Raney, William Francis.
Wisconsin a story of progress.
New York : Prentice-Hall, inc., 1940.
At the beginning of the present century, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
(1855-1919) was one of the favorite poets of the nation. Like the
elder La Follette, she was born on a farm in Dane County, Wisconsin, in
1855; there and on another farm in the same county she lived until her
marriage to Robert M. Wilcox in 1884. Long before that time she had
won fame as a writer. Her Poems of Passion (1883) had, for
a book of verse, a very unusual success. The poem for which she will
be longest remembered is probably "Solitude," beginning, "Laugh and the
world laughs with you," which first appeared in the New York Sun in 1883.
After her marriage she did not reside in Wisconsin. She published
many volumes of verse and also some novels, but her most interesting prose
work was her autobiographical The Worlds and I (1918), the earlier part
of which depicts life on a Wisconsin farm. Present critical opinion
is that she expressed very well the mind of her own generation, but will
probably not appeal strongly to posterity.