William Ellery Channing


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1818–1901), nephew of the elder W.E. Channing, ran away from Harvard to devote his life to poetry. His first recognition came when Emerson wrote an article on his poetry for The Dial. In order to be near Emerson he moved to Concord with his wife Ellen, the sister of Margaret Fuller. There he became an intimate of Thoreau and wrote the first biography, Thoreau, the Poet-Naturalist (1873, enlarged 1902), as well as editing several posthumous volumes of his friend's writings. Channing's own first volume of Poems (1843) is said by James Russell Lowell in his Fable for Critics to plunder the “orchard” of its editor, Emerson. During succeeding years, Channing wrote his Poems, Second Series (1847), The Woodman (1849), Near Home (1858), The Wanderer (1871), Eliot (1885), and John Brown and the Heroes of Harper's Ferry (1886). Thoreau called Channing's style “sublimoslipshod,” and other friends deplored his insistence upon printing his “native wood-notes wild,” which his thoroughgoing Transcendentalism would not let him polish or revise.

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.