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Thomas Bailey Aldrich

(1836 - 1907)

Thomas Bailey Aldrich was an influential American writer, poet, critic, and editor. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Aldrich began his literary career as a poet but is best remembered for his short stories and novels. After moving to New York at age 16, he quickly became immersed in the literary scene, contributing to various periodicals.

Aldrich's work is known for its elegance, wit, and portrayal of 19th-century American life. His most famous novel, "The Story of a Bad Boy" (1869), is considered a seminal work in the development of the "bad boy" genre of books, predating Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." This semi-autobiographical book depicts the boyhood adventures of Tom Bailey and served as a notable change from the idealized portrayals of children in literature, imbuing its characters with realistic flaws and mischievous behavior.

In addition to his writing, Aldrich played a significant role as the editor of important publications, including "The Atlantic Monthly." His editorial tenure was marked by his encouragement of up-and-coming writers and his ability to recognize and nurture literary talent.

Aldrich also published several collections of poetry, displaying his craftsmanship in verse and his ability to capture delicate emotional experiences. His influence extended into the literary circles of his time, with friendships among other literary figures such as Mark Twain and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Short Stories member since March 2024