Last modified on 24 March 2019, at 20:20

Charles Dudley Warner

Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) was a writer and humorist who collaborated with Mark Twain to pen the The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873) which satirized greed and particularly political corruption in Washington, D.C. The novel remains influential today and has been cited as a metaphor for corruption elsewhere. It was the first novel written by Warner or Twain,[1] achieved after their wives mocked at a social gathering for their apparent inability to write a novel.[2]

The title of the novel gave the name to an entire era in American politics. Warner viewed it as humor, while Twain considered their work to be a serious attempt to upgrade morality. Twain wanted novel to be understood as a cautionary tale against speculation. Warner wanted it to be a fun read, and so did the public which initially bought many copies but then stopped when they realized how serious the story was.

Warner was an attorney and an editor for Harper's Magazine, a prestigious publication of his time. He was an early critic of feminism and a defender of the importance of masculinity.

Charles Dudley Warner was also the originator of two expressions which continue to be very popular today, the second one after adapted and repeatedly used by Mark Twain in modified form:

Politics makes strange bedfellows.[3]
The weather in New England is a matter about which a great deal is said and very little done.[4]


In his essay "Give the Men a Chance", Charles Dudley Warner wrote as follows:[5]

Who are these young women to associate with? with whom are they to hold high converse? For life is a two-fold affair. And meantime what is being done for the young men who are expected to share in the high society of the future? Will not the young women by-and-by find themselves in a lonesome place, cultivated away beyond their natural comrades? Where will they spend their evenings? This sobering thought suggests a duty that the young women are neglecting. We refer to the education of the young men. It is all very well for them to form clubs for their own advancement, and they ought not to incur the charge of selfishness in so doing; but how much better would they fulfill their mission if they would form special societies for the cultivation of young men!—sort of intellectual mission bands. Bring them into the literary circle. Make it attractive for them. Women with their attractions, not to speak of their wiles, can do anything they set out to do. They can elevate the entire present generation of young men, if they give their minds to it, to care for the intellectual pursuits they care for. Give the men a chance, and ....


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