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The Realistic Novelists
As in other literatures, realism came to prevail in Germany after the middle of the Century.
Of German novelists Gustav Freytag holds the foremost place. He was born at Kreuzburg, in Silesia, in 1816, and graduated at the University of Berlin in 1838.
History has been raised to the dignity of an independent science in the Nineteenth Century.
Of the great historians of Germany Leopold von Ranke is the most distinguished. Born in Saxony in 1795 he began his historical studies under Niebuhr and Savigny.
Socialism In Literature
Karl Marx (1818-1883), the founder of modern German socialism, deserves mention since his masterpiece "Capital" has become almost the Bible of the Social Democrats.
Contemporary Writers
Some of the later German novelists, following the French example, have cultivated the short story.
Glance At Colonial And Revolutionary Literature
At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century American literature had but a small legacy from Colonial and Revolutionary authors. Our forefathers had been compelled to exercise their powers mostly in the development and control of the material and political problems of the New World.
Literature At The Dawn Of The Century
In the year 1800, gateway to a Century of almost magi-cal national development, the population of the free States was 2,684,616, of the slave States, 2,621,316, making a total of 5,305,932. Philadelphia was the chief city of the Nation.
Charles Brockden Brown
It is necessary to turn now to the true pioneer in the realm of the American novel. Charles Brockden Brown, the first American professional man of letters, as well as first of all Cis-Atlantic writers of fiction, was born in Philadelphia in 1771.
Washington Irving And The Knickerbocker Group
The author who was first to gain for American literature a recognized place in European eyes was Washington Irving. Born in New York City in 1783, the year of the peace between Great Britain and the United States, he was named after the great Commander-in-Chief and first President of the Republic.
William C. Bryant
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), who in early youth wrote anonymously a political satire, 'The Embargo,' was the first American poet of note. His stately hymn in blank verse, 'Thanatopsis,' which appeared in the 'North American Review' in 1817, was a wonderful masterpiece of precocity, and won him an audience in England.
James Fenimore Cooper
As Bryant may be regarded as the pioneer American poet, and Irving as the pioneer essayist and man of letters, so James Fenimore Cooper may be styled the first American novelist of true distinction. It is the fashion nowadays to criticise Cooper's style even such a public jester as Mark Twain having taken that office upon himself.
The Early Literary Magazines
Meanwhile, in the East, although Irving and his associates had made the practical 'retort courteous' to Sydney Smith's bitter taunt in the 'Edinburgh Review' : 'Who reads an American book?' it was nevertheless necessary for professional men of letters to adopt, as Bryant did, the bread-winning employment of the newspaper.
Edgar Allen Poe
In the Bohemian world of literary newspapers and magazines, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) found his destiny cast. He had been born in Boston, but he never belonged there, though his first volume, 'Tamerlane and Other Poems,' bore on its title page the words, 'By a Bostonian.'
New England Literature
In the early part of the Nineteenth Century there was in New England a mingled religious and philosophical ferment. There had been some reaction against the rigid Calvinism of the Putitans even before the Revolution, but it was not until Channing arose that Unitarianism took definite shape, and gave rise to a prolonged controversy.
Distinctive American literature has been said to have been born in 'the era of good feeling' which characterized the peaceful administration of President Monroe (1817-1825) when, after the War of 1812, the fierce animosities of Federalists and Democrats had subsided.
Edward Everett
Edward Everett (1794-1865), Boston-born and Harvard-bred, returned in 1819 from Germany, where he had spent four years, two of them at Göttingen. He was a Unitarian preacher, and a sermon delivered by him in the House of Representatives at Washington in 1820 gave him a national reputation.
Brook Farm
One of the most curious episodes in the history of American intellectual development is the Brook Farm community, which was founded in 1840, and lingered until 1847. It grew out of the Transcendental movement, in which Emerson was a leader.
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Today, foreigners probably consider Poe and Hawthorne to contain the most classical elements of any American writers, although they will admit Longfellow's cosmopolitanism, Lowell's scholarliness and Lowell's description of Emerson as 'a Greek head on right Yankee shoulders.'
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) had been Hawthorne's fellow collegian at Bowdoin College, became a professor in his Alma Mater and later in Harvard, whence, after some years of a professorial work, he retired and devoted himself to literature. His quality was decidedly academic, as befitted a son of Cambridge.
James Russell Lowell
Longfellow was succeeded in his professor's chair at Harvard by James Russell Lowell (1819-1888), also a son of Cambridge, a fine New England heritage, and a Harvard student.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The most potent force in New England thought was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) . For more than two centuries his ancestors were Congregational ministers. His father, Rev. William Emerson, died in 1811, and his mother was assisted by relatives in providing for her sons' education.
John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, was not only the chief Quaker poet, but the clearest voice of New England country life. Bred on a farm, he found his first poetic inspiration in reading the poems of the inspired Scotch ploughman, Robert Burns.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), who was the last survivor of the famous galaxy of Cambridge poets, was the cheerful embodiment of the spirit of Unitarian New Englandism. He was the son of Rev. Abiel Holmes, a Harvard pastor, who wrote 'The Annals of America.'
The Early American Historians
In the beginning of the Nineteenth Century a new view of history was developed, as an outgrowth of the Transcendental philosophy inaugurated by the German Kant, and carried out more fully by his successors. His-tory was no longer regarded as a gathering of isolated arbitrary facts, but as the study of the progress of man-kind.
George Bancroft
Bancroft was educated in Germany when this new view was introduced and emphasized. His first work was a translation of Heeren's 'History of the Political System of Europe' (1828). By such training he was peculiarly fitted to present to the world the significance and import-ance of the great experiment of democratic government in the New World.
Richard Hildreth
In marked contrast with Bancroft's eloquent declamatory narrative stands Richard Hildreth's 'History of the United States.' It is dry in style, judicial in tone, never aiming at brilliance or entertainment.
William Hickling Prescott
William Hickling Prescott was not a profoundly philosophical historian, yet he became the most brilliant and famous of our historical writers. This was owing to his judicious selection of romantic themes, in which the American people felt an interest, as belonging to the New World, to his artistic arrangement of the events, and to his captivating style.
John Lothrop Motley
John Lothrop Motley was a man of high scholarship and varied attainments, but was late in concentrating his labor on the historical work which was to give him fame. He was born at Dorchester, (now part of Boston) Massachusetts, in 1814. He was partly of New England Puritan descent, and partly Scotch-Irish.
Francis Parkman
Another historian, who, like Prescott, labored under the affliction of partial blindness, and yet achieved memorable results, was Francis Parkman. Descended from the earliest settlers of Massachusetts, he was born in Boston in 1823 and was educated at Harvard College.
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