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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stedman, Edmund Clarence

< 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

STEDMAN, EDMUND CLARENCE (1833-1908), American poet and critic, was born at Hartford, Connecticut, on the 8th of October 1833. He studied two years at Yale; became a journalist in New York, especially on the staffs of the Tribune and World, which latter paper he served as field correspondent during the first years of the Civil War; and was a banker in Wall Street from 1869 to 1900. His first book, Poems, Lyrical and Idyllic, appeared in 1860, followed by successive volumes of similar character, and by collected editions of his verse in 1873, 1884 and 1897. His longer poems are Alice of Monmouth: an Idyl of the Great War (1864); The Blameless Prince (1869), an allegory of good deeds, supposed to have been remotely suggested by the life of Prince Albert; and an elaborate commemorative ode on Hawthorne, read before the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1877. An idyllic atmosphere is the prevalent characteristic of his longer pieces, while the lyric tone is never absent from his songs, ballads and poems of reflection or fancy. As an editor he put forth a volume of Cameos from Landor (with T. B. Aldrich, 1874); a large Library of (selections from) American Literature (with Ellen M. Hutchinson, 11 vols., 1888-1890); a Victorian Anthology (1895); and an American Anthology, 1787-1899 (1900); the two last-named volumes being ancillary to a detailed and comprehensive critical study in prose of the whole body of English poetry from 1837, and of American poetry of the 19th century. This study appeared in separate chapters in Scribner's Monthly now the Century Magazine, and was reissued, with enlargements, in the volumes entitled Victorian Poets (1875; continued to the Jubilee year in the edition of 1887) and Poets of America (1885), the two works forming the most symmetrical body of literary criticism yet published in the United States. Their value is increased by the treatise on The Nature and Elements of Poetry (Boston, 1892) — a work of great critical insight as well as technical knowledge. He died in New York on the 18th of January 1908.

See Laura Stedman and G. M. Gould, The Life and Letters of Edmund Clarence Stedman (2 vols., N. Y., 1910).