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American Literature:
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Joaquin Miller

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

In 1870 the "Songs of the Sierras," published in Lon-don, and describing California scenes, produced a literary sensation in England, and gave the author temporary fame as the long-expected truly American poet. The author's name was given as Joaquin Miller, but it was originally Cincinnatus Hiner Miller, the name Joaquin being borrowed from a Mexican brigand. Miller was born in Indiana in 1841, but when he was a boy his parents emigrated to Oregon. After working on a farm he went to seek for gold in California, and began to write verse. Unsuccessful as a miner, he led a wandering life in California and Nevada, and went with the filibuster Walker to Nicaragua. On his return to Oregon in 1860, he studied law and was for a time a county judge. In 1870 he went to England, and having there obtained a reputation as a poet, came back to America to seek work as a journalist. In 1887 he settled at Oakland, California. His poetical works include "Songs of the Sunlands," "Songs of the Sierras," and "Songs of the Mexican Seas." His best known prose works are "The Danites in the Sierras," "'49, or the Gold-Seekers of the Sierras," and "The Destruction of Gotham." Miller has not hesitated to appropriate some of the work of others, and yet he has originality and force. He cares little for accepted laws of literature. He is able to represent vividly the wild life and grand scenery of the Pacific slope.

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