Connecticut Wits

Connecticut Wits

or

Hartford Wits,

an informal association of Yale students and rectors formed in the late 18th cent. At first they were devoted to the modernization of the Yale curriculum and declaring the independence of American letters. Conservative Federalists, they attacked their more liberal opponents in jointly written satirical verses—The Anarchiad (in the New Haven Gazette, 1786–87), The Political Greenhouse (in the Connecticut Courant, 1799), and The Echo (in the American Mercury, 1791–1805). Members of the group at various times were Timothy Dwight, David Humphreys, John Trumbull, Lemuel Hopkins, Richard Alsop, and Theodore Dwight. Joel Barlow, once a member, was radicalized by the experience of the French Revolution; his later works are far from the spirit of his fellow wits.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cuningham, Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817: A Biography (New York: Macmillan, 1942), 185, 248; Leon Howard, Connecticut Wits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943), 7, 18.
These "Berkeley Scholars" included the Connecticut Wit John Trumbull and several future college presidents.
Poems he wrote as a member of the Connecticut Wits, although occasionally represented in anthologies, surfer from the disregard that has long attended American neoclassical poetry.
He traces Dwight's inspiration to poets of the early eighteenth century, especially Alexander Pope, John Dryden, and Jonathan Swift, while acknowledging the influence of such contemporary English poets as Oliver Goldsmith and William Cowper and the Connecticut Wits who published The Anarchiad while Dwight was already at work on The Triumph.

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