Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature, Edition 1, 1991 v1 p1133

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler (1850-1919). (Reference Source)

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1991 HarperCollins Publishers

poet, novelist. Wilcox, born in Wisconsin, wrote works that some consider to be rife with platitudes and sentimentality, but in her day was extremely popular. She wrote a sentimental novel when she was ten, and her first essay was published when she was fourteen, her first poem not long after. She tried college for a while, but didn't like it and turned to newspaper work. When her Poems of Passion (1876) appeared, it was an overnight success because it was considered daring. Whatever the reason, her reputation was made. Wilcox published more than forty volumes, from Drops of Water (1872) to The Worlds and I (1918). Most of these were verse, some fiction, two autobiographical. Who does not know the first lines of "Solitude": "Laugh and the world laughs with you, / Weep and you weep alone"? (See THE EROTIC SCHOOL.)

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