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date: 16 June 2024

Freneau, Philiplocked

Freneau, Philiplocked

  • Theresa M. Welford

Extract

Critics are sharply divided about Philip Freneau's literary merit, ranging from the staunch advocates who admit Freneau's deficiencies but call him “the father of American poetry,” to those who say Freneau's prose deserves attention but that most of his poetry is mediocre, to the rather harsh critics who admit Freneau's occasional strengths but see him as a literary failure. Mary W. Bowden (1976), who takes the middle ground, grants Freneau's deficiencies but says that “few in the history of American literature have contributed a total body of works so rich and wide” and that he is valuable because he depicted people from all levels of society, chronicled major events as well as “personal tragedies and triumphs,” and wrote in a multitude of forms and styles.

Subjects

  • North American Literatures

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