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. 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 an 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), which includes the first three books just mentioned, is generally thought to be his finest work.

Also see the Wikipedia article on More, "Paul Elmer More: America's Reactionary" (Modern Age, Fall, 2003) by Brian Domitrovic, Paul Elmer More and the Relevance of Life and Letters by T. John Jamieson, Paul Elmer More at The Imaginative Conservative, and Remembering Paul Elmer More by James Kalb.


Many of More's works are available through Internet Archive, Google Books, and Open Library:

Here are other texts.

Some of his books are available new or used from booksellers, and there is also a collection of his books here.

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