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Chapter 7: romance, poetry, and history

Moving in and out of the Transcendentalist circles, in that great generation preceding the Civil War, were a company of other men — romancers, poets, essayists, historians — who shared in the intellectual liberalism of the age, but who were more purely artists in prose and verse than they were seekers after the unattainable. Hawthorne, for example, sojourned at Concord and at Brook Farm with some of the most extreme types of transcendental extravagance. The movement interested him artistically and he utilized it in his romances, but personally he maintained an attitude of cool detachment from it. Longfellow was too much of an artist to lose his head over philosophical abstractions; Whittier, at his best, had a too genuine poetic instinct for the concrete; and Lowell and Holmes had the saving gift of humor. Cultivated Boston gentlemen like Prescott, Motley, and

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Concord, N. H. (New Hampshire, United States) (1)

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