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About the Authors

James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) was a prolific and popular nineteenth century American writer who wrote historical fiction of frontier and Native American life. He is best remembered for the Leatherstocking Tales, one of which was The Last of the Mohicans.

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Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was born in New Jersey and was the last of fourteen children. While The Red Badge of Courage is considered Crane's masterpiece, he is also known for another brilliant yet grim work of fiction, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893), as well as his poetry and journalism. Crane moved to Europe in 1897 and died in Germany at the age of twenty-nine from tuberculosis.

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Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe (1659–1661) was an English writer and journalist most widely known for his novel Robinson Crusoe, originally published in 1719. His work varied from political pamphlets to poetry, and included other novels such as Religious Courtship and The Political History of the Devil. He lived in London, England.

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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1821-1870) used his fiction to criticize the injustices of his time, especially the brutal treatment of the poor. He is also the author of Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. He was born in Portsmouth, England.

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Thor Heyerdahl

Thor Heyerdahl was a Norwegian explorer, adventurer, and writer. Born in 1914, he became famous for his daring 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition. He died in Italy in 2002.

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James Joyce

James Joyce [1882-1941] is best known for his experimental use of language and his exploration of new literary methods. His subtle yet frank portrayal of human nature, coupled with his mastery of language, made him one of the most influential novelists of the 20th century. Joyce’s use of “stream-of-consciousness” reveals the flow of impressions, half thoughts, associations, hesitations, impulses, as well as the rational thoughts of his characters. The main strength of his masterpiece novel, Ulysses (1922) lies in the depth of character portrayed using this technique. Joyce’s other major works include Dubliners, a collection of short stories that portray his native city, a semi-autobiographical novel called A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man (1916), and Finnegan’s Wake (1939).

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Jack London

Jack London (1876-1916) was a prolific American novelist and short story writer. He is also known for his books The Call of the Wild and The Sea-Wolf. He was born in San Francisco, California.

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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, poet, and critic.  Best known for his macabre prose work, including the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” his writing has influenced literature in the United States and around the world. Visit him online at madcreator.com

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Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850. He spent his childhood in Edinburgh, Scotland, but traveled widely in the United States and throughout the South Seas. The author of many novels, including The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Kidnapped, The Black Arrow, and Treasure Island, he died in 1894.

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Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker was born November 8, 1847, in Dublin, Ireland. Stoker was a sickly child who was frequently bedridden; his mother entertained him by telling frightening stories and fables during his bouts of illness. Stoker studied math at Trinity College Dublin, graduating in 1867. He worked as a civil servant, freelance journalist, drama critic, editor and, most notably, as manager of the Lyceum Theatre. Although best known for Dracula, Stoker wrote eighteen other books, including Under the Sunset, The Snake’s Pass, The Jewel of Seven Stars, The Lady of the Shroud, and The Lair of the White Worm. He died in 1912 at the age of sixty-four.

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Glendon Swarthout
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Glendon Swarthout

Glendon Swarthout wrote sixteen novels, many of which were bestsellers and were made into films, among them Seventh Cavalry, They Came to Cordura, Where the Boys Are, Bless the Beasts & Children, and A Christmas to Remember. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and won a number of other awards, including the Western Writers Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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Mark Twain

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens. His humorous tales of human nature, especially The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), remain standard texts in high school and college literature classes. Twain was born and died in years in which Halley’s Comet passed by Earth: 1835 and 1910.

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Jules Verne

Jules Verne (1828-1905) was born in France. Around the World in Eighty Days has long been his most popular novel. Verne is credited with creating the genre of science fiction with such other works as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

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H.G. Wells

H .G. Wells is considered by many to be the father of science fiction. He was the author of numerous classics such as The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The War of the Worlds, and many more. 

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Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, for The Age of Innocence. Born in 1862 into one of New York's older and richer families, she was educated here and abroad. Her works include Ethan Frome, The Reef, The Custom of the Country, The Glimpses of the Moon, and Roman Fever and Other Stories. As a keen observer and chronicler of society, she is without peer. Edith Wharton died in France in 1937.

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Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819-1892), arguably one of America's most influential and innovative poets, was born into a working-class family in West Hills, New York, and grew up in Brooklyn. His Leaves of Grass, from which "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" comes, is considered one of the central volumes in the history of world poetry. While most other major writers of his time enjoyed a highly structured, classical education at private institutions, Whitman forged his own rough and informal curriculum, and his brief stint at teaching suggests that Whitman employed what were then progressive techniques -- encouraging students to think aloud rather than simply recite, and involving his students in educational games.

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Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854, to the Irish nationalist and writer “Speranza” Wilde and the doctor William Wilde. After graduating from Oxford in 1878, Wilde moved to London, where he became notorious for his sharp wit and flamboyant style of dress.

Though he was publishing plays and poems throughout the 1880s, it wasn’t until the late 1880s and early 1890s that his work started to be received positively. In 1895, Oscar Wilde was tried for homosexuality and was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Tragically, this downfall came at the height of his career, as his plays, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, were playing to full houses in London. He was greatly weakened by the privations of prison life, and moved to Paris after his sentence. Wilde died in a hotel room, either of syphilis or complications from ear surgery, in Paris, on November 30, 1900.

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