To be what no one ever was, to be what everyone has been: Freedom is the mean of those extremes that fence all effort in.
Mark Van Doren (June 13, 1894 December 10, 1972) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic. He was born in the town of Hope in Vermilion County, Illinois. The son of a country doctor, he was raised on his family's farm in eastern Illinois. He was the younger brother of the academic Carl Van Doren. Mark Van Doren earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1914 and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1920. Van Doren then taught at Columbia from 1920 to 1959 and twice served on the staff of The Nation. One of his students at Columbia was Allen Ginsberg. Van Doren helped Ginsberg avoid jail time in June 1949 by testifying on his behalf when Ginsberg was arrested as an accessory to crimes carried out by Herbert Huncke and others.