John Greenleaf Whittier's Poetry was first published in 1971. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In this volume Robert Warren Penn, the noted critic, poet, and novelist, provides a major new appraisal of the once enormously popular New England port, John Greenleaf Whittier, along with his selection of 36 of Whittier's poems. Through Warren's perceptive and illuminating discussion, the significance of Whittier as a writer for our time becomes clear. In his introduction Warren shows that Whittier's deep commitment to his fellowman, especially his devotion to the cause of abolition, profoundly influenced his writing. In his estimate of Whittier's place in literature, Warren invokes the questions What does the past mean to an American? and in this context he compares Whittier with Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, and Faulkner. He finds that Whittier's "star belongs in their constellation. If it is less commanding than any of theirs it yet shines with a clear and authentic light."