Literature of the New Year: Literary Variations on the Celebration of the New Year
Is the New Year really new or old? Happy or sad? Is it only part of the process and the cycle of seasons making one look back and think of death? Is it a time to wish to stay where one is or hope for opportunities and possibilities? Like a point in a circle, is every day a New Year’s day? Is it a time for nostalgia and reminiscence or promises and resolutions for the future? With the (Gregorian and the British Government) changes in the Western calendar at different times in history and with different countries/cultures celebrating the New Year at different times of the year and with the fiscal year, political (election) year, and academic year being different from the traditional New Year of January 1st, does the New Year mark the beginning and the ending in just an arbitrary way? Centuries ago Britain’s earliest Poets Laureate introduced the tradition of writing a New Year poem. Since then there have been many authors writing New Year essays and poems. They include Robert Herrick, Charles Cotton, Johann Von Goethe, S. T. Coleridge, Charles Lamb, Lord Alfred Tennyson, William Cullen Bryant, Helen Hunt Jackson, Emily Dickinson, George Curtis, Thomas Hardy, Fiona Macleod (William Sharp), D. H. Lawrence, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sylvia Plath, among others.