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Rover, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
an now say. It was bad enough. Yet the next year Cooper published The Spy, one of the finest of his novels, which was instantly welcomed in England and translated in France. Then came, in swift succession, The pioneers, the first Leather- Stocking tale in order of composition, and The Pilot, to show that Scott's Pirate was written by a landsman! Lionel Lincoln and The last of the Mohicans followed. The next seven years were spent in Europe, mainly in France, where The Prairie and The red Rover were written. Cooper now looked back upon his countrymen with eyes of critical detachment, and made ready to tell them some of their faults. He came home to Cooperstown in 1833, the year after Irving's return to America. He had won, deservedly, a great fame, which he proceeded to imperil by his combativeness with his neighbors and his harsh strictures upon the national character, due mainly to his lofty conception of the ideal America. He continued to spin yarns of sea and shore, and to
Great Barrington (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
icism, the reticence of the Puritan. It was highly successful, judged even by material standards. Thanatopsis had been instantly regarded in 1817 as the finest poem yet produced in America. The author was invited to contribute to the North American review an essay on American poetry, and this, like all of Bryant's prose work, was admirably written. He delivered his Harvard Phi Beta Kappa poem, The Ages, in 1821, the year of Emerson's graduation. After a brief practice of the law in Great Barrington, he entered in 1826 into the unpromising field of journalism in New York. While other young Knickerbockers wasted their literary strength on trifles and dissipated their moral energies, Bryant held steadily to his daily task. His life in town was sternly ascetic, but he allowed himself long walks in the country, and he continued to meditate a somewhat thankless Muse. In 1832 he visited his brothers on the Illinois prairies, and stopped one day to chat with a tall awkward uncouth lad
Hudson River (United States) (search for this): chapter 5
mena, namely, the actual beginning of a legend which the world is unwilling to let die. The book made Sir Walter Scott's sides ache with laughter, and reminded him of the humor of Swift and Sterne. But certain New Yorkers were slow to see the joke. Irving was himself a New Yorker, born just at the close of the Revolution, of a Scotch father and English mother. His youth was pleasantly idle, with a little random education, much theatergoing, and plentiful rambles with a gun along the Hudson River. In 1804 he went abroad for his health, returned and helped to write the light social satire of the Salmagundi papers, and became, after the publication of the Knickerbocker history, a local celebrity. Sailing for England in 1815 on business, he stayed until 1832 as a roving man of letters in England and Spain and then as Secretary of the American Legation in London. The sketch book, Bracebridge Hall, and Tales of a traveler are the best known productions of Irving's fruitful residence
Long Island City (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
knor, Prescott, and Bancroft, somewhat older men, were settling to their great tasks. Emerson was entering upon his duties as a minister. Edgar Allan Poe, at that University of Virginia which Jefferson had just founded, was doubtless revising Tamerlane and other poems which he was to publish in Boston in the following year. Holmes was a Harvard undergraduate. Garrison had just printed Whittier's first published poem in the Newburyport Free Press. Walt Whitman was a barefooted boy on Long Island, and Lowell, likewise seven years of age, was watching the birds in the treetops of Elmwood. But it was Washington Irving who showed all of these men that nineteenth century England would be interested in American books. The very word Knickerbocker is one evidence of the vitality of Irving's happy imaginings. In 1809 he had invented a mythical Dutch historian of New York named Diedrich Knickerbocker and fathered upon him a witty parody of Dr. Mitchill's grave Picture of New York. To
Astoria, N. Y. (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
as Secretary of the American Legation in London. The sketch book, Bracebridge Hall, and Tales of a traveler are the best known productions of Irving's fruitful residence in England. The Life of Columbus, the Conquest of Granada, and The Alhambra represent his first sojourn in Spain. After his return to America he became fascinated with the Great West, made the travels described in his Tour of the prairies, and told the story of roving trappers and the fur trade in Captain Bonneville and Astoria. For four years he returned to Spain as American Minister. In his last tranquil years at Sunnyside on the Hudson, where he died in 1859, he wrote graceful lives of Goldsmith and of Washington. Such a glance at the shelf containing Irving's books suggests but little of that personal quality to which he owes his significance as an interpreter of America to the Old World. This son of a narrow, hard, Scotch dealer in cutlery, this drifter about town when New York was only a big slovenly
England (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 5
lery, this drifter about town when New York was only a big slovenly village, this light-hearted scribbler of satire and sentiment, was a gentleman born. His boyhood and youth were passed in that period of Post-Revolutionary reaction which exhibits the United States in some of its most unlovely aspects. Historians like Henry Adams and McMaster have painted in detail the low estate of education, religion, and art as the new century began. The bitter feeling of the nascent nation toward Great Britain was intensified by the War of 1812. The Napoleonic Wars had threatened to break the last threads of our friendship for France, and suspicion of the Holy Alliance led to an era of national selfassertion of which the Monroe Doctrine was only one expression. The raw Jacksonism of the West seemed to be gaining upon the older civilizations represented by Virginia and Massachusetts. The self-made type of man began to pose as the genuine American. And at this moment came forward a man of na
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
hich the Monroe Doctrine was only one expression. The raw Jacksonism of the West seemed to be gaining upon the older civilizations represented by Virginia and Massachusetts. The self-made type of man began to pose as the genuine American. And at this moment came forward a man of natural lucidity and serenity of mind, of perfect orable public life it is necessary to know something of the city of his choice, but to enter into the spirit of his poetry one must go back to the hills of western Massachusetts. Bryant had a right to his cold-weather mind. He came from Mayflower stock. His father, Dr. Peter Bryant of Cummington, was a sound country physicianlight gift for narrative or drama, and he rarely sounds the clear lyric note. But everywhere in his verse there is that cold purity of the winter hills in Western Massachusetts, something austere and elemental which reaches kindred spirits below the surface on which intellect and passion have their play, something more primitive,
Dutch (West Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
ate. Garrison had just printed Whittier's first published poem in the Newburyport Free Press. Walt Whitman was a barefooted boy on Long Island, and Lowell, likewise seven years of age, was watching the birds in the treetops of Elmwood. But it was Washington Irving who showed all of these men that nineteenth century England would be interested in American books. The very word Knickerbocker is one evidence of the vitality of Irving's happy imaginings. In 1809 he had invented a mythical Dutch historian of New York named Diedrich Knickerbocker and fathered upon him a witty parody of Dr. Mitchill's grave Picture of New York. To read Irving's chapters today is to witness one of the rarest and most agreeable of phenomena, namely, the actual beginning of a legend which the world is unwilling to let die. The book made Sir Walter Scott's sides ache with laughter, and reminded him of the humor of Swift and Sterne. But certain New Yorkers were slow to see the joke. Irving was himself
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 5
fered during the middle of the century in his own country, for the strongest New England authors taught the public to demand more thought and passion than were in Irted men of letters have represented so perfectly the inherited traits of the New England Puritan. To understand his long and honorable public life it is necessary t qualities. The spiritual preoccupations of many a voiceless generation of New England Puritans found a tongue at last in this late-born son of theirs. The determr to themselves. But before turning to that chapter, we must look back to New England once more and observe the blossoming-time of its ancient commonwealths. During the thirty years preceding the Civil War New England awoke to a new life of the spirit. So varied and rich was her literary productiveness in this era that it still remains her greatest period, and so completely did New England writers of this epoch voice the ideals of the nation that the great majority of Americans, even t
Cambridge (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 5
Chapter 5: the 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 oration he apostrophized John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as venerable survivors of that momentous 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 afternoon of that same day Adams died also, murmuring, it is said, with his latest breath, and as if with the whimsical obstinacy of an old man who hated to be beaten by his ancient rival, 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 o
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