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Ring Lardner

(1885 - 1933)

Ring Lardner was an American sports columnist and short story writer renowned for his satirical takes on the American sports scene and its culture. Born in Niles, Michigan as Ringgold Wilmer Lardner, he grew into one of the country's leading humorists of the early 20th century.

Lardner made his name initially as a sports writer, covering baseball for the Chicago Tribune and other papers. His firsthand experience with ballplayers and the sports industry informed his famed short stories, which often depicted the lives of athletes with a sharp, cynical wit. His mastery of colloquial speech and dialect in these stories resonated with readers, presenting a realistic portrayal of middle-class America.

Perhaps his most celebrated work is "You Know Me Al" (1916), a collection of fictitious letters from a bush-league baseball player to a friend, which showcases Lardner's gift for the first-person narrative voice and his flair for humor and irony. His stories frequently appeared in magazines like "The Saturday Evening Post" and "Collier's."

Despite his popular stories about sports, Lardner's range as a writer extended far beyond the ballpark. His short story "Haircut" is an example of his broader literary talent, highlighting the darker aspects of American life in what seems like an innocent barber's tale.

Lardner's influence can be seen in the works of later American authors, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who admired his knack for exposing the follies and foibles of society. Though his life was cut short due to tuberculosis, Lardner's astute observations and comic sense endure in American literature.

Short Stories member since February 2020