Page:The American Cyclopædia (1879) Volume XVI.djvu/220

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UNITED STATES (Literature)

H. S. Legaré, most, of whom have written with taste upon subjects connected with philosophy, morals, political and social economy, and general literature. Prominent among the later essayists is R. W. Emerson, an original and independent thinker, whose views of religion and in some degree of society may be described as the opposite of all those founded upon tradition and authority. He has written in an abstract manner upon social, moral, and political questions; and his style, though sometimes obscure by reason of his attempts to condense a philosophic theory into a few brief terms, has a finished beauty and significance which have secured him a wide circle of admirers, particularly in New England. His published works comprise several series of “Essays,” “The Method of Nature,” “Representative Men,” “English Traits,” “The Conduct of Life,” “Society and Solitude,” and “Letters and Social Aims,” several of which have been expanded from lectures and addresses, a department of literature to which he has principally devoted himself. Of the school of Emerson was Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810-'50), author of “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” an earnest protest against the commonly received views of the social position of women, and “Papers on Literature and Art,” some of which originally appeared in the “Dial,” a quarterly publication which was for several years the organ of Emerson and his friends. In general acquirements and conversational powers she was probably the most noted woman of her time in America. The most conspicuous names of other writers in this department are those of E. P. Whipple, author of many papers, chiefly on literature, written in a lively and perspicuous style; H. T. Tuckerman, whose contributions to critical literature show a refined taste and a liberal cultivation of mind and heart; O. A. Brownson, a bold and powerful writer on religion, metaphysics, and politics; J. R. Lowell, whose essays “Among my Books” show wide reading in several languages, and much subtle thought; John Fiske, whose “Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy” is a lucid exposition of the doctrine of evolution; G. S. Hillard, C. C. Felton, F. H. Hedge, G. E. Ellis, W. H. Furness, W. B. O. and O. W. B. Peabody, G. H. Calvert, Henry Giles, Mrs. Mary Lowell Putnam, R. W. Griswold, J. F. Clarke, A. P. Peabody, C. H. Brigham, O. B. Frothingham, Thomas Hill, E. C. Stedman, and W. C. Wilkinson. Anything like a complete enumeration of the writers who have gained distinction in the wide field of belles-lettres or magazine literature would be impossible within the limits of this article; and only those who are generally known or who may stand as representatives of their class can be mentioned. The most distinguished of all is Washington Irving, whose “Crayon Papers,” published in England in 1822 under the title of “The Sketch Book,” represents perhaps the author's most successful attempts in elegant literature. The “Inklings of Adventure,” “Pencillings by the Way,” “Letters from under a Bridge,” and other piquant sketches of people and manners, by N. P. Willis; the series of discursive essays by O. W. Holmes, entitled “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table,” “The Professor at the Breakfast Table,” and “The Poet at the Breakfast Table;” the “Reveries of a Bachelor,” by D. G. Mitchell (Ik Marvel); the “Potiphar Papers,” by G. W. Curtis; “Meister Karl's Sketch Book,” by C. G. Leland; and the “Fern Leaves” of Mrs. Parton, are popular examples of what has been accomplished by other authors. To these names may be added those of John Sanderson, G. W. Bethune, M. M. Noah, N. Biddle, Mrs. C. Gilman, T. S. Fay, R. M. Charlton, J. J. Jarves, A. K. Gardner, A. B. Alcott, C. F. Hoffman, E. S. Gould, E. Sanford, G. H. Calvert, L. L. Noble, Park Benjamin, W. G. and L. G. Clark, E. A. Poe, Mrs. Kirkland, Theodore Sedgwick, H. W. Herbert, H. B. Wallace, C. W. Webber, G. W. Peck, W. E. Burton, Robert Turnbull, J. L. Motley, Miss Susan Fenimore Cooper, Mrs. Botta, Epes Sargent, H. D. Thoreau (whose writings, showing much acute and original observation of nature as well as great eccentricity of character in the author, have become remarkably popular since his death), Thomas Starr King, W. R. Alger, E. H. Chapin, Samuel Osgood, H. W. Bellows, Parke Godwin, C. A. Bristed (“Carl Benson”), J. G. Holland (“Timothy Titcomb”), R. G. White, J. Milton Mackie, T. W. Higginson, D. H. Strother, C. F. Briggs, E. E. Hale, G. D. Prentice, George Sumner, Miss Mary Abigail Dodge (“Gail Hamilton”), John Burroughs, Fitzhugh Ludlow, Charles T. Congdon, C. E. Norton, and Theodore Winthrop. Among the works illustrating English literature are the lectures on Shakespeare by R. H. Dana and H. N. Hudson, and the editions of the poet by G. C. Verplanck, H. N. Hudson, R. G. White, and, latest of all, the great variorum edition by Horace Howard Furness, the publication of which began in 1871; the edition of Spenser by G. S. Hillard; editions of Wordsworth and Gray by Henry Reed, of Milton by C. D. Cleve- land, and of Coleridge by W. G. T. Shedd; the elaborate series of British poets by F. J. Child, assisted by J. R. Lowell and others; and various writings by R. H. Dana, A. H. Everett, J. R. Lowell, J. S. Hart, E. P. Whipple, and R. W. Emerson. Translations from the German metaphysicians, historians, and theologians have been made by George Bancroft, S. M. Fuller, G. H. Calvert, W. H. Channing, F. H. Hedge, Samuel Osgood, W. T. Harris, and George S. Morris, and by Philip Schaff and others in the American edition of Lange's commentary; and from educational and scientific authors as well as writers of fiction in Germany and France, by a variety of hands. Among the most successful of the translators from the French are Miss Mary L. Booth and Mrs. M. H. Robinson. The department of oratory and political science, though relatively less prominent than in the preceding period, occupies an important place in