|Henry and Harriet|
First itch that I'll need to scratch before too long: the Beechers and Walter Scott (yes, him again). Applegate gestures tantalisingly to Henry's love of Scott a number of times, but there's a more fulsome account of the whole clan's relationship to his writings in Joan D. Hedrick's equally compelling biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Here's a glorious snippet:
Norwood; or, Village Life in New England (listed, no less, as one of the century's "Better Sellers" in Frank Luther Mott's Golden Multitudes). Again, I think I was vaguely aware that Beecher had written fiction alongside his more didactic essays. But I didn't know that it was an early part of the post-war Local Color movement (in which his sister Harriet was so influential). And I also didn't know that it was a book that dealt with the Civil War, including a rather pioneering North-South romance. It's on the list.
And finally: a couple of years ago I wrote this chapter on antebellum new religious movements and the Western river system that's just seen the light of day. As it happens, it begins with a quotation from Lyman, the Beecher pater familias. Now I wish that I could also have included this quotation from Henry, on his moment of conversion in the early American west: