Philip Morin Freneau Criticism - Essay

Mary S. Austin (essay date 1901)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Austin, Mary S. “Freneau as an Author.” In Philip Freneau, The Poet of the Revolution: A History of his Life and Times, edited by Helen Kearny Vreeland, pp. 211-26. New York: A. Wessels Company, 1901.

[In the following excerpt, Austin provides examples of nineteenth-century criticism of Freneau's poetry.]

For reasons already given, we deem it best to give the criticisms of others upon the poetry of Freneau, and begin with the remarks of a London publisher1 who, notwithstanding Freneau's hostile feeling towards all that savored in the least of Great Britain, has had the magnanimity to overlook all such sentiment, and bring before the public, of...

(The entire section is 4839 words.)

Samuel E. Forman (essay date 1902)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Forman, Samuel E. “The Democratic Editor.” In The Political Activities of Philip Freneau, pp. 35-79. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1902.

[In the following excerpt, Forman discusses Freneau's position as editor of the National Gazette and the controversy that surrounded his work there.]

The plan and purposes of the new paper were published at considerable length. The Gazette was to appear every Wednesday and Saturday;1 the subscription price was to be three dollars per annum; the news published was to be of national character, especial attention being promised to the doings of the national government; the columns of the Gazette...

(The entire section is 15235 words.)

Nelson F. Adkins (essay date 1949)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Adkins, Nelson F. “Nature” and “Deism.” In Philip Freneau and the Cosmic Enigma, pp. 17-57. New York: Russell & Russell, 1949.

[In the following excerpt, Adkins explores the formation of Freneau's complex religious philosophy from his abandonment of the orthodoxy of his parents to his turn toward nature and deism.]



… Any attempt to assert the precise moment of Freneau's break with fundamentalist religious doctrine would, indeed, be hazardous. It seems valid to assume that the poet's mind could never have been wholly free from those great social and religious principles to which his age...

(The entire section is 16391 words.)

Carol A. Kyle (essay date 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kyle, Carol A. “That Poet Freneau: A Study of the Imagistic Success of The Pictures of Columbus.Early American Literature 9, no. 1 (spring 1974): 62-70.

[In the following essay, Kyle discusses Freneau's attempt to create an American myth in the form of an epic poem about Christopher Columbus.]

In American letters the impulse to write the great American novel has been dwarfed only by the impulse to write the great American epic: larger than both of these is the compulsion to create the great American myth. The earliest attempt in American literature to do all three at once occurs in Philip Freneau's “The Pictures of Columbus” (1774).1...

(The entire section is 3842 words.)

Mary Weatherspoon Bowden (essay date 1976)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bowden, Mary Weatherspoon. “Prose: Newspapers and Essays.” In Philip Freneau, pp. 87-122. Boston: Twayne Publishers: 1976.

[In the following excerpt, Bowden surveys Freneau's prose writings from 1790 to 1800, including his newspaper articles and humorous essays.]

The ten years from 1790 to 1800 were the most active and public ones of Freneau's life. Although he showed during these years a marked desire to settle down in New Jersey, national events called him forth to employ his talents, ones shown earlier with the Freeman's Journal, as a newspaper editor and political essayist. Although he published one book of verse, printing himself the 1795...

(The entire section is 15182 words.)

Jane Donahue Eberwein (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Eberwein, Jane Donahue. “Philip Freneau (1752-1832).” In Early American Poetry: Selections from Bradstreet, Taylor, Dwight, Freneau, and Bryant, pp. 190-20. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.

[In the following excerpt, Eberwein discusses Freneau's life and career, suggesting that his various activities as editor, farmer, and sea captain influenced his writing in various ways.]

Born the same year as Timothy Dwight and, like him, a revolutionary patriot, Philip Freneau was nonetheless a distinctly different poet—different in values, voice, and literary style. He represented a newer strain in American thought: more liberal, more secular, and more...

(The entire section is 3595 words.)

Richard C. Vitzthum (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Vitzthum, Richard C. “‘Learn What It Is to Go to Sea,’ 1780-1786.” In Land and Sea: The Lyric Poetry of Philip Freneau, pp. 45-86. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1978.

[In the following excerpt, Vitzthum suggests that Freneau's capture and subsequent imprisonment by the British marked a turning point in his personal philosophy and writing career.]

In 1778 Robert Bell published and gave Freneau a complimentary copy of the fourth number of the Miscellanies for Sentimentalists series, which included Freneau's patriotic poem “American Independence.” In this volume, which he kept for the rest of his life, Freneau scribbled marginalia...

(The entire section is 12761 words.)

Hans-Joachim Lang (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lang, Hans-Joachim. “The Rising Glory of America and the Falling Price of Intellect: The Careers of Brackenridge and Freneau.” In The Transit of Civilization from Europe to America: Essays in Honor of Hans Galinsky, edited by Winfried Herget and Karl Ortseifen, pp. 131-43. Tübingen: Narr, 1986.

[In the following essay, Lang examines the collaboration between Freneau and Hugh Henry Brackenridge on the 1772 Princeton commencement poem, The Rising Glory of America.]

At a conference devoted to “The Transit of Civilization from Europe to America”, a paper dealing with the plight of the American writer in revolutionary and post-revolutionary times could find...

(The entire section is 6754 words.)

Phillip Round (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Round, Phillip. “‘The Posture That We Give the Dead’: Freneau's ‘Indian Burying Ground’ in Ethnohistorical Context.” Arizona Quarterly 50, no. 3 (autumn 1994): 1-30.

[In the following essay, Round explores Freneau's poem “Indian Burying Ground” in the context of both Christian and Native American mythology, focusing on Freneau's changing use of the figure of the Native American as an emblem of American culture.]

Philip Freneau's “Lines Occasioned by a Visit to an Old Indian Burying Ground” (1787) is most often read as an imitation of a British graveyard poem—its Native American subject, “merely a ruse behind which Freneau...

(The entire section is 11590 words.)

Gilbert L. Gigliotti (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gigliotti, Gilbert L. “Off a ‘Strange, Uncoasted Strand’: Navigating the Ship of State through Freneau's Hurricane.Classical and Modern Literature 15, no. 4 (1995): 357-66.

[In the following essay, Gigliotti examines Freneau's “The Hurricane” as a ship of state poem that draws on classical tradition while making a case for the unique quality of the American experiment.]

The first of two editorial footnotes1 to Philip Freneau's “The Hurricane” in the second edition of The Heath Anthology of American Literature (1994) reads:

Also titled, “Verses, made at Sea, in a Heavy...

(The entire section is 3684 words.)

Joseph Harrington (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Harrington, Joseph. “Re-Birthing ‘America’: Philip Freneau, William Cullen Bryant, and the Invention of Modern Poetics.” In Making America/Making American Literature: Franklin to Cooper, edited by A. Robert Lee and W. M. Verhoeven, pp. 249-74. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

[In the following essay, Harrington discusses the shift in poetic sensibility between 1800 and 1830 described through the poetic differences between Freneau and Bryant.]

… Not as a re-birth of values that had existed previously in America, but as America's way of producing a renaissance, by coming to its first maturity and affirming its rightful heritage in the whole...

(The entire section is 8924 words.)