John Fiske

John Fiske, 1842–1901, American philosopher and historian, b. Hartford, Conn. Born Edmund Fisk Green, he changed his name in 1855 to John Fisk, adding the final e in 1860. He opened a law practice in Boston but soon turned to writing. A wide reader, he had been an enthusiastic follower of Herbert Spencer while in college, and the first part of his life was given mainly to popularizing Spencerian evolution. He tried to reconcile orthodox religious beliefs with science, both on the lecture platform and in such books as Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy (1874, repr. 1969), Darwinism and Other Essays (1879, repr. 1913), Excursions of an Evolutionist (1884), The Idea of God as Affected by Modern Knowledge (1886), and Through Nature to God (1899). Early in his career Fiske also achieved popularity as a lecturer on history and in his later life was occupied mostly with that field. His historical writings include The Critical Period of American History, 1783–1789 (1888), The Beginnings of New England (1889), The American Revolution (1891), The Discovery of America (1892), Old Virginia and Her Neighbors (1897), Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America (1899), The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War (1900), and New France and New England (1902). These books were popular accounts based largely on secondary authorities and noted for an easy, lucid, and dramatic style.

See The Letters of John Fiske (ed. by his daughter, Ethel F. Fisk, 1940).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

John Fiske: Selected full-text books and articles

The Religious Faith of John Fiske By H. Pannill Burnell Duke University Press, 1957
FREE! The Life and Letters of John Fiske By John Spencer Clark Houghton Mifflin Company, vol.1, 1917
The Letters of John Fiske By John Fiske; Ethel F. Fisk Macmillan Co., 1940
FREE! Darwinism and Other Essays: By John Fiske By John Fiske Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1900 (Revised edition)
FREE! Through Nature to God By John Fiske Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1899
FREE! Life Everlasting By John Fiske Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1901
FREE! The Unseen World, and Other Essays By John Fiske Houghton Mifflin Company, 1904
FREE! The American Revolution By John Fiske Houghton Mifflin, vol.1, 1891 (4th edition)
FREE! Essays, Historical, and Literary By John Fiske The Macmillan Company, vol.2, 1902
Philosophy in America from the Puritans to James By Paul Russell Anderson; Max Harold Fisch D. Appleton-Century, 1939
Garrulities of an Octogenarian Editor: With Other Essays Somewhat Biographical and Autobiographical By Henry Holt Houghton Mifflin Company, 1923
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIX "John Fiske"
The American Historian: A Social-intellectual History of the Writing of the American Past By Harvey Wish Oxford University Press, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "From Fiske to Gipson: the Rise of Colonial Institutional History"
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