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Charles Eliot Norton (search for this): chapter 7
college, in 1848, he published The Biglow papers (First Series), A Fable for critics, and The vision of Sir Launfal. After a long visit to Europe and the death of his wife, he gave some brilliant Lowell Institute lectures in Boston, and was appointed Longfellow's successor at Harvard. He went to Europe again to prepare himself, and after entering upon his work as a teacher made a happy second marriage, served for four years as the first editor of The Atlantic, and helped his friend Charles Eliot Norton edit The North American review. The Civil War inspired a second series of Biglow papers and the magnificent Commemoration Ode of 1865. Then came volume after volume of literary essays, such as Among My books and My study windows, and an occasional book of verse. Again he made a long sojourn in Europe, resigned his Harvard professorship, and in 1877 was appointed Minister to Spain. After three years he was transferred to the most important post in our diplomatic service, London. H
Andrew Rykman (search for this): chapter 7
, though he retained to the last his Quaker creed, he held its simple tenets in such undogmatic and winning fashion that his hymns are sung today in all the churches. When The Atlantic monthly was established in 1857, Whittier was fifty. He took his place among the contributors to the new magazine not as a controversialist but as a man of letters, with such poems as Tritemius, and Skipper Ireson's Ride. Characteristic productions of this period are My Psalm, Cobbler Keezar's vision, Andrew Rykman's Prayer, the Eternal Goodness — poems grave, sweet, and tender. But it was not until the publication of Snow-bound in 1866 that hitter's work touched its widest popularity. He had never married, and the deaths of his mother and sister Elizabeth set him brooding, in the desolate Amesbury house, over memories of his birthplace, six miles away in East Haverhill. The homestead had gone out of the hands of the Whittiers, and the poet, nearing sixty, set himself to compose an idyll descri
Henry D. Thoreau (search for this): chapter 7
ness of our soil. Nature lovers like to point out the freshness and delicacy of his reaction to the New England scene. Thoreau himself, whom Lowell did not like, was not more veracious an observer than the author of Sunthina in the Pastoral line, nd his letters, and the latter in particular reveal those ardors and fidelities of friendship which men like Emerson and Thoreau longed after without ever quite experiencing. Lowell's cosmopolitan reputation, which was greatly enhanced in the last fascinating realistic writer who admired Scott, Byron, and Cooper for their tales of action, and despised Wordsworth and Thoreau as effeminate sentimentalists who were preoccupied with themselves. In Parkman the wheel has come full circle, and a mot sunset, the supernal beauty of which Poe dreamed in the Fordham cottage, the bay horse and hound and turtle-dove which Thoreau lost long ago and could not find in his hut at Walden, these were something which our later Greeks of the New England At
Jared Sparks (search for this): chapter 7
olarship, a sense of intimate concern with the great issues of the past, and a diffusion of intellectual tastes throughout the community. It was no accident that Sparks and Ticknor, Bancroft and Prescott, Motley and Parkman, were Massachusetts men. Jared Sparks, it is true, inherited neither wealth nor leisure. He was a furioJared Sparks, it is true, inherited neither wealth nor leisure. He was a furious, unwearied toiler in the field of our national history. Born in 1789, by profession a Unitarian minister, he began collecting the papers of George Washington by 1825. John Marshall, the great jurist, had published his five-volume life of his fellow Virginian a score of years earlier. But Sparks proceeded to write another bioSparks proceeded to write another biography of Washington and to edit his writings. He also edited a Library of American biography, wrote lives of Franklin and Gouverneur Morris, was professor of history and President of Harvard, and lived to be seventy-seven. As editor of the writings of Franklin and Washington, he took what we now consider unpardonable liberties
Liberty. My father, he said, was an old-fashioned Democrat, and really believed in the Preamble of the Bill of Rights which reaffirmed the Declaration of Independence. The taciturn father transmitted to his sons a hatred of kingcraft and priestcraft, the inward moral freedom of the Quaker touched with humanitarian passion. The spirit of a boyhood in this homestead is veraciously told in The Barefoot boy, School-days, snow-bound, Ramoth Hill, and Telling the Bees. It was a chance copy of Burns that revealed to the farmer lad his own desire and capacity for verse-writing. When he was nineteen, his sister sent his Exile's Departure to William Lloyd Garrison, then twenty, and the editor of the Newburyport free Press. The neighbors liked it, and the tall frail author was rewarded with a term at the Haverhill Academy, where he paid his way, in old Essex County fashion, by making shoes. He had little more formal schooling than this, was too poor to enter college, but had what he mo
Ralph Waldo Emerson (search for this): chapter 7
which Elsie Venner, a somewhat too medical story, is the best remembered-memoirs of his friends Emerson and Motley, and many miscellaneous essays. His life was exceptionally happy, and his cheery goin 1819. After a somewhat turbulent course, he was graduated from Harvard in 1838, the year of Emerson's Divinity School address. He studied law, turned Abolitionist, wrote poetry, married the beaus, and the latter in particular reveal those ardors and fidelities of friendship which men like Emerson and Thoreau longed after without ever quite experiencing. Lowell's cosmopolitan reputation, wh dependent upon the existence of an intelligent and responsive reading public. The lectures of Emerson, the speeches of Webster, the stories of Hawthorne, the political verse of Whittier and Lowell, reputation rest principally with England, he wrote in 1838--a curious footnote, by the way, to Emerson's Phi Beta Kappa Address of the year before. But America joined with England, in praising the
Ferris Greenslet (search for this): chapter 7
Cambridge idol, he nevertheless touched our universal American life on many sides, represented us worthily in foreign diplomacy, argued the case of Democracy with convincing power, and embodied, as more perfect artists like Hawthorne and Longfellow could never have done, the subtleties and potencies of the national temperament. He deserves and reveals the closest scrutiny, but his personality is difficult to put on paper. Horace Scudder wrote his biography with careful competence, and Ferris Greenslet has made him the subject of a brilliant critical study. Yet readers differ widely in their assessment of the value of his prose and verse, and in their understanding of his personality. The external facts of his career are easy to trace and must be set down here with brevity. A minister's son, and descended from a very old and distinguished family, he was born at Elmwood in Cambridge in 1819. After a somewhat turbulent course, he was graduated from Harvard in 1838, the year of Eme
be graven on tables of stone and numbered as the Seventh Commandment. The legacy of guilt is likewise the theme of The House of the seven Gables, which Hawthorne himself was inclined to think a better book than The Scarlet letter. Certainly this story of old Salem is impeccably written and its subtle handling of tone and atmosphere is beyond dispute. An ancestral curse, the visitation of the sins of the fathers upon the children, the gradual decay of a once sound stock, are motives that Ibsen might have developed. But the Norseman would have failed to rival Hawthorne's delicate manipulation of his shadows, and the no less masterly deftness of the ultimate mediation of a dark inheritance through the love of the light-hearted Phoebe for the latest descendant of the Maules. In The Blithedale romance Hawthorne stood for once, perhaps, too near his material to allow the rich atmospheric effects which he prefers, and in spite of the unforgetable portrait of Zenobia and powerful pass
John Marshall (search for this): chapter 7
sense of intimate concern with the great issues of the past, and a diffusion of intellectual tastes throughout the community. It was no accident that Sparks and Ticknor, Bancroft and Prescott, Motley and Parkman, were Massachusetts men. Jared Sparks, it is true, inherited neither wealth nor leisure. He was a furious, unwearied toiler in the field of our national history. Born in 1789, by profession a Unitarian minister, he began collecting the papers of George Washington by 1825. John Marshall, the great jurist, had published his five-volume life of his fellow Virginian a score of years earlier. But Sparks proceeded to write another biography of Washington and to edit his writings. He also edited a Library of American biography, wrote lives of Franklin and Gouverneur Morris, was professor of history and President of Harvard, and lived to be seventy-seven. As editor of the writings of Franklin and Washington, he took what we now consider unpardonable liberties in altering th
Anne Bradstreet (search for this): chapter 7
he same office for Lowell. He lingered himself until the autumn of 1894, in his eighty-sixth year-The last Leaf, in truth, of New England's richest springtime. No, my friends, he had said in The Autocrat of the Breakfast table, I go (always, other things being equal) for the man who inherits family traditions and the cumulative humanities of at least four or five generations. The Doctor came naturally by his preference for a man of family, being one himself. He was a descendant of Anne Bradstreet, the poetess. Dorothy Q., whom he had made the most picturesque of the Quincys, was his great-grandmother. Wendell Phillips was his cousin. His father, the Rev. Abiel Holmes, a Yale graduate, was the minister of the First Church in Cambridge, and it was in its gambrel-roofed parsonage that Oliver Wendell was born in 1809. Know old Cambridge? Hope you do.- Born there? Don't say so! I was,too. Nicest place that was ever seen- Colleges red and Common green. So he wrote, in score
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