Paul Elmer More (1864-1937), with Irving Babbitt a proponent of the New Humanism, was an outstanding American critic and scholar. His writings display erudition, good sense, forceful argument and far-reaching concerns. None are now in print. For an account of his long-continued failure to attract a following, see Byron C. Lambert's The Regrettable Silence of Paul Elmer More in the Winter 1999 Modern Age.

More was educated at Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard. After a short spell teaching Sanskrit and classics at Harvard and Bryn Mawr he become a literary journalist, serving as literary editor of The Independent (1901-03) and the New York Evening Post (1903-09) and as editor of The Nation (1909-14). His views, like those of many others at the time, started with the experience of the living; they ended however in classical restraint, traditional standards, and a somewhat idiosyncratic Anglo-catholicism. In an era of naturalism and socialism he therefore drew considerable critical fire, notably from H.L. Mencken, who nonetheless considered him the "nearest approach to a genuine scholar" America had.

His best known work is his Shelburne Essays, 11 vol. (1904-21), a collection of articles and reviews. Also notable are the books he wrote afer his retirement from journalism: Platonism (1917); The Religion of Plato (1921); Hellenistic Philosophies (1923); New Shelburne Essays (1928-36); and his biography and last published work, Pages from an Oxford Diary (1937). His Greek Tradition, 5 vol. (1924-31), is generally thought to be his finest work.

Also see the Wikipedia article on More, and "Paul Elmer More: America's Reactionary" (Modern Age, Fall, 2003) by Brian Domitrovic.

Writings

Many of More's books are available through Internet Archive and Google Books:

Here are other texts. Many of them are taken from Professor Lambert's anthology, The Essential Paul Elmer More (New Rochelle, 1972), others from Daniel Aaron's anthology Paul Elmer More's Shelburne Essays on American Literature (New York, 1963), still others directly from the Shelburne Essays and other sources.

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