Edwin Percy Whipple
Edwin Percy Whipple was an American essayist and critic
A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement. Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive , negative , or balanced...



He was born in Gloucester
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is part of Massachusetts' North Shore. The population was 28,789 at the 2010 U.S. Census...

, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 in 1819. For a time, he was the main literary critic for Philadelphia-based Graham's Magazine
Graham's Magazine
Graham's Magazine was a nineteenth century periodical based in Philadelphia established by George Rex Graham. It was alternatively referred to as Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine , Graham's Magazine of Literature and Art , Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art Graham's...

. Later, in 1848, he became the Boston correspondent to The Literary World under Evert Augustus Duyckinck
Evert Augustus Duyckinck
Evert Augustus Duyckinck was an American publisher and biographer. He was associated with the literary side of the Young America movement in New York.-Life and work:...

 and George Long Duyckinck
George Long Duyckinck
thumb|right|George Long DuyckinckGeorge Long Duyckinck was a New York City writer.-Biography:He was the brother of Evert Augustus Duyckinck and attended Geneva College entered the New York University, and graduated in 1843. He studied law and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced...

. Historian Perry Miller
Perry Miller
Perry G. Miller was an American intellectual historian and Harvard University professor. He was an authority on American Puritanism, and a founder of the field of American Studies. Alfred Kazin referred to him as "the master of American intellectual history"...

 called Whipple "Boston's most popular critic".

Whipple was a close friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

. After Hawthorne's death in 1864, Whipple served as a pallbearer for his funeral alongside Bronson Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, James Thomas Fields
James Thomas Fields
James Thomas Fields was an American publisher, editor, and poet.-Early life and family:He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on December 31, 1817 and named James Field; the family later added the "s". His father was a sea captain and died before Fields was three...

, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was an American physician, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat...

, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline...

. Whipple's close relationship with other Boston-area authors occasionally tinted his reviews. Edward Emerson later noted, "No other member of the Saturday Club
Saturday Club (Boston, Massachusetts)
The Saturday Club, established in 1855, was an informal monthly gathering in Boston, Massachusetts, of writers, scientists, philosophers, historians and others.-Overview:The club began meeting informally at the Albion House in Boston...

 has ever been more loyally felicitous in characterizing the literary work of his associates."

Whipple died in 1886 and was interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831 as "America's first garden cemetery", or the first "rural cemetery", with classical monuments set in a rolling landscaped terrain...

 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...


Selected list of works

His first book was Essays and Reviews (two volumes, 1849), which was followed by:
  • Character and Characteristic Men (1866)
  • Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (1876)
  • Recollections of Eminent Men (1887)
  • American Literature and Other Papers (1887)
  • Outlooks on Society (1888)
  • Success and its Conditions
  • Literature and Politics

An edition of his Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

(two volumes, Boston), with an introduction by Arlo Bates
Arlo Bates
Arlo Bates was an American author, educator and newspaperman.-Biography:Arlo Bates was born at East Machias, Maine. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1876. In 1880 Bates became the editor of the Boston Sunday Courier and afterward became professor of English at the Massachusetts Institute of...

, appeared in 1912.

External links

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