case.
<28> Vagabond Tales, 183-233.
<29> "In Gratitude to Professor Boyesen,” in Dial (Chicago), 19:323 (December 1, 1895).
<30> Vagabond Tales, 99.
<31> Vagabond Tales, 142, 180.
<32> "Professor Boyesen on Realism,” in New York Daily Tribune, July 29, 1889.
<33> Century (New York), 51:314 (December, 1895).
<34> Forum (New York), 3:532-542 (July, 1887). The conference speeches were printed in National Perils and Opportunities (New York, 1887); the quotations are from page 62.
<35> Chautauquan, 9:281-283 (February, 1889).
<36> See Boyesen’s reply to a query, quoted in Author (New York), 2: 36 (March 15, 1890); and “The Lounger,” in Critic, 27:269 (October 26, 1895).
<37> The Golden Calf, 1. The Mammon of Unrighteousness and Social Strugglers were published in New York.
<38> Literary and Social Silhouettes, 200-203.
<39> “Literary Chat,” in Munsey’s Magazine (New York), 11: 549 (August, 1894).
<40> Chautauquan, 15:609 (August, 1892).
<41> “Norway’s Struggle for Independence,” in Harper’s Weekly, 39:891 (April 27, 1895); “Norwegian Painters,” in Scribner’s Magazine, 12:757 (December, 1892).
<42> North American Review (Boston), 155: 526-535 (November, 1892).
<43> “The Emigrant’s Unhappy Predicament,” in Chautauquan, 15:608-610 (August, 1892).
<44> Godey's Magazine (New York), 126: 527-616 (May, 1898).
<45> Cosmopolitan, 10:48-68 (November, 1890).
<46> Cosmopolitan, 19: 523-536, 635-647 (September, October, 1895).


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