The Columbiad And The Columbiad Analysis

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Barlow’s The Vision of Columbus (1787) and his later work, The Columbiad (1807) followed the same nationalistic idea and suffered the same deficiency; those two works were the result of his attempts to make American epics while using European forms and style (39). The Columbiad, which was the revised and extended version of The Vision of Columbus, covered the history of America, both north and south from the time of Christopher Columbus, then the Revolution and finally the prosperous future of the new nation. The main subject was not the ‘past,’ but the promising future of the New World. “My object is altogether of a moral and political nature,” Barlow (1754-1812) declared in the preface to this work; “I wish to encourage and strengthen, in…show more content…
“iad” of the title came from the work’s association with the great epic, Iliad. Barlow tried to proclaim the preeminence of New World republicanism while he imitated the poetic conventions belonging to aristocratic Old World (Murphy 39). Before he “was expelled from England for subversive activity in 1792, he found time to pay a visit to Pope’s grotto at Twickenham in order to pay tribute to the poet who had inspired all his own verse” (Packer 12). It “clearly poses the problem of how to write a democratic epic, a heroic poem of the common man or woman, but it comes nowhere near solving it. That would have to wait for Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass (Gray 39). Barlow’s attempt at articulating the problems of writing an American epic in that work granted him a place in the line that leads to Song of Myself (1855), The Cantos and The Bridge (1930) (Ruland and Bradburry, 1991: 68). After the failure of The Columbiad, the need for an American epic intensified rather than lessened. Between The Conquest of Canaan (1785) and Alfred Mitchell's The Coloniad (1858) at least nineteen epic poems were published by American…show more content…
The revolutionary era was not a very suitable period for American drama; the Continental Congress banned plays in 1774. But, some dramatic dialogues were still written by Crevecoeur and Brackenridge (1746–1816) to arouse patriotic feeling (77). Although American drama was at the service of nationalism, it was not national itself. Like other American arts of the period, it was heavily influenced by European models. For instance, the poet David Humphreys (1752-1818) developed The Widow of Malabar (1790) from a French source. While Dwight and Barlow devoted their time to create a national epic, Royall Tyler (1756–1826) was busy trying to establish a national tradition of American drama (Ibid 40). He is most known for The Contrast, written in 1787. It was the “first comedy by someone born in America to receive a professional production” was praised as “proof that these new climes are particularly favorable to the cultivation of arts and sciences” (qtd. in Gray 40). Although the work was influenced by English comedies of the eighteenth century, it was “impeccably American in theme, since the contrast of the title is between Bill Dimple, an embodiment of European affectation, and Colonel Manly, a representative
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