Chapman, John Jay

Chapman, John Jay,

1862–1933, American essayist and poet, b. New York City, grad. Harvard, 1885. He was admitted to the bar in 1888, but after 10 years abandoned law for literature. Active in the anti-Tammany reform movement in the 1890s, Chapman was an active supporter of civil rights, and a fiery and pertinent observer of politics. Among his works are Emerson and Other Essays (1898), Memories and Milestones (1915), Songs and Poems (1919), and New Horizons in American Life (1932). He also wrote several plays, including The Treason and Death of Benedict Arnold (1910).


See his selected writings ed. by J. Barzun (1968); studies by R. B. Hovey (1959) and M. H. Bernstein (1964).

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Chapman, John Jay

(1862–1933) man of letters; born in New York City. Independently wealthy, he published poems, plays, translations, and essays renowned for critical power and stylistic grace. Edmund Wilson called him "the best writer on literature of his generation."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.