previous next
[9] the individual man. Thoreau, who has been so incorrectly and even cruelly described as a man who spurned his fellows, wrote that noble sentence, forever refuting such critics, ‘What is nature, without a human life passing within her? Many joys and many sorrows are the lights and shadows in which she shines most beautiful.’ Hawthorne came nearest to a portrayal of himself in that exquisite prose-poem of ‘The Threefold Destiny,’ in which the world-weary man returns to his native village and finds all his early dreams fulfilled in the life beside his own hearthstone. Margaret Fuller Ossoli wrote the profoundest phrase of criticism which has yet proceeded from any American critic, when she said that in a work of fiction we need to hear the excuses that men make to themselves for their worthlessness.

And now that this early ideal movement has passed by, the far wider movement which is establishing American fiction, not in one locality alone, but on a field broad as the continent, unconsciously recognizes this one principle,— the essential dignity and worth of the individual man. This is what enables it to dispense

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
H. D. Thoreau (1)
Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: