19th century | Harper's Magazine - Part 3

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19th century

Humor

Repetition is a mighty power in the domain of humor. I undertook to prove the truth of this forty years ago in San Francisco on the occasion of my second…

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Road to Wigan Ear

From a November 25, 1848, article published in the Norfolk News, Eastern Counties Journal and Norwich, Yarmouth, and Lynn Commercial Gazette and included in Purring: Sport of the People, an…

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In the Cage

By Colin Richmond, from “Deliberation and Precipitation: Fresh Eggs, c. 1890–c. 1910,” published in the Winter 2014 issue of Common Knowledge. Richmond is professor emeritus of medieval history at the…

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American Scolder

From annotations written by John Stuart Mill on his personal copies of the first editions of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays, which were published in two volumes, in 1841 and 1844.…

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L’amour filial

By Charlotte Brontë, from an essay written while she was a twenty-six-year-old student at the Pensionnat Heger in Brussels. The essay, dated August 5, 1842, was discovered last year in…

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Incoherence Abroad

From a letter to Mark Twain, postmarked October 1, 1879, from Carl Jensen, a customs officer in Stubbekøbing, Denmark. Twain’s annotation reads, “Preserve this remarkable letter.” Dear Mark Twain: Letters…

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Southern Discomfort

From the unpublished diaries of LeRoy Wiley Gresham (1847–65), son of John J. Gresham, twice mayor of Macon, Georgia. LeRoy, a longtime invalid confined to his bed or to a…

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Team America

There have been an estimated 16,000 books written about Abraham Lincoln; like the lives of the wealthy and the secrets of self-improvement, a fascination with the Great Emancipator is an…

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