Friday, November 16, 2007

1852 to 1853

"Days." Ralph Waldo Emerson. American. 1852. Poetry. "He is only rich who owns the day."

A Sportsman's Sketches. Ivan Turgenev. Russian. 1852. Stories. Life on typical great feudal estates in Russia; fictional narrator rambles through the countryside. Sympathetic to peasants; explicit condemnation of landowners. Serfdom abolished ten years after publication.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly. Harriet Beecher Stowe. American. 1852. Novel. Trials, suffering, and human dignity of Uncle Tom; setting is Kentucky and Louisiana. Admiration for best Southern gentility; villain is a Vermonter.

Bleak House. Charles Dickens. British. 1852. Novel. Attacks the delays and archaic absurdities of the courts. Litigation uses up all the money.

Camille. Alexandre Dumas, fils. French. 1852. Play. Beautiful courtesan scorns wealthy protector and escapes with her penniless lover. Gives him up at the request of his family. Tragic reunion of lover and the dying Camille.

The Blithedale Romance. Nathaniel Hawthorne. American. 1852. Novel. Coldly inquisitive narrator, in revealing others, reveals himself.

Pierre, or the Ambiguities. Herman Melville. American. 1852. Novel. In the pursuit of truth, author causes the deaths of his mother, fiancee and sister.

The History of Henry Esmond, Esquire. Wm. Makepeace Thackeray. British. 1852. Historical Novel. Tangled plot. Henry Esmond thinks he is illegitimate; actually he is the lawful heir to the Esmond estate.

Childhood, Boyhood and Youth. Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1852/54/57. Autobiography. Trilogy. Descriptions of life on provincial estate; among best depictions of nature in Russian literature.

1853. Congress appropriates $150,000 for a survey of the most practicable transcontinental U.S. railroad routes.

1853. The first manned heavier-than-air flying machine soars 500 yards across a valley carrying the terrified coachman of English engineer Sir George Cayley, 80, in a large glider.

1853. The United States Review predicts that "within half a century machinery will perform all work. The only tasks of the human race will be to make love, study and be happy."

1853. Fewer than half of Americans are engaged in agriculture, down from 83% in 1820.

1853. Potato chips are invented at Saratoga Springs, NY, where chef George Crum of Moon's Lake House gives a mocking response to a patron who has complained that his French fries are too thick. He shaves some potatoes paper thin and sends them out to the customers--who are delighted, order more and the rest is history.

Villette. Charlotte Bronte. British. 1853. Novel. English girl teachers at a girls' boarding school; secret love for a doctor. Recognizes true destiny with embittered headmaster, to whom she becomes engaged.

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