George William Curtis


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(1824–92), Rhode Island-born writer, spent some time at Brook Farm, and later traveled in the Near East as correspondent for the New York Tribune. His amusing impressions of his travels were published as Nile Notes of a Howadji (1851) and The Howadji in Syria (1852). Lotus-Eating (1852) is a collection of letters written to the Tribune from various spas. The Potiphar Papers (1853) and Prue and I (1856) contain essays contributed to magazines, and Trumps (1861) is a novel of New York society and Washington politics. Curtis's oration, The Duty of the American Scholar to Politics and the Times (1856), marked his transition to serious thought on contemporary affairs, and he became a noted editor and lyceum lecturer in the struggles for antislavery, women's rights, civil service reform, and industrial harmony. He was an official of many reform organizations, being president of the National Civil Service Reform League from its founding (1881) to his death. He was editor of Harper's Weekly after 1863, and three of his books are collections of “Editor's Easy Chair” papers for Harper's Magazine.

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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