|Bret Harte One of the most American of American authors, the novelist Francis Bret Harte is represented in this volume by three poems that reveal the lighter vein of his versifying. The Aged stranger is purposely humorous. John Burns of Gettysburg is half-humorous. A Second review of the Grand Army has touches of wit in spite of its solemn subject. Harte was born in Albany, New York, in 1839. The gold-fever caught him at fifteen; he wandered to California, where he made more at school-teaching than at gold-digging. At eighteen, he entered newspaper life as a typesetter, and soon worked up to the position of editor-in-chief of the Weekly Californian. From 1864 to 1867, while secretary of the United States Mint in San Francisco, he wrote most of his Civil War poems and many humorous verses that made his name familiar in both East and West. During the next two years he was editor of the Overland Monthly, publishing in it his best-known stories—The Luck of Roaring Camp and The Outcasts of Poker flat. In 1871, he left for New York, to devote all his time to writing. Beginning with 1878, he held a succession of consular appointments. In 1885 he settled in England, where he lived till his death in 1902. A born story-teller; Harte put into his vividly realistic scenes from early California life a racy swing combined with universal sentiment that made him popular both at home and abroad.|
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