Author

Ring Lardner

Ring Lardner books and biography



Ring Lardner

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Ringgold Wilmer Lardner (March 6, 1885 – September 25, 1933) was an American sports columnist and short story writer best known for his satirical takes on the sports world, marriage, and the theatre.

Contents

Life and career

Born in Niles, Michigan, from adolescence Lardner's ambition was to become a sports reporter, an ambition he fulfilled in 1907 by getting a position on the Chicago Inter-Ocean. He was editor of The Sporting News in St. Louis in 1910 and 1911; he contributed columns to the Boston American, Chicago American and others until 1919 when he joined a syndicate.

Lardner was married to Ellis Abbott of Goshen, Indiana in 1911.

In 1916 Lardner published his first successful book, You Know Me Al (sic), which was written in the form of letters written by a bush league baseball player to a friend back home. It had initially been published as six separate, but inter-related short stories in The Saturday Evening Post, leading some to classify the book as a collection of short stories, while others have classified it as a novel. Like most of Lardner's stories, You Know Me Al employed satire to show the stupidity and cupidity of a certain type of athlete. "Ring Lardner thought of himself as primarily a sports columnist whose stuff wasn't destined to last, and he held to that absurd belief even after his first masterpiece, You Know Me Al, was published in 1916 and earned the awed appreciation of Virginia Woolf, among other very serious, unfunny people", wrote Andrew Ferguson, who named it, in a Wall Street Journal article, one of the top five pieces of American humor writing.[1]


Lardner went on to write such well-known stories as Haircut, Some Like Them Cold, The Golden Honeymoon, Alibi Ike, and A Day in the Life of Conrad Green. He also continued to write follow-up stories to You Know Me Al, with the hero of that book, the headstrong but gullible Jack Keefe, experiencing various ups and downs in his major league career and in his personal life. Private Keefe's World War I letters home to his friend Al were collected in Treat 'Em Rough.

Lardner also had a lifelong fascination with the theatre, though his only success was June Moon, a comedy co-written with Broadway veteran George S. Kaufman. He did write a series of brief nonsense plays which poked fun at the conventions of the theatre using zany, offbeat humor and outrageous, impossible stage directions, such as "The curtain is lowered for seven days to denote the lapse of a week".

Lardner was a close friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald and other writers of the Jazz Age, and was published by Fitzgerald's editor, Maxwell Perkins. He was in some respects the model for the tragic character Abe North in Fitzgerald's last completed novel, Tender Is the Night. Lardner never wrote a novel, but is considered by many to be one of America's best writers of the short story.

He died at age 48 in East Hampton, New York, of complications from tuberculosis.

Trivia

  • One of Lardner's sons, Ring Lardner, Jr., won two Academy Awards as a screenwriter and was blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten.
  • Ring Lardner's grandson, Louis is part-owner of a large chain of McDonald's restaurants in upstate New York.
  • Lardner appears as a character in the movie Eight Men Out, played by the movie's director, John Sayles, who bears a physical resemblance to him.
  • Lardner's name came from a cousin with the exact same name. The cousin, in turn had been named by Lardner's uncle, Rear Admiral James L. Lardner, who had decided to name his son after a friend, Rear Admiral Cadwalader Ringgold, who was from a distinguished military family. Ring Lardner never liked his given name and shortened it, yet he "lost the battle" when his son, Ring Lardner Jr. was named after him.[2]

Selected bibliography

  • Bib Ballads (1915)
  • You Know Me Al (1916)
  • Gullible's Travels (1917)
  • Treat 'Em Rough (1918)
  • The Big Town (1921)
  • How to Write Short Stories (1924)
  • Haircut (1925)
  • Round Up (1929)

Notes

  1. ^ [1], Andrew Ferguson, "Five Best: Some humor doesn't age well, but these American classics remain funny beyond compare, says writer Andrew Ferguson", review article in The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2006, page P8, accessed (on a free part of the newspaper's Web site) December 3, 2006
  2. ^ [2]Web page titled "Lardnerfamily:mania/The Lardners/Part One: From England to Michigan/Updated 25 March 2006", accessed October 19, 2006


This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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Alibi Ike


By Ring Lardner
Short Stories

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Alibi Ike
 
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Big Town

Golden Honeymoon

Gullibles Travels

Haircut


By Ring Lardner
Short Stories

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Haircut
 
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Harmony


By Ring Lardner
Short Stories

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Harmony
 
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Horseshoes


By Ring Lardner
Short Stories

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Horseshoes
 
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My Roomy


By Ring Lardner
Short Stories

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My Roomy
 
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You Know Me Al


By Ring Lardner
Letters , Correspondence

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You Know Me Al
 
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