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CHAPTER I—INTRODUCTION AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS My little effort to make Thoreau better known in England had one result that I am pleased to think of.  It brought me into personal association with R. L. Stevenson, who had written and published in The Cornhill Magazine an essay on Thoreau, in whom he had for some time taken an interest.  He found in Thoreau not only a rare character for originality, courage, and indefatigable... more...

Chapter 1 Origin of the Browning Family—Robert Browning's Grandfather—His position and Character—His first and second Marriage—Unkindness towards his eldest Son, Robert Browning's Father—Alleged Infusion of West Indian Blood through Robert Browning's Grandmother—Existing Evidence against it—The Grandmother's Portrait. A belief was current in Mr. Browning's lifetime that he had Jewish blood in his veins.... more...

I. PRELIMINARY It is over twenty years since the death of Washington Irving removed that personal presence which is always a powerful, and sometimes the sole, stimulus to the sale of an author's books, and which strongly affects the contemporary judgment of their merits. It is nearly a century since his birth, which was almost coeval with that of the Republic, for it took place the year the British troops evacuated the city of New York, and only... more...

CHAPTER 1. CHAUCER'S TIMES. The biography of Geoffrey Chaucer is no longer a mixture of unsifted facts, and of more or less hazardous conjectures. Many and wide as are the gaps in our knowledge concerning the course of his outer life, and doubtful as many important passages of it remain—in vexatious contrast with the certainty of other relatively insignificant data—we have at least become aware of the foundations on which alone a... more...

It would appear that for inquirers into Foreign Literature, for all men anxious to see and understand the European world as it lies around them, a great problem is presented in this Goethe; a singular, highly significant phenomenon, and now also means more or less complete for ascertaining its significance. A man of wonderful, nay, unexampled reputation and intellectual influence among forty millions of reflective, serious and cultivated men,... more...


E Americans devour eagerly any piece of writing that purports to tell us the secret of success in life; yet how often we are disappointed to find nothing but commonplace statements, or receipts that we know by heart but never follow. Most of the life stories of our famous and successful men fail to inspire because they lack the human element that makes the record real and brings the story within our grasp. While we are searching far and near for... more...

CHAPTER I PARENTS AND CHILDHOOD  IF the story of any man's life, truly told, must be interesting, as some sage avers, those of my relatives and immediate friends who have insisted upon having an account of mine may not be unduly disappointed with this result. I may console myself with the assurance that such a story must interest at least a certain number of people who have known me, and that knowledge will encourage me to proceed. A book... more...

CHAPTER I. BIRTH AND EDUCATION—CAMBRIDGE. I cannot, perhaps, more fitly begin this short biography than with some words in which its subject has expressed his own feelings as to the spirit in which such a task should be approached. "Silence," says Wordsworth, "is a privilege of the grave, a right of the departed: let him, therefore, who infringes that right by speaking publicly of, for, or against, those who cannot speak for themselves,... more...

CHAPTER I. MY BIRTH AND PARENTAGE—EARLY TASTES AND TRAVELS—MARRIAGE, AND WIDOWHOOD. I was born in the town of Kingston, in the island of Jamaica, some time in the present century. As a female, and a widow, I may be well excused giving the precise date of this important event. But I do not mind confessing that the century and myself were both young together, and that we have grown side by side into age and consequence. I am a... more...

I. PRELIMINARY. It is over twenty years since the death of Washington Irving removed that personal presence which is always a powerful, and sometimes the sole, stimulus to the sale of an author's books, and which strongly affects the contemporary judgment of their merits. It is nearly a century since his birth, which was almost coeval with that of the Republic, for it took place the year the British troops evacuated the city of New York, and... more...