The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

VI. The Short Story

§ 23. Johnston

The evolution of Johnston’s art is an interesting study. He was inspired not by Irving or by any of the Northerners, but by Longstreet, whose brutally realistic Georgia Scenes had appeared as early as 1835. In 1857 Johnston had written The Goose Pond School and had followed it with other realistic studies for The Southern Magazine. Later they were gathered for a Southern edition entitled Georgia Sketches, and still later, in 1871, he had reissued them in Baltimore as Dukesborough Tales. He, therefore, must be reckoned with Harte as a pioneer, though his work had few readers and no influence until it was again reissued by the Harpers in 1883. Even then, and afterwards when he had added new and more artistically handled material, he was not a highly significant figure. Studies of provincial Georgia life he could make, some of them bitingly true, but his range was small and his soundings, even within his narrow area, were not deep. He must be classified with the makers of sketches like Longstreet rather than with the short story writers of the period in which he first became known.