Edwin Markham


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Oregon-born poet, lived in California (1857–1901), where he became a schoolteacher. He won widespread popularity for the title poem of The Man with the Hoe and Other Poems (1899), inspired by Millet's painting. This blank-verse depiction of a brutalized farmer, “bowed by the weight of centuries … The emptiness of ages in his face,” is a somewhat rhetorical protest against the degradation of exploited labor. Lincoln and Other Poems (1901), in the same vein, was also very popular. His many later volumes are generally mediocre, marked by a lofty and occasionally tumid melody. The character Presley in Norris's The Octopus is said to represent Markham.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

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