HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Selected Works: Volume One, Poetry
Author: Stephen Vincent Benet
Publisher: Farrar & Rinehart; First Edition edition (1942
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Benet, Stephen Vincent. Selected Works: Volume One, Poetry (published in 1942 by Farrar and Rinehart Inc., New York City, NY). My brother liked poetry and had a copy of the Selected Works:Poetry of Stephen Vincent Benet (July 22, 1898 – March 13, 1943) who was an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist, best known for his book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown’s Body (1928), for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929, and for two short stories, “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (1936) and “By the Waters of Babylon” (1937). Benét was born in Bethlehem, PA, to James Walker Benét, a colonel in the United States Army, and his wife. At about age ten, Benét was sent to the Hitchcock Military Academy. He graduated from The Albany Academy in Albany, NY, and Yale University, and published his first book at age 17. He was awarded an M.A. in English upon submission of his third volume of poetry in lieu of a thesis. Benét was also a part-time contributor for the early Time magazine.
In 1920 and 1921 Benet went to France on a Yale traveling fellowship. There he met Rosemary Carr, whom he married in Chicago in November of 1921. Carr was also a writer and poet, and they collaborated on some works. They had three children. Benét died of a heart attack in New York City, on March 13, 1943, at the age of 44. In 1942, before he died, he had some selected works of his prose and poetry collected in two volumes. The first volume, consisting of his poetry, contains the complete John Brown’s Body, portions of which we had to read for American literature in my high school junior year English class, as well as other famous poems such as “Western Wagons,” “Snowfall,” and “Nightmare, with Angels.” I understand that Volume Two includes his prose stories, like “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” “No Visitors,” and “By the Waters of Babylon,” a personal favorite of mine which I have reviewed separately. In 2009, The Library of America selected Benét’s story “The King of the Cats” (1929) for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub.