"Nature" is an essay
Emerson Ralph Waldo,
and published by James Munroe and Company in 1836. In
this essay Emerson put forth the foundation of
transcendentalism, a belief system that espouses a
non-traditional appreciation of nature.
Transcendentalism suggests that the divine, or God,
suffuses nature, and suggests that reality can be
understood by studying nature. Emerson's visit to the
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris inspired a
set of lectures he later delivered in Boston which were
Within the essay, Emerson
divides nature into four usages: Commodity, Beauty, Language
and Discipline. These distinctions define the ways by which
humans use nature for their basic needs, their desire for
delight, their communication with one another and their
understanding of the world. Emerson followed the success of
Nature with a speech, "The American Scholar", which together
with his previous lectures laid the foundation for
transcendentalism and his literary career.
In "Nature", Emerson lays out and attempts to solve
an abstract problem: that humans do not fully accept
nature’s beauty. He writes that people are
distracted by the demands of the world, whereas
nature gives but humans fail to reciprocate. The
essay consists of eight sections: Nature, Commodity,
Beauty, Language, Discipline, Idealism, Spirit and
Prospects. Each section takes a different
perspective on the relationship between humans and
In the essay
Emerson explains that to experience the “wholeness”
with nature for which we are naturally suited, we
must be separate from the flaws and distractions
imposed on us by society. Emerson believed that
solitude is the single mechanism through which we
can be fully engaged in the world of nature, writing
“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much
from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary
whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me.
But if a man would be alone, let him look at the
When a person
experiences true solitude, in nature, it “take[s]
him away”. Society, he says, destroys wholeness,
whereas “Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only
the material, but is also the process and the
result. All the parts incessantly work into each
other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows
the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows
the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side
of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain
feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and
thus the endless circulations of the divine charity
Nature by Christopher Pearse Cranch, ca. 1836-1838
Emerson defines a spiritual
relationship. In nature a person finds its spirit and
accepts it as the Universal Being. He writes: "Nature is not
fixed but fluid; to a pure spirit, nature is everything."
Emerson uses spirituality as a major theme in his
essay, "Nature". Emerson believed in reimagining the
divine as something large and visible, which he
referred to as nature; such an idea is known as
transcendentalism, in which one perceives anew God
and their body, and becomes one with their
surroundings. Emerson confidently exemplifies
transcendentalism, stating, "From the earth, as a
shore, I look out into that silent sea. I seem to
partake its rapid transformations: the active
enchantment reaches my dust, and I dilate and
conspire with the morning wind", postulating that
humans and wind are one. Emerson referred to nature
as the "Universal Being"; he believed that there was
a spiritual sense of the natural world around him.
Depicting this sense of "Universal Being", Emerson
states, "The aspect of nature is devout.
Like the figure of
Jesus, she stands with bended head, and hands folded
upon the breast. The happiest man is he who learns
from nature the lesson of worship".
According to Emerson, there were three spiritual
problems addressed about nature for humans to solve,
"What is matter? Whence is it? And Whereto?". What
is matter? Matter is a phenomenon, not a substance;
rather, nature is something that is experienced by
humans, and grows with humans' emotions. Whence is
it and Whereto? Such questions can be answered with
a single answer, nature’s spirit is expressed
through humans, "Therefore, that spirit, that is,
the Supreme Being, does not build up nature around
us, but puts it forth through us", states Emerson.
Emerson clearly depicts that everything must be
spiritual and moral, in which there should be
goodness between nature and humans.
"Nature" was controversial to some. One review published in
January 1837 criticized the philosophies in "Nature" and
disparagingly referred to beliefs as "Transcendentalist",
coining the term by which the group would become known.
Henry David Thoreau had read
"Nature" as a senior at Harvard College and took it to
heart. It eventually became an essential influence for
Thoreau's later writings, including his seminal Walden. In
fact, Thoreau wrote Walden after living in a cabin on land
that Emerson owned. Their longstanding acquaintance offered
Thoreau great encouragement in pursuing his desire to be a
originally called Gadadhar Chatterji or Gadadhar
Chattopadhyaya (born February 18, 1836, Hooghly [now
Hugli], Bengal state, India—died August 16, 1886,
Calcutta), Hindu religious leader, founder of the school
of religious thought that became the Ramakrishna Order.
Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar
Born into a poor
Brahman (the highest-ranking social class) family,
Ramakrishna had little formal schooling. He spoke
Bengali and knew neither English nor Sanskrit. His
father died in 1843, and his elder brother Ramkumar
became head of the family. At age 23 Ramakrishna
married Sarada Devi, a five-year-old girl, but,
because of his advocacy of celibacy, the marriage
was never consummated, even though they remained
together until his death. (Sarada Devi was later
deified and is still considered a saint by devotees
who treat her as the Divine Mother.)
In 1852 poverty
forced Ramkumar and Ramakrishna to leave their
village to seek employment in Calcutta (now Kolkata).
There they became priests in a temple dedicated to
the goddess Kali. In 1856, however, Ramkumar died.
Ramakrishna, now alone, prayed for a vision of
Kali-Ma (Kali the Mother), whom he worshipped as the
supreme manifestation of God. He wept for hours at a
time and felt a burning sensation throughout his
body while imploring the Divine Mother to reveal
herself. When she did not, the young priest sank
According to traditional accounts, Ramakrishna was
on the verge of suicide when he was overwhelmed by
an ocean of blissful light that he attributed to
Kali. Visions of Kali or other deities brought
ecstasy and peace; he once described Kali as “a
limitless, infinite, effulgent ocean of spirit.”
Soon after his first vision,
Ramakrishna commenced on a series of sadhanas (austere
practices) in the various mystical traditions, including
Bengali Vaishnavism, Shakta Tantrism, Advaita Vedanta, and
even Islamic Sufism and Roman Catholicism.
(His interest in Roman
Catholicism ended with a vision of “the great yogi”
Jesus embracing him and then disappearing into his
body.) After each of these sadhanas, Ramakrishna
claimed to have had the same experience of brahman,
the supreme power, or ultimate reality, of the
Later in life he became famous for his pithy
parables about the ultimate unity of the different
religious traditions in this formless Vedantic
brahman. Indeed, seeing God in everything and
everyone, he believed that all paths led to the same
“There are in a tank or pool,” he said, various
ghats (steps to the water). The Hindus draw out the
liquid and call it jal. The Muslims draw out the
liquid and call it pani. The Christians draw out the
liquid and call it water, but it is all the same
substance, no essential difference.
The message that all religions lead to the same end
was certainly a politically and religiously powerful
one, particularly because it answered in classical
Indian terms the challenges of British missionaries
and colonial authorities who had for almost a
century criticized Hinduism on social, religious,
and ethical grounds.
That all religions could be seen as different paths
to the same divine source or, even better, that this
divine source revealed itself in traditional Hindu
categories was welcome and truly liberating news for
Sarada Devi (1853–1920), wife and spiritual
counterpart of Ramakrishna
Photograph of Ramakrishna, taken on 10 December 1881
at the studio of "The Bengal Photographers" in
Radhabazar, Calcutta (Kolkata).
A small band of
disciples, most of them Western-educated, gathered
around Ramakrishna in the early 1880s, drawn by the
appeal of his message and by his charisma as a guru
and ecstatic mystic. It was also about this time
that Calcutta newspaper and journal articles first
referred to him as “the Hindu saint” or as “the
Paramahamsa” (a religious title of respect and
death, his message was disseminated through new
texts and organizations. Notably, Ramakrishna’s
teachings are preserved in Mahendranath Gupta’s
five-volume Bengali classic Sri Sri Ramakrishna
Kathamrita (1902–32; The Nectar-Speech of the
Twice-Blessed Ramakrishna), best known to English
readers as The Gospel of Ramakrishna, a remarkable
text based on conversations with Ramakrishna from
1882 to 1886.
Moreover, his disciple and successor Narendranath
Datta (died 1902) became the world-traveling Swami
Vivekananda and helped establish the Ramakrishna
Order, whose teachings, texts, and rituals
identified Ramakrishna as a new avatar
(“incarnation”) of God. The headquarters of the
mission is in Belur Math, a monastery near Kolkata.
The Ramakrishna Order also played an important role
in the spread of Hindu ideas and practices in the
West, particularly in the United States.
Aldrich, (born Nov. 11, 1836, Portsmouth, N.H.,
U.S.—died March 19, 1907, Boston), poet, short-story
writer, and editor whose use of the surprise ending
influenced the development of the short story.
He drew upon his
childhood experiences in New Hampshire in his
popular classic The Story of a Bad Boy
Aldrich left school
at 13 to work as a merchant’s clerk in New York City
and soon began to contribute to various newspapers
After publication of his first book of verse, The
Bells (1855), he became junior literary critic on
the New York Evening Mirror and later subeditor of
the Home Journal.
From 1881 to 1890 he was editor of The Atlantic
His poems, which
reflect the cultural atmosphere of New England and
his frequent European tours, were published in such
volumes as Cloth of Gold (1874), Flower and Thorn
(1877), Mercedes and Later Lyrics (1884), and
Windham Towers (1890).
His best known
prose is Marjorie Daw and Other People (1873), a
collection of short stories.
Sir Walter Besant,
(born August 14, 1836, Portsmouth, Hampshire,
England—died June 9, 1901, London), English novelist and
philanthropist, whose best work describing social evils
in London’s East End helped set in motion movements to
aid the poor.
From 1861 to 1867
Besant taught at the Royal College, Mauritius, and
in 1868 he became secretary to the Palestine
Exploration Fund. In 1871 he began a literary
collaboration with James Rice, editor of Once a
Week, which lasted until Rice’s death (1882). During
that time they produced 14 romantic, improbable, and
In 1882 Besant
published his first independent novel, entitled All
Sorts and Conditions of Men and based on his
impressions of the East London slums, which he saw
as joyless rather than vicious places. The “Palace
of Delights” that he projected in his book became a
reality when the People’s Palace was founded (1887)
in Mile End Road, London, in an attempt to provide
education and recreation to the slum dwellers of the
area; Besant cooperated in its establishment. His
book Children of Gibeon (1886) also described slum
Besant wrote 32
novels in the 19 years after Rice’s death, including
Dorothy Forster (1884) and Armorel of Lyonesse
(1890). His biographies include Rabelais (1879), and
he also wrote a long series of historical and
topographical studies (1902–12) of London. He helped
to found the Society of Authors in 1884 and edited
its journal until his death. Besant was knighted in
Mr. Midshipman Easy
is an 1836 novel by
Marryat Frederick, a
retired captain in the Royal Navy. The novel is set
during the Napoleonic Wars, in which Marryat himself
served with distinction.
Easy is the son of foolish parents, who spoiled him.
His father, in particular, regards himself as a
philosopher, with a firm belief in the "rights of
man, equality, and all that; how every person was
born to inherit his share of the earth, a right at
present only admitted to a certain length that is,
about six feet, for we all inherit our graves, and
are allowed to take possession without dispute. But
no one would listen to Mr Easy's philosophy. The
women would not acknowledge the rights of men, whom
they declared always to be in the wrong; and, as the
gentlemen who visited Mr Easy were all men of
property, they could not perceive the advantages of
sharing with those who had none. However, they
allowed him to discuss the question, while they
discussed his port wine. The wine was good, if the
arguments were not, and we must take things as we
find them in this world."
By the time he is a
teenager Easy has adopted his father's point of
view, to the point where he no longer believes in
Easy joins the
navy, which his father believes to be the best
example of an equal society, and Easy becomes
friendly with a lower deck seaman named Mesty
(Mephistopheles Faust), an escaped slave, who had
been a prince in Africa. Mesty is sympathetic to
Easy's philosophizing, which seems to offer him a
way up from his lowly job of "boiling kettle for de
young gentlemen"; but once Mesty is promoted to
ship's corporal and put in charge of discipline, he
changes his mind: "...now I tink a good deal lately,
and by all de power, I tink equality all stuff."
"All stuff, Mesty, why? you used to think
otherwise." "Yes, Massa Easy, but den I boil de
kettle for all young gentleman. Now dat I ship's
corporal and hab cane, I tink so no longer."
In some way Mesty is the real
hero of the novel, as he pulls Easy out of several scrapes
the impulsive 17-year-old gets himself into as he cruises
the Mediterranean on several British ships.
Easy becomes a competent
officer, in spite of his notions. Easy's mother dies, and he
returns home to find his father is completely mad. Easy
senior has developed an apparatus for reducing or enlarging
phrenological bumps on the skull, but as he attempts to
reduce his own benevolence bump, the machine kills him. Easy
throws out the criminal servants his father has employed and
puts the estate to rights, demanding back rents from the
tenants, and evicting those who will not pay. Using his
new-found wealth, he formally quits the navy, rigs out his
own privateering vessel, and returns to Sicily to claim his
bride Agnes. As a wealthy gentleman now, no longer a junior
midshipman, her family cannot refuse him, and he and Agnes
live happily ever after.
Sir Francis Cowley
Burnand (29 November 1836 – 21 April 1917), usually
known as F. C. Burnand, was an English comic writer and
prolific playwright, best known today as the librettist
of Arthur Sullivan's opera Cox and Box.
The son of a
prosperous family, he was educated at Eton and
Cambridge, and was expected to follow a conventional
career in the law or in the church, but he concluded
that his vocation was the theatre. From his
schooldays he had written comic plays, and from 1860
until the end of the 19th century, he produced a
series of more than 200 Victorian burlesques,
farces, pantomimes and other stage works. His early
successes included the burlesques Ixion, or the Man
at the Wheel (1863) and The Latest Edition of
Black-Eyed Susan; or, the Little Bill that Was Taken
Up (1866). Also in 1866, he adapted the popular
farce Box and Cox as a comic opera, Cox and Box,
with music by Sullivan. The piece became a popular
favourite and was later frequently used by the
D'Oyly Carte Opera Company as a curtain raiser; it
remains regularly performed today.
By the 1870s,
Burnand was generating a prodigious output of plays
as well as comic pieces and illustrations for the
humour magazine Punch. Among his 55 stage works
during the decade was another frequently revived
hit, Betsy (1879). For Punch, among other things, he
wrote the popular column "Happy Thoughts", in which
the narrator recorded the difficulties and
distractions of everyday life. Also admired were his
burlesques of other writers' works. Burnand was a
contributor to Punch for 45 years and its editor
from 1880 until 1906 and is credited with adding
much to the popularity and prosperity of the
magazine. His editorship of the original publication
of The Diary of a Nobody by the brothers George and
Weedon Grossmith was a high point of his tenure in
Many of his articles were
collected and published in book form. His stage successes in
the 1890s included his English-language versions of two
Edmond Audran operettas, titled La Cigale and Miss Decima
(both in 1891). His last works included collaborations on
pantomimes of Cinderella (1905) and Aladdin (1909).
Known generally for his
genial wit and good humor, Burnand was nevertheless
intensely envious of his contemporary W. S. Gilbert but was
unable to emulate his rival's success as a comic opera
librettist. In other forms of theatre Burnand was
outstandingly successful, with his works receiving London
runs of up to 550 performances and extensive tours in the
British provinces and the US. He published several humorous
books and memoirs and was knighted in 1902 for his work on
(meaning 'The tailor re-tailored') is an 1836 novel
, first published as a serial in 1833–34 in
Fraser's Magazine. The novel purports to be a commentary
on the thought and early life of a German philosopher
called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (which translates as
'god-born devil-dung'), author of a tome entitled
"Clothes: their Origin and Influence", but was actually
a poioumenon. Teufelsdröckh's Transcendentalist musings
are mulled over by a skeptical English Reviewer
(referred to as Editor) who also provides fragmentary
biographical material on the philosopher. The work is,
in part, a parody of Hegel, and of German Idealism more
generally. However, Teufelsdröckh is also a literary
device with which Carlyle can express difficult truths.
Archibald MacMechan surmised that the novel's
invention had three literary sources. The first
being The Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift, whom
Carlyle intensely admired in his college years, even
going by the nicknames "Jonathan" and "The Dean". In
that work, the three main traditions of Christianity
are represented by a father bestowing his three
children with clothes they may never alter, but
proceed to do so according to fashion. The second
being Carlyle's work translating Goethe,
particularly Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, The
Sorrows of Young Werther, and Faust, both of which
are quoted and explicitly referred to, especially in
Teufelsdröckh's crisis being named "The Sorrows of
Young Teufelsdröckh". The third being Tristram
Shandy from which Carlyle quotes many phrases, and
he referred to earlier in his letters.
Carlyle worked on an earlier novel, Wotton Reinfred
which Macmechan refers to as "The first draft of
Sartor". Carlyle finished seven chapters of the
semi-autobiographical novel depicting a young man of
deeply religious upbringing being scorned in love,
and thereafter wandering. He eventually finds at
least philosophical consolation in a mysterious
stranger named Maurice Herbert who invites Wotton
into his home and frequently discusses with him
At this point the novel abruptly shifts to highly
philosophical dialogue revolving mostly around Kant.
Though the unfinished novel deeply impressed
Carlyle's wife Jane, Carlyle never published it and
its existence was forgotten until long after
Sartor Resartus, Frontispiece by Edmund J. Sullivan
that the novel provoked Carlyle's frustration and
scorn due to his "zeal for truth and his hatred for
fiction" spoken of in his letters of the time.
Numerous parts of Wotton appear in the biographical
section of Sartor Resartus, in which Carlyle
humorously sentences them to the bags containing
Teufelsdröckh's autobiographical sketches, which the
editor constantly complains about being overly
fragmented or derivative of Goethe.
Though widely and erroneously reported as having
been burned by Carlyle, the unfinished novel is
still extant in draft form, several passages being
moved verbatim to Sartor Resartus but with their
context radically changed.
difficulty finding a publisher for the novel and
began composing it as an article in October 1831 at
Craigenputtock. Fraser's Magazine serialised it in
1833-1834. The text would first appear in volume
form in Boston in 1836, its publication arranged by
Ralph Waldo Emerson, who much admired the book and
Emerson's savvy dealing with the overseas publishers
would ensure Carlyle received high compensation that
the novel did not attain in Britain. The first
British edition would appear much later, in London
Sartor Resartus Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
The novel takes the form of a long review by a
somewhat cantankerous unnamed Editor for the English
Publication Fraser's Magazine (in which the novel
was first serialized without any distinction of the
content as fictional) who is upon request, reviewing
the fictional German book Clothes, Their Origin and
Influence by the fictional philosopher Diogenes
Teufelsdröckh (Professor of "Things in General" at
Weissnichtwo University). The Editor is clearly
flummoxed by the book, first struggling to explain
the book in the context of contemporary social
issues in England, some of which he knows Germany to
be sharing as well, then conceding that he knows
Teufelsdröckh personally, but that even this
relationship does not explain the curiosities of the
book's philosophy. The Editor remarks that he has
sent requests back to the Teufelsdrockh's office in
Germany for more biographical information hoping for
further explanation, and the remainder of Book One
contains summaries of Teufelsdröckh's book,
including translated quotations, accompanied by the
Editor's many objections, many of them buttressed by
quotations from Goethe and Shakespeare. The review
becomes longer and longer due to the Editor's
frustration at the philosophy, but desire to expose
its outrageous nature. At the final chapter of Book
One, the Editor has received word from the
Teufelsdröckh's office in the form of several bags
of paper scraps (rather esoterically organized into
bags based on the signs of the Latin Zodiac) on
which are written autobiographical fragments.
At the writing of Book Two, the Editor has somewhat
organized the fragments into a coherent narrative.
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
As a boy,
Teufelsdröckh was left in a basket on the doorstep
of a childless couple in the German country town of
Entepfuhl ("Duck-Pond"); his father a retired
Sergeant of Frederick the Great and his mother a
very pious woman, who to Teufelsdröckh's gratitude,
raises him in utmost spiritual discipline. In very
flowery language, Teufelsdröckh recalls at length
the values instilled in his idyllic childhood, the
Editor noting most of his descriptions originating
in intense spiritual pride. Teufelsdröckh eventually
is recognized as being clever, and sent to
Hinterschlag (slap-behind) Gymnasium.
While there, Teufelsdröckh is intellectually
stimulated, and befriended by a few of his teachers,
but frequently bullied by other students. His
reflections on this time of his life are ambivalent;
glad for his education, but critical of that
education's disregard for actual human activity and
character; for both his own treatment, and his
education's application to politics.
While at University, Teufelsdröckh encounters the
same problems, but eventually gains a small teaching
post some favour and recognition from the German
nobility. While interacting with these social
circles, Teufelsdröckh meets a woman he calls
Blumine (Goddess of Flowers; the Editor assumes this
to be a pseudonym), and abandons his teaching post
to pursue her. She spurns his advances for a British
aristocrat named Towgood.
Teufelsdröckh is thrust into a spiritual crisis,
leaving the city to wander the European countryside,
but even there encounters Blumine and Towgood on
their honeymoon. He sinks into a deep depression,
culminating in the celebrated Everlasting No,
disdaining all human activity.
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Still trying to piece
together the fragments, the Editor surmises that
Teufelsdröckh either fights in a war during this
period, or at least intensely uses its imagery,
which leads him to a "Centre of Indifference", and
on reflection of all the ancient villages and forces
of history around him, ultimately comes upon the
affirmation of all life in "The Everlasting Yes".
The Editor, in relief, promises to return to
Teufelsdröckh's book, hoping with the insights of
his assembled biography to glean some new insight
into the philosophy.
Diogenes Teufelsdröckh: (German:"God-Born
Devil-Dung") The Professor of "Things in General" at
Weissnichtwo University, and writer of a long book
of German idealist philosophy called "Clothes, Their
Origin and Influence," the review of which forms the
contents of the novel. Both professor and book are
The Editor: The
narrator of the novel, who in reviewing
Teufelsdröckh's book, reveals much about his own
tastes, as well as deep sympathy towards
Teufelsdröckh, and much worry as to social issues of
His tone varies between conversational, condemning
and even semi-Biblical prophesy.
The Reviewer should not be confused with Carlyle
himself, seeing as much of Teufelsdröckh's life
implements Carlyle's own biography.
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Heuschrecke (i. e. State-Councillor Grasshopper) is
a loose, zigzag figure, a blind admirer of
Teufelsdröckh's, an incarnation of distraction
distracted, and the only one who advises the editor
and encourages him in his work; a victim to timidity
and preyed on by an uncomfortable sense of mere
physical cold, such as the majority of the state-counsellors
of the day were.
Blumine: A woman
associated to the German nobility with whom
Teufelsdröckh falls in love early in his career.
Her spurning of him to marry Towgood leads
Teufelsdröckh to the spiritual crisis that
culminates in the Everlasting No.
Their relationship is somewhat parodic of Werther's
spurned love for Lotte in The Sorrows of Young
Werther (including her name "Goddess of Flowers",
which may simply be a pseudonym), though, as the
Editor notes, Teufelsdröckh does not take as much
incentive as does Werther.
Critics have associated her with Kitty Kirkpatrick,
with whom Carlyle himself fell in love before
marrying Jane Carlyle.
English Aristocrat who ultimately marries Blumine,
throwing Teufelsdröckh into a spiritual crisis.
If Blumine is indeed a fictionalization of Kitty
Kirkpatrick, Towgood would find his original in
Captain James Winslowe Phillipps, who married
Kirkpatrick in 1829.
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Dumdrudge: Dumdrudge is an imaginary village where
the natives drudge away and say nothing about it, as
villagers all over the world contentedly do.
'Weissnichtwo:' In the
book, Weissnichtwo (weiß-nicht-wo, German for
"don't-know-where") is an imaginary European city,
viewed as the focus, and as exhibiting the
operation, of all the influences for good and evil
of the time, described in terms which characterised
city life in the first quarter of the 19th Century;
so universal appeared the spiritual forces at work
in society at that time that it was impossible to
say where they were and where they were not, and
hence the name of the city, "Don't-know-where" (cf.
Sir Walter Scott's Kennaquhair).
Sartor Resartus was intended to be a new kind of
book: simultaneously factual and fictional, serious
and satirical, speculative and historical. It
ironically commented on its own formal structure,
while forcing the reader to confront the problem of
where "truth" is to be found.
In this respect it develops techniques used much
earlier in Tristram Shandy, to which it refers. The
imaginary "Philosophy of Clothes" holds that meaning
is to be derived from phenomena, continually
shifting over history, as cultures reconstruct
themselves in changing fashions, power-structures,
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
The book contains a
very Fichtean conception of religious conversion:
based not on the acceptance of God but on the
absolute freedom of the will to reject evil, and to
construct meaning. This has led some writers to see
Sartor Resartus as an early existentialist text.
One of the
recurring jokes is Carlyle giving humorously
appropriate German names to places and people in the
novel, such as the Teufelsdröckh's publisher being
named Stillscweigen and co. (meaning Silence and
Company) and lodgings being in Weissnichtwo (meaning
Know-not-where). Teufelsdröckh's father is
introduced as an earnest believer in Walter Shandy's
doctrine that "there is much, nay almost all in
suggested that Sartor Resartus and James Joyce's
1939 novel Finnegans Wake are so thematically
similar, Sartor Resartus seems to be influenced by
Joyce's much later novel.
According to Rodger
L. Tarr, "The influence of Sartor Resartus upon
American Literature is so vast, so pervasive, that
it is difficult to overstate." Upon learning of
Carlyle's death in 1881 Walt Whitman remarked: 'The
way to test how much he has left us all were to
consider, or try to consider, for the moment the
array of British thought, the resultant and ensemble
of the last fifty years, as existing to-day, but
with Carlyle left out. It would be like an army with
Sartor Resartus Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Sartor Resartus Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Illustration by Edmund J Sullivan
Tarr suggests the influence of
Sartor Resartus on American writers including Ralph Waldo
Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman
Melville, Margaret Fuller, Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain.
Both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe, however, read
and objected to the book.
Borges greatly admired the
book, recounting that in 1916 at age 17 "[I] discovered, and
was overwhelmed by, Thomas Carlyle. I read Sartor Resartus,
and I can recall many of its pages; I know them by heart."
Many of Borges' first characteristic and most admired works
employ the same technique of intentional pseudepigraphy as
Carlyle, such as "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote",
"The Garden of Forking Paths" and "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis
Papers of the Pickwick Club (also known as The Pickwick
Papers) is Charles Dickens's (Dickens Charles)
first novel. He was asked to contribute to the project
as an up-and-coming writer following the success of
Sketches by Boz, published in 1836 (most of Dickens'
novels were issued in shilling instalments before being
published as complete volumes). Dickens (still writing
under the pseudonym of Boz) increasingly took over the
unsuccessful monthly publication after the original
illustrator Robert Seymour had committed suicide.
introduction of Sam Weller in chapter 10, the book
became the first real publishing phenomenon, with
bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke
books, and other merchandise.
publication, the widow of Robert Seymour claimed that
the idea for the novel was originally her husband's;
however, in his preface to the 1867 edition, Dickens
strenuously denied any specific input, writing that "Mr
Seymour never originated or suggested an incident, a
phrase, or a word, to be found in the book."
Dickens was a young man, 24 years old, who had
written nothing more than a group of sketches
dealing mainly with London life. A firm of London
publishers, Messrs. Chapman and Hall, was then
projecting a series of "cockney sporting plates" by
illustrator Robert Seymour. There was to be a club,
the members of which were to be sent on hunting and
fishing expeditions into the country. Their guns
were to go off by accident; fishhooks were to get
caught in their hats and trousers. All these and
other misadventures were to be depicted in Seymour's
At this juncture,
Charles Dickens was called in to supply the
letterpress – that is, the description necessary to
explain the plates and connect them into a sort of
picture novel such as was then the fashion. Though
protesting that he knew nothing of sport, Dickens
nevertheless accepted the commission; he consented
to the machinery of a club, and in accordance with
the original design sketched Mr Winkle who aims at a
sparrow only to miss it.
Only in a few
instances did Dickens adjust his narrative to plates
that had been prepared for him. Typically, he
himself led the way with an instalment of his story,
and the artist was compelled to illustrate what
Dickens had already written. The story thus became
the prime source of interest, and the illustrations
merely of secondary importance. By this reversal of
interest, Dickens transformed, at a stroke, a
current type of fiction, consisting mostly of
pictures, into a novel of contemporary London life.
Simple as the process may appear, others who had
tried the plan had all failed.
issued in 1836
Pierce Egan partially
succeeded in his Tom and Jerry, a novel in which the
pictures and the letterpress are held in even
balance. Dickens won a complete triumph.
years, however, Dickens was suspiciously eager to
distance himself from suggestions that Pierce Egan's
Life in London had been a formative influence.
provided the illustrations for the first two
instalments before his suicide. Robert Buss
illustrated the third instalment, but his work was
not liked by Dickens and the remaining instalments
were illustrated by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne)
who went on to illustrate most of Dickens' novels.
The instalments were first published in book form in
Summary Written for publication as a serial, The
Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related
adventures. The action is given as occurring 1827–8,
though critics have noted some seeming anachronisms.
It has been stated that Dickens satirized the case
of George Norton suing Lord Melbourne in The
The novel's main character, Samuel Pickwick,
Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, and
the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick
illustration depicting Pickwick addressing the club
To extend his
researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of
life, he suggests that he and three other "Pickwickians"
(Mr Nathaniel Winkle, Mr Augustus Snodgrass, and Mr
Tracy Tupman) should make journeys to places remote
from London and report on their findings to the
other members of the club.
Their travels throughout the English countryside by
coach provide the chief theme of the novel. A
distinctive and valuable feature of the work is the
generally accurate description of the old coaching
inns of England. (One of the main families running
the Bristol to Bath coaches at the time was started
by Eleazer Pickwick).
Its main literary
value and appeal is formed by its numerous memorable
characters. Each character in The Pickwick Papers,
as in many other Dickens novels, is drawn comically,
often with exaggerated personality traits. Alfred
Jingle, who joins the cast in chapter two, provides
an aura of comic villainy. His devious tricks
repeatedly land the Pickwickians in trouble. These
include Jingle's nearly-successful attempted
elopement with the spinster Rachael Wardle of
Dingley Dell manor, misadventures with Dr Slammer,
Further humour is
provided when the comic cockney Sam Weller makes his
advent in chapter 10 of the novel.
Sam Weller and
his father Tony Weller (The Valentine)
First seen working at
the White Hart Inn in The Borough, Weller is taken
on by Mr Pickwick as a personal servant and
companion on his travels and provides his own
oblique ongoing narrative on the proceedings. The
relationship between the idealistic and unworldly
Pickwick and the astute cockney Weller has been
likened to that between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
adventures include Mr Pickwick's attempts to defend
a lawsuit brought by his landlady, Mrs Bardell, who
(through an apparent misunderstanding on her part)
is suing him for breach of promise.
Another is Mr Pickwick's incarceration at Fleet
Prison for his stubborn refusal to pay the
compensation to her — because he doesn't want to
give a penny to Mrs Bardell's lawyers, the
unscrupulous firm of Messrs. Dodson and Fogg.
The generally humorous tone is here briefly replaced
by biting social satire (including satire of the
legal establishment). This foreshadows major themes
in Dickens's later books.
Mr Pickwick, Sam
Weller, and Weller Senior also appear in Dickens's
serial, Master Humphrey's Clock.
Samuel Pickwick — the main protagonist and founder
of the Pickwick Club. Following his description in
the text, Pickwick is usually portrayed by
illustrators as a round-faced, clean-shaven, portly
gentleman wearing spectacles.
Nathaniel Winkle — a young friend of Pickwick's and
his travelling companion; he considers himself a
sportsman, though he turns out to be dangerously
inept when handling horses and guns.
Augustus Snodgrass — another young friend and
companion; he considers himself a poet, though there
is no mention of any of his own poetry in the novel.
Tracy Tupman — the third travelling companion, a fat
and elderly man who nevertheless considers himself a
Sam Weller — Mr Pickwick's valet, and a source of
idiosyncratic proverbs and advice.
Tony Weller — Sam's father, a loquacious coachman.
Alfred Jingle — a strolling actor and charlatan,
noted for telling bizarre anecdotes in a
distinctively extravagant, disjointed style.
Joe — the "fat boy" who consumes great quantities of
food and constantly falls asleep in any situation at
any time of day; Joe's sleep problem is the origin
of the medical term Pickwickian syndrome which
ultimately led to the subsequent description of
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome.
The Goblin and
Job Trotter — Mr
Jingle's wily servant, whose true slyness is only
ever seen in the first few lines of a scene, before
he adopts his usual pretence of meekness.
Mr Wardle — owner of a farm in Dingley Dell. Mr
Pickwick's friend, they meet at the military review
in Rochester. Joe is his servant.
Rachael Wardle — the spinster aunt who tries in vain
to elope with the unscrupulous Jingle.
Mr Nigel Perker — an attorney of Mr Wardle, and
later of Mr Pickwick.
Mary — "a well-shaped female servant" and Sam
Mrs Tamora Bardell — Mr Pickwick's widowed landlady
who puts a case against him for breach of promise.
Emily Wardle — one of Mr Wardle's daughters, very
fond of Mr Snodgrass.
Arabella Allen — a friend of Emily Wardle and sister
of Ben Allen. She later elopes with Mr. Winkle and
Benjamin "Ben" Allen — Arabella's brother, a
dissipated medical student.
Robert "Bob" Sawyer — Ben Allen's friend and fellow
Mr Serjeant Buzfuz — Mrs Bardell's lawyer in legal
dealings with Mr Pickwick.
Eckermann (21 September 1792 – 3 December 1854), German
poet and author, is best known for his work
Conversations with Goethe, the fruit of his association
with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Goethe Johann Wolfgang
) during the last years of Goethe's life.
Eckermann was born at Winsen in Hanover, of humble
parentage, and was brought up in penury and
privation. After serving as a volunteer in the War
of Liberation (1813–1814), he obtained a secretarial
appointment under the war department at Hanover. In
1817, although twenty-five years of age, he was
enabled to attend the gymnasium of Hanover and
afterwards the university of Göttingen, which,
however, after one year's residence as a student of
law, he left in 1822. His acquaintance with Goethe
began in the following year, when Eckermann sent to
Goethe the manuscript of Beiträge zur Poesie (1823).
Soon afterwards he went to Weimar, where he
supported himself as a private tutor. For several
years he also instructed the son of the grand duke.
In 1830 he travelled in Italy with Goethe's son. In
1838 he was given the title of grand-ducal
councillor and appointed librarian to the
Eckermann is chiefly remembered for his important
contributions to the knowledge of the great poet
contained in his Conversations with Goethe
(1836–1848). To Eckermann Goethe entrusted the
publication of his Nachgelassene Schriften
(posthumous works) (1832–1833). He was also
joint-editor with Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer
(1774–1845) of the complete edition of Goethe's
works in 40 vols (1839–1840). He died at Weimar on 3
Eckermann's Gespräche mit Goethe (vols: i. and ii.
1836; vol. iii. 1848; 7th ed., Leipzig, 1899; best
edition by Ludwig Geiger, Leipzig, 1902) have been
translated into almost all the European languages,
(English translations by Margaret Fuller, Boston,
1839, and John Oxenford, London, 1850).
Besides this work and the
Beiträge zur Poesie, Eckermann published a volume of poems (Gedichte,
1838. See J. P. Eckermanns Nachlaß edited by Friedrich Tewes,
vol. i. (1905), and an article by RM Meyer in the Goethe-Jahrbuch,
Sir W.S. Gilbert, in
full Sir William Schwenk Gilbert (born November 18,
1836, London, England—died May 29, 1911, Harrow Weald,
Middlesex, England), English playwright and humorist
best known for his collaboration with Sir Arthur
Sullivan in comic operas.
Gilbert began to write
in an age of rhymed couplets, puns, and travesty;
his early work exhibits the facetiousness common to
writers of extravaganza. But he turned away from
this style and developed a genuinely artful style
burlesquing contemporary behaviour. Many of his
original targets are no longer
topical—Pre-Raphaelite aesthetes in Patience;
women’s education (Princess Ida); Victorian plays
about Cornish pirates (The Pirates of Penzance); the
long theatrical vogue of the “jolly jack tar”
(H.M.S. Pinafore); bombastic melodrama (Ruddigore)—but
Gilbert’s burlesque is so good that it creates its
As a librettist, Gilbert is outstanding not only
because of his gift for handling words and casting
them in musical shapes but also because through his
words he offered the composer opportunities for
burlesquing musical conventions.
ambition was for a legal career, and a legacy in
1861 enabled him to leave the civil service to
pursue it. He was called to the bar in November
1863. In 1861, however, he had begun to contribute
comic verse to Fun, illustrated by himself and
These pieces were later collected as The Bab Ballads
(1869), followed by More Bab Ballads (1873); the two
collections, containing the germ of many of the
later operas, were united in a volume with Songs of
a Savoyard (1898).
Gilbert’s dramatic career
began when a playwright, Thomas William Robertson,
recommended him as someone who could produce a bright
Christmas piece in only two weeks. Gilbert promptly wrote
Dulcamara; or, The Little Duck and the Great Quack, a
commercial success, and other commissions followed.
In 1870 Gilbert met Sullivan, and they started working
together the following year. Thespis; or, The Gods Grown Old
(first performance 1871) and Trial by Jury (1875), a
brilliant one-act piece, were followed by four productions
staged by Richard D’Oyly Carte: The Sorcerer (1877), H.M.S.
Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879, New York;
1880, London), and Patience; or, Bunthorne’s Bride (1881).
Carte built the Savoy
Theatre in 1881 for productions of the partners’
work, and their works collectively became known as
the “Savoy Operas”; they included Iolanthe; or, The
Peer and the Peri (1882), Princess Ida; or, Castle
Adamant (1884), The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu
(1885), Ruddigore; or, The Witch’s Curse (1887), The
Yeomen of the Guard (1888), and The Gondoliers
By this time, however, relations between the
partners had become strained, partly because
Sullivan aimed higher than comic opera and because
Gilbert was plagued by a jealous and petty nature
when it came to financial matters. A rupture
occurred, and the two were estranged until 1893,
when they again collaborated, producing Utopia
Limited and later The Grand Duke (1896).
several popular burlesques for the dramatic stage:
Sweethearts (1874), Engaged (1877), and Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern (1891). He also created librettos
for other composers; the music for his last opera,
Fallen Fairies; or, The Wicked World (1909), was by
Edward German. His last play, The Hooligan, was
performed in 1911.
Gilbert, who was knighted in 1907, died of a heart
attack brought on by rescuing a woman from drowning
in a lake on his country estate.
Inspector, also known as The Inspector General
(original title: Russian: Ревизор, Revizor, literally:
"Inspector"), is a satirical play by the Russian
dramatist and novelist
Originally published in 1836, the play was revised for
an 1842 edition. Based upon an anecdote allegedly
recounted to Gogol by Pushkin, the play is a comedy of
errors, satirizing human greed, stupidity, and the
extensive political corruption of Imperial Russia.
According to D. S.
Mirsky, the play "is not only supreme in character
and dialogue – it is one of the few Russian plays
constructed with unerring art from beginning to end.
The great originality of its plan consisted in the
absence of all love interest and of sympathetic
The latter feature was deeply resented by Gogol's
enemies, and as a satire the play gained immensely
from it. There is not a wrong word or intonation
from beginning to end, and the comic tension is of a
quality that even Gogol did not always have at his
beck and call."
The dream-like scenes
of the play, often mirroring each other, whirl in
the endless vertigo of self-deception around the
main character, Khlestakov, who personifies
irresponsibility, light-mindedness, absence of
measure. "He is full of meaningless movement and
meaningless fermentation incarnate, on a foundation
of placidly ambitious inferiority" (D.S. Mirsky).
The publication of the play led to a great outcry in
the reactionary press. It took the personal
intervention of Tsar Nicholas I to have the play
staged, with Mikhail Shchepkin taking the role of
Cover of the
Early in his career Gogol was best known for his short
stories, which gained him the admiration of the Russian
literary circle, including Alexander Pushkin. After
establishing a reputation, Gogol began working on several
plays. His first attempt to write a satirical play about
imperial bureaucracy in 1832 was abandoned out of fear of
censorship. In 1835, he sought inspiration for a new
satirical play from Pushkin.
Do me a favour;
send me some subject, comical or not, but an authentically
Russian anecdote. My hand is itching to write a comedy...
Give me a subject and I'll knock off a comedy in five acts —
I promise, funnier than hell. For God's sake, do it. My mind
and stomach are both famished.
—Letter from Gogol to Pushkin, October 7, 1835
Pushkin had a storied background and was once mistaken for a
government inspector in 1833. His notes alluded to an
anecdote distinctly similar to what would become the basic
story elements for The Government Inspector.
arrives in the Province ... to a fair – he is taken for
[illegible] ... . The governor is an honest fool – the
governor's wife flirts with him – Krispin woos the daughter.
Full collected works, volume 8, book 1
The corrupt officials of a small Russian town,
headed by the Mayor, react with terror to the news
that an incognito inspector (the revizor) will soon
be arriving in their town to investigate them. The
flurry of activity to cover up their considerable
misdeeds is interrupted by the report that a
suspicious person has arrived two weeks previously
from Saint Petersburg and is staying at the inn.
That person, however, is not an inspector; it is
Khlestakov, a foppish civil servant with a wild
Having learned that
Khlestakov has been charging his considerable hotel
bill to the Crown, the Mayor and his crooked cronies
are immediately certain that this upper class twit
is the dreaded inspector. For quite some time,
however, Khlestakov does not even realize that he
has been mistaken for someone else. Meanwhile, he
enjoys the officials' terrified deference and moves
in as a guest in the Mayor's house. He also demands
and receives massive "loans" from the Mayor and all
of his associates. He also flirts outrageously with
the Mayor's wife and daughter.
Sick and tired of
the Mayor's ludicrous demands for bribes, the
village's Jewish and Old Believer merchants arrive,
begging Khlestakov to have him dismissed from his
post. Stunned at the Mayor's rapacious corruption,
Khlestakov states that he deserves to be exiled in
chains to Siberia.
Then, however, he
pockets still more "loans" from the merchants,
promising to comply with their request.
Terrified that he is now undone, the Mayor pleads
with Khlestakov not to have him arrested, only to
learn that the latter has become engaged to his
daughter. At which point Khlestakov announces that
he is returning to St. Petersburg, having been
persuaded by his valet Osip that it is too dangerous
to continue the charade any longer.
and Osip depart on a coach driven by the village's
fastest horses, the Mayor's friends all arrive to
Certain that he now has the upper hand, he summons
the merchants, boasting of his daughter's engagement
and vowing to squeeze them for every kopeck they are
worth. However, the Postmaster suddenly arrives
carrying an intercepted letter which reveals
Khlestakov's true identity—and his mocking opinion
of them all.
The Mayor, after
years of bamboozling Governors and shaking down
criminals of every description, is enraged to have
been thus humiliated. He screams at his cronies,
stating that they, not himself, are to blame.
While they continue arguing, a message arrives from
the real Government Inspector, who is demanding to
see the Mayor immediately.
Gogol. "The Government Inspector"
In 1926, the expressionistic production of the comedy by
Vsevolod Meyerhold "returned to this play its true
surrealistic, dreamlike essence after a century of
simplistically reducing it to mere photographic realism".
Erast Garin interpreted Khlestakov as "an infernal,
mysterious personage capable of constantly changing his
appearance". Leonid Grossman recalls that Garin's Khlestakov
was "a character from Hoffmann's tale, slender, clad in
black with a stiff mannered gait, strange spectacles, a
sinister old-fashioned tall hat, a rug and a cane,
apparently tormented by some private vision".
Meyerhold wrote about the
play: "What is most amazing about The Government Inspector
is that although it contains all the elements of... plays
written before it, although it was constructed according to
various established dramatic premises, there can be no doubt
— at least for me — that far from being the culmination of a
tradition, it is the start of a new one. Although Gogol
employs a number of familiar devices in the play, we
suddenly realize that his treatment of them is new... The
question arises of the nature of Gogol's comedy, which I
would venture to describe as not so much 'comedy of the
absurd' but rather as 'comedy of the absurd situation.'"
In the finale of
Meyerhold's production, the actors were replaced with dolls,
a device that Andrei Bely compared to the stroke "of the
double Cretan ax that chops off heads," but a stroke
entirely justified in this case since "the archaic, coarse
grotesque is more subtle than subtle."
Bret Harte, original
name Francis Brett Harte (born August 25, 1836, Albany,
New York, U.S.—died May 5, 1902, London, England),
American writer who helped create the local-colour
school in American fiction.
Bret Harte in
Harte’s family settled
in New York City and Brooklyn in 1845. His education
was spotty and irregular, but he inherited a love of
books and managed to get some verses published at
age 11. In 1854 he left for California and went into
mining country on a brief trip that legend has
expanded into a lengthy participation in, and
intimate knowledge of, camp life.
In 1857 he was employed by the Northern Californian,
a weekly paper. There his support of Indians and
Mexicans proved unpopular; after a massacre of
Indians in 1860, which he editorially deplored, he
found it advisable to leave town.
Returning to San
Francisco, he was married and began to write for the
Golden Era, which published the first of his
Condensed Novels, brilliant parodies of James
Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and
He then became a clerk in the U.S. branch mint, a
job that allowed freedom for editorship of the
Californian, for which he engaged Mark Twain to
write weekly articles.
In 1868, after
publishing a series of Spanish legends akin to
Washington Irving’s Alhambra, he was named editor of
the Overland Monthly.
For it he wrote “The Luck of
Roaring Camp” and “The Outcasts of Poker Flat.” Following
The Luck of Roaring Camp, and Other Sketches (1870), he
found himself world famous. His fame only grew with the poem
“Plain Language from Truthful James” (1870), better known as
“The Heathen Chinee,” although it attracted national
attention in a manner unintended by Harte, who claimed that
its satirical story—about two men, Bill Nye and Ah Sin,
trying to cheat each other at cards—showed a form of racial
equality. Instead, the poem was taken up by opponents of
Portrait of Bret
Harte by John Pettie(1884)
Flushed with success,
Harte in 1871 signed with The Atlantic Monthly for
$10,000 for 12 stories a year, the highest figure
offered an American writer up to that time.
Resigning a professorship at the University of
California, Harte left for the East, never to
In New England he was greeted as an equal by the
writers Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell
Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and William Dean
Howells and was lionized and toasted to the point of
spiritual and moral breakdown.
With personal and family difficulties, his work
It was at about this time that Harte collaborated
with Twain on Ah Sin, a play based on “Plain
Language from Truthful James”; anti-Chinese
sentiment was even stronger then (and would
culminate in passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in
1882); the play was performed for only a few months
success on the lecture circuit, Harte in 1878
accepted consulships in Krefeld, Germany, and later
in Glasgow, Scotland.
In 1885 he retired to London. His wife and family
joined him at wide intervals, but he never returned
to the United States.
He found in England a ready audience for his tales
of a past or mythical California long after American
readers had tired of his formula; examples of those
later stories are “Ingénue of the Sierras” and “A
Protégée of Jack Hamlin’s” (both 1893).
Robert Henry Newell
(December 13, 1836– July 1901) was a popular 19th
century American humorist.
(Orpheus C. Kerr)
During the U.S. Civil
War, Newell wrote a series of satirical articles
using the pseudonym Orpheus C. Kerr, commenting on
the war and contemporary society. His articles
appeared weekly in the New York Sunday Mercury,
where he was the literary editor until 1862, and
were published in a series of books. Among other
newspapers he worked at, from 1869–74 he wrote for
the New York World. From 1862–65, he was married to
famous actress Adah Isaacs Menken.
The name "Orpheus C.
Kerr" was a play on the term "office seeker". At the
time, political offices were seen as plums,
involving relatively little work and regular pay,
and were used by political parties as rewards for
faithful party workers.
During the war, The
Orpheus C. Kerr Papers was widely read and Newell
enjoyed great popularity. He was one of the favorite
humorists of Abraham Lincoln. When General
Montgomery C. Meigs admitted that he had never heard
of Orpheus C. Kerr or his Papers, Lincoln responded,
"anyone who has not read them is a heathen."
Fritz Reuter, (born
Nov. 7, 1810, Stavenhagen, Mecklenburg-Schwerin
[Germany]—died July 12, 1874, Eisenach, Ger.), German
novelist who helped to initiate the development of
regional dialect literature in Germany.
His best works, which mirrored the provincial life of
Mecklenburg, are written in Plattdeutsch, a north German
As a youthful member
of a student political club, Reuter was sentenced to
death by the Prussian authorities in 1833, but the
sentence was later commuted to 30 years’
imprisonment. Though released under the amnesty of
Frederick William IV after seven years’
imprisonment, he never fully regained his health.
The success of his early Plattdeutsch poems and
stories led him to attempt more ambitious works in
his native dialect. Ut de Franzosentid (1859;
“During the Time of the French Conquest”) presents,
with a mixture of seriousness and humour, life in a
Mecklenburg country town during the War of
Liberation against Napoleon. Ut mine Festungstid
(1862; “During the Time of My Incarceration”) is an
account of his last few years in prison told without
bitterness. Ut mine Stromtid (1862–64; “During My
Apprenticeship”) is considered his masterpiece. In
this work, originally issued in three volumes,
Reuter’s resemblance to Charles Dickens as a great
storyteller and as a creator of characters is most
apparent; its humorous hero, Entspektor Bräsig, is
as memorable as Mr. Pickwick.
Daughter (Russian: Капитанская дочка,
Kapitanskaya dochka) is a historical novel by the
Russian writer Alexander Pushkin (Pushkin Aleksandr Sergeyevich).
It was first published in 1836 in the fourth issue of
the literary journal Sovremennik. The novel is a
romanticized account of Pugachev's Rebellion in
Pyotr Andreyich Grinyov is the only surviving child
of a retired army officer. When Pyotr turns 17, his
father sends him into military service in Orenburg.
En route Pyotr gets lost in a blizzard, but is
rescued by a mysterious man. As a token of his
gratitude, Pyotr gives the guide his hareskin coat.
Orenburg, Pyotr reports to his commanding officer
and is assigned to serve at Fort Belogorsky under
captain Ivan Mironov. The fort is little more than a
fence around a village, and the captain's wife
Vasilisa is really in charge. Pyotr befriends his
fellow officer Shvabrin, who has been banished here
after a duel resulted in the death of his opponent.
When Pyotr dines with the Mironov family, he meets
their daughter Masha and falls in love with her.
This causes a rift between Pyotr and Shvabrin, who
has been turned down by Masha. When Shvabrin insults
Masha's honor, Pyotr and Shvabrin duel and Pyotr is
injured. Pyotr asks his father's consent to marry
Masha, but is refused.
Not much later, the
fortress is besieged by the insurgent Yemelyan
Pugachev, who claims to be the murdered emperor
Peter III. The cossacks stationed at the fortress
defect to the forces of Pugachev, and he takes the
fortress easily. He demands that Captain Mironov
swear an oath of allegiance to him, and when
refused, hangs the Captain and kills his wife.
When it is Pyotr's turn, Shvabrin suddenly appears
to have defected as well, and upon his advice
Pugachev orders Pyotr to be hanged. However, his
life is suddenly spared as Pugachev turns out to be
the guide who rescued Pyotr from the blizzard, and
he recognizes Pyotr whom he remembers with
First page of
the original serialized version
The next evening, Pyotr and
Pugachev talk in private. Pyotr impresses Pugachev with the
sincerity of his insistence that he cannot serve him.
Pugachev decides to let Pyotr go to Orenburg. He is to relay
a message to the Governor that Pugachev will be marching on
his city. The fort is to be left under the command of
Shvabrin, who takes advantage of the situation to try to
compel Masha to marry him. Pyotr rushes off to prevent this
marriage, but is captured by Pugachev's troops. After
explaining the situation to Pugachev, they both ride off to
After Masha has been freed,
she and Pyotr take off to his father's estate, but they are
intercepted by the army. Pyotr decides to stay with the army
and sends Masha to his father. The war with Pugachev goes on
and Pyotr rejoins the army. But at the moment of Pugachev's
defeat, Pyotr is arrested for having friendly relations with
Pugachev. During his interrogation, Shvabrin testifies that
Pyotr is a traitor. Not willing to drag Masha into court,
Pyotr is unable to repudiate this accusation and receives
the death penalty. Although Empress Catherine the Great
spares his life, Pyotr remains a prisoner.
Masha understands why Pyotr
wasn't able to defend himself and decides to go to St.
Petersburg, to present a petition to the empress. In
Tsarskoe Selo, she meets a lady of the court and details her
plan to see the Empress on Pyotr's behalf. The lady refuses
at first, saying that Pyotr is a traitor, but Masha is able
to explain all the circumstances. Soon, Masha receives an
invitation to see the Empress, and is shocked to recognize
her as the lady she had talked to earlier. The Empress has
become convinced of Pyotr's innocence and has ordered his
release. Pyotr witnesses the beheading of Pugachev. He and
Masha are married.