Archibald MacLeish

Archibald MacLeish (məklēsh´), 1892–1982, American poet and public official, b. Glencoe, Ill., grad. Yale, 1915, LL.B Harvard, 1919. He practiced law for only three years and during the 1920s lived mostly in France. There he produced several volumes of verse, including The Pot of Earth (1925) and The Hamlet of A. MacLeish (1928). Conquistador (1932; Pulitzer Prize) is a narrative poem about the conquest of Mexico. MacLeish returned to the United States in the 1930s; the volume of poetry Frescoes for Mr. Rockefeller's City (1933) and the verse play for radio The Fall of the City (1937) reveal his deepening concern with the rise of Fascism in the world. He was librarian of Congress (1939–44) and undersecretary of State (1944–45). From 1949 to 1962 he was Boylston professor of rhetoric at Harvard. Among his later works are the verse drama J. B. (1958; Pulitzer Prize), a retelling of the story of Job in a modern setting; volumes of poetry including Collected Poems 1917–1952 (1952; Pulitzer Prize), The Wild Wicked Old Man (1968), The Human Season (1972), and Collected Poems, 1917–1982 (1985); a volume of prose, Riders on the Earth (1978), and a play, Scratch (1971), based on Stephen Vincent Benét's short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster."

See his letters, ed. R. H. Winnick (1983); B. A. Drabeck and H. E. Ellis, ed., Archibald MacLeish (1986).

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

Archibald MacLeish: Selected full-text books and articles

The Fall of the City: A Verse Play for Radio By Archibald MacLeish Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1937
A Treasury of Great Poems: English and American By Louis Untermeyer Simon & Schuster, 1942
Librarian’s tip: Includes "The End of the World," "Epistle to Be Left in the Earth," and more
Biblical Drama in England from the Middle Ages to the Present Day By Murray Roston Faber and Faber, 1968
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Archibald MacLeish begins on p. 308
On the Limits of Poetry, Selected Essays: 1928-1948 By Allen Tate Swallow Press, 1948
Librarian’s tip: "MacLeish's Conquistador" begins on p. 365
Modern Poetry and the Tradition By Cleanth Brooks University of North Carolina Press, 1939
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Frost, MacLeish, and Auden"
Air Raid: A Verse for Radio By Archibald MacLeish Harcourt, Brace, 1938
Panic: A Play in Verse By Archibald MacLeish Houghton Mifflin Company, 1935
The Happy Marriage, and Other Poems By Archibald MacLeish Houghton Mifflin Company, 1924
I Hear America ...: Literature in the United States since 1900 By Vernon Loggins Biblo and Tannen, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Archibald MacLeish" begins on p. 328
America Was Promises By Archibald MacLeish Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Inc., 1939
The Fascination of the Abomination Poems, Stories, and Essays By Reed Whittemore Books for Libraries Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "MacLeish and Democratic Pastoral" begins on p. 283
Playing It By: Literary Essays and Reviews By William H. Pritchard University of Massachusetts Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "MacLeish Revisited" begins on p. 36
Poetic Drama: An Anthology of Plays in Verse from the Ancient Greek to the Modern American By Alfred Kreymborg Modern Age Books, 1941
Librarian’s tip: "The Fall Of the City" by Archibald MacLeish begins on p. 832
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