Brooks, Cleanth



  • Existence: 16 October 1906 - 10 May 1994


Cleanth Brooks was born October 16, 1906, in Murray, Kentucky. He graduated from Vanderbilt University where he met John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, and Andrew Lytle as well as Robert Penn Warren, his lifelong friends and colleagues. He did graduate work at Tulane University, and then went on to Exeter College at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (1929-1932). In 1934 he married Edith Amy Blanchard, who was known as Tinkum. From 1932 to 1947 he was a Professor of English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. From 1947 to 1975 he was an English professor at Yale University, where he held the position of Gray Professor of Rhetoric from 1960 until his retirement in 1975. Brooks is best known for his contributions to the New Criticism and for his influence in the teaching of poetry in American universities which emphasized “close reading” of the structural and textual details of the poem. Also with Warren he wrote the landmark texts Understanding Poetry (1938), and Understanding Fiction (1943). In 1947 he published The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry. Later he published works on William Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha County. His courses on Faulkner at Yale became legendary. In 1935 with Robert Penn Warren he founded and edited the Southern Review which published the work of a number of important writers. He died in New Haven, Connecticut on May 10, 1994.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Cleanth Brooks Papers

Identifier: MSS.0054

This small collection (.21 linear feet ) includes correspondence between Cleanth Brooks and a number of Vanderbilt University faculty about the Fugitive Poets Reunion at Vanderbilt in 1956, the Literary Symposia in 1958 and 1964, and other literary and academic matters. There are also newspaper clippings and articles and several photographs taken by Merrill Moore at the 1956 Fugitive Poets Reunion at Vanderbilt.

Dates: 1938 - 1977


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