R.W.B. Lewis, American literary critic (born Nov. 1, 1917, Chicago, Ill.--died June 13, 2002, Bethany, Conn.), helped originate the field of American studies and over his nearly half-century-long career as a scholar made significant contributions to the knowledge of American culture. His Edith Wharton: A Biography (1975) won a Pulitzer Prize as well as the Bancroft Prize and the first National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction and was credited with the revival of both popular and critical interest in that novelist. Among his other acclaimed titles were The American Adam (1955), The..
Carlos Baker, in full Carlos Heard Baker, (born May 5, 1909, Biddeford, Maine, U.S.--died April 18, 1987, Princeton, New Jersey), American teacher, novelist, and critic known for his definitive biographies of Ernest Hemingway and Percy Bysshe Shelley.Baker received a Ph.D. from Princeton University (1940) and became professor of English there in 1951. His book Shelley's Major Poetry: The Fabric of a Vision (1948) dwells on Shelley's inner self as visible in his poetry and largely ignores the exterior circumstances of the poet's life. Baker examines Shelley's work within a literary chronology..
Michael Riffaterre, original name Michel Camille Riffaterre, (born Nov. 20, 1924, Bourganeuf, France--died May 27, 2006, New York, N.Y., U.S.), American literary critic, whose textual analyses emphasize the responses of the reader and not the biography and politics of the author.Riffaterre was educated in France at the University of Lyon (1941) and at the Sorbonne of the University of Paris (M.A., 1947) before moving to the United States to attend Columbia University in New York City (Ph.D., 1955). He taught at Columbia from 1955, becoming a full professor in 1964 and professor emeritus..
Ted Solotaroff, (Theodore Solotaroff), American literary critic (born Oct. 9, 1928, Elizabeth, N.J.--died Aug. 8, 2008, East Quogue, N.Y.), founded (1967) the New American Review (later American Review), a literary journal that appeared three times a year in paperback form and featured fiction and nonfiction works by such luminaries as Mordecai Richler, E.L. Doctorow, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Norman Mailer, and Philip Roth (who submitted a sampling of what would become his novel Portnoy's Complaint ). Although it was a critical success, the magazine struggled financially and..
R.S. Crane, in full Ronald Salmon Crane, (born Jan. 5, 1886, Tecumseh, Mich., U.S.--died July 12, 1967, Chicago, Ill.), American literary critic who was a leading figure of the Neo-Aristotelian Chicago school. His landmark book, The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry (1953), formed the theoretical basis of the group. Although Crane was an outspoken opponent of the New Criticism, he argued persuasively for a pluralism that values separate, even contradictory, critical schools.Crane was educated at the University of Michigan (B.A., 1908) and the University of Pennsylvania..
Wayne C. Booth, in full Wayne Clayson Booth, (born February 22, 1921, American Fork, Utah, U.S.--died October 10, 2005, Chicago, Illinois), American critic and teacher associated with the Chicago school of literary criticism.Booth attended Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah (B.A., 1944), and the University of Chicago (M.A., 1947; Ph.D., 1950), where he became devoted to neo-Aristotelian critical methods while studying with R.S. Crane. He taught at Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Earlham College in Indiana before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in..
Evert Augustus Duyckinck, (born Nov. 23, 1816, New York, N.Y., U.S.--died Aug. 13, 1878, New York City), American biographer, editor, and critic who with such works as the two-volume Cyclopaedia of American Literature (1855, supplement 1866), written with his younger brother George Long Duyckinck (1823-63), focused scholarly attention on American writing and contributed to the advance of American literature in the mid-19th century.Duyckinck was the son of a publisher. He graduated from Columbia College in 1835 and, like his brother, studied law for two years and was admitted to the bar..
Leslie A. Fiedler, in full Leslie Aaron Fiedler, (born March 8, 1917, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.--died January 29, 2003, Buffalo, New York), American literary critic who applied psychological (chiefly Freudian) and social theories to American literature.Fiedler attended the University of Wisconsin (M.A., 1939; Ph.D., 1941), and, after service in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1942 to 1946, he did further research at Harvard University. Thereafter he taught at many universities both in the United States and abroad, chiefly at the State University of New York at Buffalo.Over the years, Fiedler..
Murray Krieger, (born Nov. 27, 1923, Newark, N.J., U.S.--died Aug. 5, 2000, California), American literary critic known for his studies of the special nature of the language of imaginative literature.Krieger attended Rutgers University (1940-42), the University of Chicago (M.A., 1948), and Ohio State University (Ph.D., 1952). He taught at the Universities of Minnesota (1952-58) and Illinois (1958-63) before his appointment to the first American-chaired professorship in literary criticism, at the University of Iowa (1963-66). He also taught in the University of California system,..
J. Hillis Miller, in full Joseph Hillis Miller, (born March 5, 1928, Newport News, Virginia, U.S.), American literary critic who was associated initially with the Geneva group of critics and later with the Yale school and deconstruction. Miller was important in connecting North American criticism with Continental philosophical thought.Miller graduated from Oberlin College in 1948 and received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1949 and 1952, respectively. After teaching English at Williams College for one year, he held positions at Johns Hopkins University (1953-72) and Yale..
Annette Kolodny, (born August 21, 1941, New York, New York, U.S.), American literary critic, one of the first to use feminist criticism to interpret American literary works and cultural history.Kolodny was educated at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (B.A., 1962) and the University of California, Berkeley (M.A., 1965; Ph.D., 1969). Her seminal essay on feminist literary criticism, "Some Notes on Defining a 'Feminist' Literary Criticism," was published in Critical Inquiry in 1975. Kolodny wrote from a feminist perspective of her outrage over the ravaged American environment..
Geoffrey H. Hartman, (born August 11, 1929, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany--died March 14, 2016, Hamden, Connecticut, U.S.), German-born American literary critic and theorist who opposed Anglo-American formalism, brought Continental thought to North American literary criticism, and championed criticism as a creative act. His works treat criticism and literature as mutually interpenetrating discourses and consider the greatest writing as infinitely interpretable.As a child Hartman was sent by the Kindertransport to England, where he spent six years before joining his mother in..
M.H. Abrams, in full Meyer Howard Abrams, (born July 23, 1912, Long Branch, New Jersey, U.S.--died April 21, 2015, Ithaca, New York), American literary critic who revolutionized the study of the Romantic period in English literature through groundbreaking analysis. He also served as general editor (1962-2000) for the first seven editions of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.Following his graduation from Harvard University in 1934, Abrams studied for a year at the University of Cambridge with I.A. Richards before returning to his alma mater to earn an M.A. (1937) and a Ph.D. (1940)...