Monday, April 19, 2010

Gotham Yankee cont.

I finished the book...but can my fingers get all the typing done? we'll see....
literature, not litigation, was WCB's true calling.

after taking Fanny to see a troupe of strolling players do The Rivals, he decided to ridicule duelling in a play of his own. he wrote The Heroes, the first, last, & only effort he made as a dramatist.Harry Sedgwick recalled WCBs successes as poet and critic, & was confident he could find an editorial opening in New York.

the last week of April 1824 WCB went to New York & dined at Robert Sedgwicks house, where he met Fenimore Cooper, Fitz-Greene Halleck, & Robert C. Sands.

he rec'd an offer from the United States Literary Gazette in Boston to pay him $200 a year for an average contribution of 100 lines of verse a month. at least 20 poems found their way into the Gazette.

he wrote A Forest Hymn in 1825 after his first visit to NY.

latter part of May 1825 WCB was in NY to stay. he was co-editor of a new periodical, The New York Review and Antenaeum Magazine. he was junior editor & made $1000 a year in his first salaried position. he left his family back home in the Berkshires, where Fanny & Frances would have pure Massachusetts air to breathe. he found pleasant living quarters on CHambers STreet, a few steps from Broadway.

he spent time at the Bread and Cheese Club, a tap-room in the Washington Hotel. he became friends with actor Edwin Forrest. realizing the magazine wasn't going well, he looked for another job. he lectured on poetry under the auspices of the Athenaeum Society, on Greek & Roman mythology under the auspices of the newly formed National Academy of Arts & Design. he also obtained a permit to practice law in the city courts of NY & assisted Henry Sedgwick in at least one case.

mid June 1826 the son of William Coleman, editor-in-chief of the Evening Post, came to ask WCB to work as temporary editor of the paper since his father had been in an accident. he took his beaver hat & walking stick, & asked the advice of Guilan Verplanck. he went to work at the Evening Post that day, where he stayed for more than half a century. since he was making more money, he decided he could afford to keep his two Fanny's in NY. the magazine ended in OCtober 1827. Mr. Coleman never recovered from his accident & died in July 1829, when WCB became the official editor.

Cullen reached the conclusion that the high protective tariffs so dear to his fathers Federalist heart was an abomination.

on a April morning in 1831 Cullen & William Leete Stone met on Broadway street, opposite City Hall park, where Cullen had a cowhide whip hidden under his cat. some heated words were exchanged. Bryant rained blow after blow upon his astounded insulter.
Stone was much larger & stronger & got the whip away from Cullen.
The next day in the editorial columns of the Post, Bryant apologized.

in 1829 Cullen made $1300 from his 1/8 share. in 1834 his 1/3 share was $4700.

he moved his family....including baby Julia from the modest boarding house of M. Evrard to a handsome brick house on Hudson Street, then a handsomer brick house on Varick Street, then a mansion on Carmine Street.

he wanted to travel abroad, but the children were too young. he decided to see more of the US. in Feb. 1832 (book said 1852, then said he was in Illinois 3 months later in May 1832....???) he spent 10 days in Washington DC. he wrote to his brother John who was living in Illinois of the trip.

May 1832 he went to see the west. he had 2 brothers, Arthur & John, living in Illinois. brother Austin was still at Cummington trying to farm the rocky Massachusetts soil. Cyrus was a schoolmaster at Northampton. poor dear sister Sarah had died 8 years ago, soon after her marriage to the estimable Mr. Shaw. He met Black Hawk War militia captain Abraham Lincoln. he wrote The Prairies about Illinois

1824 poem An Indian at the Burial Place of His Fathers..

early in 1832 a cholera epidemic broke out in Manhattan. the Bryants were living in a cottage across the Hudson in Hoboken. he could not forget that day after day, during those terrible summer weeks, he had been afflicted with a feeling in the stomach like that produced by taking lead or some other mineral poison. this affliction, probably anxiety, disappeared with the epidemic.

a cultivated editor must not allow himself to grow rusty. he must pick up a reading knowledge of Italian & Spanish & Portuguese, make metrical translations of poets like Vellegas & Iglesias & Semedo. he must tyr his hand at short prose ficiton. four of his friends had decided to collaborate in a volume of tales & invited Cullen to join them.

he published a volume of 89 poems first in NY & then in London, 1832. Bryant & Washington Iriving got into a mild quarrel, over a single line in a five stanza peom "Song Of Marion's Men." the became friends.

in a couple of years, the children would be old enough for a European June 1834 the Bryant family set sail for Havre on the Poland. they were in PAris in time for Bastille Day & the other July festivals. they proceded to Lyons, Marseilles, Genoa, Rome, Naples, Florence,Pisa. Soon after New Years Day 1835 William Leggett was sick., he had sent a letter. Cullen left at once. he ended up going home thru England. he went back in 1845.

Spring 1849 to Cuba

autumn 1849 a 3rd voyage to Europe.
winter 1852-3 a tour of the Near East, including a steamboat trip on the Nile, a camel back ride in the desert, a swim in the Jordan, a stroll among the ruins of the Parthenon. they met with Robert & Elizabeth Browning, first in Florence, later in Paris. he found shaving so impossible he grew a beard that he kept.

a 5th Europe trip 1857-8, was baptized by Rev. R.C. Waterson in the Unitarianism faith..probably for the 2nd time. His mother Sarah with her Calvinist belief in the damnation of unbaptized infants, could harldy have neglected having him baptized at the earliest opportunity.

a final voyage to Europe with his daughter Julia just after the death of his wife.

1872 to Mexico.

like most eminient American men of letters in the nineteenth century, he was an inveterate globe trotter.

to be continued....

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