Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1839 to 1840

"The Village Blacksmith." HW Longfellow. 1839. Poetry. Describes a New England smithy.

The Charterhouse of Parma. Stendahl. French. 1839. Historical Novel. Post-Napoleonic era. Remarkable analysis of romanticism. From Waterloo to Carthusian monastery.

"Each and All." Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1839. Poetry. Seashore walk. Expression of faith in the oneness of the universe. All parts interdependent.

"The Fall of the House of Usher." Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1839. Story. Sister, supposedly dead, reappears in bloody shroud. Brother, sister fall dead together. House splits.

The Green Mountain Boys. Daniel Pierce Thompson. American. 1839. Novel. Vivid picture of Revolutionary times in Vermont. Central character is Ethan Allen.

1840. Queen Victoria marries her first cousin Albert.

1840. William Henry Harrison wins election to the U.S. presidency.

1840. The World's Anti-Slavery Convention opens at London, but Boston abolitionist William Garrison refuses to attend, protesting the exclusion of women. The U.S. antislavery movement has split into two factions in the past year largely because of Garrison's advocacy of women's rights, including their right to participate in the antislavery movement.

1840. Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin makes no reference to the idea that struck him two years ago when he read the 1798 Malthus Essay on Population. Darwin realized that living creatures in nature must compete with each other for sustenance and that nature kills off those which cannot compete, but he will not commit the notion to paper, even in pencil, for another two years.

1840. A new worldwide cholera epidemic begins. It will kill millions in the next 22 years.

1840. Afternoon tea is introduced by Anna, the duchess of Bedford. The tea interval will become a lasting British tradition.

Two Years Before the Mast. Richard Henry Dana, Jr. American. 1840. Narrative. Brutality of a ship's captain and the sailors' lack of redress. Aroused public opinion and led to legal action; influenced Melville and Conrad.

Sordello. Robert Browning. British. 1840. Poetry. Southern Europe in the 13th century; poet's dilemma: action or song. Tennyson: Poem is obscure. Only understood first and last lines and they are not true.

The Old Curiosity Shop. Charles Dickens. British. 1840. Novel. The adventures of Little Nell who accompanies her grandfather, an obsessive gambler, after he has lost the Curiosity Shop because of gambling.

A Hero of Our Time. Mikhail Lermontov. Russian. 1840. Novel. Young aristocrat in the reign of Tsar Nicholas I, in the 1830s. Serve the state or remain inactive? Aimless willfulness is threat to all he touches. Character of the superfluous man. Psychological analysis.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

1837 to 1839

1837. Buildings and paved streets occupy only one-sixth of Manhattan; the rest remains planted in farms and gardens.

1837. London's Buckingham Palace will be the royal residence of the new queen, Victoria, and her successors.

Twice-Told Tales. Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1837. Stories. "Howe's Masquerade"; "The Grey Champion"; "the Great Carbuncle"; "The Minister's Black Veil."

The French Revolution. Thomas Carlyle. British. 1837. History. Central motif is the nemesis that follows upon oppression of the poor.

Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens. British. 1837/39. Novel. Depicts the world of poverty, crime and workhouse of the 19th century London. Illustrates that poverty breeds crime.

1838. The "underground railway" organized by u.S. abolitionists transports Southern slaves to freedom in Canada, but slaving interests at Philadelphia work on the fears of Irish immigrants and other working people who worry that freed slaves may take their jobs.

1838. The Trail of Tears takes more than 14,000 members of the Cherokee Nation from tribal lands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, 800 miles westward to Indian territory west of the Red River. Escorted with their horses and oxen by troops under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott, the Cherokee journey by wagon and keelboat for anywhere from 93 to 139 days. An estimated 4,000--mostly infants, children and old people--die enroute of a variety of diseases.

1838. Famine kills thousands in the north of Ireland as crops fail.

The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. Edgar A. Poe. American. 1838. Novel. English boy stows away on a whaler; mutiny,savagery, cannibalism, pursuit. In end, emergence of great white figure. Intrigued Melville.

"Ligeia." Edgar A. Poe. American. 1838. Story. Narrator's mysterious dark-haired wife dies after lingering illness. Marries Rowena. She dies. In opium state, he sees corpse of Rowena arise. She has been transformed into Ligeia.

Nicholas Nickleby. Charles Dickens. British. 1838. Novel. Attacks schools and school masters; led to reformation.

"The Divinity School Address." Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1838. Speech. Stressed the divinity of man and the humanity of Christ. Denied miracles. Did not quote scripture. Upheld intuition, rather than ritual, as a means of knowing God. Shocked conservative clergymen.

1839. Charles Goodyear pioneers effective use of rubber.

1839. The first state-supported normal school (teacher's college) is founded at Lexington, MA, through the efforts of Board of Education Secretary Horace Mann.

1839. Baseball rules are devised by West Point cadet Abner Doubleday of Cooperstown, NY. His dicta call for a diamond-shaped field and two teams of nine players each.

Monday, October 29, 2007

1836 to 1837

1836. The Colt six-shooter revolver has an effective range of only 25 to 30 yards, but improved versions will play a major role in the opening of the West. Patented by Hartford, CT, inventor Samuel Colt.

1836. McGuffey's First and Second Readers are compiled for a local publisher by Cincinnati College president William Holmes McGuffey whose Readers will grow to number six in the next fifteen years and will be sold until 1927. They will be used to educate generations of Americans i the virtues of frugality, industry and sobriety.

1836. The Arc de Triomphe ordered by Napoleon in 1806 is completed at Paris.

1836. Some 75% of gainfully employed Americans are engaged in agriculture, down from 83% in 1820.

"Concord Hymn." Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1836. Poetry. "Shot heard round the world."

Pickwick Papers. Charles Dickens. British. 1836. Novel. Contains well known characters and caricatures; insults actually show respect. Letters and manuscripts about club's activities.

"Nature." Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1836. Essay. Nature as commodity, beauty, and discipline. Behind every natural fact, transcendentalist finds a spiritual truth.

Woyzeck. Georg Buchner. German. 1836. Play. Social, economic injustices that led to wife's faithlessness and husband's murder of her. Quick succession of short, meaningful scenes. Treats human agony in pure state.

The Inspector General. Nikolay Gogol. Russian. 1836. Play. Mistaken identity. Run-of-mill civil servant mistaken for Inspector. Goes along. Found out. Leaves town.

1837. Britain's William IV dies and is succeeded by his niece of 18 who will reign as Queen Victoria.

1837. The Seminole leader Osceola is tricked into coming out of the Florida Everglades under a flag of truce and arrested. He will die early next year and most of his tribespeople will be exterminated in the next few years.

1837. A smallpox epidemic along the Missouri River kills 15,000 Indians.

1837. The World's first kindergarten opens at Blankenburg, Thuringia, under the direction of German educator Friedrich Frobel.

1837. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary opens at South Hadley, MA, the first U.S. college for women.

1837. Samuel F. B. Morse gives a public demonstration of his magnetic telegraph and is granted a U.S. patent. His assistant Alfred Lewis Vail devises a Morse Code using dots and dashes to represent letters in place of an earlier system that assigned numbers to letters.

1837. The Pitman shorthand system devised by Englishman Isaac Pitman is the first scientific shorthand system. It is based on phonetics and employs lines, curves, and hooks with contractions and "grammalogues" for frequently occurring words.

1837. Harvard graduate Henry David Thoreau delivers a commencement address that says a man should not work for six days and res on the seventh but rather should work one day and leave six free for the "sublime revelations of nature."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

1834 to 1836

The Last Days of Pompeii. Edward Bulwer-Lytton. British. 1834. Novel. Eruption of Vesuvius allows young Greek lovers to escape to happiness.

1835. A new Seminole War against the whites in Florida Territory begins following the arrest and imprisonment of Osceola.

1835. Democracy in America by French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville notes that "all classes meet continually and no haughtiness at all results from the differences in social position." However, he also warns that the tyranny of the majority is a hazard to democracy.

1835. New York loses 674 buildings Dec. 16 in a $15 million fire that rages out of control.

The Yemassee. Wm. Gilmore Simms. American. 1835. Novel. Conflict between South Carolina Yemassee Indians and British in 1715. Son betrays tribe and is killed by his mother. Helplessness of Indians as they lose their lands to advancing white civilization.

Taras Bulba. Nikolay Golgol. Russian. 1835. Novel. Seventeenth-century wars between Poles and Cossacks in the Ukraine Russian son falls in love with a Pole and deserts; killed by father. Other son and the father are killed by the Poles.

Don Alvaro o la fuerta del sino. Angel Saavedra Rivas. Spanish. 1835. Play. Alvaro accidentally kills father of girl he loves and her two brothers. Before he dies, one brother kills the girl. Alvaro commits suicide.

"Berenice." Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1835. Story. Love for epileptic cousin. Has her teeth drawn when she is presumed dead. She comes to life.

Danton's Death. Georg Buchner. German. 1835. Play. Starkly realistic. Tired, apathetic in beginning; idealistic commitment when he defies Robespierre.

"Young Goodman Brown." Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1835. Story. Young Puritan discovers that all his respected townsmen, even his wife, are in league with Satan.

Kalevala. Elias Lonnrott (compiler). Finnish. 1835/49. Epic Tradition. Finnish national epic. Origin of the world. Adventures of three sons of Kaleva.

1836. The Alamo at San Antonio falls March 6 to a 4,000-man army commanded by Gen. Santa Anna after an 11-day siege. James Bowie and Davy Crockett are among those killed.

1836. "Remember the Alamo" is the battle cry of U.S. Army Col. Sidney Sherman as he helps former Tennessee governor Sam Houston defeat Santa Anna at the b=Battle of San Jacinto.

1836. A new Republic of Texas claims all land between the Rio Grand and Neuces Rivers. Sam Houston is sworn in as president.

1836. Vice-President Martin Van Buren is elected to the presidency with support from outgoing President Jackson.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1833 to 1834

1833. Parliament orders abolition of slavery in the British colonies.

1833. A factory act voted by Parliament forbids employment of children under age 9 and enacts several other reforms.

1833. English mathematician Charles Babbage proposes an "analytical engine," a large-scale digital calculator.

1833. The Oxford Movement to restore High Church traditions of the 17th century in the Church of England. John Henry Newman publishes Tracts for the Times. So much opposition is aroused that Newman will leave the Church of England and become a Roman Catholic.

1833. Oberlin (Ohio) College opens and admits qualified blacks and women, becoming the first coeducational U.S. college.

"The Queen of Spades." Aleksandr Pushkin. Russian. 1833. Story. Calm, matter-of-fact telling of the mental breakdown of a gambler.

Eugenie Grandet. Honore de Balzac. French. 1833. Novel. Father, embodiment of greed and domestic tyranny, condemns his daughter to futile, joyless existence.

Sartor Resartus. Thomas Carlyle. British. 1833. Satire. Idealist finally realizes that the here and actual are the true ideal. "Tailor Retailored."

The County Doctor. Honore de Balzac. French. 1833. Novel. Kindly spirit and indefatigable efforts on behalf of people of his village. Universally beloved.

The Bronze Horseman. Aleksandr Pushkin. Russian. 1833. Poetry. Ordinary individual vs. the power of the state. Curses statue of Peter the Great. Blames him for his fiancee's death.

Tracts for the Times. JH Newman. British. 1833/41 Nonfiction. Designed to arrest the advance of liberalism in religious thought.

"In Memoriam." Alfred Lord Tennyson. British. 1833/50. Poetry. In addition to an elegy for Hallam, themes include the decline of faith, rise of skepticism, and scientific materialism.

1834. A new British Poor Law limits the pay of charitable doles to sick and aged paupers. It establishes workhouses where able-bodied paupers are put to work.

1834. Unskilled U.S. workers demonstrate against abolitionists in fear that they will be displaced by black freemen. Rioting continues for more than a week, and churches and houses are destroyed.

1834. The Spanish Inquisition instituted in the 13th century is finally abolished.

1834. Hansom cabs are introduced in London.

1834. The Braille system of raised point writing devised by French educator Louis Braille gains acceptance throughout the world.

1834. Fire destroys London's Houses of Parliament and part of the city.

Pere Goriot. Honore de Balzac. French. 1834. Novel. Father does everything for his two ungrateful daughters. They don't even attend his funeral.

Monday, October 22, 2007

1831 to 1833

The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Victor Hugo. French. 1831. Romance. Romance of medieval times. Esmeralda; Capt. Phoebus; Frollo; Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer.

Crotchet Castle. Thomas Love Peacock. British. 1831. Novel. Satire on romantic themes. Humorously erudite discussions. Debate on the best period in history.

1832. The "spoils system" in U.S. politics gets its name January 21 in a Senate speech by Sen. William Learned Marcy (NY) who says that he can't see "nothing wrong in the rule that to the victor belongs the spoils." Politicians will continue for decades to name cronies to government jobs and dispense favors that will enrich their friends.

1832. The Democratic-Republican party that has elected every U.S. president since Thomas Jefferson renames itself the Democratic party. Its first national convention has established the two-thirds majority requirement for nomination.

1832. The U.S. Government has exclusive authority over tribal Indians and their lands within any state, rules the Supreme Court.

1832. The Creeks sign a treaty ceding their lands east of the Mississippi to the United States.

1832. The Seminoles in Florida cede their lands to the U.S. in a treaty signed by 15 chiefs who agree to move west of the Mississippi.

1832. Chief Black Hawk in the state of Illinois leads his people back from west of the Mississippi, retakes a village, and begins his 4-month Black Hawk War that ends only when the Illinois militia massacre the warriors at Bad Axe River in Wisconsin Territory.

1832. A modern sewing machine devised by New York inventor Walter Hunt has a needle with an eye in its point that pushes thread through cloth to interlock with a second thread carried by a shuttle. Hunt does not obtain a patent, and when he suggests that his daughter Caroline go into business making corsets with his machine, she will protest that it would put needy seamstresses out of work.

1832. The cholera epidemic that spread through Russia reaches Scotland. Scottish physician Thomas Latta injects saline solution to save the life of a cholera patient and pioneers a new treatment.

1832. English physician Thomas Hodgkin gives the first description of a disease marked by a sarcoma of the lymph nodes. Hodgin's disease will have a fatality rate of about 75% within 5 years of onset.

1832. Domestic Manners of the Americans by English novelist Frances Milton Trollop who says of her subject, "I do not like them. I do not like their principles. I do not like their manners. I do not like their opinions."

Indiana. George Sand. British. 1832. Novel. Heroine, a creole named Indiana, abandons old husband for fascinating young lover.

The Legends of the Alhambra. Washington Irving. American. 1832. Stories. Admirer of Moorish civilization. Clash between the Spaniards and the Moors.

1833. On War by the late Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz is a posthumous work on the science of warfare that will be a classic.

Friday, October 19, 2007

1830 to 1831

Little Tragedies. Aleksandr Pushkin. Russian. 1830. Poetic Drama. Four plays. "Essays of dramatic investigation": characters in four varied situations. Covetous knight : effects of avarice. Feast during the plague: evil effects on human behavior of imminent death. Mozart, Salieri: depicts Salieri's jealousy of Mozart's artistic genius, legendary poisoning. Stone guest: retelling of the Do Juan legend.

Wild Ass's Skin. Honore de Balzac. French. 1830. Novel. Magic skin grants wishes but it and the owner's life grow shorter with each wish.

The Red and the Black. Stendahl. French. 1830. Novel. Plot is romantic. Portrait of hero's inner state is realistic.

Tales of Belkin. Aleksandr Pushkin. Russian. 1830. Stories. Stationmaster is one of the first characters in Russian literature who is not a member of the nobility.

"Old Ironsides." Oliver Wendell Holmes. American. 1830. Poetry. Written when Holmes read of the Navy's plans to scrap the old frigate.

1831. The French Foreign Legion created March 9 serves largely in North Africa, the Middle East and Indo-China. The Legion will attract renegades and fugitives from justice for more than 160 years.

1831. Irish Catholics resort to violence in an armed protest against enforcement of tithes to support the established Episcopal Church.

1831. The Supreme Court rules that an Indian tribe may not sue in federal courts since the tribes are not foreign nations.

1831. Nat turner's rebellion brings panic to the South as whites learn that the Virginia slave has murdered his master and all his master's family in their sleep the night of August 21.

1831. A new London Bridge opens across the Thames to replace the 10th-century structure now being demolished.

1831. English naturalist Charles Darwin embarks on a voyage to South America and the Galapagos Islands aboard the HMS Beagle.

1831. Telegraphy is pioneered by Joseph Henry who sees that an electromagnet can be used to send messages over great distances by wiring the magnet to a switch, turning it on and off to attract and release a piece of iron, and thus producing a pattern of clicks. He does not patent the device or put it to any practical use.

1831. The Barbizon school of French painters holds its first exhibition at Paris. Their rural scenes are based on direct observation of nature.

1831. The McCormick reaper that enables one man to do the work of five is demonstrated by Virginia farmer Cyrus Hall McCormick.

Eugene Onegin. Aleksandr Pushkin. Russian. 1831. Verse Drama. Byronic hero. Bored. In duel kills friend. Hollow, artificial. Ironic narrator. Not interested in woman when she is interested in him. When he is interested in her, she will have none of him.

"The City in the Sea." Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1831. Poetry. Grim landscape. Description of shrine. Melodic.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

1827 to 1830

The Prairie. James F. Cooper. American. 1827. Novel. Death of aged Natty Bumppo. Notable prairie descriptions--from Lewis and Clark. Squatters portend ill for future of democracy. Natty: selfless, noble, disinterested.

Traditiones Perunas. Ricardo Palma. Peru. 1827/1906. Traditions. Covers virtually every aspect of the Peruvian past; history, anecdote, satire.

1828. Andrew Jackson, hero of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, is elected president.

1828. An American Dictionary of the English Language is published after 28 years of work by Noah Webster, now 70, who has studied 26 languages in order to determine the origins of English words. Webster defines nearly 70,000 words, introduces Americanisms, such as revolutionary, skunk, and applesauce, and gives words such as colour and plough American spellings (color, plow).

Fanshawe. Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1828. Novel. Pale, serious student gives Ellen up to a man he knows she loves and then he dies. Influenced by Scott and the Gothic novel. [RayS: Don't waste your time reading it.]

Elsie Dinsmore. Martha (Farquharson) Finley. American. 1829/1909. Novel. Pious little prig who remains a paragon of virtue although persecuted by everyone.

1829. Greece gains her independence from the Ottoman Empire after 4 centuries of Ottoman rule.

1829. At least 75,000 Americans go to prison for debt each year, says the U.S. Prison Discipline Society. More than half owe less than $20.

1829. Photographer Louis Daguerre accidentally discovers the light-sensitivity of silver-iodide. Daguerre finds that an iodized silver plate exposed to light in a camera will produce an image if the plate is fumed with mercury vapor.

1829. London "Bobbies" introduced Sept. 29, make the city's streets safe after dark. Named for Home Secretary Robert Peel.

Wilhelm Meister's Travels or the Renunciants. Goethe. German. 1829. Novel. Finally discovers true calling as a surgeon; Goethe develops ideas on a variety of subjects.

Les Chouans. Honore de Balzac. French. 1829. Historical novel. French peasant insurgents, supporters of royalist cause in the Revolution.

1830. The Indian Removal Act signed by President Jackson provides for the general removal of Indians to lands west of the Mississippi.

1830. Cholera spreads throughout the interior of Russia. The pandemic kills 900,000 this year and will kill several millions in Europe before it ends.

1830. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is founded at Fayette, NY, by local farmhand Joseph Smith, Jr.

1830. The Philadelphia Inquirer has its beginnings in the the Pennsylvania Inquirer.

1830. Birds of America by John James Audubon is published. He has pursued his passion for painting birds from life.

1830. Congress makes abortion a statutory crime.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

1824 to 1827

The Adventures of Hajii Baba of Ispahan. James Morier. British(?). 1824. Romance. Picaresque romance. Life in Persia. Roguery takes hero into all spheres of Persian society.

1825. Bolivia (the republic of Bolivar) is proclaimed an independent nation.

1825. The Erie Canal opens October 26 to link the Great Lakes with the Hudson River and the Atlantic. The canal makes boom towns of Buffalo, Rochester, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago and Syracuse.

The Talisman. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1825. Novel. Knight in disguise in the Holy Land under Richard I. Richard and Saladin are leading figures. Talisman is a healing amulet used by Saladin to cure Richard's illness.

Canto A Bolivar: La Victoria de Junin. Jose Joaquin Olmeda. Ecuador. 1825. Poetry. Dedicated to Simon Bolivar. Forerunner of the Romantic movement in South America.

Boris Godunov. Aleksandr Pushkin. Russian. 1825. Play. Former Czar of Russia. Tortured by guilt for his murder of a prince.

1826. Former U.S. presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson die July 4, aged 90 and 83, respectively, on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

1826. The first overland journey to Southern California begins August 22 as Jedediah Strong Smith leaves Great Salt Lake at the head of an expedition that reaches the lower Colorado River, crosses the Mojave Desert, and arrives November 27 at San Diego.

1826. The lyceum movement in U.S. adult education is spurred by New Englander Josiah Holbrook, who publishes recommendations that will be adopted by associations of villagers and urban workers who have had little formal education but who seek learning. The National American Lyceum will coordinate the activities of member groups beginning in 1831, and by 1839 there will be 137 lyceums in Massachusetts alone, drawing 33,000 to lectures on the arts, sciences and public issues. By 1860, some 3,000lyceums will be operating in New England, New York, and the upper Mississippi Valley.

The Last of the Mohicans. James F. Cooper. American. 1826. Novel. Magua, evil Indian vs. Uncas, last of the Mohicans. Cora killed by Magua. Uncas dies trying to save her.

1827. New York's first public transit facility begins operations. Entrepreneur Abraham Bower runs a horse-drawn bus with seats for 12, but the city's population of 200,000 depends chiefly on private carts and carriages for transportation.

1827. New Orleans has its first Mardi Gras celebration in February. Students from Paris introduce the Shrove Tuesday event.

1827. The "Lucifer," invented by English chemist John Walker, is the first friction match.

The Betrothed. Alessandro Manzoni. Italian. 1827. Novel. Greatest Italian novel of modern times? Remarkable scene: plague in Milan. Peasant lovers try to marry in spite of obstacles posed by evil doers. Shows working of God in our daily lives. Characters are personifications.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

1821 to 1824

"Epipsychidion." Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1821. Poetry. Addressed to Emilia viviani, the embodiment of the ideal love and beauty that Shelley constantly sought.

"Adonais." Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1821. Poetry. Allusion to the mourning for Adonis. One of the greatest elegies in the English language.

Kenilworth. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1821. Novel. Portrayal of Queen Elizabeth and her court. Kenilworth is a castle. Dudley's wife suffers neglect.

Woe from Wit. Aleksandr Gribotedov. Russian. 1822. Poetic Drama. Russian nobleman returns from trip to Europe and complains about the pettiness of Russian society. He is ostracized. Many lines have become popular proverbial phrases.

Peverel of the Peak. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1822. Novel. Cavalier in love with Roundhead's daughter. Popish plot of 1678. 128 characters.

Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists. Washington Irving. American. 1822. Stories. Collection of tales and sketches. Sequel to Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. Gent.

Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Thomas Dequincey. British. 1822. Autobiography. Growth and effects of his habit of taking opium.

"Dream Children: A Reverie." Charles Lamb. British. 1822. Essay. Imaginary conversations with children he has never had.

1823. The Monroe Doctrine enunciated by President Monroe states a nationalistic determination to oppose any European influence in the Western Hemisphere and to remain aloof from European conflicts.

1823. Britain abolishes the death penalty for more than 100 crimes that had been capital offenses.

The pioneers, or The Source of the Susquehanna. James F. Cooper. American. 1823. Novel. Natty Bumppo: the laws of nature vs. the laws of civilization.

Quentin Durward. Sir Walter Scott. 1823. Novel. Set in 15th-century France. Saved king's life and wins countess's hand in marriage.

"A Visit from St. Nicholas." Clement Clarke Moore. American. 1823. Poetry. Written by a scholar who taught Oriental and Greek literature.

"A Dissertation on Roast Pig." Charles Lamb. 1823/33. Essay. Humorous account of the "accidental discovery" of the process of cooking pork.

The Leatherstocking Tales. James F. Cooper. American. 1823/41. Novels. Follows the career of Natty Bumppo from youth to death.

1824. South American liberation forces under Simon Bolivar move into the Andean highlands and defeat a Spanish force.

Monday, October 15, 2007

1820 to 1821

1820. The Missouri Compromise accepted by Congress permits entry of Missouri into the Union as a slave state in exchange for Maine's entry as a free state, but only on condition that slavery be abolished in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase territory.

Prometheus Unbound. Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1820. Poetic Drama. Prometheus, symbol of humanity chained, tormented. Jupiter = tyranny of kings and civil institutions. Jupiter overthrown by Demigorgon. Golden age in which love and beauty reign begins.

"Isabella, or the Pot of Basil." John Keats. British. 1820. Poetry. Based on a tale by Boccaccio. Florence. Brothers kill sister's lover. She plants his head in a pot of Basil. The pot is stolen and she dies of grief.

"The Cloud." Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1820. Poetry. Lyric description of a cloud on its cyclical journey from sky to earth and back. Symbolizes rebirth.

Melmoth the Wanderer. Charles Maturin. Irish. 1820. Gothic Novel. Sells his soul to the Devilfor prolonged life. To cancel the pact, he must find someone willing to sell his soul to the Devil. No one, regardless of circumstances, is willing to make the same deal.

"The Sensitive Plant." Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1820. Poetry. A plant's love for its lady gardener and its demise with the death of the lady.

"Ode to the West Wind." Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1820. Poetry. Wild, strong wind of autumn--as the poet once was: "timeless, swift and proud."

1821. Mexico declares her independence from Spain.

1821. Simon Bolivar is named president of Venezuela.

1821. Jose de San Martin proclaims the independence of Peru.

1821. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras declare independence form Spain.

1821. English chemist-physicist Michael Faraday pioneers the electric motor with a demonstration of the electromagnetic rotation.

1821. Boston's English High School opens with 102 students. The first tuition-free public high school teaches no language but English. The curriculum emphasizes science, mathematics, logic and history. By 1827, Massachusetts will require every town of 500 families or more to support a high school from public tax revenues, making secondary education a birthright rather than a privilege.

1821. The Emma Willard School has its beginnings in the Troy Female Seminary at Troy, NY. Educator Emma Hart Willard will prove that young women can master subjects such as mathematics and philosophy without losing their health or charm.

1821. The 1750 pornographic novel Fanny Hill is the subject of a Massachusetts trial following a passage of a state obscenity law.

1821. Poker has its beginnings in a card game played by sailors at New Orleans.

Prinz Friedrich von Homburg. Heinrich von Kleist. German. 1821. Play. Hero acts on a dream. In his eagerness, he is insubordinate and is condemned to death. He accepts the sentence. Pardoned, his dream comes true. He marries the ruler's niece.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

1818 to 1820

Nightmare Abbey. Thomas Love Peacock. British. 1818. Novel. Satirizes leading figures and concepts of romanticism in England.

1819. Spain cedes eastern Florida and all its possessions east of the Mississippi to the U.S.

1819. Unitarianism is founded by Boston Congregationalist pastor William Ellery Channing who becomes the leader of a group that denies the holiness of the Trinity and believes in only one Divine Being.

1819. The University of Virginia is chartered at Charlottesville, 3 miles west of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate. The ex-president has been instrumental in obtaining the charter and is planning the grounds, buildings and curriculum of the new university.

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Washington Irving. American. 1819. Sketches. Sketches of English landscape and culture. Contains "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle."

"Rip Van Winkle." Washington Irving. American. 1819. Story. Falls asleep before the Revolution and 20 years later wakes up. Contrast between the new and old societies.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Washington Irving. American. 1819. Story. Brom Bones masquerades as the headless horseman and scares the schoolmaster out of town.

"Ode to a Nightingale." John Keats. British. 1819. Poetry. Feeling of melancholy because of mortality, but the bird's song is immortal.

Bride of Lammermoor. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1819. Novel. Lucy Ashton. Her father ruins Ravenswood whose son Edgar falls in love with Lucy. Forced to marry someone else, she murders her husband and dies of convulsions. Distraught, Edgar dies in quicksand on his way to a duel. Historic incident.

"The Eve of St. Agnes." John Keats. British. 1819. Poetry. Legend that on the Eve of St. Agnes, maidens are allowed a glimpse of their future husbands. Sensuous imagery.

"Ode to a Grecian Urn." John Keats. British. 1819. Poetry. Perfection and timelessness of art contrasted to living world of change.

Ivanhoe. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1819. Novel. Post-Norman conquest. Saxons vs. Normans. Real heroine is a Jewess, Rebecca. Richard I. Robin Hood. Chivalry. Tournament.

"La Belle Dame sans Merci." John Keats. British. 1819. Poetry. Taken from an early French poem by Alain Chartier. Medieval imagery.

Don Juan. Lord Byron. British. 1819/24. Satiric Poetry. World-wide adventures. Digressions on wealth, power, society, chastity, poets, diplomats, England. Incomplete.

1820. Britain's George III dies, succeeded by George IV.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

1816 to 1818

The Itching Parrot. Jose Fernandez de Lizardi. Mexican. 1816. Novel. Engaging rogue. Realistic picture of Mexican society on the eve of independence.

The Antiquary. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1816. Novel. Scott's favorite. Love of William Lovel for daughter of Sir Arthur Wardour in the time of George III.

1817. Chile wins her liberation from Spain.

1817. Ohio Indians sign a treaty ceding their remaining 4 million acres of land to the U.S.

1817. The Seminole War begins as Georgia backwoodsmen attack Indians just north of the Florida border in retaliation for depredations by tribesmen.

1817. Gov. DeWitt Clinton of New York orders construction of a 363-mile Erie Canal that will connect Buffalo on Lake Erie with Troy on the Hudson River.

Lalla Rookh. Thomas Moore. Irish. 1817. Tales. Four oriental tales. Daughter of emperor of Delhi on way to meet her betrothed. Meets poet who relates tales. She falls in love with him. He turns out to be her betrothed.

"Inscription for the entrance to a Wood." William Cullen Bryant. American. 1817. Poetry. Finds solace in the woods for the guilt and misery of the world.

Manfred. Lord Byron. British. 1817. Poetic Drama. Hero sells himself to the Devil and lives without human sympathies in solitude in the Alps.

Thanatopsis. William Cullen Bryant. American. 1817. Poetry. Seeks comfort in nature for death. Time comes to join the "innumerable caravan."

1818. Congress adopts a flag with 13 alternate red and white stripes and with a blue square containing a white star for each state of the Union.

1818. The Seminole War ends in Florida. Spain cedes Florida to the U.S.

1818. The tin can is introduced to America by Peter Durant.

Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen. British. 1818. Novel. Girl imagines Abbey is Gothic nightmare; not true.

Persausion. Jane Austen. British. 1818. Novel. After 8 years, engagement is broken; however, lovers are reunited.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. British. 1818. Romance. Animates soulless monster; he longs for sympathy; shunned and turns to evil.

Beppo. Lord Byron. British. 1818. Poetry. Husband of Laura, a Venetian lady. Captive at Troy. Adventures. Returns to native land. Reunited.

"Ozymandias." Percy Bysshe Shelley. British. 1818. Poetry. Ironic comment on the vanity and futility of a tyrant's power.

The Heart of Midlothian. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1818. Novel. Old jail, center of Edinburgh. Porteous riots, 1736. Effie Deans seduced. Kills child. Sentenced to die.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

1815 to 1816

1815. The Battle of Waterloo ends the career of Napoleon.

1815. The Battle of New Orleans, January 8, gives Americans their chief land victory in the War of 1812. It follows by two weeks the Treaty of Ghent that ended the war last December, but neither side is aware of the treaty. British troops try to seize New Orleans, French pirate-smuggler Jean Laffite reveals British plans to Gen. Andrew Jackson, many of Laffite's men join in the battle on the American side, and the British retire after 700 of their troops have been killed, 1,400 wounded. U.S. losses are 8 dead and 13 wounded.

1815. The Emperor Napoleon hears of discontent under France's restored Bourbon monarchy, leaves Elba, and lands at Cannes with 1,500 men, attracting thousands to his cause as he marches on Paris.

1815. A new alliance mobilizes to oppose the Little Corporal's renewed threat to peace. Austria, Prussia, Russia and Britain raise a million men.

1815. Napoleon abdicates once more Taken as a prisoner of war to the island of st. Helena in the South Atlantic, he will live there until his death in 1821.

1815. Switzerland is established as an independent confederation of 22 cantons.

1815. The New York State legislature approves a plan to finance an Erie Canal.

"To a Waterfowl." Wm. Cullen Bryant. American. 1815. Poetry. Describes flight of bird, which renews belief in divine guidance.

Adolphe. Benjamin Constant de Rebecque. French. 1815. Novel. Precursor of modern psychological novel. Protagonist deeply influenced by a woman of strong intellectual convictions.

Guy Mannering. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1815. Novel. Soap opera plot. Noted for characters Meg Merrilies and Dandie Dinmont.

"The Destruction of Sennacherib." Lord Byron. British. 1815. Poetry. Vividly portrays the plague that struck down the invading army of the Assyrian king in Palestine, 7th century, BC.

1816. Brazil proclaims herself an empire.

1816. Argentina declares herself independent of Spain.

1816. President Madison's Secretary of State James Monroe wins election to the presidency.

1816. The Luddite movement that was suppressed in 1813 revives as a dismal harvest produces economic depression throughout Britain. Well-organized efforts are made to smash machinery in riots at many industrial centers. The movement will continue until rising prosperity ends it.

Headlong Hall. Thomas Love Peacock. British. 1816. Novel. Brilliantly witty. Satire of the idealistic aspirations of romanticism.

"The Prisoner of Chillon." Lord Byron. British. 1816. Poetry. Effects of long imprisonment--he becomes used to it.

Emma. Jane Austen. British. 1816. Novel. Emma plays matchmaker and causes trouble. Themes of self-delusion, class, decorum. Includes the garrulous Miss Bates.

Monday, October 8, 2007

1813 to 1814

The Swiss Family Robinson. JR Wyss. Swiss. 1813. Novel. Adventures of a Swiss clergyman, his wife and four sons, shipwrecked on a desert island.

Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen. British. 1813. Novel. Wife wants good match for each of five daughters. Elizabeth vs. Darcy.

1814. The Battle of Laon begins a series of reverses for Napoleon.

1814. Allied troops storm Montmarte and the triumphant allies enter Paris.

1814. Napoleon abdicates unconditionally April 11 and is awarded sovereignty of the the 95-square-mile Mediterranean island of Elba.

1814. The Battle of Bladensburg 4 miles from Washington, D.C., August 24, ends in a rout of 7,000 U.S. militiamen by 3,000 British regulars who march into Washington, burn most of the city's public buildings, along with several private houses in retaliation for the burning of York (Toronto, teaching the U.S. government that green state militia cannot be relied upon for the nation's defense.

1814. A U.S. naval force under Lieut. Thomas Macdonough defeats and captures a British squadron on Lake Champlain September 11 in the Battle of Plattsburgh. 16,000 British troops that have launched an invasion from Canada are forced to retire, and the victory assures final success for the Americans.

1814. British ships bombard Baltimore's Fort McHenry, September 14; the bombardment is witnessed by Georgetown, Md., lawyer Francis Scott Key, who writes the Star Spangled Banner.

1814. Fire destroys most of the Library of Congress established in 1800 as British troops burn the Capitol.

1814. The White House at Washington gets its name as architect James Hoban works to rebuild the 15-year-old executive mansion and paints it white to conceal the marks of fire set by the British troops who have gutted the structure.

"Star Spangled Banner." Francis Scott Key. American. 1814. Song. "Written during the War of 1812. Sept. 13 and 14. Part scribbled on back of envelope. Sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" by English composer John Stafford Smith. Became National Anthem in 1931 by act of Congress.

"Peter Schlemihl's Wundersame Geshichte." Adelbart von Chamisso. German. 1814. Story. Gives up shadow to gray stranger for purse. Balance between fantastic subject and matter-of-fact style in which it is treated.

"The Corsair." Lord Byron. British. 1814. Poetry. Adventures of Conrad the Pirate and Queen Guinare. Prototype of the Byronic hero.

Waverly. Sir Walter Scott. British. 1814. Novel. Background is the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

The Excursion. William Wordsworth. British. 1814. Poetry. Discusses virtue, religious faith, the industrial revolution and its social effects and the education of children.

Mansfield Park. Jane Austen. British. 1814. Novel. Girl adopted by rich uncle's family emerges triumphant after a soap opera plot.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

1811 to 1813

Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen. British. 1811. Novel. Two sisters represent sense and sensibility respectively in how they deal with lost suitors. Dignity and restraint vs. violently expressed grief.

"Bethgelert or the Grave of the Greyhound. William Rober Spencer. British. 1811. Poetry/ballad. Dog appears to have killed the baby and is stabbed. Actually he had saved the baby from a wolf.

"Undine." Friedrich von Fouque. German. 1811. Tale. Tragic love between water spirit Undine and a knight.

Poetry and Truth. Goethe. German. 1811/33. Autobiography. Attempt to explain the major strains of his inner development; the esential principles of his poetry.

1812. Napoleon invades Russia in June as Britain and the U.S. go to war over the impressment of U.S. seamen.

1812. The Grande Armee of 600,000 invades Russia.

1812. British troops under the duke of Wellington defeat the French at Salamanca.

1812. The Battle of Borodino is a bloody encounter on the Moskovia River. Russia's wily field marshal Mikhail Kutusov, now 66, retreats to save his army.

1812. Napoleon enters Moscow, but most of the 300,000 inhabitants have fled, and fires set by the Russians burn much of Moscow in the next 5 days.

1812. Napoloon begins a retreat from Moscow, October 19, and the retreat turns into a rout. Crippled by ;hunger, cold and the lack of salt, harassed by Cossack troops and Russian irregulars, the invading force has dwindled to no more than 100,000 by mid-December when the survivors finally struggle across the Nieman river.

1812. The War of 1812 between Britain and the U.S. begins June 18.

1812. The British frigate Guerriere that has seized so many U.S. seamen is destroyed August 19 by the 15-year-old U.S. frigate Constitution under the command of Isaac Hull. The Constitution has won the name "Old Ironsides"because enemy cannonballs appear to bounce off her.

1812. The Luddite riots that began last year in England spread. Public opinion supports the rioters expecially after soldiers shoot down a band of Luddites at the reqquest of a threatened employer who is subsequently murdered.

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Lord Byron. British. 1912. Narrative Poetry. Spenserian stanzas. Solitary pilgrimage. Evokes events, people associated with each place.

1813. Wars of liberation against the French begin in the wake of Napoleon's disastrouos Russian expedition.

1813. The Battle of Leipzig October 16 to 19 will be called the "Battle of the Nations"; it ends in defeat for the emperor Napoleon, who has lost 219,000 men to typhus and 105,000 in battle.

1813. The War of 1812 continues between British and u>S. forces.

1813. Leaders of England's Luddite movement are hanged or transported after a mass trial at York.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

1808 to 1811

Michael Kohlhaas. Henrich von Kleist. German. 1808. Novella. Horse trader takes law into his own hands to obtain justice from a young dissolute nobleman.

"Marmion, A Tale of Flodden Field." Sir Walter Scott. British. 1808. Narrative poetry. Time of Henry VIII. Lord Marmion rejects his betrothed for a wealthy woman. He is slain at the battle of Flodden Field in 1513.

Faust, Parts I and II. Goethe. German. 1808/32. Play. Yearns to comprehend all experience. Seduces Gretchen. She bears his child, panics and drowns it. "He who exerts himself in constant striving/ Him we can save."

1809. The first U.S. parochial school is founded near Baltimore by English-American widow Elizabeth Ann Seton, a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who with others starts the Sisters of Charity.

The Elective Affinities. Goethe. German. 1809. Novel. Marriage collapses as each partner is drawn to another lover. Ottilie, for whom Edouard falls, is in tune with mysterious natural forces.

English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. Lord Byron. British. 1809. Satiric Poetry. Byron attacks critics and older generation of English romantic poets, including Wordsworth, etc.

"Lord Ullin's Daughter." Thomas Campbell. British. 1809. Poetry/Ballads. Father chases eloping daughter. Arrives in time to see her boat capsize and his daughter drowned.

Knickerbocker History of New York. Washington Irving. American. 1809. Satire. Mocks pretensions of early historians and Dutch manners and morals.

1810. France annexes Holland. The emperor annexes other lands along the Channel and North Sea coasts.

1810. President Madison takes advantage of an insurrection in West Florida to seize Spanish territory whose ownership has not been clearly defined in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

"The Lady of the Lake." Sir Walter Scott. British. 1810. Poetry. Ellen Douglas and her suitors in the troubled times of border warfare.

Das Katchen von Heilbronn. Heinrich von Kleist. German. 1810. Play. Perfect love of Katchen for Count von Strahl. Devotion. Knightly and supernatural adventures.

1811. The Battle of Tippecanoe on the Wabash River ends in complete defeat for the Shawnee who have been drawn into battle by Gen. Harrison in the absence of the chief Tecumseh.

1811. "Luddites" riot against English textile manufacturers who have replaced craftsmen with machines at Nottingham. Organized bands, taking their name from a real or imaginary "General Ludd" or "King Ludd," burn one of Richard Arkwright's factories and break into the house of James Hargreaves to smash his spinning jenny.

Monday, October 1, 2007

1806 to 1808

1806. Napoleon occupies Berlin and proclaims a paper blockade of Britain designed to deny the British food and supplies from the Continent.

1806. The Lewis and Clark expedition returns to St. Louis after nearly 28 months of exploration. The expedition had been given up for lost, and its return is celebrated throughout the country.

1806. The Compendious Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster is the first Webster's dictionary.

18007. The first commercially successful steamboat travels up the Hudson River and arrives in 32 hours at Albany to begin regular service between New York and Albany. Designed by Robert Fulton.

1807. Phrenology arrives at Paris with German physician Franz Joseph Gall who introduced the pseudoscience in 1800. Gall claims that most emotional and intellectual functions are determined by specific areas of the brain that can be recognized by bumps in the skull.

"Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood." William Wordsworth. British. 1807. Poetry. Learning is the recollection of knowledge gained in the pre-existent spiritual realm and lost to the individual at birth. The child retains some "trailing clouds of glory."

"The Daffodils." William Wordsworth. British. 1807. Poetry. Appreciation of an object of nature for its own sake.

The Columbiad. Joel Barlow. American. 1807. Epic Poetry. Columbus foresees the future of the North American continent.

"Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent's Narrow Room." William Wordsworth. British. 1807. Poetry. Poet's pleasure at the discipline of the sonnet form.

Corinne, or Italy. Mme. de Stael. Swiss French. 1807. Novel. Psychological study of two tormented souls. Celebration of Italian civilization and mores.

Salmagundi; or, the Whim-Whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq. and Others. Washington Irving. American. 1807/08. Essays. American link between The Spectator and The Pickwick Papers. Wit.

1808. Thomas Jefferson declines a third term and supports his Secretary of State, James Madison, who wins the fall election.

1808. Importation of slaves into the United States is banned as of January 1 by an act of Congress passed last year, but illegal imports continue.

1808. John Jacob Astor incorporates the American Fur Co. with himself as sole stockholder.

Penthesilea. Heinrich von Kleist. German. 1808. Play. Violently passionate. Tragic potentiality of human nature.Penthesilea (a queen of the Amazon) and Achilles die. Goethe: "Kleist a hypochondriac northerner."