Autor/en: Henry Adams
April 1997 - kartoniert - 310 Seiten
Esther (1884), the second of two novels by noted American historian Henry Adams (1838-1918), deals with a woman's inability to accept religious faith as men have formulated it. Esther, a young New York socialite and artist raised without religion, falls in love with Episcopal clergyman Stephen Hazard, but she cannot embrace his Christianity and remain true to herself.
HENRY BROOKS ADAMS, American historian, novelist, and man of letters, was born in Boston, on February 16, 1838, into a wealthy and intellectually distinguished family that traced its lineage to Puritan New England, and included two U.S. presidents: Adams's great-grandfather was John Adams and his grandfather John Quincy Adams. His father, Charles Francis Adams, was a diplomat, historian, and congressman; his younger brother, Brooks, was a historian, and his older brother, Charles Francis, Jr., was himself an author as well as a railroad executive.
Following graduation from Harvard College in 1858, Adams embarked on a grand tour of Europe, and attended lectures in civil law at the University of Berlin. When in 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War, President Lincoln appointed Adams's father minister to England, Adams joined him to serve as his private secretary. In London (1861-1868) and later in Washington, D.C. (1868-1870), Adams pursued a career as a journalist. His pieces on political and social life in the capital exposed numerous instances of corruption and warned against the growing power of industrial monopolies. Seeing himself as a traditionalist and an heir of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Adams was forced to come to terms with the "brave new world" of his own day: its demagoguery, its unprincipled pursuits of money and power, and its lack of interest in serious thought.
1n 1870 Adams was appointed a professor of medieval history at Harvard. While at Harvard, Adams edited The North American Review, which became a vehicle for the Liberal Republican movement and also a broad scholarly journal. Adams retired his academic post in 1877 to move to Washington, D.C., with his wife, Marian, and to write about American history. Over the next eight years he published biographies of Albert Gallatin (1879) and John Randolph (1882), and began his acclaimed nine-volume History of the United States during the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and ]ames Madison (1889-1891).
It was also during this period that Adams wrote his two novels, Democracy (1880), published anonymously, and Esther ( 1884), published under the pseudonym Frances Snow Compton. These novels, like Adams's historical books and essays, reflected his disillusionment with the democratic process as well as with traditional Christianity. In both novels the protagonist is a woman who, in her search after truth, rejects political and religious beliefs as men have formulated them. The relation between religion and modem science, and the struggle to grasp the infinite, which are taken up in Esther, are themes that would engage Adams later in his Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres, a Study in Thirteenth-Century Unity ( 1904) and his Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams (1907).
Following his wife's suicide in 1885, Adams began a period of global wandering, traveling from the South Sea islands to the Middle East. Eventually he resettled in Washington, D.C., for the winter months and spent summers in Paris. Though deeply affected by his wife's death, Adams resumed an active social and scholarly life until suffering a disabling stroke in 1912. He died at his Washington home on March 27, 1918. Henry Adams's other published works include Essays in Anglo-Saxon Law (1876), A Letter to American Teachers of History (1910), The Life of Henry Cabot Lodge (1911), and Degradation of Democratic Dogma (published posthumously in 1919).