Sidney Lanier: A Biographical and Critical Study

Sidney Lanier: A Biographical and Critical Study

Sidney Lanier: A Biographical and Critical Study

Sidney Lanier: A Biographical and Critical Study

Excerpt

Although the present volume offers a more detailed account of the life of Sidney Lanier than has previously been published, it was planned less as a biography than as a critical study, and therefore an attempt has been made to discuss the entire body of Lanier's work, collected and uncollected, inspired poems, scholarly lectures, and prose pot-boilers. But even in this critical study I have tried to present Lanier less as a poet, musician, or man of letters than as a man having greater social significance than is usually recognized. It is as a man whose greatness is not limited to his achievement in any one field that I think of Lanier; it is as an American hero with a message peculiarly worth listening to in the present period of economic and social unrest that I wish to present him.

In the Bibliography to this volume are listed the chief printed sources of information concerning the life of Lanier and the more important of the critical studies of his work, on all of which I have drawn freely. I wish, however, to mention here more specifically four earlier studies of Lanier, which are the most important of many published, and to acknowledge my own indebtedness to them. They are that of William Hayes Ward (1884), issued as a memorial in the collected edition of Lanier's poems; that of ProfessorMorgan Callaway Jr. (1895), the most scholarly study of Lanier's work yet published; that of William Malone Baskervill (1897), rich in sympathy and understanding; and that of ProfessorEdwin Mims (1905), the only book length biography of Lanier, one based on material to which no other biographer has had access, the most complete of all studies of Lanier previously published and one which must serve as a standard by which all other studies--biographical or critical--are to be measured.

Much interesting and significant material concerning Lanier and his work was not reprinted in any of these four major studies, however, and much new material has been made available since the last of them (Professor Mims's biography) was published.

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