Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1865: "O Captain! My Captain!" to "Commemoration Ode."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Walt Whitman. American. 1865. Poetry. “O Captain! My Captain!” Commemorates the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Mark Twain. American. 1865. Story. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Dose of quail shot keeps Smiley’s frog, Dan’l Webster, from out jumping the stranger’s frog.

Lewis Carroll. British. 1865. Story. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Everything happens with fantastic illogicality. White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, the Mad Hatter, etc.

Mary Mapes Dodge. American. 1865. Story. “Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates.” Hero is Dutch boy. Interesting picture of life in Holland. Children’s story.

James Russell Lowell. American. 1865. Poetry. “Commemoration Ode.” In honor of the Harvard students who had died in the Civil War. Added lines in honor of Lincoln.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1864 - 1865: Our Mutual Friend to Atalanta in Calydon.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Charles Dickens. British. 1864. Novel. Our Mutual Friend. Will receive an inheritance if he marries a woman he has never met. Under an assumed name, he falls in love with and marries her. “Dust, deceit and death fill the novel.”

Tennyson. British. 1864. Poetry. Enoch Arden. Seaman wrecked on a desert island returns home to find his wife married to another. Dies of a broken heart.

Robert Browning. British. 1864. Poetry. Prospice. Written after his wife’s death. Optimistic and courageous attitude toward death.

Tolstoy. Russian. 1864/69. Novel. War and Peace. Accurate portrait of the entire Russian nation. Covers the years 1805 – 1820, centering on the invasion of Russia by Napoleon in 1812. 500 characters. Every social level. Main characters progress from youthful uncertainty to the more mature understanding of life. Alternate chapters: Narratives of the characters’ lives and essays on the war.

Charles Algernon Swinburne. British. 1965. Play. Atalanta in Calydon. Based on the Greek legend of Atalanta and the Calydonian boar hunt. She is a swift runner who will marry only someone swifter than she. She is delayed when her suitor drops golden apples which she stops to pick up. Hymn to Artemis.

Monday, September 28, 2009

1863 - 1864: "Barbara Frietchie" to Notes from the Underground.

Chronology of World, British and American Literature.

John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1863. Poetry. “Barbara Frietchie.” Fictional encounter between Barbara Frietchie, 96, and Stonewall Jackson. Displayed the Union flag. He orders that she not be harmed.

Abraham Lincoln. American. 1863. Emancipation Proclamation. Freed the slaves in the South, but not in the border states nor in territory under U.S. military occupation.

Abraham Lincoln. American. 1863. Speech. “Gettysburg Address.” November 19. Dedication of a national cemetery. Moving, eloquent statement of the American creed.

Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1863. Novel. The Cossacks. Tried of life in civilized society, hero attempts to find happiness among wild, free Cossacks of the Caucasus.

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1864. Story. Notes from the Underground. Complex psychological portrait of the narrator; polemic against positivist philosophy, rationality of man and the possibility of social betterment through material progress. Narrator embodies the irrationality he insists is the essence of man. Starting point of Dostoevsky’s literary maturity.

Friday, September 25, 2009

1862 - 1863: Salambo to "Boston Hymn."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Gustave Flaubert. French. 1862. Novel. Salambo. Set in ancient Carthage. Traveled to Tunisia before writing. Precise, accurate documentation.

George Eliot. British. 1863. Novel. Romola. After marriage to a hedonistic man, Romola, a Florentine woman, comes under the influence of Savonarola and finds peace.

Longfellow. American. 1863. Poetry. Tales of a Wayside Inn. Structure modeled on the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron. Tales reflect Longfellow’s interest in the Middle Ages.

Charles Kingsley. British. 1863. Fantasy. The Water-Babies, a Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby. Adventures of a chimney sweep who falls into the river and is transformed into a miniature merman.

Emerson. American. 1863. Poetry. “Boston Hymn.” Celebrates freedom, denouncing kings and aristocrats. Fervent.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

1862: House of the Dead to Fathers and Sons

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1861/62. Novel. Nonfiction. The House of the Dead. Life in the Siberian prison. Based on Dostoevsky’s personal experience.

Victor Hugo. French. 1862. Novel. Les Miserables. Peasant steals loaf of bread, escapes from prison, becomes respected citizen fearful of being caught. Battle of Waterloo and flight through the Paris sewers are famous scenes.

George Meredith. British. 1862. Poetry. Modern Love. 50 poems. 16 lines each. Thoughts of married couple who perceive that their love is dying.

Julia Ward Howe. American. 1862. Song. “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” New words for popular Union Army song, “John Brown’s Body.”

Ivan Turgenev. Russian. 1862. Novel. Fathers and Sons. Portrays conflicts between older aristocratic generation, new democratic intelligentsia. Russia in the 1860s.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1861: East Lynne to The Cloister and the Hearth

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Mrs. Henry Wood. British. 1861. Novel. East Lynne. Lady runs off with another man. She returns, disguised, to care for her children. She becomes reconciled with her husband.

Longfellow. American. 1861. Poetry. “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Midnight ride to spread the news of a British raid.

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1861. Novel. The Insulted and Injured. Purifying function of suffering. Dostoevsky’s first full-length novel. Melodramatic. Verbal duels with cynical prince.

James Ryder Randall. American. 1861. Song. “Maryland, My Maryland.” Sung to “O Tannenbaum.” A favorite battle song of Confederate soldiers.

Charles Reade. British. 1861. Historical Novel. The Cloister and the Hearth. Uses historical characters. Erasmus as a child. The tragically thwarted love of his parents.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1860 - 1861: Woman in White to Elsie Venner....

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Wilkie Collins. British. 1860. Novel. The Woman in White. Villain puts heiress into an insane asylum in order to get her money. Mystery novel.

Charles Dickens. British. 1860/61. Novel. Great Expectations. Pip grows from boy of shallow dreams to man of depth and character.

Walt Whitman. American. 1860/67. Poetry. Children of Adam. Praises physical love and procreation. Man lost Garden through degradations of senses. The body and soul are one.

George Eliot. British. 1861. Novel. Silas Marner, or The Weaver of Raveloe. Remedial influences of pure, natural human relations Lonely, embittered, accused of theft of which his friend was guilty; lost girl he had loved. Friendless miser, robbed of his gold; finds yellow-haired baby girl. Love for Eppie brings him back to normal, wholesome life. Given a chance to live with a wealthy relative, Eppie chooses to stay with Silas.

Oliver Wendell Holmes. 1861. Novel. Elsie Venner: A Romance of Destiny. While carrying her, Elsie’s mother is bitten by a snake; the child develops serpent characteristics. Strange and repellent, her nature prevents love. Dies while trying to humanize herself. With Elsie, Holmes attacks the Calvinist belief that humanity is held responsible for an inherited flaw.

Monday, September 21, 2009

1860: The Storm to The Marble Faun

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Aleksandr Ostrovsky. Russian. 1860. Play. The Storm. Tragedy of young wife trying to break out of stifling atmosphere of her life. Dull, merchant-class milieu; love affair; confesses; hounded; suicide.

George Eliot. British. 1860. Novel. The Mill on the Floss. Brother intrudes on his sister’s life and lovers; they both drown in a flood on the Floss.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. American. 1860. Poetry. “The Children’s Hour.” Devoted to his three daughters by first wife, Mary Potter.

Ivan Turgenev. Russian. 1860. Novel. On the Eve. Heroine finds fulfillment in fighting for social justice with her radical husband.

Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1860. Novel. The Marble Faun. Naively joyous male commits crime and matures into a true human. Fortunate fall. Setting is Rome.

Friday, September 18, 2009

1859: Friend of the Family to Idylls of the King

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Dostoevsky. Russian. 1859. Novel. The Friend of the Family. Russian Tartuffe. Petty, talentless ex-toady rules the household by playing on guilt feelings.

George Sand. British. 1859. Novel. Elle et lui (He and She). Sand’s interpretation of her love affair with Alfred de Musset and its complexities.

Charles Darwin. British. 1859. Nonfiction. Origin of Species. Theory of evolution by natural selection and survival of the fittest.

Aleksey Pisemsky. Russian. 1859. Play. A Hard Lot. Tragic conflicts caused by the love affair between the estate owner and the wife of one of his serfs. Realistic.

Alfred Lord Tennyson. British. 1859/85. Poetry. Idlylls of the King. Based on the Arthurian legend. Introduction of evil into hitherto unblemished Camelot through Lancelot’s sin.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

1859: The Ordeal of Richard Feveral to "Out of the Cradle...."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

George Meredith. British. 1859. Novel. The Ordeal of Richard Feveral. Father attempts to educate his son to be a perfect specimen of manhood. Fails tragically. Problem is his attempt to keep him away from women.

Ivan Turgenev. Russian. 1859. Novel. A Nest of the Greatfolk. Tragic love affair ended because his wife who was thought to be dead returns and he must resume his duty. Evokes the peaceful atmosphere of a provincial Russian estate.

George Eliot. British. 1859. Novel. Adam Bede. Principled Adam loves pretty, superficial Hetty Sorrel who is seduced by Squire Donnithorne; she kills the baby. Adam eventually marries Dinah Morris, a young Methodist preacher.

Ivan Goncharov. Russian. 1859. Oblomov. Hero is the embodiment of physical and mental laziness.

Walt Whitman. American. 1859. Poetry. “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking.” Interprets the song of a bird at seaside to mean death.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1858 - 1859: Our American Cousin to Tale of Two Cities

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Tom Taylor. American. 1858. Play. Our American Cousin. Play that Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated.

Oliver Wendell Holmes. American. 1858. Poetry. “The Deacon’s Masterpiece, or, The Wonderful ‘One-Hoss Shay.’ ” Satirizing Calvinist dogma or any inflexible though highly logical system designed for permanence. The shay did not break down. It just fell apart all at once.

Oliver Wendell Holmes. American. 1858. Poetry. “The Chambered Nautilus.” Sea creature that enlarges its shell as it grows is example to the human being.

Henry W. Longfellow. American. 1858. Poetry. “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” Standish sends John Alden to woo Priscilla for him. She prefers John. Miles Standish gives his blessing.

Charles Dickens. British. 1859. Novel. A Tale of Two Cities. French Revolution. London and Paris. Descriptions taken from Carlyle’s French Revolution. Darnay and Carlton are look alikes; the latter substitutes for the former on the guillotine. Carton also Loves Lucy. Completely cynical about himself.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

1857 - 1858: The Confidence Man.... to A Thousand Souls

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Herman Melville. American. 1857. Novel. The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade. Mississippi river boat. Plotless satire. Characters are different manifestations of the confidence man, without principle.

Anthony Trollope. British. 1857. Novel. Barchester Towers. Novel of clerical intrigue. Struggle between Mrs. Proudie, the bishop’s wife, and the insidious chaplain, Slope.

Oliver Wendell Holmes. American. 1858. Essays. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Conversations that become monologues; epigrammatic; social, theological, scientific topics.

John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1858. Poetry. “Telling the Bees.” Custom of draping hives when someone is dead. Lover discovers that the dead person is his beloved.

Aleksey Pisemsky. Russian. 1858. Novel. A Thousand Souls. Marries woman who has 1000 serfs in order to further his career.

Monday, September 14, 2009

1856 - 1857: Mozart.... to Tom Brown's School Days

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Eduard Morike. German. 1856. Novel. Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag (Mozart on His Trip to Prague). Mood: essential joy in Mozart’s creative energy and melancholy premonition of death.

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik. British. 1856. Novel. John Halifax, Gentleman. Orphan by perseverance, fortitude, establishes himself in life despite humble origin.

Thackeray. British. 1857. Novel. The Virginians. Twin grandsons; boyhood in America; various experiences in England. Through American Revolution in which each fights on a different side.

Charles Baudelaire. French. 1857. Poetry. The Flowers of Evil (Les fluers du mal). Conflict of good, evil; seeks beauty or good in perverse, grotesque, morbid.

Thomas Hughes. British. 1857. Novel. Tom Brown’s School Days. Life in an English public school. Shy, homesick boy develops manly, robust qualities.

Friday, September 11, 2009

1855 - 1856: Chronicles of Barsetshire to Madame Bovary

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Anthony Trollope. British. 1855/67. Novels. Chronicles of Barsetshire. Cathedral town. Agitations among clerical families disturb the placidity of Barchester. Mrs. Proudie, etc.

Herman Melville. American. 1856. Stories. The Piazza Tales. Artist attempts to rival the power of God, Customer refuses to buy lightning rod: If you cannot control God, why fear him? Descriptive sketches based on 1841 voyage to the Galapagos Island.

Ivan Turgenev. Russian. 1856. Novel. Rudin. Traces the ineffectual career of the hero who impresses with brilliant, high-minded talk. However, he is unable to take decisive action. Frightened by the demands of love. When he tries to act, he loses his life. Hero represents the Russian “Superfluous Man.

Walt Whitman. American. 1856. Poetry. “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” Feels himself to be one with all those who cross on the ferry regardless of time and space.

Gustave Flaubert. French. 1856. Novel. Madame Bovary. Life of ordinary woman. Technique of amassing precise detail is key in development of the novel. Married to good-hearted, stupid village doctor. Romantic dreams unfulfilled. Adultery, debts, suicide.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

1855: Hiawatha to Little Dorrit

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Henry W. Longfellow. American. 1855. Narrative Poetry. Hiawatha. Ojibway Indian reared by grandmother. Deeds in revenging mother against father, West Wind. Parodied mercilessly.

Robert Browning. British. 1855. Poetry. “Rabbi Ben Ezra.” Poem on old age. One of the most distinguished Jewish literati in the Middle Ages.

Herman Melville. American. 1855. Satiric Novel. Israel Potter or, Fifty Years of Exile. Time of the Revolutionary War. Meets Ben Franklin, John Paul Jones and Ethan Allen. His personality is a mixture of the faults and virtues of the three heroes. Archetypal American, taken prisoner by the British and exiled for 50 years. Returns home to die. Melville suggests that the only hope for America lies in the pioneering West.

Thackeray. British. 1855. Novel. The Newcomes. Three generations. Love triangle finally resolved happily.

Charles Dickens. British. 1855/57. Novel. Little Dorrit. Father, daughters spend lives in prison for debt. Father becomes wealthy, as insufferable in wealth as he was obsequious in debt. Amy, Little Dorrit, remains unchanged by changes in circumstances. Circumlocution Office. Dickens attacks bureaucratic inefficiency and the practice of imprisonment for debt.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1855: Leaves of Grass to "Fra Lippo Lippi"

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Walt Whitman. American. 1855. Poetry. Leaves of Grass. “The United States are the greatest poem.” Celebrates common people; poet must incarnate spirit and geography of the U.S. Takes his title from the themes of fertility, universality, cyclical life.

Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1855. Stories. Sevastopol Sketches. Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War; departure from the usual war descriptions. Showed war not as heroic and glorious, but dangerous, tedious, bloody horror. Used stream of consciousness technique. Internal monologue. The “hero” of his stories = “truth.”

Walt Whitman. American. 1855. Poetry. Song of Myself. Encompassing all, gives everything significance; equality and beauty of all things and people. Catalogues. Poet of wickedness as well as grandeur; dissolves into the universe.

John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1855. Poetry. “The Barefoot Boy.” Joy of a country childhood.

Robert Browning. British. 1855. Poetry. “Fra Lippo Lippi.” Monologue. Painter in Florence gives his autobiography, views on life and art.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

1854: Walden to "Maud Muller."

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Henry D. Thoreau. American. 1854. Nonfiction. Walden, or, Life in the Woods. The “mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Lived at Walden Pond from 1845 to 1847. His aim was to “front only the essential facts of life.” He wanted to emancipate himself from slavery to material possessions. He described his observation and habits at Walden Pond; he watched the seasons unfold. He urges that life be simplified so that its meaning may become clear.

Timothy Shay Arthur. American. 1854. Story. “Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There.” Melodramatic temperance tale. “Father, dear father, come home with me now.” Little Mary’s song at the saloon door.

William Gilmore Simms. American. 1854. Novel. Woodcraft, or The Sword and the Distaff. Set in Charleston South Carolina, during 1782. Withdrawal of British troops is the chief historical event. Captain Porgy rescues the slaves from the scheming British officers. It was the author’s answer to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Alfred Lord Tennyson. British. 1854. Poetry. “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” Famous death charge of the 600 at Balaclava in the Crimea on October 25, 1854. The British charged the Russian lines.

John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1854. Narrative Poetry. “Maud Muller.” Wealthy judge and a rustic beauty meet. They lament that they married someone else more “suitable.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

1853: "Sohrab and Rustum" to Tanglewood Tales

Chronology of Western, British and American Literature

Matthew Arnold. British. 1853. Poetry. “Sohrab and Rustum.” Father and son meet in individual combat, unaware of their relationship.

Herman Melville. American. 1853. Story. “Bartleby the Scrivener.” Lawyer hires Bartleby to copy, proofread legal documents. He eventually refuses to make any effort or to leave. “I should prefer not to.”

Elizabeth Gaskell. British. 1853. Story. “Cranford.” Peaceful little English village with mainly ladies who practice elegant economy and quaint social decorum.

Matthew Arnold. British. 1853. Poetry. “The Scholar-Gypsy.” Scholar wanders off from Oxford to learn the gypsy traditions.

Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1853. Myths. Tanglewood Tales. Six Greek myths. Themes: revenge, effects of time, strange transformations.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

1852 - 1853: Blithedale Romance to Villette

Chronology of World, British and American Literature

Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1852. Novel. The Blithedale Romance. Intellectual woman loses man to cuddly, clingy, pretty girl. Setting is a Utopian farm.

Herman Melville> American. 1852. Novel. Pierre, or the Ambiguities. In the pursuit of truth, author causes the deaths of his mother, fiancée and sister.

Wm. Makepeace Thackeray. British. 1852. Historical Novel. The History of Henry Esmond, Esquire. Tangled plot. Henry Esmond thinks he is illegitimate; actually, he is the lawful heir to the Esmond estate.

Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1852/54/57. Autobiography. Childhood, Boyhood and Youth. Trilogy. Descriptions of life on provincial estate; among best depictions of nature in Russian literature.

Charlotte Bronte. British 1853. Novel. Villette. English girl teaches at a girls’ boarding school; secret love for a doctor. Recognizes true destiny with embittered headmaster, to whom she becomes engaged.