Chapter 2: Early American Literature 1700-1800

The Connecticut Wits
Joel Barlow (1754-1812)
Timothy Dwight (1752-1817)
John Trumbull (1750-1831)

Paul P. Reuben
  October 15, 2016

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Primary Works | Selected Bibliography 1980-Present | MLA Style Citation of this Web Page |

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Source: Joel Barlow

Source: Timothy Dwight

The "Wicked Wits" later called the "Connecticut Wits": Together with Barlow, Dwight, and Trumbull, the other wits were David Humphreys, Noah Webster, and Lemuel Hopkins. They collaborated on a mock-heroic epic called The Anarchaid: A Poem on the restoration of Chaos and Substantial Night (1786-87) - a protest against the political chaos following the Revolutionary War.

Primary Works

Joel Barlow
The Prospect of Peace, 1778 (poem); Poem, Spoken at the Public Commencement at Yale College, 1781; The Conspiracy of Kings, 1792 (poem); The Hasty-Pudding, 1793 (poem); Advice to a Raven in Russia, 1812, pub. 1838, (poem); The Vision of Columbus, 1787 (epic); The Columbiad, 1807 (epic); Advice to the Privileged Orders in the Several States of Europe, Resuming from the Necessity and Propriety of a General Revolution in the Principle of Government, 1792 (prose).

Timothy Dwight

The Conquest of Canaan, 1785 (epic); The Triumph of Infidelity, 1788 (verse satire); Greenfield Hill: A Poem in Seven Parts, 1794; The Nature and Danger, of Infidel Philosophy, 1798; Theology: Explained and Defended, 1818-19, (5 vols); Travels, in New-England and New-York, 1821-22, (posthumous).

The major poems of Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817, with a dissertation on the history, eloquence, and poetry of the Bible. With an introd. by William J. McTaggart and William K. Bottorff. Gainesville, Fla.: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1969. PS739 A17

The conquest of Canaan; a poem, in eleven books. Westport, Conn: Greenwood P, 1970. PS739 .C7

John Trumbull

M'Fingal, 1782 (satire); The Anarchiad, 1786-87; The Echo, 1791-1805; The Poetical Works of John Trumbull, 2 vols, 1820 (contains "The Progress of Sulness.")

M'Fingal: an epic poem. With introduction and notes by Benson J. Lossing. NY: American Book Exchange, 1881. PS852 .M3

Satiric poems: The progress of dulness and M'Fingal. With illus. from engravings by E. Tisdale. Edited with a pref. and notes by Edwin T. Bowden. Austin: U of Texas P, 1962. PS852 .P7

Selected Bibliography 1980-Present

Blakemore, Steven. Joel Barlow's Columbiad: A Bicentennial Reading. Knoxville, TN: U of Tennessee P, 2007.

Dowling, William C. Poetry and Ideology in Revolutionary Connecticut. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1990.

Hardman, Keith. Issues in American Christianity: primary sources with introductions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1993. BR514 .H37

Wells, Colin. The Devil and Doctor Dwight: Satire and Theology in the Early American Republic. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2002.

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 2: The Connecticut Wits." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL: (provide page date or date of your login). 

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