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1860: Publishing; arts and music; popular entertainment; architecture; theatre.

Poets of the period often devoted their talents to the controversy over slavery and the events of the Civil War. The leading voice of the South was Henry Timrod of South Carolina, who was to become known as the poet laureate of the Confederacy. Timrod's collection of Poems was published this year, but it was not until 1873 that his poetry dealing with the war appeared. Most notable was "Ode Sung at the Occasion of Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead," written in 1867, the year of his early death.

Dime novels made their first appearance under the aegis of the publisher Erastus Beadle. The first dime novel was Malaeska; The Indian Wife of the White Hunter by Mrs. Anna Sophia Stephens; it sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year. Another dime novel, Seth Jones; or, the Captives of the Frontier by Edward S. Ellis, also published this year, sold some 450,000 copies in less than a year. By 1865 Beadle's dime novel series had sold over 4,000,000 copies. The novels featured such larger-than-life characters as Deadwood Dick, Calamity Jane, and Kit Carson. Published in orange jackets, the books were read extensively by soldiers in camp. In 1870 a second series, Beadle's Pocket Novels, was begun. Literary fare in these novels consisted of tales of the West, Indians, hunters, pioneers, and the gunmen. In general, the morality of the books was unobjectionable if simplistic, for the villain and the hero were obvious from the opening pages, and evil was always punished.

Mrs. Miriam Coles Harris published anonymously her all-time best seller, Rutledge, a novel of the perilous love of a young woman for a middle-aged man. Mrs. Harris published 130 other novels of the same type. They were marked by stilted actions and conversations, artificial and melodramatic plots, and moralistic intrusions by the author. Still, her readers craved more of the same.

The Marble Faun, Nathaniel Hawthorne's last completed novel, was published. Even in this romantic novel with its Italian setting, Hawthorne burdened his characters with heavy moral conflicts. His descriptions of the Eternal City in which his tragic romance is played out attest to the keenness of his observations. Even today The Marble Faun has interest as a travel guide.

"Old Black Joe," the last of Stephen Foster's "plantation songs," was published. Foster, suffering from alcoholism and financial problems, moved to New York City and began to write sentimental potboilers--as many as 46 songs in one year. He died in Bellevue Hospital, New York City, on Jan. 13, 1864.

Harriet G. Hosmer, the most famous woman sculptor of her day, achieved financial success with her marble statue Puck, a bat- winged elf astride a mushroom. The Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) bought a copy, and the demand for replicas kept her studio and 20 Italian stonecutters busy. Previously known for her classical sculptures, Hosmer created several more popular works, including Siren Fountain, Sleeping Faun, and Waking Faun.

The Conduct of Life by Ralph Waldo Emerson was published. For several years Emerson had lectured on the subject popularly and effectively. At the peak of his powers, he was now clearly an astute social commentator as well as moral philosopher. Among the book's topics were the discoveries of science, evolution, uses of wealth, importance of culture, faith, art, and a reevaluation of the position of the transcendentalists.

Home Ballads, Poems and Lyrics by John Greenleaf Whittier was published.

Avolio, A Legend of the Island of Cos by Paul Hamilton Hayne was published. Hayne, a Charleston, S.C., lawyer, editor, critic, and poet, later made a more lasting impression with his sonnets and lyrics about post-Civil War South Carolina.

The golden day of American art, an expression once applied to the era prior to the Civil War, had validity only with regard to literature. There was little painting of note, and sculpture fared even worse. The Hudson River school, which specialized in landscape painting, was the notable exception to the general mediocrity of painting.

Mar. 29

Dion Boucicault turned to an Irish setting and characters in the first of his smash comedy-drama hits, The Colleen Bawn. Other Boucicault plays based on Ireland are Arrah-na-Pogue (1864), The O'Dowd (1873), The Shaughraun (1874), and Cuishla Machree (1888).
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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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