"Sterling, George" The Oxford Companion to American Literature

By James D. Hart (ed)

Sterling, George  (18691926),born in New York, was educated under Father Tabb in Maryland, went to California, and was thereafter identified with the state as a noted author and bohemian. He fell under the influence of Bierce, "the Great Cham" of literature on the West Coast, and consistently submitted his poetry to his master for criticism. Although later he recognized the significance of modern poets, as evidenced in his Robinson Jeffers, the Man and the Artist (1926), his own verse harked back to what he had been taught by Bierce, and, with its emphasis upon exotic romanticism and rhythmical regularity, looked backward rather than forward and failed to appeal to Eastern critics. He was best known for his sonnets, influenced by Keats, his simple musical lyrics, and his lush, grandiose longer poems. His most important books, whose titles reveal his characteristic attitude, include The Testimony of the Suns (1903), A Wine of Wizardry (1909), and The House of Orchids (1911). Among his later books are Thirty-Five Sonnets (1917) and Selected Poems (1923). He committed suicide in 1926. He is said to be the prototype of Brissenden in London's Martin Eden.

"Sterling, George" The Oxford Companion to American Literature. James D. Hart, ed., rev. Phillip W. Leininger. Oxford University Press 1995. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Auckland City Library. 16 April 2006