Reluctant Expatriate : The Life of Harold Frederic Hardback
by Robert Myers
This book is the first full-length biographical and critical study of the American Realist author Harold Frederic (1856-1898).
As London correspondent for the New York Times and the author of nine novels, Frederic was internationally known at the time of his death; today he is remembered mainly for his novel The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896).
Drawing on archival and published material not available to earlier writers on Frederic, Myers paints a fascinating portrait of the man and his times as an expatriate in London in the 1890s, his friendship with James, Crane, Wells, and their circle, and the scandal surrounding his death at the age of 42. Frederic was a colorful fellow. As a correspondent in London in the 1890s, he knew Henry James, Stephen Crane, George Gissing, and a host of other literary characters.
He fully lived a bohemian life, keeping a real wife and a common-law wife simultaneously, fathering broods of children, writing journalism and novels at a great rate, and dying at 42 of overwork-partly because he let his second wife talk him into refusing medical help (leading to a scandalous court case).
Myers concentrates on four main themes: Frederic as an expatriate; his work as representative of the transition from realism to naturalism in American literature; Frederic as a transitional author in the shift from 19th century to 20th century styles of publishing; and Frederic as a representative of the fin de siecle.
Myers has worked extensively with Frederic's correspondence as well as in publishers' archives (especially Scribner's), and he sees Frederic as a writer who flourished just as the American literary marketplace was being transformed from the rather poky 19th-century model into the faster-paced 20th-century version so familiar today.
This biography will interest not just specialists and Frederic scholars, but also anyone with an interest in American literary culture in one of its defining moments.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: ABC-CLIO
- Publication Date: 30/08/1995
- Category: Biography: general
- ISBN: 9780313292569