Merrill, James

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Merrill, James

James Merrill (James Ingram Merrill), 1926–95, American poet, b. New York City. Born into wealth as the son of Charles Merrill, he studied at Amherst College (grad. 1947) and was free to live as he pleased and to devote much of his time to poetry. One of the most admired poets of his generation, he is noted for the technical virtuosity, elegant formality, metric sophistication, refined lyricism, and witty urbanity of verse that, while always reserved, became more autobiographical, intimate, and colloquial over the years. His early volumes include First Poems (1951), Water Street (1962), Nights and Days (1966), The Fire Screen (1969), and Braving the Elements (1972). His most ambitious work was published in three parts (1976–80) and released in its entirety as The Changing Light at Sandover (1982). In it, Merrill (with his companion David Jackson) used a Ouija board to invoke the spirits (and the spirit) of his aesthetic forebears. Among his later volumes are Late Settings (1985), The Inner Room (1988), and A Scattering of Salts (1995). His lyrics are gathered in James Merrill: Collected Poems (2001). Merrill won every major literary award for poetry, including the Pulitzer and Bollingen prizes, two National Book Awards, and a National Book Critics Circle Award. He also wrote plays, e.g., The Immortal Husband (1955); novels, e.g., The Seraglio (1957); and essays, e.g., Recitative (1986).

See his Collected Novels and Plays (2002), Collected Prose (2004), and Selected Poems (2008), ed. by J. D. McClatchy and S. Yenser; his memoir, A Different Person (1993); A. Lurie, Familiar Spirits: A Memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson (2001); biography by L. Hammer (2015); R. Labrie, James Merrill (1982), J. Moffett, James Merrill: An Introduction (1984), S. Yenser, The Consuming Myth (1986), and M. Blasing, Politics and Form in Postmodern Poetry (1995).

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
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Merrill, James
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.