Other literary forms
John William De Forest was interested in history; he began his career as a writer with History of the Indians of Connecticut from the Earliest Known Period to 1850 (1851). He contributed a number of historical essays to leading magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, and Galaxy. A few years before his death, he published a family history, The De Forests of Avesnes (and of New Netherland) (1900). His first long work of fiction, Witching Times, and his last, A Lover’s Revolt, are essentially historical novels. He wrote two travelogues (Oriental Acquaintance: Or, Letters from Syria, 1856, and European Acquaintance: Being Sketches of People in Europe, 1858) as well as important accounts of his experiences in the American Civil War (A Volunteer’s Adventures: A Union Captain’s Record of the Civil War, 1946) and in the Reconstruction (A Union Officer in the Reconstruction, 1948). He also published rather undistinguished poetry (The Downing Legends: Stories in Rhyme, 1901, and Poems: Medley and Palestina, 1902), much short fiction of uneven quality that has not been collected in book form, and a variety of uncollected essays, the title of the best known of which, “The Great American Novel,” has become a famous phrase.