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Bliss Perry, The American spirit in lierature: a chronicle of great interpreters, Chapter 5: the Knickerbocker group (search)
e Knickerbocker group The Fourth of July orator for 1826 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was Edward Everett. Although only thirty-two he was already a distinguished speaker. In the course of his oraous day, fifty years earlier, which had witnessed our Declaration of Independence. But even as Everett was speaking, the aged author of the Declaration breathed his last at Monticello, and in the afival, Thomas Jefferson still lives. But Jefferson was already gone. On the first of August, Everett commemorated the career of the two Revolutionary leaders, and on the following day a greater than Everett, Daniel Webster, pronounced the famous eulogy in Faneuil Hall. Never were the thoughts and emotions of a whole country more adequately voiced than in this commemorative oratory. Its pulse was high with national pride over the accomplishments of half a century. I ask, Everett declared, whether more has not been done to extend the domain of civilization, in fifty years, since the De
Bliss Perry, The American spirit in lierature: a chronicle of great interpreters, Chapter 6: the Transcendentalists (search)
us was due directly to the influence of Europe. Just as the wandering scholars from Italy had brought the New Learning, which was a revival of the old learning, into England in the sixteenth century, so now young New England college men like Edward Everett and George Ticknor brought home from the Continent the riches of German and French scholarship. Emerson's description of the impression made by Everett's lectures in 1820, after his return from Germany, gives a vivid picture of the new thirEverett's lectures in 1820, after his return from Germany, gives a vivid picture of the new thirst for foreign culture. The North American review and other periodicals, while persistently urging the need of a distinctively national literature, insisted also upon the value of a deeper knowledge of the literature of the Continent. This was the burden of Channing's once famous article on A national literature in 1823: it was a plea for an independent American school of writers, but these writers should know the best that Europe had to teach. The purely literary movement was connected, a
litical theorizing can still be studied in speeches that have lost little of their effectiveness through the lapse of time. The years have dealt roughly with Edward Everett, once thought to be the pattern of oratorical gifts and graces. In commemorative oratory, indeed, he ranked with Webster, but the dust is settling upon his lgogue. He is still distrusted and hated by the Brahmin class of his own city, still adored by the children and grandchildren of slaves. Charles Sumner, like Edward Everett, seems sinking into popular oblivion, in spite of the statues and portraits and massive volumes of erudite and caustic and high-minded orations. He may be seover four letters. The Gettysburg address contains but two hundred and seventy words, in ten sentences. It is a flat failure, said Lincoln despondently; but Edward Everett, who had delivered the oration of that day, wrote to the President: I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the
, the, Bryant 102 Emerson, R. W., in 1826, 89; a Transcendentalist, 113-17; quoted, 116-17; life and writings, 119-30; died (1882), 255; typically American, 265; argues for American books, 266 England in the 17th century, 13 English traits, Emerson 128 Essay on man, Pope 55 Essays, Emerson 125-26, 127, 128 Essays of the 20th century, 262-63 Eternal Goodness, the, Whittier 161 Ethan Brand, Hawthorne 134 Evangeline, Longfellow 155 Evening Revery, an, Bryant 106 Everett, Edward, Oration at Cambridge (1826), 86; quoted, 87; lectures, 111-12; estimate of, 215; quoted, 230 Excelsior, Longfellow 5-6, 156 Exiles' Departure, Whittier 159 Fablefor critics, Lowell 170 Fall of the House of Usher, the, Poe 193 Farewell address, Washington 66 Farewell sermon, Edwards 51 Farmer refuted, the, Hamilton 76 Faust (translation), Taylor, 255 Federalist, 65, 76, 77 Ferdinand and Isabella, history of the Reign of, Prescott 179 Fiction of the 20th centu