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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 3: the Philadelphia period (search)
oral people. In society, habits were not always quite moral, or conversation always quite decent. Gentlemen, according to John Adams, sat till eleven o'clock over their after-dinner wine, and drank healths in that elaborate way which still amazes the American visitor in England. Nay, young ladies, if we may accept Miss Rebecca Franks as authority, drank each other's health out of punch tankards in the morning. Gambling prevailed among both sexes. An anonymous letterwriter, quoted in Mr. Griswold's Republican Court, declares that some resident families could not have supported the cost of their entertainments and their losses at 100, but that they had the adroitness to make the temporary residents pay their expenses. At balls people danced country dances, the partners being designated beforehand by the host, and usually remaining unchanged during the whole evening — though this severity was sometimes mitigated, in the language of the Marquis de Chastellux, when supper was served,
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 4: the New York period (search)
he one as with the other. Another was Nathaniel Parker Willis, once so famous that he boasted to Longfellow of making ten thousand dollars a year by his writings at a time when Longfellow wished he himself had made ten hundred. He was also the first to demonstrate the truth, long since so well established by others, that the highest circles of English society are only too easily penetrable by any American not hampered with too much modesty. Still another was Charles Fenno Hoffman, whom Dr. Griswold describes as the Knickerbocker Moore, and who wrote the song Sparkling and Bright. There was no doubt a certain imitativeness about these men which may well be called provincial. The Knickerbocker magazine, for instance, they liked to personify as Maga after the fashion of Blackwood; the only bit of such affectation, it may be said, which survived long enough to disfigure even the early Atlantic. The whole New York school, apart from Irving and Cooper, has undergone a reaction in fa
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Chapter 8: the Southern influence---Whitman (search)
lf. No atmosphere can be more belittling than that of his New York Literati: it is a mass of vehement dogmatism and petty personalities; opinions warped by private feeling, and varying from page to page. He seemed to have absolutely no fixed standard of critical judgment. There was, indeed, little unbiased criticism anywhere in America during those acrimonious days, when the most honorable head might be covered with insult or neglect, while any young poetess who smiled sweetly on Poe or Griswold or Willis might find herself placed among the Muses. Poe complimented and rather patronized Hawthorne, but found him only peculiar and not original; saying of him, He has not half the material for the exclusiveness of literature that he has for its universality, whatever that may mean; and finally, he tried to make it appear that Hawthorne had borrowed from himself. He returned again and again to the attack on Longfellow as a willful plagiarist, denouncing the trivial resemblance between
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature, Index. (search)
Freneau, Philip, 36-39. Fuller, H. B., 255. Fuller (Ossoli), Margaret, 179, 180, 232. Garland, Hamlin, 254. Garrison, William Lloyd, 124, 148, 151. Godwin, William, 67, 72. Golden legend, Longfellow's, 144. Goodrich, Samuel G., 190. Griswold, Rufus W., 54, 105, 208, 210. Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 104. Hamlet, 243, 272, 279. Hancock, John, 48. Harper's magazine, 132. Harte, Bret, 172, 236, 245, 246, 253, 273. Hartford wits, 38. Harvard College, 125, 140, 147, 202. Hathorne, . Quarterly Review, 164. Quebec, Capture of, 121. Quincy, Edmund, 88. Quincy, Josiah, 169. Quincy, Mrs., Josiah, 90. Radcliffe, Mrs., 72. Ramona, Mrs. Jackson's, 127, 128. Raven, Poe's, 211. Reid, Mayne, 262. Republican Court, Griswold's, 54. Rhode Island almanac, a, Franklin's, 58. Richardson, James, 48. Ricketson, Daniel, 103, 196. Robinson, Dr. J. H., 262. Rochambeau, Comte de, 52. Roseboro, Viola, 253. Rowson, Mrs., Susanna, 92. Sacken, Baron, Osten, 275. Sale