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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature 14 0 Browse Search
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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 1: the Puritan writers (search)
their writing matter? The answer to this question depends upon what we mean by Americanism. Until the very outbreak of the Revolution there were few persons in the American colonies who were not, in sentiment as well as in mental inheritance, English. England was home to them, as it is now to the British Canadian or Australian. Circumstances were of course bringing about a gradual divergence in manners and in special sympathies between the colonist of Massachusetts or Virginia and the Engl only. We may see in it also the impulse to expression which, ultimately developed, creates literature. ProfessorWendell says truly of Mather that he frequently wrote with a rhythmical beauty which recalls the enthusiastic spontaneity of Elizabethan English, so different from the English which came after the Civil War. It is when a Puritan clergyman ceases to be theological that he is most apt to touch our hearts and delight our ears. We find in Mather, for instance, this rhythmical beauty
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 4: the New York period (search)
shirt-sleeves. In temperament, Irving and Cooper were as different as possible, except in their common sensitiveness to criticism. Cooper was impatient, opinionated, suspicious of offense, and was in consequence never on very good terms with the world, or the world with him. He was the obnoxious kind of reformer who is disposed to build everything over on theoretical principles, but seldom gets beyond the stage of tearing down. He belabored his fellow-Americans for having ceased to be English, and scolded the English for having remained as they were. As a result, he became equally unpopular in both countries. The London times called him affected, offensive, curious, and ill-conditioned, and Fraser's magazine, with a preference for the forcible substantive, pronounced him a liar, a bilious braggart, a full jackass, an insect, a grub, and a reptile. These tributes might have seemed to take the burden of reproof from American shoulders; yet it remained for an American, Park Benj
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 5: the New England period — Preliminary (search)
was as decisively cordial, though on a scale less vast; it indeed reached foreign countries hardly at all. So purely in the spirit of a tract was Uncle Tom conceived that it is hard for those who do not remember the absorbing interest which its theme at that time possessed, to understand the enthusiasm with which it was received, both here and abroad. It was the famous book of the century. There are now in the British Museum Library fifty-six different editions of Uncle Tom's cabin in English, including abridgments, editions for children, etc., with fifty-four in other languages, including more than twenty different tongues, in some of which there are eight or ten separate versions. Mr. Barwick, one of the leading librarians at the Museum, told me that Thomas a Kempis was perhaps the only author, apart from the Bible writers, who has been translated so much, although Don Quixote came very near it; but that neither of these had been rendered into so great a variety of dialects,
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 6: the Cambridge group (search)
arnered in its loyal depths since first it gazed upon its pallid regent. The criticism on Lowell comes with force from FitzGerald, who always cultivated condensation, and it also recalls the remark of Walter Pater, that the true artist may be best recognized by his skill in omission. Apart from his bent for personalities, however, and from the question of his ability to practice what he preached, there is in the substance of his best prose work a sound body of criticism such as no other American has yet produced. For scholarship, incisiveness, and suggestiveness, such papers as the essays on Dryden, Pope, and Dante have been surpassed by very little criticism written in English. The special service of the New England literature of the middle of the nineteenth century was to achieve an enlargement of the national horizon. In Cambridge, as we have seen, the expansion was primarily mental and aesthetic; in Concord, as we are about to see, it was mainly speculative and spiritual.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, A Glossary of Important Contributors to American Literature (search)
and then ran away to Philadelphia, where he became the editor and proprietor of the Pennsylvania Gazette. In 1732 he began the publication of the famous Poor Richard's almanac. He was rather a statesman than a literary man, and filled many important public offices. The complete collection of his works edited by John Bigelow (1887-89) consists, in a great part, of letters written in a clear, business-like way upon many subjects. His Autobiography, printed first in French, and in 1817 in English, gave him reputation as a writer. He died in Philadelphia, Pa., April 17, 1790. Freneau, Philip Born in New York, N. Y., Jan. 2, 1752. He graduated at Princeton in 1771, and spent some time at sea. Later he was a contributor to The United States magazine and the Freeman's journal. He was editor of the New York Daily Advertiser, the National Gazette, and for a short time published the Jersey chronicle and the Time-piece And literary companion. At Commencement he delivered with H.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, chapter 13 (search)
Walt Whitman's Leaves of grass, 1855. Walt Whitman's Complete prose works, 1898. Chapter 9: the Western influence (A) This period is too recent to possess authorities. There is an excellent chapter in Wendell's Literary history. (B) C. F. Browne's (Artemus Ward) Complete works, Dillingham & Co., 1898. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. are the American publishers of Bret Harte's Complete works. Chronological table: events in American 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 died. 1660-1686. Charles II. 1663-1678. B