Hymns of the Marshes
- Lanier, Sidney

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Commentary

The posthumous Hymns of the Marshes (1907) pairs the work of the musician, poet and Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier with the photographic illustrations of Henry Troth, an amateur photographer from Philadelphia with links to Alfred Stieglitz, Clarence H. White, and F. Holland Day. Troth had a one man show in 1897 at the Camera Club of New York.

A specific poetic caption accompanies each illustration, and these are also listed prior to the poems. The volume contains what is perhaps Lanier’s most famous poem, ‘The Marshes of Glynn’ (1878), an unfinished sequence of lyric poems concerning the suffering of the South following the Civil War. In his essay on Troth’s artistic photography (1901), L.A. Lamb writes that Troth ‘reconcile[s] in a signal way the divergencies [sic] of the Ruskin and Whistler cults of art,’ uniting the botanist’s skill in depicting the lily with the ‘grace and strength which Whistler was pleased to term “elegant.”’ (L.A. Lamb, ‘Artistic Photography of Henry Troth,’ Brush and Pencil, vol.8, no.5 (Aug., 1901), pp.281-288 (281-282)).

The photographs in Hymns depart from Troth’s artistic work, which focuses for the most part on botanical specimens that Lamb suggests possess ‘a somewhat Japanese sense of the decorative disposition of simple masses and spaces.’ (Lamb, ‘Henry Troth,’ p.287.) Troth’s landscapes, Lamb continues, have a ‘mural quality … fine in ensemble and sufficient in detail,’ (Lamb, ‘Henry Troth,’ p.287) a comment suggesting their aptness for accompanying Lanier’s vast yet intimate landscape work.

Book Details

Author: Lanier, Sidney
Title: Hymns of the Marshes
Publication Year: 1907
Poets Featured: Lanier, Sidney
Photographers Featured: Troth, Henry
Subjects: Marshes, Brunswick, Georgia
Photographic process: Photogravures

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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