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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life 2 0 Browse Search
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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 1: discontinuance of the guide-board (search)
wed humbly before the invisible, yearned after shadow kisses and blue-flower fragrances, denied ourselves, wept and smiled and were perhaps happier than these fierce gladiators who walk so proudly to meet their death-struggle. The blue-flower allusion is to the favorite ideal symbol of the German Novalis; and certainly the young men who grew up fifty or sixty years ago in America obtained some of their very best tonic influences through such thoroughly ideal tales as that writer's Heinrich von Offerdingen, Fouque's Sintram, Hoffmann's Goldene Topf, and Richter's Titan, whether these were read in the original German or in the translations of Carlyle, Brooks, and others. All these books are now little sought, and rather alien to the present taste. To these were added, in English, such tales as Poe's William Wilson and Hawthorne's The Birthmark and Rappaccini's Daughter,; and, in French, Balzac's Le Peau de Chagrin, which Professor Longfellow used warmly to recommend to his college pu