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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 1: the Puritan writers (search)
such minor mention as their literary merit appears to warrant. Pure literature. But it is time, you may say, to define more specifically what literature is. No definition of it ever yet given has surpassed that magnificent Latin sentence of Bacon's which one marvels never to have seen quoted among the too scanty evidences that he wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare :-- It [literature] hath something divine in it, because it raises the mind and hurries it into sublimity, by conforming the show of things to the desires of the soul, instead of subjecting the soul to external things, as reason and history do. De Augmentis, Book II. It is only literature then, in Bacon's definition, which truly raises the mind and hurries it into sublimity. All else is reason (or reasoning) and history (or narrative). Where does literature find its source? Not in thought or feeling alone, else we should look to the cradle for our literature. Not even in the first impulses of
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 5: the New England period — Preliminary (search)
ohn Fiske, which no historical student would for a moment think of placing beside those of the late Mr. Justin Winsor on grounds of historical knowledge, yet which greatly surpass them in attractiveness of style. But the applause thus won is short-lived in comparison, as is seen in the rapid fading of the fame of the late James Parton, who was as popular in his day as Mr. Fiske, and entitled to quite as much recognition, yet added in substance but little to the sum of actual knowledge. As Bacon wisely pointed out, however, historical work is to be ranked rather with science than with literature, though it obtains, like scientific writing, additional influence when possessing also a charm of utterance. In his Life of Columbus Washington Irving had produced a narrative which has in the main stood the test of subse-Francis quent investigation, and which is Parkman. also, by virtue of his style, literature. But Irving was a literary man first, and his fame does not rest upon his w
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, chapter 13 (search)
and English history and literature. English 1603-1625. James I. 1608. Milton born. 1610-1614. Chapman's Homer. 1611. The King James Bible. 1616. Shakespeare died. 1623. The Shakespeare Folio. 1625-1649. Charles I. 1625. Bacon's Esays. 1626. Bacon died. 1632. Milton's L'allegro andIl Penseroso. 1642. Beginning of Civil War. 1642. Newton born. 1644. Milton's Areopagitica. 1649. Charles I. executed. 1649-1660. The Commonwealth. 1658. Cromwell diedBacon died. 1632. Milton's L'allegro andIl Penseroso. 1642. Beginning of Civil War. 1642. Newton born. 1644. Milton's Areopagitica. 1649. Charles I. executed. 1649-1660. The Commonwealth. 1658. Cromwell died. 1660-1686. Charles II. 1663-1678. Butler's Hudibra. 1667. Milton's Paradise Lot. 1667. Swift born. 1670. Dryden Poet-Laureate. 1671. Milton's Paradise Regained, 1671. and Samson Agonises. 1674. Milton and Herrick died. 1678-1684. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progres. 1685-1688. James II. 1688. The English Revolution. 1688. Pope and Gay born. 1700. Dryden died. 1700. Thomson born. 1703-1714. Queen Anne. 1704. Swift's Battle of the books and Tale of a Tub.