Charles Frazier
and the Books of Cold Mountain

Introduction | Island 1 | Island 2 | Island 3 | Island 4 | Island 5

Island 3

R. W. Emerson
The Conduct of Life
Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1860.

"Ada and Monroe sat by the fire, . . . Ada reading to him from a new book, The Conduct of Life. . . . He thought Emerson was always, even in old age, perhaps one degree more extreme in his spiritual views than was called for" (p. 153).

The portraits of 1861

"Such little mechanical portraits were not rare . . . In sixty-one, any soldier with a dollar and seventy-five cents in his pocket could have his aspect recorded in the form of ambrotype, tintype, calotype, or daguerreotype" (p. 194).

From Walter Clark, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War (1901).

The Southern Literary Messenger

"She read from the latest number of the North American Review, and when that failed to engage her she rifled through Monroe's old issues of the Dial and the Southern Literary Messenger" (p. 200).

Fair Margaret and Sweet William

"The words to the song, though, were no lullaby. They linked up to make a horrible story, a murder ballad called Fair Margaret and Sweet William. It was an old song" (p. 253).

The ballad has been known from at least the early sixteenth century and was printed in the later eighteenth century by such collectors as Joseph Ritson and Thomas Percy. Shown here are versions from David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (Edinburgh, 1769, from the G. Ross Roy Collection), and from Joseph Ritson's Ancient Songs and Ballads (London, 1829, from the antebellum South Carolina College library).

Baucis and Philemon

"The children begged for a story. Ada took a book from her apron and tipped it towards the firelight and read. Baucis and Philemon" (p. 356).

In classical legend, an elderly couple, Baucis and Philemon, entertained visiting gods in their cottage and were rewarded with a long and happy old age. On their near simultaneous death, they were transformed into intertwined trees, the oak and the linden. The story occurs in Ovid's Metamorphoses, book 8, and in La Fontaine's Fables, but is shown here from Swift's poetic version, in The Beauties of Swift (Dublin, 1783).



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