William Crary Brownell

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William Crary Brownell, photographed sometime before 1894.

William Crary Brownell (August 30, 1851 – July 22, 1928) was an American literary and art critic, born in New York.

Biography[edit]

He graduated from Amherst College in 1871, from where he also later received two honorary degrees. From 1871-1879 he wrote for the New York World, and he was on the staff of The Nation from 1879-1881. From 1888 until 1926 he was a literary advisor at Charles Scribner's Sons. He published French Traits (1889), an essay in comparative criticism; French Art (1892), classic and contemporary painting and sculpture; Newport (1896); Victorian Prose Masters (1901); American Prose Masters (1909).

Brownell married Virginia S. Swinburne in 1878. Ten years after her death in 1911, he married Gertrude Hall.

In her autobiography, A Backward Glance, Edith Wharton mentions him appreciatively as one of the finest literary men of his age and a significant contributor to the New York literary scene. His studies of the later English prose writers were highly regarded and deservedly praised; he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

References[edit]

  • Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, edited by Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft, New York, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1942.