American Historical and Literary Curiosities, Part 21. Second Series

7. The Early Republic
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He resigned in to teach at the Maryland Agricultural College now University of Maryland , but in , he became the first entomologist at the newly created USDA, and he subsequently published 17 annual reports. Glover was quite interested in developing an agricultural museum displaying his models , but he failed to understand the need for an authoritative collection of insect specimens and did not build one.

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He did take several trips into the South to study insect pests, but when agricultural insect crises emerged in the s, he did not adequately respond and resigned in for health reasons. Mallis , Mallis North American cave Coleoptera. Packard , Plate 20, with identifications on pages — In Canada, the Dominion Department of Agriculture appointed its first entomologist, James Fletcher, in , to advise farmers about insect pests Palladino — Fletcher established a network of over farmers to report on insect pests. He worked closely with William Saunders of the Entomological Society of Ontario to prepare a report on agricultural colleges and experimental stations in Canada and the United States for the Dominion Parliament.

It was impossible to tie experimental stations to agricultural stations, as in the United States, because of stipulations in the British North America Act, and William Weld, editor of Farmers' Advocate and Home Magazine , argued that Canada did not need experimental stations because Canadians could just use reports published by the American stations. Nevertheless, Parliament established five experimental farms across Canada. Canada's higher education system was slow to train applied entomologists, and those hired for the experimental farms were trained either in Britain or the United States.

New York appointed the first state entomologist, Asa Fitch — , in Howard —50, Essig —, Mallis —43, Rezneck , Barnes , , Sorensen —72, Palladino —24, Sterling b. He was born in Salem, New York, north of Albany, and lived all his life there on his family farm. His father, Dr. Asa Fitch, had a successful practice and a large library. The son entered Rensselaer School in Troy in It had been founded by Stephen Van Rensselaer in to train teachers of science and its applications. After a year there, he studied medicine in Albany and New York City because of the poor chance of finding work as an entomologist.

However, he found time to practice medicine, run the family farm, and study insects. The New York State Agricultural Society was formed in , and many of Fitch's more than publications were in its Transactions his bibliography is in Barnes — Fitch successfully wrote them for two audiences: farmers and entomologists. These reports were so popular the state legislature often reprinted them, and they became a model for other states and were highly valued in Europe.

In he was awarded a gold medal by the French Section of Natural History of the Imperial and Central Society of Agriculture, and he was elected a corresponding member of entomological societies in Philadelphia, Germany, and Russia Barnes He occasionally lectured on entomology at his alma mater, Rensselaer School now Rensselaer Polytechic Institute.

In the s, wheat was an important crop in New York State, but it was besieged by two insect pests, the Hessian fly and the wheat fly or midge. Fitch's publications in and were devoted to these species Fig. He thought the wheat fly was a European species, which it may have been, though not the one he identified Barnes — Working on that assumption, he concluded that it was more destructive in America than in Europe. He reasoned that in Europe it had parasites that kept its numbers down, but that these parasites had not come to America with the fly.

After he began corresponding with John Curtis, he wrote to him in May and requested he send some parasites to him in Salem. Curtis thought this was a good idea, but not having any live wheat fly parasites, he took the suggestion to a meeting of the Entomological Society of London and requested help from its members. Nothing came of it. Barnes and Doutt thought this was probably the first suggestion of biological control by introduced parasites, though we have seen Riley , Egerton — that Erasmus Darwin had made such suggestions in Fitch also saw that no American insects fed on the naturalized toadflax and suggested that European insects that feed on it be imported.

After Fitch died, his collection of over , specimens was sold, some to the State Museum in Albany and some to the U. National Museum. Illinois and Missouri appointed state entomologists in and , respectively. Coincidentally, both had immigrated from England. Benjamin Dann Walsh — had collected insects in England Tucker , Howard —53, Mills —91, Mallis —48, Sorensen —75, Garber They corresponded after Walsh settled in America. He came to America at age 30 with his wife, bought a farm in northwest Illinois, and farmed for 12 years.

Then he ran a lumber yard in Rock Island, — Before retiring, he built a row of brick tenements, and then became a landlord, with time to study insects. In , he gave a fascinating lecture on insects to the Illinois State Horticultural Society's annual convention, followed by several articles on insects in agricultural newspapers. In — he published a dozen articles in proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History and the Philadelphia Entomological Society Henshaw It was one of five of his publications that he sent to Darwin, who responded appreciatively 21 October , Darwin — , XII— Darwin welcomed letters from any competent naturalists, since they usually became eager members of his de facto research institute, which he ran through the mail.

He and Walsh exchanged photographs, and Walsh commented that he could still see the Darwin he knew at Cambridge behind the beard and despite the balding head 1 March , Darwin — , XIII He also wanted a copy of any paper Walsh published on wingless insects. Taking Darwin at his word, that he was interested in insect galls, Walsh sent him, on 12 November, a summary of his rather complex experiment to demonstrate that Cynipide insects generally do not move far on a tree from one generation to another Darwin — , XIII— Leland Howard later seconded this opinion Darwin gladly read it, but he expressed skepticism of Walsh's claim in it about male Lucanidae 9 August [ Darwin — , XV].

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Walsh did not reply promptly, but the skepticism expressed above did not shake Darwin's confidence in Walsh's reliability, for on 14 February he sent Walsh a series of questions, which he hoped Walsh might answer, on sexual selection in insects —, XVI Three days later, he wrote an apology for not having looked though Walsh's papers he already had before writing that letter, but he also added more questions that had arisen since 14 February 17 February [ Darwin — ]. With such encouragement, Walsh sent still more details on 1 May Darwin — — After his accidental death in , his collection of 10, insects reached the Chicago Academy of Science in time to be destroyed by Chicago's fire.

Charles Valentine Riley — seemed more ambitious than his older countryman, Walsh Howard —57, Essig —, Mallis —79, Ordish —32, Sorensen —77, Sawyer :6—15, Smith and Smith , Wassong , Smith Although he was illegitimate and his father died in debtor's prison, he was nevertheless educated in London, Dieppe, France, and Bonn, Germany, all before age 17, when he came to America. He worked on a northern Illinois farm for three years, and studied insects there. By August , the Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say had reached Illinois via railroads , and Riley sent a description, with illustration of its life stages, to the Prairie Farmer , the foremost American farm journal, published in Chicago.

He soon became its entomological editor and corresponded with other entomologists. In he became the state entomologist for Missouri, having been recommended to the legislature by Walsh. Riley remained there nine years, —, and issued nine important annual reports that, like Fitch's, appealed to both farmers and entomologists Henshaw Riley wrote a book about the Colorado potato beetle , which contained his illustration of its life stages Fig. It was reprinted in England to reassure Britons it was unlikely to arrive with American potatoes.

However, suppliers to insect collectors were breeding it in England until a law stopped them Ordish :3—4. This beetle is now thought to be a native of Mexico Casagrande It had already become a serious pest in Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa before it reached Illinois via the transcontinental railroad in Allen ; it reached the Atlantic in Some farmers got their chickens to pick the beetles from the potato plants, but most farmers resorted to picking them off by hand. There were many varieties of potatoes, and some were found to be less vulnerable than others.

Comstock : frontispiece. A larva of a handmaid moth, Datana. Drawn by Anna Botsford Comstock. Comstock Cornell University's Insectary, with greenhouse in rear, to raise insects and the plants they ate. Designed by J. Comstock and built in summer, Comstock :facing Fitch Plate 5 , which Barnes identified as Sidodiplosis mosellana. Mills Howard : Plate 2. Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say : a and b are larvae or grubs; c is pupa; d, e, f are adults; g is eggs. Riley Walsh a identified stink bugs and ladybird beetles as enemies of the potato beetle. Yet he attributed a decline in Iowa potato beetles to depredations of ladybird beetles.

Riley also described four species of ladybird beetles, four bugs, four ground beetles, and a blister beetle that occasionally preyed on the potato beetle. His list of enemies later climbed to 22, but D. The Canadian entomologist Charles James Steward — , who would later become professor of entomology and zoology at the Ontario Agricultural College, reviewed the 22 enemies and concluded they could not adequately control the potato beetle By Riley was recommending the use of Paris green, an arsenic paint, which became the first widely used insecticide, against the potato beetle Casagrande Reports of the Colorado potato beetle depredations were soon eclipsed by news of the even greater devastation of crops by the Rocky Mountain locust Melanoplus spretus.

Walsh had officially named and described it in , though the specific name had been used for it earlier Lockwood — There had been occasional local grasshopper plagues reported since the mid s in the East and in California Schlebecker , but grasshoppers, unlike locusts, do not migrate long distances. Yet, this locust differed from potato beetles in not migrating east as farmers migrated west. It lived in an arid environment, and it only became a problem as farmers settled prairies and plains. The Selkirk Settlement in the Red River Valley, now in Manitoba, suffered locust attacks of crops in , , and Riegert — The Mormons in Utah experienced locust plagues in , , and in the s Lockwood — In , locusts were eating crops in Canada's Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and soon also in Minnesota Riegert , Sorensen Wild birds, chickens, and turkeys would eat locusts, but if they gorged themselves, it could be fatal.

Farmers learned that peas, beans, and corn were less vulnerable than wheat to locust attack Lockwood — Locust plagues of the s were the most dramatic event in the history of American entomology Sorensen — By locust problems were so serious that there were calls for government intervention. Governors of Iowa and Minnesota asked for federal assistance, and in , so did governors of Kansas and Nebraska. On 3 March , Riley published a letter in the St.

American Historical and Literary Curiosities, Part 21. Second Series

The Minnesota governor convened a meeting of Midwestern governors in Omaha on 26 October , and they were impressed by a talk Riley delivered Lockwood He and LeConte also appeared before agricultural committees of the U. House and Senate in and proposed formation of a entomological commission to deal with the locust threat. Congress did so, and Riley became its head, with Cyrus Thomas and Alpheus Packard as the other commissioners on the U. Entomological Commission. Cyrus Thomas — never attended college, though he became both a lawyer and a Lutheran minister Howard —15, Essig —, Mallis — He served as botanist and entomologist for Hayden's U.

Geological Survey of the Territories, —, taught at the Illinois State Normal School, —, and served as State Entomologist for Illinois from to , when he became entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution Mills — Logan Sorensen — The Entomological Commission was rather successful. Ralph Dexter —32 has summarized its five reports, —, the briefest of which ran to pages, and the longest to pages, with illustrations and maps see Fig.

Instead of the commissioners fighting over power and prestige or how to conduct their work, they divided the western territory into three sections and each used his own judgment in the work for his section. The Rocky Mountain locust was their main focus, but other pests were also investigated, and commissioners delegated research to other entomologists as needed. They explained the differences between this locust and those of Eurasia and Africa and from the other grasshoppers of America.

The reports also described its biology, distribution, migration, and enemies. Hot weather affected buildup of swarms, and wind controlled their direction. Entomologists and farmers could use this knowledge to vanquish their foe.

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There was even a discussion of the brain, histology, and what we call its ecology. The last major locust invasion in Canada was in and in the United States in Norman Criddle collected the last living specimens, male and female, in Manitoba, Canada on 19 July Lockwood The reason for the extinction may have been a change in agricultural practices, perhaps influenced by Commission advice, or perhaps the disappearance of buffalo from the breeding range, or both Sorensen The commission was a helpful stepping stone for Riley and Packard to better positions Palladino , and could have been so for Thomas as well, had he chosen to continue working in entomology.

Rocky Mountain locust Melanoplus spretus Walsh. Drawn by Riley. Riley et al. San Jose scale insect and infected pear figs. Riley on Plate 1, facing Howard , 10, Le Duc replaced Riley with Cornell professor John Henry Comstock, but after two years, Riley returned under a new presidential administration and remained there until In doing so, his division became the prototype for other science bureaus Dupree —, Sorensen In the Division of Entomology established a branch of economic ornithology and mammalogy, which in became a separate USDA division.

During the s and s, some European immigrants brought grapevines to America and attempted to establish vineyards, but all failed except in California. During the s, American farmers began successfully domesticating native grapes Ordish — No one knew why European vines failed and American vines flourished, and no one reported aphids sucking on the roots. In , the French agricultural press began reporting diseased grapevines. This happened after American grapevines had been imported for several years.

Sahut discovered aphids on vine roots and showed them to Planchon, who named the aphid Rhizaphis vastatrix Ordish —38, Paul Lichtenstein, decided that this aphid seemed to be the same as Fitch's leaf aphid Pemphigus vitifolii, and Riley went to France in and confirmed their identity. Ordish stated that Fitch's specific name should have been retained, and some entomologists do use it, but that vastatrix was too widely used to be eliminated.

But entomologist Victor Antoine Signoret — thought the aphid might attack the roots because the vine was weakened by disease, and he transferred vastatrix to the Phylloxera genus Ordish — However, Planchon stood his ground, and another commission in agreed with him. Planchon and Riley introduced into France an American mite, Tyroglyphaus phylloxerae, which preys on Phylloxera, and it became established, but without significant impact on Phylloxera populations Howard and Fisk When Walsh wrote to Darwin on 1 May , he passed along this information Kritsky The State of Missouri has just appointed a young friend of mine, C.

He is comparatively only a beginner in the science, but he is a hard working intelligent young fellow, understands German which I am ashamed to say I do not…. Walsh enclosed both his own and Riley's reprints. Darwin responded on 21 September, sending his thanks and his photograph for Riley.

I received some little time ago your report on noxious insects, and have now read the whole with the greatest interest. There are a vast number of facts, and generalizations of value to me, and I am struck with admiration at your powers of observation. In response to such praise, Riley sent Darwin his state reports for the next six years, and the marginalia in Darwin's copies show that he read them closely and cited Riley's observations in his own books Kritsky — Riley visited Darwin at Down House in and , and after Darwin's death in , Riley wrote an appreciative essay on Darwin's contributions to entomology Riley He suggested they discuss this with their Congressmen, which they did.

This led to the discovery that the State Department was going to send a representative to an international exposition in Melbourne, and one of the entomologists from USDA, Albert Koebele — was sent as the U. In Australia, Koebele discovered that the vedalia beetle Rololia cardinalis preys on I. The vedalia beetle was extremely successful in destroying the I. In areas too cool for vedalia beetles, C. This first significant venture into biological control was probably the most successful.

Although I. Introducing vedalia beetles was such a spectacular success story that biological control became very popular Sawyer , Allen —72 , and led Koebele into a career of biological control in Hawaii Palladino — However, Riley and Koebele had beginner's luck: many introductions have not worked and some have backfired Krebs —, Simberloff and Stiling , Davis — In , Riley was President of the Washington Entomological Society, and his presidential address was a survey of parasitism, including the use of parasites to control pests Riley In , Riley and an assistant, Henry Hubbard, traveled to Montserrat in the Caribbean in search of parasites of citrus pests, and when they returned, Riley was chastised for violating Department travel restrictions.

He resigned in disgust and moved over to the Smithsonian Institution, only to die in a bicycle accident on 14 September Smith and Smith Virtually all entomologists were either in government service or in universities. The Association founded the Journal of Economic Entomology in This association lasted until , when it merged with the Entomological Society of America, founded in The s were quite eventful for American entomology, because of newly discovered insect pests on the one hand—gypsy moths in Massachusetts in , San Jose scales in the East in , and cotton boll weevils in Texas in Howard — —and on the other hand, the establishment of agricultural experiment stations with entomologists who could study these pests Palladino — Some eggs or larvae blew out the window no screens , which Trouvelot promptly reported, but no damage was reported until when Trouvelot was back in Paris.

In June , gypsy moths began defoliating trees in Medford and a specimen was taken to the secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture for identification, who was unable to identify it and sent it to the Hatch Experiment Station at Amherst Forbush and Fernald — In December, the president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College wrote to the governor suggestions for extermination, which he communicated to the legislature in , on which the legislature acted, authorizing a salaried commission.

Edward H. Forbush was appointed to head the eradication effort, under the guidance of State Entomologist and Professor of Zoology at the Massachusetts Agricultural College Charles H. Fernald — It included an extended discussion of birds and insects that preyed on the moths Forbush and Frenald —, — Comstock discovered and bestowed the scientific name on the San Jose scale Aspidiotus [now Quadraspidiotus] perniciosus in the Santa Clara Valley in California in summer , where it infested fruit trees Howard —,. It spread rapidly along the Pacific coast.

Its origin was long unknown, but Charles L. Marlatt eventually traced it to China, and it entered America on imported fruit trees. Within six years, however, it had spread throughout the eastern and midwestern states Croker — Entomologists and orchardists developed a lime—sulfur and mineral oil supressant that controlled, but did not eliminate it. It remains a serious pest Pedigo In , someone collected a weevil in Vera Cruse, Mexico, which a Swedish entomologist named Anthonomus grandis Howard — In , a German entomologist discovered it in Cuba, but it did not attract attention until botanist Edward Palmer collected it at Monclova, Mexico, where the damage to cotton was so great that farmers switched to other crops.

Tyler Townsend to investigate. He traveled from 15 November to 15 December through southern Texas and adjacent Mexico and submitted an alarming report. In subsequent years it spread steadily north and east. Hunter — in charge of boll weevil studies and eradication, to which he devoted the remainder of his life. Stephen A. Forbes — , from Illinois, was only a year younger than Riley, yet his career was as much in the s as s, and he also worked on both sides of the academic—government divide Howard , Mallis —60, Winsor , Lovely , Croker He was probably first to make systematic studies on wild animal diets, beginning with fishes in and birds in Forbes There are both fish and bird species that eat insects, and it was a natural progression to go on to study the diets of insect species that also eat other insects Forbes b , Lovely He also determined which Illinois insects were harmful or beneficial to agriculture and horticulture Forbes , Lovely — In the museum was moved to Springfield and he persuaded the board of education and the state legislature to turn the Normal Museum building into a state biology laboratory to investigate Illinois natural history Kohler — It became a model for other states to follow Mills et al.

In Forbes became state entomologist, without relinquishing his administration of the state laboratory, and he published Illinois entomology reports from to Howard — In , the University of Indiana awarded him a Ph. Forbes contributions were widely appreciated Howard , and he was the second president of Association of Economic Entomologists.

The serious modification of any group, either in numbers, habits, or distribution, must modify, considerably, various other groups; and each of these must transmit the change in turn, or initiate some other form of change, the disturbance thus propagating itself in a far extending circle. Since these beetles prefer animal food, if a prey species has a population explosion, they feed almost entirely on the numerous species until its numbers are reduced to its usual numbers Forbes b —, , Lovely — He reported in on a bacterium that infects cinch bugs.

Howard — , whose illustrious career as administrator lasted until Mallis —86, Hatch When Howard first became Riley's assistant in November , Riley asked him to compile a manual on silk culture, which Howard easily did. In his autobiography Howard says that Riley published it under his own name, which was then the custom, but a custom Howard changed when he replaced Riley Howard — The beginning of its rapid increase in our cities is nearly coincident with the beginning of the remarkable multiplication of the English sparrows after their introduction into this country, and there seems little doubt that this coincidence is really a matter of cause and effect.

One of the early results of the introduction of the English sparrow was the practical extermination by this bird of the cankerworms, which at that time were the principal insect enemies of our city shade trees. The removal of the cankerworms afforded room for the multiplication of the tussock moth, which, from the fact that its larva is hairy, was not eaten by the sparrows, and consequently multiplied with rapidity. Furthermore, the tussock moth must be considered as one of those species which are becoming attached to cities—which are slowly altering their habits and accommodating themselves to city environment.

Washington, D. In summer , however, the species was scarce, and the reason seemed to be that its previous abundance had created favorable conditions for its parasites. His study of the parasites revealed 17 species of primary Hymenoptera parasites, 6 species of primary Diptera, and also 13 species of secondary and 2 species of tertiary Hymenoptera parasites Howard With native parasites controlling a native pest, no human action was needed. Many insect species menace human welfare, and some species are beneficial to humanity. In the s they were well studied from both perspectives, and also because insects are conspicuous and fascinating.

Many studies explored ecological aspects of life histories. Entomological knowledge expanded immensely, which benefited ecology. Literature on the history of entomology during the s is extensive, and titles listed here are not exhaustive. First, general histories. Contact us Join our mailing list Privacy policy. Every week we host incredible events with the most interesting doers, makers and thinkers — all open to the public. Exposure to new ideas, provocations and thinkers makes you more creative in your professional life.

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African-American literature

In particular, Tenskwatawa pronounced that the Master of Life entrusted him and Tecumseh with the responsibility for returning Native peoples to the one true path and to rid Native communities of the dangerous and corrupting influences of Euro-American trade and culture. It settles into our belief as a common-sense object, a scientific object, an abstract object, a mythological object, an object of some one's mistaken conception, or a madman's object; and it reaches this state sometimes immediately, but often only after being hustled and bandied about amongst other objects until it finds some which will tolerate its presence and stand in relations to it which nothing contradicts. A bill passed in began the slow process of eroding slavery in the state, but a proposal just one year later would have erased that bill and furthered the distance between slavery and freedom. Also in , Leland Howard published on insect parasitism with observations and conclusions comparable to Marchal's, as discussed below. When we add any one of them to the subject, we increase the intrinsic content of the latter, we enrich its picture in our mind.

African-American literature has also crossed over to genre fiction. A pioneer in this area is Chester Himes , who in the s and '60s wrote a series of pulp fiction detective novels featuring "Coffin" Ed Johnson and "Gravedigger" Jones, two New York City police detectives.

Himes paved the way for the later crime novels of Walter Mosley and Hugh Holton. African Americans are also represented in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror, with Samuel R. Delany , Octavia E. Saunders , John Ridley , John M. Faucette , Sheree Thomas and Nalo Hopkinson being just a few of the well-known authors. Finally, African-American literature has gained added attention through the work of talk-show host Oprah Winfrey , who repeatedly has leveraged her fame to promote literature through the medium of her Oprah's Book Club. At times, she has brought African-American writers a far broader audience than they otherwise might have received.

While African-American literature is well accepted in the United States, there are numerous views on its significance, traditions, and theories.

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To the genre's supporters, African-American literature arose out of the experience of Blacks in the United States, especially with regards to historic racism and discrimination, and is an attempt to refute the dominant culture's literature and power. In addition, supporters see the literature existing both within and outside American literature and as helping to revitalize the country's writing.

To critics [ who? In addition, there are some within the African-American community who do not like how their own literature sometimes showcases Black people. Throughout American history, African Americans have been discriminated against and subject to racist attitudes. This experience inspired some Black writers, at least during the early years of African-American literature, to prove they were the equals of European-American authors.

As Henry Louis Gates, Jr, has said, "it is fair to describe the subtext of the history of black letters as this urge to refute the claim that because blacks had no written traditions they were bearers of an inferior culture. By refuting the claims of the dominant culture, African-American writers were also attempting to subvert the literary and power traditions of the United States. Some scholars assert that writing has traditionally been seen as "something defined by the dominant culture as a white male activity.

By borrowing from and incorporating the non-written oral traditions and folk life of the African diaspora , African-American literature broke "the mystique of connection between literary authority and patriarchal power. This view of African-American literature as a tool in the struggle for Black political and cultural liberation has been stated for decades, perhaps most famously by W.

According to Joanne Gabbin, a professor, African-American literature exists both inside and outside American literature. Even though African Americans have long claimed an American identity, during most of United States history they were not accepted as full citizens and were actively discriminated against. As a result, they were part of America while also outside it. Similarly, African-American literature is within the framework of a larger American literature, but it also is independent.

As a result, new styles of storytelling and unique voices have been created in relative isolation. The benefit of this is that these new styles and voices can leave their isolation and help revitalize the larger literary world McKay, This artistic pattern has held true with many aspects of African-American culture over the last century, with jazz and hip hop being just two artistic examples that developed in isolation within the Black community before reaching a larger audience and eventually revitalizing American culture. Since African-American literature is already popular with mainstream audiences, its ability to develop new styles and voices—or to remain "authentic," in the words of some critics—may be a thing of the past.

Some conservative academics and intellectuals argue that African-American literature exists as a separate topic only because of the balkanization of literature over the last few decades, or as an extension of the culture wars into the field of literature. These critics reject bringing identity politics into literature because this would mean that "only women could write about women for women, and only Blacks about Blacks for Blacks.

People opposed to this group-based approach to writing say that it limits the ability of literature to explore the overall human condition. Critics also disagree with classifying writers on the basis of their race, as they believe this is limiting and artists can tackle any subject. Proponents counter that the exploration of group and ethnic dynamics through writing deepens human understanding and previously, entire groups of people were ignored or neglected by American literature.

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The general consensus view appears to be that American literature is not breaking apart because of new genres such as African-American literature. Unlike England, France placed no restrictions on women performing on stage; however, the career of actors of either sex was seen as morally wrong by the Catholic Church actors were excommunicated and by the ascetic religious Jansenist movement. Actors typically had stage names referring to typical roles or stereotypical characters.

In addition to scripted comedies and tragedies, Parisians were also great fans of the Italian acting troupe who performed their Commedia dell'arte , a kind of improvised theater based on types. The characters from the Commedia dell'arte would have a profound effect on French theater, and one finds echoes of them in the braggarts, fools, lovers, old men and wily servants which still populate French theater. Finally, opera reached France during the second half of the 17th century. The royal court and other noble houses were also important organizers of theatrical representations, ballets de cour , mock battles and other forms of divertissement for their festivities; in the some cases, the roles of dancers and actors were held by the nobles themselves.

The early years at Versailles—before the massive expansion of the residence—were entirely devoted to such pleasures, and similar spectacles continued throughout the reign. Engravings show Louis XIV and the court seated outside before the Cour du marbre of Versailles, watching the performance of a play. The great majority of scripted plays in the 17th century were written in verse. Except for lyric passages in these plays, the meter used was a twelve-syllable alexandrine line with a regular pause or cesura after the sixth syllable. These lines were put into rhymed couplets ; couplets alternated between "feminine" i.

The truth, however, is far more complicated. Theater at the beginning of the 17th century was dominated by the genres and dramatists of the previous generation; most influential in this respect was Robert Garnier. Although the royal court had grown tired of the tragedy preferring the more-escapist tragicomedy , the theatergoing public preferred the former. This would change in the s and s when influenced by the long baroque novels of the period the tragicomedy—a heroic and magical adventure of knights and maidens—became the dominant genre.

The amazing success of Corneille's Le Cid in and Horace in would bring the tragedy back into fashion, where it would remain for the rest of the 17th century. The most important source for tragic theater was Seneca and the precepts of Horace and Aristotle plus modern commentaries by Julius Caesar Scaliger and Lodovico Castelvetro ; plots were taken from classical authors such as Plutarch and Suetonius , and from Italian, French and Spanish short-story collections.

The Greek tragic authors Sophocles and Euripides would become increasingly important by the middle of the 17th century. Important theatrical models were also supplied by the Italian stage including the pastoral and Italy was also an important source for theoretical discussions on theater, especially regarding decorum see, for example, the debates on Sperone Speroni 's play Canace and Giovanni Battista Giraldi 's play Orbecche. Jean Rotrou and Pierre Corneille would return to regular comedy shortly before Corneille's tragedies were strangely un-tragic his first version of Le Cid was even listed as a tragicomedy , as they had happy endings.

In his theoretical works on theater, Corneille redefined both comedy and tragedy around the following suppositions:. The history of the public and critical reaction to Corneille's Le Cid may be found in other articles he was criticized for his use of sources, his violation of good taste, and for other irregularities not conforming to Aristotian or Horacian rules , but its impact was stunning.

This would be the beginning of 17th-century "classicism". Corneille continued to write plays through mainly tragedies, but also what he called "heroic comedies". A select list of dramatists and plays, with indication of genre dates are often approximate, as date of publication was usually long after the date of first performance , includes:.

By the s, classicism had imposed itself on French theater. Although Pierre Corneille continued to produce tragedies until the end of his life, the works of Jean Racine from the late s on totally eclipsed the late plays of the elder dramatist. Racine's tragedies—inspired by Greek myths, Euripides , Sophocles and Seneca —condensed their plot into a tight set of passionate and duty-bound conflicts between a small group of noble characters, concentrating on these characters' double-binds and the geometry of their unfulfilled desires and hatreds.

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Racine's two late plays Esther and Athalie opened new doors to Biblical subject matter and the use of theater in the education of young women. Tragedy during the last two decades of the 17th century and the first years of the 18th century was dominated by productions of classics from Pierre Corneille and Racine, but on the whole the public's enthusiasm for tragedy had greatly diminished; theatrical tragedy paled beside the dark economic and demographic problems at the end of the 17th century, and the "comedy of manners" see below had incorporated many of the moral goals of tragedy.

Early French opera was especially popular with the royal court during this period, and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully was extremely prolific see the composer's article for more on court ballets and opera in this period. The 17th century was dominated by a profound moral and religious fervor unleashed by the Counter-Reformation. Of all literary works, devotional books were the century's best sellers. New religious organisations swept the country see, for example, the work of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Francis de Sales. The preacher Louis Bourdaloue — was known for his sermons, and theologian —orator Jacques-Benigne Bossuet — composed a number of celebrated funeral orations.

An outgrowth of counter-reformation Catholicism, Jansenism advocated a profound moral and spiritual interrogation of the soul. This movement would attract writers such as Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine , but would eventually come under attack for heresy they espoused a doctrine bordering on predestination , and their monastery at Port-Royal was suppressed. Another outgrowth of the religious fervor of the period was Quietism , which taught practitioners a kind of spiritual meditative state. The first great outpouring of these comes from the participants of the Fronde like Cardinal de Retz , who used the genre as political justification combined with novelistic adventure.

Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy known as Bussy-Rabutin is responsible for the scandalous Histoire amoureuse des Gaules , a series of sketches of amorous intrigues by the chief ladies of the court. Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac 's collected letters are credited with executing in French prose a reform paralleling Francois de Malherbe's in verse. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. La Cour de France. Viala's first chapter is entirely devoted to these academies. By his count, 70 were created during the 17th century.

First English language edition: Valincourt's criticism is discussed on pages Much recent scholarship has been published, such as: La formation de la doctrine classique en France. For an analysis of theatre development in the Renaissance, see: Literature portal French and Francophone literature portal French language and French-speaking world portal. Retrieved from " https: French literature 17th-century French literature. There were no obvious grammatical problems. Typos, too, seem rare. I noticed only a couple: I did not find the text insensitive or offensive. Like most other recent texts with which I am familiar, it strives to present a variety of perspectives.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this text. In the right kind of setting, I think it could be a very useful alternative to existing commercial texts. This promising textbook would benefit from greater comprehensiveness and greater depth. The book is easily searchable. In considering the text for community college use, at least twenty percent of community college students have disabilities and In considering the text for community college use, at least twenty percent of community college students have disabilities and it would have been wonderful if the authors had incorporated more disability history into the text.

Too, the book needs more intellectual history, with fuller coverage of republicanism, for example. More attention to the history of the development of technologies would broaden the appeal of this text to twenty-first century students. This text is clearly written, although some word choices for example, "tripwire" will be unfamiliar to twenty-first century students. The interface needs improvement for accessibility; the free versions need variable line spacing and enlargeable fonts features that the free PDF didn't offer.

The text needs greater coverage of people with disabilities as historical actors and more attention to the experiences of members of immigrant groups. This work, particularly if revised, has the potential to replace many U. It needs more people; the text seems to offer a bird's eye view of U. It would be wonderful to have more accounts of individuals whose experiences embody historical movements and moments. The linked resources are well-chosen but marginalize digital divide students. The textbook is very comprehensive, covering pre-contact to the 21st Century in 32 chapters. The authors provide thorough details in pages.

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The key terms in each chapter help with the terminology that some might find challenging. The problem still exists with new terminology that rarely appears in the text. The text is very consistent. I believe that students will be able to quickly adapt to the textbook's setup. I found no problems with the interface of the text.