Holmes, Oliver Wendell
Old Ironsides(1830), was a protest against the scrapping of the fighting ship Constitution. A collection of his witty occasional poems was published in 1836. In 1857 he began to contribute to the Atlantic Monthly (which he named) the famous series of
Breakfast-tablesketches, which were collected in The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858) and several subsequent volumes. These urbane pieces present imaginary conversations at a Boston boardinghouse, reflecting Holmes's opinions, charm, and wit. The first volume includes several poems, of which the most famous are the ironic
The Chambered Nautilus.Among his other notable works are three novels presenting a scientific approach to psychological traits, most notably Elsie Venner (1861); and biographies of his friends John Lothrop Motley (1879) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1855).
See biographies by E. M. Tilton (1947) and M. R. Small (1962); study by M. A. De Wolfe Howe (1939, repr. 1972); bibliography by H. C. Shriver, ed. (1978).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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