An Idler: John Hay's Social and Aesthetic Commentaries for the Press During the Civil War, 1861-1865
John Hay's distinguished national service began when he was Lincohn's private secretary and continued until up to his death as Secretary of State for two presidents. For a public man under scrutiny (including numerous biographies and Henry Adam's insightful portrait in THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS) little is known about Hay and his anonymous commentaries, reviews and critiques written during the Civil War. Dr. Hill's new monograph remedies that situation. As An Idler demonstrates, Hay was involved in a broad range of literary activities; as the War continued Hay's interest in social and aesthetic themes became predominant. Professor Hill discusses Hay's own battles with depression and how he believed his condition to be similar to Samuel Johnson's in the 18th century as well as to his chief, Abraham Lincohn. Hay's eloquent depiction of Washington in wartime, his critiques of jobbing and profiteering as well as his hopes for a new American cultural and social revival are all discussed in these pages. Excerpts of Hay's writings as well as a discussion of his publishers (Washington Chronicle, Washington National Republican, etc)are included along with a scholarly discussion of the effect of Hay's writings on the larger public and on the closed circle of Lafayette Square(the Five of Hearts) and the White House.
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Página 22 - Of my fellow-critter's aid, — I jest flopped down on my marrow-bones, Crotch-deep in the snow, and prayed. By this, the torches was played out, And me and Isrul Parr Went off for some wood to a sheepfold That he said was somewhar thar.
Página 20 - In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast; In the spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest; In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove; In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
Página 22 - We found it at last, and a little shed Where they shut up the lambs at night. We looked in, and seen them huddled thar, So warm and sleepy and white ; And thar sot Little Breeches and chirped, As peart as ever you see, " I want a chaw of terbacker, And that's what's the matter of me.