William Cullen Bryant: Author of America

By Rhodes, Sonny | Journalism History, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

William Cullen Bryant: Author of America


Rhodes, Sonny, Journalism History


Muller, Gilbert. William Cullen Bryant: Author of America. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008. 410 pp. $30.

Born during the United States' infancy, William Cullen Bryant became one of the country's first literary giants. When he died at age eighty-three, he was an internationally known poet with a resume that included long stints as an editor, editorial writer, ttavel writer, and publisher.

Bryant showed literary promise early, becoming a published poet at twelve, but his fathet pushed him to study law. He eventually became so disenchanted as a lawyer and so successful as a poet that the "literary adventurer" left his native Massachusetts in 1 825 for the promises of fast-growing Manhattan. A year later, the New-York Evening Post's editor, William Coleman, was severely injured in a carriage accident and hired him as an assistant. He would be associated with the Post until his death in 1878.

During his long life, Bryant developed a lengthy list of friendships that included Samuel EB. Morse, Richard Henry Dana, and James Fenimore Cooper. The politicians on whom he opined ranged from Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.

Bryant's life and writings are recounted in Gilbert H. Muller's William Cullen Bryant: Author of America. A professor emeritus of English at City University of New York, Muller notes that Bryant is largely forgotten and sets out to "restore Bryant to his rightful place as a compelling and exemplary figure in American life and letters." As part of his effott, he consulted biographies written by Bryant's son-in-law, Parke Godwin (1883), and Charles H. Brown (1971), as well as a six-volume collection of his letters not available to earlier biographers.

The result is a well-documented tome that succeeds in describing Bryant's accomplishments when newspapering was personal and competing editors sometimes literally clashed in the streets (chapter 6 begins with an account of a brawl in which Bryant took a whip to William L. Stone, editor of the rival Commercial Advertiser) .

The book also succeeds in vividly describing the times in which Bryant lived. One memorable passage depicts the "notoriously filthy" New York City of his early years there. One can almost feel the grit and smell the squalor of the city, where swine herds "roamed freely, devouring garbage while leaving their own waste behind." It further succeeds in describing his maturation as an editor, able to rationalize his support for President Jackson's forcible removal of Native Americans from the Southeast and then years later becoming one of the leading advocates of President Lincoln's efforts to end the enslavement of African- Americans. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

William Cullen Bryant: Author of America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.