Once upon a time it was was popular to parody popular novels. This fad has come and gone many times in the past. Remember that in those days the US was not a member of any international copyright convention so almost anything was allowed.
In Condensed Novels
Harte mimics many authors of the day including Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Wilkie Collins. It is a good read, even better if you know the authors involved.
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