Bret Harte

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Harte, Bret

(Francis Brett Harte) (härt), 1836–1902, American writer of short stories and humorous verse, b. Albany, N.Y. At 19 he went to California, where he tried his hand at teaching, clerking, and mining. In 1868 he helped establish the Overland Monthly, where his short stories and verse first appeared. He gained enormous success with the publication of "The Luck of Roaring Camp," the first of his picturesque stories of Western local color, and with such later stories as "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" and "Brown of Calaveras." Although Harte did not develop character and motivation, he had an observant eye and a brisk reportorial style. He was U.S. consul in Germany and Scotland from 1878 to 1885. The remainder of his life was spent near London.


See his letters, ed. by G. B. Harte (1926); biographies by R. O'Connor (1966) and A. Nissen (2000); M. Duckett, Mark Twain and Bret Harte (1964).

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Harte, Bret (b. Francis Brett Harte)

(1836–1902) writer, consular official; born in Albany, N.Y. Moving to California at age 18, he worked at various jobs before becoming a journalist. He became an official of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco (1863–70) but worked at his own writing and coedited the Overland Monthly (1868–70), for which he commissioned some articles by Mark Twain. Harte's stories and poems on western themes helped launch the "local color" movement and he achieved a meteoric national celebrity with his collection of stories, The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches (1870). He moved to the East to be part of the literary world, but his reputation soon faded and he became U.S. consul in Germany (1878–80) and at Glasgow (1880–85). Settling in London for the rest of his life, he continued to write short stories and he hobnobbed with the literati, but he never again knew the success of his San Francisco days.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Schneider, enable Bret Harte to write and lecture, estimating that he could earn another $2,500 from these activities and improve his lifestyle while keeping his home-bound family afloat ...
Irony lost: Bret Harte's Chinee and the popularization of the coolie as trickster in frontier melodrama.
Further evidence of this phenomenon can be seen in Bret Harte's letter to the Springfield Republican on 30 March 1867:
Bret Harte is renowned as a chronicler of the California gold rush.
Grant for preserving the Union (he eventually published the statesman's best-selling memoirs); wrote in favor of rights for African Americans but was fond of telling racist jokes (and co-authored with Bret Harte the grotesquely anti-Chinese play Ah Sin); assailed the Gilded Age yet formed a close personal and professional relationship with the robber baron Henry Rogers; lampooned con men and scam artists yet went broke by investing in crackpot inventions and get-rich-quick schemes; and SO on.
The November 2005 Kickshaws reported the discovery by Dave Moore of a 61-letter pangrammatic window (contiguous string of letters in a published text that contains every letter of the alphabet at least once) in Bret Harte's Flip: A California Romance.
was a student at Bret Harte Union High School, which is in a district of the same name located in central California near Yosemite.
He is more persuasive on the novelist's gradual but progressive "unlearning" of his own racism, masterly in explications of dialect, "framing," and word play in the novels, reproving on Sam's envy and resentment of Bret Harte, and downright scary in evoking Sam's dark side--those shadow-haunted dreamscapes where the Gemini twins were waiting, along with the fraternal guilt and the female phantoms.
And so he reacted in character to the rugged brush country of South Texas, Colorado's towering snow-capped peaks, and the rolling waves of tall-grass prairie of central Oklahoma, reactions that allow us to read The West From a Car-Window as yet another story of comeuppance, suitable for shelving alongside Bret Harte and Mark Twain.
The chapters progress as chronologically as is feasible, beginning almost inevitably with a focus on the relationship between Twain and Bret Harte. This first chapter is a thorough and penetrating discussion of the Twain-Harte friendship from its early cordial and cooperative years to the relationship's deterioration into one of mutual misunderstanding, discord, and ultimate separation.
In Section 3 Morrow presents some of his work on "Popular Literature and Culture" with essays on Richard Farina, rock music, Bret Harte once again, and (of all things), "Those Sick Challenger Jokes." He ends the book with probably his longest and still-ongoing incarnation as a scholar of South Pacific literature, with essays on Australian writer Patrick White, on the film The Piano, and on Katherine Mansfield.