Transcendentalism was the first major intellectual movement in U.S. history, championing the inherent divinity of each individual, as well as the value of collective social action. In the mid-nineteenth century, the movement took off, changing how Americans thought about religion, literature, the natural world, class distinctions, the role of women, and the existence of slavery.
Edited by the eminent scholar Lawrence Buell, this comprehensive anthology contains the essential writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and their fellow visionaries. There are also reflections on the movement by Charles Dickens, Henry James, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. This remarkable volume introduces the radical innovations of a brilliant group of thinkers whose impact on religious thought, social reform, philosophy, and literature continues to reverberate in the twenty-first century.
In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Anne Boyd Rioux brings a fresh and engaging look at the circumstances leading Louisa May Alcott to write Little Women and why this beloved story of family and community ties set in the Civil War has resonated with audiences across time.
When A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court was published in 1889, Mark Twain was undergoing a series of personal and professional crises. In his Introduction, M. Thomas Inge shows how what began as a literary burlesque of British chivalry and culture developed to tragedy and into a novel that remains a major literary and cultural text for generations of new readers. This edition reproduces a number of the original drawings by Dan Beard, of whom Twain said "He not only illustrates the text but he illustrates my thoughts."About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Reviving a lost classic of American fairy-tale literature
Charles Godfrey Leland was one of the most popular American writers and artists of the nineteenth century, publishing more than twenty books of legends, fairy tales, humor, and essays. Today, however, he is a woefully underappreciated writer. Written, designed, and illustrated by Leland in 1892, The Book of One Hundred Riddles of the Fairy Bellaria is a forgotten classic and a small sample of his influential and experimental work.
The Book of One Hundred Riddles of the Fairy Bellaria features the Scheherazade-like fairy goddess Bellaria: powerful and mysterious, courageous and clever, goddess of spring, flowers, love, fate, and death. In this story, Bellaria engages in a duel of wits with an evil king, a death match of one hundred riddles. Each riddle is spoken as a rhyme and illustrated by an original engraving in the arts and crafts style. This book is a beautiful reintroduction to Leland and his pioneering design.
Despite Emily Dickinson's world renown, the story of the two women most responsible for her initial posthumous publication--Mabel Loomis Todd and her daughter, Millicent Todd Bingham--has remained in the shadows of the archives. A rich and compelling portrait of women who refused to be confined by the social mores of their era, After Emily explores Mabel and Millicent's complex bond, as well as the powerful literary legacy they shared.
Mabel's tangled relationships with the Dickinsons--including a thirteen-year extramarital relationship with Emily's brother, Austin--roiled the small town of Amherst, Massachusetts. After Emily's death, Mabel's connection to the family and reputation as an intelligent, artistic, and industrious woman in her own right led her to the enormous trove of poems Emily left behind. So began the herculean task of transcribing, editing, and promoting Emily's work, a task that would consume and complicate the lives of both Mabel and her daughter. As the popularity of the poems grew, legal issues arose between the Dickinson and Todd families, dredging up their scandals: the affair, the ownership of Emily's poetry, and the right to define the so-called "Belle of Amherst."
Utilizing hundreds of overlooked letters and diaries to weave together the stories of three unstoppable women, Julie Dobrow explores the intrigue of Emily Dickinson's literary beginnings. After Emily sheds light on the importance of the earliest editions of Emily's work--including the controversial editorial decisions made to introduce her singular genius to the world--and reveals the surprising impact Mabel and Millicent had on the poet we know today.
This Library of America book, with its companion volume, is the most comprehensive collection ever published of Mark Twain's short writings--the incomparable stories, sketches, burlesques, hoaxes, tall tales, speeches, satires, and maxims of America's greatest humorist. Arranged chronologically and containing many pieces restored to the form in which Twain intended them to appear, the volumes show with unprecedented clarity the literary evolution of Mark Twain over six decades of his career.This volume contains eighty pieces from the years 1891 to 1910, when Twain emerged from bankruptcy and personal tragedy to become the white-suited, cigar-smoking international celebrity who reported on his own follies and those of humanity with an unerring sense of the absurd. Some stories display Twain's fascination with money and greed, such as "The Esquimau Maiden's Romance" and "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg." Other stories, written after the death of his daughter Susy in 1896, explore the outer limits of fantasy and psychic phenomena, including "Which Was the Dream?" "The Great Dark," and "My Platonic Sweetheart." The United States military involvement in Cuba, China, and the Philippines turned Twain's attention to political satire and invective. "To the Person Sitting in Darkness," "The United States of Lyncherdom," "The Czar's Soliloquy," and "The War Prayer" are biting denunciations of European and American imperialism. Other political issues inspired articles and stories about the Jews, the notorious Dreyfus case, and vivisection. Twain's increasingly unorthodox religious opinions are powerfully, often comically, expressed in "Extracts from Adam's Diary," "Eve's Diary," "Eve Speaks," "Adam's Soliloquy," "A Humane Word from Satan," "What is Man?" "Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven," and "Letters from the Earth." "Against the assault of laughter," he said, "nothing can stand." Twain's brilliant inventiveness continues to shine in such later comic masterpieces as "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences," "Italian Without a Master," "Hunting the Deceitful Turkey," and "My First Lie and How I Got Out of It." A posthumous collection of proverbs and aphorisms ("More Maxims of Mark") is included as an appendix. The publishing history of every story, sketch, and speech in this volume has been thoroughly researched, and in each instance the most authoritative text has been reproduced. This collection also includes an extensive chronology of Twain's complex life, helpful notes on the people and events referred to in his works, and a guide to the texts. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
The first book to portray one of the most remarkable friendships in American letters, that of Emily Dickinson--recluse, poet--and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, minister, literary figure, active abolitionist.
Their friendship began in 1862. The Civil War was raging. Dickinson was thirty-one; Higginson, thirty-eight. A former pastor at the Free Church of Worcester, Massachusetts, he wrote often for "the" cultural magazine of the day, "The""Atlantic Monthly"--on gymnastics, women's rights, and slavery. His article "Letter to a Young Contributor" gave advice to readers who wanted to write for the magazine and offered tips on how to submit one's work ("use black ink, good pens, white paper").
Among the letters Higginson received in response was one scrawled in looping, difficult handwriting. Four poems were enclosed in a smaller envelope. He deciphered the scribble: "Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?"
Higginson read the poems. The writing was unique, uncategorizable. It was clear to him that this was "a wholly new and original poetic genius," and the memory of that moment stayed with him when he wrote about it thirty years later.
Emily Dickinson's question inaugurated one of the least likely correspondences in American letters--between a man who ran guns to Kansas, backed John Brown, and would soon command the first Union regiment of black soldiers, and the eremitic, elusive poet who cannily told him she did not cross her "Father's ground to any House or town."
For the next quarter century, until her death in 1886, Dickinson sent Higginson dazzling poems, almost one hundred of them--many of them her best. Their metrical forms were unusual, their punctuation unpredictable, their images elliptical, innovative, unsentimental. Poetry torn up by the roots, Higginson later said, that "gives the sudden transitions."
Dickinson was a genius of the faux-naif variety, reclusive to be sure but more savvy than one might imagine, more self-conscious and sly, and certainly aware of her outsize talent. "Dare you see a Soul at the 'White Heat'?" she wondered. She dared, and he did.
In this shimmering, revelatory work, Brenda Wineapple re-creates the extraordinary, delicate friendship that led to the publication of Dickinson's poetry. And though she and Higginson met face-to-face only twice (he had never met anyone "who drained my nerve power so much," he said), their friendship reveals much about Dickinson, throwing light onto both the darkened door of the poet's imagination and a corner of the noisy century that she and Colonel Higginson shared.
"White Heat" is about poetry, politics, and love; it is, as well, a story of seclusion and engagement, isolation and activism--and the way they were related--in the roiling America of the nineteenth century.
"The unforgettable story of the birth of modern America and the western writers who gave voice to its emerging identity"
"The Bohemians" begins in 1860s San Francisco. The Gold Rush has ended; the Civil War threatens to tear apart the country. Far from the front lines, the city at the western edge roars. A global seaport, home to immigrants from five continents, San Francisco has become a complex urban society virtually overnight. The bards of the moment are the Bohemians: a young Mark Twain, fleeing the draft and seeking adventure; literary golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbrith, poet and protectorate of the group. Ben Tarnoff s elegant, atmospheric history reveals how these four pioneering western writers would together create a new American literature, unfettered by the heavy European influence that dominated the East.
Twain arrives by stagecoach in San Francisco in 1863 and is fast drunk on champagne, oysters, and the city s intoxicating energy. He finds that the war has only made California richer: the economy booms, newspapers and magazines thrive, and the dream of transcontinental train travel promises to soon become a reality. Twain and the Bohemians find inspiration in their surroundings: the dark ironies of frontier humor, the extravagant tales told around the campfires, and the youthful irreverence of the new world being formed in the west. The star of the moment is Bret Harte, a rising figure on the national scene and mentor to both Stoddard and Coolbrith. Young and ambitious, Twain and Harte form the Bohemian core. But as Harte s star ascends drawing attention from eastern taste makers such as the "Atlantic Monthly" Twain flounders, questioning whether he should be a writer at all.
The Bohemian moment would continue in Boston, New York, and London, and would achieve immortality in the writings of Mark Twain. San Francisco gave him his education as a writer and helped inspire the astonishing innovations that radically reimagined American literature. At once an intimate portrait of an eclectic, unforgettable group of writers and a history of a cultural revolution in America, "The Bohemians" reveals how a brief moment on the western frontier changed our country forever."
The United States was only two decades old when Edgar Allan Poe was born. He stands at the very beginning of American literature, an orphaned, rootless, haunted man who in just forty years gave short story writing its modern cast, pioneered detective fiction, and wrote some of the most memorable lyric poems in the English language. Poe's life was riven by scandal: endless conflict with his foster-father, disgrace at university and in the army, marrying his 13-year-old cousin, episodes of drunkeness and fierce personal rivalries with fellow writers and editors. Even Poe's death was gothic and mysterious, the theories ranging from rabies to murder. In this short Life & Times biography, Brian Morton attempts to put the Poe legend in context and in so doing reveals one of the most important and influential writers of modern times in his true light.