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Life.

forcing itself upon the attention of our public men, in spite of their constant efforts to keep it out of the way. Compromise after compromise was made and failed, until at last the political question narrowed itself to the issue whether the general Government could and should prevent the extension of slavery into the territories. On this issue Abraham Lincoln was elected President; and the slave states, except Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, passed ordinances of Secession. Then followed the four terrible but glorious years of civil war. We shall find the traces of this great national struggle in all the Literature of the time.

The religious life of this period is marked by Religious several striking features. It is a time of restless thinking and of many changes of feeling, between scepticism and faith; and all these changes are reflected in the Literature. It is the time of the missionary movement of the modern Christian churches. American religious life has the peculiar feature of the gathering together in one country of the faiths and forms of all other countries. This fact, with our perfect freedom of religion and entire separation between Church and State, has resulted in a great multiplication of religious sects. The great advances in scientific discovery and in scholarly investigation have affected religious thinking; and their effect is seen constantly in the Literature of the time. One cannot fail to notice that the poets of this period are profoundly interested in religious themes. Their spirit, in this respect, is very

Social
Problems.

different from that of most of the poets of the last period.

The great industrial development and rapid increase of population have brought to the attention of men social problems which were not thought of in earlier times. The factory hand, the denizen of the city slums, the victims of hard social conditions, make their appearance in our Literature.

I have been aware how impossible it is to make such a review of the conditions of life complete; and how, in the necessary limitations of such a work as this, one cannot hope even to approach completeness. But, spite of their incompleteness, these suggestions may help the student to appreciate the sources and the relations of the greater, more serious works of our poets, novelists, historians, essayists, and orators, during these eventful years.

QUESTIONS What dates include the Period of the Later Nineteenth Century? How did the rapid growth of population affect Literature? What were some of the influences which helped the wide diffusion of intelligence? Why should the Sunday-school be reckoned as one of these? What was the first monthly magazine? What are some of the more important epochs in the development of the modern American magazine? What were the “ Annuals "? What were the first colleges to be established? What was the special influence upon education of Horace Mann? What new forms of institutions for higher education arose during this period? What influence had the scientific movement upon the national mind? Analyze the movement called Transcendentalism. In what sense was it reactionary? What was the Brook Farm experiment? What were some of the literary tendencies of Transcendentalism? Give some account of the antislavery movement. What are some of the characteristics of the religious life of this period? What social problems affect our Literature?

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CHAPTER IX

PERIOD OF THE LATER NINETEENTH CENTURY,

1850-1880

VERSE -- THE NEW ENGLAND POETS

THE best-known name among the “Transcendentalists” is that of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

With Ralph Waldo

Emerson, Thoreau, A. B. Alcott, and Hawthorne, he has

born in Masmade the little town of Concord, Massachusetts, sachusetts,

1803; died, a classic spot for all who love American thought 1882. and American letters. His life is too uneventful to afford materials for a very extended biographical notice. Descended from a family of “ministers,” he began life in that profession. He early found, however, that the freer conditions of the lecturer and writer were better adapted to him, and, resigning his pastoral charge, he made his home in Concord, where he lived a beautiful, blameless life, an example of the plain living and high thinking which he taught. The events of his career are purely scholastic and literary. He was not by any means a recluse. He was conscientious in discharging his political and social duties at Concord, and the antislavery contest aroused his warm sympathies, so that he even at one time delivered some campaign addresses in a Massachusetts state election. But his days, on the

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