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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Short studies of American authors 48 0 Browse Search
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 1, Colonial and Revolutionary Literature: Early National Literature: Part I (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.) 20 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Irene E. Jerome., In a fair country 16 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Atlantic Essays 14 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life 12 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Oldport days, with ten heliotype illustrations from views taken in Newport, R. I., expressly for this work. 10 0 Browse Search
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches 10 0 Browse Search
James Parton, Horace Greeley, T. W. Higginson, J. S. C. Abbott, E. M. Hoppin, William Winter, Theodore Tilton, Fanny Fern, Grace Greenwood, Mrs. E. C. Stanton, Women of the age; being natives of the lives and deeds of the most prominent women of the present gentlemen 4 0 Browse Search
The Daily Dispatch: November 28, 1861., [Electronic resource] 2 0 Browse Search
Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 18. 2 0 Browse Search
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Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches, Lowell (search)
some gaiety were over. He now lived in a more serious vein, and felt a deeper, more satisfying happiness. It was much more the ideal life of a poet than that of Thoreau, paddling up and down Concord River in search of the inspiration which only comes when we do not think of it. It may be suspected that he read more literature er from at one time she commonly atones for it another. The Fable for critics is written in an easy, nonchalant manner, which helps to mitigate its severity. Thoreau could not have liked very well being called an imitator of Emerson; but the wit of it is inimitable. T. never purloins the apples from Emerson's trees; it is only the windfalls that he carries off and passes for his own fruit. Emerson remarked on this, that Thoreau was sufficiently original in his own way; and he always spoke of Lowell in a friendly and appreciative manner. The whole poem is filled with such homely comparisons, which hit the nail exactly on the head. The most subtle pie
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches, Doctor Holmes. (search)
e even tenor of his way. Concord does not appear to have been attractive to him. He had a brother, John Holmes, who was reputed by his friends to be as witty as the Autocrat himself, but who lived a quiet, inconspicuous life. John was an intimate friend of Hon. E. R. Hoar and often went to Concord to visit him; but I never heard of the Doctor being seen there, though it may have happened before my time. He does not speak over-much of Emerson in his letters, and does not mention Hawthorne, Thoreau or Alcott, so far as we know, at all. They do not appear to have attracted his attention. We are indebted to Lowell for all that Doctor Holmes has given us. The Doctor was forty-eight when the Atlantic Monthly appeared before the public, and according to his own confession he had long since given up hope of a literary life. We hardly know another instance like it; but so much the better for him. He had no immature efforts of early life to regret; and when the cask once was tapped, the o
Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches, Chevalier Howe. (search)
lways happens in such cases he was idolized by those who were under his direction. There was something exceedingly kind in his tone of voice,--a voice accustomed to command and yet much subdued. His manner towards children was particularly charming and attractive. He exemplified the lines in Emerson's Wood-notes : Grave, chaste, contented though retired, And of all other men desired, applied to Doctor Howe more completely than to the person for whom they were originally intended; for Thoreau's bachelor habits and isolated mode of life prevented him from being an attractive person to the generality of mankind. It was said of James G. Blaine that he left every man he met with the impression that he was his best friend. This may have been well intended, but it has the effect of insincerity, for the thing is practically impossible. The true gentleman has always a kind manner, but he does not treat the man whom he has just been introduced to as a friend; he waits for that until
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 4: a world outside of science (search)
ing round each other and influencing each other's motions, and this at a distance so great that the rays of light which reveal them left their home nearly fifty years ago. The imagination is paralyzed before a step so vast; yet it all lies within the domain of science, while science can tell us no more how Macbeth or Hamlet came into existence than if the new astronomy had never been born. It is as true of the poem as of the poet--Nascitur non fit. We cannot even define what poetry is; and Thoreau says that there never yet was a definition of it so good but the poet would proceed to disregard it by setting aside all its requisitions. Shelley says that a man cannot say, I will compose poetry. The greatest poet even cannot say it, for the mind in creation is as a fading coal, which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness; this power arises from within, like the color of a flower which fades and changes as it is developed, and the consci
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 7: a very moral and nice book (search)
Chapter 7: a very moral and nice book It was once the good-fortune of the present writer to read, in the Island of Fayal, a letter just written by a young lady of Portuguese-English birth who had been reading the New Testament for the first time. It was worth while to see such a letter, for many persons must have felt, first or last, with Thoreau, that it would be a delightful thing for any one to encounter those wonderful narratives as a fresh discovery, in maturer years, apart from all the too familiar associations of Sunday-school and sermon. Such was, at any rate, this young lady's experience, and her statement of the result was at least a little astonishing. She wrote, in her half-foreign English, to an American friend in these words: Did you ever happen to read a book called the New Testament? If not, I advise you to do so. I have just been reading it one of these days, and I find it a very moral and nice book. It is not given to a veteran author like Mr. Andrew L
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 10: Favorites of a day (search)
akespeare's amounted to this, that Addison wrote An Account of the Greatest English Poets in which his name does not appear; and that, of the people one meets in the streets of any city, the majority will not even have heard of him. How many thousand never heard the name Of Sidney or of Spenser, and their books; And yet brave fellows, and presume of fame, And think to bear down all the world with looks. Happy is that author, if such there be, who, although his renown be as small as that of Thoreau in his lifetime, does not greatly concern himself about it, being so occupied with some great thought or hope for man that his own renown is a matter of slight importance. It is for this that Whittier always expressed thanks to the antislavery agitation, because it kept him free from the narrowness of a merely literary ambition. The only absolutely impregnable attitude is in that fine invocation of the radical Proudhon, prefixed to his first work: Thou God who hast placed in my hear
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 15: the cant of cosmopolitanism (search)
In the same way, those who are always urging the need of cosmopolitanism in our literature are usually youths and maidens just from college, whose vast knowledge of the great world is yet to come. It is not necessary to deny the advantage that proceeds, on the whole, from those changes which make travel easier and cause the world to seem smaller. But it is well to remember how much may be done by staying at home. Hawthorne's fame still rests on his Scarlet Letter. Mr. Henry James derides Thoreau as not merely provincial, but parochial; yet that parochial life has found already three biographers in England, which is possibly two more than the lifelong transplantation of Mr. James may win for him. On the other hand, what place in the world is less truly cosmopolitan than Paris, where no native feels called upon to learn a modern language or visit a foreign country, but each Frenchman remains at home for other people to visit him and learn the language he speaks? Paul Bourget, it is
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 23: the alphabet as a barrier (search)
rough that of the Irish and French-Canadian immigrants who preceded them, how short-lived an argument is that based upon their living too economically and so underselling their predecessors. Does any one now complain that Irish families stint themselves in food and clothing, or that Irish cooks and chambermaids do not ask and obtain as high wages as anybody else? No race ever yet submitted to privation merely for the love of it. No path proves so easy as that in the direction of profusion; even the Indian wishes to live as more luxurious hunters live, and Thoreau found in the Maine woods that his aboriginal guide was the only one of the party who remembered to bring a x63 rubber coat. More important is the question, finally, whether it is not true that, as even the Buddhists say, all men are brethren ; and whether we have a right to do what we so long condemned the Chinese and Japanese for doing-namely, to build a wall round our borders and exclude all the rest of mankind. 1896
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Book and heart: essays on literature and life, Chapter 29: acts of homage (search)
this country, and come back thinking, like Sim Tappertit and his fellow-revellers, that there's nothing like life. They yearn to be cosmopolitan, whereas what they need is to be true men and women first, and let cosmopolitanism take care of itself. The most cosmopolitan American writers of the last generation were undoubtedly Willis and Bayard Taylor; but what has become of their literary fame? On the other hand, the American names one sees oftenest mentioned in European books-Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Whitman — are those of authors who never visited Europe, or under such circumstances as to form but a trivial part of their career. Who can doubt that, fifty years hence, the disproportion will be far greater than now? After all is said and done, the circle of American writers who established our nation's literature, half a century ago, were great because they were first and chiefly American; and of the Americans who have permanently transplanted themselves for literary purposes it
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 1, Colonial and Revolutionary Literature: Early National Literature: Part I (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.), Preface (search)
favor of the autochthonous. What are the Tibers and Scamanders, he cries, measured by the Missouri and the Amazon? Or what the loveliness of Illysus or Avon by the Connecticut or the Potomack?-Whenever a nation wills it, prodigies are born. Admiration and patronage create myriads who struggle for the mastery, and for the olympick crown. Encourage the game and the victors will come. In some measure, no doubt, Rip Van Winkle, the Indian romances of Cooper, the philosophy of Emerson and Thoreau, the novels of Hawthorne, Longfellow's Evangeline, Miles Standish, and Hiawatha were responses to this encouragement of the game — to the nation's willing an expression of its new American consciousness. Against the full rigour of the demand for an independent national literature there was, by the middle of the last century, a wholesome reaction represented in Rufus Wilmot Griswold's introduction to his Prose writers of America (1847). Since this old demand is still reasserted from year
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