Whittier, John Greenleaf. (1807 - 1892).
L i f e
- son of devout and industrious Quaker farmers
- unable to afford college education
> sympathised with honourable labour and enforced poverty
W o r k
A b o l i t i o n i s t W r i t i n g :
- always sympathised with the persecuted and oppressed: historically the Indians, then the Afro-Americans
- became an abolitionist poet, editor, and political activist
- devoted 30 years to a moderate struggle to defeat slavery: believed in reform rather than war
- encouraged by his life-long friend William Lloyd Garrison
- edited several abolitionist newspapers, including The National Era
- represented the state of Massachusetts at the first meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society
Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolition Question (1837)
Lays of My Home (1843)
Voices of Freedom (1846)
Song of Labour and Other Poems (1850)
The Chapel of the Hermits and Other Poems (1853)
The Panorama and Other Poems (1856):
R u s t i c W r i t i n g :
- a Massachusetts rustic poet and novelist
- poetises rustic values of simplicity, independence, and moral certitude
- throws a graceful veil of poetry and legend over his country
- inspired by homely stories heard in childhood and by intercourse with country people
< W. Irving
Legends of New England (1831):
- mingles reflective verse on New England’s rustic life x prose pieces on local country lore
Moll Pitcher (1832) and Mogg Megone (1836):
= volumes of poetry on New England’s past
- universally considered his most significant poem
- shows his regard for domestic life and simple experience of the men and women about him
- offers in simple and sincere terms an idyllic vision of the American life to comfort the war-torn nation
(Whittier in 1885. Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorJohn Greenleaf Whittier. (1807 - 1892). American.
WorkAbolitionist. Poet. Novelist. One of the Schoolroom Poets.
GenresAbolitionism. Regionalism. Folklore.
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, / The saddest are these: 'It might have been'"!
From "Maud Muller" (1856).