Thomas Wentworth Higginson Old Cambridge

ISBN 13: 9780217437035

9780217437035: Old Cambridge

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1899. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... be more felicitous than his delineation of Emerson as "an iconoclast who took down our idols so gently that it seemed like an act of worship." The Civil War on the one side and some tilts against theological prejudices, on the other, had the effect of throwing him in later life toward the party of attack, and, as almost always happens in such cases, this seemed a source of fresh life and happiness to him. His course of development was thus somewhat opposite to that of Lowell, who took his radicalism first and in a tolerably undiluted form, becoming afterward more conservative; while the even nature of Longfellow, tempted into no extremes, remained in much the same attitude during his whole life. In regard to Holmes's intellectual life, it is a rare thing for a man nearly fifty years old to strike out a wholly new career; and this doubtless happened to Holmes on the publication of the "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table." This is all the more remarkable from the fact that he had begun a similar venture long before without attracting much attention. It is common to say that the success of the Autocrat chapters was instantaneous and overwhelming. I am sure that this was not quite the case, for I remember well that Underwood, when I expressed delight at the first number, seemed very glad to have me say it, because there was, as he said, a minority of readers, who were disposed to pooh-pooh it, and maintained that Dr. Holmes was "a tiresome little man." This was perhaps only the natural Nemesis encountered by a joker of many years' standing; at any rate all such malcontents soon passed into oblivion and were heard no more. He disarmed criticism in the end by courageously persisting in the same method which had originally produced it, namely, by the most fearles...

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