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Old 06-13-2011, 03:34 PM   #1
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Atherton, Gertrude: The Splendid Idle Forties. V1. 13 Jun 2011

Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton (October 30, 1857 – June 14, 1948) was an American writer. Atherton, was an American Feminist and writer of social and historical fiction, much of it set in California. Although her reputation is founded primarily on her California fiction and essays, as well as her biography of Alexander Hamilton, Atherton also produced a number of Gothic stories, some of them, such as The Bell in the Fog, were considered significant achievements in the Gothic/supernaturalist tradition.

These are stories of Old California, perhaps the best known collection of stories of that romantic period of California history when the incoming Americans were first intermingling with the Californians of rancho and presidio. Atherton's stories of love and death, bull and bear fights, moonlight meriendas, horse races and fancy dress balls, are increasingly meaningful and precious. They are truly classics of Californiana.

Gertrude Atherton was the daughter of a Yankee businessman from California and a southern belle. She spent the first thirty years of her life in and around San Francisco, a city whose history and destiny she utilized as the subject and background for her favorite character, the new western woman. Atherton's genius lay in her ability to tell an exciting story about a character or group of characters worthy of attention as they confronted the environmental and psychological circumstances of their lives. Now largely forgotten, novelist and short story writer Atherton at the height of her popularity often was ranked with Edith Wharton.
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