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Margaret Fuller, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (ed. W. H. Channing) 138 0 Browse Search
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches 38 0 Browse Search
George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent, Vol. 10 34 0 Browse Search
Jula Ward Howe, Reminiscences: 1819-1899 30 0 Browse Search
James Parton, Horace Greeley, T. W. Higginson, J. S. C. Abbott, E. M. Hoppin, William Winter, Theodore Tilton, Fanny Fern, Grace Greenwood, Mrs. E. C. Stanton, Women of the age; being natives of the lives and deeds of the most prominent women of the present gentlemen 22 0 Browse Search
James Russell Lowell, Among my books 20 0 Browse Search
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 3 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.) 18 0 Browse Search
Lydia Maria Child, Letters of Lydia Maria Child (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier, Wendell Phillips, Harriet Winslow Sewall) 18 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays 16 0 Browse Search
Matthew Arnold, Civilization in the United States: First and Last Impressions of America. 14 0 Browse Search
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Browsing named entities in Matthew Arnold, Civilization in the United States: First and Last Impressions of America.. You can also browse the collection for Goethe or search for Goethe in all documents.

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country, is with so many Americans a tic, a mania, which every one notices in them, and which sometimes drives their friends half to despair. Recent greatness is always apt to be sensitive and self-assertive; let us remember Dr. Hermann Grimm on Goethe. German literature, as a power, does not begin before Lessing; if Germany had possessed a great literature for six centuries, with names in it like Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, probably Dr. Hermann Grimm would not have thought it necessary to call Goethe the greatest poet that has ever lived. But the Americans in the rage for comparison-making beat the world. Whatever excellence is mentioned, America must, if possible, be brought in to balance or surpass it. That fine and delicate naturalist, Mr. Burroughs, mentions trout, and instantly he adds: British trout, by the way, are not so beautiful as our own; they are less brilliantly marked and have much coarser scales, there is no gold or vermilion in their colouring. Here superiorit
nge in all the relations, and balances, and gravitations of power, as the appearance of a new planet would in the system of the solar world. As for my esteeming it a hard destiny which should force me to visit the United States, I will borrow Goethe's words, and say, that not the spirit is bound, but the foot ; with the best will in the world, I have never yet been able to go to America, and probably I never shall be able. But many a kind communication I re. ceive from that quarter; and whe in which burlesque and melodrama, vulgarity and eccentricity, are combined in strong doses. It may be said that Frenchmen, the present generation of Frenchmen at any rate, themselves take seriously, as of the family of Shakespeare, Moliere, and Goethe, an author half genius, half charlatan, like M. Victor Hugo. They do so; but still they may judge, soundly and correctly enough, another nation's false literature which does not appeal to their weaknesses. I am not blaming America for falling a
Matthew Arnold, Civilization in the United States: First and Last Impressions of America., IV: civilization in the United States. (search)
nd palaces, the life of the great, bears witness to a like imaginative strain in them also, a strain tending after the elevated and the beautiful. In short, what Goethe describes as was uns alle bandigt, das Gemeine--that which holds us all in bondage, the common and ignoble, is, notwithstanding its admitted prevalence, contrary eeks from enjoying the effect made upon it by what is elevated, the case is much the same. There is very little to create such an effect, very much to thwart it. Goethe says somewhere that the thrill of awe is the best thing humanity has :-- Das Schaudern ist der Menschheit bestes Theil. But, if there be a discipline in whse of elevation which human nature, as I have said, instinctively craves — and a substitute which may do as well as the genuine article. The thrill of awe, which Goethe pronounces to be the best thing humanity has, they would fain create by proclaiming themselves at the top of their voices to be the greatest nation upon earth, by