Literature of the California Gold Rush Criticism: Early California Gold Rush Fiction - Essay

John Swingle (essay date 1965)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Some Notes on California Gold Rush Fiction Before 1870,” in Quarterly News-Letter, Vol. 30, No. 4, Fall, 1965, pp. 75-81.

[In the following essay, Swingle reviews the portrayal of the California gold rush in early fiction, chronicling U.S. as well as foreign works.]

The California Gold Rush had an appeal, immediate, monetary, and lasting, to the imaginations of many writers, good, bad, and indifferent. Almost from the moment of the first news from Sutter's Mill, books with a background of the Gold Rush began to turn up in the literary placers.

In 1849 appeared a fantastical pastiche entitled Aurifodina; or, Adventures In The Gold...

(The entire section is 2477 words.)

Ralph Mann (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Americanization of Arcadia: Images of Hispanic and Gold Rush California,” in American Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring, 1978, pp. 5-19.

[In the following essay, Mann argues that writings about both Hispanic California and gold rush California utilize three types of imagery: wilderness, paradisiacal, and pastoral.]

During the 1840s and 1850s California's landscape and inhabitants enjoyed a literary reputation as the geography and people of an earthly paradise, or a Romantic wilderness, or a peaceful, pastoral Arcadia, where fantasies of wealth, ease, sensual release and personal independence could be realized. At the same time, Americans in California...

(The entire section is 6832 words.)