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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book 80 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge 46 0 Browse Search
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 2 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.) 28 0 Browse Search
Laura E. Richards, Maud Howe, Florence Howe Hall, Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910, in two volumes, with portraits and other illustrations: volume 1 24 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Margaret Fuller Ossoli 16 0 Browse Search
Bliss Perry, The American spirit in lierature: a chronicle of great interpreters 12 0 Browse Search
Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (ed. W. H. Channing) 11 1 Browse Search
John Jay Chapman, William Lloyd Garrison 8 0 Browse Search
Mary Thacher Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson: the story of his life 8 0 Browse Search
William Alexander Linn, Horace Greeley Founder and Editor of The New York Tribune 6 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 R. W. Emerson or search for R. W. Emerson in all documents.

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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, The New world and the New book (search)
slavery contest made him an American, so Europe made Motley one; and when the two young aristocrats met after years of absence, they both found that they had thus experienced religion. When we pass to other great American authors, we see that Emerson lifted his voice and spoke even to the humblest of the people of the intrinsic dignity of man:— God said, I am tired of kings, I suffer them no more; Up to my ear each morning brings The outrage of the poor. I will have never a noble, No lined prefers dime novels and cut-and-thrust Christmas melodramas, and finds in what Howells writes only transatlantic kickshaws because he paints character and life, we must say, as our fathers did, Farewell, dear England, and seek what is our own. Emerson set free our poetry, our prose; Howell is setting free our fiction; he himself is as yet only half out of the chrysalis, but the wings are there. It must always be remembered that in literature, alone of all arts, place is of secondary impor
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, III (search)
III The shadow of Europe when the first ocean steamers crossed the Atlantic, about 1838, Willis predicted that they would only make American literature more provincial, by bringing Europe so much nearer than before. Yet Emerson showed that there was an influence at work more potent than steamers, and the colonial spirit in our literature began to diminish from his time. In the days of those first ocean voyages, the favorite literary journal of cultivated Americans was the New York Albion, which was conducted expressly for English residents on this continent; and it was considered a piece of American audacity when Horace Greeley called Margaret Fuller to New York, that the Tribune might give to our literature an organ of its own. Later, on the establishment of Putnam's Magazine, in 1853, I remember that one of the most enlightened New York journalists predicted to me the absolute failure of the whole enterprise. Either an American magazine will command no respect, he said, o
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, IV (search)
e kept in a constant state of subdued exasperation, by the denial of their very right to do these duties. My work, says Emerson, may be of no importance, but I must not think it of no importance if I would do it well. Those of us who toiled for yehese are to be its foundations. If they are to be laid, they must be laid seriously. No man can do anything well, says Emerson, who does not think that what he does is the centre of the visible universe. There is a prevailing theory, which seemd, ridiculous play. In many cases the opinion will be well deserved; in few cases will it do any permanent harm. Since Emerson, we have ceased to be colonial, and have therefore ceased to be over-sensitive. The only danger is that, Emerson being r-sensitive. The only danger is that, Emerson being dead, there should be a slight reaction toward colonial diffidence once more; that we should again pass through the apologetic period; that we should cease for a time to take ourselves seriously.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, V (search)
rom America was only a shade more humiliating than the reverential attention visible in the American press when Matthew Arnold was kind enough to stand on tiptoe upon our lecture-platform and apply his little measuring-tape to the great shade of Emerson. I should like to see in our literature some of the honest self-assertion shown by Senator Tracy of Litchfield, Connecticut, during Washington's administration, in his reply to the British Minister's praises of Mrs. Oliver Wolcott's beauty. Yoe. I remember to have been impressed with a little sense of dismay, on first nearing the shores of Europe, at the thought of what London and Paris might show me in the way of great human personalities; but I said to myself, To one who has heard Emerson lecture, and Parker preach, and Garrison thunder, and Phillips persuade, there is no reason why Darwin or Victor Hugo should pass for more than mortal; and accordingly they did not. We shall not prepare ourselves for a cosmopolitan standard by i
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VI (search)
wledge 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 own—a fresh pair of eyes and freedom from cliques; but a foreigner can be no judge of local coloring, whether in nature or
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 te. The service of all these men, and its results, give a measure of the tonic afforded in the Boston of that day. Nay, Emerson himself was directly responsible for much of their strength. To him more than to all other causes together, says Lowellhe young fellows who write for its journals; and when these youths visit us, what lightweights they are apt to seem! Emerson said of our former literary allegiance to England that it was the tax we paid for the priceless gift of English literatu. The great anti-slavery agitation and the general reformatory mood of half a century ago undoubtedly gave us Channing, Emerson, Whittier, Longfellow, and Lowell; not that they would not have been conspicuous in any case, but that the moral attribu
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VIII (search)
journey, and people fear that the horizontal line of the prairies must more than counterbalance the vertical line of Niagara, in moulding the American mind. Then these very travellers are justly anxious about the sameness of our cities; the streets numbered one way, the avenues the other. Can the young heart, they ask, attach definite associations or tender emotions with an Arabic figure? Is there romance in numeration? Probably they carry the criticism too far. As Nature, according to Emerson, loves the number five, so does the well-bred New Yorker. Surely Fifth Avenue has as definite and distinctive a meaning for him as if there were no other number in the universe; and I am sure that in every city there is some youth who cannot look up at the street-sign denoting some Twenty-third Street or Thirty-fifth Street without a slight spasm of the heart. Such associations last a great while, even if the street be disagreeable; the philosopher Descartes was enamored in his youth with
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, IX (search)
a conservatory of music. To confound these opposite extremes of development under one name is like confounding childhood and second childhood; the one representing all promise, the other all despair. Mr. Henry James, who proves his innate kindness of heart by the constancy with which he is always pitying somebody, turns the full fervor of his condolence on Hawthorne for dwelling amid the narrowing influences of a Concord atmosphere. But if those influences gave us The Scarlet Letter and Emerson's Essays, does it not seem almost a pity that we cannot extend that same local atmosphere, as President Lincoln proposed to do with Grant's whiskey, to some of our other generals? The dweller in a metropolis has the advantage, if such it be, of writing immediately for a few thousand people, all whose prejudices he knows and perhaps shares. He writes to a picked audience; but he who dwells in a country without a metropolis has the immeasurably greater advantage of writing for an audience
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, X (search)
each those of his audience. The audience, he thinks, is often like some hungry Bedouin Arab in the desert, who thinks he has found a sack of pease and opens it eagerly; but, alas! they are only pearls! With what discontent did the audience of Emerson's day inspect his precious stones! Even now Matthew Arnold shakes his head over them and finds Longfellow's little sentimental poem of The Bridge worth the whole of Emerson. When we consider that Byron once accepted meekly his own alleged infeEmerson. When we consider that Byron once accepted meekly his own alleged inferiority to Rogers, and that Southey ranked himself with Milton and Virgil, and only with half-reluctant modesty placed himself below Homer; that Miss Anna Seward and her contemporaries habitually spoke of Hayley as the Mighty Bard, and passed over without notice Hayley's eccentric dependant, William Blake; that but two volumes of Thoreau's writings were published, greatly to his financial loss, during his lifetime, and eight others, with four biographies of him, since his death; that Willis's
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XI (search)
ce 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 ninety-nine would place the Day in June as the best of his shorter passages, and the Bigelow Papers, of course, stand collectively for his humor. Emerson's The Problem—containing the only verses by a living author hung up for contemplation in Westminster Abbey—still stands as the highwater mark of his genius, although possibly, so great is the advantage possessed by a shorter poem, it may be superseded at last by his Daughters of Time. No one doubts that Bayard Taylor will go down to fame, if at all, by his brief Legend of Balaklava, and Julia Ward Howe by her Battle Hymn of the Republic. It is, perhaps, characteristic of the even and well
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