The Caliph of Bagdad: Being Arabian Nights Flashes of the Life, Letters, and Work of O. Henry, William Sydney Porter

The Caliph of Bagdad: Being Arabian Nights Flashes of the Life, Letters, and Work of O. Henry, William Sydney Porter

The Caliph of Bagdad: Being Arabian Nights Flashes of the Life, Letters, and Work of O. Henry, William Sydney Porter

The Caliph of Bagdad: Being Arabian Nights Flashes of the Life, Letters, and Work of O. Henry, William Sydney Porter

Excerpt

Twenty-one years have passed since O. Henry died in the Polyclinic Hospital in New York City. His last jesting words were in echo of a popular song of the hour. There are two versions of the exact phrasing. One was that it began, "Pull up the shades"; the other, "Turn up the lights." Then, as both agree, he continued: "I don't want to go home in the dark." In that little conflict of evidence we have one aspect of his life in epitome.

O. Henry had no conscientious Boswell; no faithful Forster. The importance of his work, his destined preëminence as a master of the American short story were hardly recognized in his lifetime. Most of the men who were in close contact with him in the years of his achievement, the men who were best fitted by training for the task of historians, were more concerned with the problem of extracting from him the promised and overdue tale than in jotting down notes for the benefit of posterity. Therefore O. Henryana to-day is largely a matter of memories, more or less shadowy, and often conflicting. That condition is reflected in the following pages.

When C. Alphonso Smith Biography appeared in 1916 it provoked criticism that was neither kindly nor fair. Professor Smith wrote his book with the full approval of those by right most closely connected with O. Henry. But many readers who did not understand . . .

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