Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Elder James Olsen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction Poetry

Born: 1909 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Olsen was born in Chicago and received his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Elder Olsen was a poet, playwright, and critic. He was a leading member of the Neo-Aristotelian (also called the critical pluralist, or Chicago) school of literary criticism that developed at the University of Chicago during the 1940s. He received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago and taught at the Armour (later Illinois) Institute of Technology from 1935 to 1942. In 1942 he returned to the University of Chicago to teach, and he remained a member of the faculty there until his retirement in 1977.

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