« PředchozíPokračovat »
slowly to evolve the whole theme in a series of monographs, each complete in itself. The following were the titles: The Pioneers of France in the New World, The Jesuits in North America in the 17th Century, La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, The Old Régime in Canada, Count Frontenac and New France Under Louis XIV., A Half Century of Conflict, and Montcalm and Wolfe. The Conspiracy of Pontiac is a related work. The whole is an invaluable contribution to an important phase of the world's history. It is written in a singularly pleasing style, so that the pleasure of reading is not less than the profit. Best of the series, perhaps, is Montcalm and Wolfe, which traces the climax of the great struggle.
ENGLISH IN AMERICA: RECENT YEARS.
THE LINE OF CLEAVAGE.TAYLOR.-STEDMAN.- ALDRICH.
RECENT NOVELISTS : HOWELLS, JAMES, AND HAWTHORNE, -THEIR LIMITATIONS.—THE SHORT STORY.-BRET HARTE AND THE WEST.- LOCAL WRITERS.- HUMORISTS PURE : “ARTEMUS WARD” AND “MARK TWAIN."-CANADIAN LITERATURE: HALIBURTON AND “SAM SLICK."- DEMILLETHE NEW SCHOOL.
If we mark the divisions of American develop ment by the great wars of the country, we find that all the best writers appeared before the huge strug. gle of 1861. We may set a quite exact period and say that the half century between 1812 and 1861 is the most brilliant season of American literature. After the Civil War, though there is an expansion of sympathy, yet there are no authors to stand with Hawthorne, or Longfellow, or Irving. The spirit of culture gradually becomes more general, but as yet its expression in literature is below that which went before. The production in poetry, fiction and all other departments has been surprisingly large, and there has been a raising of the level of excellence, but only a few names stand prominently above the level. Since the war numerous American authors have done creditable work. Of these a few may be cited whose work has been something more. In poetry: Taylor, Stedman, Aldrich ; in fiction: Aldrich again, Harte, Howells, James; and in a peculiar field of essentially American humorhumorists and nothing else—“Artemus Ward ” and " Mark Twain."
BAYARD TAYLOR (1825-1878) was singularly versatile. His brilliant powers made their mark, not only in poetry but travel, journalism, fiction and diplomacy. He came of the sturdy farming class, and began life in a printing office. A small volume of poetry, published in 1844, gained him the notice of a big New York paper, and he went to Europe on journalism intent. Here he roamed delightedly about, sending home graphic accounts. After his return these were published in book form (1846). Among other advantages this gained for him a place on the staff of the Tribune under Horace Greeley. His roving spirit next led him to California in the days of the “forty-niners,” when the gold fever was at its height. He embodied his experiences in a successful book called Eldorado, or Adventures in the Path of Empire (1850). A year later he found himself on the banks of the Nile. Successive wanderings brought him to China, Japan and the Holy Land. When he returned home he entered upon a very popular lecturing career (1854–6). After this his unwearied feet passed to Sweden and North Europe; then to Greece. In 1859 he was once more on the west coast of the United States. He entered the diplomatic service, and for a year was stationed at St. Petersburg. In 1864 he resumed the vocation of writer. In 1874 he went to Ireland, and in 1878 was United States Minister at Berlin. Here he died only a short time after his arrival. Besides his books of travel he wrote four novels, and enough poetry to affect by its bulk its general excellence. This excellence lies rather in the form than in the thought. He wrote with rapidity. Some of his poetical volumes are: Poems of the Orient (1854), containing one of his best pieces, the well-known and passionate Bedouin love-song:
From the desert I come to thee
On a stallion shod with fire ;
In the speed of my desire.
And the midnight hears my cry:
Till the sun grows cold
And the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold! Poems of Home and Travel (1855), The Poets Journal (1862), Prince Deukalion ; a Lyrical Drama (1878). An accurate and valuable translation of Goethe's Faust appeared in 1870 and 1871.
MR. EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN is perhaps most familiar to readers through his three useful volumes of criticism, Victorian Poets (1876), Poets of America (1885), and The Nature and Elements of Poetry (1892). He was born in 1833, and began journalism in 1852. For some time he remained a journalist pure, but since 1864 has been engaged in banking-without ceasing, however, a very close and constant devotion to literature. Chiefly known as a critic, Mr. Stedman has done some notable poetical work. Poems Lyric and Idyllic appeared in 1864. Hawthorne and other Poems (1877) contained a fine tribute to the great romancer. Very useful is A Victorian Anthology (1896), an exhaustive collection of work by English poets from 1837 to 1895.
Famed principally as a poet, Mr. Thomas BAILEY ALDRICH (b. 1836) has won distinction as a novelist and short story writer. A native of Portsmouth, N.H., his boyhood was passed there and in New Orleans and New York. He soon adopted journalism as a profession and made rapid advancement. From 1881 to 1892 he was editor of The Atlantic Monthly. His first essay in verse was the Ballad of Babie Bell. Other volumes followed. A carefully revised collection of poems was put forth in 1875—Cloth of Gold. The XXXVI. Lyrics and XII. Sonnets of 1881 were very well received. He has been termed the most pointed and exquisite of American lyrical craftsmen. Realizing that his chief strength does not lie in the direction of weighty matter or large construction, he devotes his attention rather to the requirements of a delicate and musical art. Mr. Aldrich, in his short stories and novels, evinces a keen sense of humor and a