A Summer of Hummingbirds Love Art and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson Mark Twain Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Johnson Heade Free read ß 4

Read Ó PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Å Christopher E.G. Benfey

Read Ó PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Å Christopher E.G. Benfey A surprising and scandalous story of how the interaction within a group of exceptional and uniuely talented characters shaped and changed American thought At the close of the Civil War the United States took a deep breath to lick wounds and consider the damage done A Summer of Hummingbirds reveals how at that tender moment the lives of some of our most noted writers poets and artists including Emily Dickinson Mark Twain Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Johnson Heade intersected to make sense of it all Renowned critic Christopher Benfey maps the intricate web of friendship family and romance that connects these larger than life personalities to one another and in doing so discovers a uniue moment in the development of American character In this meticulously researched and creativ. When I finished this book the word delicate came to mind suited to a work in which hummingbirds play so big a part It's a pleasure to read criticism as delicate as this and as magical as a hummingbird's flight Benfey describes an age of American art and letters and society and history focusing on the lives and work of Mark Twain Harriet Beecher Stowe Martin Johnson Heade and Emily Dickinson as well as various lives around them He finds what they all have in common and shows how those enthusiasms link them and help create the art we associate with the period following the Civil War Benfey uses the theme of hummingbirds appropriate to all his subjects to flit from person to person connecting them in the darting thrust of his text and ideas But not only hummingbirds stitch them together they share other confluences of circumstance such as Brazil transits of Venus northeastern Florida and flowers like the trailing arbutus The picture Benfey is able to give us of the period and his subjects by using all these associations is colorful and elaborate If the book has a main focus it's Dickinson She's the flower here and the others along with their family and acuaintances are the hummingbirds who hover and feed on or near her presence in our literary history I think the book is ambitious clever criticism

review A Summer of Hummingbirds Love Art and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson Mark Twain Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Johnson Heade

A Summer of Hummingbirds Love Art and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson Mark Twain Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Johnson Heade Free read ß 4 Á A surprising and scandalous story of how the interact Ely imagined work Benfey takes the seemingly arbitrary image of the hummingbird and traces its route of evanescence as it travels in circles to and from the creative wellsprings of the age from the naturalist writings of abolitionist Thomas Wentworth Higginson to the poems of his wayward pupil Emily Dickinson; into the mind of Henry Ward Beecher and within the writings and paintings of his famous sister Harriet Beecher Stowe A Summer of Hummingbirds unveils how through the art of these great thinkers the hummingbird became the symbol of an era an image through which they could explore their controversial and often contradictory ideas of nature religion sexuality family time exoticism and beauty Benfey's complex tale of interconnection comes to an apex in Amherst Massachusetts du. A book best savored at leisure when you too have time to meander around the ideas and personalities herein A good one

Christopher E.G. Benfey Å 4 Read

A Summer of Hummingbirds Love Art and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson Mark Twain Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Johnson HeadeRing the summer of 1882 a time when loyalties were betrayed and thoughts exchanged with the speed of a hummingbird's wings Here in the wake of the very public Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton sex scandal Mabel Loomis Todd the young and beautiful protŽgŽe to the hummingbird painter Martin Johnson Heade begins an affair with Austin Dickinson and leaves her mentor heartbroken; Emily Dickinson is found in the arms of her father's friend Judge Otis Lord and that's not all As infidelity and lust run rampant the incendiary ghost of Lord Byron is evoked and the characters of A Summer of Hummingbirds find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Calvinist world of decorum restraint and judgment and a romantic unconventional world in which nature prevails and freedom is all. I found this very well written and interesting book the other day on the bargain table at my local Barnes Noble bookstore Christopher Benfey’s A Summer of Hummingbirds while just a touch over 250 pages in length is a fascinating look at a series of seemingly unconnected historical events involving a group of prominent literary theological scientific and artistic Americans during the late 1860s through the 1880s Interestingly what seems to link these persons together was their unmitigated passion for hummingbirdsAs Dr Benfey writes “they wrote poems and stories about hummingbirds; they painted pictures of hummingbirds; they tamed wild hummingbirds and collected stuffed hummingbirds; they set music to the humming of hummingbirds; they waited impatiently through the winter months for the hummingbirds’ return” Dr Benfey puts forward the proposition that this fascination was one result of the great tragic but ultimately liberating experience of the American Civil War Benfey believes that “Americans during and after the Civil War gradually left behind a static view of existence a trust in fixed arrangements and hierarchies In science and in art in religion and in love they came to see a new dynamism and movement in their lives a brave new world of instability and evanescence This dynamism in all aspects of life found perfect expression in the hummingbird”The book kicks off with Thomas Wentworth Higginson and his black Union soldiers near Jacksonville Florida during the American Civil War Before his military service began Higginson wrote an essay entitled The Life of Birds that was published in The Atlantic in 1862 He began the essay with a long look at hummingbirds which in his words were “an image of airy motion” and wondered if “gems turn to flowers flowers to feathers in that long past dynasty of the humming birds” A fanciful nod to Darwinism perhapsHigginson during the war years was already corresponding with Emily Dickinson the shy and reclusive brilliant poet of Amherst Massachusetts In fact in 1862 Dickinson sent three poems to Higginson for his opinion and asked if they had the potential for publication Dickinson it seems was inspired by Higginson’s nature essays to begin writing poems about hummingbirds including this example“Within my Garden rides a BirdUpon a single Wheel—Whose spokes a dizzy Music makeAs ‘twere a traveling Mill—He never stops but slackensAbove the Ripest Rose—Partakes without alightingAnd praises as he goes”I learned some interesting new things about Emily Dickinson Henry Ward Beecher his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson To me though I was most intrigued with Martin Johnson Heade Heade was an artist largely a landscape painter of the American mid 19th century “Hudson River School;” that also produced artists like Thomas Cole Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt Heade loved painting nature and the wildlife that lived in it It appears that he also had a bit of wanderlust in him as he traveled all over the globe in pursuit of practicing his art He particularly loved to paint hummingbirds in their natural habitats and visited Central and South America in pursuit of these little flying jewels Many prominent Americans including Samuel Clemens Mark Twain ownws paintings by HeadeGenerally the book gives a wonderful overview of each of these amazing people and wha