Babbitt, Irving (băbˈĭt) [key], 1865–1933, American scholar, b. Dayton, Ohio. At Harvard as professor of French literature from 1912 until his death, he was a vigorous critic of romanticism, deprecating especially the influence of Rousseau on modern thought and art. He and Paul Elmer More initiated a movement, called New Humanism, that advocated a forceful doctrine of moderation and restraint, looking to classical traditions and literature for inspiration. His works include Literature and the American College (1908), The New Laokoön (1910), The Masters of Modern French Criticism (1912), and On Being Creative (1932).
See F. E. McMahon, The Humanism of Irving Babbitt (1931); Irving Babbitt (ed. by F. Manchester and O. Shepard, 1941, repr. 1969).
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