lectures in 1820, after his return from Germany
, gives a vivid picture of the new thirst for foreign culture.
The North American review
and other periodicals, while persistently urging the need of a distinctively national literature, insisted also upon the value of a deeper knowledge of the literature of the Continent.
This was the burden of Channing
's once famous article on A national literature
in 1823: it was a plea for an independent American school of writers, but these writers should know the best that Europe
had to teach.
The purely literary movement was connected, as the great name of Channing
suggests, with a new sense of freedom in philosophy and religion.
Calvinism had mainly done its work in New England
It had bred an extraordinary type of men and women, it had helped to lay some of the permanent foundations of our democracy, and it was still destined to have a long life in the new West
and in the South
But in that stern section of the country where its influence had been most marked there was now an increasingly sharp reaction against its determinism and its pessimism.
Early in the nineteenth century the most ancient and influential churches in Boston
and the leading professors at Harvard had accepted the new form