William Vaughn Moody

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Moody, William Vaughn



Born at Spencer, Indiana, July 8, 1869. Educated at Riverside Academy, New York, and at Harvard. In 1895 he became Assistant Professor of English in the University of Chicago, where he remained until 1903. His period of teaching, however, was relieved by several trips abroad, on one of which he visited Greece and re-read the entire body of Greek tragedy with the background of the scenes which produced it. The Greek influence, dominant in his work, reaches its finest expression in "The Fire-Bringer", a poetic drama of great beauty and philosophical depth. This drama is one of a trilogy of which it is the first member, the second being "The Masque of Judgment", and the third, "The Death of Eve". The last was in process of writing at Mr. Moody's death and only fragments of it have been published. This trilogy, profound in its spiritual meaning and artistic in execution, would alone be sufficient to place Moody among the major poets had he not left us a body of lyric poetry of equal distinction. Moody first attracted wide attention by "An Ode in Time of Hesitation", written in relation to the annexation of the Philippine Islands by the United States. In addition to this he has left us several poems notable for their social vision, particularly "Gloucester Moors". In the songs of "The Fire-Bringer", however, we have his truest lyric offering, and in "The Daguerreotype", that poignant and beautiful poem to his mother. Moody died at Colorado Springs on October 17, 1910. His work has been collected into two volumes, "The Poems and Plays of William Vaughn Moody", 1912.

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