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“T” is for Timrod, Henry (1828-1867)

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“T” is for Timrod, Henry (1828-1867). Poet, essayist. A native Charlestonian, Timrod—hedged by poverty, frail health, and the cataclysm of the Civil War—led a brief tubercular life. His work bore the stamp of the romantic tradition that he revered and defended among his neoclassical contemporaries in Charleston’s antebellum literary circles. Until1861, he tutored the children of lowcountry planters while publishing his poetry and essays in Russell’s Magazine (which he helped to found in 1857). Although Timrod opposed secession, the opening of the Confederate Congress in February 1861 elicited from him the exultant “Ethnogenesis,” which prophesied the world made over in the image of a utopian South. But, as the war dragged on, his poetry turned to apprehension and gloom. In 1911, the General Assembly adopted Henry Timrod’s “Carolina” as the state song.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.