Madison Cawein

(2850 words)
  • Martin Kich (Wright State University )

Madison Cawein’s ambition was to become one of the great lyric poets of the United States, if not of the English-speaking world. Today, he is largely forgotten. When he is remembered, it is for one of three reasons. First, Cawein is associated with the Midwest regionalism of the late 19th and very early 20th centuries—that is, with the quaint regionalism of James Whitcomb Riley that pre-dated the much more critical regionalism of Edgar Lee Masters, Sherwood Anderson, and Sinclair Lewis. Second, Cawein produced a group of lyrics treating the Arthurian myths that provide a roughly contemporaneous American complement to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Lastly, Cawein produced a doleful lyric called “The …

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Kich, Martin. "Madison Cawein". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 March 2009
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]