Sunday, January 14, 2007

William Cullen Bryant Memorial: OMOM Essay 22

Until I started researching this sculpture I hadn't read anything by Bryant (d. 1878) since high school, and the only work I remembered was "Thanatopsis," a singularly depressing and long-winded poem. Although "Thanatopsis" brought Bryant fame, I find works such as "My Autumn Walk" much more appealing. (It’s excerpted in the Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan Sidebar; see the Forgotten Delights site for the full poem.) "About the Subject" discusses the rise and fall of Bryant's reputation as a poet and his influence on New York politics and literary taste during the fifty years he served as editor of the New York Post.

In "About the Sculpture" I compare Bryant to Cooper (Essay 10) and consider the City Beautiful movement of the late 19th c., which promoted art as a didactic tool for New York's illiterate masses.

No comments: