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Frederic, Harold (1856-1898).

novelist, short-story writer. Frederic was born and attended school in Utica, New York, the "Octavius" of his New York fictions. Apprentice work as a photographer's assistant in Utica and Boston (1871-74) and a subsequent career in journalism (1875-98) nurtured the observation and reportorial skills that distinguish his realist fiction. Laid in the Mohawk Valley region, these include two contemporary works, Seth's Brother's Wife (1887) and its sequel, The Lawton Girl (1890). In the Valley (1890) is a historical romance of the Revolutionary era. His most distinguished realist works, and those on which his reputation depends, are stories of the Civil War era treated from a civilian perspective--including The Copperhead (1893), Marsena (1894), and In the Sixties (1897)-and his contemporary masterpiece, The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896). Published in England as The Illumination of Theron Ware, this novel scrutinizes the ambiguous character of the awakening of a young Methodist minister to the Higher Criticism of the Bible, Pre-Raphaelite aestheticism, and the New Science. In 1884 Frederic left the editorship of the Albany Evening Journal and became a New York Times correspondent in London, where he wrote distinguished journalistic volumes, social satire, and all of his fictions. In five volumes set in Ireland and England, he began to develop new themes. The best of these "English" works are March Hares (1896), a frothy comic romance, perhaps with autobiographical overtones; Gloria Mundi (1898), which examines the British aristocracy; and The Market-Place (1899), a drama of the London stock exchange. A definitive edition in progress is Stanton Garner, ed. The Harold Frederic Edition (1985- ). Thomas F. O'Donnell edited Stories of York State (1966). Studies include Thomas F. O'Donnell and Hoyt C. Franchere, Harold Frederic (1961); and Austin Briggs, Jr., The Novels of Harold Frederic (1969).

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Author:Blackall, Jean Frantz
Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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