Wednesday, November 21, 2007

1855 to 1856

Israel Potter or, Fifty Years of Exile. Herman Melville. American. 1855. Satiric Novel. Time of the Revolutionary War. Meets Ben Franklin, John Paul Jones and Ethan Allen. His personality is a mixture of the faults and virtues of the three heroes. Archetypal American, taken prisoner by the British and exiled for 50 years. Returns home to die. Melville suggests that the only hope for America likes in the pioneering West.

The Newcomes. Wm. Makepeace Thackeray. British. 1855. Novel. Three generations. Love triangle finally resolved happily.

Little Dorrit. Charles Dickens. British. 1855/57. Novel. Father, daughters spend lives in prison for debt. Father becomes wealthy, as insufferable in wealth as he was obsequious in debt. Amy, Little Dorrit, remains unchanged by changes in circumstances. Circumlocution Office. Dickens attacks bureaucratic inefficiency and the practice of imprisonment for debt.

Chronicles of Barsetshire. Anthony Trollopw. British. 1855/57. Novels. Cathedral town. Agitations among clerical families disturb the placidity of Barchester. Mrs. Proudie, etc.

1856. The Crimean War ends as Russia yields to an Austrian ultimatum and agrees to preliminary peace terms at Vienna.

1856. U.S. voters elect Pennsylvania Democrat James Buchanan president.

1856. U.S. playwrights get their first legal copyright protection under a new law that releases a flood of dramatic productions.

1856.Boston exports more than 130,000 tons of "fine, clear" ice from Massachusetts lakes and ponds as 363 ships sail from various ports with a total of 146,000 tons of ice.

The Piazza Tales. Herman Melville. American. 1856. Stories. Artist attempts to rival the power of God; destroyed by his creation. Customer refuses to buy lightning rod: If you cannot control God, why fear him? Descriptive sketches based on 1841 voyage to the Galapagos Island.

Rudin. Ivan Turgenev. Russian. 1856. Novel. Traces the ineffectual career of the hero who impresses with brilliant, high-minded talk. However, he is unable to take decisive action. Frightened by the demands of love. When he tries to act, he loses his life. Hero represents the Russian "Superfluous Man."

"Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." Walt Whitman. American. 1856. Poetry. Feels himself to be one with all those who cross on the ferry regardless of time and space.

Madame Bovary. Gustave Flaubert. French. 1856. Novel. Life of ordinary woman. Technique of amassing precise detail is key in development of the novel. Married to good-hearted, stupid village doctor. Romantic dreams unfulfilled. Adultery, debts suicide.

Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag (Mozart on His Trip to Prague). Eduard Morike. German. 1856. Novel. Mood: essential joy in Mozart's creative energy and melancholy premonition of death.

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