Scholars and Essayists


Literary Critics.

In the field of literary criticism the work of Edwin Percy Whipple (1819-1886) was notable. He was the author of several volumes of scholarly essays including Literature and Life (1849), Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (1869), and American Literature, and Other Papers (1887). Horace E. Scudder (1838- 1902), long associated with the publication of the Atlantic Monthly, -- he succeeded Aldrich as its editor in 1890, -- was an indefatigable writer, the extent of whose service to American letters is hardly understood, since much of his work was anonymous. Henry N. Hudson (1814-1886), Richard Grant White (1821- 1885), William James Rolfe (1827-1910), and Horace Howard Furness (1833-1912) are to be remembered for their services in the criticism and interpretation of Shakespeare's dramas. Their scholarly editions of the plays are among the best that have been produced. The name of William Winter (1836-1917), author of Shakespeare's England (1886) and our foremost critic of the stage, may be mentioned in this connection. Personal Literary Recollections appeared in 1909.


Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), the distinguished Boston clergyman and philanthropist, long survived the generation which read his earlier works. His literary career was remarkably versatile and productive. A New England Boyhood (1893) and Memories of a Hundred Years (1902) are pleasant sketch-books of past experience. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1902) and James Russell Lowell and his Friends (1899) are further contributions to this interesting series of reminiscent essays. Dr. Hale's work in fiction has been referred to earlier.1 Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911), one of the Cambridge group, is the author of two volumes of reminiscence, Cheerful Yesterdays (1898) and Contemporaries (1899), which are of especial interest to literary students. He is also the biographer of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1884), Longfellow (1903), and Whittier (1903). Yesterdays with Authors (1872), a volume written by James T. Fields (1817-1881), should be mentioned here. Mr. Fields, a partner in the famous publishing house of Ticknor and Fields, has a recognized standing among the men of letters. He followed Lowell as editor of the Atlantic Monthly, and was well known in his day as a lecturer and an essayist.

Nature Books.

John Burroughs (1837-1921) is, after Thoreau, our foremost writer on nature themes. He is not only a lover of the woods and fields, but he is a conscientious student of plant and animal life. He has no sympathy and scant patience with writers on these subjects whose imagination has interfered with their accuracy; he describes honestly what he observes. Wake-Robin (1871), Winter Sunshine (1875), Birds and Poets (1877), Locusts and Wild Honey (1879), Fresh Fields (1884), Signs and Seasons (1886), Ways of Nature (1905) -- these are some of his outdoor books; he has written also Literary Values (1904), a volume of critical essays, two books on Walt Whitman, and Bird and Bough (1906), a volume of poems. Harriet Mann Miller ("Olive Thorne Miller") (1831-1918) and Bradford Torrey (1843-1912) have written entertainingly of the ways and habits of birds; while Ernest Thompson Seton (born in England, 1860) has narrated with a somewhat freer imagination the biographies of various wild animals he has known.

Literary Essays.

Academic Group.

In the field of the distinctively literary essay, William Dean Howells (1837-1921), Laurence Hutton (1843- 1904), Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916), Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), George Edward Woodberry (born 1855), Agnes Repplier (born 1858), Samuel M. Crothers (born 1857), Bliss Perry (born 1860), Paul Elmer More (born 1864), are our best-known representatives. There is also an important group of university men who have made noteworthy contributions to literary history and criticism. Chief of these is Moses Coit Tyler (1835-1900), a professor in Cornell University, author

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