The Twentieth Century Begins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The term genteel tradition appear frequently in American literary histories and criticism, indicating conventional forms of literature that respect, and adhere to, the cultural, social, and economic status quo. One particular group of poets that literary history has long identified as emblematic of the genteel tradition is the New York School. Bayard Taylor, George H. Boker, and Richard Henry Stoddard saw New York as the literary future, overtaking in primacy the long-standing rank of Boston as the center of American letters. Taylor in particular produced what Richard Cary calls staggering amounts of writing, including travel books and encyclopedias, novels, poetry, poetical drama, literary histories, translations, histories, short stories, critical essays, and parodies. A rigid concept of the genteel tradition has prevented people complex matrix of related poetic practices, both across the era more generally and within the careers of individual poets.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of American Poetry
EditorsAlfred Bendixen, Stephen Burt
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780511762284
ISBN (Print)9781107003361
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • genteel tradition
  • George H. Boker
  • Bayard Taylor
  • American literary history
  • Richard Henry Stoddard


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