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Thursday, May 1, 2014

O. Henry

This month's header sketch is O. Henry (William Sidney Porter). I hope I didn't mess it up too much.
O. Henry (Porter) lived from 9-11-1862 to 6-5-1910.
American writer famous for his stories with surprise endings.
Born in Greensboro, NC, died in NYC from cirrhosis, diabetes and an enlarged heart.
Buried in Asheville, NC.
Moved to Texas in 1881, LaSalle County (hill country, I presume).
During his life he was a draftsman, pharmacist, bank teller, and journalist, in addition to being a writer. He played the guitar and mandolin and sang.
As a bank teller he embezzled some money (why? I don't know. He needed it, I guess.) When the law came calling, he left for New Orleans and Honduras. He returned to Austin to be with his wife, who was dying from TB, and surrendered. He was given a five-year sentence, but spent three years in jail where he worked as the prison's pharmacist.
Mister Porter liked his "porter" and was a heavy drinker.
He wrote many stories and submitted them for publication, and many were published. He wrote about ordinary people, clerks, policemen, waitresses, etc. Some of his best were contained in the Cabbages and Kings collection. A couple of his best known were The Gift of the Magi and The Ransom of Red Chief. I liked both of those, laughing at Ransom and being sad with Magi and both had surprise endings.

This info taken from Wikipedia about Mr. Porter, where you can get a more detailed description of his life and works and how he chose his pseudonym, O. Henry.

10 comments:

  1. Read, The Gift of the Magi, and that's it from O. Henry. Need to give Ransom a try.

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    1. You can get his collection on project Gutenberg, Neil.

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  2. He sounds quite a character. I imagine his colourful life provided interesting material for him to write about.

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    1. Like Ron, below, says, he even has a collection of western stories.

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  3. I've read his collected works. A lot of good stuff in there. flash fiction a lot of it too, before flash fiction was cool.

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  4. I doubt that many readers think of him as a writer of western fiction, but he published a collection of them, HEART OF THE WEST.

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    1. I'll have to read them, some I probably have.

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  5. I have several of Porter's books. He was the first short story writer I ever read.

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    1. One of my first, too, David, in high school.

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