Burke, Kenneth(1897–1993) literary critic, poet; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. After dropping out of Columbia University, he began his writing career in New York City, serving as music critic at Dial magazine (1927–29). He wrote fiction, poetry, and literary criticism and theory, winning a Guggenheim Fellowship (1935). He taught at various colleges, mainly Bennington (Vt.) (1943–61). A complex writer, he is best known for his philosophy of language articulated in The Grammar of Motive (1945) and Language as Symbolic Action (1966).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.