The Musical And Religious Influences Of Sidney

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The Musical And Religious Influences Of Sidney Lanier Essay, Research Paper Bowen 1 Musical and Religious Influences on Sidney Lanier’s Poetry Arguably, a writer’s works reflects many influences. After all, a writer is a product of his background, his times, and his geographical location, among other factors. Sidney Lanier was no exception. Like all other writers, he inevitably drew from his own experiences to create his works. An outstanding Southern poet, he wrote poetry widely recognized for its musical quality and religious feeling. Sidney Lanier was an outstanding Southern poet. He achieved a great deal in such a short amount of time. He acquired latent tuberculosis while in the Confederate Army, a disease that eventually killed him. He has been cited as an example

of a writer who could have achieved more had he lived longer (Magill 1927). At the time of his death at age 39, his career was just getting started. The last years of his life, approximately 1877 to 1881, were the fullest and most productive. Lanier was born on February 3, 1842, in Macon, Georgia (Magill 1923). He wrote 164 poems and several novels (1926). A few examples of his poetry includes; “The Marshes of Glynn,” “The Symphony,” and “Song of the Chattahoochee” (”Sidney Lanier”). An example Bowen 2 of his prose works is Science of English Verse. This is a study of the relationship between poetry and music (”Sidney Lanier”). His fascination with the writings of Byron, Tennyson , Scott, and other romance writers, led to the inspiration of his poetry

(”Sidney Lanier: Poet of the Marshes”). His love of nature and music led to his success as a poet and novelist (”Sidney Lanier: Poet of the Marshes”). In the words of Stark Young, “He was an amazing poet, novelist, critic, and musician” (3). During the nineteenth century, there were not many Southern writers. Thus, Lanier set an example for future Southern writers to follow. He was the first distinctive Southern poet to achieve a true national recognition and acceptance (Magill 1923-1924). This honor is usually given to Edgar Allan Poe who did much of his literary work in Britain and in the Northeast (1923). Lanier, however, spent his entire life in the South. He won for Southern poets and writers a degree of credibility and respect which was unprecedented in American

literature and which is still present today (1923). Lanier also became regarded as a spokesman for America, rather than a spokesman from only the South (1923-1924). He became nationally known and with this recognition came national status (1923). One of Lanier’s great accomplishments was that he was one of the first Bowen 3 American poets to use dialect in his verse (Magill 1923). This was found most notably in the “Georgia cracker” speech exercised in “Thar’s More in the Man Than Thar Is in the Land” (1924). In this he gave a practical solution to the economic problems of the postwar South (1924). Literary historians have said that Lanier had a minimal influence on other writers but, the influence most apparent was in his post-civil war regional dialects (1927). He

was also an early practitioner of “local-color” writing (Magill 1924). This style of writing flourished towards the end of the nineteenth century (1924). Lanier contained such a strong social conscience, that he was known for his poetic treatment of economic difficulties (1924). Lanier never really stayed with one style of writing. He experimented with different forms of poetry. He is recognized for his ambitious attempts at metrical innovation as well as his effort at heightened musical effects in his poetry (1924). He tried to formulate a science of prosody which is analogous to musical notation (1925). Lanier infused a great deal of musical quality in his poetry. His artistic temperament first displayed itself in music (Webb and Coulson 6). He demonstrated an exceptional