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Word Count: 854
Freneau Philip Morin 1752-1832 fulfilled the dream of his wine merchant father Pierre Fresneau old spelling when he entered the Class of 1771 to prepare for the ministry Well versed in the classics in Monmouth County under the tutelage of William Tennent Philip entered Princeton as a sophomore in 1768 but the joy of the occasion was marred by his fathers financial losses and death the year before In spite of financial hardships Philips Scottish mother believed that her oldest of five children would graduate and join the clergy Though he was a serious student of theology and a stern moralist all his life Freneau found his true calling in literature As his roommate and close friend James Madison recognized early Freneaus wit and verbal skills would make him a powerful wielder of the pen and a formidable adversary on the battlefields of print Freneau soon became the unrivaled poet of the Revolution and is still widely regarded as the Father of American Literature Although Freneau had produced several accomplished private poems before college it was the intense experience of pre-Revolutionary-War Princeton that turned the poets interest to public writing Political concerns led Madison Freneau and their friends Hugh Henry Brackenridge and William Bradford Jr to revive the defunct Plain Dealing Club as the American Whig Society Their verbal skirmishes with the conservative Cliosophic Society provided ample opportunities for sharpening Freneaus skills in prose and poetic satire Charged with literary and political enthusiasm Freneau and Brackenridge collaborated on a rollicking picaresque narrative Father Bombos Pilgrimage to Mecca in Arabia which presents comic glimpses of life in eighteenth-century America This piece recently acquired by Princeton and published by the University Library 1975 may well be the first work of prose fiction written in America During their senior year Freneau and Brackenridge labored long on another joint project to which Freneau contributed the greater share Their composition was a patriotic poem of epic design
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