De Forest, John William

De Forest, John William

(də fôr`əst, fŏr`–), 1826–1906, American author, b. Seymour, Conn. He served in the Civil War, chiefly as a captain. His vivid accounts of battle scenes in Louisiana and Sheridan's Shenandoah valley campaign, published in Harper's Monthly, were among the finest contemporaneous war records. Best known as a novelist, he was the author of Kate Beaumont (1872), a study of South Carolina culture, and Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty (1876), the first realistic novel of the Civil War.

Bibliography

See A Volunteer's Adventures (ed. by J. H. Croushore, 1946); biography by F. Bergmann (1971); study by J. F. Light (1965).

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De Forest, John William

(1826–1906) writer; born in Seymour, Conn. After several years abroad, he wrote Oriental Acquaintance (1856) and European Acquaintance (1858). After serving in the Civil War and staying on in the army until 1868, he settled in New Haven, Conn., and became a prolific writer of short stories and novels, many of which drew on his military experiences. He pioneered realistic fiction with such works as Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty (1867) and Kate Beaumont (1872).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.