The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

David McCullough

Language: English

Pages: 576

ISBN: 1416571779

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The #1 bestseller that tells the remarkable story of the generations of American artists, writers, and doctors who traveled to Paris, the intellectual, scientific, and artistic capital of the western world, fell in love with the city and its people, and changed America through what they learned, told by America’s master historian, David McCullough.

Not all pioneers went west.

In The Greater Journey, David McCullough tells the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, and others who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, hungry to learn and to excel in their work. What they achieved would profoundly alter American history.

Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, whose encounters with black students at the Sorbonne inspired him to become the most powerful voice for abolition in the US Senate. Friends James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Morse not only painting what would be his masterpiece, but also bringing home his momentous idea for the telegraph. Harriet Beecher Stowe traveled to Paris to escape the controversy generated by her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Three of the greatest American artists ever—sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent—flourished in Paris, inspired by French masters.

Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris, and the nightmare of the Commune. His vivid diary account of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris is published here for the first time.

Telling their stories with power and intimacy, McCullough brings us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’ phrase, longed “to soar into the blue.”

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strides in science since he was a student in Paris, Holmes wrote that the stethoscope was almost a novelty in those days, the microscope never even mentioned by any clinical instructor he had had. It was not just that the world of his student days was long past, or that he and his American contemporaries had all but disappeared, but that American medical students in Paris now numbered relatively few. Due in good part to what he and others had brought back from Paris, medical education in the

admirable candor and absence of pretension throughout, as characteristic of the man, and much that is particularly appealing concerns his student years in New York and Paris, along with generous samplings from the reminiscences of such lifelong friends as Alfred Garnier and Paul Bion. Two subsequent biographies are Saint-Gaudens and the Gilded Era by Louise Hall Tharp (1969) and Uncommon Clay: The Life and Works of Augustus SaintGaudens by Burke Wilkinson (1985). As an illustrated guide to the

the sand bag: Ibid., 8. 282 “There was no sense of motion”: Ibid. 282 “The days go and”: Washburne, Recollections of a Minister to France, 1869–1877, Vol. I, 189. 282 “laid by” his own sufficient stock: Ibid., 133. 282 “Were it not for Mr. Washburne”: Labouchère, Diary of a Besieged Resident in Paris, 24. 282 “cheerily shaking everyone”: Ibid., 70. 283 “The world cannot fail to admire”: Chicago Journal, no date, Elihu Washburne scrapbooks, Library of Congress. 283 “suffering … so sore I

1899, Saint-Gaudens Papers, Dartmouth College. 443 trouble with the horse’s upraised left hind leg: Saint-Gaudens, ed., Reminiscences of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Vol. II, 133. 443 “on the homestretch”: Augustus Saint-Gaudens to Augusta Saint-Gaudens, July 8, 1899, Saint-Gaudens Papers, Dartmouth College. 444 He was anti-Semitic: O’Toole, The Five of Hearts, 70. 444 “Porcupine Poeticus”: Saint-Gaudens, ed., Reminiscences of Augustus SaintGaudens, Vol. II, 334. 444 I must study politics and

Siege: A Narrative of Personal Adventure and Observation During Two Wars: 1861–1865; 1870–1871. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1877. Holmes, Oliver Wendell. The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005. ———. The Breakfast-Table Series: The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, The Professor at the Breakfast-Table, The Poet at the Breakfast-Table. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1882. ———. Medical Essays, 1842–1882. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1911. ———. A Mortal Antipathy.

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