Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

William Cullen Bryant:

15) The Song of the Sower.

New York , 1871

William Cullen Bryant had been presumably the most respected literary figure in New York in this time; as a journalist and editor he was a nodal point of communication, and as an author of ecstatic patriotic hymns a national arch-symbol; besides his early poetry had been regarded as a forerunner of the progressive outpourings of Walt Whitman. “Bryant was President of the Century Club, the best of clubs in New York (...), of which I had the honour and gratification of becoming a member almost immediately after my arrival in New York. So many artists were members of the Century Club that I soon had a wide artistic acquaintance. A closer brotherhood among artists appears to me to obtain in New York than in London” (Memories). Bryant’s Song of the Sower can be understood as a poetic call for national unity and the effort of reconstruction after an area of civil disparateness. Two of the illustrators where already well known to Linton, W.J. Hennessy and Harry Fenn. A new acquaintance was Winslow Homer, an approved illustrator of Harper’s Weekly, who was just starting his career as one of the foremost American painters. Linton was only one of a crew of seven engravers. As it turned out a few years later, the whole enterprise had been a kind of test run for Bryant’s popular Picturesque America series.