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.”

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