Philip Freneau

Philip Freneau (frēnō´), 1752–1832, American poet and journalist, b. New York City, grad. Princeton, 1771. During the American Revolution he served as soldier and privateer. His experiences as a prisoner of war were recorded in his poem The British Prison Ship (1781). The first professional American journalist, he was a powerful propagandist and satirist for the American Revolution and for Jeffersonian democracy. Freneau edited various papers, including the partisan National Gazette (Philadelphia, 1791–93) for Jefferson. He was usually involved in editorial quarrels, and, influential though he was, none of his papers was profitable. His political and satirical poems have value mainly for historians, but his place as the earliest important American lyric poet is secured by such poems as "The Wild Honeysuckle," "The Indian Burying Ground," and "Eutaw Springs."

See his Poems (ed. by F. L. Pattee, 3 vol., 1902–7) and Last Poems (ed. by L. Leary, 1946); biography by L. Leary (1941, repr. 1964); studies by P. M. Marsh (1968 and 1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

FREE! Heralds of American Literature: A Group of Patriot Writers of the Revolutionary and National Periods
Annie Russell Marble.
University of Chicago Press, 1907
Librarian’s tip: "Philip Freneau: America's First Poet" begins on p. 59
The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters
Annette Kolodny.
University of North Carolina Press, 1975
Librarian’s tip: "The Visionary Line: The Poetry of Philip Freneau" begins on p. 29
The Continuity of American Poetry
Roy Harvey Pearce.
Princeton University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "Antecedents: The Case of Freneau" begins on p. 198
A History of American Letters
Walter Fuller Taylor.
American Book, 1936
Librarian’s tip: "Toward Belles-Lettres in America: Philip Freneau (1752-1832)" begins on p. 55
American Fiction: The Intellectual Background
D. E.S. Maxwell.
Columbia University Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Philip Freneau begins on p. 46
From Colony to Country: The Revolution in American Thought, 1750-1820
Ralph Ketcham.
Macmillan, 1974
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Philip Freneau begins on p. 244
Cyclopedia of World Authors
Frank N. Magill; Dayton Kohler.
Harper & Row, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Philip Freneau" begins on p. 384
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