21 August 2010

Charles King Newcomb (1820-1894)

B.M. Newcomb write:

"Graduated at Brown University, 1837; intended, when a youth, to become a minister, 'but soon found it impossible to be a sectarian;' has been engaged many years in literary pursuits; served 3 months, in 1862, in 10th R.I. Inf. Vols.; now in Europe; unmarried."

From the "Amos Bronson Alcott Network":

Charles King Newcomb was a New England Transcendentalist poet who, at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s behest, contributed to the Dial and published “The Two Dolons.”  From May 1841 until December 1845 he boarded at George Ripley’s Brook Farm at West Roxbury, Massachusetts, though he never became an official member of the commune.  In 1865 he moved to Philadelphia, where he composed over 1000 erotic poems, and he spent the last two decades of his life in Europe.

From Early Letters of G.W. Curtis:

While at Brook Farm, Curtis was on intimate terms with most of the persons there. He greatly admired Mr. and Mrs. Ripley, and he frequently wrote to Mrs. Ripley and made of her a sort of mother-confessor. He also highly appreciated the scholarly qualities of Charles Dana, and his capacity as a leader. In his letters he frequently mentions "the two Charleses," who were Charles Dana and Charles Newcomb. The latter has been described by Dr. Codman as "the mysterious and profound, with his long, dark, straight locks of hair, one of which was continually being brushed away from his forehead as it continually fell; with his gold-bowed eye-glass, his large nose and peculiar blue eyes, his spasmodic expressions of nervous horror, and his cachinnatious laugh." Newcomb was for many years a resident of Providence, afterwards finding a home in England and in Paris. He was early a member of Brook Farm--a solitary, self-involved person, preferring to associate with children rather than with older persons. He read much in the literature of the mystics, and was laughingly said to prefer paganism to Christianity. He had a feminine temperament, was full of sensibility, and of an indolent turn of mind. Emerson was attracted to him, and at one time had great expectations concerning his genius. His paper, published in The Dial, under the title of "The Two Dolons," was much admired by some of the Transcendentalists when it was printed there; and it is referred to by Hawthorne in his "Hall of Phantasy." In June, 1842, Emerson wrote to Margaret Fuller: "I wish you to know that I have 'Dolon' in black and white, and that I account Charles N. a true genius; his writing fills me with joy, so simple, so subtle, and so strong is it. There are sentences in 'Dolon' worth the printing of The Dial that they may go forth." This paper was given him for publication at Emerson's urgent request, and it is not known that Newcomb has published anything else. In 1850 Emerson said he had come to doubt Newcomb's genius, having found that he did not care for an audience.

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