Bryant, William Cullen. (1794 - 1878).
L i f e
- practised law
- edited the NY City Evening Post for almost 40 years: one of the most respected voices in the 19th century journalism commenting virtually on every important issue of the time
- associated with the Knickerbocker School
W o r k
< influenced by the classics, the 18th century Neo-classical poets, and especially the ‘Graveyard School’
< influenced by William Wordsworth > his early vision of nature characteristic by self-control, emotional distance, and purity of line
- content: literary nationalism
(a) two thirds of his poems are concerned with the natural world: landscape, flora, and meteorological phenomena
(b) also concerned with historical personages and events, friends, Indian legends, and few other themes
- form: accurately rhymed or sonorously unrhymed blank verse
- used nature and poetry as a tool to create a religion to sustain himself
- expressed the most consistent vision of the world: meditative, restrained, full of dignified serenity and pleasure in nature
=> founded the Romantic tradition
- extremely popular: appreciated by Edgar Allen Poe, Ralp Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman
The Embargo; or, Sketches of the Times:
< influenced by Alexander Pope
- an early Federalist satire on President Thomas Jefferson’s policies
- earned him a very meagre sum of money
- proved poetry to be no alternative as a livelihood
Lectures on Poetry:
- focused on the original, imaginative, moral, and didactic properties of poetry
- sought ‘a luminous style’
< influenced by the ‘Graveyard School’
“To a Waterfowl”
Also wrote: a translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
(Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorWilliam Cullen Bryant. (1794 - 1878). American.
WorkPoet. Journalist. Critic. Author of "Thanatopsis".
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
"Weep not that the world changes—did it keep / A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep".
From "Mutation. A Sonnet".