Home Life of Great Authors

Home Life of Great Authors

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Project Gutenberg's Home Life of Great Authors, by Hattie Tyng Griswold This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Home Life of Great Authors Author: Hattie Tyng Griswold Release Date: January 31, 2010 [EBook #31133] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HOME LIFE OF GREAT AUTHORS *** Produced by Brenda Lewis and the Online Distributed Proofreading Canada Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries). HOME LIFE OF GREAT AUTHORS BY HATTIE TYNG GRISWOLD SEVENTH EDITION CHICAGO A. C. McCLURG & CO. 1902 COPYRIGHT BY A. C. MCCLURG AND CO. A.D. 1886. PREFACE. The author of these sketches desires to say that they were written, not for the special student of literary [Pg 5] biography, who is already familiar with the facts here given, but rather for those busy people who have little time for reading, yet wish to know something of the private life and personal history of their favorite authors. The sketches are not intended to be critical, or to present anything like complete biographies. They are devoted chiefly to the home life of the various authors,—which, though an instructive and fascinating study, seems commonly neglected in popular biographies. It should be added that a few of these sketches have already appeared in print, but they have been rewritten to adapt them to their present purpose. H. T. G. COLUMBUS, WIS., October, 1886. CONTENTS. GOETHE ROBERT BURNS MADAME DE STAËL WILLIAM WORDSWORTH THOMAS DE QUINCEY WALTER SCOTT CHARLES LAMB CHRISTOPHER NORTH LORD BYRON SHELLEY WASHINGTON IRVING PAGE 9 24 34 43 54 64 75 85 94 102 112 [Pg 7] WASHINGTON IRVING WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT RALPH WALDO EMERSON THOMAS CARLYLE VICTOR HUGO GEORGE SAND THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY EDWARD BULWER LYTTON ALFRED TENNYSON NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE HENRY W. LONGFELLOW JOHN G. WHITTIER OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL ROBERT AND ELIZABETH BROWNING CHARLOTTE BRONTÉ MARGARET FULLER EDGAR ALLEN POE WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY CHARLES DICKENS GEORGE ELIOT CHARLES KINGSLEY JOHN RUSKIN 112 122 133 142 150 164 177 188 197 207 220 238 251 262 274 286 302 312 322 335 351 363 372 [Pg 8] Home Life of Great Authors. [Pg 9] GOETHE. In an old, many-cornered, and gloomy house at Frankfort-on-the-Main, upon the 28th of August, 1749, was born the greatest German of his day, Wolfgang Goethe. The back of the house, from the second story, commanded a very pleasant prospect over an almost immeasurable extent of gardens stretching to the walls of the city, but the house itself was gloomy, being shut in by a high wall. Over these gardens beyond the walls and ramparts of the city, stretched a long plain, where the young Wolfgang, serious and thoughtful, was wont to wander and to learn his lessons. He had the sort of superstitious dread which is usually the inheritance of children with a poetic nature, and suffered greatly in childhood from fear. He was obliged by his father, who was a stern and somewhat opinionated old man, to sleep alone, as a means of overcoming this fear; and if he tried to steal from his own bed to that of his brothers, he was frightened back by his father, who watched for him and chased him in some fantastic disguise. That this did not tend to quiet his nerves may well be imagined, and it was only through time and much suffering that he overcame his childish terrors. His mother was a gay, cheerful woman, much younger than his father, and as she was only eighteen years old when [Pg 10] Wolfgang was born, always said that they were young together. She had married with little affection for her elderly husband, and it was in her favorite son that she found all the romance and beauty of her life. She was a woman of strong character, and presents one of the pleasantest pictures in German literature. With a warm, genial nature, full of spirit and enthusiasm, she retained to the last days of her life an ardent interest in all the things which delighted her in youth. She read much, thought much, and observed much, for one in her sphere of life, and many great people who came to know her through her son learned to value her very highly for herself alone. She corresponded long with the Duchess Amalia, and her letters were much enjoyed at the Court of Weimar. Princes and poets delighted to honor her in later life, and her son was enthusiastic in his devotion to her till the last. She comforted him through his rather fanciful and fantastic childhood as much as she could without directly interfering with the discipline of the didactic father. Goethe and his mother were both taught by this father, who considered her almost as much of a child as the boy himself. She was kept busy with writing, playing the clavichord, and singing, as well as with the study of Italian, in which the father much delighted; and the boy had grammar, and the Latin classics, and a geography in memory-verses. The boy soon got beyond his teacher, but without being well-grounded in anything, and learned, as such children are apt to do, much more from his own desultory reading than from any instruction which was given him. In the library were the beautiful Dutch editions of the Latin classics and many works relating to Roman antiquities and jurisprudence. There were also the Italian poets, and many books of travel, and many dictionaries of various languages, and encyclopædias of science and art. Through all these the boy searched for himself, and took what was suited to his taste, astonishing the slow father very much by his readiness, and soon [Pg 11] becoming famous in the neighborhood for his acquirements. Of course he wrote poetry from the earliest age, and of course many people predicted his future greatness. Most of all, his mother believed in him, and watched him with adoring solicitude. His love for art showed itself very early, and he made friends with artists, and visited their studios frequently when a mere boy. His father had a fondness for pictures, and had some good views of Italian scenery and art in his own house; and it was probably from him that the boy derived his earliest liking for such things. His passion for the theatre also made itself known at the earliest age, and gave him his most intense youthful pleasures.