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date: 14 June 2024

Harte, Bretlocked

Harte, Bretlocked

  • Nicolas S. Witschi

Extract

Born on 25 August 1836 in Albany, New York, to a mix of English, Dutch, French Huguenot, and Jewish heritage, Francis Brett Harte endured a childhood that was as well traveled as his ancestry was varied. His father worked as a seasonal schoolteacher, and in a relatively few years the family's movements brought them to no fewer than eight different cities along the East Coast. Consequently Harte's own education was largely a matter of self-directed reading of such writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Washington Irving, John Bunyan, and Charles Dickens. In 1854, soon after his father's death in Brooklyn, Harte followed his mother to California, where the presence of gold and gold-seekers in the mountains was still very much the story of the day (the Gold Rush had begun only six years earlier). He tried his hand at mining, worked briefly as a Wells Fargo Express Company agent, and then for a short time appeared ready to follow his father's lead by taking up the life of an itinerant educator.

Subjects

  • North American Literatures

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