Brander Matthews

Brander Matthews

Infobox Writer
name = James Brander Matthews

imagesize =
caption = Matthews in middle age
pseudonym =
birthname =
birthdate = Birth date|1852|2|21
birthplace = New Orleans, USA
death_date = Death date|1929|3|31
deathplace = New York City, USA
occupation = Professor of Dramatic Literature
nationality = USA
period =
genre =
subject =
movement =
notableworks =
influences =
influenced =

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James Brander Matthews (February 21, 1852 in New OrleansMarch 31, 1929 in New York City), was a U.S. writer and educator. Matthews was the first U.S. professor of dramatic literature. He graduated from Columbia College in 1871, where he was a member of the Philolexian Society and St. Anthony Hall, and from Columbia Law School in 1873, but turned to a literary career. From 1892 to 1900 he was professor of literature at Columbia, and thereafter held the chair of dramatic literature. His influence was such that a popular pun claimed that an entire generation had been "brandered by the same Matthews".

During his tenure at Columbia, Matthews created and curated a "dramatic museum" of costumes, scripts, props, and other stage memorabilia. Originally housed in a four-room complex in Philosophy Hall, the collection was broken up and sold after his death. However, its books were incorporated into the university library system and its dioramas of the Globe Theatre and other historic dramatic venues have been dispersed for public display around campus, mainly in Dodge Hall. Matthews was also remembered as the inspiration for the now-destroyed Brander Matthews Theater on 117th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. An English professorship in his name still exists at Columbia.


He was one of the founders of the Authors' Club and of the Players' Club, both of New York; one of the organizers of the American Copyright League; a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and president (1913) of the National Institute of Arts and Letters; the first chairman (1906) of the Simplified Spelling Board; and president of the Modern Language Association of America (1910). In 1907 the French government decorated him with the Legion of Honor.

Twain's criticism of

In his essay critiquing the fiction of James Fenimore Cooper, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," Mark Twain criticizes Matthews' statements concerning the merits of Cooper's literary works.


His works cover various topics and subjects.
* "The Theatres of Paris" (1880)
* "French Dramatists of the Nineteenth Century" (1881; revised in 1891 and 1901)
* "Margery's Lovers" (1884)
* "Actors and Actresses of the United States and Great Britain" (five volumes, 1886), with Laurence Hutton
* "In the Vestibule Limited" (1892)
* "Americanisms and Briticisms" (1892)
* "The Decision of the Court" (1893)
* "Vignettes of Manhattan" (1894)
* "Studies of the Stage" (1894)
* "His Father's Son" (1895), a novel
* "Aspects of Fiction" (1896; revised in 1902)
* "An Introduction to the Study of American Literature" (1896)
* "Studies in Local Color" (1898)
* "A Confident To-Morrow" (1900)
* "The Action and the Word" (1900)
* "The Historical Novel and Other Essays" (1901)
* "Parts of Speech, Essays on English" (1901)
* "The Philosophy of the Short-Story" (1901)
* "The Development of the Drama" (1903)
* "The Short Story" (1907)
* "Americans of the Future and Other Essays" (1909)
* "Molière: His Life and Works" (1910)
* "Introduction to the Study of American literature" (1911)
* "Shakespeare as a Playwright" (1913)
* "On Acting" (1914)
* "The Oxford Book of American Essays" (1914)
* "These Many Years" (1917), his autobiography
* "Principles of Playmaking" (1919)
* "Playwrights on Playmaking" (1923)

Further reading

*cite journal|last=Ashton|first=Susanna M.|title=Authorial Affiliations, Brander Matthews in Partnership|journal= [ Symploke: A Journal of Comparative Theory and Literature] |volume=7|issue=1-2|year=2000
*Oliver, Lawrence J. "Brander Matthews, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Politics of American Literature, 1880-1920", (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1992), 254p.

External links

*gutenberg author| id=Brander_Matthews| name=Brander Matthews
*isfdb name|id=Brander_Matthews|name=Brander Matthews

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Matthews, Brander — ▪ American writer born Feb. 21, 1852, New Orleans died March 31, 1929, New York City       essayist, drama critic, novelist, and first U.S. professor of dramatic literature.       Educated at Columbia University, Matthews was admitted to the bar… …   Universalium

  • Matthews, Brander — (1852 1929)    Born in New Orleans, the son of wealthy parents, James Brander Matthews moved to New York and attended Columbia University. He began law school in 1871, but when his family s fortunes collapsed, he took a job writing for The Nation …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Matthews (surname) — This page lists notable people with the surname (that is, family name) Matthews. For a list of notable people with the surname Matthew (without s), see Matthew (surname). For a list of notable people with the surname Mathews (with only one t ),… …   Wikipedia

  • Matthews —   [ mæθjuːz],    1) James Brander, amerikanischer Schriftsteller und Theaterwissenschaftler, * New Orleans (La.) 21. 2. 1852, ✝ New York 31. 3. 1929; schrieb Theaterstücke, Essays zum Theater und Theaterkritiken u. a. für die »New York Times«. Er …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Matthews — (spr. mäthjuhs), Brander, amerik. Schriftsteller unter dem Pseudonym Arthur Penn, geb. 21. Febr. 1852 in Neuorleans, seit 1892 Literaturprofessor an der Columbia Universität in Neuyork; schrieb Dramen (»Margery s lovers« etc.), Novellen (»The… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Matthews — biographical name (James) Brander 1852 1929 American educator & author …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Matthews — /math yoohz/, n. 1. (James) Brander /bran deuhr/, 1852 1929, U.S. writer and educator. 2. Sir Stanley, born 1915, British soccer player. * * * …   Universalium

  • Matthews — /math yoohz/, n. 1. (James) Brander /bran deuhr/, 1852 1929, U.S. writer and educator. 2. Sir Stanley, born 1915, British soccer player …   Useful english dictionary

  • James Matthews — may refer to:*Brander Matthews an American writer *Jim Matthews a US Politician *James Tilly Matthews a British merchant *James M. Matthews an American academic *Jimmy Matthews (1884 1943), Australian cricketer *James Matthews (1876 1963), an… …   Wikipedia

  • Matthews, James Brander —    Litt.D., D.C.L., etc. (b. 1852)    American critic, etc. French Dramatists of the Nineteenth Century, Introduction to the Study of American Literature, Aspects of Fiction, His Father s Son, etc …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

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