The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXV. Scholars

§ 11. George Ticknor

Of the Göttingen group there remains that one who was on the whole the soundest scholar, and who in time became the first American scholar to achieve a permanent international reputation. George Ticknor was born in Boston in 1791, of parents who were both teachers. Having graduated from Dartmouth in 1807, he read Greek and Latin authors for three years with the rector of Trinity Church, Boston, a pupil of Samuel Parr. From 1810 Ticknor read law and in 1813 was admitted to the bar, but he gave up practice in a year. The country, he thought, “would never be without good lawyers,” but would urgently need “scholars, teachers, and men of letters.” From Madame de Staël’s De l’Allemagne (1813) Ticknor had got an intimation of the intellectual mastery of the Germans; he elected therefore to study in Germany, and particularly at Göttingen. Through the summer and autumn of 1814 he worked hard at German, borrowing a grammar from Edward Everett, sending to New Hampshire, where he “knew there was a German dictionary,” and translating Werther from John Quincy Adams’s copy, stored at the Athenæum.