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John Kendrick Bangs

(1862 - 1922)

John Kendrick Bangs was an American author, humorist, and satirist renowned for his clever wordplay and gentle comedic touch. Born in Yonkers, New York, Bangs pursued higher education at Columbia University, where he wrote for the college's literary magazine. His early career included working as an editor for various publications, such as "Life" magazine and "Harper's Bazaar."

Bangs' literary work flourished in the genre of "Bangsian fantasy," a term coined after him which involves famous literary or historical figures interacting in the afterlife. His most enduring contributions to this genre include "A House-Boat on the Styx" (1895) and "The Pursuit of the House-Boat" (1897), where he humorously depicted the souls of historical personages engaging in witty banter and adventures in Hades.

Apart from his fantasy works, Bangs also wrote many collections of verse, essays, and other novels that often satirized social issues, literature, and the arts, always with a light-hearted and imaginative approach. His humor was forward-thinking, characterized by a playfulness with language that prefigured the whimsical style of twentieth-century American humorists like Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.

In addition to his writing, Bangs held editorial roles that further influenced American literature and humor. His legacy endures in the vein of American comedic writing and in the fantasy genre that playfully bridges the mundane with the supernatural.

Short Stories member since March 2016