Sidney Lanier

Sidney Clopton Lanier was born February 3, 1842, in Macon, Georgia. Educated at Atlanta's Oglethorpe College, he was fascinated by the writings of Byron, Tennyson, Scott, and other Romantic writers. This fascination, combined with a love of nature acquired while growing up in rural Georgia, eventually led him to a career as a poet and novelist.

Before he could make a name for himself as a writer, however, the War Between the States erupted. Lanier immediately enlisted in the Second Georgia Battalion of the Macon Volunteers. He saw action during the Seven Days' Battle and was later captured running blockades between Wilmington, North Carolina, and Bermuda. Released after a year in a prisoner of war camp, Lanier was both impoverished and in poor health.

A gifted musician, Lanier left his beloved Georgia and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1873 to become first flutist with the Peabody Orchestra. Occasional appearances on the lecture circuit to supplement his meagre income led to a professorship at John Hopkins University. He died at the age of 39, a victim of tuberculosis contracted during the War.

Lanier's first novel, Tiger-Lilies, was based on his wartime experiences. All of his writings reflected his love of music, poetry, nature, and the "Old South" of his boyhood.

Primary Works

Tiger-Lilies, 1867 (war novel); "Corn," 1875 (poem); "The Symphony," 1875 (poem); The Centennial Meditation, 1776-1876," (cantata); Poems, 1877 (collection); "The Marshes of Glynn," 1878 (poem); The Boy's King Arthur, 1880; The Science of English Verse, 1880 (lectures on versification); Poems of Sidney Lanier, 1884; The English Novel, 1883 (lectures); Shakespeare and His Forerunners, 1902 (lectures).

The English novel and the principle of its development. NY: Scribner, 1888 (1883). PR826 .L3

Music and poetry; essays upon some aspects and interrelations of the two arts. NY: C. Scribner's sons, 1898. ML60 .L24

The boy's King Arthur; Sir Thomas Malory's history of King Arthur and his knights of the Round table, ed. for boys. Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth. NY: C. Scribner's sons, 1924. Juv 398.2 MAL

Sidney Lanier: poems and letters. With an introd. and notes by Charles R. Anderson. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins P, 1969. PS2202 A5

Selected Bibliography

De Bellis, Jack. Sidney Lanier. NY: Twayne, 1972. PS2214 D4

- - -. Sidney Lanier, Henry Timrod, and Paul Hamilton Hayne: a reference guide. Boston : G. K. Hall, 1978. Z1227 .D4

Edwards, C.H., Jr. "Bibliography of Sidney Lanier: 1942-1973." Bulletin of Bibliography 31 (1974): 29-31.

Gabin, Jane S. A Living Minstrelry: The Poetry and Music of Sidney Lanier. Macon: Mercer UP, 1985.

Parks, Edd W. Sidney Lanier: the man, the poet, the critic. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1968. PS2216 P3

Petry, Alice H. "Death as Etherealization in the Poetry of Sidney Lanier." South Dakota Review 17.1 (1979): 46-55.

Rubin, Louis D., Jr. "The Passion of Sidney Lanier." William Elliott Shoots a Bear: Essays on the Southern Literary Imagination. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1975. 107-44.

Young, Thomas D. "How Time Has Served Two Southern Poets: Paul Hamilton Hayne and Sidney Lanier." Southern Literary Journal 6.1 (1973): 101-10.