Van Wyck Brooks

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brooks, Van Wyck


Born Feb. 16, 1886, in Plainfield, N. J.; died May 2, 1963, in New York. American literary scholar.

In 1915, Brooks published the book America’s Coming-of-Age. Close to the cultural-historical and sociological school, Brooks spoke out against decadent literature. In the book The Ordeal of Mark Twain (1920) he developed the idea of a conflict between the artist and capitalist civilization, and he devoted the book The Pilgrimage of Henry James (1925) to this theme. In the works The Flowering of New England (1936), New England: Indian Summer (1940), The World of Washington Irving (1944), The Times of Melville and Whitman (1947), and The Confident Years (1952), Brooks presented a broad panorama of American literature. In the books The Writer in America (1953), Days of the Phoenix (1957), and From a Writer’s Notebook (1958), he condemned modern formalistic tendencies, including the “new criticism.” In Howells: A Biography (1959), Brooks wrote about the influence of socialist ideas and Russian authors (L. N. Tolstoy and I. S. Turgenev) on W. D. Howells.


Opinions of Oliver Allston. New York, 1944.
Helen Keller. London, 1956.
In Russian translation:
Pisatel’ i amerikanskaia zhizn’, vol. 1. Moscow, 1967. Vol. 2: Moscow, 1971.


Mendel’son, M. “Van Vik Bruks i demokraticheskie traditsii amerikanskogo literaturovedeniia.” In Sovremennoe literaturovedenie SShA. Moscow, 1969.
Vitelli, J. R. Van Wyck Brooks. New York, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Van Wyck Brooks was more obliging than the roommate.
Nock at The Freeman and was a colleague of Van Wyck Brooks at The Dial.
Casey Nelson Blake, Beloved Community: The Cultural Criticism of Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, and Lewis Mumford (1990), and James Livingston, Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution, 1850-1940 (1994), chs.
Van Wyck Brooks typed out the poems and canvassed Maynard's friends for favorable comments.
Winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for literature, France proved an influential figure for the new Americanist critics seeking to establish their own national tradition of belles lettres, their own literary "coming of age." "Europe is a tale that has been told," France had encouraged American writers--according to Van Wyck Brooks in his autobiography--"I believe in your American dream" (275).
Arvin's mentor, Van Wyck Brooks, had "considered writing about Walt Whitman, but was apparently so upset by Whitman's homosexuality that when the subject came up casually over lunch at the Harvard Club in New York, he turned deathly pale and fled the room.
Her "useable past" is not the carefully weighed scholarship that can help prevent future error that Van Wyck Brooks coined the term for.
With the publication of Bruce Michelson's new book, Twain studies come full circle from Van Wyck Brooks' controversial thesis some seventy-five years ago that Clemens, chastened by the custodians of Eastern culture and respectability, tamed and domesticated his boisterous Western style.
Gorman is especially illuminating when ranging through the interwar period, pointing out the essential agreement between Van Wyck Brooks and Communist Parry cultural arbiter Mike Gold; undertaking close readings of little magazines like Broom and the Dial; probing the contributions of social scientists and the Communist Party to the debate; and recovering honorable exceptions like the magazine Soil, which was ecumenical enough to enjoy everything from Poe to Ty Cobb.
, Van Wyck Brooks's The Ordeal of Mark Twain (1920).
Other books published this year included The Ordeal of Mark Twain by Van Wyck Brooks, a controversial study of the great author; This Side of Paradise by F.