Tuesday, August 4, 2009

1837 - 1838: Oliver Twist to "The Divinity School Address"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Dickens. British. 1837/39. Novel. Oliver Twist. Depicts the world of poverty, crime, and workhouse of 19th-century London. Illustrates that poverty breeds crime.

Edgar A. Poe. American. 1838. Novel. The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. New England boy stows away on a whaler followed by mutiny, savagery, cannibalism, pursuit. In the end, emergence of great white figure. Intrigued Melville.

Edgar A. Poe. American. 1838. Story. “Ligeia.” Narrator’s mysterious dark-haired wife dies after lingering illness. Marries Rowena. She dies. In opium state, he sees corpse of Rowena arise. She has been transformed into Ligeia.

Dickens. British. 1838. Novel. Nicholas Nickleby. Attacks schools and school masters; led to reformation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1838. Speech. “The Divinity School Address.” Stressed the divinity of man and the humanity of Christ. Denied miracles. Did not quote scripture. Upheld intuition, rather than ritual, as a means of knowing God. Shocked conservative clergymen.

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