Anglo-American Literary Relations

By George Stuart Gordon | Go to book overview

I
EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE

BEFORE I embark on the subject of these Lectures propriety demands some reference to the history and purpose of the foundation which is responsible, I hope not culpably, for my presence here.

Twenty years ago a British-American Committee, looking round for some memorial to mark the approaching completion, in the year 1914, of one hundred years of peace among the English-speaking peoples, made what seemed to them the surprising discovery that there existed in this country no stated teaching of American History: that in no British University, or any other institution of learning and enlightenment in this island, was any Chair, Lectureship, or other rostrum to be found for the dissemination of truth about the History, Literature, and Institutions of certainly the most numerous, and in some important respects most powerful and impressive portion of the English-speaking world. The Committee, very properly, made the foundation of such a Chair the first article in their programme.

The year 1914, however, proved, on the whole, to be a somewhat unfavourable date for Peace festivities. The War came, and dissolved these conversations. They were revived on the conclusion of Peace, still animated by that passion for centenaries which, through some arithmetical sorcery, exercises, in all departments of life, so powerful a fascination on the modern mind. Only, for the centenary of the Treaty of Ghent, of which few in this country had heard, was now substituted the more significant Tercentenary of the Pilgrim voyage on the Mayflower. This new occasion of Anglo-American fraternity, coloured as it now was by recent companionship in arms, suggested still more

-11-

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Anglo-American Literary Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Prefatory Note 5
  • Contents 8
  • I - Early American LIterature 11
  • II - The Rise of American LIterature 31
  • III - Friendship in Letters 44
  • IV - British Authors in America 62
  • V - British Authors' Copyright 82
  • VI - The LIterary Hopes of America 99
  • Index of Persons 117
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