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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book 44 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 32 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays 32 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Walcott Boynton, Reader's History of American Literature 31 1 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Letters and Journals of Thomas Wentworth Higginson 18 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men 15 1 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier 14 0 Browse Search
Mary Thacher Higginson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson: the story of his life 12 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Margaret Fuller Ossoli 10 0 Browse Search
Laura E. Richards, Maud Howe, Florence Howe Hall, Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910, in two volumes, with portraits and other illustrations: volume 1 9 1 Browse Search
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Browsing named entities in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book. You can also browse the collection for Alfred Tennyson or search for Alfred Tennyson in all documents.

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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, II (search)
erature—that is, all literature more than a century or two old—is common to the two countries. All contemporary literature cannot yet be judged, because it is contemporary. The time may come when not a line of current English poetry may remain except the four quatrains hung up in St. Margaret's Church and when the Matthew Arnold of Macaulay's imaginary New Zealand may find with surprise that Whittier and Lowell produced something more worthy of that accidental immortality than Browning or Tennyson. The time may come when a careful study of even the despised American newspapers may reveal them to have been in one respect nearer to a high civilization than any of their European compeers; since the leading American literary journals criticise their own contributors with the utmost freedom, while there does not seem to be a journal in London or Paris that even attempts that courageous candor. To dwell merely on the faults and follies of a nascent nation is idle; vitality is always hop
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, III (search)
in the world, because the most centralized and compact, can hardly believe at first that the authors around him are made of the same clay with those whom he has often jostled on the sidewalk at home. He finds himself dividing his scanty hours between celebrated writers on the one side, and great historic remains on the other; as I can remember, one day, to have weighed a visit to Darwin against one to York Minster, and later to have postponed Stonehenge, which seemed likely to endure, for Tennyson, who perhaps might not. The young American sees in London, to quote Willis again, whole shelves of his library walking about in coats and gowns, and they seem for the moment far more interesting than the similar shelves in home-made garments behind him. He is not cured until he is some day startled with the discovery that there are cultivated foreigners to whom his own world is foreign, and therefore fascinating; men who think the better of him for having known Mark Twain, and women who are
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, VI (search)
by the criticism: Why should I be pained? I have not the honor to be among the intimate friends of M. de Voltaire. Even at this day the French journalists are quite bewildered by the Pall Mall Gazette's lists of English immortals; and ask who Tennyson is, and what plays Ruskin has written. Those who happened, like myself, to be in Paris during the Exposition of 1878 remember well the astonishment produced in the French mind by the discovery that any pictures were painted in England; and the think it might be a younger nation judging an older one. Yet how little did the American reputations of fifty years ago afford any sure prediction of permanent fame in respect to English writers! True, we gave early recognition to Carlyle and Tennyson, but scarcely greater than to authors now faded or fading into obscurity,—Milnes (Lord Houghton), Sterling, Trench, Alford, and Bailey. No English poem, it was said, ever sold through so many American editions as Festus; nor was Tupper's Prove
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, X (search)
terary society—in the days when Dickens and Thackeray were yet alive, and when Tennyson and Browning were in their prime, instead of waiting until the present period,sworth and G. P. R. James, and when one was gravely asked whether he preferred Tennyson to Sterling or Trench or Alford or Faber or Milnes. It is to me one of the moe, I closed with an urgent appeal to young poets to lay down their Spenser and Tennyson, and look into life for themselves. Prof. Edward T. Channing, then the highes, Ah! that is a different thing. I wish you to say what you think. I regard Tennyson as a great calf, but you are entitled to your own opinion. The oration met wi worthy professor; this comment affording certainly an excellent milestone for Tennyson's early reputation. It is worth while to remember, also, that this theory of calfhood, like most of the early criticisms on Tennyson, had a certain foundation in the affectations and crudities of these first fruits, long since shed and ignor
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XI (search)
th prize poems and Commencement orations, if one can only determine in advance which is the single and felicitous offspring possessing that precise quality which the physicians name viability —the capacity to keep itself alive. Happily, this is not so difficult as one might suppose. It often takes a great while to determine the comparative merit of authors,— indeed, the newspapers are just now saying that the late Mr. Tupper had a larger income from the sales of his works than Browning, Tennyson, and Lowell jointly received,—but it does not take so long to determine which among an author's works are the best; and it is probable that the Descent of Neptune in the Iliad, and the Vision of Helen in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, and Sappho's famous ode, and the Birds of Aristophanes, and the Hylas of Theocritus, and the Sparrow of Catullus, and the De Arte Poetica of Horace were early recognized as being the same distinct masterpieces that we now find them. It is the tradition that an <
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XIV (search)
ny surprise, and adds soon after, It is not to be made a reproach against America that men like Tennyson or Darwin have not been born there. Surely not; nor is it a reproach against England that men statement of his proposition would have been different? It occurs to him to specify Darwin and Tennyson, but the two men who above all others represent creative intellectual power, up to this time, ind results of Darwin's thought were always an object of interest to Emerson. When we turn to Tennyson the comparison must proceed on different grounds, and takes us back to Coleridge's fine definitred. It is because Emerson in his way and Hawthorne in his way touch us at greater depths than Tennyson that their chance for immortality is stronger. Form is doubtless needed in the expression; but of this kind in Emerson are balanced by tones and cadences so noble that the exquisite lyre of Tennyson, taken at its best, has never reached them. I do not object to the details of treatment in Mr.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XVIII (search)
litary qualities, but all leaders are recognized for what they have given. The result is a tribute to that natural inequality of men which is as fully recognized, in a true republic, as their natural equality; that is, they are equal in the sense of being equally men, but not equal in their gifts as men. It is curious to see how the social falsities of English society tell on educated Englishmen, so surely as they grow old enough to shed the generous impulses of youth. It was in vain that Tennyson wrote Clara Vere de Vere, and Froude The Nemesis of Faith, and Ruskin Modern Painters, and Swinburne the Song in Time of Order: let them once reach middle life and they are all stanch Tories and accept dukes; and now Huxley follows in their train. But here in America we find no difficulty in selecting our natural leaders, sooner or later, and owning them; they do not have to fight for recognition, in most cases; it comes by a process like the law of gravitation. In our colonial town rec
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXI (search)
, then, was the path through which he came to Silas Lapham and Lemuel Barker; and very likely, when Mr. Henry James's biography comes to be written, he may yet be found to have begun by taking tremulous footsteps in some such romantic path. After all, sentimentalism is a thing immortal, for it represents the slight overplus and excess of youthful emotion; it bears the same relation to the deeper feelings of later life that the college contests of the football ground bear to life's conflicts. Tennyson, who began by representing it, and then, with a hand far finer than that of Dickens, helped to guide us out of it, has unconsciously described the service done to the age by the epoch of sentimentalism when he paints in his Gardener's Daughter, the mission fulfilled by Juliet, the earliest object of his flame:— The summer pilot of an empty heart Unto the shores of nothing. Know you not Such touches are but embassies of love To tamper with the feelings, ere he found Empire for life
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXIII (search)
ty with more knowledge than when he went there, but with less power of felicitous expression. But Greece and Rome have still unexhausted lessons, and so have Persia and Arabia; these last, indeed, wreathe their weapons with too many roses, but they carry true nevertheless. Dante not only created his own conceptions, but almost the very language in which he wrote; and what was his power of expression we can judge best by seeing in how few lines he can put vividly before us some theme which Tennyson or Browning afterward hammers out into a long poem. In English literature there seemed to be developing, in the time of Addison, something of that steady, even, felicitous power which makes French prose so remarkable; but it has passed, since his day, possibly from excess of vigor, into a prolonged series of experiments. Johnson experimentalized in one direction, Coleridge in another; Landor, Macaulay, Carlyle, Ruskin, in other directions still; and the net result is an uncertain type of
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The new world and the new book, XXIV (search)
professional teachers in England, what is to become of the followers? It is encouraging, perhaps, to see that the prolonged American resistance to the Anglicism different to may be having a little reflex influence, when the Spectator describes Tennyson's second Locksley Hall as being different from his first. The influence is less favorable when we find one of the most local and illiterate of American colloquialisms reappearing in the Pall Mall Gazette, where it says: Even Mr. Sala is better grows naturally out of an essentially artificial social structure. Is it possible that some strange and abnormal results should not follow where one man is raised to the peerage because he is a successful brewer, and another because he is Alfred Tennyson? No dozen poets or statesmen, it is said, would have been so mourned in England as was Archer the jockey; nor did Holmes or Lowell have a London success so overpowering as that of Buffalo Bill. In a community which thus selects its heroes,
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