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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book 20 0 Browse Search
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches 4 0 Browse Search
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 3 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.) 4 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Harvard Memorial Biographies 4 0 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 Wendell Holmes or search for Wendell Holmes in all documents.

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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VI (search)
d comments on the names, like this: Robert Browning, the Scotch poet. There is probably no better manual of universal knowledge than the great French dictionary of Larousse. When people come with miscellaneous questions to the Harvard College librarians, they often say in return, Have you looked in Larousse?Now, when one looks in Larousse to see who Robert Browning was, one finds the statement that the genius of Browning is more analogous to that of his American contemporaries Emerton, Wendell Holmes, and Bigelow than to that of any English poet (celle de n'importe quel poete anglais.) This transformation of Emerson into Emerton, and of Lowell, probably, to Bigelow, is hardly more extraordinary than to link together three such dissimilar poets, and compare Browning to all three of them, or, indeed, to either of the three. Yet it gives us the high-water mark of what contemporaneous posterity has to offer. The criticism of another nation can, no doubt, offer some advantages of its o
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VII (search)
VII On literary tonics some minor English critic wrote lately of Dr. Holmes's Life of Emerson: The Boston of his day does not seem to have been a very strong place; we lack performance. This is doubtless to be attributed rather to ignorance than to that want of seriousness which Mr. Stedman so justly points out among the younger Englishmen. The Boston of which he speaks was the Boston of Garrison and Phillips, of Whittier and Theodore Parker; it was the headquarters of those old-time ab and Lowell; not that they would not have been conspicuous in any case, but that the moral attribute in their natures might have been far less marked. The great temporary fame of Mrs. Stowe was identified with the same influence. Hawthorne and Holmes were utterly untouched by the antislavery agitation, yet both yielded to the excitement of the war, and felt in some degree its glow. It elicited from Aldrich his noble Fredericksburg sonnet. Stedman, Stoddard, and Bayard Taylor wrote war songs
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XI (search)
individual genius. It is in the perfection and precision of the instantaneous line, wrote Ruskin in his earlier days, that the claim of immortality is made. Dr. Holmes somewhere counsels a young author to be wary of the fate that submerges so many famous works, and advises him to risk his all upon a small volume of poems, amonBut contemporary criticism is also a Nile-gauge, and it records highwater marks with a curious approach to accuracy. There was never a time, for instance, when Holmes's early poem, The Last Leaf, was not recognized as probably his best, up to the time when The Chambered Nautilus superseded it, and took its place unequivocally as his high-water mark. At every author's reading it is the crowning desire that Holmes should read the latter of these two poems, though he is still permitted to add the former. From the moment when Lowell read his Commemoration Ode at Cambridge, that great poem took for him the same position; while out of any hundred critics n
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XV (search)
rils of American humor nothing strikes an American more, on his first visit to England, than the frequent discussion of American authors who are rarely quoted at home, except in stumpspeeches, and whose works hardly have a place as yet in our literary collections, and who still are taken seriously among educated persons in England. The astonishment increases when he finds the almanacs of Josh Billings reprinted in Libraries of American Humor, and given an equal place with the writings of Holmes and Lowell. Finally he is driven to the conclusion that there must be very little humor in England, where things are seriously published in book form which here would only create a passing smile in the corner of a newspaper. He finds that the whole department of American humor was created, so to speak, by the amazed curiosity of Englishmen. It is a phrase that one rarely hears in the United States; and if we have such a thing among us, although it may cling to our garments, we are habitu
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XVIII (search)
of printed catalogues instead of one, it really would afford as fair an approximation as we are likely to obtain to a National gallery of eminent persons. It is easily to be seen that no similar gallery of living persons would have much value. It is not, ordinarily, until after a man's death that serious criticism or biography begins. Comparing a few living names, we find that there are already, in the Cleveland catalogue, subsidiary references to certain living persons, as follows:— Holmes, Whittier12 Mrs. Stowe8 Whitman5 Ex-President Cleveland4 Harte3 Blaine, Howells, James2 Hale, Parkman1 These figures, so far as they go, exhibit the same combination of public and literary service with those previously given. Like those, they effectually dispose of the foolish tradition that republican government tends to a dull mediocrity. Here we see a people honoring by silent suffrages their National leaders, and recording the votes in the catalogue of every town library. T
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXI (search)
XXI The decline of the sentimental at a private charitable reading, held lately a in Boston, it was noticed that the younger part of the audience responded but slightly in the way of sympathy to Dr. Holmes's poem on the Moore Festival, while to the older guests the allusions seemed all very familiar and even touching. The waning of sympathy for Moore and his Irish Melodies simply shows the diminished hold of the sentimental upon us, taking that word to represent a certain rather melodramatic self-consciousness, a tender introspection in the region of the heart, a kind of studious cosseting of one's finer feelings. Perhaps it is not generally recognized how much more abundant was this sort of thing forty years ago than now, and how it moulded the very temperaments of those who were born into it, and grew up under it. Byron had as much to do with creating it as any one in England; but more probably it goes back to Rousseau in France; hardly, I should think to Petrarch, to whom
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXIV (search)
erate in keeping up the common standard. It is too much to ask of any single nation that it should do this alone. Can it be that the real source of the change, if it is actually in progress, may be social rather than literary? It is conceivable that the higher status of the dime novel in England may be simply a part of that reversion toward a lower standard which grows naturally out of an essentially artificial social structure. Is it possible that some strange and abnormal results should not follow where one man is raised to the peerage because he is a successful brewer, and another because he is Alfred Tennyson? No dozen poets or statesmen, it is said, would have been so mourned in England as was Archer the jockey; nor did Holmes or Lowell have a London success so overpowering as that of Buffalo Bill. In a community which thus selects its heroes, why should not the highest of all wreaths of triumph be given to Mr. Haggard's Umslopagaas, that dreadful-looking, splendid savage?