Krutch, Joseph Wood (1893-1970).
critic, essayist. Born in Tennessee, Krutch was drama critic for the Nation for many years, as well as a professor of English at Columbia and elsewhere. Krutch achieved renown for his critical work on the modern drama, his literary criticism, and his philosophic essays on the condition of modern man. He discussed the makers of modern drama in The American Drama Since 1918 (1939, rev. 1957) and Modernism in Modern Drama (1954). His literary criticism includes Edgar Allan Poe: A Study of Genius (1926), one of the first psychoanalytical interpretations of literature; Five Masters, a Study in the Mutations of the Novel (1930); Samuel Johnson (1944); and Henry David Thoreau (1948). In The Modern Temper (1929), a series of essays centered on the antithesis between man and nature, he analyzed the scientific orientation of the age and its effect on man's need for extrascientific values. The Measure of Man (1954), a mellower and less pessimistic work, is partially an extension of The Modern Temper and shows the abandonment of Krutch's earlier belief that modern philosophy must be based on the deterministic and materialistic findings of science.
Human Nature and the Human Condition (1959) is a critical analysis of modern society and its standards, and a clear and well-argued exposition on the necessity for humanistic values in a mechanized world. Krutch also wrote a number of meditative essays on nature and reflections on man's relationship to the universe, such as The Twelve Seasons (1949), The Desert Year (1952), The Best of Two Worlds (1953), The Great Chain of Life (1956), The Grand Canyon: Today and All its Yesterdays (1958), and The Forgotton Peninsula (1961). He edited The Gardener's World (1959), a collection of essays on gardens and related subjects from the writings of authors ranging from Homer to John Burroughs. More Lives than One (1962) is a memoir.