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Connecticut Wits


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Literary group of the late 18th century, centered at Hartford (known also as the Hartford Wits), whose origin is ascribed to the quickening interest in literature at Yale during this period, when most of the group were tutors or students there. They patterned themselves after the Augustan wits, but preserved the intellectual and spiritual conservatism of Connecticut. Aiming to modernize the rigidly scholastic curriculum of Yale, they also wished to supply poetry that would celebrate America's literary independence by extolling native history and society. Although they copied London modes, after the Revolution they clung to their orthodox Calvinism and Federalism, bitterly opposing deism and equalitarianism. Their collaborations included The Anarchiad (1786–87), The Echo (1791–1805), and The Political Greenhouse (1799). Members included John Trumbull, Timothy Dwight, Joel Barlow, Lemuel Hopkins, David Humphreys, Richard Alsop, and Theodore Dwight.

Subjects: Literature.


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