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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book 38 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life 22 0 Browse Search
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches 18 0 Browse Search
Matthew Arnold, Civilization in the United States: First and Last Impressions of America. 16 0 Browse Search
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 2 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.) 14 0 Browse Search
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 1, Colonial and Revolutionary Literature: Early National Literature: Part I (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.) 12 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays 12 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature 12 0 Browse Search
Mary Thacher Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson: the story of his life 12 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men 9 1 Browse Search
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Browsing named entities in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book. You can also browse the collection for Matthew Arnold or search for Matthew Arnold in all documents.

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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, The New world and the New book (search)
g by this daring statement. What did he mean? There are some things which it is very certain that he did not mean. He certainly did not accept the Matthew Arnold attitude, that to talk of a distinctive American press at all is an absurdity. Arnold finds material for profound ridicule in the fact that there exists a Primer of American Literature; this poor little Cinderella, cut off from all schooling, must not even have a primer of her own. Irving certainly did not assume the (Goldwin Smitt consists in the essential dignity and value of the individual man. The distinctive attitude of the American press must lie, if anywhere, in its recognition of this individual importance and worth. The five words of Jefferson—words, which Matthew Arnold pronounced not solid, thus prove themselves solid enough to sustain not merely the government of sixty-three million people, but their literature. Instead of avoiding, with Goethe, the common, das Gemeinde, American literature must freely s
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, II (search)
d the English curiosity about him to the fact that he held a quill in his fingers instead of sticking it in his hair, as was expected. But it would seem that Mr. Arnold, on the other hand, disapproved the attempt to set up any claim whatever to a distinctive American temperament; and he has twice held up one of our own authors rs, p. 104. being simply to caution this more nervous race against overworking their children in school; an aim which was certainly as far as possible from what Mr. Arnold calls tall talk and self-glorification. If a nation is not to be saved by pointing out is own physiological perils, what is to save it? As a matter of fact,antation under a new sky and in new conditions have made any difference in the type, let us know that also. In truth, the difference is already so marked that Mr. Arnold himself concedes it at every step in his argument, and has indeed stated it in very much the same terms which an American would have employed. In a paper entit
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, IV (search)
denied this simple privilege of taking itself seriously. What is criticised in us is not so much that our social life is inadequate, as that we find it worth studying; not so much that our literature is insufficient, as that we think it, in Matthew Arnold's disdainful phrase, important. In short, we are denied not merely the pleasure of being attractive to other people, which can easily be spared, but the privilege that is usually conceded to the humblest, of being of some interest to ourselv home; they take their nation seriously. Yet this, which should be the thing that most appeals to every foreign observer, is, on the contrary, the very thing which the average foreign observer finds most offensive. Do not tell me only, says Matthew Arnold, . . . of the great and growing number of your churches and schools, libraries and newspapers; tell me also if your civilization—which is the grand name you give to all this development—tell me if your civilization is interesting. Set asid
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, V (search)
of strength. There is no danger that the foreign judgment will not duly assert itself; the danger is, that our own self-estimate will be too apologetic. What with courtesy and good-nature, and a lingering of the old colonialism, we are not yet beyond the cringing period in our literary judgment. The obeisance of all good society in London before a successful circus-manager from America was only a shade more humiliating than the reverential attention visible in the American press when Matthew Arnold was kind enough to stand on tiptoe upon our lecture-platform and apply his little measuring-tape to the great shade of Emerson. I should like to see in our literature some of the honest self-assertion shown by Senator Tracy of Litchfield, Connecticut, during Washington's administration, in his reply to the British Minister's praises of Mrs. Oliver Wolcott's beauty. Your countrywoman, said the Englishman, would be admired at the Court of St. James. —Sir, said Tracy, she is admired even
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, X (search)
tions to Margaret Fuller, in the cultivated Cambridge circle of that day, that she spoke disrespectfully of Menzel in the Dial, and called him a Philistine—the first introduction into English, so far as I know, of that word since familiarized by Arnold and others. We fancy France to be a place where, if governments are changeable, literary fame, fortified by academies, rests on sure ground. But Theophile Gautier, in the preface to his Les Grotesques, says just the contrary. He declares tha often like some hungry Bedouin Arab in the desert, who thinks he has found a sack of pease and opens it eagerly; but, alas! they are only pearls! With what discontent did the audience of Emerson's day inspect his precious stones! Even now Matthew Arnold shakes his head over them and finds Longfellow's little sentimental poem of The Bridge worth the whole of Emerson. When we consider that Byron once accepted meekly his own alleged inferiority to Rogers, and that Southey ranked himself with M
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XIV (search)
only to reverse in imagination the nationality of a few authors and critics, and consider what a change of estimate such an altered origin would involve. Let us make, for instance, the great effort of supposing Emerson an English author and Matthew Arnold an American; does any one suppose that Arnold's criticisms on Emerson would in that case have attracted very serious attention in either country? Had Mr. Gosse been a New Yorker, writing in a London magazine, would any one on either side of Arnold's criticisms on Emerson would in that case have attracted very serious attention in either country? Had Mr. Gosse been a New Yorker, writing in a London magazine, would any one on either side of the Atlantic have seriously cared whether Mr. Gosse thought that contemporary England had produced a poet? The reason why the criticisms of these two Englishmen have attracted such widespread notice among us is that they have the accumulated literary weight—the ex oriente lux—of London behind them. We accept them meekly and almost reverently; just as we even accept the criticisms made on Grant and Sheridan by Lord Wolseley, who is, compared to either of these generals, but a carpet knight. It
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XVII (search)
is of a genius for translating; the longer a man works, the more precise he becomes. The second of Mr. Boyesen's great American translators is Bryant; and here I should utterly dissent from him. The best introduction to Homer in English is Matthew Arnold's Essay on Translating Homer; or rather it would be, but for its needless and diffuse length, which prevents many persons from really mastering it; but I do not see how any one, after reading it, can look through a page of Bryant's version without a sense of its utter tameness and its want of almost all the qualities defined by Arnold as essential to Homer. Mr. Lawton has finely said, at the beginning of his admirable papers on Aeschylus in the Atlantic Monthly August, 1888. that the Homeric poems offer us, as it were, a glimpse of a landscape scene by a flash of lightning. What came before and immediately after we cannot discern. But in Bryant's translation there is substituted for the flash of lightning the very mildest moo
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXIII (search)
cter alone, not training. There has come lately a certain slovenliness into the vocabulary of Englishmen which is a sign of weakness, not of strength. It may be meant for strength, but, like swearing, it is rather a substitute for it. When Matthew Arnold, at the outset of his paper on Emerson, proposes that we should pull ourselves together to examine him, he says crudely what might have been more forcibly conveyed by a finer touch. When Mr. Gosse, in one of his Forum papers, answers an objed for such a theory! it does not give an impression of vigor, or of what he calls, in case of Dryden, a virile tramp, but rather suggests that humbler hero of whom Byron records that— He knew not what to say, and so he swore. The fact that Mr. Arnold and Mr. Gosse have both made good criticisms on others does not necessarily indicate that they practise as they preach. To come back once more to the incomparable Joubert, we often find a good ear perfectly compatible with a false note. Que d
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXV (search)
d to write about it in the local newspaper. Instead of putting only our strong points forward, we are always ready to discuss our weakest side. This must always be remembered in digesting the criticisms of Englishmen. Dickens, Carlyle, Ruskin, Arnold, have said nothing about Americans more unpleasant than they had previously said about their own countrymen; and why should we expect to fare any better? It is only in foreign countries that even we Americans stand up resolutely for our own lanmarks in a New York newspaper as to the large number of persons in this country, as in all countries, who assume a clean shirt but once a week, probably did little or no good to the offending individuals, while it has winged a fatal arrow for Matthew Arnold's bow, as for many others. Comparisons are often misleading. David Urquhart, the English traveller, was always denouncing his fellow-countrymen as exceedingly dirty when compared with the Mohammedan races, and used to wish that Charles Mar
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, Index (search)
ldrich, T. B., 67, 102. Alford, Henry, 57, 94. American, an, evolution of, 221. American Civil War, literary influence of, 65. American press, as viewed by Irving, 2. Americanism, English standard of, 20. Andersen, H. C., 214. Anglomania, origin of, 64. Anti-slavery agitation, literary influence of, 66. Apologies, unnecessary, 120. Archer, the jockey, 205. Ariosto, Lodovico, 187. Aristophanes, 99, 229. Aristotle, 174, 232. Arnold, Sir, Edwin, 106, 110. Arnold, Matthew, 3, 5, 19, 20, 21, 22, 35, 38, 46, 91, 123, 195, 206, 208. Austen, Jane, 10, 15, 219, 229. Austin, Henry, 101. Austin, Sarah, 144. B. Background, the need of a, 113. Bacon, Lord, 114, 175. Bailey, P. J., 57. Bain, Alexander, 202. Balzac, H. de, 114. Bancroft, George, 107, 155. Bancroft, H. H., 172. Barker, Lemuel, 184. Bartlett, J. R., 216. Beaconsfield, Lord, 110, 167, 179, 180. Beecher, H. W., 60. Besant, Walter, 74. Bigelow, 54. Billings, Josh, 59. Black, W