Monday, August 31, 2009

1850: Representative Men to The Prelude

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Emerson. American. 1850. Biography. Representative Men. Shakespeare (poet); Plato (philosopher); Swedenborg (mystic); Goethe (writer); Napoleon (man of the world); Montaigne (skeptic). “Uses” of great men. Modeled on Carlyle, but Emerson believed great men are representative of their time, not apart from it.

Melville. American. 1850. Novel. White Jacket, or The World in a Man-o-war. Brutal and inhumane practices of the ship’s officers. The white jacket almost drowns the hero, but he discards it and rises to the surface.

Ivan Turgenev. Russia. 1850. Play. A Month in the Country. Bored wife and her ward fall for tutor who is sent away; wife lapses into ennui.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. British. 1850. Poetry. Sonnets from the Portuguese. Expresses poet’s love for her husband. Title refers to a 16th-century Portuguese poet.

Wordsworth. British. 1850. Poetry. The Prelude. Growth of a poet’s mind—traces life from childhood.

Friday, August 28, 2009

1849: Shirley to David Copperfield

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Charlotte Brontë. British. 1849. Novel. Shirley. At end of Napoleonic Wars, depressed wool industry; workers vs. hero, the mill owner.

Herman Melville. American. 1849. Novel. Mardi and a Voyage Thither. Complex. From narrative of adventure to allegory of mind. Symbolic quest for absolute truth. Events are more important on symbolic than realistic level.

Longfellow. American. 1849. Poetry/Ode. “The Building of the Ship.” Ship is the symbol for life and for the Union. Interweaves details of construction with those of approaching marriage of the builder’s daughter.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1849. Poetry. “Annabel Lee.” Subject is Poe’s favorite: death of a beautiful woman.

Charles Dickens. British. 1849/50. Novel. David Copperfield. Autobiographical. Devastating exposé of inhuman treatment of children in 19th-century England.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

1848 -1849: The Bigelow Papers to "Civil Disobedience"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

James Russell Lowell. American. 1848. Poetry and Prose. The Bigelow Papers. Poems in dialect; prose in standard English. Satirizes politicians, editors and the wealthy. Yankee dialect.

James Russell Lowell. American. 1848. Poetry/Satire. Fable for Critics. Witty profiles of leading writers: Emerson, Longfellow, Hawthorne, Poe, Cooper, Whittier, Holmes and himself.

Francois Rene de Chateaubriand. 1848/50. Autobiography. Memoires d’outre-tombe (Memories from Beyond the Tomb). Personal reminiscences by Chateaubriand.

Thackeray. British. 1848/50. Novel. The History of Pendennis. Spoiled boy has affairs, matures, writes novel and marries true love.

Thoreau. American. 1849. Essay. “Civil Disobedience.” “Government is best which governs least.” True to oneself, one may then be true to government.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1848;: Dombey and Son to The Communist Manifesto

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Charles Dickens. British. 1848. Novel. Dombey and Son. Father bitter on death of son; rejects loving daughter after business failure. They are reconciled.

Elizabeth Gaskell. British. 1848. Novel. Mary Barton. Inhumanities suffered by impoverished weavers of Manchester.

Anne Bronte. British. 1848. Novel. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Marriage destroyed by a dissipated husband.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1848. Essay. “Eureka.” Material, spiritual unity of the universe. Surprisingly contemporary.

Marx/Engels. German. 1848. Nonfiction. The Communist Manifesto. Pamphlet. Analyzes history as class conflict; envisions classless society without personal property.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1847 - 1848: Le Cousin Pons to Vanity Fair

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Balzac. French. 1847. Novel. Le Cousin Pons. Musical composer squanders his income on works of art. Ugly and lonely, he becomes a glutton and a parasite.

Herman Melville. American. 1847. Novel. Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas. Polynesian word for wanderer. Hero and doctor friend explore the island of Tahiti.

Anne Bronte. British. 1847. Novel. Agnes Grey. Quiet account of life of ill-treated, lonely governess who eventually marries a curate.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti. British. 1848. Sonnet. “The House of Life.” Autobiographical. Title refers to house of human life in astrology.

Wm. Makepeace Thackery. British. 1848. Novel. Vanity Fair, A Novel without a Hero. Becky Sharp: clever, scheming, determined to get on in the world.

Monday, August 24, 2009

1847: Wuthering Heights to Evangeline

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Emily Bronte. British. 1847. Novel. Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff, a foundling, is strange, uncouth, passionate, and disruptive. Wuthering Heights is the Earnshaw’s lonely moorland home. “Wuthering” = turbulent weather. Catherine loves Heathcliff but suggests she can’t marry him because it would degrade her. Furious, Heathcliff leaves. Returns as polished, wealthy man. Exacts his revenge. Eventually, he gains control of Wuthering Heights.

Benjamin Disraeli. British. 1847. Novel. Tancred, or the New Crusade. Young, high-born visionary leaves social circles of 19th century London to travel in the East. Experiences “the great Asian mystery,” which is to work for the regeneration of the West.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1847. Poetry. “Ulalume.” Composed at the request of an elocutionist needing a poem to recite. Narrator and his soul walk in a “ghoul-haunted woodland” on Halloween. Stopped by the door of the forgotten tomb of the narrator’s beloved Ulalume.

John Maddison Morton. British. 1847. Play. Box and Cox. Farce. Characters are Box, Cox and the landlady. She rents the same room to both. One works at night, the other in the day. Hopes they won’t know.

Longfellow. American. 1847. Poetry. Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie. Lovers are separated when British expel the Acadians from Nova Scotia. They spend years searching for each other. Tragic reunion.

Friday, August 21, 2009

1846 - 1847: Poor Folk to Jane Eyre

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1846. Novel. Poor Folk. Epistolary. Hopeless love of poor timid clerk for poor woman who marries wealthy landowner.

Balzac. French. 1846. Novel. La Cousine Bette. Harsh old spinster masks frustration, bitterness behind façade of good will. Destroys romance.

Johnson Jones Hooper. American. 1846. Novel. Some Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs, Late of the Tallapoosa Volunteers. Ridiculed folkways of the South.

Hawthorne. American. 1846. Story. “The Birthmark.” Scientist insists on removing small birthmark from otherwise perfect wife. With her imperfection removed, she is no longer human, and dies.

Bronte, Charlotte. British. 1847. Novel. Jane Eyre. Rochester, strange, violent, bereft of conventional courtesy, law to himself. Married to insane wife. Hero, heroine new types in English fiction. Not conventional heroine. No superficial beauty, charm.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1845 - 1846: "How They Brought the Good News...." to The Double

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

Robert Browning. British. 1845. Ballad. “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.” Onomatopoeic effects. Describes purely imaginary incident.

James Fenimore Cooper. American. 1845/46. Novel. The Littlepage Manuscripts. New York anti-rent controversy. Crisis in democracy. If contracts could be broken by mob rule, democracy would turn to anarchy. Sided with the landlords. Politics overcomes art in these novels.

Herman Melville. American. 1846. Novel. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life. Sailors jump ship and wander into the Valley of Typee, inhabited by cannibals. Tempted to enjoy a somnolent vegetative existence, an American returns to civilization.

Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1846. Stories. Mosses from an Old Manse. Contains “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Birthmark,” and "Rappaccini’s Daughter.”

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1846. Novel. The Double. A double appears in the life of an ineffectual civil servant, Golyadkin. Opposite personality. Golyadkin ends up a madman.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1845: Rose and the Ring to "The Purloined Letter."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Thackeray. British. 1845. Burlesque. The Rose and the Ring. Burlesque fairy tale. Magic rose and ring make possessions lovely and lovable.

Charles Dickens. British. 1845. Story. “The Cricket on the Hearth.” Christmas tale. Cricket chirps when all is well and silent when unhappiness pervades. Mysterious boarder.

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Argentina. 1845. Nonfiction. Facundo. Famous for description of Argentine pampas and of gaucho types, the outlaw and the tracker.

Charles Dickens. British. 1845. Novel. Hard Times. Gradgrind. Effects of father on children. Harsh condemnation of industrial England.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1845. Story. “The Purloined Letter.” Letter used by cabinet minister for blackmail is found by Detective Dupin—in plain, but overlooked, sight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1844 - 1845: Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq.... to "The Raven"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Wm. Makepeace Thackeray. British. 1844. Novel. The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq., Written by Himself. Narrator is a scoundrel who engages in a succession of affairs without any feelings of responsibility.

Benjamin Disraeli. British. 1844. Novel. Coningsby, or The New Generation. Pictures contemporary figures, thinly disguised. People were interested in identifying them.

Charles Dickens. British. 1844. Novel. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Slashes at American provincialism and selfish, grasping Chuzzlewit Englishmen.

Benjamin Disraeli. British. 1845. Novel. Sybil, or the Two Nations. The two nations are the rich and poor working classes; distressed conditions of the laboring class. Chartist movement during the 1840s.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1845. Poetry. “The Raven.” Answers tormented questions of bereaved lover with “Nevermore.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

1844: Don Juan Tenorio to "Lady Geraldine's Courtship."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Jose Zorilla y Moral. Spanish. 1844. Verse Drama. Don Juan Tenorio. Falls in love with the virtuous Doña Ines, repents, and is saved by her prayers.

Alexandre Dumas. French. 1844. Novel. The Count of Monte Cristo. False political charge condemns Dantes to life imprisonment. Escapes. Revenges himself.

Alexandre Dumas. French. 1844. Novel. The Three Musketeers. French history from 1624-1665. Narrow escapes and amazing exploits of four friends.

Friedrich Hebbel. German. 1844. Play. Maria Magdalena. Great drama produced at moments in history when old order and new are in conflict. Theory. Influenced by Hegel. Pregnant, web of conflicting motives and obligations, fear of social reproach, suicide. Father’s final comment: “I don’t understand this world anymore.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. British. 1844. Poetry. “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship.” Lady falls in love with a peasant poet, whom she marries. This poem led to her meeting Robert Browning.

Friday, August 14, 2009

1843 - 1844: "The Gold Bug" to "Rappaccini's Daughter

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1843. Story. “The Gold Bug.” Sullivan’s Island off South Carolina. Location of buried treasure. Unravels instructions. Beetle = the gold bug.

George Borrow. British. 1843. Travel. The Bible in Spain. Travel book. Vivid picture of Spanish life during Carlist troubles.

John Ruskin. British. 1843/60. Art Criticism. Modern Painters (5 vols.). Landscape painters; superiority of contemporary artists over Old Masters.

Blaise Pascal. French. 1844. (Written in 1670). Nonfiction. Pensées. Reflections on religion; testament of religious faith; man is helpless, a frail reed in a vast universe, but a thinking reed. Man’s fall must be true; otherwise one can’t explain the contradictions in man’s nature. Faith not by reason alone. God’s grace speaks to the heart.

Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1844. Story. “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Daughter brought up on poisons becomes invulnerable to them. Scientist subordinates ‘heart to head.’ She drinks an antidote from a suitor, knowing she will die.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1842 - 1843: "Pied Piper of Hamelin" to The Cry of the Children

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Robert Browning. British. 1842. Poetry. “Pied Piper of Hamelin.” Piper lures rats to drowning. When not paid, he lures children, who vanish.

Dickens. British. 1842. Travel. American Notes. Travel sketches. Gave great offense in U.S. Harsh, patronizing observations.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1843. Story. “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Buries dismembered victim. While police search, hears beating of dead man’s heart. In a frenzy, he confesses to the killing; ticking was the dead man’s watch.

Dickens. British. 1843. Story. “A Christmas Carol.” Conversion of Scrooge by visions of Christmases past, present and to come. Becomes benevolent, loving.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning. British. 1843. Poetry. The Cry of the Children. Intense sympathy for victims of child labor in English mines and factories.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1842: "The Pit and the Pendulum" to "Locksley Hall"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1842. Story. “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Condemned by the Inquisition, the narrator narrowly escapes death.

George Sand. British. 1842. Novel. Consuelo. Gypsy girl raised in the streets of Venice becomes successful opera singer.

Tennyson. British. 1842. Poetry. “Break, Break, Break.” Inspired by the death of his friend Arthur Hallam.

Eugene Sue. French. 1842. Romance. The Mysteries of Paris. Kaleidoscope of life in Paris.

Tennyson. British. 1842. Poetry. “Locksley Hall.” Last look at youthful home where his lover married rich clown because of social, parental pressure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1841: Emerson's Essays to Lays of Ancient Rome

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Emerson. American. 1841/44. Essays. Essays, First and Second Series. First: “Self-reliance”; “Compensation”; “The Over-Soul.” Second: “Poet”; “Manners”; “Gifts”; “Nature”; “Politics.”

Robert Browning. British. 1842. Poetry. “My Last Duchess.” Renaissance Duke suggests that his wife died because she did not appreciate the honor of marrying him.

Nikolay Gogol. Russian. 1842. Story. “The Overcoat.” Major development in Russian realism. Poor copyist loves his new overcoat. He is robbed, dies heartbroken. Outbreak of overcoat robberies follows his death. His ghost?

Nikolay Gogol. Russian. 1842. Novel. Dead Souls. Archswindler Pavel Chichikov. “Buys” serfs who have died since last census. Was Gogol a realist or fantasist?

Thomas Babington Macaulay. British. 1842. Ballads. Lays of Ancient Rome. Chief ballads are “Horatius,” “The Battle of Lake Regillus,” and “Virginia.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

1841: "The Wreck of the Hesperus" to "Self-Reliance"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Longfellow. American. 1841. Poetry. “The Wreck of the Hesperus.” Inspired by a newspaper account of an actual wreck at sea.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1841. Story. “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Mother, daughter brutally murdered in crime that baffles police. Poe’s detective is C. Auguste Dupuin.

James F. Cooper. American. 1841. Novel. The Deerslayer. Natty Bumppo’s youth. Lake Otsego. Delaware Indians. Fight Hurons. Resists romance. Chingachgook enters.

Robert Browning. British. 1841. Verse Drama. Pippa Passes. Pippa’s song alters the destiny of those who hear her.

Emerson. American. 1841. Essay. “Self-Reliance.” Some of the best-known epigrammatic sentences: trust your own judgment.

Friday, August 7, 2009

1840 - 1841: The Pathfinder to "Compensation."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

James F. Cooper. American. 1840. Novel. The Pathfinder, Or the Inland Sea. Lake Ontario. French and Indian Wars. Natty Bumppo disappointed in love.

Ralph W. Emerson. American. 1841. Essay. “The Oversoul.” Concept of primal mind, cosmic unity of which all men partake. Keystone of Emerson’s philosophic thought.

Balzac. French. 1841. Novels. La Comedie Humaine (The Human Comedy). The name Balzac gave to the whole body of his work. France seen from a variety of perspectives. 2000 characters. Areas of study: manners (Parisian, country, political, military); philosophy and marriage.

Dickens. British. 1841. Novel. Barnaby Rudge. Anti-Catholic Gordon Riots, 1780. Cause: Government ignores the needs of the poor. Barnaby’s father is a murderer.

Emerson. American. 1841. Essay. “Compensation.” Every evil is balanced by a good. No need for an afterlife.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

1840: Two Years Before the Mast to Poe's Tales....

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Richard Henry Dana, Jr. American. 1840. Narrative. Two Years Before the Mast. Brutality of a ship’s captain and the sailors’ lack of redress. Aroused public opinion and led to legal action; influenced Melville and Conrad.

Robert Browning. British. 1840. Poetry. Sordello. Southern Europe in the 13th century; poet’s dilemma: action or song. Tennyson: Poem is obscure. Only understood first and last lines and they are not true.

Dickens. British. 1840. Novel. The Old Curiosity Shop. The adventures of Little Nell who accompanies her grandfather, an obsessive gambler, after he has lost the Curiosity Shop because of gambling.

Mikhail Lermontov. Russian. 1840. Novel. A Hero of Our Time. Young aristocrat in the reign of Tsar Nicholas I, in the 1830s. Serve the state or remain inactive? Aimless willfulness is threat to all he touches. Character of the superfluous man. Psychological analysis.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1840. Stories. Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. First book of tales. Based tales on the terror of the soul, not German Gothicism.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1839: "The Village Blacksmith" to The Green Mountain Boys

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

HW Longfellow. American. 1839. Poetry. “The Village Blacksmith.” Describes a New England smithy.

Stendahl. French. 1839. Historical Novel. The Charterhouse of Parma. Post-Napoleonic era. Remarkable analysis of romanticism. From Waterloo to Carthusian monastery.

Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1839. Poetry. “Each and All.” Seashore walk. Expression of faith in the oneness of the universe. All parts interdependent.

Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1839. Story. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Sister, supposedly dead, reappears in bloody shroud. Brother, sister fall dead together. House splits.

Daniel Pierce Thompson. American. 1839. Novel. The Green Mountain Boys. Vivid picture of Revolutionary times in Vermont. Central character is Ethan Allen.