Bryant, William Cullen

Bryant, William Cullen
born Nov. 3, 1794, Cummington, Mass., U.S.
died June 12, 1878, New York, N.Y.

U.S. poet.

At age 17 Bryant wrote "Thanatopsis," a meditation on nature and death that remains his best-known poem; influenced by deism, it in turn influenced Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Admitted to the bar at age 21, he spent nearly 10 years as an attorney, a profession he hated. His Poems (1821), including "To a Waterfowl," secured his reputation. In 1825 he moved to New York City, where for almost 50 years (1829–78) he was editor in chief of the Evening Post, which he transformed into an organ of progressive thought.

William Cullen Bryant, detail of an oil painting by Daniel Huntington, 1866; in the Brooklyn Museum ...

Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum, New York

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▪ American author
born Nov. 3, 1794, Cummington, Mass., U.S.
died June 12, 1878, New York City
 poet of nature, best remembered for “Thanatopsis,” and editor for 50 years of the New York Evening Post.

      A descendant of early Puritan immigrants, Bryant at 16 entered the sophomore class of Williams College. Because of finances and in hopes of attending Yale, he withdrew without graduating. Unable to enter Yale, he studied law under private guidance at Worthington and at Bridgewater and at 21 was admitted to the bar. He spent nearly 10 years in Plainfield and at Great Barrington as an attorney, a calling for which he held a lifelong aversion. At 26 Bryant married Frances Fairchild, with whom he was happy until her death nearly half a century later. In 1825 he moved to New York City to become coeditor of the New York Review. He became an editor of the Evening Post in 1827; in 1829 he became editor in chief and part owner and continued in this position until his death. His careful investment of his income made Bryant wealthy. He was an active patron of the arts and letters.

      The religious conservatism imposed on Bryant in childhood found expression in pious doggerel; the political conservatism of his father stimulated “The Embargo” (1808), in which the 13-year-old poet demanded the resignation of President Jefferson. But in “Thanatopsis” (from the Greek “a view of death”), which he wrote when he was 17 and which made him famous when it was published in The North American Review in 1817, he rejected Puritan dogma for Deism; thereafter he was a Unitarian. Turning also from Federalism, he joined the Democratic party and made the Post an organ of free trade, workingmen's rights, free speech, and abolition. Bryant was for a time a Free-Soiler and later one of the founders of the Republican party. As a man of letters, Bryant securely established himself at the age of 27 with Poems (1821). In his later years he devoted considerable time to translations.

      Bryant will be remembered longest as the poet of his native Berkshire hills and streams in such poems as “Thanatopsis” and “To a Waterfowl.”

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bryant,William Cullen — Bry·ant (brīʹənt), William Cullen. 1794 1878. American poet, critic, and editor known especially for his early nature poems, such as “Thanatopsis” (1817) and “To a Waterfowl” (1821). As editor and part owner (1829 1878) of the New York Evening… …   Universalium

  • Bryant, William Cullen — (3 nov. 1794, Cummington, Mass., EE.UU.–12 jun. 1878, N.Y.). Poeta estadounidense. A los 17 años, Bryant compuso Thanatopsis, meditación sobre la naturaleza y la muerte que sigue siendo su poema más conocido; influenciado por el deísmo, influyó a …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BRYANT, WILLIAM CULLEN —    American poet; his poems were popular in America, the chief, The Age, published in 1821; was 50 years editor of the New York Evening Post; wrote short poems all through his life, some of the later his best (1794 1878) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Bryant, William Cullen —  (1794–1878) American journalist, critic, and poet …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Bryant, William Cullen — (1794 1878)    Poet, was b. at Cummington, Massachusetts, the s. of a doctor. His ancestors on both sides came over in the Mayflower. His first poem was Thanatopsis (1817), which was greeted as the best poem produced in America up to that time.… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Bryant, William Cullen —    см. Брайент, Уильям Каллен …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • William Cullen Bryant — (* 3. November 1794 in Cummington, Massachusetts; † 12. Juni 1878 in New York City) war ein amerikanischer Schriftsteller, Jurist und Journalist …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Cullen Bryant — (Cummington, Massachusetts, Estados Unidos; 3 de noviembre de 1794 Nueva York, 12 de junio de 1878), poeta, periodista y crítico estadounidense. Obra Se aficionó …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Cullen Bryant Homestead — Infobox nrhp2 | name =William Cullen Bryant Homestead nrhp type =nhl nhl=yes caption =The William Cullen Bryant Homestead nearest city= Cummington, Massachusetts lat degrees = 42 lat minutes = 28 lat seconds = 16.61 lat direction = N long degrees …   Wikipedia

  • William Cullen Bryant — Pour les articles homonymes, voir William Cullen et Bryant. William Cullen Bryant William Cullen Bryant (3 novembre 1794 12 juin …   Wikipédia en Français

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