Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 17. Cornelius Conway Felton

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

XXV. Scholars

§ 17. Cornelius Conway Felton

Felton (1807–62), like Harrison, his exact contemporary, received all his training in this country. Seven years after his graduation from Harvard he became in 1834 Eliot Professor of Greek Literature, made his first journey abroad in 1853–54, spending several months in Greece, and became president of Harvard two years before his death. The close friend of Longfellow, Felton, was a genial soul, enthusiastic for antiquity, who rather deprecated minute grammatical study and overmuch concern with choric metres and textual readings and emendations. These things he thought dried up the springs of human feeling in the student. He favoured instead the appreciative study of ancient and modern literatures together, paralleling Æschylus with Shakespeare and Milton, comparing Sophocles and Euripides with Alfieri, Schiller, and Goethe, and contrasting Greek with French drama. He published (1834) Wolf’s text of the Iliad with Flaxman’s illustrations and his own notes; and made college editions of The Clouds, The Birds, and the Agamemnon, and of the Panegyricus of Isocrates. The fruits of his journey were his Selections from Modern Greek Writers (1856) and several series of Lowell Institute lectures, published posthumously as Greece, Ancient and Modern.