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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 2: old Cambridge in three literary epochs (search)
arlyle with his impetuous vigor and by what Holmes called the Macaulay-flowers of literature. These influences in England, with the rise of Emerson and Parker in America, brought a distinct change, and Lowell eminently contributed his share when Professor Bowen, editing the North American, complained of his articles as being too bowy opinions which lay behind the movement called Transcendentalism, there can be no doubt that, so far as literature went, it was the beginning of a new era for America. In the very first number of the Dial, upon its first page Emerson announced it as its primary aim to make new demands on literature ; and it is worth noticing tprobable that we shall use a trifle larger type than our New York contemporary. Poetry, of course, we pay for according to value. There are not above six men in America (known to me) to whom I would pay anything for poetry. There is no medium; it is good or it is good-for-nothing. Lowell I esteem most; after him Whittier (the l
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 4: Longfellow (search)
intimate friends and both of which met with a good deal of criticism, especially in respect of metre, after their publication. Their success was the more remarkable, as poems on Indian subjects had up to that time been uniformly unsuccessful in America, and those on historical themes had not fared much better. It was, however, his short poems which first made him known, and these derived strength from their simplicity and from being near to the popular heart. It has latterly been somewhat thedicted by his contemporaries. He undoubtedly shared with Carlyle, whose miscellaneous essays were first collected and edited during this period by Charles Stearns Wheeler, another Cambridge instructor, the function of interpreting Germany to America. This he did first in Hyperion, and continued to do in his Poets and poetry of Europe and his numerous translations. Few men, I suspect, have ever surpassed him as what may be called natural translators, proving it possible to produce versions
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 5: Lowell (search)
longed distinctly to the colonial type, and six out of the seven have, as has been seen, some literary associations. It would be impossible to find elsewhere in America, and hard to select anywhere, a series of houses in this respect so notable. Mrs. Oliver was sister to Vassall, and Mrs. Vassall was sister to Oliver. The deceaetters nor even those friendships and affections which were to him as the air he breathed. Yet it is quite certain that this attitude was not quite understood in America, for various reasons not now worth analyzing, chief of which was the difficult position in which he was placed on account of Fenianism and from the difficulty of dear Granville, the censure proceeding from those who did not know how much more common is this familiar form of address, among social equals, in England than in America. In the same way the ordinary diplomatic courtesies such as He was good enough to say, or I am bound to take for granted, or, My friend, if I may be permitted to