Skip to main content

Untermeyer, Louis


UNTERMEYER, LOUIS (1885–1977), U.S. poet, author, anthologist, editor, and translator. The son of a New York jewelry manufacturer, Untermeyer entered his father's firm as a designer and rose to be its vice president. Largely self-educated, he was chiefly interested in literature and in 1923 retired from business to devote himself to poetry. A prolific writer and skilled editor, Untermeyer published more than 70 volumes of prose and verse, short stories, travel books, parodies, essays, and critical anthologies. His earliest collection of lyrics, First Love (1911), was composed under the influence of *Heine and Laurence Housman; his second, Challenge (1914), showed greater maturity. His other collections were These Times (1917), The New Adam (1920), Roast Leviathan (1923), Burning Bush (1928), Food and Drink (1932), and Long Feud: Selected Poems (1962). His humorous verse includes Collected Parodies (1926).

Untermeyer's lifelong interest in Heine found expression in a volume of translations, The Poems of Heinrich Heine (1917), and in the two-volume biography, Heinrich Heine: Paradox and Poet (1937). He reproduced the spirit of the dying Heine with much pathos in the poem "Monolog From a Mattress." The Firebringer and Other Great Stories: Fifty-Five Legends That Live Forever, Newly Written by Louis Untermeyer appeared in 1968. His fictional works include the biblical novel Moses (1928). It was, however, with his interpretations and anthologies of English and American poetry that Untermeyer was most influential. Outstanding among these were his Lives of the Poets (1961) and the Britannica Library of Great American Writing (1960). Another of his anthologies was The World's Great Stories (1964). Two volumes of autobiography, From Another World (1939) and Bygones (1965), portrayed not only his own development but also the period in which he lived. The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer appeared in 1963.

jean starr untermeyer (1886–1970), also a poet, was Louis Untermeyer's wife from 1907 until 1923. Born in Zanesville, Ohio, she became a singer in Vienna and London, taught literature in various schools and colleges, and wrote several books of verse, including Growing Pains (1918), Steep Ascent (1927), Love and Need (1940), and Later Poems (1958). She published her autobiography, Private Collection, in 1965.


louis: E.L. Pound, ep to lu: Nine Letters Written to Louis Untermeyer by Ezra Pound (1963), incl. bibl.; S. Liptzin, The Jew in American Literature (1966), 141–9; Current Biography Yearbook 1967 (1968), 423–6. jean starr: L. Untermeyer, American Poetry since 1900 (1923), 227–33; Twentieth Century Authors, first suppl. (1955), s.v.

[Sol Liptzin]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Untermeyer, Louis." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 20 May. 2019 <>.

"Untermeyer, Louis." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (May 20, 2019).

"Untermeyer, Louis." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved May 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.