1-20 of 153 results  for:

  • literary criticism and scholarship x
  • Writing and publishing x
Clear all

Article

Aiken, Conrad (05 August 1889–17 August 1973), author and critic, was born in Savannah, Georgia, the first child of Dr. William Ford Aiken, an ophthalmological surgeon, and Anna Potter, transplanted New Englanders. Aiken’s father was brilliant but unstable, hectored increasingly by bouts of paranoia in the late 1890s. The main targets of his rage during these seizures were his wife, who strove vainly to convince relatives in the North of his worsening mental condition, and his oldest son, who was often beaten for slight or imaginary wrongs. Aiken later said of this period, “I hardly ever forgot what it was to be afraid.”...

Article

Arvin, Newton (23 August 1900–22 March 1963), literary critic and educator, was born Frederick Newton Arvin, Jr., in Valparaiso, Indiana, the son of Frederick Newton Arvin, Sr., an insurance agent often away on business, and Jessie Hawkins. Arvin was rather dominated by his mother, grandmother, and four sisters, and was unfortunately regarded by his jeering father as weak and effeminate. After graduating from his local high school, he attended Harvard University (where he was greatly influenced by ...

Article

Babbitt, Irving (02 August 1865–15 July 1933), literary and social critic, was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Edwin Dwight Babbitt, a physician and writer, and Augusta Darling. He attended Harvard College from 1885 to 1889 and took a major in classical literature. He returned to Harvard in 1892 and earned a master’s degree the next year in the same field, with an additional concentration in ancient Eastern languages. In 1894 he taught in the classics department at Harvard but later joined the Department of Romance Languages, in which he taught French literature. In 1900 Babbitt married Dora May Drew. They had two children and lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until Babbitt’s death....

Article

Bacon, Leonard (26 May 1887–01 January 1954), poet, literary critic, and teacher, was born in Solvay, New York, the son of Nathaniel Terry Bacon, a chemical engineer, and Helen Hazard. Bacon led a sheltered life at his mother’s familial estate in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. His parents enrolled him in 1898 in St. George’s at Newport, where he spent seven years preparing to matriculate at Yale, following in the footsteps not only of his father but of some twenty other relatives. Bacon gives candid insight into his college years, remembering colleagues and professors in an amiable light though remarking that “with the exception of English and German, I think we were not particularly well taught, or rather that the conception of teaching was poor” ( ...

Article

Baker, Carlos Heard (05 May 1909–18 April 1987), educator, author, and literary critic, was born in Biddeford, Maine, the son of Arthur Baker and Edna Heard. He grew up in what he called a “yankee and the nineteenth century German” tradition and had a great passion for literature even as a child. While still a college student, he published a collection of poems, ...

Image

Walter J. Bate. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Article

Bate, Walter Jackson (23 May 1918–26 July 1999), biographer and literary critic, was born in Mankato, Minnesota, the son of William G. Bate, a high school principal, and his wife, Isabel Melick Bate. The second of five children, he experienced two major crises while growing up in Mankato: at the age of four he was hit by a car and suffered permanent damage to his nervous system; and with the advent of the Great Depression seven years later his father's salary was cut in half, creating financial hardship for the family. To make matters worse, the elder Bate, a staunch Republican, was fired from his job altogether following the Democratic sweep in the elections of 1932. Despite the family's limited means, Walter's father urged his sons to get the best education possible, which to him meant attending an Ivy League college. Walter chose Harvard because of its proximity to Boston, where he could find work, and he enrolled there in the fall of 1935 with the intention of studying English literature....

Article

Beach, Joseph Warren (14 January 1880–13 August 1957), educator, literary critic, and poet, was born in Gloversville, New York, the son of Eugene Beach, a physician, and Sarah Jessup Warren. After graduating from a public high school there, he attended the University of Minnesota, where his uncle Cyrus Northrop was president. He earned his B.A. in English in 1900 and moved on to Harvard University, where he received his M.A. in 1902 and his Ph.D. in 1907, both in English. At Harvard Beach studied under philosopher ...

Article

Blackmur, R. P. (21 January 1904–02 February 1965), literary critic, was born Richard Palmer Blackmur in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of George Edward Blackmur, who failed at a variety of jobs, and Helen Palmer. His parents’ marriage was unhappy; the family depended on his mother’s earnings from the Cambridge, Massachusetts, boardinghouse in which they lived. Blackmur’s formal education ended after about two years at the Cambridge High and Latin School. An omnivorous autodidact, he discovered while still a boy some of his lifelong masters, among them ...

Image

Maxwell Bodenheim. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112040).

Article

Bodenheim, Maxwell (26 May 1892–07 February 1954), poet, critic, and novelist, was born in Hermanville, Mississippi, the son of Solomon Bodenheimer and Caroline Herman. An emigrant from Alsace, Solomon Bodenheimer never found financial or professional security; his career included stints as a traveling whiskey salesman and unsuccessful forays into clothing stores and men’s haberdashery. The daughter of a distinguished and wealthy surgeon, Caroline Bodenheimer came from a milieu that was vastly different from that of her husband. Indeed, the town of Hermanville itself obtained its name from Caroline Bodenheimer’s uncle, M. B. Herman, who had founded the town and established a small mercantile empire there. Caroline’s tales of lost prosperity provided a bitter contrast to the impoverished world in which Maxwell Bodenheim was reared....

Article

Bourne, Randolph Silliman (30 May 1886–22 December 1918), writer and social critic, was born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, the son of Charles Rogers Bourne and Sarah Barrett. From the start, Bourne’s life was star-crossed. At birth his face was severely deformed, and spinal tuberculosis at age four stunted his growth and left him with a misshapened back. His alcoholic father, a failure at various small businesses, left the family when Bourne was a boy. He was raised by his mother and devoted aunt. Bourne turned to books and friends and graduated from high school in 1903 as the valedictorian and senior class president....

Article

Bowers, Fredson (25 April 1905–11 April 1991), literary scholar, editor, and educator, was born Fredson Thayer Bowers in New Haven, Connecticut, the only child of Fredson Eugene Bowers, an executive of an automotive-parts manufacturing company, and Hattie May Quigley Bowers. He was educated at New Haven General High School (1917–1921), Brown University (Phi Beta Kappa, 1924; Ph.B., 1925), and Harvard (Ph.D., 1934), and during the next four years he taught as instructor in English at Harvard (1934–1936) and Princeton (1936–1938). During these years his marriage (1924–1936) to Hyacinth Adeline Sutphen, of a socially prominent New York family, produced four children but ended in divorce; it was also in his Harvard period that his interest in dogs was at its height, for he was then active as a breeder and judge of Irish wolfhounds, writing columns for the ...

Article

Boyd, Ernest Augustus (28 June 1887–30 December 1946), literary critic, was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of James Robert Boyd and Rosa Kempston. He was privately educated by a French tutor. As a young man Boyd established himself in the intellectual circles of Dublin, attending salons and events and writing articles on Irish politics and belles-lettres. In 1910 he became a member of the editorial staff of the ...

Article

Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth (23 September 1848–04 October 1895), author and educator, was born in Fredriksvaern, Norway, the son of Sarolf Boyesen, a mathematics instructor in the naval academy there, and Hanna (or Helga) Tveten Hjorth, the foster daughter of Judge Hjorth of Systrand. In 1854 Sarolf Boyesen, out of favor because he had joined the Swedenborgian church, sent his family to Judge Hjorth and entered the American army, for a period of two years. Hjalmar Boyesen loved the natural setting of Systrand, relished the servants’ folktales there, was sad when he was sent away to school, and found consolation in reading and writing. He attended Latin school at Drammen and Gymnasium at Christiania and graduated from the Royal Fredriks University in 1868—adept in several languages. He obtained family permission to go to the United States, which his father had extolled as the land of freedom and opportunity....

Image

William Stanley Braithwaite Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1947. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 142 P&P).

Article

Braithwaite, William Stanley Beaumont (06 December 1878–08 June 1962), poet, critic, and anthologist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Smith Braithwaite and Emma DeWolfe. Of his two preoccupations—American poetry and the status of the American Negro—the second clearly had its origins in an unusual cultural heritage. The Braithwaite family, of mixed black and white descent, was wealthy and held prominent positions in British Guiana. Braithwaite’s father studied medicine in London but quit because of apparent mental strain and moved to Boston, where he married DeWolfe, whose family had been in slavery. His father remained aloof from neighbors, educating his children at home. Braithwaite’s autobiography mentions no employment held by his father, whose death, when his son was eight years old, left the family destitute....

Article

Brooks, Cleanth (16 October 1906–10 May 1994), teacher, critic, and scholar, was born in Murray, Kentucky, the son of Cleanth Brooks, Sr., an Episcopalian minister, and Bessie Lee Witherspoon. The family soon moved to Tennessee where his father served a number of parishes near Memphis. Despite their peripatetic lifestyle, Cleanth’s parents helped their shy, precocious son to find the stability that he needed by encouraging in him a devotion to the great literature of the world. Eventually, Cleanth attended the Mc Tyeire School, where, in addition to the standard academic fare of the era, he learned Greek and Latin and continued the education in classical literature that had begun at age five with his father’s present of a collections of tales from the ...

Article

Brooks, Van Wyck (16 February 1886–02 May 1963), literary critic and cultural historian, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Charles Edward Brooks, a stockbroker, and Sarah Bailey Ames. From the beginning, Van Wyck Brooks was precocious. He did well in the Plainfield public schools, profited intellectually from a whirlwind year mostly with his mother and brother in England, France, Germany, and Italy (1898), and in due time entered Harvard (1904). While there, he associated with many fellow students, notably ...

Article

Brownell, William Crary (30 August 1851–22 July 1928), literary critic, was born in New York City, the son of Isaac Wilbour Brownell, a commission merchant, and Lucia Emilie Brown. When William was five, the family moved to Buffalo and remained there for five years. After his mother died, he was sent to Adamsville, Rhode Island, where he lived with her parents. In 1867, at sixteen, he entered Amherst College. Upon graduating, he became a reporter and, two years later, the city editor for the ...