"There is Lowell, who's striving Parnassus to climb
With a whole bale of isms tied together with rhyme ;
He might get on alone, spite of brambles and boulders
But he can't with that bundle he has on his shoulders ;
" -Fable for Critics, Lowell
James Russell Lowell was a father and a husband, but most importantly he was a man of literature. Lowell's works were greatly influenced by those around him, events during his time, and events in his personal life. Lowell had to overcome many "brambles and boulders" through his life, such as the death of his wife and the death of most of his children, which affected, and are apparent in, his works. Although Lowell went through many trying times throughout his life, he was recognized by The American Experience as "the most talented of the Fireside Poets", which also included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. There is a clear reason why Lowell was recognized as the most talented, but only after researching the life, works, and analyzing those works, one would fully understand this excerpt, and James Russell Lowell.
On February 22nd of 1819 James Russell Lowell was the last born child to preacher Charles Lowell and Harriet Spence Lowell in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Lowell's were thought of to be from a wealthy family, but they received no inheritance. Lowell was know for his humor throughout life, humor helped to keep him balanced. Although he felt somewhat troubled, he was a dreamer and, loving laughter, looked at life through humorous eyes. In 1838, when he was 19, Lowell attended Harvard University, where he developed his profound literary skills. At Harvard Law, he attained a law degree- but only because he did not know what else to do career-wise. After his college education, Lowell set up his own practice, but decided to stop because he thought it to be unprofitable and unpractical in comparison to a profession in writing. After this "enlightenment" he turned to a friend who owned a magazine company, there Lowell earned the title of co-editor of the magazine. After only 3 months this magazine discontinued, but later in life Lowell founded and was the first editor of The Atlantic Monthly- a respected literary magazine. In addition to being a magazine editor, Lowell was also a lyric poet, reformer, familiar essayist, critic, editor, professor of belles-lettres at Harvard, and a diplomat. He also supported the abolitionist movement against slavery and was well-known as one of the country's leading abolitionist journalists. On December twenty-sixth of 1844, Lowell married the love of his life, and fellow poet and abolitionist, Maria White. Maria greatly and positively affected his life and works, she was also the muse for many of his poems. Maria and James Russell Lowell had four children together, named; Blanche, Rose, Walter, and Mable. In 1848 Lowell's literary career reached its peak. That year he published three of his best works; A Fable For Critics, The Biglow Papers, and The Vision of Sir Luanfal. Lowell's literary career was disrupted by many personal tragedies; Blanche, Rose, and Walter all died in infancy, and the love of his life- his wife Maria died. Lowell never fully lived to the promise he had in literature, his works were never quite the same after their deaths. Many of the poems he wrote, after these misfortunes, had mournful and solemn tones, yet they were hopeful of a brighter day after coping with the pain. Later in life, Lowell coped with the pain and remarried to Francis Dunlap on September sixteenth of 1857. The remaining years of Lowell's life were filled with many trips to Europe and the writing of many of his works. He traveled to Europe about four times, to study and be a diplomat for Europe and Spain. After the death of his second wife, Lowell traveled to Europe for on last time and in 1890 traveled back to his...
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