Van Wyck Brooks life and biography

Van Wyck Brooks picture, image, poster

Van Wyck Brooks biography

Date of birth : 1886-02-16
Date of death : 1963-05-02
Birthplace : Plainfield, New Jersey
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-06-16
Credited as : Critic and historian, Finders & Makers,

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Van Wyck Brooks was an American literary critic, biographer, and historian.

Brooks was educated at Harvard University and graduated in 1908. The masterpiece of his literary career was a series of studies entitled Makers and Finders, which chronicled the development of American literature during the long 19th century. Brooks' reputation rested on the dexterity with which he embroidered elaborate biographical detail into brilliant anecdotal prose. In 1937, Brooks received the Pulitzer Prize in history for The Flowering of New England.

He was a long-time resident of Bridgewater, Connecticut, which built a town library wing in his name. Although a decade-long fund-raising effort seemed to fail and was abandoned in 1972, a miserly hermit in Los Angeles with no connection to Bridgewater surprised the town by leaving money for the library in his will. With $210,000 raised, the library addition went up in 1980.

Among his works, the book The Ordeal of Mark Twain, published in 1920, analyzes the literary progression of Samuel L. Clemens and attributes shortcomings, which are debatable, to Clemens' mother and wife. In 1953 he published his excellent translation from French of the 1920 biography of Henry Thoreau by Leon Bazalgette titled "Henry Thoreau Bachelor of Nature".

In 1944, Brooks was on the cover of Time Magazine.

Author of books:

The Wine of the Puritans: A Study of Present Day Americans (1908)
The Malady of the Ideal: Obermann, Maurice de Guerin and Amiel (1913)
John Addington Symonds: A Biographical Study (1914)
The World of H. G. Wells (1915)
America's Coming-of-Age (1915)
The Ordeal of Mark Twain (1920)
The Pilgrimage of Henry James (1925)
The Life of Emerson (1932)
Three Essays on America (1934)
The Flowering of New England, 1815-1865 (1936, Finders & Makers)
New England: Indian Summer, 1865-1915 (1940, Finders & Makers)
Opinions of Oliver Allston (1941)
On Literature Today (1941)
The World of Washington Irving (1944, Finders & Makers)
The Times of Melville and Whitman (1947, Finders & Makers)
A Chilmark Miscellany (1948)
The Confident Years: 1885-1915 (1952, Finders & Makers)
Makers and Finders (1952)
The Writer in America (1953)
Scenes and Portraits: Memoirs of Childhood and Youth (1954)
John Sloan: A Painter's Life (1955)
Helen Keller: Sketch for a Portrait (1956)
Days of the Phoenix: The Nineteen-Twenties I Remember (1957)
The Dream of Arcadia: American Writers and Artists in Italy 1760-1915 (1958)
From A Writer's Notebook (1958)
Howells: His Life and World (1959)
From the Shadow of the Mountain: My Post-Meridian Years (1961)
Fenollosa and His Circle: With Other Essays in Biography (1962)

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