O. Henry - book author
William Sydney Porter lends the pen name "O. Henry" to surprise endings signed officially as Sydney Porter. His biography shows where he found inspiration for his characters. Their voices and his language were products of his era.
He was born 1862 Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. He left school at fifteen, worked five years in his uncle's drugstore, then for two years at a Texas sheep ranch.
In 1884 he went to Austin where he worked in a real estate office, a church choir, and spent four years as a draftsman in the General Land Office. His wife and firstborn died, but daughter Margaret survived him.
After he failed to establish a small humorous weekly, he worked in poorly-run bank. When its accounts did not balance, he was blamed for it, and fired.
In Houston, he worked for a few years until — ordered to stand trial for embezzlement — he fled to New Orleans and thence, to Honduras.
Two years later, he returned on account of his wife's illness. Apprehended, Porter served a few months more than three years in a Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. During his incarceration, he composed ten short stories, including A Blackjack Bargainer, The Enchanted Kiss, and The Duplicity of Hargraves.
In 1899, McClure's published Whistling Dick's Christmas Story and Georgia's Ruling.
While in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he sent manuscripts to New York editors. In the spring of 1902, Ainslee's Magazine offered him a regular income if he moved to New York.
In less than eight years, he became a bestselling author of collections of short stories. Cabbages and Kings came first, in 1904; followed by The Four Million; The Trimmed Lamp and Heart of the West in 1907; The Voice of the City in 1908; Roads of Destiny and Options in 1909, Strictly Business and Whirligigs in 1910. Posthumously published collections include The Gentle Grafter about the swindler, Jeff Peters; Rolling Stones and Waifs and Strays; and in 1936, unsigned stories.
Others were rewarded financially more. A Retrieved Reformation, about the safe-cracker Jimmy Valentine, got $250; six years later, $500 for dramatic rights, which gave over $100,000 royalties for playwright Paul Armstrong. Many stories have been made into films.
O. Henry is the author of books: The Gift of the Magi, Selected Stories, The Ransom of Red Chief, The Gift of the Magi and Other Short Stories, The Last Leaf, The Best Short Stories of O. Henry, The Complete Works of O. Henry, Cabbages and Kings, Holiday Classics, After Twenty Years
This is just one of the many literary gems in Selected Stories of O. Henry, a collection of forty-five of O. Henry's most renowned and entertaining short stories. Each one offers insights into human nature and the ways it is affected by love, jealousy, poverty, gentility, and the all-pervading reality of people conning people--themes that ran through the author's own life. Born William Sidney Porter, O. Henry started writing while in prison for embezzlement. Later he moved to New York, and his tales romanticizing the commonplace, particularly the life of ordinary New Yorkers, became highly popular. The most widely read author of his time, O. Henry died penniless but left behind a wealth of short stories that endure as hallmarks of the genre.
Though his work earned him an avid readership, O. Henry died in poverty and oblivion scarcely eight years after his arrival in New York. But in the treasury of stories he left behind are such classics of the genre as "The Gift of the Magi," "The Last Leaf," "The Ransom of Red Chief," "The Voice of the City" and "The Cop and the Anthem" — all included in this choice selection. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Table of Contents:
II. THE LOTUS AND THE BOTTLE
V. CUPID'S EXILE NUMBER TWO
VI. THE PHONOGRAPH AND THE GRAFT
VII. MONEY MAZE
VIII. THE ADMIRAL
IX. THE FLAG PARAMOUNT
X. THE SHAMROCK AND THE PALM
XI. THE REMNANTS OF THE CODE
XIV. MASTERS OF ARTS
XVI. ROUGE ET NOIR
XVII. TWO RECALLS
XVIII. THE VITAGRAPHOSCOPE
When it comes to the holidays, no story brings us back to the true spirit of giving like O. Henry’s classic "The Gift of the Magi". So this year we’ve asked some of your favorite Audible narrators—Audie Award winners Katherine Kellgren, Oliver Wyman, and Jonathan Davis—to bring to life this timeless tale, plus two more of O. Henry’s gems, "The Cop and the Anthem" and "The Last Leaf", in this handcrafted holiday collection.
We hope you enjoy these stories straight from the heart of O. Henry’s New York City hangout as our gift to you.
From all of us here at Audible, happy holidays!
Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.