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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
John Sullivan Dwight (1813–1893)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
JOHN SULLIVAN DWIGHT was born in Boston, Massachusetts, May 13th, 1813. After graduation at Harvard in 1832, he studied at the Divinity School, and for two years was pastor of a Unitarian church in Northampton, Massachusetts. He then became interested in founding the famous Brook Farm community, which furnished Hawthorne with the background for ‘The Blithedale Romance’; and he is mentioned in the preface to this book with Ripley, Dana, Channing, Parker, etc. This was a “community” scheme, undertaken by joint ownership in a farm in West Roxbury near Boston; associated with the names of Hawthorne, Emerson, George William Curtis, and C. A. Dana,—a scheme which Emerson called “a perpetual picnic, a French Revolution in small, an age of reason in a patty-pan.” This community existed seven years, and to quote again from Emerson,—“In Brook Farm was this peculiarity, that there was no head. In every family is the father; in every factory a foreman; in a shop a master; in a boat the skipper; but in this Farm no authority; each was master or mistress of their actions; happy, hapless anarchists.”  1
  Here Mr. Dwight edited The Harbinger, a periodical published by that community; taught languages and music, besides doing his share of the manual labor. In 1848 he returned to Boston and engaged in literature and musical criticism; and in 1852 he established Dwight’s Journal of Music, which he edited for thirty years. Many of his best essays appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, and he contributed to various periodicals.  2
  He was one of the pioneers of scholarly, intelligent, original, and literary musical criticism in America, and he possessed fine general attainments and a distinct style. It is because of his clear perception of the indispensableness of the arts—and especially of the art of music—to life, and because of his clear statement of their vital relationship, that his work belongs to literature.  3
 
 
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