1-20 of 39 results  for:

  • Results with images only x
Clear all

Article

Asch, Sholem (01 November 1880–10 July 1957), Yiddish novelist, dramatist, and short story writer, was born in Kutno, Poland, a small town near Warsaw, the son of Moishe Asch, a cattle dealer and innkeeper, and Malka Wydawski. Asch was raised in a small town and was essentially self-educated. His father taught him the alphabet from the Bible, which was, as Asch later noted, “the first book that I ever held in my hand” (Siegel, p. 3). The Bible served as his grammar, geography, and history textbooks, as well as a storybook of sorts; later the Scriptures became a source of continual literary inspiration. As an adult Asch became a serious collector of rare biblical editions. He attended local schools to train for the rabbinate, studying the Talmud but also reading German classics and Shakespeare. Finally, against his family’s wishes, Asch made up his mind to become a writer....

Article

Bellamy, Edward (26 March 1850–22 May 1898), novelist, was born in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, the son of Rufus King Bellamy, a Baptist minister, and Maria Putnam. One of four children raised in a strict Calvinist household, he was educated at local schools and briefly attended Union College in Schenectady, New York. As a young man, he developed a strong social interest in poverty, unemployment, and other ill effects of industrialization, which he presumably witnessed not only in the mill towns of western Massachusetts but also in Europe, where he lived for a year in 1868....

Article

Bodenheim, Maxwell (26 May 1892–07 February 1954), poet, critic, and novelist, was born in Hermanville, Mississippi, the son of Solomon Bodenheimer and Caroline Herman. An emigrant from Alsace, Solomon Bodenheimer never found financial or professional security; his career included stints as a traveling whiskey salesman and unsuccessful forays into clothing stores and men’s haberdashery. The daughter of a distinguished and wealthy surgeon, Caroline Bodenheimer came from a milieu that was vastly different from that of her husband. Indeed, the town of Hermanville itself obtained its name from Caroline Bodenheimer’s uncle, M. B. Herman, who had founded the town and established a small mercantile empire there. Caroline’s tales of lost prosperity provided a bitter contrast to the impoverished world in which Maxwell Bodenheim was reared....

Article

Bromfield, Louis (27 December 1896–18 March 1956), novelist, experimental farmer, and newspaper columnist, was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of Charles Bromfield, a banker and local Democratic office holder, and Annette Marie Coulter. His father was from an old New England family, and his mother was the daughter of a pioneer family of Richland County, Ohio; both ancestries would influence his later fiction. Bromfield attended Mansfield public schools, spending summers on his mother’s family’s farm. In 1914–1915 he studied agriculture at Cornell University and then briefly attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. He then studied journalism at Columbia University until his enlistment in the U.S. Army Ambulance Service in June 1917. He served with Section 577, attached to the French army, from December 1917 to February 1919. He participated in seven major battles during World War I and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He was discharged in June 1919 while still in France....

Article

Clemens, Jeremiah (28 December 1814–21 May 1865), politician and novelist, was born in Huntsville, Alabama, the son of James Clemens, a merchant. His mother’s maiden name was Mills, but her first name is unknown. Clemens spent the formative years of his life in the northern Alabama upcountry town of Huntsville with his affluent family. He entered La Grange College in 1830, but in 1831 he moved to the newly opened University of Alabama, graduating in 1833. He also spent a year studying law at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1834 he married Mary Read; they had one child....

Article

Cooper, James Fenimore (15 September 1789–14 September 1851), novelist, was born in Burlington, New Jersey, the son of William Cooper, a land agent and developer, and Elizabeth Fenimore. In 1790 the family moved to Cooperstown, which his father had founded at the foot of Otsego Lake in New York. James (“Fenimore” was not added to his name until 1826) attended the village academy, spent two winters at school in Burlington, and in 1801 was sent to Albany as a boarding student of the Reverend Thomas Ellison. He entered Yale College in February 1803 but was dismissed for misconduct in the summer of 1805. To prepare for a career in the navy, he shipped before the mast in the ...

Article

Davis, Clyde Brion (22 May 1894–19 July 1962), journalist and novelist, was born in Unadilla, Nebraska, the son of Charles N. Davis and Isabel Brion, shopkeepers. When Clyde was one year old the family moved to Chillicothe, Missouri, where Clyde’s father operated a saw mill. Clyde attended high school in Kansas City, excelling in gymnastics and drawing. He dropped out of school at fourteen and worked for a time as a printer’s apprentice, attending the Kansas City Art Institute at night. Eventually he got a job in the art department of the ...

Article

Dos Passos, John (14 January 1896–28 September 1970), writer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of John Randolph Dos Passos, a lawyer, and Lucy Addison Sprigg Madison. His parents were married in 1910, when his father’s first wife died, and in 1912 the boy took his father’s name of Dos Passos; before that he was known as John Roderigo Madison. As an illegitimate child he had lived a rootless life, traveling much in Europe with his mother. She died in 1915. The necessary secrecy of his boyhood, the mixture of admiration and fear Dos Passos felt toward his powerful father—who was both an important corporate lawyer and the author of books on trusts and the stock market—and his dependence on his beautiful, often unhappy southern mother affected him deeply. A timid boy, Dos Passos found excitement in reading, studying languages, and observing the art of the time; he discovered his greatest joy in writing. His early poems, with those of ...

Article

Dreiser, Theodore (27 August 1871–28 December 1945), author, was born Hermann Theodore Dreiser in Terre Haute, Indiana, the son of Johann Paul Dreiser and Sarah Schänäb. Dreiser’s father had emigrated from Germany in 1844 and had been a moderately successful wool dealer until 1869, when a fire destroyed his factory in Sullivan, Indiana. The family never recovered either economically or psychologically from the disaster. Theodore, the twelfth of thirteen children, was born into poverty, and in his childhood his parents moved from town to town in search of employment. His family life was emotionally unstable, and he had few educational opportunities. These experiences colored his worldview and influenced the character of his writing. In addition, his youth was further darkened by the strict Roman Catholic training he received in German-American parochial schools, an experience that fed his later anti-Catholicism and deeply influenced his quest for alternative forms of religious experience....

Article

Farrell, James T. (27 February 1904–22 August 1979), novelist, was born James Thomas Farrell in Chicago, Illinois, the son of James Francis Farrell, a teamster, and Mary Daly, a domestic servant. The second of six children of a poor, first-generation Irish Catholic family, Farrell was given at age three to the care of his maternal grandparents, the Dalys. The move to this new household, where his grandparents lived comfortably with three of their own grown-up children, would be of great import to Farrell. Gradually he grew conscious of the contrast between the life circumstances of his parents and the middle-class culture of the neighborhood in which he lived. Insights into the ways in which class and culture shape consciousness and psychology were to become the sociological foundation for nearly a dozen novels and scores of short stories that are the backbone of his literary career....

Article

Faulkner, William (25 September 1897–06 July 1962), short-story writer and novelist, was born William Cuthbert Falkner in New Albany, Mississippi, the son of Murry Cuthbert Falkner, who was working for the family railroad at the time, and Maud Butler, an amateur painter. Although he was born in New Albany, Mississippi, and then lived briefly in the small Mississippi town of Ripley, he grew up and lived most of his life in Oxford, Mississippi, where his family moved in 1902. There, surrounded by a large, prominent family that was deeply entangled in the history of northern Mississippi, he began listening to family stories that were told and retold at small gatherings as well as large reunions. Before and long after his brief stint in Oxford’s public schools, he also read avidly, first under the tutelage of his demanding mother and later under the tutelage of his friend Phil Stone, whose library included many of the major texts of turn-of-the-century “modernism.”...

Article

Fearing, Kenneth Flexner (28 July 1902–26 June 1961), poet and novelist, was born in Oak Park, Illinois, the son of Henry Lester Fearing, an attorney, and Olive Flexner, a newspaper reporter. Within a year of Fearing’s birth, his mother had left her “unfulfilling” life in the suburbs, returned to Chicago, and divorced his father. Although she did have joint custody, she relinquished this right, and Kenneth was raised from infancy by his father and his father’s unmarried sister Eva. He attended local schools and graduated from Oak Park-River Forest Township High School in 1920. Like his famous predecessor ...

Article

Hergesheimer, Joseph (15 February 1880–25 April 1954), novelist and short story writer, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Hergesheimer, an employee of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Helen Janet MacKellar. Recalling his childhood in The Presbyterian Child (1923), Hergesheimer pictured himself as frequently ill and lonely, in part because his father was often away working and seemed distant even when he was at home. Likewise, his mother seemed withdrawn, largely, he inferred, because of the loss of three children in infancy. In response, feeling he “wasn’t widely cared for,” he “closed in on” himself by taking long walks alone and by reading, especially Romantic literature of the nineteenth century, in hopes of discovering “the secret of love” and “the beauty of passion” in a “sordid” world....

Article

Johnson, James Weldon (17 June 1871–26 June 1938), civil-rights leader, poet, and novelist, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the son of James Johnson, a resort hotel headwaiter, and Helen Dillet, a schoolteacher. He grew up in a secure, middle-class home in an era, Johnson recalled in ...

Article

Kyne, Peter Bernard (12 October 1880–25 November 1957), novelist and short story writer, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of John Kyne, a cattleman, and Mary Cresham. Except for a later half-year in a business school, Kyne received his education in a one-room rural school. He could not resist boasting that a visiting superintendent of schools, reading one of his class assignments, a story on the mercy killing of an infirm horse, told him that he would fail in commerce because “God made you for a writer.” He did not graduate but went to work on his father’s ranch at the age of fifteen. He then became a clerk in a general store, laboring from 6 ...

Article

Lewis, Sinclair (07 February 1885–10 January 1951), novelist and first American winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, was born Harry Sinclair Lewis in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the son of Edwin J. Lewis, a physician, and Emma F. Kermott, a former teacher. Lewis’s father, a stern and practical man, was a major influence on his son. After attending Yale University (1903–1908), where he earned an A.B. degree, Lewis worked as a newspaper reporter in Iowa and California and as a junior editor and advertising manager for publishers in New York City. Between 1912 and 1920 he published a children’s book, ...

Article

Lin Yutang (10 October 1895–26 March 1976), novelist, linguist, and philosopher, was born Lin Ho-lok in Amoy, Fukien Province, China, the son of Lin Chi-shing, a Presbyterian minister, and Young Shun-min. At age seventeen, he changed his given name, meaning peaceful and happy, to Yutang, meaning elegant language, and came to be known as Lin Yutang. Lin attended English-language schools and graduated from St. John’s University, a private western-oriented institution in Shanghai, in 1916. In the same year he became a teacher at Tsing Hua College in Peking. In January 1919 he married Liu Tsui-fung, a wealthy classmate of his sister; eventually the union produced three children. In the fall of 1919 he embarked with his wife to study comparative literature at Harvard....

Article

Malamud, Bernard (26 April 1914–18 March 1986), writer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Max Malamud, a grocer, and Bertha Fidelman. Both parents were Jewish immigrants to the United States from Russia. Bernard Malamud received the B.A. from the City College of New York in 1936 and the M.A. in English from Columbia University in 1942, with a thesis on Thomas Hardy’s ...

Article

Patricia M. Ard and Michael Aaron Rockland

Marquand, J. P. (10 November 1893–16 July 1960), novelist, was born John Phillips Marquand in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Philip Marquand, a civil engineer, and Margaret Fuller, a grandniece of the American Transcendentalist and feminist writer Margaret Fuller. Marquand’s father, once wealthy, became destitute in the financial crisis of 1907, and Marquand was sent to live with relatives at an ancestral home near Newburyport, Massachusetts, a seaside town at the mouth of the Merrimack River with which many of his fictions are identified. Two distinctive themes in his best novels, a romantic sense of loss and an almost mystical sense of place, can be traced to the decline of the family’s fortunes and this childhood displacement....

Article

McCullers, Carson (19 February 1917–29 September 1967), novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, the daughter of Lamar Smith, a jewelry store owner, and Vera Marguerite Waters. Lula Carson, as she was called until age fourteen, attended public schools and graduated from Columbus High School at sixteen. An unremarkable student, she preferred the more solitary study of the piano. Encouraged by her mother, who was convinced that her daughter was destined for greatness, Carson began formal piano study at age nine but was forced to give up her dream of a career as a concert pianist after a childhood case of rheumatic fever left her without the physical stamina necessary for the rigors of practice and a concert career. While recuperating from this illness she began to read voraciously and to consider writing as a vocation. In 1934 she sailed from Savannah to New York City, supposedly to study piano at the Juilliard School of Music but actually to pursue her secret ambition. Working various jobs to support herself, she studied creative writing at Columbia University and Washington Square College of New York University. Back in Columbus in the fall of 1936 to recover from a respiratory infection, she was bedridden several months during which time she began work on her first novel, ...