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.
Yet Giles makes good on this claim and in the process sheds interesting new light on the bathetic absurdities of Mather Byles and--even more revealingly--on the offbeat nuttiness of the Connecticut Wits' Anarchiad (1861) as it myopically resorts to emulation of the scabrous to the end of pursuing its more moralistic regime of law and order.
In Giles's canon of exemplary Americans, the Neoclassicals take precedence over Edwards and later neoPuritanism (which surfaces only in the contorted form of the verse of the Connecticut Wits), while Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne and the resolutely non-nationalist Poe are foregrounded, and Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman are as it were put in their places.
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.
Pope's Dunciad, for example, is seen to be a direct influence on the Connecticut Wits' Anarchiad, a topical and timely poem that intervened to aid the ratification of the US Constitution at the Philadelphia convention of 1787.
Barlow had been a student at Yale with pretensions of becoming a great American poet (he was later associated with a group of poets known as the "Connecticut Wits"), a chaplain in George Washington's army, and later a graduate student at Yale, where he lived with Timothy Dwight at Northampton and worked in Dwight's school.
He also wrote The Connecticut Wits (1926) and Sinclair Lewis, Our Own Diogenes (1927).
The anthology was devoted largely to the group of writers who became known as the Hartford Wits or Connecticut Wits, including John Trumbull, Joel Barlow, Timothy Dwight, and Lemuel Hopkins, all of whom were friends of Smith.
Known also as the Connecticut Wits, this loosely confederated group of writers collaborated, in various combinations, to produce a roughly homogeneous body of political satire during the last two decades of the 18th and the first decade of the 19th centuries.
Leaders in this movement were the Connecticut Wits, also known as the Hartford Wits because they were centered in that Connecticut city.
Up to that time his only publication, aside from articles, had been a college anthology, The Connecticut Wits (1926).

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