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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
G. R. Lomer, ed. The Student’s Course in Literature.

Annotated Reading List in American Literature

By Carl Van Doren (1885–1950)

NOTE. The works are entered chronologically in each class. The student should also consult ‘The Reader’s Digest of Books’ for additional information on writers and books.

I. Poetry

  • Bradstreet, Anne. The Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America. 1650.
    A volume which represents the pleasanter side of early Puritanism.
  • Wigglesworth, Michael. The Day of Doom; or, A Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment. 1662.
    Much of it doggerel, this was still the most widely read American poem during the first century of colonial life.
  • Trumbull, John. McFingal. 1775–1782.
    The chief humorous verse satire of the Revolution.
  • Freneau, Philip. Poems. 1786. Miscellaneous Works. 1788.
    Several sprightly satirical pieces and a few poems of considerable grace and charm.
  • Bryant, W. C. Poems. 1821.
    The first volume of the first American poet of real distinction.
  • Halleck, F.-G. Alnwick Castle and Other Poems. 1827.
    This contains, with other vigorous and witty poems, the well-known ‘Marco Bozzaris.’
  • Poe, E. A. Tamerlane and Other Poems. 1827. Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. 1829. Poems. 1831.
    The brilliant beginnings of the first American poet of highest originality.
  • Bryant, W. C. Poems. 1832.
    A collection in which appears the bulk of Bryant’s early poems, and much of his finest work.
  • Drake, J. R. The Culprit Fay and Other Poems. 1835.
    The title poem is full of delicate fancy.
  • Longfellow, H. W. Voices of the Night. 1839.
    The clear-toned volume in which Longfellow commenced his poetical career.
  • Poe, E. A. The Raven and Other Poems. 1845.
    Pieces of particular originality and permanence.
  • Emerson, R. W. Poems. 1847.
    Nearly all of Emerson’s best-known verse.
  • Longfellow, H. W. Evangeline. 1847.
    Perhaps the most widely read narrative poem written in America.
  • Lowell, J. R. The Biglow Papers. First series. 1848. A Fable for Critics. 1848. The Vision of Sir Launfal. 1848.
    Some of the most spirited work of one of the most spirited American poets.
  • Whittier, J. G. Voices of Freedom. 1849.
    The first really important collection of Whittier’s poems, and nearly all the good work he had yet done.
  • Longfellow, H. W. Hiawatha. 1855.
    Gentle, at times sentimental, but still the classic record in verse of Indian life and manners.
  • Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. 1855.
    The point at which several important later developments in American verse may be said to have had their origin.
  • Longfellow, H. W. The Courtship of Miles Standish. 1858.
    One of the most cheerful and truthful reconstructions of Puritan life.
  • Holmes, O. W. Songs in Many Keys. 1861.
    The ripest of Holmes’s verse.
  • Bryant, W. C. Thirty Poems. 1863.
    Bryant’s best later work.
  • Longfellow, H. W. Tales of a Wayside Inn. 1863–1873.
    No other book of American poetry contains so many good tales in verse.
  • Lowell, J. R. Commemoration Ode. 1865. The Biglow Papers. Second Series, 1866.
    Some of the strongest verse, both gay and grave, called forth by the Civil War.
  • Stoddard, R. H. Abraham Lincoln. An Horatian Ode. 1865.
    A noble and dignified elegy.
  • Whitman, Walt. Drum Taps. 1865. Sequel to Drum Taps. 1865–1866.
    Whitman’s great poems on the war; the most notable are those on the death of Lincoln.
  • Whittier, J. G. Snow-Bound. 1866.
    The best picture in verse of New England rural life.
  • Longfellow, H. W. The Divina Commedia of Dante. 1867.
    A fine and faithful translation.
  • Emerson, R. W. May-Day and Other Pieces. 1867.
    The best of Emerson’s later verse.
  • Whittier, J. G. The Tent on the Beach, and Other Poems. 1867.
    A group of pleasant stories.
  • Bryant, W. C. The Iliad of Homer. 1870. The Odyssey of Homer. 1871–1872.
    Among modern translations of Homer one of the most stately and lucid.
  • Taylor, Bayard. Faust. 1870–1871.
    One of the most vigorous and poetical translations in English.
  • Whitman, Walt. Passage to India. 1870. As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free. 1872.
    Splendid rhapsodies, among the most thoughtful Whitman wrote.
  • Miller, Cincinnatus Hiner (pseud. “Joaquin Miller”). Songs of the Sierras. 1871.
    Robust and tempestuous poems of the Far West.
  • Timrod, Henry. Poems. 1871.
    Among the most finished and sincere work produced by a Confederate poet.
  • Lanier, Sidney. Poems. 1876.
    Impassioned, musical, distinctive.
  • Riley, J. W. The Old Swimmin’-Hole. 1883.
    Interesting and widely-read dialect poems upon country life in the Middle West.
  • Stedman, E. C. Poems. 1884.
    The chief work of a cultivated and able poet.
  • Bunner, H. C. Airs from Arcady, and Elsewhere. 1884.
    Bunner was a highly gifted writer of light verse.
  • Aldrich, T. B. Poems. 1885.
    The characteristic work of an exceedingly accomplished artist in verse.
  • Sill, E. R. Poems. 1887.
    Few American poets have been at once so thoughtful and so gay.
  • Dickinson, Emily. Poems. 1890–1891.
    The most pungent and striking lyrics in American poetry.
  • Field, Eugene. Echoes from the Sabine Farm. 1893.
    Among the freshest and easiest of modern versions of Horace.
  • Hovey, Richard. Songs from Vagabondia. 1894. More Songs from Vagabondia. 1896.
    Written in collaboration with Bliss Carman. Ringing lyrics in celebration of a free life.
  • Moody, W. V. Gloucester Moors. 1900.
    Among these carefully wrought poems, ‘An Ode in Time of Hesitation’ stands out as one of the noblest American comments upon political affairs.
  • Robinson, E. A. The Town Down the River. 1910.
    Compact, witty, and elevated verse by a poet of remarkable gifts.
  • Dargan, O. T. Lords and Lovers and Other Dramas. 1912.
    Reserved and thoughtful work of high excellence.
  • Lindsay, Vachel. The Congo and Other Poems. 1914.
    Powerful, original, irregular.
  • Masters, E. L. The Spoon River Anthology. 1915.
    The most widely discussed American verse of the early twentieth century, original and truthful.
  • Frost, Robert. North of Boston. 1915.
    Poems in which rural New England has found a new voice.
  • Lowell, Amy. Men, Women, and Ghosts. 1916.
    The American leader of the poetical school called the Imagists, and a poet of vividness and distinction.
  • Besides these more important American poets, there are many others who will repay reading and who may be found in the LIBRARY in their proper alphabetical positions: Joel Barlow, H. H. Brownell, Bliss Carman, Madison Cawein, R. H. Dana, R. W. Gilder, Bret Harte, John Hay, P. H. Hayne, J. G. Holland, J. W. Howe, W. D. Howells, H. H. Jackson, Percy MacKaye, S. W. Mitchell, T. W. Parsons, T. B. Read, H. P. Spofford, E. B. Stoddard, W. W. Story, Celia Thaxter, E. M. Thomas, Henry van Dyke, Jones Very, N. P. Willis, William Winter, and G. E. Woodberry.

    An essential book for the student of American poetry is E. C. Stedman’s ‘American Anthology,’ which should be supplemented, for more recent poets, by J. B. Rittenhouse’s ‘Little Book of Modern Verse,’ Harriet Monroe’s ‘The New Poetry’ and W. S. Braithwaite’s ‘Anthology of Magazine Verse’ (annual), the various volumes of which give a valuable survey of contemporary productions.

    In the LIBRARY the student should consult John Erskine’s ‘Poetry of the Early Twentieth Century’ and Dorothy Brewster’s ‘Early Twentieth-Century Poetry.’

    II. Drama

  • Godfrey, Thomas. The Prince of Parthia. (Written probably in 1759; played 1765).
    The first American tragedy to be acted in America by professional actors.
  • Tyler, Royall. The Contrast. Played, 1787.
    The first American comedy, and the first appearance of the “stage Yankee.”
  • Dunlap, William. The Father. Played 1789. André. Played 1798; new version played 1803 as The Glory of Columbia.
    Dunlap is the most important figure in the beginnings of the American stage.
  • Barker, J. N. The Indian Princess. 1808. Superstition. 1824.
    Two of the earliest plays on colonial history.
  • Payne, J. H. Brutus. 1818. Charles the Second. 1824. (Written in collaboration with Washington Irving).
    Payne was the author of ‘Home Sweet Home’ and once famous both as actor and playwright.
  • Bird, R. M. The Gladiator. 1831. Oralloosa. 1832. The Broker of Bogota. 1834.
    The best plays of a playwright who had a great success in romantic tragedies written for Edwin Forrest.
  • Willis, N. P. Tortesa the Usurer. 1839.
    A successful romantic comedy in verse by a facile poet.
  • Mowatt, A. C. Fashion. 1845.
    An interesting satire on New York society.
  • Boker, G. H. Calaynos. Printed 1848; played in England 1849, in Philadelphia, 1851. Francesca da Rimini. 1855.
    Boker had real merit as a poet. His ‘Francesca da Rimini’ has probably greater merit as an acting play than any other written in the United States before the Civil War.
  • Jefferson, Joseph. Rip Van Winkle. Printed 1895, after many years of experiment and change.
    One of the best American comedies as played by one of the best American actors.
  • Aiken, G. L. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 1852.
    Another famous stage version of a famous American story.
  • Howard, Bronson. Saratoga. 1870. Shenandoah. 1889. An earlier version acted 1888.
    Two plays by an author who made realism a habit of the stage in America.
  • Mackaye, Steele. Hazel Kirke. 1880. Formerly acted as An Iron Will. 1879. Paul Kauvar. 1887.
    Early instances of American stage realism.
  • Gillette, William. Held by the Enemy. 1886. Secret Service. 1895.
    Melodramatic but exciting Civil War plays.
  • Fitch, Clyde. Beau Brummell. 1890. Nathan Hale. 1898. The Moth and the Flame. 1898. Barbara Frietchie. 1899. The Climbers. 1901. Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. 1901. The Girl with the Green Eyes. 1902. Her Great Match. 1905. The Truth. 1906. The City. 1909.
    Fitch is never profound nor very subtle, but he had great technical adroitness and was probably the most successful of all American playwrights.
  • Thomas, Augustus. In Mizzoura. 1893. Arizona. 1899. The Witching Hour. 1907.
    Plays nearly as adroit as Clyde Fitch’s and of more literary distinction.
  • Belasco, David. Madame Butterfly. Played 1900. (Written in collaboration with John Luther Long). The Return of Peter Grimm. 1911.
    Representative work by the most finished and careful producer in American dramatic history.
  • Mitchell, Langdon. The New York Idea. 1906.
    American social comedy at its best.
  • Moody, W. V. The Great Divide. 1909. The Faith Healer. 1909.
    Among the few later American plays written with poetic depth and insight.
  • MacKaye, Percy. Sappho and Phaon. 1907. The Scarecrow. 1908. Mater. 1908.
    Work always above the average in interest and execution.
  • Sheldon, Edward. The Nigger. 1909. The Boss. 1911. Romance. 1913.
    Skilful and effective plays.
  • Crothers, Rachel. A Man’s World. 1910. The Herfords. 1912. (Originally played as He and She, 1911).
    Sound and clear-cut serious comedies.
  • Though many American plays remain unprinted, the student will find the following collections convenient: A. H. Quinn, ‘Representative American Plays,’ 1917; M. J. Moses, ‘Representative Plays by American Dramatists.’

    III. Fiction

  • Brown, C. B. Wieland. 1798. Ormond. 1799. Arthur Mervyn. 1799–1800. Edgar Huntly. 1799.
    Powerful romances of mystery and horror, with the scenes laid, for the most part, in Pennsylvania.
  • Cooper, J. F. The Leather-Stocking Tales: The Deerslayer. 1841. The Last of the Mohicans. 1826. The Pathfinder. 1840. The Pioneers. 1823. The Prairie. 1827.
    Five volumes which make up the great classic of the early American frontier. They deal, in the order here given, with the life and deeds of Natty Bumppo, the most famous character in American fiction.
    The Spy. 1821.
    One of the most exciting novels ever written about the Revolution.
    The Pilot. 1842. The Red Rover. 1828. The Wing-and-Wing. 1842.
    Cooper’s three most important sea tales.
    Satanstoe. 1846.
    A somewhat neglected masterpiece with its scene in colonial New York.
  • Simms, W. G. The Yemassee. 1835.
    A striking romance based on the Yemassee War in South Carolina, 1715.
    The Partisans. 1835. Melichampe. 1836. Katherine Walton. 1851. The Sword and Distaff, also known as Woodcraft. 1853.
    Four novels celebrating partisan warfare in the Carolinas at the time of the Revolution.
  • Melville, Herman. Typee. 1846. Omoo. 1847.
    Two books telling a connected story of adventure in the South Sea.
    Moby Dick. 1851.
    The chief novel about whaling, and one of the chief sea stories of the world.
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. 1850.
    Often called the greatest American novel, and certainly one of the most profound and beautiful romances in existence.
    The House of the Seven Gables. 1851. The Blithedale Romance. 1852. The Marble Faun. 1860.
    Novels little inferior, for subtlety and insight and grace, to ‘The Scarlet Letter.’ ‘The Blithedale Romance’ is commonly held the least important of the four.
  • Stowe, H. B. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 1852.
    One of the most influential novels ever written and still effective, even now that slavery has been abolished, by reason of its vigor and intensity.
    Oldtown Folks. 1869.
    Among the first and best of realistic narratives of New England village life.
  • Alcott, L. M. Little Women. 1868–1869.
    Perhaps the best of American books for girls.
  • Aldrich, T. B. Story of a Bad Boy. 1869.
    A classic story of boyhood.
  • Eggleston, Edward. The Hoosier Schoolmaster. 1871.
    A notable study of social conditions on the Indiana frontier.
  • Howells, W. D. A Chance Acquaintance. 1873. A Modern Instance. 1881. The Rise of Silas Lapham. 1885. A Hazard of New Fortunes. 1889.
    Truthful, delicate, and finely constructed stories by a consummate artist who produced a body of work which stands alone for its representation of American scenes, characters, and ideals in the second half of the nineteenth century.
  • James, Henry. Roderick Hudson. 1875. The American. 1877. Daisy Miller. 1878. The Portrait of a Lady. 1881. The Wings of a Dove. 1902.
    Perhaps the best work by one of the most scrupulous craftsmen among modern writers of fiction, particularly notable for his studies of international society.
  • Twain, Mark. Tom Sawyer. 1876. The Prince and the Pauper. 1882. Huckleberry Finn. 1884. Pudd’nhead Wilson. 1894. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. 1896. The Mysterious Stranger. 1916.
    Although it is difficult to classify the writings of an author so unconventional, these may reasonably be called novels, and contain, with few exceptions, the memorable work of the most widely read American of his generation.
  • Crawford, F. M. Saracinesca. 1887. Sant’ Ilario. 1889. Don Orsino. 1892. Corleone. 1898.
    Four novels by a versatile and accomplished novelist, which are commonly thought his best work. They deal with modern life in Rome.
  • Mitchell, S. W. Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker. 1897. The Autobiography of a Quack. 1900. Westways. 1913.
    The first of these is nearly the best of the historical novels produced in such profusion at the end of the nineteenth century.
  • Hardy, A. S. Passe Rose. 1889.
    A peculiarly graceful romance.
  • Allen, J. L. A Kentucky Cardinal. 1894. The Choir Invisible. 1897.
    Delicate stories of life in an idealized Kentucky.
  • Herrick, Robert. The Real World. 1901. The Memoirs of an American Citizen. 1905.
    Well-considered analyses of modern American life by a thoughtful author.
  • Norris, Frank. The Octopus. 1901. The Pit. 1902.
    Two powerful novels which, with another never written, would have made up an epic trilogy on the production, distribution, and consumption of American wheat.
  • Wister, Owen. The Virginian. 1902.
    A striking novel of cowboy life in the Far West.
  • London, Jack. The Call of the Wild. 1903. The Sea Wolf. 1905.
    London was one of the foremost among the numerous authors who, in the early years of the twentieth century, aimed to handle the primitive emotions in fiction.
  • Wharton, Edith. The House of Mirth. 1905. Ethan Frome. 1912. The Custom of the Country. 1913.
    Among living American novelists in 1917 one of the most distinguished.
  • Dreiser, Theodore. The Financier. 1912. The Titan. 1914.
    The first two novels of a powerful unwholesome trilogy dealing with an American business man.
  • Many later novelists have done notable work, among whom may be mentioned: Gertrude Atherton. Robert W. Chambers, Winston Churchill, Stephen Crane, Richard Harding Davis, Paul Leicester Ford, John Fox, Jr., Harold Frederic, Anna Katherine Green, William N. Harben, Julian Hawthorne, Mary Johnston, Richard Malcolm Johnston, Meredith Nicholson, David Graham Phillips, Booth Tarkington, Mary S. Watts, Edgar Noyes Westcott, William Allen White, Brand Whitlock, Owen Wister, Constance Fenimore Woolson, as well as others whose chief success has been with short stories.

    The student is also referred to H. W. Boynton’s ‘Fiction in the Early Twentieth Century’ and Dorothy Brewster’s ‘Early Twentieth-Century Fiction.’

    IV. Short Stories

    A. Reading List of Stories in the Library

  • Cooke, R. T.‘Some Account of Thomas Tucker
  • Dana, R. H.‘Paul Felton
  • Freeman, Mary Eleanor Wilkins‘The Revolt of “Mother”’
  • French Alice (Octave Thanet)‘The Missionary Sheriff
  • Hale, E. E.‘The Man Without a Country
  • Harris, J. C.‘Why Brother Wolf Didn’t Eat the Little Rabbits
  • Brother Mud-Turtle’s Trickery
  • Uncle Remus at the Telephone
  • Harte, Bret‘An Heiress of Red Dog
  • Hawthorne, Julian‘Archibald Malmaison
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel‘The Old Manse
  • Irving, Washington‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • James, Henry‘The Madonna of the Future
  • Janvier, T. A.‘The Episode of the Marques de Valdeflores
  • Jewett, S. O.‘Miss Tempy’s Watchers
  • Johnston, R. M.‘The Early Majority of Mr. Thomas Watts
  • Murfree, M. N. (C. E. Craddock)‘The Dancin’ Party at Harrison’s Cove’
  • O’Brien, F.-J.‘The Diamond Lens
  • Page, T. N.‘The Burial of the Guns
  • Poe, E. A.‘A Descent into the Maelstrom
  • The Fall of the House of Usher
  • O. Henry‘The Cop and the Anthem
  • Slosson, A. T.‘Butterneggs
  • Spofford, H. P.‘The Godmothers
  • Stuart, R. McE.‘The Widder Johnsing
  • Tarkington, Booth‘A Boy and his Dog
  • Ward, E. S. P.‘In the Gray Goth
  • Wharton, Thomas‘Bobbo
  • Wister, Owen‘Specimen Jones
  • Woolson, C. F.‘Rodman, the Keeper
  • B. Chronological List

  • Irving, Washington. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. 1819. Bracebridge Hall. 1822. Tales of a Traveller. 1824. Legends of the Alhambra. 1832.
    During the first third of the nineteenth century Irving was easily the most important writer of short stories in English.
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Twice Told Tales. 1837–1842.
    The first collection of tales by an author who had, if less humor than Irving, equal art and charm and greater depth and passion.
  • Poe, E. A. Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 1840. Tales. 1845.
    Two collections of stories, already given to the world in magazines, which mark the beginning of a new art of short-story writing, and which have not been surpassed for intensity of effect by any which have been produced upon Poe’s models.
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Mosses from an Old Manse. 1846. The Snow Image and Other Twice Told Tales. 1851.
    Hawthorne’s later stories show a further enrichment of meaning and style.
  • Twain, Mark. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches. 1867.
    The first appearance in book form of Mark Twain’s work.
  • Hale, E. E. The Man Without a Country and Other Tales. 1868.
    One of the first volumes of American short stories to make use of scrupulous realism.
  • Harte, Bret. The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches. 1870.
    The first volume by the man who remains most important of all who have written of California and the Far West.
  • Johnston, R. M. Dukesborough Tales. 1871.
    Racy tales of Georgia life and manners.
  • Aldrich, T. B. Marjory Daw and Other People. 1873.
    Ingenious and surprising stories told with careful art.
  • Harte, Bret. Tales of the Argonauts. 1875.
    Typical of the many later volumes in which Harte continued to exploit California.
  • James, Henry. A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales. 1875.
    A volume worthy to stand with the best of Hawthorne’s for art, and generally above his work for realism.
  • Cable, G. W. Old Creole Days. 1879.
    Truthful and pleasant tales of Louisiana.
  • Harris, J. C. Nights with Uncle Remus. 1883.
    Harris is without a peer among those who have written negro stories.
  • Stockton, F. R. The Lady or the Tiger? and Other Stories. 1884.
    Typical examples of Stockton’s whimsical and fantastic manner.
  • Murfree, M. N. (pseud. “Charles Egbert Craddock”). In the Tennessee Mountains. 1884.
    Sympathetic records of “our Southern Highlanders.”
  • O’Brien, F.-J. Poems and Stories. 1881.
    Some very clever tales which had appeared in magazines more than twenty years before.
  • Page, T. N. In Old Virginia. 1887.
    Affectionate reconstructions of conditions in Virginia before and during the Civil War.
  • Freeman, M. E. (Wilkins). A Humble Romance and Other Stories. 1887. A New England Nun and Other Stories. 1891.
    Excellent studies of the tragicomedy of rural New England.
  • Bunner, H. C. Short Sixes. 1891.
    Among the most ingenious of American stories.
  • Allen, J. L. Flute and Violin. 1891.
    Elaborated pictures of an idealized Kentucky.
  • Harris, J. C. Uncle Remus and His Friends. 1892.
  • Aldrich, T. B. Two Bites at a Cherry, and Other Tales. 1893.
  • Page, T. N. The Burial of the Guns, and Other Stories. 1894.
  • James, Henry. Terminations. 1895.
  • Jewett, S. O. The Country of the Pointed Firs. 1896.
    Delicate and veracious narratives of life in Maine.
  • Deland, Margaret. Old Chester Tales. 1898.
    Pleasant records of an idyllic Pennsylvania community.
  • O. Henry. The Four Million. 1906. Heart of the West. 1907.
    The most influential recent American writer of short stories.
  • Besides those mentioned in the foregoing lists, many later short-story writers have done effective work. Among these may be mentioned Alice Brown, Irvin S. Cobb, Edna Ferber, Octave Thanet (Alice French), Katherine Fullerton Gerould, Julian Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Thomas Allibone Janvier, Gouverneur Morris, Frederick Jessup Stimson, Ruth McEnery Stuart, and Edith Wharton.

    V. Humor

  • Lowell, J. R. The Biglow Papers. 1846–1866.
    Much the best of all American satiric and humorous verse, and some of the best dialect poetry in existence. The work of a great scholar, the poems still pretend to be the comments of a Yankee farmer upon the Mexican War and the Civil War. In his prose essays and in his non-dialect verse Lowell, though full of spirit, is somewhat less original.
  • Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne). Artemus Ward, His Book. 1862. Artemus Ward, His Travels. 1865. Artemus Ward in London. 1867. Artemus Ward’s Panorama. 1869. Artemus Ward: His Works Complete. 1875.
    The most effective and most popular American humorist before Mark Twain, and one of the first to make extended use of the humorous lecture. He has proved more permanent than the other humorists who flourished at the time of the Civil War: G. H. Derby (pseud. “John Phœnix”), C. H. Smith (pseud. “Bill Arp”), R. H. Newell (pseud. “Orpheus C. Kerr”), D. R. Locke (pseud. “Petroleum V. Nasby”).
  • Shaw, H. W. (pseud. “Josh Billings”). Josh Billings, His Sayings. 1865. Josh Billings on Ice. 1868. Josh Billings’ Farmers’ Allminax. 1870–1879 inclusive. Complete Comical Writings. 1877.
    The best of American homely aphorists, and one of the first to make misspelling a specialty.
  • Twain, Mark Twain. Innocents Abroad. 1869. Roughing It. 1872. A Tramp Abroad. 1880.
    These are the works by which Mark Twain is most clearly connected with the tradition of American humorists—books, that is, in which he appears to be a hilarious newspaper correspondent. Both in these and the more regular novels and stories which he later preferred to write (see also under Novels and Short Stories) he brings American popular humor to its highest point, and is daring, robust, tender, ironical, shrewd, laughable, serious.
  • Leland, C. G. Hans Breitmann’s Ballads. 1871.
    Verses noted for their comical use of German-American English.
  • Hay, John. Pike County Ballads. 1871.
    Dialect verse of remarkable comic vigor and originality.
  • Harte, Bret. Poems. 1871. East and West Poems. 1871. Poetical Works. 1872.
    Writings which, with Hay’s ‘Pike County Ballads,’ gave the so-called Pike County dialect its place in literature.
  • Harris, J. C. Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings. 1880. Uncle Remus and His Friends. 1883. Nights with Uncle Remus. 1892.
    The classics of negro humor and dialect.
  • Field, Eugene. The Tribune Primer. 1882. Culture’s Garland. 1887. A Little Book of Western Verse. 1889. Echoes from the Sabine Farm. 1891. The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac. 1896.
    A most amusing newspaper paragrapher, a writer of peculiar charm in both prose and verse, Field was probably a more cultivated man than any other professional American humorist. His verses about children have been equalled by no other of his countrymen. He deserves much credit for the large popularity of the humorous section known as the “column” in most contemporary American newspapers.
  • Riley, J. W. Rhymes of Childhood. 1890. Home Folks. 1900.
    One of the few American humorists who are better known for verse than for prose, Riley stands alone among later poets in the completeness with which he has expressed the moods and thought of the average provincial American. He is practically the creator of the Hoosier dialect, as he is the chief writer who has used it.
  • Dunne, F. P. Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War. 1898. Mr. Dooley’s Philosophy. 1901. Observations by Mr. Dooley. 1902.
    Penetrating comments upon recent social and political affairs. It will be observed that Mr. Dooley, the most popular humorous figure in recent American literature, is not a farmer as was Josh Billings in the days when the nation was still largely agricultural, but a saloon-keeper in Chicago, now that the city bulks so large in the American imagination.
  • Ade, George. Fables in Slang. 1900. More Fables. 1900. Ade’s Fables. 1914.
    Unfailingly shrewd stories in slang unmatched in American literature for originality and variety.
  • VI. Essays

  • Franklin, Benjamin. A Witch Trial at Mount Holly. 1730. Letter from Anthony Afterwit. 1732. A Letter from Alice Addertongue. 1732. A Meditation on a Quart Mugg. 1733. The Way to Wealth. 1758. Rules by which a Great Empire may be Reduced to a Small One. 1773. An Edict by the King of Prussia. 1773. The Ephemera. 1778. The Whistle. 1779. The Morals of Chess. 1779. Dialogue between Franklin and the Gout. 1780. The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams. 1786. On the Slave Trade. 1790.
    The most witty and graceful of the trifles by which Franklin made it clear that, had he been primarily a man of letters, none of his contemporaries could have surpassed him.
  • Woolman, John. Serious Considerations on Various Subjects of Importance. 1773.
    Better known for his ‘Journal,’ Woolman may also be studied in his minor writings as the gentle but persuasive advocate of many good causes.
  • Crévecœur, H. St. J. de. Letters of an American Farmer. 1782.
    Idyllic presentations of American rural life in the later eighteenth century.
  • Irving, Washington. Salmagundi (with J. K. Paulding). 1807. The Sketch Book. 1819. Bracebridge Hall. 1822. Legends of the Alhambra. 1832. Crayon Miscellanies. 1835. Wolfert’s Roost. 1855. Spanish Papers. 1866.
    Irving was also a writer of history, biography, fiction, and travels, but his method in all forms was essentially that of the essayist who has power to enrich and heighten whatever he touches.
  • Paulding, J. K. Salmagundi (with Irving). 1807. A second series alone, 1819. The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan. 1812. John Bull in America. 1823. The Book of Saint Nicholas. 1837.
    Paulding is a lesser Irving and has not survived as has his master, but he still repays reading for his high spirits and gift at description.
  • Dana, R. H. The Idle Man. 1821–1822.
    Strong and honest work by a virtuous man.
  • Willis, N. P. Pencillings by the Way. 1835. Letters from Under a Bridge. 1840.
    Willis was one of the most vivacious of early American essayists.
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Twice Told Tales. 1837, 1842. Mosses from an Old Manse. 1846. Our Old Home. 1863.
    As with Irving, some of Hawthorne’s tales are really essays, and though not so profound as his stories, are often rich and noble and always in a superb style.
  • Emerson, R. W. Essays. First Series, 1841. Second Series, 1844. Nature. Addresses and Lectures. 1849. Representative Men. 1850. English Traits. 1856. The Conduct of Life. 1860. Society and Solitude. 1870. Letters and Social Aims. 1876. Lectures and Biographical Sketches. 1884. Miscellanies. 1884. Natural History of Intellect and Other Papers. 1893.
    Lacking a systematic mind, Emerson chose to cast his philosophy in the form of brief essays which reach perhaps the very highest mark in American literature. The first and second series of essays contain all his most characteristic doctrines, which are applied in such books as ‘Representative Men’ and ‘English Traits,’ but not greatly modified. The essays which are indispensable to a clear understanding of him are: ‘Self-Reliance,’ ‘Compensation,’ ‘The Over-Soul.’
  • Ossoli, M. F. A Summer on the Lakes. 1843. Woman in the Nineteenth Century. 1844. Papers on Literature and Art. 1846.
    The first woman to win great distinction in American literature, Margaret Fuller was learned, original, and acute.
  • Poe, E. A. The Philosophy of Composition. 1846. The Rationale of Verse. 1848. The Poetic Principle. 1850.
    Three essays, written at the end of Poe’s career, in which he indicated the principles by which he had become superior in precision and disinterestedness to any literary critic of his time in the United States. The collected volumes of his criticism are also full of interest.
  • Whipple, E. P. Essays and Reviews. 1848. Literature and Life. 1849. Character and Characteristic Men. 1866. The Literature of the Age of Elizabeth. 1869. American Literature, and Other Papers. 1887.
    Once held the chief literary critic in America, and still esteemed for sound and discriminating work.
  • Thoreau, H. D. A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers. 1849. Walden. 1854. Excursions. 1863.
    In these volumes, all based upon his Journal, Thoreau established the tradition of “nature books” in which he has not yet been equalled for pungency and depth.
  • Mitchell, D. G. (pseud. “Ik Marvel”). Reveries of a Bachelor. 1850. Dream Life. 1851. My Farm of Edgewood. 1863. Wet Days at Edgewood. 1864. English Lands, Letters, and Kings. 1889–1897. American Lands and Letters. 1897–1899.
    The mild and tender sentiment of the first two gave them a wide popularity; the later books, more full of reality and learning, now seem less antiquated.
  • Curtis, G. W. Lotus-Eating. 1852. The Potiphar Papers. 1853. Prue Aad I. 1856. From the Easy Chair. 1891, 1893, 1894.
    After matching Mitchell for sentiment, Curtis, who had naturally more wit, produced a large body of varied and delightful work for the ‘Editor’s Easy Chair’ in ‘Harper’s Magazine.’
  • Holmes, O. W. The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. 1858. The Professor at the Breakfast Table. 1860. The Poet at the Breakfast Table. 1872. Over the Tea-Cups. 1891.
    For urbanity, variety, fancy, gayety, and wit, Holmes stands alone among American essayists.
  • Lowell, J. R. Fireside Travels. 1864. Among My Books. 1870. 1876. My Study Windows. 1871. Democracy and Other Addresses. 1880. Political Essays. 1888. Latest Literary Essays and Addresses. 1891.
    No other American essayist has been equal to Lowell in his combination of learning, wit, and spirit. Particularly readable essays are: My Garden Acquaintance; On a Certain Condescension in Foreigners; Abraham Lincoln; Emerson, the Lecturer; Chaucer; Cambridge Thirty Years Ago; Democracy.
  • Alcott, A. B. Tablets. 1868. Concord Days. 1872. Table Talk. 1877.
    Though written late, these books only recapitulated ideas which had made Alcott, forty years before, one of the most original and influential of the Transcendentalists.
  • Higginson, T. W. Army Life in a Black Regiment. 1869. Contemporaries. 1899. Old Cambridge. 1899.
    Pleasing reminiscences of the great days of New England written during its decline.
  • Taylor, Bayard. Studies in German Literature. 1879. Critical Essays and Literary Notes. 1880.
    Practically the most versatile and prolific American author of his day, Taylor now seems to have been best in his travel essays, which are spirited and picturesque.
  • Whitman, Walt. Democratic Vistas. 1870. Specimen Days and Collect. 1882.
    The most notable prose written by a poet of great and growing influence. His essays—unconventional, and often shapeless—explain the methods and intentions of his verse as nothing else can.
  • Warner, C. D. My Summer in a Garden. 1870. Backlog Studies. 1872.
    One of the most voluminous of the essayists who began their work at the close of the Civil War; always easy and natural.
  • Burroughs, John. Wake Robin. 1871. Winter Sunshine. 1875. Locusts and Wild Honey. 1879. Fresh Fields. 1884. Whitman, A Study. 1896. Time and Change. 1912.
    Representative and perhaps best books of the chief among the many writers on external nature who have followed Thoreau.
  • Stedman, E. C. Victorian Poets. 1875. Poets of America. 1885. The Nature and Elements of Poetry. 1892.
    A writer on poetry of classic fame and merit.
  • James, Henry. French Poets and Novelists. 1878. Partial Portraits. 1888. Notes on Novelists. 1914.
    Of high rank as a writer of travel sketches, Henry James takes still higher rank for his literary criticism, which is subtle and penetrating.
  • Matthews, Brander. French Dramatists of the Nineteenth Century. 1881. Americanisms and Briticisms. 1892. Studies of the Stage. 1894. The Development of the Drama. 1903. A Study of the Drama. 1910. Molière. 1910. Shakespeare as a Playwright. 1913.
    An essayist of great range of topic, but particularly notable for his contributions to the literature of the theatre.
  • Howells, W. D. Modern Italian Poets. 1887. Criticism and Fiction. 1891. My Literary Passions. 1891. Literary Friends and Acquaintances. 1900. Heroines of Fiction. 1901. Literature and Life. 1902. My Mark Twain. 1910.
    The successor of George William Curtis in ‘The Editor’s Easy Chair’ of Harper’s Magazine, and for half a century an essayist unsurpassed in America for finish, grace, and variety.
  • Gildersleeve, B. L. Essays and Studies. 1890.
    Sound and winning essays by a superb classical scholar.
  • Woodberry, G. E. Studies in Letters and Life. 1891. Heart of Man. 1899. The Torch. 1905. The Appreciation of Literature. 1907.
    Essays notable for their poetical quality.
  • Repplier, Agnes. Essays in Miniature. 1892. Essays in Idleness. 1893. Compromises. 1904. In our Convent Days. 1905. A Happy Half Century. 1908. Americans and Others. 1912.
    Sprightly and sensible essays on many matters.
  • Brownell, W. C. French Traits. 1889. French Art. 1892. Victorian Prose Masters. 1901. American Prose Masters. 1909.
    On the whole the most deliberate, solidly based, scrupulous, penetrating, and rigorous criticism yet produced in America.
  • Muir, John. The Mountains of California. 1894. The Story of My Boyhood and Youth. 1913. Letters to a Friend. 1915.
    A contemporary of Burroughs and most nearly his peer among nature writers.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. American Ideals. 1897. The Strenuous Life. 1900. History and Literature. 1913.
    Interesting essays by a most interesting American.
  • Santayana, George. Interpretations of Poetry and Religion. 1900. Winds of Doctrine. 1913.
    The briefer essays of a brilliant thinker.
  • More, P. E. Shelburne Essays. 1900–. Ninth series, 1915.
    Austere and thoughtful essays by the American who has come nearest to making literary criticism his entire profession.
  • The younger essayists are numerous and many of them good. Students may consult Adaline May Conway’s ‘Essay in American Literature,’ 1914.

    Reading Recommended

    The student’s attention is called to Dorothy Brewster’s ‘Early Twentieth-Century Essays’ and to the following critical essays which American writers have contributed to the LIBRARY.:

  • Brownell, W. C.‘W. M. Thackeray
  • Burroughs, John‘H. D. Thoreau
  • Walt Whitman
  • Dole, N. H.‘Edward Fitzgerald
  • Goncharov
  • Omar Khayyam
  • Giovanni Verga
  • Ford, P. L.‘Thomas Jefferson
  • Garland, HamlinU. S. Grant
  • Guiney, L. I.‘John Keats
  • Hawthorne, Julian‘George Borrow
  • Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • J. F. Cooper
  • Higginson, T. W.‘Epictetus
  • Joseph Joubert
  • Jeremy Taylor
  • Howells, W. D.‘Tolstoy
  • James, Henry‘Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • J. R. Lowell
  • Ivan Turgenev
  • Kilmer, Joyce‘M. J. Cawein
  • John Masefield
  • W. V. Moody
  • Lowell, Amy‘Emile Verhaeren
  • Mabie, H. W.‘Joseph Addison
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • C. D. Warner
  • Matthews, Brander‘Beaumarchais
  • Mark Twain
  • Molière
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • R. D. Sheridan
  • Muir, John‘Linnaeus
  • Norton, C. E.‘A. H. Clough’
  • Dante
  • Page, C. H.‘Anatole France
  • Palmer, G. H.‘Empedocles
  • Royce, Josiah‘Immanuel Kant
  • Baruch Spinoza
  • Santayana, George‘Cervantes
  • Schurz, Carl‘Daniel Webster
  • Singleton, Esther‘Austin Dobson
  • Smith, N. A.‘Friedrich Fröbel
  • van Dyke, Henry‘Alfred Tennyson
  • Izaak Walton
  • Warner, C. D.‘Lord Byron
  • Wendell, Barrett‘Ben Jonson
  • Wister, Owen‘Thomas Wharton
  • Woodberry, G. E.‘Matthew Arnold
  • S. T. Coleridge
  • P. B. Shelley
  • VII. History

  • Smith, Capt. John. A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate as Hath Hapned in Virginia since the first Planting of the Collony. 1608.
    The book with which American historical writing may be said to begin. Another interesting book by Smith is ‘The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles.’ 1624.
  • Bradford, William. The History of Plymouth Plantation, written 1630–1650; published entire 1856.
    An honest and truthful history of the Pilgrims by their second governor.
  • Winthrop, John. The History of New England, from 1630 to 1649. First published 1790–1825.
    Really a journal kept during these years by the famous governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a learned, devout, and high-minded man.
  • Johnson, Edward. The Wonder-Working Providence of Zion’s Saviour in New England. 1654.
    One of the most curious of American books, and a strange revelation of the character of the less-enlightened Puritans.
  • Mather, Cotton. Magnalia Christi Americana; or, the Ecclesiastical History of New England. 1702.
    An immense collection, jumbled and uncritical, of facts regarding the first century of life in New England.
  • Beverley, Robert. The History of Virginia. 1705.
    A genial and humane book by a Virginia planter.
  • Hutchinson, Thomas. The History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. Written before 1780; published 1764–1828.
    All things considered, learning, style, temper, the most distinguished historical work produced in the colonies.
  • Irving, Washington. A History of New York. By Diedrich Knickerbocker, 1809.
    A book which is less important for its history than for its humor, but which deserves to be mentioned because it furthered the study of colonial history. It is one of the most entertaining of American books. Irving wrote a charming chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, 1829, and a book dealing with the Far West, ‘Astoria,’ 1836, which is one of the earliest historical works to reveal the romance of Western exploration and settlement.
  • Bancroft, George. History of the United States. 1834–1882. Revised edition 1883–1885.
    One of the most famous and popular of American histories, but now somewhat outlived, in spite of its great vigor and learning, because of its rhetorical language and its violent Americanism.
  • Prescott, W. H. Ferdinand and Isabella. 1837. The Conquest of Mexico. 1843. The Conquest of Peru. 1847. The Reign of Philip II. 1855–1858.
    Picturesque, splendid, well-ordered accounts of great events narrated in a style of dignity and grace.
  • Gayarré, C. E. A. Romance of the History of Louisiana. 1848. Louisiana, its Colonial History and Romance. 1851. Louisiana, its History as a French Colony. 1851–1852.
    Books of distinction on a local theme.
  • Ticknor, George. History of Spanish Literature. 1849.
    One of the few histories of literature still a classic after more than half a century.
  • Parkman, Francis. The Conspiracy of Pontiac. 1851. Pioneers of France in the New World. 1865. The Jesuits in North America. 1867. La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West. 1869. The Old Régime in Canada. 1874. Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV. 1877. Montcalm and Wolfe. 1884.
    With Prescott and Motley, Parkman may be called one of the greatest American historians. His knowledge is singularly exhaustive, his style vivid and rich, and his insight great. His books taken together contain a complete record of the struggle between France and England for North America, but he thought of his work as a “history of the American forest.” Parkman’s position among American historians is as high as that of Cooper among American romancers.
  • Motley, J. L. The Rise of the Dutch Republic. 1856. The History of the United Netherlands. 1860–1868. The Life and History of John of Barneveld. 1874.
    Learned, brilliant, and dramatic histories of a phase of European history to which Motley was particularly drawn because of his sympathy with republican government.
  • Palfrey, J. G. History of New England. 1858–1890.
    An important history of one section of the United States, but generally criticised for its defense of all Puritans.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. The Naval Operations of the War between Great Britain and the United States (1812–1815). 1882. The Winning of the West. 1889–1896.
    Vigorous records of certain adventurous chapters in American history.
  • McMaster, J. B. A History of the People of the United States. 1883–1913.
    A study of social conditions between the Revolution and the Civil War which surpasses any other work of the kind ever written in America.
  • Winsor, Justin. Narrative and Critical History of America. 1884–1889.
    A work of immense learning, edited by Justin Winsor, but written by many specialists.
  • Lea, H. C. History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages. 1888. History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church. 1896. History of the Inquisition of Spain. 1906–1907.
    Notable contributions to church history made by a scholar of international repute.
  • Adams, Henry. History of the United States (1801–1817). 1889–1891.
    The most brilliant study yet produced of a brief period of American history.
  • Mahan, A. T. The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1660–1783). 1890. The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire. 1892. The Life of Nelson, the Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain. 1897. Ska Power in its Relation to the War of 1812. 1905.
    The most considerable works of a pre-eminent historian of naval affairs.
  • Adams, C. F. Three Episodes of Massachusetts History. 1892. Massachusetts, its Historians and its History. 1893.
    Historical essays of marked orginality, notable for their attacks upon the “filio-pietistic” school, as Adams called those New England historians who have too strongly defended the excesses of Puritan zeal.
  • Fiske, John. The Discovery of America. 1892. Old Virginia and her Neighbors. 1897. The Beginnings of New England. 1889. The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America. 1809. The American Revolution. 1891. The Critical Period of American History (1783–1789). 1888.
    Particularly clear and readable histories.
  • Perkins, J. B. France under the Regency. 1892. France under Louis XV. 1897. France in the American Revolution. 1911.
    Sound and readable works on the history of France in the eighteenth century.
  • The later American historians have done perhaps more distinguished work than that done in any other department of American literature. Among these particularly noted are Clarence Walworth Alvord, Charles Kendall Adams, Hubert Howe Bancroft, Charles A. Beard, Edward Gaylord Bourne, John W. Burgess, Edward P. Cheyney, Edward Channing, Albert Bushnell Hart, Charles H. Haskins, Charles D. Hazen, James K. Hosmer, J. Franklin Jameson, Alexander Johnston, Herbert L. Osgood, James Harvey Robinson, Ida M. Tarbell, Henry Osborn Taylor, William Roscoe Thayer, Reuben Gold Thwaites, Frederick Jackson Turner.

    For further information the student is referred to J. F. Jameson’s ‘History of Historical Writing in America,’ 1891.

    VIII. Biography

  • Rowlandson, Mary. Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. 1682.
    Most famous and moving of the narratives of captivity among the Indians.
  • Sewall, Samuel. Diary. Written 1674–1729; published 1878–1882.
    Colloquial, genial, the chief authority for the private life of colonial New England.
  • Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography. Written 1771–1789; first published entire in 1868.
    The greatest American autobiography.
  • Woolman, John. Journal. 1775.
    The modest revelation of an eighteenth-century mystic and philanthropist.
  • Adams, John, and Abigail. Familiar Letters of John Adams and his Wife, Abigail Adams, during the Revolution. Published 1876.
    Valuable as a record of the domestic life of a period usually studied for its public events.
  • Weems, M. L. Life of Washington. 1800. Life of General Francis Marion. 1809. Life of Benjamin Franklin. 1817. Life of William Penn. 1819.
    As history, Weems’s books are fantastic, but they were enormously popular from the first and established a legend for each subject they dealt with.
  • Marshall, John. Life of George Washington. 1804–1807.
    The earliest authoritative biography of Washington, a weighty and thoughtful work.
  • Wirt, William. Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry. 1817.
    A popular and influential though uncritical book.
  • Irving, Washington. Life and Voyages of Columbus. 1828. Oliver Goldsmith. 1849. Life of Washington. 1855–1859.
    Biographies now partly superseded as to facts but still notable for charm and felicity.
  • Crockett, David. Autobiography. 1834.
    Perhaps the best book by a typical American frontiersman.
  • Sparks, Jared. Library of American Biography. 1834–1848.
    Twenty-five volumes dealing with the most eminent early Americans in the best biographical manner of the time.
  • Dana, R. H. Two Years before the Mast. 1840.
    An incomparably true and spirited narrative of a real voyage.
  • Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. 1845. Later editions revised and enlarged.
    The life of a gifted negro who became a famous anti-slavery orator.
  • Randall, H. S. Life of Thomas Jefferson. 1858.
    The standard biography of a perennially engaging thinker and statesman.
  • Parton, James. Life and Times of Aaron Burr. 1858. Life of Andrew Jackson. 1859–1860. Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. 1864. Life of Thomas Jefferson. 1874. Life of Voltaire. 1881.
    Sound and able books by a practiced biographer.
  • Welles, Gideon. Diary. Written during the Civil War; first published 1911.
    Immensely valuable to the student of affairs at Washington during the Civil War.
  • Ticknor, George. Life, Letters, and Journals. 1876.
    A delightful account of a scholar and man of the world.
  • James, Henry. Hawthorne. 1879. A Small Boy and Others. 1913. Notes of a Son and Brother. 1914.
    Subtle criticism and penetrating and revealing autobiography by a most accomplished literary artist.
  • Lounsbury, T. R. James Fenimore Cooper. 1882.
    One of the best critical biographies of an American author.
  • Twain, Mark. Life on the Mississippi. 1883.
    In part fiction, this book still contains enough fact to be called the classic account of the days when the Mississippi River was a picturesque highway.
  • Grant, U. S. Personal Memoirs. 1885.
    The most important American military memoir.
  • Jefferson, Joseph. Autobiography. 1889.
    A classic of the stage.
  • Nicolay, J. G., and Hay, John. Abraham Lincoln, a History. 1890.
    The indispensable source of knowledge regarding Lincoln and his times. An abridged edition was published in 1902.
  • Winter, William. Edwin Booth. 1893.
    An admirable life of one of the chief American actors.
  • Lowell, J. R. Letters. 1899.
    Particularly varied and brilliant letters, in which Lowell appears to great advantage.
  • Howells, W. D. Literary Friends and Acquaintances. 1900.
    A singularly rich volume of literary reminiscences.
  • Riis, Jacob. The Making of an American. 1901.
    A homely epic of the “melting pot.”
  • Washington, B. T. Up from Slavery. 1901. Working with the Hands. 1904.
    The life of the greatest leader of the African race in the United States.
  • Keller, Helen. The Story of my Life. 1903.
    An amazing record of difficulties overcome.
  • Traubel, Horace. With Walt Whitman in Camden. 1906–
    The most minute biographical record—it is finally to extend to eight volumes—of an American.
  • Woodberry, G. E. Life of Edgar Allan Poe. 1909.
    Equally notable for biography and criticism.
  • Paine, A. B. Mark Twain. A Biography. 1912.
    A fascinating life of one of the most picturesque of Americans. It ranks with the chief literary biographies in the English language.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. Autobiography. 1913.
    A brilliant book by one of the most active Americans.
  • Thayer, W. R. Life and Times of Cavour. 1914. Life of John Hay. 1915.
    Among the most informed and interesting of American biographies.
  • IX. Travels

  • Knight, S. K. Journal. Written 1704; first published 1825.
    Sprightly account of travel in 1704.
  • Byrd, William. The History of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina. Written 1728–1736; first published in English in 1841.
    One of the raciest of early American books; by a highly cultivated man.
  • Carver, Jonathan. Travels through the Interior Parts of North America. 1778.
    A readable, though not reliable, book by an early traveler in the West.
  • Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. 1786.
    One of the most famous of Southern books.
  • Lewis and Clark. History of the Expedition … to the Pacific Ocean. 1814.
    The most influential expedition ever undertaken by Americans.
  • Dwight, Timothy. Travels in New England and New York. 1821–1822.
    A remarkable survey of these sections during the years 1796–1815.
  • Irving, Washington. A Tour on the Prairies. 1835.
    A suave and mellow narrative of frontier adventure.
  • Kirkland, C. M. S. A New Home—Who’ll Follow. 1839.
    Particularly spirited letters regarding the Michigan frontier.
  • Taylor, Bayard. Views Afoot. 1846. Eldorado. 1850. Northern Travel. 1857.
    Vigorous and picturesque.
  • Parkman, Francis. The Oregon Trail. 1847.
    One of the unquestioned classics of American travel.
  • Thoreau, H. D. A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers. 1849. The Maine Woods. 1864. Cape Cod. 1865.
    Shrewd observations by a thoughtful lover of nature.
  • Olmsted, F. L. A Journey in the Sea-board Slave States. 1856. A Journey through Texas. 1857. A Journey in the Back Country. 1860.
    Invaluable for their descriptions of conditions in the Slave States on the eve of the Civil War.
  • Emerson, R. W. English Traits. 1856.
    Emerson at his most concrete.
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Our Old Home. 1863. American Note Books. 1868. English Note Books. 1870. French and Italian Note Books. 1871.
    A great romancer with his eye on passing scenes.
  • Howells, W. D. Venetian Life. 1866. Italian Journeys. 1867. Tuscan Cities. 1885. Certain Delightful English Towns. 1906. Familiar Spanish Travels. 1913.
    For grace and urbanity matched in American literature only by Irving’s books of travel.
  • King, Clarence. Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. 1871.
    A brilliant book by a brilliant geologist.
  • James, Henry. Portraits of Places. 1883. A Little Tour in France. 1884. English Hours. 1905. The American Scene. 1907. Italian Hours. 1909.
    Incomparably subtle analyses of a traveler’s impressions.
  • Muir, John. Our National Parks. 1901. A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf. 1916.
    Truthful and thoughtful.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. African Game Trails. 1910. Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
    Thrilling narratives of remarkable adventures.
  • Peary, R. E. The North Pole; Its Discovery. 1910.
    Peary was the first man to reach the Pole.
  • Lindsay, Vachel. Adventures while Preaching the Gospel of Beauty. 1914. A Handy Guide For Beggars. 1916.
    Books of beauty and charm and novelty.
  • X. Theology and Philosophy

  • Edwards, Jonathan. A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections. 1746. An Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions Respecting that Freedom of Will which is Supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency. 1754. A Treatise on Original Sin. 1758. A Dissertation concerning the Nature of True Virtue. 1765. A Dissertation concerning the End for which God Created the World. 1765.
    The permanent speculative work of the greatest American theologian.
  • Johnson, Samuel. Elementa Philosophica. 1752.
    A notable instance of early American idealism.
  • Woolman, John. Works. 1774.
    Woolman’s essays and his Journal make up an important body of mysticism.
  • Allen, Ethan. Reason the Only Oracle of Man. 1784.
    Rational opposition to the Puritans by a self-taught philosopher.
  • Jefferson, Thomas. The Jefferson Cyclopædia, 1900, edited by J. P. Foley.
    Jefferson wrote no considerable speculative work, but his opinions on theological and philosophical matters may be found carefully arrayed under proper heads in The Jefferson Cyclopædia. No man represents better than Jefferson the more advanced views current during the second half of the eighteenth century.
  • Paine, Thomas. The Age of Reason. 1794–1796.
    Paine was only a naturalized American and this book was written in France, but its influence was very great in the United States from the first and it is still the source of much popular heterodoxy.
  • Rush, Benjamin. Essays. 1798. Diseases of the Mind. 1812.
    The most capable American materialist of the eighteenth century.
  • Channing, W. E. Discourses. 1830. Writings. 1841.
    While Channing wrote no books and was no more systematic than Emerson, he deserves study as the chief of the Unitarian preachers who furthered Transcendentalism.
  • Emerson, R. W. Nature. 1836. Self-reliance. 1841. Compensation. 1841. The Over-soul. 1841.
    The central philosophical position of Emerson may be found in these brief treatises, but the bulk of his work is generally considered to belong to belles-lettres and may be found under the heading Essays. At the same time no one questions his rank as the greatest of the Transcendentalists.
  • Parker, Theodore. The Transient and the Permanent in Christianity. 1841. A Discourse of Matters Pertaining to Religion. 1842.
    Parker was the best scholar and the most vigorous preacher among the Transcendentalists.
  • Beecher, H. W. Lectures to Young Men. 1844. Sermons. 1869–1875.
    Beecher was the most effective popular preacher in America during the nineteenth century.
  • Hopkins, Mark. Moral Science. 1862. The Law of Love as Law. 1869.
    As a very famous college president, Hopkins had a strong influence.
  • Fiske, John. Myths and Myth-Makers. 1872. Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy. 1874. The Unseen World. 1876. Darwinism. 1870. Excursions of an Evolutionist. 1883. The Destiny of Man Viewed in the Light of His Origin. 1884. The Idea of God as Affected by Modern Knowledge. 1885.
    The chief popular exponent of evolution in America, and a man of remarkable lucidity.
  • Brooks, Phillips. Sermons. 1878. Twenty Sermons. 1886.
    Discourses by the most eloquent American preacher since the Civil War.
  • Peirce, Charles. Illustrations of the Logic of Science. 1878.
    Essays which may properly be called the starting point of pragmatism.
  • Royce, Josiah. The Religious Aspects of Philosophy. 1885. The Spirit of Modern Philosophy. 1892. The Conception of God. 1897. The World and the Individual. 1901. The Philosophy of Loyalty. 1908. The Problems of Christianity. 1913.
    The chief modern American idealist and a writer of poetic insight and noble literary form.
  • James, William. Principles of Psychology. 1890. The Will to Believe. 1897. The Varieties of Religious Experience. 1902. Pragmatism. 1907. A Pluralistic Universe. 1909. The Meaning of Truth. 1910.
    The chief American psychologist, the accepted head of the pragmatic movement, and a writer of rare spirit and humanity.
  • Dewey, John. School and Society. 1899. Studies in Logical Theory, 1903 (with his pupils). Ethics, 1908, with J. H. Tufts. The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy. 1910. Democracy and Education. 1916.
    James’s successor as leader of American pragmatists, and a thinker of originality, especially in social and educational affairs.
  • Santayana, George. The Life of Reason. 1905–1906.
    The graceful speculations of the most skilful literary artist among recent American philosophers.
  • For such early writers as Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, John Cotton, Roger Williams, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, and John Wise, the student may consult M. C. Tyler’s ‘History of American Literature during the Colonial Period, 1607–1765’ (1878), and W. P. Trent and Benjamin Wells’s ‘Colonial Prose and Poetry’ (1901).

    Later writers who would be read in any extended study of American speculation include J. M. Baldwin, G. T. Ladd, W. T. Harris. For these the student should consult Woodbridge Riley’s ‘American Thought’ (1915).

    XI. Political Writings

  • Otis, James. On the Writs of Assistance. 1761.
    The first note, bold and stern, in the chorus of Revolutionary oratory.
  • Franklin, Benjamin. Examination in Parliament. 1766.
    This famous dialogue, one of the great pamphlets of the eighteenth century, offers a concise description of the colonies such as can be found nowhere else.
  • Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies. 1767.
    Perhaps the best statement of the early position of the colonies.
  • Henry, Patrick. Speech before the Convention of Delegates, March 28, 1775.
    The famous “liberty or death” speech.
  • Jefferson, Thomas. The Declaration of Independence. 1776.
    Perhaps the most effective words ever written in America.
    First Inaugural Address. 1801.
    The gospel of Jeffersonian democracy.
  • Paine, Thomas. Common Sense. 1776. The Crisis, 1776–1783.
    An Englishman by birth, Paine was not surpassed by any American writer of the Revolution for his immediate practical influence on public opinion.
  • Hamilton, Alexander. James Madison. and others. The Federalist. 1787.
    The most famous exposition of the American constitution.
  • Washington, George. Farewell Address. 1796.
    A summary of almost all the Revolutionists had stood for and their noblest testament to posterity.
  • Randolph, John. Speech on the Yazoo Resolutions. 1803. Speech on Internal Improvements. 1824.
    Two of the notable speeches of a man famed above all Americans for the virulence of his oratory.
  • Clay, Henry. Speech on the New Army Bill. 1813. On the Seminole War. 1819. On the Tariff. 1824.
    One of the most immediately effective of American orators, but not profound or reasonable enough to convince a later generation as he convinced his own.
  • Webster, Daniel. Speech on the Dartmouth College Case. 1818. The Plymouth Oration. 1820. The Bunker Hill Address. 1825. Adams and Jefferson. 1826. Speech on Mr. Foote’s Resolution. 1830. Speech on the Constitution and the Union. 1850.
    The most splendid of American orators. Though he lacked humor and seems often inflexible, he was an orator of singular range—almost equally able at the bar, in the Senate, and on public occasions. With Clay and Calhoun he makes up a group of three men not to be matched elsewhere in the history of American public life.
  • Monroe, James. Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 2, 1823.
    The message in which was promulgated the Monroe Doctrine.
  • Hayne, R. Y. Speech on Mr. Foote’s Resolution. 1830.
    Webster’s speech on the same resolution is commonly known as his reply to Hayne, his opponent. The Webster-Hayne debate is the most famous in American political oratory.
  • Calhoun, J. C. Speech on Nullification and the Force Bill. 1833. Speech on the Slavery Question. 1850. Disquisition on Government. 1851. Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States. 1851.
    The great spokesman of states’ rights, a scholar, and a master of logical argument.
  • Phillips, Wendell. On the Murder of Lovejoy. 1837. On the Philosophy of the Abolition Movement. 1853. Toussaint L’Ouverture. 1861. The Scholar in the Republic. 1881.
    The “trumpet of the Abolitionists,” made eloquent by ethical enthusiasm and warm sympathies.
  • Sumner, Charles. The True Grandeur of Nations. 1845. On the Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law. 1852. On the Crime against Kansas. 1856.
    Among practical politicians in his generation, Sumner was hardly equalled for his moral fervor.
  • Curtis, G. W. The Duty of the American Scholar to Politics and the Times. 1856. The Spoils System and the Progress of Civil Service Reform. 1881.
    An orator of great culture and effectiveness, who practically created the Civil Service by his eloquent arguments.
  • Lincoln, Abraham. Debates with Stephen A. Douglas. 1858. Speech at Cooper Institute. 1860. First Inaugural Address. 1861. Emancipation Proclamation. 1863. Address at Gettysburg. 1863. Second Inaugural Address. 1865.
    Lincoln not only summed up and led the best thought of his day, but by his candor and simplicity of language—not equalled by that of any other American public man—he set new standards in oratory and made the older rhetorical manner seem archaic and unnecessary.
  • Schurz, Carl. The Irrepressible Conflict. 1858. The Doom of Slavery. 1860. The Abolition of Slavery as a War Measure. 1862. Eulogy on Charles Sumner. 1874. On the Necessity and Progress of Civil Service Reform. 1894.
    Perhaps the greatest German-American, one of the greatest independents in American politics, Schurz was an orator of peculiar fire and conviction.
  • Davis, Jefferson. On Withdrawal from the Union. 1861. Inaugural Address. 1861.
    Sincere and dignified speeches.
  • Stephens, A. H. The Corner-Stone Address. 1861. A Constitutional View of the Late War between the States. 1867.
    A tireless defender of slavery and states’ rights, Stephens has been called “the sincerest and frankest public man in the Confederacy.”
  • Beecher, H. W. The American Rebellion. 1864.
    The speeches, delivered in England, by which Beecher did much to explain to the English the true aims of the Union cause during the Civil War.
  • Lowell, J. R. Abraham Lincoln. 1864–1865. Scotch the Snake, or Kill It? 1865. Democracy. 1884. The Place of the Independent in Politics. 1888.
    Perhaps the most versatile American man of letters, Lowell was not much below his best as a writer upon contemporary political affairs and as a public speaker.
  • Lamar, L. Q. C. The Eulogy of Sumner. 1874. Speech on the Electoral Count. 1877. Address on John C. Calhoun. 1887.
    Striking, impassioned speeches by one of the most gifted Southern statesmen since the Civil War.
  • George, Henry. Progress and Poverty. 1880. Social Problems. 1884. Protection or Free Trade. 1886.
    The inventor of the term “single tax” and an influential exponent of the right of all men to the use of the earth.
  • Blaine, J. G. Twenty Years of Congress. 1884–1886.
    Practically a survey of American political issues for twenty years following the Civil War by a brilliant actor in the events.
  • Grady, H. W. The New South. 1886. Speech on the Race Problem. 1889.
    One of the most effective writers of all those who have sought to reconcile North and South.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. American Ideals. 1897. State Papers and Addresses. 1905.
    Conspicuous examples of the energetic political philosophy of the beginning of the twentieth century by its chief spokesman.
  • Wilson, Woodrow. Why we are at War. 1917.
    A high-minded, invaluable statement of American ideals during a time of unprecedented stress and danger.
  • From the close of the Civil War until 1914, as there was no overshadowing issue, political discussion tended to be upon mere questions of administration or upon abstract theories of government and society. Notable writers on these topics were John W. Burgess, Herbert Croly, William A. Dunning, Richard T. Ely, John W. Foster, Franklin H. Giddings, Frank J. Goodnow, Jeremiah Whipple Jenks, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Bassett Moore, William Graham Sumner, F. W. Taussig, Thorstein Veblen, Francis Amasa Walker, David Ames Wells, Theodore Dwight Woolsey.

    XII. Anthologies

  • Griswold, R. W. The Poets and Poetry of America. 1842. The Prose Writers of America. 1847. The Female Poets of America. 1848.
    Three collections of much influence in their time, though many of the authors included are now forgotten.
  • Stedman, E. C. and Hutchinson, E. M. A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. 1889–1890.
    Indispensable for reference.
  • Carpenter, G. R. American Prose. 1899.
    Well-chosen extracts from the chief American prose writers, with particularly valuable essays upon them by various critics.
  • Stedman, E. C. An American Anthology. 1787–1900. 1900.
    An anthology intended to accompany the same writer’s ‘Poets of America,’ and, like it, a classic.
  • Trent, W. P., and Wells B. Colonial Prose and Poetry. 1901.
    These volumes have probably done more than any others to encourage the study of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American authors.
  • Matthews, Brander, Editor. The Wampum Library of American Literature. 1. Matthews, B. American Familiar Verse. 2. Baldwin. C. S. American Short Stories. 3. Payne, W. M. American Literary Criticism. 1904.
    Each of these three volumes is the best discussion of its subject yet produced, and the selections are excellent.
  • Rittenhouse, J. B. The Younger American Poets. 1904,
    Selections from recent poets, with biographical and critical matter not easily to be found elsewhere.
    A Little Book of Modern American Verse. 1913.
    An attractive anthology of verse written for the most part since 1900.
  • Trent, W. P. Southern Writers. 1905. The most careful and judicious selection from writers of the South.
  • Stevenson, B. E. Poems of American History. 1908.
    A valuable collection of poems arranged in the order of the events they celebrate. It supersedes all previous collections of a similar sort.
  • Alderman, E. A., Harris, J. C., Kent, C. W., and others. Library of Southern Literature Compiled under the Direct Supervision of Southern Men of Letters. 1908–1913.
    An elaborate and inclusive work, liberal in its critical judgments and abundant in its selections. Volume XV. contains a Biographical Dictionary of Southern Authors compiled by L. L. Knight.
  • Monroe, Harriet. The New Poetry.
    A valuable anthology of English and American poets of the twentieth century.
  • This list does not include the books, many of them good, which are meant primarily for use in schools and colleges.

    XIII. General Authorities

  • Duyckinck, E. A. and G. L. Cyclopædia of American Literature. 1855. Supplement. 1866. Revised edition by M. L. Simons, 1875.
    For the period covered, this work has no equal though much of the criticism now seems somewhat easy-going. The information is extensive, and the selections well chosen.
  • Allibone, S. A. A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors Living and Deceased. 1858–1871. Supplement by J. F. Kirk, 1891.
    A standard and invaluable work on a larger scale than the preceding. Besides minute biographical and bibliographical facts, it gives also a digest of critical opinion regarding the more important authors dealt with.
  • Stedman, E. C. Poets of America. 1875.
    A classic of American criticism.
  • Tyler, M. C. A History of American Literature during the Colonial Period. 1607–1765. 1878. The Literary History of the American Revolution, 1763–1783. 1897.
    These four volumes contain the best treatment of colonial and Revolutionary literature, and make up the most important work ever written upon a special period of American literary history.
  • Nichol, J. American Literature, an Historical Sketch. 1620–1880. 1882.
    The most considerable study of American Literature by a British author. It is based upon the article written by Professor Nichol for the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Btitannica.
  • Richardson, C. F. American Literature, 1607–1885. 1887–1889.
    A weighty, thoroughgoing book, chiefly concerned with the established American classics.
  • Whitcomb, S. L. Chronological Outlines of American Literature. 1894.
    No text, but indispensable for dates.
  • Adams, O. F. A Dictionary of American Authors. 1897. Fifth edition. 1905.
    A useful book for reference, with succinct notices of more than seven thousand authors.
  • Mitchell, D. G. American Lands and Letters. 1897–1899.
    Singularly charming sketches by a graceful essayist and antiquarian.
  • Wendell, B. A Literary History of America. 1900.
    A masterly book, though preoccupied with New England and disposed to be condescending.
  • Trent, W. P. A History of American Literature, 1607–1865. 1903.
    Accurate, witty, just; the best brief history of American Literature.
  • Woodberry, G. E. America in Literature. 1903. American Literature, the article in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
    Accounts written with great distinction by an eminent poet and critic primarily concerned with the artistic merit of the works discussed.
  • Brownell, W. C. American Prose Masters. 1909.
    One of the most searching volumes of literary criticism ever written in America. It contains studies of Cooper, Hawthorne, Emerson, Poe, Lowell, and Henry James.
  • Stanton, T., Editor. A Manual of American Literature. 1909.
    The editor had the collaboration of various members of the faculty of Cornell University, and produced a bulky manual which is full of accurate knowledge and sound judgment.
  • Trent, W. P., and Erskine, J. Great American Writers. 1912.
    Admirable essays on the chief American men of letters.
  • Cairns, W. B. A History of American Literature. 1912.
    A solid and catholic treatment, notable for its lack of sectional bias.
  • Pattee, F. L. A History of American Literature since 1870. 1915.
    The best account of recent American literature, vigorous and unacademic, but with an excessive partiality for nationalism in literature.
  • Trent, W. P., Erskine, T., Sherman, S. P., And Van Doren, C., Editors. The Cambridge History of American Literature. 1917–.
    The most ambitious history of American literature yet undertaken. Like The Cambridge History of English Literature, it is made up of chapters written by specialists for general readers, and leaves practically no province of literature untouched. Volume 1 appeared in 1917.