elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Bayard Taylor & George Henry Boker

Bayard Taylor was famous for his widely read books about the Gold Rush in California, including Eldorado and California Life. He also wrote a number of novels and essays in the mid-nineteenth century that dealt with passionate relationships between men, including Twin Love and the poem "To a Persian Boy." Joseph and His Friend (1870) is considered to be the first American novel to deal with gay feelings.

In real life, Taylor loved poet/diplomat George Henry Boker.

Bayard Taylor (January 11, 1825 – December 19, 1878) was an American poet, literary critic, translator, and travel author.

Taylor was born on January 11, 1825, in Kennett Square in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth son, the first to live to maturity, of the Quaker couple, Joseph and Rebecca (née Way) Taylor. His father was a well-to-do farmer. Young Bayard received his early instruction in an academy at West Chester, and later at Unionville. At the age of seventeen, he was apprenticed to a printer in West Chester. His interest in poetry was coached by the influential critic and editor Rufus Wilmot Griswold, who encouraged him to write a volume of poetry. Published at Philadelphia in 1844, Ximena, or the Battle of the Sierra Morena, and other Poems was dedicated to Griswold. It made little income, but indirectly was a means of his introduction to The New York Tribune.

with Brady's Washington, D.C. backmark, copyrighted 1879 in negative. Seated around a table full of books are George Henry Bocker (1829-1890) founder of Nassau Monthly, George Bancroft (1800-1891) author of History of the United States, Bayard Taylor (1824-1878) author of El Dorado, and William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) poet and author of "Thanatopis"; with inked manuscript identifications on recto.
Bayard Taylor was an American poet, literary critic, translator, and travel author. Taylor had a close relationship with poet/diplomat George Henry Boker, founder of Nassau Monthly. Joseph and His Friend is considered the first American novel to deal with gay feelings. It recounts an intimate friendship between two men: during a train ride Joseph Asten's eyes settle on a stranger, passenger Philip Held. Feeling his stare, Philip looks back. “[t]he usual reply to such a gaze is an unconscious defiance…but the look which seems to answer, 'We are men, let us know each other!' is, alas! Too rare in this world.”

With the money from his poetry and an advance for some journalistic work to be done in Europe, Taylor set sail for Europe. The young poet spent a happy time in roaming on foot through certain districts of England, France, Germany and Italy; this tour of almost two years cost him only £100. The accounts which he sent from Europe to The New York Tribune, The Saturday Evening Post, and The United States Gazette were so highly appreciated that on Taylor's return to America, he was advised to compile his articles into book form.

In 1846, he published Views Afoot, or Europe seen with Knapsack and Staff (2 vols, New York). This book's success brought Taylor recognition as an author. He was asked to serve as an editorial assistant for Graham's Magazine for a few months in 1848. That same year, Horace Greeley, then editor of the Tribune, placed Taylor on his staff, thus securing Taylor a certain if moderate income. His next journey, made when the gold-fever was at its height, was to California as correspondent for the Tribune. From this expedition he returned by way of Mexico, and, seeing his opportunity, published a highly successful book of travels, entitled El Dorado; or, Adventures in the Path of Empire (2 vols, New York, 1850). Within two weeks of release, the book sold 10,000 copies in the US and 30,000 in Great Britain.

In the middle of all of these successes, Taylor had another coup, winning a popular competition sponsored by P.T. Barnum to write a welcome ode to the Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind. His poem "Greetings to America" was set to music by Julius Benedict and performed by the singer at numerous concerts on her tour of the United States.

Taylor always said he had an affinity for the Near and Far East. In 1851 he traveled to Egypt, where he ascended along the Nile River as far as 12° 30' N. He also traveled in Palestine and Mediterranean countries. He drew on these experiences and sights for many poems. Towards the end of 1852, from England he sailed for Calcutta, proceeding thence to China, where he joined the historic expedition of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry to Japan.

The results of these journeys (besides his poetical memorials) were A Journey to Central Africa; or, Life and Landscapes from Egypt to the Negro Kingdoms of the White Nile (New York, 1854); The Lands of the Saracen; or, Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily and Spain (1854); and A Visit to India, China and Japan in the Year 1853 (1855).

In 1849 Taylor married Mary Agnew, but she died in 1850 of tuberculosis. In October 1857, he married Maria Hansen, the daughter of Peter Hansen, the Danish/German astronomer. They spent the ensuing winter in Greece.

On his return (December 20, 1853) from his travel to Europe, Egypt and the Far East, Taylor began to tour as a public lecturer, to considerable success. He traveled to deliver addresses in every town of importance from Maine to Wisconsin. After two years, he again started on travel, on this occasion for northern Europe. His goal was to study Swedish life, language and literature. The trip inspired his long narrative poem Lars, but his Swedish Letters to the Tribune were also republished, under the title Northern Travel: Summer and Winter Pictures (London, 1857).

In 1859 Taylor once more traversed the western American gold region, in connection with an invitation to lecture at San Francisco. About three years later, he was appointed to the diplomatic service as secretary of legation at St. Petersburg, and the following year (1863) became chargé d'affaires at the Russian capital.

In 1864 Taylor and his wife Maria returned to the United States, where he resumed writing at their home near Kennett Square. He published Hannah Thurston (1863), the first of his four novels. This book had a moderate success, but Taylor was not considered so good a novelist as a poet and essayist.

His late novel, Joseph and His Friend: A Story of Pennsylvania (New York, 1870), recounts an intimate friendship between two men and is believed to be based on that between the poets Fitz-Greene Halleck and Joseph Rodman Drake. Since the late 20th-century, it has been called America's first gay novel. Taylor spoke at the dedication of a monument to Halleck in his native town, Guilford, Connecticut.

In 1874 Taylor traveled to Iceland, to report for the Tribune on the one thousandth anniversary of the first European settlement there. In June 1878 he was accredited United States Minister at Berlin. Traveling on the same ship to Europe was Mark Twain, who noted that he was envious of Taylor's command of German.

A few months after arriving in Berlin, Taylor died on December 19, 1878; his body was returned to the US and buried in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The New York Times published his obituary on its front page, referring to him as "a great traveler, both on land and paper." Shortly after his death, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a memorial poem to Taylor, at the urging of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Taylor

George Henry Boker (October 6, 1823 – January 2, 1890) was an American poet, playwright, and diplomat.

Boker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was Charles S. Boker, a wealthy banker, whose financial expertness weathered the Girard National Bank through the panic years of 1838-40, and whose honour, impugned after his 1857 death, was defended many years later by his son in "The Book of the Dead." Charles Boker was also a director of the Mechanics National Bank.

George Henry Boker was brought up in an atmosphere of ease and refinement, receiving his preparatory education in private schools, and entering Princeton University in 1840. While there he helped found, and was first editor of, the college literary magazine, the Nassau Monthly (now the Nassau Lit).

He was left in easy circumstances, and was able to devote his time to literature, as well as boxing and dancing.

Charles Godfrey Leland, a relative, recounted:
As a mere schoolboy, Boker's knowledge of poetry was remarkable. I can remember that he even at nine years of age manifested that wonderful gift that caused him many years after to be characterized by some great actor—I think it was Forrest—as the best reader in America... While at college... Shakespeare and Byron were his favourites. He used to quiz me sometimes for my predilections for Wordsworth and Coleridge. We both loved Shelley passionately.
Boker graduated from Princeton in 1842. His marriage to Julia Riggs, of Maryland, followed shortly after, while he was studying law, a profession which was to serve him in good stead during his diplomatic years, but which he gave up for the stronger pull of poetry.

In 1848 his first volume of verse, The Lessons of Life, and other Poems, was published.

Also, he met Bayard Taylor and Richard Henry Stoddard, who would be long-lasting friends. This group of young men supported and encouraged each other in the face of official journalistic criticism.

Launched in the literary life, Boker began to write assiduously. His first play, Calaynos, went into two editions during 1848, and the following year was played by Samuel Phelps at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, May 10. This tragedy is notable for its depiction of the racial issues between the Spanish and the Moors.

This was soon followed by other plays. The next to be staged was a comedy, The Betrothal (1850). Two other tragedies from this time are Anne Boleyn (1850) and Leonor de Guzman (1853).

During this time, in correspondence with his friends, Boker was determining to himself the distinction between poetic and dramatic style. But Boker was not wholly wed to theatrical demands; he still approached the stage in the spirit of the poet who was torn between loyalty to poetic indirectness, and necessity for direct dialogue.

Francesca da Rimini, (1853) is the play he is most well-remembered for. It is a verse tragedy based on the story of Paolo and Francesca from the fifth canto of Dante's Inferno. Boker published the original version, called the reading version, but used an acting version for the stage which had more directness and dramatic flow. This allowed for a compromise between the poet of the reading version and the demands of the theatre.

The American Civil War not only turned Boker's pen to the Union Cause, but changed him politically from a Democrat to a staunch Republican. In fact, his name is closely interwoven with the rehabilitation of the Republican party in Philadelphia. His volume "Poems of the War," was issued in 1864.

In the 1860s, the Union League Club was founded, with Boker as the leading spirit; through his efforts the war earnestness of the city was concentrated here; from 1863-71 he served as its secretary; from 1879-84 as its President. But Boker's thoughts were also concerned with poetry. In 1869, Boker issued Königsmark, The Legend of the Hounds and other Poems, and this ended his dramatic career until his return from abroad.

President Ulysses S. Grant sent Boker to Constantinople, as U.S. Minister (his appointment dated November 3, 1871)—an honor undoubtedly bestowed in recognition of his national service. Here he remained four years, "and during that time secured the redress for wrongs done American subjects by the Syrians, and successfully negotiated two treaties, one having reference to the extradition of criminals, and the other to the naturalization of subjects of little power in the dominions of the other."

Boker's initial enthusiasm for Turkish scenery and culture was unbounded, but after a time, his ignorance of the tongue, and distrust of interpreters, contributed to his frustration. By the time his Government was ready to transfer him to another post he was glad to leave Turkey. Despite this, he had developed his diplomatic skills and shown a talent for cultivating personal contacts.

In 1875 he was transferred to Russia, which was considered a more prestigious position.

The new political administration resulting from the 1876 American election viewed Boker unfavorably. Despite support from Emperor Alexander II of Russia, Boker was recalled in 1878.

On January 15, 1878, Boker withdrew from diplomatic life, returning to the United States. At this time he was depressed, feeling that both his literary and diplomatic careers had been failures.

In 1882 Lawrence Barrett mounted a revival of Francesca da Rimini. This brought more public interest in Boker and his other work, which necessitated the reprinting of several of his books.

His home in Philadelphia—one of the literary centres of the time,—bore traces of his Turkish stay—carpets brought from Constantinople, Arabic designs on the draperies, and rich Eastern colours in the tapestried chairs.

Boker was also a director of the Mechanics National Bank of Philadelphia for several years later in his life.

Boker died in Philadelphia, January 2, 1890.

In addition to the works already mentioned, Boker also wrote hundreds of sonnets. A collection of these, Sequence on Profane Love, was discovered in manuscript after his death, and published in 1927. He has been compared to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as one of the premier American sonnet writers.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Henry_Boker

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: author: bayard taylor, days of love

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