The Relation of Literature to Life
87 pages

The Relation of Literature to Life


Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres
87 pages
Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres


Project Gutenberg's Relation of Literature to Life, by Charles Dudley WarnerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Relation of Literature to LifeAuthor: Charles Dudley WarnerRelease Date: December 6, 2004 [EBook #3117]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RELATION OF LITERATURE TO LIFE ***Produced by David WidgerTHE RELATION OF LITERATURE TO LIFEBy Charles Dudley WarnerCONTENTS:BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY. THE RELATION OF LITERATURE TO LIFEBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHThe county of Franklin in Northwestern Massachusetts, if not rivaling in certain ways the adjoining Berkshire, has still aromantic beauty of its own. In the former half of the nineteenth century its population was largely given up to the pursuit ofagriculture, though not under altogether favorable conditions. Manufactures had not yet invaded the region either to addto its wealth or to defile its streams. The villages were small, the roads pretty generally wretched save in summer, andfrom many of the fields the most abundant crop that could be gathered was that of stones.The character of the people conformed in many ways to that of the soil. The houses which lined the opposite sides of thesingle street, of which the petty places largely consisted, as ...



Publié par
Publié le 08 décembre 2010
Nombre de lectures 26
Langue English


Project Gutenberg's Relation of Literature to Life,by Charles Dudley WarnerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Relation of Literature to LifeAuthor: Charles Dudley WarnerRelease Date: December 6, 2004 [EBook #3117]Language: English*E*B* OSTOAK RRT EOLAF TTIOHINS  OPFR OLIJTEECRTA TGUURTEE NTBOE LRIGFE ***Produced by David Widger
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHThe county of Franklin in NorthwesternMassachusetts, if not rivaling in certain ways theadjoining Berkshire, has still a romantic beauty ofits own. In the former half of the nineteenth centuryits population was largely given up to the pursuit ofagriculture, though not under altogether favorableconditions. Manufactures had not yet invaded theregion either to add to its wealth or to defile itsstreams. The villages were small, the roads prettygenerally wretched save in summer, and frommany of the fields the most abundant crop thatcould be gathered was that of stones.The character of the people conformed in manyways to that of the soil. The houses which lined theopposite sides of the single street, of which thepetty places largely consisted, as well as thedwellings which dotted the country, were thehomes of men who possessed in fullness many ofthe features, good and bad, that characterized thePuritan stock to which they belonged. There was agood deal of religion in these rural communitiesand occasionally some culture. Still, as a rule, itmust be confessed, there would be found in themmuch more of plain living than of high thinking.Broad thinking could hardly be said to exist at all.By the dwellers in that region Easter had scarcelyeven been heard of; Christmas was tolerated aftera fashion, but was nevertheless looked upon with agood deal of suspicion as a Popish invention. In the
beliefs of these men several sins not mentioned inthe decalogue took really, if unconsciously,precedence of those which chanced to be found inthat list. Dancing was distinctly immoral; card-playing led directly to gambling with all its attendantevils; theatre-going characterized the conduct ofthe more disreputable denizens of great cities.Fiction was not absolutely forbidden; but the mostlenient regarded it as a great waste of time, andthe boy who desired its solace on any large scalewas under the frequent necessity of seeking theseclusion of the haymow.But however rigid and stern the beliefs of menmight be, nature was there always charming, notonly in her summer beauty, but even in her wildestwinter moods. Narrow, too, as might be the viewsof the members of these communities about theconduct of life, there was ever before the minds ofthe best of them an ideal of devotion to duty, anearnest all-pervading moral purpose whichimplanted the feeling that neither personal successnor pleasure of any sort could ever afford evenremotely compensation for the neglect of the leastobligation which their situation imposed. It was nomisfortune for any one, who was later to betransported to a broader horizon and more genialair, to have struck the roots of his being in a soilwhere men felt the full sense of moral responsibilityfor everything said or done, and where theconscience was almost as sensitive to thesuggestion of sin as to its actual accomplishment.It was amidst such surroundings that Charles
Dudley Warner was born on the 12th ofSeptember, 1829. His birthplace was the hill townof Plainfield, over two thousand feet above thelevel of the sea. His father, a farmer, was a man ofcultivation, though not college-bred. He died whenhis eldest son had reached the age of five, leavingto his widow the care of two children. Three yearslonger the family continued to remain on the farm.But however delightful the scenery of the countrymight be, its aesthetic attractions did notsufficiently counterbalance its agriculturaldisadvantages. Furthermore, while the summerswere beautiful on this high table land, the winterswere long and dreary in the enforced solitude of athinly settled region. In consequence, the farm wassold after the death of the grandfather, and thehome broken up. The mother with her two children,went to the neighboring village of Charlemont onthe banks of the Deerfield. There the elder sontook up his residence with his guardian andrelative, a man of position and influence in thecommunity, who was the owner of a large farm.With him he stayed until he was twelve years old,enjoying all the pleasures and doing all themiscellaneous jobs of the kind which fall to the lotof a boy brought up in an agricultural community.The story of this particular period of his life wasgiven by Warner in a work which was publishedabout forty years later. It is the volume entitled"Being a Boy." Nowhere has there been drawn atruer or more vivid picture of rural New England.Nowhere else can there be found such a portrayalof the sights and sounds, the pains and pleasures
of life on a farm as seen from the point of view of aboy. Here we have them all graphicallyrepresented: the daily "chores" that must be lookedafter; the driving of cows to and from the pasture;the clearing up of fields where vegetation struggledwith difficulty against the prevailing stones; theclimbing of lofty trees and the swaying back andforth in the wind on their topmost boughs; thehunting of woodchucks; the nutting excursions ofNovember days, culminating in the glories ofThanksgiving; the romance of school life, overwhich vacations, far from being welcomed withdelight, cast a gloom as involving extra work; thecold days of winter with its deep or drifting snows,the mercury of the thermometer clinging withfondness to zero, even when the sun was shiningbrilliantly; the long chilling nights in which the frostcarved fantastic structures on the window-panes;the eager watching for the time when the sapwould begin to run in the sugar-maples; theevenings given up to reading, with the inevitableinward discontent at being sent to bed too early;the longing for the mild days of spring to come,when the heavy cowhide boots could be discarded,and the boy could rejoice at last in the covering forhis feet which the Lord had provided. These andscores of similar descriptions fill up the picture ofthe life furnished here. It was nature's own schoolwherein was to be gained the fullest intimacy withher spirit. While there was much which she couldnot teach, there was also much which she alonecould teach. From his communion with her the boylearned lessons which the streets of crowded citiescould never have imparted.
At the age of twelve this portion of his educationcame to an end. The family then moved toCazenovia in Madison county in Central New York,from which place Warner's mother had come, andwhere her immediate relatives then resided. Untilhe went to college this was his home. There heattended a preparatory school under the directionof the Methodist Episcopal Church, which wasstyled the Oneida Conference Seminary. It was atthis institution that he fitted mainly for college; forto college it had been his father's dying wish thathe should go, and the boy himself did not need thespur of this parting injunction. A college near hishome was the excellent one of Hamilton in the notdistant town of Clinton in the adjoining county ofOneida. Thither he repaired in 1848, and as he hadmade the best use of his advantages, he wasenabled to enter the sophomore class. He wasgraduated in 1851.But while fond of study he had all these years beendoing something besides studying. The means ofthe family were limited, and to secure theeducation he desired, not only was it necessary tohusband the resources he possessed, but toincrease them in every possible way. Warner hadall the American boy's willingness to undertake anyoccupation not in itself discreditable. Hence to himfell a full share of those experiences which havediversified the early years of so many men whohave achieved success. He set up type in aprinting office; he acted as an assistant in abookstore; he served as clerk in a post-office. He
pwearss tohnus s ofe aarlll yc lbarsosuegsh ta inndt oc odinredictti ocnosn toaf clitf ew.ithThe experience gave to his keenly observant mindan insight into the nature of men which was to beof special service to him in later years. Further, itimparted to him a familiarity with their opinions andhopes and aspirations which enabled him tounderstand and sympathize with feelings in whichhe did not always share.During the years which immediately followed hisdeparture from college, Warner led the somewhatdesultory and apparently aimless life of manyAmerican graduates whose future depends upontheir own exertions and whose choice of a career ismainly determined by circumstances. From thevery earliest period of his life he had been fond ofreading. It was an inherited taste. The few bookshe found in his childhood's home would have beenalmost swept out of sight in the torrent, largely oftrash, which pours now in a steady stream into thehumblest household. But the books, though few,were of a high quality; and because they were fewthey were read much, and their contents becamean integral part of his intellectual equipment.Furthermore, these works of the great masters,with which he became familiar, set for him astandard by which to test the value of whatever heread, and saved him even in his earliest years fromhaving his taste impaired and his judgment misledby the vogue of meretricious productions whichevery now and then gain popularity for the time.They gave him also a distinct bent towards making
literature his profession. But literature, howeverpleasant and occasionally profitable as anavocation, was not to be thought of as a vocation.Few there are at any period who have succeededin finding it a substantial and permanent support; atthat time and in this country such a prospect waspractically hopeless for any one. It is no matter ofsurprise, therefore, that Warner, though oftendeviating from the direct path, steadily gravitatedtoward the profession of law.Still, even in those early days his natural inclinationmanifested itself. The Knickerbocker Magazine wasthen the chosen organ to which all young literaryaspirants sent their productions. To it even in hiscollege days Warner contributed to some extent,though it would doubtless be possible now togather out of this collection but few pieces which,lacking his own identification, could be assigned tohim positively. At a later period he contributedarticles to Putnam's Magazine, which began itsexistence in 1853. Warner himself at one time, inthat period of struggle and uncertainty, expected tobecome an editor of a monthly which was to bestarted in Detroit. But before the magazine wasactually set on foot the inability of the person whoprojected it to supply the necessary means forcarrying it on prevented the failure which wouldinevitably have befallen a venture of that sort,undertaken at that time and in that place. Yet heshowed in a way the native bent of his mind bybringing out two years after his graduation fromcollege a volume of selections from English andAmerican authors entitled "The Book of
  • Accueil Accueil
  • Univers Univers
  • Ebooks Ebooks
  • Livres audio Livres audio
  • Presse Presse
  • BD BD
  • Documents Documents