Overview

Ring Lardner

(1885—1933)


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1885–1933),

born in Michigan, was known as a sports writer and columnist in Chicago and New York before the great success of his short stories. His first collection, You Know Me Al: A Busher's Letters (1916), employs the racy idiom of the baseball diamond and describes the career of a novice on a professional team. Other books of this early period displaying the author's talent for the humorous use of the vernacular in portraying typical Americans include Bib Ballads (1915), a collection of verse; Gullible's Travels (1917), satirical stories; Treat Em Rough (1918); and The Big Town (1921), a humorous novel. The publication of How To Write Short Stories (1924), a collection, first attracted critical attention to Lardner as a sardonic humorist exposing follies and vices through his characters' conversational speech. Though they seem to follow traditional methods of American humor, his stories are actually cynical and mordant treatments of the subjects. The boxers, baseball players, salesmen, stockbrokers, songwriters, barbers, actresses, stenographers, and other average” characters whom he depicts are reduced by the author's implied bitterness to their essential common-placeness, cruelty, viciousness, dullness, and stupidity. This pessimistic view, as well as his ability to reproduce the idioms and habits of mind of everyday people, continued to appear in Lardner's later collections of short stories: What of It? (1925); The Love Nest (1926); Round Up (1929); and First and Last (1934). '““The Love Nest” was dramatized by Robert Sherwood in 1927, and June Moon (1929), written by Lardner in collaboration with George S. Kaufman, is a comedy satirizing the songwriters of Tin Pan Alley. The Story of a Wonder Man (1927) is a satirical autobiography.”

Subjects: Literature.


Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.