The Cambridge History of American Literature: Volume 4, Nineteenth-Century Poetry 1800-1910

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Cambridge University Press, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 562 pages
This is the first complete narrative history of nineteenth-century American poetry. Barbara Packer explores the neoclassical and satiric forms mastered by the early Federalist poets; the creative reaches of once-celebrated, and still compelling, poets like Longfellow and Whittier; the distinctive lyric forms developed by Emerson and the Transcendentalists. Shira Wolosky provides a new perspective on the achievement of female poets of the period, as well as a close appreciation of African-American poets, including the collective folk authors of the Negro spirituals. She also illuminates the major works of the period, from Poe through Melville and Crane, to Whitman and Dickinson. The authors of this volume discuss this extraordinary literary achievement both in formal terms and in its sustained engagement with changing social and cultural conditions. In doing so they recover and elucidate American poetry of the nineteenth century for our twenty-first century pleasure, profit, and renewed study.
 

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Contents

reverence and ambition
11
Neoclassicism comic and satiric verse
17
Early narrative and lyric
41
Transcendentalism
87
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
137
the claims of thetoric
147
Modest claims
155
Claiming the Bible
200
Poetic languages
248
Plural identities
324
Walt Whitman the office of the poet
362
Emily Dickinson the violence of the imagination
427
Chronology 18001910
481
Bibliography
534
Index
540
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About the author (1994)

Sacvan Bercovitch is Powell M. Cabot Research Professor of American Literature at Harvard University.