Bird, Robert Montgomery

▪ American author
born Feb. 5, 1806, New Castle, Del., U.S.
died Jan. 23, 1854, Philadelphia

      novelist and dramatist whose work epitomizes the nascent U.S. literature of the first half of the 19th century. Although immensely popular in his day—one of his tragedies, The Gladiator, achieved more than 1,000 performances in Bird's lifetime—his writings are principally of interest in the 20th century to the literary historian.

      Bird graduated with a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1827 but practiced for only a year. He wrote poetry, some of it published in periodicals, and several unproduced plays. His first drama to be staged was The Gladiator (1831), produced by the famous tragic actor Edwin Forrest (Forrest, Edwin), who became a close friend until they fell out because Bird thought Forrest had paid him too little for his dramas. About a slave revolt in the Rome of 73 BC, The Gladiator by implication attacks the institution of slavery in the U.S. The play's indictment of Rome's imperial power was also a thrust against Britain's relationship to the U.S. during the colonial period. Bird employed his close study of Spanish-American history in Oralloossa (1832), a romantic tragedy of Peru at the time of the Spanish conquest. Eighteenth-century Colombia was the scene of The Broker of Bogota (1834), a domestic drama considered his best by many critics.

      After his break with Forrest (who had produced all his plays), Bird turned to the novel, beginning with Calavar (1834), a tale of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico, and its sequel, The Infidel (1835). His remaining novels were laid in the United States, generally in the frontier regions he knew from his travels. The most popular was Nick of the Woods (1837), in which he attempted to demolish the image of the American Indian as a noble savage by picturing him with the contempt and hatred that the backwoodsman often showed.

      Finding it impossible to make a living from his writing, Bird taught at Pennsylvania Medical College in Philadelphia (1841–43) and tried his hand at farming. At the time of his death he was literary editor and part owner of the Philadelphia North American.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bird, Robert Montgomery — (1803 1854)    Novelist, an American physician, wrote three tragedies, The Gladiator, Oraloosa, and The Broker of Bogota, and several novels, including Calavar, The Infidel, The Hawks of Hawk Hollow, Peter Pilgrim, and Nick of the Woods, in the… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Bird, Robert Montgomery —    см. Берд, Роберт Монтгомери …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • Robert Montgomery Bird — Infobox Writer name = Robert Montgomery Bird imagesize = caption = pseudonym = birthdate = 1806 birthplace = deathdate = 1854 deathplace = occupation = Novelist, playwright, photographer, physician nationality = American period = genre = subject …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Montgomery Bird — (1854) Robert Montgomery Bird (* 5. Februar 1806 in New Castle, Delaware; † 23. Januar 1854 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) war ein nordamerikanischer Schriftsteller, der vor allem mit dem 1837 veröffentlichten Kentucky Roman Nick of the Woods …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bird (surname) — Bird is a surname, and may refer to:* Aaron Bird * Alan Bird (1906 1962), Australian politician * Albert Bird (cricketer) *Alfred Bird (1811 1878), food manufacturer and chemist *Alfred Frederick Bird (1849 1922), food manufacturer *Andrew Bird,… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Bird — may refer to:* Robert Montgomery Bird (1803 ndash;1854), American novelist, playwright, and physician * Robert Bird (Welsh politician) (1839 ndash;1909), Welsh Liberal Party politician, mayor of Cardiff 1882 * Sir Robert Bird, 2nd Baronet (1876… …   Wikipedia

  • Bird — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Adrian Peter Bird, britischer Genetiker Andrew Bird (Filmeditor) (* 1957), britischer Filmeditor und Übersetzer Andrew Bird (Ruderer) (* 1967), neuseeländischer Ruderer Andrew Bird (Musiker) (* 1973), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bird [2] — Bird (spr. Börrd), 1) geb. zu Anfang des 18. Jahrh. in Durham, Anfangs Leinweber das., dann Mechaniker, lieferte vorzüglich größere astronomische Quadranten (Mauerquadranten), z.B. für Greenwich, Paris, Göttingen, Petersburg. B. war der Lehrer… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bird — †Bird, 3) Robert Montgomery, amerikanischer Schriftsteller; er war seit 1847 Redacteur der North American Gazette in Philadelphia u. st. hier 22. Jan. 1854. Seine Romane The Hawks of Hawk Hallow u. Nick of the woods wurden ins Deutsche übersetzt …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bird — (spr. börd), 1) Robert Montgomery, amerikan. Schriftsteller, geb. 1805 in Newcastle (Delaware), gest. 2. Jan. 1854 in Philadelphia, ist der Verfasser zweier Romane aus der Geschichte Mexikos: »Calavar, a knight of the conquest« (1834) und »The… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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