Bird, Robert Montgomery

Bird, Robert Montgomery,

1806–54, American playwright and novelist, b. New Castle, Del., M.D. Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1827. He wrote several prizewinning verse plays for the actor Edwin ForrestForrest, Edwin,
1806–72, American actor, b. Philadelphia. He was the first national idol of the American theater. He appeared at 14 as Young Norval in John Home's Douglas and gained experience supporting Edmund Kean in Shakespearean roles.
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, notably The Gladiator (1831) and The Broker of Bogota (1834). A financial misunderstanding led to a break between the two friends, and Forrest refused to release the copyrights he claimed to hold for the plays. Bird then wrote prose fiction, publishing the first of his popular romances set in Mexico, Calavar (1834), followed by a sequel, The Infidel (1835). Nick of the Woods (1837), his most popular novel, drew on his travels through America. In contrast to James Fenimore CooperCooper, James Fenimore,
1789–1851, American novelist, b. Burlington, N.J., as James Cooper. He was the first important American writer to draw on the subjects and landscape of his native land in order to create a vivid myth of frontier life.
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, Bird depicted the Native American as violent and debased. His romances, although complicated in plot, are dramatic and contain vivid character portrayals.


See biography by his wife, M. M. Bird (1945).