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Essay On The Winslow Boy Wiki

"Family connexions are part of the poetry of history," Noel Annan asserted in "The Intellectual Aristocracy", one of the most famous essays ever written on British culture. Fortunately or unfortunately, it would be fair to embellish Annan's point by adding that sometimes "family connexions are part of the history of poetry." That, at least, is what this post seeks to demonstrate.

[note: In what follows I have provided in parentheses, after the name of just about each of the individuals mentioned, the unique "I" number which the "Family Ghosts" database assigns to each person in its records. For example, George Washington is "(I5457)". Anyone who visits the "Family Ghosts" website can type the relevant "I" number into the search box at the top right of the home page to go directly to the site's record for that individual. Alternatively, readers can click on the links below here, which will diagram Robert Lowell's relationship to the person in question.

"All that I know…"

The more middle-aged I grow, the more Socratic I get. Well, at least in one way. That is to say, the more I read, the more I realize that "All that I know is that I know nothing" (Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα; Socrates cited in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, bk. 2 sec. 32). Or, to put it another way, less elegantly but perhaps also more realistically, "all that I know is that I have probably forgotten whatever it was." Middle-age is the opening up of vast new, and previously unsuspected, areas of cognitive darkness, before and behind you. It is like standing at the ship's rail at midnight and staring out at the unfathomable and unknowable sea. In this chilling psychic obscurity you quickly come to understand that the dark, cold, measureless, glinting ocean of ignorance in your head stretches everywhere further, over remoter, less knowable horizons than your inner eye can even discern.

I am therefore an averagely compulsive, averagely panicky user of Wikipedia to check up in a pinch on facts, people, dates. But how much good does it really do? I've come to feel that "All that I know is that after consulting Wikipedia I still know virtually nothing." Take an instance. I've been reading a lot of Robert Lowell's poetry recently. Here is my good friend Wikipedia on Lowell.

"Lowell was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Boston Brahmin family that included the poets Amy Lowell and James Russell Lowell. His mother, Charlotte Winslow, was a descendant of William Samuel Johnson, a signer of the United States Constitution, Jonathan Edwards, the famed Calvinist theologian, Anne Hutchinson, the Puritan preacher and healer, Robert Livingston the Elder, Thomas Dudley, the second governor of Massachusetts, and Mayflower passengers James Chilton and his daughter Mary Chilton."

Robert Lowell's own immediate, "nuclear" family circumstances were slightly constrained, parched and limited. He was the only child of a father, who was himself an only child and who never knew his own father. But perhaps more than any other poet Lowell pushed the "family experience" into the centre of modern poetry's usable subject matter. Following M. L. Rosenthal, critics often casually label Lowell one of the first "confessional poets." It is just as true, and more meaningful, to say that he is one of the first strong "familial poets."

This is paradoxical because in many ways, not least in its extraordinary historical lustre, Lowell's family was not like most others. Just because he was a poet, his own sense of family lineage was intense and conflicted. He sometimes claimed a lack of interest. "Sorry for all this family business," he wrote to Giovanna Madonia in a letter of March 1954, "I too find it tiresome and alien." But at moments of (literary and/or psychological) crisis and breakthrough, his fascination with his own genealogical past was radiant. At the time in the mid-1950s when he was writing the family poems included in Life Studies, he revelled in the experience of uncovering his roots. "I had a little ancestor-worshipping spree the other day," he told his cousin once removed Harriet Patterson Winslow (I6828) in February 1956,

"and read up all we had in the house written by ancestors, and even worked out on four type-written pages my family tree. How quickly it all runs into the sands of the unknown. What sort of man was my Grandfather Lowell, who died in his twenties, leaving only a Phi Beta Kappa key, a photograph, his name on a wall at St. Mark's School? He had been married only a few months, and Daddy, his first child was not yet born. There are many of these wistful early deaths; Sarah Stark, poor Julian-James, not an ancestor but my patron, and benefactor, as Dickens would say."

Indeed almost certainly one of those books which Lowell "read up" was Biographical Sketches of the Bailey-Myers-Mason Families, 1776 to 1905: Key to a Cabinet of Heirlooms in the National Museum, Washington (1908), a partial family history written by his first cousin twice removed, Cassie Mason Myers Julian-James (I6760). The

Wikipedia's entry is alert to Lowell's historical version of the "family romance". However, for people such as me the plethora of famous names it spills out in its entry on the poet generates not clarity but a new degree of nebulousness. A bit more information actually makes one feel less learned. The glamorous Lowellian ancestors are invoked but simultaneously surrounded by a haze of uncertainty. Lowell? A descendent of Anne Hutchinson? But how exactly? Lowell? A descendent of Mary Chilton? But how exactly? In the extended Winslow family Mary Chilton's mythic status is, to cite Lowell's words in a draft of his unpublished autobiography, that of "the first woman from the Mayflower to have stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock". American history was family history. Family history was American history. Perhaps because of this very mythic centrality, obscurity still swirls around the Lowell/Winslow past like fog around a rock.

I decided that I could not just leave it to Wikipedia. Or to anyone else. I needed to do some leg- (and arm-) work myself. Here are the notes I brought back from my trek. Think, perhaps, of what follows as analogous in terms of mid-century American poetry to the modest restorations of name and history that scholars have made for the sobbing penitents in Dante's Purgatorio. It has been possible to identify 26 out of his 30 immediate ancestors: see this map of Lowell's immediate ancestry. The notes constitute a modest attempt to sponsor a higher degree of factual, historical precision in future discussions of Lowell's family romance. Thus, my findings slightly extend knowledge of Lowell's family connections amongst the "Mayflower | screwballs" and many others besides, including American Jews.

My investigation complements and extends the excellent notations by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter in Lowell's Collected Poems as well as those by Saskia Hamilton in her masterful edition of Lowell's Letters and by Hamilton and Thomas Travisano in their collection of Lowell's and Elizabeth Bishop's correspondence, Words in Air.

I might as well begin with the Wikipedia entry, since that is what started the whole story.

Lowell's Wikipedia entry — facts

Robert Lowell was related to all the figures Wikipedia mentions, though it never explains in any case how he was. Here are the filled-in gaps:

Amy Lowell (I6598), 1874-1925, poet, Amy Lowell's great-grandfather and Robert Lowell's great-great-grandfather were stepbrothers: that is, both were sons of Hon. John Lowell II, 1743-1802 (I6584) — relation to RL

James Russell Lowell (I6616), 1819-1891, poet, Robert Lowell's great-granduncle — relation to RL

William Samuel Johnson (I6649), 1727-1819, Lowell's four times great-grandfather — relation to RL

Rev. Jonathan Edwards (I6719), 1703-1758, Lowell's five times great-grandfather — relation to RL

Anne Hutchinson (I6724), 1591-1643, Lowell's eight times great-grandmother — relation to RL

Robert Livingston the Elder (I6839), 1654-1728, Lowell's seven times great-grandfather — relation to RL

Gov. Thomas Dudley (I5553), 1576-1653, Lowell's nine times great-grandfather — relation to RL

James Chilton (I6574), about 1556-1620, Lowell's eight times great-grandfather — relation to RL

Mary Chilton (I6573), 1605-1679, Lowell's seven times great-grandmother — relation to RL

Does it matter?

In two distinct ways the thinking of literary scholars about how biography integrates into contemporary literary scholarship has changed. First, biography is no longer archaic. Second (and because this change of mind abut the genre is not a mere return to the past) biography is not now simply the telling of an individual life-story but instead something more extended in social or geographical space or more broadly diffused through historical time.

Moreover, while a biographical datum never fixes or limits the meaning of a poem, it can be a crucial stimulus to interpretation. Some of the information that I offer here extends not just biographical but poetic understanding (if, that is, these two entities can ever be separated in Lowell's case).

For an example, take "Hudson River Dream", an enigmatic — and for that reason little-discussed — poem from History (1973). In the dream that the poem describes Lowell's "mother" and "her mother" are with him in a "very small sailboat" as it drifts down the Hudson which, according to oneiric logic, is "twice as wide as it is, wide as the Mississippi." In the dream Charlotte Lowell is "one-eighth Jewish, and her mother two-eighths" ( Collected Poems, p. 521). All a fantasy of the unconscious? Apparently referring to New York and Schenectady's Captain Mordecai Myers (I6754), 1776-1871, Lowell's great-great-grandfather (relation to RL), the notes in the back of the Collected Poems state that the poet's "Jewish ancestors are on his father's side" (p. 1106). But this declaration needs to be qualified. Lowell's dream about "trees" (perhaps including, one can now see, "family trees") is in fact largely factual at least about his relations.

Charlotte Winslow's great-grandfather was Judge Moses Mordecai (I6709), 1785-1824 (relation to RL), a Jewish lawyer and magistrate from Raleigh, North Carolina. (The southern roots of this ancestor perhaps account for Lowell's metonymic relation in "Hudson River Dream" of his mother and her mother to the archetypal Southern river, the Mississippi.) Lowell was almost right about his grandmother, Mary Livingston Devereux (I6551), 1866-1944 (relation to RL), who was a grandchild of Moses Mordecai. Mordecai married a Gentile, Ann Willis Lane (I6710), 1794-1854.

Knowing about Lowell's Jewish ancestors is informative but also suggestive, if only because it offers a counterframe to the conventional WASP New England world into which Lowell is normally fitted. You change the context and you change the object in that context. Moreover, one of the most important artists amongst Lowell's ancestors was a Jew. Judge Moses Mordecai, just mentioned, was the grandson of Myer Myers, (I7083) 1723-1795 (relation to RL), one of the most prolific silversmiths in colonial New York, and apparently the first Jew to train in the city at the craft or art. Myer Myers was Lowell's four times great-grandfather, through his mother's side of the family. Lowell had illustrious Jewish ancestors on both sides of his family.

Remoter ancestry — Lowell the Plantagenet

The elites of the New World were deeply interwoven with the elites of the Old World. Robert Lowell's distant ancestry demonstrates the point. The 20th century poet was (like W. H. Auden) a direct descendant of Henry II (I1280), 1133-1189, the first Plantagenet king of England, and of every subsequent Plantagenet king down to Edward III (I1268), 1312-1377. He was descended from Henry II on both his father's side (relation between Henry II and RL through his father) and on his mother's side (relation between Henry II and RL). Lowell was a direct descendent of Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou (I1282), 1113-1151, the founder of the Plantagenet dynasty, by multiple routes, including through Geoffrey's heir, Henry II, and through Geoffrey's illegitimate son, Hamelin, Earl of Surrey (I7257).

Colonial- and revolutionary-periods American history

Lowell's father's family is known primarily for its extraordinary part in the history of 19th century Massachusetts and especially of Boston. However, as Ian Hamilton wrote, Robert Lowell's father belonged to a "relatively humble station in the Lowell clan… the poor (i.e., merely comfortably off) branch of the Lowells — priests and poets figured prominently among his immediate forebears…. The Lowell millions, though, were elsewhere, with the bankers and the lawyers and the cotton magnates." But in addition to those figures, such as Mary Chilton and Jonathan Edwards, mentioned above, on both his father's and his mother's sides Lowell was related to a number of very important actors in colonial- and revolutionary-period American history. It was a fact that Lowell was quite apparently quite aware of. For example, he told Bishop in 1947 that he had "won [Ezra Pound's] heart by telling him that I was a collateral descendent of Aaron Burr" (Words in Air, p. 15).

Here (in alphabetical order), starting with Burr, are some of the other significant figures in Lowell's family past:

Aaron Burr (I7026), 1756-1836, vice-president of the United States, Lowell's first cousin five times removed — relation to RL

William Constable (I7100), 1752-1803, one of the land speculators involved in the gigantic "Macomb Purchase" in New York State in 1791, Lowell's three times great-grandfather — relation to RL

James Duane (I7090), 1733-1797, the first post-Revolutionary mayor of New York City, Lowell's four times great-grandfather — relation to RL

John Jay (I6877), 1745-1829, first Chief Justice of the United States, the husband of Sarah Van Brugh Livingston (I6876), 1756-1802, Lowell's first cousin six times removed — relation to RL

Philip Livingston (I6842), 1716-1778, signatory of the Declaration of Independence, Lowell's six times great uncle — relation to RL

Robert R. Livingston (I6852), 1746-1813, member of the Committee of Five which drafted the wording of the Declaration of Independence, negotiator with France of the Louisiana Purchase, Lowell's second cousin six times removed — relation to RL

Gov. William Livingston (I6874), 1723-1790, signatory of the United States Constitution, first post-Revolutionary governor of New Jersey, Lowell's six times great uncle — relation to RL

President George Washington (I5457), 1732-1799, first President of the United States, Lowell's eighth cousin, seven times removed — relation to RL

Gov. Edward Winslow (I6799), 1595-1655, third governor of the Plymouth Colony, Lowell's eight times great uncle — relation to RL

Gov. Josiah Winslow (I6945), 1629-1680, 13th governor of the Plymouth Colony, Lowell's first cousin eight times removed — relation to RL

Relation to the Roosevelts — family business

A feedback loop was established between Lowell's awareness of his family history and his behaviour in the present. His conduct and attitudes were predicated on his sense of the tradition to which he had to live up. Though, arguably, the wearily, ruefully seigneurial tone struck in so much of Lowell's poetry is predicated on his sense of himself as a kind of fallen aristocrat, the most striking single instance of the noblesse oblige attitude comes at the time of his refusal to be drafted in 1943. In his [5 or] 7 September 1943 letter to President Roosevelt, Lowell declared to the President that he was conscious of being one those privileged Americans whose "family traditions, like your own, have always found their fulfillment in maintaining, through responsible participation in both the civil and the military services, our country's freedom and honor." (Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 37-40; citation from p. 38). In fact, since the families making up the country's patrician elite was so densely intermarried, Lowell and President and Mrs. Roosevelt were all distant relations of one another.

Lowell was the sixth cousin once removed of Eleanor Roosevelt (I6741), 1884-1962 — relation to RL

He was the seventh cousin once removed of Franklin D. Roosevelt (I6740), 1882-1945, the 32nd President — relation to RL

Franklin D. Roosevelt (I6740) and Eleanor Roosevelt (I6741) were sixth cousins once removed (relation between FDR and ER)

To gauge the relative degree of Lowell's family closeness to President Roosevelt, consider that Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President, was a fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (I6782), 1858-1919, the 26th President (relation between TR and FDR). The two Presidents are often described as being part of a single political dynasty. But they were not much more closely (or distantly) related to one another than Lowell was to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. were fifth cousins. As noted, Lowell was a sixth cousin once removed of Eleanor Roosevelt and a seventh cousin once removed of her husband. The tone in Lowell's "manic statement" is founded on his idealistic and unpractical sense of belonging to the country's elite in the same way that the President himself did.

Incidentally, culture, political power, religious eminence and money being always and everywhere intertwined, it is worth noting that Lowell was the sixth cousin once removed of Henry Sturgis Morgan (I5920), 1900-1982, founder of the investment bank Morgan Stanley (and he was thus the fifth cousin twice removed of John Pierpont Morgan, Jr. (I5919), 1867-1943, and the fourth cousin three times removed of John Pierpont Morgan, Sr. (I5926), 1837-1913) — relation to RL

Ancestors and relations mentioned in Lowell's poems and letters

The notes in this section of my post diagram Lowell's relation to all of the ancestors and relations whom he mentions in his poems and in the two published editions of his letters that I referred to above. Some of the names cited here have already been cited above, but they are included here for the sake of completeness and focus. The names are listed in alphabetical order of last name, with the person's name being given in the form in which it is conventionally presented by critics and biographers in works on Lowell.

W. H. Auden (I5), 1907-1973, Auden and Lowell were 18th cousins once removed; almost certainly neither was aware of the connection; for poems by Lowell in which Auden features, see "Since 1939", "Truth" (in "Leaving America for England"), "The Spell" — relation to RL

Charlotte Bailey (I6755), 1796-1848, Lowell's great-great-grandmother; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" — relation to RL

Caroline Blackwood (I6511), 1931-1996, Lowell's third wife; see the poems "Redcliffe Square", "Caroline", "Fall Weekend at Milgate", "Marriage", "Leaving America for England", "Flight to New York", "Milgate", "Suburban Surf", "Seventh Year", "Caroline in Sickness", "Three Freuds", "Summer Tides", and others; see also Letters of Robert Lowell, passim; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 682 ff. — relation to RL

Aaron Burr (I7026), 1756-1836, Lowell's first cousin five times removed, see above; see also the poems "Three Poems 2. River Harbor"; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 15 — relation to RL

Mary Chilton (I6573) 1605-1679, Lowell's seven times great-grandmother, see above; see also the poem "At the Indian Killer's Grave" — relation to RL

Evgenia Citkowitz (I6543), (b. 1964), Lowell's stepdaughter; see the poem "Summer Tides"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 548 ff. — relation to RL

Ivana Citkowitz (I6544), b. 1966, known as Ivana Lowell, Lowell's stepdaughter; see the poems "Another Summer", "Summer Tides"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 548 ff.; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 704-05 — relation to RL

Natalya Citkowitz (I6542), 1960-1978, Lowell's stepdaughter; see the poem "Summer Tides"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 548 ff. — relation to RL

Charles Edward Cotting (I7031), b. 1889, Lowell's uncle, married to Lowell's aunt, Sarah Winslow Cotting (I6786); Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 48 — relation to RL

Sarah Winslow Cotting (I6786), about 1893-1992, Lowell's aunt; see the poem "For Aunt Sarah"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 12 ff.; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 48, 237, 777 — relation to RL

Jonathan Edwards (I6719), 1703-1758, Lowell's five times great-grandfather, see above; see also the poems "Mr. Edwards and the Spider", "After the Surprising Conversions", "Jonathan Edwards in Western Massachusetts" and "The Worst Sinner, Jonathan Edwards' God"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 79, 80-1, 279, 519 — relation to RL

T. S. Eliot (I5821), 1888-1965, Lowell and Eliot were seventh cousins twice removed, as in the case of the relation between Auden and Lowell (see above), almost certainly neither Lowell nor Eliot was aware of this connection; see the poem "For T. S. Eliot" — relation to RL

Elizabeth Hardwick (I6560), 1916-2007, Lowell's second wife; see the poems "Home After Three Months Away", "Man and Wife", "New York 1962: Fragment", "Near the Ocean", "Summer", "New York", "Circles", "Records", "Communication", "In the Mail", "During a Transatlantic Call", "Exorcism", "The Couple", "Artist's Model", "Marriage", "Foxfur", "On the End of the Phone", "Off Central Park", "Loneliness", and others; Letters of Robert Lowell, passim; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, passim — relation to RL

Joseph Hawley (I6952), about 1693-1735, Lowell's seven times great uncle; see the poem "After the Surprising Conversions" — relation to RL

Julian James (I6761), 1844-1870, James was the wife of Lowell's first cousin twice removed, Cassie Mason Myers Julian-James (I6760), 1851-1922; see Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 254 — relation to RL

Robert R. Livingston (I6852), 1746-1813, Lowell's second cousin six times removed, see above; see also the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" — relation to RL

Abbott Lawrence Lowell (I6596), 1856-1943, his great-grandfather and Robert Lowell's great-great-grandfather were stepbrothers (both were sons of Hon. John Lowell II (I6584), 1743-1802); see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" and the poem "Ford Madox Ford"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 19, 24-5, 265 — relation to RL

Amy Lowell (I6598), 1874-1925, see above, her great-grandfather and Robert Lowell's great-great-grandfather were stepbrothers (both were sons of Hon. John Lowell II (I6584), 1743-1802); see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 3, 79, 269-70; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 194, 198 — relation to RL (Curiously, Robert Lowell was a third cousin, four times removed of another poet or lyricist, some of whose words are far better-known than Amy Lowell's, James Russell Lowell's or Robert Lowell's: James Lord Pierpont (I7414), 1822-1893, was the author of "Jingle Bells" — relation to RL)

Augustus Lowell (I6592), 1830-1900, Lowell's great-great-great-grandfather, Hon. John Lowell II (I6584), 1743-1802, was the great-grandfather of Augustus Lowell; see the poem "Bright Day in Boston" — relation to RL

Rev. Charles Russell Lowell, Sr. (I6897), 1782-1861, Lowell's great-great-grandfather, minister of West Church, Boston; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" — relation to RL

Brig. Gen. Charles Russell Lowell III (I6899), 1835-1864, Lowell's first cousin twice removed; see the poem "Colonel Charles Russell Lowell 1835-64"; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 572 — relation to RL

Harriet Winslow Lowell (I6561), b. 1957, Lowell and Hardwick's daughter; see the poems "During Fever", "Home After Three Months Away", "Memories of West Street and Lepke", "Summer", "New York", "Mexico", "Circles", "Late Summer", "Hospital II", "Records", "In Harriet's Yearbook", "Communication", "In the Mail", "Winter and London", "Summer Tides", and others; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 268 ff.; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 192 ff. — relation to RL

James Russell Lowell (I6616), 1819-1891, Lowell's great-granduncle, see above; see also the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" and the poems "Hawthorne", "Ford Madox Ford"; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 79; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 170, 618 — relation to RL

Percival Lawrence Lowell (I6594), 1855-1916, his great-grandfather and Robert Lowell's great-great-grandfather were stepbrothers (both were sons of Hon. John Lowell II (I6584), 1743-1802); see Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 269-70, 652; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 194 — relation to RL

Ralph Lowell (I7160), 1890-1978, both he and Robert Lowell were three times great-grandsons, through different wives, of Hon. John Lowell II (I6584), 1743-1802; see Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 165, 216-17 — relation to RL

Rev. Robert Traill Spence Lowell, Sr. (I6580), 1816-1891, Lowell's great-grandfather; see Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 245, 512; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 214 — relation to RL

Robert Traill Spence Lowell, Jr. (I6578), 1860-1887, Lowell's grandfather, see Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 254 — relation to RL

Robert Traill Spence Lowell III (I6549), 1887-1950, Lowell's father; see the poems "Rebellion", "91 Revere Street", "Dunbarton", "Commander Lowell", "Terminal Days at Beverly Farms", "Father's Bedroom", "Middle Age", "Anne Dick 1. 1936", "Father", "Mother and Father 1", "Mother and Father 2", "Returning", "Father in a Dream", "To Daddy", "Robert T. S. Lowell", "Unwanted", and many others; Letters of Robert Lowell, passim; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 70, 108, 214 — relation to RL

Sheridan Lowell (I6546), Lowell's and Blackwood's son; see the poems "Marriage", "Another Summer", "Sheridan", "For Sheridan", "Summer Tides", and others; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 576 ff.; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 692 ff. — relation to RL

Lieut. Commander Theodorus Bailey Myers Mason (I6758), 1849-1899, son of Col. Theodorus Bailey Myers (I6756) and Lowell's first cousin twice removed, founder of the US Office of Naval Intelligence; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" — relation to RL

Capt. Mordecai Myers (I6754) 1776-1871, Lowell's great-great-grandfather; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" (Myers's father, Lowell's three times great-grandfather, who is mentioned but unnamed in "91 Revere Street", was Myer Benjamin (or Benjamin Myers), about 1723-1776); Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 255 — relation to RL

Col. Theodorus Bailey Myers (I6756), 1821-1887, Lowell's great-granduncle; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" — relation to RL

Mary Sophia Nelson (I6553) 1827-1903, Lowell's great-grandmother, mother of Arthur Winslow (I6550); see the poem "Dunbarton" — relation to RL

Sarah Pierpont (I6720), 1709-1758, Lowell's five times great-grandmother; see the poem "Jonathan Edwards in Western Massachusetts" — relation to RL

Franklin D. Roosevelt (I6740), 1882-1945, Lowell's seventh cousin once removed, see above; see the poem "Memories of West Street and Lepke" — relation to RL

Elizabeth Savage (I6567), 1704-1778, Lowell's four times great-grandmother; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 255 — relation to RL

Col. Robert Gould Shaw (I6903), 1837-1863, Civil War hero, brother-in-law of Brig. Gen. Charles Russell Lowell III (I6899), 1835-1864, Lowell's first cousin twice removed, who was married to Josephine Shaw (I6900), 1843-1905, the Progressive reformer, and R. G. Shaw's sister; see the poem "For the Union Dead"; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 556 — relation to RL

Jean Stafford (I6559), 1915-1979, Lowell's first wife; see the poems "The Old Flame", "Flight to New York", "Jean Stafford, a Letter"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 26 ff.; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 41 ff. — relation to RL

Charlotte Stark (I7162), Lowell's three times great aunt; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 241 — relation to RL

Gen. John Stark (I6701), 1728-1822, Lowell's four times great-grandfather; see the poem "In Memory of Arthur Winslow" — relation to RL

Sarah Stark (I6555), 1794-1819, Lowell's great-great-grandmother; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 254 — relation to RL

Alice Thorndike Winslow (I6708), 1895-1964, Lowell's aunt; in "My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow" — relation to RL

Anne Goodwin Winslow (I6927), 1875-1959, also known as Anne Goodwin, poet, the wife of Lowell's third cousin, once removed, Brig. Gen. E. E. Winslow (I6926), 1866-1928; see Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 276; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 202 — relation to RL

Arthur Winslow (I6550), 1860-1938, Lowell's grandfather; see the poems "In Memory of Arthur Winslow", "Winter in Dunbarton", "91 Revere Street", "My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow", "Dunbarton", "Grandparents", "Two Farmers" and others; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 13 ff. — relation to RL

Carlile Winslow (I7164), about 1884-1960, Lowell's first cousin once removed; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 48 — relation to RL

Charlotte Winslow (I6548), 1888-1954, Lowell's mother; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street", and the poems "Commander Lowell", "Terminal Days at Beverly Farms", "For Sale", "Sailing Home from Rapallo", "During Fever", "Clytemnestra I", "Mother and Father 1", "Mother and Father 2", "Returning", "Mother, 1972", "Hudson River Dream", "To Mother", "Ten Minutes", "Unwanted", and others; Letters of Robert Lowell, passim; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 70, 126, 153 — relation to RL

Devereux Winslow (I6707), 1892-1922, Lowell's uncle; see the poems "My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow" and "Dunbarton"; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 299; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, p. 235 — relation to RL

Gov. Edward Winslow (I6799), 1595-1655, Lowell's eight times great uncle, see above; see the poem "In Memory of Arthur Winslow" — relation to RL

Edward Winslow (I6568), 1669-1753, Lowell's five times great-grandfather, high sheriff of Suffolk County, Massachusetts between 1728 and 1743; see the poems "In Memory of Arthur Winslow" and "Dunbarton" — relation to RL

Francis Winslow (I6552), 1818-1862, Lowell's great-grandfather; see the poem "Dunbarton"; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 255 — relation to RL

Harriet Patterson Winslow (I6828), 1882-1964, Lowell's first cousin once removed; see the poems "Soft Wood", "Fourth of July in Maine"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 95 ff.; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 106 ff. — relation to RL

John Winslow (I6572), 1597-1674, Lowell's seven times great-grandfather; see the poem "At the Indian Killer's Grave" — relation to RL

Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow (I6795), 1811-1873, Lowell's first cousin three times removed, commander of the USS Kearsage during the Civil War; see the poem "Buttercups" — relation to RL

Gov. Josiah Winslow (I6945), 1629-1680, Lowell's first cousin eight times removed, see above; see the poem "At the Indian Killer's Grave" — relation to RL

Joshua Winslow (I6554), 1785-1838, Lowell's great-great-grandfather; see Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 255 — relation to RL

Marcella Comès Winslow (I6929), 1891-1986, the wife of Col. Williamson Randolph Winslow (I6928), about 1901-1945, a fourth cousin of Lowell; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 276; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 96, 100, 101 — relation to RL

Mary Winslow, (I7163), about 1888-1952, Lowell's first cousin once removed; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 131 — relation to RL

Mary Devereux Winslow (I6551), 1866-1944, Lowell's grandmother; see the poem "Mary Winslow"; Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 12 ff. — relation to RL

Natalie Hess Winslow (I7168), the wife of Lowell's first cousin once removed, Cameron McRae Winslow, Jr. (I6176); Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 255 [identification uncertain] — relation to RL

Pearson Winslow (I6978), about 1893-1950, Lowell's first cousin once removed; Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 158; Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Words in Air, pp. 48, 106 — relation to RL

Sarah Stark Winslow (I6789), d. after 1938, Lowell's great aunt; see the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street" and the poem "My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow" — relation to RL

Lieut. Warren Winslow (I6785), about 1919-1944, Lowell's second cousin once removed; see the poem "The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket" — relation to RL

Unidentified ancestors and relations of Robert Lowell

I have not been able to identify a few people whom Lowell mentions or alludes to in his works. They are:

Admiral Ledyard Atkinson and his wife a "Schenectady Hoes" in the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street", Collected Poems, pp. 144 ff.

Helen Bailey, in the poetic memoir "91 Revere Street", Collected Poems, pp. 122-23

"cousin" Alfred Lowell, in Letters of Robert Lowell, pp. 23, 680

John Stark, in Letters of Robert Lowell, p. 241

"Grandfather's Aunt Lottie", in the poem "Dunbarton", Collected Poems, p. 168

"Liz Ross Winslow", "Uncle John [Winslow]", "Mother [presumably, Winslow]", "Aunt Daisy Anne [presumably, Winslow]" and the speaker of "Winslows", in the poem "Winslows", Collected Poems, p. 636

Naval background

Pouring over Robert Lowell's ancestry raises some interesting patterns and themes into one's mind. Chief amongst those, at least for me, has been the pervasiveness of the American Navy as an institution in the families of both Lowell's father and mother. Even though Lowell believed, perhaps rightly, that his mother Charlotte Winslow Lowell (I6548) hated the Navy, she had two uncles and a grandfather in the service (one of the uncles, Cameron McRae Winslow (I6787) was a rear-admiral), and she commented bitterly she herself had been "brought up by Papá to be like a naval officer, to be ruthlessly neat."

Everywhere the eye gazes in Lowell's family history, there are connections of people with the sea. Here is what I have found (people are listed here by order of death-date):

Edward Winslow (1595-1655), governor of the Plymouth Colony, was Lowell's eight times great uncle. Perhaps he was the first famous of ancestor of Robert Lowell's linked to the sea, principally because he died on a ship and because of the well-known description of his sea burial in Nathaniel Moreton's "New England's Memorial": "[Winslow's] body was honorably committed to the sea, with the usual solemnity of the discharge of forty-two pieces of ordnance" — relation to RL

Commodore Daniel Todd Patterson (I6829), 1786-1839, second cousin five times removed of Lowell's. Patterson was not an admiral because this did not become a line rank in the United States Navy until after the Civil War — relation to RL

Rear Admiral Theodorus Bailey (I6890), 1805-1877, son by another marriage of Lowell's great-great-great-grandfather Judge William Bailey (I6887); he received the surrender of New Orleans in 1862 — relation to RL

Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow, 1811-1873, first cousin three times removed, see above; commander of the USS Kearsage during the Civil War — relation to RL

[Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow's inspiration was said to have been his mother's mother's mother's father, Colonel William Rhett (1666-1722), who in 1706 defended Charleston, South Carolina, against a French and Spanish force, in 1718 captured the "Gentleman Pirate" Stede Bonnet and was also on the trail of the pirate "Blackbeard" (Edward Teach).]

Admiral David Dixon Porter (I6885), 1813-1891, the husband of Lowell's third cousin, four times removed, George Ann Patterson (I6884), 1819-1893; Porter was a Civil War hero — relation to RL

[Porter was the son of Commodore David Porter (I7096), 1780-1843, a hero of the War of 1812; he was the brother of Commodore William David Porter, 1808-1864; and the foster-brother of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, 1801- 1870, another Civil War hero and the US Navy's first admiral.]

Capt. Carlile Pollock Patterson (I6819), 1816-1881, a third cousin, four times removed of Lowell; he was also the father of the sister-in-law of Lowell's grandfather Arthur Winslow (I6550); Capt. Patterson was the Superintendant of the US Coast Survey — relation to RL

Rear Admiral Thomas Harmon Patterson (I6880), 1820-1889, a third cousin four times removed of Lowell — relation to RL

Lieut. Commander Theodorus Bailey Myers Mason (I6758), 1848-1899, Lowell's first cousin twice removed; Myers Mason was the founder and first head of the US Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence — relation to RL

[Myers Mason's brother-in-law was Rear Admiral Thomas Stowell Phelps, Jr. (I6894), 1848-1915; his father-in-law was Rear Admiral Thomas Stowell Phelps, Sr. (I6892) 1822-1901 — relation to RL Myers Mason played an important role in the life of Robert Lowell's father: according to Cassie Mason Myers Julian-James, "One of the last of [Myers Mason's] acts of kindness, cherished by one of the compilers of this memoir, is the remembrance of the generous, whole-souled interest he expressed when he learned that his young kinsman, Robert Traill Spence Lowell, then, in 1898, in his twelfth year, ardently wished to follow as closely in his footsteps in the Naval profession, which the boy subsequently entered" (Biographical Sketches of the Bailey-Myers-Mason Families, 1776 to 1905: Key to a Cabinet of Heirlooms in the National Museum, Washington ((no place): privately printed, 1908), 70).]

Rear Admiral Herbert Winslow (I6808), about 1848-1914, a second cousin twice removed of Lowell — relation to RL

Rear Admiral Cameron McRae Winslow (I6787), 1854-1932, Lowell's great uncle — relation to RL

Commander Robert Traill Spence Lowell, Jr. (I6578), 1860-1887, Lowell's grandfather, see above — relation to RL

Commander Robert Traill Spence Lowell III (I6549), 1887-1950, Lowell's father, see above — relation to RL

Lieut. Warren Winslow (I6785), about 1918-1944, Lowell's second cousin once removed, see above — relation to RL

Endpoint

Blogs are not commonly the places for the kind of mildly arcane family archaeology that I have undertaken here. Blogs indeed have become synonymous with instant opinions and historical shallowness. President Obama has commented that he and his advisors did not spend a lot of time looking at blogs because posters on blogs typically sound off without examining an issue very carefully. Mostly true, no doubt. But here is my own attempt to do it a bit differently, at least once. I wanted to make a freakish contribution to Lowell scholarship. With that in mind, as I read and searched, often melancholically, and wondered if I was wasting my time, the words of another patrician American, Henry James, from that same lost world of New England ferocity and presumption out of which Robert Lowell too emanated, kept coming back into my thoughts. Or, to be more precise, the words of one of James's characters did. "We work in the dark," the man says, "we do what we can we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task." He brings one close to the ambitions of a researcher. And he concludes in a way that in retrospect cannot help but summon up Lowell's ghost and which brings the reader up against the never-to-be-forgotten limits attendant on research of this kind. "The rest is the madness of art."

Or, to put it differently and less gracefully, and a bit more socratically: "all that I know is that I have put down here pretty much all that I know."

[These notes and charts are a lateral outgrowth of a larger piece of work, at a website titled "Family Ghosts", on W. H. Auden's genealogical history.]

A meta essay, or meta (short for meta-analysis) refers to an essay that explores the text of a show in more detail than an episode review or recap. Broader themes, or deeper analysis are investigated, often with supporting evidence in the form of screencaps, pictures or charts.

See Picspams for links to graphics based meta, which use images from the Show, alongside, or instead of text.

Meta Communities

In the first two seasons of Supernatural, the Supernatural community spn_heavymeta on Livejournal followed a set regime, where members would submit essays for each episode on Dean, Sam and John. After Season Two this structure was abandoned, and the community simply provided a central place for people to link to their metas.

The forums on Television Without Pity (now closed) and supernatural.tv as well as blogs like The Winchester Family Business often contain meta discussion, as do the comments sections on many media sites.

Meta Essays

Dean

Sam

John Winchester

The Winchesters

  • Vivisecting Supernatural- This Essay Is Not About Selfcest by Wren Collins
  • It's all about the Sam, the Dean, the Dad, the Demon by dodger-winslow
  • Hugging & brotherly love: a comparison of the way brothers relate in Supernatural, Heroes & Prison Break by silver_spotted
  • Alpha, beta & omega: Pack order in the Winchesters by technosage
  • You're not my brother: Insights into the boys' relationship through Skin and Asylum by angstslashhope
  • The blunt instrument and the sharp: Sam and Dean in Mystery Spot by spiderine
  • Sam vs. Daddy by ahania
  • Redemption narratives and kissing by missyjack
  • Vessels, and shared responsibility by destina
  • Sam and Dean's transformative love story by Catherine Tosenberger
  • Tension, Conflict, Motivation, and Plot: Why the Story is About Dean & We Do Know Sam by bowtrunckle
  • Dean's capability and Sam's morality by eilonwy
  • Of Alphas, Betas, and omegas: of Winchesters and Alphabet soup by technosage
  • Sam and Dean and Me: codependence in Supernatural by vichan
  • The tragedy of Sam and Dean by affectingly
  • Sam/Dean Ship manifesto by slytherinblack
  • Why I write Sam/Dean even though I've never liked incestfic setissma
  • Analysis of Sam's love/devotion for Dean by laurificus
  • On Incest and wincest: the right and wrong way to write Sam/Dean] by hidingincanada
  • A Wincest Manifesto
  • Psychotically, irrationally, erotically co-dependent…the obsessive bromance of Supernatural by pinkwood
  • To Keep Each Other Human: The Restoration of Balance (and other color interactions) in SPN 5.18 by zimshan
  • Playing with perception: Sam and dean in Season 8 by metamorphic rocks

Castiel

Other Characters

  • Then and Now by blackcat333_99
  • Hunter and hunted: Jo in Born Under a Bad Sign by missyjack
  • Long arm of the law: FBI Agent Hendrickson in Night Shifter by marinarusalka
  • You can't choose your family: Bobby and Ellen as mentors by mahoni
  • Why Gordon is more than just a killer: Gordon in Bloodlust by phantomas
  • Sam and the Trickster in Mystery Spot by makishef
  • Ruby & Castiel as avatars for aspects of Sam and Dean by missyjack
  • Better the devil you know: illustrated meta on Ruby through seasons 3 & 4 by missyjack
  • Illustrated meta on Anna by tirra-lyrra
  • Anna Milton Meta: The Lioness, the Leader, the Sacrificial Lamb by arcadianambivalence
  • An Anna Milton Meta by susurrantpetrichor - A multi-part analysis of Anna's character, including feminist and theological readings.
  • "Long Live the King" - How Crowley Has Changed Over the Seasons and Where His Character Can Be Expected To Go Next by by neven-ebrez
  • Crowley as a Shakespearean Antagonist by bookdal

Mytharc Meta

  • Vivisecting Supernatural- The End's 2014 Vs. Season Nine's 2014 by Wren Collins
  • Good and Evil in Supernatural (Supernatural panel held at Escapade 2006, a fan-run convention)
  • Sam, John and the Demon by destina
  • The possibilities of Sam Winchester by fuoror_scribiend
  • The Winchester Guide to Demonology by hoovooloo_too
  • Angels, spirits, spirits and planetary talismans by reasearchgrrl
  • A Cowboy, a Hero, and a Chevy Impala: American Mythology in Supernatural by aislinamara
  • Season 3 Episodes 15 & 16 - An analysis of Sam and Dean's contract by stare-at-walls
  • Meta analysis on Season 3 by albydarned
  • On the Head of a Pin: there's no going back by bardicvoice
  • Questions on the angel hierarchy by schmevil
  • Zeke 9000 - A 2014 Supernatural Odyssey: parallels between Sam/Zeke and Dave/Hall from 2001 by larinah
  • Angels, Demons, Dean and Posession in Supernatural by dontturnitoff
  • Demons, Devils, and Dicks: Supernatural and Post 9/11 Angst by bookdal
  • 9x11 Parallels - Dean/Cain, Sam/Abel & Castiel/Colette by queernatural

The Impala

Supernatural & Its Visuals

Gender and Sexuality

  • Manly man in TVLand: Gender in Supernatural by astri13
  • Less Campy: comparisons of gender depictions in Buffy and Supernatural by monkeycrackmary
  • A feminist take on Supernatural by fanishliss
  • Masculinity in Supernatural by lefefuge
  • Macho vs masculinity by sasha-davidovna
  • Some Considerations (in defense) of Supernatural's Malleus Maleficarum from a Feminist by crossroads_lore
  • Something about Mary by spg
  • Hell hath no fury like a woman born by deadbeat_nymph
  • Daddy, would you like some sausage ?: Oedipal narrative in Supernatural by angstslashhope
  • Latchkey Hero: Masculinity, Class and the Gothic in Eric Kripke's Supernatural by Julia M. Wright
  • The Story of My (non) Existence: Bisexuals and Genre Television by chasingtides
  • The Women of Supernatural by Mike Elrod'
  • Incest in my canon by chasingtides
  • "Well, you are kind of butch": the bisexuality of Dean Winchester by waterofthemoon
  • Commentary on the "Women's Work" Fanvid by fan-eunice
  • Women's Art and "Women's Work" (Essay on the gendered nature of vidding and, in particular, examining "Women's Work", a fanvid by Luminosity and Sisabet & how it examines the portrayal of women in Supernatural)
  • Tosenberger, Catherine: "The Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean".Supernatural, queer readings, and the romance of incestuous fan fiction, in "Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures", Volume I, 2008
  • HOYAY! "Supernatural": Coded gays, slashfic bait and Wincest, oh my! on After Elton
  • Supernatural recap on Facebook by Michael Jensen on After Elton
  • Has Slash made the world better for gay men? on After Elton
  • Looking at Dean Winchester: The Gaze In Supernatural by missyjack
  • Demisexual and queer Sam by kimchesters
  • Gender bias in Supernatural: the cold hard stats by ash48 and bythedamned
  • Male Sexual assault in Supernatural by hells-half-acre
  • Torture and rape in Season 6 by amonitrate
  • Possession and sex in Supernatural by chasingtides
  • Swapping Spit and Satin Panties: Sexual Objectification of the Male Characters in Supernatural by blubird-pie
  • Supernatural’s Dean Winchester Dismantled His Own Machismo—and That’s Why We Love Him at tor.com by Emily Asher-Perrin
  • Pink and Satiny: An Exploration of Dean Winchester’s Bisexuality by sobrans
  • Dean Winchester as a greyromantic by swagstiel
  • Masculinity and the killing of Destiel by supernatural-meta
  • Breaking Down the Schtick: Jensen Ackles, Physical Comedy, Objectification, Consent, and Other Supernatural Topics Inspired By Three Seconds of Footage by Sheila O'Malley
  • Fan art meta on cake/pie and Dean's sexuality by consulting-cannibal
  • An example of fannish cake/pie meta by oh-so-pleasant
  • Do I look like Paris Hilton? Dean as SPN's Cinematic Female Other by Frozen-delight
  • Media interpretation of the hunter husbands in The Chitters by messier51
  • The Chitters and compulsory heterosexuality by deathbycoldopen
  • Rachel Miner and Nicki Aycox discuss ‘Supernatural’ as a positive environment for women with Hypable.
  • Incest shi[pping in fandom by kokatu

Class

Religion

Ethnicity

Music

Miscellaneous

Fandom & Fan Works