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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VI (search)
ill clearly have nothing to do with the judgment of posterity. If any foreign country could stand for a contemporaneous posterity, one would think it might be a younger nation judging an older one. Yet how little did the American reputations of fifty years ago afford any sure prediction of permanent fame in respect to English writers! True, we gave early recognition to Carlyle and Tennyson, but scarcely greater than to authors now faded or fading into obscurity,—Milnes (Lord Houghton), Sterling, Trench, Alford, and Bailey. No English poem, it was said, ever sold through so many American editions as Festus; nor was Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy far behind it. Translators and publishers quarrelled bitterly for the privilege of translating Frederika Bremer's novels; but our young people, who already stand for posterity, hardly recall her name. I asked a Swedish commissioner at our Centennial Exhibition in 1876, Is Miss Bremer still read in Sweden? He shook his head; and when I a
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, X (search)
until the present period, when Rider Haggard and Oscar Wilde are regarded, they say, as serious and important authors. But just so men looked back in longing from that earlier day to the period of Scott and Wordsworth, and so farther and farther and farther. It is easy for older men to recall when Thackeray and Dickens were in some measure obscured by now forgotten contemporaries, like Harrison Ainsworth and G. P. R. James, and when one was gravely asked whether he preferred Tennyson to Sterling or Trench or Alford or Faber or Milnes. It is to me one of the most vivid reminiscences of my Harvard College graduation (in 1841) that, having rashly ventured upon a commencement oration whose theme was Poetry in an Unpoetical Age, I closed with an urgent appeal to young poets to lay down their Spenser and Tennyson, and look into life for themselves. Prof. Edward T. Channing, then the highest literary authority in New England, paused in amazement with uplifted pencil over this combinatio
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, Index (search)
epreciation, the trick of, 206. Sentimental, decline of the, 178. Seward, Anna, 218. Shadow of Europe, the, 27. Shakespeare, William, 16, 21, 48, 52, 186, 188, 189, 191. Shelley, P. B., 190. Sheridan, P. H., 47, 123. Sidney, Sir, Philip, 83. Slavery, Emerson's poem on, 8. Sly, Christopher, 213. Smith, Goldwin, 3. Southey, Robert, 217. Spencer, Herbert, 216. Spenser, Edmund, 18, 83, 94. Spofford, Harriet P., 102. Stackpole, J. L., 222. Stedman, E. C., 62, 67, 100. Sterling, John, 56, 94. Stevenson, R. L., 65. St. Nicholas magazine, riddles in, 23. Stockton, F. R., 219. Stoddard, R. H., 67. Stowe, H. B., 57, 58, 66, 68. Sumner, Charles, 70, 155. Sumner, W. G., 19. Swinburne, A. C., 68,158. T. Taine, H. A., 53. Taking ourselves seriously, on, 35. Talleyrand, C. M., 193. Tasso, Torquato, 187, 217. Taylor, Bayard, 67, 100. Taylor, Sir, Henry, 78, 167. Taylor, Thomas, 215. Temperament, an American, 2. Tennyson, Lord, 25, 29, 53, 56, 94, 95