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William Whewell (search for this): chapter 5
he enormous wealth of the world of knowledge, and the stupendous variety of that which I wished to know. Doubtless the modern elective system, or even a wise teacher, would have helped me; they would have compelled me to concentration, but perhaps I may have absolutely needed some such period of intellectual wild oats. This was in September, 1843. I read in that year, and a subsequent similar year, the most desultory and disconnected books, the larger the better: Newton's Principia and Whewell's Mechanical Euclid; Ritter's History of Ancient philosophy; Sismondi's Decline and fall of the Roman empire; Lamennais' Paroles d'un Croyant and Livre du Peuple; Homer and Hesiod; Linnaeus's Correspondence; Emerson over and over. Fortunately I kept up outdoor life also and learned the point where books and nature meet; learned that Chaucer belongs to spring, German romance to summer nights, Amadis de Gaul and the Morte d'arthur to the Christmas time; and found that books of natural histor
Arthur Pickering (search for this): chapter 5
meetings for Social Reform in Boston, where the battle raged high between Associationists and Communists, the leader of the latter being John A. Collins. Defenders of the established order also took part; one of the best of the latter being Arthur Pickering, a Boston merchant; and in all my experience I have never heard a speech so thrilling and effective as that in which Henry Clapp, then a young radical mechanic, answered Pickering's claim that individuality was better promoted by the existinPickering's claim that individuality was better promoted by the existing method of competition. Clapp was afterwards the admired leader of a Bohemian clique in New York and had a melancholy career; but that speech did more than anything else to make me at least a halfway socialist for life. The Brook Farm people were also to be met occasionally at Mrs. Harrington's confectionery shop in School Street, where they took economical refreshments; and still oftener at Miss Elizabeth Peabody's foreign bookstore in West Street, which was a part of the educational inf
Miss Thoreau (search for this): chapter 5
t in New England, but now practically abandoned,--thus securing freedom from study and thought by moderate labor of the hands. This was in 1843, two years before Thoreau tried a similar project with beans at Walden Pond; and also before the time when George and Burrill Curtis undertook to be farmers at Concord. A like course was for college in one of those edifices. Here at last I could live in my own way, making both ends meet by an occasional pupil, and enjoying the same freedom which Thoreau, then unknown to me, was afterwards to possess in his hut. I did not know exactly what I wished to study in Cambridge; indeed, I went there to find out. Perhaps Iaucer belongs to spring, German romance to summer nights, Amadis de Gaul and the Morte d'arthur to the Christmas time; and found that books of natural history, in Thoreau's phrase, furnish the cheerfulest winter reading. Bettine Brentano and Gunderodethe correspondence between the two maidens being just then translated by Margaret
Charles Kraitsir (search for this): chapter 5
also Miss Peabody herself, desultory, dreamy, but insatiable in her love for knowledge and for helping others to it. James Freeman Clarke said of her that she was always engaged in supplying some want that had first to be created; it might be Dr. Kraitsir's lectures on language, or General Bem's historical chart. She always preached the need, but never accomplished the supply until she advocated the kindergarten; there she caught up with her mission and came to identify herself with its histords,--not till afterwards,--looking in my diary, found that I had simply skipped a precise year and gone on with the passage. I continued to teach myself German on a preposterous plan brought forward in those days by a learned Hungarian, Dr. Charles Kraitsir, who had a theory of the alphabet, and held that by its means all the Indo-European languages could be resolved into one; so that we could pass from each to another by an effort of will, like the process of mind-healing. Tried on the Ger
Sarah Winnemucca (search for this): chapter 5
crossing a street in Boston. I did not know her until she had scrambled up with much assistance, and recognizing me at once, fastened on my offered arm, saying breathlessly, I am so glad to see you. I have been wishing to talk to you about Sarah Winnemucca. Now Sarah Winnemucca --and she went on discoursing as peacefully about a maligned Indian protege as if she were strolling in some sequestered moonlit lane, on a summer evening. I have said that the influence wrought upon me by BrooklineSarah Winnemucca --and she went on discoursing as peacefully about a maligned Indian protege as if she were strolling in some sequestered moonlit lane, on a summer evening. I have said that the influence wrought upon me by Brookline life was largely due to one man and one or two writers. The writer who took possession of me, after Emerson, was the German author, Jean Paul Richter, whose memoirs had just been written by a Brookline lady, Mrs. Thomas Lee. This biography set before me, just at the right time, the attractions of purely literary life, carried on in a perfectly unworldly spirit; and his story of Siebenkas, just then opportunely translated, presented the same thing in a more graphic way. From that moment povert
Harriet Prescott (search for this): chapter 5
lance-sheet, if perchance there ever was any, would have shown otherwise. No matter, he had the frank outdoor hospitality of a retired East India merchant, which he was; every afternoon, at a certain hour, sherry and madeira were set out on the sideboard in the airy parlor, with pears, peaches, grapes, nectarines, strawberries and the richest cream, and we knew that visitors would arrive. Cousins and friends came, time-honored acquaintances of the head of the house, eminent public men, Mr. Prescott the historian, or Daniel Webster himself, received like a king. Never did I feel a greater sense of an honor conferred than when that regal black-browed man once selected me as the honored messenger to bring more cream for his chocolate. There was sometimes, though rarely, a little music; and there were now and then simple games on the lawn,--battledore or gracehoops,--but as yet croquet and tennis and golf were not, and the resources were limited. In winter, the same houses were the
Joseph Bem (search for this): chapter 5
of the French Eclecticism, then beginning to fade, but still taught in colleges. There, too, were Schubert's Geschichte der Seele and many of the German balladists who were beginning to enthrall me. There was also Miss Peabody herself, desultory, dreamy, but insatiable in her love for knowledge and for helping others to it. James Freeman Clarke said of her that she was always engaged in supplying some want that had first to be created; it might be Dr. Kraitsir's lectures on language, or General Bem's historical chart. She always preached the need, but never accomplished the supply until she advocated the kindergarten; there she caught up with her mission and came to identify herself with its history. She lived to be very old, and with her broad benevolent face and snowy curls was known to many as The grandmother of Boston. I best associate her with my last interview, a little before her death, when I chanced to pick her out of a snowdrift into which she had sunk overwhelmed duri
Jean Paul (search for this): chapter 5
mmit there was a large detached boulder with a mouldering ladder reaching its top, where I used to climb and rest after my long rambling. Close by there was one dead pinetree of the older growth towering above the younger trees; and sometimes a homeward faring robin or crow would perch and rest there as I was resting, or the sweet bell of the Newton Theological Seminary on its isolated hill would peal out what seemed like the Angelus. What with all these dreamings, and the influence of Jean Paul and Heine, the desire for a free life of study, and perhaps of dreams, grew so strong upon me that I decided to go back to Cambridge as resident graduate, there was then no graduate school,--and establish myself as cheaply as possible, to live after my own will. I was already engaged to be married to one of the Brookline cousins, but I had taken what my mother called the vow of poverty, and was willing to risk the future. Mrs. Farrar, an old friend of the family, with whom I had spent a
Margaret Fuller (search for this): chapter 5
tly a part of the Transcendental Movement, it was yet born of the Newness. Lowell and Story, indeed, both wrote for The Dial, and Maria White had belonged to Margaret Fuller's classes. There was, moreover, passing through the whole community a wave of that desire for a freer and more ideal life which made Story turn aside from hi I had some vague notion of preparing myself for a professorship in literature or mathematics and metaphysics, but in the mean time I read, as Emerson says of Margaret Fuller, at a rate like Gibbon's. There was the obstacle to be faced, which has indeed always proved too much for me,--the enormous wealth of the world of knowledgereau's phrase, furnish the cheerfulest winter reading. Bettine Brentano and Gunderodethe correspondence between the two maidens being just then translated by Margaret Fuller --also fascinated me; and I have seldom been happier than when I spent two summer days beside the Rhine, many years after, in visiting the very haunts where
George Puttenham (search for this): chapter 5
ecoming less important, and I found myself approaching that maturer period which a clever woman defined as the age of everybody. To be sure, I could recall the time when my brother had come home one evening with the curt remark, Jim Lowell doubts whether he shall really be a lawyer, after all; he thinks he shall be a poet. Now that poet was really launched, and indeed was the best launched man of his time, as Willis said. I used to go to his room and to read books he suggested, such as Puttenham's Arte of Poesie, and Chapman's plays. He did most of the talking; it was a way he had; but he was always original and trenchant, though I sometimes rebelled inwardly at his very natural attitude of leadership. We occasionally walked out together, late in the evening, from Emerson's lectures or the concerts which were already introducing Beethoven. Sometimes there was a reception after the lecture, usually at the rooms of a youth who was an ardent Fourierite, and had upon his door a bla
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