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Author photo. English: American writer, poet, literary critic, and editor Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977)

English: American writer, poet, literary critic, and editor Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977)

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Louis Untermeyer was born in 1885 in New York City. He was a poet, anthologist, and editor. Untermeyer was known for his wit and his love of puns. For a while, he held Marxist beliefs, writing for magazines such as The Masses. He advocated that the U.S. should stay out of World War 1. After the suppression of that magazine by the U.S. government, he joined The Liberator, published by the Workers Party of America. Later he wrote for the independent socialist magazine The New Masses. He was a co-founder of "The Seven Arts," a poetry magazine that is credited for introducing many new poets, including Robert Frost. In 1950, Untermeyer was a panelist during the first year of the What's My Line? television quiz program. According to Bennett Cerf, Untermeyer would sign virtually any piece of paper that someone placed in front of him, and Untermeyer inadvertently signed a few Communist proclamations. He was named during the hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigating communist subversion. At that point, the producers told Untermeyer that he had to leave the television series. The controversy surrounding Untermeyer led to him being blacklisted by the television industry. Louis Untermeyer was the author or editor of close to 100 books, from 1911 until his death in 1977. Many of his books and his other memorabilia are preserved in a special section of the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Schools used his Modern American and British poetry books widely, and they often introduced college students to poetry. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from The Golden Treasury of Poetry… (more)
The Golden Treasury of Poetry (Editor) 538 copies, 9 reviews
A Treasury of Great Poems (Editor) 373 copies, 2 reviews
Modern American and Modern British Poetry (Editor) 296 copies, 4 reviews
Treasury of Favorite Poems (Editor) 200 copies, 1 review
The Golden Treasury of Children's Literature Set (Editor; Contributor) 197 copies, 4 reviews
A Concise treasury of great poems (Editor) 174 copies, 3 reviews
Modern American Poetry (Editor) 170 copies, 1 review
Albatross Book of Verse (Editor) 151 copies
Story Poems: An Anthology of Narrative Verse (Editor) 101 copies, 1 review
Modern British Poetry (Editor) 97 copies
This Singing World 88 copies, 1 review
Love Sonnets (Editor) 54 copies, 1 review
A Treasury of Ribaldry (Editor) 46 copies
The Forms of Poetry 36 copies, 1 review
Pan Book of Limericks (Editor) 26 copies
Love Lyrics (Editor) 22 copies
American Poetry, 1922 A Miscellany (Editor) 19 copies, 2 reviews
Long feud, selected poems 8 copies, 1 review
The lowest form of wit 8 copies, 1 review
The Pocket Treasury 6 copies, 1 review
Heavens 5 copies
Pour Toi 4 copies
Challenge 4 copies
Burning Bush. 3 copies
The New Adam 3 copies
TheseTimes 2 copies
Roses 2 copies
The Heart 1 copy
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám 1 copy, 1 review
The Canterbury Tales (Introduction, some editions) 20,775 copies, 160 reviews
Cyrano de Bergerac (Translator, some editions) 6,973 copies, 83 reviews
Omar Khayyam (Editor, some editions; Editor, some editions) 4,992 copies, 77 reviews
A High Wind in Jamaica (Introduction, some editions) 2,026 copies, 65 reviews
The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe (Signet Classics) (Editor, some editions) 1,544 copies, 14 reviews
Grimm's Fairy Tales {unspecified} (Editor, some editions) 1,524 copies, 17 reviews
Robert Frost's Poems (Editor) 1,198 copies, 10 reviews
Epodes and Odes (Editor, some editions) 935 copies, 8 reviews
Poems (Editor, some editions) 878 copies, 12 reviews
The Complete Works of Horace (Translator, some editions) 791 copies, 8 reviews
Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Editor, some editions) 566 copies, 4 reviews
The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash (Introduction, some editions) 489 copies, 6 reviews
A Pocket Book of Robert Frost's Poems (Introduction and Commentary) 283 copies, 2 reviews
The Love Poems of Elizabeth And Robert Browning (Editor, some editions) 219 copies, 1 review
Poems (Editor) 206 copies, 3 reviews
Poems (Editor, some editions) 148 copies
A Comprehensive Anthology of American Poetry (Contributor) 126 copies, 2 reviews
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (Contributor) 105 copies, 1 review
Best Shorts: Favorite Stories for Sharing (Contributor) 87 copies, 5 reviews
A golden treasury of Jewish literature (Contributor) 71 copies, 1 review
The Charge of the Light Brigade (Editor & Introduction, some editions) 65 copies, 4 reviews
The Love Poems of Robert Herrick and John Donne (Editor, some editions) 43 copies
The American Poets; Longfellow (Editor, some editions) 25 copies
Poems of Heinrich Heine (Translator, some editions; Editor) 17 copies
The Golden Book of Quotations (Foreword) 17 copies
The Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman (Editor, some editions) 7 copies
Case-Record from a Sonnetorium (Foreword) 6 copies
Focus (Contributor) 6 copies
War poems from the Yale review (Contributor) 5 copies, 1 review
A cedar box, (Foreword) 5 copies
A Treasury of the Spoken Word (Introduction) 3 copies, 1 review

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"Untermeyer ... continued to be active in campaigning for left-wing causes and as a result the FBI had been collecting a file of his activities. His name was also mentioned during the House of Un-American Activities Committee investigation into communist subversion. This was brought to the attention of the television industry and in 1951 Untermeyer was sacked from the television show and was blacklisted. Like many left-wing artists during this period, Untermeyer became a victim of McCarthyism.

"In his autobiography, Timebends - A Life (1987), Arthur Miller, explained how Untermeyer responded to this victimization: 'Louis went back to his apartment. Normally we ran into each other in the street once or twice a week or kept in touch every month or so, but I no longer saw him in the neighborhood or heard from him. Louis didn't leave his apartment for almost a year and a half. An overwhelming and paralyzing fear had risen him. More than a political fear, it was really that he had witnessed the tenuousness of human connection and it had left him in terror. He had always loved a lot and been loved, especially on the TV program where his quips were vastly appreciated, and suddenly, he had been thrown into the street, abolished.'"
Married four times, to Jean, Virginia, Esther, then Bryna.
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LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Louis Untermeyer's book The Canterbury Tales was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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Folio Archives 323: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer 1990 in Folio Society Devotees

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