Van Wyck Brooks

Van Wyck Brooks (văn wĬk´), 1886–1963, American critic, b. Plainfield, N.J., grad. Harvard, 1908. His first book, The Wine of the Puritans (1909), presented the thesis that American culture has been so pervaded by puritanism with its materialistic emphasis that the artistic side of the nation's life has been profoundly neglected. Although this theme was developed in such subsequent books as America's Coming-of-Age (1915), The Ordeal of Mark Twain (1920), and The Pilgrimage of Henry James (1925), later works, including Emerson and Others (1927), indicate his growing respect for American literature. In 1937 he won the Pulitzer Prize in history for The Flowering of New England (1936). Other volumes followed in the series he called Makers and Finders: New England: Indian Summer (1940), The World of Washington Irving (1944), and The Times of Melville and Whitman (1947). In this series, his masterwork, Brooks interprets American literary history; it is a vivid, varied chronicle, rich in anecdote and infused with the author's humanism. Among Brooks's innumerable other books are such autobiographical works as Days of Phoenix (1957), From a Writer's Notebook (1958), and An Autobiography (1965).

See The Van Wyck Brooks–Lewis Mumford Letters, ed. by R. E. Spiller (1970).

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

Van Wyck Brooks: Selected full-text books and articles

The Legacy of Van Wyck Brooks: A Study of Maladies and Motives By Willam Wasserstrom; Harry T. Moore; Edwardsville; William Wasserstrom Southern Illinois University Press, 1971
On Literature Today By Van Wyck Brooks E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1941
Emerson and Others By Van Wyck Brooks E.P. Dutton & Company, 1927
The Pilgrimage of Henry James By Van Wyck Brooks E. P. Dutton & Company, 1925
Howells: His Life and World By Van Wyck Brooks Dutton, 1959
The Times of Melville and Whitman By Van Wyck Brooks E.P. Dutton Company, 1947
Criticism in America, Its Functions and Status: Essays By Irving Babbitt; Van Wyck Brooks; W. C. Brownell; Ernest Boyd; H. L. Mencken; Stuart P. Sherman; J. E. Spingarn; George F. Woodberry Harcourt, Brace, 1924
Librarian’s tip: "The Critics and Young America (1917)" by Van Wyck Brook begins on p. 116
Milestones in American Literary History By Robert E. Spiller Greenwood Press, 1977
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "The Flowering of New England" and Chap. 27 "The Confident Years, 1885-1915" by Van Wyck Brooks
The Achievement of American Criticism: Representative Selections from Three Hundred Years of American Criticism By Clarence Arthur Brown Ronald Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: "From Sketches in Criticism" by Van Wyck Brooks begins on p. 622
The Harvard Advocate Anthology By Donald Hall; W. G. Peckham Twayne Publishers, 1950
Librarian’s tip: "Van Wyck Brooks, '08 1886-" begins on p. 87
Forces in American Criticism: A Study in the History of American Literary Thought By Bernard Smith Harcourt, Brace, 1939
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "The War of Traditions"
A Many-Windowed House: Collected Essays on American Writers and American Writing By Malcolm Cowley; Henry Dan Piper Southern Illinois University Press, 1970
Librarian’s tip: "Van Wyck Brooks's 'Usable Past'" begins on p. 213
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