Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 18. Theodore Dwight Woolsey

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXV. Scholars

§ 18. Theodore Dwight Woolsey

Theodore Dwight Woolsey (1801–89), who graduated at Yale in 1820, was in Germany and France from 1827 to 1830, studying with Welcker, and with both Hermann and Boeckh. In 1830 he was present at the “Literary Convention” held in New York, which was the first important American assemblage of professional educators, and was associated with the founding of New York University. Woolsey and others—among them, Francis Lieber—addressed the convention in defence of liberal studies. At Yale he was professor of Greek from 1831 to 1846, and president from 1846 till he resigned in 1871. He edited the Alcestis (1834), the Antigone, and the Electra (1835–37), the Prometheus (1837), and the Gorgias (1842). Like Felton, Woolsey did not train professional philologists, but did much to induct American youth into a liberal education. He exhibits the Yale sobriety and lucidity that is characteristic of his uncle, Timothy Dwight, and of his younger contemporaries, James Hadley and William Dwight Whitney; and like Lieber and Hadley he turned from the classics to political science and law.