Literary Pioneers: Early American Explorers of European Culture

Literary Pioneers: Early American Explorers of European Culture

Literary Pioneers: Early American Explorers of European Culture

Literary Pioneers: Early American Explorers of European Culture

Excerpt

One of the most important contributions to American intellectual life in the nineteenth century resulted from the romantic impulse which impelled a group of aspiring young scholars to pursue their studies in foreign countries. George Ticknor and Edward Everett, as students at the University of Göttingen, were the earliest of the pioneers in this movement. In the course of years they were followed by Joseph Green Cogswell, George Bancroft, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Motley, and others of distinction. Their return to pursuits in various fields of knowledge in this country lent a powerful impetus to the progress of learning and to the enrichment of our cultural development. The purpose of this volume is to record the many interesting relationships which these internationally minded men experienced in Europe, especially in Germany, and to show the part which they played afterwards in the advancement of American life. The revelation is found principally in their journals and correspondence, which furnish many parallels of impressions.

The materials were gathered from manuscripts and other available sources in the Harvard University Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana in the Yale Library, the Library of the University of Göttingen, and the British Museum. To these institutions I wish to express my gratitude for their unfailing courtesy and kindness. I am also especially indebted to Mr. Philip Dexter and to Miss Rose Dexter for the privilege of using valuable materials in their possession, particularly the manuscript journals of Ticknor's European travels, and to Mrs. Joseph G. Thorp and to Mr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana, who generously placed at my disposal all the manuscripts and other treasures in Craigie House. To Mrs. Charles P. Parker, Mrs. James O. Watson, Mrs. David G. Haskins, and Mrs. Edward Cogswell I am under obligations for various ma-

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