Monday, August 27, 2007

1789 to 1791

Book of Thel. William Blake. British. 1789. Poetry. Blake's first mystical writing. Theme is death, redemption and eternity. Free verse. Prophetic book.

Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. William Blake. British. 1789/94. Omnipresence of divine love and sympathy vs. the power of evil. Innocence vs. experience. Dualistic thinking is characteristic of Blake.

1790. Philadelphia becomes the capital of the United States in august, but Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton has selected a new national capital site on the banks of the Potomac near the Maryland town of George Town, thus resolving a dispute between North and South.

1790. The Indian Nonintercourse Act passed by Congress forbids taking of lands from Indian tribes without Congressional approval, but Maine, Massachusetts and other states will continue to take Indian lands without such approval.

1790. Congress establishes a patent office to protect inventors.

1790. The population of the U.S. reaches 3,929,000; 95% of it is rural; population density is four to five people per square mile.

Reflections on the French Revolution. Edmund Burke. British. 1790. Nonfiction. Urges reform rather than rebellion to correct social and political abuses. Thought the Glorious and American Revolutions were OK because people were asserting their rights. Saw the French Revolution as breaking the framework of tradition altogether.

Critique of Judgment. Immanuel Kant. German. 1790. Nonfiction. Aesthetic philosophy. Believed that the representation of a thing in art demonstrated partial understanding of the "thing in itself."

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. William Blake. British. 1790. Prose. Attacks eighteenth-century Protestantism for reducing moral complexities to oversimplified formulas. Denies matter as reality, affirms eternal damnation and asserts the right of authority. Doctrine of Contraries: Need "contraries" for progress.

Torquato Tasso. Goethe. German. 1790. Play. Incompatibility of the poet's inner nature with life in the external world.

1791. Louis XVI flees with his family, but he is arrested and returned to Paris with Marie Antoinette and his children.

1791. The Bill of Rights becomes U.S. law December 15, as Virginia ratifies the first 10 amendments to the Constitution drawn up in 1787.

"Tam O'Shanter." Robert Burns. British. 1791. Narrative poetry. Surprises witches and warlocks as they frolic. They chase him but cannot go farther than half way across a stream. He makes it past halfway, but the horse's tail doesn't.

The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. James Boswell. British. 1791. Biography. Boswell's aim was completeness. No detail was too small. Features the brilliance and wit of Johnson's conversation. Boswell was able to transform profusion of detail into a perceptive lifelike portrait. Hawkins is a better source for Johnson's youth. Thrale is better for the intimate domestic life.

Justine. Marquis deSade. French. 1791. Novel. Celebrates a sexually persecuted heroine.

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