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Frank Norris

(1870 - 1902)

Frank Norris was an American novelist during the Progressive Era, whose work was predominantly in the naturalist genre. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Norris traveled extensively in his youth, leading to a diverse array of influences in his writing. He studied art in Paris for two years before attending the University of California, Berkeley. He later transferred to Harvard University, though he did not graduate.

Norris is best known for his novel "McTeague" (1899), a dark study of the downfall of a San Francisco dentist, which was adapted into the film "Greed" by Erich von Stroheim in 1924. Another significant work is "The Octopus: A Story of California" (1901), the first part of a planned but never completed trilogy, "The Epic of the Wheat," which depicted the struggle between wheat farmers and railroad monopolies, capturing the tension between human lives and the forces of nature and capitalism.

His writing style is characterized by realism and an often pessimistic view of human nature and the social environment, reflecting the influence of Emile Zola and other realist writers. Frank Norris' literary contributions were cut short by his untimely death from peritonitis at the age of 32, but his work continues to be celebrated for its intensity, detail, and prophetic views on the intersections of nature, society, and economy.

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