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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 6: Lowell's closing years in Cambridge (search)
like Judge Hoar; men of science, like Agassiz; physicians like his own brother-in-law, Dr. Estes Howe. The difference was not in quality so much as in quantity. Lowell could not perhaps say, like Stuart Newton the painter: I meet in London occasionally such company as I meet in Boston all the time ; but he could at least go so far as to say that at home he met a sufficient variety of types to know that men of letters did not monopolize the world. When it came to sheer quantity, of course London was overpowering; it was like going from a small preparatory school to Oxford; but, after all, a man usually finds, in looking back, that his own schoolmates afforded him a microcosm of the world. Lowell, fortunately, lived to refute very promptly the ignorant pity bestowed upon him in advance by Matthew Arnold, for returning home, after the intoxication of his life in England, to live in Elmwood. Mr. Arnold never in his life had one glimpse of what America is to an American; and those w
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 9: the new spelling-book (search)
r the simplification of English spelling, it is one in which, if guided by competent scholars, all who wish well to their race may join. Why should English spelling alone remain unchanged in its chaos, when French and German spelling are undergoing changes all the time? Nay, we could not keep it thus if we would, since the very London printers who are most exasperated against the omission of the u from valor would be still more displeased if they had to spell the mother-tongue as all good London printers were obliged to spell it a hundred years ago. Then they would have spelled pie pye and lie lye, and, on the other hand, they would have given rhyme as rime; they would have used the words stoick, classic, topick, comick, critick, publick, all with the final k. Dr. Johnson, in writing his celebrated story Rasselas, gave the name of Imlac to one of his characters purposely, that by ending it with a c he could make it as unlike as possible to an English word, which should always, he sa