American Poetry in the Age of Whitman and Dickinson

Posts Tagged ‘Nathaniel Hawthorne

Henry

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HDT

1856 daguerreotype of Henry David Thoreau (image by way of the Thoreau Society)

Hawthorne found Thoreau “ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners”; while Alfred Munroe, a schoolmate, in later years recalled, “He seemed to have no fun in him.” But seeming only went so far; Mary Hosmer Brown: “During his father’s illness his devotion was such that Mrs. Thoreau in recalling it said, ‘If it hadn’t been for my husband’s illness, I should never have known what a tender heart Henry had.'” This perhaps explains Elizabeth Hoar’s remark, recorded by Emerson: “I love Henry, but do not like him.” Not contradicted by Whitman but turned at an angle: “I liked Thoreau, though he was morbid.”

(Some choice bits from The Quotable Thoreau.)

Of Petra

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Annie Finch wrote a note for the Poetry Foundation about the name “Petra,” which she associates with a nineteenth-century poem by the British Anglican John William Burgon. This brought to mind the Petra section of Herman Melville’s Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876), which I’ve been rereading lately for an essay that Sean Reynolds commissioned for his new journal Wild Orchids. I may post excerpts from that essay in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here is a comment I left in response to Annie’s note: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ben Friedlander

May 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm