Conrad Aiken

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) was an American poet and writer of short stories. His works include The House of Dust: A Symphony (1920), Selected Poems (1929), Conversation (or Pilgrim's Progress) (1940), The Soldier (1944), The Kid (1947), and UShant: An Essay (1952). He won a Pulitzer Prize for Selected Poems.[1] Unlike the Freudian authors of his time, he believed in a deeper psyche and the works of Carl Jung, and was a practicing Unitarian.

Life and Works

Conrad Aiken Potter was born on August 5, 1889, in Savannah, Georgia, to a New York doctor father and a Unitarian minister mother, but his father killed his mother and himself when Aiken was 11.[2] This was greatly psychologically disturbing to him, and one of his chief influences along with his Harvard philosophy professor, George Santayana.[3] He attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1912, along with T.S. Eliot.[4]

He contributed to Dial magazine, where he met Ezra Pound, and published his first volume, Earth Poetry, in 1914. This established him as a poet, which he cited as an excuse to avoid the World War One draft. He continued to work as a poet before World War Two, marrying three times, crossing the Atlantic many times, publishing essays in Scepticisms (1919), and winning the 1930 Pulitzer Prize for his Selected Poems.[5] He was greatly influenced in this time by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and many of his novels, such as The Great Circle (1933), involve characters in need of psychoanalysis.[6] He was likely better known for his short stories than his poems in the style of music.[7] While much of them, especially "Silent Snow, Secret Snow," include characters that are parallel to Aiken's psyche, he only published a complete replica of himself in his autobiography, UShant.[3] He died August 17, 1973, in Savannah, Georgia.


  1. The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York, 1993.
  2. "Aiken, Conrad." Georgia Encyclopedia: Arts and Culture.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Conrad Aiken." Poetry Foundation.
  4. "Conrad Aiken - Bio." Poem Hunter.
  5. "Aiken, Conrad (1889-1973)." Harvard Square Library. June 26, 2002.
  7. "Aiken, Conrad." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

External links