James Russell Lowell (; February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the fireside poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets that rivaled the popularity of British poets. These writers usually used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside.
James Russell Lowell (; February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is allied with the fireside poets, a society of New England writers who were in the course of the first American poets that rivaled the popularity of British poets. These writers usually used welcome forms and meters in their poetry, making them all right for families entertaining at their fireside.
Lowell graduated from Harvard College in 1838, despite his reputation as a troublemaker, and went upon to earn a conduct yourself degree from Harvard Law School. He published his first amassing of poetry in 1841 and married Maria White in 1844. The couple had several children, though lonesome one survived later than childhood.
He became in force in the pastime to abolish slavery, with Lowell using poetry to spread his anti-slavery views and taking a job in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the editor of an abolitionist newspaper. After moving assist to Cambridge, Lowell was one of the founders of a journal called The Pioneer, which lasted forlorn three issues. He gained notoriety in 1848 next the statement of A Fable for Critics, a book-length poem satirizing contemporary critics and poets. The thesame year, he published The Biglow Papers, which increased his fame. He went upon to publish several other poetry collections and essay collections throughout his university career.
Maria died in 1853, and Lowell in style a professorship of languages at Harvard in 1854. He traveled to Europe in the past officially assuming his teaching duties in 1856, and married Frances Dunlap sharply thereafter in 1857. That year, Lowell after that became editor of The Atlantic Monthly. He continued to tutor at Harvard for twenty years.
He normal his first political appointment, the ambassadorship to the Kingdom of Spain 20 years later. He was sophisticated appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. He spent his last years in Cambridge in the similar estate where he was born, and died there in 1891.
Lowell believed that the poet played an important role as a prophet and critic of society. He used poetry for reform, particularly in abolitionism. However, his duty to the anti-slavery cause wavered more than the years, as did his opinion upon African-Americans. He attempted to emulate the real Yankee accent in the dialogue of his characters, particularly in The Biglow Papers. This depiction of the dialect, as skillfully as his many satires, was an inspiration to writers such as Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken.
James Russell Lowell was born February 22, 1819. He was a advocate of the eighth generation of the Lowell family, the descendants of Percival Lowle who fixed in Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1639. His parents were the Reverend Charles Lowell (1782–1861), a minister at a Unitarian church in Boston who had before studied theology at Edinburgh, and Harriett Brackett Spence Lowell. By the get older that James was born, the intimates owned a large estate in Cambridge called Elmwood. He was the youngest of six children; his siblings were Charles, Rebecca, Mary, William, and Robert. Lowell’s mother built in him an reaction for literature at an to the front age, especially in poetry, ballads, and tales from her native Orkney. He attended school below Sophia Dana, who forward-thinking married George Ripley; he well along studied at a learned run by a particularly harsh disciplinarian, where one of his classmates was Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Lowell attended Harvard College dawn at age 15 in 1834, though he was not a good student and often got into trouble. In his sophomore year, he was absent from required chapel attendance 14 time and from classes 56 times. In his last year there, he wrote, “During Freshman year, I did nothing, during Sophomore year I did nothing, during Junior year I did nothing, and during Senior year I have therefore far finished nothing in the habit of hypothetical studies.” In his senior year, he became one of the editors of Harvardiana literary magazine, to which he contributed prose and poetry that he admitted was of low quality. As he said later, “I was as good an ass as ever brayed & thought it singing.” During his undergraduate years, Lowell was a supporter of Hasty Pudding and served both as Secretary and Poet.
Lowell was elected the poet of the class of 1838 and, as was tradition, was asked to recite an native poem upon Class Day, the hours of daylight before Commencement upon July 17, 1838. He was suspended, however, and not allowed to participate. Instead, his poem was printed and made affable thanks to subscriptions paid by his classmates. He had composed the poem in Concord, where he had been exiled by the Harvard capacity to the care of the Rev. Barzallai Frost because of his neglect of his studies. During his stay in Concord, he became links with Ralph Waldo Emerson and got to know the additional Transcendentalists. His Class Day poem satirized the social movements of the day; abolitionists, Thomas Carlyle, Emerson, and the Transcendentalists were treated.
Lowell did not know what vocation to choose after graduating, and he vacillated among business, the ministry, medicine, and law. He ultimately enrolled at Harvard Law School in 1840 and was admitted to the bar two years later. While studying law, however, he contributed poems and prose articles to various magazines. During this time, he was admittedly sad and often had suicidal thoughts. He once confided to a friend that he held a cocked pistol to his forehead and considered killing himself at the age of 20.
In late 1839, Lowell met Maria White through her brother William, a classmate at Harvard, and the two became engaged in the autumn of 1840. Maria’s father Abijah White, a rich merchant from Watertown, insisted that their wedding be postponed until Lowell had gainful employment. They were finally married on December 26, 1844, shortly after the groom published Conversations on the Old Poets, a accretion of his past published essays. A friend described their membership as “the very characterize of a True Marriage”. Lowell himself believed that she was made up “half of earth and greater than half of Heaven”. She, too, wrote poetry, and the adjacent twelve years of Lowell’s enthusiasm were highly affected by her influence. He said that his first baby book of poetry A Year’s Life (1841) “owes anything its beauty to her”, though it without help sold 300 copies.
Maria’s tone and beliefs led her to become operating in the movements directed next to intemperance and slavery. She was a supporter of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and persuaded her husband to become an abolitionist. James had back expressed antislavery sentiments, but Maria urged him towards more supple expression and involvement. His second volume of poems Miscellaneous Poems expressed these antislavery thoughts, and its 1,500 copies sold well.
Maria was in destitute health, and the couple moved to Philadelphia rudely after their marriage, thinking that her lungs could heal there. In Philadelphia, he became a contributing editor for the Pennsylvania Freeman, an abolitionist newspaper. In the spring of 1845, the Lowells returned to Cambridge to make their house at Elmwood. They had four children, though without help one (Mabel, born 1847) survived taking into account infancy. Blanche was born December 31, 1845, but lived by yourself fifteen months; Rose, born in 1849, survived and no-one else a few months as well; their without help son Walter was born in 1850 but died in 1852. Lowell was utterly affected by the loss of almost anything of his children. His grief greater than the death of his first daughter in particular was expressed in his poem “The First Snowfall” (1847). He once again considered suicide, writing to a buddy that he thought “of my razors and my throat and that I am a fool and a coward not to subside it anything at once”.
Lowell’s outdated poems were published without remuneration in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1840. He was inspired to further efforts towards self-support and united with his buddy Robert Carter in founding the theoretical journal The Pioneer. The periodical was distinguished by the fact that most of its content was further rather than material that had been before published elsewhere, and by the fascination of utterly serious criticism, which covered not single-handedly literature but also art and music. Lowell wrote that it would “furnish the clever and reflecting allocation of the Reading Public next a rational performing for the vast quantity of thrice-diluted trash, in the have emotional impact of namby-pamby adore tales and sketches, which is monthly poured out to them by many of our popular Magazines.” William Wetmore Story noted the journal’s well ahead taste, writing that “it took some stand & appealled to a higher intellectual Standard than our puerile milk or awashed namby-pamby Mags bearing in mind which we are overrun”. The first event of the journal included the first tell of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Lowell was treated for an eye illness in New York quickly after the first issue, and in his non-attendance Carter did a destitute job of managing the journal. The magazine ceased declaration after three monthly numbers start in January 1843, leaving Lowell $1,800 in debt. Poe mourned the journal’s demise, calling it “a most rough blow to the cause—the cause of a Pure Taste”.
Despite the failure of The Pioneer, Lowell continued his raptness in the educational world. He wrote a series on “Anti-Slavery in the United States” for the Daily News, though his series was discontinued by the editors after four articles in May 1846. He had published these articles anonymously, believing that they would have more impact if they were not known to be the fake of a effective abolitionist. In the spring of 1848, he formed a link with the National Anti-Slavery Standard of New York, agreeing to contribute weekly either a poem or a prose article. After isolated one year, he was asked to contribute half as often to the Standard to make room for contributions from Edmund Quincy, another writer and reformer.
A Fable for Critics was one of Lowell’s most popular works, published anonymously in 1848. It proved a popular satire, and the first 3,000 copies sold out quickly. In it, he took kind jabs at his contemporary poets and critics—but not everything the subjects were pleased. Edgar Allan Poe was referred to as allocation genius and “two-fifths sheer fudge”; he reviewed the play a part in the Southern Literary Messenger and called it “‘loose’—ill-conceived and feebly executed, as capably in detail as in general … we divulge some shock at his putting forth hence unpolished a performance.” Lowell offered his New York buddy Charles Frederick Briggs everything the profits from the book’s success (which proved relatively small), despite his own financial needs.
In 1848, Lowell plus published The Biglow Papers, later named by the Grolier Club as the most influential CD of 1848. The first 1,500 copies sold out within a week and a second edition was soon issued—though Lowell made no profit, as he had to keep busy the cost of stereotyping the stamp album himself. The CD presented three main characters, each representing every second aspects of American activity and using authentic American dialects in their dialogue. Under the surface, The Biglow Papers was with a denunciation of the Mexican–American War and conflict in general.
In 1850, Lowell’s mother died unexpectedly, as did his third daughter, Rose. Her death left Lowell depressed and reclusive for six months, despite the birth of his son Walter by the terminate of the year. He wrote to a friend that death “is a private tutor. We have no fellow-scholars, and must lay our lessons to heart alone.” These personal troubles as capably as the Compromise of 1850 inspired Lowell to accept an offer from William Wetmore Story to spend a winter in Italy. To have enough money the trip, Lowell sold land in this area Elmwood, intending to sell off new acres of the estate over time to supplement his income, ultimately selling off 25 of the native 30 acres (120,000 m2). Walter died tersely in Rome of cholera, and Lowell and his wife, with their daughter Mabel, returned to the United States in October 1852. Lowell published recollections of his journey in several magazines, many of which would be collected years difficult as Fireside Travels (1867). He also edited volumes in the aerate of biographical sketches for a series on British Poets.
His wife Maria, who had been difficulty from poor health for many years, became very sick in the spring of 1853 and died upon October 27 of tuberculosis. Just in the past her burial, her coffin was opened fittingly that her daughter Mabel could look her face while Lowell “leaned for a long while adjacent to a tree weeping”, according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife, who were in attendance. In 1855, Lowell oversaw the revelation of a memorial volume of his wife’s poetry, with on your own fifty copies for private circulation. Despite his self-described “naturally joyous” nature, life for Lowell at Elmwood was further complicated by his father becoming deaf in his old-fashioned age, and the deteriorating mental give access of his sister Rebecca, who sometimes went a week without speaking. He again clip himself off from others, becoming reclusive at Elmwood, and his private diaries from this time time are riddled like the initials of his wife. On March 10, 1854, for example, he wrote: “Dark without & within. M.L. M.L. M.L.” Longfellow, a buddy and neighbor, referred to Lowell as “lonely and desolate”.
At the invitation of his cousin John Amory Lowell, James Russell Lowell was asked to direct a lecture at the prestigious Lowell Institute. Some speculated the opportunity was because of the relations connection, offered as an try to bring him out of his depression. Lowell chose to speak on “The English Poets”, telling his buddy Briggs that he would accept revenge upon dead poets “for the injuries acknowledged by one whom the public won’t allow among the living”. The first of the twelve-part lecture series was to be upon January 9, 1855, though by December, Lowell had only completed writing five of them, hoping for last-minute inspiration. His first lecture was on John Milton and the sports ground was oversold; Lowell had to come taking place with the money for a repeat discharge duty the next afternoon. Lowell, who had never spoken in public before, was praised for these lectures. Francis James Child said that Lowell, whom he deemed was typically “perverse”, was competent to “persist in instinctive serious not well-disposed of his impulses and his talents”. While his series was still in progress, Lowell was offered the Smith Professorship of Modern Languages at Harvard, a proclaim vacated by Longfellow, at an annual salary of $1,200, though he never applied for it. The job tally was varying after Longfellow; instead of teaching languages directly, Lowell would supervise the department and lecture to two lecture courses per year on topics of his own choosing. Lowell well-liked the appointment, with the proviso that he should have a year of psychotherapy abroad. He set sail upon June 4 of that year, leaving his daughter Mabel in the care of a governess named Frances Dunlap. Abroad, he visited Le Havre, Paris, and London, spending mature with associates including Story, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Leigh Hunt. Primarily, however, Lowell spent his period abroad studying languages, particularly German, which he found difficult. He complained: “The confounding genders! If I die I shall have engraved on my tombstone that I died of der, die, das, not because I caught them but because I couldn’t.”
He returned to the United States in the summer of 1856 and began his school duties. Towards the fade away of his professorship, then-president of Harvard Charles William Eliot noted that Lowell seemed to have “no natural inclination” to teach; Lowell agreed, but retained his point of view for twenty years. He focused upon teaching literature, rather than etymology, hoping that his students would learn to enjoy the sound, rhythm, and flow of poetry rather than the technique of words. He summed taking place his method: “True scholarship consists in knowing not what things exists, but what they mean; it is not memory but judgment.” Still grieving the loss of his wife, during this become old Lowell avoided Elmwood and otherwise lived upon Kirkland Street in Cambridge, an Place known as Professors’ Row. He stayed there, along in the sky of his daughter Mabel and her governess Frances Dunlap, until January 1861.
Lowell had meant never to remarry after the death of his wife Maria White. However, in 1857, surprising his friends, he became engaged to Frances Dunlap, whom many described as simple and unattractive. Dunlap, niece of the former superintendent of Maine Robert P. Dunlap, was a friend of Lowell’s first wife and formerly wealthy, though she and her associates had fallen into condensed circumstances. Lowell and Dunlap married upon September 16, 1857, in a ceremony performed by his brother. Lowell wrote, “My second marriage was the wisest case of my life, & as long as I am sure of it, I can afford to wait till my friends enter upon with me.”
In the autumn of 1857, The Atlantic Monthly was established, and Lowell was its first editor. With its first event in November of that year, he at as soon as gave the magazine the stamp of tall literature and of bold speech upon public affairs. In January 1861, Lowell’s dad died of a heart attack, inspiring Lowell to have emotional impact his family assist to Elmwood. As he wrote to his friend Briggs, “I am assist again to the place I adore best. I am sitting in my dated garret, at my antiquated desk, smoking my old pipe … I start to mood more following my antiquated self than I have these ten years.” Shortly thereafter, in May, he left The Atlantic Monthly when James T. Fields took higher than as editor; the magazine had been purchased by Ticknor and Fields for $10,000 two years before. Lowell returned to Elmwood by January 1861 but maintained an amicable relationship with the other owners of the journal, continuing to go along with his poetry and prose for the in flames of his life. His prose, however, was more fully presented in the pages of the North American Review during the years 1862–1872. For the Review, he served as a coeditor along next Charles Eliot Norton. Lowell’s reviews for the journal covered a wide variety of scholastic releases of the day, though he was writing fewer poems.
As prematurely as 1845, Lowell had predicted the debate higher than slavery would lead to deed and, as the Civil War broke out in the 1860s, Lowell used his role at the Review to compliment Abraham Lincoln and his attempts to maintain the Union. Lowell in limbo three nephews during the war, including Charles Russell Lowell Jr., who became a Brigadier General and fell at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Lowell himself was generally a pacifist. Even so, he wrote, “If the destruction of slavery is to be a consequence of the war, shall we regret it? If it be needful to the thriving prosecution of the war, shall anyone oppose it?” His raptness in the Civil War inspired him to write a second series of The Biglow Papers, including one specifically dedicated to the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation called “Sunthin’ in the Pastoral Line” in 1862.
Shortly after Lincoln’s assassination, Lowell was asked to present a poem at Harvard in memory of former students killed in the war. His poem, “Commemoration Ode”, cost him sleep and his appetite, but was delivered upon July 21, 1865, after a 48-hour writing binge. Lowell had tall hopes for his pretense but was overshadowed by the additional notables presenting works that day, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. “I did not make the hit I expected”, he wrote, “and am disconcerted at having been tempted over to think I could write poetry, a delusion from which I have been tolerably release these dozen years.” Despite his personal assessment, friends and supplementary poets sent many letters to Lowell congratulating him. Emerson referred to his poem’s “high thought & sentiment” and James Freeman Clarke noted its “grandeur of tone”. Lowell unconventional expanded it like a strophe to Lincoln.
In the 1860s, Lowell’s friend Longfellow spent several years translating Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and regularly invited others to help him on Wednesday evenings. Lowell was one of the main members of the so-called “Dante Club”, along like William Dean Howells, Charles Eliot Norton and further occasional guests. Shortly after serving as a pallbearer at the funeral of buddy and publisher Nathaniel Parker Willis on January 24, 1867, Lowell settled to fabricate another gathering of his poetry. Under the Willows and Other Poems was released in 1869, though Lowell originally wanted to title it The Voyage to the Vinland and Other Poems. The book, dedicated to Norton, collected poems Lowell had written within the previous twenty years and was his first poetry heap since 1848.
Lowell designed to accept another trip to Europe. To finance it, he sold off more of Elmwood’s acres and rented the house to Thomas Bailey Aldrich; Lowell’s daughter Mabel, by this time, had moved into a new house with her husband Edward Burnett, the son of a wealthy businessman-farmer from Southborough, Massachusetts. Lowell and his wife set sail on July 8, 1872, after he took a leave of absence from Harvard. They visited England, Paris, Switzerland, and Italy. While overseas, he received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Oxford and unconventional from Cambridge University. They returned to the United States in the summer of 1874.
Lowell resigned from his Harvard professorship in 1874, though he was persuaded to continue teaching through 1877. It was in 1876 that Lowell first stepped into the arena of politics. That year, he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes won the nomination and, eventually, the presidency. In May 1877, President Hayes, an adherent of The Biglow Papers, sent William Dean Howells to Lowell past a handwritten note proffering an ambassadorship to either Austria or Russia; Lowell declined, but noted his concentration in Spanish literature. Lowell was after that offered and in style the role of Minister to the court of Spain at an annual salary of $12,000. Lowell sailed from Boston upon July 14, 1877, and, though he normal he would be away for a year or two, did not compensation to the United States until 1885, with the violinist Ole Bull renting Elmwood for a allowance of that time. The Spanish media referred to him as “José Bighlow”. Lowell was well-prepared for his diplomatic role, having been trained in law, as capably as being clever to entry in merged languages. He had bother socializing though in Spain, however, and amused himself by sending witty dispatches to his embassy bosses in the United States, many of which were higher collected and published posthumously in 1899 as Impressions of Spain. Lowell’s social simulation improved past the Spanish Academy elected him a corresponding aficionada in late 1878, allowing him contribute to the preparation of a new dictionary.
In January 1880, Lowell was informed of his concurrence as Minister to England, his nomination made without his knowledge as far back up as June 1879. He was decided a salary of $17,500 bearing in mind about $3,500 for expenses. While serving in this capacity, he addressed an importation of allegedly diseased cattle and made recommendations that predated the Pure Food and Drug Act. Queen Victoria commented that she had never seen an ambassador who “created so much assimilation and won correspondingly much regard as Mr. Lowell”. Lowell held this role until the near of Chester A. Arthur’s giving out in the spring of 1885, despite his wife’s failing health. Lowell was already capably known in England for his writing and, during his era there, befriended fellow author Henry James, who referred to him as “conspicuously American”. Lowell furthermore befriended Leslie Stephen many years earlier and became the godfather to his daughter, future writer Virginia Woolf. Lowell was popular plenty that he was offered a professorship at Oxford after his recall by President Grover Cleveland, though the manage to pay for was declined. He was elected as a believer to the American Philosophical Society in 1883.
His second wife, Frances, died on February 19, 1885, while yet in England.
He returned to the United States by June 1885, living past his daughter and her husband in Southboro, Massachusetts. He after that spent become old in Boston taking into account his sister before returning to Elmwood in November 1889. By this time, most of his friends were dead, including Quincy, Longfellow, Dana, and Emerson, leaving him depressed and contemplating suicide again. Lowell spent share of the 1880s delivering various speeches, and his last published works were mostly collections of essays, including Political Essays, and a growth of his poems Heartsease and Rue in 1888. His last few years he traveled incite to England periodically and bearing in mind he returned to the United States in the fall of 1889, he moved back to Elmwood like Mabel, while her husband worked for clients in New York and New Jersey. That year, Lowell gave an house at the centenary of George Washington’s inauguration. Also that year, the Boston Critic dedicated a special business to Lowell on his seventieth birthday to recollections and reminiscences by his friends, including former presidents Hayes and Benjamin Harrison and British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone as competently as Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Francis Parkman.
In the last few months of his life, Lowell struggled as soon as gout, sciatica in his left leg, and chronic nausea; by the summer of 1891, doctors believed that Lowell had cancer in his kidneys, liver, and lungs. His last few months, he was administered opium for the throb and was rarely adequately conscious. He died upon August 12, 1891, at Elmwood. After facilities in the Appleton Chapel, he was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery. After his death, Norton served as his scholarly executor and published several collections of Lowell’s works and his letters.