Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln : The Evolution of His Literary Style

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In times like the present, 'Abraham Lincoln observed', men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time in eternity'. In this succinct and lucid study, Daniel Kilham Dodge surveys the literary sources that shaped the writings of a man whose own utterances are inscribed on America's cultural memory. Originally published in 1900, "Abraham Lincoln: The Evolution of His Literary Style" explicates the relations between what Lincoln read and how he wrote. Dodge considers Lincoln's reading habits, noting especially his extensive knowledge of the Bible and Shakespeare, and investigates how his knowledge of a wide range of literature - from newspapers and law books to poetry and natural philosophy - influenced his writing. Through letters, poems, lectures, and speeches, Dodge shows how Lincoln's distinctive style developed. He assesses Lincoln's imaginative engagement with words, traces the sources of his favored figures of speech, and considers how his contemporaries viewed the intellectual side of his character.
James Hurt's thoughtful introduction enhances this historic reissue, situating Dodge's monograph both in the history of Lincoln interpretation and in the context of literary/biographical studies. Hurt also observes the unique position of this work as the first scholarly publication to appear under the auspices of the University of Illinois.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 72 pages
  • 153.4 x 226.8 x 6.1mm | 164.22g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 1ill.
  • 0252068548
  • 9780252068546

Review quote

"Published only thirty-five years after the death of Lincoln, the brief monograph is a remarkably complete survey of the literary influences on Lincoln's writings, speeches, and conversation... Lincoln's 'realization of the fact that he was speaking to the country did not affect his minor utterances alone, but it informed all his important papers with dignity and impressiveness' is Dodge's verdict." -- Charles E. Burgess, Journal of Illinois History
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