Irving Babbitt (1865-1933) was an American academic and literary critic, noted for his founding role in a movement that became known as the New Humanism, a significant influence on literary discussion and conservative thought in the period between 1910 to 1930. He was a cultural critic in the tradition of Matthew Arnold, and a consistent opponent of romanticism, as represented by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Politically he can, without serious distortion, be called a follower of Aristotle and Edmund Burke. He was an advocate of classical humanism but also offered an ecumenical defense of religion. His humanism implied a broad knowledge of various moral and religious traditions.
It was in the early 1890s that he first allied himself with Paul Elmer More in developing the core doctrines that were to constitute New Humanism. In 1895 he gave a lecture What is Humanism?, which announced his attack on Rousseau.