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.

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