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Charles Dudley Warner

Charles Dudley Warner Charles Dudley Warner[1†]

Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) was an American essayist and novelist, famously co-authoring "The Gilded Age" with Mark Twain. Born in Plainfield, Massachusetts, Warner championed public welfare causes and held editorial roles at The Hartford Press and Harper’s Magazine. He led the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Social Science Association. Known for his refined humor and love of nature, Warner's works, like "My Summer in a Garden," evoke comparisons to Washington Irving. He passed away in 1900, leaving a lasting legacy in literature and social reform[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Charles Dudley Warner was born of Puritan descent in Plainfield, Massachusetts[1†]. After the death of his father, he lived on a relative’s farm in Charlemont, Massachusetts, from the ages of six to fourteen[1†][3†]. This period of his life, which he revisited in his book “Being a Boy” (1877), was instrumental in shaping his appreciation for the natural environment[1†][3†].

Warner then moved to Cazenovia, New York[1†]. In 1851, he graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York[1†][3†][4†][5†]. After graduation, he worked in real estate and studied law at the University of Pennsylvania[1†][5†]. Despite these pursuits, Warner’s love for writing remained undiminished[1†][3†].

After two unprofitable years practicing law, he traveled throughout the country before finally settling in Hartford[1†][3†]. Here, he returned to his true passion – writing[1†][3†]. This marked the beginning of his illustrious career as a writer and social commentator[1†][3†].

Career Development and Achievements

Charles Dudley Warner’s career began when he accepted his friend Joseph Hawley’s offer of assistant editor at The Evening Press in 1860[3†]. He contributed light, folksy essays to lift readers’ moods during the trying years of the Civil War[3†]. Once this newspaper merged with The Hartford Courant seven years later, he and Hawley became co-editors[3†][1†][3†]. Even in this position, Warner continued writing[3†].

His series of editorials about enjoying nature were printed as a collection entitled "My Summer in a Garden"[3†][1†][3†]. Appreciated for their charm, wit, and devotion to the outdoors, this anthology eventually became a bestseller and established Warner as one of the country’s most popular writers by the early 1870s[3†].

In addition to his journalistic work, Warner also published a number of travel books, including “Saunterings”, “In the Levant”, and “On Horseback: A Tour of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee”, born from his own love of travel[3†]. As a successful literary critic, his essays appeared in periodicals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Scribner’s, and he lectured frequently on various movements, including prison reform, aimed at benefiting the common good[3†].

In 1873, Warner co-authored the novel “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today” with Mark Twain[3†][1†][6†][2†]. This work gave its name to the era of American history known as the Gilded Age[3†][1†]. Warner is also known for making the famous remark, "Politics makes strange bedfellows"[3†][1†].

In 1884, he joined the editorial staff of Harper’s Magazine[3†][1†]. He conducted “The Editor’s Drawer” until 1892, when he took charge of "The Editor’s Study"[3†][1†]. Warner was the first president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and, at the time of his death, was president of the American Social Science Association[3†][1†][6†][2†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Charles Dudley Warner’s literary career was marked by a number of significant works that have left an indelible mark on American literature. Here are some of his main works:

These works not only highlight Warner’s literary prowess but also provide a glimpse into the societal and cultural aspects of the time they were written in. They continue to be celebrated for their humor, personal charm, and insightful commentary on life and affairs[1†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Charles Dudley Warner’s work is characterized by its charm, wit, and devotion to the outdoors[3†]. His early writings, such as “My Summer in a Garden”, were appreciated for their abounding and refined humor, mellow personal charm, love of the outdoors, and suggestive comment on life and affairs[3†][1†]. His style and the qualities of his work have often been compared to those of Washington Irving[3†][1†].

Warner’s most well-known work, “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today”, co-authored with Mark Twain, is a significant piece of American literature[3†][1†]. The novel satirizes the thin “gilding” of economic well-being that overlaid the widespread poverty, corruption, and labor exploitation that characterized the period[3†][9†]. It was so influential that it gave its name to that era of American history[3†][1†].

In addition to his journalistic work, Warner also published a number of travel books[3†]. As a successful literary critic, his essays appeared in periodicals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Scribner’s[3†]. He lectured frequently on various movements, including prison reform, aimed at benefiting the common good[3†].

Later in his career, Warner wrote a trilogy of novels on the creation, immoral use, and dissipation of a great fortune: “A Little Journey in the World” (1889), “The Golden House” (1894), and “That Fortune” (1899)[3†][10†]. These works possibly reflect his investigation of the shoddy Reconstruction era of big finance[3†][10†].

Warner’s writings provide a glimpse into the societal and cultural aspects of the time they were written in. They continue to be celebrated for their humor, personal charm, and insightful commentary on life and affairs[3†][1†].

Personal Life

Charles Dudley Warner was born in Plainfield, Massachusetts, and grew up on a relative’s farm in nearby Charlemont after the death of his father[1†][3†]. He developed a love for literature from an early age[1†][11†]. After graduating from Hamilton College, working in real estate, and earning a law degree, Warner traveled throughout the country before settling in Hartford[1†][3†].

Warner and his wife Susan lived at Nook Farm, a writer’s colony he helped establish on Farmington Avenue in Hartford[1†][3†]. They were known for their kindness in the community[1†][3†]. Warner was also known for his charm, wit, and devotion to the outdoors[1†][3†].

He died in Hartford on October 20, 1900, and was interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery, with Mark Twain as a pall bearer and Joseph Twichell officiating[1†]. The citizens of San Diego so appreciated Warner’s flattering description of their city in his book Our Italy that they named three consecutive streets in the Point Loma neighborhood after him: Charles Street, Dudley Street, and Warner Street[1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Charles Dudley Warner left a significant legacy as an American essayist, novelist, and social reformer[1†][3†]. His work, characterized by its refined humor, personal charm, and suggestive comment on life and affairs, drew comparisons to the work of Washington Irving[1†]. His writings, particularly “My Summer in a Garden”, were appreciated for their charm, wit, and devotion to the outdoors[1†][3†].

Warner was not just a writer but also a prominent advocate for prison reform[1†][11†]. He believed in the rehabilitation of prisoners and made significant contributions to the development of a more humane penal system[1†][11†]. His interest in public good extended to city park supervision and other movements[1†][2†].

His enduring social commentary, humor, and nostalgia in an era of societal change gave Warner his signature style[1†][3†]. His writings often reflected a recall to the good life, as if that life had once been a reality in the earlier days of the nation[1†][3†].

Warner’s legacy is also remembered in the city of San Diego, where three consecutive streets in the Point Loma neighborhood were named after him: Charles Street, Dudley Street, and Warner Street[1†]. This was in appreciation of Warner’s flattering description of their city in his book "Our Italy"[1†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Charles Dudley Warner [website] - link
  2. Goodreads - Author: Charles Dudley Warner (Author of My Summer in a Garden) [website] - link
  3. Connecticut History - Charles Dudley Warner: 19th Century Writer and Social Commentator [website] - link
  4. Wikiwand - Charles Dudley Warner - Wikiwand [website] - link
  5. Britannica Kids - Charles Dudley Warner [website] - link
  6. Google Books - The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today - Mark Twain, Charles Dudley Warner [website] - link
  7. The Project Gutenberg - THE WORKS OF [website] - link
  8. Wikisource (English) - Charles Dudley Warner [website] - link
  9. Investopedia - The Gilded Age Explained: An Era of Wealth and Inequality [website] - link
  10. Oxford Reference - Charles Dudley Warner [website] - link
  11. Bookey - 30 Best Charles Dudley Warner Quotes With Image [website] - link
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