Joseph Wood Krutch
Krutch, Joseph Wood (25 November 1893 - 22 May 1970)
Editor, teacher, naturalist, and drama critic of Nation, Krutch earned his Ph.D.. at Columbia University. His dissertation was published as Comedy and Conscience After the Restoration.
Howard Stein, a student writing about Krutch's classes, said they were "filled with entertainment, wit, and information as well as critical insights":
- To describe the atmosphere of seventeenth-century London under Charles II, he told us about the actress Nell Gwynn, one of the first professional actresses in the English theater and one of the king's mistresses, who, while riding in the king's carriage, was assumed by an angry mob to be one of the king's Catholic concubines. When pelted with stones, she leaned out of the carriage and cried, "Nay, nay, my good people -- I'm the Protestant whore."
In 1934 in The Modern Temper (1929) wrote,
- [P]oetry, mythology, and religion represent the world as a man would like to have it, while science represents the world as he gradually comes to discover it.
Asked his views concerning humanism, Krutch wrote Warren Allen Smith,
- I suppose I would call myself some kind of a humanist, and if I have to fit into one of your categories, I suppose it would be into “naturalistic humanism,” aware that the specifically human ought always to be seen against the background of all life. I am afraid I cannot be more specific than that without writing a book.
Krutch’s books include Comedy and Conscience after the Restoration (1924), Edgar Allan Poe: A Study in Genius (1926), The American Drama since 1918 (1939), Samuel Johnson (1944), Henry David Thoreau (1948, The Measure of Man (1954), and The Human Nature and the Human Condition (1959).
Retiring to Arizona, he became not only the philosophic naturalist but also a scientific naturalist, focusing on The Voice of the Desert: A Naturalist’s Interpretation (1955), in which he vividly describes the desert’s insects and animals.