Evert Augustus Duyckinck

Evert Augustus Duyckinck

Duyckinck, Evert Augustus, 1816-78, American editor and biographer, b. New York City, grad. Columbia, 1835. From 1840 to 1842 he edited Arturus, a Journal of Books and Opinion, and from 1848 to 1853, with his brother George Long Duyckinck (1823-63), he owned and edited the Literary World, the best literary weekly of the period. With his brother he also edited and prepared much of the copy for the Cyclopedia of American Literature (2 vol., 1855), which he revised and enlarged in 1866 and which was a standard work in its time.
Evert Augustus Duyckinck (November 23, 1816August 13, 1878) was an American publisher and biographer. He was associated with the literary side of the Young America movement in New York.

Life and work

He was born on November 23, 1816, in New York City to Evert Duyckinck, a publisher. Evert the younger graduated from Columbia College in 1835. He then studied law with John Anthon, and was admitted to the bar in 1837. He spent the next year in Europe. Before he went abroad he wrote articles on the poet George Crabbe, the works of George Herbert, and Oliver Goldsmith, to the New York Review.
In 1840 he started a monthly magazine with Cornelius Mathews called Arcturus, which ran until 1842. He wrote articles on other authors while at home and in Europe. Between 1844 and 1846, Evert became the literary editor of John Louis O'Sullivan's The Democratic Review and United States Magazine, which moved from Washington D.C. to New York in 1840. In 1847 he became the editor of the  Literary World, a weekly review of books written with his brother George Long Duyckinck until 1853. The two brothers were the unofficial leaders of the New York literary scene in the 1840s into the 1850s.

In 1854 the brothers were again united in the preparation of The Cyclopaedia of American Literature (2 vols., New York, 1855; enlarged eds., 1865 and 1875). He published Wit and Wisdom of Sydney Smith, with a memoir (New York, 1856); an American edition of Willroot's Poets of the Nineteenth Century (1858). Immediately after the death of Washington Irving, Duyckinck gathered together and published in one volume a collection of anecdotes and traits of the author, under the title of Irvingiana (1859); History of the War for the Union (3 vols., 1861'5); Memorials of John Allan (1864); Poems relating to the American Revolution, with Memoirs of the Authors (1865); Poems of Philip Freneau, with notes and a memoir (1865); National Gallery of Eminent Americans (2 vols., 1866); History of the World from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (4 vols., 1870); and an extensive series of Biographies of Eminent Men and Women of Europe and America (2 vols., 1873'4). His last literary work was the preparation, with William Cullen Bryant, of an edition of William Shakespeare. In January 1879, a meeting in his memory was held by the New York historical society, and a biographical sketch of Duyckinck was read by William Allen Butler.

New York Historical Society biographies

Legacy and criticism

Herman Melville in his book Mardi (1849) refers to Duyckinck's highbrow magazine Arcturus by naming a ship in the book Arcturion. Referring to it as "exceedingly dull", the author notes the low literary level of its crew. Charles Frederick Briggs noted Duyckinck's ability in the "art of puffing", heavy praise for works that did not necessarily merit it. Edwin Percy Whipple chidingly called Duyckinck "the most Bostonian of New-Yorkers".


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