Sunday, July 22, 2012

Benét won Pulitzer for Civil War poem

Stephen Vincent Benét
It is the birthday of writer Stephen Vincent Benét (1898), who received a Pulitzer Prize for John Brown's Body (1928), a book-length narrative poem about the Civil War, and a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Western Star, a narrative poem on the settling of the United States that he never finished.

Benét is also known for his short stories, The Devil and Daniel Webster (1936), a fantasy in which the famous lawyer defends a man who has sold his soul to the Devil, and By the Waters of Babylon (1937), a futuristic story set in a time after the destruction of industrial civilization.

Benét's grandfather was born in St. Augustine of Minorcan parents. Benét wrote of 18th century Florida of his ancestors in Spanish Bayonet (1926). His short story The Sobbin' Women was based on the classical Roman tale of the Sabine Women who were abducted by Roman men to be their wives. An adaptation of Benét's story became the movie musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson and Raymond Massey starred in a dramatic reading of his play John Brown's Body on Broadway in 1953. Charles Laughton directed.

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