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United States (United States) (search for this): chapter 8
rophesied a fame which the public has not confirmed. Yet he was not indiscriminate in his praise, and suggested some amendments which improved that tale very much. He was capable also of being influenced by argument, and was really the only editor I have ever encountered whose judgment I could move for an instant by any cajoling; editors being, as a rule, a race made of adamant, as they should be. On the other hand, he advised strongly against my writing the Young Folks' history of the United States, which nevertheless turned out incomparably the most successful venture I ever made, having sold to the extent of two hundred thousand copies, and still selling well after twenty years. His practical judgment was thus not infallible, but it came nearer to it than that of any other literary man I have ever known. With all his desire to create a staff, Fields was always eagerly looking out for new talent, and was ever prompt to counsel and encourage. He liked, of course, to know eminent
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 8
the very first page of the first number gave as its basis the strong current of thought and feeling which for a few years past has led many sincere persons in New England to make new demands on literature. It was a foregone conclusion, however, that these new demands could not be fully met by the prophets who first announced thetook our whole American educational system away from the English tradition, and substituted the German methods, had been transmitted through four young men from New England, who had studied together at Gottingen. These reporters had sent back the daring assertion that while our cisatlantic schools and colleges had nothing to learnement that it was too French or too German, and not English enough; and when George Ripley's library was sold, it proved to be by far the best German library in New England except Theodore Parker's. There was at that time an eager clamoring not only for German, but for French, Italian, and even Swedish literature; then, when the At
Dartmouth, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
at Gottingen. These reporters had sent back the daring assertion that while our cisatlantic schools and colleges had nothing to learn from England,--not even from the Oxford and Cambridge of that day,--they had, on the contrary, everything to learn from the German institutions. The students in question were Cogswell, Everett, Ticknor, and, in a less degree, Bancroft. Three of these went from Harvard College, Everett and Bancroft at the expense of the university; while Ticknor went from Dartmouth. They all brought back to Harvard what they could not find in England, but had gained in Germany; Everett writing to my father in a letter which lies before me (dated June 6, 1818), There is more teaching and more learning in our American Cambridge than there is in Oxford and Cambridge put together. They laid the foundation for non-English training not only in Boston, but in America, at a time when the very best literary journal in New York, and indeed in this country, was called The Alb
Gottingen (Lower Saxony, Germany) (search for this): chapter 8
ve all German, so far as its external factors went. Nothing could be much further from the truth than the late remark of an essayist that Boston is almost the sole survival upon our soil of a purely English influence. As a matter of fact, the current of thought which between 18 16 and 18 8 took our whole American educational system away from the English tradition, and substituted the German methods, had been transmitted through four young men from New England, who had studied together at Gottingen. These reporters had sent back the daring assertion that while our cisatlantic schools and colleges had nothing to learn from England,--not even from the Oxford and Cambridge of that day,--they had, on the contrary, everything to learn from the German institutions. The students in question were Cogswell, Everett, Ticknor, and, in a less degree, Bancroft. Three of these went from Harvard College, Everett and Bancroft at the expense of the university; while Ticknor went from Dartmouth.
Sweden (Sweden) (search for this): chapter 8
best literary journal in New York, and indeed in this country, was called The Albion, and was English through and through. It was, in fact, made a temporary reproach to the early Transcendental movement that it was too French or too German, and not English enough; and when George Ripley's library was sold, it proved to be by far the best German library in New England except Theodore Parker's. There was at that time an eager clamoring not only for German, but for French, Italian, and even Swedish literature; then, when the Atlantic circle succeeded to the domain of the Transcendentalists, it had in Longfellow the most accomplished translator of his day; and the Continental influence still went at least side by side with the English, if it did not prevail over it. But behind this question of mere intellectual aliment lay the problem whether we should have a literature of our own; and it was a strength, not a weakness, in these men when they aimed, in the words of young Robert Bartle
Lake Quinsigamond (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
, the local Natural History Society, one branch of which, the botanical club, still bears my name. I also read many books on anthropology, and wrote for the Atlantic various essays on kindred themes, which were afterwards published in a volume as Out-door papers. The preparation for this work gave that enormity of pleasure, in Wordsworth's phrase, which only the habit of minute and written observation can convey; and I had many happy days, especially in the then unprofaned regions of Lake Quinsigamond. With all this revived the old love of athletic exercises: I was president of a gymnastic club, a skating club, and a cricket club, playing in several match games with the latter. I never actually belonged to a volunteer engine company, such as then existed everywhere,--it is a wonder that I did not,--but was elected an honorary member of Tiger Engine Company Number 6, though unluckily the Tigers engaged in a general fight at their annual meeting, before I could join, and the compan
Mount Katahdin (Maine, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
nastic Club, of which I was then president. Alas, I was already thirty-three years old, and youth is merciless. Nor can I wonder at the criticism when I recall that the daring boy who made it died a few years after in the Civil War, a brevet brigadier-general, at the age of twenty. I had previously written an article for the North American review, another for the Christian Examiner, and three papers in prose for Putnam's magazine, one of these latter being a description of a trip to Mount Katahdin, written as a jeu d'esprit in the assumed character of a lady of the party. A few poems of mine had also been accepted by the last-named periodical; but these had attracted little notice, and the comparative éclat attendant on writing for the Atlantic monthly made it practically, in my case, the beginning of a literary life. I was at once admitted to the Atlantic Club, an informal dinner of contributors in those days, and at first found it enjoyable. Before this I had belonged to a la
Newburyport (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
examination committee in Worcester together with a Roman Catholic priest, and on the regular committee in Newport with a colored clergyman; thus bringing my sheaves with me, as a clever woman said. I had a hand in organizing the great Worcester Public Library, and was one of its early board of trustees, at a time when we little dreamed of its expansion and widespread usefulness. The old love for natural history survived, and I undertook again the microscopic work which I had begun in Newburyport under the guidance of an accomplished biologist, Dr. Henry C. Perkins. He had also introduced me to the works of Oken and Richard Owen; and I had written for the Christian Examiner (July, 1852) a paper called Man and nature, given first as a lyceum lecture, which expressed something of that morning glow before sunrise which existed after the views of Goethe and Oken had been made public, but when Darwin's great discoveries were yet to be achieved. In Worcester I did a great deal in the
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
almost as important as the meat. Living in Worcester, I saw little of my fellow contributors excepher; he philosophizes about everything. To Worcester came also Alcott and Thoreau, from time to trown, the freshest and most original mind in Worcester, by vocation a tailor, and sending out more an important part of my happiness during my Worcester life, and that the work growing out of it be by Martin Stowell — in enforcing the law in Worcester. Experience brought me to the opinion, whiceady spoken of continued antislavery work in Worcester. I was also deeply interested in the problejust before liberation, I had brought him to Worcester, and placed him in a family of worthy Englisarried a farmer's daughter in a village near Worcester; he set up a little shop on very scanty capiointed on a special examination committee in Worcester together with a Roman Catholic priest, and oeat discoveries were yet to be achieved. In Worcester I did a great deal in the way of field obser
Concord (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 8
the eccentric and unsuccessful Thoreau — whom Lowell and even his own neighbors set aside as a mere imitator of Emerson -is still growing in international fame. I remember well that when I endeavored to enlist Judge Hoar, the leading citizen of Concord, in an effort to persuade Miss Thoreau to allow her brother's journals to be printed, he heard me partly through, and then quickly said, But you have left unsettled the preliminary question, Why should any one care to have Thoreau's journals putt in the end the carving is almost as important as the meat. Living in Worcester, I saw little of my fellow contributors except at those dinners, though Emerson frequently lectured in that growing city, and I occasionally did the same thing at Concord, where I sometimes stayed at his house. It was a delight to be in his study, to finger his few and well-read books; a discipline of humility to have one's modest portmanteau carried upstairs by Plato himself; a joy to see him, relapsed into a h
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