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American Literature:
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Thomas Bailey Aldrich

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Thomas Bailey Aldrich is a writer of polished, deli-cate poetry, and of quaint humorous stories. He was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1837, but entered on mercantile life in New York at the age of seventeen. Soon he turned to literature and in 1866 went to Boston to be editor of "Every Saturday." After a tour in Europe in 1875 he published "From Ponkapog to Pesth," a charming book of travel. In 1881 he was made editor of the "Atlantic Monthly," and held this post for nine years. He has since made a journey around the world. His poetry is mostly in short pieces, expressing single emotions or describing special scenes. His most noted poem is "Babie Bell," which relates tenderly the birth and short life of a child. "Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book" has met with wide favor. "Judith" and "Wyndham Tow-ers" are narratives in blank verse, but the most striking piece in this form is "The Unguarded Gates," crying out against unrestricted immigration as threatening the stability of American institutions. In his short stories Aldrich has shown a fondness for elaborate mystification, as in "Marjorie Daw." His longer novels "Prudence Palfrey," "The Queen of Sheba," are more serious, yet involve a quaint humor. "The Story of a Bad Boy" is an autobiographical record of his youthful pranks, which has been welcomed by old and young.

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