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American Literature

  This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, 
  This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 
  This other Eden, demi-paradise, 
  This fortress built by Nature for herself 
  Against infection and the hand of war, 

  Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour. 
     England hath need of thee: she is a fen 
     Of stagnant waters; altar, sword, and pen, 
  Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, 
  Have forfeited their ancient English dower 

  In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold: 
  Alike fantastic if too new or old. 
  Be not the first by whom the new are tried, 
  Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

                  Pope, “An Essay on Criticism”

  Two voices are there; one is of the sea, 
  One of the mountains; each a mighty voice: 
  In both from age to age thou didst rejoice, 
  They were thy chosen music, Liberty!

             Wordsworth, “Sonnet to Switzerland”

  The current sweeps the Old World, 
  The current sweeps the New; 
  The wind will blow, the dawn will glow, 
  Ere thou hast sailed them through.

                     Kingsley, “A Myth”

PLANTATION LIFE AND ITS EFFECT UPON LITERATURE.—Before the war the South was agricultural. The wealth was in the hands of scattered plantation owners, and less centered in cities than at the North. The result was a rural aristocracy of rich planters, many of them of the highest breeding and culture. A retinue of slaves attended to their work and relieved them from all manual labor. The masters took an active part in public life, traveled and entertained on a lavish scale. Their guests were usually wealthy men of the same rank, who had similar ideals and ambitions.

THE NEWNESS OF THE WEST.-It is difficult for the young of to-day to realize that Wisconsin and Iowa were not states when Hawthorne published his Twice Told Tales (1837), that Lowell's The Vision of Sir Launfal (1848) was finished ten years before Minnesota became a state, that Longfellow's Hiawatha (1855) appeared six years before the admission of Kansas, and Holmes's

FROM ROMANTICISM TOWARD REALISM.—The enormous circulation of magazines in the United States has furnished a wide market for the writers of fiction. Magazines have especially stimulated the production of short stories, which show how much technique their authors have learned from Poe. The increased attention paid to fiction has led to a careful study of its guiding principles and to the formation of new rules for the practice of the art.

[Footnote: For a complete record of the work of contemporary authors, consult Who's Who in America.]

EASTERN AUTHORS

ABBOTT, JACOB (1803-1879), b. Hallowell, Maine. One of America's most voluminous writers on all classes of popular subjects. He wrote one hundred and eighty volumes and aided in the preparation of thirty-one more. Illustrated Histories, The Rollo Books.

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