Monday, October 16, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: October 16, 1906 - Cleanth Brooks

Photo by Michael Marsland, from

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Literary critic and educator Cleanth Brooks was born on October 16, 1906, at Murray, Kentucky, son of Cleanth and Bessie Lee (Witherspoon) Brooks. He received a bachelor of arts from Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1928 and a master of arts in 1929 from Tulane University in New Orleans. He was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University during 1929-32.

At Louisiana State University (1932-47) he became associated with New Criticism, the most influential critical movement of its time, and worked closely for many years with Robert Penn Warren. Warren and Brooks together founded the Southern Review in 1935 and Brooks was its first editor. They also collaborated on a widely used series of college textbooks for the teaching of literature: Understanding Poetry (1938), Understanding Fiction (1943), and Understanding Drama (1948). Brooks's best-known works of criticism are The Well-Wrought Urn (1947) and Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939).

Brooks taught at Yale from 1946 to 1975. He now lives in retirement in New Haven, Connecticut. He married Edith Amy Blanchard on September 12, 1934. She died in October 1986.


Lewis P. Simpson, The Possibilities of Order: Cleanth Brooks and His Work (Baton Rouge, La., 1976).

(According to Brooks died May 10, 1994.)

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn : Studies in the Structure of Poetry. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947. Print.
PR502 .B7, Young Library - 4th Floor

Brooks, Cleanth. A Shaping Joy; Studies in the Writer's Craft. 1st American Ed.]. ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972. Print.
PR403 .B7 1972, Special Collections Research Center

Farrell, David, Susan E. Allen, and Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. Robert Penn Warren Oral History Project. 1977.
Special Collections Research Center - Oral History Collection

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