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Dana, Richard Henry, 1787-1879

Poet and essayist; born in Cambridge, Mass., Nov. 15, 1787; son of Francis Dana; chose the profession of law, but his tastes led him into literary pursuits. In 1814 he and others founded the North American review, of which he was sole conductor for a while. He closed his connection with it in 1820. It was while Dana was editor of the Review that Bryant's Thanatopsis was published in its pages, the author being then unknown. In 1821 the first [8] volume of The idle man was published. It was unprofitable, and Mr. Dana dropped it. In it he published stories and essays from his own pen. In the same year he contributed to the New York Review (then under the care of Mr. Bryant) his first poem of much pretension, The dying raven. In 1827 his most celebrated poetical production, The buccaneer, was published, with some minor poems. Of that production Wilson, of Blackwood's magazine, wrote, “It is by far the most powerful and original of American poetical compositions.” Mr. Dana's writings were always marked by great delicacy and grace and strong individuality. Among his most valuable prose compositions were a series of lectures upon Shakespeare, ten in number, delivered in the winter of 1839-40 in the cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. After 1833 Mr. Dana wrote but little. He died in Boston, Feb. 2, 1879.

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