Edmund Wilson 1895–1972
American critic, journalist, novelist, short story writer, poet, and editor.
Considered one of the most stimulating and prolific American writers of the twentieth century, Wilson shaped his work into a historical chronicle of American life and manners from the Jazz Age through the Cold War.
In Axel's Castle Wilson stated that literary criticism should be "a history of man's ideas and imaginings in the setting of the conditions which have shaped them." Consequently he wrote The Wound and the Bow, in which he proposed that creative ability results from the writer's psychological afflictions and personal crises. Patriotic Gore is Wilson's study of the literature of the Civil War, tracing the effects of the war on the writers of the time.
Many of Wilson's book reviews for The New Yorker and other essays have been published in Classics and Commercials, The Shores of Light, and The Bit between My Teeth, works which exemplify Wilson's characteristic style of popularizing critical concepts without alienating or patronizing his readers.
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 2, 3, 8; Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed., Vols. 37-40, rev. ed. [obituary]; and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 1.)