In nineteenth-century America, poetry was, part of everyday life, as familiar as a hymn, a love song, a patriotic exhortation. American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century reveals the vigor and diversity of a tradition embracing solitary visionaries and congenial storytellers, humorists and dissidents, songwriters and philosophers. These two volumes reassess America's poetic legacy with a comprehensive sweep that no previous anthology has attempted. This second volume follows the evolution of American poetry from the monumental mid-century achievements of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson to the modernist stirrings of Stephen Crane and Edwin Arlington Robinson. The cataclysm of the Civil War - reflected in fervent antislavery protests, in marching songs and poetic calls to arms, and in muted postbellum expressions of grief and reconciliation - ushered in a period of accelerating change and widening regional perspectives. Among the unfamiliar pleasures to be savored in this volume are the penetrating meditations of the reclusive Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, the eloquent lyricism of Emma Lazarus, the mournful, superbly crafted fin de siecle verse of Trumbull Stickney. Here too are the pioneering African-American poets (Frances Harper, Albery Allson Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar); popular humorists (James Whitcomb Riley, Eugene Field); writers embodying America's newfound cosmopolitanism (Edith Wharton, George Santayana); and extravagant self-mythologizing figures who could have existed nowhere else, like the actress Adah Isaacs Menken and the frontier poet Joaquin Miller. Parodies, dialect poems, song lyrics, and children's verse evoke the liveliness of an era when poetry was accessible to all. Here are poems that played a crucial role in American public life, whether to arouse the national conscience (Edwin Markham's "The Man with the Hoe") or to memorialize the golden age of the national pastime (Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat"). An entire section of t
In size and ambition, this may be the largest selection of poetry from our nation's first full century since Edmund Stedman's An American Anthology, 1787-1900, published more than 90 years ago. With its special sections of Native American poems, African American spirituals and hymns, folksongs, and popular or patriotic verses (e.g., ``Battle Hymn of the Republic,'' ``Home, Sweet Home!'' and Stephen Foster's lyrics), the present volume evokes an era when poetry was enjoyed more than studied, written out of the desire for self-expression rather than the need for tenure. Major poets like Dickinson and Whitman are amply represented, but the collection also allows readers to rediscover the graceful strength of Sarah Orne Jewett, Ella Wilcox's nearly modernist irony, the Goreyesque eccentricity of Ambrose Bierce, and president John Quincy Adams's way with ballad meter. Arrangement is chronological by poet's date of birth; the accompanying biographical sketches, a chronology, notes, and an essay on textual selection were not available for review. Though Hollander's selections will inspire much debate, this anthology is a necessary addition to most library shelves.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
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Title: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (Melville to Stickney, American Indian Poetry, Folk Songs and Spirituals) (Library of America), Vol. 2
Publisher: Library of America
Date Published: September 1993
Edition: 1st Edition
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