Essays and Appreciations in Honor of Michael J. Colacurcio’s 50 Years of Teaching
Julia Ward Howe, the Travel Book, and the Public Lectern
In the years after the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe re-invented herself. She had some conceptual space in which to do this, space formerly hard to come by, because she had become famous as the author of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and because her five children demanded less of her time. Post-bellum Howe took shape from a conjunction of several events: the death of her sixth child, three-year-old Sammy, in 1863; her extensive reading in German philosophy; disappointment at not receiving as large an inheritance as expected from her uncle (who died in 1866); dissatisfaction at the reception of her third book of poetry; and possibly most important, a third trip to Europe, during which—freed from certain kinds of anxiety—she could see more clearly her privileged place in the universe and embrace responsibilities.
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