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Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 2 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.), Chapter 5: dialect writers (search)
ble life that it seeks to portray, in the simplicity of its style, the genuineness of its feeling, the distinctness of its pictures, and the sympathy that inspires it, Christmas night belongs in the class with Burns's Cotter's Saturday night and Whittier's Snow-Bound. Burs, said Russell, is my idol. He seems to me the greatest man that God ever created, beside whom all other poets are utterly insignificant. This poem differs from the works hitherto considered in three important respects: the ssell Lowell See Book II, Chap. XXIV. in his Biglow papers (1848, 1866) and in the Introductions with which he prefaced them. The early masters of the short story, Irving, Poe, and Hawthorne, looked askance at dialect, as did Longfellow and Whittier in their abolition poems. But Bret Harte See Book III, Chap. VI. gave new force to Lowell's views by his effective use of dialect in the stories of the forty-niners, and from 1870 to the present time dialect has played a leading part in the
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 2 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.), Chapter 7: books for children (search)
hly, Aldrich and Horace Scudder, would think writing for children not unworthy of their accomplished pens, and the editor of the massive North American review, Charles Eliot Norton, would edit also a boy's library. It was perceived that simplicity need not be inane, and that to entertain children without enfeebling their intellect or stultifying their sentiment afforded scope for mature skill and judgment. Our young Folks, published by Ticknor and Fields (about 1865), enlisted Mrs. Stowe, Whittier, Higginson, Aldrich, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, E. E. Hale, Rose Terry Cook, Bayard Taylor. It was edited by J. T. Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton, and Lucy Larcom; and later was merged into St. Nicholas, edited by Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge (1838-96). With these magazines a new era begins. The notable success of the period was made, however, by one whose work for adults was only mediocre. Louisa M. Alcott (1832-88) was asked by a publisher in 1867 for a girl's book, and began her task reluctantly
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 2 (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.), Index (search)
329, 331– 46, 348 Larcom, Lucy, 282, 286, 399, 402, 406, 408 Last leaf, the, 227, 237, 239 Latane, Capt., William, 305 Late Mrs. Null, The, 386 Lathrop, George Parsons, 283 Laurens, John, 308 Lauriger Horatius, 295 Laus Deo (Whittier), 50, 283 Lea, I., 173 Leaflets of memory, 172, 175 Lear, Edward, 408 Leaves of Grass, 258, 264 n., 265, 267, 270, 271, 272 Leaves from Margaret Smith's journal in the province of Massachusetts Bay, 52 Lee, R. E., 281, 290, 306, Heron, a, 383 Whitman, George, 269, 271 Whitman, Jeff, 263 Whitman, Walter, Sr., 259 Whitman, Walt, 218, 245, 258-274, 276, 277, 284, 286, 303 Whitman, Sarah Helen, 60, 61 Whitney, Mrs. A. D. T., 398 Whittier, John, 45 Whittier, John Greenleaf, 42-54, 165, 167, 173, 174, 228, 230, 241, 245, 249, 276, 277, 279, 281, 283, 312, 353, 362, 401 Whittier, Joseph, 42 Whittier, Mary, 44 Whittier, Thomas, 42 Who's ready?, 280 Wide, wide world, the, 398 Widow Bedott. See Whit
indubitably as if he had defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. It gave him the Presidency. The analogy holds in literature. Certain expressions of American sentiment or conviction have served to summarize or to clarify the spirit of the nation. The authors of these productions have frequently won the recognition and affection of their contemporaries by means of prose and verse quite unsuited to sustain the test of severe critical standards. Neither Longfellow's Excelsior nor Poe's Bells nor Whittier's Maud Muller is among the best poems of the three writers in question, yet there was something in each of these productions which caught the fancy of a whole American generation. It expressed one phase of the national mind in a given historical period. The historian of literature is bound to take account of this question of literary vogue, as it is highly significant of the temper of successive generations in any country. But it is of peculiar interest to the student of the literatur
Bliss Perry, The American spirit in lierature: a chronicle of great interpreters, Chapter 3: the third and fourth generation (search)
he Magnalia Christi Americana, treating the history of New England from 1620 to 1698, was published in a tall London folio of nearly 800 pages in 1702. It is divided into seven books, and proceeds, by methods entirely unique, to tell of Pilgrim and Puritan divines and governors, of Harvard College, of the churches of New England, of marvelous events, of Indian wars; and in general to justify, as only a member of the Mather dynasty could justify, the ways of God to Boston men. Hawthorne and Whittier, Longfellow and Lowell knew this book well and found much honey in the vast carcass. To have had four such readers and a biographer like Barrett Wendell must be gratifying to Cotton Mather in Paradise. The Diary of Mather's fellow-townsman Judge Samuel Sewall has been read more generally in recent years than anything written by Mather himself. It was begun in 1673, nine years earlier than the first entry in Mather's Diary, and it ends in 1729, while Mather's closes in 1724. As a pictu
cribed so captivatingly in his chapter entitled What is an American--was ending tragically in civil war. Another whitesouled itinerant of that day was John Woolman of New Jersey, whose Journal, praised by Charles Lamb and Channing and edited by Whittier, is finding more readers in the twentieth century than it won in the nineteenth. A man unlettered, said Whittier, but with natural refinement and delicate sense of fitness, the purity of whose heart enters into his language. Woolman died at fifWhittier, but with natural refinement and delicate sense of fitness, the purity of whose heart enters into his language. Woolman died at fifty-two in far-away York, England, whither he had gone to attend a meeting of the Society of Friends. The three tall volumes of the Princeton edition of the poems of Philip Freneau bear the sub-title, Poet of the American Revolution. But our Revolution, in truth, never had an adequate poet. The prose-men, such as Jefferson, rose nearer the height of the great argument than did the men of rhyme. Here and there the struggle inspired a brisk ballad like Francis Hopkinson's Battle of the Kegs,
Bliss Perry, The American spirit in lierature: a chronicle of great interpreters, Chapter 5: the Knickerbocker group (search)
land. For by 1826 Hawthorne and Longfellow were out of college and were trying to learn to write. Ticknor, 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 Diedri
Bliss Perry, The American spirit in lierature: a chronicle of great interpreters, Chapter 7: romance, poetry, and history (search)
to patronize Longfellow assume toward John Greenleaf Whittier an air of deference. This attitude w so much resembled Cooper's LeatherStocking. Whittier knew that his friend Longfellow was a better cism visited upon the active Abolitionists. Whittier entered the fight with absolute courage and wand image of country and the human. race. Whittier had now found himself as a poet. It is true t bits of foreign lore and fancy. For though Whittier never went abroad, his quiet life at Amesbury the unerring rightness of feeling with which Whittier's genius recreated his own lost youth and paior all time a true New England hearthside. Whittier was still to write nearly two hundred more pout we have never bred a more genuine man than Whittier, nor one who had more kinship with the saints. A few days before Whittier's death, he wrote an affectionate poem in celebration of the eightyt stories of Hawthorne, the political verse of Whittier and Lowell, presupposed a keen, reflecting au[5 more...]
r, Walter — was four, the family moved to Brooklyn. The boy had scanty schooling, and by the time he was twenty had tried type-setting, teaching, and editing a country newspaper on Long Island. He was a big, dark-haired fellow, sensitive, emotional, extraordinarily impressible. The next sixteen years were full of happy vagrancy. At twenty-two he was editing a paper in New York, and furnishing short stories to the Democratic review, a literary journal which numbered Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier, Poe, Hawthorne, and Thoreau among its contributors. He wrote a novel on temperance, mostly in the reading-room of Tammany Hall, and tried here and there an experiment in free verse. He was in love with the pavements of New York and the Brooklyn ferry-boats, in love with Italian opera and with long tramps over Long Island. He left his position on The Brooklyn Eagle and wandered south to New Orleans. By and by he drifted back 199 to New York, tried lecturing, worked at the carpenter's t
arch for the preservation of the status quo, for the avoidance of mutual recrimination between North and South, for obedience to the law of the land. It was his supreme effort to reconcile an irreconcilable situation. It failed, as we know. Whittier, Emerson, Theodore Parker, and indeed most of the voters of New England, believed that Webster had bartered his private convictions in the hope of securing the Presidential nomination in 1852. They assailed him savagely, and Webster died, a brossue itself. Any collection of American political verse produced during this period exhibits spirited and sincere writing, but the combination of mature literary art and impressive general ideas is comparatively rare. There are single poems of Whittier, Lowell, and Whitman which meet every test of effective political and social verse, but the main body of poetry, both sectional and national, written during the thirty years ending with 1865 lacks breadth, power, imaginative daring. The contine
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