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Frank Norris

Benjamin Franklin Norris (March 5, 1870 - October 25, 1902) was an American novelist during the Progressive Era[?], classifiable as a muckraker.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, he studied painting in Paris for two years, attending the University of California, Berkeley in 1890 - 94 and then spending another year at Harvard University. He was a news correspondent in South Africa in 1895, an editorial assistant on the San Francisco Wave (1896 - 97), and a war correspondent[?] in Cuba for McClure's Magazine in 1898. He joined the New York City publishing firm of Doubleday & Page in 1899.

Norris was the United States' first important naturalist writer.


  • McTeague (1899) - a naturalist work set in San Francisco, California. A dentist murders his wife and then dies while excaping through Death Valley. McTeague was filmed as 'Greed' by Erich von Stroheim[?] in 1924.
  • The Octopus (1901) - the first novel of a projected trilogy, The Epic of the Wheat. The Octopus descibes the raising of wheat in California and the conflict between the wheat growers and a railway company.
  • The Pit (1903) - the second novel in the trilogy, about wheat speculation on the Chicago Board of Trade[?].
The third novel, Wolf, was never written but was to have shown the American-grown wheat relieving a famine-stricken village in Europe.
  • Vandover and the Brute (posthumously published 1914) - a study of degeneration.

Norris died after an operation for appendicitis.

External Links e-texts of some of Frank Norris's works:

  • Blix (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=273)
  • McTeague (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=1304)
  • Moran Of the Lady Letty (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=1377)
  • The Octopus (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=1475)
  • The Pit (http://www.abacci.com/books/book.asp?bookID=1743)

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