Thursday, December 13, 2007


1866. Congress passes a Civil Rights Act over President Johnson's veto to secure for former slaves all the rights of citizenship intended by the 13th Amendment.

1866. A cholera epidemic takes 120,000 lives in Prussia and 110,000 in Austria. Cholera kills some 50,000 Americans. New York, which has 2,000 fatalities, creates the first U.S. municipal board of health.

1866. A new Atlantic cable between Britain and the U.S. is completed July 27 by Cyrus W. Field.

Rosmersholm. Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1866. Play. Lover convinces his invalid wife to sacrifice herself for him by committing suicide. He insists that they both demonstrate love for each other by committing suicide together.

Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. Herman Melville. American. 1866. Poetry. 72 poems. Elegiac, not vengeful. Deplores human suffering. Does not celebrate the martial spirit.

Felix Holt the Radical. George Eliot. British. 1866. Novel. Ardent young man of strong social convictions lives among lower classes; accused of murder. Set against man who acts like a radical, but isn't. Esther must choose between them.

Letters from My Windmill. Alphonse Daudet. French. 1866. Novel. Depicts country life in Provence with skill and sympathy.

Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoevsky. Russian. 1866. Novel. Rationalizes murder. Conscience works on him. Lacks qualities of amoral superman. Detective waits for the confession he knows is coming. Astute psychological observation and analysis by Dostoevsky.

"A Dream of Gerontius." John Henry Newman. British. 1866. Poetry. Gerontius makes his last journey to God, carried by his guardian angel through the world of good and evil spirits.

An Iceland Fisherman. Pierre Loti. French. 1866. Novel. Loneliness, bitter struggle between fishermen and the sea off the shores of Iceland.

Snow-Bound. John Greenleaf Whittier. American. 1866. Poem. A winter idyll. Memory of being snowed in on his father's Massachusetts farm.

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