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美国文学讲义




西 讲

学 义
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201 ~201 学年第

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美国文学史及选读 朱玉英 讲师 河西学院外国语学院

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Part One The Literature of Colonial America Teaching Objectives: 1. to clarify the purpose of this course and the requirements; 2. to introduce the social, historical, and cultural background of the American literature in colonial period; 3. to focus on the rep. writes, like William Bradford, John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet and Roger Williams. A General Introduction to This Course 1. This course is intended to introduce the social and historical background of American literature, and the essential features of the major literary periods so that the students can get the outline of American literature's developing trajectory; to focus on the major writers' literary career, major works, and literary style so that the students may understand the literary texts; to improve the student's ability of literary appreciation and broaden their knowledge about Western literature and culture. 2. What is American literature? American literature mainly refers to literature produced in American English by the people living in the United States. To be specific, it is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and its preceding colonies. For more specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States. During its early history, America was a series of British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States. Therefore, its literary tradition begins as linked to the broader tradition of English literature. However, unique American characteristics and the breadth of its production usually now cause it to be considered a separate path and tradition. Historical Background of Colonial Literature 1. American literature begins with the orally transmitted myths, legends, tales, and lyrics (always songs) of Indian cultures. ---- no written literature 2. The Indians made a contribution to America vocabulary. Indian words in everyday American English today such as“canoe”, “tobacco”, “potato”, ―moccasin‖ 软 鞋,鹿皮鞋, ―persimmon‖ 柿子, ―totem‖ 图腾 3. Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, made a famous voyage in 1492. 4. Many European settlers came to American continent to escape religious persecution and to build a new Garden of Eden.: 5. The first permanent English settlement in North America was established at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. American Puritanism Puritans was the name given in the 16th century to the more extreme Protestants (新教徒,基督教徒) who thought the English Reformation (英国宗教改革) had not gone far enough. They wanted to purify their national church. In the 17th century many Puritans emigrated to the New World, where they sought to found a holy Commonwealth in New England. Puritanism remained the dominant cultural
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force in that area into the 19th century. 1. Doctrine of Puritans: Puritans believed in the doctrine that John Calvin, the great French Theologian Preached in Gevena. a. Predestination: God decided everything before things occurred. b. Original sin: Human beings were born to be evil, and this original sin can be passed down from generation to generation. c. Total depravity d. Limited atonement: Only the “selected” can be saved. Puritans were convinced that human beings were predestined by God before they were born. Some were God‘s chosen people while others were predestined to be damned to hell. They also believed that everyone had a calling, which was given by God. The success of one‘s work or the prosperity in his calling was the sign of God‘s elect. Therefore, everyone must work hard, spend little and invest for more business. Working hard and living a moral life were their ethics. 2. The enduring influence of American Puritanism on literature It can be safely conclude that without some understanding of Puritanism, there can be no real understanding of America and its literature. a. Optimistic puritans have exerted a great influence on American literature. The Puritans dreamed of living under a perfect order and worked with indomitable courage and confident hope toward building a new Garden of Eden in America. Fired with such a sense of mission, the Puritans looked at even the worst of life in the face with a tremendous amount of optimism. b. It contributes to the development of Symbolism(象征主义), a widely used technique. Symbolism means using symbols in literary works. The symbol means something that represents or stands for abstract deep meaning. To the pious Puritans the physical, phenomenal world is nothing but a symbol of God. Besides, Puritans thought that all the simple objects existing in the world connoted deep meaning. c. With regard to their writing, the style is fresh, simple and direct; the rhetoric is plain and honest, not without a touch of nobility often traceable to the direct influence of the Bible. ● William Bradford William Bradford (March 19, 1590 – May 9, 1657) was an English leader of the Separatist settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and was elected thirty times to be the Governor after John Carver died. His journal (1620–1647) was published as Of Plymouth Plantation《普利茅斯种植史》. Bradford is credited as the first civil authority to designate what popular American culture now views as Thanksgiving in the United States. ● John Winthrop John Winthrop (12 January 1587/8 – 26 March 1649) led a group of English Puritans to the New World in 1630, and joined the Massachusetts Bay(马萨诸塞湾) Company later that year, and then was elected their governor in October 1629.
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He wrote A Model of Christian Charity《基督徒慈善的典范》. ● Anne Bradstreet Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) was Born and educated in England. At the age of 18, she came to America in 1630 with her father and husband. She had 8 children. She was known as the ―Tenth Muse‖ who appeared in America. A Puritan poet,her poems mainly about religious experience, family life and early settlers‘ lives. She wrote the most famous poems---Contemplations《沉思录》. ● Edward Taylor Edward Taylor (1645--1729) wrote his poetry during the last years of the Puritan theocracy, some of the finest poetry written in Colonial America. He hoped for a ―rebirth‖ of the ―Puritan Way‖. His poems were concerned with the inner spiritual life of Puritan believers. The Great Witchcraft Panic in the 1690s In the town of Salem, Massachusetts, young girls and lonely old women were arrested and put on trial as witches. A number of these people were put to death for ―selling their souls‖ to the Devil. The ―Salem witch trials‖女巫审判事件 showed the psychological environment of the time and the Puritans‘ strange beliefs: To many Puritans of the time, witchcraft and other forms of evil were an absolutely real part of everyday life. Part Two The Literature of Reason and Revolution Historical Background 1. American Revolution---The Independence War (1775-1783) Strict rules made by English government hampered the economic development of the colonies. The British wanted the colonies to remain politically and economically dependent on the mother country, which led to the colonies‘ intense strain with England. So the American War for Independence broke out in 1775. The writers held vitally important places in the movement for American independence. Freedom was won as much by their fiery and inspiring speeches and writings as by the weapons of Washington and Lafayette. The 13 original American states were persuaded to become a single nation by the arguments of statesmen and men of letters. 2. Deism (自然神教) Deism is a natural religion. Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority or holy text. They reason that God is indeed of the universe, ―the maker of the clock.‖ The best way to worship God is to study his handiwork, namely, the natural world and the human world, and to do good things to mankind. This is a new concept of the universe which was radically different from the dominating Christian position of original sin and predestination.
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) in his famous Social Contract for example, declared to a bewildered world that man is by nature good and free. 3. Enlightenment Movement The 18th-century American Enlightenment was a movement marked by an emphasis on rationality rather than tradition, scientific inquiry instead of unquestioning religious dogma, and representative government in place of monarchy. Enlightenment thinkers and writers were devoted to the ideals of justice, liberty, and equality as the natural rights of man. Newtonian ideas can be seen as a general symbol of world outlook in Enlighten ment thinking. Through the Newtonian prism, the universe is seen as a mechanism operating by a rational formula. Mankind is supposed to have the ability to discover and unfold all ―Nature‘s Laws.‖ Newtonian assumptions also helped shape a new image of God, different from that of Puritanism. This God is revealed in nature, not in the Bible. Besides, he argued that man can be perfected through education. In this religious thinking, all men are created equal. This idea would eventually appear in The Declaration of Independence. The influence of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were felt in the realm of psychological and political inquiries. Both of them argued against the intuitive philosophy of medieval scholasticism. Hobbes believed in the absolute power of the state; this belief is based on a psychological observation that humans formed social groups out of fear and the need for mutual protection. Lock‘s observation of human nature is somewhat different. He argued that every person was born with a blank slate, upon which experience inscribed its lessons. Lock‘s view of human nature was more favorable than Hobbes‘, and his conception of government is based on the idea of mutual benefitl. The colonists who would form a new nation were firm believers in the power of reason; they were ambitious, inquisitive, optimistic, practical, politically astute, and self-reliant. ● Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin, --- America's "first great man of letters,‖ embodied the Enlightenment ideal of human rationality. Franklin recorded his early life in his famous Autobiography. In many ways Franklin's life illustrates the impact of the Enlightenment on a gifted individual. Self-educated but well-read in John Locke, Joseph Addison, and other Enlightenment writers, Franklin learned from them to apply reason to his own life and to break with tradition----in particular the old-fashioned Puritan tradition----when it threatened to smother his ideals. When Franklin died in 1790, one of his fellow Americans said, ―His shadow lies heavier than any other man‘s on this young nation.‖ As an author, Franklin‘s style is quite modern, and his works show a return to their ―plain style‖. At the same time, there is something ―anti-literary‖ about Franklin. He had no liking for poetry and felt that writing should always have a practical purpose. In the language of his writing, Franklin admirably reflects both Locke‘s psychology and Locke‘s political theory, and influences other writers in their choices
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of language, subject matter and worldview. (1) Jack of all trades a. Benjamin Franklin - Printer At the age of twelve, he started as an apprentice with his older brother James. At the age of twenty-two, he opened his own printing shop. His newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette [ɡ?'zet] became very popular and profitable. A few years later, Poor Richard’s Almanack was released and soon became the best selling book in the colonies, selling over 10,000 copies a year... Soon, he became the most active printer and was appointed the official printer of Pennsylvania. b. Benjamin Franklin - Librarian Some fellow printers and Benjamin Franklin , known as the Leather Apron Club (because most of us wore leather aprons) started a lending library that was open to everyone. They would pool their money and buy books, which people could borrow. In 1731, the first lending library in America opened. Soon, other towns began to imitate the library, until reading became fashionable. c. Benjamin Franklin - Inventor At the age of forty-two, Benjamin Franklin retired from printing to explore his other interests. He devoted this time to inventing. Also,he enjoyed experimenting,of which the most fascinating one is electricity. The story of Benjamin‘s kite and electricity, and his lightening rod is always interesting. d. Benjamin Franklin - Statesman During the fight for independence, he was sent to Europe to represent the colonies. In 1776, he signed the Declaration of Independence and, in 1778, the Treaty of Alliance with France. When the colonists won their independence in 1781, Franklin helped negotiate the peace with England and signed what ultimately became known as Treaty of Peace with Great Britain (1782). (2) His Works a. Poor Richard’s Almanac Term:Almanacs --- a popular form of practical literature containing much useful information for farmers and sailors. Features: ? practical and useful ? interesting by creating the character ―Poor Richard‖ ? continuation of simple but realistic story about Richard, his wife and family ? including many ―sayings‖ about saving money and working hard Some of these are known to most Americans today: God helps them who help themselves. Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. One today is worth two tomorrow Diligence is the mother of good luck. b. Autobiography This is an introduction of his life to his own son, including four parts written in
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different times. It is the first success story of self-made Americans. (3) contribution a. He helped found the Pennsylvania Hospital and the American Philosophical Society. b. He was called ―the new Prometheus who had stolen fire (electricity in this case) from heaven‖. c. Everything seems to meet in this one man – ―Jack of all trades‖. Herman Melville thus described him ―master of each and mastered by none‖. ● Thomas Paine (1) Life Paine was born in Thetford, England. At the age of 37, he came to America, with a letter of introduction from Franklin. In his adopted country, the United States, Paine stood on the side against his native country. He studied pamphlets Americans had written in opposition to British policies in the colonies. He soon established himself as a revolutionary journalist and pamphleteer. It was Pains who famously declared: ―where liberty is, there is my country.‖ Paine‘s approach to writing was pragmatic. He responded to contemporary events in order to inspire, not to be original. His style may be simple but powerful. (2) Works a. Published in 1776, Common Sense helped to inspire the nation to support the war. Many at the beginning were still uncertain about the need for independence. Common Sense persuades many to support the revolution in their own way. Paine made these points in it: he denounced monarchies as outdated and advocated a new form of government called republicanism; he argued that the colonists were not English and should not want to be considered English; he challenged Americans to build a new country where freedom prevails and where immigrants are welcome. b. The American Crisis is a collection of articles written by Thomas Paine during the American Revolutionary War. After the shots were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts, Paine shouldered a gun and joined the army. But after a series of losses of battles, desertions from the Revolutionary Army increased. Washington retreated across the Delaware and a defeat seemed imminent. A week before Christmas, he said in a letter to his brother: ―I think the game is very near up.‖ Paine, however, faced up to the situation. On December 19, he published the first of the Crisis papers. The paper boosted the morale. Enlistment in the army increased. Washington ordered that the paper be read to every regiment. c. In defense of the French Revolution Paine wrote and published The Rights of Man (1791). Four key rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. Paine assumes that the right to engage in revolution is inalienable. He makes his argument for democracy from the state of nature and from the Bible. To see God and Nature as Reason, as we remember, is a legacy of Enlightenment. d. Age of Reason ● Thomas Jefferson (1743----1826)
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(1) Life Thomas Jefferson was born on the Virginia frontier and graduated from William and Mary College. He read widely in the classics. Like Franklin, Jefferson exemplifies the ideals of his time. He accepted the main tenets of Deism. And he believed in natural rights, political equality, and natural altruism. He was deeply interested in science and agricultural experiments. He was also an architect, a scholar and an educator. Indeed, he established the University of Virginia and even drew the architectural plans. In his political thinking, he believed that the best government was the government that governed least. Early in his life he had an interest in poetry and novels, which he later gave up. (2) Work---The Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence, drafted in June, 1776, is at once a national symbol of liberty and a monument to Jefferson as a statesman and author. Embedded in the political philosophy which Locke and the continental philosophers had expressed, Jefferson summarized this philosophy as ―self-evident truths‖ and set forth a long list of grievances against King George III in order to justify the separation of the colonies from Britain. It consists of 5 Sections: the introduction, the preamble (序言), the indictment (控告)of George III, the denunciation (谴责)of the British people and the conclusion. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration was officially adopted by Congress ―…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ?‖ ● Philip Freneau (1752----1832) (1) Life Philip Freneau, the earliest of American poets, inspired American imagination. Philip Freneau left a body of poetic work important for its formative influence upon his immediate successors and notable in itself. Freneau was a pioneer, who found new subject matters for American literature: sea, Indian culture, and American wildness. ? 1752: born in New York. ? 1768: At 16, entered the Princeton University. “The Rising Glory of America” 1780: attended the War, and captured by British army. ? 1781: published “The British Prison Ship” “To the Memory of the Brave Americans” 1781-1784: editor and contributor of The Freeman's Journal (Philadelphia). He advocated the essence of Jeffersonian democracy decentralization of government, equality for the masses, etc. 1791-1793: the anti-federalist paper the National Gazette. In his later years, became a heavy drinker and lost much of his property, and died in a blizzard. (2) Works ? The Wild Honeysuckle 《野金银花》 It is considered one of the author‘s finest nature poems. ? The Rising Glory of America 《美洲光辉的兴起》
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? The British Prisonship 《英国囚船》 ? The Indian Burying Ground 《印第安人墓地》 (3) Evaluation ? “Poet of the American Revolution”: Most poems are political satires or patriotic revolutionary verses with democratic ideas. ? “Father of American Poetry”: He tried to avoid imitation of English poems, dedicated himself to describing American subject matter: American landscape, American images, hatred toward the British colonists, resentment toward slavery. ? “Pioneer of the Romanticism”: Some of his themes and images anticipated the works of such 19th century American Romantic writers as Cooper, Emerson, Poe and Melville. ? “A gifted and versatile lyric poet”: interested in the romance of the past and the natural beauty of American country. e.g ―The Wild Honey Suckle” (4) Appreciation of The Wild Honey Suckle Questions: 1. What is the central image of the poem? Why it is considered as an American Romantic poem? The central image is a native wild flower, Honey suckle, instead of rose or daffodil, which makes a drastic difference from elite flower images typical of traditional English poems. It is “wild” just to convey the fresh perception of the natural scenes on the new continent. The poem showed strong feelings for the natural beauty, which was the characteristic of romantic poets. 2. Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which the poet consciously exaggerates in order to heighten an effect. Find an example of hyperbole in the last stanza. How does this figure of speech relate to the symbolic meaning of the flower? The line “the space is but an hour contains a hyperbole stressing the transience “ of life. Flowers were born, bloomed and declined to repose, and human beings would exist in exactly the same way. A philosophical meditation is indicated by the description of the fate of a trivial wild plant. 3. What is the theme of the poem? In this poem the poet expressed a keen awareness of the loveliness and transience of nature. He not only meditated on Mortality but also celebrated nature. The poem implies that life and death are inevitable law of nature. ? The first stanza of the poem treats the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the flower?s modest retirement---it is designed with beauty and well protected in solitude; whereas its beauty might be admired by few. ? The second stanza suggests that the honey suckle bears a special relationship with nature which has advised it to keep away from the “vulgar eye”; Nature has designed it in white---a color of simplicity and purity, and, it has sent the soft waters flowing gently by. However, in spite of all the nature’s kindness, the flower cannot escape its doom. The best time of its life is fading, for death is waiting. ? The third stanza reveals the indifference of nature---the “unpitying frosts” are as
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much a part of nature as the “soft waters.” Thus, the notion that nature has provided a “guardian shade” for the protection of the honey suckle is a sentimental fancy. It is relative, but death is absolute. ? In the fourth stanza, the poet sees his fate mirrored in that of the flower. Human beings, as any other creatures or flowers, are a part of nature. They originated from nature and will surely return to nature some day, thus their reduction to nature in the day ahead will constitute no real loss. Part Three American Romanticism Historical Background 1. Definition The Romantic Period, one of the most important periods in the history of American literature, stretches from the end of the 18th century to the outbreaking of the Civil War. It started with the publication of Washington Irving‘s The Sketch Book and ended with Whitman‘s Leaves of Grass. Being a period of the great flowering of American literature, it is also called ―the American Renaissance.‖ 2. National Influences The development of the American society nurtured ―the literature of a great nation.‖ The young Republic, devoid of a heavy burden of the inherited past and history, was flourishing into a politically, economically and culturally independent country. a. Historically, it was the time of westward expansion. The western boundary had reached to the Pacific by 1860; the number of its states had increased from 13 to 21; its total population increased greatly, too. b. Economically, the whole nation was experiencing an industrial transformation, which affected the rural as well as the urban life, including the use of steam power, the erection of factories and the technological inventions and innovations. c. Politically, democracy and equality became the ideal of the new nation, and the two party system (Republicans vs. Democrats)came into being. d. Culturally, the Americans struggled for cultural independence:American writers try to create a distinctive literature separated from English literature. Thus, with a strong sense of optimism and the feeling of ―feeling good‖ of the whole nation, a spectacular outburst of romantic feeling was brought about in the first half of the 19th century. 3. International Influences a. Romantic Movement in England and Europe proved to be a decisive influence. b. Many English and European masters of poetry and prose made stimulating impact on American Romanticism. 4. Distinct Features of American Romanticism a. The American national experience of ―pioneering into the west‖ proved to be a rich source of material for American writers to draw upon. They celebrated American‘s landscape with its virgin forests. The wilderness came to function almost as a dramatic character that symbolized moral law. The desire for an escape from
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society and a return to nature became a permanent convention of American literature. b. The American Puritanism as a cultural heritage exerted great influence over American moral values. One of the manifestations is the fact that American romantic writers tended more to moralize than their English and European counter-parts. Besides, a preoccupation with the Calvinistic view of original sin marked the works of Hawthorne, Melville and a host of lesser writers. c. The ―newness‖ of the Americans as a nation can not be ignored. The idea of individualism and political equality, and their dream that America was to be a new Garden of Eden for man were distinctly American. The feeling of ―newness‖ was strong enough to inspire the romantic imagination. 5. Early Romanticism American romanticism did not achieve its most powerful articulations until Poe, Emerson, and some others writers. Slightly earlier were Irving, Cooper and Bryant, who are regarded as pioneers of American romanticism. Thus, their works and the works of others constituted what is called ―early romanticism.‖ a. Romanticism celebrates the triumph of feeling and intuition over reason. It is suspicious of the rational explanations of the universe and human nature as derived from the Enlightenment. A philosophical cornerstone for the romantic resistance to rationalism was laid down by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781). Since romantic writers placed a higher value on the free expression of emotion and on the power of imagination, they showed great interests in the psychic states. As a result, characters in romantic stories sometimes showed extremes of sensitivity, such as fear of dark and the unknown. b. Romanticism exalts the individual over society, thus showing a strong disliking for the bondage of convention and customs. c. Nature is believed to be the source of goodness and the antithesis of society as society tends to be corrupt. A related manifestation is the moral enthusiasm exhibited in some romantic writers. ● Washington Irving Washington Irving (1783—1895) was one of the first American writers to gain an international reputation, and regarded as an early romantic writer in the American literary history and Father of the American short stories. (1) Life Washington Irving was born in New York‘s lower Manhattan in 1783, the youngest of 11childeren. His father was a moderately wealthy Scottish hardware merchant. He grew up in a household filled with Federalist sentiments. Throughout his life, Irving remained a man pleased with upper-class tastes and a Federalist in politics and in culture. His aristocratic sense of pleasure with the details of life was a far cry from the ethical ideals of Puritanism. As a child, Irving was frail in health and was precocious. His earlier education was received from various seminaries in New York. In his formative years, Washington experienced intimately the literary and cultural vitality of New York. Irving had studies law. In 1803 he interrupted his work as a law clerk to travel through the frontier of
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upper state New York and eastern part of Canada. In 1804 he went to Rome where he met the American painter Washington Allston and developed an interest in art. He returned from Europe with a sharpened sensitivity to American provincialism. He published A History of New York, with which gained not only financial success but also international fame. In 1805 he made his second trip to Europe where he lingered for the next seventeen years. In Europe, Irving resolved to recreate the rich European cultural heritage in American settings. The Sketch Book represented his efforts in this respect. With it, Irving‘s literary fame further increased in America and in Europe. Irving lived the life as the recognized man of letters and remained a bachelor. He is worth the honor of being ―the American Goldsmith‖ for his literary craftsmanship. (2) Works A History of New York The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent Was published in serials between 1819 to 1820. It won Irving international fame on both sides of Atlantic. The book contains familiar essays on the English life and Americanized versions of European folk tales like ―Rip Van Winkle‖ and ―The Legend lf Sleepy Hollow.‖ (3) Appreciation of Rip Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle By Washington Irving (1783-1859) A Study Guide .......At the foot of the Catskill Mountains of New York was a picturesque village

founded by Dutch colonists. Approaching it, one would see gabled homes with smoke curling up from the chimneys and shingle roofs reflecting the sunlight. .......A simple, easygoing man named Rip Van Winkle lived in this village, in a weather-beaten house, at the time when New York was an English colony. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who served with distinction under Peter Stuyvesant in his struggles against Swedish settlers at Fort Christina (in present-day Delaware). .......Because he was kind and gentle, Rip was popular with all of his neighbors. Children especially loved him, for he would play with them, make them toys, and tell them stories. No one had a cross word for Rip–except his wife, who, taking advantage of his meekness, regularly nagged him. Her treatment of him earned Rip the sympathy of other wives. .......His only weak point was his inability to work for profit. It was not that he lacked patience or perseverance; for, as the narrator points out, ―He would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar‘s lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble.‖ Moreover, he was always ready to help a neighbor with hard work and frequently ran errands and did odd jobs for housewives. But when it came time to tend his own farm and keep up his own property, he was of little use. Fences would collapse, a cow would run off, and rain would fall at the very moment he decided to work. The only plants that thrived on his farm were weeds. Consequently, he had the least productive and least attractive farm in the area. .......One of his children, little Rip, seemed to take after his father. Not only did he
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look like the elder Rip but he also wore Rip‘s hand-me-down clothes, including a pair of galligaskins (loose-fitting trousers) which he would continually hitch up with one hand. .......Dame Van Winkle ceaselessly browbeat Rip for his failings, saying he was bringing the family to ruin. Rip would shrug and go outside, out of range of her scolding tongue. She treated his dog, Wolf, the same way, and Wolf began to resemble Rip in submissiveness. Rip often sought refuge with a village group that convened on a bench in front of an inn to gossip, tell stories, and on one occasion discuss events reported in a newspaper left behind by a traveler. The village schoolmaster, Derrick Van Brummel, would read the newspaper accounts. Old Nicholas Vedder, the owner of the inn, was the gray eminence of this group, guiding its thought and conversation even though he did little more than smoke his pipe and shift his position on the bench to remain in the shade of a tree. Unfortunately for Rip, Dame Van Winkle would sometimes come to the inn for him and haul him off, all the while her tongue lashing him and his compatriots, including Vedder. .......To escape his wife and the drudgery of his farm, Rip would sometimes head into the woods with Wolf and his gun. One day, high in the Catskill Mountains, he hunted squirrels, firing one shot after another. Hours later, tired from all the activity, he decided to lie down for a rest on a green knoll overlooking the rich forests and the Hudson River in the distance. When evening neared, he got up to return home, heaving a sigh at the thought of Dame Van Winkle and the terror of her tongue. At that moment, a man came up the mountain, calling out Rip‘s name. Rip and Wolf both came to attention. As the man neared, Rip noticed that he was short and squat, with a beard and bushy hair, and wore old-fashioned Dutch clothes with buttons down the sides of his breeches. He was carrying a keg–probably liquor, Rip thought–and beckoned for Rip to help him. Always ready to assist others, Rip did so. As they ascended the mountain, Rip heard rumbling, like thunder, coming from a ravine. After they passed through it, they came to a hollow bordered by cliffs with overhanging trees; it resembled an amphitheater. There, Rip saw bearded men–all dressed like his companion and all of odd appearance, one with a large head and one with a large nose–playing ninepins. They neither spoke nor smiled. When they rolled their balls toward the pins, Rip again heard peals of thunder. .......Upon the arrival of Rip, the players stopped and stared at him, unnerving him. His companion opened the keg and emptied it into flagons, then motioned for Rip to serve the players, which he did. After the strange men resumed their game, Rip began to feel at ease and decided to sample the brew. It was excellent. He drank another, then another and another. By and by, the liquor had a heavy effect, and he drifted into a deep sleep. .......When he woke up to a sunny morning, he was on the same green knoll upon which he rested when he first saw the man with the keg. His mind reviewed the events of the night before–the men, the ninepins, the liquor. Dame Van Winkle would give him a severe scolding this time. He reached out for his gun but was surprised to find that its barrel was rusted and its stock eaten away by worms. Perhaps those bowlers had stolen his gun and replaced it with a sorry old firelock. Wolf was nowhere to be
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found. When he arose to return to the place of the previous night‘s revels to look for Wolf and retrieve his gun, he discovered that he was stiff in the joints. ―These mountain beds do not agree with me,‖ thought Rip, ―and if this frolic should lay me up with a fit of the rheumatism, I shall have a blessed time with Dame Van Winkle.‖ .......However, the path he had walked with the strange man was now a mountain stream. Moreover, at the place where he entered the ravine, there was now only a wall of rock. Dumfounded, he returned to the village but was further puzzled when he saw people he did not recognize, all wearing strange fashions. Stroking his chin in bewilderment, he discovered that he had a beard a foot long. .......The village was larger than when he left it, with more people. He saw strange houses with strange names over the doors. Dogs barked at him and children made fun of him. When he reached his house, he saw an old, deteriorating dwelling with broken windows and a collapsed roof. An old dog outside–was it Wolf?–growled at him. Inside, he looked about but found only emptiness. Immediately, he walked over to the inn–but it was gone. In its place was a ramshackle building with these words painted on the door: ―The Union Hotel, by Jonathan Doolittle.‖ There were men outside–but none that he recognized. One man was speaking loudly about ―rights of citizens–election–members of Congress–liberty–Bunker‘s Hill–heroes of ‘76–and other words, that were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the bewildered Van Winkle.‖ .......The men gathered around him and eyed him, for he was a strange sight to them. Women and children from the village also came to look at the peculiar man with the long beard and odd clothes. One man asked him how he voted. (Apparently, it was election day.) Another asked whether he was a Federal or a Democrat. A third man with a cane, seeing the old gun, asked whether Rip had come to the village to start a riot. Rip told them, ――I am a poor quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject of the king, God bless him!‖ At that, they declared him a Tory and a spy. .......The man with the cane calmed the others down and inquired again why Rip had come to the village. Rip assured him he meant no harm, then inquired where his neighbors were, naming them one by one: Nicholas Vedder, Brom Dutcher, Van Brummel the schoolmaster. Vedder has been dead 18 years, Rip was told. Dutcher went off to war and never returned. Van Brummel, too, went off to war, attained the rank of general, and got himself elected to Congress. All these replies puzzled Rip. .......Then he said, ―Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?‖ One man replied, ―Oh, to be sure! that's Rip Van Winkle yonder, leaning against the tree.‖ .......The fellow looked exactly like Rip and even wore ragged clothes. When a man asked Rip his name, he said he did not know, for he now doubted his own identity. A woman named Judith Gardenier came up just then holding a child named Rip. When Rip asked her who her father was, she replied, ―Ah, poor man, his name was Rip Van Winkle; it‘s twenty years since he went away from home with his gun, and never has been heard of since—his dog came home without him; but whether he shot himself, or was carried away by the Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but a little girl.‖ She also mentioned that her mother had died when she suffered a broken blood vessel shouting at a peddler. Rip then identified himself.
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.......―I am your father!‖ cried he–―Young Rip Van Winkle once–old Rip Van Winkle now!–Does nobody know poor Rip Van Winkle!‖ .......An old woman stepped forward for a closer look at him and confirmed that he was indeed Rip Van Winkle. When she asked where he had been for twenty years, Rip told his story to everyone. The people, skeptical, winked at one another or shook their heads. It happened that the oldest inhabitant of the village, Peter Vanderdonk, was coming up the road, and he was asked for his opinion. He immediately identified Rip. In addition, it was a fact, the narrator reports him as saying, that strange beings had always roamed the Catskills and that Henrdrick Hudson, the discoverer of the region, visited the area every twenty years with the crew of his ship, the Half-Moon, to ―keep a guardian eye upon the river.‖ The narrator further reports that Vanderdonk‘s father once observed Hudson and the crew playing ninepins in the mountains and that Vanderdonk himself once heard the thunderous sound of their rolling balls. .......The crowd then disbanded. Rip went to live with his daughter and her farmer husband. Rip‘s son–the man leaning against the tree–had been hired to work the farm but spent all his time on his own interests. Rip went for walks, took up his old habits, and even found a few of his old friends. However, he preferred the company of the younger generation. .......At an age when he could do as he pleased, which was to say nothing, he began sitting on the bench in front of the Doolittle's Hotel. There the villagers looked upon him as one of their patriarchs. In time, he learned that their had been a revolutionary war in which the country broke from England and that he was now a citizen of the United States. Overall, he was a happy man and was especially pleased to be free of the tyranny of Dame Van Winkle. .......From time to time, he told his story to strangers and eventually everyone in the village knew all the details by heart. Some inhabitants still doubted the tale, but old-timers swore by it and even claimed, whenever they heard a thunderstorm, that Hendrick Hudson and his crew were playing ninepins again. Theme: Difficulties in face of the social change; loss of identity ● James Fenimore Cooper (1) Life Born into a rich land-holding family of New Jersey, Cooper was one of the few American authors who did not have to worry about money. He was sent to Yale at 14 but was expelled in his junior year because of improper behavior. He went and spent five years at sea; then, while still in his early twenties, he inherited his father‘s vast fortune and settled down to a life of comfort and even luxury. Cooper‘s career as an author began quite by accident. Reading an English novel one day, he was so disgusted with it that he threw it down and said he could do better. His wife challenged him and he became serious about it. And succeed he did. After a mild success with his first book, the second one, The Spy, a novel about the American Revolution, proved to be an immense success. However, he was best known in his own day and remembered today as the author of the ―Leatherstocking Tales,‖ a series of five novels about the frontier life of American settlers.
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Cooper‘s greatness in American literature lies in the fact that he created a myth about the formative period of the American nation. (2) Works a. The Leather-stocking series: The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, The Prairie, The Pathfinder, and The Deerslayer. b. Social criticism: Cooper‘s writing of social criticism are wide-ranging in themes but are invariably linked with his interpretation of the American nationhood, like Nations of the Americans. c. The sea stories: Starting with The Pilot, Cooper wrote eleven sea stories. ● William Cullen Bryant Bryant was a romantic poet in his passion for American wilderness and for a culturally independent America. But if Bryang was a romantic in his attitude he was neoclassical in form. (1) Life William Bryant was born into the farming society and was brought up in a family with two cultures and philosophies. On the one hand, there was his mother and her father. Bryant‘s maternal grandfather was a Federalist in politics and an extreme Calvinist in religion. As head of the house and squire in the town, he was in the position to carry harsh justice. He believed thrift and industry to be main duties of man. He would beat Bryant if he was not speedy enough in the field. On the other hand, Bryant‘s father was a doctor and a will-educated person. In addition to his medical practice and public service, Peter also wrote verse in the manner of Pope. His library included poems of the late 18th century romantic poets. The duality within the family explains in part why Bryant grew up a Federalist and Calvinist but gradually became a Democrat, and a romanticist. (2) Works Thanatopsis; To a Waterfowl To a Waterfowl By William Cullen Bryant With Summaries and Notes 1 Whither1, midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?2 Summary As the dew falls and the sun sets in the rosy depths of the heavens, I wonder where you (waterfowl) are going? Notes 1.. Whither: Where. 2.. The speaker addresses the waterfowl as if it were
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present. Doing so constitutes a figure of speech known as apostrophe.

2 Vainly the fowler's3 eye 5 Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, As, darkly seen against the crimson sky, Thy figure floats along. Summary Without success, a hunter (fowler) might try to bring you down as you float in silhouette against the crimson evening sky. Notes 3.. fowler's: Hunter's.

3 Seek'st thou the plashy4 brink Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, 10 Or where the rocking billows rise and sink On the chafed5 ocean-side? Summary Are you looking for the marshy edge of a lake, the bank of a river, or the shore of the ocean? Notes 4. .plashy: Marshy, wet, having many puddles. 5.. chafed: Worn away by the sea.

4 There is a Power6 whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast— The desert and illimitable air— 15 Lone wandering, but not lost. Summary There is a Power that leads you on your way across deserts and through unlimited expanses of air. You may be wandering and alone, but you are not lost. Notes 6. .Power: God.

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5 All day thy wings have fanned, At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere, Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, Though the dark night is near. 20 Summary You have been flapping your wings all day high in the sky, yet you continue on even though night is near and land beckons beneath you.

6 And soon that toil shall end; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds7 shall bend, Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest. Summary Soon your journey will end. Soon you will descend to your summer home. There, you will scream among others of your kind and find secure shelter among the tall grasses. Notes 7. .reeds: Tall grasses in marshland.

7 Thou 'rt gone, the abyss of heaven 25 Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, And shall not soon depart. Summary I can no longer see you, but I will never forget the lesson you taught me.

8 He8 who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, 30 In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright. Summary God, who guides you from one place to another, will
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also guide me through life, leading me on the right path. Notes 8. .He: God. . Theme Just as God guides the waterfowl to its summer home, so too He guides the speaker of the poem through life to his ultimate destination, heaven. In the end, one will be able to say about the speaker what the speaker says about the waterfowl: "the abyss of heaven / Hath swallowed up thy form" (lines 25-26). The poem is, in essence, a profession of faith in God. Meter In each stanza, the poet uses iambic trimiter in lines 1 and 4 but iambic pentameter in lines 2 and 3. The second stanza illustrates this format: . vain LY the FOWL er‘s EYE three feet iambic

might MARK thy DIST ant FLIGHT to DO thee five iambic feet WRONG, as, DARK ly SEEN a GAINST the CRIM son SKY, thy FIG ure FLOATS a LONG. five iambic feet three feet iambic

.. . Structure and Rhyme Bryant neatly divides the poem into eight stanzas, each with the same metrical structure and each with the same rhyme pattern: the last syllable of the first line always rhymes with the last syllable of the third, and the last syllable of the second line always rhymes with the last syllable of the fourth. (Lines 14 and 16 have different vowel sounds at the end; consequently, the syllables containing them become a pararhyme.) The use of iambs (metrical feet each consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable) throughout the poem could be a way to suggest the flapping of wings. Examples of Figures of Speech alliteration: While, Whither (lines 1-2); depths, dost (line 3); their, thou, thy (lines 3-4); distant, do, darkly (lines 6-7) metaphor: last steps of day (comparison of the day to a creature that walks). anaphora: repetition of soon (lines 21, 22, 24). Anaphora is the repetition of a word, phrase, or clause at the beginning of word groups occurring one after the other. Examples: (1) Give me wine, give me women and give me song. (2) For everything there is a season . . . a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to
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pluck up what is planted.—Bible, Ecclesiastes. personification: The speaker addresses the waterfowl as if it were a person, saying it has taught a lesson; he also refers to other waterfowls as fellows (line 23). metaphor: on my heart / deeply hath sunk the lesson (comparison of the heart to the intellect) Use of Anastrophe Like many other poets, Bryant occasionally uses anastrophe—inversion of the normal word order—as in While glow the heavens (line 2) and river wide (line 10). Study Questions and Essay Topics 1...What is the mood of the poem? 2...What is a waterfowl? 3...What meaning or meanings do you attribute to long way in line 31? 4...Write an essay about a lesson you learned from nature—for example, from a squirrel gathering nuts, a tree bending in the wind, autumn leaves turning color, thunder rumbling in the distance, a mist rolling through a valley? 5...If you were to paint a picture illustrating the poem, what would it look like? Would you include the speaker (poet) in the picture? How would you convey the idea of a divine presence guiding the waterfowl? 6...After conducting research, write an essay explaining the extent to which William Cullen Bryant drew inspiration for his writing from nature. Summit of Romanticism---Transcendentalism 1. Transcendental Club In 1836 an informal group met in Concord, Massachusetts, to discuss theology, philosophy and literature. At first they called themselves the Symposium of Hedge Club, after Henry Hedge who helped initiate the meetings. But good-intentioned neighbors began to call the group members Transcendentalists since they always engaged in lofty discourses. The group accepted the name. Emerson was ultimately the most representative Transcendentalist, but William Channing, was the one who had planted the seeds before him. Channing was a Unitarian minister who proposed that human nature is potentially good, even godly. During a sermon delivered in Baltimore in 1819, Channing launched his ideas. At the heart of his belief is that human genius, if it is informed and unfettered, is the strongest moral and creative force. In other words, humans define God. This idea of Original Good seriously challenged the Puritan belief in the Original Sin. Indeed, dissidents within the Puritans had already justified the Original Good before Channing. It‘s more accurate to say that Channing voiced an idea that had already had a tradition. But it was he who made it so easily understandable. With this good news, Channing was one more voice in preserving and shaping the American mind. 2. Transcendentalism The phase of New England Transcendentalism is the summit of American Romanticism. It was, in essence, romanticism on Puritan soil. Basically, Transcendentalism has been defined philosophically as ―the recognition in man of the
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capacity of knowing truth intuitively, or of attaining knowledge transcending the reach of the senses.‘‘ Translated into literature, this belief became an emphasis on symbolic representation. Other concepts that accompanied Transcendentalism include the idea that nature is ennobling and the idea that the individual is divine and, therefore, self-reliant. It is a broad, philosophical movement in New England during the Romantic era (peaking between 1835 and 1845). It stressed the role of divinity in nature and the individual ’s intuition, and exalted feeling over reason. A group of people were members of an informal club, i.e. the Transcendental Club in New England in the 1830s.They expressed their views, published the journal, The Dial. (日晷) 3. Sources of Transcendentalism a. The Romantic idealism, as Transcendentalism has come to be called, can be said to have begun with the introduction of idealistic philosophy from Germany and France. The idealistic concepts of Schelling and Fichte as well as of Kant have found their way to America. Critique of Pure Reason suggests that traditional metaphysics can be reformed through epistemology, as we can face metaphysical problems fruitfully by understanding the sources and limits of knowledge. Thus German Romanticism emphasized intuition as means of piercing to the real essence of things. b. Neo-Platonism believes that spirit prevails over matter and that there is an ascending scale of spiritual values rising to absolute Good. c. Eastern mysticism, such as that by Confucius exerted great influence on the American Romanticism. 4. Features of Transcendentalism a. The Transcendentalists placed emphasis on spirit, or the Oversoul, as the most important thing in the universe. The Oversoul, was an all-pervading power for goodness, omnipresent and omnipotent, from which all things came and of which all were a part. It existed in nature and man alike and constituted the chief element of the universe. Now this, obviously, represented a new way of looking at the world. It was apparently a reaction to the Newtonian concept of the universe. In the 18th century, it was generally held that the world was made up of matter. It was also a reaction against the direction that a mechanized, capitalist America was taking, against the popular tendency to get ahead in world affairs to the neglect of spiritual welfare. b. Transcendentalism stressed the importance of the individual. To them the individual was the most important element of society. As the regeneration of society could only come about through the regeneration of the individual, his perfection, his self-culture and self-improvement should become the first concern of his life. The ideal type of man was the self-reliant individual whom Emerson never stopped talking about all his life. To him, the individual soul communed with the Oversoul and was divine. Now this new notion of the individual and his importance represented, obviously, a new way of looking at man. It was a reaction against the Calvinist concept that man is totally depraved, sinful and can not hope to be saved except through the grace of God. It was also a reaction against the process of dehumanization
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which came in the wake of developing capitalism. The industrialization of New England was turning men into nonhumans. People were losing their individuality and were becoming uniform. The Transcendentalists reassert the importance of the individual, emphasized the significance of men regaining their lost personality. c. The Transcendentalists offered a fresh perception of nature as symbolic of the Spirit of God. Nature was, to them, not purely matter. It was alive, filled with God‘s overwhelming presence. It was the garment of the Oversoul. Therefore, it could exercise a healthy and restorative influence on the human mind. Besides, the physical world was a symbol of the spiritual. This in turn added to the tradition of literary symbolism in American literature. ●Ralph Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was responsible for bringing Transcendentalism to New England, and he was recognized throughout his life as the leader of the movement. Emersonian Transcendentalism is actually a philosophical school which absorbed some ideological concerns of American Puritanism and European Romanticism, with its focus on the intuitive knowledge of human beings to grasp the absolute in the universe and the divinity of man. Life Emerson was born in a family of a clergyman in Boston. He graduated from Harvard, where the liberal atmosphere of the college made him reconsider his Calvinist belief with which he was brought up. Rejecting the Calvinist tenets, he embraced the liberal Christianity of Unitarianism. Now Unitarianism was more rational and logical, occupying as it did a sort of middle ground between extremes. Its principles, on which most people agreed, included the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of men, the leadership of Jesus, salvation by character, and continual progress of mankind. It was an obvious improvement on Calvinism which never accepted the prospect of man‘s perfectibility. After graduation, he became pastor of the Second Church of Boston in 1829. He resigned this position two years later when he found the rationality of Unitarianism intolerable. He traveled to Europe, spending most of his time in Italy and England. He met many of the important writers of his time like Coleridge and Wordsworth. On his return to America, Emerson brought back with him the influence of European Romanticism and retreated to a quiet study at Concord, Massachusetts, where he began to pursue his new path of ―self-reliance.‖ Then he formed a club with people like Henry Thoreau, which was later known as the Transcendental Club. And the unofficial manifesto for the Club was Nature (1836), his first little book. He also helped to found and edit for a time the Transcendental journal, The Dial. Being active in spreading his ideas, Emerson then embarked on a series of lecture tours in England and America. Works 1 Early essays and lecture: Nature has been called ―the Manifesto of American Transcendentalism‖ and is generally regarded as the Bible of New England Transcendentalism. In it the most famous speeches are ―The American Scholar‖ and
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―Divinity School Address.‖ ―The American Scholar‖ has been regarded as America‘s ―intellectual Declaration of Independence.‖ Emerson particularly warns that the past should be used to inspire and not to enslave the scholar. He argued in the speech that the age called to the Scholar for active participation and leadership, which further emphasized the importance of the individual. ―Divinity School Address‖ was delivered at the request of some graduates of the Harvard Divinity School and it caused what a scholar later called a ―Tempest in a Boston Tea cup.‖ Emerson asserted the divinity of all men, thus treating Christ too as a human. As it was also conspicuous in an address for the Divinity School, Emerson did not quote or discuss the Bible, used no prayer, and denied the truth of miracles as taught by the church. What Emerson emphasized as being divine is the majesty of the individual soul, a theme consistent in all his writings. This address‘ insistence on the importance of Intuition also refutes the Church‘s authority in asserting or communication ―truth.‖ 2 His essay collection: Essays, Essays, Second Series. Philosophy 1 Oversoul: Emerson states in Nature, ―the universe is composed of Nature and the soul.‖ He emphasized the need for idealism, for idealism sees the world in God. To him, there is a moment of ―conversion‖ when one feels completely merged with the outside world, and when the soul has gone beyond the physical limits of the body to share the omniscience of the Oversoul. In a word, the soul has completely transcended the limits of individuality and become part of the Oversoul. He further argued that ―there is one mind common to all individual men.‖ That is to say, man is make in the image of God and is just a little less than Him. This is as much as to say that man is divine. 2 Individual: Emerson believed in the infinite potential of the individual. To him, the individual is the most important of all. If man depends on himself, cultivates himself and brings out the divine in himself, he can hope to become better and even perfect. This is what he means by ―the infinitude of man.‖ In all his lectures, he tried to convince people that the possibilities for men to develop and improve himself are infinite. Men should and could be self-reliant. Each man should fell the world as his, and the world exists for him alone. He should determine his own existence. Everyone should understand that he makes himself by making his world, and that he makes the world by making himself. Consequently, the regeneration of the individual will lead to the regeneration of the society. 3 Naure: Nature was, to him as to his Puritan forebears, emblematic of God. It meditated between man and God, and its voice leads to higher truth. In a word, ―nature is the symbol of spirit.‖ A natural implication of Emerson‘s view on nature is that the world around is symbolic. A flowing river indicates the ceaseless motion of the universe. The seasons correspond to the life span of man. Comprehension and Appreciation of Nature Paragraph 1: If a man wants to be alone, he should not only leave the society, but also leave his study, because when you read and write, you are communicating with
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the others. But when a man looks at the stars, he can really enjoy solitude, because the pure rays of the stars can separate him from the dirty and evil things. It seems God purposely made the atmosphere transparent so that man can see stars ---the symbols of eternal loftiness. If the stars only appeared one night in a thousand years, people would worship them more than ever, and would remember for many generations the magnificent sight of them as a scene of the city in the paradise. But the stars appear every night and their smile gives people advice and warnings. Paragraph 2: The stars cause a feeling of worship because they can be seen, but beyond reach. But all the objects in nature make on you an impression that they are closely related with you. Nature‘s appearance is always noble. A wise man should not try to find out all the secret and perfection of nature, or he would lose his curiosity. Every object in nature provides happiness and pleasure for children and shows wisdom to adults. Paragraph 3: When we speak of nature we mean a whole and complete impression made by separate natural objects. Such a delicate sense shows the difference between a wood-cutter and a poet--- The former only sees a part, but the latter sees the whole and complete thing. Only the man who has such sensitive eyes with keen observation can find and enjoy the beauty of the landscape. Paragraph 4: There is a great difference between adults and children: adults can only see the appearance of nature, but children can see the essence of nature. The man who really loves nature should adjust his inward and outward senses and make them in harmony; and he should always keep the spirit of infancy even if he has grown up into a man. The man should communicate with nature everyday. Nature can give him great joy, in spite of his sorrow. Every period in nature gives people a kind of delight. Every hour and change in nature is suitable for a kind of mood of man. Nature can be very beneficial for man. In the woods a man can forget his age and is always a child, enjoying perpetual youth. In such a pure and holy atmosphere, all man‘s disgrace and calamity can be repaired. Standing here, I feel I am being purified and elevated and all vicious selfishness disappears. I become a transparent eye-ball--- I dissolve and be one with nature, but at the same time I can see all. In the wilderness I feel more at home than in the streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, man can see something as beautiful as his own nature. Paragraph 5: The greatest delight the fields and woods arouse is the revelation of the relation between man and the plants. When I am among the plants, they nod and wave to me, so I am not lonely. They make me refreshed and fill me with nobler thoughts and a better emotion. Paragraph 6: The power to produce this delight does not lie in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of man and nature. Man should not enjoy the pleasures without limitations. Nature does not always appear happy and gay; it is influenced by human emotions, too. Emerson‘s philosophical discussion is sometimes difficult to understand but he uses vivid comparisons and metaphors to make the general idea of his work clearly expressed. In this part, we see the rich imagination of the author. He shows the beauty and mystery of the stars by comparing them to the lights of the ―city of God‖ and
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emphasizes the two functions of the stars by the two terms ----―preachers of beauty‖ and ―admonishing smile‖, which mean that the stars can give people advice as well as beauty. To show the integrity of impression, he uses farms as examples. To explain the difference between the man and the child in their relationship with nature, he refers to the sun. What is unique and most meaningful is his image and metaphor ―transparent eyeball‖, which marks a paradoxical state of being, in which one merged into nature, the over-soul, while at the same time retaining a unique perception of the experience. These vivid and colorful images add so much to the poetic quality of the whole essay. ● Henry Davie Thoreau Henry Thoreau, another renowned New England Transcendentalist, was Emerson‘s friend and Emerson‘s junior by fourteen years. Thoreau embraced his master‘s ideas as disciple. Life His father was an unsuccessful storekeeper and a maker of lead pencils, but his mother was an aspiring woman, determined to send her son to college. So she did. Thoreau went to Harvard, but did not like the life and the curriculum of the college. After graduation he stayed with his family, first helping his father to make pencils and then, for a time, running a private school. He made friends with Emerson, used his library, and embraced his ideas. In 1845 he built a cabin on some land belonging to Emerson by Walden Pond and moved in to live there in a very simple manner for a little over two years, which gave birth to a great transcendentalist work, Walden. Works 1 “Civil Disobedience” During his stay in Walden he went back occasionally to his village, and on one of these visits he was detained for a night in jail for refusing to pay a tax of two dollars to a government he thought unjust, only to protect against the Mexican War. The event was insignificant enough---he was, in fact, soon set free after his aunt paid the sum for him, but it inspired him to write his famous essay, ―Civil Disobedience‖ which, advocating passive resistance to unjust laws of society, influenced people such as Mahatma Gandhi. In the 20th century, Gandi based his doctrine of passive resistance chiefly on Thoreau‘s ―Civil Disobedience.‖ In return, the doctrine influenced Martin Luther King. 2 Walden Walden can be read on more than one level. But it is, first and foremost, a book on self-culture and human perfectibility. It is a book, as J. L. Basile sums it up, about man, what he is, and what he should be and must be. To achieve personal spiritual perfection, he thinks, the most important thing for men to do with their lives is to be self-sufficient, so he sought to reduce his physical needs and material comforts to a minimum to get spiritual richness. Thoreau was very critical of modern civilization. It was in his opinion, degrading and enslaving man. ―Civilized man is the slave of matter,‖ he said on one occasion. He felt that man should seed truth directly by himself and not through imitation of others. And the best way to find truth is by leaving the life of hurry and bustle to get
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ahead in worldly affairs and sinking oneself in the wholesome atmosphere of nature. As he saw it, modern civilized life has dehumanized man and placed man in a spiritual quandary: by trying to amass material possessions, man is not really living; he is digging his own grave. Thoreau despised and pitied his fellow villagers and wished to be a chanticleer to wake them up from their spiritual slumbers and help make them into a new generation of men. Hence the book is full of people waking up: as a matter of fact, he woke up several times himself in the book. Therefore, the book not only fully demonstrates Emersonian ideas of self-reliance but also develops and tests Thoreau‘s own transcendental philosophy. ● Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe was not associated with Transcendentalism or any other noticeable-isms of his age, although his influence would be more recognized in Europe than that of any other American writer in his time. Poe is a critic, poet and short story writer, and is important in all three aspects. His contribution to French symbolist poetry was made not primarily through his poetry but his stories and criticism. Life Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston in 1809, the child of struggling traveling actors. Both of his parents died within two years after his birth. Edgar was taken into the home of John Allan, a rich merchant, whose name Poe later added to his own. Poe entered the University of Virginia, but left a short time later because he would not enter the profession of law as Allan wished. After a brief enlistment in the army, Poe accepted an appointment to West Point. Poe was dismissed because of misbehavior less than a year later. The episode marked the final break between Poe and the Allans. For a time he lived in Baltimore with his father‘s sister and her daughter Virginia. He had published two volumes of poems, but had made no money and little reputation from them. He got a job as editor. Confident of a secure position and steady income, Poe then married his young cousin, Virginia Clemm. In his post on the Messenger, Poe showed his true talents as an editor, a poet, a literary critic, and a writer of fiction. He remained for over two years, improving the magazine and building its circulation. Then he quit suddenly in 1837. With his family he set out to try his luck in New York and Philadelphia. For several years he drifted, he was an editor at various times of different magazines and newspapers. The years from 1837 to 1845 were hard, yet in spite of shifting jobs and chronic poverty, Poe managed to write some of his most famous stories during this period. His first collection of short stories, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, appeared in 1840. The Raven was published in 1845 as the title poem of a collection. Through his essays and reviews, Poe had also gained stature as literary critic. Yet none of his successes brought him security. Misfortune spoiled every opportunity and frustrated his dream of starting his own magazine. Ironically, while Poe was struggling in America, his work was commanding more and more praise in Europe, where he was hailed as a pioneer in poetic and fictional techniques. His influence was especially strong on many French writers. In spite of
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his European fame, Poverty remained his typical condition. After an agonizingly slow decline, his young wife Virginia died of tuberculoses in the winter of 1847. Two years later, at forty, Poe himself was dead. Poetic Principles Poe‘s poetic theories are best elucidated in his ―The Philosophy of Composition‖ and ―The Poetic Principle.‖ The poem, he says, should be short, readable at one sitting. Its chief aim is beauty, that is to say, to produce a feeling of beauty in the reader. Beauty aims at ―an elevating excitement of the soul,‖ and ―beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Thus, melancholy is the most legitimate of all the poetic tones.‖ And he concludes that ―the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.‖ Poe is opposed to ―the heresy of the didactic‖ and calls for ―pure‖ poetry. What he seems to be is this, the artistry of the poem lies not in what is being said but in the way it is said. This emphasis on the poem‘s own integrity allows people to associated Poe with the school of ―art for art‘s sake‖ and to regard him as a precursor to the school of New Criticism in 20th century America. Short Stories Poe, together with Hawthorne, modernized American short stories. Poe‘s stories are not just Gothic tales but they show, through carefully crafted symbols, complex characters in deep psychological states. The symbols are rays of light that Poe casts on those hidden, deep recessed of the human mind. Often, the stories gain added complexity and sophistication because of Poe‘s use of complex narrators. ―The fall of the House of Usher‖ is narrated by someone who is likely to be dreaming since he tries to shake ―of what must have been a dream.‖ Due to his unique contribution to American literature, Poe is regarded as the father of detective short stories. Poems In poetry, Poe is a master of moods. He conveys a mood through internal and external rhymes, regular rhythms, carefully chosen onomatopoeia and subtle suggestiveness. Poe‘s poetry seems to illustrate this belief: If the end of poetry is the contemplation of the beautiful, then the best manifestation of beauty is associated with sadness. Typically, the subject matter is the death of a beautiful woman. ―To Helen‖ expresses Poe‘s grief at the death of Mrs. Jane Stanard. ―Annabel Lee‖ is another poem about the loss of a beautiful woman. Comprehension and Appreciation of “To Helen” and “Annabel Lee” 1 To Helen Background Edgar Allan Poe wrote ―To Helen‖ as a reflection on the beauty of Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard, of Richmond, Va., who died in 1824. She was the mother of one of Poe‘s school classmates, Robert Stanard. When Robert invited Edgar, then 14, to his home (at 19th and East Grace Streets in Richmond) in 1823, Poe was greatly taken with the 27-year-old woman, who is said to have urged him to write poetry. He was later to write that she was his first real love. Theme The theme of this short poem is the beauty of a woman with whom Poe became acquainted when he was 14. Apparently she treated him kindly and may have
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urged him–or perhaps inspired him–to write poetry. Beauty, as Poe uses the word in the poem, appears to refer to the woman's soul as well as her body. On the one hand, he represents her as Helen of Troy–the quintessence of physical beauty–at the beginning of the poem. On the other, he represents her as Psyche–the quintessence of soulful beauty–at the end of the poem. In Greek, psyche means soul. Imagery and Summary of the Poem Poe opens the poem with a simile–―Helen, thy beauty is to me / Like those Nicéan barks of yore‖–that compares the beauty of Helen with small sailing boats (barks) that carried home travelers in ancient times. He extends this boat imagery into the second stanza, when he says Helen brought him home to the shores of the greatest civilizations of antiquity, classical Greece and Rome. It may well have been that Mrs. Stanard‘s beauty and other admirable qualities, as well as her taking notice of Poe‘s writing ability, helped inspire him to write poetry that mimicked in some ways the classical tradition of Greece and Rome. Certainly the poem‘s allusions to mythology and the classical age suggest that he had a grounding in, and a fondness for, ancient history and literature. In the final stanza of the poem, Poe imagines that Mrs. Stanard (Helen) is standing before him in a recess or alcove in front of a window. She is holding an agate lamp, as the beautiful Psyche did when she discovered the identity of Eros (Cupid). Text With Explanatory Notes Helen, thy beauty is to me ....Like those Nicé barks of yore, an That gently, o'er a perfumed sea, ....The weary, way-worn wanderer bore To his own native shore. Helen: An allusion to Helen of Troy in Greek mythology. Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Greece, was the most beautiful woman in the world. After a Trojan prince named Paris abducted her, the Greeks declared war on the Trojans, fighting a 10-year battle that ended in victory and the restoration of Greek honor. Helen returned to Greece with Menelaus. Nicean: Of or from Nicea (also spelled Nicaea), a city in ancient Bithynia (now part of present-day Turkey) near the site of the Trojan War. barks: small sailing vessels. End rhyme: A, B, A,B, B. 2 On desperate seas long wont to roam, ....Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, Thy Naiad airs have brought me home ....To the glory that was Greece And the grandeur that was Rome. wont: accustomed to (usually followed by an infinitive, such as to roam in the first line of this stanza). Naiad: Naiads were minor nature goddesses in Greek and Roman mythology. They inhabited and presided over rivers, lakes, streams, and fountains.
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Naiad airs: Peaceful, gentle breezes or qualities the glory that . . .Rome: These last two lines, beginning with the glory that was, are among the most frequently quoted lines in world literature. Writers and speakers quote these lines to evoke the splendor of classical antiquity. The alliteration of glory, Greece, and grandeur helps to make the lines memorable. End rhyme: A, B, A, B, A. Half rhyme: Face and Greece are similar only in that they have one syllable and the same ending–"ce." The vowels "a" and "ee" do not rhyme. Thus, face and Greece make up what is called half rhyme, also known as near rhyme, oblique rhyme, and slant rhyme. 3 Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche ....How statue-like I see thee stand, ....The agate lamp within thy hand! Ah! Psyche, from the regions which ....Are Holy Land! agate: a variety of chalcedony (kal SED uh ne), a semiprecious translucent stone with colored stripes or bands. The marbles that children shoot with a flick of the thumb are usually made of agate (although some imitations are made of glass). agate lamp: burning lamp made of agate. Psyche: In Greek and Roman mythology, Psyche was a beautiful princess dear to the god of love, Eros (Cupid), who would visit her in a darkened room in a palace. One night she used an agate lamp to discover his identity. Later, at the urging of Eros, Zeus gave her the gift of immortality. Eros then married her. End rhyme: A, B, B, A, B. from the regions which are Holy Land: from ancient Greece and Rome; from the memory Poe had of Mrs. Stanard (Background). Stylistic Appriciation a. beauty of rhyme b. beauty of figures of speech:Following are examples of figures of speech in the poem. For definitions of figures of speech, see Literary Terms. ? Alliteration The weary, wayworn wanderer bore (line 5) To the glory that was Greece And the grandeur that was Rome. (lines 9 and 10) ? Anaphora Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, Thy Naiad airs have brought me home (lines 7-8) ? Personification On desperate seas long wont to roam (line 6) Comparison of the seas to a human. (Wont implies a conscious decision.) ? Simile Helen, thy beauty is to me
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Like those Nicé barks of yore (lines 1-2) an (Comparison of Helen's beauty Nicé barks) an Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche How statue-like I see thee stand (lines 11-11
(Comparison of the stance of Helen to that of a statue)

c. beauty of image 2 Annabel Lee Biographers often interpret that "Annabel Lee" was written for Poe's wife Virginia, who had died two years prior, as was suggested by poet Frances Sargent Osgood, though Osgood is herself a candidate for the poem's inspiration. A strong case can be made for Poe's wife Virginia: she was the one he loved as a child, and the only one that had been his bride, and the only one that had died. Autobiographical readings of the poem have also been used to support the theory that Virginia and Poe never consummated their marriage, as "Annabel Lee" was a "maiden". Love and death are the two major themes in Ellan Poe‘s poems; and the two are often combined. In many cases the love in his poems is full of sorrow and melancholy, and is shadowed by death. Annabel Lee is a representative poem of this kind. In the poem Annabel Lee was a very beautiful and innocent girl. Love was everything for her and her only wish was to love and to be loved. The boy and Lee loved each other so deeply even the angels in heaven were envying them. So a wind came out of the cloud by night,-chilling and killing her. She was buried in a tomb by the sea. The boy, full of sorrow and regret, missed her very much. Whenever he saw the moonlight, he thought of the beautiful face of Annabel Lee; whenever he saw the stars in the sky, he dreamt of the bright eyes of Annabel Lee. He believed their souls were united forever. The poem carries very obvious colors of folk songs: the legendary tale-style beginning—―many, many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea…‖ the simple and vivid diction, the repetition of the name and other words, the musical effect of the rhythms and rhyming. Poe paid great attention to the form of poetry and he called his poems as word music. There is a tendency of aestheticism in Poe‘s poems. Theme (Eternal love) The love between the narrator and Annabel Lee is so strong and beautiful and pure that even the seraphs, the highest order of angels in heaven, envy it. They attempt to kill this love by sending a chilling wind that kills Annabel Lee. However, the love remains alive–eternal–because the souls of the lovers remain united. The death of a beautiful woman is a common theme in Poe‘s writing. Rhyme, Rhythm, Repetition: Poe uses three R‘s–rhyme, rhythm, and repetition–in ―Annabel Lee‖ to create a harmony of sounds that underscore the exquisite harmony of the narrator‘s relationship with his beloved. Use of Alliteration: Poe relies heavily on alliteration in "Annabel Lee" to create pleasing sound patterns. Following are examples of alliteration in the poem: That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee........(Alliterating words: came, cloud, killing) But our love it was stronger by far than the love
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Of those who were older than we– Of many far wiser than we–.............(Alliterating words: was, who, were, we, wiser, we) Imagery–Darkness and Light: Implied and explicit images of darkness and light occur throughout the poem. Poe implies that the kingdom by the sea is a bright, cheerful place where the sun shines on two young lovers, the narrator and Annabel Lee. Ironically, in another realm of dazzling light–heaven–the highest order of angels, the Seraphim grow dark with envy of the young couple. Under cover of night, they send a cold wind that kills Annabel Lee: "The wind came out of the cloud by night, / Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee." But the narrator says he remains in a realm of light, for his soul and the soul of Annabel Lee are one. In the last stanza, Poe emphasizes this point with light imagery: For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. Thus, his beloved becomes the moon and the stars shining down on him from the sepulchral night sky. Poe stresses imagery of light in the last stanza, associating moonbeams with dreams about his beloved and the radiance of stars with her eyes. In the sixth line, he uses a figure of speech called anaphora when he writes the word my four times. Most people agree that Edgar Allan Poe wrote "Annabel Lee" about his departed wife, Virginia Clemm, who died of tuberculosis two years earlier. Some critics, however, contend that in the seventh line of the poem he states, "I was a child and she was a child," and he certainly was no child in 1836 at twenty-seven when he married his thirteen-year-old bride. Maybe the poem is about an earlier love, or perhaps it is purely fictional, but addressing Annabel Lee as his "life and [his] bride" in line thirty-eight and writing it two years after his beloved young wife's death, it is seems logical that it is indeed written about her and is simply embellished with a bit of poetic license. In this poem, Poe writes primarily with a combination of iambic and anapestic feet, alternating between tetrameter and trimeter. The word "chilling," however, is permitted in both places it is used, lines fifteen and twenty-five, to retain its jarring trochaic meter (one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable). This is done most probably to utilize the provoking effect of that meter; the death of the speaker's loved one disturbs the rhythm of the poem and startles the reader. End rhyme in the poem alternates lines with a few variations and bears little significance; the repeated rhyming words are: "Lee," "sea," "me," and "we." In "Annabel Lee" the speaker argues in lines eleven and twelve that the angels were jealous of the happy couple: "the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me." The envious angels, he insists, caused the wind to chill his bride and seize her life. However, he contends, their love, stronger than the love of the older or wiser couples, can never be conquered:

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And neither the angles in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. (lines 33-36) The poem's diction immerses the reader into the speaker's fantasy-like realm of love shared with his bride. He begins the poem with the first two lines, "It was many and many a year ago, / In a kingdom by the sea," much like the "once upon a time, in a faraway land" of fairytales. The couple lived with no other thought than to love one another and "loved with a love that was more than love" (9). The speaker maintains that this world of reverie remains even after the death of his bride: For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee (33-6). The diction of the poem also reinforces the speaker's argument. By addressing Annabel Lee as a "maiden" in lines three and five rather than simply as a "woman," he draws images of purity and innocence to the reader's mind. In line twenty-one, alliteration of "H's" in the phrase "half so happy in heaven" makes a harsh sound, almost as that of a rebuke; both the words of the speaker and the voice of the reader shun the angels for their avariciousness. While end rhyme bears little importance, internal rhyme is more expressive. The internal rhyme of "chilling and killing" in line twenty-five emphasizes the abrupt end of his love's life; that of "ever dissever" in line thirty-one stresses the longevity of their affections. The image invoked by this poem is of enduring love. Both this everlasting love and the conclusion of the poem leave the speaker lying on the grave of his departed wife: And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling-my darling-my life and my bride, In the sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea (37-41). ● Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne (born Nathaniel Hathorne; July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist and short story writer. Much of Hawthorne's writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend Franklin Pierce.
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Life Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts into a prominent Puritan family. His first American ancestor, William Hawthorne, as a magistrate of the Bay Colony, was active in the 1650‘ in the persecution of the Quakers, while William‘s son, John, was one of the judges in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. However, the 17th century prominence of his family declined during the century that followed. His father, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was a sea captain and descendent of John Hawthorne, one of the judges, died of yellow fever when the young Nathaniel was four year old. Young Hawthorne was intensely aware of the misdeeds of his Puritan ancestors, and this awareness led to his understanding of evil being at the core of human life, to ―that blackness Hawthorne,‖ as Herman Melville put it. Then Elizabeth Clarke Manning, his mother, withdrew to a life of seclusion, which she maintained till her death. From Salem the family moved to Maine, where Hawthorne was educated at the Bowdoin College (1821-24). In the school among his friends were Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, who became the 14th president of the U.S. From 1825 to 1837 Hawthorne lived in solitude and seclusion. He read widely, became further acquainted with local history and began to practice writing. His first attempt at novel writing, a book about his school life, proved to be a failure; his first tale appeared in print in 1830. The year of 1837 saw the publication of his Twice-Told Tales, a collection of short stories, which enjoyed critical attention. After 1837, a series of salient events of Hawthorne‘s life happened that mattered a lot to his literary imagination and creation. He met Sophia Peabody, whom he married later and with whom he had three children; he worked in the United States Custom House in Boston and later in Salem, and joined Brook Farm, a transcendentalist community, which definitely provided some authentic materials for his long works; he also stayed for some time at Concord and Lenox, where he met the principal literary figures of the time, Emerson and Thoreau and Melville. He was affected by the former‘s transcendentalist theory and struck up a very intimate relationship with the latter, and all the three people had played an indispensable role in Hawthorne‘s literary career. Hawthorne wrote and published the best and the greatest of his works, which have doubtlessly become part of the American literary heritage. In 1853 Franklin Pierce became President. Hawthorne, who had written a campaign biography for him, was appointed as consul in Liverpool, England. He lived there for four years, and then spent a year and half in Italy writing The Marble Faun (1860), a story about the conflict between innocence and guilt. It was his last completed novel. In his Concord home, The Wayside, he wrote the essays contained in Our Old Home (1863). Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, in Plymouth, N.H. on a trip to the mountains with his friend Franklin Pierce. After his death, Sophia Hawthorne edited and published his notebooks. Modern editions of these works include many of the sections which she cut out or altered. The author's son Julian was convicted in 1912 of defrauding the public. Works Hawthorne was predominantly a short story writer in his early career. Upon
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publishing Twice-Told Tales, however, he noted, "I do not think much of them", and he expected little response from the public. His four major romances were written between 1850 and 1860: The Scarlet Letter (1850), The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Blithedale Romance (1852) and The Marble Faun (1860). Another novel-length romance, Fanshawe was published anonymously in 1828. Hawthorne defined a romance as being radically different from a novel by not being concerned with the possible or probable course of ordinary experience. In the preface to The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne describes his romance-writing as using "atmospherical medium as to bring out or mellow the lights and deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture." Hawthorne also wrote nonfiction. In 2008, The Library of America selected Hawthorne's "A Collection of Wax Figures" for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime. Features of Works: 1 Setting---Puritan New England Hawthorne‘s view of man and human history originates, to a great extent, in Puritanism. He was not a Puritan himself, but he had Puritan ancestors who played an important role in his life and his works. He believed that ―the wrong doing of one generation lives into the successive one,‖ and often wondered if he might have inherited some of their guilt. This sensibility led to his understanding of evil being at the core of human life, which is typical of the Calvinistic belief that human beings are basically depraved and corrupted, hence, they should obey God to atone for their sins. In many of Hawthorne‘s stories and novels, the Puritan concept of life is condemned, of the Puritan past is shown in an almost totally negative light, especially in his The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter. 2 Themes---Evil and Sin, and psychological themes Hawthorne's works belong to romanticism or, more specifically, dark romanticism, cautionary tales that suggest that guilt, sin, and evil are the most inherent natural qualities of humanity. Many of his works are inspired by Puritan New England, combining historical romance loaded with symbolism and deep psychological themes, bordering on surrealism. His depictions of the past are a version of historical fiction used only as a vehicle to express common themes of ancestral sin, guilt and retribution. His later writings also reflect his negative view of the Transcendentalism movement. Hawthorne‘s literary world turns out to be a most disturbed, tormented and problematical one possible to imagine. This has much to do with his ―black‖ vision of life and human beings. According to Hawthorne, ―There is evil in every human heart, which may remain latent, perhaps, through the whole life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity.‖ So in almost every book he wrote, Hawthorne discusses sin and evil. In ―Young Goodman Brown,‖ he sets out to prove that everyone possesses some evil secret. ―The Minister‘s Black Veil‖ goes further to suggest that everyone tries to hold the evil secret from one another in the way the minister tries to convince his people with his black veil. ―The Birthmark‖ drives home symbolically Hawthorne‘s point that evil is man‘s birthmark, something he is born with.
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One source of evil that Hawthorne is concerned most is overreaching intellect, which usually refers to someone who is too proud, too sure of himself. The tension between the head and the heart constitutes one of the dramatic moments when the evil of ―overreaching intellect‖ would be fully revealed. Hawthorne‘s intellectuals are usually villains, dreadful because they are devoid of warmth and feeling. What‘s more, they tend to go beyond and violate the natural order by doing something impossible and reaching the ultimate truth, without a sober mind about their own limitations as human beings. 3 Technique---symbolism and allegory Hawthorne is a great allegorist and almost every story can be read allegorically, as is the case in ―Young Goodman Brown.‖ Whereas allegory is used to hold fast against the crushing blows of reality, the symbol serves as a weapon to attack and penetrate it. Hawthorne is a master of symbolism, which he took from the Puritan tradition and bequeathed to American literature in a revivified form. The symbol can be found everywhere in his writing, and his masterpiece provides the most conclusive proof. By using Pearl as a thematic symbol, Hawthorne emphasizes the consequence the sin of adultery has brought to the community and people living in that community. With the scarlet letter A as the biggest symbol of all, Hawthorne proves himself to be one of the best symbolists. 4 Feature---ambiguity The ambiguity is one of the salient characteristics of Hawthorne‘s art. His ambiguity seems to be intentional. Many of his stories show the interplay of light and dark, good and evil, but do not offer easy explanations or resolutions. Hawthorne seems to imply that polarities of good and bad can not always be reconciled. Hawthorne does not make his characters completely good or admirably just; he does not allow any neat interpretations either. However, in some odd moments Hawthorne would let us hear an ironic laughter or a surprising comment. Comprehension and appreciation of V Hester at Her Needle In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne does not intend to tell a love story nor a story of sin, but focuses his attention on the moral, emotional, and psychological effects of consequences of sin on the people in general and those main characters in particular, so as to show the tension between society and individuals. This passage shows Hester‘s psychological activities and complicated feelings when her term of confinement was at an end and she walked out of the prison door. The sunshine seemed to reveal the scarlet letter on purpose, which shows her ―morbid heart‖ She was suffering from her humiliation of being pointed by the public, but at that time she was supported by ―all the combative energy of her character‖.(This shows Hester‘s strong will and rebellious spirit.) Now when she was free and began her ordinary life, she had to face more torture. Every day would be a trial for her. If she gave up her individuality, she would be nothing but a general symbol of shame until her death—and even after her death. Hester was facing two choices--- to leave or to stay. She could return to her birthplace or any other European land, and hide her past and begin a new life as a new woman. However, it seemed that she was bound to stay. Her sin and her shame were
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rooted in this soil, which she could not get rid of. So she decided to stay. In fact there was another feeling which kept her within the scene and pathway that had been so fatal. The feeling was her love for Dimmestale who was still here. And she also hoped the torture of her daily shame would clean her soul. The true value of the novel lies in the character of Hester and in its appealingness and truthfulness in reflecting and denouncing the world where Hester lived, The heroine embodies the original American dream of a new life in the wilderness of the new world, and of self-reliant action to realize that ideal. In this passage, many symbols are used, such as sunshine, forest, and serpent. But the scarlet letter A is the biggest symbol of all. As a key to the whole novel, the letter A takes on different layers of symbolic meanings as the plot develops. Comprehensive Questions: 1. What is the main idea of this excerpt? 2. What a kind of woman is Hester? 3. What different meanings does the scarlet letter A symbolize? Answers (Main Points) 1. This excerpt shows the psychological activities and complicated feelings in Hester‘s heart when she was walking out of the prison door. She was considering about her future. She could leave, but she chose to stay. 2. Hester is a woman with a strong will and personality. She is brave in her pursuit of true love. She can endure her shame and suffering. She has a rebellious spirit in face of conventional bondage. 3. A was a symbol of ―Adultery,‖ a symbol of shame. But as the plot develops, it can stand for ―Able,‖ ‖Angel‖ and so on. ● Herman Melville Life Melville was born in New York City into a family of substantial means. Ancestrally, the family had been the Calvinist Melvilles of Boston. His maternal grandfather, Peter, Gansvoort, had served in the American Revolution. When Melville was eleven, his father, a businessman, suffered heavy financial losses and soon died from worry and illness. The death came as a shock because Melville idolized his father. The family moved to Albany where Melville attended Albany Academy for a while. Then his restlessness and his tension with his mother brought an end to his education, although he continued on his own to read avidly from his father‘s library. Herman Melville grew up a displaced person in a world of alienating and harsh reality. He drifted into various occupations: a store clerk, a bank messenger, a country schoolteacher, and finally, in 1839, he signed on a British merchant ship, the St. Lawrence, bound to Liverpool and back. This would become material for his novel Redburn (1849). When he returned from Livepool, Melville tried teaching again. Then, in 1841, he signed on the whaler Acushnet as a sailor. Now a common sailor was about the lowest of workers at that time, but Melville was not even that. He was a whaler, about the lowest of sailors. In that capacity he saw life from the bottom as did Mark Twain. He went to Liverpool, England, and the South Pacific, spending most of
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his young manhood undergoing on of the most brutalizing experience for a man. His experiences and adventures on the sea furnished him with abundant material for fiction. The married life of Melville was more like that of Scott. Fitzgerald than Mark Twain‘s. These men all married above them. Mark Twain alone enjoyed the understanding of his wife. The other two had to do hackwork for the money. They needed to keep their wives in their extravagant style. Melville married Elizabeth Shaw, the daughter of a wealthy judge. To support her and his growing family, he had to write for money, which was difficult for any American about that time, and especially so for a devoted literary artist like him. Thus Melville was for ever harassed by a pecuniary need and stopped worrying about it only when he was quite old. During the summer of 1850 Melville and Hawthorne met. He was then living in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and Hawthorne at Lenox. They became good friends. They exchanged visits, meeting at least nine times, and wrote to one another often. Melville read Hawthorne‘s books and was deeply impressed. There was an obvious shock of recognition on the part of Melville. Actually Hawthorne‘s Mosses from an Old Manse brought about great changes in the younger writer‘s outlook on life and on the world. Against the background of New England Transcendental optimism concerning man and his world, Melville saw in Hawthorne the one American who was expressively aware of the evil at the core of American life. He found Hawthorne‘s understanding of evil, that blackness of vision, unusually fascinating. Apart from Hawthorne, whose black vision regarding the evil of human beings had in some way changed Melville‘s outlook on life and the world and whose allegorical way of exposition had affected his writing technique, Shakespearean tragic vision and Emersonian Transcendentalism also produced some positive effects on his writing. A significant change came about in the original design of Moby Dick. Under the influence of Hawthorne, Melville rewrote it into a world classic. For the last twenty years of his life, Melville worked in the Custom House in New York, going off in the morning, and coming home later in the day. Even while he was still living he was forget ton as an author. He had tried to write for his audience, and they did not seem to appreciate what he had to offer. They ended up with disappointment on both sides. The problem with Melville lies in the fact that he was unwilling to sacrifice his insights and artistic standards to cater to popular feeling and demand. Works: Melville‘s writings can be divided into two groups, each with something in common in the light of the thematic concern and imaginative focus. His early works were written after he was back from the sea, chiefly between 1846 and 1852, when he was considered to be at his best. Books poured forth like a torrent. Among them are Typee, Omoo, and Mardi, which drew from his adventures among the people of the South Pacific islands; Redburn is a semi-autobiographical novel, concerning the suffering of a genteel youth among brutal sailors; in White Jacket Melville relates his life on a United States man-of-war. Of all these sea adventure stories, Moby-Dick proves to be the best. By writing such a book Melville reached the most flourishing
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stage of his literary creativity. With the publication of Pierre, a popular romance intended for the feminine market but provoking an outrageous repudiation, Melville‘s public fame was on the decline. Later he wrote The Confidence-Man and Billy Budd. In the early ones, Melville is more enthusiastic about setting out on a quest for the meaning of the universe, hence they are more metaphysical and the main characters are ardent and self-dramatizing ―I,‖ defying God, as best reflected in Moby-Dick; while in the late works, in which, he admits, one must live by the rules. However, the purpose of Melville‘s fictional tales, exotic or philosophical, is to penetrate as deeply as possible into the metaphysical, theological, moral, psychological, and social truths of human existence. Belief 1 Calvinistic doctrine: man is evil-natured and human existence is dark necessity that the man can‘t control. 2 Pessimistic view on man‘s quest for truth in universe: this quest would end in a terrifying nothingness. Themes One of the major themes in Melville is alienation, which he sensed existing in the life of his time on different levels, between man and man, man and society, and man and nature. Captain Ahab seems to be the best illustration of it all. He cuts himself off from his wife and kid, and stays away most of the time from his crew, and he hates Moby Dick which is an embodiment of mature. He is angry because his pride is wounded. After the loss of his leg in his encounter with the white whale, he seems to hold God responsible for the presence of evil in the universe. Thus his anger assumes the proportions of a cosmic nature. He is bent on avenging himself. He hears of no objection. A common theme with mid-nineteenth-century authors like Cooper, Hawthorne and Melville is one of ―rejection and quest,‖ quest as a desire born out of the wish to reject. Melville presents in his works the motif of rejection and quest at work all the time. We find the heroes forever trying to escape from their corrupt world into a better place to live, or what he calls ―another world.‖ Ishmael, the narrator in Moby-Dick, he starts out feeling bad, hoping to find a place where he can live a happy and ideal life. He proves himself to be an escapist. The theme of gender and sexuality appears to be fasinating, too, in Melville‘s‘ works. Melville‘s‘ male characters are the classic wanderers who struggle against odds and are caught in the harsh reality. Indeed, his universe is the single-sex universe, all males and no females. But his male characters are androgynous, exhibiting both masculine and feminine qualities. The feminine in man, so to speak, is often shown as tenderness and compassion. Moby-Dick Moby-Dick is regarded as the first American prose epic. It is not merely a whaling tale or sea adventure, considering that Melville is a great symbolist. It turns out to be a symbolic voyage of the mind in quest of the truth and knowledge of the universe, a spiritual exploration into man‘s deep reality and psychology.
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Like Hawthorne, Melville is a master of allegory and symbolism. The Pequod is the microcosm of human society and the voyage becomes a search for truth. The white whale, Moby Dick, symbolizes a search for truth. The white whale, Moby Dick, becomes nature for Melville, for it is complex, unfathomable, malicious and beautiful as well. Moby Dick is like a wall, hiding some unknown, mysterious things behind. Ahab wills the whole crew on the Pequod to join him in the pursuit of the big whale so as to pierce the wall, to root out the evil, but only to be destroyed by evil, in this case, by his own consuming desire, his madness. For the author, as well as for the reader and Ishmael, the narrator, Moby Dick is still a mystery, an ultimate mystery of the universe, inscrutable and ambivalent and the voyage of the mind will forever remain a search, not a discovery, of the truth. Theme: 1 man‘s quest for truth 2 self and hostile nature 3 mystery 4 alienation Symbolism is not the only way in which Melville has articulated, shape, and presented the mighty theme of the book, others techniques are employed to make Moby-Dick a world classic, such as multiple view. The skillful use of Ishmael both as a character and a narrator gives the novel a moral magnitude. ● Henry Longfellow Life Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine—then still part of Massachusetts—on February 27, 1807, the second son of eight children. His mother, Zilpah Wadsworth, was the daughter of a Revolutionary War hero. His father, Stephen Longfellow, was a prominent Portland lawyer and later a member of Congress. The Longfellow family faith was Unitarian. Henry was a dreamy boy who loved to read. He heard sailors speaking Spanish, French and German in the Portland streets and liked stories set in foreign places: The Arabian Nights, Robinson Crusoe, and the plays of Shakespeare. After graduating from Bowdoin College, Longfellow studied modern languages in Europe for three years, then returned to Bowdoin to teach them. Longfellow was a devoted husband and father, with a keen feeling for the pleasures of home. But his marriages ended in sadness and tragedy. In 1831 he married Mary Storer Potter of Portland, a former classmate, and soon published his first book, a description of his travels called Outre Mer ("Overseas"). But in November 1835, during a second trip to Europe, Longfellow's life was shaken when his wife died during a miscarriage. The young teacher spent a grief-stricken year in Germany and Switzerland. Longfellow took a position at Harvard in 1836. Three years later, at the age of 32, he published his first collection of poems, Voices of the Night, followed in 1841 by Ballads and Other Poems. Many of these poems ("A Psalm of Life," for example) showed people triumphing over adversity, and in a struggling young nation that theme was inspiring. Both books were very popular, but Longfellow's growing duties as a
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professor left him little time to write more. In addition, Frances Appleton, a young woman from Boston, had refused his proposal of marriage. Longfellow began courting Frances "Fanny" Appleton, the daughter of a wealthy Boston industrialist, Nathan Appletonand sister of Thomas Gold Appleton. At first, she was not interested but Longfellow was determined. In July 1839, he wrote to a friend: "[V]ictory hangs doubtful. The lady says she will not! I say she shall! It is not pride, but the madness of passion." His friend George Stillman Hillard encouraged Longfellow in the pursuit: "I delight to see you keeping up so stout a heart for the resolve to conquer is half the battle in love as well as war."During the courtship, Longfellow frequently walked from Cambridge to the Appleton home in Beacon Hill in Boston by crossing the Boston Bridge. That bridge was replaced in 1906 by a new bridge which was later renamed the Longfellow Bridge. Frances finally accepted his proposal the following spring, ushering in the happiest 18 years of Longfellow's life. On May 10, 1843, after seven years, Longfellow received a letter from Fanny Appleton agreeing to marry him and, too restless to take a carriage, walked 90 minutes to meet her at her house. They were married shortly thereafter. Nathan Appleton bought the Craigie House as a wedding present to the pair. Longfellow would live there for the remainder of his life. His love for Fanny is evident in the following lines from Longfellow's only love poem, the sonnet "The Evening Star", which he wrote in October 1845: "O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus! My morning and my evening star of love!" He once attended a ball without her and noted, "The lights seemed dimmer, the music sadder, the flowers fewer, and the women less fair." The couple had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood, and the marriage gave him new confidence. In 1847, he published Evangeline, a book-length poem about what would now be called "ethnic cleansing." The poem takes place as the British drive the French from Nova Scotia, and two lovers are parted, only to find each other years later when the man is about to die. In 1854, Longfellow decided to quit teaching to devote all his time to poetry. He published Hiawatha, a long poem about Native American life, and The Courtship of Miles Standish and Other Poems. Both books were immensely successful, but Longfellow was now preoccupied with national events. With the country moving towards civil war, he wrote "Paul Revere's Ride," a call for courage in the coming conflict. A few months after the war began in 1861, Frances Longfellow was sealing an envelope with wax when her dress caught fire. Despite her husband's desperate attempts to save her, she died the next day. Profoundly saddened, Longfellow published nothing for the next two years. He found comfort in his family and in reading Dante's Divine Comedy. (Later he produced its first American translation.) Tales of a Wayside Inn, largely written before his wife's death, was published in 1863. When the Civil War ended in 1865, the poet was 58. His most important work was finished, but his fame kept growing. In London alone, 24 different companies were publishing his work. His poems were popular throughout the English-speaking world, and they were widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day. His admirers included Lincoln, Dickens, and Baudelaire.
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From 1866 to 1880, Longfellow published seven more books of poetry, and his seventy-fifth birthday in 1882 was celebrated across the country. But his health was failing, and he died the following month, on March 24. When Walt Whitman heard of the poet's death, he wrote that, while Longfellow's work "brings nothing offensive or new, does not deal hard blows," he was the sort of bard most needed in a materialistic age: "He comes as the poet of melancholy, courtesy, deference—poet of all sympathetic gentleness—and universal poet of women and young people. I should have to think long if I were ask'd to name the man who has done more and in more valuable directions, for America." Theme: a spirit of optimism and faith in the goodness of life Writing style ? gentleness, sweetness, and purity ? His writings belong to the milder aspects of the romantic movement ? his work untouched the religious and social struggles Contributions ? bringing European culture to the U.S., ? did much to popularize American folk themes abroad A Psalm of Life Notes: ? Psalm: song that praises God ? but: only ? slumbers: sleep ? goal: aim ? returnest: return ? destined: decide by fate ? fleeting: lasting only a short time ? stout: strong ? muffled: make a sound quieter ? bivouac: camp ? dumb: unable to speak ? cattle: cows and bulls ? strife: conflict, struggle ? howe’er: however ? o’er: over ? sublime: of very high quality ? solemn: serious ? forlorn: lonely and unhappy ? take heart: feel more positive ? labour: work 1st Stanza: If your soul is not keen, it is dead, you will not sense the true feature if or charm of the world, 2nd Stanza: Life is full of flesh and blood, beauty, charms, and meanings. We need to be enthusiastic towards life. It is not a course from birth to death; it has meanings and goals to strive for. It should be enriched.
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3rd Stanza: We should not be stopped by temporary joy or sorrow. We should enhance and improve ourselves continuously. 4th Stanza: we are just on the way to death, even though we are courageous or brave. 5th Stanza: Do not live passively, we should live in dignity and live actively. 6th Stanza: Don’t rely too much on the future, and not be obsessed by the past. Stick to your ideal fast, hold belief in your heart under the guidance of God. 7th Stanza: We can be great. 8th Stanza: What we have done or left behind us may cheer up and stimulate those lonely and frustrated fighters. What we do is of significance. 9th Stanza: We should begin (take action) now, with courage and confidence, to work hard and be patient. Longfellow wrote the poem shortly after completing lectures on German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and was heavily inspired by him. He was also inspired to write it by a heartfelt conversation he had with friend and fellow professor at Harvard University Cornelius Conway Felton; the two had spent an evening "talking of matters, which lie near one's soul:–and how to bear one's self doughtily in Life's battle: and make the best of things.‖ The next day, he wrote "A Psalm of Life". The primary message of the poem, although haunting, is that life is beautiful. The lyrical lines and inspiring message of the poem has been handed down through the years, bringing hope to new generations today. In the poem, Longfellow advised that we are all here on Earth to live for today rather than waiting for death to take us. The message in A Psalm for Life clearly illustrates that even in adversity we are to persevere and never give up. According to Longfellow, time is too swift to wait for death. The poem seems to be in a very uplifting and almost spiritual mood since it tells the reader about what to do before you die and live forever with God. It does seem to be a bit somber, but just imagine an adolescent teenager telling a teacher what the meaning to life is; that is what, essentially, this poem is. The teenager being excited that he knows what the secret of life is, and is excited to teach the teacher something about it. that is the mood of the poem. So if you can figure out what that is called, that is the mood of the poem. The theme of the poem is clearly death since in many lines death is mentioned and a key motif throughout the poem. Death is also portrayed through Longfellow making the analogy of footprints; your life on earth is here, for a short period of time for others to see, until the water washes it away. Lines 1-4 In the opening stanza, the speaker directly addresses the psalmist. He begins by dismissing the psalmist's sad poetry, and he rejects as dangerous the psalmist's notion that human life is a meaningless illusion. If one accepts the logic that life is just a dream, he cautions, one's soul will not merely sleep, but die. On the surface, human life may appear futile, but the speaker contends that it is actually this sense of hopelessness - and not human life itself - that is the illusion. Lines 5-8
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Longfellow uses the second stanza to build on the ideas of the first. Because the soul lives eternally, the speaker reasons, life must be real. Note that in the first line there is a caesura, or break, after the word "real." This caesura forces the reader to pause, thereby emphasizing the idea that life is real. These lines are an allusion to the Bible's book of Genesis, where God says to the fallen Adam, "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." In Longfellow's poem, the speaker is asserting that although the mortal body will die, the soul is exempt from death. Lines 9-12 The third stanza introduces the central theme of the poem: the purpose of life is not to experience pleasure or sorrow, but "to act" - to perform the deeds that will improve the condition of mankind. Note that by this point in the poem, the speaker has ceased to address the psalmist; instead, he is directing his remarks to mankind in general, as is evidenced by his broadly inclusive use of the first person plural - "our" and "us." Lines 13-16 The fourth stanza begins with an allusion to a line from Seneca's work De Brevitate vitae, which states "vita brevis est, ars longa," or "Life is brief, art long." The idea here is that although a lifetime passes relatively quickly, it actually takes a long time to learn how to live well - to decipher the "art" of living. The speaker is suggesting with some urgency, then, that we should live as productive a life as possible, because death (of the human body, not the soul) is always imminent. Note the simile in line 15, which compares the human heartbeat to "muffled drums." On a literal level, of course, a heartbeat can sound like a drumbeat, but Longfellow extends this idea to suggest that our own hearts are measuring out the backbeat of a steady and irreversible journey toward death. Each beat of our hearts, Longfellow implies, carries us closer to death. If you read the stanza aloud, you will notice that, at this point, the trochaic rhythm is especially steady and even; it sounds as though a drum is beating in the background. Lines 17-20 These lines rely heavily on war imagery, as the march to the grave has been transformed to a march to battle. By comparing life to a "bivouac," a temporary campsite during a battle, the speaker reminds us again of the transience of human existence. He exhorts the reader - who, by implication, is a soldier - to become a hero in this battle and not merely march to his or her death like a cow forced to the slaughterhouse. Lines 21-24 In the sixth stanza, the speaker explains in detail how the reader can become a hero. He advises the reader not to hope for the future, nor to worry about the past. Instead, in a return to the poem's central theme, he urges the reader to live actively in the present. The speaker emphasizes his imperative instruction that we "act" by repeating the word twice in line 23. Note how Longfellow draws our attention to the word "act" by manipulating the meter: not only does he insert a caesura between the two "acts," but, metrically, the two consecutive words are stressed, giving them added force. Lines 25-28 In the seventh stanza, the speaker asks the reader to consider past heroes. These "great
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men," the speaker indicates, should inspire us to live our lives so fully that we, too, will leave behind records of greatness when we die. Longfellow suggests the idea of a record of greatness by using a metaphor: "footprints on the sands of time." Even here, however, this metaphor ironically reminds us of the transient nature of life, since these footprints will eventually be washed away by the tide. Nonetheless, they may have a positive effect on the people who live after us. Lines 29-32 The "footprints" metaphor of the seventh stanza develops into the central conceit, or governing concept, of the eighth stanza. The speaker envisions a shipwrecked sailor who is lost at sea but observes these footprints in the sand. In this conceit, the sailor represents any discouraged or lonely individual who receives encouragement from the memory of the good deeds of others. Lines 33-36 The speaker concludes the poem by exhorting us to live active, courageous lives. He is urging the reader to strive continuously to accomplish good, useful deeds: these good deeds, it is suggested, give life meaning and purpose. The last word of the poem, "wait," has a few possible meanings; it can mean "to serve" others - in this case, by working or "laboring" diligently; it can mean "to be ready" for someone or some event; or it can mean to be "watchful" - to be on the lookout for good opportunities as well as to be on guard against unexpected events or dangers. The poem ends, then, as it began, with a word of caution and of hope. ● Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass has been considered a monumental work which commands great attention because of its uniquely poetic embodiment of American democratic ideals as written in the founding documents of both the Revolutionary War in the United States and the Civil War, and the author of the book is a giant of American letters. This man is Walt Whitman. Life Walt Whitman (1819—1892), the best and the most influential poet in the 19th century, was born in the family of a carpenter, on Long Island, New York. When he was four years old the family moved to Brooklyn. After five or six years of education in public schools, Whitman left his schooling for good at eleven, and became an office boy. Later on he changed several jobs—printer, wandering school-teacher. By this early age he had already shown his strong love for literature, reading a great deal, especially the works of Shakespeare and Milton. He was also fond of music. He spent night after night at the opera and frequented the theater. He was contributor to, and editor of, various magazines and newspapers. In 1848 he gave up all regular employment, and started off on ―a leisurely journey and working expedition‖, as he called it. He stayed awhile in New Orleans, and then turned back northward, up the Mississippi to the Great Lakes, and finally returned to Brooklyn. He traveled altogether probably 8000 miles on this trip, to and fro. The sights and the life that he absorbed greatly affected his views. It was during these years that Whitman began to show his democratic
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partisanship. And the ideas governing Whitman‘s poetry-writing gradually took shape. Feeling compelled to speak up for something new and vital he found in the air of the nation, Whitman turned to the manual work of carpentry around 1851 or1852, as an experiment to familiarize himself with reality and essence of the life of the nation. At the same time, he widened his reading to a new scale and made it more systematic. After enriching himself simultaneously by these two very different approaches, Whitman was able to put forward his own set of aesthetic principles and he devoted himself to the composition of his Leaves of Grass. During the Civil War in 1863 Whitman went to Washington and began attending on wounded soldiers until the end of the War. In 1873, Whitman had paralytic stroke. During his last nineteen years he lived at Camden, New Jersey, going on with his revision of Leaves of Grass and with creation of new works. Though he was attacked in his lifetime for his offensive subject matter of sexuality and for his unconventional style, Walt Whitman has proved a great figure in the literary history of the United States because he embodies a new ideal, a new world and a new life style, and his influence over the following generations is significant and incredible. Walt Whitman is a poet with a strong sense of mission, having devoted all his life to the creation of the ―single‖ poem, Leaves of Grass. The work has nine editions and the first edition was published in 1855. In this giant work, openness, freedom, and above all, individualism are all that concerned him. His aim was nothing less than to express some new poetical feelings and to initiate a poetic tradition in which difference should be recognized. The genuine participation of a poet in a common cultural effort was, according to Whitman, to behave as a supreme individualist; however, the poet‘s essential purpose was to identify his ego with the world, and more specifically with the democratic ―en-masse‖ of America, which is established in the opening lines of ―Song of Myself.‖ Themes As Whitman saw it, poetry could play a vital part in the process of creating a new nation. It could enable Americans to celebrate their release from the Old World and the colonial rule. And it could also help them understand their new status and to define themselves in the new world of happiness. Hence, an abundance of themes in his poetry voices freshness. He shows concern for the whole hard-working people and the burgeoning life of cities. To Whitman, the fast growth of industry and wealth in cities indicated a lively future of the nation, despite the crowded, noisy, and squalid conditions and the slackness in morality. The realization of the individual value also found a tough position in Whitman‘s poems in a particular way. Most of the poems in Leaves of Grass sing of the ―en-masse‖ and the self as well. In celebrating the self, Whitman gives emphasis to the physical dimension of the self and openly and joyously celebrates sexuality. Pursuit of love and happiness is approved of repeatedly and affectionately in his lines. Sexual love, a rather taboo topic of the time, is displayed candidly as something adorable.
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Some of Whitman‘s poems are politically committed. Before and during the civil war, Whitman firmly stood on the side of the North and wrote a series of poems incorporating his emotions and feelings during the period, which were gathered as a collection under the title of Drum Taps. Not a liver of violence and blood-shed, Whitman expressed much mourning for the suffering of the young lives in the battlefield and showed a determination to carry on the fighting dauntlessly until the final victory, as we may fine in poems like ―Cavalry Crossing a Ford.‖ Another occasion which allowed Whitman to fill his lines with his political emotions was the death of Lincoln. He wrote down a great many poems to air his sorrow, and one of the famous is ―When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom‘s.‖ Techniques Whitman‘s poetic style is marked, first of all, by the use of the poetic ―I‖. speaking in the voice of ―I‖, Whitman becomes all those people in his poems, and yet still remains ―Whitman,‖ hence a discovery of the self in the other with such an identification. Usually, the relationship Whitman is dramatizing is a triangular one: ―I‖ the poet, the subject in the poem, and ―you‖ the reader. In such manner, Whitman invites us, as we read, to participate in the process of sympathetic identification. Whitman is also innovative in the form of his poetry. What he prefers for his new subject and new poetic feelings is ―free verse,‖ that is, poetry without a fixed beat or regular thyme scheme. By means of ―free verse,‖ he believed, he has turned the poem into an open field, an area of vital possibility where the reader can allow his own imagination to play. Parallelism and phonetic recurrence (the repetition of words and phrases at the beginning of the line, in the middle or at the end) at the beginning of the lines also contribute to the musicality of his poems. Features 1 simple, and rather crude 2 to make colors and images fleet past the mind‘s eye of the reader 3 his strong tendency to use oral English Comprehension and Appreciation of Leaves of Grass: Critics have noted a strong Transcendentalist influence on the poem, a theory somewhat validated by Ralph Waldo Emerson's enthusiastic letter praising the first edition of Leaves of Grass. In addition to this romanticism, the poem seems to anticipate a kind of realism that would only become important in United States literature after the Civil War. As Walt Whitman, the specific individual, melts away into the abstract ―Myself,‖ the poem explores the possibilities for communion between individuals. Starting from the premise that ―what I assume you shall assume‖ Whitman tries to prove that he both encompasses and is indistinguishable from the universe. where there is earth, where there is water, there is grass. Grass, the most common thing with the greatest vitality. ? an image of the poet himself, ? a symbol of the rising American nation, ? an embodiment of his ideals about democracy and freedom.
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Summary and Analysis: "Song of Myself" Sections 1–5, lines 1–98 This poem celebrates the poet's self, but, while the "I" is the poet himself, it is, at the same time, universalized. The poet will "sing myself," but "what I assume you shall assume,/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." The poet loafs on the grass and invites his soul to appear. He relates that he was "form'd from this soil," for he was born here, as were his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. He is thirtyseven years old and "in perfect health." He hopes to continue his celebration of self until his death. He will let nature speak without check with original energy." In section 2, the self, asserting its identity, declares its separateness from civilization and its closeness to nature. "Houses and rooms are full of perfume," Whitman says. "Perfumes" are symbols of other individual selves; but outdoors, the earth's atmosphere denotes the universal self. The poet is tempted to let himself be submerged by other individual selves, but he is determined to maintain his individuality. The poet expresses the joy he feels through his senses. He is enthralled by the ecstasy of his physical sensations. He can enjoy each of the five senses — tasting, hearing, smelling, touching, and seeing-and even more — the process of breathing, the beating of his heart, and "the feeling of health." He invites the reader to "stop this day and night" with him in order to discover "the origin of all poems." In the third and fourth sections, Whitman chides the "talkers," "trippers," and "askers" for wasting their time discussing "the beginning and the end," and "the latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies . . . More important is the eternal procreant urge of the world." He prepares himself for the union of his body with his soul: "I witness and wait." As his soul is "clear and sweet," so are all the other parts of his body -and everyone's bodies. "Not an inch . . . is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest." Section 5 is the poet's ecstatic revelation of union with his soul. He has a feeling of fraternity and oneness with God and his fellowmen ("And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own/And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own") and a vision of love ("And . . . a kelson [an important structural part of a ship] of the creation is love"). This union brings him peace and joy. Part Four The Realism in America The Debates over Slavery Up until the Civil War, half of the United States were slave states and the other half were free states. As Abraham Lincoln said, the nation was ―a house divided against itself.‖ Over the question of slavery, the house called the United States was filled with high emotions and fierce debates. Indeed, the system of slavery was a monstrous contradiction at the heart of a country that made claims to freedom, democracy and equality. Founding Fathers had hoped that slavery would shrive away
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in the course of time. Their thinking was that the Constitution prohibited importing additional slaves so that slaveholders would eventually turn to free sources of labor. But the invention of the cotton gin and the expanding cotton markets in the U.K. and in New England increased the demand for cotton grown in much of the South. Slaves were cheap labor for a profitable cotton industry. When slave could not be imported, they were bred. Slave-breeding (The purpose of slave breeding was to reproduce new salves) became a profitable business. The arguments made by defenders of slavery were various and they changed over time. Some argued that slavery was an institution as old as human history and it was sanctified by the Bible. Some others claimed that slavery helped Christianize people who were less than civilized. Still others suggested that slavery was more humane than the ―wage slavery‖ in the industrialized North. The most racist would hold that blacks were less than human and were not capable of developing into free beings. All these arguments were in fact based on the perception of African Americans as not being the equal of whites. With these and other arguments, many white Southerners insisted that they should have the right to define and keep their own form of social organization. In national politics, pressures from the South led to the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri.) and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Abolishing slavery was not the only reason why the Civil War was fought. When the southern states claimed the rights of secession, President Lincoln‘s primary concern was to keep the Union; abolishing slavery was secondary to him. But in the North abolitionist sentiment had been rising. There was an ever more vigorous protest against the possibility of slavery spreading into the West. Abolitionism then became a noble cause. By 1862 Lincoln had drafted the Emancipation Declaration that would free the slaves and change once again the character of the Untied States. Abolitionism gained momentum among writers after 1850. For the earlier generation of writers, the question of slavery was not so central an issue. But the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 enraged many writers, as the law imposed upon the Northerners the legal obligation to help slave owners protect their ―property.‖ After the 1857 decision (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens. Despite the fact that the decision is no longer "jurisprudentially important," it nevertheless had, and continues to have, lasting cultural and historical ramification/implications.) that blacks were not considered citizens by law, it was increasing difficult for public personalities to avoid the question. It is in this context that we should understand the intents and implications of anti-slavery writing by writers of different backgrounds.
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● Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 - July 1, 1896) is an American writer and reformer, best known as the author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The sensationally popular novel presented an empathetic portrait of slave life and played a significant role in engendering moral opposition to slavery prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War. Stowe wrote the work in reaction to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made it illegal to assist an escaped slave. In the book she expresses her moral outrage at the institution of slavery and its destructive effects on both races and especially on maternal bonds. Stowe was born into a family with deep religious convictions and a social conscience that would leave a historical legacy in educational reform, the revision of Calvinist theology, abolition, literature, and women‘s suffrage. After the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Stowe became an international celebrity and a popular author. In addition to novels, poetry, and essays, she wrote non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects including homemaking, the raising of children, and religion. She wrote in an informal conversational style and presented herself as an average wife and mother. Her style and her narrative use of local dialect predated works like Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn by 30 years. Plot summary The book opens with a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife, Emily Shelby, believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them—Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Emily Shelby‘s maid Eliza—to a slave trader. Emily Shelby hates the idea of doing this because she had promised her maid that her child would never be sold; Emily's son, George Shelby, hates to see Tom go because he sees him as his friend and mentor. When Eliza overhears Mr. and Mrs. Shelby discussing plans to sell Tom and Harry, she determines to run away with her son for fear of losing her only surviving child. Eliza departs that night, leaving a note of apology to her mistress. Meanwhile Uncle Tom is sold and placed on a Mississippi riverboat, where he meets and befriends a young white girl named Eva. When Eva falls into the river, Tom saves her, and in gratitude, Eva's father, Augustine St. Clare, buys and takes him with the family to their home in New Orleans. During this time, Tom and Eva begin to relate to one another because of the deep Christian faith they both share. The escaping Eliza's meets up with her husband George Harris, but they are now being tracked by a slave hunter named Tom Loker. Eventually Loker and his men trap Eliza and her family, causing George to shoot Loker. Worried that Loker may die, Eliza convinces George to bring the slave hunter to a nearby Quaker settlement for medical treatment. Back in New Orleans, after Tom has lived with the St. Clares for two years, Eva grows very ill. Before she dies she experiences a vision of heaven. As a result of her death and vision, the other characters resolve to improve themselves and throw off personal prejudices against Blacks, and St. Clare pledges to free Uncle Tom. Before he can follow through on his pledge, he is fatally stabbed while entering a New
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Orleans tavern and his wife instead sells Tom at auction to a vicious plantation owner named Simon Legree. Legree begins to hate Tom when Tom refuses Legree's order to whip his fellow slave. Tom receives a brutal beating, and Legree resolves to crush Tom's faith in God. But Tom refuses to stop reading his Bible and comforting other slaves. Tom also encourages another of Legree's slaves, Cassy, to escape, which she does, taking another (Emmeline) with her. Uncle Tom's faith in God is tested by the hardships of the plantation. However, he has two visions, one of Jesus and one of Eva, which renew his resolve to remain a faithful Christian, even unto death. When Tom refuses to tell Legree where the escaped slaves have gone, Legree orders his overseers to kill him. As Tom is dying, he forgives the overseers, who, humbled by the character of the man they have murdered, become Christians. Shortly before Tom's death, George Shelby (Arthur Shelby's son) arrives to buy Tom‘s freedom, but finds he is too late. On their boat ride to freedom, Cassy and Emmeline meet George Harris' sister and accompany her to Canada. There, Cassy discovers that Eliza is her long-lost daughter who was sold as a child. Reunited, they travel to France and eventually Liberia, the African nation created for former American slaves, where they meet Cassy's long-lost son. George Shelby returns to the Kentucky farm and frees all his slaves, telling them to remember Tom's sacrifice and his belief in the true meaning of Christianity. Major themes Uncle Tom's Cabin is dominated by Stowe's outrage over the evil of slavery. While Stowe weaves other subthemes throughout her text, such as the moral authority of motherhood and the redemptive role of the Christian faith, she emphasizes the immorality of slavery and its incompatibility with true Christianity. Stowe saw motherhood as the "ethical and structural model for all of American life," argued critic Elizabeth Ammons and believed that only women had the moral authority to save the United States from the demon of slavery. While later critics have noted that Stowe's female characters are often domestic cliché instead of realistic s women, Stowe's novel affirmed the importance of women's influence and helped pave the way for the women's rights movement in the following decades. Reactions to the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin has exerted an influence equaled by few other novels in history. Upon publication, it ignited a firestorm of protest from defenders of slavery while eliciting praise from abolitionists. The novel focused Northern anger at the injustices of slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law and helped to fuel the abolitionist movement. Creation and popularization of stereotypes In recent decades, readers have criticized the book for what are seen as condescending racist descriptions of the book's black characters' appearances, speech, and behavior, as well as the passive nature of Uncle Tom. The phenomenal success of the novel and wide currency of the published reproductions had a significant role in ingraining certain stereotypes into the American imagination. Uncle Tom, the title character, was initially seen as a noble long-suffering Christian
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slave. In more recent years, his name has become an epithet directed towards African-Americans who are accused of selling out to whites. Stowe intended Tom to be a "noble hero" and praiseworthy person. Throughout the book, far from allowing himself to be exploited, Tom stands up for his beliefs and is grudgingly admired even by his enemies. Among other common stereotypes attributed to Uncle Tom's Cabin are the "happy darky" (in the lazy, carefree character of Sam); the light-skinned tragic mulatto as a sex object (in the characters of Eliza, Cassy, and Emmeline); the affectionate, dark-skinned female mammy (through several characters, including Mammy, a cook at the St. Clare plantation); and the Pickaninny stereotype of black children (in the character of Topsy). In the last few decades these negative associations have to a large degree overshadowed the historical impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Beginning with criticism by James Baldwin that the novel was racially obtuse and aesthetically crude, later black critics attacked the novel, saying that the character of Uncle Tom engaged in "race betrayal," making Tom (in some eyes) worse than even the most vicious slave owner. In recent years, though, scholars such as Henry Louis Gates Jr. have begun to reexamine Uncle Tom's Cabin, stating that the book is a "central document in American race relations and a significant moral and political exploration of the character of those relations." Historical Background after the Civil War The period ranging from 1865 to 1914 has been referred to as the Age of Reason in the literary history of the United States, which is actually a movement or tendency that dominated the spirit of American literature, especially American fiction, from the 1850s onwards. Realism was a reaction against Romanticism or a move away from the bias towards romance and self-creating fictions, and paved the way to Modernism. The American society after the Civil War provided rich soil for the rise and development of Realism. The fifty years between the end of the Civil War to the outbreak of the First World War is one of the periods in the American history characterized with changes, in relation to every aspect of American life, politically, economically, culturally, and religiously. The scale of the change was so vast that it indicated a fundamental redirection in the nature and ideology of the American society. First of all, the Civil War affected both the social and the value system of the country. America had transformed itself from a Jeffersonian agrarian community into an industrialized and commercialized society. Wilderness gave way to civilization. The dominance of New England as the centre of cultural life of the United States began to give way to New York. The war also brought some noticeable changes to the American economy. It had stimulated the technological development, and new methods of organization and management were tested to adapt to industrial modernization on a large scale (railway, electricity, wireless telephone). The burgeoning economy and industry stepped up urbanization. American cities grew fast, with one half of the American population concentrated in a dozen or so cities by the end of the First World War.
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However, the changes were not all for the better. The industrialization and urbanization were accompanied by the incalculable suffering of the laboring people. In the countryside, increasing numbers of farmers were squeezed off the land to become city job-seekers, causing an oversupply of labor, which kept wages down and allowed the industrialists to maintain working conditions of notorious danger and discomfort for men, women, and children. Therefore, polarization of the well-being started to show up, with the poor poorer and the rich richer. The concentration of power and wealth gave birth to buccaneers, tycoons and slums, and ghettos as well. As far as the ideology was concerned, people were on a shaking ground. They became dubious about the human nature and the benevolence of God, which the Transcendentalists cared most. It taught men that life was not so good, man was not and God was not. The war was marked a change in the quality of American life, deterioration, in fact, of American moral values. Gone were the frontier and the spirit of the frontiersman, which is the spirit of freedom and human connection, and gone was a place to escape for the American Dream. The frontier had been a factor of great importance in American life. As long as the frontier was there, people could always hope to escape troubles over the nest hill and have a better life ahead. Now that the frontier was about to close and the safety value was ceasing to operate, a reexamination of life began. The worth of the American dream, the idealized, romantic view of man and his life in the New World, began to lose its hold on the imagination of the people. Beneath the glittering surface of prosperity there lay suffering and unhappiness. Disillusionment and frustration were widely felt. What had been expected to be a ―Golden Age‖ turned out to be a ―Gilded‖ one. The literary scene after the Civil War proved to be quite different a picture. The harsh realities of life as well as the disillusion of heroism resulting from the dark memories of the Civil War had set the nation against the romance. The Americans began to be tired of the sentimental feelings of Romanticism. A new generation of writers, dissatisfied with the Romantic ideas in the older generation, came up with a new inspiration. This new attitude was characterized by a great interest in the realities of life. It aimed at the truthful representation of common life. This literary interest in the so-called ―reality‖ of life started a new period in the American literary writings known as the Age of Realism. ● Emily Dickinson Life Miss Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, where her father was a prominent lawyer and politician .She attended Amherst Academy from 1840 to 1847.Her family was very closely knit and she and her sister remained at home and did not marry. Emily seldom left Amherst, and later made one trip as far as Washington and two or three trips to Boston. After 1852 she became a total recluse, not leaving her house nor seeing even close friends. Her early letters and descriptions of herself in her youth reveal an attractive girl with a lively wit. Her later retirement from the world, though perhaps affected by an unhappy love affair, seems mainly to
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have resulted from her own personality, from a desire to separate her from the world. The range of her poetry suggests not her limited experiences but the power of her creativity and imagination. She read intensively—Shakespeare, classic myths, the Bible, Keats, the Bronte sisters, the Brownings, Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne. Dickinson‘s poetry writing began in the early 1850s. Altogether, she wrote 1775 poems, of which only seven had been published during her lifetime. After her death, her sister Lavinia discovered her poems. The first volume of 115 poems appeared in 1890.Later, two more volumes of poetry and two volumes of letters were published, with much more to come out in 1914, which finally made Emily Dickinson, especially her withdrawn self, known to the outside world. As her poetry continues to be issued after its first appearance in 1890, her fame has kept rising. She is now recognized not only as a great poetess on her own right but as a poetess of considerable influence upon American poetry of the present century. An Introduction to Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Dickinson‘s poems come out in bursts. They are usually based on her own experiences, her sorrows and joys. Dickinson called this stream of tiny, aphoristic poems a continuous fragmented ―letter to the world‖. But within her little lyrics Dickinson addresses those issues that concern the whole human beings, which include religion, death, immortality, love, and nature. In some of her poems she wrote abut her doubt and belief about religious subjests.While she desired salvation and immortality, she denied the orthodox view of paradise. Although she believed in God, she sometimes doubted His benevolence. Her poems concerning death and immortality range over the physical as well as the psychological and emotional aspects of death. Love is another common subject. One group of her love poems treats the suffering and frustration love can cause. Many of them are striking and original depictions of the longing for shared moments, the pain of separation, and the futility of finding happiness. The other group of love pomes focuses on the physical aspect of desire, in which Dickinson dealt with the influence of the male authorities over the female. More than five hundred poems Dickinson wrote are about nature, in which he general skepticism about the relationship between men and mature is well-expressed. On one hand, she shared with her romantic and transcendental predecessors who believed that a mythical bond between man and nature existed, that nature revealed to man things about mankind and universe. On the other hand, she felt about nature‘s inscrutability and indifference to the life and interests of human beings. Dickinson‘s poetry is unique and unconventional in its own way. Her poems have no title, hence are always quoted by their first line. The form of her poetry is often irregular, and her irregular or sometimes inverted sentence structure also confuses readers. Her poems are usually short, concise, simple and direct, and many of them are centered on a single image or symbol and focused on subject matter. But, Dickinson‘s poetry, despite its ostensible formal simplicity, is remarkable for its variety, subtlety and richness. Comprehension and Appreciation: I Die for Beauty
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I died for beauty, but was scarce Adjusted in the tomb, When one who died for truth was lain In an adjoining room. He questioned softly why I failed ? ―For beauty,‖ I replied. ―And I for truth – the two are one; We brethren are,‖ he said. And so, as kinsmen met a-night, We talked between the rooms, Until the moss had reached our lips, And covered up our names. This is one of the most popular poems written by Emily Dickinson. Its theme is death, beauty and truth. Two persons died, one for beauty, one for truth. Beauty and truth are one, as Keats said, “Beauty is truth; truth, beauty.” So, as brothers, the two dead persons talked between two neighboring tombs until the moss covered their names on the gravestones. The poetess uses metaphors to change the gloomy atmosphere of death into a very beautiful and warm scene—the tombs become rooms, the dead become intimate brothers… What is most impressive is the unique and fanciful imagination: ―…the moss had reached our lips‖, which is both beautiful in image and rich in implication. I heard a Fly buzz - when I died I heard a Fly buzz - when I died The Stillness in the Room Was like the Stillness in the Air Between the Heaves of Storm – The Eyes around - had wrung them dry(l) And Breaths were gathering firm For that last Onset - when the King(2) Be witnessed - in the Room – I willed my Keepsakes - Signed away What portion of me be Assignable - and then it was There interposed a Fly – With Blue-uncertain stumbling Buzz(3) Between the light - and me And then the Windows failed - and then I could not see to see Notes :
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(l) The Eyes around - had wrung them dry: The relatives and friends cried and cried so that there were no tears any more. (2) the King, the God of death. . (3) With Blue - uncertain stumbling Buzz: The sight of the dying became dim, but her listening was sensitive. In her poems about death, Dickinson looked at death from the point of view of both the living and the dying. She even imagined her own death, the loss of her own body, and the journey of her soul to the unknown world. This poem is a description of the moment of death, a poem universally considered one of her masterpieces. She was imagining: when she died, a fly buzz—the symbol of death; her relatives and friends had cried too much; the god of death came into the room. She made her last will and gave everything away to her relative and friends. Her sight became dim, but she could hear the fly; she felt as if the buzz was blue, then she could not see the windows, she could not see anything—darkness covered all. Comprehensive Questions: 1. What contrast is implied in The Mountains Grow Unnoticed? 2. What does the poem I Died for Beauty show about Dickinson‘s viewpoint on death? 3. Why did Emily Dickinson use so many dashes and capital letters in her poems ? Answers (Main points): 1. The implied contrast is the contrast between the mountains and the human beings: the mountains grow silently, but the life of human beings is full of ―attempt, exhaustion…‖ 2. According to this poem, Dickinson thinks death is not terrible, and if one dies for beauty and truth, he can die without regret. 3. Emily Dickinson uses dashes as a musical device to create cadence and capital letters as a means of emphasis. ● Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is most noted for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel." Twain was a colorful figure who arrived on the literary scene during the period of Reconstruction, when America was expanding geographically and coming to terms with a transformed political and social landscape in the aftermath of the Civil War. Twain's sharp eye for detail and trenchant good humor were trademarks of his stories and sketches, featured in magazines and newspapers across the United States. A self-educated global traveler, Twain was an "everyman" who worked at sundry occupations, from riverboat pilot to gold miner. All his experiences contributed immensely to his works, as well as to his social critiques. Birth of a literary luminary Samuel L. Clemens, was born in Florida, Missouri. From Twain's humble
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beginnings to his illustrious end dwells a larger-than-life story of an American author. When Clemens was four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a port town on the Mississippi River which later served as the inspiration for the fictional town of St. Petersburg in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Missouri had been admitted as a slave state in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise, and from an early age he was exposed to the institution of slavery, a theme which Twain was to later explore in his work. The family was poor and Sam's father failed repeatedly in his business attempts. In 1847, when young Sam was eleven, his father fell ill with pneumonia and died. Sam left school with a promise to his Presbyterian mother that he would refrain from "imbibing hard spirits." Like the eponymous Huck Finn, he was a prankster who often found trouble: One story tells of Sam dropping an empty watermelon shell on his brother's head. Remarking on the incident later in life he said, "I have spent the last 50 years trying to regret it." He went to work as an apprentice typesetter with the Missouri Courier and for his brother Orion who owned his own newspaper, the Hannibal Journal. Seeking better wages, he headed East to work as a journeyman printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. He wrote humorous articles and newspaper sketches to fill copy space. At the age of 22, Clemens returned to Missouri and worked as a riverboat pilot until trade was interrupted by the American Civil War in 1861. He once remarked that riverboat piloting was the best time in his life. Life on the Mississippi, written in 1883, reflects an era when river experiences, simple and carefree, were central to his life. Westward travels, newspaper stories, and first books Missouri, although a slave state and considered by many to be part of the South, declined to join the Confederacy and remained loyal to the Union. A legendary, if not quite infamous, anecdote tells of Clemens and his friends forming a Confederate militia that disbanded after two weeks, and which he wrote about later in "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed." However, rather than join the Confederate Army, Clemens decided to follow his brother, Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada. They traveled on a stagecoach across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains to the silver-mining town of Virginia City, Nevada. On the way, they visited a Mormon community in Salt Lake City. Clemens' experiences in the West contributed significantly to his formation as a writer, and became the basis of his second book, Roughing It (1872), a richly detailed portrait of life on the American frontier. Once in Nevada, Clemens became a miner, hoping to strike it rich discovering silver in the Comstock Lode. After failing as a miner, Clemens obtained work at a newspaper called the Daily Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City. It was there he first adopted the pen name "Mark Twain" on February 3, 1863, when he signed a humorous travel account with his new name. In those days authors often chose pen names that were in marked contrast to their own personality. This certainly seemed the case with Samuel Clemens, the person, bound by more traditional conventions, while Mark Twain, the writer, was ever mocking the status quo and societal norms of the day. The contradiction between the private man, Sam Clemens, and the public persona of Mark Twain had begun. Throughout his life he would often chafe at being
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described in the press as a humorist, a "funny man" as he called it, when, in fact, he aspired to much more as a writer. His next adventure was landing an assignment as a San Francisco correspondent for the Sacramento Union, writing from the Hawaiian islands, then known as the "Sandwich Islands." When he returned, he undertook yet another sideline, that of "platform entertainer." Utilizing his dramatic oratorical skills, Twain regaled audiences with his tales of the frontier and foreign places. He was soon in demand as a speaker at honorary dinners and banquets, something that would become a lifelong calling for him. Twain became the new star of the lyceum lecture circuit after filling the Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City in 1866. The pen name "Mark Twain" was rapidly becoming a household word. His next assignment was once again that of a traveling correspondent, this time for the Alta California newspaper. Twain embarked on a six month cruise to Europe and the Holy Land on the boat The Quaker City. His letters from this trip later became the basis for the book The Innocents Abroad (1869)—considered the most popular travel book ever written. In it he pokes fun at tourists, the "innocents abroad," and their tendency to be at the mercy of their travel guide—and their prejudices—when encountering new situations. The Gilded Age (1872), written collaboratively with Charles Dudley was similarly a satirical treatise on American culture at the turn of the century. Marriage and family life Twain was now a best-selling author and lecturer; tired of his itinerant lifestyle, he was ready to settle down. He said to his friend from the Quaker City cruise, Mary Fairbanks "I am going to settle down someday even if I have to do it in a cemetery." He was 31 years old and had been traveling for ten years working at a variety of printing and newspaper jobs. Fairbanks introduced Twain to Olivia Langdon (Livy), who came from a prosperous New York family. Their first outing together was at famed British author Charles Dickens' reading of his works in New York City. Late in life, Twain would comment, "From that day to this she has never been out of my mind." They were married on February 2, 1870, by Twain's good friend, the minister Joseph Twichell, in the Langdon's parlor. Livy's wealthy father helped the young couple to establish residence in Buffalo, New York, where Twain, with his father-in-law's backing, became part owner of the Buffalo Express newspaper. However, tragedy ensued when their first born son, sickly and premature, died at three months of age. They decided to leave Buffalo and moved to Hartford, Connecticut to be closer to Livy's family in Elmira, New York. They built a 19 room house at "Nook Farm" and the birth of their two daughters soon followed; Susy, in 1872, and Clara in 1874. Sam Clemens had come a long way from his early beginnings, living in a two room house and acquiring only a grade school education. He was now, partly through marrying well, welcomed into the literary and cultural milieu of the East Coast. Twain was in a comfortable position and ready to reflect on his raucous boyhood experiences in Hannibal, Missouri. His American classic, Tom Sawyer, was about to be born. He once referred to this novel as a "hymn to boyhood." By all accounts the Twain's family life was a happy one, spent entertaining in their
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large home in Connecticut, while summers were spent in Elmira relaxing and writing. The Victorian era, noted for its ornate fashions, was popular with the family, who sometimes dressed in costume when entertaining. Their days of contentment were due to fade, however, when hard times, both with finances and with health concerns, would besiege the family during the next decade. Bankruptcy and worldwide lecture tour Twain, unfortunately, like his father before him, was not an adept businessman. He lost money through his experimentation with new inventions, like the Paige typesetting machine. A publishing company venture, established to publish the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, soon folded. Faced with mounting debt and the specter of bankruptcy, he and Livy were forced to close the house in Connecticut. Twain decided to do what he was best at, lecturing, touring, and writing, in order to pay off his debts. Leaving their daughters in boarding school and college they set sail for Europe. Twain was to live abroad for a long period of time before being able to return home to the United States for good. In 1900, he paid off his debts and returned to the United States, a conquering hero. The world lecture tour, in which Twain visited India and Australia, among other countries, was interrupted by tragedy when their oldest daughter, Susy, died back home in Connecticut of spinal meningitis. The entire family was overcome by grief. This episode would color Twain's later writings with pathos and dark humor. Soon, other trials ensued. Always in frail health, Livy died in 1904. Jean, their third and youngest daughter, plagued by a lifetime of seizures, died on Christmas day in 1909. Although these were difficult years for Twain he was buoyed by the success of Following the Equator and Anti-imperialist Essays (1905), based on his world tour, and by his popularity overseas. It was during this time, when the press was speculating constantly of his troubles and failures, that he remarked sardonically, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." A Connecticut Yankee returns home Twain's biographer has said that the rest of his life was a standing ovation. He was often seen at special events, like daughter Clara's wedding to pianist and composer, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, wearing his ceremonial robes (he received an honorary degree from Oxford University in 1907) or strolling down Fifth Avenue in New York, an enigma in one of his signature white suits. Beset by illness and heart trouble (angina pectoris), he sought refuge in travel, as he had often done in the past, and spent some of his final days in Bermuda. Writing Style a. Twain is known as a local colorist, who preferred to present social life through portraits of the local characters of his regions, including people living in that area, the landscape, and other peculiarities like the customs, dialects, costumes and so on. Consequently, the rich material became the endless resources for his fiction, and the Mississippi valley and the West became his major theme. Unlike James and Howells, Mark Twain wrote about the lower-class people, because they were the people he knew so well and their life was the one he himself had lived. Moreover he successfully used local color and historical settings to illustrate and shed light on the
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contemporary society. b. Another fact that makes Twain unique is his magic power with language, his use of vernacular. His words are colloquial, concrete and direct in effect, and his sentence structures are simple, ever ungrammatical, which is typical of the spoken language. And Twain skillfully used the colloquialism to cast his protagonists in their everyday life. What‘s more, his characters, confined to a particular region and to a particular historical moment, speak with a strong accent, which is true of his local colorism. c. Mark Twain‘s humor is remarkable. A great deal of his humor is characterized by puns, straight-faced exaggeration, repetition and anti-climax, let alone tricks of travesty and invective. However, his humor is a kind of artistic style used to criticize the social injustice and satirize the decayed romanticism. Comprehension and Appreciation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: This novel begins with Huck under the motherly protection of the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. When his father comes to demand the boy's fortune, Huck pretends that he has transferred the money to Judge Thather, so his father catches him and puts him into a lonely cabin. One night, when his father is drunken, Huck escapes to Jackson's Island and meets Miss Watson's runaway slave, Jim. They start down the river on a raft. After several adventures, the raft is hit by a steamboat and the two are separated. Huck swims ashore and is saved by the Grangerford family, whose feud with the Shepherdson causes bloodshed. Later, Huck discovers Jim and they set out again, giving refuge to a gang of frauds: the "Duke" and the "King,‖ whose dramatic performances culminate in the fraudulent exhibition of the "Royal none- such.‖ Huck also witnesses the lynching and murder of a harmless drunkard by an Arkansas aristocrat on the shore. When he finds that some rogues intend to claim legacies as Peter Wilks's brothers, Huck interferes on behalf of the three daughters, and the scheme is failed by the arrival of the real brothers. Then he discovers that the ―King" has sold Jim to Mrs. Phelps, Tom Sawyer's Aunt Sally. At the Phelps farm, Huck and Tom try to rescue Jim. In the rescue, Tom is accidentally shot and Jim is recaptured. Later, Tom reveals that the rescue is necessary only because he ―wanted the adventure of it.‖ It is also disclosed at the end of the novel that Huch's father has died, so Huck's fortune is safe. As a sequel to Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn marks the climax of Twain‘s literary creativity. Hemingway once described the novel the one book from which ―all modern American literature comes.‖ And the book is significant in many ways. First of all, the novel is written in a language that is totally different from the rhetorical language used by Emerson, Poe, and Melville. It is not grand, pompous, but simple, direct, lucid, and faithful to the colloquial speech. This unpretentious style of colloquialism is best described as ―vernacular.‖ Speaking in vernacular, a wild and uneducated Huck, running away from civilization for his freedom, is vividly brought to life. The great strength of the book also comes from the shape given to it by the course of the raft‘s journey down the Mississippi as Huck and Jim seek their different kinds of freedom. Twain, who knew the river intimately, uses it here both realistically and symbolically. Through the eyes of Huck , the innocent and reluctant rebel , we see
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the pre-Civil War American society fully exposed and at the same time we are deeply impressed' by Mark Twain 's thematic contrasts between innocence and experience , nature and culture , wilderness and civilization. The profound portrait of Huck is another great contribution of the book to the legacy of American literature. The novel begins with a description of how Window Douglas attempts to civilize Huck and ends with him deciding not to let it happen again at the hands of Aunt Sally. The climax arises with Huck‘s inner struggle on the Mississippi, when Huck is polarized by the two opposing forces between his heart and his head, between his affection for Jim and the laws of the society against those who help slaves escape. Huck‘s final decision --- to follow his own good-hearted moral impulse rather than conventional village morality --- amounts to a vindication of what Twain called ―the damned human race,‖ damned for its comfortable hypocrisies, its thoroughgoing dishonesties, and its pervasive cruelties. With the eventual victory of his moral conscience over his social awareness, Huck grows. In this excerpt we see the result of Huck‘s inner struggle: Huck made his final decision –to follow his own good-hearted moral impulse rather than conventional village morality. In the end he tore up the letter and said he would do ―anything worse‖, but we know what he did was actually a very good thing. He is a rebel and a hero. Through what he does and what he says, his character is very vividly and convincingly presented. Major Themes Conflict between civilization and "natural life" The primary theme of the novel is the conflict between civilization and "natural life." Huck represents natural life through his freedom of spirit, uncivilized ways, and desire to escape from civilization. He was raised without any rules or discipline and has a strong resistance to anything that might "sivilize" him. This conflict is introduced in the first chapter through the efforts of the Widow Douglas: she tries to force Huck to wear new clothes, give up smoking, and learn the Bible. Throughout the novel, Twain seems to suggest that the uncivilized way of life is more desirable and morally superior. Drawing on the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Twain suggests that civilization corrupts, rather than improves, human beings. Honor The theme of honor permeates the novel after first being introduced in the second chapter, where Tom Sawyer expresses his belief that there is a great deal of honor associated with thieving. Robbery appears throughout the novel, specifically when Huck and Jim encounter robbers on the shipwrecked boat and are forced to put up with the King and Dauphin, both of whom "rob" everyone they meet. Tom's original robber band is paralleled later in the novel when Tom and Huck become true thieves, but honorable ones, at the end of the novel. They resolve to steal Jim, freeing him from the bonds of slavery, which is an honorable act. Thus, the concept of honor and acting to earn it becomes a central theme in Huck's adventures. Food Food plays a prominent role in the novel. In Huck's childhood, he often fights pigs for food, and eats out of "a barrel of odds and ends." Thus, providing Huck with
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food becomes a symbol of people caring for and protecting him. For example, in the first chapter, the Widow Douglas feeds Huck, and later on Jim becomes his symbolic caretaker, feeding and watching over him on Jackson's Island. Food is again discussed fairly prominently when Huck lives with the Grangerford's and the Wilks's. Mockery of Religion A theme Twain focuses on quite heavily on in this novel is the mockery of religion. Throughout his life, Twain was known for his attacks on organized religion. Huck Finn's sarcastic character perfectly situates him to deride religion, representing Twain's personal views. In the first chapter, Huck indicates that hell sounds far more fun than heaven. Later on, in a very prominent scene, the "King", a liar and cheat, convinces a religious community to give him money so he can "convert" his pirate friends. The religious people are easily led astray, which mocks their beliefs and devotion to God. Superstition Superstition appears throughout the novel. Generally, both Huck and Jim are very rational characters, yet when they encounter anything slightly superstitious, irrationality takes over. The power superstition holds over the two demonstrates that Huck and Jim are child-like despite their apparent maturity. In addition, superstition foreshadows the plot at several key junctions. For instance, when Huck spills salt, Pap returns, and when Huck touches a snakeskin with his bare hands, a rattlesnake bites Jim. Slavery The theme of slavery is perhaps the most well known aspect of this novel. Since it's first publication, Twain's perspective on slavery and ideas surrounding racism have been hotly debated. In his personal and public life, Twain was vehemently anti-slavery. Considering this information, it is easy to see that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn provides an allegory to explain how and why slavery is wrong. Twain uses Jim, a main character and a slave, to demonstrate the humanity of slaves. Jim expresses the complicated human emotions and struggles with the path of his life. To prevent being sold and forced to separate from his family, Jim runs away from his owner, Miss Watson, and works towards obtaining freedom so he can buy his family's freedom. All along their journey downriver, Jim cares for and protects of Huck, not as a servant, but as a friend. Thus, Twain's encourages the reader to feel sympathy and empathy for Jim and outrage at the society that has enslaved him and threatened his life. However, although Twain attacks slavery through is portrayal of Jim, he never directly addresses the issue. Huck and Jim never debate slavery, and all the other slaves in the novel are very minor characters. Only in the final section of the novel does Twain develop the central conflict concerning slavery: should Huck free Jim and then be condemned to hell? This decision is life-altering for Huck, as it forces him to reject everything "civilization" has taught him. Huck chooses to free Jim, based on his personal experiences rather than social norms, thus choosing the morality of the "natural life" over that of civilization. Money The concept of wealth or lack thereof is threaded throughout the novel, and
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highlights the disparity between the rich and poor. Twain purposely begins the novel by pointing out that Huck has over six thousand dollars to his name; a sum of money that dwarfs all the other sums mentioned, making them seem inconsequential in contrast. Huck demonstrates a relaxed attitude towards wealth, and because he has so much of it, does not view money as a necessity, but rather as a luxury. Huck's views regarding wealth clearly contrast with Jim's. For Jim, who is on a quest to buy his family out of slavery, money is equivalent to freedom. In addition, wealth would allow him to raise his status in society. Thus, Jim is on a constant quest for wealth, whereas Huck remains apathetic. Mississippi River The majority of the plot takes place on the river or its banks. For Huck and Jim, the river represents freedom. On the raft, they are completely independent and determine their own courses of action. Jim looks forward to reaching the free states, and Huck is eager to escape his abusive, drunkard of a father and the "civilization" of Miss Watson. However, the towns along the river bank begin to exert influence upon them, and eventually Huck and Jim meet criminals, shipwrecks, dishonesty, and great danger. Finally, a fog forces them to miss the town of Cairo, at which point there were planning to head up the Ohio River, towards the free states, in a steamboat. Originally, the river is a safe place for the two travelers, but it becomes increasingly dangerous as the realities of their runaway lives set in on Huck and Jim. Once reflective of absolute freedom, the river soon becomes only a short-term escape, and the novel concludes on the safety of dry land, where, ironically, Huck and Jim find their true freedom. ● Henry James Henry James (1843-1916) was the first American writer to conceive his career in international terms. Today with the development of the modern novel and the common acceptance of the Freudian approach, his, importance, as well as his wide influence as a novelist and critic, has been all the more conspicuous. Life Henry James was born in New York City into a wealthy family, the son of athe theological writer Henry James, Sr. and the younger brother of the distinguished philosopher and psychologist William James, who made a great contribution to the theory of the Stream-of-Consciousness technique. The James family was one of the most productive intellectual families in the history of the United States, and Henry James was its most gifted literary stylist and innovator. James was one of the few authors in the American literary history who was not obliged to work for a living. When he was very young James was taken bank and forth across the Atlantic and the European education he received exposed him early to an international society. In 1862, James entered Harvard Law School, where he met William Dean Howells and developed a lifelong friendship with the man. During his study at Harvard, James read intensively Balzac, George Eliot and Hawthorne. Later he toured England, France and Italy, and met Flaubert, Maupassant, Zola and Turgenev, who exerted a great influence on James. While Mark Twain and William Dean Howells satirized European
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manners at times, Henry James was an admirer of ancient European civilization. The materialistic bent on American life and its lack of culture and sophistication, he believed, could not provide him with enough materials for great literary works, so he settled down in London in 1876, and in 1915 he became a naturalized British citizen, largely in protest against America‘s failure to join England in the First World War. The following year James died in London shortly after receiving the Order of Merit (功绩 勋章), a dynastic order recognizing distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture, from King George V for his services to the British nation. Works Henry James‘s literary achievement is remarkable. His literary writing are bulky and voluminous, ranging from book reviews, stories, travel accounts, autobiographies, novels, plays, to literary criticism. It is his novels and his literary essays that make him a fascinating case in the American literary history and a conspicuous figure in world literature. The literary career of Henry James is generally divided into three periods. In the first period (1865-1882) James took great interest in international themes. In almost all the stories and novels he wrote during this period, James treated with great care the clashes between two different cultures and the emotional and moral problems of Americans in Europe, or Europeans in America. Nearly every work is important in its own way in terms of James‘s cultivation of the theme. The American (1877) tells a story about a young and innocent American confronting the complexity of the European life; Daisy Miller (1878), a novella about a young American girl who gets ―killed‖ by the winter in Rome, brought James international fame for the first time. In The Europeans (1878), the scene is shifted back to America, where some Europeans, who are actually expatriated Americans, learn with difficult to adapt themselves to the American life. The first period of James‘s fiction, usually considered to have culminated in The Portrait of a Lady, concentrated on the contrast between Europe and America. The style of these novels is generally straightforward and, though personally characteristic, well within the norms of nineteenth-century fiction. James experimented with different themes and forms in his middle period (interpersonal relationship). In particular, he began writing on explicitly political themes. The Bostonians (1886) is a bittersweet tragicomedy, which satirized the women liberation movement that took place in Boston. The political theme turned darker in The Princess Casamassima (1886), which exposed the anarchist conspiracy in the slum of London. He also tried writing for the theater, but gave it up soon because neither of the plays he produced made a hit. However, James did have a significant try in writing some short fictions during this period. In his last and major period, James returned to his ―international theme.‖ From 1895 to 1900, he wrote some novellas and stories dealing with childhood and adolescence, the most famous of which is What Maisie Knows (1897). After that, he successively created the following great books: The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). These demanding novels are widely considered to be James‘s most influential contribution to literature. The
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treatment of the international theme is characterized by the richness of syntax and characterization and the originality in point of view, Symbolism, metaphoric texture, and organizing rhythm. James is now more mature as an artist, more at home in the craft of fiction. Contribution James fame generally rests upon his novels and stories with the international theme. These novels are always set against a larger international background, usually between Europe and America, and centered on the confrontation of the two different cultures with two different groups of people representing two different value systems. The typical pattern of the conflict between the two cultures would be that of a young American man or an American girl who goes to Europe and affronts his or her destiny. The unsophisticated boy or girl would be beguiled, betrayed, cruelly wronged at the hands of those who pretend to stand for the highest possible civilization. Marriage and love are used by James as the focal point of the confrontation between the two value systems. And the protagonist usually goes through a painful process of a spiritual growth, gaining knowledge of good and evil from the conflict. However, we may misinterpret Henry James if we think he makes an antithesis, in his international novels, of American innocence versus European corruption. Henry James‘s literary criticism is an indispensable part of his contribution to literature. It is both concerned with from and devoted to human values. The theme of his essay ―The Art of Fiction‖ clearly indicates that the aim of the novel is to present life, so it is not surprising to find in his writings human experiences explored in every possible from: illusion, despair, reward, torment, inspiration, delight, etc. he also advocates the freedom the artist to write about anything that concerns him, even the disagreeable, the ugly and the commonplace. The artist should be able to ―feel‖ the life, to understand human nature, and then to record them in his own art form. Moreover, James‘s realism is characterized by his psychological approach to his subject matter. His fictional world is concerned more with the inner life of human beings than with overt human actions. His best and most mature works will render the drama of individual consciousness and convey the moment-to-moment sense of human experience as bewilderment and discovery. And we as readers observe people and events filtering through the individual consciousness and participate in his experience. This emphasis on psychology and on the human consciousness proves to be a big breakthrough in novel writing and has great influence on the coming generations. That is why James is generally regarded as the forerunner of the 20th century ―stream-of-consciousness‖ novels and the founder of psychological realism. One of James‘s literary techniques innovated to cater for this psychological emphasis is his narrative ―point of view.‖ As the author, James avoids the authorial omniscience as much as possible and makes his characters reveal themselves with him minimal intervention. So it is often the case that in his novels we usually learn the main story by reading through one or several minds and share their perspectives. This narrative method proves to be successful in bringing out his themes. As to his language, James is not so easy to understand. He is often highly refined and insightful. With a large vocabulary, he is always accurate in word selection, trying
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to find the best expression for his literary imagination. Therefore James is not only one of the most important realists of the period before the First World War, but also the most expert stylist of his time. Comprehension and Appreciation Daisy Miller tells of a young American beauty from a rich family traveling in Europe with her vulgar but well-intentioned mother. Although she is intelligent and perceptive, she is too inexperienced to cope with the social conventions of an American enclave in Rome. She dies, pathetically, from malaria, leaving her love for Winterbourne, the Europeanized American, unrequited. Conflict The main conflict centers on the tension that arises between Daisy Miller and sophisticated Americans in Europe. They cannot abide her outspokenness and her flouting of prevailing European customs and traditions. Mrs. Walker says she is "reckless." Mrs. Costello labels her and her mother "horribly common." Themes The collision between the cultures of the Old World and the New World: Henry James published Daisy Miller in 1878, a time when many Americans were making fortunes in the burgeoning industries of the U. S. Some of these newly rich Americans lacked the culture and sophistication to move in the high social circles to which they gained entry with their money. When they traveled to Europe, they often suffered ridicule from the long-established denizens of the upper niches of society, the aristocrats. Americans in Europe who had adopted European ways also ridiculed their gauche countrymen. In Daisy Miller, the Millers are among the parvenus, the newly rich. They have enough money to buy the best clothes, hire the best help, stay at the best hotels, and so on but lack the cultural savoir-faire that the European aristocrats pass on from one generation to the next. Without realizing it, the Millers violate long-standing social customs and traditions. They give offense without meaning offense. Daisy Miller sees no reason to alter her behavior, for she genuinely believes there is nothing wrong with it. Nonconformity: Daisy refuses to conform to the customs and conventions of high society and spurns expectations that she behave as a demure stereotype in male-female relationships. For example, she gads about unchaperoned with Giovanelli. She ignores Mrs. Walker‘s advice about public behavior. And she tells Winterbourne that ―I‘ve never allowed a gentleman to dictate to me or to interfere with anything I do.‖ Prejudice and Snobbery: Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Walker are so strict in their adherence to social and cultural rules and traditions—and so intolerant of those who display the slightest hint of gaucherie—that they become thoroughgoing snobs. As such, they prejudge the Millers, seeing only the mistakes that they make. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Daisy, of course, does not abide by this ancient precept, but Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Walker do observe it—perhaps to a fault. Winterbourne is not entirely sure what to do. There is enough of the New World in him to excuse Daisy‘s behavior, at least for a while. But in the end, at the Colosseum, he, too, turns against her and, in so doing, commits a moral and humanitarian faux pas,
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as do the other ―proper‖ aristocrats. Ironically, it is Daisy who does the proper thing at the end, offering the beau geste of forgiveness. The Portrait of a Lady is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates. Like many of James's novels, it is set mostly in Europe, mostly England and Italy. Generally regarded as the masterpiece of James's early period, this novel reflects James's continuing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old, often to the detriment of the former. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, betr

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