The Great Debate
The violent separation of the United States from Britain was not just a military and political victory. As the 1800s began, many Americans wanted their new country to be truly independent, with its own culture and literature. But what would that mean for Shakespeare in America?
For most of the nineteenth century, American thinkers wavered on his proper role. Some called Shakespeare’s works undemocratic or simply irrelevant, hoping instead for new American voices. Others saw Shakespeare as one of the foundations of American literature and thought.
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poisonous to... the life-blood of democracy More >>
stopping short of the grandest sort More >>
non-acceptable to America and Democracy More >>
Ralph Waldo Emerson
the father of the man in America More >>
The Pilgrims... might have stayed at home More >>
His mind is the horizon More >>
Henry David Thoreau
food for the mind More >>
essentially tame and
civilized More >>
part of our Anglo Saxon superstitions More >>
he is sure to be
surpassed More >>
snobs who burn their tuns of rancid fat More >>
James Fenimore Cooper
fashioned after the same models More >>
the great author of America More >>