Literature of the California Gold Rush Criticism: Social Relations And Social Change - Essay

Peter Stoneley (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Rewriting the Gold Rush: Twain, Harte and Homosociality,” in Journal of American Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, 1996, pp. 189-209.

[In the following essay, Stoneley focuses on the theme of male-male relationships in the works of Bret Harte and Mark Twain, illustrating how these gold rush writers reflected the changing nature of homosocial ties in the American West during the mid- to late-nineteenth century.]

For adventurous young men, the experience of the gold rush was one of transformation. The most keenly-sought transformation was from “not wealthy” to “fabulously wealthy,” but the literature, histories and memoirs of the era point toward a much more...

(The entire section is 9155 words.)

Susan Lee Johnson (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Epilogue: Telling Tales,” in Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, pp. 315-44.

[In the following essay, Johnson focuses on the Southern Mines of California, suggesting that because of such factors as the ethnic diversity of the region and its “unruly history” (which did not coincide with typical American tales of success), the Southern Mines have been virtually forgotten by twentieth-century society.]

In the 1990s, a travel writer for the New York Times encouraged readers to visit the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Her article, “Exploring the Mother Lode,” begins with a spare but...

(The entire section is 14641 words.)