Tuesday, November 20, 2007

1854 to 1855

"The Charge of the Light Brigade." Alfred Lord Tennyson. British. 1854. Poetry. Famous death charge of the 600 at Balaclava in the Crimea on October 25, 1854. The British charged the Russian lines.

"Maud Muller." John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1854. Narrative Poetry. Wealthy judge and a rustic beauty meet. They lament that they married someone else more "suitable."

1855. The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) is founded at London to improve the condition of working girls by providing good food and a decent place to sleep for young women living away from home.

1855. Scottish missionary David Livingston discovers the falls on the Zambezi River that will be called Victoria Falls.

1855. The Paris International Exposition that runs from May to November hails French technological and economic progress.

1855. The first U.S. kindergarten opens at Watertown, Wisconsin, where the wife of German immigrant Carl Shurz has started the school for children of other immigrants.

1855. The Elmira Female College, founded at Elmira, NY, will be the first U.S. institution to grant academic degrees to women.

1855. Pennsylvania State University is founded.

1855. Familiar Quotations by Boston publisher John Bartlett is published.

1855. The Age of Fable by Boston scholar Thomas Bulfinch will be popular for generations as Bulfinch's Mythology.

Leaves of Grass. Walt Whitman. American. 1855. Poetry. "The United States are the greatest poem." Celebrates common people; poet must incarnate spirit and geography of the U.S. Takes his title from the themes of fertility, universality, cyclical life.

Sevastopol Sketches. Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1855. Stories. Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War; departure from the usual war descriptions. Showed war not as heroic and glorious, but dangerous, tedious, bloody horror. Used stream of consciousness technique. Internal monologue. The "hero" of his stories was "truth."

Song of Myself. Walt Whitman. American. 1855. Poetry. Encompassing all, gives everything significance; equality and beauty of all things and people. Catalogues. Poet of wickedness as well as grandeur; dissolves into the universe.

"The Barefoot Boy." John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1855. Poetry. Joy of a country childhood.

"Fra Lippo Lippi." Robert Browning. British. 1855. Poetry. Monologue. Painter in Florence gives his autobiography, views on life and art.

Hiawatha. Henry W. Longfellow. American. 1855. Narrative Poetry. Ojibway Indian reared by grandmother. Deeds in revenging mother against father, West Wind. Parodied mercilessly.

"Rabbi Ben Ezra." Robert Browning. British. 1855. Poetry. Poem on old age; one of the most distinguished Jewish literati in the Middle Ages.

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