Guy Wetmore Carryl

Guy Wetmore Carryl was a US poet, playwright, magazine editor and humourist.  He was born at a time known as the “gilded age” of literature and he did his best to challenge the status quo of this era wherever he could. He was born on the 4th March 1873 in NYC, the son of a writer of children’s books by the name of Charles Carryl.  There is little known about his upbringing but it is clear that he had an early talent for writing, following in his father’s footsteps.  He was educated at the New York’s Cutler School and then he went on to Columbia University.  At the age of 20 he...

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Guy Wetmore Carryl Bio

Guy Wetmore Carryl was a US poet, playwright, magazine editor and humourist.  He was born at a time known as the “gilded age” of literature and he did his best to challenge the status quo of this era wherever he could.

He was born on the 4th March 1873 in NYC, the son of a writer of children’s books by the name of Charles Carryl.  There is little known about his upbringing but it is clear that he had an early talent for writing, following in his father’s footsteps.  He was educated at the New York’s Cutler School and then he went on to Columbia University.  At the age of 20 he had his first published article in the famous NY Times.  He was studying at Columbia at the time and he graduated from there two years later, in 1895.

Carryl had tried his hand at writing plays for student performances at Columbia where he was taught by Professor Harry Thurston Peck.   Peck was a somewhat strait-laced, classical scholar and literary critic who declared himself scandalised when Carryl made a very bold statement for those times.  He said that

this perhaps being a reflection of his zestful, challenging approach to life in general and the literature of the time in particular.

He decided to make his career in writing after college, joining the staff of a highly popular and widely read weekly publication called Munsey’s Magazine.  It’s owner, Frank Munsey, was a successful man in the field of so-called “pulp magazines” and this one thrived despite criticism from some quarters for its

Carryl did well, earning a promotion to editor before moving on to other publications such as Harper’s and Outing.  At one point he visited Paris for work.

Besides his magazine articles he began to produce a large number of, often humorous, poems, many of which are parodies of older pieces of work such as Aesop’s Fables, an example being

He also parodied some of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, one result being his poem

It is a familiar story of the little girl visiting her grandmother’s cottage in the woods who finds the wolf in residence instead.  Here is an extract from the poem, detailing the poor girl’s demise:

He had several collections published including his

in 1898. Two years later he produced

and then, in 1902,

Unpublished manuscripts were found after his early death in 1904 and released under the titles

Guy Carryl died on the 1st April 1904 at the tragically young age of 31.  He had been admitted to Roosevelt Hospital in New York City suffering from an illness described as

This was thought to have been caused by the effects of fighting a fire at his home a short while before.