STEPHEN VINCENT BENéT Biography - Writers


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Stephen Vincent Benét was born July 22, 1898, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, into a       
military family. His father had a wide appreciation for literature, and Benét's       
siblings, William Rose and Laura, also becmae writers. Benét attended Yale             
University where he published two collections of poetry, Five Men and Pompey (1915),   
The Drug-Shop (1917). His studies were interrupted by a year of civilian               
military service; he worked as a cipher-clerk in the same department as James         
Thurber. He graduated from Yale in 1919, submitting his third volume of poems in       
place of a thesis. He published his first novel The Beginning of Wisdom in 1921.       
Benét then moved to France to continue his studies at the Sorbonne and returned       
to the United States in 1923 with his new wife, the writer Rosemary Carr.             
Benét was successful in many different literary forms, which included novels,         
short stories, screenplays, radio broadcasts, and a libretto for an opera by           
Douglas Moore based on "The Devil and Daniel Webster." His most famous work is         
the long poem John Brown's Body for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1929?a     
long narrative poem which interweaves historical and fictional characters to           
relate important events in the Civil War, from the raid on Harper's Ferry to Lee's     
surrender at Appomattox. During his lifetime, Benét also received the O. Henry         
Story Prize, the Roosevelt Medal, and a second Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for the         
posthumously-published Western Star, the first part of an epic poem based on           
American history. At the age of 44, Benét suffered a heart attack and died on         
March 13, 1943, in New York City.