A Fable for Critics by James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell’s “A Fable for Critics” (1848) is a funny introduction to many of the nineteenth-century poets and writers. Since the entire poem is very long — it’s really a whole book — we have divided it up into sections , which are linked below.
Look for the famous author you’d like to read about, then click on the appropriate section to jump directly to the material about that writer.
A Fable for Critics: A Glance at a Few of Our Literary Progenies
Emerson to Bryant (Emerson, Carlyle, Alcott, Bryant)
Whittier to Cooper (Whittier, Dana, Hawthorne, Cooper)
Poe to Lowell (Poe, Irving, Holmes, Lowell)
After you have read a bit of the poem, you might want to read Edgar Allan Poe’s review of A Fable for Critics. One line will give you an idea of his opinion: “We laugh not so much at the author’s victims as at himself for letting them put him in such a passion.”
You may find some other interesting information about this poem at its Wikipedia page.