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John Erskine

Erskine, John, 1879–1951, American educator, author, and musician, b. New York City, grad. Columbia (B.A., 1900; Ph.D., 1903). He taught first at Amherst (1903–9) and then at Columbia, becoming professor of English in 1916. Among his many works on literature and music are The Literary Discipline (1923), The Delight of Great Books (1928), and What Is Music? (1944); he also edited scholarly works and served as coeditor of The Cambridge History of American Literature. He is best known for his delightful, satiric novels based on legend, including The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1925) and Galahad (1926). In his late 40s he began appearing as a concert pianist and from 1928 to 1937 was president of the Juilliard School of Music.

See his autobiographical The Memory of Certain Persons (1947), My Life as a Writer (1951), and My Life in Music (1950, repr. 1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies

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