Esther Forbes Carl Van Doren - Essay

Carl Van Doren

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Not every historical novelist can write a good biography, but the right kind of historical novelist has some of the qualities most needed in a good biographer. Esther Forbes is that kind of novelist, and her biography of Paul Revere ["Paul Revere and the World He Lived In"] takes at once a high and lasting place in American literature. Miss Forbes credits her mother, Harriette M. Forbes, with doing "most of the work on the original papers, court records, deeds, etc., newspapers, manuscript diaries, and letters": this is absolutely first-rate work. To Miss Forbes must go the credit for knowing how to make the richest use of so valuable a collaborator and how to turn these original documents into a fresh, creative...

(The entire section is 760 words.)