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 Jones Very

Jones Very

Birth
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 8 May 1880 (aged 66)
Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Peabody, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 14015426 · View Source
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Transcendentalist poet, Christian mystic, eccentric. His parents were first cousins who never married: his father Capt. Jones Very, a merchant seaman, and his mother, Lydia, who antagonized her neighbors with her atheism and ridicule of religion. In addition to poverty, these family circumstances kept young Jones isolated from society while growing up. Nonetheless, he was studious and was accepted to Harvard College as a 20-year-old sophomore in 1834. Two consecutive Bowdoin Prize essays caught the attention of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who invited him into their transcendentalist circle that included Elizabeth Peabody's sister, Sophia, and her husband Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Alcott family. In his graduate years at Harvard he became a tutor of Greek while he developed an intense religious devotion in which he tried to empty himself of all will and ego and become a "vessel of God." The devotion became an intense mysticism that prompted him to announce himself as the Second Coming of Jesus. A minister in his hometown promptly had him committed to McLean Hospital for the mentally ill. During this time of religious euphoria he wrote a set of sonnets edited by Emerson that would bring him acclaim as a poet, although he despaired that he could attract no disciples to his religious vision. By 1840, his fervor had waned and he lived out his remaining years in near seclusion with his sisters in Salem.

Bio by: Bob on Gallows Hill


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob on Gallows Hill
  • Added: 21 Apr 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14015426
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jones Very (28 Aug 1813–8 May 1880), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14015426, citing Old South Cemetery, Peabody, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .