Westward Ho! is an
1855 British historical novel by
Kingsley Charles. The novel
is set in the Elizabethan era, and follows the adventures of Amyas Leigh who sets sail with Francis Drake and other
privateers to the Caribbean, where they battle with the
Set initially in Bideford in North Devon during the reign of
Elizabeth I, Westward Ho! follows the adventures of Amyas
Leigh, an unruly child who as a young man follows Francis
Drake to sea. Amyas loves local beauty Rose Salterne, as
does nearly everyone else. Much of the novel involves the
kidnap of Rose by a Spaniard.
Amyas spends time in the Caribbean seeking gold, and
eventually returns to England at the time of the Spanish
Armada, finding his true love, the beautiful Indian maiden
Ayacanora, in the process; yet fate had blundered and
brought misfortune into Amyas's life, for not only had he
been blinded by a freak bolt of lightning at sea, but he
also loses his brother Frank Leigh and Rose Salterne, who
were caught by the Spaniards and burnt at the stake by the
Title The title of the
book derives from the call of boat taxis on the River Thames
(eastward ho! westward ho!). The title
is also a nod towards the play Westward Hoe, written by John
Webster and Thomas Dekker in 1604, which satirized the
perils of the westward expansion of London.
title of Kingsley's novel is Westward Ho! Or The Voyages and
Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh, Knight of Burrough, in the
County of Devon, in the reign of Her Most Glorious Majesty,
Queen Elizabeth, Rendered into Modern English by Charles
This elaborate title is intended to reflect the
mock-Elizabethan style of the novel.
Cover of an 1899
edition by Frederick Warne & Co
Frontispiece by Walter Sydney Stacey from an 1899 edition
Themes Westward Ho! is a historical novel which celebrates
England's victories over Spain in the Elizabethan era.
Although originally a political radical, Kingsley had by the
1850s become increasingly conservative and a strong
supporter of British imperialism. The novel consistently emphasises
the superiority of English mercantile values over those of
the Spanish. Although originally written for
adults, its mixture of patriotism, sentiment and romance
deemed it suitable for children, and it became a firm favourite of children's literature.
A prominent theme of
the novel is the 16th-century fear of Catholic
domination, and this reflects Kingsley's own dislike
The novel repeatedly shows the
Protestant English correcting the worst excesses of the
Spanish Jesuits and the Inquisition.
The novel's virulent anti-Catholicism, as well as its
racist attitudes to native peoples, has made the novel less
appealing to a modern audience, although it is still
regarded by some as Kingsley's "liveliest, and most
Adaptations In April 1925, the book was the first novel to be adapted
for radio by the BBC.
The first movie adaptation
of the novel was a 1919 silent film, Westward Ho!, directed
by Percy Nash.
children's animated film, Westward Ho!, produced by Burbank
Films Australia, was loosely based on Kingsley's novel.
The book is the inspiration behind the unusual name of the
village of Westward Ho! in Devon, the only place name in the
United Kingdom that contains an exclamation mark.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1920 edition illustrated with paintings
by N.C. Wyeth.
Gérard de Nerval,
pseudonym of Gérard Labrunie (born May 22, 1808, Paris,
France—died January 26, 1855, Paris), French Romantic poet
whose themes and preoccupations were to greatly influence
the Symbolists and Surrealists.
Gérard de Nerval,
Nerval’s father, a doctor, was sent to serve with
Napoleon’s Rhine army; his mother died when he was two years
old, and he grew up in the care of relatives in the
countryside at Mortefontaine in the Valois. The memory of
his childhood there was to haunt him as an idyllic vision
for the rest of his life.
In 1820 he went to live with his
father in Paris and attend the Collège de Charlemagne, where
he met the poet Théophile Gautier, with whom he formed a
lasting friendship. Nerval received a legacy from his
grandparents and was able to travel in Italy, but the rest
of his inheritance he poured into an ill-fated drama review.
In 1828 Nerval produced a notable French translation of
Goethe’s Faust that Goethe himself praised and which the
composer Hector Berlioz drew freely upon for his opera La
Damnation de Faust.
In 1836 Nerval met Jenny Colon, an actress with whom he
fell passionately in love; two years later, however, she
married another man, and in 1842 she died. This shattering
experience changed his life.
After her death Nerval traveled
to the Levant, the result being some of his best work in
Voyage en Orient (1843–51; “Voyage to the East”), a
travelogue that also examines ancient and folk mythology,
symbols, and religion.
During the period of his greatest creativity, Nerval was
afflicted with severe mental disorders and was
institutionalized at least eight times.
In one of his finest works,
the short story “Sylvie”, which was written in 1853 and
included in Des Filles du feu (1854; “Girls of Fire”),
he re-creates the countryside of his happy childhood in
lucid, musical prose. The memory of Jenny Colon dominates
the longer story Aurélia (1853–54), in which Nerval
describes his obsessions and hallucinations during his
periods of mental derangement. Les Chimères (1854; “The
Chimeras”) is a sonnet sequence of extraordinary complexity
that best conveys the musical quality of his writing.
Nerval’s years of destitution and anguish ended in 1855 when
he was found hanging from a lamppost in the rue de la
Vieille Lanterne, Paris.
Nerval viewed dreams as a means of communication between
the everyday world and the world of supernatural events, and
his writings reflect the visions and fantasies that
constantly threatened his grip on sanity. He attained the
summit of his art whenever he combined his exquisite taste
with his infallible intuition for the appropriate image by
which to transcribe his dreams of a lost paradise of beauty,
fulfillment, innocence, and youth.
"La Rue de la
Vieille Lanterne: The Suicide of Gérard de Nerval", by
Gustave Doré, 1855.
is a novel by
Dickens Charles, that
was originally published as a serial between 1855 and
1857. It satirizes the shortcomings of both government
and society, including the institution of debtors'
prisons, where debtors were imprisoned, unable to work,
until they repaid their debts. The prison in this case
is the Marshalsea, where Dickens's own father had been
imprisoned. Dickens is also critical of the lack of a
social safety net, the treatment and safety of
industrial workers, as well the bureaucracy of the
British Treasury, in the form of his fictional
"Circumlocution Office". In addition he satirizes the
stratification of society that results from the British
Little Dorrit was published in nineteen monthly
instalments, each consisting of 32 pages with two
illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne whose pen name
was Phiz. Each instalment cost a shilling except for
the last, a double issue which cost two shillings.
First Book: Poverty
I – December 1855 (chapters 1–4)
II – January 1856 (chapters 5–8)
III – February 1856 (chapters 9–11)
IV – March 1856 (chapters 12–14)
V – April 1856 (chapters 15–18)
VI – May 1856 (chapters 19–22)
VII – June 1856 (chapters 23–25)
VIII – July 1856 (chapters 26–29)
IX – August 1856 (chapters 30–32)
X – September 1856 (chapters 33–36)
Second Book: Riches
XI – October 1856 (chapters 1–4)
XII – November 1856 (chapters 5–7)
XIII – December 1856 (chapters 8–11)
XIV – January 1857 (chapters 12–14)
XV – February 1857 (chapters 15–18)
XVI – March 1857 (chapters 19–22)
XVII – April 1857 (chapters 23–26)
XVIII – May 1857 (chapters 27–29)
XIX-XX – June 1857 (chapters 30–34)
Cover of serial Vol. 4, March 1856
The novel begins in Marseilles "thirty years ago" (i.e., c.
1826), with the notorious murderer Rigaud telling his cell
mate how he killed his wife. Arthur Clennam is returning to
London to see his mother after the death of his father, with
whom he had lived for twenty years in China. On his
deathbed, his father had given him a mysterious watch
murmuring "Your mother," which Arthur naturally assumed was
intended for Mrs. Clennam, whom he and everyone else
believed to be his mother.
Inside the watch
casing was an old silk paper with the initials DNF
(Do Not Forget) worked into it in beads. It was a
message, but when Arthur showed it to the harsh and
implacable Mrs Clennam, a religious fanatic, she
refused to tell him what it meant and the two become
In London, William
Dorrit, imprisoned as a debtor, has been a resident
of Marshalsea debtors' prison for so long that his
three children – snobbish Fanny, idle Edward (known
as Tip) and Amy (known as Little Dorrit) — have all
grown up there, although they are free to pass in
and out of the prison as they please. Amy, devoted
to her father, has been supporting them both through
Once in London,
Arthur is reacquainted with his former fiancée Flora
Finching, who is now overweight and simpering. His
supposed mother, Mrs Clennam, though arthritic and
wheelchair-bound, still runs the family business
with the help of her servant Jeremiah Flintwinch and
his downtrodden wife Affery. When Arthur learns that
Mrs Clennam has employed Little Dorrit as a
seamstress, showing her unusual kindness, he wonders
whether the young girl might be connected with the
mystery of the watch. Suspecting his mother was
partially responsible for the misfortunes of the
Dorrits, Arthur follows the girl to the Marshalsea.
He vainly tries to inquire about William Dorrit's
debt in the poorly run Circumlocution Office,
assuming the role of benefactor towards Amy, her
father, and her brother. While at the Circumlocution
Office he meets the struggling inventor Daniel Doyce,
whom he decides to help by going into business with
him. The grateful Amy falls in love with Arthur, but
Arthur fails to recognise Amy's interest.
has a mild attack of irritability
At last, aided by the
indefatigable rent-collector Pancks, Arthur discovers that
William Dorrit is the lost heir to a large fortune, finally
enabling him to pay his way out of prison.
The newly freed Dorrit decides that they should tour Europe
as a newly respectable family. They travel over the Alps and
take up residence for a time in Venice, and finally in Rome,
displaying an air of conceit over their new-found wealth
(except for Amy). Eventually, after a spell of delirium,
Dorrit dies in Rome as does his distraught brother
Frederick, a kind-hearted musician who has always stood by
him. Amy, left alone, returns to London to stay with newly
married Fanny and her husband, the foppish Edmund Sparkler.
The fraudulent dealings
(similar to a Ponzi scheme) of Edmund Sparkler's stepfather,
Mr. Merdle, end with his suicide and the collapse of his
bank business, and with it the savings of both the Dorrits
and Arthur Clennam, who is now himself imprisoned in the
Marshalsea, where he becomes ill and is nursed back to
health by Amy. The French villain Rigaud, now in London,
discovers that Mrs. Clennam has been hiding the fact that
Arthur is not her real son, and tries to blackmail her.
Arthur's biological mother was a beautiful young singer with
whom his father had gone through some sort of non-marital
ceremony, before being pressured by his wealthy uncle to
marry the present Mrs. Clennam. The latter insisted on
bringing up little Arthur and denying his mother the right
to see him. Arthur's real mother died of grief at being
separated from Arthur and his father; but Mr. Clennam's
wealthy uncle, stung by remorse, had left a bequest to
Arthur's biological mother and to "the youngest daughter of
her patron", a kindly musician who had taught and befriended
her – and who happened to be Amy Dorrit's paternal uncle,
Frederick. As Frederick Dorrit had no daughter, the
inheritance went to the youngest daughter of Frederick's
younger brother, William. That is, to Amy Dorrit.
Mrs. Clennam has been
withholding her knowledge that Amy is the heiress to an
enormous fortune and estate. Overcome by passion, the old
woman rises from her chair and totters out of her house to
reveal the secret to Amy and beg her forgiveness, which the
kind-hearted girl freely grants. The former then falls in
the street, never to recover the use of her speech or limbs,
as the house of Clennam literally collapses before her eyes,
killing Rigaud. Rather than hurt Arthur, Amy chooses not to
reveal what she has learned even though this means
forfeiting her legacy.
When Arthur's business
partner Daniel Doyce returns from Russia a wealthy man,
Arthur is released with his fortunes revived, and Arthur and
Amy are married.
Like many of Dickens's novels, Little Dorrit
contains numerous subplots. One subplot concerns
Arthur Clennam's friends, the kind-hearted Meagles.
They are upset when their daughter Pet marries an
artist called Gowan, and when their servant and
foster daughter Tattycoram is lured away from them
to the sinister Miss Wade, an acquaintance of the
criminal Rigaud. Miss Wade hates men, and it turns
out she is the jilted sweetheart of Gowan.
Little Dorrit (Amy) was inspired by Mary Ann Cooper
(née Mitton), whom Dickens sometimes visited along
with her family. They lived in The Cedars, a house
on Hatton Road west of London; its site is now under
the east end of London Heathrow Airport.
significance and reception
Like much of Dickens' later fiction, this novel has
seen many reversals of critical fortune. It has been
shown to be a critique of HM Treasury and the
blunders that led to the loss of life of 360 British
soldiers at the Battle of Balaclava.
"Little Dorrit", 1856
Imprisonment – both literal
and figurative – is a major theme of the novel, with Clennam
and the Meagles quarantined in Marseilles, Rigaud jailed for
murder, Mrs. Clennam confined to her house, the Dorrits
imprisoned in the Marshalsea, and most of the characters
trapped within the rigidly defined English social class
structure of the time.
Tchaikovsky, a voracious
reader and theatre-goer when he was not composing, was
entranced by the book, which he presumably read in Russian,
French or German translation, and recommended it
enthusiastically to his younger twin brothers Modest and
Anatoly in his voluminous correspondence with them.
Little Dorrit has been adapted for the screen five times.
The first three productions were in 1913, 1920, and 1934.
The 1934 German adaptation, Kleine Dorrit, starred Anny
Ondra as Little Dorrit and Mathias Wieman as Arthur Clennam.
It was directed by Karel Lamač. The fourth adaptation, in
1988, was a UK feature film of the same title as the novel,
directed by Christine Edzard and starring Alec Guinness as
William Dorrit and Derek Jacobi as Arthur Clennam, supported
by a cast of over three hundred British actors.
The fifth adaptation was a TV
series co-produced by the BBC and WGBH Boston, written by
Andrew Davies and featuring Claire Foy (as Little Dorrit),
Freema Agyeman (as Tattycoram), Bill Paterson (as Mr Meagles),
Andy Serkis (as Rigaud/Blandois), Matthew Macfadyen (as
Arthur Clennam), Tom Courtenay (as William Dorrit), Judy
Parfitt (as Mrs Clennam), Arthur Darvill (as Edward 'Tip'
Dorrit), Russell Tovey (as John Chivery), Janine Duvitski
(as Mrs Meagles), James Fleet (as Frederick Dorrit), Ruth
Jones (as Flora Casby Finching), Eve Myles (as Maggy
Plornish), Mackenzie Crook, Stephane Cornicard, Anton Lesser
(as Mr Merdle), Alun Armstrong (as Jeremiah/Ephraim
Flintwinch), Sue Johnston (as Affery Flintwinch), Emma
Pierson (as Fanny Dorrit), Robert Hardy (as Tite Barnacle),
John Alderton (as Mr Casby), Amanda Redman (as Mrs Merdle).
The series aired between October and December 2008 in the
UK, in the USA on PBS's Masterpiece in April 2009, and in
Australia, on ABC1 TV, in June and July 2010.
In 2001 BBC Radio 4
broadcast a radio adaptation of five hour-long episodes,
starring Sir Ian McKellen as the narrator.
Little Dorrit formed the
backdrop to Peter Ackroyd's debut novel, The Great Fire of
Ludwig Ganghofer (7
July 1855 – 24 July 1920) was a German writer who became
famous for his homeland novels.
He was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, the son of
forestry official August Ganghofer (1827–1900). His
younger sister Ida (1863–1944) married the geologist
and geographer Albrecht Penck in 1886, the
geomorphologist Walther Penck was Ganghofer's
nephew. He graduated from gymnasium secondary school
in 1873 and subsequently worked as a fitter in
Augsburg engine works. In 1875, he entered Munich
Polytechnic as a student of mechanical engineering,
but eventually changed his major to history of
literature and philosophy, which subjects he studied
in Munich, Berlin and Leipzig. In 1879, he was
awarded a doctorate from the Leipzig University.
Ganghofer wrote his
first play "Der Herrgottschnitzer von Ammergau" (The
Crucifix Carver of Ammergau) in 1880 for the Munich
Gärtnerplatz Theatre. It was so successful that it
was performed 19 times. But his break-through was a
guest performance of this play in Berlin, where it
was staged more than 100 times. Subsequently,
Ganghofer worked as dramaturge at the Vienna
Ringtheatre (1881), as a freelance writer for the
family paper Die Gartenlaube and as a feuilleton
editor of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt (1886–1891). In
Vienna, Ganghofer was a frequent guest at the salon
in the Palais Todesco, where he met with artists
like Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Johann Strauss. Since
1891, he was working mainly as a writer of Alpine
novels, inspired by the sojourns at his hunting
lodge near Leutasch in Tyrol; but he also produced
e.g. Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play "Der Tor und der
Tod". He also founded the Munich Literary Society.
His work as a voluntary war
correspondent from 1915 and 1917 is less known. During those
years, he wrote – besides propagandistic and little
impartial war reports e.g. wie "Reise zur deutschen Front"
(Travel to the German frontlines) – a large number of War
poems, which were published in Anthologies like "Eiserne
Zither" (Iron Zither) und "Neue Kriegslieder" (New War
songs), displaying a nationalist and anti-democratic
attitude. Being a personal friend of Emperor Wilhelm II,
Ganghofer's war reports were frequently lauding the emperor
and his way of conducting the war. Even until shortly before
the German capitulation, he published calls not to give up
fighting. In 1917 he and his friend Ludwig Thoma joined the
far-right German Fatherland Party which dissolved in the
Revolution of 1918–19. Heavily criticised by colleagues like
Karl Kraus, lectures of his war-exalting oeuvres provided
him an above average income.
After the end of the war,
Ganghofer returned to his profession as a writer. He
dedicated his last work "Das Land der Bayern in
Farbenphotographie" (The country of Bavaria in coloured
photography) to "His Majesty King Ludwig III of Bavaria in
deepest reverence". Shortly after, Ganghofer died in
Ganghofer's works, in
particular his novels, are still published nowadays. By
2004, an estimated more than 30 million copies of his works
were sold. Besides, Ganghofer is one of the German writers
whose works were filmed utmost, especially during the
Heimatfilm era after World War II. His homeland novels
earned Ganghofer the reputation as a "world of good" writer.
His works which describe the life of simple, competent,
honest people are often seen as Kitsch – not at least
because most of them are staged against the background of an
idyllic Bavarian Alps scenery.
The Song of
Hiawatha is an 1855 epic poem, in trochaic
Longfellow Henry Wadsworth
featuring a Native American hero. Longfellow's sources
for the legends and ethnography found in his poem were
the Ojibwe Chief Kahge-ga-gah-bowh during his visits at
Longfellow's home; Black Hawk and other Sac and Fox
Indians Longfellow encountered on Boston Common; Algic
Researches (1839) and additional writings by Henry Rowe
Schoolcraft, an ethnographer and United States Indian
agent; and Heckewelder's Narratives. In sentiment,
scope, overall conception, and many particulars,
Longfellow's poem is a work of American Romantic
literature, not a representation of Native American oral
tradition. Longfellow insisted, "I can give chapter and
verse for these legends. Their chief value is that they
are Indian legends."
Longfellow had originally
planned on following Schoolcraft in calling his hero
Manabozho, the name in use at the time among the Ojibwe of
the south shore of Lake Superior for a figure of their
folklore, a trickster-transformer. But in his journal entry
for June 28, 1854, he wrote, "Work at 'Manabozho;' or, as I
think I shall call it, 'Hiawatha'—that being another name
for the same personage." Hiawatha was not "another name for
the same personage" (the mistaken identification of the
trickster figure was made first by Schoolcraft and
compounded by Longfellow), but a probable historical figure
associated with the founding of the League of the Iroquois,
the Five Nations then located in present-day New York and
Pennsylvania. Because of the poem, however, "Hiawatha"
became the namesake for towns, schools, trains and a
telephone company in the western Great Lakes region, where
no Iroquois nations historically resided.
plot The poem was published on November 10, 1855, and
was an immediate success. In 1857, Longfellow
calculated that it had sold 50,000 copies.
Longfellow chose to
set The Song of Hiawatha at the Pictured Rocks, one
of the locations along the south shore of Lake
Superior favored by narrators of the Manabozho
stories. The Song presents a legend of Hiawatha and
his lover Minnehaha in 22 chapters (and an
Introduction). Hiawatha is not introduced until
In Chapter I,
Hiawatha's arrival is prophesied by a "mighty"
peace-bringing leader named Gitche Manito.
Chapter II tells a
legend of how the warrior Mudjekeewis became Father
of the Four Winds by slaying the Great Bear of the
mountains, Mishe-Mokwa. His son Wabun, the East
Wind, falls in love with a maiden whom he turns into
the Morning Star, Wabun-Annung. Wabun's brother,
Kabibonokka, the North Wind, bringer of autumn and
winter, attacks Shingebis, "the diver". Shingebis
repels him by burning firewood, and then in a
wrestling match. A third brother, Shawondasee, the
South Wind, falls in love with a dandelion,
mistaking it for a golden-haired maiden.
Minnehaha, by Edmonia Lewis, marble, 1868,
collection of the Newark Museum.
In Chapter III, in
"unremembered ages", a woman named Nokomis falls from the
moon. Nokomis gives birth to Wenonah, who grows to be a
beautiful young woman. Nokomis warns her not to be seduced
by the West Wind (Mudjekeewis) but she does not heed her
mother, becomes pregnant and bears Hiawatha.
In the ensuing chapters,
Hiawatha has childhood adventures, falls in love with
Minnehaha, slays the evil magician Pearl-Feather, invents
written language, discovers corn and other episodes.
Minnehaha dies in a severe winter.
The poem closes with the
approach of a birch canoe to Hiawatha's village, containing
"the Priest of Prayer, the Pale-face." Hiawatha welcomes him
joyously; and the "Black-Robe chief" brings word of Jesus
Christ. Hiawatha and the chiefs accept the Christian
message. Hiawatha bids farewell to Nokomis, the warriors,
and the young men, giving them this charge: "But my guests I
leave behind me/ Listen to their words of wisdom,/ Listen to
the truth they tell you." Having endorsed the Christian
missionaries, he launches his canoe for the last time
westward toward the sunset and departs forever.
The story of Hiawatha was
dramatized by Tale Spinners for Children (UAC 11054) with
Much of the scholarship on The Song of Hiawatha in
the twentieth century, dating to the 1920s, has
concentrated on its lack of fidelity to Ojibwe
ethnography and literary genre rather than the poem
as a literary work in its own right. In addition to
Longfellow’s own annotations, Stellanova Osborn (and
previously F. Broilo in German) tracked down
"chapter and verse" for every detail Longfellow took
from Schoolcraft. Others have identified words from
native languages included in the poem.
Schoolcraft as a "textmaker"
seems to have been inconsistent in his pursuit of
authenticity, as he justified rewriting and
censoring sources. The folklorist Stith Thompson,
although crediting Schoolcraft's research with being
a "landmark," was quite critical of him:
"Unfortunately, the scientific value of his work is
marred by the manner in which he has reshaped the
stories to fit his own literary taste."
in scope, The Song of Hiawatha was described by its
author as "this Indian Edda".
But Thompson judged that despite Longfellow's
claimed "chapter and verse" citations, the work "produce[s]
a unity the original will not warrant," i.e., it is
non-Indian in its totality.
Hiawatha, by Edmonia Lewis, marble,
1868, Newark Museum.
Thompson found close parallels
in plot between the poem and its sources, with the major
exception that Longfellow took legends told about multiple
characters and substituted the character "Hiawatha" as the
protagonist of them all. Resemblances between the original
stories, as "reshaped by Schoolcraft," and the episodes in
the poem are but superficial, and Longfellow omits important
details essential to Ojibwe narrative construction,
characterization, and theme. This is the case even with
"Hiawatha’s Fishing," the episode closest to its source. Of
course, some important parts of the poem were more or less
Longfellow’s invention from fragments or his imagination.
"The courtship of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, the least ‘Indian’
of any of the events in ‘Hiawatha,’ has come for many
readers to stand as the typical American Indian tale." Also,
"in exercising the function of selecting incidents to make
an artistic production, Longfellow . . . omitted all that
aspect of the Manabozho saga which considers the culture
hero as a trickster," this despite the fact that Schoolcraft
had already diligently avoided what he himself called
book on the development of the image of the Indian in
American thought and literature, Pearce wrote about The Song
of Hiawatha: "It was Longfellow who fully realized for
mid-nineteenth century Americans the possibility of [the]
image of the noble savage. He had available to him not only
[previous examples of] poems on the Indian . . . but also
the general feeling that the Indian belonged nowhere in
American life but in dim prehistory. He saw how the mass of
Indian legends which Schoolcraft was collecting depicted
noble savages out of time, and offered, if treated right, a
kind of primitive example of that very progress which had
done them in. Thus in Hiawatha he was able, matching legend
with a sentimental view of a past far enough away in time to
be safe and near enough in space to be appealing, fully to
image the Indian as noble savage. For by the time Longfellow
wrote Hiawatha, the Indian as a direct opponent of
civilization was dead, yet was still heavy on American
consciences . . . . The tone of the legend and ballad…would
color the noble savage so as to make him blend in with a dim
and satisfying past about which readers could have dim and
"Hiawatha's Friends", an
illustration by Frederick Remington for the poem, 1889.
There is virtually no connection, apart from name, between
Longfellow's hero and the sixteenth-century Iroquois chief
Hiawatha who co-founded the Iroquois League. Longfellow took
the name from works by Schoolcraft, which he acknowledged as
his main sources. In his notes to the poem, Longfellow cites
Schoolcraft as a source for
"a tradition prevalent
among the North American Indians, of a personage of
miraculous birth, who was sent among them to clear their
rivers, forests, and fishing-grounds, and to teach them the
arts of peace. He was known among different tribes by the
several names of Michabou, Chiabo, Manabozo, Tarenyawagon,
Longfellow's notes make no
reference to the Iroquois or the Iroquois League or to any
However, according to
ethnographer Horatio Hale (1817–1896), there was a
longstanding confusion between the Iroquois leader Hiawatha
and the Iroquois deity Aronhiawagon because of "an
accidental similarity in the Onondaga dialect between [their
names]." The deity, he says, was variously known as
Aronhiawagon, Tearonhiaonagon, Taonhiawagi, or Tahiawagi;
the historical Iroquois leader, as Hiawatha, Tayonwatha or
Thannawege. Schoolcraft "made confusion worse ... by
transferring the hero to a distant region and identifying
him with Manabozho, a fantastic divinity of the Ojibways.
[Schoolcraft's book] has not in it a single fact or fiction
relating either to Hiawatha himself or to the Iroquois deity
In 1856, Schoolcraft
published The Myth of Hiawatha and Other Oral Legends
Mythologic and Allegoric of the North American Indians,
reprinting (with a few changes) stories previously published
in his Algic Researches and other works. Schoolcraft
dedicated the book to Longfellow, whose work he praised
The U.S. Forest Service has
said that both the historical and poetic figures are the
sources of the name for the Hiawatha National Forest.
Indian words recorded by
Longfellow cites the Indian words he used as from the works
by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. The majority of the words were
Ojibwa, with a few from the Dakota, Cree and Onondaga
Though the majority of the
Native American words included in the text accurately
reflect pronunciation and definitions, some words seem to
appear incomplete. For example, the Ojibway words for
"blueberry" are miin (plural: miinan) for the berries and
miinagaawanzh (plural: miinagaawanzhiig) for the bush upon
which the berries grow. Longfellow uses Meenah'ga, which
appears to be a partial form for the bush, but he uses the
word to mean the berry. Critics believe such mistakes are
likely attributable to Schoolcraft (who was often careless
about details) or to what always happens when someone who
does not understand the nuances of a language and its
grammar tries to use select words out of context.
the Finnish Kalevala
The Song of Hiawatha was written in trochaic
tetrameter, the same meter as Kalevala, the Finnish
epic compiled by Elias Lönnrot from fragments of
folk poetry. Longfellow had learned some of the
Finnish language while spending a summer in Sweden
in 1835. It is likely that, 20 years later,
Longfellow had forgotten most of what he had learned
of that language, and he referred to a German
translation of the Kalevala by Franz Anton Schiefner.
Trochee is a rhythm natural to the Finnish
language—insofar as all Finnish words are normally
accented on the first syllable—to the same extent
that iamb is natural to English. Longfellow’s use of
trochaic tetrameter for his poem has an
artificiality that the Kalevala does not have in its
He was not the first
American poet to use the trochaic (or tetrameter) in
writing Indian romances. Schoolcraft had written a
romantic poem, Alhalla, or the Lord of Talladega
(1843) in trochaic tetrameter, about which he
commented in his preface:
"The meter is
thought to be not ill adapted to the Indian mode of
enunciation. Nothing is more characteristic of their
harangues and public speeches, than the vehement yet
broken and continued strain of utterance, which
would be subject to the charge of monotony, were it
not varied by the extraordinary compass in the
stress of voice, broken by the repetition of high
and low accent, and often terminated with an
exclamatory vigor, which is sometimes startling.
It is not the less in accordance with these traits
that nearly every initial syllable of the measure
chosen is under accent.
Hiawatha and Minnehaha sculpture by Jacob Fjelde
near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This at least may be affirmed,
that it imparts a movement to the narrative, which, at the
same time that it obviates languor, favors that repetitious
rhythm, or pseudo-parallelism, which so strongly marks their
highly compound lexicography."
Longfellow wrote to his friend
Ferdinand Freiligrath (who had introduced him to Finnische
Runen in 1842) about the latter's article, "The Measure of
Hiawatha" in the prominent London magazine, Athenaeum
(December 25, 1855): "Your article . . . needs only one
paragraph more to make it complete, and that is the
statement that parallelism belongs to Indian poetry as well
to Finnish… And this is my justification for adapting it in
Hiawatha." Trochaic is not a correct descriptor for Ojibwe
oratory, song, or storytelling, but Schoolcraft was writing
long before the study of Native American linguistics had
come of age. Parallelism is an important part of Ojibwe
Reception and influence A short
extract of 94 lines from the poem was and still is
frequently anthologized under the title Hiawatha's
Childhood (which is also the title of the longer
234-line section from which the extract is taken).
This short extract is the most familiar portion of
It is this short extract that begins with the famous
By the shores of Gitche
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
In August 1855, The New York Times carried an item
on "Longfellow's New Poem", quoting an article from
another periodical which said that it "is very
original, and has the simplicity and charm of a
Saga... it is the very antipodes [sic] of Alfred
Lord Tennyson's Maud, which is . . . morbid,
irreligious, and painful."
In October of that year, the New York Times noted
that "Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha is nearly
printed, and will soon appear."
Bufford's cover for "The Death of Minnehaha, 1856.
By November its column,
"Gossip: What has been most Talked About during the Week,"
observed that "The madness of the hour takes the metrical
shape of trochees, everybody writes trochaics, talks
trochaics, and think [sic] in trochees: ...
way, the rise in Erie
Makes the bears as cross as thunder."
"Yes sir-ree! And Jacob's losses,
I've been told, are quite enormous..."
Parodies emerged instantly.
The New York Times reviewed a parody of Hiawatha four days
before reviewing Longfellow's Hiawatha. Pocahontas: or the
Gentle Savage was a comic extravaganza which included
extracts from an imaginary Viking poem, "burlesquing the
recent parodies, good, bad, and indifferent, on The Song of
Hiawatha." The Times quoted:
Whence this song of Pocahontas,
With its flavor of tobacco,
And the stincweed [sic] Old Mundungus,
With the ocho of the Breakdown,
With its smack of Bourbonwhiskey,
With the twangle of the Banjo,
Of the Banjo—the Goatskinner,
And the Fiddle—the Catgutto...
The New York Times review of The Song of Hiawatha was
scathing. The anonymous reviewer wrote the poem "is entitled
to commendation" for "embalming pleasantly enough the
monstrous traditions of an uninteresting, and, one may
almost say, a justly exterminated race. As a poem, it
deserves no place" because there "is no romance about the
Indian." He complains that Hiawatha's deeds of magical
strength pall by comparison to the feats of Hercules and to
"Finn Mac Cool, that big stupid Celtic mammoth." The
reviewer writes that "Grotesque, absurd, and savage as the
groundwork is, Mr. LONGFELLOW has woven over it a profuse
wreath of his own poetic elegancies." But, he concludes,
Hiawatha "will never add to Mr. LONGFELLOW's reputation as a
Death of Minnehaha by William de Leftwich Dodge, 1885.
Thomas Conrad Porter, a
professor at Franklin and Marshall College, believed that
Longfellow had been inspired by more than the metrics of the
Kalevala. He claimed The Song of Hiawatha was "Plagiarism"
in the Washington National Intelligencer of November 27,
1855. Longfellow wrote to his friend Charles Sumner a few
days later: "As to having 'taken many of the most striking
incidents of the Finnish Epic and transferred them to the
American Indians'—it is absurd". Longfellow also insisted in
his letter to Sumner that, "I know the Kalevala very well,
and that some of its legends resemble the Indian stories
preserved by Schoolcraft is very true. But the idea of
making me responsible for that is too ludicrous." Later
scholars continued to debate the extent to which The Song of
Hiawatha borrowed its themes, episodes, and outline from the
critics, the poem was immediately popular with readers and
continued so for many decades; the 1911 Encyclopædia
Britannica noted that "The metre is monotonous and easily
ridiculed, but it suits the subject, and the poem is very
popular." Early modernist poets mocked it and, in the
twentieth century, the poem lost both esteem and popularity.
The Grolier Club named The Song of Hiawatha the most
influential book of 1855. Lydia Sigourney was inspired by
The Song of Hiawatha to write a similar epic poem on
Pocahontas, though she never completed it.
Marie Corelli (1 May
1855 – 21 April 1924) was a British novelist. She
enjoyed a period of great literary success from the
publication of her first novel in 1886 until World War
I. Corelli's novels sold more copies than the combined
sales of popular contemporaries, including Arthur Conan
Doyle, H. G. Wells, and Rudyard Kipling, although
critics often derided her work as "the favourite of the
pseudonym of Mary Mackay (born 1855, London,
Eng.—died April 21, 1924, Stratford-upon-Avon,
Warwick), best-selling English author of more than
20 romantic melodramatic novels.
Her first book, A Romance of Two Worlds (1886),
dealt with psychic experience—a theme in many of her
Her first major success was Barabbas: A Dream of the
World’s Tragedy (1893), in which her treatment of
the Crucifixion was designed to appeal to popular
The Sorrows of Satan (1895), also based on a
melodramatic treatment of a religious theme, had an
even wider vogue. Throughout her immensely
successful career, she was accused of sentimentality
and poor taste. Later in life she played an at times
controversial role in efforts to preserve historic
buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Sir Arthur Wing
Pinero, (born May 24, 1855, London—died Nov. 23, 1934,
London), a leading playwright of the late Victorian and
Edwardian eras in England who made an important
contribution toward creating a self-respecting theatre
by helping to found a “social” drama that drew a
fashionable audience. It is his farces—literate,
superbly constructed, with a precise, clockwork
inevitability of plot and a brilliant use of
coincidence—that have proved to be of lasting value.
Sir Arthur Wing
Born into an English
family descended from Portuguese Jews, Pinero
abandoned legal studies at age 19 to become an
actor; and, though still a young man, he played
older character parts for the leading theatre
company headed by Henry Irving. His first play, £200
a Year, was produced in 1877. His best farces, such
as The Magistrate (1885), The Schoolmistress (1886),
and Dandy Dick (1887), were written for the Royal
Court Theatre in London. They combine wildly
improbable events with likable characters and a
consistently amusing style. Pinero was at the same
time studying serious drama by adapting plays from
the French (including The Iron Master, 1884, and
Mayfair, 1885) and also mining a profitable vein of
sentiment of his own, as in The Squire (1881) and
Sweet Lavender (1888).
Seriousness and sentiment fused in The Profligate
(1889) and—most sensationally—in The Second Mrs.
Tanqueray (1893), which established Pinero as an
important playwright. This was the first of several
plays depicting women battling with their situation
in society. These plays not only created good parts
for actresses but also demanded sympathy for women,
who were judged by stricter standards than men in
Victorian society. In a less serious vein, Trelawny
of the “Wells” (written for the Royal Court Theatre
and produced in 1898) portrayed theatrical company
life in the old style of the 1860s—already then a
vanishing tradition—and The Gay Lord Quex (1899) was
about a theatrical rake of no placeable period but
having great panache. Pinero was knighted in 1909.
Maud and other
poems was Alfred Tennyson's (Tennyson Alfred)
first collection after becoming poet laureate in 1850,
published in 1855. Among the "other poems" was "The
Charge of the Light Brigade", which had already been
published in the Examiner a few months before. It was
considered a disgrace to society in the early days of
its release and was banned for eight and a half years,
until popular demand made it available to read once
more. The ban was reportedly commissioned due to
suggestive themes and supposedly biased opinions toward
the current government opposition, which were later
confirmed false by Tennyson, while also expressing his
own judgement on the whole event as "a bit of a joke".
The poem was inspired by Charlotte Rosa Baring, younger
daughter of William Baring (1779-1820) and Frances Poulett-Thomson
(d. 1877). Frances Baring married, secondly, Arthur Eden
(1793-1874), Assistant-Comptroller of the Exchequer, and
they lived at Harrington Hall, Spilsby, Lincolnshire, which
is the garden of the poem (also referred to as "the Eden
where she dwelt" in Tennyson's poem "The Gardener's
The first part of the poem dwells on the funeral of
the protagonist's father, and a feeling of loss and
lament prevails; then Maud is the prevailing theme.
At first the narrator is somewhat antagonistic
towards Maud and is unsure whether she is teasing
him; he feels Maud is unfit to be a wife. Later the
narrator falls passionately in love with Maud and
this transforms the narrative into a pastoral,
dwelling on her beauty.
The appearance of Maud's brother causes conflict.
Maud's brother favours a collier who is seen as an
upstart as his family have been rich for only three
generations, and forbids Maud to contact the
narrator. The brother goes to London for a week,
giving the narrator a chance to court Maud, but on
his return he arranges a ball, invites the collier
and leaves the narrator out. During the ball the
poet waits for Maud in the garden, leading to the
famous line "Come into the garden, Maud". Early in
the morning Maud comes out. Shortly afterwards
Maud's brother also comes out and strikes the
narrator. The poet kills him in an unnarrated duel.
The narrator is
forced to flee to France where he learns later that
Maud has also died. The reason is unclear, but one
suspects a broken heart. Maud's death impacts on the
psychological state of the protagonist, and an
emotional longing for contact with the deceased
echoes the tones of In Memoriam. The distressed poet
loses his sanity for a while and imagines that he
himself is dead.
The poem ends in
Part III, with the poet, apparently restored to
sanity, leaving to fight in the Crimean War;
parallels may be drawn between the death of Maud's
brother, and the apparently justified killing of
soldiers in war.
Title page from the
Interpretation of Maud
The interpretation of Maud is complicated by the compromised
position of the narrator: the emotional instability of the
poet. This is expressed through a variety of poetic meters
and forms as well as a proto-cinematic cycling of imagery.
The puzzle of the outside sphere of Maud, for example, the
point of view of Maud herself, remains unresolved. The poem
is a distorted view of a single reality, and the variation
in meter can be seen to reflect the manic-depressive
emotional tone of the speaker. While the poem was Tennyson's
own favourite (he was known very willingly to have recited
the poem in its entirety on social occasions), it was met
with much criticism in contemporary circles.
In Maud, Tennyson returns
to the poetry of sensation, and dwells on a consciousness
constituted of fragments of feeling. He deliberately denies
an autonomous voice, and the ending is deeply ironic. The
complex of feeling is ephemeral, and the culmination of
these feelings ends in the unsatisfactory conclusion of the
Crimean War. Tennyson is expressing the feelings of an age
where identity, intellect and modernity were contentious
issues. He does not offer a clear, linear answer. The
chivalric style of the love-poem is combined with a
contemporary cynicism, and so the Victorian tendency to look
to remote cultures (here, medievalism) is insufficient. The
interweaving of death and life images gives expression to
the greater concern for the afterlife, and the movement of
the human race into a different age from past monuments.
The well-known song "Come
into the garden, Maud" appears at the end of the first part
The Warden is
the first novel in Anthony Trollope's (Trollope Anthony)
series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire",
published in 1855. It was his fourth novel.
The Warden concerns Mr Septimus Harding, the meek,
elderly warden of Hiram's Hospital and precentor of
Barchester Cathedral, in the fictional county of
Hiram's Hospital is
an almshouse supported by a medieval charitable
bequest to the Diocese of Barchester. The income
maintains the almshouse itself, supports its twelve
bedesmen, and, in addition, provides a comfortable
abode and living for its warden. Mr Harding was
appointed to this position through the patronage of
his old friend the Bishop of Barchester, who is also
the father of Archdeacon Grantly to whom Harding's
older daughter, Susan, is married. The warden, who
lives with his remaining child, an unmarried younger
daughter Eleanor, performs his duties
The story concerns
the impact upon Harding and his circle when a
zealous young reformer, John Bold, launches a
campaign to expose the disparity in the
apportionment of the charity's income between its
object, the bedesmen, and its officer, Mr Harding.
John Bold embarks on this campaign in a spirit of
public duty despite his romantic involvement with
Eleanor and previously cordial relations with Mr
Harding. Bold starts a lawsuit and Mr Harding is
advised by the indomitable Dr Grantly, his
son-in-law, to stand his ground.
Bold attempts to
enlist the support of the press and engages the
interest of The Jupiter (a newspaper representing
The Times) whose editor, Tom Towers, pens editorials
supporting reform of the charity, and presenting a
portrait of Mr Harding as selfish and derelict in
his conduct of his office.
Title page from the
This image is taken up by
commentators Dr Pessimist Anticant, and Mr Popular
Sentiment, who have been seen as caricatures of Thomas
Carlyle and Charles Dickens respectively.
Ultimately, despite much
browbeating by his son-in-law, the Archdeacon, and the legal
opinion solicited from the barrister, Sir Abraham Haphazard,
Mr Harding concludes that he cannot in good conscience
continue to accept such generous remuneration and resigns
the office. John Bold, who has appealed in vain to Tom
Towers to redress the injury to Mr Harding, returns to
Barchester where he marries Eleanor after halting legal
Those of the bedesmen of
the hospital who have allowed their appetite for greater
income to estrange them from the warden are reproved by
their senior member, Bunce, who has been constantly loyal to
Harding whose good care and understanding heart are now lost
to them. At the end of the novel the bishop decides that the
wardenship of Hiram's Hospital be left vacant, and none of
the bedesmen are offered the extra money despite the vacancy
of the post. Mr Harding, on the other hand, becomes Rector
of St. Cuthbert's, a small parish near the Cathedral Close,
drawing a much smaller income than before.
Characters of the
Septimus Harding, the quiet, music-loving Warden of
Hiram's Hospital, who has two daughters and is also
the precentor of Barchester Cathedral. He becomes
the centre of a dispute concerning his substantial
income as the hospital's warden.
Archdeacon Grantly, Mr Harding's indefatigable
son-in-law, married to Susan Harding. The
archdeacon's father is the Bishop of Barchester. He
does not agree with John Bold and stands opposed to
his father-in-law relinquishing his office.
Mrs Susan Grantly, Mr Harding's elder daughter and
the Archdeacon's wife.
John Bold, a young surgeon, a zealous church
reformer. He is interested in Eleanor Harding and
later drops the suit.
Mary Bold, John Bold's sister and friend to Eleanor.
Eleanor Harding, the romantic interest of John Bold,
who is Mr Harding's younger daughter.
Abraham Haphazard, a London barrister of high
Tom Towers, the editor of the influential newspaper,
The Jupiter. He writes an editorial deploring
Harding as a greedy clergyman who receives more than
he deserves in a sinecure post.
Bunce, the senior bedesman at Hiram's Hospital, who
supports Mr Harding retaining his position.
In 1951, it was adapted as a BBC television
mini-series, broadcast live and apparently never
In 1982 the BBC
adapted The Warden and its sequel, Barchester
Towers, into the miniseries The Barchester
Of seven hour-long episodes, the first two are drawn
from The Warden, the rest from the much longer
George Orwell called the novel "probably the most
successful" of Trollope's "clerical series", and
"one of his best works" but noted that Trollope,
though a shrewd critic, was no reformer.
"A time-honoured abuse, he held, is frequently less
bad than its remedy. He builds Archdeacon Grantly up
into a thoroughly odious character, and is well
aware of his odiousness, but he still prefers him to
John Bold, and the book contains a scarcely veiled
attack on Charles Dickens, whose reforming zeal he
found it hard to sympathise with."
in Russian) is the first novel by
famous Russian writer best known for his short stories
and the novel Fathers and Sons. Turgenev started to work
on it in 1855, and it was first published in the
literary magazine "Sovremennik" in 1856; several changes
were made by Turgenev in subsequent editions. It is
perhaps the least known of Turgenev’s novels.
Rudin was the first of
Turgenev’s novels, but already in this work the topic of the
superfluous man and his inability to act (which became a
major theme of Turgenev's literary work) was explored.
Similarly to other Turgenev’s novels, the main conflict in
Rudin was centred on a love story of the main character and
a young, but intellectual and self-conscious woman who is
contrasted with the main hero (this type of female character
became known in literary criticism as «тургеневская девушка»,
Rudin was written by Turgenev in the immediate
aftermath of the Crimean War, when it became obvious
to many educated Russians that reform was needed.
The main debate of Turgenev's own generation was
that of Slavophiles versus Westernizers.
Rudin depicts a typical man of this generation
(known as 'the men of forties'), intellectual but
ineffective. This interpretation of the superfluous
man as someone who possesses great intellectual
ability and potential, but is unable to realize them
stems from Turgenev’s own view of human nature,
expressed in his 1860 speech ‘Hamlet and Don
Quixote’, where he contrasts egotistical Hamlet, too
deep in reflection to act, and enthusiastic and
un-thinking, but active Don Quixote. The main
character of the novel, Rudin, is easily identified
suggest that the image of Rudin was at least partly
autobiographical. Turgenev himself maintained the
character was a "fairly faithful" portrait of the
anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, whom the author knew
well. Alexander Herzen, who knew both men, said in
his memoirs that the vacillating Rudin had more in
common with the liberal Turgenev than the
appearance at Lasunskaya's,
by Dmitry Kardovsky
Rudin is often compared to
Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin and Lermontov’s Pechorin. The latter
two are considered to be representations of their
generations (‘men of twenties’ and ‘men of thirties’
respectively) as Rudin is considered to be a representation
of his generation; the three literary works featuring these
characters share many similarities in structure and all
three characters are routinely referred to as ‘superfluous
men’ (whether the term is applicable to all three has been a
subject of scholarly debate).
For a long time, Turgenev
was unsure of the genre of Rudin, publishing it with a
subtitle of ‘novella’. In 1860, it was published together
with two other novels, but in the three editions of
Turgenev’s Works that followed it was grouped with short
stories. In the final, 1880, edition it was again placed at
the head of the novels. The theme of the superfluous man in
love was further explored in Turgenev’s subsequent novels,
culminating in Fathers and Sons.
Dmitrii Nikolaevich Rudin The main
protagonist of the novel. Rudin is a well-educated,
intellectual and extremely eloquent nobleman. His
finances are in a poor state and he is dependent on
others for his living. His father was a poor member
of the gentry and died when Rudin was still very
young. He was brought up by his mother who spent all
the money she had on him, and was educated at Moscow
University and abroad in Germany, at Heidelberg and
Berlin (Turgenev himself studied in Berlin). When he
first appears in the novel, he is described as
follows: “A man of about thirty-five […] of a tall,
somewhat stooping figure, with crisp curly hair and
swarthy complexion, an irregular but expressive and
intelligent face.[…] His clothes were not new, and
were somewhat small, as though he had outgrown
them.” In the course of the novel he lives at Dar’ya
Mikhailovna’s estate and falls in love with her
This love is the main conflict of the novel. His
eloquence earns him the respect of the estate's
inhabitants, but several other characters display a
strong dislike of him, and during the course of the
novel it becomes apparent that he is “almost a Titan
in word and a pigmy in deed” — that is, despite his
eloquence he cannot accomplish what he talks of.
Rudin after their decisive
encounter, by Dmitry Kardovsky
Also referred to as Natasha. Natasha is a seventeen-year-old
daughter of Dar’ya Mikhailovna. She is observant, well-read
and intelligent, but also quite secretive. While her mother
thinks of her as a good-natured and well-mannered girl, she
is not of a high opinion about her intelligence, and quite
wrongly. She also thinks Natasha is ‘cold’, emotionless, but
in the beginning of Chapter Five we are told by the narrator
that “Her feelings were strong and deep, but reserved; even
as a child she seldom cried, and now she seldom even sighed
and only grew slightly pale when anything distressed her.”
She engages in intellectual conversations with Rudin (which
are not discouraged by her mother because she thinks that
these conversations “improve her mind”); Natasha thinks
highly of Rudin, who confides to her his ideas and
“privately gives her books”, and soon falls in love with
him. She also often compels him to apply his talents and
act. Natasha is often thought of as the first of 'Turgenev
maids' to feature in Turgenev's fiction.
A female landowner at whose estate most of the events of the
novel happen. She is the widow of a privy councillor, “a
wealthy and distinguished lady”. While she is not very
influential in St Petersburg, let alone Europe, she is
notorious in Moscow society as “a rather eccentric woman,
not wholly good-natured, but excessively clever.” She is
also described as a beauty in her youth, but “not a trace of
her former charms remained.” She shuns the society of local
female landowners, but receives many men. Rudin at first
gains her favour, but she is very displeased when she finds
out about Rudin’s and Natasha’s love. That said, her opinion
of Natasha is far from being correct.
A rich local landowner, generally thought to be a
“queer creature” and described in Chapter One as
having the appearance of “a huge sack of flour”.
Lezhnev is about thirty years old, and seldom visits
Dar’ya Mikhailovna (more often than before as the
novel progresses), but is often found at
Aleksandra’s Pavlovna Lipina’s house; he is friends
both with her and her brother, Sergei. He was
orphaned at the age of seventeen, lived at his
aunt’s and studied together with Rudin at Moscow
University, where they were members of the same
group of intellectual young men and was good friends
with him; he also knew him abroad, but began to
dislike him there as “Rudin struck [Lezhnev] in his
Lezhnev is in fact in love with Aleksandra and in
the end marries her. His character is often
contrasted to Rudin’s as he is seen as everything a
superfluous man is not – he is intelligent, but in a
more practical way, and while he does not do
anything exceptional, he doesn’t want to either.
Seeley writes, that “he concentrates on doing the
jobs that lie to hand – running his estate, raising
a family – and these he does very competently.
Beyond them he does not look.” Lezhnev also acts as
Rudin’s biographer – he is the one who tells the
reader about Rudin’s life prior to his appearance at
Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s. He first describes Rudin in
extremely unfavourable terms, but in the end he is
also the one who admits Rudin's “genius” in certain
areas of life.
Also a local landowner, she is the first of major
characters to be presented in the novel. She is
described as “a widow, childless, and fairly well
off”; we first see her visiting an ill peasant
woman, and also find out that she maintains a
hospital. She lives with her brother Sergei, who
manages her estate, and visits Dar’ya Mikhailovna
sometimes (less often as the novel progresses).
Dar’ya Mikhailovna describes her as “a sweet
creature […] a perfect child […] an absolute baby”,
although the question remains of how well Dar’ya
Mikhailovna can judge people. At first, she thinks
very highly of Rudin and defends him against Lezhnev,
but as the novel progresses she seems to side with
his view of Rudin. In the end, she marries Lezhnev
and seems to be an ideal partner for him.
Aleksandra’s brother. He is a retired cavalry
officer and manages his sister’s estate. At the
beginning of the novel he is a frequent guest at
Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s, because he is in love with
Natasha. He takes a great dislike to Rudnev, whom he
sees as far too intelligent and, quite rightly, a
dangerous rival. He is also slighted by Rudin when
the latter comes to inform him of his mutual love
with Natasha (with the best intentions). He is
generally shown as a pleasant, if not very
intellectual person, and is good friends with
Konstantin Diomidych Pandalevskii
Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s secretary, a young man of
affected manners. He is a flatterer and appears to
be a generally dishonest and unpleasant person. He
doesn’t appear to play an important role in the
novel apart from being a satirical image.
Described as “a strange person full of acerbity
against everything and every one”, Pigasov
frequently visits Dar’ya Mikhailovna prior to
Rudin’s appearance and amuses her with his bitter
remarks, mostly aimed at women. Coming from a poor
family, he educated himself, but never rose above
the level of mediocrity. He failed his examination
in public disputation, in government service he made
a mistake which forced him to retire. His wife later
left him and sold her estate, on which he just
finished building a house, to a speculator. Since
then he lived in the province. He is the first
victim of Rudin’s eloquence, as at Rudin’s first
appearance he challenged him to a debate and was
defeated easily. He ends up living with Lezhnev and
Tutor to Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s younger sons. He is
completely captivated by Rudin and seems to be
inspired by him. Basistov is interesting in that he
is the first example of an intellectual from the
raznochinets background (Bazarov and Raskol’nikov
are among later, more prominent fictional heroes
from this background). He also serves as an example
of how Rudin is not completely useless since he can
inspire people such as Basistov, who can then act in
a way impossible for Rudin.
The novel begins with the introduction of three of the
characters – Aleksandra, Lezhnev, and Pandalevskii.
Pandalevskii relates to Aleksandra Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s
invitation to come and meet a Baron Muffel’. Instead of the
Baron, Rudin arrives and captivates everyone immediately
with his intelligent and witty speeches during the argument
with Pigasov. Interestingly, Rudin’s arrival is delayed
until Chapter Three. After his success at Dar’ya
Mikhailovna’s, he stays the night and the next morning meets
Lezhnev who arrives to discuss some business affairs with
Dar’ya Mikhailovna. This is the first time the reader finds
out that Rudin and Lezhnev are acquainted, and studied
together at university. During the day that follows Rudin
has his first conversation with Natasha; as she speaks of
him highly and says he “ought to work”, he replies with a
lengthy speech. What follows is a description quite typical
of Turgenev, where the character of Rudin is shown not
through his own words, but through the text which underlines
Rudin’s contradictory statements:
“Yes, I must act. I must
not bury my talent, if I have any; I must not squander my
powers on talk alone — empty, profitless talk — on mere
words,’ and his words flowed in a stream. He spoke nobly,
ardently, convincingly, of the sin of cowardice and
indolence, of the necessity of action.”
On the same day, Sergei leaves Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s early
and arrives to see that Lezhnev is visiting. Lezhnev then
gives his first description of Rudin.
Rudin at the
barricades, by Dmitry Kardovsky
Rudin and Natasha In two
months, we are told, Rudin is still staying at
Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s, living off borrowed money. He
spends a lot of time with Natasha; in a conversation
with her he speaks of how an old love can only be
replaced by a new one. At the same time, Lezhnev
gives the account of his youth and his friendship
with Rudin, making for the first time the point that
Rudin is “too cold” and inactive. On the next day,
Natasha quizzes Rudin over his words about old and
new love. Neither she, nor he confess their love for
each other but in the evening, Rudin and Natasha
meet again, and this time Rudin confesses his love
for her; Natasha replies that she, too, loves him.
Unfortunately, their conversation is overheard by
Pandalevskii, who reports it to Dar’ya Mikhailovna,
and she strongly disapproves of this romance, making
her feelings known to Natasha. The next time Natasha
and Rudin meet, she tells him that Dar’ya
Mikhailovna knows of their love and disapproves of
it. Natasha wants to know what plan of action is
Rudin going to propose, but he does not fulfil her
expectations when he says that one must “submit to
destiny”. She leaves him, disappointed and sad:
“I am sad because I
have been deceived in you… What! I come to you for
counsel, and at such a moment! — and your first word
is, submit! submit! So this is how you translate
your talk of independence, of sacrifice, which …”
Rudin then leaves Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s estate.
Before his departure he writes two letters: one to
Natasha and one to Sergei. The letter to Natasha is
particularly notable in its confession of the vices
of inactivity, inability to act and to take
responsibility for one’s actions – all the traits of
a Hamlet which Turgenev later detailed in his 1860
speech. Lezhnev, meanwhile, asks Aleksandra to marry
him and is accepted in a particularly fine scene.
The Aftermath Chapter
Twelve and the Epilogue detail events of over two
years past Rudin’s arrival at Dar’ya Mikhailovna’s
estate. Lezhnev is happily married to Aleksandra. He
arrives to give her news of Sergei’s engagement to
Natasha, who is said to “seem contented”. Pigasov
lives with Lezhnevs, and amuses Aleksandra as he
used to amuse Dar’ya Mikhailovna. A conversation
which follows happens to touch on Rudin, and as
Pigasov begins to make fun of him, Lezhnev stops
him. He then defends Rudin’s “genius” while saying
that his problem is that he had no “character” in
him. This, again, refers to the superfluous man’s
inability to act. He then toasts Rudin.
The chapter ends with the description of Rudin
travelling aimlessly around Russia. In the Epilogue,
Lezhnev happens by chance to meet Rudin at a hotel
in a provincial town. Lezhnev invites Rudin to dine
with him, and over the dinner Rudin relates to
Lezhnev his attempts to “act” – to improve an estate
belonging to his friend, to make a river navigable,
to become a teacher. In all three of this attempts
Rudin demonstrated inability to adapt to the
circumstances of Nicholas I’s Russia, and
subsequently failed, and was in the end banished to
his estate. Lezhnev then appears to change his
opinion of Rudin as inherently inactive, and says
that Rudin failed exactly because he could never
stop striving for truth. The Epilogue ends with
Rudin’s death at the barricades during the French
Revolution of 1848; even at death he is mistaken by
two fleeing revolutionaries for a Pole.
Rudin was adapted for screen in 1976. The 95
minutes-long Soviet-made movie was directed by
Konstantin Voynov. The cast included Oleg Yefremov,
Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, and Rolan Bykov.
Leaves of Grass
is a poetry collection by the American poet
(1819–1892). Though the first edition was
published in 1855, Whitman spent most of his
professional life writing and re-writing Leaves of
Grass, revising it multiple times until his death. This
resulted in vastly different editions over four
decades—the first a small book of twelve poems and the
last a compilation of over 400 poems.
The poems of Leaves of Grass
are loosely connected and each represents Whitman's
celebration of his philosophy of life and humanity. This
book is notable for its discussion of delight in sensual
pleasures during a time when such candid displays were
considered immoral. Where much previous poetry, especially
English, relied on symbolism, allegory, and meditation on
the religious and spiritual, Leaves of Grass (particularly
the first edition) exalted the body and the material world.
Influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalist
movement, itself an offshoot of Romanticism, Whitman's
poetry praises nature and the individual human's role in it.
However, much like Emerson, Whitman does not diminish the
role of the mind or the spirit; rather, he elevates the
human form and the human mind, deeming both worthy of poetic
With one exception, the
poems do not rhyme or follow standard rules for meter and
line length. Among the poems in the collection are "Song of
Myself", "I Sing the Body Electric", "Out of the Cradle
Endlessly Rocking". Later editions included Whitman's elegy
to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs
Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd".
Leaves of Grass has its genesis in an essay called
The Poet by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in 1844,
which expressed the need for the United States to
have its own new and unique poet to write about the
new country's virtues and vices. Whitman, reading
the essay, consciously set out to answer Emerson's
call as he began work on the first edition of Leaves
of Grass. Whitman, however, downplayed Emerson's
influence, stating, "I was simmering, simmering,
simmering; Emerson brought me to a boil".
On May 15, 1855, Whitman registered the title Leaves
of Grass with the clerk of the United States
District Court, Southern District of New Jersey, and
received its copyright. The first edition was
published in Brooklyn at the Fulton Street printing
shop of two Scottish immigrants, James and Andrew
Rome, whom Whitman had known since the 1840s, on
July 4, 1855. Whitman paid for and did much of the
typesetting for the first edition himself. The book
did not include the author's name, instead offering
an engraving by Samuel Hollyer depicting the poet in
work clothes and a jaunty hat, arms at his side.
Early advertisements for the first edition appealed
to "lovers of literary curiosities" as an oddity.
Sales on the book were few but Whitman was not
The first edition
was very small, collecting only twelve unnamed poems
in 95 pages. Whitman once said he intended the book
to be small enough to be carried in a pocket. "That
would tend to induce people to take me along with
them and read me in the open air: I am nearly always
successful with the reader in the open air."
age 35, frontispiece to Leaves of Grass. Steel
engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost
daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison
About 800 were printed, though
only 200 were bound in its trademark green cloth cover. The
only American library known to have purchased a copy of the
first edition was in Philadelphia. The poems of the first
edition, which were given titles in later issues, were "Song
of Myself", "A Song for Occupations", "To Think of Time",
"The Sleepers", "I Sing the Body Electric", "Faces", "Song
of the Answerer", "Europe: The 72d and 73d Years of These
States", "A Boston Ballad", "There Was a Child Went Forth",
"Who Learns My Lesson Complete?" and "Great Are the Myths".
The title Leaves of Grass
was a pun. "Grass" was a term given by publishers to works
of minor value and "leaves" is another name for the pages on
which they were printed.
Whitman sent a copy of the
first edition of Leaves of Grass to Emerson, the man who had
inspired its creation. In a letter to Whitman, Emerson said
"I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom
America has yet contributed." He went on, "I am very happy
in reading it, as great power makes us happy."
Republications There have
been held to be either six or nine editions of
Leaves of Grass, the count depending on how a given
scholar distinguishes between issues and editions.
Scholars who hold that an edition is an entirely new
set of type will count the 1855, 1856, 1860, 1867,
1871–72, and 1881. Others add in the 1876, 1888–89,
and 1891-92 (the "deathbed edition").
It was Emerson's
positive response to the first edition that inspired
Whitman to quickly produce a much-expanded second
edition in 1856, now 384 pages with a cover price of
a dollar. This edition included a phrase from
Emerson's letter, printed in gold leaf: "I Greet You
at the Beginning of a Great Career." Emerson later
took offense that this letter was made public and
would become more critical of the work.
The publishers of
the 1860 edition, Thayer and Eldridge, declared
bankruptcy shortly after its publication and were
almost unable to pay Whitman. "In regard to money
matters", they wrote, "we are very short ourselves
and it is quite impossible to send the sum". Whitman
received only $250 and the original plates made
their way to Boston publisher Horace Wentworth.
When the 456-page book was finally issued, Whitman
said, "It is quite 'odd', of course", referring to
its appearance: it was bound in orange cloth with
symbols like a rising sun with nine spokes of light
and a butterfly perched on a hand. Whitman claimed
that the butterfly was real in order to foster his
image as being 'one with nature'. In fact, the
butterfly was made of cloth; it was attached to his
finger with wire.
the 1883 edition of
Leaves of Grass.
The 1867 edition was intended
to be, according to Whitman, "a new & much better edition of
Leaves of Grass complete — that unkillable work!" He assumed
it would be the final edition. The edition, which included
the Drum-Taps section and its Sequel and the new Songs
before Parting, was delayed when the binder went bankrupt
and its distributing firm failed. When it was finally
printed, it was a simple edition and the first to omit a
picture of the poet.
In 1879, Richard Worthington purchased the electrotype
plates and began printing and marketing unauthorized copies.
The eighth edition in 1889
was little changed from the 1881 version, though it was more
embellished and featured several portraits of Whitman. The
biggest change was the addition of an "Annex" of
miscellaneous additional poems.
As 1891 came to a close, Whitman prepared a final
edition of Leaves of Grass, writing to a friend upon
its completion, "L. of G. at last complete — after
33 y'rs of hackling at it, all times & moods of my
life, fair weather & foul, all parts of the land,
and peace & war, young & old". This last version of
Leaves of Grass was published in 1892 and is
referred to as the "deathbed edition". In January
1892, two months before Whitman's death, an
announcement was published in the New York Herald:
Walt Whitman wishes
respectfully to notify the public that the book
Leaves of Grass, which he has been working on at
great intervals and partially issued for the past
thirty-five or forty years, is now completed, so to
call it, and he would like this new 1892 edition to
absolutely supersede all previous ones. Faulty as it
is, he decides it as by far his special and entire
self-chosen poetic utterance.
By the time this
last edition was completed, Leaves of Grass had
grown from a small book of 12 poems to a hefty tome
of almost 400 poems. As the volume changed, so did
the pictures that Whitman used to illustrate
them—the last edition depicts an older Whitman with
a full beard and jacket, appearing more
sophisticated and wise.
Whitman's collection of poems in Leaves of Grass is
usually interpreted according to the individual
poems contained within its individual editions. The
editions were of varying length, each one larger and
augmented from the previous version, until the final
edition reached over 400 poems.
Discussion is often focused also upon the major
editions of Leaves of Grass often associated with
the very early respective versions of 1855 and 1856,
to the 1860 edition, and finally to editions very
late in Whitman's life which also included the
significant Whitman poem When Lilacs Last in the
Dooryard Bloom'd. The 1855 edition is particularly
notable for the inclusion of the two poems Song of
Myself and The Sleepers.
The 1856 edition included the notable Whitman poem
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. In the 1860 edition,
Whitman further added the major poems A Word Out of
the Sea and As I Ebb'd With the Ocean of Life. The
specific interpretation of many of Whitman's major
poems may be found in the articles associated with
those individual poems.
Song of Myself, Whitman emphasized an all-powerful
"I" who serves as narrator. The "I" tries to relieve
both social and private problems by using powerful
affirmative cultural images.
The emphasis on American
culture helped reach Whitman's intention of creating a
distinctly American epic poem comparable to the works of
Homer. Originally written at a time of significant
urbanization in America, Leaves of Grass responds to the
impact urbanization has on the masses. However, the title
metaphor of grass indicates a pastoral vision of rural
The poem When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd is
Whitman's elegy to Lincoln after his death.
and controversy When the
book was first published, Whitman was fired from his
job at the Department of the Interior after
Secretary of the Interior James Harlan read it and
said he found it offensive. Poet John Greenleaf
Whittier was said to have thrown his 1855 edition
into the fire. Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote, "It
is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote Leaves
of Grass, only that he did not burn it afterwards."
Critic Rufus Wilmot Griswold reviewed Leaves of
Grass in the November 10, 1855, issue of The
Criterion, calling it "a mass of stupid filth" and
categorized its author as a filthy free lover.
Griswold also suggested, in Latin, that Whitman was
guilty of "that horrible sin not to be mentioned
among Christians", one of the earliest public
accusations of Whitman's homosexuality. Griswold's
intensely negative review almost caused the
publication of the second edition to be suspended.
Whitman included the full review, including the
innuendo, in a later edition of Leaves of Grass.
An early review of the
first publication focused on the persona of the
anonymous poet, calling him a loafer "with a certain
air of mild defiance, and an expression of pensive
insolence on his face". Another reviewer viewed the
work as an odd attempt at reviving old
Transcendental thoughts, "the speculations of that
school of thought which culminated at Boston fifteen
or eighteen years ago." Emerson approved of the work
in part because he considered it a means of reviving
Transcendentalism, though even he urged Whitman to
tone down the sexual imagery in 1860.
On March 1, 1882,
Boston district attorney Oliver Stevens wrote to
Whitman's publisher, James R. Osgood, that Leaves of
Grass constituted "obscene literature". Urged by the
New England Society for the Suppression of Vice, his
letter said: "We are of the opinion that this book
is such a book as brings it within the provisions of
the Public Statutes respecting obscene literature
and suggest the propriety of withdrawing the same
from circulation and suppressing the editions
Leaves of Grass
(Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, year 85 of the States,
(New York Public Library)
Stevens demanded the removal
of the poems "A Woman Waits for Me" and "To a Common
Prostitute", as well as changes to "Song of Myself", "From
Pent-Up Aching Rivers", "I Sing the Body Electric",
"Spontaneous Me", "Native Moments", "The Dalliance of the
Eagles", "By Blue Ontario's Shore", "Unfolded Out of the
Folds", "The Sleepers" and "Faces".
Whitman rejected the
censorship, writing to Osgood, "The list whole & several is
rejected by me, & will not be thought of under any
circumstances." Osgood refused to republish the book and
returned the plates to Whitman when suggested changes and
deletions were ignored. The poet found a new publisher, Rees
Welsh & Company, which released a new edition of the book in
1882. Whitman believed the controversy would increase sales,
which proved true. Though banned by retailers like
Wanamaker's in Philadelphia, this version went through five
editions of 1,000 copies each. Its first printing, released
on July 18, sold out in a day.
Not all responses were
negative, however. Critic William Michael Rossetti
considered Leaves of Grass a classic along the lines of the
works of William Shakespeare and Dante Alighieri. A woman
from Connecticut named Susan Garnet Smith wrote to Whitman
to profess her love for him after reading Leaves of Grass
and even offered him her womb should he want a child. Though
he found much of the language "reckless and indecent",
critic and editor George Ripley believed "isolated portions"
of Leaves of Grass radiated "vigor and quaint beauty".
Whitman firmly believed he
would be accepted and embraced by the populace, especially
the working class. Years later, he would regret not having
toured the country to deliver his poetry directly by
lecturing. "If I had gone directly to the people, read my
poems, faced the crowds, got into immediate touch with Tom,
Dick, and Harry instead of waiting to be interpreted, I'd
have had my audience at once," he claimed.
In popular culture
Leaves of Grass plays a prominent role in the AMC TV series
Breaking Bad. For example, episode 5.8 - titled "Gliding
Over All" after poem 271 in the book - pulls together many
of the series' references to Leaves of Grass, such as the
fact that the main character, Walter White, has the same
initials as Walt Whitman (as noted in episode 4.4, "Bullet
Points", and made more salient in "Gliding Over All").
Numerous reviewers have analyzed and discussed the various
connections among Walt Whitman/Leaves of Grass/"Gliding Over
All", the character Walter White, and the show Breaking Bad.
Leaves of Grass plays a major
role in the John Green novel Paper Towns. The 1989 film Dead
Poets Society makes repeated references to the poem O
Captain! My Captain! from Leaves of Grass, along with other
references to Whitman himself.
American singer Lana Del
Rey references Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass in her song
"Body Electric" from her 2012 EP Paradise. She also quotes
some verses from Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric" in her
2013 short mini movie Tropico.
Te Deum (Op. 22 / H.118) by Hector Berlioz (Berlioz Hector)
was completed in 1849.
It, like the earlier
and more famous Grande Messe des Morts, is one of
the works referred to by Berlioz in his Memoirs as
"the enormous compositions which some critics have
called architectural or monumental music." While the
orchestral forces required for the Te Deum are by no
means as titanic as those of the Requiem, the work
does call for an organ which can compete on equal
terms with the rest of the orchestra. It lasts
approximately fifty minutes and derives its text
from the traditional Latin Te Deum, although Berlioz
made some changes to word order for dramatic
Background and premiere
The Te Deum was originally conceived as the climax
of a grand symphony celebrating Napoleon Bonaparte.
The finished work was dedicated to Albert, Prince
Consort, husband of Queen Victoria.
Some of the material used by Berlioz in the piece
was originally written for his Messe Solennelle of
1824, thought to have been destroyed by the composer
but rediscovered in 1991.
The first performance of the work was on 30 April
1855, at the Church of Saint-Eustache, Paris;
Berlioz conducted an ensemble of 900 or 950
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
1883 vocal score of the Berlioz
Berlioz - Te Deum Op.
Te Deum Op. 22
1. Te Deum 8:09
2. Tibi omnes 9:56
3. Dignare 8:50
4. Christe, rex gloriae 5:18
5. Te ergo quaesumus 7:35
6. Judex crederis 12:19
Les vepres siciliennes (The Sicilian
Vespers) is a grand opéra in five acts by the Italian romantic
composer Verdi Giuseppe set to a French libretto by Eugène Scribe
and Charles Duveyrier from their work Le duc d'Albe, which was
written in 1838. Les vêpres followed immediately after Verdi's three
great mid-career masterpieces, Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La
traviata of 1850 to 1853 and was first performed at the Paris Opéra
on 13 June 1855.
Today it is better-known in its
post-1861 Italian version as I vespri siciliani and it is
occasionally performed. The story is based on a historical event,
the Sicilian Vespers of 1282, using material drawn from the medieval
Sicilian tract Lu rebellamentu di Sichilia.
After Verdi's first grand opera for the Paris Opéra—that being his
adaptation of I Lombardi in 1847 given under the title of Jérusalem
- the composer had wanted to write a completely new grand opera for
the company, the appeal being the same as that which influenced all
Italian composers of the day: the challenges of a form different
from that of their homeland and the ability to appeal to an audience
which welcomed novelty. Verdi began discussions with the
Opéra but negotiations were stalled by the 1848 revolutions and the
composer broke them off for a period of time. It was not until
February 1852 (while Il trovatore was still being prepared) that he
returned to Paris and entered into a contract to write an opera, the
libretto to be prepared by Scribe, who was given a deadline for a
"treatment" to be delivered on 30 June 1853 with rehearsals to
begin in mid-1854 and the opera staged in November/December of that
year. Verdi was guaranteed the choice of suitable artists as well as
forty performances in the ten months following the premiere.
In July 1852, Verdi had written to
Scribe outlining his hopes:
I should like, I need a subject
that is grandiose, impassioned and original; a mise-en-scene that is
imposing and overwhelming. I have consistently in view so many of
those magnificent scene to be found in your poems ... Indeed, these
scenes are miracles! But you work them so often that I hope you will
work one for me.
Verdi: "Les Vepres Siciliennes"
When Scribe missed his July 1853
deadline, Verdi went to Paris to negotiate directly and it was then
that the librettist proposed a solution, using a revised version of
the libretto for Le duc d'Albe, one which had been written about
20 years before at the height of the French grand opera tradition
and which had previously been offered to Halevy (who refused it) and
to Donizetti (who partly set it to music in 1839 under the original
title). Verdi raised many objections, many of these being
outlined in a letter from Scribe to Duveyrier of December 1853.
They included a change of location, of characters' names, certain
specific situations (there being no beer halls in Sicily, for
example), plus a demand for a "standard" fifth act to make it
equivalent to Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots or Le Prophète
Verdi: "Les Vepres Siciliennes"
However, this "meant that Verdi was
writing his first (original) opéra at a point at which the genre was
in a state of flux". Musicologist Julian Budden adds: "In opting
for the grandest possible scale, Verdi was running against the
current of fashion" (which he notes had significantly shifted in the
months and years following the 1848 uprising, so that the country
was now firmly in the epoch of Napoleon III, meaning "that the
social foundation on which [grand opera] rested was now
Verdi spent 1854 forcing Scribe to
make revisions while writing the music, "complaining about the sheer
length demanded by audiences at the Opéra". Overall, it was a
frustrating time for the composer, especially in dealing with
Scribe's 5th act. The librettist was unresponsive to Verdi's pleas
for revisions, until finally, he was forced in late 1854 (with no
premiere in sight and the mysterious disappearance from rehearsals
of Sophie Cruvelli, who sang Hélène) to write to the Opera's
director, Louis Crosnier: "To avoid the catastrophe that menaces us
... I see but one means and I do not hesitate to propose it:
dissolution of the contract". However, Verdi persevered and was
present at the June 1855 premiere having now spent something close
to two years in Paris working on the opera.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giuseppe Verdi - Les Vepres Siciliennes - Ouverture
- Claudio Abbado (2002)
Overture to "I Vespri Siciliani" ("The Sicilian Vespers") by
Giuseppe Verdi. The Berliner Philharmoniker, Emmanuel Pahud, flute,
under the leadership of Claudio Abbado, Palermo, 2002
Ernest Chausson, in
full Amédée-Ernest Chausson (born Jan. 21, 1855, Paris,
France—died June 10, 1899, Limay), composer whose small
body of compositions has given him high rank among
French composers of the late 19th century.
After obtaining a
doctorate degree in law, Chausson entered the Paris
Conservatory in 1879 for a course of study with
Jules Massenet and César Franck.
At this time he also began visiting Munich and
Bayreuth, where he saw Richard Wagner’s operas Der
fliegende Holländer (1843; The Flying Dutchman),
Tristan und Isolde (1865), and in 1882, the premiere
of Parsifal. These encounters with the works of
Wagner greatly expanded his musical universe, until
then confined largely to French operatic and sacred
For the remainder
of his life Chausson quietly cultivated his art as a
composer, supported by a modest inheritance.
Determined to counter any imputations of amateurism,
he laboured persistently over his scores and
presided over a salon where professional musicians
of many sorts could be found, including the young
composers Claude Debussy and Isaac Albéniz, pianist
Alfred-Denis Cortot, and violinist Eugène Ysaÿe.
Eager to promote French music, he served for several
years as secretary of the Société Nationale de
Musique, while also offering enthusiastic support to
younger French composers.
As a true member of
the Franck circle, Chausson cultivated a style that
became dramatic and richly chromatic, while also
maintaining a certain reserve that was an enduring
feature of French taste.
This can be seen in his
large-scale productions, such as the Poème de l’amour et de
la mer for solo voice and orchestra (1882–90; revised 1893),
the Poème for solo violin and orchestra (1896), and his
Symphony in B-flat Major (1889–90). For his opera Le Roi
Arthus (1895; first performed 1903), Chausson, in Wagnerian
fashion, composed his own libretto and incorporated a system