Norris, Frank (1870-1903)

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Norris, Frank (1870-1903)

Born in Chicago on March 5, 1870, Frank Norris is best known as one of the leading lights of American literary naturalism. Having studied art in Paris for a year before attending the University of California in Berkeley and then Harvard, Norris worked as a reporter and critic for a number of newspapers and magazines in San Francisco and New York. After moving to New York in 1898, Norris published seven novels and two short story collections in quick succession.Moran the Lady Letty, Blix, and A Man's Woman were standard "New Woman" adventure novels, largely forgotten during the twentieth century. Vandover and the Brute and McTeague, on the other hand, were Norris's classic Zolaesque studies of human degeneration. The Octopus and The Pit, his last two novels before his untimely death from peritonitis in 1903, were both contributions to his ambitious Epic of the Wheat trilogy.

—Bennett Lovett-Graff

Further Reading:

Hochman, Barbara. The Art of Frank Norris, Storyteller. Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1986.

Hussman, Lawrence E. Harbingers of a Century: The Novels of Frank Norris. New York, Peter Lang, 1998.

McElrath, Joseph R. Frank Norris Revisited. Boston, Twayne, 1992.

McElrath, Joseph R., and Douglas K. Burgess. The Apprenticeship Writings of Frank Norris: 1896-1898. Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1996.