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131) Page 18 Marsh's first published essay demonstrated that as a student at a decidely conservative New England seminaryMoses Stuart himself incurred heresy investigations for introducing German scholarship into his coursesMarsh had a knowledge of European literature unique for his time and place and an attitude toward contemporary American culture at odds with other regular contributors to The North American. The North American Review spoke for Unitarian Boston and, for all its scholarly virtues, as Van Wyck Brooks pointed out, was hostile to the philosophical forms of feelings which characterize the Transcendental Movement of the 1830s and '40s.

In February 1821 he recorded in his journal: Of my progress in the German language, I have been more conscious than ever before, and begin to feel as if I had conquered it. In Spanish, too, I have done something, and will conquer it within the year.  . At the club on Friday, I was rather surprised to find Page 14 that though I had devoted but half a day to the subject [the Apostolic Fathers], my knowledge of them was as good as anyone's. I do not make this record from vanity, but the fact is to me proof of the superiority of my system.

The North American Review spoke for Unitarian Boston and, for all its scholarly virtues, as Van Wyck Brooks pointed out, was hostile to the philosophical forms of feelings which characterize the Transcendental Movement of the 1830s and '40s. , Marsh's good friend and perhaps the first real literary Romantic in New England, had broken his relationship with the magazine in 1819 because other members of the editorial board had objected to his championing Wordsworth, Byron, and Coleridge. " Where he sounds most like the conventional early-nineteenth-century historian, relying heavily on secondary sources in his analysis, his style is pure North American, lifeless and turgid; but when he speaks most independently of others, relying completely on his own experience of a life of dissociated thought and feeling in which neither Andover nor Harvard was satisfactory, he is vital and almost passionate.

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